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Old 08-24-2012, 12:48 AM   #1
Sean O
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From a WDW Vet - Aug 23-25, 2012

Wanted a place to collect my thoughts on my current DL trip.

I've been to WDW 8-9 times over the last 23 years (oh god, that length is depressing). We've done trips to the Yacht Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge, and also All Star with casual dining. I've taken one previous trip to Disneyland back in 1995 when I was much younger, and I couldn't really appreciate the differences.

Since I had to fly clear-cross country for work, I decided to add a few days of vacation, alone.
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Day 1:
With my 3 day park hopper, I received 1 Magic Morning, so I arrived at 6:40AM for the 7:00AM opening. Getting into the parking lot and tram were incredibly easy in Mickey and Friends, and I was duly impressed at how it was setup.

When the park opened (pre-opening was really subdued compared to the whole process at WDW), I was amazed at how tiny everything was on Main Street USA, along with the castle. I knew everything at WDW was bigger, but I was surprised at how much I felt it. Weather was in the high-70s to low-80s and overcast, until it hit mid to high 80s in the afternoon with sun. Until noon, DL was empty, letting me get on virtually everything in the park at least twice. Plus, since I was by myself, I took great advantage of the single rider line.

Space Mountain
Naturally I went to Space Mountain first. You could tell they had done a superior job in renovating Disneyland's version, compared to the gutted type of renovation brought to Florida. As for the ride, I kept waiting for a drop that never really came, like The Drop in the middle of WDW's. I could take or leave the soundtrack, but the projection effects were top-notch.
Verdict: Good, but I prefer WDW.

Star Tours
Without going into the ethical discussion of forcing innocent starship passengers into the Alliance, the new version is a definite improvement. I hadn't even gone on the old version in the last decade or so in Florida since it was so dated. After 2 rides, I had seen a little bit of variety, and would be curious to see what else can change.
Verdict: Way better than old Star Tours.

By now the rest of the park was opening, so I wandered across to Frontierland, somehow getting the time perfect to hit Splash Mountain. As the first person of the day, alone in the first log.

Splash Mountain
I'd be curious to see them side by side, but it seemed a lot more rushed and smaller compared to WDW. I definitely preferred the interior sections in WDW up until the end of the Laughing Place. The warning songs from the chipmunk and rabbit were an excellent touch, and sorely missing from WDW.
Verdict: both excellent, slight nod to WDW's.

Thunder Mountain
I was never a big BTMR fan, but Disneyland's station and theming around the first 2 sections were an improvement. Plus, I never liked the geysers in Act 3 of WDW.
Verdict: DL

Jungle Cruise
Some sections better in DL, starting with a better station house, and setting next to Indy. Sadly, it is missing the best part of WDW's: the Cambodian tunnel finale. Which is so, so good.
Verdict: WDW

Indy:
Oh my god. When we were last in DL in August of 1995, Indy had just recently opened. With huge lines, and me being young and stupid, I knew it was good but without really connecting to the ride.

This time, I was fully blown away, putting it right up with Tower of Terror for my favorite ride of all time. I cannot believe Indy and Dinosaur, nee CTX, are the same ride. The queue I would put alongside Everest for my favorite, with tons and tons of details. Even if the effects have all been turned off, and they no longer hand out a translation card while you're in line.

The moment when you arrive in the main chamber remains breathtaking, staring across the chasm's bridge to the giant rock skull. Compared to Dinosaur, it's night and day.
Verdict: DL with a bullet.

Haunted Mansion
Almost the exact same. If I had one complaint, it would be the ill-defined boarding area, with the vague swirling lights. Then again, I prefer DL's exterior.
Verdict: Even

Pirates of the Caribbean
As if I needed more proof that Western River should have happened, this was it. I had always wondered why I never really liked Pirates in WDW, and there's a really good reason, because it's not any good.

From the moment you step inside, DL's shows the care missing from WDW's. The entry section is gloriously subdued (even the talking skeleton is barely above a whisper, perfectly matching the mood), detailed, and beautiful. From '95, I had remembered the conveyor belt trip up as being a weird bummer, but either I grew up or they did a better job integrating it into the ride.

I could talk more about why DL's is an achievement, but instead:
Verdict: DL, an astonishing amount. Tear WDW's down as an embarrassment.

There are a ton more thoughts, but I need to get to sleep for another big day tomorrow.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:56 AM   #2
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Wow! Thanks for the real time Trip Report!!! I've never been to DW before but I always like hearing about the differences! Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts and have a great vacation!!!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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Great comparison's. I agree that POTC in WDW is terrible compared to DL. I won't even go on it anymore when I am there
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:37 PM   #4
KCmike
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I did this same type of review back in 2007. Looking forward to hearing your next installment.

I agree with almost everything. Splash is my favorite ride and WDW wins hands down for me on that one. Space wins hands down at DL though for me. Can't wait to hear what you think about Fantasyland in DL, IASM, Tiki Room, Fireworks, World of Color, Fantasmic!, and many other things.

I like the way your reviewing as well. I like the insight of why you give the nod to one over the other.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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So helpful! Thank you!
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