Day five – Wednesday, April 24, 2013
again we’re facing a fairly hot day in Orlando with a theme park
on the schedule.
don’t get me wrong, you move to Florida… live in Florida… vacation
in Florida to get days with lots of sunshine and temperatures
in the mid-80s or above. The weather for this trip has been, for
the most part and even with some rain, exceptional.
said, when visiting theme parks, give me slightly cloudy without
a chance of rain and temperatures in the 60s or 70s. It’s the
idea of comfort while being very active… being surrounded by people…
being able to last in a place where it’s likely going to be a
long day outdoors. (If you don’t understand the sunshine comment,
I need you to head over to Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios
Orlando on the brightest of bright and sunshiny days. Walk into
Seuss Landing. No cheating… take those sunglasses off. I rest
you take into consideration the crowds that come in the summer
months and then top it off with rising temperatures… yeah… don’t
expect to see me in many Florida theme parks between Memorial
Day and Labor Day weekends. (And I have been in these theme parks
on days when your clothes were thoroughly soaked in sweat and
you felt like you were melting into the pavement. It’s draining.
It’s tiring. And it most certainly does not feel like quality
return on dollar invested for the visit.)
the most part, our experiences on this trip have been very good.
We’ve really been using an easy approach to the parks, knowing
there is a bit of heat along four straight park days to contend
with. For the Animal Kingdom and Epcot that approached still resulted
in: (1) we got to every ride, attraction or other place we had
identified as a must for one or more people in our group, (2)
we found some new things, and (3) we had some really great and
introduction may seem a bit strange placed here, but it will come
together as we prepare to spend some time in Disney’s Hollywood
Studios today. To truly complete the introduction though, one
quick side story before we begin our adventure.
several years, the family vacations I took with my parents and
sisters were each marked by a visit to an emergency room. This
is not the place to expand on all of them… suffice to say, I’ve
ridden on a security golf cart or two to a first aid station in
in Florida, the family had gone to a water park for the day. As
I recall, my sister fell, and I just don’t remember if on this
occasion she needed stitches on her knee or a bandage on her head.
What I can tell you is that as we sat in a waiting area, we all
became quite aware of the fact that each of us was right on the
cusp of really bad sunburns. We were all brilliantly red and could
feel the heat pouring off of our bodies even in the air conditioning
of the waiting room. We left the water park because my sister
was hurt… we would have stayed longer if she hadn’t fallen… and
in the end, her moments of misery quite literally saved all of
us from some serious pain.
keep this in mind… the way the sun and heat can create moments,
and the idea that adjusting things for one can reset the experiences
a slow morning in our rooms. We look through the fridge for leftovers
to use as breakfast. Terry and I play cards… with Terry mounting
a strong comeback from way behind to take the day’s dirty hand
and foot between us.
plans involve the Hollywood Studios, and we have reservations
at roughly 2:30pm for the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Terry wants
to catch Fantasmic! to finish the visit, and there are two shows
scheduled for tonight. In simple terms… keeping with our approach
of not killing ourselves, that means we don’t have intentions
of heading to the park too early. (More complex terms? Ok… tomorrow
is the Magic Kingdom… possibly the longest of all of our park
visits, another mid-80s-plus and sunny forecast, and certainly
another day of mileage for the feet. We are not heading in to
Hollywood Studios at 10am for a 12-hour visit.)
thing about great plans though. Sometimes they get adjusted. We
hit noon in the suite… there’s not much on television… there are
no plans for lunch with a restaurant reservation for the early
to mid-afternoon… no desire to deal more cards or head to the
pool… and we all begin moving in the direction of assembling things
for the day. It doesn’t take long and we’re all kind of just sitting
there, ready to go, but no one looking to be the first one moving
for the door.
