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  1. #1

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    Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Yep. It's that time of year again. No, put down the eggnog. Forget about putting those decorations on the tree. Sit down and get comfortable (speedos, chaps and tiaras are all acceptable here) ... perhaps some of that Christmas music (but not the puke worthy Christmas Shoes) and a candy cane.

    Yes. You know them. You love them. Even when they make you feel so dirty for reading, you still can't hit the 'next' thread .. it's time for some spirited WDW observations.

    Some good thing: Epcot resort decorations all look wonderful ... much is new. Even the YC has indeed beefed up its offerings with a winterscape (even though it's mostly Department 56 with YC and BC signs added here and there). BC has the amazing gingerbread carousel AND new lobby furniture. Dolphin, which was so recently renovated you can still smell the paint and carpeting, has an amazing pastel colored tree that is huge. ... have had universally wonderful CM interactions (especially the transport workers who are giving accurate and updated park info) ... the new MK stage show, while nothing special, is still much better than the past two Cinderella-themed shows ... the MK looks cleaner than it has in a long time ...Epcot is so alive for the holidays with a great vibe. ... BC Marketplace gelato is yummy!!! Way better than Dole Whips. ... Two fireworks shows a night at MK with Wishes at 6 and Holiday Wishes at 9:30 (for MVMCPs but can be seen for free from MK resorts) ... MK has had some maintainance/painting done on buildings in Liberty Square and Fantasyland ... castle paint job makes it look more real (WDW1974 likes it so far!)... Disney has returned lights to the Hub, albeit on small trees, that will likely take 3-4 years to begin to mature. ... The FW boat dock sign that has been plagued by wood rot for years has been removed. ... holiday decorations (especially the LED lights) at DD are very nice.

    Wow ... that's a lot of positives ... doncha hate when that happens? Not so easy to attack someone when they really are ... fair and balanced. ;-)

    Now for some not-so-good ... you shouldn't step on a piece of glass on the floor of your Disney resort room because the Mousekeepers don't vaccuum them anymore ... just a little sweeping because consultants told Disney how much they could save by doing so. ... Buses speeding around Port Orleans doing 40-plus MPH on winding, dark roads. ... Seeking shelter in the laundry room at the BC in a downpour and noticing that the doors have such horrendous wood rot that they need to be ripped out and replaced ... what you'd expect at a Days Inn on the OBT, NOT a deluxe WDW resort where the lowest rack rate is $300 a night. ... MK holiday decorations are very, very, very, very tired and uninspired. The tree is even worse ... generic and bland. ... Filthy lobby carpeting in Dixie Landings lobby that needs to be thrown away. ... Price increases in food and beverage at resorts designed to push everyone into using the Disney Dining Plan ($6.99 for a tiny tuna sandwich -- most adults woul need at least two, $3.99 side salads that aren't as big as one from Wendy's) ... children and adults who don't cover their mouths when coughing ... $45.99 EXTRA if you want Christmas parade and shows and fireworks at the MK ... letting people enter MK for MVMCP at 4 p.m. -- THREE HOURS IN ADVANCE! ... Mouse Surplus -- don't go. What a waste. They appear to be having financial problems and are literally destroying all kinds of perfectly good furniture from the WL, Poly, Contemp and ASMu, fixtures, electronics etc ... and don't even talk about the lack of care they give 'artifacts' like Toad, Snow White, Space Mountain ride vehicles. Just a total depressing place. ... Epcot custodial needs to do better.

    Something else to chew on ... anyone recall my $23 hamburger at Chefs de France thread?

    Well, since the Free Dining Promotion is over (although if you are staying on property during December and book for next August or September now, you can get it), that burger has disappeared. So sad as we all know it was staple of fine French cuisine for years ;-)

    Guess what, though? The filet of beef is back on the menu. Although at a $3.50 price hike to $28.50. Bet it is gone again come August!

    Oh, and just try and book a PS at any popular or semi-popular dining locale for the rest of the month ... just try.

    Disney's goal is simple ... they want everyone to buy all their food from the Mouse in advance. Because if they do, they can go the cruise line route ... 4-5 entrees (one beef, one fish, one chicken, one pasta/veggie). That's what they want here, folks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    More Spirited observations:

    Epcot is a shoppers paradise during the holidays. At least World Showcase is. Great shops with unique (i.e. not Disney character crap) merchandise. China is a treasure trove of bargains and some early 2008 Olympic merchandise. No, no HKDL stuff ... that's a no-brainer. Yes, Brad, I will be spending $$$ in your park. Think about that when you think about turning another high end shop into a kidcot coloring station.

