It is with an expression of sadness that I sit down to write this trip report, namely because, well, I'm not in DLRP anymore. But life goes on, the trip was great and I'll keep this relatively brief. The tour company (it was a coach trip) was Gold Crest Holidays, and overall it was fine. The hotel was the Kyriad Torcy, a very convenient location for getting into DLRP when the coach was going elsewhere, and the rooms, while somewhat cramped and small-bedded, were fine (thin pillows though...). Our two drivers were somewhat rude and uncooperative unfortunately but the less said about that the better. The weather was cracking the first day, mostly cracking but thundery from about 8pm the second day, and lots of rain/overcast with some glimmers of blue skies and sunshine on the third day; this was disappointing but obviously it was still wonderful. I can't remember what exactly happened so I'll just review the main bits:
This was the first attraction, and despite people talking very loudly in the stretch room the first time (mercifully the cast member got everyone quiet before asking them to keep to the centre the second time) it was pretty good. Leota's room had undergone changes which were subtle but an improvement (one wonders why they considered this a priority and not some other, less well-maintained, areas but hey-ho). This attraction saddens me somewhat as the concept is superb, but it's just never as good as it could be. Really what it needs is a big refurb and reboot (and the music being turned up quite alot) but it won't happen.
Great as ever, water working 2 out of 3 days, TNT effect seems to be much more reliable. Still a possum missing and two that do nothing! Man that chain lift is loud...
I've always liked this, short, sharp and thrilling. I don't know how feasible it would be to add a bit of fire, smoke and water here and there but it sure wouldn't go a miss, and maybe the addition of a tent-covered projector and screen displaying some sort of pre-show like material. For that matter, perhaps the section before the lift hill being in a tunnel with an onimous voice-over etc. but hey, I'm dreaming, and also it might not even be feasible.
Better than it's been before for me, audio better on the final scene but still not quite there, though the torches were working etc. which helped alot. One thing I did notice was that the swinging pirate encourages you to look up...at the roof...but this is a minor annoyance. They're not fooling anyone but it's still nice to forget to look, hehe.
Fantasyland in General
Lovely land o' course, dark rides seem in good shape (though Peter Pan's jerky boats were at times actually quite horrendous) and IASW seemed in tip-top condition, all carousels spinning etc. Casey Jr and the boats seemed to be closed the whole time for some reason. The labyrinth was a particularly strong player here, in top condition; great (and unique) fun. Noticed the back passage from Fantasyland to Discoveryland for the first time this time, and I almost wish I hadn't, it was like WDS in 2002...
Still great, but I mourned FTETTM (I don't think that abbreviation will catch on) when, as I saw the supernova explode, I imagined the moon and the original music. A superb attraction replacing an even more superb one. All the on-board audio was working this time and I particularly like the second inversion around the planets.
Enjoyed it much more this time. It's actually rather good fun and a decent-length, but the same problems remain: the diabolical queue, the location, and what it replaced. But hey, it’s done now, and it’s still enjoyable.
This is really starting to show its age now, the queue, while I love it, uses old, old technology and old, old film and it shows. As for the ride, the same applies. I’m dying for 2.0 to be finished (though I’d rather it be called just ‘Star Tours’ and be billed as ‘the new’ or something for a year same with SM, as I don’t like the idea of attraction sequels due to those who have no idea about the original).
How appropriate for one horribly out-of-date attraction to be connected to the other; BURN IT! Maybe that’s dramatic, but this really was somewhat disgraceful. The Kodak pre-show was hilarious, but in a very bad way, and the main show was old and suffered the usual audio problems. Really embarrassing, it needs to be sorted (if only Buzz coulda gone there…)
It really is a wonderful place. Exploring Adventure Isle and marvelling at the fact that someone actually designed it was great, and noticing SM’s hidden Mickey from Fantasyland gave me great satisfaction (I thought ‘that must be coincidence’ but then realised that if someone could design something as amazing as DLP, a clever hidden Mickey wouldn’t be that unbelievable). The band outside the hotel was nice to see, and they placed a rather hilarious arrangement of ‘The Bells of Notre Dame’; the dramatic moments had particular potency when played by a brass band. Pizza Burgers are seriously ingenious, but in general the food is overpriced and low quality. And gotta love that Statue of Liberty tableau, hehe, I think I could have made that at home…
Of course an astonishing attraction, though it seems that the fresh batch of ’08 CMs were leagues above the current staff. Unfortunately only one stood out, a blonde-haired woman who amusingly asked if we had any questions as the elevator doors closed. This didn’t ruin the experience of course, but it made it not as good as it could be.
While the theme of this still baffles me (a roller coaster in a record studio?) and the pre-show sees Steven Tyler sinking to his lowest of commercial lows (and he’s been pretty low) it’s still a great ride and the effects seemed to be working better most of the time.
I enjoyed this much more this time, possibly because I faced forward, which I think improves the dark ride section immensely. The ride itself is wonderfully smooth, and I cannot see at all why people have complained about it’s nausea-factor etc. The same capacity problems will always haunt it, and interestingly Disney posted an 80mn queue when it was in fact a 40mn queue, presumably as a way to combat this. Two rides this time, one nearly at closing time (the 40mn queue) and one right after opening. We waited for 20mn for the doors inside to open at 10am and then didn’t wait for long after that.
Studio Tram Tour
Oh dear…oh dear, oh dear… Even catastrophe canyon seemed underwhelming, though Jeremy Irons’ uninspiring delivery of the awful script prompted me to laugh a little, along with Dinotopia. Disney really backed the wrong horse…
Same ol’ story: very decent main show, stupid introduction (which also focussed a lot on visual effects not physical effects). All that needs doing is the pre-show being replaced by just a further queue with information about physical effects, maybe a wind machine, and some monitors playing a video about what the guests are about to do. Not without potential (though I’d rather see Alien Encounter…)
In a way, WDS seemed worse to me this time. The blockbuster café, in which the HSM section is complete and open, was a huge disappointment which is still incomprehensible to me, and judging by the glimpses of the other section it won’t be any better. I kid you not, they’ve hung shredded bed sheets up and we’re meant to believe they’re pirate sails; a disservice to the brilliant attraction next door. There’s so much potential here, for Production Courtyard to be Hollywood Square or something, for Toon Studio to be decently themed, for Action Studios, for future lands and street sets, but I fear it will simply not be fulfilled. Time will tell!
Generally the resort seemed in good shape with attractions and effects looking good. Of course, the food was still overpriced and weak in general, and McDonalds, which is incredibly efficiently run and at the higher end of the McDo spectrum in terms of quality, was a good option (and a cheaper one!). Disney Village is messy but not without potential, though again I’m not sure if it will achieve it. It saddened me to see Mickey dangling from the side of the Buffalo Bill sign, hopefully he will slip and fall to the ground…(does anyone know if this feature is simply for Mickey’s Magical Party or if it’s in for the long haul?). The Starbucks was very good; the staff were friendly and fine with English and the drinks were lovely. Can anyone explain why the caves smell so much of urine? I can’t believe it’s actually urine…
Well that’s all I can think of for now, I’ll post with anything I remember or anything any of you ask me about (I’m sure there’s loadsa stuff I’ve left out). Thanks for reading.