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Old 05-19-2014, 09:56 PM   #1
bladiator
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Just back from a week at WDW! Got some definite opinions/observations

I have just concluded the longest WDW stay that I have ever had the privilege to enjoy with my wife (and a good friend for half the week) from 5/10-5/18. So many things are changed and different due to FP+ and MB (my last visit was February of 2013), and I did a TON of research here at the DIS beforehand to be ready for any curveball. I was good to go for the most part.

SO! Here comes the list:

- I have visited in September, late Nov/early Dec, early February. I go when no one goes. This year the only chance I got was the last bastion of pseudo low crowds -- early May. The crowd calendars did not hit this one on the nose. There were way more people in the parks than I am used to. And when checking Touring Plans, I saw that on most days they undershot the number of people that were in the parks.

- We used MagicBands for the first time. MagicBands UNITE!



We used the MagicBands for everything -- park admission, FP+, and all purchases. My friend Charlie gave me cash for the room, so I ended up using that at some point along the way. I usually have pockets FULL of stuff (I'm a diabetic) but I was able to get rid of most things (wallet being the big one) for the first time ever.

That being said, I feel like the MBs slow a lot of things down. Even though there are 4 pods at every walk through at the park entrance, about half the time there are 1-2 people stuck trying to get in. Trying to turn your wrist to touch the flat side of your band to the rounded middle of the reader PLUS putting your finger on the reader is slow going. I knew exactly what I was doing, and I had to do it twice at least 25% of the time. This led to even more issues later. During one day, I was in line where someone was having massive trouble getting their band to work, and so on the 2nd reader, 4 people in front of me went up, touched their card and their finger and then walked through ... but the reader never did more than a white circle! It never even confirmed them to enter the park! And no CM even noticed because they were working with the other person. These 4 people went in without any park admission. I'm sure that was a problem for them if they had fastpasses but man ... at least with the old system, you stood there and then they waved you through the little turnstyle. This way is slow AND easy to bypass, even if it was unknowingly.

- I met Gaston in an M&G. It was the one and only M&G I've ever done. I have to say he wasn't nearly as egotistically driven as I felt he should have been. In fact he didn't really seem interested in talking to a couple 30 something guys. I asked him if he could put us both in a headlock for a picture, and he stuttered and said "Uh, only if that young lady says it's ok," pointing to his handler. And then said, "Why don't I just flex?" *sigh* Fine. If I ever M&G anyone again it will be a non-talking character.



- I had the grossest car you can hope to see designed at TT -- but it was the best design of the day!



- As is the case with pretty much everyone else's reports on the boards, the stand by lines are ridiculous. I have never -- NEVER -- stood in line for Journey into Imagination, and I saw it at 30 minutes this trip! WHAT IS GOING ON???



Spaceship Earth also was wrapping around to places that I didn't know existed in the queue line. And it was like this from very early on for SE. Living with the Land also had a line like I had never seen in my entire life.



- FastPass lines: almost worse than standby. Because of the aforementioned twisting of the arm to get the band to work stuff, the FP line would actually be a burden. Of course, at something like Soarin', you know that eventually the FP will pay dividends. But visually .... (there is no one in view at the standby entrance)



And then after the FP reader bottleneck ...



But in cases like Star Tours, the FP line gets melded in with the SB line at the last curve of the queue, at least 30 yards before getting put into the actual room lines. On more than one occasion, because someone was slow at the FP reader or just a slow walker in general, I saw the standby line next to me get another 30 or so people in before me, or even (depending on how few people were in standby) all of the standby are running past me and getting to the meld portion before me (please don't think that I'm getting upset at disabled people .. I won't cut in front of them even if they offer). I think that some of the "after thought" FP queues are really bad for the reputation of FP of guests that don't get to use it very much.

I think the main thing that I miss about FP- is that most of the time, I would ride a ride and be like "sweet, I loved it. I'm getting another FP", and it was right there. Now when I get off that ride, even if I'm at the 4th+ FP and I CAN get the same ride again, I have to leave the area and find an FP+ kiosk before I can get the next FP. This especially sucked on rides like Everest. I just could not get used to where the kiosks were in AK. If they make that available on smartphone, that would probably take care of that issue. I definitely didn't do as much in a day as I used to though. Tired of trying to find the kiosks. Also, as opposed to what others have said on here, I found the CMs rather against letting me just kinda ... looking through and making my own decisions. They just wanted me to tell them what I wanted and not touch the machine.

- I like the tea cups



- I don't like when people won't move all the way down in the row even when there are people streaming into the room without a seat



- I like Lapu Lapus



- This eel is huge

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Old 05-19-2014, 10:43 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting. And in regard to your TT car... last year by the time I got through designing mine it looked just like a station wagon form the 70's DH still won't let me live that one down.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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Ha, thanks for the comical report. That eel is huge.


I'll be heading to Disney in October for the first time since May 2011. It's been weird reading all the recent threads about long lines and crowded parks at this time of year, because when we went at this time 3 years ago the crowds weren't bad at all.