suggests that if we leave, we could stop and pick up our $20 from
the timeshare reservation payment on the way, and that gets us
all nodding and into motion. And, well, here’s a funny story…
on Sunday I mentioned some of the amazing and wondrous possibilities
that could be made available to you through the magic of a timeshare
presentation. For your consideration… I submit that these presentations
are not all evil, cruel, nasty and frightening things. Some of
the properties I have visited have been amazing. I have friends
that love their ownership of units. Again though -- and I cannot
stress this enough -- these are professional sales pitches. They
are delivered with bells and whistles and pages after pages after
pages after pages of ever changing numbers, delivered by experienced
people that want you to buy. It is not for everyone. And while
perception and rumors at times exaggerate the realities, there
are rock-solid reasons many people quite justifiably can say they
did not enjoy their experiences.
part of the thank you package for listening to their offers, we
ended up with a fantastic deal on our park tickets. Going through
the experience was worth it to us. When we made our reservations
though, two clauses went into motion.
up… we were told that if we didn’t go to the presentation, we
would be charged the difference between our discounted ticket
prices and the actual costs. (Well, of course we would be charged
the additional costs. If that happened, we didn’t complete our
end of the agreement. Makes sense. Naturally… for those of you
thinking of attending a presentation to enjoy the gifts and perks
and whatever… get everything signed and keep your receipts.)
a $20 breakfast deposit. (Wait… what? A deposit? It was supposed
to be a nice breakfast, and this was just a deposit that would
be refunded once we joined them, and… yeah… saving a few hundred
dollars allowed us to shrug our shoulders and hand over a twenty-dollar-bill.)
kind of an on-going adventure when it comes to this whole process.
Sure… the balloons and warm cookies are right there in the lobby
when they ask you to sign up. The presentation though takes place
in a different part of the property. And the breakfast is held
someplace else entirely. And then… “Oh, yeah… your $20? You need
to visit the Vacation Village office in the plaza just across
the road and on the other side of the parking lot.” (My quotes,
my words… but as memory serves, while trying to find the entrance
to the plaza I may have turned off of the road and driven across
a strip of grass ten to twenty feet wide to get into the parking
lot because extensive driving and u-turning and mounting frustrations
had shown that there was literally no place to turn and enter
the parking lot without driving over the lawn.)
of you that joined us for day four of the journey
might also recall what Terry was treated with today when she entered
the Vacation Village office.
gave them cash… currency… $20. They gave us a Visa gift card.
returned to the car and tried to explain the encounter. But, she
figured if they gave us a gift card they give everyone a gift
card, so the local merchants must be used to seeing them. And
so instead of fighting the system, she decided she wanted to wrap
that part of the journey up and just get moving. She placed the
receipts in her purse and told me to make sure I used the card
soon enough so we could return and make a fuss if it didn’t work.
(It did. And it was no big deal to use it.)
funny thing about all of this is that it’s probably taken me longer
to pass along this story than it did to actually drive along through
it. We were parked, on the tram and heading in to the Hollywood
Studios well before 1pm.
missed the ride last time… and knowing the FASTPASS option might
be limited because even that was sold out last time… we entered
the park and made our way to Toy Story Midway Mania! The line
was at roughly a 45-minute wait, and we ended up using FASTPASS
to set up a return at about 6pm.
there, we were only a few feet from the entry to Studio Backlot
Tour, and that’s where we headed for our first attraction in the
of the tour winds near the set for the Lights, Motors, Action!
Extreme Stunt Show, which got me thinking. A quick look at our
times guide, and it was apparent that our timing was going to
be perfect for attending the 1:20pm show.
we walk the route that leads to the stands for the show, it is
beginning to feel incredibly hot. It’s just after 1pm, so the
sun is peaking at that magic angle of an April day, and reflecting
off the steel and asphalt and other people to create that incredible
rise in temperature that is not offered by a mid-80s report on
the news. I’ve been to Disney parks on hotter days (Universal
parks too), but… this is a warm one.
