A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
DAY 5 - Wednesday (6/2)
Finally the day arrived to visit Magic Kingdom. While I love each WDW park for different reasons, this is THE Disney park for me. The one that represents original Disney animation, creativity, and history. My wife agrees. We were all excited to finally be at MK. We got through security and ticketing just after 9 and headed left toward Adventure land. We were going to be at MK the next day as well so I figured why not split the park up like we had Epcot. So our plan was to do Adventure Land, Frontier Land, Liberty Square, and parts of Fantasy Land on this first visit.
The good news was the park wasn't all that crowded. The bad news was it was going to rain a lot that day. This ended up working in our favor aside from about an hour of lost time sitting under a roof or in a store during the worst of it but our ponchos helped us keep moving and we ended up with a nice break in the rain that evening. But the rain would return and as a result the night parade was cancelled. It rained up until about 9:45 but stopped and we were able to watch the fireworks from Main Street poncho free. All in all it was a good day and we achieved a lot. Below are my food and ride comments in order.
Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
Like Epcot, one of our goals for our two days at MK was to ride not only our favorites from our first visit in 2009 but also the rides we skipped. Thankfully the crowds weren't bad so we were able to get most of them in. The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House was one of those exhibits we passed on last year. I expalined what it was and we proceeded to walk through it. You know if this was anywhere else but Disney World it would be interesting but just doesn't pull it's weight. 6/10
By unanimous vote, this ride was skipped. Sorry TH. :P
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Skipped and rode on our second visit to MK, see Day 6 TR below.
Enchanted Tiki Room
Skipped and rode on our second visit to MK, see Day 6 TR below.
Pirates of the Carribean
Yo Ho, it's a pirates life for me!! I have never ridden Disneyland's version of POTC so you'll have to forgive my ignorance as I sing the praises of this ride. Yeah, I know. DL is on the list of to-dos along with twenty other things. We'll get there. :)
I love POTC. The theming, the pacing, the queue...everything. It's not the most spectacular or exciting ride ever but like so many other Disney rides, very enjoyable. 9/10 for Jack and the boys! YO HO!
Thunder Mountain had a 40 min wait so we grabbed FPs and queued up for Splash Mountain. My youngest daughter wasn't tall enough last year but after conquering Everest previously in the week was ready for another thrill so she joined our party while my wife (who might melt if she gets wet) waited in the gift shop. At least she's patient and understanding. :)
My daughter really enjoyed her first ride along with my two older kids. The theming and story telling make this the best log flume I've ever road. But its still just a log flume. 8/10
Our FP for Thunder Mountain weren't good for a few hours so we headed to Liberty Square. We all rode this last year several times so we all lined up together to board. I guess my youngest daughter was running low on courage after riding Everest and Splash because she quickly started to melt down in the "stretch room". She couldn't remember what the ride was like and was terrified of what it was going to be like. She survived though and without much drama once we got on board. I've never been much on Halloween, Haunted Houses, or scary movies - just don't get it but I continue to see why this ride is so popular. 8/10 for me.
Country Bear Jamboree
By unanimous vote, this ride was skipped. It's not bad, but once was enough to last us a while.
Hall of Presidents
We forgot this ride was open now and passed it but came back to it later in the day. It was our first time seeing this attraction. It was very well done. It would have been cool to have each President share something about their term that was unqique or memorable about it. Would have extended the show quite a bit but having such a unique attraction, it would be neat to get even more out of it. 8/10
Liberty Square Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island
We missed these on the first day and forgot to come back on the second. We didn't ride them last year either. Still something to look forward to for next time. :)
It's a Small World After All
It's like a train wreck, you can't look away. What is it about this ride that makes you ride it. New facelift on the queue looks nice. 7/10
This show is my favorite of the 3D/4D variety. I love every part of it and just wish it lasted even longer and we would have rode it a few more times while we were there. 9/10
Decent ride, better than Pooh. Doesn't do the movie or story justice though. 7/10
Rode it for my girls, line took forever even though it said 20 mins. Felt like an eternity. Ride is way too short for how long the wait is. Wish they could combine this with Snow White to make a longer, more interesting, and higher capacity dark ride. 6/10
We had gotten fast passes to Peter Pan and it finally came time to use them. I like this ride a lot. Of course Peter Pan is one of my favorite Disney movies so it makes sense. I don't understand why its so popular though. It's not the most amazing ride ever. But I like it and I guess lots of others do to. 7/10
Thunder Mountain Railroad
We finally got back to TMR at some point during the day and had just a 10 min wait with our FP. My wife doesn't like coasters but after she braved Test Track at Epcot I told her this wasn't much more than that with some small hills and curves. As we boarded I asked that she be nice to me when the ride is over. I got the look. :)
She did well and that was about as adventurous as she got but we all had fun and it was now my 6 year olds second "big" coaster. She was keeping track and wanted to make sure we all knew how many. :D 8/10 for theming mostly.
