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Trip Report Nov 2022, the Old Devotees go back after 13 years-Updated Part 2

Hello all, this TR will be fully forthcoming when we get back and Thanksgiving is over but some initial thoughts. We were former devotees who went 2x per year for YEARS. We switched to Europe and elsewhere about 13 years ago. we are here now For first time since then. Initial thoughts:

1. The park hopping system STINKS. Waiting until 2 for deluxe especially? Awful.
2. Crowds crowds crowds. Never again during party nights at MK. We went last night for a romantic walk around AK before close. Horrible! All the people skipping MVMCP were pushed out to places like this, what a mess.
3. CMs have been terrific everywhere.
4. Thrill of victory, agony of defeat overall.

Anyway more later, just some initial thoughts. Will have a lot more to say pro and con later. Cheers
 

pkkurz

Well-Known Member
Hello all, this TR will be fully forthcoming when we get back and Thanksgiving is over but some initial thoughts. We were former devotees who went 2x per year for YEARS. We switched to Europe and elsewhere about 13 years ago. we are here now For first time since then. Initial thoughts:

1. The park hopping system STINKS. Waiting until 2 for deluxe especially? Awful.
2. Crowds crowds crowds. Never again during party nights at MK. We went last night for a romantic walk around AK before close. Horrible! All the people skipping MVMCP were pushed out to places like this, what a mess.
3. CMs have been terrific everywhere.
4. Thrill of victory, agony of defeat overall.

Anyway more later, just some initial thoughts. Will have a lot more to say pro and con later. Cheers
Can’t wait to hear all about it.
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
We won’t come back but we WILL do Disneyland. My initial thoughts on Genie is just make everything ILL, kind of like when we were kids and DL had those paper roll tickets and it was a 1 ticket-3 ticket ride. Charge every ride as an ILL on a SIMPLE SINGLE system, if you must charge. Charge me 50 cents for Hall of Presidents, $15 for Big Thunder, WHATEVER but get rid of this complicated dual system and the 2 pm park hopping which ruins it.
Anyway more later, every day seems like Spring Break crowds. We have had some portions great but as DH said “geez they made a vacation a complicated chore”. Cold water on old magic. More later
 

amjt660

Well-Known Member
I think this will come down to the argument of universal system vs user fees

As a resident of Canada I see the plus and minus of universal health care
Yes it is good that everyone has access but the abuse of the system because people think it is "free" causes delays and overload of the system. A small user fee might restrict some of the abuse so that the care goes to those that really need it.

Similarly at Disney (way back - I am thinking early 2000 when I first started taking my girls) your park admission cost and your willingness to stay at a Disney resort gained you (almost) full access to all the benefits.

The removal of Magic Express, the reduction of Early Hours, the additional cost for FastPass/Genie, the cost for after hours parties is simply user fees to gain more benefits above the base ticket price.

So what type of vacation experience do you want?

"All inclusive Caribbean island" lay on the beach and drink/eat as much as you can and hope you get your monies worth?
You probably want to go back to the one price gets all ticket ( which will go up in cost for sure!!)


Or do you like pay as you go and feel the burning sensation everytime you have to pull out your credit card to book another ILL??
Then the direction they are going might be good for you


Discuss Lets Talk About It GIF by Leroy Patterson


Max
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Last night MK was a zoo. We tried to leave before the fireworks and we ended up with a behind-the-scenes “tour“ along with hundreds of other people because they could not get us out the front. This was BEFORE fireworks. We’ve been here a week and only one night at Epcot did we have a beautiful quiet evening. Rest of it has been a madhouse. Yes, we’re old timers who haven’t been back in 13 years and who started biannual trips in the 80s but if this is the new normal then we’re done, especially with the 2 pm park hopping restriction because you can no longer say “wow, it’s too crowded, let’s go over to AK” or something like that because it’s NOT 2 pm yet. Last night the queue for the Genie+ LL for BTM was halfway across Splash bridge with switchbacks.. For the LL!
more later on the specifics of the trip, and the high points (there have been some) but we’re done with WDW at least until they figure it out. We’ll do DL where if it’s like this you can just say “wow it’s madness here, let’s go to the beach”.
watch this space
 

