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Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda


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  • Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

    Ok, first a few notes. I have been an annual passholder for the Walt Disney World for a while now and never for the life of me realized how much fun it is to take pictures... so thanks to an early Christmas present, I had a digital camera for my wonderful holiday filled trip to the World. Also, since this is camera is new to me, some of the pictures may be... less than stellar, maybe I will figure it out next time. I am neiter a writer by nature nor a photographer, but I do what I can. Anyway, I will try my best to give a breakdown of my days and pictures, followed by a step by step analysis of my feelings towards each park.

    Everybody neat and pretty?...Then on with the show.

    Woke up at 8am and began my journey down I-75. It's perhaps a 7 hour trip (or 6 if Ga/Fl State Patrol isnt very active). Arrived at the Pop Century as just about nightfall, so I decided to hop over to MGM for a couple rides here and there. Now here is where things get a little sad. I had taken a few pictures that night and the next day (which is the day I spent all day at the Disney Studios) but for some reason my camera belives they dont exist... so I only have a few night shots

    Day 1: Disney Studios

    The best shot I got of the Christmas tree outside the park entrance

    The Infamous Sorceror hat... It makes it quite difficult to get a solid Chinese Theater picture.

    Speaking of...

    The night before, the "The" and "Ride" portion of the sign's lights had gone out, but the next day they were in perfect working condition.

    Ok Ok, Let's just get to the Main Event. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I had seen these lights many a time since they had been brought here, but new this year was that every 15 minutes or so they would dance in time with various Christmas music.

    And for all our Jewish friends...

    During this "show" they had numerous snow machines creating a "Florida Blizzard", but unfortunately it was so hot (the low all week was in the high 60's) that it pretty much felt like rain than snow...

    Anyway, I grabbed a few more shots on my way over to the second showing of Fantasmic.

    Last edited by goofgeek; 01-21-2007, 06:18 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

    Awesome!! Disneyworld is so much more decorated than Disneyland, you're lucky!


    • #3
      Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

      cool... how was the speed traps near exit 275 on I-75

      not bad photos, you will learn how to use that camera sooner or later. that and night/low light photos are harder to take than lots of light


      • #4
        Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

        Day One Trip Analysis:

        Disney-MGM Studios


        Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
        The original and according to most, still the best. The effects do seem to be better than Disneyland's and the random drop sequence always wondering how and when you will drop, but there are a few things that need a little work. The forward motion portion of the ride through the hall of mirrors is too well lit or at least lit in the wrong places. The track the ride car runs along is way too obvious and the brightness pulls from the dark foreboding feeling, though this is somewhat lessened during the evening hours.

        Rock N' Rollercoaster Ft. Aerosmith
        This is one of the big draws for the Studios and currently the only rollercoaster on proerty with an inversion. The music I feel could be matched a little better to the track layout, but with multiple possible tracks, there is a couple that do it right. My largest complaint is the horrendous switch backs outside of the "Recording Studio". It's just downright ugly to look at, not to mention one of the hottest lines to stand in during Florida heat (though they do have fans which helps a little).

        Beauty and the Beast Stageshow
        Take most of the goodness from the Broadway version, condense it into a 30 minute show with a somewhat smaller budget and you get the idea of what this show is really about. The majority of the audio is recorded as a lot of the Disney shows are, but the dancers/actors really bring the familiar characters to life. (especially Gaston)

        Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show
        Definitely a much needed boost to the back half of the park. With close quarters manuevering and daring jumps mixed with fire and water, this has quickly become one of the top shows at Disney World. Unfortunately, with only about 3 showings a day, they tend to pack everyone in like sardines in a can. Not to mention the vast parts of the backlot area they had to take out to build to massive stadium.

        And where There's Up's, There's Down's

        The Great Movie Ride
        The cast member "guides" in recent years just haven't been all that good, of course this is from a guy who rides the Jungle Cruise religiously and expects at least somewhat decent acting ability if youre a "guide" of some sort. Fortunately all the sets still look fairly decent and the effects in "cowboy shootout" such as the building bursting into flame still work. But it's time for an upgrade, sure they added some new movies clips at the end, but for the most part this was the flagship ride at the Studios... so give it some love.

        The Backlot Tour
        ...or should I say lack thereof. You first start with a effects demonstration attempting to recreate scenes in Pearl Harbor, which is ok, but they dont always work. Pearl Harbor was a decent movie, but I think we've gotten to a point where they could easily use a more modern movie to showcase effects. I don't want to say Pirates, cause that seems to be a fairly saturated market when it comes to the theme park, but it could work. Unfortunately it pretty much goes downhill from there. Hop on a tram, take a tour of a backlot that doesnt really Do anything anymore. There are some interesting set pieces scattered around, such Indiana Jones tanks, a snowspeeder from Star Wars, and my favorite piece Walt Disney's personal airplane (not exactly a movie prop, but I like it). You finish off the tour by entering a hot set deemed Catastrophe Canyon. The tram shakes, fires erupt, and gallons upon gallons of water rush towards you. It's definitely a sight to see, but it doesnt make up for lack of an actual "backlot". You may get a chance to see sme action if the Light, Motors, Action show is in progress, but even that can't save this tour. Final thoughts: It has to go, may just make a ride out of Catastrophe Canyon or something, but thats too vaulable of space to just use it to to promote new movies that weren't filmed there and remind people what used to be here.