Disney really needs to start rolling out Phantasmic/World of Color types of shows to the parks at night. Fireworks are done at parks all over and while Tink flying down, Jimminy Cricket commenting, and so forth are nice touches, they are still just fireworks. I stay for my wife and kids but it's not worth all the work to get a good seat and so forth. 6/10
Lunch @ Pinnochio Village Haus
We hadn't eaten here before and decided to do a different walk-up this year. We had just finished It's a Small World and it was conveniently right there. So we grabbed a table overlooking the ride and enjoyed the AC. Food was good. Kids enjoyed their pizza, I had a good salad, and my wife said her sandwhich was really good. It got pretty noisy and tight in there as it filled up but overall a good experience. 7/10 but would eat there again.
Dinner @ Crystal Palace
We scheduled this as our "character meal" for the week. We do one every year. Last year was the princesses for my daughters and this year was Pooh and friends. The food was really good and the service was great. The food selection had enough "normal" and "interesting" dishes to keep it from being just another "American" dining experience. The kids enjoyed the pictures, signatures, and dancing around the room with the characters. It was our first time dining there and I would definitely go back. 8/10
DAY 6 - Wednesday (6/3)
We accomplished a lot on our first day at MK. Actually more than we thought we would so today was going to be a very relaxing visit focused on Tomorrow Land and picking up a few stragglers from around the park. We headed to the right and straight to Space Mountain. The crowds weren't bad at all and the Sun was out for a good part of the day. Much hotter than the day before but we drank a lot of water and stayed cool. On to the rides!!
I first rode Space Mountain in 2005 on my very first visit to MK. It was a one day trip and something we did last minute. I didn't care for it then and I refuse to ride it ever again now. The updates to the queue are nice. The mini-games are great. But the ride was so jerky and without being able to see what is next and prepare for it, it was a terrible experience. My kids loved it but I just can't take it. I had a headache the rest of the day. This one is off the list for future visits. 6/10 :(
Carousel of Progress
This classic ride always gets my attention. I love history about the development of technology and automation as well as the last 100 years of the world as a whole. So I enjoy the ride for it's place in that history as well as the history that it tells. Once again I enjoyed it. 8/10
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Like Toy Story Midway Mania, this is a great family ride. And while a generation behind TSM, it is still a lot of fun. I did poorly the first time through scoring only 175,000 points. But on the second run I scored 315,000. I was still behind the leader for the that week or day but I felt like I could walk out with my head up. :) 8/10
Tomorrowland Transit Authority: Blue Line
We had never rode this before so we hopped on after a short wait and took a tour of Tomorrow Land. It was neat to see some of the different views of the rides from behind the scenes. Very relaxing and fit well in our approach that day. 6/10 for simplicity unrepeatability.
Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor
We had snuck in a showing of this on the previous day and went back for another show on this visit. While the script is basically the same it is still neat to see how the characters interact with the audience. I can't wait to see what the future of this type of attraction will be with Monsters and Crush leading the way. 8/10
Stitch's Great Escape
They wouldn't listen to me. I told them it was a terrible ride, I told them. But they wouldn't listen. Now they know. 0/10 LOL
We intended to get back to this that night and see the park at night from up there but my wife really wanted to see the parade so we past on it to get good seats along Main St. :(
Unanimous vote to skip. Give me go-karts on a track where I have control any day.
