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Back from Florida (Oct 2009)

Author Topic: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)  (Read 9694 times)

experiment627

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Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« on: October 29, 2009, 02:52:15 PM »
Hello folks,

thanks once again to those who helped planning our vacation in Florida. I had an amazing time, loved the Sunshine State, got bad news and realized again what a wonderful and friendly place WDW is.

I just would like a couple of thoughts and also comparisons with our dear DLP about WDW. If you guys are interested, I'll also add some more stuff about SeaWorld and Florida in general...

Before giving a "verdict" on WDW as a whole, I guess I better start of with a quick visit to each and every park.
So, let's start with...

The Magic Kingdom
To be blunt, we only spent half a day here. There wasn't that much that interested us. The park has got a couple of wonderful rides. But taken together as an ensemble, the MK just falls incredibly flat: the lands have more the feeling of one-way-streets, transitions between areas is weak at best and the shows just look incredibly old and low-key... (this all coming from a long-time DLP-lover). But as I said, the single "elements" are good.
"Splash Mountain" is still one of the most wonderful, atmospheric and storytelling Disney-attractions ever. And I still wish, there'd be one in Paris.
"Big Thunder Mountain Railroad" is a fun coaster with some wonderful landscaping surrounding it. Even if not placed on an island, you cannot do much wrong with BTM.

"The Haunted Mansion" looked terrific!! That's the only ride at the MK that I had to do twice just because it looked - and sounded! - so good. They even have a neat little effect (don't know if it's new though) outside, so it looks like the Mansion is light be lightning every once in a while. The new staircase scene was great as was the one in the Attic with the bride. And I would say that I prefer the cemetary scene over our Ghost valley finale. But that's just me.
I wasn't too impressed with the floating Leota, however. It kinda looked like a ball on a Christmas tree. I think, also storywise, it comes better off when Leota is at the centre of the sceance...

"Pirates" at WDW feels so much weaker (and rushed). And Jack Sparrow doesn't add anything to it, unfortunately. And no matter how good they get at AAs, you just know it's not Johnny Depp. And this is distracting a bit from the other characters. So I am glad we have got our old-fashioned "Pirates" at DLP. (At least for now.) The Davy Jones projection in the beginning is quite cool, though.

Tomorrowland looks great when approached from the Central Plaza. I just love this Buck Rogers approach. But it only lasts till the Astro Orbiter and then it looks so barren with their "Autopia"-version to the left and the lonely "Caroussel of Progress" (which looks a bit out of place...) to the right.
Only thing I did here was the "Laugh Floor". It's not that bad, actually. Great little jokes in the queue, fun characters, all in all a nice diversion. But why this show is in Tomorrowland is really beyond me. It would have been a great fit for the Studios, though.

It's good to hear that Fantasyland finally gets an expansion. As of now, it makes our WDS look beautifully themed and detailed. Watched "Philharmagic" again and we all loved it. Fun Disney Magic, I'd say. (Not as brilliant as "Muppets", though.) It's a great tribute to some wonderful Disney films and to Donald Duck - who is painfully neglected at Disney, most of the time, I think. (Try to find some good merchandise with the Duck, for example...)

"Wishes" was a nice end to our day, but I would rate DLP's version higher. 16 minutes of nothing but pretty shells and explosions gets a bit old. A 10-minute-show with more variety would have been enough, in my oppinion.


We enjoyed a quick lunch at Pecos Bill Café in Frontierland. (And when I say quick, I mean quick! The counter service restaurants at WDW work incredibly fast... or the ones in Paris incredibily slow... You be the judge.  :wink: ) Had a Taco Salad that reminded me of Fuente. Also got a hot dog at Casey's Corner with a bun that decompesed itself almost immediately. Missed Paris' hot dogs...  

So much for the Magic Kingdom...
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

davewasbaloo

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 03:04:41 PM »
Lol, I look forward to reading the rest. So far, I very much agree with your assessment. It is sad to think that poor excuse for a MK is the so called world's most visited. It annoys me that I know so many people in the UK that "Love the MK" and yet have never been to DLP.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
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Hibernia

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 04:18:43 PM »
While i do agree in part to where your coming from i do persoanly prefer WDW MK to Paris.