        The Magic of Disney Animation
        What? They actually do Disney animation in Florida?... no, no, but they used to. So what do they do now? Just show a little movie with Mushu explaining the creation of an animated character while he interacts with an "animator". After that you pass the boarded up room which used to hold the "fishbowl", an area of the Disney Studios where you could watch the animators at work, now it's just depressing. That's it? No, there are some interesting exhibits like original sketchs of Stitch, some interactive games, and the Animation Academy, where you learn to draw a Disney character, but that's about it. So they use all that space just for that? ...It seems so, much like the backlot tour, there's no longer much to it and unlike California Adventure's, it doesn't Turle Talk to save it, so let's hope they finally do something to help out. (Maybe bringing back hand drawn animation might work... but that's just me)

        How about some honorable mentions

        One Man's Dream
        Definitely the most overlooked and underrated place at the Studios. With numerous exhibits about Walt Disney throughout, including his school desk, office, and numerous models and costumes from Disney movies and Disney parks. This is definitely the spot and Disney fanatic can easily spend a few hours or the average guest can waste some time between rides. It's a must see every time I go.

        Voyage of the Little Mermaid
        If you liked Beauty and the Best Stageshow, you'll probably like this. It's pretty much the same kind of deal, summarize the movie into a half hour show, but this time they use various puppets and theater effects to create the illusion of fish swimming "Under the Sea". Unfortunately, a couple scenes with Ursula tend to frighten the little ones (which there many of), so it can get kind of loud. Overall, a good show but will most likely be forgotten.

        Muppetvision 3D
        In an age where every major theme park at Disney World has a 3D movie, Muppetvision would probably rank number 2 out of 4 with most people. Still a very classic show, with great cheesy humor that the Muppets are known for, throw in the amazing Lobby with a million things to look at (A Net Full Of Jello), AA's that interact with the movie portions, a live version of Sweetums that helps move the story along, and effects such as water, bubbles, and lights really bring this towards the top of great shows. I feel Disney should probably do more with the Muppets, but in the mean time, I love me some Muppetvision.

        Now for my Entertainment Rundown

        The Hollywood Holly Day Parade
        Ok, it's pretty much the Stars and Motorcars Parade but with tinsel and wreathes attached to the cars, plus a little bit of Christmas time music. Yes, the cars are very interesting the first time you see them, but if you have seen the parade as much as I have, it grows a little tiresome. They pretty much do just about the same thing during the Holidays over at Animal Kingdom... but more on that later

        The must see show at Disney World and a perfect ending to a night at MGM. Everyone knows the story by now. Mickey's imagination is in full force when the evil doers of Disney past come and try to take over. It's good versus evil, in a classic Disney showdown. Now most will say Disneyland's version is better, and for the most part... it is. But, this version does have some advantages, such as the huge stadium sized theater that can hold many more guests than the area around Tom Sawyers Island and also isolates you from the rest of the park. Another great thing is the life size version of Steamboat Willie at the end. As most things than transfer from Disneyland to the World, it kind of gets an epic upgrade, attempting to make it bigger and better than the original. In Fantasmic, that's not necessarily a good thing. The attempt to cram in way too many villains (Frollo and Scar? ...honestly). Just about every villian up to the point of when Fantasmic opened is there (with the exception of may Gaston, who's right next door at the Stageshow). Overall it's still Fantasmic, with just a few changes from the Disneyland version and it is still something you shouldn't miss.

        The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights presented by Sylvania
        Yes, that's right. The lights dance now. Every 12 - 15 minutes, everything from a dramatic rock opera style Jingle Bells to the always great Feliz Navidad plays in the background as the lights up and down the Streets of America, dance in time to the music. Meanwhile, a "Florida Blizzard" creates flurry after flurry all night long. Problem is, most people tend to line up along the Streets an hour or 2 before thinking it's a parade or show of some sort, so it can get pretty crowded down there. But while everyone is standing in awe over the lights, it's a perfect time to go find a seat at Fantasmic on the other side of the park.

        Final Thoughts:

        The Disney-MGM Studios has come a long way since opening day. Becoming the "thrill park" of the Walt Disney World Resort. Since it is no longer a real working studio, they may need to start to abandon the ideas of having a backlot and just make it seem like the entire park is a "hot set" ready to be in production at any time. There are some rough edges that should be worked out, but with the potential of the new attraction being added in the old Millionare building (which I tried to get pictures of, but was reprimanded for trying to climb over the walls) The Studios should be heading in th right direction. Still my number 4 park at the Resort, it still has many unique gems that I will quene up for as long as they have them.
        Last edited by goofgeek; 12-24-2006, 08:06 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

          The night before, the "The" and "Ride" portion of the sign's lights had gone out, but the next day they were in perfect working condition.

