A Disney Anniversary - Halloween Time at DLR, UOR and WDW - Sept/Oct 2019 - COMPLETED 01/09/2020

RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Day 7 - Part 3 - Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, to Mine Trains and PeopleMovers we go

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho - we were off to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I personally love this new addition to the Magic Kingdom. It may not be overly thrilling, but it's so beautiful and I really love the mine scene, with the sparkling precious stones and the dwarfs hard at work.

The fastpass line was a little backed up when we arrived (well and truly outside) and so the CMs started only loading fastpass riders onto the attraction! It took us about 10 minutes, but it was better than being in the 80 minute standby queue and then not moving while the fastpass queue was cleared!

We made the decision that we'd try shoot the ride with the wide angle, and capture more of the outdoor portion. We thought this would be the only time we'd ride the attraction, so I didn't expect to get any decent shots of the mine section. We had gotten a few successful photos of it at Shanghai Disney, so I made the decision I could do without the mine shots this time around.

Jared thought he'd give the mines a go with the wide angle, and aside from being a little too dark these photos actually worked ok (I was surprised).





Sadly, I didn't really love any of the on ride coaster shots we got, with perhaps the exception of this first one:



I don't know why I don't like them exactly, maybe it was because the people in front of us had large heads (they probably didn't, but they look too large in all the shots). Perhaps it was just that we didn't get the right angles. We also didn't get the shots on the curve, when you can see the train well in front, which adds to the photos. Anyway here are a few that I thought were passable.







I actually enjoyed the shots Becky and Derrick got of us a little more than ours!





I think the key is to be in the front section of the four seats in one cart, then you can see the back of the cart in front of you and it makes a more interesting foreground. I was regretting my decision to not try shoot the mine scene with the 50mm prime now, but luckily we would get an unexpected opportunity to re-ride later (more on that later).

Anyway, our ride photos were not all that interesting this time around



You can see Becky hard at work photographing us though. :rotfl2:



I look slightly bored here. Jared had clearly become a "woo girl" though!



And Derrick looks like he's holding on for dear life!



One thing that was REALLY amazing though is the full animation video you get of your ride on board. I don't know if they've done this since the ride opening (we've only been on it once before at Walt Disney World), but the video you get is fantastic! It includes great footage of the ride combined with you on it!


After finishing on Seven Dwarves we had about 30 minutes until our Space Mountain fastpasses from 12:30pm - 1:30pm, so we decided to ride the best time killer in the park, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (TTA).

Heading into Tomorowland we took in the new sign for the first time. I really like it's design!





I see they are going for a more minimalist design to match in better with Tron when it opens. This is probably smart, but I wonder how quickly this design will date. Poor Tomorrowland, always trying to update so it doesn't become "reminds me of Yesterdayland". :rotfl2:

The TTA is such a fun peaceful attraction. And great for a chat! That being said it did make us a little sleepy (and Becky a little motion sick, she probably should have been facing forwards).













We got a good glimpse of the Tron construction going on behind Space Mountain. A lot of the track appears to have been laid already. I think Tron is a fantastic coaster, we loved it when we experienced at Shanghai Disney. I'm really excited you Floridan park goers will get to experience it soon. Still, I would have loved it if they'd bought the Shanghai version of Pirates to the Magic Kingdom instead. The Magic Kingdom's version of Pirates is nowhere near as good as Disneyland version, and as it isn't the original classic attraction, doesn't have as much nostalgia surrounding it. So, in my opinion, updating it with the AMAZING new version of pirates from Shanghai would make so much sense.









Once we were done, we still had about 10 minutes until our Space Mountain fastpass, so we sat in the shade at the base of the PeopleMover for a while and rested. We were all a little pooped by this point, especially Derrick and Becky who'd been in the parks since 7:00am.





As soon as it hit 12:30pm we made our way onto the ride.



There was one photo I really wanted Jared to try capture here, and thankfully, he pulled it off!



I seriously dislike the angle of the Space Mountain ride camera. It really just looks like you are sitting in armchairs with a lap bar against a black background!





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RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Day 7 - Part 4 - Being the Beast's Guest

By the time we were done with Space Mountain it was almost time for our lunch reservation, which was at 1:15pm. We headed slowly over to the Beast's castle, choosing a less direct way into Fantasyland so we could admire the castle again.



We were a little early, but we headed over to the Beast's Castle walkway anyway, and checked in for our meal. We were let in straight away, which was nice.







When we arrived at the castle doors though, we paused and got a little nervous! There were so many people! We were informed we would be called when we could enter the castle. I hoped that the people I could see in the door way were just milling about.





It wasn't long before our party was called, alas the people in the doorway weren't milling about, but were at the end of a giant line to order food. We immediately regretted not doing a mobile order! The line to order was moving at a snails pace!



We've only ever eating inside the Beast's Castle for dinner, when the restaurant switches to table service. We couldn't do that this time, thanks to our quick service dining plan. I didn't realise how much easier it is at dinner, as when you are called you get taken straight to a table!

I was bored, and hungry and tired and just needed to sit down (my feet were killing me as they often do when I am stationary on them too long). I tried to distract myself with pictures of the decor in the line, which is great.





Still in line....



By the time we reached the order room I think we'd been waiting in line for about 40 minutes! Even with a reservation! This was just too long to wait for food. Next time, I'll be doing a mobile order (or eating earlier or later, by the time we left the restaurant at 2:30ish there was no line at all).







The order counters are super cute! I love the books.



While everyone else ordered (I'd told Jared what I wanted already), I advised I'd head off and find a table (really, I just wanted to get off my feet).



I found a table quickly, and busied myself taking some photos.







When Jared arrived after ordering I sent him straight off to get more photos (I know, I'm the worst, I'm sure he wanted to rest his feet too).





Our food arrived in no time. I had ordered the braised chicken, as my stomach was feeling a little off and I didn't want to eat gluten. Jared ordered the Croque Monsieur.

My chicken



Jared's sandwich



Of course, I ordered my favourite thing, the chocolate cupcake with the grey stuff, which I LOVE.







My chicken was nice, but the sauce was a little rich. It probably would have been fine, but as I was feeling a little queasy it was a bit much. The potatoes were really lovely and flavourful though.

Jared said his sandwich was fine, but nothing special. I think the food at dinner is a bit superior to the offerings at lunch, but honestly I haven't ever thought much of the food at Be Our Guest (except the grey stuff of course). That being said I love Be Our Guest, because I love eating in the ballroom from my FAVOURITE Disney movie of all time, Beauty and the Beast.

When it came time to eating dessert though I managed my way through all the grey stuff on top but couldn't bring myself to eat the cupcake (I really was feeling that off). I offered it to Derrick and Becky, who hadn't ordered dessert, and they were surprised to find the grey stuff resides inside the cupcake too.

We were all pretty exhausted by this point so we didn't really draw out lunch much, though we did enjoy some fun conversation while we ate (mostly about the differences in housing between where Derrick and Becky live and our home in Perth).



This guys name is Bruce by the way. I know that because the last time we visited we were informed by a CM, and I thought it was funny because Bruce is Jared's Dad's name.



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RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Day 7 - Part 5 - The longest park exit ever!

After lunch we had decided we would leave and head back to All Star Music to rest in preparation for our late night at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

However, even after deciding that we took a while to actually leave the park! Firstly, we got distracted taking a few more photos in Fantasyland.











