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June 10-16 Trip Report--Much Info!

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well I'm back from a week in paradise! I'll be using this thread to give detailed information about my trip, analysis of "new" things I experienced, as well as pictures. Some of those things include Mission:Space, the new HISTA preshow, the changed China movie, and Star Wars Weekend.

Overall, let me just say this trip, blew all others away. I had such a great time. We'll start with Day one: June 10. First I should say we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Oh my gosh, from the second I walked in I was in awe. This resort is simply beautiful! Architecturally, culturally, and artistically, it's just amazing! The lobby itself could keep me entertained for a couple hours. We arrived around 11:00, and after checking out our room, we headed down to The Mara for lunch. This story just goes to show you how great Disney is with customer satisfaction. They somehow lost our order, and after waiting only fifteen minutes (which didn't seem that long to me, but did to my family), my dad asked one of the cm's and got everything straightened out. Because they lost our order, they gave each of us a free dessert! With six people, it ended up being about twenty dollars they spent on us, and when we returned to our table, there was our food, nice and hot. Thank you, Disney!

After lunch, my parents went to Animal Kingdom ( I hear it wasn't very crowded), and my brother and sisters and I just explored the resort. How beautiful! I am still amazed by it.

That night was e-ride night at MK, so we decided to take advantage of that. I really recommend this. It gives you a chance to ride those rides that you know you would have to wait a while for on other days. Most rides were less than ten minute waits if not walk-on.

Well there's day one, I'll be back for more. . .day two was Epcot (and Mission:Space), so stay tuned.
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Day Two: Mission:Space

Day Two: June 11th

We decided to go to Epcot to take advantage of the Early Entry. We headed straight for Test Track and on the way, I decided to look at Mission:Space. I noticed the planters had been taken away, and the wall was put back up, so I thought that must be a sign. We went around Future World taking in the usual attractions.

HISTA:
This preshow is nothing like the old True Colors preshow, in the slightest (this doesn't necessarily mean it's bad). First of all the big screen at the front of the theater is gone, and has been replaced by about twelve flat screen monitors. Before the preshow begins, there is some nice new cg animation of the logo and such. The same things appear--i.e. We're nuts. . . . . . . .about imagination. Then comes the preshow. It's divided into three parts basically, the first with a boy who has lost his dog, the second about a wedding photo, and the third about a boy and a girl, something with a dove--I didn't quite follow the last one. They are all based on photography, and using your imagination to relive those moments. All in all, it fits, but it's no True Colors. I do like the new screens, very clear, and they don't have to worry about lining up three projectors anymore, it's all digital (or somewhat at least). I do have pictures, and some movie clips, that I can get up here eventually.

We ate lunch at Le Cellier steakhouse in Canada, which was a very nice lunch. My brother absolutely loved his steakburger, and my chicken sandwich was delicious as well.

We then circled the showcase. O Canada was down for refurbishment for the week, and we thought it was for the new movie. [It turns out when we went back on Sunday the movie was exactly the same.]

Wonders of China:
I can't remember seeing the old one, but I can say the new one was different. It's basically just additions of new things, with the old things rearranged. It starts out on the Great Wall of China, with the same poet narrator. Added were scenes from Hong Kong, and Beijing. My dad noticed the changes much easier than I did. Overall, I think it was an improvement.

Mission:Space:
Later in the afternoon, we decided to check Mission:Space to see what was going on (I had recieved a tip that there would be random guest testing). When we got there, there was a flood of people entering through a door in the wall, as well as some exiting through the gift shop. I was so excited as I entered the plaza. I was determined to ride, no matter how long I waited. When you first enter the large red planet, there is a mock-up of a ride vehicle with a screen behind it playing a movie about the ride. Also, there was a CM standing in front of it, answering questions about the ride. They really want people to make clear judgements on wether they want to ride or not. The queue is very well done. It was surprisingly small, however. I'm not sure how fastpass return will mix in with it, as they obviously did not have fastpass running. The wait time was about an hour for me, with some additional once we got to the centrifuges. The whole time, going through the queue, all I could think was--they spent a lot of money on this attraction, and boy was it worth it. The theming was spectacular. Set in the year 2036, you are at a training camp, but going on an actual mission to mars. I won't go into specifics, but it was very realistic.

