Posts posted by Delirium13
Also, if I can ever figure out how to post pictures, I'll try to post a few to liven things up.
Well it's been a few months now and I'm finally just getting around to writing this... On the negative side, that means some of my recollections may not be perfect, but on the plus side, I think it's allowed me to collect my thoughts and more fully form opinions on the things I experienced. This trip was only my second time being to Walt Disney World, with my first visit having been over 16 years prior, and my first ever trip to Universal Orlando. However, with my only previous Disney trip being so long ago, it also ended up feeling like a first time.
This was a huge trip and I did a ton, so I'll try to be thorough, but not overly wordy (a promise that I'm not sure I can keep, but we'll try), and will be posting updates over several days/weeks. So without further adieu, let's get started.
Intro: Arrival & Hotel
We landed in Orlando around noon, picked up our rental car and headed to our hotel at WDW. There were 4 of us so we opted for a family suite at the Art of Animation Resort. The resort is technically a value resort, but is also one of the newest - if not the newest - resorts at WDW, and I found the whole resort from the food court, to the pools, to the room, and the grounds in general to be very nice. The suite was the perfect size for our group. I've heard Art of Animation described as a Value+, slightly nicer than the other value resorts but not a moderate, and I'd say that's a pretty accurate description! After getting situated in our room and waiting on a pop up thunderstorm to subside, it was almost 3 o'clock time to hop on a bus and head to Epcot!
We were all anxious to get to our first park of the trip and even more excited to get to experience the Food & Wine Festival which was in full swing - but it was time for our first Fast Pass of the day - Mission: Space (and thanks to the rain storm we were cutting it close to the end of our hour window so we had to rush. We had no issues when we got to the ride and walked right into the queue for the Orange (more intense) side.
Quick complaint: While I guess I understand the need for the tiers in a park like Epcot, we honestly didn't need a Fast Pass for this one, it only saved us about 10 minutes. But because of the tiers we selected it because it was one of the better options in 2nd tier. To be fair, with how crowded the park was and how late we got there, we may not have gotten a Fast Pass to a top tier attraction if we didn't have the option to reserve before arriving, so there's the trade off I guess. I'll sum up my Fast Pass+ opinions at the end of the report.
Back to Mission: Space. Once it was our turn to board, we climbed into our little capsule and got closed in. I don't know if it was just because it was the first ride of the trip, but I enjoyed the ride. It made me a little dizzy (and some in the group very dizzy, they also weren't amused with how claustrophobic it felt), but overall I thought it was a nice start, but not a ride that I needed to experience over again.
After Mission: Space we were all starving after our long morning of travel so we stopped into the Electric Umbrella for a late lunch, using a quick service credit from our meal plan. I had a french dip burger, fries, and a chocolate cupcake - I told myself before the trip, that even though it was included I wouldn't get desserts but that turned out to be a lie, but hey it's vacation . It was all really good I thought, and a neat little quick service restaurant.
After lunch and a little relaxing it was time for our next Fast Pass on Test Track. I was really looking forward to Test Track because I remember missing out on it the last time I was there because it was a brand new ride with a huge wait, and it did not disappoint. After the group's mixed reactions to Mission: Space, we found an attraction that everyone loved, and one of my favorites of the trip. I never got to ride it under its original theme, but I liked the Tron-esque theme a lot more than I thought I would and think it's a perfect fit for Future World. I regret only getting to ride it once on the trip.
We rode two more Future World rides that day: The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Living with the Land. The Seas with Nemo & Friends was just ok and kept stopping mid-ride which got annoying, but I assumed it was to accommodate someone boarding, so that's fine, but it happened 4-5 times during the ride. I liked the aquarium after the ride though and we spent a little bit of time in there.
Next was Living with the Land. I liked this ride actually, thought it was relaxing and a taste of "old" Epcot. Soarin's wait was over 2 hours so we skipped it too (but would get to ride later in the trip).
After LwtL, we stopped in Club Cool which was a neat little experience, but by then we were ready to go experience Food & Wine. Our third Fast Pass was for Spaceship Earth, but with us getting a late start, and having dinner reservations later that night, we wanted to get a start on some of the fun in the World Showcase, so we skipped that for the day, but would end up riding it before the trip was over thankfully.
World Showcase was PACKED. But we still had a good time exploring the different pavilions, trying different foods and drinks along the way. I was surprised by how detailed some of theming at the pavilions is, it was more than I was expecting - very cool.
