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Angry the Clown

Disneyland/World and Universal parks discussion thread (where the magic never ends... until a ride you loved is knocked down and replaced with something lame)

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7 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Disney Studios and Universal's Studios parks seem to be in something of a state of flux in not appearing to be entirely clear about what their central theme is turning into. 20+ yrs ago both were, or at the very least wanted to give the illusion of being working studios and the core pitch was a behind the scenes/ride the movies which I always embraced. 

 

Ive never been a big fan of the movie studio theme. Universal Hollywood it works because it is a for real movie studio. I've never liked the attractions that try to play up that they're on a real movie set, or that they're actually filming a movie with us in it (Disaster! was the absolute worst for that and I'm glad it's gone). 

 

I have no issue with an attraction that is showing us how movies are made, just be real about it. 

 

Also, Eisner used it as an excuse to cheap out and gave us themes of boxes and cheap facades in Hollywood Studios, Paris Studios, and California Adventure. 

 

Universal Studios theme, once they got past the working studio thing, was to "Ride the Movies". I would say that's still probably it, except now they'll have a section based on video games.... and a long running animated TV show, and a music themed Roller Coaster.... and a late night talk show.

 

I'm sure Universal Creative and Imagineering would appreciate us all not thinking about these things too hard.

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3 hours ago, Graeme said:

 

I think for Universal, it's all a matter of space, and timing. Nintendo makes more sense at IOA, but it would have required ripping something pretty major out. The area it's going into at Studios is probably the best "loss" available (although I would have been totally fine with using MIB and/or Fear Factor). 

 

The only other real real option was to wait for the new land to be developed, and see if it even gets used for a 3rd/4th park, which could be a really long time. I'm sure their deal with Nintendo has some start date requirements. 

 

What about the Lost Continent area of IOA? I don't know much about that section but is there enough good there to keep it around? Looking at the park map though I guess were it to be demolished for anything it could be for Potter expansion (though rumours keep pointing to the replacement of the dragon coaster to make way for something new there).

 

 

3 hours ago, Graeme said:

 

Ive never been a big fan of the movie studio theme. Universal Hollywood it works because it is a for real movie studio. I've never liked the attractions that try to play up that they're on a real movie set, or that they're actually filming a movie with us in it (Disaster! was the absolute worst for that and I'm glad it's gone). 

 

I have no issue with an attraction that is showing us how movies are made, just be real about it. 

 

Also, Eisner used it as an excuse to cheap out and gave us themes of boxes and cheap facades in Hollywood Studios, Paris Studios, and California Adventure. 

 

 

I agree that Universal integrated those soundtage buildings best (with one exception) as you had their wonderful plaza/main st entrance, then the 'production central' where the stage buildings were (and Nickelodeon studios way back when), and then it blossomed into the New York, San Francisco and (once upon a time) Amity sections that where wonderfully themed the deeper you got into the park. From the map the production central area looks a bit pointless now with that ugly and randomly placed coaster there (ugh to the look of that thing. Would it have hurt to maybe have a Back to the Future coaster when they thought up that eyes sore that has zero connection to an IP?). The one odd thing about Universal's layout and theming though was you had all the aforementioned stuff south and on the west side of the lake, then on the east side things got a little vague as BTTF was never in a clearly defined area, and then E.T was just randomly housed in a building with a basic soundstage exterior. 

 

The Disney Studios I agree was too reliant on the stage exterior approach, but they were quite desperate to have it be a working studio and their tram tour was pitched as one of the park's main attractions (and to be fair in the early 90s that tour was fantastic). I love the Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset boulevard sections to the Disney park more than anything though as I'm soft for anything channeling Hollywood's glamorous golden era, so whenever the name change comes I hope the theming style in those areas never goes away. There's no reason why it technically should. Them changing the awful entrance of California Adventure to the Buena Vista St they have now seems to suggest Disney still really like that concept of taking you back in time, and I guess word that the Chinese Theatre facade will stay for Mickey suggests the theming in Orlando won't change in and around that area.  Similarly that that's why I love the entrance plaza area and Hollywood main st at Universal too. I just love the vibe, but again Universal definitely won in keeping me visually stimulated as I progressed through the park, were as at Disney once you got off either of the Boulevard's it was a little uninspiring (though I always loved the At-At/endor facade outside of Star Tours even though it deliberately has a half finished design to openly admit "hey, this is fake!"). 