The Jungle Cruise , Splash Mountain , Philamagic all top of our fav attractions which Paris doesn't have. I prefer the Florida Space Mountain to WDW , as in it doesn't nearly kill me when i ride it :)
There are not many rides unique to Paris that i really like. Your right in Pirates is better done in Paris and Autopia i do prefer in Paris but it's a close call with that 1.

You mentioned the "fast" food in WDW. This was a major bug bear for us in Paris this June. 45 mins wait in Hyperion on one visit which was well after main eating time. Never a shortish wait where ever we ate and food usually cold by the time you find a seat. In comparison , our WDW trip in September there was so good. Very little wait time and with the space they have there loads and loads of tables free. Even when busy they seem to cope so much easier with queues in Florida than Paris does.

I'll just touch briefly on the weather , if you've been to both parks you know what a difference walking round in warm or hot sunny weather can make to your overall frame of mind. I know Paris can't do anything about the weather but it is still a factor for many.

I like Paris for the ease of getting from Hotel to park and being smaller in scale it's nice to get from one bit to another without getting lost. I like the theming of all the resort hotels and off course it's only a 1-2 hour flight with a short easy bus trip to your hotel.
For convenience you just can't beat Paris but for the money andeffort i would spend the bit more and hit Orlando every time.

I really don't think that MK in Orlando should be described as "a poor excuse" , of course that's just my humble opinion  :)

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on Hollywood Studios and other parks as well.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
Disneyland Paris  - 1992 - 1996 - 1999 - 2002 - 2008 - 2009
Hotels stayed in - Cheyanne - Santa Fe
Disneyland LA  - 1997
DisneyWorld Florida 1983 - 1989 - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 2000 - 2001 - 2003 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2009 - 2010
Disney Hotels stayed in - All Star Movies , Sport and Music - Port Orleans Riverside
Disney Cruise - 2003 - 2005 - 2006

davewasbaloo

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 06:05:17 PM »
Lol, it shows different strokes. for me I do feel the MK is a "poor excuse" and the weather is a factor too. I hate the humidity. There are maybe 3 months a year where I can tollerate Florida, compared to 9 months a year for Paris. Lol

Also, the MK has the very worst versions of the dark rides, IASW, PotC, and I prefer Phantom Manor to the HM. Also, there is more to see in terms of decor and walk throughs in Paris than the MK.

Rule of thumb, never eat in Discoverland, ever. Sad to say it, but it's true. At least you can get variety in dining in DLP, the same sadly cannot be said for the MK, where it is burgers, hot dogs, chicken and that's pretty much it.
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experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 12:56:34 PM »
Quote from: "Hibernia"
You mentioned the "fast" food in WDW. This was a major bug bear for us in Paris this June. 45 mins wait in Hyperion on one visit which was well after main eating time. Never a shortish wait where ever we ate and food usually cold by the time you find a seat. In comparison , our WDW trip in September there was so good. Very little wait time and with the space they have there loads and loads of tables free. Even when busy they seem to cope so much easier with queues in Florida than Paris does..

Yes, when it comes to counter service restaurants, WDW wins big time over Paris. Though the queues in Paris might also result due to the more frequent language issues they have there... still, I would say waiting more than 20 minutes at any counter service restaurant is unaccaptable.
When it comes to attraction-queues, though, I would rate Paris just as efficient as WDW - if not even a bit more efficient...

Quote
I'll just touch briefly on the weather , if you've been to both parks you know what a difference walking round in warm or hot sunny weather can make to your overall frame of mind. I know Paris can't do anything about the weather but it is still a factor for many.

True, Florida has a warmer, sunnier climate than Paris. But you could also turn this argument around: it is almost unbearable walking through the Florida parks in summer when heat, humidity and frequent thunderstorms (which also affect the operations of most rides!!!) put a huge damper on your holiday.
We were lucky with our week at WDW, but a couple of days earlier we visited SeaWorld - and the weather was almost like in August. It really was too much and we were pretty much just trying to get to the next air conditioned area as quickly as possible. (And then, the air cons are usually set to way too cold...)



