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DWF : The Long Trip Back

d_n_s_u
Posted: 12/7/07 at 3:44:11 PM
Views: 1948

The winter rain - as I type - is bouncing up off the ground and it's very dark out there as I look out of my suburban Liverpool window.

What a great time, then, to reflect on this family's fantastic sun filled DLF holiday taken in August of this year..??!!

I have already subjected the European Posters to this TR in 8 Easy Pieces some time back..

You, my North American Friends get the Full Director's Cut in Box Set form!!

Believe me when I say the word "Long" really sums up this TR :-)

_____________________________________________

Expedition Everest: Animal Kingdom : 19th & 27th August 2007

20 mins queueing time without Fast Pass

Fantastic theming - Wonderful imagineering - Steam coming from the tracks as the train leaves the station - great queueing area through the Yeti museum - stop for about 5 seconds in front of torn up track - plunge backwards into darkness - swore I was going upside down around a loop backwards - stomach churned - stopped and watched a silhouette of a yetti on the wall - plunged forward down a big hill - lots of wind in my face - felt I was leaning on an angle for much of the ride - helix overload -then a massive yetti screaming at us - more speed - then station.

Good Vekoma coaster - loved the 180 degree track changes - hated the fact that I couldn't experience the mountain more - all over too fast - wanted to appreciate the intricate theming more whilst on the ride - actually very intense for this 45 yr old - had to sit down for a bit after - everyone seems to love this ride - I prefer Matterhorn at DWCal - but yes, great theming.

Loved the park also - one criticism is that pathways are a little narrow (Doubling back on ourselves to visit all the attractions for some strange reason) but it has some great attractions.

Next Park and Ride -

Test Track : EPCOT : 18th & 21st & 28th August

On approach to entrance heard sound of cars rattling above.

We LOVED this ride..Although as the day progressed we noticed lines up to 60 mins long, early on they were around 20 mins and less with Fast Pass.

Fantastic themed queueing area.

We were crash test dummies.

I believe it's Disney's fastest ride (and longest ride?)

Preshow to add to the tension -Stepped into 6 man car - moved a little around a corner and stopped to have seat belt checked -

Ride for real started - Various tests re brakes etc - Dodged the lorry.

Out in the open with serious speed - Sure we were clocked at 62.8 mph (think it can reach 65)

Heat, speed, humidity added to the exhiliration.

Next Park:-

MAGIC KINGDOM : 24th and 26th August

First up is an attraction that is dear to my heart..It was the first ever attraction I experienced at DWF 15 years ago.

Disneyodendron Eximus is a 50ft high Banyan tree that has 330,000 polythene leaves sprouting from a 90 foot span of branches.

Only the moss is real! (Really!!)

Of course The Swiss Family (Robinson) Treehouse also boasts running water, patchwork quilts, furniture and a rope suspended bridge..oh.. and hundreds of stairs.

Not as busy this time - I could stop and stare (er..and get my breath back) without feeling guilty that I was holding up some younger types behind me who had realised (too late) that the treehouse was not what they really wanted to experience.

Dear Messrs Disney Imagineer Management type people, please don't let this wonderful tree die.
Yours faithfully
Gary.

Next up is a 43 year old attraction that debuted at New York's World Fair.

It opened at DWF 32 years ago and lasts for 20 minutes..

Got it yet?

The Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland showcases how life has changed through one family.

As each of the animatronic scene finishes the seats (and audience) move through 90 degrees to the next scene.

Said to be one of Walt's favourite attractions, I heard a rumour somewhere that it was about to be removed (or moved elsewhere?)

Yes it's dated (That's the beauty of it) but it is also a technical, logistical tour de force..and a great way to while away 20 minutes on a hot afternoon.

Some old favourites of mine have been given a revamp:

I'll leave aside Captain Jack Sparrow being added to Pirates of the Caribbean (Love the ride - Personally believe the films are totally over-rated) and move on to:

The Enchanted Tiki Room attraction which has been given a "Rock n' Roll" overhaul and the words "Under New Management" added.

Zazu from The Lion King is new...I think Iago from Aladdin was there last time..I can't remember.

Hey, this attraction has much historical significance don't you know!?

- Those Tiki birds were the very first stars of any Disney Audio - Animatronics show!

I noted that Jungle Cruise had changed slightly from what I remember 15 yrs back:

The ride (inspired by the 1955 documentary "The African Lion") still comes complete with the human skipper delivering (quite funny) quips..but I noticed that this time the crocodile isn't "shot"..it's just left to get on with things.

Very green and Very now.

Sadly we didn't get time to go over to Tom Sawyer Island on Huckleberry Finn's raft across the River of America

- Hey, I love(d) this place...and Injun' Joe's Cave is great!

..If I remember right you can get something to eat too whilst over there and out of the way..far from the madding crowd.

..until of course you are suddenly over-burdened with the feeling that you are missing out on something two minutes away "across the River" in Liberty Square and rush to get the raft back.

Talking of Liberty Square..

I was hoping to experience the show that had us all laughing 15 yrs ago at The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Liberty Square...

I said hoping..

Back then a buxom blonde Belle entertained the masses by singing and then coming over to our table and caressing my father in law's balding head to the amusement of an audience of 100s.

My mother in law was then picked on to go up onto the stage and have a clay pipe shoved in her mouth whilst forced to dance and then sit in a rockin' chair..

How we all laughed..

But 2007 and I find that the place closed. :-(

How dare it!

Whose big (bad) idea was this then?

