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  1. #31

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    You got to experience the magic of a closing Mainstreet USA! When I went we were shoved backstage as everyone was leaving because the crowds were too much. So we got to get away from the crowds, but at the cost of the magic.

  2. #32

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Wow! Sounds like you had a great day -- I like the end of day at MK too! From your post looks like you didn't get to ride Everest
    I'm sure we'll hear the full story soon -- I'm really enjoying your report

  3. #33

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Day 4

    This one is going to be a bit heavy on the negative, so hold onto 'em hats and glasses.

    Today it started getting reeeealllly busy. The cheerleaders have arrived and are all over the resort. I've seen groups of girls around with backpacks and similar outfits since Day 1, but only in one park or another and they were easily avoidable. Not now, and the weekend is coming, so everything is filling up.

    I took a left last time at DAK, so this time I took a right and walked into one of the more controversial areas of the park.





    Animal Kingdom: People, people, everywhere you look. And it had been so peaceful, too.



    Animal Kingdom: You're.... Kidding me, right?



    It appears that the spirit of County Fair lives on all 365 days at Animal Kingdom. I have taken the unenvious position of defending most of Paradise Pier on the DLR board (carnival barker games are unforgivable at a Disney park, sorry) but at least a tad more thought went into placement and theming than this area of DinoLand. PPier is in the back of DCA, this is front and center of the DinoLand area. PPier harkens to a California icon, the shoreside amusement park. I'm not sure what dinosaurs have to do with this area aside from the props and spinner ride vehicles, which is more a cheap excuse to plot the vehicles down here than actually make something for the theme.

    I'm sorry, but every minute spent here feels like I'm wasting my WDW ticket and robbing myself of precious time. Even trying in vain to get service at Planet Hollywood didn't cause that!

    Asia is probably my favorite of the lands here, because it seems to have some decent rides and it doesn't feel like there is nearly as much pointless wandering around as Africa. I wanted to try Kali River Rapids before I found out how cold it was going to be today, which is more of why I should have explored the park further beforehand.

    People were stationed at all walkways to Everest, saying it would be down all day. I called back later that afternoon to find out if they meant it, and they did, so my reason for going to DAK was shot.

    Controversial subject: Restrooms and cleanliness: Okay, for me the list goes like this, from cleanest to dirtiest:
    1) Epcot
    2) MK
    3) MGM
    4) DAK

    Epcot is the cleanest park of the bunch, bathrooms at World Showcase are a little less messy than Future World but all over it's quite clean. MK, well, it depends, some areas are older than others. Everything is quite well maintained, it's just that there needs to be some refurbishing. The bathrooms by Splash Mountain were the oldest and ugliest, while the restrooms in the tunne connecting Adventureland to Liberty Square looked fairly new. MGM was in general a bit less cleaned all over, with more trash visible and the restrooms had rustier fixtures and dead bugs in the lights. DAK did have a suprising number of sweepers manning the aisles, but the bathrooms were the worst, with it being hard to find a toilet that wasn't, uh, left a complete mess.

    Resorts are quite clean, but that's hardly a suprise.

    The worst bathrooms at WDW, as far as I'm concerned? The ones just outside Pizzafari.



    Animal Kingdom: *applause*



    I meant to leave here and go to MGM, but a last second decision (and some good bus timing) got me on a bus to Epcot. The goal? Look at the other side of Future World and then World Showcase.

    Ellen was down (again), WOL is shut down, and I don't trust Mission SPACE with my life, but I dropped into the store to see if there was any good space-y Disney-themed merchandise worth buying. After all, Star Traders is full of the same generic WDW/MK and Stitch wares. No real luck, most of it was just a picture of your fictional rocketship blasting off. And of course, Test Track wasn't working, putting the finishing touch on this dismal row of attractions:




    Epcot: Like any GM vehicle, Test Track was in the shop when I most needed it.



    Controversial subject: World Showcase: There's really got to be something better to do with all this land than this, isn't there? Okay, I am partially biased because I live close to a Fake Italy, Fake Paris, Fake Rome etc and so the theming and design of WS didn't really do much for me. But even if you discount that, so much of this area is just watching tourism movies! Each country has it's shop, restaurant, and maybe a tourism movie. If those don't interest you, big whoop!

