WDW Trip Report: Days 3 & 4

Walt Disney World: We spend 10 days at Disney and the beach. Here's a report on how days 3 and 4 went. Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

From Don Neal
Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:42 AM
DAY 3 - Monday (5/31)
Disney Hollywood Studios
Thanks to everyone that recommended DHS for Memorial Day. The park was not packed at all and we rode everything we wanted to and more. :)

Ride Comments
Toy Story Mania
We got through the gate at 9:15. For such a small crowd, it looked like all of them showed up to get in early. I was worried it was going to be packed at first but that was about as much crowd as we saw all day. Unfortunately they all had the same goal, ride Toy Story Mania ALL DAY LONG. By 9:25 the stand-by line was 50 minutes and FP were already at 2:05 pm. We got our FP and moved on.

Muppet Vision 3D
Thanks to the hysteria at TSM, Muppets had a 5 min wait. We grabbed our glasses and took a seat at the front of the pre-show. Nothing seemed too different there. But the show itself seemed like it had been cleaned up a lot. We always enjoy this one as we are big Muppet fans (even if James isn't). :P

Star Tours
I wish we would have gotten to ride v2 but v1 would have to do. It was my wife and youngest daughter's first ride on ST, so we waited the 15 mins so they could cross it off their list. 6/10 until it gets updated. Although the theming in the queue with the Ewok Village and AT-AT walker almost make it a 9. :D

Great Movie Ride
I love old movies and the history of Hollywood so this ride is a no-brainer for me. Sure it could be updated but to me it does it's job. I only wish that it could be extended to include more modern movies as well that have had an impact on the movie industry and society like some of the classics they have there already. 8/10 Would be a 9 if they also had some newer movies as well as other greats like Star Wars and such.

Side-discussion: Why doesn't Disney make a ride like this that is the history of Disney movies, animated or live-action? They have an enormous library to pull from and could really do something special with it. I think something like this would do really well at DHS or MK.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
I haven't seen this show since 1990. I love the Indy Jones movies so I was looking forward to it. However I don't care much for the new take on it where they are doing a "stunt shoot" and give you all this behind the scenes info. I preferred the old "show". However the kids enjoyed it and it wasn't terrible. 7/10

Toy Story Mania
I love this ride. As does every one else it would appear. I wish I could have ridden this 4-5 more times. I only scored 172,000 and felt like I was just getting the hang of it. This ride is perfect for the whole family and tons of fun. The Toy Story 3 elements didn't distract from it at all. That's great they can easily update the ride like that. 9/10

One Man's Dream
I love history and we missed this walk-through last time so we made sure we took the time to go through it. There were a lot of very neat artifacts and facts about Walt and the history of the company. The movie at the end was also very interesting. If you are a Disney buff or historian, be sure to check this out. 8/10

The Little Mermaid
This is always a must for my daughters. I just want to see the cool laser, mist, fog effect they do on the ceiling. 7/10

Tower of Terror x2
We got FP for RRC so we hopped in line for ToT which said 10 mins but we walked right into the pre-show, stayed to the right, were the first out of that room, and walked right up to the service elevators. The whole process might have been 10 mins but we never stopped moving aside from the pre-show movie. Great ride as always. We got right back inline and rode it again. Just as good as the first time. I love to ride this at night too but the park was closing at 7 so we didn't get an after-dark ride in. 9/10

Rock'n'Roller Coaster
This was my son's first upside down coaster when he rode last year so we had to celebrate his one year anniversary by riding it again! FP took us straight in to the pre-show. The stand-by was at 45 mins and the girls were waiting so we moved on. I enjoy it but the turns are too tight for my taste. I prefer air-time and speed. Still a good ride but aside from theming is no different than Flight of Fear at King's Island. 7.5/10

Beauty and the Beast Show
The girls and my wife enjoyed this show while my son and I rode ToT and RRC. We caught the tail end of it. Not quite Nemo or Lion King at AK but better than your typical Amusement Park shows. 7/10

Food Comments
Studio Backlot Express
Another great Disney World walk-up. Basically the same menu as the Electric Umbrella but it suited us fine. 8/10

Earl of Sandwhich @ DTD
DHS was closing at 7 so we took off and headed to DTD to see if the Monday night crowd was light. We found a front row parking spot which was great. The Earl was busy but not like I had seen it past visits. My wife's second favorite sandwhich joint after Firehouse. At least James and I agree on this one. ;) 8/10 (would be a 9 except it's only sandwhiches after all...)

