And my first one here on Mice Chat. Haven't been on the site in a while, so I may not be up to speed on everything. I just made a few observations on my nine day trip that I thought I'd share. My usual disenchantment with the parks was not as heavy this time around, which is surprising considering my last trip was made with no background knowledge of Disney World whatsoever. I had figured this trip would be even harder on me, but surprisingly, I found some things to have changed for the better, and a handful of complaints that are mostly just the same old ones. Here's a brief synopsis of what I thought.
- Customer Service seemed to be kicked up a notch. I don't usually notice that many cast members around when you need them, but them seemed ever prevalent this trip. Most where cordial, a few where even outright engaging. Only one or two made me want to run and hide, mostly in the parking areas. Most everyone recognized my daughter was in a wheelchair and not a stroller. The few that didn't, realized their mistake right away. Only two seemed to have a problem understanding that, and by that time our trip was over and we only had two rides left to go. They let us in anyway.
- Ding dong, the wand is gone! Nuff' said.
- The food is still outstanding and the Dining Plan, to coin a phrase, rocks.
- Pirates of the Caribbean was nowhere near as bad as I feared it would be. Though I hope that's the extent of the self-consuming pirate-ification of the park. Now that there's a movie tie in, I don't want the ride to suddenly start to date itself. The Jack animatronics are really quite nice. Though I would have liked to have seen more then one or two classic characters get an upgrade.
- Turtle Talk with Crush. Brilliant concept executed professionally. I can't imagine it fitting in any other park or pavilion. The concept is suited to The Living Seas as much as The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. Yeah, I know. But I like to laugh. If your not a fan of corny humor, then stay away from this one. My dad would have loved this.
- Nemo: The Musical is a friggin Broadway play in Disney World. How could you NOT like it?
- Nemo: The Ride. Okay, this is also in The Bad. I like the ride a lot and will no doubt ride it multiple times even in a single day. But location is an issue for me.
- Merchandise. Can you believe there was actually stuff in the parks that I wanted to buy this year? This year. Not two years ago when I went to the park with plenty of extra money. This year. The year I went broke. <sigh>
Alright, I'll start simple. Here's some shots of our hotel and the place with which we ate. A little later, I'll post some pics of Day 1.
- The usual stuff. Giant Hat where it's not supposed to be. Rides that just so happen to be closed on the day of my visit. And that one cast member that inevitably ends up either yelling at me or treating me like I'm ten years old. But that's passable and unavoidable at this point.
- Expedition Everest. Okay, this had nothing to do with the experience. I really do love everything about this ride. It's flawless. The themeing is great. The location is perfect. The execution is grand. The bad was when I looked down in the silhouette area and saw exactly HOW the track transitions. (!) That scared me more then anything else. I only pray that's some really, REALLY fool-proof technology. Other then that, I'm going on it again.
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Great ride in the wrong park in the wrong pavilion. The Sea Cabs definitely needed something more then what they were, from the very start. But the Nemo overlay does nothing to justify the pavilion's existence. A really nice 24 karat gold-platted Square Peg in a round hole that needed an update.
- The Grand Fiesta Tour. Dear God in Heaven. That cartoon covered sign looks terrible in the middle of the Mexican street. The refurbishment itself is beautiful. The new facades really add something to the ride. The cartoon characters serve to completely nullify that.
I took over 600 photos, so there's bound to be some good ones among the schlock. I'll try and post only those. We stayed at Coronado Springs. My wife must have liked it, because she insists we stay there again next year.
My wife has this tradition of taking detailed photos of hotel rooms she stays in, so since I had camera duty this time around, I took the requisite shots.
I hate that I didn't get to see the largest of the pools, because that's the one with the Mayan pyramid and the heavy themeing. I guess I'll have to wait till next time.
Here's some shots of in and around the lobby:
The Pepper Market was a nice large open area that my wife ate breakfast at each morning. What you did is your hostess would seat you, you'd order a drink and then take your ticket to a group of kiosks at the far end (forgot to snap shots of the kiosks). There you'd order from kiosks where cooks were making fresh food. They had a kiosk where they grilling really large fajitas and quesadillas. (I ate there twice.) There was a bakery one, a coffee one, a place that made Asian food, a steak and burger kiosk, a deli one and a place in the back that made fresh pizzas. I'd say some of those kiosks were out of place, if it weren't for the heavy decor and actual Mexicans in authentic looking garb cooking at each one.
The Maya Grill was right next door to the Pepper Market, and was a more traditional sit down restaurant with a Mayan theme. I tried to avoid using my flash so I could capture the low lighting of the place accurately. While the colors are very close, it came out very blurred. Still, it was one of the best places we ate on the trip. This first pic shows the optional walk up/take out windows of the Pepper Market right next to the Maya Grill. The second is the entrance right by the sign, with the flash turned on.
I'm an idiot, I didn't think to take more pics of the food.
A shot from outside the restaurant I took on the way back to our room.
Here's a nice shot looking down the hallway from restaurant area towards the lobby.
Really bad shot of a really nice rear exit:
Shot these on a walk back to our room. That's our room in that building (The Casitas) across the lake. Did I mention there was a lake?
And some random shots of the lobby building.
Yeah, I know. I'm not a good night photographer. But I was never really a picture taker in the past, and I'm trying to rectify that. Probably need to invest in a better digital camera.
Next up, Magic Kingdom.