Some research (Unofficial Guide to WDW) and the following comes to light:

"Dating back to the opening of Magic Kingdom in 1971, the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon was Frontierland's foremost live entertainment venue...Early shows were the inspiration for the wildly popular Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue dinner show at Fort Wilderness Campground.In 2005 the saloon was turned into a facility for private functions.."

Dear Messrs Disney Imagineer Management type people, please bring this wonderful show back.

Oh, and while you're at it please stop over advertising these Disney Vacation Resorts (Time shares) as you seem to be doing everywhere.

They clutter the place.

Yours faithfully

Gary.

Hey I can dream can't I? ;-)

Next up:

Sea World: 22nd August 2007: 9am

The US National Anthem was played and all employees (and some visitors) stopped what they were doing and looked towards the American Flag.

I've never been in a park where this has happened before.

Sea World is a park I remember with fondness from our first trip to USA 15 years back.

It was our first ever US Park we visited.

This time however, I have to say that I was disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, much hard work and imagineering has been ploughed into this place and I'm sure the animals / fish are probably amongst the most pampered of species anywhere..

But apart from the food on offer at the park (Great value and..great) there is only so much of a baying crowd waving their hands up and down in some sort of masonic lodge secret wave type of way whilst chanting the word "Shamu" that I can take.

The old entrance to the park now houses an area that includes Kraken and Atlantis.

Before I go any further I need to tell you that I didn't go on Kraken!! (I know..shock, horror!!)

I need to feel 100 percent if I'm going to be spun upside down more than once these days!

I wasn't actually feeling too good that day and that may explain my overall bias against the park.

I did go on Atlantis though and thought it a GREAT ride..although we got soaked and it did break down a couple of times during the day.

The ride ops appeared a little disorganised in my opinion.

Anyone going on the ride for the first time should not look at the video of the ride on show in the queue line (er..difficult..)

It gives its secrets away.

All I'll say is watch out for the second drop..all of about 1 foot..You get BPB Valhalla WET!! - Believe me!

We paid $3 each for a ride up the Observation Tower and later enjoyed seeing the fish /animals in "their most natural of" surroundings.

Driving back to The Wilderness Lodge at Disney, Isabel spoke about how much she had enjoyed it but it wasn't her favourite park..

Ann agreed..

We all agreed..

Personally I was looking forward to the next few days and a trip to Universal.

That park was to provide all 3 of us with the BEST ride experience of the whole holiday...

Universal beckoned..

We had paid a few $s more for priority parking at Sea World.

Mistake.

We were only about 50 steps better off from the main entrance than those who had not.

So we didn't opt for the priority parking at Universal.

Mistake.

Unlike our last visit some 15 years back when we parked outside the main entrance and walked in, this time we were parked a good 20-25 mins walk from the entrance.

Where had these multi storey car parks sprouted from in the last 15 years?

(Probably from the last 15 years)

What was with the moving walkways? - (Like the ones you get at airports)

Anyways..we opted for Universal Studios first..A totally empty park at 9am in the furnace heat of a morning.

ET first - No queue whatsoever..In fact we were first in..I can't remember anyone behind us at the time.

15 years back we queued for 50 mins..I remember the time exactly.

We enjoyed it more back then than now..More queues back then as well - Go figure..

15 years is a long time in Theme Park Land I suppose..

Technology, like time, moves on...and quick!

You have to let the ops key in your name into a computer..ET says goodbye to you at the end of the ride and is supposed to say your name..

er..Forget Gary, my name was something like Brillo or Brollo according to our alien friend at the end of the ride!

Next up Jaws - The Ride

This ride was closed on our last visit..We loved it this time around!!..Yes dated etc...but great!!

Fantastic themed park but didn't like having to leave bags in lockers before going on some of the rides.. Good reasons for them though I suppose.

Loved Earthquake as much as last time 15 yrs back - MIB was good in an 8 out of 10 sort of way..but it spun too much for my liking and you didn't have control over the spinning.

Back to the Future?..Gone! :-(

Simpsons soon to take its place :-)

Shrek in 4D was..well..not as good as hoped to be honest..a little headache inducing..too much riding on that horse..Up and down +++ in the cinema seats.

Funny though and a good pre attraction video show starring the 3 little pigs.

Mummy was fantastic - Excellent queueing area - Excavation area, - "Help the curse is true, get out of here quick!!"

- Swift, abrupt ride, stops, turning track, crawling backwards, superb SFX..Superb..(Have I already said that??)

We skipped Twister as we wanted to take in IOA that same day..
What's it like??

And time was moving on.

The coasters at IOA?..Amazing of course but I only got to look at them and drool.

The curse of feeling nauseous if I go upside down more than once continued / continues to curse me.

A major shame..2 years ago and it would have been no problem.
(Sigh) Anyway..plenty of good rides left..

Jurassic Park River Adventure was great..The best giant splash of the whole holiday..LOVED this ride!

Credit too for a short ride on Pteranodon Flyers.

I have to say though in all fairness it wasn't worth the long wait for such a short ride.

Best ride of the day/ Whole holiday??

SPIDERMAN..at IOA!!

Like the park itself the ride is sensation overload - 3D Spidey on the front of your car, Fire bolt sending you rocketing and spinning backwards, high above the city we felt the action and lived to want to ride it again...and again..and again..

What can I say? 100 out of 100!!!

We'll never forget this magical day..

MGM was to follow..

Universal was going to be a hard act to follow..

Could MGM match it for excitement and in yer face fun??

No.

But it had its moments...

An electric storm to end all storms for one thing..