Quote
I really don't think that MK in Orlando should be described as "a poor excuse" , of course that's just my humble opinion  :)

The MK is probably not a "poor excuse". It was the 2nd Disneyland-style park and they tried out some great new designs. Unfortunately, many areas of the park still seem to be stuck in the early 70s... that's why I said that - next to some great attractions - the park doesn't really work too well as an "ensemble", if you know what I mean.
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experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 01:19:11 PM »
Animal Kingdom

There's no denying it: this is my favourite park at WDW. Add a couple more things to do and this would be a favourite Disney park.
It's just something so otherworldy about this place. (Which is weird, as it depicts more of "real issues" than any other park.) The detail and the charm about the place is just magical. (And no, I don't mean the copyrighted Disney-marketing magic..) It's a place with great thrills, but more importantly, a place that just invites you to relax and to experience something new, something unique, something very personal. If you've ever spent time just watching the gorillas in Africa, the tigers in Asia or even just the busy otters next to the Tree of Life, you know what I mean.

Some more thoughts:

"Kilimanjaro Safaris" is a work of art. True, they cannot controll their show scenes that much. The animals are free roaming. So it's not guaranteed that you see any. But when you do, that makes it all the more special. We had some great guides. The poacher-storyline comes a bit short now, though. Which I don't really mind...
The "Pangani Forest" trail is one of the most beautiful areas ever. (But that also goes for other parts of Animal Kingdom, like the Tree of Life trails...)
Didn't care about seeing that much backstage stuff on the train ride to "Planet Watch"...

We didn't eat at "Yak & Yeti", unfortunately. But the new outdoor counter service eatery fits in quite well with Asia. And they had some great Asian noodles, too. I also loved the stand that sold all kinds of teas...
"Kali River Rapids" is fun - albeit too short. You do get soaking wet, though. And the queue and the views of Everest are beautiful.
"Expedition Everest" has one of the most beautiful lines ever. The little Nepalese village with all its little story-hints make this coaster really special. The ride is intense - but to a rate, where it can still be enjoyed by the whole family. However, maintenance of this true E-ticket ride is pitiful. But I'll come to WDW maintenance in some general remarks once I am through with all the parks... Still, as someone who studied economics, I do wonder: how much money did they waste on the Yeti? It's used as a mannequin nowadays, so I dare not to call it AA anymore...

"Finding Nemo -The Musical" is, without a doubt, the best show they have at WDW. The puppetry is magnificent. The songs are good, I think. But too forgetabble. There might be a problem in turning a non-musical movie into a musical and then present it within just 30 minutes. The audience just cannot digest what they just heared.
Still, the show is a must with a wonderful cast.

We didn't spend that much time in Dinoland. We went on "Dinosaur" (can't they just rename it back to "Countdown to Extinction", please?) and walked quickly through the rest. The land lacks meat on its bones. (Feel free to add a stupid fossil-joke here...)

Most beautiful place to have lunch at WDW: Flame Tree Barbecue. Great food, too. And a paradise for bird-lovers, I guess.  :wink:

"it's tough to be a bug" is still a fun show with a great edutainment element. And the queue around the Tree of Life is spectacular.

Finally, we went to see "Festival of the Lion King", which is good. Though the production values are clearly not as high as the ones were for the Paris show.

Operating hours at Animal Kingdom are horrible, though they at least extended them a bit till 18:00. I do understand that the animal exhibits need to be closed earlier. But as there is hardly anthing else to do after that, it becomes painfully clear of how underbuilt this beautiful park still is.
However, if I could just take one theme park home with me from Florida, it would be Animal Kingdom. (Even before Epcot.) It's just such a perfect place to relax - and to experience true Disney Magic.
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dagobert

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 01:20:46 PM »
On most things I have to agree with you, especially on the restaurants. The restaurants at WDW are great, quick service, better variety and it is a lot easier to get a vegeterian dish.

We have been to WDW in 2008 and the MK was our least favorite park. Fantasyland is just one big disappointment compared to DLRP's, although Mickey's Philharmagic is a very enjoyable attraction. We also didn't like Tomorrowland. The theming is not very good in my opinion and the attractions aren't great, but we really enjoyed the Laugh Floor. SM was also a disappointment in terms of theming and ride experience compared to DLRP's version.

