Random Observations and Musings on March 18-24 Visit

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by HydroGuy, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    This was our third trip to WDW and first during Spring Break. We had a great time. My experiences are colored by the two previous trips, lots to Disneyland Resort, one to Tokyo Disney Resort in 2009 and one to Disneyland Paris in 2007.

    Weather was the definition of perfect. Mid-80's each day with lots of sunshine, mid-70's each evening, cool early morning. No rain.

    Crowds were the most I have seen but not as bad as I expected with the "9" and "10" ratings most days. This compared to a late May/early June trip and the other in mid-June. It was a bit more crowded than mid-June but not terribly so.

    Stayed at the Dolphin. On previous trips we spent lots of time doing things outside the parks. This trip was planned to be very park-centric. Dolphin felt a lot less Disney that I was expecting. A beautiful hotel to be sure, and since we were there only for sleeping it did not matter that it lacked a Disney feel.

    Access to Epcot and DHS from Dolphin was great. We walked to Epcot but always managed to catch a boat to and from DHS.

    Festival of the Lion King and Flights of Wonder at AK it still delivers every time.

    Expedition Everest without any Yeti at all is just not the same. See Mr. Yeti Where Oh Where Did You Go?. He was not only not in "disco mode", he was not even visible. It is like a fireworks show with no grand finale. We rode EE about 10 times in 2006 and 2008 with the Yeti in full mode and this time we rode it four times and it just not as good.

    Dinosaur continues to be highly underrated IMO.

    Arrived at DHS at 8:25AM and were 20-25th in line. Wow! Did the running of the bulls to TSM. Got FPs and waited 10-15 minutes to ride standy-by. Got my best score ever and even beat DS14 once! We were at DHS on June 1, 2008 on TSM's opening day and if anything the whole TSM crowd experience is worse! :laughing: Maybe ST re-opening will help.

    Did RnR four times and ToT three times, and those are just awesome rides. As is TSM. I think with EE having no Yeti the RnR is my favorite ride at all of WDW. With Yeti in normal mode EE is my favorite.

    GMR continues to be a lot of fun and underrated IMO.

    Ate at Sci-Fi Dine-In and it looks like they updated their film loops. That place always feels so fun.

    Saw LMA for the third time at DHS and also saw it in Paris where it debuted, and I continue to be impressed with this show. Very well done.

    I got to rock out with Mulch, Sweat and Shears. They pulled me out of the audience to play with them. Last time we were there they got my DS14 up there. These guys are just very fun and have good energy.

    Streetmosphere characters are so Disney. Great fun. I caught them three times. Something they do not do in California but need to in their Hollywood Pictures Backlot area.

    Decided to skip Fantasmic because of the long lines and have done it before...

    We did the Soarin FP run after entering through the International Gateway. They let us into Epcot at about 8:40AM thru IG and we were right there in the Soarin stampede with those from the front gates.

    Enjoyed Sum of All Thrills for the first time. Did it twice with DS14. Normally motion simulators are not my thing but he talked me into it. Better that I expected.

    Ate at Teppan Edo for the first time. Also ate at Le Cellier for the first time. Both really good. We did not decide on this trip until early February and of course all the Le Cellier ADRs were gone. I kept watch on the online ADR page and somone canceled about a week before we arrived so I snagged it. Also had a first experience at San Angel Inn - the food there was really good too!

    Saw Off-Kilter twice. Once with lead Jamie and once without. They do fine without him - and had a fiddler take over his bagpipe parts - but are of course better with him.

    Saw Illuminations twice. Illuminations has never done a whole lot for me. It is impressive but IMO does not feel very Disney to me. Each time I go to WDW I try to expand my thinking about Epcot and this time I felt a little more for Illuminations.

    The Magic, Memories and You show on the MK castle was awesome! Totally exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth the time. Also caught Electrical Parade and Wishes. It seems they should update Wishes. The EP was fun and high energy.

    I know they did some upgrades to Space Mtn but thought it was more related to the queue. Memory may be hazy but the ride itself seemed much better than last time in 2008. They must have done some ride upgrades. Still not as good as Disneyland's upgraded version (which took 2.5 years BTW), but seemed a lot better than before.

    Did an 8-hour Backstage Magic Tour and that was really fun. Got to see and walk thru the Utilidor tunnels under MK :thumbsup2, go under ToT and go under the stage at the American Adventure attraction to see how all the animatronics and projectors work. Highly recommended. I wrote it up for the DISUnplugged blog and it is waiting for editorial input.

    The parks looked to be in great shape and really sparkled. I never had a single bad Cast Member experience. They were awesome.

    Great trip! :goodvibes
     
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  3. NaLisa

    NaLisa DIS Veteran

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    Congrats on another great WDW vacation, and thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  4. jason4024

    jason4024 <font color=red>DIS Dad #541<br><font color=navy>I

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    Sounds like you had a great trip. My wife and I want to do one of the tours, hopefully on our adults only trip. Kinda hard to do that with the kids....
     
  5. TangaroaTiki

    TangaroaTiki I wanna live at the Polynesian!

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    Nice trip report, thanks for sharing!
     