    I started in Canada, which was probably a bad idea since it meant a long, long walk to the countries that had an actual moving ride. But, it meant I got to eat at the UK pavillion's wonderfully-tasty Harry Ramsden fish & chip shop. Thank heavens that I finally managed to avoid having yet another cheeseburger or chicken tender!

    Morocco marked the point where I started skipping countries entirely.

    Japan, of course, had for sale all the guilty pleasures that someone who's into their pop culture could ask for: card games, pokemon, etc, at high prices. They also had some sort of odd exercise accessory that I couldn't resist but take a picture of.


    Mitsukoshi Department Store: What the...?

    I probably could have spent an hour in here just looking around but the ladies who were manning the store, although I'm sure they're kind, had a habit of shuffling along behind you and adjusting anything you may have touched, as though you had messed it up and they needed to reposition it. This made me a tad nervous. I wonder if they're like that, uh, particular in real Japan?

    At the American pavillion, I passed a funnel cake store. I did not even know it. This is more frustrating than passing the gelato cart above, but not as frustrating as the passed treat oppertunity to come later.

    If I had really known that the American Adventure was an AA exhibit, I would have stopped and watched. I foolishly thought it was another movie.

    Italy was a bit of deja vu, since it looked like the facacde to the Venetian casino without the 40-story hotel tower behind it. I thought I'd try the gelato at the ODV cart, to compare it's quality with what I'm used to at home, but the CM operating the cart got distracted by a female he knew that came to visit him, and for as long as I could keep Italy in sight, he was still in conversation.

    I really shouldn't have run through Germany at the speed I did. The toys and cuckoo clocks were worth a longer look than I was giving them, but I was really getting tired of the whole Showcase thing by this point.

    China. Movin' along.

    Norway. OH GOD YES A RIDE! I'd either say that the Malestrom needs a refurb, or it was something that Imagineering threw together very slap-dash without a lot of conern. The voice rambling above the chaos about trolls and Norway and the spirit of adventure over all the basic AAs and props was an odd experience. I wouldn't say I was even laughing like I was with the next ride, but that I was simply scratching my head. Even stranger, this ride has FastPass despite being a walk-on during even the busiest day of my trip.

    By the way, the people who work at Norway are all very good looking. I feel comfortable enough in my masculinity to say that I was gawking at as many men as I was women.

    At Mexico, I unwittingly passed a churro cart. This is a henious crime, because I had been looking all over the MK to get my churro fixin. You can't move ten feet at Disneyland without tripping over a churro cart, but everything at the MK was... Pretzels? Ice cream? And it turns out my churros were sitting at World Showcase, just waiting for me as a treat for completing this whole walk-around the lake, but no luck.

    The Mexican Boat Ride, it's name escapes me, is the worst Disney "ride" that I've been on, and I rode the Flying Saucers (although it's not as bad as Innoventions, the worst non-moving attraction.) You and the few people riding with you amber into a boat and are sent floating along the dark "outdoor" themed interior alongside the dimly-lit restaurant to your left. This is enough to immediately amp up expectations for a DLR regular, as Pirates begins the same way over there, floating past the Blue Bayou.

    Suddently, you turn a corner and are greeted with projections that appear to have been recorded in 1964 with men in goofy garb (and I don't mean the "gawrsh!" Goofy) dancing and gesturing dramatically and shaking their hips and what have you. Then you turn a corner and arrive at a low-budget IASW. Oddly, there's less broken animatronics here than the IASW at the MK. Then you turn another corner and pass by a mural of Mexico City as a bunch of simple figurines are rotating around in the center of the room and fiber optic fireworks explode in the sky. Supposedly, those fireworks are WDW's biggest use of fiber optic or some other superlative like that. Who would have thought you would find it here!

    Anyway, if you're near Test Track but the line is too long and you're looking for a good belly laugh, give the Mexican Boat Ride a try. You'll never have to wait long for it, and if you don't have a stupid smile growing on your face when you pass through the corny projection films, then I say you aren't human.

    I left after this, took a Monorail to the TTC, and took the ferry to the MK. The ferry is a nice route that left me with ample opportunity to take a number of great pictures that will show up here in high-res soon.




