I am working on a more comprehensive TR, but thought I would write something up on how I reacted to and felt about WDW after being a DLR AP holder for the past few years. Keep in mind, I was a WDW nut before Disneyland. I was from the midwest and my trips were to WDW. 9 years ago I moved to San Diego and DL became my new "home base." I hadn't been to WDW in over 10 years. My trip was from 4/30-5/07.
When I first moved here, there were things I missed about WDW....mostly Epcot. So that was my first stop.
--I couldn't tell much of a difference in my memory on Spaceship Earth. I'd read about a rehab, but other than Judi Dench doing the narration and the computer future stuff on the descent, the ride seemed exactly the same to me. I always loved it. I still love it.
--Illuminations did not really blow me away or impress me too much at all. I'd remembered thinking it was just the cat's meow.....but was searching for reasons why I thought that this time around.
--WS is amazing and I love it!
--American Adventure-- I love AAs and I love this show. The Mark Twain and Ben Franklin on this ride are freakin great. AA's fascinate me....my heart is always half full of delight and half full of terror when I am around them. It's the perfect combination.
--Journey Into Imagination-----holy cow, what happened??? It made my stomach turn. Why would they do this? Huge empty portions. Lack of any magic or theme or wow, imagination, in a ride that is supposed to be about just that. They took what was probably Disney's most perfect ride and completely destroyed it.
--Mission: Space-- OK, this was still Horizons last time I was here. I was disappointed b/c that ride was gone. I loved it a lot. I mostly love rides with high AA ratio, they fascinate me. So I was wanting to hate this ride. But it turned out to be the one ride that truly blew me away. From reading reports I was expecting to feel like I was hanging out on the gravitron at the fair when I was 10. No way. I got off this thing feeling like I'd totally been in space and still feeling scared that my heart might explode. Talk about G forces!
--Ellen's Energy Adventure-- This thing was broken down everytime I tried to go on it. Until the final day of my trip, FINALLY we got to ride it. Exactly the same. The Ellen AA is way more scary than any dinosaur. What the hell is up with this thing?? The ripped the face off of some old AA that got an upgrade and put a crappy wig that looks like straw on it and called it Ellen. I don't expect this ride to be here much longer, but if it is, they need to do something about that Ellen. It's truly startling.
--The Seas with Nemo and Friends-- Exactly like the one at DLR, except you are in a clamshell rather than underwater in the old subs looking at it through a porthole. For comfort alone, I prefer the Epcot. However, I miss the old sea base alpha and being able to ride through the tanks and have fishes all around me. That was a really enchanting experience. It's dumb that they took that away for this.
--Test Track-- Eh, it's alright. It was the new hot thing last time I was there, and still seems to be the hot thing. Always had the longest waits in the park. I hate that just when you are loving the wind in your face and your adrenaline is rushing, the damn thing slows down. Do you even get a full lap??
--Soarin'-- I didn't even bother. I've ridden this countless times at DCA so I could save that stress and time for something else. This definitely is right up there with Test Track in popularity. Looong waits. Good for Soarin, it's a great ride.
--Living with The Land-- I don't remember ANY of the stuff leading up to the greenhouses. Weird. This is a really cool little ride. Never had a wait. People should check it out. Very interesting. Something happened to the Mickey pumpkin, you could see they were starting a new one though. A baby pumpkin was in a plastic case shaped like mickey head. You could see little bits on the sides starting to grow out into the ear bubbles. Pretty cool. I'd always thought that thing was fake.
Moving on to Magic Kingdom.
When we got there it was before opening and something I loved that they did was they held us all out in front of the train station and had a big opening ceremony. Very very exciting and cool. It brought tears to my eyes. Mayor comes out with dancers and welcomes you, tells you Mickey is coming on the train any minute to open the park...then sure enough here comes the train! Mickey and the usuals, but also Snow White and Mary Poppins and the family of the day. It was very cool. They don't do this at Disneyland. If they do, I have never seen it. They just let you wonder Main Street before open and rope off the hub, then at park open some audio about welcoming you, the audio clip of Walt reminding us it was all started with a mouse and then you are in.
So, I am glad that it started off on that positive and emotional note b/c the rest of MK really mostly let me down and really helped me appreciate DL so much more.
--I know there are complaints that MK is stuck in time, but those were actually the things I appreciated. It was absolutely excellent to see CoP and Country Bears again. I'd forgotten just how entertaining and fun Country Bears are. How in the HELL Disneyland ripped this out to put in the inferior Pooh ride, just blows me away. So it felt like a blessing to see the Bears again. I ended up going to see them 5 times during the trip.
--Pirates-- Oops! Forgot half the ride! Won't say what's already been said, except, you'd think when they are installing a newer version of an existing ride it would be better, souped up...not dumbed down. But almost always, the newer version of things in other parks are always cheaper and cut things out. Which is sad.
