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Trip Report Just back from a wonderfully great but horrible trip to WDW.....

INTRO: - My wife and I just got back from a wonderfully great but also horrible trip to WDW. We have loads of fun, met many wonderful cast members ate LOTs of great food and found you can still manage to have a great trip when the parks are most crowded.

The down side had to do with our drive down from North Carolina, the state of the parks, my experience with Rise of the Resistance and how our resort initially dealt with a problem with our room.

I took some pictures not as many as I usually do so there will be some once I get them edited and ready to post.

We started our drove down from the Raleigh North Carolina are on December 22nd with hopes of a smooth ride to Orlando. The ride was anything but smooth.
 

WDI 1998

Active Member
Original Poster
Tuesday and Animal Kingdom......or maybe not

By the time we got back from Hollywood Studios Monday night we were understandably exhausted. We had planned to go to Animal Kingdom for the day on Tuesday. We had an ADR at Olg's Canteena at Hollywood Studios in the morning and then we were going to do some fastpasses we had at AK along with an ADR's at Tiffens. We were also supposed to meet my cousin who I have not seen in 16 y ears and is a Cast Member there for dinner. She messaged me early in the day to day she was not feeling well and we rescheduled for Thursday night. To make along story short we canceled both ADR's and all the fast passes and decided to slow down and rest for most of the day. We spent our time in the room and made a new ADR at Toledo for dinner time. We did make a quick trip to Disney Springs to go to the Art of Disney and World of Disney stores but we were back at the hotel in short order. Neither my wife or I are shoppers and we were looking for a specific item. After another fantastic dinner at Toledo we headed off to the Magic Kingdom and got there about 9 pm to find the crowd gathered in the hub was Totally packed with people waiting for the fireworks. We fought our way through and made our way back into Fantasy land where we rode Voyage of the Little Mermaid and walked over to see what the wait time for Space Mountain was while waiting for the fireworks. Just before they started we got to the area between the Bell meet and greet and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was a great place to watch the fireworks despite all the debris that falls on your head. I loved that you feel like you are right under them.

After the fireworks we headed over and did a fastpass's for Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and had one for Pirates. We got to Pirates just before park closing and walked all the way into the loading area where everything was at a dead stop. After about 10 minutes they house lights came up and they asked us to exit back the way we came. I did get to see the loading area with the lights on which was interesting to me as I am a total geek for how they design the rides.

We made it back to the Hub just in time to catch the Good Night Kiss. I took some pictures then and as we exited that park and back to the hotel we went.

Next Up - Wednesday - EPCOT, Candle Light Processional and closing out the Magic Kingdom again
 

Inspire

New Member
I'm so sorry you had such a terrible beginning to your trip so frustrating. I hope everything else, aside from "ROR" was wonderful! Did you get to walk the Trail of Trees at Disney Springs? Visit the Grand Floridan's Gingerbread House? Jingle Bam at Hollywood Studios? Mickey's and Minnie's Christmas Party? I hope you got to experience all these things for the Holiday to enjoy all the decorations and food without either one of you doing the work.
 

WDI 1998

Active Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, Christmas Day - EPCOT, Candle Light Processional and closing out the Magic Kingdom again

We slept in again on Christmas Morning. We had toyed with doing the 6 am opening at the Magic Kingdom but after another late night we opted to sleep in then go to our noon fastpass for Living with the Land. Upon getting to the queue we discovered the longest fastpass line we had ever seen. It extended out past the entrance of the queue, back towards a rear corridor, down the corridor and back all the way to the entrance of the queue. After Living with the Land we had a Fastpass for Soaring over the World. We had never seen this version of Soaring so it was nice change. Especially the part about Paris. We took a week long trip to Paris in November so seeing it on the ride brought back fond memories. Right after we finished our Christmas Day calls to family we did our Fastpass for Spaceship Earth. The fastpass line for it was super long too. These were the only Faspasses we had for the day and it was time for our 3:30 ADR at the Coral Reef Restaurant. When we were making our ADR's for the trip it was the only restaurant that had the CandleLight Processional dinner package. We have eaten there before so it was in our minds not a bad choice. By the time we had finished eating we had just enough time to make our way to World Showcase and get in line for our preferred seating. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and were then seated for the show. All I can say about the show was It was excellent and a wonderful way to spend the early part of Christmas evening.