I held all our gear while my wife road this one with the kids. They all enjoyed it but very short ride. 6/10
Walt Disney World Railroad
This was our first ride on the railroad. I expected more than just transportation. I thought there would be more "scenes" than just the indian camp and some animals. But I guess it serves it's purpose. I am not even sure this should get a score. Seems more like a service than an attraction.
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
I held the gear while my wife and kids rode. Simple spinner. 6/10
Enchanted Tiki Room
We had never seen this show and really enjoyed it. Very well done. I head the previous show was better but still very cool. I would love to see this concept elaborated on for a more sophisticated show with animatronic characters. 8/10
I was in the area so why not sneak in a second ride. :)
The electro-light parade or whatever it's called is very well done and neat to look at. My wife and kids really enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see what the future of this is as well. Parades have been around for a very long time. It would be cool to see Disney find a way to really innovate and bring a new feature to these.
Cosmic Rays is the best walk-up restaurant in all of WDW in my opinion. For the reasons of variety and value. I think you get more choices and more portions there than elsewhere. They didn't let us down. We were stuffed when we left and it was the cheapest walk-up all week. 8/10
The Plaza Restaurant
Thanks to James recommendations, we had booked dinner here. The facade was under construction but they were open for business and pretty crowded. Took some time to get our food and beverages but the food was excellent. And the shakes and desserts were amazing! Definitely would go back. 9/10
So, what about the Dole Pineapple Float? Did ya get a few or not?
I liked how much darker it was and not knowing what was next. It was just frustrating that it was so jerky. Had it been a smooth ride, I would have loved all the other elements. I can't say for sure whether significant changes were made to the ride itself. I had only ridden it once before the refurb.
Re: Pineapple Dole
How could I have forgotten this!!! It was on my short list, again thanks to James and others. We most definitely enjoyed some Dole Pineapple Floats. I actually ordered the ice cream, orange pineapple swirl or whatever it was. The whole family was in agreement on how good it was. So thanks for recommending it.
Re: Plaza Restaurant
My wife was starting to get a little frustrated with the service but once the food started coming, all the disappointment quickly disappeared. We left very satisfied.
Anyhow thanks for your report it gives even a 20 year WDW Vet. like myself ideas and motivation to do more.
I am interested in your answer to this question: Why did you like Peter Pan's Flight so much? Nothing against the ride, but it always has a scary ride and something that I always skip!
I am suprised you missed the Jungle Cruise and opted for Swiss Family Treehouse. Personally, I would have switched the skipping!
As for Pirates at DL vs WDW, the DL one is just longer and more detailed (if you can believe it!). So if you like the WDW version, you will LOVE the DL one. I think the reason why DL's version gets so much praise is because it is one of the only attractions at DL that is longer than its WDW counterparts. For the most part, DL's versions are shorter.
And you need to see the Tiki Room in DL, it used to be at WDW until the current version which I would give a 0. I would give a 1 to Stitch just because the animatronic Stitch is great!
As I said in the report, I only like Peter Pan because I am a fan of the movie. It's not that great of a ride in and of itself.
As for skipping Jungle Cruise, we rode it last year and no one cared for it and we hadn't done the tree-house walk-through yet. So just something new.
It will be a few years but we're planning on getting out to California to see DL and experience some of the original rides and see some of the other great stuff there.
I am always curious about that ride because the lines are always massive. Sure its a good enough ride, but is it any better than Show White or Winnie the Pooh?
If you want to see some fantastic Disney Dark rides like Snow White and Peter Pan, you really need to head on over to DL in which they add Mr. Toad (which they never should have taken it out of WDW) and Pinoccio
I would put Snow White in second because of more weather effects, a little darker, and better "set" pieces. But it doesn't do the film justice.
I put Peter Pan ahead of the other two because it's suspended and the detail that went into the floor models and perspective. It seems to capture the entire story as well. Last would be an original vehicle design as compared to the other two which are pretty standard.
I would love to see Snow White and Pooh combined into one single dark ride that did a more elaborate telling of Snow White with a higher capacity ride vehicle to make up for the loss in attraction.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort