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First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....


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  • First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

    Well, the wife and I returned from our 5 day stay at WDW. For those keeping score, I had posted some questions about the parks, where to stay, etc as I had not been to WDW or Epcot in about 20 years, and the wife had never been there.

    The wife and I live in the Pacific Northwest so we knew the first day was going to consist of 9 hours of airport/flight switching fun as we made our way across the country.

    We arrived in Orlando at 6:00pm anxious and tired with plenty of time to find the Port Orleans Riverside (or so we thought). We grabbed our rental car and headed out of the airport snapping shots of the beautiful Florida sunset as we paid the tolls heading towards the Magic Kingdom.

    Rule number one when visiting the Magic Kingdom for the first time:

    If you miss a turnoff to your hotel, STOP AND GET DIRECTIONS. Being the stubborn male breed of human, I did not and we circled the Disney grounds for 1 complete hour before finding the hotel. Making matters worse was the priceless look on the cast members face at the Magic Kingdoms parking hut when we asked for directions only to be told, "it's real simple, just follow the bus on your right".


    10 Minutes later we were at the Hotel. After getting the "all clear" from the guard out front, the gate lifted and we were on our way to check in. Check in was an absolute breeze, and it was off to the room. The night environment around PO Riverside was fantastic, w/ folks walking around, talking, and just vacationing. We on the otherhand were a mess after flying all day and trying to find the dang place. We grabbed a bite to eat at the River Mill and went straight to bed.

    Rule number two when visiting the Magic Kingdom for the first time:

    You will not see everything you want to see in 5 days. Period. Plan accordingly.

    Instead of taking a huge amount of time writing what we did everyday, I'll just give a brief thought on the following days, and our thoughts on what we saw.

    First Day: Animal Kingdom

    Simply put. Amazing. We loved it like no other amusement park we have ever been to. The stuff to see and do there is astounding. We simply could not and have not got enough of it. The wife got a great shot of me hearding a duck and it's ducklings across one of the main paths in the park as they made their way to a pond on the other side. Even one of the park cast members gave me a "Thank you" and "Great Job" Momma and the kids spashed away in the pond. Kodak moment for sure.

    First Night: Downtown Disney

    Great to stroll through and unwind. Had dinner at Planet Hollywood, and the food was fine. It's a pretty upbeat kind of place, so there is no "quiet dining" atmosphere there. Downtown Disney is one I don't think would be on our "need to go back and see" list, but we would return if time allowed. Most the stuff in the shops we were interested in could be found at the parks themselves.

    Second Day: Kennedy Space Center.

    Not Disney, but in short, it should not be missed. Fantastic stuff there.

    Third Day: Epcot

    Oh boy. If there is a park that requires more than one day, this is it. Epcot is like nothing else. From the wife picking oysters for pearls in Japan, to me walking around France with a glass of wine in my hand, we simply LOVED Epcot. I was there 20 years ago and Epcot is nothing like it was when I was there as a high school kid. The cast members were fantastic and the things to see overwhelming. We did not hit one single ride at Epcot that day.

    Third Night: The Magic Kingdom

    This one was perplexing. The wife and I have been to Disneyland many times so outside of some of the rides there really is no HUGE difference. But, in our "litmus test" between the two, and with thanks to you who gave us ideas on what not to miss, we found the following w/ our opinions:

    Splash Mountain is better at MK.

    Tomorrow Land is LOADS better at MK. Disneylands one time jewel is a travesty right now, and it is quite sad.

    Pirates is better at Disneyland. Though good at MK.

    Space Mountain is better at Disneyland. Though quite good at MK.

    Small world is better at Disneyland, although the song is equally disturbing at getting in your head at both parks. ;-)

    Haunted mansion was closed at MK, so we get to make no opinion.

    Thunder Mountain is a dead heat tie for us. Both parks are great.

    All in all, we liked the Magic Kingdom. The firework show was fabulous and we liked Main Street a little better at MK.

    Forth 1/2 day: Magic Kingdom

    Finished up what we missed at the Magic Kingdom and rode the WDW version of one of my all time favorite rides at Disneyland, the people mover. Bravo WDW for keeping that alive.

    Forth 2nd part of the day: Epcot

    Fantastic. Still feel we have not seen it all. Rode Test Track, Mission Space, and others loving them all. Reflections is fantastic and should not be missed. Sadly, it was just after Reflections when the wife and I realized that our brief stay at WDW was coming to an end. We sure did not want it to happen though.

    As we awoke on the 5th day, we both were just moping around the room because it just went too fast. The Port Orleans was great, Boatwrights was great, the atmosphere was great, the cast members were great, we on the other hand were not. Although dog tired, we still wanted to see more as we felt we had no time to truly "relax". We were on the go from the minute we landed in order to see all the "big stuff" before we left. We accomplished that, but in so doing, we forgot to take a vacation.

    Tuckered out, we spent all of the 5th wrapping up our stay and heading to the airport to make our 4pm flight.

    As we were skimming the atmosphere in our metal tube at 35,000 feet, I asked the wife how she liked it, never being to WDW or Florida before. Her answer was a kiss on my cheek and a simple question; "When can we come back?"

    Last night, a full 5 days after returning, we resereved our club level room at the Animal Kindom Lodge for 6 days this November.

