Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney Notes

In a later post, I'll work more on the planning phase of Disney World (or rather some of it, because let's face it, when you plan for a trip for four months, there's a lot of details that were lost in the wind). Anyhow, one of the most helpful things I got was from Alex Blaise, who broke down a lot of information for me. I was only going to write a few snippets, but I realized that... well, he's awesome and wrote much more information that could be shared. So with his permission I'm presenting both his notes and my own. Please note that in the "Rides" and "Shows" section, if you encounter an asterisk, then that means that that was straight from Alex's notes and remain unedited (meaning that I don't have much input about it).

  • Great for exploring so if you're not a fan of rides, this is your park.
  • Every pavilion has something representing their culture. I could go on but here's a short list of some of the architecture that you could find there. It was amazing to see these things when I was younger and to go back as an adult and say, "Wow, I see what they were doing there."
    • Mexico resembles a Mesoamerican pyramid.
    • Norway has a "detailed Stave church, and the exterior of its main table-service restaurant, Restaurant Akershus namesake in Oslo."
    • China has a Paifang gate and a replica of the Temple of Heaven
    • Germany is decorated to look like a village and there's the minature train and village nearby with model trains. 
    • Italy has replicas of St Mark's Campanile, Neptune Fountain, and Doge's Palace. 
  • The firework show called IllumiNations happens every night and is pretty awesome. Definitely check that out.
  • Rides
    • Test Track*: A Chevrolet themed crash dummy ride. Pretty fun.
    • Soarin'*: They have this at Disneyland; you're in a simulated ride over the west coast.
    • Mission Space*: You get to simulate a how an astronaut takes off and lands on mars. Also pretty cool.
  • Drink Around the World: Something that's fun for adults to do is grab a drink at all the different countries which are specific to each country's pavilion and say they drank around the world. Pretty boozey.
    • My boyfriend and I did do this, but we also grabbed the Kidcot activity and got stamps for each paviliion that we... well, that we drank at. There is a Kidcot passport set but we ended up just grabbing Duffy on a stick and took pictures of each drink with the stamp. (Basically we didn't find the passport quick enough).

    Hollywood Studios
    • Rides 
      • Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster*: Disney's most thrill seeking ride in my opinion. Simply amazing. 
      • Tower of Terror*: Always amazing. 
        • Notes from yours truly: I didn't ride on it this time round but it was one of my first roller coaster rides [it was either this one or Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster from when I visited when I was 15]. Both are great rides and that's coming from someone who is acrophobic). 
      • Toy Story Mania*: This ride surprised me at how fun it was. No wonder the lines were insanely long. It's also in 3D and you shoot stuff. It's really a good time
      • Star Wars: We loved this one and while we only went on it twice, we were sure close to getting on it again if it were not for our dinner reservations. Plus in the gift shop you can make your own R2D2's figurines which we ended up doing (and we bought them as souvenirs for friends).
    • Shows
      • Beauty and the Beast* show here and it was surprisingly good. 
      • The Little Mermaid* show was also good.
      • Indiana Jones* is a classic!
      • Fantasmic* is there fireworks show but it begins with a play featuring all the Disney characters and villains. Its only on select nights so double check before you go. It gets pretty crowded for good seats so line up early.
      • Backlot Tours* where you can see how action shots in movies are done.
    • Special Event: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was incredibly cute especially with the "snow" that comes down afterward.

