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  1. #1

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    Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    After years of saying ‘Oh well, maybe next year’, Oogie finally bit the bullet, plopped down the money and said ‘I’m Going to Disney World!!!’

    After months of planning, calling the Disney Reservations line and the Disney Travel Agency more times than I can count, and several trips to Target and Costco for travel items, we left Oakland on March 28th, at 1pm on Delta Connections for our hour and a half flight into Salt Lake City. If you have never flown into Salt Lake City, imagine yourself flying along, and then having your plane go into a 45 degree dive only to level out at the last second to land at the airport. If you get air sick, I recommend never flying into Salt Lake City. Also if you can avoid it, do not fly on a Delta Connections jet. I’m 6’3” and about 280lbs, and I felt like Hagrid trying to squeeze into one of the cars on the Winnie the Pooh ride.

    After the brief stop in Salt Lake, we boarded a much larger Delta jet for our 4 hour flight to Orlando. The flight was easy until we hit the Gulf of Mexico. That’s when we hit our first thunderstorm. Looking down through the window we saw several bursts of light coming from the clouds below us. It was quite pretty, but bad enough that our pilot changed course and flew down almost to Miami to try to get around it.

    At midnight we landed in Orlando. Ms. Oogie and I gathered our things and left the plane only to walk into what felt like a hot sauna. Yep. Even though it was the middle of the night, the Florida heat and humidity was waiting for us. We took a quick monorail ride over to the main terminal where we got dinner at the golden arches, and made our way to the Magical Express bus and the blessed AC that it had. Luckily we were one of the first people on the bus, so we not only had our choice of seats, but the bus driver had ‘Lilo and Stitch’ playing so we got to watch it before we took off.

    The bus ride took about 30 minutes (most of that time I was trying to explain to Ms. Oogie just who Stitch was), then we arrived at our destination. The Pop Century Hotel. We had heard that this was the nicest of the economy hotels, so we were looking forward to a good stay and a restful night’s sleep. When we went to check in though, we found that our luggage which was supposed to have been at the hotel with us, hadn’t gotten to the airport yet, and that our request for a king size bed was not being honored. When we asked why, they said that they had none left (never mind the fact that we had put in the request for one 3 months earlier), but they might be able to get us one on Monday. While we were standing there discussing this with the agent, a guy came in behind us, went to the agent next to us and said that he was wondering if there was any rooms available. The agent replied yes, but they only had king size beds. When we heard this, we couldn’t believe it. First they told us that there weren’t any, and now they are giving one to a guy who wanders in off the street after us? We were livid. Finally the manager came out and told us that the reason that we weren’t being offered it was because the room was only available for tonight and that there were none available on Sunday, and he didn’t want us to be Inconvenience by having to move 3 times. When we asked him shouldn’t that have been our decision, he didn’t have an answer. For all the hype, this place was not starting out on a good foot with us. Finally we got our room in the 1980’s wing on the 2nd floor and at 2am we were finally able to go to our room and get some sleep. We told the agents at the front desk that we would be down to get our luggage in the morning (fortunately we travel with some extra clothes in our carry ons) and they said that that was no problem.

    At 4am we were awoken by an explosion. Thinking to myself ‘The Gods have been angered by all us celebrating’, I went outside to find that the thunderstorm that we had passed over the Gulf of Mexico had caught up with us. For those of you who have never experienced a thunderstorm in the south, it is much different than the ones out here in California. In California, the rumbling of the thunder seems to go on forever til you can’t hear it anymore. The thunder that we experienced in Orlando was more violent. It was a distinctive ‘BOOM’ that did not linger, but died out just as fast as it started. A short while after that, the skies opened up and the rains started. It was at that moment I started thinking that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

    At about 11 the rain stopped and the sky cleared. After a quick stop at the Pop Century’s food court for a late breakfast, we made our way to the bus to go to the Magic Kingdom. The resort buses are fantastic. They run every 20 minutes from your resort to all the parks and to Downtown Disney. If you are planning to stay on property, Disney has made it so that there is no need for you to get a rental car. The only resort places they do not go are from hotel to hotel. To get from hotel to hotel, you have to stop at one of the parks or at the main transit area.

    The ride from the Pop Century to the Magic Kingdom takes about 15 minutes. From there it took about 5 minutes to walk up to the main gates from where the bus lets you off and to pass through the security checkpoint. Also, unlike Disneyland, Disney World uses a card called ‘Your Key to the World’ that acts as your room key, your ticket to the parks and your charge card for your meals (if you are using the Disney Dining Plan). Once past the ticket booth I was greeted by an old friend and a very familiar sight.




    It was then I started thinking.. ‘OK, maybe this trip wasn’t such a bad idea after all’.

    We passed under the train station and walked into the ending of the ‘Celebrate’ parade.







    After watching the ending of the parade, we walked through the shops on Main Street




    and turned into Tomorrowland.



    We tried to get on Space Mountain, but the wait time was over an hour, so we decided to ride it later and went on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (PeopleMover) and then on Buzz instead.