sit in a shaded portion of the stands and break out our water
bottles… which, I think I’ve mentioned, for this trip are bottles
I froze overnight and packed when we left that day. We are getting
better at this game now. On Monday and Tuesday the water never
really melted, and that left us with a sip or two any time we
reached for them. This time we had a few sips as we arrived at
the park and began refilling it along the way. It worked out great
for the rest of our Hollywood Studios visit, and will again tomorrow
at the Magic Kingdom. Still had ice in the bottles hours later…
but also had cold water in the bottles.
the show ends we have a decision to make. The reservation we made
on Monday was for 2:35pm. It’s about 2pm now, so instead of trying
something else we all elect to head over to the Sci-Fi to see
if it might be possible to sit a bit early. Along the way, all
of us are looking around and commenting about the heat. It’s one
of the days that creates a consistent layer of sweat on your skin,
and a dampness throughout your clothes. (Which… sure… on a hot
day you should be more worried when you stop sweating, but I think
you get the idea. It’s a warm one.)
arrive at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and they do get us in right
away. As we begin looking over the menu, I swear in a bit of a
whisper that Terry managed to hear. When she looks at me, I show
her that the buffalo chicken potato skins… which were beyond description
INCREDIBLE on our last visit… are no longer on the menu.
I ask our waiter, and sure enough, they no longer exist for ordering.
overall was very good. Terry and I decided to kind of mix and
match, ordering the spicy buffalo popcorn chicken and the smoked
turkey sandwich and then splitting them. Terry also got the pomegranate
lemonade and it was outstanding. My notes say Justin and Kim got
the famous all-American picnic burger and a Reuben, but they don’t
say who got what.
all enjoyed the meals and the setting, and almost certainly will
visit again… but I was a bit disappointed with the potato skins
missing and the meal wasn’t a brilliant must-do-again kind of
thing. The next visit to this park will almost certainly involve
a return to the 50’s Prime Time Café.
for a Disney flashback…
used to have a pavilion called Wonders of Life. To my knowledge
the building is actually still there, though I believe it is somewhat
hidden from regular traffic and rarely used. (Have to be honest,
I didn’t look around for it yesterday.)
this pavilion was some great stuff. I loved Cranium Command. It
was also the home of Body Wars… and that’s where we are heading
with this segue.
Wars was a motion simulator ride that kind of played like a journey
from Fantastic Voyage -- you were in an experimental
vehicle being shrunk and placed inside a human body. The thing
about the attraction though was that many riders would leave it
feeling mild to severe motion sickness.
Tours in some ways is very similar to Body Wars… motion simulator
and I have heard stories over the years of motion sickness for
passengers. The thing is… while I do recall once being thrown
for a loop of my own on Body Wars, I don’t recall ever having
troubles on Star Tours. And, when I had my first opportunity to
ride Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, I had no difficulties.
said… difficulties or no… this history is important as our group
steps outside of the Sci-Fi restaurant.
day in Orlando was mostly sunny and crossing over 85-degrees.
While not excessively high, when you consider the walkways, glass
and design of a theme park… which includes color schemes that
reflect sun and hold heat, lots of walking, and time spent in
lines with crowds… mid-80s does not exactly scream comfort. (Palm
trees, waterside, cool beverage in hand? Sure… give me warmer
and all is good then.)
next to the restaurant is Star Tours… and it’s hot… and we’ve
just finished lunch… and I told you the history of these motion
simulator rides and…
all feeling pretty blah when we get off the ride.
massively ill… but this is the third day in a row of theme parks,
and all of them involved similar weather and walking. None of
us feels exactly right. It leaves us looking to slow down a bit
for the rest of the afternoon. We take a look at the map, and
things actually look good to support such an approach.
noted earlier, Kim isn’t a huge fan of bigger rides, so the Tower
of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster had been side-item-possibilities
and not primary-focus-destinations all along. Most of the attractions
we haven’t seen involve Muppets, Indiana Jones, and things like
the Great Movie Ride… hardly the stuff of rapid accelerations,
unexpected drops, and major twists or turns. And our FASTPASS
return to Toy Story Midway Mania! is after 6pm.
