March 2018

Planning a trip? Just get back? Talk about it here.

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sfein
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March 2018

Post by sfein » Apr Fri 13, 2018 9:26 am

Just got back from a trip mid-March. OK, not just back, it was a month ago :D

I've been to WDW many times and at all different times of the year (including July and August when the South American tour groups come to visit). I was also at WDW the same time last year. This trip was by far the most crowded I have ever seen the parks. We did much better getting on rides during the summer than mid-March. I was very surprised. I know spring break is around then. But most breaks were supposed to be the week after. Also Flower and Garden Festival, but again, I went last year and it was less crowded. And, according to AAA, the week I went was not considered peak yet. In any case, be aware, it is PACKED! How packed as an example? We were leaving MK before the fireworks. Main Street in the curve coming from Tomorrowland going towards Main Street was dead stopped. A cast member had to squeeze through to figure out why absolutely no one could move. The park then opened the door between The Plaza Restaurant and the bathrooms prior to Tomorrowland and let people walk that way to get down to the beginning of Main Street. Also, this was a rare time we were not staying on site. So, less days to get fastpasses prior to coming. I tried from day 1, but could not get Avatar Flight of Passage for any day at any time. You better stay on site if you want that ride or be willing to wait in 2-3 hour lines. We didn't though the waiter at Via Napoli said it was worth even that wait. In retrospect, maybe it would have been. Lines were so long everywhere that we waited around between fastpasses taking in the parks. Is that really any different than waiting in line? Especially since I heard the queue for the ride was gorgeous.

In any case the good and bad:
Good:
1) Got to see all of the entrances. You miss them staying on site. Nice to see them every once in a while.
2) Weather was great. 1/2 day of overcast/drizzle. The rest was sunny and blue skies.
3) Great time of year for photos. Like I said, blue skies. And none of the haze you get in the summer. As a matter of fact, the skies at time were too cloudless. I like a little bit of white wisp in my photos and some days, none to be found - had better look in that regard last year. Really, any camera (I used my phone) will take great pics on days like this.
4) No issues parking and like seeing the entrances, it was nice to see the parking trams again. And trying to remember where we parked :D . Phone camera to the rescue of course.
5) Pandora. Avatar is a good movie (doesn't break my top 10 though) and is not Disney (unless they got it in a recent deal). If not in my top 10 and not Disney, it loses a little value to me. I would have preferred possibly Zootopia to be the new land (could still have been nice looking and Disney too). But it was very very well done. Gorgeous scenery. We rode the River Journey and the animatronics were excellent. A good mixture of live and video throughout the ride. Good place to walk around. If you want best pics, go in morning. We went in the afternoon and the sun was on the wrong side. A lot of pics with a slight glare.
6) Food - especially at Epcot. This is during Flower and Garden, so food in abundance at various stands. We also ate at Via Napoli and Biergarten and both were excellent.
7) Boardwalk. It was empty. Crowds all at the park. We went for ice cream. No lines and we had a nice table to sit at and eat.
8) Safari. By far, the best we have done at AK. I'm glad they got rid of the stolen baby elephant storyline (ok missed it a little), but it gave more time for the regular safari and we got to see a lot more animals. And we went at midday which in theory should have shown us less. We saw more and the driver was able to stop more often.
9) Fireworks. We skipped one day but saw it another. Loved how they incorporated the animation on the castle. Very well done.
10) Very helpful cast members. Wanted a shirt but none the correct size. Cast member went in the back searched around and brought out two possible ones (size I asked for and one other size also not out) for me to review and pick out. And that was with a mob in the stores.

