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Friday, August 7, 2009

WDW July 2009: Final thoughts

It was a month ago that I started getting ready for my trip to Walt Disney World. Wait, who am I kidding: I started researching the place for months, back on October 2008. I feared that due to the vast amount or land WDW occupied, that it would be more structured and less spontaneous then a trip to Disneyland.

And it was partly true. We barely park hopped, except for when we went to Magic Kingdom for a few hours at night about twice. The dining plan also made the vacation more structured. It seemed like sometimes people were to preoccupied with food to concetrate on the resort.

Oh, and about the resort- sure, it's nice that WDW is on it's own parcel of land, without anyone around for miles. But that's also part of the problem. The Magic Kingdom location, with the hotels around the Seven Seas Lagoon make that area indeed feel like a resort. But everything else is too far away. If things were closer to each other, then it would be better.

That's what makes Disneyland feel like a resort. Everything is right next to each other. Even though it's a little cramped, and a you're surrounded by a thriving city that can be seen from some rides, it feels more like resort in the proximity of everything.

I don't mean for this to sound like I'm trying to compare WDW to Disneyland. I've tried to stay clear of that for the most part. I hope it doesn't look like I hate WDW either, because I enjoyed it. Just to recap, my favorite parks in order were:
1). Epcot
2). Magic Kingdom
3). Animal Kingdom
4). DIsney's Hollywood Studios

Now, many hotels and all of the parks need work, especially DHS. I hope that when I go back there, all the parks, even Epcot will be improved.

Until then, I look towards Anaheim to become excited about my return to the Happiest Place on Earth. Until then, this blog will have to satisfy me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Walt Disney World 2009- Where to Eat?

When I go to theme parks, honestly, the last thing on my mind is where I'm going to eat. Usually, I'll eat on impulse, or survive merely on snacks and Vitamin Water. But this trip, we used the Disney Dinning Plan. It was both good and bad.

It was good, because it save a lot of money. You got one counter servie meal a day, one snack, and one table service meal each day, for however many days you visited. With each meal, you get the main dish, drink, and dessert. And at WDW, the portions are big. So, you got your money's worth.

Unless you're like me, and only eat 2 meals a day. I never eat breakfast (yeah, I know it's supposedly not healthy, but I've been in good shape and have had 2 years of perfect attendance at my school, so stuff it!), and my lunch is small. I do snack, and have a big dinner. We got a lot of food, and I could not eat all of it. At the table buffets, I found myself getting 1, maybe 2 small plates and a cookie for dessert. So, is this really getting your mony's worth?

All the quick service places are the same. And unfortunately, there were qquite a few picky eaters in my family, so whenever we were at Epcot, we always had to eat at America. No China, no Italy, no Japan. America.

I'll also say this: at the character meals, there were barely any characters, unlike Disneyland. At the Crystal Palace, there was quite a nice spread of food, but there were only 4 characters (Pooh, Tigger, Eyore, and Piglet). And the place seemed really big, and even the server explained that if you missed a character, it would be a good hour until they came back.

This happened everywhere. Chef Mickey's located in the Contemporary, which had quite a few characters, and not so much food. Not to mention that it was in the wierdest spot: underneath the monorial tracks, with only a small wall keeping people out.

1900 Park Faire also featured 5 characters (Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and the Step sisters). Their buffet was set up in different countries, so there was Asian Cuisine, Italian food, and so on, but there was not much avaiable for kids. The step sisters made the evening though, dancing and fighting with each other. It was quite a spectacle.

We also went to 50s Primetime Cafe. The food there was great, and we met our Uncle Tim (for those who do not know, your waiter there pretends to be part of your family). He made me wash my hands and yelled at people who put their elbows on the table. He even yelled at the guy next to us for being sassy and having his haat on. This restaurant was one of the best!

Planet Hollywood, located in Downtown Disney, was very cool. They had props from a ton of movies all over the place. The food was expensve, but we had the dining plan so no worries. But, for older people or those who like quiet meals: this is NOT the place for you. They play music videos constantly, and it is veyr loud.

