Just got back from a really, really () good time down at WDW and here is my trip report.
Day 1: Monday
It was a cold, dark December morning in NYC. The air had a thickness to it, the likes I hadn't seen in over 40years (I'm only 35yrs old btw), but that didn't bother me as I was leaving for Disney. I had a 7:45am flight out of Newark on Continental and got into Orlando around 10am. My first order of business was to pick up my discounted tickets from Orlando Fun Tickets and Undercover Tourist. Once I got them, I hopped back into the rental and drove straight to... Tampa??? Yes, Tampa! I wanted to hit up Busch Gardens because I hadn't been there since 1981, and boy am I glad I did. I was able to ride Sheikra, which instantly jumped into my Top 10 list of amazing coasters:
After riding that a couple of times, I took a ride on the Busch Gardens train, so that I could see all the animals on their Serengeti Plains.
All in All, Busch Gardens was a lot of fun and I am glad I did it, but lets be real here... this is a DISNEY TRIP!!! Anyway, after I was finished at BG, I hopped back onto I-4 and headed up to Disney to get to my appt with a delicious Meat Loaf dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Since I was going to be there for a week, I opted to stay at 3 hotels. Night one was at the Best Western on hotel row by Downtown Disney. It was ok, but I couldn't wait until I was at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This was going to be my base of operations for most of the trip, then ending up at All Star Movies.
Day 2: Hollywood Studios, Ohana
Day 2 was awesome as it was still unseasonably warm (85 degrees) and I was excited to be staying at a deluxe resort for the first time in many, many years. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is just so nice and the view I had from my room was even better (Savannah view FTW) that I found myself not wanting to leave the room:
When I checked in and got settled in the room, I hit up the Disney Transportation bus for my trek over to DHS as I wanted to check out the Osbourne Lights (This is the primary reason I chose to go during Christmas time). I got to the park around mid-afternoon and was pleasently surprised to see that most of the major attractions only had a 10min wait or less (Toy Story being the exception). While I was in the park, I sent a txt over BigPigletFan to confirm that we were still on for dinner at Ohana (which is my favorite restaurant in all of WDW). She confirmed we were, and then asked if I had anything waiting for me in my room when I checked in, to which I replied NO. She asked if I checked the fridge in my room and I told her No I didnt (I dont normally check refridgerators, since I never use them), and that all I had seen was a Mickey head done up in towels. She told me to check when I got back, which I assured her I would, and after everything was squared away, I headed over to Toy Story:
Btw... I think the queue for Toy Story Mania is fantastic and really helps with the wait times...
After finishing up on TSM, I headed over to The Great Movie Ride.
This ride really, really, really, really needs to go down for an extended rehab. The more I ride, the more things I notice and the more that I notice the sadder I get. I mean the AA's are so sub-par compared to newer AA's that it looks pathetic. The gangster scene was only partly working (the car was already out in plain view, instead of coming out from the tunnel), and the Alien scene still makes me cringe (and not because of the Alien, but because of the horrible Ripley AA). Next up was Tower of Terror, which is becoming my favorite ride in the park for it's unpredictable drop sequences...
Next up was the Rock N Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith. I took the single rider line as it wasn't that long, and found myself on the ride in about 10min, which was nice. I love this ride, but I think they need to rebrand it with another rock group. Don't get me wrong, I love Aerosmith, but when was the last time they put out a great CD?
I also hit up the other attractions at DHS, Muppet Vision 3-D (which really needs to redo the 3-D as I found myself getting a headache), Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, and Star Tours (thank god this is going away soon), but it was time to finally see what I had come to this park for...The Osbourne Family Christmas Lights.
I got to Streets of America right before sundown so that I could see them light up the displays, and all I can say is WOW! The sheer amount of lights they use (over 5million) is insane and to think that 3million of these lights used to be on someone's property is crazy. I think that this display is biggest highlight of my trip.
After I watched the lights dance five different times I decided it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for Ohana. I hopped onto the bus and was back at AKL in no time. When I got back to my room, I see on the desk to my surprise 3 Zebra Domes (awesome pastry from Boma) and card from my friends at Food and Beverage "Wishing you a Happy Holiday." It turns out they were from BigPigletFan, but that they forgot to put that in the card. What really was funny was that I still checked my refrigerator to see if there was something in there... NOPE!
As usual, dinner at Ohana was amazing and we were able to catch the Holiday Wishes show from the beach at the Poly which was nice. After dinner and a quick ride on the monorail, Piglet and I parted ways for the night but made plans to hang out for a bit on Thursday.
Day 3: Animal Kingdom & Epcot
Day 3 brought upon a change in the weather as the temperature was now a more normal high 60's, low 70's (which did not bother me, since NYC was at a balmy 24 degrees). I arrived at AK around 11:30 as I decided to sleep in and relax, but it didnt matter, the park was again surprisingly not that crowded. I ran over to Kilimanjaro Safari to grab a FP and then I took a walk through the Pangani Trail.
After getting through the jungle, it was time to return to Kilimanjaro and trek out to Harambe reserve to stop some poachers. The trek was real nice as a lot of the animals were very active that day.
Next up was Expedition Everest and the Yeti...the big, bad, my pedestal is cracked non-moving Yeti!
After I finished my 4th ride on Everest I decided to head over to Epcot as they were open late, and I wanted to get me some Beer and food.
