• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

A Spirited Perfect Ten

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As things have stabilized (to some degree) in the real world, I thought it was 'now or never' to begin what will likely be my last Spirited thread here (no, I am not leaving, just pulling back and putting priorities where they should be). I'll still be around from time to time and I won't forget my friends here.

I know that not having these threads will likely cause consternation from the halls of Glendale and Burbank to the office cubicles in Celebration Place to the Twitverse. But it's a new year and one thing I won't do is argue with people who never visited WDW when a giant cartoon hat wasn't plopped down like a giant piece of (blank) about the difference between theme and whoring a BRAND, or the difference between decoration and theme or the difference in real social media communication and TWDC's version of propaganda. Been there. Done that. No time to do so again.

So, let's start by saying this will be typical of the threads that have come before. While I have news about what has been going on from Beijing to Burbank, from Anaheim to Arendelle ... well, I'm going to place it here at my pace and after I get the OKs.

Since my time will be limited, it would help if folks didn't inundate me with questions like ''what's going to be in Star Wars Land and when can we expect it?''

BTW, the answer to that is 'some really kewl stuff IF the budgets don't get slashed (truly cutting edge stuff ... yes, from Disney ... shocking, right?!?!)' and 'I have no idea, but my best guess is 4-6 years from now.' Really.

I have had a habit, not intentional, of starting these threads after a major trip to the parks or a visit with friends in the business or both. I tend to pick up more info that way ... and they tend to be a logical jumping off point for what follows.

But there's a few items on my mind that don't fit and I'd rather drop them here first.

Like:

WDI lost a truly great man over the holidays when Pat Burke passed away. Most folks here have no clue who he was, but you've experienced some of his great work if you've visited the Disney parks, any of them around the globe. From his work on all FOUR Big Thunders worldwide (he was passionate about mining and it shows in the attention to detail) to Indy at DL (I think he also did Tokyo's too!) to Pirates at MK and TDL to MSUSA at HKDL to the American Waterfront area of TDS, Pat helped create amazing environments that truly transported guests in the best tradition of Imagineering. While he was someone I met casually, I can't claim to have known him, but I wish I had. When you read or hear folks like myself talking about the amazing loss of talent that Disney has suffered over the past 10-15 years it is easy to jump on the big names, the ones who created the concept of a 'Celebrity Imagineer' ... but people like Pat were just as important.

BTW, the Disney and More blog has some fantastic interviews and history about Pat's contributions to Disney parks.

WDW is now trying to woo the Floridians into the parks since the crazy holidays are over. Of course, the old three days for $99 is now three days for $139. Is that a deal? Sure ... if you haven't visited in quite a while.

Is it wrong for me, in my first post back, to make fun of my good pal @Lee who will likely not sleep tonight in anticipation over Marvel's Agent Carter's premiere tomorrow? If it is, I don't care.

OK, here's one for the UNI fanbois: after many meetings and behind the scenes machinations, it appears (again, appears) that cooler, saner heads have prevailed and Tom Williams and Co won't be taking the budget ax to future projects just because they didn't get another 30% bump from Diagon. Yes, I have more UNI news (from O-Town to Hollywood to China), but I do like to tease a bit, so I'll drop it as the discussion develops. But no, I still am not thrilled with the Kong screen-based attraction or the Jimmy Fallon/30 Rock screen-based Twister replacement. I do like (no, I love) some of what I am hearing about UNI projects that are not in O-Town!

Now, as I said, these threads usually are formed after I take a trip. And I did. It was last-minute (relatively speaking) and it didn't go as planned (a death and a serious illness/hospitalization in the family will do that). My SO ('Angie M') is a high-level German official and she had wanted to experience an American Thanksgiving. So, before all the chaos, we had planned for her to spend a week with myself and the Spirited family, followed by a week on the Disney Fantasy to get the cruise bug out of our systems (it, naturally, did the opposite!) and a week in O-Town (mostly at WDW but with UNI thrown in too).

So ... thanks for reading. And thanks for participating. And thanks to all of you who have been in touch during a very lousy holiday season. I don't forget things like that!

