I had the same reaction as you for the new scene in TSMM. Yeah, it's cool, and yeah it's great that Disney is putting effort into making this kind of change. But it's not exactly earth shattering. I hope they continue to make small changes like this to plus attractions, but I won't make a special visit to Florida just to see a new game in TSMM.
Those Hidden Mickey's can be so obvious. You're looking right at them and you don't ever realize what it is, That's what makes them cool! Although I dislike Universal, I am now curious about the dragons attraction.
The dragon attraction is just the old Dueling Dragons ride with a new theme. It's a very good inverted coaster with themed cars, but still mostly just a coaster, no added effects like say Everest or Big Thunder. In fact, the biggest complaint I've seen about Potterland is that they mostly decimated the theming of the old Dragons queue. It used to be a very elaborate, long journey through the Dragons' castle. Now that Hogwarts gets the elaborate castle theme, the Dragon ride gets... a big tent.
One complaint that I have about Harry Potter at IOA is that the show building for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is visible near the Flight of the Hippogriff attraction area, and is very much visible near the walkway from Jurassic Park to Hogsmeade. As we know with Disney, they hide show buildings pretty well. Unfortunately for IOA, the show building isn't hidden that well, and destroys the illusion of the castle looming over.
Nice article Kevin. Thank you for covering the other rides in the Wizarding World and for explaining how Typhoon Lagoon works. That was very interesting and an unkown fact. Wish you had a picture of the lazy river water level before the other slide's pumps are turned on.
You mentioned that a wide swath of trees were removed in the Seven Seas Lagoon area to provide sight lines for the monorail drivers. In what area were they removed? Why do you think they needed to do that after having gone decades with those trees there? That can't be very attractive can it?
Kevin: I do remember when Disneyland did not let guests bring in food, rather they directed them to the small picnic area in front.
Not so anymore. In fact for many years guests seem to bring in every kind of food and cooler you can imagine – even the big pull-totes. As a father of a 3 ˝ year old, I kind of like it, (although all we bring in is usually juice boxes and snacks) but as someone who remembers when Disneyland had guest dress codes and food rules, I don’t.
I hate that they allow those freaks to come in on “Bat Day” – whatever happened to decorum? Hey, I don't mind looking at scantily-clad "loose looking" women (and that is exactly what they look like), but this is family place, and the dress that some people wear is not appropriate for Disneyland - Ever!
Over to operational issues: since when do they let roller-coolers into the parks? At Disneyland, no food at all is allowed. At WDW, it used to be “no coolers,” but now just about anything goes. It saddens me a little bit; the park is being transformed to a simple city park. Much of this is Disney’s own fault. If the food were reasonably priced, fewer people would feel compelled to bring food in. But prices are just through the roof.
I always bring a backpack with me to Disneyland full of bottles of water and sometimes soda (all frozen most of the night so they stay cool all day) and a bunch of easy snacks like rice crispy treats and those little 100 calorie packs that happen to be just about the perfect size for a snack you can finish before boarding a ride. I can go to the parks more often if I bring my own drinks and snacks because the prices there are way out of my budget and tend to be more unhealthy options than what I can bring with us.
It's also very helpful with young impatient children to have your own supply of stuff you KNOW they like instead of standing in a line to buy junk they may or may not actually eat and is usually messy. Kid gets restless and I can simply open a backpack and suddenly their attention is moved from their complaints to "oooooh I want that" and they have it.