Last Saturday night we got back from our latest trip to Walt Disney World. We spent a week there, like we do every year, but this year there were several differences. First, we usually go in April/May or October, but this year we went in July. Second, we usually stay in a Disney resort, but this year we stayed off-property. The reason for both is that my parents had a condo about six miles from WDW for the week of July 18 and they asked us if we’d like to go down and use the second bedroom. We had actually decided we weren’t going to be able to afford a trip this year, but we figured since we wouldn’t have to pay for a room, we could probably swing it.
We had a lovely time, though it was hot, hot, hot, rainy at times, and far more crowded than we are used to. I made several observations while there, and I thought I’d write them down. Here, then, in no particular order, are things I observed last week.
- Having Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority closed at the same time makes Tomorrowland not as much fun.
- I still adore the Carousel of Progress, but the “future” scene at the end needs updating. “I suppose you’re going to tell us about how you didn’t even have a car phone!”
- Spectromagic (aka The Parade That Refuses To End) can trap you. We got trapped in certain areas of the MK three times while there.
- Spectromagic does not need to be presented twice a night, within two hours of each other. Twice a week would be better.
- Jack-ass teens who fake getting out of an Indy Car at the Tomorrowland Speedway, thus making my son have to wait for another car, should be bludgeoned.
- Staring at your video camera while filming your ride on the Mad Teacups is a sure way to get motion sick and toss your cookies. (I realized what was happening just in time to keep from hurling.)
- The Peter Pan ride always has a bizarrely long line, given that the whole ride is somewhat lame, and only about two minutes long.
- The changes to the Haunted Mansion they made last year were fabulous. I particularly like the staircase room.
- The Jungle Cruise is so much better at night.
- Great skippers really make the Jungle Cruise great. “If you’ve enjoyed this trip, my name is Joseph and this has been the famous Jungle Cruise. If you didn’t enjoy it, my name is Felipé and this has been Pirates of the Caribbean!”
- The Enchanted Tiki Room was so much better before they “improved” it by adding Iago and Zazu.
- The frozen orange juice you can buy from the counter next to the Tiki Room is still the best and goes down so nicely on a hot day.
- I really don’t like most of the changes they made last year to Spaceship Earth. Jeremy Irons was a better narrator than Judi Dench and the script has been dumbed-down so much that it’s insulting. I do like seeing Woz, though.
- The descent at the end of Spaceship Earth is a stupid exercise in killing time. There used to be scenes of “the future” of communication, but now it’s a dumb glimpse of “some amazing technologies we happen to know about.” Yeah, like flying cars and autonomous robot servants. Nothing real in that animation; just clichés from sci-fi films.
- I liked “The Living Seas” far more than “The Seas With Nemo and Friends.” The inside was better when it was “Sea Base Alpha.”
- Turtle Talk With Crush is amazing tech.
- Soarin’ is one of the best rides they have.
- On two trips now, whilst riding Living With the Land, there have been people in the lab at the end of the greenhouse. I always wondered if they actually did anything in there.
- The old Figment ride in Journey Into Imagination was a lot better than what’s there now, even if the current ride does feature Eric Idle.
- Ellen’s Energy Adventure still makes me laugh, especially the pre-show.
- Even though Mission: Space is amazing tech, I miss Horizons.
- Even though Test Track is a fun ride, I miss the whimsy of World of Motion.
- It is absolutely criminal that in the American Adventure pavilion at World Showcase the restaurant is burgers and fries that are no different that what you can find at any counter service restaurant all over WDW. We have steaks and such in this country that would be tasty to visitors.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a pale reflection of the Disney/MGM Studios that opened 20 years ago this year. Yes, the Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster are awesome, but all the TV- and movie-making are completely gone. It’s just a movie-themed park now, instead of a working studio with rides and shows.
- Toy Story Mania is absolutely incredible. Get there early and get a FastPass.
- I hate that they destroyed Residential Street and most of the backlot in order to bring in the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show. It is so hot watching that show in July.
- The American Idol Experience was kind of lame. Why is Disney/ABC paying Fox for the rights to do that?
- We haven’t been to Typhoon Lagoon in years because Blizzard Beach is so great.
- If the water level is too low in the lazy river at Blizzard Beach, your knees will scrape the bottom, which hurts. A lot.
- Young, teen-aged girls from other countries are really into wearing amazingly small bikinis, some of which can only be described as “butt floss.” Did I mention that these bikinis were amazingly small?
- Teamboat Springs at Blizzard Beach is worth whatever wait you have to put up with. It’s a long, fun ride.
- I’m still too chicken to get on Summit Plummet.
- They really need more than one conveyance to the top of the mountain. It takes a long time to get on the chair lift and then several minutes to get to the top. There are staircases, but it’s a long way to the top, or even the middle where some of the rides are, when you have to take the stairs.
- They should keep all the pavement constantly sprayed with water. In the summer, that pavement gets incredibly hot and since most of the patrons are barefoot, it hurts.
- When it’s 95 degrees with 85% humidity, you sweat instantly upon waling outside.
- If you don’t eat meals inside the parks, you can save a fortune.
- A one-day, one-park ticket is absurdly expensive at $75.
So, that’s pretty much it, though I’m sure I missed a few things I wanted to mention. We did miss not being at a Disney Resort some, because of the perks you get. We like to use the Extra Magic Hours, and it’s nice letting someone else do all the driving. But we still had a great time, and are looking forward to our next trip, which we hope will be in 2010.