    Italy, Germany, Japan and China have the best, most unqiue items ... although the Canada shop (the only one not closed) actually has some cool stuff ... check out the soaps with names like Moose Spit and Dog Drool etc ... smells better than it sounds.

    Something shocked me while walking past Alfredo's on a glorious afternoon and finding diners opening MENUS! Yes. You read that correctly. REAL MENUS. Not a one-sheet of paper deal. You get to open and close it ... it has multiple (well, two is multiple) pages.

    Alfredo's has returned to (almost) the old days. They have actually beefed up (no pun intended as I didn't see beef entrees) their offerings. There are a good 15 entree choices for LUNCH! And, yes, the food is really good. Let's hope this is the start of a trend and not an outside operator thumbing its nose at Disney Food and Beverage.

    New carpeting in O Canada theater ... precursor to the new film coming in 2007. Just hope they keep the theme song and also not cut eight minutes of film like they did with China.

    So far, almost all CMs have been very, very good (yes, obviously I haven't dealt with any managers, execs or publicists). One exception ... when you mistakenly put two adults (who are not a couple) into a king bed room, you don't stand around the front desk talking to a manager in the back on the phone discussing why the individuals don't want to sleep together. You just don't. Common sense.

    Epcot pavement is starting to look like DLP with little potholes developing on the WS promenade.

    Heard Al Weiss was hosting a party at the Studios last night. I guess my invite got lost in the holiday mail ;-)

    Oh, and the idiot replacing our current idiot as governor was at the MK today for some foster family photo opp.

    Off to some park ...

    Comments, questions, cheap shots ...

  3. #3

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    lol... great observations...

    mouse surplus is under new ownership... thats probably the main problem... they have to much stuff and not enough room and have been trying to unload the surplus of the surplus... and get newer different stuff.. maybe visit them in 6 months... might be different then. (I did finally get my millionare keypad after they changed ownership / mangagmen)

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Two things:
    1) MouseSurplus. I agree on the observations but hey I got WL furniture cheap so I am happy.

    2) Just try to get Priority Seating for the rest of the month? We just made reservations for the 23, 24 & 25 lunches no issue at all. So it really depends on where you are going (Kona Cafe, Grand Cafe & Whispering Canyon).

  5. #5

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Quote Originally Posted by figment1986 View Post
    lol... great observations...

    mouse surplus is under new ownership... thats probably the main problem... they have to much stuff and not enough room and have been trying to unload the surplus of the surplus... and get newer different stuff.. maybe visit them in 6 months... might be different then. (I did finally get my millionare keypad after they changed ownership / mangagmen)
    I have heard that too, Figgy. My problem is just the total destruction of the merchandise for no reason.

    If they put a post on a board like this saying 'Come pay us $100 and take as much as you want' it would make a whole lot more sense then just destroying the stuff.

    And they have those Millionaire keypads all smashed and ruined and lying all over the floor anywhere. I'm just amazed that a company like this thinks it will stay in business by taking quality (albeit used) Mousecafacts and turning them into crap.

    I won't be going back. I'd rather buy at other more reputable sources.

  6. #6

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Quote Originally Posted by tloolgb View Post
    Two things:
    1) MouseSurplus. I agree on the observations but hey I got WL furniture cheap so I am happy.

    2) Just try to get Priority Seating for the rest of the month? We just made reservations for the 23, 24 & 25 lunches no issue at all. So it really depends on where you are going (Kona Cafe, Grand Cafe & Whispering Canyon).
    1.) To see how they are literally destroying what they have left makes me sick ... especially at holiday time. There are needy people who could really use furniture like that, but they'd rather break it up and toss it out.

    2.) You are correct about lunch. For Alfredo's we walked right up and were seated immediately. No PS at all. Getting Coral Reef for lunch just a few days ago for next week was no problem, either. But they had nothing for dinner at CR until 12/29 (I think may have been later.) Booking two months ago, I had to take a very late dinner at both Boma and Cal Grill.
    Also, your lunch choices are resorts and locations that aren't overly popular with the possible exception of WC ... although I love Kona!

  7. #7

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Wound up at the MK tonight (not much choice as everything else closed early) ... and my impressions were less positive on a very crowded Saturday night that had no Christmas entertainment ... have to wait until next 12/23 for it unless you want to pay $46 extra.

    Crowd control and custodial were both overwhelmed, which is a trend on busy days/nights. Main Street gets very dirty on nights like tonight.

    Folks seemed happy with Wishes, but they don't know they're missing Holiday Wishes.

    Haunted Mansion continues to be a mess. Audio hasn't worked right in eons. Scrims are falling apart.

