Did you know about the secret dining room? On our visit, I specifically asked for a table there when checking-in at the restaurant.
On one side of the restaurant is a bookcase. Hidden in the decorations of the shelf is a button which opens a secret door (the bookcase slides apart) and you enter a room decorated like a wine cellar. After you enter, the door closes again.
Unfortunately, I only took one picture while we ate there and it doesn't show a lot of the room. Also I forgot to take a video of the secret door.
While it seems that most people share your philosophy, I travel and explore until the last minute. If my flight doesn't leave until the afternoon, you better believe I'll be taking in another attraction that morning. I find it actually helps you transition nicely from "vacation mode" to "travel mode". While you realize you are leaving in a few hours, at least you're doing something interesting rather than waiting in the hotel or airport.
Just a thought.
Before the Forbidden Journey was added to IOA, I had DisneySea neck and neck with IOA as the best parks in the world. Had I seen what was in Fortress Explorations, I would have ranked it above IOA. With all of the incredible things Universal is doing with the Harry Potter franchise in Orlando, the point is probably moot.
With a few modifications like finding a different E-ticket to replace Tower of Terror, this park should be added as the fifth gate in Disney World.
That globe is amazing- as a collector of globes, this would be a dream to see in person.
While we always planned the TDR visit to the end of our trip, in order to make the most of our time at the resort, we booked another night before flying home in a nice little ryokan in Narita, where we went to after leaving the park in the evening.
In the morning there was still enough time to walk around in Narita for a while and see a local temple before taking the train to Narita airport around noon.
With a little effort and internet research, I could easily find a review or article about these Asian parks from a travel correspondent. But it would not be half as enjoyable as what you have written. Mainly due to your background as a former cast member and (more importantly) a fellow theme park "fan".
Thanks for keeping this site so fresh and appealing. Best wishes to you and your family for 2012...