DAY 4 - Tuesday (6/1)
Animal Kingdom
It was killing me to not go to Magic Kingdom until later in the week but based on everyone's input and the even schedules that week it was the right thing to do and worked out well for us. So we stuck with the schedule and visited AK. Park was only open until 6 which may have kept some folks away. The crowds were light which made the day very manageable and we got to do more than I had laid out for the day. Which was a blessing since this was our only day at AK for this visit.

Ride Comments
Expedetion Everest
I think this might be the greatest family coaster ever. While it is still too intense for even my wife, I love that me and my kids can ride something that is thrilling for them and still enjoyable for me. We grabbed a FP for later and jumped in the stand-by for only a 20 min wait. My six year old daughter took the plunge this year and got in line with us. It was going to be her first "big coaster". She was scared but didn't want to be left out. I coached her through it and explained it to her as the ride progressed. As we unloaded I asked her if she was okay and what she thought. Her response was "Daddy, what time can we use the Fast Pass to ride it again?!" That's my girl. ;)

Thanks to the small crowds and FP, even with the park closing at 6, all three kids and I got in three rides that day. This rivals Toy Story Mania for the "Family Favorite" at WDW. 9/10

I would break down the rides here but their just a distraction. They can tear this down whenever they want. I won't miss it or the rides. Even Dinosaur just doesn't measure up in my opinion. For all the technology used on that ride, it could be so much more. These comments exclude the Nemo show which just happens to be in that area of the park. I think they should build off of the Nemo theme and do something fish, underwater related. I know that would seem similar to the Seas Pavilion at Epcot but the Sea holds more life than any other ecosystem, I am sure they can find something to build on. Or pick another continent to go with Africa or Asia such as Australia or South America.

Finding Nemo Show
I know a lot of people prefer the Lion King, or so I am told, but I love this show. It's my favorite at WDW. Maybe because it tells a story and LK is just entertainment. I enjoy both but this is my favorite. We had 5th row seats center and got an excellent view of the set pieces and costumes. Even more impressed than I was before. 9/10

Kali River Rapids
This ride is way too short and while the last hill is fun, other parks do this ride better. 7/10 and I'm being kind.

Pangani Forest Exploration
I love the theming of the ruins but I have seen more animals more up close at the Indy Zoo. This falters compared to the Kilimanjaro Safari. 7/10 only because I like exploring, animals, and huge bats! :)

Kilimanjaro Safari
The contrived plot gets old on this ride but the experience is worth it. We didn't get too close to anything but saw a lot of wildlife. Always enjoyable. 8/10

It's Tough to Be a Bug
Another great Disney 3D/4D show. My favorite part is the ending which I won't give away. That's a whole new "4D" experience. :) And of course the queue is great as you walk amongst the roots of the Tree of Life. 8/10

Festival of the Lion King
Very entertaining show. The show was full and we were having trouble finding seats for all five of us so a cast member directed us to some front row seats which are reserved for those with special needs however they had already seated everyone so they were open. My kids got to be apart of the show at the end and loved it. The trapeze work is great. Good show. 8/10

Food Comments
Flame Tree BBQ
We ate here in 2009 and enjoyed it so we returned on this trip. The food wasn't quite as good as I remembered it but still enjoyable. I would still eat there again. We ate down by the lake which was nice and had a great view of Everest. 8/10

Trails End @ Fort Wilderness
We thought since AK was closing early we would see what resort dinning was available. Even with the low crowds most places were booked up except for Trails End. We hadn't been to the resort before and thought "why not?" This particular restaurant isn't at the main lodge but at some hall at the back of the camping sites. We parked and took a shuttle back there where we got the chance to meet some local folks who just hopped on to go swimming at the camp ground. Whatever works for you... :P

The food was terrible, our waitress was very odd and not very friendly, and best of all...it was one of those $25 Disney Buffets. Worst value, service, and fodd I have yet to experience at a Disney park or resort. It was so bad we actually had to laugh about it because it was so disappointing. We felt like we left WDW and entered the Twilight Zone. We were told later we should have gone to the main lodge as there were several good places to eat there. 0/10 for Trails End. The name says it all.