What really surprised me about the ride was that it is so quiet! You don't feel yourself spinning at all, and you can't hear yourself spinning either. If I hadn't been told it was a centrifuge, I never would have known. Maybe it's because the ride audio was just loud enough to block it out, but it was an extremely quiet ride system, that was at the same time very very smooth. You feel yourself tilt up, and then lift off, and out of nowhere comes this massive pressure on your whole body. You can't lift your feet, and can barly move your arms. The skin on your face is pushed back, and it seems to last about 10-15 seconds before you go into 'space'. The weightlessness was not very impressive at all--nothing like Tower of Terror. I didn't really feel it at all. The video and motion were very much in sync, and I had no problems with motion sickness. I was a little dizzy after my first ride, but I think nerves had a lot to do with it. Overall it is an incredible ride. It's a mix between Cyber Space Mountain (simulator), Buzz Lightyear (interactive) and Rock'n'Roller Coaster (G's and movement). What a ride!

After I rode it once with my dad and sister, my other sister and my brother came from AKL, and my brother rode it with my sister and my dad and I. He isn't much of a fan of roller coasters or thrill rides, and he loved it.

By that time, it was dinner time, we ate at the Cantina outside of mexico, taking our food to Norway's cafe to escape the rain (short, one hour storm). We didn't stay for Illuminations, but rather went back to the hotel to rest up. Good day, overall.

Day three is next--Animal Kingdom.
 

TrevEG

Member
Great report so far. Glad to hear you had a good time. Im so jelous of all you people that got to ride Mission:Space. Oh well.. my time will come. :lol: Keep 'em coming. Can't wait to see the pics. :)
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Days Three

Ok, and off we go. . .

Day Three June 12th:

Day Three took us to Animal Kingdom. Not much really to report here, actually. I can't think of anything new and exciting happening here. I guess it's a good time to mention the new security checkpoints. Every park now obviously has permanent stands for security to check your bags--you all know that. I was afraid of the idea at first. I thought they were taking it a little too seriously, and permanent checkpoints, didn't seem like a worth investment to me. When are they planning on stopping them? Ever? Anyway, they are all themed wonderfully. They blend in with the style of architecture as well as color scheme of each park's entrance. They all seem to flow very well, as if they were always there.

Back to Animal Kingdom. One thing new that we did, was a certain trail that I had heard about on these forums. If you go to the It's Tough to be a Bug fastpass machines, and keep heading back, eventually you'll hit a pathway. It is really amazing. It's so secluded and out of the way. I never knew it was there before. It literally takes you right up to the Tree of Life, and I mean close. It's so hidden that it's not very crowded at all. We probably ran into 10 people at the most. It ends up near Pizzafari, and took us 5-10 minutes to walk, but that included taking many many pictures. I highly recommend checking it out.

Oh, another point of interest. Everyone knows how the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon Revue is gone, well, does everyone remember the singing cowboy? He is now making appearances at the Festival of the Lion King, doing a little preshow of sorts with his guitar as guests are entering the theater. I bet he likes his outfit from before better ;). I do have pics, and they will be up soon.

After Animal Kingdom, we went back to the hotel for a while to cool off. For dinner, we decided to go to Downtown Disney. The Gourmet Pantry is showing obvious signs of a slow transition to the sandwich shop that is planned for that space. All of the cooking items at the back of store (Wolfgang side) have been removed, and now that area is much more spacious. All of the utensils, aprons, cookbooks, and such are gone. The front of the store, which used to sell prepackaged, non-disney made food (the 'convenient store' area) is also gone, and has been replaced by about ten wood tables. Had it not been so cold in there, we would have eaten inside, but we ate outside instead. After that came some shopping. The World of Disney had their merchandise rearranged in the store, but nothing big.

Ok, that's all I can think of for right now, but there might be more later.

Next Up--Day Four, our "break from the parks" day. . .
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Four: Busy Day

Day Four: June 13th

We allotted this day as our break from the parks day. Basically that just means that we were planning on doing everything else there is to do.

We started off by going to Blizzard Beach. While it was pretty hot, I had a good time. I went on Summit Plummit for the first time. That is one great slide, it's like Spash Mountain--only without a boat, and in a bathing suit. . . . .Anyway, The park looked great. Everything was clean, and well kept, the lifeguards and other CM's were friendly, and knew what they were doing. Overall, a good experience.

