WDW June 2022

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

My family did 6 days at Disney World last week. We are a family of 4 with kids aged 10 and 7. Overall it was a great trip. We were complete Disney noobs heading into the trip, with my wife and I's last visits to Disney being in the mid-1990's as teenagers. So we had no past experience with ANY virtual queuing options at WDW.

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach resort, one of the "middle" tier resorts. It was nice and I would stay there again. I did not realized when booking that the Skyliner access would be so clutch. Post trip I can't imagine staying at a hotel that does not have Monorail or Skyliner access. Our airport shuttle when heading home stopped a few places (Saratoga Springs and Port Orleans, I think) which had long lines of people at the bus stops. Being able to not be stuck in bus purgatory for 2 of the parks seems like a no brainer for anyone without a car.

Since we were pretty much completely new to the parks and not sure if we will go back anytime soon, we were on board with paying for both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes pretty much every day. Staying on property meant we could book ILLs for Rise of the Resistance and Guardians at 7am ahead of non-resort folks. This advantage was not as necessary for Seven Dwarfs and Flight of Passage which book up much slower by comparison.

Thanks to some great info and tips from ApolloAndy, we were able to use Genie+ effectively every day. We snagged first group reservations for Jungle Cruise, Remy, Slinky Dog, and Na'vi River Journey each morning. This also let us stay ahead of the "wave" all day and re-book another ride after checking in for the first one.

Guardians is a fantastic ride and was everyone's favorite ride overall. We rode twice on 2 separate days. My only negative is that our first time we were stuck in the "narrowing" hallway after the 2nd pre-show room for a few minutes without moving and it got somewhat claustrophobic. Our 2nd time we moved through this hallway quickly with no issues. There were a lot of grandmas and grandpas getting on the ride with no clue what was about to happen to them. Maybe this relates to the discussion in the Guardians thread about sickness being an issue for some.

Space Mountain, ouch. 13-year old me definitely fit in those trains more comfortably and remembers this ride being more smooth. Guardians inadvertently makes this ride look bad, and I have a feeling when TRON opens next door it will do the same.

Remy is also a great ride and "must do". We rode twice.

Test Track seemed overrated. I don't understand why the line is so long and the reservations are the 2nd most popular after Remy.

We did Mission:Space Earth edition after hearing from friends that Mars put them out of commission for several hours afterward. I think we would have been fine, but we didn't feel like risking it. This choice seemed validated by the fact that there was a guy puking in the bushes as we walked up to the ride building.

Slinky Dog Dash is not a great coaster, but it is better than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The kids loved both, so no regrets about either one.

Galaxy's Edge is a really cool area, but needs to be about 3x as big. It was so crowded that it took away from the incredible theming. Rise had a 195 minute standby wait at one point in the afternoon.

We were underwhelmed by both Na'vi River Journey and Flight of Passage. In fairness to FoP, we had done Smuggler's Run and Star Tours back-to-back the day before, and I think they drained all our stamina for motion simulator rides. Pandora looks amazing. I think I would rather just hang out there and eat then re-ride the rides.

We obviously missed Primeval Whirl by a couple years. The dinosaur area of the park where it was located seemed very dated and probably the only area in any park that is in need of some attention.

Things I was surprised and impressed by: the bird show at Animal Kingdom, the Hall of Presidents, the atmosphere in the Mexico pavilion building at Epcot.

For sit down meals we did Jungle Skipper, Chefs de France, Sebastian's @ Caribbean Beach, Rainforest Cafe, San Angel Inn, Character breakfast at Topolino's @ Riviera, and Cinderella's Royal Table. All of them were good experiences, although the last two were ones we would probably not do again.

I'm the planner/organizer in our family and handled pretty much all of the ride/food reservation stuff myself. I was able to get pretty much everything we wanted to do, but it did take quite a bit of vigilance all day long on my phone. Knowing when there were additional reservation times dropping throughout the day was a bigger help than expected as I was able to snag these several times. I only had one major slip up where I had forgotten when were booked for Remy later in the day. I was definitely mentally worn out from all the "reservation maneuvering" by the end of the week, but hard to complain since we were very successful.

Genie (not plus) stinks. Its suggestions were basically just clutter in the app that get in the way. Before the trip began, we switched one day from being Hollywood Studios to Epcot instead. Genie did not keep up with this made suggestions for both Epcot and Hollywood Studios for that day.

