Animal Kingdom the last 2 weeka or so (part 4)

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, July 16, 2006 2:03 PM
Bug's Life:

Am I the only guy that thinks this is one of Disney's shining moments? The small lines lead me to believe I've got it wrong.

Safari:

This is more than 50% of the value in the park. If you do not ride this, then you have not experienced Animal Kingdom.

Everest:

The biggest disappointment on the trip... I rode time and time again hoping to find that "magic"...but instead left under whelmed.

The mountain is beautiful to look at. The views from the lifts are stunning. The queue line is right up there with Dueling Dragons as my favorite.

The ride experience is largely forceless, even by Disney standards. I guess some might like the backwards portion, but Thunderation has already done this on a mine train to much better result.

The biggest disappointment is the Yeti. Whatever money they spent on effects are wasted on the speed of the train when you pass the beast. As it is, the Yeti here is not much more thrilling than the Abdominal Snowman on Matterhorn at Disneyland. You get a flash glimpse and that's all...

The shadow effect seems cheap and cheesy. I would compare it to using a flashlight to make rabbit ears with your hands. I expect so much more from Disney.

Anyhow, I place this a slight step below Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which would make this the 2nd best mine train ride in the Orlando group. It is worth a ride, but certainly nowhere near a 5 star attraction. I give it a 3 star.

Park Design:

We all have heard the complaints. The complaints are 100% true. If 2000 people are in this place, it will seem crowded. It is just a pee poor design!

Lion's King Show:

While certainly watered down and staff diluted since the inception, it is still one of the finest live shows in Orlando.

Food Service:

Although standard across all the parks, the ability to find food before 11:00 am seems worse here. Even at 11:00 the restaurants will open and not be ready. If it is too bad, follow my advice in customer service to make up for lost time. It can get downright frustrating.

I was the first customer at the barbecue restaurant one morning at 11:00 am. I finally got my order at 11:35 with nary a "sorry." Normally I would have blown a stack...but I now actually look forward to such service lapses as I realize this just means another "universal" fastpass for my group.

Customer Service:

This advice is good at all Disney parks. It really did not fit anywhere, but I wanted to express this somewhere. Animal Kingdom wins the prize.

Disney employees at Fastpass machines and other various jobs throughout the park are empowered to do nothing. If you encounter problems or poor customer service you are wasting your time if you debate at the source. Your only choice is to go to customer service. You might as well do so in a friendly manner as customer service is clearly designed to appease you and send you on your way. Use this to your benefit.

I cannot stress enough that a friendly conversation with customer service expressing any problems/delays will result in you getting exactly what you desire. In most cases you only state the number in your party and they will send you off with a universal Fastpass to be used at any time/place. If the problem deserves more attention, you can negotiate more universal passes for your party.

Disney no longer practices proactive customer service. You must take it upon yourself to initiate the complaint and clearly state what compensation you desire. If you are upset, then by all means realize that customer service will do their best to appease you.

Overall:

I love animals so I will always enjoy this place. It is certainly lacking in big ticket attractions compared to Magic Kingdom, Universal, and Islands. It compares to MGM in this aspect. As far as animal parks go, I still prefer Sea World in the immediate area and even Busch Gardens Tampa...though the later has more to do with thrill rides than execution. However, there is no shame in being slightly less attractive than Sea World Orlando. Both are great parks.

*** Edited 7/16/2006 6:06:07 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 2:17 PM
Great TR

How about Dinosaur? That's one of my favorite attractions on Disney Property (now Alien ENcounter is gone).

I to LOVE It's tough to Be a Bug.....I think it's the best "movie" attraction out there and totally craps all over Honey I shrunk the Audience, etc.

I do agree with pretty much all you said, though I have yet to ride Everest myself.

*** Edited 7/16/2006 6:18:30 PM UTC by Peabody***

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 2:26 PM
I like Everest ALOT. Even though backwards travel tends to make me a bit queasy, I thought it was done REALLY well. The forwards trackage could use a little more *zest* other than the one main drop after the "video-Yeti" rips up the track.

My reason for posting? On the *big AA Yeti* at the end, my understanding from those who attended Con is that he was REALLY well-lit for their ERT rides, and stood out MUCH better. I heard this from *several* sources, and it forces me to wonder...WHY keep the very best AA figure in Disney history well-hidden? I almost missed him on my first ride, and had to LOOK for him after that...

Disney! Bring that Yeti to life, spotlight him WELL so that guests KNOW what it was that did all that damage... ;)

Oh, and as Peabody noted, Dinosaur is THE ride at DAK...not QUITE up to the level of it's cousin at DL (Indy), but close... :)
*** Edited 7/16/2006 6:27:14 PM UTC by rollergator***

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 2:43 PM
Bill...what could have happened is that on other times the Yeti is in "B Show".....when he breaks down, rather than close down the ride, the computer turns the lights WAY down and blows fans through his fur, giving the impression that he's moving.