We had dinner reservations at Via Napoli so we made our way back to the Italy pavilion and got seated there. The food here was delicious and the service was great. After dinner we had about an hour left to explore World Showcase, so we looked around in some of the shops and took everything in. About 10 minutes before 10, all of the torches around World Showcase Lagoon went up in flames and announcement that IllumiNations was beginning soon was made. I loved this little effect and the music that played leading up to the show got us all really excited. We were fortunate enough to find a not too crowded viewing area near the American Adventure Pavilion. I loved IllumiNations and thought it was the perfect way to cap off our first day of vacation.
After the show we made our way to the front of the park, waited a few minutes for a bus, and headed back to the hotel.
Overall, it was a very good start to the trip. I thought Epcot was an extremely beautiful park, especially around the World Showcase. I've read many places that Future World is getting a little stale and I could definitely see that point, but essentially being first timers, it didn't take away from our experience that day. I will admit, we mainly stuck to World Showcase on later visits to Epcot during the week.
The next day would be reserved for the Magic Kingdom. To be continued.
Sounds like a good time overall! Very nice of your wife to tag along for the ride even though it wasn't her thing.
I had a lot of similar observations from my (first time ever) visit this past fall, but it's sometimes even more fun reading these reports when you know exactly what the person is talking about.
Not to just pile on, but that was one of the more disappointing things for me at Universal when I went in October - too many screens. I can do simulators - in moderation. I found myself pretty dizzy at points when I was at Universal. Not that I didn't enjoy my time there, just wish the newer attractions had more variety - my favorites were some of their older rides - Men in Black, Jurassic Park, etc.
I've been meaning to write a trip report of my October Orlando trip, including Disney and Universal. When I finally get around to it, I'll explain my thoughts in full.
I'd like to see a modern wooden coaster added or for steel, I'd like an Intamin Blitz Coaster (Maverick type) or something similar from another manufacturer taking advantage of terrain and woods. Honestly, I'd love a water coaster in Soak City.
However, my bet is on a B&M giga. We shall see.
^ Fair enough, but if that's the case, I honestly would've preferred them keep the old site. May not have been the prettiest or most modern, but I prefer it far and above the current site for its simplicity.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is April 16th a bit earlier in the month than the park had been opening in recent seasons since coming under Cedar Fair ownership? I welcome the change if so, it's been the last week or so of April in recent years (with the caveat being that the park was still technically open the same amount or more days than in the past because of an earlier start to daily operation) correct?
Side note: I love the picture of The Beast at the top of the page, a very unique perspective that I hadn't seen before!
I also took the survey. Made my displeasure for the food quality known and also requested that they start focusing on the "small stuff" that made the park more than just another seasonal park. I'm sure it'll fall on deaf ears (maybe not uncaring ears, but powerless to effect any meaningful change) since corporate synergy is all the rage right now.
Fingers crossed though! I will say it was nice to see a survey sent out though, I may be wrong but it seems like it's been a while and they asked a lot of good questions.
^ For those who complain that they miss Son of Beast, they can get their rough ride with an uninspired layout fix by taking a few laps through the parking lot!
If there was ever a year that it seemed like repaving the lot would be likely, you'd think it would be this year with the new toll plaza.
I won't pretend to know the cost of repaving that big lot, but the fact that it has gone this long and been allowed to get into its current condition should be embarrassing to the park... It's a slap in the face to the guest as soon as they arrive, pay all that money to park, and then pull into the lot in its current condition.. and not even a tram ride to the front gate offered.
You don't want people to start off their day with something to complain about. I hope it does get repaved this off-season because it's going to be way more noticeable after pulling through the new tolls.
Seemed like a good amount of focus on Legend in that video which makes me excited.
I must be in the minority, but Legend is my favorite coaster at Holiday World. (I haven't ridden Thunderbird)
Found a very cool aerial view update of the construction progess of Pandora - The World of AVATAR at Animal Kingdom. Click here for more.
Like others, I wasn't 100% sold on using AVATAR as the theme for this land but these pictures show some really impressive construction and I am sure that this area will blow people away when it is open. The next two years are looking to be very good for Animal Kingdom with the new nighttime offerings next spring and this area set to open in 2017, the park should be in good shape for its 20th anniversary in 2018!
In addition to the Animal Kingdom update the site also posted updates of the other 3 WDW theme parks and more that are definitely worth a look as well!