I guess it makes me a little nervous about my upcoming trip, but fortunately we're driving down so I can pack enough booze to make Disney feel more magical than ever.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:14 AM   #4
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Love the report! Thanks for posting!


I love the tea cups too lol
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:25 AM   #5
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Love that funny report Way to keep it light!!! Maybe Gaston should get a smack with that eel to make him more "Gaston ish"
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #6
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LOL @ "I like the tea cups" and "This eel is huge".

Thanks for your perspective! I had the same thoughts about the FP+ lines getting the short end of the stick when it comes to rides that meld with the standby lines (like Soarin').

I think it's great that Living With The Land is gaining popularity. I had been to WDW 5 times before I gave it a try on this last trip in February, and I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I think it's so awesome how much food they grow, and how well they maintain the greenhouse. It inspired us to start our own home vegetable garden for us to enjoy this summer.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:31 AM   #7
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Loved reading this!
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:55 AM   #8
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Very informative report.

I don't think the crowd calendars are wrong. I think what is considered a 4 (for example) is now way more crowded than a 4 from past years. Baseline 1 is more crowded so everything from there above is more crowded.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:00 AM   #9
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Extremely helpful AND entertaining! Way to go and thanks!
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing.
I too like the Tea Cups!
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:06 AM   #11
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This was funny, thanks for sharing!

I do love Gaston, sigh.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngiTN View Post
Very informative report.

I don't think the crowd calendars are wrong. I think what is considered a 4 (for example) is now way more crowded than a 4 from past years. Baseline 1 is more crowded so everything from there above is more crowded.
I sort of agree with this, but I would say it's more like "What I consider a "4" might be what you consider a "6"!

Anyway--thanks for the report, Bladiator!
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob P View Post
I sort of agree with this, but I would say it's more like "What I consider a "4" might be what you consider a "6"!

Anyway--thanks for the report, Bladiator!
Right. It's almost like saying "1 doesn't exist anymore the way we remember 1 existing." Which then would mean that 10 is way more busy than we remember. But that can't be right because eventually they close down entrance to the park, so 10 never actually changes.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I feel that as the days go by that I will add a little bit here and there as I remember more. I'm also not much of a picture taker, so I looked through the meager few that I had and figured there had to be a good reason I took the few I did.

One more addition right now:

- My sister bought me a WDW Dole Whip T-shirt online a couple years ago and I wore it to MK the first day. I don't know where she got it or if it is WDW official, but I got lots of comments. I asked at the Dole Whip stand if I could get a discount for my shirt, and the CMs loved it so much they gave me a super sized 2x Dole Whip! It was great.

EDIT:

Pictured: NOT Dole Whip.
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Last edited by bladiator; 05-20-2014 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:32 AM   #14
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Our observations from the same time approx.

Hi OP,

We were at HS 5/4 & EP 5/10. The closest I have ever seen lines like this was the time we went during T-giving week in 2005 (also never to be repeated again.)

I agree that the crowds were well off the scale for early May before school got out. And that lines were crazy long for normal rides you just walk on.

We have done WDW two years in a row after a 5 year drought. I think we are going to wait another 5 years and see if they work out the crowd management better and get Avatar up and running.

Oh I saw our eel too at Turtle Talk! Thing was equally nasty and equally amazing! (Speaking of which, has anyone seen the shark eggs at SeaWorld?! You can see backlit REAL SHARK BABIES swimming around inside their eggs, which are flat potato chip shaped eggs. Weirdest thing I ever saw! And SeaWorld has one of the best rollercoasters I've ever been on in my life, top 5 for sure, maybe 3. And I grew up for decades on Cedar Point!)

But yeah. We had a great time but THANK GOODNESS we didn't add hopping with our 2 days or we wouldn't have hardly gotten to do anything.

We did have the smart phone apps and we got our fastpasses about a week in advance. Other than having to choose one of TT/Soarin or TSMM/Aerosmith, it wasn't a bad system.

We also had an extra person who had just bought their ticket that day. Because we had 7 the one day, and 9 the other day, who were already reserved for fast passes, they allowed the one extra person to go in with us, on every single ride. Very nice! But there was definitely strength in numbers. I think if we'd have only had like a few people, they probably wouldn't have.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngiTN View Post
Very informative report.

I don't think the crowd calendars are wrong. I think what is considered a 4 (for example) is now way more crowded than a 4 from past years. Baseline 1 is more crowded so everything from there above is more crowded.
Exactly what I thought when reading the OP. We all need to recalibrate to today's crowds. I know that Touring Plans breaks the year down into ten 'buckets' of crowds. The lowest bucket is 1. Many years ago that meant 10,000 people would be int he park.

Fast forward to 2014 and the lowest attendance weeks might even still be the same on the calendar. But the lowest levels might be double the number of total people. That also means the highest levels might be that much worse .

Of course, WDW has done their homework and has been actively trying to make each and every week completely level. That decreases the perceivable difference between the crowd level numbers. Nowadays, level 4 thru 8 all feel the same.
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