After that, we went back to our room, and changed. Then it was off to play our free round (part of the package) of mini golf at Fantasia Gardens. I absolutely love the gardens course. My brother (the golf player) always plays the fairways course with my parents, but I always play the gardens course with my sisters. The landscaping was beautiful, and the holes were well kept. I actually played pretty good, shooting a 43 [that's ten under par]. I can't say the same for my sister, she shot a 63 [ten over, for you math majors]. And my other sister shot a 55, not too bad either.

Moving on. . .after that we went back to our room, got a drink, and then headed off to Disney Quest. Man, is this place fun! I could spend all day there! I especially like the Ride the Comix attraction that I tried for the first time, fun yet tiring. It wasn't too crowded either. We ate dinner there as well. I recommend the chicken salad sandwich from upstairs. It's so big, and delicious, too!

Then we went back to the hotel to do some roaming. I bought myself a nice Animal Kingdom Lodge tee, very nice. I also spent some time in the arcade there with my brother. The arcade there is very big, with lots of games--and air conditioned :lol:

That's about it for day four--coming up----> Day Five: Disney MGM Studios. . .
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Five: MGM

Day Five: June 14th

Saturday means it's Early Entry day at the studios, so that's where we were off to. [By the way, while playing with Pal Mickey one day, I was playing "That isn't here" and Mickey referred to the park as "the movie studios". Just thought that was interesting.]

We started the day off with a stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the Tower of Terror. We went on it the first time (getting the false ending profile) with a minimal wait. The second time was right after that, and that time, it was walk-on. I guess people had moved on the RnR. The second time we got what I consider to be the best profile of them all. It starts with you going up, instead of the short 8 story drop from before. It is fantastic. It also has a short false ending of it's own, then shoots you up for a full fall. That just happened to be my brother's first time riding it, so. . .he might not be riding again any time soon. The third time was with fastpasses that we had gotten before our first ride, and it was the same profile as our first ride--still enjoyable. After that we headed over to RnR for a great! ride (love in a roller coaster song).

Just a little update here--there were construction walls up for some rehab at the beginning of Sunset Boulevard. Again, I do have pictures, I just have to get them up here--and I will!

The new structure under the hat I saw for the first time. I have to admit I wasn't excited about it when I saw pictures, but just like the hat itself, when you see it in person, it looks a lot better, and starts to grow on you.

GMR:
I did happen to make it on the GMR. Now, I think my tour guide did have something do with it (he talked very quiety, and wasn't very in to the whole thing), but I'm not crazy about the new script. My family said they couldn't even tell a difference, but it was definitely changed. Instead of the prim and proper tour guide, it's a movie fanatic with much trivia up his sleeve. A lot of the script is the same, but with additions of little bits of trivia i.e. this movie won an oscar for best picture in X year. The scene with the gangster/cowboy (I had the gangster) was done very well, with some new audio added for the supporting cast. Overall, I'd say it's about half new and half the same, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I personally think they should have gone one way or another. It's like they're trying to follow two different story lines in one, but they don't mix properly. Just my two cents.

Star Wars Weekend:
Boy was the park crowded because of this! There are so many star wars fans out there. I haven't actually seen any of the movies (I know, I really should), so I wasn't very much into the ongoings. They were giving out free trading card games to everyone, any chance they got. My family ended up with about five from different places throughout the day. The area around Star Tours was pretty congested the whole day, I'd stay away from that area, unless you're there for a reason i.e. star tours or star wars weekend happenings.

Backlot/NY Street:
There were construction walls up all over the place back there. The whole area was pretty much deserted considering the Tour was down, and Hunchback is gone. Muppet's wait was in effect walk-on, during the preshow, every one was sitting down, there was that much room. I do have pictures of the construction that I will get up.

Millionaire:
We got pretty good seats for the show, right in front so we could see both the host and the contestant, as well as a screen. My sister ended up fourth after the first fastest finger, and my dad was actually first on the leader board at one point! It just so happens that point was after another contestant had gotten out, so it was my dad's turn to be in the hot seat. And can you believe it? He declined! He was way nervous I think, and didn't think he could get very far. It turns out he just likes to see how high he can get on the leader board. As it happens, the player who was in second at the time, became first. And would you believe it, he actually got to the million doll--I mean point question! It was very exciting. Unfortunately he guessed, and missed. But it wasn't his first time in the hot seat, so it wasn't all bad. But still, he was that close to a cruise! I would have died!