While waiting in line for the show we decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom and close out the night there. When the show was over we made our way to the EPCOT Skyliner station to take it over the Hollywood Studios and then catch a bus to the MK. My wife does not like heights so doing this after dark was a bonus to her. I liked the Skyliner. The ride is smooth, relaxing and it was easy to ride from EPCOT to HS. Transferring from one line to the other was super easy. Before you knew it we were at HS and headed towards MK.

We have a tradition every time we go to WDW. We buy a Mickey & Minne Lenox figurine. While we were headed down Main Street we stopped in the Crystal Arts shop and found one we wanted. We then stopped right outside the shop and got our silhouettes done. We had done this for our kids in the past but never with just the two of us. We stashed these purchases in a locker then headed out into the park. We were able to hit the Haunted Mansion, Small World, Splash Mountain and Pirates along with Big Thunder Mountain. While on Big Thunder the fireworks started. I have to say this was a really cool way to see them and made the ride extra special to us. After closing out the park we headed back to the hotel and hit the hay.

Next up - the Magic Kingdom and our last full day at WDW
 

WDI 1998

Active Member
Original Poster
I'm so sorry you had such a terrible beginning to your trip so frustrating. I hope everything else, aside from "ROR" was wonderful! Did you get to walk the Trail of Trees at Disney Springs? Visit the Grand Floridan's Gingerbread House? Jingle Bam at Hollywood Studios? Mickey's and Minnie's Christmas Party? I hope you got to experience all these things for the Holiday to enjoy all the decorations and food without either one of you doing the work.

We were supposed to go to MVMCP on day we arrived but since we got held up in traffic we missed it. It was also the last one of the season so there was not another opportunity to go while we were there. As for all the other things you mentioned we skipped those in favor of having some down time during the trip. As for food, we ate and ate and ate and were sick of eating by the time we went home. LOL....
 

WDI 1998

Active Member
Original Poster
Magic Kingdom and our last full day at WDW

Sorry its been a few days since my last post. Getting back to work and life outside the holiday season etc.

Our last full day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. We had fastpasses for Space Mountian, Pirates and Haunted Mansion.

We had ADR for Tony's Town Square but changed that to Toledo because my cousin could meet us for dinner and we figured that would be a better place for us to visit. Our new ADR was for 7:30 pm and we figured that if our visit with her only lasted for a couple hours we could head back to the MK and close out the night there.

We got to the park just before out SM fastpass was due to expire to find another LONG fastpass line but it moved very quickly and before we knew it we were on the ride. They had a holiday overlay which honestly was not more than some flashing Christmas colored lights.

We then moved on to the HM and finally decided to skip Pirates and head back to our hotel for our ADR at Toledo with my cousin whom I had not seen in 16 years. We made it back to the hotel with enough time to pack up all our stuff and freshen up a bit before heading up to the restaurant. The visit with my cousin lasted until 1am. We closed out the restaurant at a table that had a great view of both the EPCOT and HS fireworks. We them moved to the Dahlia Lounge. We had a great time catching up on what we and the rest of the family on each side was up to. I am glad we spent this time visiting with her.

The next morning we took it easy and at breakfast in the El Mercado de Coronado food court and then made a couple trips to the car to load in all our luggage and check out.

We then hit the road and headed home. The ride back was much more relaxed and there were no significant delays. We did continue our conversation about planning a trip back in September 2020 with our six adult children, three significant others and one grandchild. That may make a great trip planning report due to the 12 people or so people that will be going and what we find to be the best and most economic way of making that happen....