Bad:
1) Crowds. Way way too crowded. I know the reasons, but still, to be worse than the summer was amazing.
2) Security. Not a knock on the people working there. They are doing their best. But the lines were so long and people bring in so much taht have ot be looked through, it took forever. Especially getting into Magic Kingdom (security is at transportation center, but then you have to get on monorail or boat to get to MK). One thing that we noticed because we visited the Grand Floridian. Security was at the hotel. I don't know if there are long lines in the morning, but at lunch time it was empty. I wonder how bad it is during peak, get on bus, time. If you can get by without any kind of bag - try to do so.
3) Why was the learning to draw removed from animation courtyard? I thought it was because of new Toy Story Land. Until I got a HS map and saw the new land was nowhere near animation courtyard. Neither is the new Star Wars land.
4) Mentioned in rides - but Ellen and Pirates both closed.
5) Why are there so few Goofy shirts (not counting when he is on with another character)? Two years in a row now and tough to find one. :cry:
6) Are all the characters in-doors now? Yes there were some outside, but much fewer than past years.
7) Bakery on Main Street. I'm sorry, Starbucks is not a bakery. Main Street needs a real bakery where you can get fresh baked goods. I wanted a cheese danish. I did not want a Starbucks danish. Ended up at one of the Jofrreys. A tablespoon of cheese at most was on it. Come on. Disappointing.

Rides:
Most rides were great as usual.
Favorites this time.
Tower of Terror - except for the screaming teenagers or started screaming when the elevator doors closed the the ride moved at all. Nowhere near the time when the drops occurred. People sitting near kept looking around wondering why they were screaming :lol:
Expedition Everest. Best view I've had of the yeti and I don't know why, but the ride felt smoother than I remembered.
Mission Space (though I did miss Gary Sinise's introduction - new person giving the same info so not sure why there was a change).
BTMRR and Space Mountain - put them together because I can never choose which I like better. Probably lean towards BTMMR, but very close call.
Carousel of Progress - we love it simple as that
Star Tours - I like the newer videos/stories. Can't wait to see what Stars Wars Land has in store
Rock and Roller Coaster - very good roller coaster, though not as fun for us as BTMRR, Space Mountain or Expedition Everest
Dinosaur - nothing new, just like it and one of the few rides we did not fastpass and had to wait
Grand Fiesta Tour - I like Donald Duck and I've liked this ride even when it was Rio de Tiempo (actually might have preferred that one). Might be our last time though. I read something about Disney changing it over to be Coco based (good movie so I will probably like the new ride - though I will miss Donald).
Spaceship Earth - one of my favorites - though I prefer the pre-Judy Dench. Not because of the narrator, but because I don't really like the comnputer screen world of tomorrow that they use for the downward travel. Throw in some more animatronics please.
Seabase - We usually skip the aquarium, but since we had time we went. I really liked it.
Soarin - I went last year and saw the over the world movie. I didn't like it as much as over California. I thought some scenes had a skewed appearance. This time, the movie was better. i don't know if it was a corrected issue or if we sat in a better spot, but I did not notice the skewing. I do miss some of the interactions of people that California has, this one is more scenary and animals. But it was very enjoyable (out other non-fastpass ride)

Not favorites:
Pirates of the Caribbean - it was closed. Tha's why :cry:
Ellen's Energy Adventure - it was also closed
Seven Dwarfs Mine - I like the basics of the ride, but I find the drops to be too controlled so you don't get a good speed. And overall, way too short of a ride.
Swiss Family Treehouse - I think the trees need some pruning. It was tough to see outside of the treehouse or see anything from outside looking in.
Mickeys Philharmagic - Way too long to get in. Not sure if there was an issue. But the place was packed standing outside the doors waiting for them to open and quite a few people left because they didn't want to stand around in the packed sardine can of an entrance area. And the way they pack them in with the doors opening out, just causes problems. We also found the video to be slightly off/blurry. Not major, but not as good a Muppets 3D.
Gorilla Falls - first of all, I prefer Pangani as the name. Second (and more importantly) where were the Gorillas? In the past we usually saw at least 3 if not more. This time, there was only 1 andhe was hidden behind trees. No fun at all.