the record… our continuing adventure of Star Tours consisted of
the Vadar introduction leading to a pod race on Tatooine. From
there we met Yoda and then off to Naboo and Jar Jar.
left the land of Star Wars, we’re making our way to see
the Muppets and their 3-D adventure.
this trip, Justin went with Terry and I to Orlando in 1997 and
1999. He’s been in this park twice before… with both of those
falling under the Disney-MGM Studios name. Muppet*Vision 3-D has
been a part of a visit to this theme park for him every time.
funny… in a way, for me, it serves as this park’s Small World
-- a comforting attraction that may not stand should-to-shoulder
with the fastest, scariest, most technologically advanced in theme
parks around the world, and yet it still makes you smile every
time and is lovingly a must for you during a visit. (And for the
record… for me… Figment would take such an honor at Epcot, and
I suppose the Festival of the Lion King for the Animal
Kingdom. Again… not the everyone-is-talking-about-it must of the
park… but the comfort-must attraction.)
we leave the gift shop for the attraction, we’re left with an
interesting scenario. We’ve pretty much covered the Streets of
America and Echo Lake areas of the park (with exception pretty
much of only seeing Indiana Jones). We decide to check out The
Great Movie Ride and then wander back over for the Indiana Jones
Epic Stunt Spectacular! at 5:15pm.
Indy behind, the four of us head into the ABC Commissary. We get
some drinks and settle in, relaxing in the A/C and considering
the possible things to do before Fantasmic! completes our visit
to the park.
not that far from the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which will
also place us perfectly to return to the Toy Story attraction
around 6:30. It’s off to Ariel. (And an ice cream bar and a cream
cheese pretzel along the way.)
need to point out a few things as we find our way into Voyage
of the Little Mermaid. On this trip it was a bit noticeable how
some attractions have similar themes. I didn’t love the Finding
Nemo show at the Animal Kingdom… it was fine. But the attraction-based-on-the-movie’s-story
concept extended Finding Nemo from the Animal Kingdom into Epcot.
And the same thing is true with The Little Mermaid as
the new Fantasyland opens… with this attraction at the Hollywood
Studios in a small way being joined by the new attraction at the
not sure what it means. Maybe it was doing the Animal Kingdom
and Epcot back-to-back -- so Nemo was there on consecutive days…
and now doing Hollywood Studios with the Magic Kingdom tomorrow,
and Ariel’s story there. I enjoyed all four of the attractions
I’m mentioning. I would even visit the Nemo live show again, and
would definitely go to the attractions on my next visit. It is
worth noting though.
we’re heading back into the Pixar section of the Hollywood Studios,
and we are in for a huge surprise.
Story Midway Mania! is awesome.
good. Not great. It’s beyond those descriptions. It’s one of the
most fun rides I’ve been on in a long time. It’s interactive…
it makes you laugh… the ride itself has some speed and motion
that raises it a bit above a casual ride. Simple, pure enjoyment.
it’s a shooter-target game. But this one is different… in many
ways, it’s a living video game, as your ride vehicle is led along
a carnival midway. It stops at different points, allowing you
to face a screen, and then play the game for that section.
I wouldn’t say our results make us experts, we did have a lot
of fun playing. (Bob – 130,200… Justin – 90,200… Terry – 75,000…
Kim – 56,000)
we leave Pixar Place, we are headed for Sunset Boulevard and Fantasmic!