Now ... on with the show ...
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
You don't hear much about Disney's Vero Beach Resort, except perhaps in DVC forums. We spent a night there, a VERY frigid late fall night, prior to driving to Port Canaveral.

It was Angie's first visit there. It was my first visit since the late 90s and my first stay since the summer of '96 ... I still remember the DVC rep having breakfast with me on my last morning (I actually stayed on a special package for three days and two nights because in those days Disney offered those to showcase the product much like companies like Hilton do to this day!) putting her hand on my leg under the table. Yep, I miss those old sales days.

The interesting thing about Vero Beach or Disney's resort there isn't the beach, which actually is pretty lousy by Space Coast standards. No, it's the quality of the experience ... from CMs to food to theme to upkeep, the resort reminded me of how WDW's resorts USED to be run.

Now, there are some things that need serious upgrading. The resort hasn't ever had a hard goods (that's top to bottom) renovation in its almost two decades of existence. You wouldn't know that by looking at the resort. Again,it is being maintained. It isn't the Beach Club or the Villas there. But the bathrooms look like 1995. And beyond the removal of comforters for the now standard in the industry of basic whites with a runner and lots of pillows, the rooms look like very little has changed. Having TINY (19 inch?) flat screens stuck into the original cabinets just aren't acceptable in 2014-15.

But a hard goods redo is scheduled for next year, so that will change.

The food and drinks were wonderful. And the prices are noticeably more reasonable than WDW locales. They even have character breakfasts on weekends that are not gouges.

Not much more to say beyond the fact that Vero is a wonderful place to visit if you just want to escape to a very quiet, classy, well-run resort for a long weekend or even a week IF you are going to do other beaches in the area or possibly take a day trip to Cape Canaveral and or Palm Beach. But there isn't very much to do there at all, which is part of its charm.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Cutting edge Star Wars stuff if budgets aren't slashed, possibly no budget axe for future UNI projects, sounds like great news to me :) I've heard the Jimmy Fallon rumor before so that's not surprising. Wish it was something better replacing Twister but I still have Kong to look forward to so no biggie. It's nice to have you back btw.
 

tissandtully

Well-Known Member
You don't hear much about Disney's Vero Beach Resort, except perhaps in DVC forums. We spent a night there, a VERY frigid late fall night, prior to driving to Port Canaveral.

It was Angie's first visit there. It was my first visit since the late 90s and my first stay since the summer of '96 ... I still remember the DVC rep having breakfast with me on my last morning (I actually stayed on a special package for three days and two nights because in those days Disney offered those to showcase the product much like companies like Hilton do to this day!) putting her hand on my leg under the table. Yep, I miss those old sales days.

The interesting thing about Vero Beach or Disney's resort there isn't the beach, which actually is pretty lousy by Space Coast standards. No, it's the quality of the experience ... from CMs to food to theme to upkeep, the resort reminded me of how WDW's resorts USED to be run.

Now, there are some things that need serious upgrading. The resort hasn't ever had a hard goods (that's top to bottom) renovation in its almost two decades of existence. You wouldn't know that by looking at the resort. Again,it is being maintained. It isn't the Beach Club or the Villas there. But the bathrooms look like 1995. And beyond the removal of comforters for the now standard in the industry of basic whites with a runner and lots of pillows, the rooms look like very little has changed. Having TINY (19 inch?) flat screens stuck into the original cabinets just aren't acceptable in 2014-15.

But a hard goods redo is scheduled for next year, so that will change.

The food and drinks were wonderful. And the prices are noticeably more reasonable than WDW locales. They even have character breakfasts on weekends that are not gouges.

Not much more to say beyond the fact that Vero is a wonderful place to visit if you just want to escape to a very quiet, classy, well-run resort for a long weekend or even a week IF you are going to do other beaches in the area or possibly take a day trip to Cape Canaveral and or Palm Beach. But there isn't very much to do there at all, which is part of its charm.

I did VB in 2014 and we loved it, so laid back and not too crowded. The character breakfast was fun too and we even got in without a reservation! Imagine that at WDW!
 