    The TTA is also showing lots of signs of wear and tear ... both the cars and the track area ... parts near Space Mountain are just very, very dirty. Bad show. Pooh was very dirty ... both queue, cars and inside the ride.

    Couldn't help but notice how the trend of moving merchandise outside and closing shops continues. This is old news, but to see Elephant Tales and the Bazaar turned into storerooms (like Golden Galleon) so the merchandise can be pushed like at a flea market or outlet mall is just very tacky. Although there is some themed Adventureland merchandise available, but I believe it's just extras of what can be bought at DAK.

    On the subject of shopping, where is Paul Pressler when you need him? His dream of turning Main Street into a mall is complete. The left side is now one giant Emporium/World of Disney ... what once was about 5-6 shops, including the barber shop and a flower market on the now gone Center Street, is one large complex. No theming at all. People can now carry a basket of merchandise from almost the Fire House to Casey's and pay for it anywhere. When you walk into certain former shops like Disney Clothiers or Main Street Athletic there are now overhead signs that say 'Men's Apparel' or 'Children's Apparel' ... kind of like being in Macy's. I'd love to know what story marketing ... I mean WDI has come up with for turning half of a turn of the century American street into a Disney character merchandise outlet.

    Kind of a downer, I admit.

    As was taking a phone call under the Skyway station and realizing how deserted that area has become ... and seeing the Skyway Shop with blacked out windows and HUGE padlocks on the doors.

    Then I happened to meet a dude who used to drive monorails in the mid-late 80s at WDW, and whose father helped build the MK, and it was so interesting to hear his take on how 'disappointed Walt would be today' and how 'it's going to take one major accident with a bus and dozens of standing passengers that results in lawsuits before Disney takes its transport problems seriously.' I can't disagree with either statement.

    Sometimes I think everytime Disney takes one step forward, it takes a few back.

    Tomorrow ... it's off to Universal/IOA to see how the competition does Christmas.

  8. #8

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Very fair and balanced, and from what I have seen recently I agree, but ....


    children and adults who don't cover their mouths when coughing


    I mean, can we really pin that one on Disney? I would like to smack them in the back of the head as well, but I really cannot blame the staff for that one.

  9. #9

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    On the subject of shopping, where is Paul Pressler when you need him? His dream of turning Main Street into a mall is complete. The left side is now one giant Emporium/World of Disney ... what once was about 5-6 shops, including the barber shop and a flower market on the now gone Center Street, is one large complex. No theming at all. People can now carry a basket of merchandise from almost the Fire House to Casey's and pay for it anywhere. When you walk into certain former shops like Disney Clothiers or Main Street Athletic there are now overhead signs that say 'Men's Apparel' or 'Children's Apparel' ... kind of like being in Macy's. I'd love to know what story marketing ... I mean WDI has come up with for turning half of a turn of the century American street into a Disney character merchandise outlet.
    I think this is just horrible. I usualy do not go in the Main Stree stores, but I had to run in there last Feb becuse one of my kids forgot her sweatshirt and was cold and I figured "why not?" I walk in there and I was overwhelmed. If I wanted that sort of experence - of a croweded mall - I can save the airfare and stay home. I live almost in the middle of the retail capital of America - 2 miles from Paramus NJ. I go on vacation get away from here, not to drag it with me.

    "Paramus is one of the largest shopping meccas in the country, with over $5 billion in annual retail sales, more than any other ZIP Code in the United States.[1]"

  10. #10

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    I love how it's all open. It's a traffic pattern thing mostly. and as far as a shopping mall. It's not different than world of disney in downtown disney. you can find what you need and during bad weather stay warm and dry btw it's the same on both sides of the street. It's open from the cinema all the way to mad hatters. Each shop still has its merchandise it's just tthat they are all connected and the emporium has a little bit of evertything in the park. If all the shops were closed in you couldnt get in to shop because they would be too small. at least the merchandise isn't the old disney store stuff or the generic disney parks. and frankly if you don't like it you don't have to shop there.

  11. #11

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    I used to love to shop on Main Street USA, now I save all my shopping for World of Disney. It's no different. I miss the Hallmark Shop, New Century Clock Shop, The Bakery, The China Shop, The Camera Shop, The small candy shop, the glass blower shop, even the silhouette shop.

    I suppose what Main Street has become has been a turn of the century version of Wal-Mart.

    Two weeks ago I stopped by the ice cream parlor, and they didn't even have the handmade toll house cookie ice cream sandwiches anymore. I used to love those. Now I am stuck with the pre-packaged kind you can buy anywhere.