After riding Spaceship Earth, I wanted to check out that new "Sum of All Thrills" attraction in Innoventions. While I like the concept of the ride, the execution was not that great. Since it's in Innoventions, you are required to use your brain to create your ride. You get to choose from mild (forgot what it was), Medium (rollercoaster), HOT (Fighter jet). Once you make the selection you then need to use a magic ruler and speed knob to make sure that your ride can make all the loops and turns it needs to make. It is simply not just designing a ride ala Virtual Space Mountain at Disneyquest, but it is still fun. I picked the coaster with 5 loops and a top speed of 97mph, which once I was done creating it, I gave my ride card to the operator who swiped it into the computer and loaded me into the robotic arm:
*Supposedly that robotic arm concept is going to be the ride vehicle for the main Harry Potter dark ride at Universal*
Once I was done going on Mission Space and Test Track I hit up World Showcase to get my drink and eat on... I started my trek around the world by stopping Mexico for some Churros
then over to Germany for a delicious Pretzel and Beer:
then to japan for some Curry and Kirin:
finally making my way back to future world and the Living Seas with Nemo:
After riding The Living Seas, it was time to call it a night, so I made my way back to the bus area for my trip back to AKL and dinner at Boma.
Day 4: Magic Kingdom and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
I was looking forward to today because I wanted to check out the Christmas party and the new Space Mountain. I got to the park early and I went straight for a FP at Space Mountain.
After I got my FP I headed over to the Haunted Mansion since there was only a 10min wait.
After riding the HM I went back over to Space Mountain to get my turn on this newly rehabed attraction. My final score: MEH! It seems like all they really did was a lot of cosmetic changes. They changed up the queue and added a ceiling. The Asteroids-esque game is boring and if there is no line you walk right past it so what was the point... The ride itself is smoother which is nice, and it is now completely DARK in there. I mean I couldn't even see my own hand, which made for a better ride. One thing I did notice is that the trains no longer have that glow in the dark strip on the sides. I like that as it keeps the ride really dark and you have no idea where the other trains are.
After taking some turns on the other rides in the park (small world, Pirates, Big Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise),
it was time to meet up with BigPigletFan at the Contemp. We had made plans to hang out for a bit because I always hated just meeting up for Dinner one night and then not hanging out again the entire trip. So we met up and headed over to the Wave to have some Woop Woop wine (she claimed it was very good, and yes it was)
After the bottle of Woop Woop was gone, we got on the monorail to Poly for a Lapu, Lapu drink and some shots of Patron (which I ended up doing alone)
After finishing up at the Poly we headed over to the MK for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The Party was a lot of fun and they had this really awesome, and very funny pirate band called "Rusty Cutlass" doing Christmas songs across from Pirates.
One of the coolest facts I learned during this trip to the MK (thanks Piglet) was that if you go and visit the 100 Acre Wood play area (which sits right over the old 20k leagues ride) and go inside Pooh's tree, you will see this,
A wood carving of the Nautilus sub, which I thought was a really cood nod to the old ride.
After an awesome day at the MK, we decided to call it a night. I took the monorail with her back to the Contemp and then she was nice enough to offer me a ride back to my hotel, where I promptly crashed as I was exhausted. Overall, I thought the Christmas Party was nice, but I actually enjoy the Halloween Party more.
Day 5: One last visit to all Disney Parks
Day 5 was a sad day for me as I had to check out of the AKL and move over to the All-Star Movies Resort. When I had made my reservations I took the AKL during the week when the rates were cheaper and then ASM on the weekend which kept me in my budget. The hotel is nice, but as far as the value resorts go, nothing can beat the POP. Since this was my last full day in Disney (Day 6 is Universal) I decided to hit up all the parks one last time. The weather was not great, it was pretty much rain all day, but that didn't stop me from having a good time.
Day 6: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
I will keep this short and sweet, since I know this is a Disney forum (LOL!!). I headed over to Universal and IOA in a shorts and a t-shirt, which was a big, BIG mistake as it was only about 58 degrees that day and I was freezing, Oh well... lesson learned.
My main reason for this trip was to see the progress they were making on "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," since I was just there last year, nothing else has really changed.
The progress on this new land is really moving along quite nicely as most of Hogwarts is up now and they are focusing their attention on getting Hogsmeade setup.
After finishing up with IOA, I headed over to Universal because I wanted to test out their new coaster the Hollywood Rip, Rocket, Ride. This coaster has the potential to be a great ride, but they really need to do more testing on it. It broke down about 7x while I was waiting in line for it, and then finally they just shut the ride down altogether which SUCKED!! However after about an hour or so, they reopened and I finally got to take a ride. If you are unfamiliar with the ride, basically you get into your car and when the lap bar comes down you have 30 seconds to select a song that will be your ride soundtrack. You have over 30 songs to choose from in over 5 musical caterogies (Rock/metal, Rap, Pop, Club Electronica, Country). Don't worry about not having enough time to pick a song, as they continuously list the choices when you are in the queue. When it was my turn, I opted for "Intergalactic" from the Beastie Boys and off the ride went. It was a fun experience, and the music is crystal clear since the speakers are right behind your ears. Final Grade: B+
Day 7: End of Vacation
Thanks to a powerful Nor'Easter in NYC on Saturday my flight home was delayed by about 4hrs so I decided to chill in Downtown Disney where I caught "Avatar" in 3-D. The movie is spectacular and I highly suggest everyone go see it. After finally getting to the airport I decided to give myself an early Christmas present and I upgraded my ticket from coach to first class, which was the best thing I did all trip. LOL!!!
Well I hope everyone liked my trip report and the pictures and I look forward to your comments.