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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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22 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Disney dropping the Star Wars themed naming from Galaxy’s Edge menus:

 

 

 

That happened a LOT quicker than I thought it might. It’s never been dropped in Pandora, has it? Or is the Pandora menu aided by the fact it’s supposed to be a human base on the planet and the food is only made to look somewhat alien?

So funny.  It was 9 pm and we were starving.  I looked on the app to look at menus and when I came to that friggin Star Wars menu, it was too much work to interpret what the hell the food was.  I just needed to find a place that was compatible with my family members quickly, and the obfuscated menu was an obstacle.  So we said screw it and ate at the hotel later.

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My daughter got excellent grades this year, so I told her to pick her vacation spot.  Knowing Galaxy's Edge isn't open at Disney World yet, she picked Ohio, for the excellent coasters at King's Island

Galaxy’s Edge is very impressive, but I would say that many of the criticisms of it are justified. It looks great, and has an amazing level of detail, but it can feel a bit sparse and feels like there

We leave for Florida on Wednesday. We're spending two days at Disneyworld and going to Magic Kingdom and Epcot, I believe.  My wife was in charge of doing that part. I haven't been to Florida in 15 ye

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5 minutes ago, foogledricks said:

So funny.  It was 9 pm and we were starving.  I looked on the app to look at menus and when I came to that friggin Star Wars menu, it was too much work to interpret what the hell the food was.  I just needed to find a place that was compatible with my family members quickly, and the obfuscated menu was an obstacle.  So we said screw it and ate at the hotel later.


What were your thoughts of the land in general and Smuggler’s Run?

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4 hours ago, foogledricks said:

So funny.  It was 9 pm and we were starving.  I looked on the app to look at menus and when I came to that friggin Star Wars menu, it was too much work to interpret what the hell the food was. 


That’s actually a really good point. I personally do not usually plan ahead where to eat when I’m in the parks, and open up the map, or I guess now the app, to see what’s offered around my location. 
 

If I have to decipher the menu even more than a restaurant that puts arugula and aioli on everything, I’m probably not going to eat there. Especially if you consider that, if you’re not already in SWGE, it might be a bit out of your way. 

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4 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:


What were your thoughts of the land in general and Smuggler’s Run?

 

I haven't been following the development of the land very closely.  So just like Harry Potter Land, when I walked in for the first time I was overwhelmed will giddy joy at what an amazing job they did.  Storm Troopers walking by just to make me "nervous" like in A New Hope when Luke and Ben were tracking down a pilot. 

 

The dirtiness and rundown motif was awesome.  I pointed it out to my wife and kids while we were waiting in line for Smuggler's Run.  "See how everything is banged up, dirty, and looks like it needs maintenance?  This is brand new!  They made it look old and crusty because that's the Star Wars style."   They all started to point the run-down areas, appreciated it, and thought it was cool.

 

Smuggler's Run was not great.  The line environment was really great.  We were also super confused in the waiting area about what was supposed to happen.  We were given instructions for something that we had no context for.  When we walked it sort of made sense (push the button that lights up). When it was all over every one said they wish they didn't have a job at all so they could have concentrated and enjoyed the flight (as a passenger) instead of being distracted by the confusing/unfun and seemingly meaningless tasks of the engineer and gunner.

 

Smuggler's Run wasn't even close to a fun videogame from an interactive perspective (None of us were the pilot, I'm sure we would have felt a little differently if that were the case).  And the "show" (what was on the screen and our connection to it) didn't really compare to Avatar, although it was hard to tell because we were so distracted by our tasks we couldn't really enjoy what was happening from a flight perspective. 

 

Avatar, was BY FAR OUR FAVORITE AND MOST IMPRESSIVE new attraction across both Disney and Universal.  All of us agreed on that and the fact that Smuggler's Run was a meh implementation of an ambitious idea.  I give them credit for trying to make something like this.  I wouldn't wait in line for it again though.

 

 

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I’m not surprised by this as one of the biggest complaints from guests has been cast members reluctance to break character when people have asked for simple things as restroom location. I was at Walt Disney World last weekend and experienced the opposite. None of the cast members behind a counter were in character. When given my total I wasn’t told it was in credits, or corrected when I asked for an item using its normal name vs Batu name.

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3 hours ago, foogledricks said:

 

Smuggler's Run was not great.  The line environment was really great.  We were also super confused in the waiting area about what was supposed to happen.  We were given instructions for something that we had no context for.  When we walked it sort of made sense (push the button that lights up). When it was all over every one said they wish they didn't have a job at all so they could have concentrated and enjoyed the flight (as a passenger) instead of being distracted by the confusing/unfun and seemingly meaningless tasks of the engineer and gunner.

 

Smuggler's Run wasn't even close to a fun videogame from an interactive perspective (None of us were the pilot, I'm sure we would have felt a little differently if that were the case).  And the "show" (what was on the screen and our connection to it) didn't really compare to Avatar, although it was hard to tell because we were so distracted by our tasks we couldn't really enjoy what was happening from a flight perspective. 

 

 

Certainly echoes what several others have told me. I keep coming back to what it must be like for guests who have a limited grasp of English and it must be very confusing. It's not like Toy Story Mania where you can get into the carriage and the objective is obvious, point and shoot, and even for English speakers I can't help but feel that if you don't allow everyone the same basic experience you've kind of failed at ride design. 

