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Old 10-09-2012, 05:47 PM   #1
alvernon90
Unable to think of a clever tag.......but doesn't have to, the Tag Fairy will just colorize him! :)
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 635

At DLR now, some thoughts

As is my typical practice, I'd like to give back a little to the boards from which I learned so much by giving some thoughts on the trip we are currently taking. This trip is a daddy-daughter trip (daughter is 8) to celebrate Halloween. We have been staying at DLH, and we were here for the entirety of Columbus Day Weekend 2012 and Gay Days 2012 (for you future keyword searchers out there). My thoughts:

1. Halloween at DLR is kind of a bust. I expected something on par with Christmas, but it is not even close. Except for some orange bunting on Main Street, it's hard to tell it is Halloween at DLR. The one exception is the carnival in Big Thunder Ranch.

2. Happiest Haunts Tour a definite bust. I should have listened to the other reviews -- this tour is pretty lame. It's only real value was as a fastpass during the insanely crowded weekend (more on that later), but it was hardly worth that. We had to keep listening to two guys engage in acting reminicent of a 1970's porno film, and the story itself made almost no sense whatsoever. It was disorganized, and we also had some bad luck with a couple of the rides. I would say the tour is not suitable for kids, because there were no kids except my daughter. Some of the adults did not even go on all the rides, which made the whole thing seem extra pointless to me. But we were backstage at DCA to take a back door onto Tower of Terror, which was mildly interesting.

3. The crowds. Sweet merciful Minnie, the crowds have been nearly unbearable. There were lines longer than any I have seen in my life. I discovered places for queues I did not even know existed. Walking was a chore, fastpasses only cut wait times to about 25 minutes on some rides, and lines for food and beverages were crazy. This was made worse by the fact that Indy was down for refurb and every other major ride had at least one lengthy breakdown during the weekend. That said, there were some good points:

3a. Early entry works best on crowded days. Previously I have gone at "slow" times of year and I have not been impressed with early entry. But when the parks are busy enough for an 8:00 a.m. opening, that 7:00 a.m. early entry is glorious. Nobody wants to get out of bed while it is still dark and walk to Disneyland in the dark. Well, a few people did, but not enough to make it necessary to get off of the ride before going again. If you are willing to skip RSR for the day, you can have the run of DCA during early entry while everyone else is in Carsland.

3b. Buying your way out of crowds is key. If you have the means, I highly recommend this as a way of dealing with crowds. The Happiest Haunts Tour was still good for rides (though Haunted Mansion Holiday was so crowded it took us almost 10 minutes just to exit the elevator into the hallway) and the Fantasmic dessert package was also wonderful. The best thing we did was hire Brian at Mouse Expeditions to be our faspass runner and the guy who waited first in line to check in for Fantasmic dessert seating. We had more fastpasses than we could even use that day, and the crowds did not seem so bad.

3c. Take breaks. If crowds are inevitable, split your day into early mornings and evenings, and spend midday at the hotel. It is old advice, but it works so well that I am reiterating it here.

4. RSR is a cool ride, but I'm not sure it is worth the wait, even the fastpass wait. If you have the days at the parks, I highly recommend going one day with no trip on RSR, and using early entry to enjoy the rest of the open attractions.

5. Revamps since my last visit in 2009:

5a. The DLH refurb is quite nice but nothing spectacular. Trader Sam's is a blast, I could easily stay there for hours, but one important warning: it is very difficult to hide your level of day drinking when the souvenir glasses just keep piling up on your table.

5b. Carsland is gorgeous at night, but the crowds are still too intense for me to spend any time looking around. Maybe in another few years.

5c. Star Tours is way better than the old version. They really breathed new life into one of the greatest rides ever.

5d. The Little Mermaid ride is pretty good for a dark ride, on par with Monsters, Inc. But I would not wait more than 3 minutes for it.

5e. We skipped World of Color once we realized that our odds of getting a seat where my daughter could actually see anything were virtually nil. That meant we also bailed on our Carthay Circle reservation, so I have nothing to report on that place except that the prices are still absurd.

5f. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy may not be that new, I'm not sure. In any event, it was my first time trying it and this is my first time going to DLR and riding Space Mountain only once. That stupid ghost thing absolutely ruins the ride, turning a fun time into an excruciating endurance contest. The effects are crappy and the noise is unbearable. If you think Space Mountain would be better if they turned off the music and every ride featured a toddler having a meltdown in the seat behind you, then Ghost Galaxy is your overlay. For normal people, it's like they dropped a giant turd on the crown jewel of the park.

6. On the subject of overlays, I am just about tired of Haunted Mansion Holiday as well, particularly since this "special" version of the ride is up for 1/3 of the year. The added features just jack up the noise level, and the "snow" in the final graveyard scene makes the whole room far too bright. So far only It's A Small World succeeds on holiday overlays.

7. The AMC at Downtown Disney is not a very good theater. The AMC in my suburb is nicer. I thought this place would be something special, but nope.

I will edit this post after attending the Halloween party, but I do not have high hopes for it.
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