Then Jared decided to see if the Sword in the Stone deemed him worthy. Sadly, he was not (though not for lack of trying)!





Next, Jared and I realised we hadn't had any photopass photos in front of the castle (during the day) and this would be our only opportunity. So we asked Becky and Derrick if they'd like to join us and they did (they do love a good photopass photo, so it wasn't too hard to convince them).





I love this photo! Jared had resisted the urge to say "aww" when looking at me, and it's so cute!



I never like kissing photos, Jared tilts his head awkwardly whenever we do this!



But this dip was pretty adorable!



We were lucky again to have a Photopass photographer who did a little more than the standard poses, though no magic shots. :sad2:

Of course Derrick and Becky hopped in for some photos too.







The final thing I wanted to check out (and hopefully photograph) was the new Plaza Gardens area. The last time we were at the Magic Kingdom in 2015 they were constructing this, and the construction walls all around the place made the entire hub look pretty ugly and disappointing. I was excited to see the changes made. I really didn't notice that the hub area was any wider, and the Plaza Gardens were much smaller than I expected (not to mention less useful, except at night I suppose, as there was no shade and no one wants to sit in the full sun in Florida for at least 3/4 of the year).

The one thing I did think was a nice addition though, were the beautiful fountains just in front of the Plaza Gardens.









This is such a fantastic photo spot too. Like the partners statue, you get a decent photo of yourself with the castle behind without having to worry about lots of people in the foreground of your shot. Unlike the partners statue though, there are generally far less people here to trying to by for a good photo spot along the wall. So your chances of looking "alone" in the park are much higher.



After the plaza gardens we made our way back up Main Street and, after about 20 minutes, finally exited the park. We got back to All Star Music at about 3:30pm and had a well earned rest.

Though we didn't get to spend as much time at Magic Kingdom during the day as we would have liked I was still pleased with what we'd managed to accomplish. The only thing we truly regretted missing was the Haunted Mansion, as we would only get to experience the holiday overlay at Disneyland (but the waits were consistently 60 minutes all day and we weren't going to wait that). Other than that we knew we'd be able to see and do the other attractions we missed at Disneyland. We also knew we'd have a lot of days at Disneyland to take in the beauty of a castle park on our trip. While I do have a little regret about not getting up to photograph the Magic Kingdom at sunrise, I do know that I never would have stayed up as late that evening. So I guess it was a good trade off (I was very happy with the pictures we took at Magic Kingdom later that evening). And we still had a fantastic day at the park (albeit a short one).

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  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 6 - Magic and Mayhem at Mickey's Halloween Do

    We didn't have a great rest that afternoon, as a result of getting back to the resort much later than expected originally. We decided that we'd take a bus back to the Magic Kingdom a little earlier than expected to have dinner at Columbia Harbour house (rather than the food court again) so we left the resort at about 5:45pm.

    We were excited to experience our first first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

    As we arrived about 45 minutes before the official start of the party, check and bag check was a breeze. I was very happy after receiving my band, it meant we were Halloween party bound!





    Becky and Derrick were headed back into the park too, though we got there a little earlier than they did. So we headed to dinner. We both got the chicken pot pie, and coke for some much needed caffeine (we were still feeling a little drained). I was still feeling queasy, so didn't really enjoy my meal much. I did enjoy the green beans (which felt great on my stomach) but again the pie filling was too rich. I think the flavours would have been nice if I hadn't been feeling so off, the pie crust was nice and fluffy, though I thought the filling could have been thicker (it was a bit watery).

    Once we were done with dinner it was just a matter of waiting for the park to get dark. We could have gotten in line for free candy (like Becky and Derrick) or to meet some characters. This probably would have been the most cost effective use of our time (as we were paying extra to be in the park this evening, for the unique entertainment), but we didn't really want to do either of those things. The lines for candy were crazy long, even at 7pm as the party was officially "starting" and it might have been free, but we didn't need to wait for ages for more sweet things. We do enjoy character pictures, but we don't tend to wait in long lines for these interactions. If we see characters great, if not, then no big deal. In fact I don't believe we got a single picture with a character this trip, except the shot I got with Rey in Galaxy's Edge.

    And the real reason we paid for the party tickets, other than to see the nighttime entertainment, was so we could be in the park late to take pictures. Some may think that's a waste of money, but I would argue that the enjoyment I will get from the pictures we took that evening (for years to come), was worth every cent we paid!

    But, it was only 7pm and the park was not dark yet. So we decided to see if we could get on Big Thunder Mountain with a reasonable wait. The posted wait was 30 minutes, but I do love this attraction so I decided that was acceptable. Plus it was actually more like 20 minutes, and the queue was constantly moving, which was fantastic. I have no problem queuing but when I am stationary for long periods of time I have a lot of trouble with my feet. As we waited, the sun began to set and everything began to look gorgeous! I got excited, we'd missed sunrise, but perhaps we'd have a lovely sunset!

    Jared was done with the proper camera for the time being so I took these photos on my iPhone. They turned out pretty well considering!









    The line was moving so fast I wasn't even able to wait for a good shot of Big Thunder Mountain with a train...this was the best I could manage! Probably the first time I'd ever wished a line would slow down.







    We boarded our train....



    and I kept my phone out while we rode, the light was just too lovely!







    We had a great ride on Big Thunder. The sunset and evening light make this already fantastic attraction even better.

    We stopped for some pictures. It was still a bit too bright for longer exposures.





    We saw that the sky was really beautiful behind Splash Mountain, so we headed over that way. These photos turned out amazingly!

    The timing of these next two shots is astonishing (and as Jared would tell you, pure luck). Getting the splash from the log in the first one, and the log perfectly lit up on the drop in the second one adds something amazing to the photos!



    Jared must have taken this just as the ride photo flash was going off. Plus he has a streaking log in the foreground. :worship::worship:
    :P


    The light was getting astonishingly beautiful!





    We decided to make the most of the colour in the sky, and dashed around Frontierland, shooting whatever we could. When I say dashed....we had to set the tripod up for each shot, frame the picture, set the camera, take a few exposures (usually around 30 seconds to a minute) and then fold the tripod up and move on! But we did all that as quickly as we could so as to not loose the light!



    The Halloween lighting on the Rivers of America was perfect, it really added something to the scene. We were a bit early for the fog though, which had only just began to issue from Tom Sawyer Island.







    We thought perhaps we could ride/take pictures of the Haunted Mansion next. Alas, unlike most every other attraction in the park the lines for this only get longer during the Halloween party. And there were just too many people milling around it for any kind of good photo. This is the best we managed.



    Next we headed into Fantasyland, where it was stupidly crowded too! Clearly Halloween Parties, even in late September, are hugely popular. As most people are out and about in lines for candy or characters, which take up more room in the walkway areas, it really felt a bit oppressive.

    There were a few angles we thought we could try though. The good thing about a long exposure is that, provided people are moving, they will "ghost" through your shot (appropriate for pictures taken at a Halloween Party)!

    Finding frames to take the emphasis off people was our new goal!





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    You can see the different here, nothing to distract from how many people were around!
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2hyHfTt]


    More frames! I does help you to get creative and interesting photos. We had to set up the tripod in a small garden bed for the last few shots taken here.











    We were surprised by the number of people at this hard ticketing event, but I suppose we shouldn't really have been. I've heard the Halloween Parties, once blissful because less people were actually admitted each night, are now almost as busy, if not busier, than the park during the day. Plus this was a Sunday night, so that probably didn't help (it was the best night for us to fit the party sadly).



