Saturday, June 11, 2011

Disney World June 2011 Recap

Cinderella Castle

Here's a rundown of my most recent Disney trip. More photos to come in a separate post. (They're uploading now.)

The Fantastic
+ Online check in. Quick and easy.
+ Getting a ground floor room in building three. Refurbished and redecorated, close to the main building and the pool.
+ Boat ride to Downtown Disney. It was beautiful.
+ Magic Kingdom Rope Drop.
+ Star Tours 3D. Holy crap is that ride awesome now!
+ Garden Grill. I think they outdid themselves this time. Everything was delicious, and as usual, the character interaction was top notch.
+ Kilimanjaro Safari. There were TONS of animals out!
+ The gorilla strutting out, squatting in front of all of us spectators, and proceeding to show us how he does #1 AND #2. Quite entertaining!
+ Festival of the Lion King. It was fantastic as always. And I was FINALLY in the giraffe section.
+ Dancing with Phineas and Ferb! The line to meet them was long and hot, but we were entertained! And when it was finally our turn? Rock on!
+ Seeing the Torch Lighting ceremony at the Polynesian. (I am determined to stay there someday. I love that place.)
+ Chocolate-covered marshmallows rolled in mini Reese's Pieces. YUM.
+ Aidan and me finding reasons to laugh hysterically in the hotel room, probably driving poor Adam crazy.
+ Living With The Land. Always a neat ride, and we had an entire boat to ourselves.
+ PeopleMover. So relaxing. I'm always sad when it's over.
+ The Memories castle show. OK, they could do without the pictures. Just show us the effects on the castle. So awesome!

The Good
+ Flight was smooth.
+ Aidan falling in love with Pirates of the Caribbean.
+ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (always awesome).
+ Surprising Aidan with a trip to the LEGO store in Downtown Disney.
+ Meeting nice people in line or on the bus.
+ Liberty Tree Tavern. Good food. Very busy, though.
+ Soarin'. Always a good time.
+ Weather. It was hot, but we had plenty of water and one of those spray fans. We were OK.
+ New music to buy, new earrings to be had.
+ Watching Aidan enjoy Mission Space: Green, and Test Track.
+ All the cool stuff in the store in Japan.
+ I am not as obsessed with getting character photos anymore, so a little less standing in line for that. It made the characters we DID get more special.
+ Sitting in one of those little side streets off of Main Street and discovering a few secrets. :)
+ No rain!
+ Seeing Space Mountain with all the lights on. WEIRD!
+ Naps in Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. I KNOW, but believe me, I needed them!

The Meh
- Whispering Canyon Cafe. Too loud and the food was so-so. Our server, "Lazy Suzan," was nice, though. And the ketchup thing? HI-LARRY-US.
- Chef Mickey's. Food was just OK. Kids running wild and screaming. Character interaction was rushed. Server did what she could, but she was super busy. She did give us a bunch of apple juice boxes and tell us to take them with us. I do not envy her job at all. Adam tipped her well.
- The long queues just for Fastpasses for Soarin' and Toy Story Midway Mania. Holy crap.
- Sunshine Seasons at Epcot. Disorganized, unclear direction for those of us with the DDP, and no good selections for picky kids that didn't cost a billion snack credits.
- Traffic jam on the way to Hollywood Studios.
- Finding out we went to Hollywood Studios on a Fantasmic Day. Crowds! Eeek! Will plan better from now on.
- Flash pictures on Pirates. Blah.
- "High-speed" Internet. Not high speed at all. I finally just gave up. It was slower than dial-up.
- Wondering, as I impatiently waited for more people to get the heck out of my way, why I visited the parks over and over. A lot of the other guests were getting on my nerves!