At this point, Terry has been working on Justin and Kim, and it
seems as though they are both willing to try the Rock ‘n’ Roller
Coaster after this show as a way to wrap up the visit. And that
has me debating the Tower of Terror… since we’d be right there,
and if the lines are ok it might be possible to ride both.
gets her popcorn for the show and we settle in with seats near
the back (but more or less lined up with the center of the show
area). As it ends, Justin and Kim both express their happiness
at having stayed to see it.
then… well… Disney unexpectedly lets me down. (Just a bit.)
and Justin have decided that they do want to get on the Rock ‘n’
Roller Coaster. The flow of traffic is moving pretty consistently
along a path, but I stop the four of us since it becomes apparent
that we are moving beyond the walkway that leads directly out
to Sunset and those two stellar attractions. And with mass of
people being moved away from that turn… so the exiting of the
first show doesn’t run right into the line waiting for the second
show… I ask a member of the staff if we are headed the right way.
He tells us to keep moving and that we will hit a turn to lead
us out to Sunset. (But we never do.)
we finally are in a place you could truly say was back in the
park (the walkway we were on isn’t on any park map I’ve ever seen,
though I do vaguely recall having walked it in years past), it
is in the Hollywood Boulevard area just inside the main entrance.
None of us feel like looping around back to the Rock ‘n’ Roller
Coaster or Tower of Terror.
those of you with no map available and no visual of the park…
the reason for the stunning disappointment… basically Disney not
only led us away from the rides, they also guided us along a route
that didn’t pass gift shops or restaurants either. It’s kind of
the first time I can remember Disney doing that. You always have
a chance to set foot in a gift shop with Disney. Then again… not
day five draws to a close, we are settling in and have no plans
at all to wake up early for the Magic Kingdom. All of us seem
to be in a bit of a fog at the moment… we’re having fun, but the
perception has always been that the Magic Kingdom would be our
longest and most adventurous park day. And yet today wiped us
out. With a similar very warm, very sunny forecast in place for
tomorrow, the reality is that we are a bit numb right now.
six – Thursday, April 25, 2013
Justin and Kim have taken off for the pool.
probably a very smart move on their part. If we were sitting in
the room doing nothing, I very well might have started talking
about the Magic Kingdom.
we have plans to try out Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza for lunch.
(It was a recommendation from the time share day. Yes… seriously.)
And I’m busy doing some research to try and find something on-line.
So the reality is, there is no true danger of even me -- the weakest
“let’s get to the park” link -- trying to get in the car and point
it in the direction of Disney World too soon.
speaking of on-line stuff… let’s get back to the on-going story
hiding in the background of this trip for a few minutes…
Village internet service…
Ha-ha, the word “service” implies we actually got something…
Part three – Do I really need to call again?
not looking to pat myself on the back here… but I really would
like to get internet access today. I
was recently interviewed for the Warwick Beacon…
the hometown paper when I was growing up. As part of it, I was
told to look for the finished effort to appear in today’s edition.
And as I putter around the suite, I’m wondering if it has hit
the on-line edition.
sure… you likely already have guessed… the laptop is saying the
network is there, but in reality it’s not helping me out at all.
decide to make one last call to the help line, and it plays out
pretty much exactly the same as every other call did.
talk about the good old days… meaning those two calls I made earlier
in the week, the promised return calls that never materialized,
and a recap of my situation.
turn my laptop on and off… I watch while the access point is reset
and messages flash on the screen… and then the representatives
leads me into the great finale of the “can someone call you at
this number” recital of my cell phone number. Then we laugh when
I joke about the two previous return calls that never arrived.
internet service for the laptop. No return call in ten… twenty…
is back and he gets things loaded on his iPad for me. The article
doesn’t appear to be there yet.
a little after noon, and we begin walking to the car to head out
and have lunch.
turns out to be more familiar than we realized when we first heard
about it. With several locations, Kim has actually eaten at an
Anthony’s in New Jersey. And over the weekend… when we return
with Ellen and Richard… we find out they believe they’ve been
to one previously as well.
order some chicken wings and a meatball and ricotta pizza, and
the food is outstanding with service to match. The Anthony’s we
stopped at is actually out near Universal Studios (a tip for those
of you that might try and place it simply as a location, or for
those of you wondering if we had strayed far from Irlo Bronson).