SSH

Well-Known Member
sounds awful. We've been going 2-4x year since the late '80s/early 90s. Our last visit was 2019 - crowded of course, but nothing like what you're describing. With all the new Genie/LL stuff and park hopping restrictions, we have no plans to return ever again either.
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
PS Very happy for those of you who love it still. Milk all the joy you can. We’ve just changed. Rather be hiking the Swiss Alps or wandering Paris than this insanity! we do love out CL Contemporary Resort room!
 

Wicked Sisters

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Interesting to hear your comments so far and looking forward to your report as it will be 15 years since we went to WDW by the time we get there again next year. We are both in our 60’s and even though we feel like kids again when we are there we are hoping that the crowds are less in September like they used to be.
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Ok let me try to get this started from the beginning. It will be more text heavy than photo heavy.

Day 1- Departure and Arrival/Epcot

November 14: Left California at 6:30 am flight. Connected in Phoenix, stopped in a lounge we have access to. (I’m not sure how to do photos well here so will attach). Got on our next flight, arrived at MCO. Instead of Uber we just took a cab because it was fast. Got checked into the Swan. Very nice room with balcony, our view wasn’t real great (more over the lap pool towards the SR) but we were fine with that because it was quiet. Immediately got our stuff together and headed to Epcot. It was about 6:30ish? Took the boat over. It was extended hours at Epcot. We did not have Magic bands but I had my Apple Watch and it was a snap to use on both entry and at LL check-ins. Glad we didn’t buy Mbs as we are doubtful to go back to WDW.
Anyway it was somewhat crowded but not anything too insane. Our first goal was the Canadian booth at F&W for filet, wine. Yum. Not sure how they get the filet so good for so many. We grazed some more at various places. Then off for some rides. I think we got Genie+ for Soarin’ later but we started with Figment. How funny, our first ride back in 13 years was Imagination. It was so sweet. Next on to the Seas. Both were walk ons. Tried SE but it was a huge wait. Went to Connections looking for birthday badges (many places were low, we had stopped at GS and they sent us there). Finally after a bit of a mess with many people we got them as it was birthday week for both of us. Next we got on Soarin’ and by this time things were thinning out so we were able to go again, this time we asked for B1 as the first time we were on the end. 16,000+ steps from the time we left home. Boated back to Swan and called it a night around 11. We were beat.
 

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ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Day 2- Hollywood Studios and (somewhat) Epcot

Had to set my alarm for the whole 7 am rigmarole with ILL and Genie+. What an awful way to have to start every day of vacation. Anyway bought an ILL for ROTR and got a Genie+ for ToT. What another hassle trying to juggle times around. Downstairs for quick bf and coffee then off by boat to HS. Got in and naturally ToT was down for our time. And our ILL for Rise was not coming up for a bit. One of the things about the system that we were disappointed in. Oh well, we haven’t been in 13 years so we’ll just walk around. Never should’ve gone near the area that holds Slinky, EEK, never seen so many strollers ever! The whole park was crowded. Well, let’s go do Muppets while we wait for Rise. Unfortunately a huge guy right in front of me, blocking view. It’s still a sweet show. Then hungry, happened upon the brew pub place not long after it opened. This was a great stop and very reasonable in price for Disney! Had the meat/cheese board and some beer and wine. Hit the spot and a nice break. Lots of people at HS that day. Finally did Rise, loved it. Then walked all the way back, got on ToT finally, one of our favorite rides. Then got a Genie+ for MMRR but again had to wait. Sat around walked around. Got some Memory Maker photos. Even with the LL for MMRR we wouldn’t bother doing again, it was ok but just Meh for us. Miss the Movie ride. Decided to leave, but of course it’s not 2! So we can’t hop! Insert swear word here, what a drag.
so then we decided to do the Skyliner as a ride. Have to say that was one of the more pleasant parts of the day especially as we had most of the leg in our own compartment. Got off at Epcot and decided to just stay because it was now after 2, so have an early dinner and then go back to Swan early. So we grazed all over F&W, DH fell in love with the crab slider at Hops. My notes say “long waits, most rides sold out“ or they had return times of like 7 pm. Nope. So we did no rides at Epcot. Just ate and then boated back to Swan. Another 18,000 + steps, a lot because of ILL and Genie+ we ended up crisscrossing HS over and over.
 

