Nov 182012

Took my first trip to Walt Disney World last week since 1997, and I’m just now blogging about it.

Well, that’s not quite true.  I put a practical post up at Tennessee Valley Moms Network a couple of days ago.

In any case, I apologize.  I have envisioned for days a post at this blog that you’re not going to get.  Most of the reason is that tons and tons of Disney World information is out there already for you, and I have no interest in replicating it.  I’ll give you some bullets; how’s that?

  • From my house, it’s 687 miles going I-65 to Montgomery; 231 to I-10; and I-10 to I-75.  It’s 700 miles coming back I-75 to Atlanta; I-20 to Birmingham; and I-65 home.  We’ll use the former route going and coming next time, not so much because it’s shorter, but because it’s more interesting.  The 231 stint is restorative.
  • I highly recommend you follow the tips I outline in my post above.  You’ll have a better vacation and, by extension, a better life.
  • The most important tip, for your happiness, is to stay on the property and use the consistently excellent Disney transportation system.  There is something incredibly satisfying about parking your car when you get there and not touching it again until you leave.
  • In our experience, here are the things you should FASTPASS.  At Magic Kingdom:  Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  At Animal Kingdom:  Kiliminjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and (possibly) Dinosaur.  At Hollywood Studios:  Toy Story Midway Mania!, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  At Epcot:  Soarin’.
  • Of the previous, the two totally ridiculous attractions are Toy Story Midway Mania! and Soarin’.  These are the ones for which you should 1) be there when the gates open; 2) run to the FASTPASS kiosk and get them; and 3) get in line immediately after so you get to ride it twice.  The waits for these hover between an hour and two hours all day long.
  • The Tower of Terror has incredible production design, but head to head, the OH-Zone! at Lake Winnie is much scarier.  Seriously.
  • Narcoossee’s is a top-notch dinner experience and absolutely worth your dining plan points and/or dollars.
  • Disney’s control of your experience is near-legendary.  I had an interesting window into that.  A 15- or 16-year-old kid decided it’d be a good idea to duck under a rope to get in the Expedition Everest line.  The overseeing cast member politely admonished him and directed him to the end.  So—totally trivially—this kid walks to the end and ducks under the rope again.  The cast member blocked his way and raised his voice slightly, and as he did, some guy from the nearby crowd walked swiftly to the encounter and said “do we have a problem here?”  This was just some guy in a ball cap and sunglasses, dig?  Uh, no.  Disney employee watching you.  Heh.
  • Animal Kingdom is the biggest park, but I think Magic Kingdom is the most complex.  If you’re going to spend any time making a highly detailed plan, do it in Magic Kingdom.

It’s such a great time.  You’d think if I’d be cynical about anything as a consumer it’d be the Walt Disney World experience, but I won’t criticize it.  They do it well enough that I’m pleased to submit to it.

Boys had a blast.  Parents had a blast.  We’re thinking 2015 for the next trip down.

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  5 Responses to “To Walt Disney World”

  1. […] satisfying about parking your car when you get there and not … … Read more here: To Walt Disney World | ← Link – Thequestionclub: Property News | Starbucks: The Secret Ingredient to a […]

  2. Cookiemaker, Little Man, and I made it down to Disney a little over a year ago. We plan on going back this coming May. Last year was actually the first time in my LIFE I had ever been to Disney! We had a blast. About the only disappointment was in our accomodations. In the interest of saving money, Cookiemaker had booked us in the All-Star Movie resort. Well, you get what you pay for – I felt like I was staying in a Day’s Inn or a Motel 6. Granted, the room was really only a place for us to sleep and shower and store our stuff in, but still…

    Next year we’ll be taking advantage of the new park, Fantasyland, the Star Wars-themed productions they apparently do every May, and (hopefully) the new resorts they’ve built.

  3. Falcon, we loved the Caribbean Beach Resort. It is a bit pricier—it’s in Disney’s Moderate category—but the difference in price is a relatively small percentage of the whole cost.

    Glad to hear you guys had a great time. It’s a bit surreal, isn’t it? It’s the Mecca of capitalism. 🙂 I think I saw a 2014 completion date on the new Fantasyland, but they’ll probably roll it out as it’s finished. So, could be a lot of it’s there by next year.

  4. I got back to WDW last year, courtesy of my brother and his crew. I’d previously been many times as a child.

    Never did we stay on property then, and we didn’t last September either. (My brother used time-share points.) While I can see the convenience factor, I don’t think that our experience was any less enjoyable for using the Van of Wisdom vs. a Disney bus. (Which is not to say that I still don’t harbor a fancy to stay at the Polynesian. I’ve wanted to since 1976.)

    Didn’t ride Soarin’, either. I tried, but my fear of heights made me walk out of the theater almost immediately upon entering it. I was surprised how much I enjoyed EPCOT as a whole, even if it is largely under-utilized.

    I was also pleased to find that Dole Whip was just as tasty as I remembered.

    I’m glad you all had a great time. It might be the mecca of capitalism, but it’s still the happiest place on earth.

  5. Lea rode Soarin’, but she didn’t like it. You probably made the right call.

    Epcot is my favorite park in a lot of ways. We didn’t get a particularly leisurely experience this time because of the festival going on, but it was still a good time.

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