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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 7 - Fireworks...The "Not So Spooky" kind

    From Fantasyland we headed into Tomorrowland, and we had a bit more success with photos here. I really love the first few in particular, and I was loving the versatility of the wide angle and fish eye lenses.











    It was about 8:30pm at this point, and we had taken most of the photos we could while the park was still packed with people. We had planned to grab a spot for the Boo to You parade at the front of Main Street, and then head back to the hub area for the fireworks. What we hadn't counted on was the constant stream of entertainment occurring all night. This made getting any kind of decent spot for the fireworks difficult, unless we set up camp along the edge of the hub where right next to where we planned to set up the tripod for the fireworks, and watch the parade from there.

    We were planning to watch the second parade at 10:30 (after the fireworks), and at this point all the good spots for the first parade at 9:00pm had already been taken. So we just sort of milled around, waiting it out for a while.

    We started over next to Tomorrowland while the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular castle show was going on.

    It was good to catch a little of the show, even though we had a pretty terrible view.



    It was at this point I started to wonder if they had begun to sell too many tickets to these hard ticket events. While we got a decent spot for the Fireworks and the second parade, it was only because we started waiting for a good one from immediately after the first parade. We did have to waste a lot of our evening waiting, so we had a good viewing spot. The hub/castle area was also utter mayhem. Because there is basically some form of entertainment going on in front of the castle/Main Street all evening, the throngs of people in the area just don't let up. This makes it really hard to move around. Obviously the CMs set up thoroughfares, but if you want to actually see anything (without waiting well in advance), you need to have a good plan.

    We had one, and I'm glad we did, and we were happy to wait for the second parade (which was no less crowded by the way, just easier to wait for as it was later in the evening).

    We saw a photopass photographer with a relatively limited number of people around him, as Main Street had already begun to be blocked since the parade would be heading down it shortly. So we took advantage of that! Additionally, the castle looked fantastic thanks to the projections and lights currently being employed for the villain show, which was still going on.







    This is one of my favourite castle picture of the two of us, besides all my loose hair (the breeze had kicked up quite a bit that evening, which I have to say I was grateful for)!



    And finally, we got the chance to get a magic shot! I actually think this shot works much better at night, so I was pleased! I think we are also doing a great job at looking completely surprised by the flaming pumpkin Jared was holding!



    We decided to head over to the side of the hub the parade didn't traverse, knowing the parade wouldn't be coming past and it would be hopefully less crowded. We thought it might be easier to sit there until after the parade finished, and then we would make a beeline for the spot we planned to grab for the fireworks. We wanted to set up right behind the pedestrian walkway just at the very top of Main Street, where a slight rise in the street gives you a better view over peoples heads. Jared had spent about 5 minutes walking back and forth along Main Street (before they blocked it off) trying to decide where the best views would be.

    With our planned fireworks location in mind we knew we'd have to run across to that part of Main Street/the Hub as soon as the parade finished. But for now, we had some time to kill and we wanted to rest our feet. A number of people came to sit down next to us, thinking the parade was coming past where we were sitting. CMs quickly moved along informing people they'd have no view of the parade from where we were, and we explained this to a few people ourselves, including a few lovely Japanese tourists whose English clearly wasn't great (probably as good as my Japanese is!).

    Our view while we waited the 45 minutes or so until the parade was finished wasn't bad!



    We could just see the tops of the parade floats, and of course we could hear the "Boo to You" theme which quickly became Jared's favourite Halloween tune (to you and you and you and you and you, Happy Halloween....:rockband:)

    As soon as the parade had passed we were up, beelining for the spot we'd scoped out earlier. We were dismayed to find the very front of the peak of the road was already filled, but we figured second row wasn't too bad. As Jared was getting out his tripod an incredibly kind gentleman in front of him saw, and asked if he'd like to set up the tripod in front of him (which was right at the top of the hill). This was so incredibly kind of him. It's not often you see someone putting the needs of someone else ahead of their own at a theme park (I'm not great at it myself and need to work on it) but I give this guy huge props for doing so. We made sure to be very vocal about our gratitude. Jared and the kind man had a wonderful chat (about Jared's photography, Australia and Arkansas, where the gentleman was from) which made the wait for the fireworks go quickly.

    And so we waited, for about 35 minutes....and then Mickey's Not So Spooky Spectacular began.

    We absolutely loved the show! Honestly it's one of the best Disney fireworks shows I've ever seen, bar perhaps Ignite the Dream at Shanghai Disney (which was pretty incredible). This show definitely won in terms of the firework content, though I'd give the edge to Ignite the Dream's projections.

    That being said the projections for Not So Spooky were so fantastic. I never had a chance to see Hallowishes, so I can't say how this compares, but I'd imagine the projecting mapping was greatly improved for this new show (since it's newer).

    The Jack Skellington actor/animatronic (who knows) was impressive, if you could see him. Part of the issue of having him as the "host", at least at the start and end of the show, is that the majority of guests can't even see him. Still, thanks to our position higher up than those around us we managed to glimpse him, even though he was quite small and not hugely distinguishable.

    That brings me to the other issue I have with him. If you were only able to see this fireworks show once, you have to weigh up trying to get a spot closer to the castle to get a good view of him, and one further back where you could really take in the full force of the fireworks. I suppose this is partly by design on Disney's part, especially with the introduction of the Halloween Party Passes, which let you access as many Halloween Parties as you wish within the season. For us though, it meant we had to decide whether it was worth trying to really see him, or the fireworks. And we of course chose the fireworks.

    I loved the shows incredible pyrotechnics, the colours (which were so vibrant) and the clarity and movement of the projections. I even thought the story line was clever, a way to draw all the Disney Halloween elements that were stitched together in the show into one cohesive narrative. If you haven't seen the show, the story is introduced by Jack like a storybook tale, in which Mickey and the gang visit a haunted house on Halloween, and are at first afraid but then realise how much fun Halloween can be.

    I think my favourite part of the show though, even though I loved it all, was the soundtrack! The way that Disney played Halloween-a-fied versions of classic Disney songs, which fit with the Halloween characters that were being projected, was perfection to my mind. I enjoy the classic Halloween soundtracks, but after "This is Halloween", "Grim Grinning Ghosts", and all the villains numbers, there isn't a lot of variety. The juxtaposition of songs like "step in time" with dancing skeletons, and "once upon a dream" with waltzing ghosts was just perfect. It also bought some difference and distinction to this Halloween soundtrack. I really wish I could find the soundtrack on spotify, but alas, I can't!

    I filmed my favourite scenes with those classic disney tunes. You can hear they've made them sound a little more "Halloween".

    Dancing skeletons:

    Waltzing Ghosts:

    I also really loved the Disney villains section. It was so different from other villain sections, which tend to be more focused on the character and their movie! The way this was done like a crazy villain fun house was so much fun! And of course, it worked with the concept of the Haunted House.


    At the end of the show I managed to film a little of Jack Skellington, as you can see we could see him from where we were located.


    And then there was the finale :love::love::love: - so many fireworks!


    I didn't film the whole show, just snippets, but I hope these give you a good idea, if you haven't seen it, of how fantastic Mickey's Not So Spooky Spectacular is!

    You may be wondering....did Jared get photos of the show....