    TTC-MK Ferry: Beeaaaautiful.



    Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station: Did you know that if you stand at a 120 angle opposite the direction of the sun at a table with two chairs on either side and look down you will find a Hidden Mickey? It's true. Take THAT, trivia books!



    I took this time to catch up on MK rides that I didn't get to. The Jungle Cruise is much the same ride as it is in DL except with a brief period in darkness. My skipper stuck to the script, the crowd tried to sound excited about it. I'm glad to see those old RC boats from the Disneyland Hotel have new life outside the WDW Jungle Cruise. Gosh, I miss the marina.

    Although Pirates is very short, it didn't feel like it was really missing all that much. A lot of the head-scratching stuff from the DL ride. Most obviously cut was the cavern with the jewels and the skeleton at the wheel where you can probably not hear the plot being mumbled over the sound of rushing water and voice shouting Dead Men Tell No tales. Also changed is the room at the end, which does not have the attic full of stuff at the ceiling teetering around like it may fall on you while pirates fire at each other ducking behind barrels of TNT. I never cared for that room, but I know that some do.

    It has been so long since I rode the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland that I cannot compare it to the one at MK. I'm sorry. But this one certainly looked creepier on the outside.

    The castle was open to walk through today, so I took some pictures that will appear later in high-resolution.

    Controversial subject: Stitch's Great Escape. Hmmm.. I think my rating shall be "bad, but not horrible." I didn't really enjoy this attraction. I think if I had experienced it when it was Alien Encounter, I could have said it was interesting but a tad hard to actually have fun doing, but in this state it's not even interesting, rather a bit dull.

    Then, because my feet are killing me and I haven't done enough wandering around, I go look at the Contemporary. I was waiting to take a picture of the hole the Monorails go through when a nosecone suddently burst forth, producing this picture:




    Monorail: What lucky timing!



    This hotel looks nice, although I'm not sure if I'd like to stay here. When all the rooms are renovated, the risk of the garden rooms would be worth it, I guess. The new rooms at the Contemporary look like someone at Disney has visited Wynn here in LV recently. I wonder if the new Contemporary rooms are better than the rooms at the GF now?

    If I may say so... Mechandise: Dad's favorite attraction, if you call it that, is the Monorail, so I thought I'd stop by the Contemporary gift shop and see if I could find a shirt or jacket.

    "Hi there, do you have any kind of souvenir clothing for adults, perhaps a shirt, with the Monorail on it?"
    CM: "No, we don't."
    "Well, that's strange. You guys are kind of known as That Monorail Hotel."
    CM: "Yeah, you think we would, huh? All we have that's specific to the hotel is just a white shirt with the logo of the hotel on it and it says Disney's Contemporary Resort."
    "It doesn't need to be a hotel-specific..."
    CM: "Oh, okay. Well, no monorails on a shirt. Sorry! But we do have this mug, over here."
    (it has the design with all the characters around the park logos and Mickey & friends riding the Monorail)
    "That's really nice. It oughta be on a shirt."
    CM: "Yeah, I know! It would look nice on a shirt, huh?"

    So, on all the WDW apparel, there is no Monorails that I could find. There was another cute type of shirt design that had characters bursting out of the front of your shirt, with their rear ends sticking out of the hole in the back. Except this was made only in children's sizes. Someone had a black shirt that looked like it had Mickey hanging on over the left shoulder, with his bottom and feet hanging over on the back, but that must be discontinued or something from another Disney because I didn't see it either.

    There's also very little attraction-specific merchandise now. Pirates, PhilharMagic, and Mission Space seem to have the most, while there's only one or two designs for Space Mountain or Splash Mountain. Everest has almost as much as pirates, but they have the wrong Yeti on them. I like attraction specific merchandise, so I didn't buy very much.

    I miss the series of shirts that had Mickey, Goofy, and Donald being scared out of their wits on the various rides. Did they release that series in WDW or was it only in Disneyland? My favorite DL shirt that I can wear is the Space Mountain one with those three hanging onto their rocket and looking downwards in terror.

    Speaking of which...