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amjt660

Well-Known Member
Good start to the reporting

You figured out step one of the picture thing (you have them attached to your post

To place them inside the post you just place your cursor where you want the picture to go - I usually create a new line for the picture.

Then click the Insert button on the picture you want to add - select thumbnail for a small version or full image ( I also pick full image)

and that is it

Max
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Good start to the reporting

You figured out step one of the picture thing (you have them attached to your post

To place them inside the post you just place your cursor where you want the picture to go - I usually create a new line for the picture.

Then click the Insert button on the picture you want to add - select thumbnail for a small version or full image ( I also pick full image)

and that is it

Max
Thanks, I will try. I don’t own a computer anymore, just an iPhone and iPad.
 

ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Day 3- AK and Epcot, overall one of best days of the trip

Today was Animal Kingdom, one of our favorite parks from years past. We remember when it opened. Anyway had to once again do the 7 a.m. thing. Got ILL for Flights of Passage and Genie+ for K Safaris. Again quick breakfast and coffee at the Swan, then off to the bus stop. A bus came through with no destination on the header, sat there for a minute and then we asked where he was going, he finally said “Animal Kingdom”, okaaaay, weird he sat there with the door open for 3-4 minutes. Anyway we hopped on. We took a very convoluted way to get there, not sure why at all. Bus driver was grouchy, very much a grouchy driver, honking at people. The nice thing was we had what some of you here call “Shirley” status, we were the only two on the bus. Arrived and saw the Holiday tree had gone up, took some photos. Got in and took a bit slow, walked around Which we like to do. Did our KS LL and enjoyed it now that they got rid of the poacher stuff. Saw lots of animals. Did the gorilla trail. Noticed at this time it started to seem a bit crowded. Not sure ever seen the aviary that crowded. Also understand they can’t do the old aviary plastic bird ID sheets anymore but we used to love that.
Anyway after that we were coming up on our FoP ILL time and realized we had to walk by Nomad Lounge to get there so we put our name in for a table outside. Liked Pandora area a lot but the cul de sac end meant that area was stuffed for folks.
when in the ILL for FoP met a Dad and two kids and started talking. The little boy was a thrill lover and the little girl was not, she liked story rides more. They had been to US the day before and she hadn’t enjoyed many rides. We talked a bit and then they were in our section, which i felt bad about later because after we got strapped in was talking to DH, didn’t realize ride was starting and then it took off over the cliff and I let out a big f bomb, long and drawn out! Recall we hadn’t been to WDW in 13 years, didn’t do spoilers. Anyway LOVED this ride, LOVED it. DH got a little queasy at the end. The good news was the Dad and the two kids were fine after I apologized and the kids also LOVED the ride.
more in next post
 

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ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
AK and Epcot continued

