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Old 07-29-2013, 11:15 AM   #1
HydroGuy
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Belated Thoughts and Observations on May Visit

Some random thoughts on our trip to WDW and Orlando in May. We got a really good deal at the Swan. My first time there. Have stayed at the Dolphin before. I like being so close to two of the parks and being able to walk when needed. I traveled with DS21, his GF and DNi19.

Epcot

o First ride of the first morning was on Test Track. The pre-show is better on the new ride but I liked the old ride itself better.

We got stuck for about 20 minutes outside on the sloped section. Could have been worse as it could have been mid-day in July when we were stuck . As it was we still got a bit sweaty with the sun in our faces. Here is a shot we took while we sat there. It was right after we got stuck so we were still smiling and not very sweaty yet! They gave us another ride so we just stayed on.

Our Party of Four Stuck on Test Track


o The Voices of Liberty rock. They sang inside the rotunda and every time it brings tears to me eyes.

o Off Kilter is a huge favorite of mine. I heard them twice. I hope they can find a new keyboardist as playing without a keyboard just changes their sound and frankly I did not like them as much.

o British Revolution gets weaker and weaker every time I go. It is getting to the point I may just skip them altogether next time. Meh.

o Sum Of All Thrills always is a hoot

o Got to hear one of the Flower Power series concert at America Gardens when Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits played. They had three concerts on a Sunday eve. I went to the first. Got there like 25 minutes early but it was packed out. I was solo as I could not get my younger travelmates interested in a group from the 60s LOL. So I was able to find a place to squeeze in at the far right. Anyways, they were really good and entertaining and pulled off their hits very well and sounding great!


Magic Kingdom

o We were the first riders of the day on Splash and...got stuck. After getting stuck on Test Track the previous day on our first ride of the day, we thought maybe we were snake bit. Fortunately this did not last 20 minutes like TT but only 5. We did not get terribly wet and when they offered to let us stay on the ride and go again since there was no line, we decided not to push our luck LOL

o I have read about the strategy many here recommend to go to ETwB first thing. The Touring Plans Lines app insisted that the queue would not be bad and we could go late morning with a 30-35 minute wait. Nope!

When we arrived about 10AM sure enough the posted wait time was 70 minutes. ETwB was high on our list as it is new and because my DS21's GF really likes Belle. We decided to skip it and come back later. Fortunately the line did die out and when we came back around 3PM the wait was posted as 40 minutes. We got in line and it only took 30. Very fun attraction if you like princesses. The Lines app was pretty good on this in the PM but missed the late morning surge to 70 minutes in their predictions.

o We got FPs for Main Street princess M&G and my DS21's GF got to visit with Rapunzel, Aurora and Cinderella with a 5 minute wait.

o The Main Street Electrical Parade is just not that good. Many of my fellow DLR fans will disagree but the MSEP has never done a whole lot for me. I do like the music, but the parade is so-so. I liked Spectro better but have heard it is not coming back to WDW. Bummer.

o Wishes was pretty good as usual.

o Where in the heck are the Photopass photographers? Lots of WDW vets complain on the DLR forum about the lack of PP photographers at DLR but we could barely find any at Epcot or MK except around the castle or SSE. Same thing at AK. The only place we found lots of PP folks was at DHS.


Disney Hollywood Studios

o We arrived at DHS at 8:40 and apparently they were doing the quiet early opening by 8:30 ahead of the scheduled 9AM opening

o I really like Mulch, Sweat and Shears but they tripped me up. I have always seen them on Streets of America and never bothered to read the Times Guide closely and waited for them on SoA and they never showed. Because they were scheduled to play at the Wizard's Hat area. So I did catch them there at a later concert.

Watch out for MSS as they moved back and forth between SoA and the Hat on different days. Read the Times Guide. As usual MSS was really a hoot.

o We always love Sci-Fi Dine-In and with two WDW newbies in our group it was a big hit. Some foodies complain about their food but I think their burgers are pretty good.

o Saw Fantasmic for my second time at WDW. Sorry to say this to you WDW vets but your Fantasmic just is nowhere near as good as the one at DL.

o On the other hand, LMA was extremely good as usual. Reports of Disney taking this out to make room for CarsLand would be a mistake IMO. They should keep this space and find somewhere else to build CL. By all means get rid of Catastrophe Canyon. But keep LMA please!


Animal Kingdom

o Expedition Everest was everyone's favorite. Except mine. Like others I miss the Yeti in motion. Disco Yeti is OK. And boy, the lines were really minimal while we were there. We rode EE 8 times. In the morning the standby was 15 minutes and we had FP. In the afternoon after like 2PM it was a walk-on. A walk-on! Maybe we were lucky and got a low attendance day.

o We had FPs for KS and the line backed way, way up because some giraffes apparently got on a road and would not move. So even with FP we had to wait a good 30 minutes late morning.

o FOTLK was cool as always. Love that show.

o Flights of Wonder continues to be the best bird show I have ever seen. Good job.

Riding EE So Many Times in One Day Gets Boring After Awhile (the new 5th person in our group was a JC CM friend who joined us that day)



Universal Island of Adventure

We had one day tickets to IOA as we wanted to see Harry Potter section. We did and it was really good. Otherwise this park bored us to death. I was thinking that but not saying that and then DS21 said "this place is no fun". Turns out we had one extra day on our WDW tickets so we decided to leave after lunch and go back to WDW.

We chose to go back to DHS for a second day but forgot it was Star Wars Weekend. It was way more crowded than earlier in the week when we went to DHS. But we just stuck our heads down and did it. Went in and got some special photos and looked at some of the cool merchandise.

