Let me preface this by saying, any negative experiences we had at WDW over our trip is not going to deter us from returning early 2006. It will help us prepare better, and those experiences gave us great perspective on the some of the discussions here. We have already started planning a spring trip. However, there were some very disturbing things, IMO, Disney should address, and some others, which I realize Disney has no control over, and are simply personal biases on our part, that impacted our trip in a negative way.
Curtis-Yeah, it’s me
I am going to structure our report by park, since we moved from park to park, each day, not staying a single day, at any one park. This was done by design, by the way. I’ll grade each thing we did, from 1-10, and if the score is particularly high, or low, I’ll offer some comment. The score is sort of a combo of what I, my DW, and most importantly, my DD thought of them. I opted not to add all the mundane details of each day, and hit the highlights.
What we did-Buzz Lightyear(7), Carousel of Progress(8), Cinderella’s carousel(7), Country Bear Jamboree(3), Dumbo the Flying Elephant(7), The Haunted Mansion(2), Mad Tea Party(7), Snow White’s Scary Adventure(7), Space Mountain(8), Wishes(8), Spectromagic(9), Dream Come True Parade(9).
Where we ate-Flame Tree BBQ(7)
Comments-My DD loved the parades, and fireworks. They were a lot of fun. The Haunted Mansion was a hour of our lives we’ll never get back. Overall Magic Kingdom was the best of all the parks. For us, the atmosphere is what Disney means to us. After starting our trip at Epcot, I was very thankful to get to Magic Kingdom. If there is “magic” to be had, for us MK is where it’s at.
What we did-Ice Station Cool(1), Honey, I Shrunk the Audience(1), Test Track(9), Illuminations(10), World Showcase(7), The Land(5), The Living Seas(5), Innoventions(3)
Where we ate-Liberty Inn/Yakatori House/Yorkshire Fish Shop(8), Sunshine Season Food Fair(5)
Comments-We were very disappointed in Epcot, Future World. Aside from Test Track, which was a lot of fun, we just weren’t feeling Epcot. We walked World Showcase, the night we watched Illuminations, and enjoyed it much more. The food was tasty, and the feel was more fun for us. Once again, it felt more like Disney to us.
What we did-Camp Minnie Mickey(10), Dinosaur(9), Flights of Wonder(7), Kali River Rapids(7), Kilimanjaro Safari(8), Triceratops Spin(7), The Oasis(8), Festival of the Lion King(9), The Tree of Life and Trails(8).
Where we ate-Tusker House Breakfast(7), Flame Tree BBQ(8).
Comments-Aside from MK, AK was our family’s favorite park, by far. Camp Minnie Mickey was great for DD, because she met so many characters, and she loved Dinosaur. The Festival of the Lion King was very cool, and really there was nothing disappointing, about this park. I wish we had been able to see it another day.
What we did-Beauty and the Beast(9), Playhouse Disney(8), Tower of Terror(10), Stars and Cars Parade(9)
Where we ate-Backlot Express(8)
Comments-It’s unfair to grade MGM, because it wasn’t a full day. The day were were at MGM, it was a total downpour, almost the entire afternoon, and made it impossible to enjoy the rest of the day, so we just headed back to our room. Doing the rest of MGM is our top priority on our next trip, because what we did get to do, was a lot of fun, especially my DD’s favorite, the ToT.
What we did-We shopped, silly!(10)
Where we ate-Planet HollyWood(10)
Comments-We really loved Downtown Disney, mainly because we love to shop…lol. We were able to get our DD’s best friend a GOH Badge, for her upcoming WDW trip, and so much stuff, for our soon to be Disney Bathroom, not to mention presents for all our family. Totally rewarding experience. Eating a Planet Hollywood was great. I love all the movie memorabilia, and the LA Lasagna, and DW’s Fajitas were super good. Even my DD’s chicken strips, which were hand breaded in Panko, were great. It started pouring while we were there, and we were able to spend the time, at DisneyQuest, which was fun. Next time we go back, my in-laws are going, so my DW and I will get to experience more of the adult part, which we are looking very forward to.
The water parks
Blizzard Beach(2), Typhoon Lagoon(2)
Comments-Completely underwhelmed by the water parks. Slapping Disney in front of the name, doesn’t excuse them from being just water parks. Lines were insane, and the slides weren’t as rewarding as we hoped. Half a day, that could have been better spent elsewhere. Won’t bother on the return trip.
What we did-Ate at ESPN Club(9), walked the Boardwalk and looked around the resort(2)
Comments-The food and more importantly the atmosphere at ESPN Club was a lot of fun. Great wings, great sanwiches, great service, and very immersive experience for a sport fan. Did some good shopping there as well. The rest of the Boardwalk was pretty nice, but the nasty looks we got, from the Boardwalk guests, and we looked around the resort, ruined that part. Let me point out now, and I will again. I would never stay at one of those more expensive resorts, after going through several on this trip. Never. I have no desire to spend a week, rooming around such pretentious folks. Most of them probably don’t make as much as I do, but they sure wanted me to think they did…lol.
