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Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

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  • Trip Report Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

    Since I only have one picture, I'll just dive right in with some bullet points about my recent stay. Let me first say that my wife and I lived just behind the WDW resort for many years, so close you could see the fireworks from the backyard. We now rent that property full time, never return to it and live in NH. This quick TR is from someone who, as a resident, spent at least 2 days a week at the resort. Now we go back almost 6 years later as "tourists" staying completely on property for 8 days.

    For comparison purposes, we have also lived in Los Angeles for many years, visting Disneyland weekly, and currently visit once a year. We have also been to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. I only mention this because when we left Florida we were feeling the pains that are so often expressed on these boards regarding magic, maintenance, etc.

    Here we go:

    I rented points from a DVC member using this board and stayed at the Boardwalk Villas. This is key because Epcot is our favorite park outside of Animal Kingdom and the convenience factor was essential, my past experiences with the busses have been less than favorable.

    I think I went to bed around 11pm the night before we left, then awoke with the "too excited to sleep syndrome" at 2am. I stayed up the rest of the morning, airport, flight, Orlando, at the Epcot gate at noon. Purchased a FL resident seasonal pass (out of state ID and a mortgage statement for our FL property) and also the Tables in Wonderland card. Epcot and Magic Kingdom, Epcot had EMH until midnight, back in the room at 12:30am.

    Here's where the "fun" begins:

    Mind you I have been up now for 22 hours after only having 3 hours of sleep and having drank around the world twice over. This is not uncommon, especially with our frequent trips to Disneyland, my body knows this torture well.

    2am (roughly). I had some strange dream (this happens sometimes due to complete exhaustion) that concluded with me screaming out into nothing. That's really the only part I remember, just screaming and frightened. I wake up, startled. Just as im about to try and go back to sleep my wife asks
    franticly if I'm OK. Apparently I screamed out in my sleep. This is a first for me and kind of scary all at the same time. Not 3 seconds later we hear this whaling coming from the hallway (which clearly I must have heard subconsciously and caused me to react in my sleep) We both perk up, confused, and continue to listen. It was hard to tell if it was laughing, crying, loud talking, etc. Suddenly it turned into a BLOOD CURDELING SHRIEK. I'm talking horror movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, sexual assault, torture, etc type of screaming, probably the most awful sound I've ever heard.

    We both bolt to the door and open it (why we opened it I still question as I type this, I mean, this sounded like there may have been a gunman out there). The screaming continued, animalistic cries of pain and terror. Down the hall, maybe 3 doors down, there are a ton of people and some woman having some kind of nervous breakdown. There are probably 5 police officers out there, complete chaos. This went on for at least 15 more minutes. 15 minutes of desperate, terrifying screams. "Welcome Home".

    Here are my observations: I'd like to share them because for the few months leading up to our trip I frequented these boards, as I used to when I lived here, and given what I've read, had certain expectations (most being negative).

    Transportation: The busses suck. We all know this. But, aside from maybe 2 instances, I found them perfectly acceptable during this trip. I really like the automatic narrative that goes along with the stops and the themed music to the resorts or parks you are going to (this was new to me). Yes, this time of year is not very busy, so naturally the busses wouldn't be either, but I found them to be a vast improvement from when I lived here. I'll give you these three examples of when things that slowed things down on the bus.

    1. A father with a loose screw on his stroller. He bothers thedriver for a pocket knife to fix it. The driver then ends up taking 5 minutes to fix the stroller for the father in question while everyone waits. Good "customer service" for that guest (I hate that term)? Yes. Good for everyone else (especially those without children, like us) NO!

    2. A father, again, with 3 kids, one in a stroller. He doesn’t know how to fold the thing down. The driver then has to strap it into the bus like a wheelchair...another 5 minutes.

    3. And I don’t even know how this happened. A driver carrying someone’s baby the length of the bus to deliver it to them. This was when the line was 3 busses deep at the closing of Animal Kingdom. It doesn't even make any sense, but it happened.

    Cleanliness: Having read so much negativity on these boards regarding this, I never saw a problem, and I was looking. The lines were fine, grounds were fine, I don’t know...I didn’t see it.