Finally, there's one last place to talk about. The Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian. Now, while the Polynesian itself needs to be brought out of the 70s, the dinner show was quite fun. The food was great, I loved the salad, and the dancing was a nice compliment to the evening. And I'm always amazed at the fire dancing!

Well, that's about it. Tomorrow, I will close with the final thoughts of WDW, and offically end my very late trip report. More info on what's to come on this blog later.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Walt Disney World July 2009- Animal Kingdom

I've heard a lot of great things about Animal Kingdom, so I had very high hopes. I thought that this would be one of my favorites. I was also excited to do Everest.

It started out as a really hot day. When I first entered the park, the enterance was shady, so I thought this would help. But, alas, it did not.

First stop was DinoLand, USA. Big mistake. While the ride Dinosuar was fun (not as much as Indiana Jones), the land was the tackiest place in any Disney Park. Paradise Pier, commonly picked on by Disney fans (not as much after the retheme), is 10x more pleasing to the eye than this area.

Next was Everest, which was a blast. I was lucky enough to sit in the back and be able to see how the track resets. The track simply flips over, and then you go backwards. It's just unfortunate that the foundation for the Yetti broke, so it can't move anymore.

Kali River Rapids was a let down because you barely got wet. It was a nice ride, just to dry. The Kilamanjaro Safari was pretty cool, too. Although the whole "get the poachers" thing was kinda dumb.

And, there are no food place indoors. Everything is outdoors. Not only is it hot snd humid, but we have ducks constantly attacking you, while CMs make sure you don't feed them.

So, my high hopes for this park were dashed. A few people told me they didn't like it the first time they went, and to try it again. I will, and I'll go to the park every time I go. However, it won't be my favorite park. It's actaully my next-to-least favorite.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Walt Disney World July 2009- Disney's Hollywood Studios

I went in to this park win low expectations. And it's a good thing I did.

DHS is in a state of disrepair. It has only a few rides (about 6) and a ton of short shows that don't constantly play ( around 15 of these). It's setup is also disorganized, with the two biggest rides- Tower of Terror and Rock'n'roller Coaster- are right next to each other, causing huge amounts of congestion.

They do have Toy Story Midway Mania there, but it's odd and with a Fastpass you don't even pass Mr. Potatoehead. Even though I think it fits DCAs theme better, this was my favorite ride in the park.
The Great Movie ride has to be updated. Most of those movies I have not seen and or heard of. I would suggest putting in just Disney movies into the ride. And it's such a shame that the beautiful building it's in is covered by that ugly hat, which is more or less just a merchandise stand.
Honestly, this park is worse then DCA. The only thing that saved the day was the 50s Prime Time Cafe, which I will discuss in a future post. DHS needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, Disney didn't fix it up before putting Animal Kingdom in, which not only causes problems for this park, but for that one, too.

Walt Disney World July 2009- Epcot

Going into the trip, I did not have very high expectations for Epcot. It always seemed boring to me, and did not have very many rides.

Even so, I was surprised how much I liked it. Future World did pratically have all the rides, and even though most of themxhad the same theme ("Progress") but it was nice. I liked almost all the rides, with Test Track becoming not only my favorite ride in Epcot, but in the entire resort. Soarin was probably one of my favorites, but it really has no business in any other park besides DCA. They should have put in Soarin' over America or Soarin' over the World.

As for World Showcase... There is not much for kids besides Gran Fiesta Tour and Maelstrom. Most kids won't like the shows and will probably want to eat in America. But I did the new Kim Possible interactive game, and let me tell you- it was very fun. As you traveled around one of the countries, things interacted with what you were doing. I'd reccomend it for anyone- with kids or without.

So, in short, Epcot soon became my favorite park. Although it still needs work, it was 10x better then any other park out there. Although most kids will probably not like it, and kids rides are something it really needs.