Amy
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Re: March 2018

Post by Amy » Apr Sat 14, 2018 6:25 am

Wow, sorry to hear it was so crowded. I always figured spring break was crazy, but not crazier than summer! I would like to go during Flower & Garden at least one time, all the photos of it look just lovely. But the crowds would get to me :(
I hadn't heard that they had redone Mission Space so I did a quick search. I did find that Gary Sinise is no longer involved with the attraction, but I never really found a reason why. I'm guessing it probably comes down to money though. And now that I know the two sides have different films, I might have to check out that less intense side at some point.

sfein
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Re: March 2018

Post by sfein » Apr Tue 17, 2018 7:02 am

It is very crowded. On the other hand, if you like trying different foods or you really want to see the various topiaries (and there are a lot) you might have to risk the crowds. Maybe plan it for when Star Wars opens and hope everyone goes to Hollywood Studios :D

Seriosuly if you want to see Flower Garden more than the other parks, Epcot handles large crowds better. It is so large you can still find some open space. Rides were crowded, but we got on Soarin, Test Track and Mission Space all in one day (had to wait in line at Soarin since could not fastpass it and Test Track because they are in the same tier). The line at Soarin was down to 40 minutes. No idea why. Just time it for later in the day I think.

I don't want to minimize the crowds, but the visuals at the park are excellent. I did hear that the crowds were less the prior week. The festival started the 28th of Feb and I went the week of the 11th of Mar. Spring break is supposed to be following week with a few stragglers during the week I went (like my son's college), maybe aim for the first week it starts.

I did ride the less intense side of Mission Space last year. I thought the film was similar without some of the warnings.

One funny item related to it. We were in line with a family that did not fully understand how Mission Space worked. After the introductory video, they go to their spots for entry and asked the cast member if they were going to get training before riding . The cast member had to explain, it was just a show and this is just a ride and not to worry about anything :D

Amy
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Re: March 2018

Post by Amy » Apr Tue 17, 2018 2:32 pm

sfein wrote:One funny item related to it. We were in line with a family that did not fully understand how Mission Space worked. After the introductory video, they go to their spots for entry and asked the cast member if they were going to get training before riding . The cast member had to explain, it was just a show and this is just a ride and not to worry about anything :D
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Thanks for the tips ~ hoping to get there at some point to see all the pretty stuff and taste the goodies they put out for this festival!

horizons1
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Re: March 2018

Post by horizons1 » Apr Wed 18, 2018 3:41 pm

Good trip report. I like the detail and always enjoy reading people's pros and cons.

IMHO, you didn't miss anything not riding Flight of Passage, but I know it's a shame to want to ride something (especially something new) and not being able because of crowds. Speaking of crowds, what was it like later in the evening when some attractions normally get much shorter lines (like no wait at Spaceship Earth if you ride it after 7pm or shorter lines on BTMRR and Haunted Mansion within the last two hours before closing?

BTW, Ellen is gone for good. That's why it's closed. Maybe you knew that but it was listed with Pirates so I wanted to clarify.
No one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining.
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sfein
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Re: March 2018

Post by sfein » Apr Fri 20, 2018 9:31 am

First person to say Flights was not worth that kind of wait. That's good to know it's not the greatest ride ever invented. I actually had a similar problem when I went to Disneyland about 6 years ago. I wanted to ride the new Cars ride which was new. This was before the App could be used for fastpass. I got to the park at opening, leaving my family at the hotel. Waited in line for a half hour. Line still had another hour to go. A cast member came up and asked if I was trying to get fastpass tickets for Cars. I said yes. She said, no way. So I got out of line and skipped it.

Evenings, some lines went down, others did not. Spaceship Earth was not walk on, but could probably be done with a 20-30 minute wait. We did get on Soarin around 6pm with a 40 minute wait. OTOH, Magic Kingdom was wall to wall people. One night we get on BTMRR in 40 minutes, so not too bad. But that was the day we watched fireworks. If we went during fireworks, probably would have been shorter. We had a fastpass for 7 dwarfs at 10pm and had to wait around anyway. That regular line was down to 40 minutes after fireworks but was very long as soon as we got off.

I was aware Ellen is closed for good (heard Guardians of the Galaxy will replace it), but I miss it, so I added it to my closed list :)

Amy
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Re: March 2018

Post by Amy » Apr Fri 20, 2018 9:43 pm

Hopefully you can get back to DL and experience Radiator Springs Racers ~ to me that is definitely worth waiting up to about an hour for ~ such a cute little ride.
I remember the first couple of times we had to wait for Spaceship Earth. Such a weird experience as we had always just simply walked up and on, or at the most had about a 5 minute wait. That's when we knew the parks "slow times" were likely a thing of the past.

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