    The answer is, of course he did! I really love the shots - though he did crop a little too much off the bottom of the castle for my liking. I think he did this to avoid missing the tops of the bursts. The wide angle would have been ideal for shooting from this location but sadly we don't have an ND filter for it (a filter that allows you to capture more light without it blowing out your photo, which is why it's fantastic for fireworks and capturing multiple bursts).

    Anyway, enjoy Jared's photo tour of Mickey's Not So Spooky Halloween Spectacular:













    This was my favourite photo from the evening!















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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 8 - Boo to You....Happy Halloween

    As soon as the fireworks finished up we quickly shuffled over to the edge of Main Street and sat down on the paving! We had about another 1 hour to wait until the second Boo to You parade came through.

    As we sat we saw Becky and Derrick for the first time pretty much all night. We saw them briefly after dinner but we each had our own plans and went separate ways. We then tried to save them a spot for the fireworks, and tried explaining where we were, but couldn't really, so they didn't find us. We were in the same vicinity by the time the fireworks ended though, so they came over to wish us goodnight, as they were headed out for the evening (having watched the first parade).

    While we waited for the second parade the villain show played again (that thing was constant, all evening!). I was fun to hear the music, as we couldn't really see what was going on on thew show. But I did enjoy listening to all the villain classics.

    There had been a lot of sitting and waiting that evening, but the end was in sight (thankfully). We were fairly uncomfortable after sitting on paving with no back rest all evening.

    Before long the headless horseman begun his creepy stroll down Main Street. I don't know why, but headless horseman have always creeped me out. To date, Sleepy Hollow is one of the most terrifying movies I've seen (I tend not to watch horror movies and can't remember why I thought it was a good idea to watch that one). Though Mickey's Not So Scary party is mostly, well, not so scary, I didn't enjoy this part!

    It was about this time too, that we realised that we hadn't picked the best spot for the parade. Without the warmer and brighter main street lighting, everything was a little dark. Still at least having the castle behind the floats created a little more light and a point of interest in the photos.



    I thought Boo to You was a fun parade. The actors were definitely the highlight though (and thanks to the movement and how dark it was we didn't get a lot of photos of them). I think that, given this is a night parade, the parade floats themselves could do with a lot better lighting! Something more along the lines of Paint the Night, where the LCD and lights screens could be used to create fun and spooky effects. Night parades at the US Disney Resorts (barring Paint the Night, which technically was originally designed for Hong Kong Disney) are fairly unimpressive to me. The Main Street Electric parade is so old and tired looking compared to Tokyo Disney's version, and the Christmas and Halloween parades just don't take enough advantage of lighting to really make them stand out. Still, of all the US Disney parades I've seen (I've still not seen Paint the Night at Disneyland) this was my favourite.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy these shots we took.























































    We had plans to start our castle-hub photos once the last parade went through. While waiting for the parade we were having a lovely chat with the girl next to us who informed us that there would be another Villain show at midnight (that thing was starting to bug me). Some much for well laid plans! We figured we'd have to head back into Fantasyland and wait out the crowds, which we hoped would disappear after the final show of the night. This just confirmed that we would be having a VERY late night....

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    Kiwifan

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    I am loving your trip report. Your photos are amazing. Your report definitely makes me homesick for Disney.
    Being from NZ, my friends don't really get my love of Disney and can't understand why I want to go back again.
     
  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    I am loving your trip report. Your photos are amazing. Your report definitely makes me homesick for Disney.
    Being from NZ, my friends don't really get my love of Disney and can't understand why I want to go back again.
    I’m glad you are following along and I totally understand the “homesick for Disney” feeling!

    I am lucky that I have a few people close around me (some close friends and my brother in law and sister in law) who get our love of Disney.. but there are just as many people who don’t! That’s why I love making friends here on the boards, and when at Disney (like on the cruise) to widen my circle of people who get it! And if you ever need to chat to someone who gets it I’m always around 😀.

    We are actually hoping to visit your beautiful country next year (it will be my first time to NZ). We were thinking of hiring a campervan and doing both islands, though we will only have 2 weeks. Any tips? Jareds been a number of times but usually only for work (with the exception of some fun at a work conference or two in Queenstown)

    I hope you get a chance to get back to Disney soon, and thanks for your kind compliments on the photos! I am so grateful for Jareds skill, and our wonderful equipment which helps!
     

    KEK1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    Great update. I really like 7DMT too, fun ride.
    Loved the pics, esp the view of Main St through the gate (?)
    Have heard ad naseum they are overselling the parties..too bad as they aren't cheap!
    I watched Boo to you and the new fireworks on YouTube, shot by the disunplugged team. They look fun!
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Great update. I really like 7DMT too, fun ride.
    Loved the pics, esp the view of Main St through the gate (?)
    Have heard ad naseum they are overselling the parties..too bad as they aren't cheap!
    I watched Boo to you and the new fireworks on YouTube, shot by the disunplugged team. They look fun!
    Agreed about the parties! For the amount you are charged (over and above what you are already paying for park tickets) they really should limit it a bit more. But I guess the demand is there so they will do whatever it takes to make more money I’m sure (this is a bit of a concerning pattern in the parks lately, but I have to acknowledge that Disney is a business and has to keep being successful so we can experience growth and continued to have the parks for a long time to come).

    The entertainment was fun though!
     
  • LivingforDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Day 7 - Part 3 - Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, to Mine Trains and PeopleMovers we go

    Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho - we were off to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I personally love this new addition to the Magic Kingdom. It may not be overly thrilling, but it's so beautiful and I really love the mine scene, with the sparkling precious stones and the dwarfs hard at work.

    The fastpass line was a little backed up when we arrived (well and truly outside) and so the CMs started only loading fastpass riders onto the attraction! It took us about 10 minutes, but it was better than being in the 80 minute standby queue and then not moving while the fastpass queue was cleared!

    We made the decision that we'd try shoot the ride with the wide angle, and capture more of the outdoor portion. We thought this would be the only time we'd ride the attraction, so I didn't expect to get any decent shots of the mine section. We had gotten a few successful photos of it at Shanghai Disney, so I made the decision I could do without the mine shots this time around.

    Jared thought he'd give the mines a go with the wide angle, and aside from being a little too dark these photos actually worked ok (I was surprised).





    Sadly, I didn't really love any of the on ride coaster shots we got, with perhaps the exception of this first one:



    I don't know why I don't like them exactly, maybe it was because the people in front of us had large heads (they probably didn't, but they look too large in all the shots). Perhaps it was just that we didn't get the right angles. We also didn't get the shots on the curve, when you can see the train well in front, which adds to the photos. Anyway here are a few that I thought were passable.







    I actually enjoyed the shots Becky and Derrick got of us a little more than ours!





    I think the key is to be in the front section of the four seats in one cart, then you can see the back of the cart in front of you and it makes a more interesting foreground. I was regretting my decision to not try shoot the mine scene with the 50mm prime now, but luckily we would get an unexpected opportunity to re-ride later (more on that later).

    Anyway, our ride photos were not all that interesting this time around



    You can see Becky hard at work photographing us though. :rotfl2:



    I look slightly bored here. Jared had clearly become a "woo girl" though!



    And Derrick looks like he's holding on for dear life!



    One thing that was REALLY amazing though is the full animation video you get of your ride on board. I don't know if they've done this since the ride opening (we've only been on it once before at Walt Disney World), but the video you get is fantastic! It includes great footage of the ride combined with you on it!


    After finishing on Seven Dwarves we had about 30 minutes until our Space Mountain fastpasses from 12:30pm - 1:30pm, so we decided to ride the best time killer in the park, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (TTA).