MGM is wonderful before the masses are allowed in.

I've said it before and I'll say it again..If you stay at a Disney Hotel be sure to make use of the Magic Hours (ie early opening times and the staying open later for Disney Guests - Wristbands required for the latter)

Narnia attraction..Strange this..Brilliant opening of wardrobe door..Fantastically themed snowy white landscape complete with gaslamps..but boring stand and watch excerpts from the Narnia Movie and excerpts of the next Narnia movie..Could have been so good.

Backlot tour..Good in a classic sort of way but not as long as it was 15 years back..Lights, Camera Action stunt car show has now taken up much of the tour's space. We missed this much hyped show at DLP due to queues and so made sure we were near the front for this one..That is until an electrical storm to end all electrical storms put paid to the show..Are we ever going to see this Disney highlight?

Rock n' Roller Coaster - Isabel and Ann loved it....Tower of Terror shut due to storm..

We ended up watching Muppets in 4D..Er..As Brilliant as it was 15 yrs back..

Sidetrack: Best 4D Shows in Family Radice's humble opinion:

5: Shrek: Universal
4: Honey I Shrunk The Audience: Epcot
3: Muppets: MGM
2: It's Tough to be a bug: Animal Kingdom
1: Mickey's Philharmagic: Magic Kingdom

Not 3 or 4D but good nonetheless was The Voyage of The Little Mermaid..Water in the face..some good songs..nice out the rain in a sort of nice out of the rain sort of way..

Have I mentioned the afternoon rain?

The rain put paid to the most of our day at MGM..Talk about forked lightning and lightning seen in Horror Movies and old episodes of The Addams Family.. WOW!!...Scary....

Star Tours is showing its age as is The Great Movie Ride but I love The Great Movie Ride..For best effect you need good guides with you..Actors whose diction is clear..

Sadly the two who jumped on and off our moving car were ..well..a bit bored with things judging by their acting..Still a great ride though..!

Indiana Jones' Show was the brilliant same as 15 years back..(Seriously, anyone who couldn't spot the stooge needs a wake up call..)

High School - The Musical Parade was in full flow at some stage on some stage..
Come to think of it High School - The Musical (2) was everywhere during our holiday.

On Cable every night - At No 1 in Album and Singles Chart and here in all its glory at MGM on a sweltering hot morning that turned into an extremely wet afternoon....but still hot and humid..if you know what I mean.. (You have to have been there)
I like MGM and I don't like MGM..It was towards the end of the holiday and Downtown Disney and Disney Quest were on the agenda for the day after.

The day after could be a good day I thought. The day after could be an average day I thought.

I thought a lot on holiday.

Downtown Disney was a half hour bus ride from our hotel but a fascinating place to while away several hours.

Rainforest Cafe served up its usual fare in very entertaining surroundings and the air conditioning in the shops provided an escape from the blistering heat.

I'm not a great shopper..Ann and Isabel like shopping..I don't particularly you understand but it was just great to walk, meander, browse, listen to a record of Petula Clark singing Downtown over the sound system..er..and shop.

Fast forward to DisneyQuest in the West side part of DownTown.
First up we were directed into a lift..about 20 people were squashed in and the doors shut and it was pitch black..

Uh Oh!..Did I tell you I get claustrophobia sometimes?

Last time I got it was in a similar lift at the atrociously overpriced "Our Dynamic Earth" in Edinburgh when the lift doubled as a time machine.

(Time machine slime machine..the only thing time travelling about that tin can was / is the bad memories it brings back)

Similar thing at Disney Quest..lights go out, some lights shine through a screen and the lift descends slowly..Very slowly..Trying to get my breath back in a sardine can full of 20 people who are standing there and sounding excited is my idea of Hell..

Right, this ageing forty something who professes to like coasters and dark rides but gets dizzy and suffers from claustrophobia now needed to start enjoying himself.
Disney Quest appeared as a maze of sorts with stairs going down and some going up.

We headed for an interactive ride section which involved watching a screen whilst sitting in and paddling a moving canoe down some river rapids..Great Fun!..It came complete with water in the face.

Isabel had a go at a VR game which involved her swinging a sabre at fresh air and wearing a big helmet..She loved it.

We laughed.

Actually, the longer we were there, the more we began to enjoy DQ..Some great interactive attractions.

I liked the giant pinball - Designed to keep you fit.

This all happened towards the end of the hols..It would be home the next day.
In my next (and last installment) I'll sum up the fantastic 15 days we spent in DWF

To sum up:

What a bloody fantastic 15 days!!

Some final thoughts:

Loved the holiday and would recommend it to all who love Theme Parks and don't mind getting up at the crack of dawn and going to bed late.

Surprised by the amount of elderly people working at Disney World (Doing it for the love of it or because they have to??)

Two ladies who served us at a Fast Food Restaurant must have been in their mid 70s and looked hassled and tired.

Had we all been on a bus believe me when I say I would have offered both of them a seat.

Hated the Strongbow Cider at The Rose and Crown at EPCOT World Showcase. Tasted more like water to me.

Standout Disney World rides at each park for me:

Test Track at EPCOT, Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom, and The Great Movie Ride at MGM.

The award for the attraction that promised the most and delivered the least: Narnia at MGM..

The wardrobe opened up before us and we walked in to a magnificent mock up of a snowy, icy woodland complete with gas lamps..Sadly the remainder of our time involved watching a screen showing excerpts from the movie gone and the next movie to come.