So after FoP we had to head back to Nomad Lounge. We had a great table on the deck. Can’t recall all we ate, I know we shared everything and did have one salad. Every single thing was excellent from the food to the service to the ambience. The pontoon boats all had holiday characters including Santa. Anyway was just a fantastic meal, just wish they had a little something sweet besides chorros (we’re picky on our churros) to finish it off. In the meantime I had gotten a G+ LL for Navi River so we walked back over to Pandora and did this, which we both actually liked. We wandered around a bit more, did some shopping and then left to rest because we had an ADR at Space 220 Lounge that night. So back to Swan, rested and changed. Headed off to Epcot in the evening.
Now I worked really hard trying to get a Space 220 Lounge ADR, finally had to resort to one of the dining service places and nabbed this about a week before we left. What a waste! For some reason we thought the lounge area would be a bit more separated from the dining area. Suffice to say the drinks the food the service, in fact everything was AWFUL! Thankfully we had decided to just order off the small bites menu, so we were able to just have ne drink and one app and then get OUT of there. Seriously the worst of everything. So we left. Decided to just graze F&W for other food Which we did. one odd thing at the Australian booth some guy showed up saying he had a bad reaction (allergic type) to their shrimp, so there was a fuss going on. Anyway we had fun grazing around the WS. This was probably our favorite night because Epcot thinned out nicely later so we did SE, walked on Soarin’ and had our own boat at the Land! THIS is what we remember from later evenings at WDW in our former days. In fact the whole day was pretty good except for the interlude at Space 220. ironically on the way out we stumbled on the fireworks at just the right time! DH didn’t mind the tacos too much but we missed the spectacle of the old shows and the globe.
off we went to the boat and home. About 15,000 steps.
 

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ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Day 4- MK and back to AK, Boma, birthday
So today started with MK, Genie+ worked well this day. We did Haunted Mansion, Splash, Big Thunder (which DH had forgotten how much he liked), Pirates, Tiki, Country Bear. Then saw a parade. Then did some browsing of shops but have to say merchandise seems lousy. Yes, I know I am comparing it to 13-25 years ago but everywhere we went it seemed underwhelming. i Will say this whole morning Genie+ functioned like it should, was able to do what we wanted in the order we wanted.
Anyway we had a big night so decided to leave and try to find lunch somewhere around Boardwalk area. Hopped a bus and got off at Yacht, nope—everything either busy or costly. Went across to Boardwalk Grille, got a seat outside even though it was colder and a bit windy. Waited and waited and waited, waiter never showed so we left. Walked back to Swan and ended up with sandwiches from Java. Then we rested as we knew we had a bigger evening coming.
Took a bus over to AK, had a problem with Genie+ not taking, got on chat, said I had to do a whole “change Park” thing, by the time I figured that out everything was gone. oh well. Did some shopping, I bought a hat and DH a tee shirt from Nat Geo area. We liked the merch here the best. So we did Bug and then walked to Pandora as our goal was to see it at dark. Big mistake! 50 million other people had the same idea. Can’t believe how crowded the whole of AK was that evening! Awful! Outside of Bug didn’t get on any other rides, the entirety of Pandora was packed too so we didn’t even really get a nice stroll without bumping into many other people. UGH! Not the WDW we remember. So we left, we had an ADR for special birthday at Boma. bus there from AK was also PACKED! Standing only after having waited for 2 buses ahead of us. Ended up finally at Victoria Falls lounge, this was nice, lucky to grab a seat. Finally got seated in Boma and will say we got a very nice table. Stuffed ourselves silly. Plan was to take a Lyft back to Swan. I had heard Lyft was better than Uber at WDW but NOT! We waited forever, called driver who had gone to the actual park. In the meantime saw 3 Ubers come and go. Finally get back to Swan late and DH leaves his newly purchased tee shirt in Lyft, went through all the work trying to get it back but nada.
19,000 steps
 

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ceecee101

Active Member
Original Poster
Next Day-HS and transfer hotels
This was our transfer day from Swan to Contemporary. We always have done split stays between Epcot area and MK area. We like the different vibes and that it’s almost like a reset to vacation. Anyway we splurged on a CL room as we had saved so much at the Swan (Bonvoy, points, booked 6 months advance, etc.) thought this would be fun for our last 3 nights. Plus once again, first time back in 13 years!
more later
 

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