    Heading into Tomorowland we took in the new sign for the first time. I really like it's design!





    I see they are going for a more minimalist design to match in better with Tron when it opens. This is probably smart, but I wonder how quickly this design will date. Poor Tomorrowland, always trying to update so it doesn't become "reminds me of Yesterdayland". :rotfl2:

    The TTA is such a fun peaceful attraction. And great for a chat! That being said it did make us a little sleepy (and Becky a little motion sick, she probably should have been facing forwards).













    We got a good glimpse of the Tron construction going on behind Space Mountain. A lot of the track appears to have been laid already. I think Tron is a fantastic coaster, we loved it when we experienced at Shanghai Disney. I'm really excited you Floridan park goers will get to experience it soon. Still, I would have loved it if they'd bought the Shanghai version of Pirates to the Magic Kingdom instead. The Magic Kingdom's version of Pirates is nowhere near as good as Disneyland version, and as it isn't the original classic attraction, doesn't have as much nostalgia surrounding it. So, in my opinion, updating it with the AMAZING new version of pirates from Shanghai would make so much sense.









    Once we were done, we still had about 10 minutes until our Space Mountain fastpass, so we sat in the shade at the base of the PeopleMover for a while and rested. We were all a little pooped by this point, especially Derrick and Becky who'd been in the parks since 7:00am.





    As soon as it hit 12:30pm we made our way onto the ride.



    There was one photo I really wanted Jared to try capture here, and thankfully, he pulled it off!



    I seriously dislike the angle of the Space Mountain ride camera. It really just looks like you are sitting in armchairs with a lap bar against a black background!





    Continued in Next Post...
    We got the video from the mine train when we were there Dec2016, we actually got it about 10 times, cause that's how many times we rode it. Lol
     

    LivingforDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Day 7 - Part 4 - Being the Beast's Guest

    By the time we were done with Space Mountain it was almost time for our lunch reservation, which was at 1:15pm. We headed slowly over to the Beast's castle, choosing a less direct way into Fantasyland so we could admire the castle again.



    We were a little early, but we headed over to the Beast's Castle walkway anyway, and checked in for our meal. We were let in straight away, which was nice.







    When we arrived at the castle doors though, we paused and got a little nervous! There were so many people! We were informed we would be called when we could enter the castle. I hoped that the people I could see in the door way were just milling about.





    It wasn't long before our party was called, alas the people in the doorway weren't milling about, but were at the end of a giant line to order food. We immediately regretted not doing a mobile order! The line to order was moving at a snails pace!



    We've only ever eating inside the Beast's Castle for dinner, when the restaurant switches to table service. We couldn't do that this time, thanks to our quick service dining plan. I didn't realise how much easier it is at dinner, as when you are called you get taken straight to a table!

    I was bored, and hungry and tired and just needed to sit down (my feet were killing me as they often do when I am stationary on them too long). I tried to distract myself with pictures of the decor in the line, which is great.





    Still in line....



    By the time we reached the order room I think we'd been waiting in line for about 40 minutes! Even with a reservation! This was just too long to wait for food. Next time, I'll be doing a mobile order (or eating earlier or later, by the time we left the restaurant at 2:30ish there was no line at all).







    The order counters are super cute! I love the books.



    While everyone else ordered (I'd told Jared what I wanted already), I advised I'd head off and find a table (really, I just wanted to get off my feet).



    I found a table quickly, and busied myself taking some photos.







    When Jared arrived after ordering I sent him straight off to get more photos (I know, I'm the worst, I'm sure he wanted to rest his feet too).





    Our food arrived in no time. I had ordered the braised chicken, as my stomach was feeling a little off and I didn't want to eat gluten. Jared ordered the Croque Monsieur.

    My chicken



    Jared's sandwich



    Of course, I ordered my favourite thing, the chocolate cupcake with the grey stuff, which I LOVE.







    My chicken was nice, but the sauce was a little rich. It probably would have been fine, but as I was feeling a little queasy it was a bit much. The potatoes were really lovely and flavourful though.

    Jared said his sandwich was fine, but nothing special. I think the food at dinner is a bit superior to the offerings at lunch, but honestly I haven't ever thought much of the food at Be Our Guest (except the grey stuff of course). That being said I love Be Our Guest, because I love eating in the ballroom from my FAVOURITE Disney movie of all time, Beauty and the Beast.

    When it came time to eating dessert though I managed my way through all the grey stuff on top but couldn't bring myself to eat the cupcake (I really was feeling that off). I offered it to Derrick and Becky, who hadn't ordered dessert, and they were surprised to find the grey stuff resides inside the cupcake too.

    We were all pretty exhausted by this point so we didn't really draw out lunch much, though we did enjoy some fun conversation while we ate (mostly about the differences in housing between where Derrick and Becky live and our home in Perth).



    This guys name is Bruce by the way. I know that because the last time we visited we were informed by a CM, and I thought it was funny because Bruce is Jared's Dad's name.



    Continued in Next Post...
    Do they not let u order online anymore for lunch? I remember when we went I ordered our lunch before we had even left Sydney and then when we went, we just were ushered in to find a table
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    We got the video from the mine train when we were there Dec2016, we actually got it about 10 times, cause that's how many times we rode it. Lol
    Fair enough, perhaps they did do it the first time we experienced it in 2015 but we just didn't notice!

    Do they not let u order online anymore for lunch? I remember when we went I ordered our lunch before we had even left Sydney and then when we went, we just were ushered in to find a table
    I'm sure they do, we just didn't think of it *planning fail*
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 9 - An Empty Hub!

    Before we get started on the post I just want to say I apologise for the lack of updates - I've been sick so I've been in bed resting!

    Anyway, we last left off we had just learned that there was ANOTHER villain show playing at midnight, as the Halloween party was ending. This had rather interrupted our plans to start trying to get some hub shots while the area "cleared out" after the final parade.

    By the time Boo to You finished it was about 11:50pm. We had about 10 minutes until the park was due to close. We thought the best way to wait out the crowds in the hub and Main Street would be to jump in line for one of the rides. And, since we had really wanted to try photograph the mine scene on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and it's wait was listed at 30 minutes (the lowest I'd seen it all day) we thought, why not!

    We managed to get in line at about 11:55pm. Since we were in the standby line we actually got to see these gems (I love them, they are decorative gems that are actually gems :P )





    The wait was about 30 minutes but it didn't feel too bad (other than the fact that we were REALLY tired by this point). Jared put in his 50mm prime lens and we decided to see what happened!

    To say I was happy with the pictures is an understatement! They are the clearest and crispest pictures we've got on the mine train to date!





    So much so that I could crop a few in like this!















    It's strange to see the colours in the dwarfs faces in the pictures. The same thing happened when we shot Frozen Ever After a few days later. I believe it has something to do with the way the projections that create the effect the face is moving works! It is so strange though because you don't see all these colours with the naked eye.

    It's clear we were having much more fun this time around!






    Our ride on the mine train had very much re-energised us! It's so much better at night, and we enjoyed the rush of wind on our faces as we sung along (I do love any attraction with classic Disney music that you can sing along to). Once we were done we were still singing, though something along the lines of "hi-ho, hi-ho - it's off to take photos we go".

    We headed back over towards the hub, wondering how quiet it would be by this point (it was about 12:30am). But we stopped for some beautiful pictures of the castle reflections first.