Mike K

Active Member
Exciting stuff to hear, Spirit. Very sorry to hear about recent family issues, here's hoping this new year brings much happiness to you! I am beyond intrigued about the Star Wars Land developments, plus, I hope you'll shed more light as to what we should expect for Hollywood Studios now that the hat is finally coming down and much more. My wife and I just booked our Disneyland vacation in May, just in time for the kickoff of their 60th anniversary festivities. We look forward to seeing what else Anaheim has in store for their diamond celebration. Happy to have you back here with your informative posts, they're always a pleasure to read :)
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The highlight of the trip, beyond the company with me, was the Disney Fantasy. Since I'm not a Lifestyler and it's hard to justify paying 4-5 times more to cruise with DCL, I hadn't been on one of the 'new' ships yet. And since the Dream only sails (for now -- yes, I know things! :) ) short hops to the Bahamas, the Fantasy was the only option.

The ship and the cruise in totality were flat out amazing. And, again, I wonder how anyone can experience DCL service and then visit WDW and not notice that the level of quality is truly in a different UNIverse. I am as tough a critic, although fair, as you'll find. And it is very tough to find anything worthy of complaint with the Fantasy. And with the FL Resident discount that came out late in the game, I didn't feel the price we paid was too much.

As much as I love the Magic and Wonder, this ship takes what those ships did and builds on it to FANTAStical results.

From the Aqua Duck (truly a fun ride and worth the typical 15 minute waits we had for it) to the dining rooms to the shows, it was truly a first class experience.

Remy alone is worth taking a cruise. I like food (no surprise to anyone who knows me or any fanboi who says that I am like a big teddy bear -- I have no idea what they mean!) and have had amazing meals all over the planet. Remy is easily a top 10 experience for me. We also lucked out in that in addition to chef Scott Hunnel (yep, same guy who runs V&A's at the Flo), Disney had on board a top French chef (don't have his notes handy, but we talked to him and his English is about as good as our French) who was debuting his own menu at the restaurant. He is one of only 105 Michelin 3-starred chefs on the planet (like Gordon Ramsey). Angie and I picked items from each of the chefs menus and ... well, why is it that the best food comes in places where it just ain't appropriate to lick the plates?

Food and Beverage are noticeably better than on the older ships, especially the Wonder. The salads were fresher, the entrees tastier and the desserts (still a DCL weakness) better.

The cabin, a veranda, looked like new in every area despite it being two years old, despite the typical ... well, guests. There was absolutely no sign of wear and tear or damage (at least when we boarded -- that closet design wasn't the smartest!)

The CMs were across the board (except for Captain Tom, who frankly seemed bored and disinterested in a signing event) friendly and wonderful. Like I said, to go from DCL to WDW is not something I'd advise to novices (to be fair, though, most WDW CMs and UNI TMs that we interacted with were at least good if not better with one Disney transport exception).

When booking, well, we sorta naively hoped that the ship would have fewer families since it left the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That wasn't the case, but just like all prior cruises, kids were not a problem at all.

If I had to complain about one thing (and you know I do), then I'd say that the adult pool area wasn't well thought out in location/logistics. It is sorta hidden on Deck 12 with very few chairs, especially for folks wanting to get sun. The jacuzzis have been relocated under cover on the side of the ship and noise tends to bounce off the deck above making conversations tough. And if you want to sun bathe before swimming, you really need to go up to Deck 13, which is sorta ridiculous.

You can clearly see the ship was designed in the 'We own Pixar' and 'We own the Muppets' period in Burbank as those characters are much more present in everything from artwork to the interactive game (yes, I played ... yes, I enjoyed it!) to theming.

Entertainment gains from having an atrium big enough to put on shows and DCL did for the holiday cruises, everything from a tree lighting show, to a Santa's arrival show to a Dickens carolers performance ... oh, and a gingerbread house that's pretty much the size of the one in the BW (that likely is still up as I type this!)
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I did VB in 2014 and we loved it, so laid back and not too crowded. The character breakfast was fun too and we even got in without a reservation! Imagine that at WDW!