it’s time for day four of Disney theme parks, and the trip to
the Magic Kingdom.
few things leading in to this day.
of all, Terry and I are leaving almost every part of it up to
Justin and Kim. We have been fortunate to have several Disney
World trips in recent years -- and if you could name one park,
it would be the Magic Kingdom that has especially has been a part
of them. So if there is something they want to see… we will see
it. Most of the attractions though, with few exceptions, are ones
Terry and I have been on once or twice (or three or more) times
just since 2010.
the new Fantasyland. Ok… this is different for all of us. The
Barnstormer and portions of the land’s expansion inside the Magic
Kingdom were available when
Tigg and I visited during the Halloween party last October.
But on this visit, a wide range of sections will be brand new
to us, including Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
and Gaston’s Tavern.
third, it’s worth mentioning again, until this trip Kim had never
before visited a Disney theme park. As we began outlining what
we would do, the Magic Kingdom was always a part of our plans.
It is the signature Disney theme park… and it is the most visited
theme park in the world every year… and there are reasons this
park sets the bar.
we walk down Main Street, I tell the group our first effort should
be to make sure we get on Under the Sea, and to get our FASTPASS
for that. So we walk around the castle and into the edges of Fantasyland.
tickets for Under the Sea… for some amazing reason… are distributed
near Mickey’s PhilharMagic. And so, FASTPASS secured, we begin
our day with Donald attempting to take over an orchestra.
there, we wander over to “it’s a small world” and enjoy that ride.
After, while it’s time to make our way to the reservation we have
with Ariel, we are eligible for another FASTPASS. So, we get tickets
for Peter Pan’s Flight.
the Sea is a ride where guests board a clam shell vehicle, and
then are taken through the story of Ariel and Prince Eric. The
bonus here is the amazing soundtrack of the film along with the
incredible colors available from the movie and its characters.
It feels fresh and instantly familiar… a treat enjoyed by Disney
in many designs for attractions… but gets to incorporate so much
beyond what you’ve seen before. This isn’t a high-tech, jaw-dropping,
cutting-edge thrill ride. It is brilliant.
wander over to Gaston’s, where I am planning on trying LeFou’s
I enjoyed Butterbeer at Universal back in 2010. Hard to describe
it from memory, but it was a play off of the taste of cream soda.
In this case, LeFou’s is effectively a frozen apple juice. The
kicker is the flavor of toasted marshmallow… which is subtle and
yet very apparent… along with a passion fruit and mango foam on
drink is available in souvenir (wallet draining) mugs, which we
avoided since they were nothing more that Gaston and Belle plastic
cups and the drink was pricey enough. We really liked it overall,
and I would definitely hunt it down again on a future visit. That
said… it is not even in the same conversation as Aloha Isle and
a Dole Whip as a Disney-park-must for a refreshment.
this point, we get in the ride line for a visit with Winnie the
Pooh, and Justin is suddenly very disappointed.
to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a character meet
and greet station. It just so happens that Pooh and Tigger are
there, and as our line winds around we get a good view of kids
meeting the legendary pair.
Justin’s memory -- and this is a quite fair and accurate memory
-- he recalls running into characters all over the park. In a
way, though unexpected, every corner provided an opportunity for
a hug, picture, and autograph.
“What’s that?” he asked, nodding
in the direction of Pooh and Tigger.
“It’s a meet and greet station,” I reply.
“They set character meetings at certain times and locations,
and people line up for them.”
“No. That’s what they do.”
I remember you telling me the story of how the park tries to
make sure Mickey Mouse isn’t in two places at the same time,
and possibly by accident two side-by-side places. You can’t
have Mickey roaming in Tomorrowland and Mickey roaming in Fanstasyland
with a chance of both Mickeys ending up side-by-side on the
border at the same time. But this…”
I’ll avoid going deeper or even word-for-word any further. Suffice
to say, Justin was not impressed with character greeting places.
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh turned out to be the longest
line we waited in all week, clocking in at roughly 45-minutes.