The My Disney Experience app also has some significant problems in areas. There were times when we had as many as 3 Genie+ reservations, an ILL, and a dining reservation at the same time. In the app, there is nowhere that shows all this info. Instead you are lucky to see maybe 2 of your reservations with many (dumb) Genie suggestions in between them.

Disney seems to hate breakfast for some reason. Ride reservations open at 7am, parks open between 7:30 and 9, and there were no breakfast options open before 7 (at least at Caribbean Beach). By the last few days, we were stockpiling food in our room fridge at night for the following morning to avoid being hungry.

Thanks to everyone who posted info in the recent threads about WDW. It was very constructive in the lead up to our trip. Our kids are definitely coaster riders, so seems more likely we would try Universal and/or Sea World if we go to Florida again anytime soon.


Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

Brent Sullivan's avatar

2018 seems like a lifetime ago when we went last and all of the changes between then and now appears that I will have a lot of research to go through when we plan our next trip there.

Thanks for the information you listed in here!

"My family did 6 days" makes it sound like you all went to San Quentin ... :-)

Nice trip report. I'm reading these carefully as I'm planning my first trip to Disney World in >30 years.

Interesting point about Space Mountain. At what point will they finally decide to overhaul the whole thing? I don't see it having quite the nostalgic appeal of the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

eightdotthree's avatar

hambone:

Interesting point about Space Mountain. At what point will they finally decide to overhaul the whole thing? I don't see it having quite the nostalgic appeal of the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

Maybe with Tron opening they will have the capacity to do it? It would be great if they could modernize it without ruining it. I find all of Tomorrowland to be a dreadful place so I would be pretty excited to see them commit to something like Tokyo Disneyland is doing.


ApolloAndy's avatar

We are looking forward to our trip in late Sept. Assuming crowds will be very low, but who knows what will happen to staffing which may actually increase lines. What did you not like about Cinderella's Royal Table? That (along with Space 220) was one of the only table service reservations we were planning on making.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

ApolloAndy:

Assuming crowds will be very low

I wouldn't count on it. The post-Labor Day slow season in Orlando is gone, especially with Halloween events starting in late August. Those few weeks between Labor Day and Columbus Day weekend used to be a goldmine for the Orlando parks. It will probably still be one of the least crowded times of the calendar year, but the crowds won't be low.

That said, I hope for you and your family that I can eat my words on that one.

kpjb's avatar

Pagoda Gift Shop:

Test Track seemed overrated. I don't understand why the line is so long and the reservations are the 2nd most popular after Remy.

Disney seems to hate breakfast for some reason.

Totally agree with Test Track. Wait an hour or so to ride in a car at 60mph. I did that on the way to the park.

Breakfast is for poor people!

How often did you feel the need to use LL+ for rides?


Hi

Test Track 1.0 was a lot of fun. It had a genuine storyline of being in a GM test facility with various road tests to complete, finishing up with the high speed loop. The new version keeps the old track but ditches the storyline and the "why" to the various maneuvers in the car in favor of a Tron like lighting package.

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

For the sit down restaurants, I think we paid on average about $125 per meal for our family of 4. Cinderella's Royal Table was $250. So while we enjoyed the overall experience and do not regret going there, I think we would try Be Our Guest or somewhere else next time. For double the cost, it just wasn't that much better than a lot of the other places we ate. We did meet Cinderella in the lobby before heading up to the restaurant. I'm not sure if that is how they have always done that meet and greet.

We used both the Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes to avoid waiting in line as much as possible. We didn't have any maximum wait times in mind, but now that I think about it I think the longest we waited in a standby line was probably 30-45 minutes for Splash Mountain and I think Soarin'.

At Hollywood Studios we skipped the Sunset Boulevard area entirely due to a combination of long lines and not having enough Genie+ reservation times to cover both Rock'n Roller Coaster/Tower of Terror and the Star Wars rides. At Magic Kingdom we skipped on Peter Pan for the same reasons.


Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

I feel like Hollywood Studios is the most challenging park to navigate right now. The Star Wars stuff has brought so much extra attendance into what is still a relatively small park. Tower of Terror has been in refurbishment with half the ride closed for a while. Magic Kingdom has more attraction capacity, whereas Epcot and Animal Kingdom have more "walk around and see" stuff. Hollywood Studios just seems to get overcrowded so quickly and doesn't have as many in park diversions to break up the crowding like the other parks do.

We are at Saratoga right now. We just wrapped up our Busch/ Kennedy Space Center / Sea World leg. More on that in an upcoming trip report.

