Orlando Experience I: Disney’s Magic

21 Mar

Good morning! As most of you are either just finishing your Spring Break or just starting it, I hope you won’t mind me taking a couple of days to share my Orlando adventure insights. As I can’t really hear what any of you are saying, I’m going to assume you are dying to hear my review of Disney and Universal and desperate to see my pictures. Thanks, that means so much to me! So without further ado, here are my thoughts about Disney World. I’ll cover the best and worst attractions as well as some strategies on how to really enjoy the parks. You ready? Let’s go!

Cherish this family photo, it is probably the only one with all 5 of us that’s been taken since my wedding.

Let’s start with the CONS/WORST OF Disney to get the negativity out of the way. Because after years of preferring Universal, I think I walked away this year with slightly shinier memories of the Disney parks if you can believe it. But more about that later…

WORST Show

The worst show we encountered (by 100% of the vote, mind you) was Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey located in Hollywood Studios. By our final day in the park we were worn out, so we gravitated more to shows and cupcake breaks than intense power walking. However, I regret that I will never get the 15ish minutes of my life spent on ‘experiencing’ this show back. The show wasn’t funny, entertaining or innovative as many of the Disney attractions consistently are. The only thing it was good for was a quick nap.

The show sounds promising. Over half of the time it takes place in the dark, with only the sound effects streaming through your, let’s say, ‘vintage’ Sony headphones telling the story. But unfortunately, the whole thing comes off as outdated, predictable and flat.  So if you are looking for a short break from the sun and crowds, try to find something else.

WORST Ride

This ride earns the worst title because it used to be so much better. Stitches’ Great Escape replaced Alien Encounter in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Ok, for Disney purists out there, this may be considered a show as well, but when you sit in seat constraints, I feel it drifts closer to the ride category, so I’m putting it there whether you like it or not. Alien Encounter was dark and actually kind of scary, whereas Stitches’ revamp is boring (at least for adults). Skip it unless you have a kid with you. In the final phase of the ride/show, we were strapped into our seats in a circular chamber. For the next several minutes we had to endure Stitch’s ‘escape’ in the semi dark, as he sneezed, bounced and fluttered over us. Too much cutesy, not enough WOW. The runner up for worst ride is Finding Nemo’s update on the aquarium ride in Epcot. Too much Nemo summary not enough real fish.

The Good Stuff

Ok, now on to the good! I’ll be the first to admit Disney was probably more crowded, stroller choked and expensive than Universal. It took the entire time to really get our Fast Pass strategies down. And of course you have to wait in line for everything from the bathroom, rides, restaurants and all the inter-park transportation. But something about the entirety of the worlds makes it feel like a magical place. And I’d really love to bring my (waaaaay in the future) kids there someday (when they are potty trained and can walk by themselves of course).

BEST Show(s)

The funniest show we watched was the Monster’s Inc inspired Laugh Floor in Magic Kingdom. Without ruining it, I will warn you that you may become a butt of a joke in there. We also enjoyed the American Idol Experience. Most of the contestants weren’t awkward to watch at all!

BEST Ride

Ike’s favorite ride was Mission Space in Epcot, and although my stomach could only handle 1 ride of the simulation, I have to agree the ride was great. We were all laughing, screaming and taking our button pressing responsibilities very seriously. Ride it, if you can take the G Forces.

So finally I’ll give you a couple of pointers to round out the post.

First, a crucial definition, a Fast Pass is a card you can get using your park ticket at the entrance of most Disney rides. It will give you an appointment time to come back to the ride and wait for a minimum amount of time. Just come back to the ride during your hour time slot, show the attendant your pass and no more waiting for you. They are an awesome and free park feature, but somewhat challenging to master.

Fast Pass Secrets: First get a phone app that reports wait times. Right when you enter the park, try to get a Fast Pass for the ride you most want to experience and that tends to have the longest lines. Remember once you get a pass, you can’t get another for an hour or so. And finally, the Fast Passes for some of the more popular attractions will run out by lunch time or a little later. So if you are a late riser, you may miss out. A lot to consider when you are supposed to be on vacation, but trust me it will save you some waiting time. There are always some attractions that will have shorter wait times to fill in the time to your Fast Pass appointment. Oh, and little known secret –  we found out Fast Passes are actually good for the rest of the day after your appointment starts, although they don’t really want you to know that. You’re welcome.

And finally, if you want to eat at a full service restaurant at any park, GET RESERVATIONS. Or you will be frustrated and hungry. We found that one out the hard way. But some restaurants I’d recommend from this visit would be the sit down Chinese restaurant in Epcot and the 50s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios.

I hope this post helps you skip some lame stuff and plan your Fast Pass Strategies and Restaurant experiences accordingly. I’ll be back tomorrow with some Universal tips. Be ready!

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One Response to “Orlando Experience I: Disney’s Magic”

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  1. Orlando Experience I: Disney's Magic | Disney Animated Films - March 21, 2011

    […] over post: Orlando Experience I: Disney's Magic Related Posts:Will and Hallie's page: Orlando: Part 2 (The! Magic! Kingdom!) Attempting to […]

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