[ Photos at: http://SportToday.org/;]
While I suppose many who read rrc have been often, I had not visited a
Disney park for almost 4 years. Before then, I had some version of a season
pass, and I ended up playing tour guide to many friends and family. I was
visiting so often that I became quite burned out on the whole place and had
no desire to go, even tho it is sort-of my "home park". Er, parkS. However,
I have become acquainted with a cast member who told me whenever I wanted to
go, let him know and, he would get me entrance on his employee pass.
Tuesday's weather forecast was looking awesome, so Monday night I made a
call, and we both thought it would be a great day to go. Tuesday after a
holiday weekend in February? Everyone ought to be at work or in school,
right? - should be a small crowd day", we both assumed. Remember that,
and never make assumptions.
Left the house at 8:15. The Orlando traffic gods were fairly kind to me,
with only some minor slowdowns. So, I paid the $11 parking fee (I won't
gripe, since I had free park admit.) and pulled into a space at 10am. I'm
thinking "Wow, this seems kind of crowded for February? Oh, probably just
the morning rush." So, tram up to the front, run and meet my friend and we
go to the queue to get in. Entrance lines are backed up past
the ticket sales booths, but Cast Member Friend says "It's just the morning
rush". Finally we enter, and my friend goes back to work. I take a pic of
the "Wand-free!" newly renovated Spaceship Earth. The graveyard of picture
monument stones is still flanking it, but hopefully that will be moved
someplace else, soon. I am informed that those who paid for a picture there
were guaranteed they would be on display for 25 years, but that it did not
say WHERE they would be displayed. Other side of the parking lot, perhaps?
On advice, I have a goal of getting to "Soarin'", in the Land Pavilion, as
fast as possible. I'm off, and find myself in Stroller Derby! Weaving in
and out, past a huge Spaceship E. line, dodging in and out of strollers,
walkers, and electric-carts. Still perplexed by the crowd. It lasts all
the way into the Land Pav. and inside. Still half running, I finally make
it to the queues for Soarin' Fast Pass, and I get one for 3:09-4:09 pm. Reg
wait is listed as 120 min. I've never been on Soarin', so this was a goal
for the day. Tuck away the FP, and launch back into jog mode, and fight my
way back to the park exit. It's crowded!
At this point, I violate one of my own Disney rules. I Park-Hopped. I
always recommend against it, because the time spent to make it happen is a
huge day waster. However, I had never been on Expedition Everest, and this
was another goal for the day. But I find that my advice against ParkHopping
is correct. Disney obviously makes it as difficult and arduous as they can.
The bus stops for park hopping are the furthest walks possible. Also, buses
between parks are highly infrequent. I'm jogging, in hopes of not missing
the bus to DAK. Finally get to the stop, turn around, and in the sky it
says JESUS. It's officially crowded, even Jesus showed up! Wait, wait,
wait, watching the sky writer finish ...LOVES U. Bus comes, and we trundle
over to DAK. Once again, the bus stop is as far as Disney could place it
from the entrance. There's a huge slog of people making their way to the
entrance, so more jogging to get ahead of this herd. Again, huge lines (in
February???) to actually enter, and the elderly couple in front of me can
not master the Big Brother-ish fingerprint reader. Oi! Enter, finally, and
again it's Stroller Derby! and time to jog. All the way back to Expedition
It's 11:30am. I automatically aim for the Fast Pass dispenser. I get one,
and its for 2:40-3:40 pm. Ew. Slightly vaklempt from my unexpected
workout, I ponder what to do. EE regular wait is 60 min. Then I ask, and
YES!, there is a single rider line. I find it and enter. There's a dad and
*** daughter in front of me. They tell me they are from New Jersey and all
schools are out there, and in most of New England this week, so many are in
Florida for vacation now? Oi! Who knew? So much for that "Go to the parks
in February - no one is there, then!" theory. Meanwhile, the girl is
awestruck that I have actually ridden Kingda Ka, which is kindof cool. This
line took about 20 minutes, but I get my first ride of the day at 11:50 am.
Seated in the front of a middle car, there's no headrest in front of me -
good. We go. I have tried to NOT know as much as possible about the ride,
before riding. I did not know about the backwards portion, so this is
good. And, comparing to recent trips to IofA, SFGAdv and Dollywood - no
one does ride theming as well as Disney. The forward drop and go portion of
EE seem slow to me though, at least on this run, so when I depart, I'm
feeling a bit disappointed? Later in the afternoon I return and it's a
better experience. More later.