--Tiki Room-- Why? Just do something completely new if you want, but why crap out on a classic and literally crap ON a classic? Ridiculous. It's a shame though, b/c that Uh'oa AA is wonderufl.
--Alladin's Carpets-- I actually rode this b/c I went for EMH and there was no line. I wouldn't have otherwise. It was a fun little jaunt, but unnecessary. It just crowds Adventureland and seems tacky.
--Splash-- It's better than the one at Disneyland. Extra drop with the little bunny hills at the end. More comfy ride vehicles. Nicer AAs. MK, I give you this one.
--BTMRR-- While I think the theme of the ride at DL is more rich, I actually liked some of the ride elements on this one. The little side to side switchbacky things when you go by the pigs is great and the nearly full circle you whip around, excellent!
-----I'd like to add, it's odd to have Splash and BTMRR right next to each other. It was great that during the first hour of the park we went again and again on them both without wasting time, but still. So much goodness shouldn't be sitting right next to each other. It made this whole area a hellacious mass of humanity frying in the sun during the afternoons. Yer trapped back in there with all those people, about to have heat stroke and it's one way in and one way out. Sucks.
--HM-- This one is tough. I liked the staircase room, very very cool. It was odd to ride through the parts you walk through at DL. I'd forgotten you even do that it had been so long. The feel at MK is somehow a little more spooky and a little less whimsical. I also like the outside at DL better, how you can walk right up to the house and into it. You don't really get that sense at MK by walking up the side under awnings and into the doors. The Leota tombstone however, made me giddy. We need that at DL.
--Liberty Square-- Is the total suck compared to New Orleans Square. Adding to this trauma was the fact that Hall of Presidents wasn't even open b/c I guess they are putting in Obama. Even though, could they not have done more with this area? It's just so.....nothing.
--Tom Sawyer Island-- It was a delight. I have not even been on the Island at Disneyland since they put a Pirates theme on it, b/c it just made me feel as though it would be disappointing. I should try it, b/c being on TSI at MK felt magical and I felt like a kid again. It's a little gem.
--Fantasyland-- I'm gonna be general on this one.....the land needs help. How is MK so much bigger and Fantasyland contains half the fun and magic of DL? It just looks trashy! That said it looks like they are trying to fix it up. Walls were put up in front of IASW our last day and the entire time we were there walls were up around Pinocchio Village Haus. Let's hope they are doing something about the mess! And if yer gonna rip out the subs, seriously all you are doing with all that space is this Pooh meet and greet? For Pete's sake! I will give it this, their Snow White and Pooh rides are great. The Snow White is so much more complete than at DL. Pooh at DL is just bad news so the MK version is better and it better had be to have ripped out Toady. Which was such a joyous little ride with two different tracks!
--Tomorrowland-- I will try to get more general about this too since Space is in refurb and b/c of that TTA is down too. Which broke my heart as it was the #2 thing behind Epcot that I was looking forward too. Wierd how the simple things at the parks are sometimes the very things that bring us the most enjoyment. Thrill me and chill me all you want.....but give me a place to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds and you've given me the true joy in my experience. This is the part of the report where I realize I've gotten old.
--The Stitch Encounter--, is probably fun for kids. But last time I was here it was ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and that thing was GREAT! It was probably not fun for kids. I wish they could have found a happy medium though b/c I really don't think there was one adult in there that thought it was just precious to be burped on by Stitch. Speaking of Stitch...why did they make him like this? It seemed out of character to me somewhat.
--Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor-- was really fun!!! If they must just reuse things, I wouldn't mind them taking away HISTA and putting this in. It was just amazing to see how magical this was to some people, and so simple. But when you involve the audience in a real way, it makes things more special. I will admit, I was singled out on camera and it made it memorable and magical to me.
--Buzz Lightyear-- Here is an example of the newer copy at DL being better than the original, which doesn't normally happen. It's the same thing, and still fun. But man did they make the right move by realizing it would be better to be able to hold your gun and point where you want, rather than fighting with your carmate over which way to spin. It seemed to make it harder to play, but that said, my score here was higher than I have ever gotten at DL. I must have accidentally hit one of the secret targets a few times or something. I don't know where they are on this version, but it's the only explanation I have for my score being 500,000+ when I'd just given up on the game altogether and was just aimlessly shooting around.
--MKRR-- They only have 3 stops and of course no Grand Canyon or Primeval World. The only nice thing was that you not only see the Indian Village on this one, but it's on both side of you. Nice touch. Otherwise, this one is inferior. They don't even have the conductor voice track that yells, "Boooooooaaard" and announces you are making a grand circle trip! I need that booming voice. Not the actual conductor on a PA mumbling a bunch of crap I can't understand.
I realize this is getting long....so I will leave Animal Kingdom and The Studios for another sitting. Feel free to discuss, argue with me, agree with me or just plain let me know what you think!