    Maintenance: This is something that has always drawn us to Disneyland over WDW. The rides and the show quality. I was expecting a complete nightmare (not the kind I had on day 1) when we got to the parks. Especially with Kevin Yee's video of Splash Mountain. Aside from a few things, I didn’t see that either. Splash was certainly not in perfect working order, but the major things worked. Pirates, not as pristine as Disneyland by a long shot, but it all worked. One thing I always had an issue with at WDW was sound. It never seemed like I could hear anything, the audio always seemed so low. Example: "It's tough to be a bug", it always paled in comparison to it's Disney's California Adventure sibling. This time seemed much better, booming sound, lots of smoke, and the added element of a crowd of people that probably have never seen the show before really adds to the enjoyment (ie: people going bananas). However! Hopper did not make an appearance at all. No light on that side of the theater, no animatronic. Not even a strobe light to make it look like he's kind of there. Sucky.

    Haunted Mansion: When we left Florida, my absolute favorite ride of all time was in a complete state of disrepair. The audio was crackling or wouldn’t play at all. The stretching room, I don't even want to talk about. Going to Disneyland was such a treat for me so I could enjoy my beloved Mansion as it was meant to be seen. NOW...WDW's Mansion is STUNNING! Pristine and perfect. Absolutely loved the new elements and the stretching room is beyond description. The extended "play" queue, I could do without, though. It looked like a playground for little kids to just slap their dirty hands on things. A shame, really. Neat ideas, just too crowded and chaotic.

    Star Tours: I hate the Star Wars movies. I don’t really like Science Fiction at all. But for some reason I always liked Star Tours. Now, this NEW Star Tours? WOW! I think I got in like 13 rides. Couldn't get enough of it.

    Hall of Presidents: Excellent! I couldn't believe how great the new presentation is with Obama and the new narration. The visuals are so incredibly crisp. How do you get old pictures of FDR to look like they were just taken with a digital camera. Amazing, moving, inspiring, just what it should be. And I will add The American Adventure to that as well, although the film could use a cleaning or digitizing. And let's not forget Carousel of Progress, another of my favorites. Not in the best shape...but enjoyable as always. I don't know what it is with the 40's segment. The first time we went on during this trip George's ascot was falling out. I recall one of the last times we went on before we left FL his whole neck/skin/head was sticking out of the body during that segment :-0 I'm happy to say that the ascot was fixed the next time we went on, it's nice to know someone looks at these things. God forbid George's head pops out again.

    Beer Target: As usual, at any of the parks, the second I get a full beer in my hand I suddenly become a target for children to bump into me. I probably spilled $300 worth of beer due to being smashed into, trampled by, and tripping over strollers or some dopey kid without a leash. I'll leave it at that.

    The Great Photographer: All I'm going to say is that this is my curse. And I've now decided that I am going to wear a t-shirt every time I go to a Disney Park that says "No, I will not take your picture". The tipping point was on the Safari at Animal Kingdom and I find myself taking pictures of people while on the ride. The thought crossed my mind to just throw the camera into the crocodile pit and go on enjying my ride. But, it was just a passing thought.

    Walt Disney: I always felt that Walt's spirit lived at Disneyland and nowhere else...and I still do. However, there seemed to be a TON of references, quotes, etc at WDW. I don't recall ever noticing this. This starting on the Magical Express bus. The video began with Walt talking about "The Florida Project" and had that old archival footage I’m sure we've all seen. Also, the monorail, busses, and the newly updated "one man's dream" was quite a tribute. That's probably the one thing that gets me every time when at a Disney park, is hearing Uncle Walt.

    I'll end with my favorite subject: People.

    Lots of foreigners. Not just the UK as usual, but from all over it seemed. It's nice to see people from all over the world enjoying our parks. My favorite thing to listen to are the disciplinarians. Parents that are at ropes end, spent too much money, are tired, etc.

    Here is a quote. And somehow we managed to bump into these people twice and heard pretty much the same conversation. In a very calm, creepy voice to a 6 year old (I think) "This vacation isn't just about you, there are other people here also. If you keep this up there will be a consequence when you get home. Yes, it looks like *insert annoying modern day child’s name here* is going to have a consequence". A consequence!? Just hearing that even scared me! 2 minutes later that kid is massaging that woman's shoulders while she chastised her for doing it too hard!!

