Well folks, I just got back from TDS and TDL. The crowds of fanatics decended upon TDS with gusto as the TOT was officially opened that day, Sept. 4th, on TDS' official 5th anniversary. The gates were opened early, even though the park had announced a 9am opening time, but I beleive the gates may have been opened since 8am. I got there at 8:15am. Upon entering the park, they were doing things differently. Only 4 turnstyles opened and the were funneling everyone into those opened stations only. I believe the reason for this was to control the access of fans rushing to storm TOT. Good call. I entered TDS and immediately joined the crowd rushing towards TOT, to find out that the FP line ended at Cape Cod and the FP return time was already at 1pm. Immediately I made a mad dash for the Stand by line which was posted at 60 mins. I did stand by for it and waited exactly 50 mins from the time I entered the line in front of the Broadway Theater, to the time I actually sat in the elevator. Throughout this time, there were no FP guests since the first FP appointments were due to start at 9:15am. The line moved quickly and effectively without the FP guests cutting to the front. Yet another reason why I feel FP has got to go!
When I exited the ride at around 9:25am, the stand by wait was already 220 mins long because the FP guests were now allowed into the TOT. BTW... FP distribution ended at 9:45am when all FP were *gone* for the day.
One disappointment... there was NO ceremony to mark the grand opening of the tower nor to commemorate TDS' actual 5th anniversary day. But maybe that was a good call based on the huge crowds around the Tower for most of the time I was there.
I headed to TDL to check this year's Nightmare overlay at the haunted Mansion. Nothing new there, except for some nice merchandise with a nice logo this year. TDL was however... DEAD. One of those rare days when TDS is actually more crowded than TDL. FYI.. the tarps and scaffoldings have come back to the castle in the front portion on it but this time, they have painted the castle on the tarps so it doesn't look all that bad. They must be removing the water equipment from the Cool summer shows..
And there you have it!!!
Photos of the TOT madness to come soon. If you care that is..
Disappointment #2, the new fold out guidemaps similar to those found at the other Disney resorts. I have always felt TDR's guideBOOKS, with much color info and photo were a step above all others, but even OLC is now going cheap with separate entertainment and park map fold out paper guides that wrinkle quite easily. I do not like them. Thumbs down.