    FastPass Experience #3: Space Mountain. The line was snaking all the way back to Timbuktu, clear out of the building, so I passed an incredible amount of people, although about 38% of them were cheerleaders. Yes, I actually rode SM, and I got seat #4 which a small relief as I often had a split second to see the other car turning ahead of me.

    Space Mountain:
    Fun: *****
    Pain Risk: **.5

    I guess I should have made seperate ratings for Fun and Intensity, since they're much the same thing, I guess. I don't think I could take a ride going more intense than this, which is why I don't ride coasters. However, my back did not take nearly as much punishment as I thought it would on this ride. What did take a lot of punishment were my sides on the tightest turns, and my poor wrists hanging on for all it's worth to that bar.

    All in all, it was actually a fun experience, but not something I'd do again without preparing myself with the kiddie coaster.

    After leaving MK, I went to the Contemporary again to catch a bus to DTD, where I ate like a starved hog, but not at PH because I'm still non-existant to them. Then I rode the bus home but accidenally dropped off at Riverside's lobby, meaning a half-mile of walking in the dark, dodging CMs on golf carts.

    And as usual, I feel dead.



    Next time: Teddy Bears, Muppets, and cheesecake!

  4. #34

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Great report so far! I'm looking foward to the next part.
    We've been...dying...to have you.

  5. #35

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    It wasn't really that negative. Sounded more observational than flat-out negative. But once again, another great day report and I can't wait to read more!

  6. #36

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    How can you miss the American Adventure!? Any Disney fan should know that the good attractions always outweigh the bad. Even when something sounds lame, I always go on because I'm almost always pleasantly surprised. The Wonders of China movie is very moving and well done...and only 10 mins. And how can you compare World Showcase to that disaster of smokey hotels and over crowded buffets you call Las Vegas. I get the feeling I'm in France far more at Epcot than standing in front of the "Paris" while being handed flyers for escort services.

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    I missed the American Adventure because I thought it was a movie and not an AA show. Sorry.

    I think I'm just not nuts about World Showcase because I'm a non-drinking budget traveler with typical middle-class American tastes (church of Ronald McDonald, anyone?), and half the fun of WS is going around to the different shops and the different ethnic foods and brews. Hell, I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I heard someone talk about World Showcase in the context of something OTHER than "drinking around the world," which appears to be very popular.

    Wonders of China has played at DLR's old CircleVision theater in Tomorrowland before it was ripped out (it's the Buzz ride today.) It was a pretty nice film. If I ever go again, I'll do more of these movies, for now I was a tourist commando trying to hit everything that moved and wouldn't scare me to death.
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 02-18-2006 at 08:28 PM.

  8. #38

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    What a cool pic of the Monorail! And I agree with Karamie that it really wasn't negative just observational ... everyone has rough days esp when crowded with cheerleaders

  9. #39

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    MickeyMania, I feel like you missed some of the best attractions. I think you would have loved the Adventure's Club. It is a wonderful experience. The American Adventure is just OUTSTANDING! It is the best show in Epcot! But I also think that Impressions of France is a great show even if it is a movie. Since you don't like the coasters, these shows offer great entertainment with no risk of bodily harm!

    Did you see PhillarMagic? I might have missed it as I was trying to scan to see if you saw it. It is a movie, but a wonderful show.

    Flight of Wonder is a great bird show at DAK.

    Otherwise, I have been mostly agreeing with you on your evaluations of things.
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  10. #40

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    PhilharMagic ties with Spaceship Earth and the Peoplemover for what I did the most of! I agree that it's a great film when the effects work! That candy smell... Mmmmm...


    (wonders if it's leftover cake smell from the 25th anniversary castle... Ewww...)

  11. #41

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Yes. No visit to WDW could ever be complete without seeing the American Adventure, the finest theme park show anywhere. And you dont have to be a right wing wacko to tear up and feel patriotic. Simply amazing.

    The China movie you saw at DL is NOT the current one ... the original was Wonders of China. It was replaced in 2003 with Reflections of China. It has some of the old footage as well as some amazing new stuff including Hong Kong.

    Living in Vegas, I can understand your feelings about World Showcase. I spent Thanksgiving weekend in a 1,300 square foot suite at the Venetian and the whole place is certainly more impressive than Italy at Epcot. Same with Paris Las Vegas (my fave if staying in a standard room) vs. France at Epcot. But you have to understand that Epcot opened in 1982 and there was no place on earth like it.