Simple enough… considering that we were now later in the afternoon
and had covered the upper arch of the park (read: Fantasyland
and new Fantasyland), chances were good we would not be coming
back to this area once we left. So… we decided to wait the estimated
30-minutes. Only it was longer. Much longer. By the time we got
off the ride, we had been with Pooh for almost an hour.
that’s where the slowdown ended… because after that, visiting
the attractions basically took only as long as the walk between
Great Escape!... Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin… Tomorrowland
Speedway… done, done and done. All enjoyed.
stopped at Cosmic Ray’s to get some food, and though the location
is always a little different than most thanks to the presence
of Sunny Eclipse, it was a bit crowded tonight. So what normally
in recent visits has been a chance to easily get in two lines
for different items at the ordering docks of the Starlight Café
turned into everyone agreeing to just get basically the same plates.
(I didn’t even write down if it was burgers or chicken.) Back
to the park…
used our FASTPASS for Peter Pan and then kicked off a run through
Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland with the Haunted
Mansion and Country Bear Jamboree. Terry had been talking to Kim
about possibly hitting one of the three signature mountains of
the Magic Kingdom, which at this point turned into a visit to
Splash Mountain. The sweep concluded with time for one more attraction
before the closing activities, and the decision was made to ride
Pirates of the Caribbean.
sure… we didn’t include Jungle Cruise, Dumbo or Aladdin’s carpets.
There was no Barnstormer, Space Mountain or Thunder Mountain.
Side turns were not taken for the Tiki Room, Hall of Presidents
or the Laugh Floor. We didn’t try to get into the Be Our Guest
Restaurant. We missed some things. As we stopped at Aloha Isle
though, we had been to 12 attractions in about five hours of park
time… and we had also managed to stop to get something to eat.
Everyone was feeling pretty good.
we began looking for a place to watch the parade. (Time for a
can be skeptical in Disney parks when it comes to some of the
shows. Several are recaps of movies or extensions of them, and
simply do not play as well as a live show. Yeah… I know some kids
will be impressed (along with a few kids-of-all-ages). For the
most part though, in my opinion, they seemed designed more to
give people a chance to sit for twenty to thirty minutes while
easing the congestion at the attractions than quality entertainment.
I said skeptical… and not rigidly opposed. Several shows are beyond
awesome. I LOVE fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. Fantasmic!
is an incredible show. Festival of the Lion King is terrific.
And while I will watch the parades and smile, it is the Main Street
Electrical Parade that I award with a can’t-miss status.
we hit Main Street and begin walking along the parade route… more
than thirty minutes before the start of the parade… it becomes
apparent just how many people are in the park, and that almost
all of them agree with my can’t-miss assessment.
I’m not heading down this path to be judgmental or even naïve.
Instead, I’m just pointing out that overall, Disney does a pretty
amazing job managing thousands upon thousands of people and keeping
them from stacking up in ridiculous logjams. Think about this…
million visitors to the Magic Kingdom per year works out to more
than 46,000 people per day.
that registering? One more time… 17 million visitors to the Magic
Kingdom per year works out to more than 46,000 people per day.
each day. And I would bet that easily more than half of those
people have some combination of the Three Mountains, new Fantasyland,
and the Haunted Mansion on their minds today… huge chunks are
planning to visit Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise…
and virtually all of them want a parade and fireworks.
with that understanding… and such offerings as stage shows helping
out during the day… how can it be that it never feels like several
thousand adventurers have boarded Peter Pan’s Flight before you
that day, but when the Electrical Parade steps off, those thousands
are all around you?
suppose I don’t have an answer either… but it sure feels like
something Disney should be improving and not something that gets
have to be honest, I have not had troubles with Disney lines since
2005. It was during that family visit that I recall experiencing
longer lines at attractions. Since that time… sure, there’s been
a 30-minute ride here or there… for the most part it’s been less
than 15-minutes at all but the biggees, and wise use two or three
times of a FASTPASS has meant no waits there either. I would guess
I haven’t waited more than a half-hour for any ride more than
once per park on any visit since 2010.