The Ugly
- People who stop in the middle of the entrance to a ride, decide to gather around and confer, and act offended or like *I'm* the rude one for going around them. Why should I have to wait for them to make up their minds?
- I walked into a restroom in AK. Saw that there were stalls open, so walked past the people who were standing there. Then I double backed I asked a girl if she was in line and she said "well.... sorta." HUH? Was tapped on the shoulder by an older lady and informed that they were in line. I was confused. Why were they in line when there were open stalls? Fortunately, this rest room had another side with tons of empty stalls. I left those people to stand in "line" (how are you 'sort of' in line anyway?) and used one of those empty stalls. Seriously, my bladder refuses to wait for people who can't make up their minds or figure out what to do.
- People getting downright nasty when waiting for buses in the morning. Although I guess I can't blame them there. Apparently, everyone and their moms decided to go to Animal Kingdom on Wednesday. When we got to the bus stop, the line was very long. Three Downtown Disney buses and two Hollywood Studios buses came in a row, but no Animal Kingdom. Ariel, the fancy guy dressed in Mardi Gras clothing, called in for an Animal Kingdom bus and it FINALLY showed up. Unfortunately, there was a Downtown Disney bus in the way, so the AK bus stopped by the people who'd just walked up instead of the people who'd been waiting. Much yelling ensued. It was not pretty. One lady came barreling through with her son like "I WAS FIRST IN LINE." I was amused, but then, I am used to letting three trains go by in the mornings before work b/c they're just too crowded to fit another person on. I wouldn't have cared about waiting for another bus.

Park Grades
based on crowd level, fun quotient, wait times, characters, activities, personal experiences
Magic Kingdom: B+
Epcot: B+
Hollywood Studios: B
Animal Kingdom: A-

Random Thoughts
We started out the trip in Magic Kingdom and had fun, but I felt overwhelmed at times. Not sure why that was. I suppose I wanted to get so much out of the way so the "relaxing" could begin. But that day, there was none, really, because there was so much. Rides, parades, shopping, dinner, fireworks, shows. Plus, we stayed for Extra Magic Hours, and Aidan got upset when we tried to get him on the Haunted Mansion. We were exhausted!

Epcot was good. We managed to avoid most of the huge crowds, and the thrill rides were great with Aidan. Soarin' is always a treat! Spaceship Earth makes us smile. Garden Grill was fantastic. I ate too much! And we went back to the room pretty early to recover from Sunday.

Hollywood Studios had its moments. Phineas and Ferb sure were great. Toy Story Midway Mania was fun, too, especially because we got moved up ahead. Aidan beat me, but I came close! We enjoyed the Art of Animation, and we all drew Dopey in the Animation Academy, which I'd never done before. I was pretty convinced I'd screwed up the picture, but I did a pretty good job. :) The food from the ABC Commissary was good and the people working there were nice considering how busy and insane it was in there. Star Tours was super. I got cranky at times, but managed to do OK.

I took the most photos in Animal Kingdom. Pizzafari was yummy. The Kilimanjaro Safari was the best I'd been on. Tons of animals out! More than I'd ever seen. The trails were fun and not too crowded. There is that one section of the park that's always INSANE--that part right before Africa. What is up with that?

That park is beautiful. I never appreciated it until recently, which is a shame. Camp Minnie and Mickey was cool, and we ran into Brer Bear there. We explored it a lot more than usual and I'm so glad we did. Everything from playing the djembes to walking around and enjoying the scenery made the park a great experience.

Finished off the trip with another visit to Magic Kingdom. This time, I didn't feel the pressure to do a bunch of stuff, as we'd already done everything Sunday. So, we relaxed, rode a few of our favorites, tried to get Aidan back on Haunted Manion with no luck (he was done after the stretching room)

A lot of things bugged me way more than they did before. I don't know if it was the heat, I was tired, or that I didn't get to plan as much as I would have liked. I still had a general good time. I'd say my entire trip was a B+. But I definitely felt like some of the magic had dimmed. Maybe I went back too soon. Maybe there were too many other people. Could I be outgrowing it? :( I don't know. I do know that I vacillated between not wanting to come back to Chicago and being ready for a day at home to do nothing. I was sad to leave, so I guess that counts for something.

Will post pix soon. Now, I must sleep. Good night!


Anonymous said...

You need to move to FL so you can visit the Magic Kingdom whenever you want. :-) I'm glad y'all had such a great time!

MsB.Plan said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

You sure love Disney. One day we will go to disney world with Berry and siblings, hope they will love it as much.

I am now following you.


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