Here's a WDW character breakfast secret if you don't want the hassles of Disney dining and ressies six months out: most of the DD Hotel Plaza props have them a few days a week. And you can just show up. I know the Wyndham has one as I had to stop over there to pick something up.

You can bet the prices aren't Chef Mickey's level, let alone Cindy's Royal Torture Table.

I know the new Four Seasons does as well, but their prices are on par with Cindy's.
 

tissandtully

Well-Known Member
The highlight of the trip, beyond the company with me, was the Disney Fantasy. Since I'm not a Lifestyler and it's hard to justify paying 4-5 times more to cruise with DCL, I hadn't been on one of the 'new' ships yet. And since the Dream only sails (for now -- yes, I know things! :) ) short hops to the Bahamas, the Fantasy was the only option.

The ship and the cruise in totality were flat out amazing. And, again, I wonder how anyone can experience DCL service and then visit WDW and not notice that the level of quality is truly in a different UNIverse. I am as tough a critic, although fair, as you'll find. And it is very tough to find anything worthy of complaint with the Fantasy. And with the FL Resident discount that came out late in the game, I didn't feel the price we paid was too much.

As much as I love the Magic and Wonder, this ship takes what those ships did and builds on it to FANTAStical results.

From the Aqua Duck (truly a fun ride and worth the typical 15 minute waits we had for it) to the dining rooms to the shows, it was truly a first class experience.

Remy alone is worth taking a cruise. I like food (no surprise to anyone who knows me or any fanboi who says that I am like a big teddy bear -- I have no idea what they mean!) and have had amazing meals all over the planet. Remy is easily a top 10 experience for me. We also lucked out in that in addition to chef Scott Hunnel (yep, same guy who runs V&A's at the Flo), Disney had on board a top French chef (don't have his notes handy, but we talked to him and his English is about as good as our French) who was debuting his own menu at the restaurant. He is one of only 105 Michelin 3-starred chefs on the planet (like Gordon Ramsey). Angie and I picked items from each of the chefs menus and ... well, why is it that the best food comes in places where it just ain't appropriate to lick the plates?

Food and Beverage are noticeably better than on the older ships, especially the Wonder. The salads were fresher, the entrees tastier and the desserts (still a DCL weakness) better.

The cabin, a veranda, looked like new in every area despite it being two years old, despite the typical ... well, guests. There was absolutely no sign of wear and tear or damage (at least when we boarded -- that closet design wasn't the smartest!)

The CMs were across the board (except for Captain Tom, who frankly seemed bored and disinterested in a signing event) friendly and wonderful. Like I said, to go from DCL to WDW is not something I'd advise to novices (to be fair, though, most WDW CMs and UNI TMs that we interacted with were at least good if not better with one Disney transport exception).

When booking, well, we sorta naively hoped that the ship would have fewer families since it left the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That wasn't the case, but just like all prior cruises, kids were not a problem at all.

If I had to complain about one thing (and you know I do), then I'd say that the adult pool area wasn't well thought out in location/logistics. It is sorta hidden on Deck 12 with very few chairs, especially for folks wanting to get sun. The jacuzzis have been relocated under cover on the side of the ship and noise tends to bounce off the deck above making conversations tough. And if you want to sun bathe before swimming, you really need to go up to Deck 13, which is sorta ridiculous.

You can clearly see the ship was designed in the 'We own Pixar' and 'We own the Muppets' period in Burbank as those characters are much more present in everything from artwork to the interactive game (yes, I played ... yes, I enjoyed it!) to theming.

Entertainment gains from having an atrium big enough to put on shows and DCL did for the holiday cruises, everything from a tree lighting show, to a Santa's arrival show to a Dickens carolers performance ... oh, and a gingerbread house that's pretty much the size of the one in the BW (that likely is still up as I type this!)