Never again will we venture over to Universal in Orlando. You could tell they were trying hard to make it fun but it just wasn't for us. The new HP ride was awesome. Other than that, nope.
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Last edited by HydroGuy; 07-31-2013 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
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Sounds like a nice time, DD and I are returning to WDW for our 2nd visit in October
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:59 AM   #3
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Thanks soooo much for posting about Universal!!!

My 13yo loves Harry Potter and asked for a day at Universal & Islands of Adventure during our visit next year -- but a 2-day pass for our family was going to cost us $1000 just for the tickets! And if we wanted the ultimate express pass (Universal's version of fastpass) we had to pay upwards of $35 per day, per person, for the privilege.

That's just way out of our price range so decided that it wasn't going to happen -- I'm glad to hear that it might be money well saved!
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsmamainva View Post
Thanks soooo much for posting about Universal!!!

My 13yo loves Harry Potter and asked for a day at Universal & Islands of Adventure during our visit next year -- but a 2-day pass for our family was going to cost us $1000 just for the tickets! And if we wanted the ultimate express pass (Universal's version of fastpass) we had to pay upwards of $35 per day, per person, for the privilege.

That's just way out of our price range so decided that it wasn't going to happen -- I'm glad to hear that it might be money well saved!
Well fwiw my family has the exact opposite reaction to uni as the op. but we gave it a solid chance when we first went, rating for three nights onsite and having four dad in the parks. We nearly missed our Sanaa reservation the day we moved back to wdw because none of us wanted to leave the fabulous universal parks or resorts!

2 day ticket and one night onsite would probably be better financially than two days of ultimate EP by the way. And at least you'd get the great resort and early entrance to Wizarding world!
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #5
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Nice thoughts on what sounds like a fun trip.

The rush to ETw/B is crazy! When I was there in January (off-season, although New Fantasyland was really really new) it was like that. So me and my 3 other college-aged friends ran alongside the families with little girls to go meet Belle. Well-worth it.

I completely agree about Fantasmic. I have friends who have just seen it at WDW and I tell them every time that ours is better out here...

Something I've found that almost every time I go to AK, the lines just die after the 3:00 parade. I've never seen a line for any ride longer than 20 min in the afternoon. It's my favorite time to go to AK. Too bad they don't do evening EMH there anymore. I did that one year and it was so much fun!

I still need to watch Flights of Wonder. I say it every time I go to WDW and I've never gotten around to it...

Unlike your experience, I really enjoyed my day at IOA. Granted, I went by myself and just kinda did my own thing. I rode the Harry Potter ride 5 times and LOVED it. But before I was a Disney fanatic I was an amusement park fanatic, so I appreciate rides like the Hulk and the 2 dragon roller coasters. I did run out of things to do, though, and ended up leaving earlier than I expected. I also really liked the Universal Studios side, but I was there all day and saw pretty much everything and have little to no desire to go back anytime soon. Surprisingly, though, I've never been to US out here in Hollywood.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:55 AM   #6
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What were your dates for your trip... We're trying wdw for this first time next May... And enjoyed your report!
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OMG--dare I say it? We are going to attempt to go to the World!! Split Stay! CSR May 6-10 and AKL Savannah View May 10-13, 2014 (with a dash of the Darkside thrown in for good measure the 13th & 14th.)
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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What were your dates for your trip... We're trying wdw for this first time next May... And enjoyed your report!
May 11-14 at WDW, and then May 18 for IOA.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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Regarding IOA, I have visited US Hollywood many times since I was a kid and really like that place. Maybe we would have liked USF. But IOA just seemed like it was trying way too hard and did not have "it" for us.

So nothing against US or USH, but IOA was a waste of time except for Harry Potter. That ride is incredible.

My two cents...

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Old 07-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
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May 11-14 at WDW, and then May 18 for IOA.
I am thrilled to hear this! Our dates start earlier than yours (may 7 will be our 1st park day) and run through the 14th (last day at universal) sounds like crowds weren't bad, and you got a lot done... I know this is my favorite time of year at DL for low crowds and nice weather... So I was hoping it would be similar at wdw!
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Walt's Park:Two trips as a kid, stayed off-site. Oct '07, 4 days @ DLH, dh, dd & I. May '08, 5 days "girls only trip" @ GCH dm, dd & I. May '09, 6 days @ DLH, dh, dd & I. October '10, 5 day trip, dd and I @ PPH. And 6 days at PPH--December 5-10, 2012 for all 3 of us!

OMG--dare I say it? We are going to attempt to go to the World!! Split Stay! CSR May 6-10 and AKL Savannah View May 10-13, 2014 (with a dash of the Darkside thrown in for good measure the 13th & 14th.)
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:34 AM   #10
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I can't believe I didn't see your mini trip report until today.

Very nice info on your trip to WDW. Just as you said that Fantasmic! at DL is way better over WDW.

I'm with you about IoA. When IoA added the Wizardy World of Harry Potter, I was excited to see the land and I haven't been to Universal Orlando in a long time so we could see tWWoHP. Every time I was at IoA (except for tWWoHP), I really wanted to leave and head back to WDW. During my last trip to IoA, I only spend about 3 hours in the park which was quite short.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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Great report. I completely agree about Universal. I was kind of excited about going because so many have said how great the two parks are and how they compare them on a Disney level. It was not for me at all. While the Harry Potter experience was unique (Soarin' on steroids) the rest of it all felt like a Six Flaggs or pick your own nearest amusement park experience.

I personally was 50/50 on the new Fantasyland. They did a good job with the Enchanted Tales portion and the que for lil mermaid but the Circus area and dueling dumbos was not my cup of tea.

Epcot was ok. World Showcase never gets old for me but SSE, Journey Into Imag and Test tract were all in need of their 1980's and 90's counterparts. How can they just keep making these things worse?

Going back to DL this Christmas for a Commando style stay and looking forward to it every minute.

Take care.
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