 

I am sad the gradual shift from undoing the studio theme at Disney's park meant the removal of the earful tower however. I LOVED that thing and will always remember my sense of excitement as I saw it from a distance when approaching.

 

Funny you mention Disaster! I was reading up on the Fast & Furious Ride yesterday (I thought that was going to be a stunt show) and I didn't know what the hell Disaster was until its location clicked and I watched a video and saw it was just Earthquake re-skinned. That was always a waste of space, really. 1) Based on a movie nobody fondly remembered [though Kong was widely loved despite being based on the lame 1970s version], and 2) it was just what you got on the Tram Tour in LA at the time but with all the pre-show fluff (fun fact: I was picked to take part in said pre-show fluff on one visit in the early 90s :)).  Funny though that as the F&F ride it will again be a glorified version of a sequence from the Tram Tour in the LA park. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Graeme said:

One of of my favourite things about Disneyland Paris was that there are little paths all over the place, and it's not always obvious where they go. It feels like you're exploring the park and could find something new around the corner. 

 

I think that was a Tony Baxter idea. A lot of his concepts from over the years made their way into Paris (and to some extent Tokyo Disney Sea) and I don't think it's a coincidence that both parks are lauded for their details and theming. God I wish Baxter was head of Imagineering. 

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7 hours ago, ChrisBardon said:

Spent some time going through the Defunctland videos, and they're not bad, but I thought that this one on alien encounter was much better and more detailed.  It's got some footage of the Phil Hartman version of the preshow:

 

 

Do we know what the Alien Encounter/Stitch attraction is going to be? Disney are surely going to revamp that before the 50th Anniversary. I've heard both Wreck it Ralph and Big Hero 6 re-theming rumours, with the Ralph rumour suggesting it would incorporate VR in some form. There's a Ralph sequel on the way of course so perhaps well hear something when it is closer to release.

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5 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

I think that was a Tony Baxter idea. A lot of his concepts from over the years made their way into Paris (and to some extent Tokyo Disney Sea) and I don't think it's a coincidence that both parks are lauded for their details and theming. God I wish Baxter was head of Imagineering. 

 

So do I. Honestly, I kind of wish he would separate himself from Disney a little more and maybe do one last big project somewhere else. I obviously don't know him, but I always got the sense he was ushered out the door before he was ready. 

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http://micechat.com/166921-marc-davis-goes-wed-panel-d23-expo/

 

Really good article on a D23 presentation about Marc Davis. Pete Doctor of Pixar and Imagineer Christopher Merritt have written a book about Marc's time at WED and got to go through all his files. They presented photos from the book of never before seen concept art, photos, and attractions that were never built. 

 

Looks like a really good book!

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https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/

 

I've recently discovered the Disney Dish podcast with Jim Hill and Len Testa from The Unofficial Guide and Touringplans.com

 

They're a good team as Jim is the insider and historian with lots of stories to tell, and lots of rumours to dish out, and Len is the numbers guy who knows the parks inside out.

 

I've been working through the back catalogue at a brisk pace (most episodes are roughly 30 mins, so it's not to bad) and have really been enjoying it. 

 

Anyway, their latest episode is a wrap up of D23, talking about what did and didn't get announced. I'd say it's worth listening to. 

 

One tidbit from it is it is about the rumoured Mary Poppins attraction coming to the UK Pavilion. Jim says it is a carousel themed to Poppins with a surrounding park area, and a meet and greet. 

 

Also the long rumoured Brazilian pavilion is probably on hold until they have an IP they can base a ride on. 

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Oh wow. That books will be a must have.