From Nick Markham
Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:21 AM
Sounds like you had fun up until that dining experience. I can not tell if you are writing this as you visit or if you have gone already, but please tell me you have gone to or will consider going to Whispering Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. IT is a great experience with the kids. I don't want to give away too many secrets (of course unless your trip is finished by now) but the name differs far from the actual noise level of the place. ;D

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:40 AM
I have been to Trail's End at Fort Wilderness and they basically have the same food as the Hoop de Doo and I loved it. I am very suprised you gave it a 0, but perhaps it was just an off day. Seriously, I have been to pretty much every dining experience at Disney World and Trail's End was about in the middle for me, but I enjoyed it!

It seems that my biggest disagreement with you is your dining choices, but I will say Flame Tree BBQ and Earl of Sandwich are excellent.

I like your idea for the Great Movie Ride or another attraction like it. If Disney were to update or remake it today, that might be the route they must take since everybody is holding on to their intellectual property of late.

From Nick Markham
Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:09 AM
^what did you think of Whispering Cafe? Did you ask for ketchup? :D

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:30 AM
I LOVE the Whispering Canyon Cafe! It is one of my favorites at Disney World. The food and atmosphere is excellent.

Yes, I have asked for the ketchup and yes, I have participated in the horse races!

From Don Neal
Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:47 AM
Thanks for the comments Nick and Anthony. The trip is over so feel free to volunteer all feedback. We got back on Monday. We were there for ten days (5/31-6/7).

Whispering Canyon was the place we were told we should have gone after the fact. Didn't know anything about the Wilderness Lodge or the campgrounds until that experience. Now we know. I gave Trails End a 0/10 because I have no interest in ever returning. A 5 or 6 might have meant I could have been talked into it if there were no other options. :)

This was only our second WDW trip so we still have a lot to learn about dining there and where the best spots are. The good stuff like Coral Reef, Crystal Palace, and Boma (in the next trip report) were planned ahead some of these other poor choices were last minute decisions. And we paid for it as you can see. :P

I will try and post Days 5 & 6 tomorrow if I can. Both were MK days and we ate well. :)

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:47 AM
I will say Whispering Canyon is much better than Trail's end, no doubt, but I was just suprised at the utter disgust you had for Trail's End. It just suprised me, thats all. Its all good though since I seem to have a love for DCA in which all other TPIers dispise and Innoventions at Disneyland is different, and perhaps better, than EPCOT's.

You got me on Coral Reef, a place I have never eaten (not big seafood family). I hear its good though!

I love the reviews, btw, because I love to read other Midwesterners experiences going to meet the Mouse!

From James Rao
Posted June 10, 2010 at 4:06 AM
More great stuff, Don, keep 'em coming. And you are right: I am definitely not a huge Muppets fan. However, I admit that MV3D is a fine adventure worthy of its place at DHS.

Side note: Pizzafari is a good stop at DAK, and it is air-conditioned which gives it a huge advantage over Flame Tree. Try the Hot Italian Style sandwich...

I agree with your assessment of the Dino-Rama crap, but I absolutely love Dinosaur. In fact, as I stated previously, it is my favorite ride at DAK, at least until the Yeti returns to his former glory.

I did not know there was a different version of the Indiana Jones show... I have only ever seen the current incarnation. Hmmm... either way, the spectacle is a bit long in the tooth and could use some changes.

Did your kids get a chance to do the Jedi Training Academy at DHS? Man, it was a huge hit with my trio!

BTW, I love your idea for a Great DISNEY Movie Ride!

From Don Neal
Posted June 10, 2010 at 4:36 AM
We saw Pizzafari and thought about it but settled on Flame Tree. We'll try that out next time. We watched a little of the Jedi / Padawan show. We were there last year during Star Wars weekends and got to see a lot more of that kind of stuff so this trip we didn't pay it as much attention.

I am buried in work and school stuff today so no day 5 & 6 trip report today. Maybe tomorrow. :)

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