Haha, Commodore Tom was such a stiff on our Fantasy cruise too. I also noticed all the Pixar stuff on the ship, especially all the Wall-E artworks, which there is a huge vertical piece in a stairwell that's just amazing. Honestly if you're gonna compare the fantasy with any movie it would be the Axiom in Wall-E without the hover chairs.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Exciting stuff to hear, Spirit. Very sorry to hear about recent family issues, here's hoping this new year brings much happiness to you! I am beyond intrigued about the Star Wars Land developments, plus, I hope you'll shed more light as to what we should expect for Hollywood Studios now that the hat is finally coming down and much more. My wife and I just booked our Disneyland vacation in May, just in time for the kickoff of their 60th anniversary festivities. We look forward to seeing what else Anaheim has in store for their diamond celebration. Happy to have you back here with your informative posts, they're always a pleasure to read :)

I think you made a smart call. If current circumstances were different, then I'd likely be making a trip out west before the 60th just to take advantage of the off-season (in the next few months) and then later when it begins. But it looks like it will just be Diamond Celeb for me.

I don't know why anyone would choose WDW over DLR for a 2015 trip. Yes, stuff is FINALLY getting started in O-Town. But construction walls get old, even if they have nice ones at DAK now. Nothing of substance is opening this year at WDW, unless you go there to shop and dine at DD, view new timeshares or pay for new upcharge events.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Haha, Commodore Tom was such a stiff on our Fantasy cruise too. I also noticed all the Pixar stuff on the ship, especially all the Wall-E artworks, which there is a huge vertical piece in a stairwell that's just amazing. Honestly if you're gonna compare the fantasy with any movie it would be the Axiom in Wall-E without the hover chairs.

He isn't the warmest guy to start with, not like Captain Fabian on the Wonder. But I've met him before and talked quite a bit with on our TA cruise years ago. And I brought something quite unique for him to sign that I am SURE no one else has ever brought, and he was just very short.

It might be just me, but I'd much rather see Pixar and Muppets than Marvel (like the new kids area on the Magic).

I loved the interactive art. And AP, which is sorta depressing in black and white on the older ships, is great with all the color and props (even having Turtle Talk one night didn't drive me crazy and we were seated right under one of the screens).
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Glad to have you back, and I'll be praying for a safe and healthy new year for you and yours.

Hope you can join your California friends for the celebration this year.

Thanks. And right back at you! :)

And I will definitely be out there in 2015. The questions at this point are how many times and when ... before all hell broke loose, I was pondering a January/Feb. type visit when stuff is closed and crowds are down. But that's not gonna happen.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Thanks for posting these late at night when I'm one of the few people still awake. I get to read your post without having to deal with the pages of sludge that follow :)

I think he's playing to the West Coast crowd. Prime Time just started out here, and since there's not much good on TV any more, this is a suitable replacement for the time slot in previous decades when I'd be watching Will & Grace or Seinfeld.
 
Last edited:

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Few quickees and then I'll be back when I can ...

Merchandise on the Fantasy was a bit weak. Lots of pricey watches and jewelry and perfume ... things I have never bought on a cruise ship. But almost no Fantasy merchandise, just DCL logo stuff. I think the pin I bought was the only actual Fantasy item. I find that odd because the Magic had loads of stuff last fall and the Wonder had at least a few items (like the magnet on my new fridge!)

I know I teased this on my last thread, but Iger and Co were privately very disappointed in Big Hero 6's domestic take (at least as of a few weeks ago). No, they didn't think it would pull in Frozen numbers. But a very well-placed source on the left coast says that they really thought it would do ''closer to double'' than what it did (oh, and no, I didn't see it ... planned to on the cruise and didn't find time!)

Oh, and said source says work is ''well underway'' on Frozen 2: Olaf Melts ... (that is true ... the first part, not the title!) despite what Burbank and Iger will claim.

Speaking of Olaf: first Frozen merchandise I own? A $1.99 Oaf note pad that my dearest Angie bought me while picking up food items at a local Publix. Better than ANY Frozen merchandise I have seen at the parks.

Y'all have MAGICal weeks!!!
 

roj2323

Well-Known Member
Any news on when we might get some sort of announcement on whats going on at DHS? The writing is on the wall with attraction closures and the rumor mill going into overdrive and it's getting kinda ridiculous to be honest. There's no need for specifics but a general idea would really help cool off some of the more vocal- it's not going to happen folks.
 
Last edited:

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom