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  1. #1

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    Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    I just got back, and all in all we had a great time at WDW for my daughter's 3rd birthday! Here are some random thoughts that I thought you might all find of possible interest... in other words, when I thought these things, I made a mental note to post them here once I got back!

    1. Haunted Mansion re-do: INCREDIBLE. I know it has been said before, but so much more vivid, audible, wonderful. What else can I really say that has not been said before? My only complaint is that you move a bit fast through the new attic scene to catch what is going on with the bride... unless I had had the backstory I would have been lost. And the average tourist doesn't have the backstory, so they may be confused. You don't see the bride long enough for the average person to understand, IMO. BUt other than that minor squabble, just incredible.

    2. SE sans wand- again, amazing. A sight to be seen. Speaking of old-style EPCOT, I did wear my "I'm Celebrating EPCOT Center's 25th Anniversary... since Disney's not" shirt. I got a reaction from one old-time cast member, and we talked about old epcot for a while- that was nice- but no other reaction. Here's a pic of me in the shirt- front and back- not too good of a picture but it is the best one I could find in the photos we took! You can't really read the back in the second pic, but it is the only pic of the back I have and it gives you an idea of the layout. (the back said 'since disney's not')





    Also, speaking of old-time EPCOT, did anyone notice the error in the 25th anniversary display? I will post the error in a second post below. I did not see it discussed here before I left. Other than the error, I loved the exhibit!!!

    3. No more slow times! I guess disney marketing has succeeded, because there are really no more slow times. October was our traditional visiting time, because it was so slow- but last week was as busy as the summertime! I don't know what was up, but it was crazy. That was a disappointment, but we dealt with it.

    4. That rolls into my next observation, priority seating craziness. it was very difficult to get a same day reservation, as we all know it is, but the average joe does not... and I witnessed countless average joes finding out the hard way. One newlywed couple was on line at EPCOT guest relations behind me, and could not get in anywhere. It was sad. However, outside of EPCOT walk-ins can be found if you eat at off times... we were able to walk in to the Sci Fi for an early lunch, although we were not in a car.

    5. Speaking of PSs, thank you for your advice about keeping my PS for dh and I's date night at Le Cellier- it was delicious, and not at all terribly loud.

    6. Characters: Having a young daughter, characters are a priority and dang do they eat up time! This leads to a major annoyance of my trip. My dd's must see was Marie from Aristocats, her fave character and I dutifully visited Guest Realtions every day at 11 am to see if she was anywhere on property. NO luck, until her birthday, when we were told marie would be in france at 1:30! It was great! WE got over there... and it was all a big mistake. Marie had actually appeared the day before. I was so annoyed. Ok, I can understand if they told me marie was cancelled- things can change, and maybe the actor became ill. BUt I had called every day, and they told me she had not been in the park when she had been! The cast members in france acted like this happens a lot, and I have to say that they need to tighten up this service if they can- it could lead to a lot of disappointment.

    7. Ohana: Getting back to meals, boy, Ohana's service and food is really really really terrible. Ohana had always been a must-do for us, but based on the decline we had been witnessing I had planned to skip it this year, but dh requested it. So we went- food was bad as always but this time service was just as bad! Told them dd has a peanut allergy, and the server comes by right after that and clunks down the peanut sauce directly in front of her. Then they never bring us steak or pork after multiple requests... finally they ask if we want dessert, I ask them to bring it after the show portion because half our party is up on the dance floor, but then she walks away and brings it immediately, just as I had asked her NOT to do! I know they are trying to turn over tables, but please! I had to give her a bad tip- that dessert delivery was the last straw. We will definately not be going back there again.

    8. Everest: I was disappointed that both the bird at the top of the hill and the yeti were broken. Also, all the waterfalls that used to run down the mountain (didn't they?) were off... it's too soon for Everest to start to decline by degrees already!

    9. Food and Wine: Morocco was selling bud and bud light- that is so wrong! And they told me they had been out of the morocan beer for weeks. Big disappointment- that is one of my favorites.

    10: The Coral Reef: Well, we went there for dd's birthday dinner, since she likes fish, and I was nervous. But it was incredible! I had steak and it was very good. WE also got the service where the diver swims up to the glass with a sign for dd's bday- it was very nice. Yes, it's loud in there- very loud. BUt since I have a young daughter I don't mind. I would not go there for a date night though- Le Cellier was much better suited to that IMO.