that isn’t a small sample. I’ve been fortunate to travel down
to Florida with Tigg several times over the past four years. We’ve
seen Christmas and Halloween special events… we’ve gone on holiday
weekends and days celebrating a park’s anniversary… we’ve been
during the day and evening, mid-week and weekends… we’ve been
to all four of the Disney parks, and all but the Animal Kingdom
multiple times in recent years.
today… we showed up well after noon. In fact, after leaving Anthony’s
around 1pm, it was decidedly mid-afternoon when we entered the
park. And by using FASTPASS for the new ride, we had visited three
attractions in roughly the first 60 minutes. (Mickey’s PhilharMagic,
“it’s a small world” and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little
the parks get crowded. Yes… it’s very busy. Yes… several attractions
can have very long lines.
hadn’t been smacked around by those crowds.
you do need to stake out a place an hour or so ahead of time.
I know that. If you want to be comfortable, have a preferred sightline,
or get the kids right up front, even slightly over 60 minutes
is cutting it close. But if you aren’t being picky… are willing
to stand and stay to the back… look around for different places
along the parade route… there is almost always a corner against
a building or place near a fence that you can get into with the
event just a half-hour away.
staff were patrolling the walkways, keeping people inside roped
off viewing areas, or, moving along. And while I recall times
visiting the parks where people… including Terry and I… gladly
stepped aside to let a child get prime up front parade viewing,
on this night people are spreading out and refusing to make eye
contact even when all you want to do is grab a spot behind them.
we do find a place, once four teenagers reluctantly move a bit.
(Terry in action, and bravo to her… she spotted what appeared
to be a family group of about eight with towels on the ground,
spread out, and four of the kids were actually lying down playing
with their phones. So she asked if they were expecting more people,
and when they said no she asked if they could sit up so we could
come inside the ropes of the viewing area. She was polite. She
explained that she only wanted to be off the walkway and not packed
in against them or stepping in front of their view.)
parade was good, and worth the aggravation. But I’m sending a
message to Disney… please, please, PLEASE work
on this a bit.
walk some of the Main Street shops during the time between the
parade and the Wishes fireworks show. And Tink and the gang do
not disappoint. Although… maybe I am impersonating Grumpy in this
entry… does everyone really need the cell phones lit up and in
the air taking pictures? Another thing I just don’t recall from
visits past is this many arms in the air with display screens
lit up and waving in front of my camera.
maybe some venting.)
we get back to the room, I notice the message light on the phone
is lit. Here we go (I can title it now looking back on it, but
at the time I didn’t know it would officially be a part of our
Village internet service…
Ha-ha, the word “service” implies we actually got something…
Part four, part one – Bob notices a light
is pretty much no reason for the light to be on that we would
be expecting. We have our cell phones… and virtually anyone trying
to contact us would use those.
ok… there are two reasons for the light to be on.
one – The resort is calling us. Could be any of a number of things
for this one, and most of them we have encountered at various
resorts at other times… some special cleaning of the room or maintenance
work that might be scheduled… a call about attending a time share
presentation… and you get the idea. Could be a perfectly understandable
call actually, but likely one we would never be waiting for.
two – The WiFi. Maybe they have the room number on file as a telephone
out, as we head to bed, I have no idea.
pick up the handset and there is a solid tone… very reminiscent
of what you would hear while trying to send a fax. And no matter
what I do, from pressing buttons to hanging up and trying again…
the tone just keeps steadily sounding.
because the tone is present as soon as you lift the handset, you
cannot use the phone to call a place like the front desk or resort
operator for advice. The phone is useless.
while I am more than willing to admit operator error on my side
of the equation (and would actually happily do so if someone will
just tell me what buttons to push)… we now have no WiFi and no
phone in the primary room of our unit.