    Another good one was an old lady, picking up another old lady near the AMC at Downtown Disney. Apparently she wasn't picked up close enough to the exit because as this lady waddled over to the car and screamed out "I OUTTA GIVE YOU A STRAPPIN'!" A Strappin?! I'm from the north, up here we call it a punch in the mouth. But hearing a 70 year old drop that line to another 70 year old...well, that is now my new favorite term.

    This one took the cake. This is last night at 11:30pm (Friday 2/10) EMH at Epcot in front of Mission:Space. Some guy on his cell phone, screaming "DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH ****** MONEY IVE SPENT HERE! THIS ******* VACATION COST ME A FORTUNE. AND WE DIDNT STAY AT SOME ******** HOTEL...THAT ******* PLACE COST MORE THAN....." That's all I caught.

    Overall this was a great trip. Are the parks in as good of shape as Disneyland? No. But the resort experience kind of equalizes that. Having been so pissy about WDW when we left Florida 6 years ago, we totally got caught up in the magic staying at the resort and doing all things Disney. Magical Express worked like a charm, everyone was really nice (with only maybe 2 minor forgettable exceptions), the resort was beautiful, we had a blast. Was I wearing my vacation glasses? I dont know. Im the idiot in line and on the rides that tries to find the hidden speakers, Im always looking for improvement, and I love all these parks like they are my own (both coasts). Could there have been improvements? of course. Is the resort in as bad a shape I've read? I dont think so.

    Next stop. Disneyland in the fall for the DCA reboot!

    I'll leave you with one picture of, not bad show....ridiculous show. For whatever reason it didn't bother me at all, I just never knew "Thing" worked at the Magic Kingdom.

    IMG_4385 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    ...and mind you that hand was working the pump.

    Last edited by BurningStroller; 02-12-2012, 07:49 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

    I'm glad there's someone else who really cannot see all the issues with maintenance and cleanliness. Sure, WDW isn't without its issues, but you'd swear WDW was falling apart if this was the only website you looked at.


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    • #3
      Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

      great story telling

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      • #4
        Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

        I spent 10 in WDW in May. Almost every single ride we went on had some problems. In most cases small but obvious and in some cases, the ride stopped completely and or did not funktion anything likeit was ment to.

        Stains, dirt, wear and tear from decades of operation was obvious to all of us.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

          i share your opinion on the parks burning stroller, thank you for the post. kind of interested as to why police were called now, seems to be the climax of your story lol.

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          • #6
            Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

            Ok that picture is just scary... but personally I love to take pictures for other people. If I'm standing around and someone asks me to take a picture with their camera I'm more than happy to help out. It might be the only way for the entire family to get in the picture at the same time. And who knows.... for some of those people it could be the very last time they will all be together in the shot because none of us are promised tomorrow.

            But thats just my personal thinking and I go to the park at least a couple of times a year or more so it doesn't take anything away from my own visit to help make some magic for someone else.




            Help me get more security in Pingvinivlle! Click here!


            Originally posted by AGhostFromThePast
            all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

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            • #7
              Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

              Originally posted by penguinsoda View Post
              Ok that picture is just scary... but personally I love to take pictures for other people. If I'm standing around and someone asks me to take a picture with their camera I'm more than happy to help out. It might be the only way for the entire family to get in the picture at the same time. And who knows.... for some of those people it could be the very last time they will all be together in the shot because none of us are promised tomorrow.

              But thats just my personal thinking and I go to the park at least a couple of times a year or more so it doesn't take anything away from my own visit to help make some magic for someone else.
              You make a good point. Although when I have on my Disney feet and am heading somewhere at a good clip, I cant understand someone chasing after me looking for a picture. Always being a couple, we utilize the arm outstretched method to take pictures (you know, so they all look exactly the same). Here is something I just recalled. A number of National Parks (Yosemite comes to mind) has little camera stands in front of their "main entrance signs". Just a simple metal pole with a flat top. So if you are a solo traveller, or with a group, you can prop your camera up and take a photo with the self timer. I don't see why these couldn't be added to speaker polls, lamp posts, etc in certain areas where there is a view.