Phantom Manor/Haunted Mansion is indeed far better at WDW than in Paris. PM needs desperately a refurbishment.

POTC is also better in Paris, although I liked the addition of Jack Sparrow and wouldn't mind if he will make his way to Paris.

I'm looking forward to the rest of your report!!
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dagobert

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 01:31:52 PM »
You are really fast on updating your report.

And again I have to agree with you. Animal Kingdom is a really great park, although it was not my favorite park at WDW (it was EPCOT).

When you enter the park you feel like you have been transfered somewhere into the African jungle. This park is so well designed and the theming is just great, except Dinoland USA.

Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest are some of the best Disney attractions in the world.

We enjoyed the Finding Nemo musical, too, and we also think that it is the best show at WDW and far better than any musical show in Paris.

Have you only eaten in the Flame Tree Barbeque? We haven't tried it, we have only been twice to the Tusker House (Breakfast and Lunch).

I can't wait to see some pictures!!
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davewasbaloo

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 01:37:01 PM »
I agree with your thoughts on DAK entirely. It is certainly tied with Epcot as my fav WDW park and in my top 4 of Disney Parks around the globe.

I think I struggle though with the horrid Chester and Hester Area - before that area was built, they used to have real paleontologists putting a T Rex together - that was awesome, the Lion King (it is recycled parade floats from a Disneyland Parade) and I was MEGA disappointed in Everest (though if operating like designed, it is one of their best pieces). But the fact that the projection is the only effect now working is terrible.

I suspect if you make it out to California, you would adore the San Diego Zoo, which is even better for animal experiences. And Grizzly at DCA is even better than Kali, as well as Aladdin being the best stage show Disney has in the world in it's parks.

But I agree, this park is a work of art, on every level. Just amazing. And you made a good choice with Flame Tree - probably my fav counter service in any park on earth.

Some people claim DAK is a half day park, but we easily spend 2 - 3 days there when we go to WDW. They have some of the best streetmousphere too.
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experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2009, 12:35:43 PM »
Quote from: "dagobert"
On most things I have to agree with you, especially on the restaurants. The restaurants at WDW are great, quick service, better variety and it is a lot easier to get a vegeterian dish.

Interesting to hear about the vegetarian dishes. I was not specifically looking for them on the menus - I am a proud carnivore  :wink: - but got the impression that everything included meat. (All the salads seemed to come with chicken...) But I guess I was wrong on that one.

Quote
Phantom Manor/Haunted Mansion is indeed far better at WDW than in Paris. PM needs desperately a refurbishment.

I totally agree.

Quote
We enjoyed the Finding Nemo musical, too, and we also think that it is the best show at WDW and far better than any musical show in Paris.

"Finding Nemo" would make a fine replacement for "Animagique", I dare to say. But watching the WDW shows all I could think was how awesome the DLP shows used to be... "Tarzan" & "Lion King" (though with its flaws) blew anything out of the water that WDW offers... (including "Nemo", but only slightly.)

Quote
Have you only eaten in the Flame Tree Barbeque? We haven't tried it, we have only been twice to the Tusker House (Breakfast and Lunch).

I also had some great noodles from the Yak & Yeti take-out.
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experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2009, 12:45:00 PM »
Quote from: "davewasbaloo"
I think I struggle though with the horrid Chester and Hester Area - before that area was built, they used to have real paleontologists putting a T Rex together - that was awesome,

Mhm... I think if they just could get ride of those stupid games, that would help the area A LOT. I kinda even like the story-idea behind the area: some wacky dino freaks trying to put up a roadside tourist trap, while the scientists of the Dino Institute work next door. Sadly, the execution just sucks royally.

Quote
the Lion King (it is recycled parade floats from a Disneyland Parade) and I was MEGA disappointed in Everest (though if operating like designed, it is one of their best pieces). But the fact that the projection is the only effect now working is terrible.

The thing that shocked me even more than the non-working Yeti (there could be some real problems behind it...) was that they didn't even seem to bother to fix that silly bird-on-a-stick at the top of the mountain...