^ Even though I think I would vote Scooby Doo over Boo Blasters, I completely agree with your second point.
Unfortunately that no longer is an attraction at Cedar Point. It was removed to make room for the grand experience that is: Dinosaurs Alive!
Nothing like replacing a fairly unique, classic ride with a bunch of plastic dinosaurs that move*.
* - Unless they're broken
That's just embarrassing... You're talking about your own properties now.
That just screams tacky to me. Welcome to Kings Island! ... "Can I please take your picture? Come on it only takes a second! Don't worry about buying it, I'm just trying to hit my quota for the day."
Here's my thing: if you're talking "best day of the year" and trying to highlight the park's strengths, place a photographer right in front of the fountains (like, where the park logo is), one in front of the Snoopy at the entrance to Planet Snoopy, one on the runway toward Flight of Fear's hangar, one in front of Banshee's station, etc. Those are the places you should be capturing, and those are the places where people would want.
And maybe one under the Coney Mall sign! Oh wait...
Kidding aside, I completely agree with your points. Like Disney, they should have easily identifiable photographers in areas that you actually want your picture taken. After my recent trip to Disney I saw an operation in which the in park photographers were sought out by the guests, rather than something you plotted how to avoid with your group as you walked from the car.
Bombarding guests with photographers, hassling you for hastily taken picture with the beautiful new turnstiles in as a backdrop is not the first impression the park should be going for.
I remember going on this during my first visit to Walt Disney World when I was 8. It was definitely one of the attractions that stayed etched in my mind all these years later I guess since it was so scary, but I remember liking it a lot. My parents read the signs and made the decision to have my sister, who was 5 at the time, sit that one out - probably a smart decision.
It's a shame it didn't stick around though. I didn't even waste my time with Stitch's Great Escape when I was there last week, the parks were simply too busy to set aside time for an attraction I've heard nothing but bad things about. Though it was neat seeing the yellow antennae knowing that it was a remnant of Alien Encounter, so there was that.
Nice idea for a poll. My votes were:
Best Maze: Kill Mart
- I just love the detail of this maze and remember having a few good scares in there, Slaughterhouse is a close second.
Letdown: Tombstone Terror-Tory
- I actually think I'm wrong on this one... sadly that's only because I don't think anyone expects it to be good, so it's not really a letdown... just its usual bad self. I guess it would make more sense for me to vote Blackout, with it being a whole new experience I have high hopes, so I guess it just lends itself naturally to being the biggest potential letdown. We shall see.
Most Ridden Ride: The Beast
- Without getting too technical with ride capacities and such, I'm going off of lines I've seen at past Haunts (long lines on a high capacity ride), and The Beast generally has very long lines during Haunt.. Night rides on The Beast are amazing in general, but I think they may be even better during Haunt.
Can't wait to get back to the park in October, I've only been twice this season!
Didn't know Chang started off Yellow-on-Yellow, and you can see T2 in the background with its Red-on-Red... Hart seems to like single color paint schemes.
I would think the 8-across trains have more to do with the new vest restraints than anything else... They're a little wider are they not?
1. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Giga coaster at Kings Island, since that seems to be the way things are trending for the larger Cedar Fair parks (not sure about the "more popular" sister parks comment either...)
2. I agree that I'm not expecting a new wooden coaster in the near future, but I disagree with your reasoning. I think a modern wooden coaster would be a great fit for the park. A quick, compact, twisty, airtime machine would be a great addition to the coaster lineup. It may not live up to the legendary reputation of The Beast, but neither have, in my opinion, any of the coasters since. Sure, The Beast may not be everyone's favorite, and additions such as Banshee and Diamondback are fantastic rides, but they still don't have the legendary reputation that The Beast enjoys.
Also Son of Beast's theme was about as similar to The Beast's as Invertigo is to The Bat. Other than the name and being wooden, Son of Beast had very little about it that would remind people of The Beast (tunnels, terrain, woods, etc.)
3. We can all continue to dream for that X-Base bathroom.
^^ Africa technically isn't all the way finished just yet. The final phase, a Hippo exhibit, is set to open next summer I believe.
Awesome news about the gorilla exhibit though! I love visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and look forward to seeing this new exhibit.
Orlando in October - Disney World and Universal Studios
in Trip Reports
^ Thanks! I hadn't ever seen that thread before and didn't even think to search for it.
Photos coming soon.