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Old 06-20-2011, 02:52 PM   #1
CatManDoo
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Back from 6/12-6/18 trip - random thoughts scribbled on a sweat-stained park map...

Good Lord was it HOT. Heat indices of 100+ almost every day last week. Even by Disney World standards it was hot. Didn't ruin our trip, though. We had a great time. The kids (DS7 and DD7) cried when we left and needed assurance that we would be back. I don't have time for a huge multi-post trip report, so here are some random "quick hits" from our trip.
  • Rock and Roller Coaster - best ride at Disney. Just an absolute joy to ride. Smooth, fast, great theming, great music, etc. My DS7 LOVED it.
  • Toy Story Midway Mania - really? That's it? That's what mature adults race each other over at rope drop every morning? Don't get me wrong - it's fun. But worth 90+ minute waits? No way. Considering all the hype, I was expecting some sort of spiritual experience. What I got was a nice ride with some neat effects, but nothing that just begged to be experienced again. Even our kids were somewhat ambivalent about it.
  • Which reminds me...why would anyone wait in a standby line of 30+ minutes for a ride/attraction that offers FastPass? I was constantly amazed by that.
  • Animal Kingdom - underwhelmed. It's essentially a glorified zoo. I felt like there was a notable absence of "Disney Magic." It didn't even feel like I was at Disney World. I know some people love it, and that's fine, but it didn't do much for us. One cool thing did happen there, though - we were chosen as the "Family of the Day" at Rafiki's Planet Watch, which meant we got some cool pins and a behind the scenes tour of "Match the Feces to the Species." That was a lot of fun and appropriately potty-humored.
  • Epcot was a bigger hit with the kids than I thought it would be. We didn't even make it to World Showcase (except Rose & Crown for dinner - more on that later) because the kids were having so much fun in Future World. Soarin' was a huge hit with everyone in our party, and we rode it three times. My only gripe is that it was too short. Since we used FPs all three times, it was ok, but I would've been PO'ed if I'd waited in line for 90 minutes. Test Track was another huge hit. I thought it was very well conceived and totally unique. The kids also enjoyed Living With The Land quite a lot. I didn't think they would, but I was so wrong. That is a very underrated ride. Same with Spaceship Earth. They had a great time, as did my DS and me. My DS7 also really enjoyed Sum of All Thrills. He was too short to include any inversions, but he made full use of what he had . The only real miss in Epcot was Ellen's Energy Adventure. We were all bored senseless. At least it was air-conditioned.
  • Rose & Crown was merely serviceable fare, but a fun atmosphere. The "Hat Lady" that was playing piano and singing noticed DD7 watching her and asked her some questions, after which she made up a song on the spot using what she learned. DD7 was in awe and absolutely ate it up. VERY cool. After dinner, we went outside to R&C's Illuminations viewing area. Illuminations was, IMHO, anti-climactic. It wasn't "bad," it just didn't really blow me away like I thought it would. Still fun though, and the kids enjoyed it.
  • Predictably, the Magic Kingdom was the biggest hit. We ended up spending the better part of 3 days there. The faves were [b]Splash Mountain[b], Peter Pan's Flight, Space Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion. I find it ironic that Splash Mountain is based on a movie that Disney has banned in the US, but it's a great ride. I wasn't expecting the dark plunge to the Laughin' Place, so it was a nice surprise. Just pure fun for everyone. Space Mountain was more enjoyable that what I was afraid of. I'd heard that it was rougher than RnR, so I was expecting to depart the thing with soreness or whiplash. Not so. It was as fun as I remembered. A truely classic ride that stands up to the newer coasters just fine, thank you. Sure, it feels a little dated, as does all of Tomorrowland, but I think that's part of the charm rather than a slight. The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride in any of the parks. It's just right down my alley. It's spooky, but in a fun tongue-in-cheek sort of way. Even my DD7 loved it, and she's usually the cautious one. The new queue was nice, but not a must-see. The ride itself, though, I could do over and over and over and over. What a blast. Peter Pan's Flight was a favorite of the kids, and the adults enjoyed it as well. It started to get old after the 5th or 6th time, but even then it was fun. It's A Small World was also more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Sure, it's cheesy and the song is enough to make