Transportation: Not bad..buses tend to come 20 mins apart but annoyingly can take a long time to get to their destination due to calling in at other hotels and parks.
Enjoyed the boats across Lake Bay and the monorail on the couple of occasions we used it.

We don't think we would hire a car again because really if you are just visiting Disney World there is no need.

We used the car for Sea World and Universal Studios (About 7 and 10 miles away from where we were staying respectively)...They are another post though!

Loved the Wilderness Lodge Hotel..We had a great view over the lake - Smashing family hotel.

Reservations for meals wasn't as easy as hoped but food was cheap even after the 15 - 20% tips. (God help US tourists coming to Blighty)

Best quirky trip of the holiday: Went to Fort Wilderness and experienced a horse and carriage trip into the woods..It cost us - a family of 3 - just $35 for half an hour -

Brilliant.!!

The all you can eat buffet is good value for money there too.
Enjoyed Downtown Disney but as it was a 35 minute bus ride from our hotel we went only twice..Shopaholics will love this place.

To see any shows at the parks you need to arrive up to an hour early (without fastpass)..But it can be very hot queueing in the height of the midday sun..diehards only.

Disney has just so much to offer.

Timeshares (Vacation Resorts) seem to be taking off there.

We'll stick to the hotels and the Magic Hours (Early Entry for hotel guests and the hours that the parks stay open later just for guests) that come with them.

Disney Meal planner was a bit of a connundrum for us..Saw many people using it but to be honest I don't know exactly how it works for its extra cost.

Sad to leave but we have many great memories.

Thanks for reading

Gary

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themagiceye

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 12/7/07 5:26:36 PM

WOW Gary. I read almost all of your report. I have never been to Florida, but your report made me drool to get out there. I didn't realize just how much there is to do at so many parks.

When are you coming to Texas?

- Pat-O

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by Eric_Gieszl Eric_Gieszl Profile at 12/7/07 7:26:17 PM

Was the Yeti on Expedition Everest actually working?

I was just at Animal Kingdom three weekends ago and the Yeti wasn't working. One one ride I saw him lying over, playing dead. The next ride all lights were off. The third ride the back-up strobe effect was on.

On a previous trip the Yeti was working and I have to say the ride is not the same without him working. He really makes the ending.

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 12/7/07 11:12:58 PM

> He really makes the ending.

I totally agree. I cannot imagine EE without the Yeti. One knock on high-tech special effects, or sophisticated animatronics is that they can be inconstant, dramically diluting the ride experience.

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by MommaBeast MommaBeast Profile at 12/8/07 1:46:32 AM

Double WoW!

A wonderfully scripted, easy to follow and understand TR. What a pleasure to read!!

Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Yeah, Spidey ROX for sure, for sure! And Jurassic Park: The Ride ain't too shabby either. I love US/IoA and would opt for a return trip to those two places over WDW. Yes, we visited all the Disney parks and each one held a lil piece of magic for us, but for thrills (which is what we're all about), US/IoA is the place for us.

Again, a splendid TR! And a FANTASTICAL trip indeed.

~MommaBeast

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by d_n_s_u at 12/8/07 4:46:45 AM

Thanks for the kind comments! :-)

The more I reflect the more I realise how much we loved the holiday.

I especially loved learning a few things about Disney itself...

As we "magic - ed our way" towards the Wilderness Lodge hotel at Disney World Resort the Disney coach driver explained that Disney World produces its own Disney electricity and sells any excess off to surrounding areas.

I noticed a pylon in the shape of Mickey Mouse to my right somewhere. (seriously)

We learnt that in all there are 300 miles of roadway on Disney World's property.

Approaching the main entrance to Disney World on the main routeway the driver pointed out an aeroplane runway (hidden behind a gate) that Walt himself had built.

He wanted to fly between California and Florida on his private plane but unfortunately he never got to use the runway as he died soon after its completion.

themagiceye

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by Rollercoaster_freak220 Rollercoaster_freak220 Profile at 12/8/07 9:51:43 AM

GREAT TR!!! I'm glad you had such a great time! I'm also truly sorry that you were un-able to ride the loopers.

It's such a shame that TOT was closed! IMO, that is the best non-coaster ride EVER!!!

I'm sorry to here that HS Musical has taken over (AAARRRRGH!!!). WHY ON EARTH does Disney promote it that much!? You can tell from the previews that it's a god-awful movie! Sure there are some who love that movie (though I have met very few), but to have it take over an otherwise great park??? IMO, they shuold just make a ride about it, and let the people who dis-like it exerience the other movies that the park represents (though I could really just spend all day over by TOT and RRC :o)

Sorry for that, but HS Musical just annoys me to no end.

Once again, I'm glad you had such a great time!

-Josh, who really wants to go to US, IOA, and SW now!

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by RobLec RobLec Profile at 12/8/07 10:25:26 AM

You asked about Twister... it's one of my three favorite "must do" attractions at USF. At least it was, nearly a decade ago. Not a ride at all, more of a show. After the obligatory pre-show, guests stand in three rows overlooking a near life size small town scene from the movie (I'm guessing that even those who have not seen the movie might also appreciate this attraction to some degree).

Spolier alert! They start up some wind and rain effects, project a big dust cloud on a back screen. There's the usual assortment of Studios effects... lightning, sparks, flames, stuff flying by. An authentic but meager looking funnel cloud appears in the middle of the set. Thunder and lightning build up to a climax and suddenly the grandstand collapses (the ceiling and floor drop). It's quite a surprise your the first time. I still enjoy experiencing it on every visit, though the rest of my family has developed a seen it what's the point attitude.