After arriving on Tuesday we did stop in to Animal Kingdom from 2 until almost 8 (closing time). My initial impression is that you are spot on about the bussing situation. Genie+ is also a must, even at Animal Kingdom. More on that after our vacation is done. Now off to Disney Springs to walk off some Sea World food.

OhioStater's avatar

ApolloAndy:

What did you not like about Cinderella's Royal Table?

Granted it's been since pre-covid, but on our last trip (with two girls then 5 and 9) we all agreed that Cinderella's Royal Table was a let-down for the (then) double credit. We also met Cinderella downstairs in the lobby back then so I think that is the same set-up. The food was just not very good compared to other locations, which didn't make sense, as you would think this would be "the big one" in the castle.

Location? A pro. It was kind've neat being "in" the castle, although not as impressive as we were expecting.

Our girls (and us) had a much better time at Akershus in EPCOT for the "princess experience" if that is what you are after.

I can't imagine choosing this over something like Be Our Guest if and when we go back.

Funny...a couple got engaged at a window seat while we were there. Surprised Cinderella didn't tackle them and confiscate the ring.


Promoter of fog.

Jeff's avatar

I know a couple engaged up there. One was a former CP intern.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

With a few exceptions, just about all of the sit down food options operated by WDW are unremarkable at best. The atmosphere of some of these restaurants (Royal Table, Coral Reef, BOG, etc) is really what you are paying for; not the food.

Many lay people don’t realize that most of the “best” restaurants on property when it comes to actual food quality and experience are in the restaurants that are NOT operated by WDW, rather by third party vendors. Good examples of this are several of the restaurants at EPCOT and Springs.

Yak and Yeti is one of my favorites on property and its operated by Landry’s, not Disney. Plus you get a cool atmosphere there too in addition.

Last edited by Hanging n' Banging,
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Unfortunately, Akershus is still closed to the public at the moment. It is still being used for something internally or for some special groups because there were cast members acting as guards for anyone trying to go in.


Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Hanging n' Banging:

Many lay people don’t realize that most of the “best” restaurants on property when it comes to actual food quality and experience are in the restaurants that are NOT operated by WDW, rather by third party vendors

Ehhhh.. I disagree with this completely.
California Grill, Flying Fish, Citricos, Victoria and Albert’s, Brown Derby and I’ll even throw in the new Steakhouse 71 are all some of the best restaurants on property. Honorable mention to Trattoria Al Forno at Boardwalk post-reopening from the shutdown, because Chef Tim from Flying Fish was there until FF reopened, and his menu there is spectacular.

Signature dining at the resorts is where it’s at (exemptions being Steakhouse 71 and Trattoria Al Forno aren’t signature, and Brown Derby is in a park)

Granted, there are a lot of non-Disney restaurants on my list, too - Boathouse, Homecomin’, Monsieur Paul, Amare - but Disney runs some amazing places. A few even have Michelin recommendations now.

My wife and daughter had dinner in the castle the first time we went. Son and I went somewhere else. Next trip the 4 of us had breakfast at the castle. Cost was less. Also gave us the opportunity to get pictures in front of the castle with zero crowd. Looks like we had the park to ourselves. My kids were older so they put us at the first table the princesses visited which allowed us to be done with breakfast sooner.

Jeff's avatar

Hanging n' Banging:

With a few exceptions, just about all of the sit down food options operated by WDW are unremarkable at best.

We go to different Walt Disney Worlds.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Pagoda Gift Shop:

Character breakfast at Topolino's @ Riviera, and Cinderella's Royal Table. All of them were good experiences, although the last two were ones we would probably not do again.

I'm interested in hearing about breakfast at Topolino's. My wife is dying to try it and I'm wondering if it's any better than Boma or Chef Mickey's. I was pretty underwhelmed by Royal Table. I feel like the atmosphere and food is better at Be Our Guest and the character experience at Akershus was a step up.

We finally tried Yak and Yeti on our trip in April and it is probably one of my favorite restaurants at Disney, especially for the price. Being a Landry's club member and not needing reservations is a good bonus.


OhioStater's avatar

^^^^^

Sorry to hear about Akershus. I didn't know it was not available.

Has anyone here actually been to the new Space 220 place that Andy mentioned? When we were plotting our cancelled-thanks-to-Covid trip that place was, at the time, the new thing that looked interesting as an experience.

Last edited by OhioStater,

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