    11. Confusing new ride storylines: This was the first year I went on the new pirates with Johnny Depp. I like the waterfall effect as you first go in, but for the life of me I could not figure out what the storyline was with Capt Jack. WHy was he hiding? It seemed very random and confusing (although the anamatronic was incredible). Also, the storyline of the new Mexico ride is very confusing to me. WHy are they chasing donald? It does not seem clear. These two rides were disappointing to me because it seemed like they just threw in new characters and did not spend any time developing them into a new cohesive story. It's sad- now that SE is closed and this new Mexico boat ride is not up my alley, the only ride I really like anymore at EPCOT is Malestrom!

    Well, that is all that I can think of for now... it was a tiring trip because it was so crouded, but I am dealing with some major WDW withdrawl right now! This will probably be the last time we go until at least 2009, since next year we would have to buy dd a ticket, so I am so glad I got to be there for EPCOT's 25th (as small as it was). Here's a few last retro EPCOT shots for good measure:

    Ah, it's gorgeous!


    I got to see those old World Key kiosks- they're still there, if you squeeze behind a planter!!!


    So does anyone know the error in the 25th anniversary exhibit? I will post it a little later... and I hope you enjoyed my observations!

  2. #2

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    I almost forgot-

    1. the chip and dale campfire and sing a long at fort wilderness is awesome- a must do for families. And I have to say I love the ambiance of fort wilderness as well. I should have done this sooner!

    2. Downtown Disney looks very junky during daylight (especially the West Side). WE went to Raglan ROad for dinner (very good), but the West Side looked like an abandoned 70s strip mall. Maybe it was because Planet Hollywood is being renovated, but it would not entice me to come again!

    3. DId you know they started charging for getting names stitched on mickey ears in 2005? I just found out friday- a major decline in degrees IMO. It was always such a nice little touch for that to be a complimentary service. Charging for it is chintzy... but I guess the new guest will never know the difference.

    4. The new David Koenig book, Realityland, is good! The first few chapters were dull, and I was thinking the purchase was a mistake, as it was mainly a rehash of how they built WDW and it was stuff I already knew. But then it really picked up and I learned a lot- I would highly recommend it!!!

    So, no guesses on the error?
    Last edited by Nom; 10-21-2007 at 12:19 PM. Reason: because I keep remembering stuff to add!

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Hmmm... I have to say that I was too emotional (crying my way thru it) to notice any errors and I'm sure they are some since this exhibit was put together quickly by people who probably didn't give a darn about EPCOT in the first place.. Other than that, I enjoyed reading your trip report and pics. Love your "kevin-speak".. declining by degrees..LOL! Thanks for sharing. Now, waiting to find out what the error is...

    BTW.. there was an error on the limited edition Figment plush as well...

  4. #4

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nom View Post
    11. Confusing new ride storylines: This was the first year I went on the new pirates with Johnny Depp. I like the waterfall effect as you first go in, but for the life of me I could not figure out what the storyline was with Capt Jack. WHy was he hiding? It seemed very random and confusing (although the anamatronic was incredible). Also, the storyline of the new Mexico ride is very confusing to me. WHy are they chasing donald? It does not seem clear. These two rides were disappointing to me because it seemed like they just threw in new characters and did not spend any time developing them into a new cohesive story. It's sad- now that SE is closed and this new Mexico boat ride is not up my alley, the only ride I really like anymore at EPCOT is Malestrom!
    Just got back from a trip myself (look out for an in depth TR in the next few days - it's got my thoughts on Ohana, amongst some other things you mention),
    but I believe the story line of PotC is now that Barbarossa wants the town to hand over Sparrow or he'll set his crew on the town, (He's yelling as much over the cannon fire).
    The pirate who's dunking the mayor is also asking about Jack (but doesn't realise he's hiding behind him).
    The portly pirate in front of the barrel Sparrow is hiding in is congratulating himself that he's got a treasure map, and that Jack Sparrow will never get his hands on the booty.
    Jack is of course looking over his shoulder and reading the map. Jack then makes it into the treasure room for the finale.

    It's easy to miss the overall story, as it's mostly dialogue driven, so if you don't catch a particular character saying a specific line it's easy to let it pass you by.
    The Jack Sparrow AAs are amazing (especially the barrel one), but I still don't know why the pirates want Jack in the first place though

    As for Gran Fiesta - the best I can make of it is that Donald is missing on the first night of the Caballeros tour of Mexico, and they have to catch up with him before showtime.

    Glad you had a good trip - any more pics?


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

  5. #5

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    but I still don't know why the pirates want Jack in the first place though
    because, it's Captain Jack Sparrow, luv.




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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Love your "kevin-speak".. declining by degrees..LOL!
    Can you tell I love his columns? I usually agree with him on a lot, lol.

    Glad you had a good trip - any more pics?
    Yes, we took over 600 pics! We're bad like that. I will look through them tonight and see if there are any other good ones to share.