    When we arrived at the hub it was to find it almost completely cleared out! So hopping in a long line right before closing is definitely the best way to wait for the park to clear out, if you want to try close it down.

    Anyway, we wandered the hub and the front of Tomorrowland taking pictures with NO ONE in them! It was so much fun!





    The Halloween lighting was just perfect too! I really love the colours!





















    Continued in Next Post...
     
    Last edited:

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 10 - We closed down....the Photopass!

    Once we were done wandering around a blissfully empty hub we wanted to take a few more shots with the train tracks leading towards the Cinderella Castle. However, there was a photograph photographer set up just in front of the tracks, and probably about 4 groups still waiting to get pictures (other than these 4 groups of people there was no one else down this end of Main Street).

    Since we would have to wait for the Photopass photographer to be done to get our picture we figured we may as well jump in line too. As it turned out, we had the final photopass pictures in the hub that evening! This came with two bonuses; there was absolutely no one in any of our shots AND our Photopass photographer advised us she would give us EVERY Halloween magic shot she had in her camera! We were so excited, we'd only had one up to that point!

    This was a really cool experience, it felt like our very own Magic Kingdom photoshoot - the photographer was so cute and didn't seem in a rush to clear us out (even though after she did she could go home!).

    First up was just a stand picture of the two of us.



    Then we had to look "shocked" at the flaming pumpkin!



    The next shot is my absolute favourite of our trip! Our photographer asked us to do a Waltz pose. Luckily, having taken ballroom dancing lessons, Jared and I actually know how to do this. I pointed that out to her and told her how excited I was, even though I had no idea what the final result would be! I love dancing, and I love the waltz so even on it's own this picture of us "waltzing" in front of the castle was perfect.



    The next day, we would discover that the photo was even more perfect, as we Waltz'd with ghosts!






    Our final photo apparently involved a dastardly plan to poison Snow White. Jared has the poison Apple so I'm going to blame him if she falls into an eternal sleep! :rotfl2:



    Because we were the last people taking pictures here after we were done we could set up for the photo we wanted. The Photopass photographer was very curious about what we were doing too, and we were having a lovely chat (which as I said was so nice of her, as she could have easily just headed on home).







    There were still a few people milling around Main Street, probably about 20-30 or so but we were further back than everyone else except one other guy with a tripod, so we could reasonably empty pictures of the street!



    Jared was a little disappointed that Main Street was missing the fairy lights that give it it's timeless look, but I really enjoyed the different lighting. I think this was easier knowing we'd see the classic fairy lights at Disneyland.

    The top of Main Street still had a few people so we decided to get a photopass with the pumpkins, and then take some pictures from up atop the Train Station.

    We got ANOTHER magic shot here and I really love this picture, with all the gorgeous colours! We really felt like VIPs this evening, with all the great magic shots and pictures without anyone else in them!





    Our gravediggers shot came with another magic video!


    I'm pretty sure we were one of the last (if not the last) people to get a photopass in this location as it was basically 1:00am, and Main Street was officially closed after that. So I'm going to say we closed down photopass!

    We headed up to the Train Station for some pictures, but as you can see there were still a few people around.







    The final shot we wanted in the parks was one we had to be patient to get, this photo opp was where everyone was milling waiting to get their pictures.





    We were happy enough with just a few people in our shot though. We were pretty tired, and we weren't willing to wait for the final few people to move out of the picture.

    We left the park at about 1:15am, and sadly didn't close down the park. I think there were about 10 people behind us! Still we had almost closed it down, and we had closed down the photopass so I'm going to count that as a win!

    Out the front we took a few more shots.

    Love the spooky fog here!





    It was 1:20am when we were done and we crossed our fingers that the buses were still running. We had a plan to catch an Uber if they weren't, but we were still hopeful. That being said, I wasn't looking forward to having to walk to the All Star Resorts bus stop, which is always one of the furthest away. As we were walking up to the bus depot a CM approached us and asked us where we were headed. We informed him All Star Music and he advised that there was a bus right at the front of the bus bays that was headed to the All Star area, so we didn't have to walk anywhere! It was perfect timing too as I'd imagine this may have been the last bus of the night. There was about 7 people on it (including us).

    We had really enjoyed our time at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Despite the crowds and the time wasted waiting between shows, the amount we were able to get done was fantastic. We really enjoyed the entertainment and of course we had the BEST time in the park after closing, making beautiful memories that we will always remember. I felt like the experience was worth the money we paid, though I'm not sure I'd do it again (we probably won't go this time of year again anyway), unless I was in a similar situation (where the only way we could stay in the park late was to be at the party).

    Continued in Next Post....
     
    Last edited:

    LivingforDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Day 7 - Part 10 - We closed down....the Photopass!

    Once we were done wandering around a blissfully empty hub we wanted to take a few more shots with the train tracks leading towards the Cinderella Castle. However, there was a photograph photographer set up just in front of the tracks, and probably about 4 groups still waiting to get pictures (other than these 4 groups of people there was no one else down this end of Main Street).

    Since we would have to wait for the Photopass photographer to be done to get our picture we figured we may as well jump in line too. As it turned out, we had the final photopass pictures in the hub that evening! This came with two bonuses; there was absolutely no one in any of our shots AND our Photopass photographer advised us she would give us EVERY Halloween magic shot she had in her camera! We were so excited, we'd only had one up to that point!

    This was a really cool experience, it felt like our very own Magic Kingdom photoshoot - the photographer was so cute and didn't seem in a rush to clear us out (even though after she did she could go home!).

    First up was just a stand picture of the two of us.



    Then we had to look "shocked" at the flaming pumpkin!



    The next shot is my absolute favourite of our trip! Our photographer asked us to do a Waltz pose. Luckily, having taken ballroom dancing lessons, Jared and I actually know how to do this. I pointed that out to her and told her how excited I was, even though I had no idea what the final result would be! I love dancing, and I love the waltz so even on it's own this picture of us "waltzing" in front of the castle was perfect.



    The next day, we would discover that the photo was even more perfect, as we Waltz'd with ghosts!






    Our final photo apparently involved a dastardly plan to poison Snow White. Jared has the poison Apple so I'm going to blame him if she falls into an eternal sleep! :rotfl2:



    Because we were the last people taking pictures here after we were done we could set up for the photo we wanted. The Photopass photographer was very curious about what we were doing too, and we were having a lovely chat (which as I said was so nice of her, as she could have easily just headed on home).







    There were still a few people milling around Main Street, probably about 20-30 or so but we were further back than everyone else except one other guy with a tripod, so we could reasonably empty pictures of the street!



    Jared was a little disappointed that Main Street was missing the fairy lights that give it it's timeless look, but I really enjoyed the different lighting. I think this was easier knowing we'd see the classic fairy lights at Disneyland.

    The top of Main Street still had a few people so we decided to get a photopass with the pumpkins, and then take some pictures from up atop the Train Station.

    We got ANOTHER magic shot here and I really love this picture, with all the gorgeous colours! We really felt like VIPs this evening, with all the great magic shots and pictures without anyone else in them!





    Our gravediggers shot came with another magic video!


    I'm pretty sure we were one of the last (if not the last) people to get a photopass in this location as it was basically 1:00am, and Main Street was officially closed after that. So I'm going to say we closed down photopass!

    We headed up to the Train Station for some pictures, but as you can see there were still a few people around.