 

It's been mooted for years now that Lasseter is likely to pick Peter Docter to succeed him as chief creative advisor to Imagineering. I wonder if we're edging closer to that happening.

 

Thanks for the podcast heads up. I was wondering about good Disney park rumour podcasts. Will subscribe.

 

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Some interesting (albeit still subject to change) info about the WDW Star Wars hotel experience from the aforementioned podcast:

 

  • Expected 2-3yrs after the opening of Galaxy's Edge (2022 most likely).
  • Immersive interaction + guest reputation tracking in Galaxy's Edge will be a test bed for expanding those features for the hotel experience development.
  • 2 night minimum stay, 4 nights expected to be the max.
  • $650 per room for first guest based on a 2 night stay, + $200 per additional guest sharing the same room.
  • The window into space at EPCOT's space restaurant will debut the window technology to be used in the rooms at the SW hotel.

 

Galaxy's Edge related:

 

  • Anaheim version will open first.
  • Most notable difference between versions will be Anaheim having 3 gates for entering the land vs Orlando having 2.
  • Imagineers developed an attraction where you'd ride in a cage as a group on the back of a Bantha around the land (like a Bantha people mover) but the concept was abandoned.

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MIB and the Mummy are both great rides in Orlando.  MIB is one of the best shooting gallery dark rides out there, and the fake ending on the Mummy is really inventive.  Can't think of anything else that does that same trick. 

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On 7/20/2017 at 2:33 PM, Angry the Clown said:

Shortlist of some of my favourite park related Youtube feeds.

....

Anyone have any favourites?

 

I have only recently gotten into particular Youtube channels for Disney stuff. Here are the few I watch, plus some other stuff.

 

DSNY Newscast - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRH49DSFyl8oPwsiHyZ9O0g - This channel just started a few months ago, but is very quickly becoming my go to source for news at Disney Parks instead of visiting multiple websites daily. He does 3, roughly 10 minute videos a week discussing whatever the biggest topics of the last few days have been and does a real good job of analysing everything that has come out. Despite an over abundance of jumpcuts that youtubers think are a-ok, they're very well produced too.

 

His latested video, which is an analysis of the concept art of Epcot that was revealed at D23 is quite good (Also news that Disney is testing a Fastpass system in their waterparks).

 

Tim Tracker - https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTimTracker - I second Tim Track. Also just started watching these guys. I just really love them, and their enthusiasm. There's also just something with the way they make their videos that I really like to. They also have jumpcuts, but in this case I think it just helps keep the pace going instead of covering mistakes.

 

Defunctland - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVo63lbKHjC04KqYhwSZ_Pg - Will also second defunctland. Also just started watching these a few weeks ago.

 

Bright Sun Films - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5k3Kc0avyDJ2nG9Kxm9JmQ - Not Disney specific, but there's quite a bit of Disney Content. Videos mainly consist of abandoned theme parks, malls, stores etc. Most recent video is an analysis of new video from Discovery Island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon.

 

Podcasts

 

Disney Dish - https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/ - Mentioned this above. Jim Hill is a well known Disney Insider writer, writing about rumours, news, behind the scenes stories and history. They do a good variety of shows, similar to the articles that Jim writes, and Len's ability to do math in his head is impressive. Plus he is an author on the Unofficial WDW Guide. I quite like their Chronological Disneyland series, which tells stories of Disneyland's history from beginning, to whatever date they've gotten to (it was supposed to be done before the 60th arrived). Episodes are roughly every 2 weeks and are usually only 30-40 mins.

 

Micechat Podcast - http://micechat.com/category/micepod/micechat-podcast/ - Hosted by Doug Barnes of Season Pass Podcast, and DustySage from Micechat. Only once a month, so easy to stay on top of. Usually discusses latest Disneyland news and rumours and occasional other theme park news and rumours. Pretty sure Dusty has been drunk during the most recent episodes.

