Disney world, it’s not so magical

Ok so we spent much of last week and Christmas day in Orlando with the In-laws. Mom-inlaw wanted to do Disney World.

Overall, I had a good time. Having been to Disney World with my mom two years ago, there wasn’t much “awe” happening since in 2 years Disney hasn’t done much to the place.

Magic Kingdom

I was really bummed that the Haunted Mansion wasn’t all “nightmare Before Christmas”-ed out. Must be a CA thing? Overall the park wasn’t too crazy, crowded to be sure, but not bad. It’s funny tho, i was talking to Mike Lee about his recent trip to the Magic Kingdom and he was saying how it’s odd when you see things not go right. Disney (like Apple) tries really hard to manage the entire experience, and when something goes wrong it’s glaringly wrong. Well we definitely had the BMF experience at the Kingdom.

Apparently part of experience now when waiting in line is to have the line be less a line, and more a mob. On two, maybe three rides when the iron bound queue ended and we got into the actual ride building, Disney employees informed us that the line wasn’t single file, fill all available space. I’m guessing as a way to make the lines outside seem shorter, or something. However as in all cases with mobs, it quickly went from “happiest place on earth” to “mob rules; cut in front, elbow and kick your way into the Pirates of the Caribbean”

So that kinda sucked and really ruined the experience of the ride. Thankfully most lines weren’t too long in general, and we fast passed the popular stuff.

Christmas day, we were flying home, so after breakfast with the fam we went to epcot to walk around. To get from breakfast to Epcot/our hotel we had to go past the Magic Kingdom. Here I was thinking, “Who the hell wants to be at Disney World on Christmas day?” Turns out, a lot of people do! We asked the gal behind the counter at hour hotel about it and she said, at around noon that day they were at “level 3” meaning only season pass holders and resort guests could get in. The park was already turning away folks who were staying elsewhere or driving in. ON CHRISTMAS DAY! She said on New Years Eve day, they’ll be at “level 4” meaning once you leave, you can’t get back in, and even resort guests and season pass holders might not get in.

I gotta admit, I’m amazed that it’s that busy on Christmas. New Years, sure, I bet it’s a pretty fun party, but christmas?!

Oh and Space Mountain, the new music sucks. I need a fast rock track to make the ride fun, the current music is way to mellow, i found myself just sitting there waiting for the ride to end.

Epcot

My favorite part of being in Orlando is Epcot. Mostly because of the world tour part, and beer. Epcot itself is fun, the rides are cool, and the new (even new to me) Nemo ride is pretty sweet. Actually the ride is lame, but there’s an aquarium attached (you can just walk into that part, the ride exits there) that is really awesome.

It’s funny, we went to a beer/snack cart in the United Kingdom Pavilion, and i got mocked (rightfully so) for ordering a Stella.

Also, if you like trying candy we don’t get in the states, the Twinnings Tea shop has a pretty good, but small selection. SKIP the turkish Delight. This ain’t Narnia!

Thankfully, with the Magic Kingdom being so crowded on Christmas day, Epcot was not. We breezed thru the park using up the last of our meal plan snacks with hardly anyone else around. AWESOME!

Meal Plans

I dont think the meal plans are worth it. Ours was actually free with our package booking, so that was nice. I’d have been annoyed if I had paid for it. For one thing it’s very rigid. A “meal” is an entree, drink (non alcoholic) and dessert. I don’t like dessert and would often prefer an appetizer, no go cowboy! (Props to the waiter at Nine Dragons in Epcot. he hooked us up with some apps for free. Course with a party of 8 and 18% tip built in, why not make sure we’re happy. I know we added a little more tip to the bill)

The way the plan (ours at least) worked was we got 4 meals, 4 snacks, and 4 quicks. After cracking the code on what exactly each of those was, then it was a matter of scoping out the icon on the menus around the parks to see what applied and what didn’t, and then having to tell the worker, “I want a snack, what’s that entail here?” every time.

So overall it was way more effort than it was worth.

Connectivity

I understand we’re supposed to be in the park, spending money, etc, but is it that out of the question to make our time at the resorts more enjoyable?

1. wifi ain’t cheap, i know the idea (to hotels) is that if you’re paying a lot to be at a resort, $10-$20 for wifi (per DAY!!) is nothing to skoff at. Problem is, that it is. We had the mifi (crappy signal) but really, just give the wifi away, the number of guests who actually use it will never be that many. Shoot, there wasn’t even lobby wifi. Come on Disney! Don’t nickel and dime your guests!

2. AT&T sucks. I know that’s not Disney’s problem, but bears mentioning. I never had more than about 1-2 bars, and was constantly losing my data connection. Even a few times fell to EDGE, and even “Searching” I suspect that was mainly due to overload, but come on there’s plenty of places to hide some towers in the parks.

So, good time overall

Ok that’s a quick and dirty run down of my christmas (oh and along with being at Disney World on Christmas, flying on Christmas is also very popular! WTF) vacation.

All in all, a good time.

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