          Givng the wonder feature called ..... "Great Movie" Sort of like "Scary Movie"

          I don't know why, but I found that funny. Thanks for the report, keep those pictures comming.

          "I'm gonna build my own amusement park. But with gambling and hookers!" - Bender
          "You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." - Bullet Tooth Tony


          • #6
            Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

            Thanks so much for sharing I have not been to WDW


            • #7
              Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

              Originally posted by goofgeek View Post
              Love that picture. :cwink: Makes me a bit sad though at the same time...

              Originally posted by goofgeek View Post
              Beauty and the Beast Stageshow
              Take most of the goodness from the Broadway version, condense it into a 30 minute show with a somewhat smaller budget and you get the idea of what this show is really about. The majority of the audio is recorded as a lot of the Disney shows are, but the dancers/actors really bring the familiar characters to life. (especially Gaston)
              Which really makes me wonder... why must they stop Tarzan (and rumored to stop Voyage) because of the Broadway version, but not Festival or the TOTS show? :croll: No clue here...


              • #8
                Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                You know, it's because of who's in charge of Walt Disney Creative Entertainment now. That's why.


                • #9
                  Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                  What a wonderful report! EPCOT doesn't hold back when it comes to a gorgeous holiday decking out. The Great Movie Ride and TOT looked especially bright and festive.

                  Even Rockin' Rollercoaster got into the act. I'd like to see them do an overlay of that ride...and perhaps call it Rockin' Holidaycoaster. That would sleigh me. :lol:
                  To Boldly Go Where No MiceChatter Has Gone Before!


                  • #10
                    Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                    Very nice pictures. Nights shots are very difficult.


                    • #11
                      Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                      Which really makes me wonder... why must they stop Tarzan (and rumored to stop Voyage) because of the Broadway version, but not Festival or the TOTS show? :croll: No clue here...
                      Tarzan wasn't closed because it opened on broadway, and if the little mermaid closes it won't be because of a broadway show it will be because they want to replace it with another attraction. probably another show. frankly little mermaid and beauty and the beast need to be replaced both shows have run far too long. 15 years for a show is too long.
                      As far as broadway goes, disney has four shows running currently. unlessthey close one, I am not sure there is space for a 5th. giving your target audience too many choices especially with the high cost of seats, doesn't make money. andrew loyd webber learned that the hard way.


                      • #12
                        Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                        Cool pics! Wish I was @ WDW right now! Only 37 days til my cruise! Happy new year y'all!
                        Epcot rocks! I luv Capt Jack Sparrow, alongside Will & Elizabeth!
                        Tiff Prendergast on Facebook


                        • #13
                          Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                          So very sorry for the late update

                          Day 2: Disney's Animal Kingdom

                          Every park had a Christmas tree going for the Holiday season

                          Just making sure I knew where I was...

                          I could spend all day wandering through the Oasis, so many animals to check out...

                          Just some Florida cousins visiting...

                          First stop: Expedition Everest

                          But unfortunately, it seems it was having probelms that morning

                          This is the line for the fatspasses:

                          Anywho, it seems the Yeti would have to wait, so why not check out the scenary of Asia?

                          While waiting for my fastpass to be valid I decided to head over to Kilamanjaro Safaris...

                          Fortunately it was very early in the day, so a lot of the animals were out...

                          Take a gander at that... rarely do you see the Chevy's out in the wild...

                          Even the lions were out.... kind of

                          Uh-oh Poachers...

                          (To be continued...)


                          • #14
                            Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                            Cool pics! Happy new year y'all!
                            Epcot rocks! I luv Capt Jack Sparrow, alongside Will & Elizabeth!
                            Tiff Prendergast on Facebook


                            • #15
                              Re: Trip Report: Christmas at Disney... kinda

                              Let's continue... yes, I know I took a while

                              One thing that was out in full force all weekend was the street side entertainment.

                              I love this guy...

                              These guys we're out all day... I mean all day

                              We watch the Wild Baloo in the wild... with his Handler

                              Off to Dinoland

                              And I am greeted by this colorful sight... *shudder*

                              Is it me or has the Triceratops Spin got bigger?

                              The Tackiest Land of them all was even Christmasified...

                              and of course Dinosaur...

                              "You're not gonna make, you're not gonna make it... You Made it!"

                              and the one thing at Animal Kingdom I had absolutely had no idea what it would be... Nemo The Musical.

                              For a musical based on a movie that had zero musical numbers beyond "Just Keep Swimming", it was quite entertaining. I mostly was happy with the new air conditioning in the Theater in the Wild.

                              and with Everest just being a hop, skip, and a jump away, I thought it was time to see the East Coast Yeti.

                              Expect more on ride photos next time around...

                              With the day winding down, I thought it was time to catch the last Festival of the Lion King show of the day

                              But I got sidetracked by It's Tough to be a Bug...

                              One of my favorite things to do is just look at the Tree of Life...

                              The Termite-nator... oh yea

                              Shades of what could have been...

                              Even Camp Minnie Mickey had it's Holiday Attire

                              And so ends Day Two...

                              Last edited by goofgeek; 01-14-2007, 04:03 PM.


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