 

Seasonpass Podcast - http://www.seasonpasspodcast.com/ - Doug Barnes' regular show. Co-hosted by Brent Young who creates themed attractions, and Robert Coker from Thrillride.com. The bulk of the shows are interviews with Industry vets done at various events and released throughout the year. They have a number of interviews with Tony Baxter at his house which are amazing.

 

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I'm glad the DSNY Newscast video makes a point to show how the Fantasyland concept art changed over time. That's a good video. I'd not seen anyone else provide and analysis of how Disney might stagger re-construction of EPCOT and channel guests through the park once work starts so that was interesting to see. I'm never sure if I like the style of his videos generally though. I think he'd benefit from sitting closer to his mic and camera and lowering his voice a touch. Is he a megafan in the UK taking regular holidays or is he living out near the parks? 

 

Glad to see more love for the Tim Tracker channel. Of the vlogs it's definitely my favourite. 

 

1 hour ago, Graeme said:

Bright Sun Films - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5k3Kc0avyDJ2nG9Kxm9JmQ - Not Disney specific, but there's quite a bit of Disney Content. Videos mainly consist of abandoned theme parks, malls, stores etc. Most recent video is an analysis of new video from Discovery Island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon.

 

 

I forgot to mention this one, yes. I watched the Discovery Island video over the weekend and it's just crazy. The abandoned stuff is always endlessly fascinating to me. On that subject I suppose it goes without saying that Adam the Woo deserves a mention with his two channels (https://www.youtube.com/user/adamthewoo/videos and his daily vlog https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDailyWoo). He's moved on from exploring abandoned things illegally of course, but his most infamous Disney and Universal videos are still online. His ban from the WDW resort was lifted but Universal Orlando banned him earlier this year for videos he did several years ago.

 

It's honestly rather shocking seeing abandoned location videos people have made of areas that were once thriving parts of the resorts and parks in the years I was there. River Country is arguably the big one people love to turn their attention to, and although I never went to the water parks on my trips as a kid as I always prefer a little more serenity around water and pools (as tempting as lots of amazing theming looked), I nevertheless knew it to be a staple of the Disney resort. I always remember the brochures for it (I probably have some somewhere) and the resort channel on the hotel TV network promoting it over and over so everything in the abandoned videos is still recognisable to me. 

 

Adam sneaking into the Wonders of Life pavilion once made me rather sad, but it was probably his sneak into what was the old Nickelodeon buildings at Universal that really hit home. Bright Sun did a good video on that building too. More than anything it's these kind of videos that remind me that much of what I knew is gone, or at the very least forgotten and left for ruin (which actually feels worse than just knowing they tore something down and replaced it).

 

It never ceases to amaze me that people will make these videos whilst putting their face and their names out there. They're just asking to be banned (it probably hurt Adam the most as he's more than an urban explorer and has genuine love and affection for the parks). The kid who did the Discovery Island video Bright Sun reported on also broke into Body Wars in the Wonders of Life at EPCOT this year:

 

 

He did a recent River Country video too just last month.

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6 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Is he a megafan in the UK taking regular holidays or is he living out near the parks?

 

Megafan living in the U.K.  He did a Q&A video where he mentions where he lives and his trips to the various parks. 

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Nice. I've never seen ads on his channel which is a surprise as you'd think he's got enough subscribers to bring in some revenue that could help fund his trips.

 

Speaking of trip funding. I priced up a hypothetical 4 night stay at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim which in the fall season would set me back around $3500 including a 3 day park park hopper ticket (that's not including the London to LA flight). Ooof... And that's based on 2017 prices. You just know prices will jump in 2019 for Star Wars land when I'd plan to go. I could save staying off site near the parks, or by staying in LA, but have always wanted to stay at the original hotel. I definitely think that would be my ideal plan though, to go to Anaheim in 2019, and then in 2021 or 2022 finally make that lengthy and over indulgent holiday in Orlando.