    Magic Kingdom
    • Straight from Alex's notes: "No one can be unhappy here. It's just too...everything you would expect Disney to be and they surely deliver."
    • Rides
      • Space Mountain
      • Splash Mountain
      • Big Thunder Mountain
      • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin is wonderfully awesome and... well, any gamer will appreciate it. So says my boyfriend who trumped me in this game. 
      • Those are the thrill rides...but all the classics are great. It's a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice's Teacups...etc
        • Notes from Lei: PoTC, It's a Small World, and Haunted Mansion are the three rides that I absolutely have to go on regardless of which park I'm in for nostalgia purposes. 
          • Haunted Mansion: It's been a long time since I've seen the non-Nightmare Before Christmas version and I love them both. The ballroom ghosts is my favourite part.
          • Pirates of the Caribbean: Slightly redone at the WDW site and thus I expect a revamp on it at DL since it was down in 2011 during our visit. They cleaned it up a bit and added scenes from the movie along with a bunch of Jack Sparrow cameos. 
    • If you've seen Disneyland then you've seen what Magic Kingdom is about, but not what is is, so don't discount it. It might not be the same experience but they are both great.
    • Definitely need to catch the Main Street Electric parade and the Wishes Nighttime Fireworks show. Everyone loves it.
    • Special Events
      • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party+: I haven't been to this but it's on my list and perhaps 2013 is the year that I'll do it! Supposedly it's only time that adults can come dressed up to the parl.
      • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: My boyfriend treated me to this as part of my birthday. It was kind of nice to have a second shot at the park without the crowds or long waiting lines. There were ample spots for free cookies, hot chocolate, and apple slices (which is a great thing, but also a bad thing since we didn't have any dinner and had to run over to the turkey leg cart for real food). The snow was a great touch and the dueling fireworks between Cinderella's castle and Belle's castle was awesome.

    Animal Kingdom

    • Another snippet from Alex's notes: "Everyone will love the safari. Hands down."
    • Rides
      • Expedition Everest*: a nice roller coaster to go on. All thrill and non thrill seekers will enjoy it.
      • Dinosaur*: Alex's girlfriend's favourite ride. If you ever went on Jurassic Park Universal Studios and felt that the ride didn't live up to your expectations then this ride will. It's pretty much what you would expect a Jurassic Park ride to be. Its intense.
    • Shows
      • From the book of Alex: "My favorite show here is The Lion King. It's singers and dancers are really talented and it's a great show."

    In a strange twist of events, Alex asked me to compare Disneyland and Disney World. As this often comes up in the Disney subreddits, I figured I'd post my response here.

    Disneyland and Disney World Comparison

    Honestly, I like them both. I grew up with DW (visited when I was 5 then again when I was 15) and I've always had that as the pinnacle of a theme park. Since moving out to California, my friends and I try to go to DL when we go to BlizzCon. It just so happened that there wasn't a convention last year [2012], so when we were planning a vacation, my BF said that it always sounded like I really wanted to go to DW.

    While I like the feel of DL and California Adventure (the park right next door; DL itself is dry but California Adventure is not) -- they are much smaller and a lot more rides. So for someone like me that doesn't really like rides, it's almost too easy to get through the park in a day. In fact, during my first visit with my friends, I got hyper off of sugar and made three rounds throughout the DL park (and managed to ride PoTC once and Haunted Mansion twice).

    DL is comparable to MK; DL is smaller with more of a local feel whereas MK is bigger and much more of a touristy feel. In a one to one comparison, I like MK because of the high nostalgia value. I do, hands down, love New Orleans square in DL and love the whole Haunted Mansion setup along with the beignets. But MK? I nostalgia hard in there, especially since I was there with my family so I can't help but think about them when I'm there. It's a Small World is also not as godawfullong (seriously... DL's version is like 20 minutes, the WDW version was elongated and a bit empty but not as long it seems).

    DL has the NMBC version of Haunted Mansion which I think stays up longer than at WDW. The problem though, as I mentioned is that I'm not a roller coaster kind of person and it seems as though WDW is made for people like me since there's a lot more to see/do or just simply walk around in.

    My BF, who grew up with DL and visited WDW for the first time, kind of prefers DL when compared to MK. But the parks overall? WDW hella wins and that's simply because there's way more to do.

    DL doesn't have an equivalent of AK, Epcot (and I LOVE Epcot, even as a kid), or Hollywood Studios. California Adventure is like... a mishmash of Hollywood Studios and Great Adventure. Which isn't inherently bad, but just not well suited for someone who doesn't like rides (but hey, they have carnival-like games, which I like). I think they are good (if not fantastic) in their own ways and it's almost as if you need to appreciate them separately.

    Alex Blaise is awesomesauce who gave us a lot of tips for our trips. This probably because he's a runner and ends up over at Disney World way more often than we ever could. You can check out his Flickr and Tumblr is the person behind the tips intrigues you. Perhaps we can somehow cajole him into writing a blog. :)

    No comments:

    Post a Comment


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...