    We then went over to Liberty Square (Florida’s version of New Orleans Square) and hit the Haunted Mansion.




    *** Note *** they left the door open in the stretching portrait room, so it kinda ruined the whole 'this chamber has no windows and no doors' thing.



    (singing) I don't wanna be buried.. in a pet cemetary.....




    The Liberty Belle is Florida's version of the Mark Twain. From what I could tell, the Mark Twain is bigger.

    After the Haunted Mansion, we headed into Fantasyland for Small World (it just didn’t seem right having the ride indoors) and Mickey’s Philharmonic.










    Yep. The birds are just as fat here as they are in Anaheim.


    Then we went over to Adventureland to see The Tiki Room and ride Aladdin’s Carpet. Aladdin’s Carpet is kind of like Dumbo, but there’s more room, has seats in front and back of the ‘carpet’. The front seats can control the height of the carpet, while those in the back seat can control the front and back angle of the carpet, making it ‘wave’












    After that it was time to head over to the Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square for Dinner.

    If you have never eaten there, I encourage you to try it on your next trip. The atmosphere and the service are great, and the food was delicious. You start with a roll with some sweetened butter and a fresh salad in vinaigrette dressing. Then comes the main course. Whipped Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, Stuffing, Sliced Turkey Breast (fresh, not processed), Sliced Roast Beef, Sliced Ham in a Mustard Sauce, and Turkey Gravy. After that we were given a hot peach cobbler for dessert topped off with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream. Oh.. in case I forgot to mention.. all of these dishes are all you can eat.

    Once dinner was over, we walked outside to discover that Spectromagic was running that night and had just entered Liberty Square. We took a seat on a bench right outside the restaurant and watched the show. On a personal note.. I found Spectromagic to be a pale imitation of the Electric Parade. I liked the Fantasia floats and I loved the fact that some of the floats changed from all white lights to color lights and back again, but the music was forgettable (I had forgotten how it went about 10 minutes after it was over), The parade was full of non Disney characters (a bunch of guys running around wearing Venetian style masks ), and it just seemed like it lacked the charm that the MSEP has. (I took some pictures of the parade, but unfortunately they didn’t come out).

    When the parade was over, we headed to Splash Mountain and to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Big Thunder was one of the few rides that I could honestly say I liked better at WDW. Not only is the ride longer, but there are hydraulics on the car which make it feel like the tracks are giving away in the flooded town and rockslide scenes. We rode that multiple times til the park closed and we headed back to the Pop Century.








    Day 2 coming soon.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Thanks for sharing! I can't wait for more.

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Great report so far!
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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Great TR, looking forward to more.

  5. #5

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Great report! No thoughts on the attractions though?


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  6. #6

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Great report! No thoughts on the attractions though?
    She/he is a regular at DL. Do you really want to know her/his opinions on the attractions??
    Hmmm..

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    She/he is a regular at DL. Do you really want to know her/his opinions on the attractions??
    Hmmm..
    I would like to know their opinions, I honestly think that WDW has a few attractions that are actually better than DL's. I'd like to see if their comparisons match mine.
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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    He gave comparisons on quite a few of the attractions...

  9. #9

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Thoughts on the Attractions? Except for Thunder Mountain, I like Disneyland's attractions better.

    Tomorrowland:

    Space Mountain: The queue goes on forever (probably to keep people out of the Florida sun) and when you actually get to the room where you board the cars, it has a fake star field above it with projections of meteors and stuff flying around in it. The ride has 2 tracks, unlike Anaheim's single track, giving it more of a 'race' kind of feel. Also you sit in a single row, unlike Anaheim's double rows. The ride is longer, but alot jerkier with less drops (There is a space station with astronauts working outside of it which you fly past, which Disneyland doesn't have), The exit queue has a neat diorama in which shows an archiological dig on a distant planet, and some cool mirrors, and it's all on a moving conveyer belt, but it too goes on for quite some time.

    Buzz Lightyear: Kind of the same, just more stuff to shoot for less points. The higher point targets are hidden.

    Tomorrowland Transit Authority: Fun ride and a nice way to get off your feet and explore Tomorrowland. I wish Disneyland would bring it back.

    Autopia: While Disneyland has 2 tracks, The Magic Kingdom has 4 tracks, but you don't get the eye candy and atmosphere that you do in DL. At WDW, it's just pretty much grass, an occasional tree, and the other drivers around you.


    Fantasyland:

    Cinderella's Castle: You can not go through Cinderella's Castle to get into Fantasyland, you have to go around it, through the smoking areas or go through Liberty Square or Tomorrowland. The area in front of the Castle (on the Main Street side) is a stage and the Fantasyland side is the entrance to Cinderella's Royal Table Character Restaurant.

    Small World: First off, the queue is indoors and there are no topiaries. In Disneyland, when you first enter IASW, you are greeting by several signs saying 'Welcome' in several languages, then you enter the polar region (Iceland, Eskimos, etc), then you enter Europe. Not so in WDW. There you enter the ride and suddenly, BOOM.. you're in England first thing. Several of the characters were also missing while we were there and the soundtrack had adults singing the song, not just children. This took a lot out of the ride for me.