Next up - My impressions on the state of the parks, Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups, "On Season" vs "Off Season" visits etc.
 

WDI 1998

Active Member
Original Poster
My impressions on the state of the parks, Rise of the Resistance Boarding Groups, "On Season" vs "Off Season" visits etc.

So to close out this TR I just wanted to give a few thoughts on some things.

#1 - My biggest peeve of the trip - Rise of the Resistance boarding groups. This is one of the worst systems I have ever come across. To have to arrive before park opening with your whole group, wait in a jam packed crowd. Everyone itching to get into the park to get a boarding group number, kids getting separated from their parents, strollers repeatedly banging into your ankles all while standing in the pouring rain. Just to have all the boarding passes gone by 30 minutes after park opening. Yeah, I paid thousands of dollars for this stellar experience. I dont care how good the ride is, how many millions of dollars they spent building it that hour and a half wait and the ride was not worth the rest I could have had by staying in bed.

I dont understand why they could not stagger the release of boarding groups. Do an initial release at park opening, then two hours before they are due to be complete release another set and so on through out the day. That way people could get a fair chance at getting one and would not have to get up at the crack of dawn and suffer for an hour or two just to experience the ride. Its a great ride but not that great.

#2 - The state of the parks. I have never seen the parks so disgustingly filthy. At one point my wife used the "Tangled" bathroom in the Magic Kingdom. She said that the trash bins were overflowing all over the floor and the feminine hygiene receptacles in the stalls were also. COME ON! Really? This is a Disney Theme Park not some back water rest stop on some god forsaken highway.

Everywhere I looked in the park there was trash all over the ground. In every queue, trash stuck in every nook and cranny. This is totally inexcusable. I have been told that they have made huge cuts in the custodial dept to save money. Not what I would call a good move on Disney's part. I have been to the parks at the busies times of the year before. New Years Eve for example and I did not see this kind of filth. Not even close.

#3 - Holiday Overlays - Space Mountain & Living with the Land - The holiday overlay for SM was just a bunch of flashing Christmas colored lights that brought the light level up to a point where you can clearly see the track. It took the whole "dont know where you are going" thrill out of the ride. Both my wife and I felt they should not have done it. Living was the Land was similar. It looked like a half hearted attempt at putting up Christmas lights. I was very disappointed. They could have done some much better. In the scheme of the trip these were very minor things but still not up to Disney standards in my book.

#4 - Cast Members - Every single CM we met, talked to, had any kind of interaction with were absolutely awesome. I enjoyed talking to them all and they added a lot of enjoyment to our trip. Our server, Nick, at Toledo the first night we were there was above and beyond excellent. The next two times we dined there he made it a point to come over and talk to us. They were all wonderful.

#5 - Visiting WDW during peak season. I would not recommend this if you were a first time visitor. BUT if you have been and dont feel the need to ride every ride and can get the FP's you want I say go for it. Go to the parks early and then go back to the hotel, close out the parks, hit your FP's and take it easy. My wife and I got into a good relaxed rhythm and the longest queue we waited in was 45 min for MFSR. We were able to hit all our favorite rides multiply times with little or no wait by closing out the parks at night. We had some great magical moments that just happened like seeing the fireworks while on BTMRR. It can be done and be relaxing and loads of fun.

#6 - Closing thoughts. I have been a bit critical in parts of this TR but dont get me wrong. I am not a hater. I actually love the Disney Theme Parks. I have many exceedingly special memories there over the course of the last 35 years. It pains me greatly to see some of what Disney is doing now to pull cash out of the parks rather than focus on providing the best guest experience possible. This cycle has happened before and will again I am sure. Disney Imagineering has proven once again they are the top dog in theme park design and that is no small feat. The bad stuff I experienced on this trip wont keep me from going back. We are already planning a family trip in September with 12 of us going.... I need to do some research on large group accommodations.

Thank You for reading my TR. I hope you all found it enjoyable.

Till Next time Mouseketeers,

WDI 1998
 

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