We caught all of our usual shows, Indiana Jones, Mermaid, BatB--all of them very good. We ate dinner at Hollywood and Vine and got the Fantasmic! package. I really recommend this buffet for dinner--one of the best values at the parks. It's seldom very crowded, and there's great food. Even hot dogs and mac and cheese for the little ones. Fantasmic! was, well, fantastic as always. Plus, since we were sitting towards the right of the theater, we got out quickly, and didn't have to wait longer than five to ten minutes for our bus. Very nice, indeed.

That's about it for Day Five.

Oh, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask them. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, so just speak up, and I'll try to respond to them.

Coming up, the last day of our journey, Day Six: Magic Kingdom
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day Six: Magic Kingdom

Here it is, the saddest day of them all, the last. . .
Day Six: June 15th

Early Entry day again for the Magic Kingdom, so what better way to finish off a vacation.

Now, we had done a lot of our favorite rides already during e-ride nights. So we decided to get Fantasyland out of the way while the parks were semi-empty. Pooh had walls up, like in the picture already posted here. That dissapointed the girls of the family.

Mickey's Philharmagic:
The outside is coming along nicely. The walls are pretty much as far back as they can go. Fastpass signage is up and in place, as well as the sign for the gift shop--Fantasy Faire. The queue situation seemed a little confusing. From what I could tell, the fastpass return line will take you inside through a door at the far left of the outside of the building, while the standby line weaves around outside near the "main" entrance. I do have pics of this, but it's still confusing. The rest of the signage looks very nice and blends well with it's surroundings.

After Fantasyland, we headed over to Tomorrowland to get some of the good ones in before the crowd came. As a side note, there were construction walls up at the exit to Buzz for some rehab work there--pics to come.

Just before lunch, we hit the Hall of Presidents. Then, one of my sisters and my brother headed back to the hotel, while the rest of us stayed.

We ate lunch at the Columbia Harbour House. Another one of my recommendations, the upstairs dining area is nicely hidden, spacious, and quiet. After that, we checked out the wait times for BTMRR and Splash (both an hour) and decided to just head over to Epcot (trust me, it was in the plan, we'll get there. . .). We took the train to Main Street, and before we left, made a stop at the makeshift penny arcade they have set up in the train station. I never knew about this place. It is so cool, with all of the games, and movies there. Plus, it's quiet, and air conditioned. It also gives you a great view of Main Street with the castle in the background. One of Disney World's hidden treasures if you ask me. After that, we looked around Main Street, got some goodies in the Confectionary, and were on our way via monorail to Epcot

My dad had wanted to see Bering Strait, and they weren't appearing until the weekend, so we figured we'd give it a try. Plus, O Canada was out from it's rehab, and we were anxious to see if the new movie was there. Oh, and there was always the possibility for Mission:Space to be open again.

I just love how the monorail gives you a little tour of Epcot before you get off. Not only does it give you some great views looking down, it provides photographers great shots from below as well. Just thought I'd put that in.

Well, Mission:Space was not operating, and O Canada was the same movie as it was before (although I have to admit, it had been awhile since I had seen it--my dad new it though). We made our way around WS heading toward America, making a stop at France for the movie and a crepe au chocolat <---delicious! After listening to Hometown Jamboree, we decided not to stay for Bering Strait, as we didn't think we'd make it back to the hotel in time for our 7:20 reservations at Boma. So, back to the lodge we went, but not before checking M:S one more time.

Boma:
Oh my gosh. That's all I have to say. That meal was definitely the perfect one to finish off a disney trip with. I have never been so full in my life. I ate way too much, and loved every minute of it. The food is fantastic! I highly highly recommend this one. Everything from the breads to the fresh fruit to the four types of soup to the fabulous meats, including prime rib, flank steak, and durbin roasted chicken, all the way to the amazingly delicious desserts, this restaurant is to die for. There is even traditional american fair for those timid stomachs. The desserts themselves were worth the price of the meal alone. The Zebra Dome Cakes, and the Chocolate Mousse Crunch desserts are little pieces of heaven. They're poetry for your mouth. The theming is incredible also. the whole restaurant has an open, airy feel, with amazing furniture, and a simple, yet effective floor plan. The buffet is well staffed, and the servers were friendly as always. An amazing meal all together.