 

I'm starting to wonder if EPCOT's renovations will target the Magic Kingdom's 50th celebrations or whether they will finish EPCOT by October of 2022 for its 40th birthday. It seems silly in some ways for me to continue delaying taking holidays there for the sake of waiting for new stuff as there's always going to be something new, but these are such major projects at the Disney parks developing over the next five years. It would certainly make sense to hype up EPCOT, and the Star Wars hotel, in the year following the launch of Magic Kingdom's 50th celebrations. I guess we might get a timeline answer in a couple of years at the next D23.

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Staying offsite in Anaheim is a fantastic option.  The one time I was there was for a developer conference in 2011, and the convention center is across the street from disneyland.  We tacked on a few extra days to visit the parks, and my hotel was easy walking distance from the gate.  I think we were closer than the main parking lot folks. 

 

Also, it sounds like Dueling Dragons is toast at IoA.  Last day is sept 5, being replaced with a new HP coaster.  I remember those rides being decent suspended coasters-not quite up to the level of Raptor at CP, but better than the top gun coaster at Canada's Wonderland (local CF park). 

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32 minutes ago, ChrisBardon said:

Staying offsite in Anaheim is a fantastic option.  The one time I was there was for a developer conference in 2011, and the convention center is across the street from disneyland.  We tacked on a few extra days to visit the parks, and my hotel was easy walking distance from the gate.  I think we were closer than the main parking lot folks. 

 

I'll certainly consider being off site nearer the time, yes. Again, I'd love to stay in the Disneyland hotel but if it looks as though it will be too cost prohibitive then I'll rethink. On all my previous visits I was staying in LA and drove out to Anaheim to Disney but I don't quite know for certain how I'll arrange a 2019 trip (it's something I'd like to have locked down and booked towards the end of next year though). Given the expense of getting myself out there I may station myself in Anaheim and explore the area, visit the packing district, the nearby beaches...etc, then maybe journey to LA for one day for Universal and perhaps make a week long holiday out of it all rather than be 100% Disney focused for four days (though to be honest I'd probably be ok skipping Universal and leaving all that stuff until I do the Florida trip since their LA park doesn't really have anything the Orlando parks don't aside from the backlot tour and er... Waterworld). Timing and length of stay will ultimately depend on what month Star Wars land opens as I will certainly avoid opening and likely aim to go about five or six months after (my guess is they will have it ready for May in Anaheim, and July in Orlando). So Sept/Oct seems the most logical time for me to think about getting out there. 

 

 

43 minutes ago, ChrisBardon said:

Also, it sounds like Dueling Dragons is toast at IoA.  Last day is sept 5, being replaced with a new HP coaster.  I remember those rides being decent suspended coasters-not quite up to the level of Raptor at CP, but better than the top gun coaster at Canada's Wonderland (local CF park). 

 

Wow, yeah, thanks for pointing that news out! Closure announcement date appears to be fresh today. I wonder if its replacement will have the rumoured forbidden forest theme. It's supposed to be a more family friendly coaster which I guess is something IOA could benefit from. 

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Don't they already have that "flight of the hippogriff" ride as a tamer coaster?  The dragons were always a weak re-theme, but the rides were decent as standalone coasters.  Seems to be a waste of a perfectly good ride-I wonder if anything is going to be re purposed for the new ride?  I don't think the one piece I read on it mentioned that. 

 

Last week of September in Anaheim was great, and crowds were very light.  In addition, the Halloween overlays are already up, and the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain rethemes are both cool.  I haven't been for the Halloween party, but we're doing the Christmas one in Orlando again this year, and there's some unique stuff there that you won't get without the extra ticket.  That also gets you in for a park admission from 4-midnight (they start herding out the "normals" at around 7 I think). 

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Yes, you're quite right. I forgot about the hippogriff coaster.

 

Here's what Universal are saying about the new ride:

 

Quote

In a statement on the official Universal Orlando blog, Kristen Clark announced that “a new generation of thrill ride is coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2019.”

