Drank the Kool Aid....Did the Planning (I think?)….Pretty bitter about it. (12/12/19-12/16/19)

ADM56

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
I first remember going to the Magic Kingdom when I was 6 in 1976. Living in Florida we probably went a few times in between but my next memorable visit was right after Epcot opened and then I went with adult friends in my 20's in 1995 and 1998.

My wife and I had been talking about taking my daughter to Disney World at some point and we'd had a rough spring so in March we decided to book a visit at the end of the year. My daughter would be roughly the same age as I was when I first remembered going.

Our first research stop involved crowd calendars. In hindsight I realize that they are in the business of promoting their knowledge but ultimately the information proved to be useless in our situation because I applied terms like 'moderate' to my previous experience when it sounds like the new normal has 'moderate' crowds greatly exceeding what I had experienced on my previous trips. If we'd had an accurate idea of what the crowds would have been like we never would have booked the trip. I realize that any time in December is not ideal but we were told by most sources that we would experience a brief lull in the crowds prior to the real mess starting the following week.

Since it was our intent to spend as little time in the room as possible and spend money elsewhere we booked Pop Century. And ultimately I liked the resort other than one mistake on my part....I didn't realize how sprawling it was and would have preferred a room closer to the main hub (we ended up in building 7). Ultimately the room was fine though and once we got into a groove eating breakfast there every morning worked well. We also thought the Skyliner was awesome.

We booked dining and fast passes as soon as we were allowed to. And I think our dining plans went well. Our first night we had character dining at Hollywood and Vine. The second night dinner at Be Our Guest and the final night a second round of character dining in Epcot Norway. Other then one reservation for lunch at the Sci Fi Drive In our other lunches were counter service. With a young child who wanted to meet characters and have them sign her autograph book I don't think we could have done better. And the dinners were probably the highlight of the trip since they offered a port in a storm away from the oppressive crowds.

Fast Pass? I REALLY drank the Kool Aid on that one. It was nowhere near as useful as I was lead to believe. I think our initial selections were pretty solid (other than underestimating what our young child would be willing to ride) but moving them or utilizing your 'bonus' FPs after the original allotment is used provided to be impossible. At least for anything good. I refreshed like a mad man while in standby lines an never had anything offered to me other than undesirable attractions that had no Standby line anyways.

Our initial 'not in Kansas anymore' moment was hitting the Pop Century dining hall at around 7:30pm on Thursday night after getting of the Magic Express Bus . It was a zoo. I'd previously stayed at 'nicer' resorts (Boardwalk and The Institute) so the sheer size of the mass of humanity in the dining area was a bit of a shock. But the food was decent for that short of thing and we survived.

I could certainly go into more detail about the next three days (HS Friday, MK Saturday, Epcot Sunday, HS Monday) but here are my general impressions in no particular order:

The crowds were awful. I think I saw an area of blank pavement larger than a few feet squared only a handful of times. Once in front of the Indy show and once in front of the Chinese Theater. We never got to just casually stroll around. Every main street was stuffed. The press of the crowd pretty much put you in the mode of just moving to your next fast pass or ducking into a standby line since at least people aren't coming at you from every directing while in a queue.

I was also surprised to see how scarce benches were. It's like they were pulled out to pack more people in.

We managed to ride two major rides on standy by. Slinky Dog Dash after about 45-60 mins because it had just rained. Smugglers Run took about 70 mins and IMO wasn't worth it. Way too short of an experience that is just a blur. I remember the line more than the 4 minutes on the ride.

Tomorrowland and Future world just looked old and tired. In desperate need of a coat of paint. In Epcot a large green tarp covering a construction zone loomed over major walkways and I would have preferred seeing something more festive than what was basically a giant green trash bag.

Fantasyland was never intended for crowds of this magnitude. This was particularly troubling because we purchased a princess makeover for our daughter and then basically had to release her into a mosh pit.

I was excited about introducing my daughter to Figment and Imagination pavilion only to find it a gutted former shell of itself. But hey at least there is a lounge for club members!

With the exception of one store in HS the retail experience was underwhelming with very little interesting merchandise on display. But in Disney's defense I rarely tried to do much shopping because that would have meant getting out of the humanity current out in the street and playing Frogger to go anywhere afterwards.

There are a ton of older less desirable attractions in prime spots that do nothing to get people off the street due to being barely attended. And despite having a ton of data at their fingertips Disney won't (but should) warn you away from fast pass'ing these rides. So unless you are intimately familiar with Disney World you WILL end up wasting a pass on something with no standby.

I never got a 'Star Wars vibe' from Galaxy's Edge. Because frankly I've never seen a Star Wars movie with so many extras milling around.

I totally drank the Kool Aid. Watched the Imagineering doc on Disney + to rekindle my desire to visit and remind myself about how much fun I'd had there in the past.....listened to friends saying the crowds would be fine and that fast pass is awesome. But the reality was VERY different and a couple of days after getting home I'm actually pretty salty about it all. We had some fun here and there but you really have to work for it more than you did in the past. Walt would be ashamed.
 


DisDreaming4116

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Obviously nothing any of us will/can say will make you feel differently about your trip and WDW experience. In defense of Disney, they have to close areas/attractions in order to update them. I hope after some time passes, you will remember the good things of this trip.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Obviously nothing any of us will/can say will make you feel differently about your trip and WDW experience. In defense of Disney, they have to close areas/attractions in order to update them. I hope after some time passes, you will remember the good things of this trip.
I agree with the Disney has to close areas to update them but and yes there is a but . They waited far to long to make improvements or adding new attractions that now we have an environment of a construction zone not a theme park. They are charging more and more which again I understand inflation but you are getting less and less for what you pay.
 

Farro

Who loves Primeval Whirl? This girl.
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
I agree with the Disney has to close areas to update them but and yes there is a but . They waited far to long to make improvements or adding new attractions that now we have an environment of a construction zone not a theme park. They are charging more and more which again I understand inflation but you are getting less and less for what you pay.
But Epcot should be pretty awesome in a few years! :)
 





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