What a better way to wrap up that day, then with a walk around the resort. We even made our way to Arusha Rock and got a chance to try out the nifty night vision goggles they had for us. Very cool! The resort is so beautiful, you can't help but be amazed just walking around it. Fabulous!

And with that the day ended. We woke the next morning, had breakfast at the Mara, and were on our way back to Clemson, SC.

That trip was one that will be hard to top. The resort, the weather, the new experiences, it was all just a perfect dream in paradise. That's what Disney can do for you. You can escape ordinary life, and just live. Beautiful, simply beautiful!
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Brer Stitch, Trev, Cheryl, and Sean:

Thanks for the nice comments, I appreciate them all. Writing this trip report was really quite fun, actually. It gave me a chance to relive my vacation, which is always good.

I'll do my best to get those pics up soon. However, I have summer work due on Friday, and more on monday, so I won't have as much time as I would have liked.

I'm glad you all enjoyed them. Any questions? from anyone? Did I leave anything out?
 
Wow what a great trip report, so full of details. We just booked the fantasmic dinner pkg. for aug 12. Do you remember if the price, she said $19.99, if that was including tax and tip or was this seperate. We have eaten there before for lunch with the characters so this will seem a little strange. But my 2 DS only care about food, typical teenagers. Also when you got your fantasmic voucher what time did you go back. Did you just enter or have to wait on line with all the other voucher people and could you pick where you wanted to sit or did they just herd you to an area like in the normal line? I should say, could you pick your seat within the reserved section. Thanks for the info. Our dinner is like before 5:30 so I don't know what do do after that because I think RRCand TOT will be out due to just eating a large meal.
 

AdLibSean

New Member
Kevin,
Sounded like a relaxing trip- not too much running around at all. Glad you enjoyed it. Columbia Harbor House in the MK is THE BEST! We always go there for meals and it wouldn't be a wdw vacaction w/o a stop there. Can't wait to see the pics, but.... take your time. :animwink:
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Originally posted by marypopmom
Wow what a great trip report, so full of details. We just booked the fantasmic dinner pkg. for aug 12. Do you remember if the price, she said $19.99, if that was including tax and tip or was this seperate. We have eaten there before for lunch with the characters so this will seem a little strange. But my 2 DS only care about food, typical teenagers. Also when you got your fantasmic voucher what time did you go back. Did you just enter or have to wait on line with all the other voucher people and could you pick where you wanted to sit or did they just herd you to an area like in the normal line? I should say, could you pick your seat within the reserved section. Thanks for the info. Our dinner is like before 5:30 so I don't know what do do after that because I think RRCand TOT will be out due to just eating a large meal.
The price sounds right, but I think that is before tax and tip. Drinks are included in that, however (non alcoholic, of course). They told us to have our voucher and be at Oscars (at the front of the park) no later than 8:30 for the 9:00 show. We were there around 8:25 I would guess. They reserve the two sections to the far right of the theater, and you enter from the "exit" on that side. You can sit anywhere you want in those two sections. We had our dinner a little later than you, but it wasn't hard to find things to do. We shopped around Hollywood Blvd and up at Sid Cahuenga's. Just kind of stalled really until it was about time. My sister didn't want to sit so early after eating--she wanted to "walk it off" so to speak.
 

Pippa

Well-Known Member
Hi Kev, great report! I have a question; what is the transportation like from the AKL, as the resort is on the "edge" of WDW do the buses take ages to get to the parks?

I went and had a look at the lobby of AKL last time i was at WDW and it looked amazing but the location put me off a bit.
Thanks!
 

kevlightyear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Originally posted by Katherine
Great trip report! I loved every moment of it!!
Well thanks, Katherine, I really appreciate it! I had fun writing it.

Actually Pippa, it isn't as bad as you would think. The ride to AK is extremely short, that's for sure. It's only natural that the ride would be longer to other parts of the world. It really isn't that bad though. You just have to schedule that extra time into your calculations. I'd say Magic Kingdom was the longest trip, but that couldn't have been more than 15 minutes.

We actually didn't have any major problems with the bus transportation. The busses did tend to be quite full most of the time, and I think that came from the busses not coming very often. It can only be expected, since there is only one bus stop accessible for the whole resort.

You are right, the lobby is fantastic. I could spend hours just exploring the resort, inlcuding the lobby. The architecture and the art/culture is just amazing!
 
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