    The final shot we wanted in the parks was one we had to be patient to get, this photo opp was where everyone was milling waiting to get their pictures.





    We were happy enough with just a few people in our shot though. We were pretty tired, and we weren't willing to wait for the final few people to move out of the picture.

    We left the park at about 1:15am, and sadly didn't close down the park. I think there were about 10 people behind us! Still we had almost closed it down, and we had closed down the photopass so I'm going to count that as a win!

    Out the front we took a few more shots.

    Love the spooky fog here!





    It was 1:20am when we were done and we crossed our fingers that the buses were still running. We had a plan to catch an Uber if they weren't, but we were still hopeful. That being said, I wasn't looking forward to having to walk to the All Star Resorts bus stop, which is always one of the furthest away. As we were walking up to the bus depot a CM approached us and asked us where we were headed. We informed him All Star Music and he advised that there was a bus right at the front of the bus bays that was headed to the All Star area, so we didn't have to walk anywhere! It was perfect timing too as I'd imagine this may have been the last bus of the night. There was about 7 people on it (including us).

    We had really enjoyed our time at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Despite the crowds and the time wasted waiting between shows, the amount we were able to get done was fantastic. We really enjoyed the entertainment and of course we had the BEST time in the park after closing, making beautiful memories that we will always remember. I felt like the experience was worth the money we paid, though I'm not sure I'd do it again (we probably won't go this time of year again anyway), unless I was in a similar situation (where the only way we could stay in the park late was to be at the party).

    Continued in Next Post....
    Wow, looks like U had a fantastic night. Photopass is really worth it with the magic shots and videos. We had it at Xmas time, when we went
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 8 - Part 1 - We saw Hagrid's Magical Creatures (they are so illusive!)

    Thankfully, though wired with the excitement of our late night at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we had slept well.

    We also got to "sleep in" today, as we were headed off to Universal Orlando and the parks didn't open until 9:00am. We did plan to arrive at 8:00am though, in order to try make sure we got a chance to ride Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. FYI, I reckon this name is just as annoying and long-winded as the Big Grizzly Runaway Mine cars at Hong Kong Disneyland is. Since it will annoy me to write the name every time I mention the coaster, I'll probably do the same thing I did in my Asian trip report, and refer to this ride in my own hilarious short-hand from now on (or at least I think it's funny, you may disagree).

    Anyway, we got to "sleep in" until 7:00am (soooo long :P)! By 7:35am we were in an Uber and on our way to Universal, and we arrived at about 7:45am.

    We got to see this gorgeous sunrise as we drove up the I4.



    While we were walking toward the gates of Island's of Adventure, the park we would be rope dropping (Universal Studios had early entry for on-site guides which of course we didn't qualify for), we realised something that made me completely freak out! I had noted on our itinerary for the day that we needed to bring our Australian Passports, as Universal required valid ID along with the park ticket upon entry, and our Australian drivers licences are not accepted. Of course, we had forgotten the passports! We did have photos of our passports on our phones (for this kind of emergency) but we didn't know if it would be acceptable. Anyway, I was so stressed thinking Jared would have to head back to Disney World to get them, that we decided to just check with a few Universal employees to find out if we were ok.

    We were informed by the Universal employees not to worry, no ID was needed! I scratched my head a little at this as the tickets do specifically state you'll need to show a valid photo ID (along with a list of what valid photo IDs they accept). However it was really too late to head back to the hotel and collect the passports so we just hoped this advice was right, and that if it wasn't they'd be ok with our photos of our passports.

    The staff were correct, we were let in without having to show any kind of ID. I breathed a sigh of relief but wondered why Universal don't actually abide by their own policies??

    We had arrived early enough and there had only been about 15 or so people ahead of us in our line. We'd lined up on the right side of the entrance, knowing we'd be heading that way towards the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As we headed in we were overtaken by a lot of people, but we weren't really interested in running. We got to Hagrid's fly-fly thing at about 9:10am and the posted wait was already 40 minutes (but that was a mercifully short wait to some of the previous waits I've seen).

    Again the locker area was a NIGHTMARE. Universal have, I assume to save space, made all free lockers (free while you ride) TINY. Luckily I knew this (because I'd researched) and we'd only bought the small bag and 1 lens but even still we had to get 2 lockers. The larger lockers, that you could fit a normal person sized backpack in, were $2.00 per use! Considering that basically ALL Universal's rides require you to put your stuff in a locker I thought this change was incredibly un-generous of Universal! Especially to people who bring any bag bigger than a fanny pack! Later on we'd also discover that you needed your park ticket to reopen the locker! Given that you aren't even allowed to take your wallet or phone on some of the coasters (and you have to go through a metal detector to ride) I wanted to know how keeping your park ticket in your pocket was feasible! If it falls out you are screwed if you are using it for Express Pass or if you plan to park hop. I would also assume wearing lanyards on these rides is also out of the question, as they'd make the metal detector go off). Anyway, despite advice not to, Jared kept his wallet/phone (our tickets were on the phone) in his pocket for everything we rode, and we decided not to bother with the big coasters on this trip to avoid having to work out how we'd re-open our lockers afterwards!

    Ok one rant over. Second rant, Universal's ride sizes. I've never had issues on any Universal ride before, but I decided to check the Hagrid's Motorcycle thingy test seat just in case. The test seats are about 3/4 of the way through the ride, which, if you've been waiting for HOURS (which happens often) could lead to major disappointment if you don't fit. Anyway I tried the sidecar and the button turned green (though it was squishy) and I was told I was ok. I went to board the ride and was told the lap bar wasn't down far enough and I couldn't ride, and had I used the test seat (like it was my fault). I told them I had used the test seat and I was fine. I was sent back to the test seat to "try again" to make sure it really did go green and told to make sure to really pull the lap bar as far as it would go when I came back. After easily proving on the test seat that I was fine we were loaded straight back on and I pulled the bar as hard as I could and it was fine! Why the employee couldn't have just done that in the first place I don't know! It just made the whole thing a lot more stressful than it needed to be. If you are larger though be aware, Hagrid and the Creatures seats do seem to be a lot more restrictive than other Universal rides (which I've never had trouble on before and didn't this time around either).

    Anyway after all of that we were finally on the ride. I will admit this one was worth the wait and the hassle! It was a brilliant story coaster, was fantastic thrills and great scenes, for a coaster. If you are expecting it to be a true dark ride you will be disappointed, but I'd liken it to something like Big Thunder Mountain, where scenery along the way adds to your experience and takes you to another "world", in this case the Forbidden Forest. I was really impressed with how the trees have grown around the area, and you did get the sense you were zooming through a forest. Plus, the actual "dark" portions were great and very creative. It's definitely the most immersive coaster than Universal have ever built, and you can really see their commitment to storytelling, not just thrills on this one. That being said I wasn't AS impressed by the Hagrid animatronic as some others have been (I've heard it described as more advanced than anything Disney has at the moment which is simply not true - it was a little stiffer and not quite as realistic as Hondo Ohnaka, as an example).

    Jared was equally as impressed. He hadn't done as much research as I had (though neither of us had watched any videos) and he said it exceeded his expectations.

