House of Mouse: 2/24-3/2

Associated parks:
None

Saturday, March 3, 2007 10:33 PM
Just got back to the snow and cold from our annual trip to WDW. Weather down there was fabulous---best we've ever had. No rain, and warm all week.

The new Nemo musical at AK was spectacular. Better than Aladdin at DCA, and that's saying something. It's the best "included with admission" show I've seen in any theme park. As far as I'm concerned, Anne Hamburger is 3 for 3 in theme park productions: Aladdin at DCA, Snow White in DL, and now Nemo in AK. Snow was the weakest of the three, and even it was a cut above the typical Disney theme park show.

Mission:Space's "wimp version" (with the centrifuge off) is still a pretty decent simulator.

Soarin' is still the hot attraction---the longest lines all week were to be found here.

Maybe we just got lucky, but when Rock-n-Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are walk-ons at 12:30 in the afternoon in "Peak Season" for the Disney Resorts, something is wrong.

Lots of unusual characters around the parks. Horace Horsecollar. Clarice. Marie. Abby Mallard. Donald *and* Daisy together.

The guy we saw playing Jack Sparrow in MK could give Johnny Depp a run for his money. Very impressive. For that matter, the new Sparrow animatronics in Pirates are pretty darn impressive, too, as is the Davey Jones mist-screen effect.

The margaritas in Epcot's Mexico pavilion are pretty darn good, even at $8 a throw.

The grilled salmon platter at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is easily the best value anywhere in WDW: $8 for a good-sized piece of salmon, tasty spiced rice, and green beans that are crisp-tender. I couldn't get a meal that good at that price at my neighborhood applebees, let alone another theme park. I had it on two different occasions. The ham sandwich on whole-grain bread at Columbia Harbor House in MK was a close second.

The Princess meal in Cinderella's Castle is pricey, but worth doing once if you've got kids of "princess age". But, the Florida princesses still pale in comparison to those in California. The Fairy Godmother rocks.

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Saturday, March 3, 2007 10:52 PM
I was there the week before. I miss Space Mountain already. I know I'm in the minority, but I love that ride more than just about any of the 400ish coasters I've ridden, even more now than I did the last time I was there, 11 years ago. Disney World still rocks!
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Sunday, March 4, 2007 10:26 AM
Agreed on Nemo. Great show. Kinda funny story while we were there - a girl around 13 in the row in front of us was complaining before the show to her mother how she didn't want to waste her time watching this "stupid kid's show". They actually started to leave just after it started, and after about 30 seconds into the opening number they were seated again, watching the fish "swim" around the theater. Needless to say, they stayed for the whole thing and the kid left smiling.

Thanks for the TR. Tusker was a bit busy the last few times we've been there, so we had the ribs at The Flame Tree - not too bad. But it looks like we'll try the salmon next year for sure.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007 10:53 AM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
I know I'm in the minority, but I love that ride more than just about any of the 400ish coasters I've ridden,....

I'm with you. Have you ridden the DL version in the last 2 years? It's WAY better!

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Sunday, March 4, 2007 11:05 AM
Almost forgot: I finally got to see Off Kilter in the Canada pavillion. Rock bands with bagpipes are way under-rated. They were a LOT of fun. I'm lisitening to their live album right this second (which is what reminded me.)

I haven't been to DL since New Space. I've been meaning to, though. We're toying with the idea of going this October for that and the Nightmare overlay of Mansion.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007 4:26 PM
Did you use TGM this time around? If you did, I'd be curious if it lived up to your expectations again.
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Sunday, March 4, 2007 5:17 PM
We really need to hang out, Jeff. :) Despite the effects being light years better on DL's Space Mountain 2.0, I think the actual coaster is better in Florida. It's a toss-up for me, but both are at the top of my list. :)

I was shocked to see Disney sold out and brought McDonald's onto the property. Rainforest Cafe is bad enough, but McDonald's? Lame! Keep that "real world" stuff to Pleasure Island.

I road the Mission Space "intense version" and although it was certainly intense, it's not as bad as some of the flatrides out there like Scat 2 at Beech Bend. Very cool ride regardless. The interactive portion really adds to it. Test Track was fantastic, but Soarin' was pretty lame. I don't get why it's so popular. The mechanism for lifting the seats into position appealed to the engineer in me, but it was just a movie after that although the oranges did smell nice. Reminded me of Horizons.

Tower of Terror is such a great ride now that they don't just drop you once and it's over. Rock 'N Roller Coaster was ok, but definitely rides like a Vekoma. The Car Stunt Show was pretty sweet.

One ride I really enjoyed that I haven't heard anything about is the Buzz Lightyear dark ride at the Magic Kingdom. That was hella fun. The spinning component really makes it entertaining and not just another interactive dark ride. I don't know how I did it, but I got over 500,000 points on my last ride, compared to about 60,000 on my frst ride.