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              • #8
                Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                Originally posted by BurningStroller View Post
                So if you are a solo traveller, or with a group, you can prop your camera up and take a photo with the self timer. I don't see why these couldn't be added to speaker polls, lamp posts, etc in certain areas where there is a view.
                They call those 'Photopass photographers'

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                • #9
                  Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                  Thanks for sharing! I'll be headed down there in less than 2 weeks for an 8 day stay and you've really got me more excited especially since I've been reading the many posts saying the parks are in bad shape. Can't wait to go on Haunted Mansion!
                  I Have the Best Job in the World.


                  Proud to be a Conductor on the Walt Disney World Railroad

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                  • #10
                    Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                    Originally posted by TimmyTimmyTimmy View Post
                    I spent 10 in WDW in May. Almost every single ride we went on had some problems. In most cases small but obvious and in some cases, the ride stopped completely and or did not funktion anything likeit was ment to.

                    Stains, dirt, wear and tear from decades of operation was obvious to all of us.

                    I see posts and comments like this everywhere I never, ever notice it when I go, even when I'm looking. I've gone 1-2 times a year for the past 20 years and have yet to notice any dirt, stains or paint chipping anywhere. Ride maintenance isn't without its faults, and while I don't necessarily disagree with the complaint/opinion that every ride should be running perfectly at all times, this isn't a perfect world and things happen. I think the criticism of WDW is largely overblown and exaggerated and while it could improve in some areas, it isn't even close to as bad as some people make it sound.


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                    • #11
                      Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                      Thanks for that great report. I think the 6 years away has done wonders for you, because I'd venture to say maintenance and general budgets were higher in 2005 than they are now. As a DL local, I give WDW a little bit of leeway in maintenance for one reason: the harsh weather. I'm sure it's murder to keep up with 4 parks. But yes, of course, I recognize that some areas are in horrible shape.
                      Please consider the environment before printing useless emails

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                      • #12
                        Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                        Fantastic TR! It's so nice to hear a fair and honest one.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                          Originally posted by TimmyTimmyTimmy View Post
                          I spent 10 in WDW in May. Almost every single ride we went on had some problems. In most cases small but obvious and in some cases, the ride stopped completely and or did not funktion anything likeit was ment to.

                          Stains, dirt, wear and tear from decades of operation was obvious to all of us.
                          Always the same old, tiresome, belly aching song from you...

                          I'm with the O.P.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                            Originally posted by TimmyTimmyTimmy View Post
                            I spent 10 in WDW in May. Almost every single ride we went on had some problems. In most cases small but obvious and in some cases, the ride stopped completely and or did not funktion anything likeit was ment to.

                            Stains, dirt, wear and tear from decades of operation was obvious to all of us.

                            This is time for a old movie quote, "Always with the negativity. Your bringing me down with dem negative waves." sorry but sometimes criticism ceases to be constructive and reaches the point of destructive...Last time I was there (in July) it wasn't the cleanest but the CMs were keeping up with it, as well as the fact that the maintenance seemed to be on the uptick...I dunno maybe I was too intoxicated with the kool-aide to notice, I dunno...

                            seriously though great TR Burning Stroller, glad you had a great time!
                            The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
                            -George S. Patton

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                            • #15
                              Re: Just back after 8 days: The good, the bad, the police.

                              We've been visiting WDW every fall (save for 2012, in anticipation of 2013 Fantasyland full opening) and I've had a mostly positive experience. In MK, Splash Mountain is very touch-and-go. In particular, the last act of the ride seems to have suffered some incredible show-quality catastrophe in 2011. Lots of down, missing or half-missing AI features. The scenes before drop 4 (water features completely missing / hole in show floor where effects had been / spitter fountains down) and the final scenes 24, 25 in particular were very rough (characters missing, not functioning).

                              This does nothing to quell my overall experience, but I can't believe Imagineers would be pleased to know maintenance let things get so far gone before (hopefully) putting all those elements into service. It almost looked like the final act of the ride was down for renovation even as boats were traveling through the attraction.
                              ~ Erik

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