Our Resort-We stayed at All Star movies, and were very pleased. It felt like a Disney resort, whereas, the others we went to, for either a CM, or whatever, lacked that, and I was thankful, we didn’t blow the cash on a more expensive resort. I don’t think my DD’s birthday would have been as magical, if she didn’t walk out, under the Herbie every morning. The staff was polite and helpful, and aside from one luggage service worker, who should be terminated(will explain in a moment), we had nothing negative about our resort. We ate at the food court a couple of times for Breakfast, and lunch, and were always happy with the quality of food, as well as the prices. We had the re-fillable mugs, and used them a lot. Nice value. The other guests at the resort were never a source of distraction or frustration. We had pizza delivered to the room, the evening of the gullywashing storm, and it was great. We just sat together and ate, and talked about our trip, with no distractions, or rude folks. Very relaxing.
My one beef with the resort. One CM, who worked in the luggage department, dropped my carry on bag, as it was being loaded into the limo on the way home, and I saw her from the lobby, as I was getting my family out the door. Everything dumped out, and she scurried to get it all wedged back in. When I asked her, she lied and said she didn’t drop anything. I told her, I watched it happen, and at that point, she feigned a lack of understanding of the English language. That kind of thing makes me really sick. Well, low and behold, we get home, and some of our souveniers were broken, from when she dropped it. I called the resort, and they assured me, they would send us replacements, and they would speak with the CM.
Character meals/experiences-The strength of this trip, was my DD’s character interaction. The GOH badge worked great, as more than half of her 15 or so autographs were personalized to her, because of it, and I’d say half of the CM’s who spoke with her, called her by name. The Character Meal at Cape May Café, we give a big 10. The characters(Minnie, Goofy, Chip/Dale) all came by at least 4 times during our meal, and Goofy sat with here, for several minutes, while she talked to him. Chip and Dale are her absolute favorites, and she was able to get some quality time with them, 3 separate times. First, at MK, then at the MK Parade, and finally at the character meal, and she was in heaven, and she just knew they remembered here, and that’s why they kept coming around. The character meet and greets at AK were awesome also. I can’t wait to get the pictures back, and put get them online. Character interaction at MK was sketchy, but AK more than made up for that. MGM, we didn’t get to do much, because of the weather.
Our flights-A total nightmare. Our flight from KC, to DFW was late, and made us miss our connecting flight, to Orlando, and we were stuck in DFW for 2 extra hours. Our flight our of Orlando, was delayed nearly 2 hours, and there was no connecting flight, our of O’Hare, that late, so were had to overnight in Chicago. It totally stunk, but we will never use that airline again.
Our transportation-StarTours was great. We called them, from DFW, and told them we’d be late, and our driver was there, with the Towncar waiting for us. He was as nice as could be. On the other end, when they picked us up, for go back to the airport, they sent a limo, and that was great. Prompt, helpful, and overall a great experience.
The buses at the park were also great. Maybe we just got lucky, but it seemed we always caught the buses just in time, and had very little waits. Most of the CM’s were fun and personable, and one girl in particular, Alisha, saved our vacation. We had a PS for 9:10 at Cape May Café, and took a bud to Epcot, to catch the boat, to the Beach Club. Well, we had the wrong day, and the park wasn’t open(thought it was the EMH day). We were sunk. We stopped at Alisha’s bus, and asked her advice, and told her our problem. She hopped on the radio, explained it to her supervisor, and boom, she turned her light to special, and drove us straight to the Beach Club, so we got our table. Thank you Alisha. You saved these lost travelers from Kansas.
My spot to vent-
I was really disappointed too see how many grown men and women, seemed to lose all sense of manners, once they passed through the doors of those parks. They wonder why their kids act out, when they have zero consideration for other travelers. I have always been a polite person, perhaps overly polite, and Disney should offer classes on park etiquette, before folks are allowed in the park, and where you stay, or how much money you have, shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not they have to go.
Also, if you are going to be rude, and I decide to call you out on it, please don’t pretend you suddenly don’t speak English. It makes you look stupid, and you aren’t fooling anyone.
Also, an open letter to any potential Disney travelers, don’t confuse being fat and lazy, with being handicapped. I can’t tell you how many times, I have the backs of my legs run up on, by those motorized scooters, only to turn around and see either a big fat person, or a parent, and their kid, out for a little ride. I blame Disney firmly for this, and there should be some sort of rules governing who can and who cannot have those things. We wonder why America is getting fatter.
I will again touch on how rude many of the guests at the resorts were, we visited. The attitude we saw was pretty evident. I got a big kick out of the little glances at my family and I, got when we came through a resort. There was one guy in particular, with his cell phone nailed to his head(another huge pet peeve of mine, from this trip), who gave me this sort of up and down look, at the Boardwalk, as if to say, “why are you here”. The amount of pretentious guests wasn’t excessive, but there were enough to make it frustrating.
There was also a mention, on another thread about foreign guests. Let me say this much. Of all the guests I encountered, the majority were not from the United States. It felt great to run into a family from United States, I could talk to. No offense to the diverse cultural population at WDW, but for us, it was excessive, and a little overwhelming at times. I am not saying they were any better or worse, but the language barrier was very frustrating at times, especially when I didn’t believe for one minute, it existed.
Overall, the trip, for my DD, was awesome. She was almost completely oblivious to the negative things I mentioned above, and I was glad. She got to meet almost every character she wanted, and rode all the rides she wanted. This trip was for her, not my DW and I, and we tailored the experience to her. We will go back, and we’ll be better prepared to deal with the things we didn’t like, as well as the things we did.