I wonder if he was running "normally" for con, or if they truely had lights up. Was there ERT?

*** Edited 7/16/2006 6:46:53 PM UTC by Peabody***

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Sunday, July 16, 2006 3:16 PM
I too love Dino...just didn't throw it into the mix! This is a great attraction for the big kids!
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:31 PM
Yep, it sounds like JRS got B-mode rides. If you saw strobe lights, you got a B-mode ride. In A-mode, the Yeti is much better lit, and MUCH more convincing. I've been on A-mode and B-mode, and there is a NOTICEABLE difference.

As far as Bug: I think it scares the bejeezus out of younger kids, and so it's got a bad rap.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006 1:56 PM
Yes, we had ERT during the convention. I don't know if they made any lighting changes for us but ERT was after hours and therefore in the dark. We probably got the A-mode but with everything else around us either dark or dimly lit, the Yeti may have appeared brighter than usual. I thought it was pretty amazing but it did go by quickly. You get to see more of it if you are riding in the back of the train.

I too was underwhelmed with the ride experience. I'm not a big fan of backwards sections or multiple helices, and this ride has both.

To me the saddest special effect was the bird on a stick at the top of the mountain. It doesn't even flap it's wings--it just mysteriously glides upward into view then disappears, without moving a feather.

I really enjoyed both the Lion King and Tarzan Rocks shows when I was there several years ago. I'm sorry to hear Lion King has been watered down and thinned out, and Tarzan has been closed.

*** Edited 7/18/2006 9:25:25 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:45 PM
I think they were actually A modes. I saw the big fellow and there did not appear to be strobes...he just flew by so fast that it seemed a waste.

I was aware of the A and B modes prior to my rides so I tried to be prepared. Either way...it was just a letdown for me across the board.

...but fear not...one of these days I'll report on Sheikra!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 12:07 AM

I think they were actually A modes. I saw the big fellow and there did not appear to be strobes...he just flew by so fast that it seemed a waste.

Exactly something I questioned after seeing the various POV's when the ride opened.

After all the hype around that one AA figure, I expected WAY more than a passing glance.

Perhaps I'm a victim of my own expectations?

Perhaps I should wait until I get to WDW next year before I make such judgements?

Perhaps I should end this post now?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 12:23 AM
I found the ride overall was pleasant, but intense in sections, and the Yeti, though briefly seen, was very well done. This is probably one of the few times that I wish a coaster was braked a little just so you could see this incredible beastie a little longer! During Coaster Con's ERT, you could tell the Yeti was definitely in 'A' mode and fully operational. By the end of ERT, it seemed that most of the riders (myself included) tried to reach up to 'grab' it as it reached down to 'grab' us! Great fun and a very memorable ERT experience!!!

As for the backwards section, WOW, I was totally amazed at how tight and intense this section is, especially for a Disney ride! It seemed to catch a lot of the Con attendees that I talked to off guard, and, combined with the viscious Florida heat and humidity, could make a few people queezy. I even felt it after about 10 rides or so and needed to sit out for a while during ERT. Overall, a very fun Disney coaster experience!

One last thing, the back seat, near the fake train engine, gave the best overall ride and the best view of the Yeti. And the puff of 'steam' from the engine when the train pulls into the station was a really cool effect! Another example of why Disney is tops at theming.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 9:40 AM

Perhaps I should wait until I get to WDW next year before I make such judgements?

Why stop now? ;)

My sense is that the short encounter with the yeti is necessitated by the story (and you know how it is with Imagineers and their stories.) After all, you are narrowly escaping with your life. In that situation, you don't get to stick around to smell the rotten yeti breath. If you did, you'd be dead. We thought that it was effective, but I can certainly see why someone would want a longer look. I'd *love* to be inside that mountain during operation.

For what it's worth, I was chatting with the family the other night about what they wanted to do in our upcoming winter WDW visit. [Now that they take restaurant reservations six months in advance, I have to do a *little* bit of planning in midsummer!] The unanimous #1 request was EE, from my slightly thrill-averse son (who holds on to his riding partner with a death grip on Blue Streak) to my ride-anything daughter (who is bummed that she's not tall enough for Raptor yet).

It's a family coaster, not a thrill machine, but much like Screamin', it's got a little bit for everyone.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:19 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

After all the hype around that one AA figure, I expected WAY more than a passing glance.

Perhaps I'm a victim of my own expectations?


If anything, you were a victim of the Disney hype machine....I bit on it too...but while I was a little disappointed by the YETI itself, I don't discredit the overall ride experience too much over it. Still the tallest fastest coaster in Disney history, and very well-themed in general.


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Thursday, July 20, 2006 7:59 PM
I rode Everest 3 times when I went last month and the backwards section got me every time. I felt it the moment it left the first helix, but it went away right after that one part! It made me light-headed and dizzy. I've never experienced that sensation on a coaster before. I guess it's the G's being suddenly lifted when the track straightens out?
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