And one little thing that really brought back all the memories and made me so happy to be back to my favorite vacation destination after an 11 year absence was getting on the monorail and hearing, "Please stand clear of the doors..." That's always been one of the things my family got a good laugh out of. Disney World still rules. I may have to make it an annual visit now. It's been way too long!

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Sunday, March 4, 2007 6:58 PM
I can not wait to get back there again (June/July) reading all these TRs is getting me excited :).

However, Buzz was great until I rode a little ride called MIB, talk about lightyears ahead of buzz (pun intended ;)). Also Im one of the weird ones that likes BTMRR more then Space (especially at night) dont get me wrong Space is great, but I just like BTMRR more because of all the scenery. Also no Disney speil beats BTMRR's one, cause this heres the WILD-est ride in the Wilder-ness!

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Monday, March 5, 2007 12:22 AM
Thunder Mountain was haulin'. I got some serious airtime in the front of the train. I don't remember that from past visits. One thing that has always bothered me about BTMR is the ending. It's so anticlimactic after such a great start. Everest suffers from a similar lacluster ending.
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Monday, March 5, 2007 10:19 AM

Did you use TGM this time around?

I did---this was my third annual TGM-guided trip. I find that I go "off-reservation" a bit more often now that I'm more familiar with how Mike thinks. For example, I'm willing to try "attend with caution" parks for specific purposes, and I modify the sample tours more, but I'd still never visit WDW without TGM. For $20, it's a no-brainer.

I suppose I could get by without it, as I can practically generate the Best Days charts on my own now, but why bother?

(For those who don't know what Walt and I are talking about: www.tourguidemike.com)

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Monday, March 5, 2007 12:06 PM
I'm sorry, but this is not the peak season at the Walt Disney World. You are forgetting about Spring Break, Summer, and any holiday.
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Monday, March 5, 2007 1:25 PM
But it is "Peak" in the sense of resort rates, and that's the part I don't get. It's definitely not a high-demand time.

http://www.mousesavers.com/seasondates2007.html

And, for what it's worth, the week before is President's Week, which isn't Christams or Easter, but it's not too far behind, especially when the N'awlins Mardi Gras escapees are there the same week, as they were this year.

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Monday, March 5, 2007 2:24 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:

but Soarin' was pretty lame. I don't get why it's so popular.


Matt, I honestly think Soarin' is popular because it has a very high family appeal. I rode it twice on my visit last year and I kept hearing older folks call the ride "nice" and kids kept coming off of it wanting to get back in line again. I agree that it's not a thrilling ride, but I had a blast (especially on my second trip where my FP got me past a 120 minute line!). It really is the kind of ride that sets Disney apart from the rest when it comes to "family fun".

Ray P.

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Monday, March 5, 2007 3:10 PM

Acoustic Viscosity said:
One thing that has always bothered me about BTMR is the ending. It's so anticlimactic after such a great start. Everest suffers from a similar lacluster ending.

I'm pretty with you on the ending of BTMR, Matt, but I do beg to differ on Everest. Granted, the conclusion of the ride DOES pale in comparison with the surprise backwards section and the forward launch into the main drop. But just when you think the ride is about to coast smoothly into the end, there's the Yeti. Granted, I've seen videos and researched the ride so I knew it was coming, but I quickly realized that you have to actually ride it to appreciate what a stunning effect it is. I knew it was coming, I saw it from a mile away, and the swooping paw (specifically how low it swoops) still scared the crap out of me.

In my view, putting such a visceral adrenaline rush during the part of the ride where the trackwork is calming down was a brilliant move, and keeps the ride exciting from start to finish. YMMV, of course. :)

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Monday, March 5, 2007 3:43 PM
By Everest's ending, I meant how it crawls back to the station while it's still in the mountain. The Yeti part is cool, but they slow you down (just like on Big Thunder) while you're still in the "action" part of the ride. IMO, the train should come out of the mountain full force, getting clear of the yeti, then hit the brakes. Maybe they were going for the "Don't slow down! The yeti's gonna get us!" approach?
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Monday, March 5, 2007 9:30 PM
I was shocked to see Disney sold out and brought McDonald's onto the property. Rainforest Cafe is bad enough, but McDonald's? Lame! Keep that "real world" stuff to Pleasure Island.

There's been a mini-McD's at Disneyland, disguised as a chuckwagon and serving a limited menu, across from the exit to BTMRR for at least 10 years now. I have not been to the park in about a year...did they open a full-service version somewhere?

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007 4:38 PM
Aww man...I need to go home and reread the part of the book when Disney was building his land and looking for food operators for the park. Eiether he asked Ray Croc or Ray Croc propositioned him. I have to go check it out again. Couldn't find anything on the web.

They had a full service at DCA, but I'm not sure if it is still open. Abbreviated menu, high prices.

Edit: Ray Kroc propositioned Disney. Makes sense. *** Edited 3/12/2007 8:37:36 PM UTC by janfrederick***

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