    I have to note about the Marie character hotline error- the employees in France were incredible and real 'old- disney' customer service. They were going to give my dd a marie plush to make it up to her, but she already had the plush so they gave her a Marie sticker set. It was a very nice consolation, but I still wish the character hotline worked better! Also, with the push on Marie toys everywhere in the parks, why is she so rare to meet still? ugh.

    Now, waiting to find out what the error is...
    I will give you all one more day to see if anyone knows the error in the EPCOT Center display... here's a hint. It's in one of the World Showcase posters. I'll post the answer this afternoon!

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Well, I won't be around for the rest of the day, so here's the error. I wish my dh had taken a picture of it!

    Look at the Germany 'poster'- they have a photo of the pavilion during construction, but the photo is actually Norway under construction! You can tell by the large Malestrom show building, and the countries next door.

  8. #8

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    >>3. No more slow times! I guess disney marketing has succeeded, because there are really no more slow times. October was our traditional visiting time, because it was so slow- but last week was as busy as the summertime! I don't know what was up, but it was crazy. That was a disappointment, but we dealt with it.<<

    September is still pretty slow. But October is such a huge convention month, then with the Halloween parties and Food and Wine - this year was the busiest I've ever seen!

    Denise
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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    but I still don't know why the pirates want Jack in the first place though
    Jack wears mascara, acts queenish, and has a sense of fashion.. Why do you think the other pirates want him?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nom
    Also, with the push on Marie toys everywhere in the parks, why is she so rare to meet still? ugh.
    Not in the Tokyo parks where she is all over the place at both TDL and TDS, plus Marie has one of the largest single character merchandise lines in the park, which includes anything from plushes, to clothing, to assesories, to cellphone straps, postcards, stationary ..etc etc etc etc
    But here at WDW, I have only seen her at the Chinese Theater forecourt doing photo meets.

    Look at the Germany 'poster'- they have a photo of the pavilion during construction, but the photo is actually Norway under construction! You can tell by the large Malestrom show building, and the countries next door.
    Interesting. I will have to check that out later this week.

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Idon't mind paying to have name put on hat, in california we paid to have bows put on the mouse ears so they would be "minnie" ears instead. I was surprised they haven't started charging for them in California because they have the nice programable sewing machines where you type in the name and the machine does the rest. I don't really consider that declining by degrees.

  11. #11

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post

    Not in the Tokyo parks where she is all over the place at both TDL and TDS, plus Marie has one of the largest single character merchandise lines in the park, which includes anything from plushes, to clothing, to assesories, to cellphone straps, postcards, stationary ..etc etc etc etc
    But here at WDW, I have only seen her at the Chinese Theater forecourt doing photo meets.
    Is there some cultural significance to the Marie Fetish with the Japanese? I know they have the happy cat that has some sort of link to prosperity. I'm just wondering if there's something else going on there...
    Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Tha japanese are into "cuteness" and Marie is concidered the cutest character Disney has out there... I guess she reminds the japanese of Hello Kitty, who has her own theme park as well in west Tokyo, Sanrio Puroland in Tama.

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    Tha japanese are into "cuteness"
    Ahh that's why my wife doesn't want me to travel to that conference in Tokyo.....
    Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nom View Post
    6. Characters: Having a young daughter, characters are a priority and dang do they eat up time! This leads to a major annoyance of my trip. My dd's must see was Marie from Aristocats, her fave character and I dutifully visited Guest Realtions every day at 11 am to see if she was anywhere on property. NO luck, until her birthday, when we were told marie would be in france at 1:30! It was great! WE got over there... and it was all a big mistake. Marie had actually appeared the day before. I was so annoyed. Ok, I can understand if they told me marie was cancelled- things can change, and maybe the actor became ill. BUt I had called every day, and they told me she had not been in the park when she had been! The cast members in france acted like this happens a lot, and I have to say that they need to tighten up this service if they can- it could lead to a lot of disappointment.
    Interestingly enough, when we were going through France on Tuesday (10/16) we looked back in the character spot and there was Marie! My boys have both seen ARISTOCATS once but they weren't that impressed with her and didn't care about getting the autograph. So we passed.

    Scott

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    Re: Just got back! Various thoughts about WDW last week... (the good and the bad)

    As someone else has already given the storyline of POTC fairly well, I'll cover the gran fiesta one.

    The three cabelleros are scheduled to perform a concert in Mexico, but as soon as they get into the country, Donald being Donald takes off to start checking out all the sites. So the other two have to chase him all over the country so that they can make the performance. I think it does a great job of introducing the characters into the ride and adding some fun to it as well as showing off much of the beauty and history of Mexico.

    In the end they finally grab Donald and make it to their performance on time which is what you see at the end of the ride.

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