    There is a REALLY BIG issue with this ride though. It isn't to do with the ride experience at all. Nor is it to do with the quality of the ride. It isn't even to do with the size of the ride seats. It is just how UNRELIABLE this attraction is. When we arrived at the final scene the ride froze. We were lucky, we'd ridden the entire thing at that point and just got to sit in front of the final creatures for about 5 minutes before slowly making our way back into the ride station. However, it was only about 9:50am (50 minutes after park opening) and already the ride was down! As we exited it remained down and everyone now in the 2 hour queue would either have to wait even more time to see if it came back up again, or give up on it. We later spoke to a local who said, as they don't often rope drop the parks, they STILL hadn't been able to get on it. We watched the ride for the rest of the day. It was down until early afternoon at which point it came back up for maybe a few hours and was then down again! To have a brand new and much anticipated ride operating for only 3 hours in a day is UTTERLY DISGRACEFUL as far as I'm concerned. If the ride really does have that many issues it should be taken down completely until it can reliably run for a full day. Not to mention, Universal's communication about the ride and when it "plans" to open it and close it each day are woefully inadequate, and so many guests walk away disappointed because they didn't get to it in the right window to ride. This would likely include guests who had already been in line for it for a significant amount of time before it goes "down". Not to mention, when we visited the ride had been open for 3 MONTHS without any resolution to the ongoing problems they've had with it.

    As bummed as I was to not experience Rise of the Resistance on this trip, I'm SO GLAD Disney didn't open a ride that wasn't ready to handle capacity without breaking down, or needing "down time". I really do hope it's something Universal fixes soon, because the ride itself is fantastic (but currently only has a 3 star rating as a result of all these issues). It is also a big improvement over the Duelling Dragon's coaster (as much as I enjoyed that ride it was just a big un-themed metal coaster - barring the ride line of course).

    After riding Hagrid's forest of fantastical beasts (oh wait, different series of movies :P ) we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. To have been literally one of the last people to get on the ride before it broke down, and to get to experience it at all, made us particularly happy. It was one of the only times we'd be really happy on our visit to Universal, but more on that later (and part of it was our own fault!).

    As we didn't want to have to deal with the locker debacle on Forbidden Journey again, and as we still had time on the Magical Creatures lockers, we decided we'd just ride Forbidden Journey and then gather our stuff after that. We walked straight onto this one, as we had an express pass, so that made us even happier (I think the regular standby was only about 20 minutes, but still not waiting at all is better than 20 minutes).

    Forbidden Journey still remains one of my favourite rides, but I have noticed that the screens are starting to look a little old and not as crispy (sometimes down-right blurry), and the transitions between live and screen sets are a little more jarring. I really do still love this one, but I think it could use a bit of an upgrade. I'm not sure if I love the 3D version (which I've been on in Japan) but this version did feel a bit crisper so maybe that's what's needed in Orlando.

    We felt really pleased with our progress at this point. It was just past 10am, and Jared needed coffee and we were both hungry so we decided to take a break at the Three Broomsticks. I don't think much of the food served here, it's not the best quality, so we've only eaten in the pub once, but I figured for breakfast it might not matter as much. We recovered our items from a very quite locker area (the ride was still down so that probably helped) and saw a girl complaining about how she couldn't fit her tiny backpack into them. She did complain in the cutest way though, saying "I don't know the spell to make this fit" :rotfl2:

    The food was pretty bad, even at breakfast. My eggs were cold and I couldn't work out the spell to warm them (I'm sure Incendio would have just burnt them to a crisp) :rotfl2:

    After eating I wandered to take pictures because, if nothing else, the Three Broomsticks is gorgeous! I do wish they'd open a full table service experience though (the Great Hall Restaurant perhaps)!











    In case you were wondering which lens was the "one lens" I mentioned we bought to Universal that day, it was the wide angle. We figured we'd taken plenty of daytime shots with the regular lens, and the fish eye might be a bit too wide, so we'd just use the wide angle. We had originally planned to stay to get some night photos at Island's of Adventure, but the park wasn't going to get that dark before it closed at 7pm. Plus we were pretty tired and when Becky and Derrick had suggested an afternoon swim the day before we decided that would be a better way to spend our afternoon and early evening!

    The Wizarding World of Harry Potter continues to be my favourite of all theme park lands. I don't think it's objectively any better done than any of the other immersive IP lands opened recently (like Galaxy's Edge or Pandora or the entirety of Disney Sea). The difference for me is that I'm a HUGE Harry Potter nerd. I've read the books at least a few times every year since I was 13 when I read the first 4 in something like a week (it was school holidays and I hadn't read any of the books at that point and I just devoured them). Though I'm not the biggest fan of the content of the movies, I do love the art direction, and getting to walk into the locations from my favourite books of all time is something so magical!

    So after breakfast I ran around taking photos of the Hogsmeade side of the Wizarding World!

















    An empty Hagrid's Magical mine cars :rotfl2:, the ride was still down.



    It was a lovely day, and it was a bit cooler (though only marginally).































    And this is where the day started to go down hill....At the point I took the above picture the camera started flashing, saying "memory full". As Jared didn't have the proper camera bag he didn't have our second SD card (which he had forgotten to transfer across).

    Jared asked me if I'd backed up the photos from the day before. I was pretty tired but I recalled doing a back up the day before so I said yes. Jared was in the process of explaining I must have forgotten to delete the photos from the "Trash Bin" that I'd copied across to the hard drive the night before when a realisation hit me (on a Macbook if you don't delete things from the Trash Bin they still take up room on whatever drive/location they were originally stored). The realisation was this, I had done a back up of all the day pictures we'd taken the day before but not the evening photos. I screamed for Jared to stop, but he had already deleted about 30 pictures. It turned out I had deleted the day pictures I'd backed up earlier in the day, and so the 30 pictures he'd deleted were the first 30 we'd taken the evening before in the Magic Kingdom (you know, those gorgeous sunset photos).

    As you've seen the photos we took you obviously know we did recover them, but at this point I was almost in tears. Loosing pictures is just about my worst nightmare and I was so panicked I wasn't being rational, so I was upset at Jared for deleting the pictures (even though I'd told him it was ok) and I was sure we had lost them.

    Jared, who really is a wonderful man, said he was sure there were programs that could recover deleted photos and because he saw how stressed I was he did some googling and found one. I breathed a little easier, until we realised that in order to preserve the files we'd deleted, we wouldn't be able to use the SD card for the rest of the day! This meant no more nice photos over at Diagon Alley (where I'd really wanted to get some wide angle shots).

    To Jared's credit, he really tried to work out another way we could use the camera for the rest of the day. He tried to see if the photos could be downloaded directly to his iPhone. The camera does let you send pictures directly from the camera to your phone, but apparently it only works if you have a memory card in the camera. We then thought perhaps Universal would sell SD/memory cards in the camera shop (it would make sense right). But no, they didn't. We looked everywhere and got a lot of blank looks when we asked if there was anywhere in Universal or Citywalk that sold SD/memory cards (no one seemed to understand what an SD or memory card was, which was weird, especially in the camera shop).

    We wasted about 20 minutes looking for an SD card and it was well past 11am when we just decided to give up and take iPhone pics for the rest of the day!

    So sadly the rest of the photos I have from our trip to Universal are iPhone pictures.

    Continued in Next Post....
     
    Last edited:

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Wow, looks like U had a fantastic night. Photopass is really worth it with the magic shots and videos. We had it at Xmas time, when we went
    We really did have a fantastic night! And the best part of the amazing magic shots and photos was that we actually didn't pay a cent for them, thanks to our amazing friends! The park is so beautiful and calm and just magical after close, even if you aren't a photographer it's really worth trying to close down the park once in your life just to experience it.
     



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