    I guess you could say, we really enjoyed ourselves. :-)

    Thanks to you all who pointed out things to see. We may not have hit all of them last week...... but we will in November. :-)


    Port Orleans Riverside...



    What a great tree...

    Daily Entertainment...

    Great Balancing act. He later snapped the thing in two like it was a twig...

    Who has not taken this shot?


    Twain's sister ship...

    Just before the show....

    Picture perfect look at Epcot...

    Great Show!

    Could not get enough of this show...

    The worst part of the trip..... having to leave...

    Last edited by Dfanucci; 07-08-2007, 10:31 AM. Reason: Pics Added

  • #2
    Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

    I think its always very refreshing to get an opinion from un-regular MiceChatters who are therefore not caught up in the world of bitchiness, rumours and animosty that is found quite a lot in Disney fandom. It is these people that give some of the most accurate opinions of Disney parks because they are not influenced by other peoples statements or misconceptions/observations.

    Thanks a lot for this, it was a breath of fresh air.
    And I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

    October 2000 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2001 - Walt Disney World Resort
    April 2002 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    October 2003 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2004 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2005 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2007 - Walt Disney World Resort
    December 2008 - Walt Disney World Resort
    July 2009 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    July 2011 - Disneyland Resort California
    July 2012-13 - UK Cultural Representative Cast Member at Epcot
    February 2013 - Disneyland Resort California
    February 2013 -Tokyo Disney Resort

    (VERY OLD!)


    • #3
      Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

      Great report, glad you found it exciting still the same. I unfortunately haven't been able to make a full trip back in about a year and a half. I've made a couple of one day trips down there, but not had the opportunity to do a full vacation again, and with a child on the way in September it may be a few years before I can again. However I know we both almost cried when leaving from our vacation the last time we were there for a real vacation. I hadn't been back at that point in probably 15 years, and I felt like I had come home.

      We both talk all the time about how we can't wait to go back and really immerse ourselves in the environment. Some day we will. Until then, we have our memories and I have micechat.


      • #4
        Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

        Good to see that you had such a great time. I've never been and your TR really adds to my excitement of going one of these days ... hopefully soon.


        • #5
          Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

          Thanks for the great report.
          It was truly refreshing to see WDW through your eyes.
          Every once and a while it takes a fresh perspective to remind us that the WDW resort is indeed a magical place.


          • #6
            Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

            Fantastic report, thanks for sharing! I'm trying to talk my wife into a trip next winter and you, along with others, have convinced me that I need to plan for 7-8 days (which I'm sure I'll still miss a few things but realize 5 days ain't gonna cut it).


            • #7
              Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

              What a sweet trip report! I am glad you both had a wonderful time!!


              • #8
                Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                Thanks for sharing your trip with us. It sounds like you two had a great time. I'm sorry your trip went by so fast though, but it sounds like you will have a longer trip in November. Good for you!


                • #9
                  Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                  Thanks for the great report. I love Port Orleans Riverside as well. Are you going to share some pictures with us?


                  • #10
                    Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                    Great trip report, thank you so much for sharing. Glad you both had such a wonderful time

                    Delta Mu Chi Alpha ΔΜΧΑ


                    • #11
                      Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                      Yes, I fully intend to put some pictures up. Browsing through 600 pictures taken over 5 days for the "good ones" is quite the chore! :-)

                      We loved Port Orleans and our room was a king size bed room over looking the fountains of the Parterre Place. Fantastic atmosphere at the hotel with the horse drawn carriage "clopping" along. The surrey cycles and folks walking along. We loved the added Disney perk of having any gifts bought at the parks shipped to the Fultons gift shop in the lobby. I would definately recommend PO to anyone thinking about staying there.

                      If there is a down side to any of this, it would have to be the fact that we should have done 10 days from the get go. We were both unsure if we were going to have that much to do as we have no children yet and we did not know just how much 2 adults could do. Now we know! :-)

                      We were planning a 5 day vacation in Vegas in November, but there is just so much more at Disney we want to do. We did not even see MGM or any of the Water Parks. Yes, it's going to cost a heck of a lot more to go back to WDW, but we truly think it's worth it as this time, we can soak up a lot more without the "we have to do this attraction before we leave" rush we were under.

                      By chance, have any of you fine folks stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on the club level before? We are staying there (booked through the website) and the room according to the website is the Animal Kingdom Club Level standard room. This is concierge level, correct?




                      • #12
                        Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                        Thanks for the TR - glad you had a good time and are going back
                        Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha



                        • #13
                          Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                          Great TR, thanks for sharing!

                          As a visitor to both WDW and DL, I agree with you all points except where you say that Tomorrowland at MK is BETTER! IMO, Tomorrowland at MK is the ugliest land at any of the Disney Parks.


                          • #14
                            Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                            No Disney MGM Studios?
                            Goodbye, Me Bizarro is not Monkey Joe. Me Bizarro hates Disney parks so much. Hello


                            • #15
                              Re: First time back in over 20 years and the verdict is.....

                              I'm a Pacific Northwesterner myself so I feel your pain when you talk about the flight time..but isn't it nice to get out of the weather we've been having this year? I agree that Main Street at MK is great (it's a little more roomy than DL) The double dip at DL Pirates is what makes a better ride for me so I get what you say about the MK version. Great report and just makes me wish time would pass just a little faster for our September trip this year..Cheers!
                              sigpic The one and only...The Original...
                              :yea:Mountain Man


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