you want to shove Mickey Bar sticks into your eardrums, but dang if I didn't find myself having a great time on the ride. Maybe I'm getting old and soft. Another big hit was Mickey's Philharmagic. What a hoot! We did that one multiple times as well, and the water in the face was a fave each time. The most unexpected hit was Tom Sawyer's Island. We went as a bit of a timekiller until our Splash Mountain FP window opened, and it was all we could do to drag the kids away. They had a BLAST just running and exploring. They loved the fort and especially the secret escape tunnel. Just another example of the Magic Kingdom creating magic even when we didn't expect it. I can't say there were any "misses" really. I'd heard Pirates could scare kids, but not in this case. They loved it. If I had to criticize, I thought Dumbo was criminally short for the wait time. I suppose it has to be to accomodate everyone, but still. I also didn't think Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was that great. It was fun, but a little rough for my taste.
  • Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table - I'm a bit torn on this one. The experience was great. DS7 went to Pirate's League right before, which was AWESOME. He was so excited and got so much attention from CMs and other parkgoers as he walked around. Same situation with DD7, who went to BBB with her two cousins, ages 4 and 5. They all loved their experience and looked so pretty. So we showed up with a pirate and 2 Belles and an Ariel. The princesses at the dinner couldn't have been better, especially Ariel. She was an absolute trip. A fiery redhead for sure. I have a cute pic of her lecturing DS7 about being a GOOD pirate. I'll be sure to come back here and post it (and others). Also, I had called in advance to arrange for three chocolate slipper desserts to be delivered to the girls, and they were, perfectly. Also, I had requested something special be done for DS7 so he wouldn't feel left out. So the server brought out a big chocolate cupcake with a pirate Mickey flag sticking out of the top. He was so excited to be included in the "special" desserts. And I was ecstatic that my requests were handled so flawlessly. So, why am I a bit torn on this experience? You can probably guess- the food. For 2 TS credits, I expected more. Granted, this is mostly about the experience, but come on. The food was presented as if it was coming from some gourmet chef, but the quality didn't match. Very poor. Bland, tasteless, and skimpy. Very unimpressed. It's a real shame the food didn't match the experience.
  • We stayed at Port Orleans - French Quarter, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the experience. I even thought the food at Floatworks was solid, especially for a QSR. The rooms weren't really anything to write home about, basically on par with the Hilton Garden Inn we stayed in en route, but that's about what I expected. It was clean, comfy, and cozy. We were in building 5 which was close to the busses, the pool, the food, and the parking lot. Very convenient and a great place to come home to after a long day in the parks. The kids loved the pool, especially the size. Even when it was crowded, it didn't FEEL crowded because there was so much room. Highly recommended resort.
  • Resort busses to the parks - very hit or miss. We had good luck the first day, but on our second trip to Magic Kingdom, the service was inexplicable. We were at the bus stop at 8am, but were waiting for the rest of our party. While we were waiting, 3 MK busses picked up within about 5 minutes of one another. Then there was a gap of about 30 minutes until the next one. The most surreal bus experience we had was coming back from HS and going to POFQ. The bus driver pulled up with a big smile, welcomed us on board, and proceeded to drive us promptly to......the Swan. So, like I said, hit or miss, but still beats driving.

So, there you have it. Some random thoughts from our trip last week. I'll post more if I think of them. Feel free to post questions/comments. I'll leave you with my ranking of our 5 TS meals:

Food Quality:
  1. Ohana breakfast
  2. Chef Mickey's dinner
  3. Mama Melrose lunch
  4. Rose and Crown dinner
  5. Cinderella's Royal Table dinner

Experience/Atmosphere:
  1. Cinderella's Royal Table dinner
  2. Ohana breakfast
  3. Chef Mickey's dinner
  4. Rose and Crown dinner
  5. Mama Melrose lunch
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:13 PM   #2
Diegosmom
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Thanks for the review...
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
wmson2000
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Good info.

I thought the same thing about Toy Story - fun, but a definite "is that it?" feeling.
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