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by MommaBeast MommaBeast Profile at 12/8/07 1:09:11 PM

> Thanks for the kind comments! :-)

> The more I reflect the more I realise how much we loved the
> holiday.

> I especially loved learning a few things about Disney
> itself...

It's sooooo funny, but I STILL find myself spotting "Hidden Mickeys" where ever I go! It could be in a food clump on a plate, or a cloud, or whatever...just pointed one out to my daughter the other day, lol!!

~MommaBeast

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by d_n_s_u at 12/8/07 4:18:56 PM

Hey MB! Hidden Mickeys!! :-)

Will someone kindly point out to this family where the Hidden Mickey is in "The Land" part of EPCOT??

...A book my daughter bought (Yes, we bought one and nearly took the Hidden Mickey Tour) said it was up in the clouds of the roof of the self serve restaurant.

We spent an age looking up and not being able to find it! :-)

Heck knows what people thought when we were looking upwards and pointing..They probably did what humans do and looked up as well..

We never did find the Mickey beyond those balloons in the clouds.. :-(

Whilst I'm typing away, (Sorry, this is becoming another TR in itself) some cred to the following attractions that although didn't make my A List deserve a mention in their own right..

The 3 Cabellero's Ride in Mexico / World Showcase / EPCOT...I spotted the Hidden Mickey there and love the boat ride! :-)

Soarin'.. The Nappa Valley I bet has never "smelt" so good..If you can, try and grab a seat at the front..No dangling legs to distract from a fantastic Live, breathe and smell Surround Screen Experience.

Figment's Imagination Ride at EPCOT is (still) great..It's ageing well.

Mission Space..Great!!..er..the green as opposed to the orange experience!

Here's a tip for anyone visiting EPCOT who just happens to get hot, thirsty and wanting to penny pinch..

There's a place called Club Cool next to The Fountain Cafe where you can sample fizzy drinks from around the world..as much as you like - for free!

Refreshing fizzy drinks from Mozambique, Costa Rica, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Israel and China amongst others are on tap.

Burp yourself refreshed. :-)

LOVED EPCOT!! :-)

..and loved ANIMAL KINGDOM:

Animal Kingdom is home to more than 1,700 animals representing 250 different species and is accredited to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

This from Birnbaum's Official Guide:

The park's layout is relatively simple: a series of sections or "lands" connected to a central hub. The hub is Discovery Island, an island surrounded by a river and home to The Tree of Life, the park's icon. A set of bridges connects Discovery Island with other lands."

The lands being Asia and Africa, Dinoland USA, Oasis and er..Camp Minnie-Mickey.

It's tough to be a Bug: Fantastic 4D Show - Watch that sting..!!

The 4D Theatre is below The Tree of Life - The Tree is a spectacle in itself and worth a mention in its own right...See it and appreciate it for what it is..Imagineering magnificence!

Kali River Rapids - Great theming but a little short...and I didn't get too wet!!..Not getting wet is a plus for some but..well..I expect to get wet on these rides - especially in the heat...Beware those persons that put 25 cents in a water cannon towards the end of the ride.. :-)

Rafiki's Planet Watch - Just do it!! - We boarded a train for a five minute trip to a section of the park that was really educational and had many interactive / read, listen and learn features.

Vets carry out required operations on animals in a hospital here early mornings which you can watch if you wish if you turn up early enough..

ALL the park employees we met were willing to share and impart information and obviously knew their stuff.

Dinoland USA had the appearance of a brightly lit up fairground but done with so much panache and style.

It's lead ride is Dinosaur formerly known as the dark ride "Countdown to Extinction"

It's a combination track ride and motion simulator. In synch with visuals it bumps, jostles and turns. What can I say?.. Scary + fun = excellent.

Primeval Whirl is a spinning coaster - Good, but after attractions like Dinosaur and Safari - it's just OK.

If you get the chance to go don't dismiss the walkthrough trails either..Up close with gigantic bats, all types of birds and tigers and plenty of those very well informed employees.

Special mention for the following Magic Kingdom attractions too:

First up a ride that never has a queue and is always walk-on..I LOVE it..It used to be called the WEDway People Mover - Now renamed The Tomorrowland Transit Authority (TTA)..

This from somewhere in Google Land:

The TTA is a 10 mph ride that highlights all the attractions of Tomorrowland, including an inside tour of Space Mountain. Formerly known as the WEDWay People Mover, this attraction is one of the many that got a major makeover in 1994 with the new Tomorrowland. A strange thing about this attraction is that while the first part of the ride and the very last part of the ride features new architectural surroundings, the middle part of the ride is still painted and designed the way it was when it opened in 1975.

Tomorrowland also boasts Stich's Great Escape..Strange attraction this one..Sit down, lights go out, Stitch burps in your face (You get to smell the stuff) and lots more besides.

Sadly The Haunted Mansion was shut during our stay - We were aware of this before we left these shores but there is just so much to see and do in the park it didn't detract from our enjoyment. Thankfully, we had already ridden this all those years back.

We weren't disappointed by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh either..Far from it..loved this colourful ride..It replaced Mr Toad's Wild Ride some years back so it had a lot to live up to...I'm happy to say that its a delight of a 3.5 minute ride and takes place on a blustery day when the east winds trades places with the west winds..

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin provided a good 2 minute fun ride but the heat of the day was at its greatest when we rode this attraction and we were glad to get off and escape to the tranquil cool courtesy of the air conditioning inside one of the many shops.