 

Details on the new attraction are scarce, but she was able to share that:

  • This all-new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will encounter some of your “favorite characters and creatures.”
  • The ride will be “unlike anything we’ve ever done before” and it will accessible to “the entire family,” which implies a lower height restriction than the ride it replaces
  • The new attraction will be “one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences” Universal has created, and will “combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure…and a few surprises along the way.”
  • The award-winning Universal Creative team is once again collaborating with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films on the new coaster attraction.
  • This ride “is going to redefine the category”and be “the perfect addition to Hogsmeade.”

 

http://attractionsmagazine.com/universal-orlando-announces-new-harry-potter-coaster-replacing-dragon-challenge/

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You'll have to forgive me if I haven't read many of the posts in this thread, but many of them are quite long.  And since our plans were set a month ago, nothing would have really changed about our trip.  So here are my thoughts, which may come out randomly as I sit here in our hotel at 11:30 at night.  And even though I just bitched about long posts, I'm going to make a long post.  :Cruise:  A really long post, in retrospect.

 

Now, I had mentioned that our plan was, originally, to spend two days at Disney: Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Well, I threw it out there to the wife and kid about doing four days, hitting all four major parks and nobody objected.  Surprising, right?  We basically gave up a day of freedom and another day at Sea World to get those two more days.  Overall, I think everyone was very satisfied and tired.  As a matter of fact, they are crashed right now since we have to leave tomorrow to get back home.  My feet ache, horribly.  I can't imagine doing this with the extra 50 pounds that I've shed over the last year.  

 

Day 1: Animal Kingdom

Ok, so we had some huge ups and downs here.  The Bugs Life attraction really freaked my son(8) out when it went pitch black, so much so that he wanted to leave instantly.  He closed his eyes and I put my arm around him and we stuck it out.  After a sit down with his mom and I we got him on the right track that nothing was real and all of it was for fun.  These were things that were within our control.  Outside of our control was Avatar being out of commission, ALL GOD DAMN DAY!  That really pissed me off since the guy I was chatting up at our hotel the day we arrived said it was fantastic and a must see(on top of the advertisements all over the hotel as well).  It turns out that a couple of people had fallen ill, one a 79 y.o. woman, on the ride.  More things outside of our control: the weather.  I know it's Florida and it rains, but it just chose the wrong time for us.  Which was just about a half-hour before our FastPass on Everest.  Our FP was for roughly 5:30 and it rained straight through past 7.  Hard-ass rain with huge bolts of lightning.   None of us had the will to wait much longer so we hit it back to the shuttle and our hotel.

 

Day 2: Hollywood Studios

We knew little of this park going in, but we had a really good time here.  The Indiana Jones Stunt show was fun and I wanted like hell to be one of the people they picked out of the crowd to be in the show.  I was doing everything short of jumping out of my seat.  That didn't happen but we all really enjoyed it.  We didn't do Tower of Terror since I would have just had to do it by myself since they had no interest in it.  Star Tours was fun but thank goodness it was quick since those that get motion sickness, like my wife, are going to feel it here.  I don't normally, but it even started to get to me.  We also got rained on here, but it didn't last nearly as long as the previous day.  Also, I got a pic on a speeder bike that is quite popular on my wife's FB account amongst her friends and family.  I'll have to find a way to get it posted here.  

 

Day 3: Magic Kingdom

This was, by far, our best day at Disney for many reasons.  My wife's friend, and her father, joined us.  They are season pass holders and after chatting with Frank throughout the day found out that they spend probably 40 weekends a year at Disney and the many of the rest are on Disney Cruise's.  My wife hasn't seen this friend since she and I met(about 9.5 years) so it was a very nice reunion for her.  We did about as much as you could possibly expect in one day here.  This is where my son got bit by the roller coaster bug.  He loved Space Mountain.  He really loved the Dwarf's Mine coaster.  And my wife's friend, who stayed at one of the resorts in the park(Pop Century I think), was able to finagle a few extra FastPasses due to some screw up when they were checking in.  They were super generous and let my son use them wherever he wanted.  So aside from our FP's, he was able to ride the Dwarf's twice more, once with me and once with mom, and then the Haunted Mansion.  The fireworks show at the end of the day was pretty phenomenal and I used my IPhone to record it...IN 4K!!!!  It'll be interesting to see how that turned out when I get home.  