    Mickeys Philharmonic: Disneyland has GOT to get this. It's a 3D show of Donald getting bounced around between several different Disney films musical numbers (Part of Your World, Be Our Guest, Whole New World, Just Can't Wait To Be King, etc) trying to catch Sorcerer Mickey's Hat.

    Liberty Square:

    Haunted Mansion: What ruined it for me was when we entered the stretching portraits room, they left the door open so you could see outside while they put more people in. Clearly this wasn't an elevator like the one at DL is. After that the second door opens and you are in a basic queue area to get into the doom buggys. Once in your doom buggy, you go down a ramp that takes you past the pictures that change with the lightning strikes, into a library where the busts turn to watch you, then into a room that looks straight out of Hogwarts. There are stairs all around you and as you watch, footsteps appear in the black light, making it look like something you can't see is walking up or down the staircases. All of these things (except for the staircases) are part of the queue area at DL. After that, the ride is pretty much identical.


    Adventureland:

    Swiss Family Treehouse: The one, The only, The copy of the Original. A great place to watch the fireworks from. I can't remember anymore what was in the original one before they changed it to Tarzan's, but it was still fun.

    Tiki Room: Why did they have to change it? It was good the way it was. It was fun for a few seconds, but Gilbert Godfrey's voice started grating on me.

    Aladdin's Carpets: A nice easy ride. I imagine that they could probably introduce the front and back pitch technology to Dumbo.

    Frontierland:

    Country Bear Jamboree: Bring It Back!!!!!

    Splash Mountain: Less of a queue area and I don't recall seeing Brer Rabbit through the window like you can at DL. When you pass around the briar patch to take the 2nd lift up, if a log is coming down the main drop, you will get wet (the jets are turned up really high. The ride is a lot longer, but it doesn't have the same charm that DL's does. There is a scene where Brer Rabbit is supposed to be hopping across a field, but you can see the metal bar behind him, making him 'hop'. Also there is a 3 foot ledge right next to your log while you are going through the ride so you can be evacuated which really detracts from the experience.


    Thunder Mountain Railroad: Excellent Ride.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    That's odd that you favorited Big Thunder. I thought it went soooooo sloow compared to Disneyland. I just felt like we weren't going through that many tunnels or turns or anything. Just a lot of straight stretches of track and things to look at.

    Haunted Mansion is a better ride in Florida but the mansion itself isn't my thing. Splash Mountain is better in Florida as it fleshes out the story a lot more, but I DO prefer Disneyland's single row seating better.


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  11. #11

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    YAY!!! I love the pictures...and all of your details. You're making me even more excited about our upcoming trip!




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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    One correction, you most certainly can walk through the castle. They close it during Dream Along With Mickey and before/after Wishes, but you can walk through it.

    The reason why the queue's are mostly indoors compared to DL is 2 fold, air conditioning and the random rain storms.

    They normally close the stretching room door. The only time I have seen them kept open was when they were trying to get more people in b/c of crowds/lines.

    I'm enjoying the report, keep it coming!

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Great trip report !! I love the pictures

    I actually love WDW better. not sure if its the open space or the fact they have so many cool rides and attractions. Yeah space there is lame, and the tiki room sucks bad there, but I found WDW rides way better in many ways. Don't get me wrong, disneyland is awesome I just love 4 parks at one time, and the fact each park is awesome in its self.
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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    One ride I forgot to mention.. Pirates. For starters the queue is much better in Florida than in Anaheim. But the ride itself is very watered down. In Florida you get in the boat, go around a corner and you are seeing the beach scene with the pirate skeletons. There is only 1 drop, no cave with pirates singing 'yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me' and it is missing several of the skeleton scenes (no treasure room and no captains quarters). Also right after you see captain Jack in the towns treasure, you turn a corner and there's the exit ramp. It's like it leaves the ride unfinished. In DL you go up the ramp back, it's like the end of the story. I didn't get that here.

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    Re: Oogie's first trip to WDW (picture heavy)

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie View Post
    Space Mountain: The queue goes on forever (probably to keep people out of the Florida sun)
    Actually the reason for the long queue is because Space Mt was the first attraction built outside the berm at the MK. The long tunnel into the main queue area goes underneath the train track and outside the berm where the building was built. I do not think it has much to do with keeping people away from the heat and humidity of summer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy
    That's odd that you favorited Big Thunder. I thought it went soooooo sloow compared to Disneyland. I just felt like we weren't going through that many tunnels or turns or anything. Just a lot of straight stretches of track and things to look at.
    I agree with you Coheteboy.. that is odd. DL's version feels faster because it's more intimate, however, unlike the MK version, DL's has better show quality inside and out..like the old town set from the Mine train ride, the drop into the Coyote canyon.. etc etc. Falling rocks during the last lift as opposed to the MK's replacing the actual rocks with a filmed version of it which looks cheap. Overall DL has a better BTM in my humble opinion.

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