Shops is an unfair term..These places are monumental shopping palaces enclosed behind great facades and just happen to offer up everything Disney can throw at you.

The longest queues anywhere in The Magic Kingdom were for meeting and greeting the characters themselves..up to 60 mins at one point..Still..it's magical for the kids..

Isabel (She's 10) enjoyed buying the Disney pins (Hundreds of different designs at about £3 each) and then swapping with employees around the park..GREAT idea!

Disney and Seaworld and Universal parks make for a fantastic holiday alright..It's just that you need another holiday when you get back! :-)

I never got round to the Steam Train tour / talk that was on offer at Disney which is a shame as I like that sort of thing.

Maybe next time?.. and there will most definately be a next time.

We are going out and back to Florida in 2009...a certain bespectacled English Wizard may have taken up Universal residence by then..and even converted those Duelling Dragons to fit in with his theming????

Cheers

Gary

Hang on, did I mention Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin or Nemo's Underwater Adventures or Snow White or Peter Pan or Space Mountain or.....

* This Post Has Been Modified *

themagiceye

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/8/07 10:08:59 PM

> You, my North American Friends get the Full Director's Cut
> in Box Set form!!

> Believe me when I say the word "Long" really sums
> up this TR :-)

> I wanna buy the movie rights to this trip report, Gary! Loved reading it..brought back some good memories of trips past and honed my appetite for the future(???)..Mike
> _______________________________________

> Expedition Everest: Animal Kingdom : 19th & 27th August
> 2007

Can't wait to ride it someday..Mike

> Test Track : EPCOT : 18th & 21st & 28th August

Ditto...although I've not been to EPCOT at all on past visits..Mike

>.

> Next up is a 43 year old attraction that debuted at New
> York's World Fair.

> It opened at DWF 32 years ago and lasts for 20 minutes..

> Got it yet?

> The Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland showcases how life
> has changed through one family.

I didn't realize the C.O.P. was born the same year as I was! The song always stayed in my head since my first visit, which was around '73.."Now is the time, now is the best time, now is the best time of your life!" Is that song still used?..Mike

>> I'll leave aside Captain Jack Sparrow being added to
> Pirates of the Caribbean (Love the ride - Personally
> believe the films are totally over-rated) and move on to:

I love Pirates(the ride) but I'm still P.O.'d they removed 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea....Mike

>>
> Talking of Liberty Square..

> I remember having an awesome fish and chips dinner at some eatery on Liberty Square back in the 70's...Mike

>
> We skipped Twister as we wanted to take in IOA that same
> day..
> What's it like??

Rob's reply said it all, but on a personal note...In '04, I got caught in a horrific, torrential, downpour upon debarking from my complimentary shuttle bus from the Econo-Lodge at which I stayed. Twister was the first ride I saw, got into a short line to get out of the rain, and got dried off a little inside, due to the nature of the attraction...Mike

>
> Jurassic Park River Adventure was great..The best giant
> splash of the whole holiday..LOVED this ride!

My favorite water ride..had a great conversation about baseball with my seatmate, a Red Sox fan from Boston..and me in my Mets cap(with the NY..that's for RobLec!)..Mike

> ....Tower
> of Terror shut due to storm..

And according to your follow-up post, you also missed the Haunted Mansion. Talk about a double whammy!...Mike

High School - The Musical Parade was in full flow at some
> stage on some stage..
> Come to think of it High School - The Musical (2) was
> everywhere during our holiday.

At least Vanessa Hudgens is worth looking at!..Mike

listen to a record of Petula Clark
> singing Downtown over the sound system..er..and shop.

Great song! And I saw her at my place of employment, starring in a touring production of Sunset Boulevard...Mike

> >> I liked the giant pinball - Designed to keep you fit.

I wanna know more about this!..Mike

> We don't think we would hire a car again because really if
> you are just visiting Disney World there is no need.

The Econo-Lodge I stayed at in Kissimmee offered free shuttle service to Disney AND Universal..but not Sea World..I still haven't been there but once..in '77..Shamu ruined my Polaroid One Step camera!...Mike

> Timeshares (Vacation Resorts) seem to be taking off there.

"Taking off?" Understatement City!! They control the skies!..Mike

Again, GREAT STUFF, Gary!

Mike

Hidden Mickeys and Other Stuff by MommaBeast MommaBeast Profile at 12/9/07 1:35:39 AM

> Hey MB! Hidden Mickeys!! :-)

It gets stuck in your head, I'm tellin' ya! Although we didn't buy the book, my kids and I gave up the 'official' search for Hidden Mickeys and instead enjoyed stumbling upon them here and there. The ride op pointed out the one on Splash Mountain, lol!

> Will someone kindly point out to this family where the
> Hidden Mickey is in "The Land" part of EPCOT??

Gosh, sorry I can't help you there. I *DID* however find the unbelievable HM (Hidden Mickey) in the ivy-like foilage @ the ToT Q entrance. Now this may not be one listed in the "official" book, but I pointed it out to my kids and by golly, there was Mickey in those leaves!!! Talk about HIDDEN! And true enough, just like you said, other patrons in line started looking up where I was pointing and commented on the find.

> Soarin'.. The Nappa Valley I bet has never
> "smelt" so good..If you can, try and grab a seat
> at the front..No dangling legs to distract from a fantastic
> Live, breathe and smell Surround Screen Experience.

This is one heckuva ride!! We absolutely loved, loved, loved this ride. I can't praise it enough. It's one I could ride again and again and again and again without EVER tiring of it.

> Mission Space..Great!!..er..the green as opposed to the
> orange experience!