    The resorts like Paris and the Venetian didn't exist then. Heck, they didn't exist a decade ago. Plus you add the gambling aspect and that pays for a whole lot of intricate detailing. Those resorts are works of art.

    The new Contemporary rooms are simply amazing. I've never been in a room at Wynn but they are very much like what you'd get at a very swanky 'W' Hotel or the Hotel at Mandalay Bay in your town. Very expensive. Not kiddie. They blow away any standard room on WDW property right now, although the Poly is also being done in a much more upscale design than before.

    Finally, I read the comment about food, but I must say going to WDW and just eating fast food is a terrible waste. The choices and quality are amazing. And, compared to Vegas, reasonably priced. It's a shame you didn't do any sitdown meals.

  12. #42

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania
    And I wonder what's happening to the Florida school system when I see The "Hauted" Mansion written on a board, or "Departurs" on a hotel whiteboard day after day.
    Hahaha.

    But this one CM appeared at the bus platform, and I'm not going to name her name even though I took note of it, because that would be rude. And her attitude was very un-Disney like.
    Sounds like a train conductor I had in January...she was so concerned with people standing up before the train had fully stopped that she was just nagging. I mean it is one thing to play it safe...but she was nagging "We're not stopped yet NOT YET!" and just generally not nice about it.
    And she pressed the speil buttons late everytime because she was still talking "SIt, hands in, no breathing!"

    I wandered towards Africa and the Kilamanjaro Safari. I'm not crazy about watching a bunch of animals, which is why I spent so little time at this park, but the Safari was always advertised as the big E-ride when the place first opened.
    I'm not an animal fan either...but this park is so amazing to walk around you can spend the whole morning just seeing the details.

    An immaculate trash can disturbs the view of an otherwise destitute african village.


    Dear god Disney just can't win.

  13. #43

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMania

    People were stationed at all walkways to Everest, saying it would be down all day.
    I'm sorry. You missed out on a winner.

    There's also very little attraction-specific merchandise now. Pirates, PhilharMagic, and Mission Space seem to have the most,
    Pirates, Philharmagic, and Everest and ToT are the best. Haunted Mansion had some kick *** things for a while but they've been scaled back again to NMBC stuff.

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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Nice Report, thanks for sharing your adventure! You have given me many ideas for my next trip.
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    Re: My big ol' 7 day WDW TR - with pictures and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    Yes. No visit to WDW could ever be complete without seeing the American Adventure, the finest theme park show anywhere. And you dont have to be a right wing wacko to tear up and feel patriotic. Simply amazing.
    Awww, now you're making me feel all bad.

    But you have to understand that Epcot opened in 1982 and there was no place on earth like it.
    True, and it's not like I'd go to the real Italy or Paris and say "Bah, I've seen this before when it had blackjack!" I'm saying that as far as false front Italy's go, uh, well, I've seen one done a tad more better than the one at Epcot.

    World Showcase was not going to be my most favorite part of Epcot. I understand that.

    The new Contemporary rooms are simply amazing. I've never been in a room at Wynn
    Well, let's put it this way...

    Contemporary
    Wynn

    Contemporary
    Wynn

    Contemporary
    Wynn

    Contemporary
    Wynn

    Now, the color scheme looks like it borrowed more from THEhotel, the new modern-themed ultraswanky tower at Mandalay Bay, but to compare it to those rooms would be unfair. They're kind of cramped, but that's because they made the bedroom seperate from the living room and added a half-bathroom for guests near the door. Wynn is honestly better, anyway, having done both.

    Anyway, the Disney hotel folks did a pretty good job considering they were not building 620 sq-ft monsters from the ground up like Wynn was.


    Finally, I read the comment about food, but I must say going to WDW and just eating fast food is a terrible waste. The choices and quality are amazing. And, compared to Vegas, reasonably priced. It's a shame you didn't do any sitdown meals.
    Like I said, it's about money. I wonder if I still would have kept that $100 if I had just ate at the GF and gone home and not trampled around DTD that evening.

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