 

Day 4: Epcot

Our asses were draggin by this day.  Our only goal, early on, was to make sure we got to our first FastPass on time, 10:45 for Soaring.  We walked in the door of the building at 10:45 on the dot.  And I'll tell you what, that is one hell of a way to start the day.  I think this might have been one of the best attractions we went on over the four days.  All of us were pretty floored with how well done it was.  Now on the other end of the scale was the Nemo ride.  Goddamn was that boring.  But the aquarium afterwards was nice.  Personally, I could do without the around the World Park.  Namely since I don't typically drink much ever, and even less when I'm out and about with my family.  But I've heard it's good for that.  We did sit in on the American Experience since I like to make my son learn some things every once in a while.  I don't know how much he paid attention but he did say he liked it when I asked him as we left.  Test Track was nice and my son really enjoyed designing his own car.  His design was the best overall in our group and the ride itself was pretty good.  We ended our Disney experience on Spaceship Earth and it was a nice, low-key way to say goodbye.  

 

Our last full day here we spent out at Kennedy Space Center.  I /nearly/ thought about skipping this part of the trip but was glad I didn't.  We checked out the Rocket Garden and hit the tour bus right after.  Once we got to the Apollo center everything clicked.  And seeing the Saturn V, and later the orbiter Atlantis, is quite exhilarating.    I will also say that, since I have a degree in space history and follow all space news, the NASA propaganda machine is strong.  That's to be expected at KSC though and really fit for another topic.  Once we finished up there, we headed down to Cocoa Beach because it would be sinful to go all the way to Florida and not hop in the ocean a little bit.

 

And now, an hour and ten minutes later, I've finished this post.  And that's good because I think I'm starting to ramble on and I have to get up in seven hours to check out and catch our flight.  

 

Edit:  Good God that's a long post!  Sorry.  At least it fits in.  

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Sounds like you had a great trip! Your day at Magic Kingdom sounded great, and getting fast passes for the Mine Coaster is super lucky. 

 

Glad you you made it out to Kennedy. Seeing the Saturn V in person is mind boggling. 

 

It's a shame about Avatar. Was the whole area closed or just the Flight of Passage ride? Too bad you didn't get to experience it. From what I've heard, it's a like Soarin on steroids.

 

I also agree about Soarin being fantastic. It's one of their best rides (and not even based on an IP). I haven't ridden the new Soarin round the world version, just the old Over California version. Is Patrick Warburton still in the queue videos?

 

Thanks for letting us know about your trip. 

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8 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Yes, you're quite right. I forgot about the hippogriff coaster.

 

Hippogriff is really just a kiddie coaster though. This would probably be more along the lines of Big Thunder Mountain I would guess. 

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I have mixed feelings about the loss of Dragon Challenge.

 

On the one hand, Duelling Dragons was one of my favourite rides in the park before it got Potterfied. I really like suspended coasters, and the Dueling dragon theme and the near misses was one of the most thrilling experiences I've ever had in a theme park. 

 

On the other hand, Dragon Challenge really was a shadow of it's former self. The Potter theme and queue wasn't as good as the original, and the ride just isn't the same when they aren't duelling. 

 

When I went to Orlando a few years ago, I didn't know they had stopped the duelling and was so disappointed. Even still, I wish I had ridden it a few more times.

 

I understand why there are doing this. The ride isn't terribly family friendly, takes up a huge piece of land, never worked in Potter all that well, and lost its soul and popularity once the duelling stopped. It's just a little sad to see it go.

 

I wonder if there is any chance they would sell it to another park. 

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Universal Newscast (the Universal version of DSNY Newscast) did a video a few days ago talking about rumours of replacements for Dragon Challenge. Obviously it's now been confirmed it is being changed. He speculates a ride system like the one used at Arthur the ride at Europa Park could be used. Looking at this and on ride video, I agree that this could work very well for a Harry Potter attraction.

 

We will have to wait and see. 