The 'more intense' side really got me. Though I'm not a fan of closed (or close) spaces, it was the centrifugal force on my chest that zapped me. Thought I was gonna bite the dust, literally. Medic! Medic! But I loved it. Because my chest 'hurt' so badly, we didn't venture a re-ride (I was scared, lol!).

> Here's a tip for anyone visiting EPCOT who just happens to
> get hot, thirsty and wanting to penny pinch..

> There's a place called Club Cool next to The Fountain Cafe
> where you can sample fizzy drinks from around the world..as
> much as you like - for free!

How very neat! We must've missed that one. We took a gazillion single packets of pre-sweetened Kool-Aid and just asked for (free) ice water throughout our stay. Kids stayed refreshed and I saved big bucks. Always a good thing. :>)

> LOVED EPCOT!! :-)

Yes, especially "Illuminations." My 15 y/o son absolutely made my day, my week, heck my life (!) when he spoke during the show. "Mom," he said as he tugged my arm, "I'm gonna remember this the rest of my life. This is someplace I'd like to take my family one day."

Tears! Gimme a tissue!!

We, too, very much enjoyed Animal Kingdom. My daughter (13 y/o) loves animals (she buries dead bugs even) and this was a mecca for her.

> Primeval Whirl is a spinning coaster - Good, but after
> attractions like Dinosaur and Safari - it's just OK.

> If you get the chance to go don't dismiss the walkthrough
> trails either..Up close with gigantic bats, all types of
> birds and tigers and plenty of those very well informed
> employees.

Did you notice the OPEN SCREENS where the giant fruit bats could've flown >>>>thisclose<<<< to you? We got spooked, but it was scary fun!

> Tomorrowland also boasts Stich's Great Escape..Strange
> attraction this one..Sit down, lights go out, Stitch burps
> in your face (You get to smell the stuff) and lots more
> besides.

Yeah, we weren't too pleased with Stitch. We thought it stupid and totally boring. And gross to boot.

> Hang on, did I mention Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger
> Spin or Nemo's Underwater Adventures or Snow White or Peter
> Pan or Space Mountain or.....

> * This Post Has Been Modified *

LMAO! Thanks again for a great read. It brought back miles of smiles to my face as I recalled OUR special times at those very same places.

*Sigh*

~MommaBeast

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by d_n_s_u at 12/9/07 1:01:40 PM

I didn't realize the C.O.P. was born the same year as I was! The song always stayed in my head since my first visit, which was around '73.."Now is the time, now is the best time, now is the best time of your life!" Is that song still used?..

Yes, Mike, I'm sure it's the same song..It's things like this that makes an attraction like this so great!

During our ride, The Carousel broke down half way between scenes for a couple of minutes..but that only just added to it for me..

themagiceye

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by SirWillow SirWillow Profile at 12/9/07 2:20:28 PM

Great TR!!! Loved the read. Did have a few comments to add...

> Some old favourites of mine have been given a revamp:

> The Enchanted Tiki Room attraction which has been given a
> "Rock n' Roll" overhaul and the words "Under
> New Management" added.

> Zazu from The Lion King is new...I think Iago from Aladdin
> was there last time..I can't remember.

Iago and Zazu were added at the same time and, IMO, ruined what used to be a great show. You can still see the near original version in CA. I wish they would bring it back to FL also.

> The ride (inspired by the 1955 documentary "The
> African Lion") still comes complete with the human
> skipper delivering (quite funny) quips..but I noticed that
> this time the crocodile isn't "shot"..it's just
> left to get on with things.

I thought it was the hippo that used to be shot, though my memory could be fooling me also. But it's been a few years since they've done that. Although there are a few guides that will mention it sometimes.

> I was hoping to experience the show that had us all
> laughing 15 yrs ago at The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in
> Liberty Square...

I'm completely agreed with you on this- it's one of my biggest peeves. I loved the show in California, and hate that they don't operate it in florida. During peak seasons they'll open it up as a small buffet restaurant just to help keep some of the food lines down, and they've sometimes done character greets in it, but otherwise it sits empty most of the time. As does the restaurant at the entrance of Adventureland.

> Oh, and while you're at it please stop over advertising
> these Disney Vacation Resorts (Time shares) as you seem to
> be doing everywhere.

But it's Disney's "best kept secret" don't ya know? hehe

> The US National Anthem was played and all employees (and
> some visitors) stopped what they were doing and looked
> towards the American Flag.

There are a few parks that do this. All of the Busch parks do. Knott's out in CA used to., and I believe that some of the Six Flags parks do also. But personally I think it's a nice touch.

> So we didn't opt for the priority parking at Universal.

> Mistake.

> Unlike our last visit some 15 years back when we parked
> outside the main entrance and walked in, this time we were
> parked a good 20-25 mins walk from the entrance.

Beleive it or not, all that priorty parking at Universal is is parking on a slightly lower level of the garage, and sometimes one section closer. You still have that huge walk through the parking structure and City Walk. Priority parking at Universal is the biggest waste of money ever. Far more than it is at Busch.

> Where had these multi storey car parks sprouted from in the
> last 15 years?

> (Probably from the last 15 years)

If I remember right, City Walk and Islands of Adventure pretty much took the old Universal parking lot, and they had to put it somewhere. so...

> The coasters at IOA?..Amazing of course but I only got to
> look at them and drool.

> The curse of feeling nauseous if I go upside down more than
> once continued / continues to curse me.

Have you tried using Dramamine? I've talked to other coaster enthusiasts who suffer the same thing, and they almost swear by it. It might work for you.