    The shops used to be connected before as well, but it was like an archway or doorway you went through. It wasn't one big open area as it is now. Each shop had character (not just the plush kind). Sure the Hallmark shop sold the same old greeting cards, but I bet a turn of the century main street had a card or stationery store. Oh that's right people don't send cards or write anymore, they send emails.

    What happened to the book store, who reads anymore, hey have to have PA systems tell them things, or a movie made out of it.

    Main Street isn't the only place that suffers. The whole park does. All the shops have basically the same merchandise. One of the things I used to love to do was spend the hot afternoons shopping on Main Street. Can't do that anymore, everystore is like a mini emporium or World of Disney store. Gets boring after having walked through the emporium or the first store. Hopefully the same fate won't befall World Showcase at Epcot. Future World has already fallen. Disney-MGM has some hope, but is close to have fallen as well. Animal Kingdom just doesn't have much in the way of shops as it is, let alone anything with shelter.

    Fast Passes were created to keep people out of lines and maybe in shops buying things, but every shop sells teh same thing, so why shop. Now they just crowd the sstreets with oversized strollers creating traffic jams at every turn.

    Don't get me started on the reataurant fare. I guess the world revolves around hamburgers, chicken fingers, and pizza, and for the kiddies Macaroni and Cheese or Uncrustables. Want anything else, well pay almost $50 a person for a character buffet that you book 6 months in advance.

    Columbia Harbour House used to Have an Awesome New England Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl, now the watery slop they serve as Clam Chowder at about $7 makes Campbells Chunky at $2.00 a can seem gourmet, Oh the bread, it's gone, now it comes in a paper bowl Yummy.

    Other restaurants that have changed, or are completely gone, that I loved, Tomorrowland Noodle Station - is this ever open anymore, and do they have the same menu. Tahitian Terrace, a better location for the noodle concept, but the food there in the early days was awesome. Where the noodle station is/was used to be a great counter service area. The menu boards looked as though there was water in them or something, seemed fturistice even if they just served what Cosmic Rays sells now. Speaking of Cosmic Rays, two weeks ago the sandwich bay was toatally empty. The menu board was even blank. What happened? The only things available was the roasted chicken, ribs were gone, and of course the standard hamburgers were there in Bay 2.

    Pecos Bills has changed too. The melted cheese is gone now and well now it's just like all the other hamburger places in the park. I guess if I want a decent meal now, I'll exit the park and hit Kona Cafe, Grand Floridian Cafe, or whatever might be open at the Contemporary. At least Epcot still has some variety.

  12. #12

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ti2gr View Post
    Tomorrowland Noodle Station - is this ever open anymore, and do they have the same menu.
    Last time I ate at the noodle station was in Feburary. Worst food ever. Period, end of summary. And this comming from a guy who drinks lime kool-aide with strips of baloney in it. Really, it was bad. There is not much I will not eat on the face of this earth, but this was just bad. Do you get the impression that it was bad?


    And I agree with you about the shops on main street. Yes, they were all interconnected, and yes they are all part of the WDW sales force, but the IMAGE was that they were different. They do that in the malls up here. The food court has 10 to 12 different fast food places, but behind the store fronts there is a giant common kitchen area in the back. People like to feel like they have a choice, even when they know they do not. It's part of the whole immersion into the theme thing that is slowly going away.

    Hell, why not empty out the shops and put in an automat of items. Like a big vending section. Stick your credit card in the slot, select item B57, and your purchase will be waiting for you at the gate. That really conveys the warm cozy down home feel of main street USA.

    -dave

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    THERE IS still melted cheese at pecos bills you have to pay for it and ask for it. as far as food goes, commodity prices are on the rise and costs have skyrocketed because of draughts and mad cow disease and e coli to name a few. in a business mode it's either two things. cut back or pass costs on to the consumer. you want to be paying 15 bucks for a burger and fries? a loaf of bread in our local grocery store has gone from just under a dollar to 1.25 and thats not the large size because they don't sell the large size. and btw that is over the last year. If bread at home is going up almost 13% Imagine what the food bil at disney is like even if they get it wholesale, those prices have skyrocketted as well.

  14. #14

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    Re: Spirited Holiday Observations ...

    Whoa, almost all your negatives are real genuine downers I can't complain about. You have no argument from me. That glass thing is just unusual, though. I wonder if room upkeep will be as bad at Contemporary. At least the rooms are pretty new. =/

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Oh, and just try and book a PS at any popular or semi-popular dining locale for the rest of the month ... just try.
    Oh :!$#%: heck! Based on comments here that most table service restaurants aren't too busy now that free dining is gone, we only made one PS for the trip (character meal, natch) and plan to do the rest by winging it. Unless a fair number of PSes go unclaimed, I guess.

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