Quote
I suspect if you make it out to California, you would adore the San Diego Zoo, which is even better for animal experiences. And Grizzly at DCA is even better than Kali, as well as Aladdin being the best stage show Disney has in the world in it's parks.

Dave, you really don't have to sell me on California.  :wink:
I will go there one day. It is really one of my Top 3 dream vacations.

Quote
Some people claim DAK is a half day park, but we easily spend 2 - 3 days there when we go to WDW. They have some of the best streetmousphere too.

I can see why for a lot of people Animal Kingdom is a half-day-park. If you want to go on rides, this is not the place for you. This park is to relax and to actively seek experiences, I think.
That said, it really becomes painfully obvious that Animal Kingdom is unfortunately still under built once they start closing the animal attractions for the day. (Which, I assume, is sort of necessary...)
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Hibernia

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2009, 02:11:55 PM »
Hi again

Agree with all your views on the AK. We always start in this park now (used to be Epcot) as it eases you into Disney mood nicely we feel . Not my fav park , [strike:3bxnnibt]MGM Studios[/strike:3bxnnibt] Hollywood Studios , don't think i'll ever get used to that name change , remains our fav for some reason so looking forward to your report on that 1.

AK is such a beautiful park to wander round and take in the scenery etc and we still come across bits we haven't seen before. This year after loads of visits we did the train to the Conservation area , not sure how we managed to avoid that so many times and it was really interesting.

I personally didn't like the Nemo show. A strange choice for a musical with no music in the film though i can see because of that that's probably why they did it. As someone else said the songs are unfortunatly quite forgetable. I much prefer the Tarzan Rocks and Lion King show.

Our fav (sry i use that term a lot) counter service eatary in the whole of Disney is the Columbia House in the MK but next without doubt is the Flame Tree BBQ. Wonderful food and a seat down by the lake looking over to Everest is just a special memory for us :)

Also not a fan of the Chester area probably because my brother insists on the Dino Swirl ride which we always seem to do right after Flame Tree...big mistake  :lol:

Regarding my earlier comments on the weather in Florida , i do realise it's tooo hot and humid July/August time for most of us Europeans to fully enjoy and i usually visit mid to late September every year where it's still 88-91 most days but bearable. If i could visit for 2 weeks in the winter months instead i would but i can't get 2 weeks of work at that time.

Keep the reports coming , great reading!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
Disneyland Paris  - 1992 - 1996 - 1999 - 2002 - 2008 - 2009
Hotels stayed in - Cheyanne - Santa Fe
Disneyland LA  - 1997
DisneyWorld Florida 1983 - 1989 - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 2000 - 2001 - 2003 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2009 - 2010
Disney Hotels stayed in - All Star Movies , Sport and Music - Port Orleans Riverside
Disney Cruise - 2003 - 2005 - 2006

experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2009, 10:48:20 AM »
Quote from: "Hibernia"
I personally didn't like the Nemo show. A strange choice for a musical with no music in the film though i can see because of that that's probably why they did it. As someone else said the songs are unfortunatly quite forgetable. I much prefer the Tarzan Rocks and Lion King show.

While watching "Nemo" we could see that it was an amazing show - but we just didn't feel it.
Does this make any sense?


Quote
Regarding my earlier comments on the weather in Florida , i do realise it's tooo hot and humid July/August time for most of us Europeans to fully enjoy and i usually visit mid to late September every year where it's still 88-91 most days but bearable. If i could visit for 2 weeks in the winter months instead i would but i can't get 2 weeks of work at that time.

An older Floridian once gave me the Only Four Reasons(tm) why to live in Florida:
November
December
January
February
 :wink:
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experiment627

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2009, 11:01:20 AM »
Alright, I hope this works with the public links to my Facebook albums:

My pictures of the Magic Kingdom and   Animal Kingdom.



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The Butlin Boy

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Re: Back from Florida (Oct 2009)
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2009, 09:30:07 PM »
Thanks for sharing your comments and photos on WDW so far experiment627, it's really interesting to see them as someone who has only been to DLP. I'm looking forward to seeing the other reports online soon :)
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