> High School - The Musical Parade was in full flow at some
> stage on some stage..
> Come to think of it High School - The Musical (2) was
> everywhere during our holiday.

What can I say, the preteen set seems to be practically obsessed with it, and I can't blame Disney for wanting to milk what has turned into a huge cash cow for them. It's almost scary how popular the silly thing is.

> Surprised by the amount of elderly people working at Disney
> World (Doing it for the love of it or because they have
> to??)

Due to climate Florida is a huge place for people who have retired to live. Some work at Disney for the money, some work there for something to do, and some work there just because they love it. When a place has 55,000 employees as WDW does, you'll get them from all walks.

> To see any shows at the parks you need to arrive up to an
> hour early (without fastpass)..But it can be very hot
> queueing in the height of the midday sun..diehards only.

Which shows? Most of them you can get into fairly easily showing up 20-30 minutes ahead of time if they are ones that are only don a few times a day. If they're ones that run continuously (e.g. Little Mermaid), then they'll have a longer wait- especially during thunderstorms.

> Disney Meal planner was a bit of a connundrum for us..Saw
> many people using it but to be honest I don't know exactly
> how it works for its extra cost.

Essentially you buy your meals and snacks in advance. For buying in advance, you get to pick from so many meals and, essentially, eat anywhere that you'd like "free"- or rather prepaid. It includes the entire meal- main dish, side dish, dessert, and drink. Or in the case of a buffet all you can eat. Used to be a great deal, but they've restructured it lately so it's not as good a bargain as it used to be.

> Thanks for reading

Thanks for writing! it was a great read!

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by skc2000 at 12/9/07 2:45:37 PM

> Was the Yeti on Expedition Everest actually working?

> I was just at Animal Kingdom three weekends ago and the
> Yeti wasn't working. One one ride I saw him lying over,
> playing dead. The next ride all lights were off. The third
> ride the back-up strobe effect was on.

> On a previous trip the Yeti was working and I have to say
> the ride is not the same without him working. He really
> makes the ending.
> * This Post Has Been Modified *

Oh well i should be embarrassed to ask this question but anyways here it goes. I don't know what Yeti is. What is it? What does it do?

skc2000

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by Rollercoaster_freak220 Rollercoaster_freak220 Profile at 12/9/07 2:53:21 PM

> Disney Meal planner was a bit of a connundrum for us..Saw
> many people using it but to be honest I don't know exactly
> how it works for its extra cost.

> Essentially you buy your meals and snacks in advance. For
> buying in advance, you get to pick from so many meals and,
> essentially, eat anywhere that you'd like "free"-
> or rather prepaid. It includes the entire meal- main dish,
> side dish, dessert, and drink. Or in the case of a buffet
> all you can eat. Used to be a great deal, but they've
> restructured it lately so it's not as good a bargain as it
> used to be.

When was is re-structured? before 2005? Either way, I think was one of the best decisions we'd ever made to get that thing! It got us to eat at restaraunts taht we normally would NEVER have considered eating at. Because of that, we got to experience the best theme/amusement park meal that we've ever had (Canadian resaraunt at Epcot)! It was also great for convinience. You don't have to worry about charging to your credit card, or hauling around cash, you just have that little card to use everywhere. It was great! Even if it's pre-paid, it feels like you're getting the meals for free.

-Josh, who is REALLY missing Disney right now.

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by Rollercoaster_freak220 Rollercoaster_freak220 Profile at 12/9/07 2:58:59 PM

> Was the Yeti on Expedition Everest actually working?

> I was just at Animal Kingdom three weekends ago and the
> Yeti wasn't working. One one ride I saw him lying over,
> playing dead. The next ride all lights were off. The third
> ride the back-up strobe effect was on.

> On a previous trip the Yeti was working and I have to say
> the ride is not the same without him working. He really
> makes the ending.
> * This Post Has Been Modified *

> Oh well i should be embarrassed to ask this question but
> anyways here it goes. I don't know what Yeti is. What is
> it? What does it do?

> skc2000

A yeti is a mythical creature (I think the same as the abominable snowman [?]). It is what Expadition Everest is themed around.
User Submitted Picture

Re: DWF : The Long Trip Back by d_n_s_u at 12/21/07 3:06:03 PM

To answer the questions asked:

When are you coming to Texas? - Pat-O

Sadly, no plans for Texas (Unfortunately) Would love to go but next trip to US will be 2009..Florida again :-)

Was the Yeti on Expedition Everest actually working? - Eric

Yes indeed it was..A great end to a great ride. :-)

I'm sorry to here that HS Musical has taken over (AAARRRRGH!!!). WHY ON EARTH does Disney promote it that much!? - Josh

HS- The Musical 2 was actually in the top 5 Best Selling DVDs in the UK for 2007..I know, I know...

At least Vanessa Hudgens is worth looking at! - Mike

Agreed Mike :-) ..and hey, Petula Clark was lovely in her day..and lovely now too, I guess.

You asked about Twister... it's one of my three favorite "must do" attractions at USF - RobLec

Cheers for that RobLec..Definately a "Must Do" next time.

Sir Willow - Loving reading your TR about EPCOT..When we were there, several pavilions were shut in readiness for the upcoming (now gone) food festival.

PS - Got to love France's film at EPCOT..The narrator sounds like how an English Guy trying too hard to sound French would sound..and ending up sounding like an English guy trying too hard to sound French..

The French film is a wonderful slice of "Cheese" - I love it..

themagiceye