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4 hours ago, Eldorado said:

You'll have to forgive me if I haven't read many of the posts in this thread, but many of them are quite long. 

 

It's ok. Most of the posts are me moaning about rides that don't exist any more and planning for a trip I cannot realistically take for another half decade. Ideally I'd like to update the first post at some stage with various travel tips people have, links to useful blogs, vlogs and podcasts...etc though so those not interested in ranting and raving about park histories and new attractions can quickly find helpful information if they're planning a vacation.

 

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Day 1: Animal Kingdom

Ok, so we had some huge ups and downs here.  The Bugs Life attraction really freaked my son(8) out when it went pitch black, so much so that he wanted to leave instantly.  He closed his eyes and I put my arm around him and we stuck it out.  After a sit down with his mom and I we got him on the right track that nothing was real and all of it was for fun. 

 

 

Aww. He's fully initiated into the 'Disney attractions that scared the crap out of me as a kid" club though, which he'll look back on fondly some day.

 

For myself, and I suspect many others, I joined that club when I was 7yrs old and went on Mr Toad's Wild Ride (gone at the Magic Kingdom for almost 20yrs now, but still in Anaheim). There's a moment in that where the ride "breaks down," goes pitch black and an insanely loud train is heard hurtling out of the darkness towards you.... The implication then is that you died in the collision and the final scene is set in hell with devils cackling at you (seriously) before the ride ends abruptly by taking you back out to the loading section. The old Magic Kingdom version actually had two tracks vs the original in California, with variances on each track and a moment where you almost collide with guests in another car. Though I did not get to ride it until I was 18 and first went to Disneyland, I actually think the Anaheim version would have scared me even more had I ridden it as a kid. It's arguably the greatest W.T.F in Disney park history. 

 

In hindsight the ride may be entirely responsible for why I hate driving, reluctantly got a licence but have never wished to own a vehicle. If I had the vocabulary of swear words at 7yrs old that I have mastered today I would have been thrown out of the park for bad behaviour when I came off that ride. I think there will be riots if/when they try to remove it from Anaheim.  

 

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 Outside of our control was Avatar being out of commission, ALL GOD DAMN DAY!  That really pissed me off since the guy I was chatting up at our hotel the day we arrived said it was fantastic and a must see(on top of the advertisements all over the hotel as well).  It turns out that a couple of people had fallen ill, one a 79 y.o. woman, on the ride.  

 

To echo Graeme, Were both rides there down, or just Flight of Passage (I'm assuming that's the one two fell in on as I'd heard it can have that affect on some people. It's basically 'Soarin' with its omnimax scree but in 3D and the positioning of your body is hunched over and locked in so there's apparently a greater sense of being pulled in to the imagery which makes some people a touch queasy). Did you miss the Navi River ride too though? That looks nice from videos I have seen, albeit insanely short. 

 

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And now, an hour and ten minutes later, I've finished this post.  And that's good because I think I'm starting to ramble on and I have to get up in seven hours to check out and catch our flight.  

 

Edit:  Good God that's a long post!  Sorry.  At least it fits in.

 

 

:) Thanks for sharing everything. I'm really happy it was a successful trip aside from those Animal Kingdom distruptions. In fact I'm relieved to hear you actually had a good time at the Hollywood Studios Park and EPCOT given that a chunk of the Studios is a construction site and EPCOT is in need of a lot of tlc. I keep forgetting Soarin' is at EPCOT now. Like Graeme I'm only familiar with the old DCA version too, but it's a fantastic attraction. Great that you got out to Kennedy too. There's no way a trip to Florida for me would be complete without going there. 

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3 hours ago, Graeme said:

I also agree about Soarin being fantastic. It's one of their best rides (and not even based on an IP). I haven't ridden the new Soarin round the world version, just the old Over California version. Is Patrick Warburton still in the queue videos?

 

Damn, you had me worried with this question so I had to look it up. Thankfully the pre-show video is the same and you still get the Warburton stuff.

 

"Nice work, pal"

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