  6. kappyfamily

    kappyfamily DIS Veteran

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    Great review, thank you!
     
  7. KJay

    KJay DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report- thank you! And I totally agree about Dinosaur being highly underrated...it's one of my favorites!
     
  8. Yankeemouse

    Yankeemouse Mouseketeer

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    Hydro,

    I totally agree with you about the Dolphin / Swan. Well, the Swan anyway, as we stayed there in 2008, and while it is very lovely and a great location for access to Epcot and DHS, that special Disney feeling is not quite there. Plus, I kept getting lost in those hallways!

    I have to say that Dinosaur may be my favorite attraction, its right up there. I've heard that Indiana Jones in Disneyland is based on this ride, or vice versa?

    Glad you had such wonderful weather and an overall good time! :thumbsup2
     
  9. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    Dino is based on Indy, and Indy is in no way underated at DLR! While the ride system is similar, the storyline and theme and Indy really rocks. One of may favorite rides at any Disney park. They have an Indy ride very similar at the Tokyo DisneySea park and equally as good. :)
     
  10. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk My, what red cheeks you have, Santa!

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    I absolutely concur on Indy! We rescheduled our summer vacation 3 times last year just to be sure it would be open when we were at DL (It underwent a late May refurb). We had GAD fastpasses and got to do it 3 or 4 times. There's not much I can get my entire family to agree on........ but Indy is definitely our favorite Disney ride anywhere!

    Sounds like you had a great time at WDW! I'm too much of a weenie to brave the spring break crowds, but you make it sound manageable.
     
  11. figmentgirl

    figmentgirl DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report! I hope we have your luck next year for spring break :)
     
  12. quest4dl

    quest4dl DIS Veteran

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    We were there also last week and agree with most of your comments:

    I'm alway underwhelmed by Illuminiations - why can't they raise the globe higher so everyone can see - so much of it is not visible if you don't get a good spot.

    Wishes at Disneyland is so much better - wonder why WDW doesn't use that show?

    Have to disagree about Dinosaur and say that Indy blows it out of the water even if it is on the same ride track.

    Space Mountain also seemed smoother to me (not as smooth as DL version) than my memory of it from our last trip in 2004.
     
  13. tlenzendorf

    tlenzendorf Always Dreaming of Disney!

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    Well after just finishing Kingdom Keepers II, I think the Yeti is in DHS right now since Malificent freed him and Chernabog is loose! :rotfl:

    Glad to hear you had a good trip :)
     
  14. Jestocost

    Jestocost DIS Veteran

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    We were at WDW March 21-27 and found the crowds to be very light in the mornings and only slightly busy later in the days. This is true compared to our Spring Break the prior year, compared with the end of May/beginning of June last year, and definitely compared to Christmas and Thanksgiving trips. If any one of the days we were there was really a "9" or a "10," then we've been there for a few "15" days.

    Space Mountain was posted at 40 minutes at 1:30 p.m. last Monday but was in reality a walk on, for example. I did not see a single ride--even TSM and Soarin'--with a posted standby wait time of more than 70 minutes at any time the entire week. In the past I have seen TSM as high as 210 minutes and Soarin' at 180 minutes, with both commonly in the 120+ minute range.
     
  15. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk My, what red cheeks you have, Santa!

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    Don't you think the spring break crowds were maybe more spread out this year because of how late Easter is?
     
  16. g-dad66

    g-dad66 DIS Veteran

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    We were there the exact same dates as you, and I agree with both of these comments (except that we have seen worse crowds -- namely during this same time frame the past two years).


    Yes, I think so.

    Also, I think the targeted free dining promotions are having an effect, because since last October, I have been reading reports from those who went during the free dining weeks and found the crowds larger than what they expected them to be.

    Conversely, those of us who went during the time frames when there was no free dining seem to be finding crowds lower than what we thought they would be. :)
     
  17. Jestocost

    Jestocost DIS Veteran

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    That's certainly possible. FWIW, we were at Universal for two days before moving over to Disney and, with the exception of WWHP, those parks were dead. You could have shot a cannon down most of the streets in US on Sunday without much risk of hitting anyone and IOA on Saturday wasn't much busier.
     
  18. MissRoseRed

    MissRoseRed Mouseketeer

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    I'm glad you had such a great trip! It's so nice to hear about the times when everything goes right :goodvibes

    I have been avoiding thinking about Disney for a little while because September seems soooooo far away. I'm happy that yours was the first post I read today when I stopped by the boards - now I can get excited!! :hmghost:
     
  19. momof2n2

    momof2n2 DIS Veteran

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    Where did you fit this in, touring wise?
     
  20. HydroGuy

    HydroGuy DIS Veteran

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    The line never got that long and Epcot had a "10" rating for crowds. We did SOAT in the morning at like 10:30 or 11AM, and then did it again in the afternoon at around 3PM. The line at 3PM was only 2-3 minutes long. In the morning it was 10-15 minutes. :)
     
  21. Jestocost

    Jestocost DIS Veteran

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    Whatever the rating prediction was, if 10 is the highest then I can guarantee Epcot never got anywhere remotely close to its busiest at any time last week. I would not base any expectations about what to expect during busy times at WDW on how things were last week.
     

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