Went back to this, which I passed on my way to EE. Sign sez 20 min wait,
but it's more like 10. I'd been on 4 years ago and remembered this as a fun
fast spinning ride. I'm seated with a father and son, and the dad is
wearing a pink "Hello Kitty" backpack. Alrighty then. Up the lift hill,
and it's a straight-ahead, slow meander thru the top portion, no whirling.
Boo! Then, when we get to the middle, the spin begins, but it's lame. Not
much spin at all, and this portion seems braked? Great theming, but the ride
experience does not live up to it. I wonder if this is due to the recent
ride-op death on this ride? It's not a Wild Mouse, it's a Boring Mouse!
More boo's. I could, but choose not to ride again.
It's Tough to be a Bug:
I look around Dinoland, but it's crowded. I go up to the entrance of
Dinosaur, but it's a 60 min wait and the ride op apologizes for the lack of
a single rider line. Pass on that. Meander back to the Discovery Island
area (I still miss the original, "real" Discovery Island, near Ft.
Wilderness!) thru almost body to body crowds on the walkways. Where did all
these people come from? I see a 20 min wait for "It's Tough to be a Bug",
so I enter. Get into the pre-show cave, and it's hot, with a no-oxygen
feeling! And seriously body to body. Can't wait to get into the real
theater, which occurs after a long 10 minutes. It's hot also, and I'm way
over to the right - not great. The show is still good, but perhaps the most
fun and entertaining part is watching the other guests' reactions. Tho it's
been a long time, I anticipate portions of the show, and watch the audience
reactions, including a mom and daughter who couldn't take it, walking out in
front of me. It's really clever, in spite of the dose of pc-guilt they
scold you with at times.
Depart that theater, and the crowds are un-avoidable. It's about 1pm, and
I'm hungry. The day is turning into a real physical workout. All food
opportunities are jam packed tho, so I wander looking. Finally settle on a
$1.99 bagel w cream cheese someplace in the Africa area of the park. Disney
spies reading this will probably take care of that oversight soon. "A guest
ate for under $2? Horrors!" There's no place to eat though, due to the
hordes. Some family allows me a little portion of their stand-up table,
thankfully. Gobble the bagel and wander to the bridge overlooking the Kali
River Rapids ride. Even with the intense sun, the air temp is only perhaps
70?, and there's no way I'm getting on a wet ride. But I am happy to
squirt others who chose to ride. There's a free button which is supposed to
squirt water from an elephant's trunk onto the riders but, WTF?, it only
re-cycles after perhaps the 10th raft goes by. Boo! Me suspects some type
of governor has been put on it - grr. Where's the fun in that? So, I give
over the impotent squirt button to a kid, and roam back towards E E.
Expedition Everest - again:
I have an hour or so til my E E FastPass activates but I want to ride, so
back into the Single Rider line. It really flows and I'm on, in about 10
minutes. I'm seated with a young Brit (Robert) who asks "Was there a single
rider line?" Yep! He does a Homer Simpson "D'oh!", telling me he waited an
hour. We go, and I enjoy this second ride much more than the first time! It
seems a little faster, plus my Brit rider + an older couple behind have not
been on yet. Their reactions are the best. The husband starts to berate
the wife as we start up the lift hill, and she's trying to re-assure him.
They really freak when the train starts to go backwards tho, yet it's the
wife who is screaming the most. Then when we get to the forward drop and go
the ride seems much faster, and more fun. Slow into the brake run and the
couple is finger pointing at each other about going on that coaster. Ha.
Going out thru the store, I point out the Single Rider lane and say "again?"
to Robert the Brit, so we run back in. 10 minutes and we are back on,
further up front and one row apart. Never got to the front seat, but happy
to have multiple rides. It's good and fun, best ride yet.
So, it's about 2:30, and I want to get going on the plod back to EPCOT.
Robert the Brit wants to go to EPCOT as well, so I guess he's coming with
me? Er...okay. He knew I had seen "It's Tough to be a Bug", but he'd passed
it by when it had a 50 min wait. Walking by, it says 10 min. wait, so I
said "Come on". Thus, I saw that twice, unexpectedly. While waiting,
Robert tells me that Disney has bought the rights to the Harry Potter books,
and is going to build a land there at Animal Kingdom! Me: "No, it's going
to be at Universal Islands of Adventure". Robert: "Oh no! It's Disney's!
They are building a Harry Potter land at DAK!" WTF? I drop it. He'll find
out, eventually. Into the theater we go. Had a better seat this time, and
enjoyed it much more, this show.
Back to the park exit, ...
read more »