 

I'm confident Rise of the Resistance will be spectacular though.

 

I'm glad the land itself is impressive. You should go back and use it as a backdrop for another family home movie. :)  Did you go into the Cantina, Antiquities shop or Lightsaber building thing?

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On 10/18/2019 at 4:33 PM, Angry the Clown said:

I'm glad the land itself is impressive. You should go back and use it as a backdrop for another family home movie. :)  Did you go into the Cantina, Antiquities shop or Lightsaber building thing?

That would be an expensive home movie, but I would totally do something like that.

 

We didn't have enough time to do anything other than Toy Story Mania, Slinky, and Smuggler's Run.  Smuggler's Run unfortunately took up 80 minutes of our limited time.

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20 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

No surprise but Star Tours gets a new location this December (whatever planet the remnants of the second Death Star landed on).

 

 

 

Well it's not the Forest Moon of Endor

 

Quote

Among the additions is Kef Bir, the ocean moon from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

 

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On 10/24/2019 at 9:35 AM, Angry the Clown said:

Is Tokyo getting the Kong coaster or will that not debut until Florida?


They are not. That seems to be a Florida thing for now. I do believe that Japan has an expansion pad though. 
 

On 10/23/2019 at 10:28 AM, Angry the Clown said:

 

No surprise but Star Tours gets a new location this December (whatever planet the remnants of the second Death Star landed on).

 


When I first read this I thought you meant they were moving the ride and thought, “Really? That’s not a surprise?”

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I’m back from my trip to California, and despite developing some large painful blisters on both my feet which made it hard to walk around, I had a very good time. I was in San Diego for work and then drove up to Anaheim to do a couple days at Disney. It was an interesting experience being there all by myself, and while it did give me the freedom to do whatever I wanted, I did miss sharing in the experience with others. I’m really looking forward to going back with my daughter soon. 
 

A few takeaways from Disneyland in general:

 

- The crowds for midweek in October were quite a bit higher than I was expecting. They weren’t awful, but required a bit of management to avoid standing in 60+ minute lines.


- Custom Disney themed T-shirts are a THING. Especially for families travelling together. I know this has been going on for awhile, but it seems like everyone was wearing them.

 

- I don’t know if I was imagining things, or if my eyes are starting to fail me, but there seemed to be a chronic issue with scenes being under lit or not lit at all in many of the dark rides. Mr Toad was so bad I could barely see anything. There was also issues in Splash Mountain, major issues in the graveyard of Haunted Mansion, and few issues in Roger Rabbit. 


- Riding the original, full length Pirates of the Caribbean after more than 10 years was a special treat. The versions in Florida and Paris are good, but they aren’t the same. The build up and pacing in California is just fantastic and made me remember why I love that ride so much. The main show room with the Pirate Ship and the town also does a better job at hiding the ceiling and makes it look like an endless black sky. 


- The lines to get your picture taken with photo pass photographers can get insanely long at popular spots. When you had to pay for Photopass separately, they used to beg you to let them take your photo, but now that it’s included with so many things (like Maxpass), they are in much higher demand. It’s almost worth using the Magic Morning to get some photos taken. It’s also weird seeing all the ride photo booths shut down or turned into gift shops, now that ride photos are included in photo pass (but it is a welcome change). 


- The Disneyland app is more or less required now, and it does let you do a lot (I barely looked at a paper map the whole time I was there). But it is slow, the WiFi is spotty in the parks, it CONSTANTLY logs you out of your account which gets extremely frustrating, and things would sometimes just disappear (my reservation for Oga’s Cantina was on there all day and then disappeared right before my reservation time). 


MaxPass is well worth the money if you’re there for a full day. It’s great being able to reserve Fast Passes while in line for another ride, and saves you having to run around the park. It also lets you see what the return times are at a glance and compare the different rides. There were a few times were I got a Fastpass where the return time was within minutes, and the standby time was 40+ minutes. 


- I really really wish they could reconfigure some of the queues to better accommodate FastPass and Single Rider. It’s just sad that the beautiful Indy queue is basically sprinted through to get to the ride, and the whole standby queue is now outside in the overflow switchback area. Half the indoor queue for Star Tours is now also wasted (I think to accommodate Single Rider) and gets pushed outside to the overflow queue.

 

- Fantasmic on the Rivers of America is fantastic, and really puts the WDW version to shame. The stunts they were doing on the Columbia for the Pirates of the Caribbean section were mind blowing. Will probably look into reserved seating dining options next time to get an even better seat. 


- I’m glad I got to experience Hyperspace Mountain, but I do prefer the original and would have preferred it over the Star Wars overlay. The amount of Star Wars in Tomorrowland feels weirdly out of place now that Galaxy’s Edge is open. I also feel the same about Haunted Mansion. I NEED my Grim Grinning Ghosts. 


- The wait times for Peter Pan is ridiculous. 
 

Galaxy’s Edge impressions to follow later. 

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Galaxy’s Edge is very impressive, but I would say that many of the criticisms of it are justified. It looks great, and has an amazing level of detail, but it can feel a bit sparse and feels like there isn’t actually that much to do. I would say that the biggest difference between this and Harry Potter would that Potter has a bit more familiarity to work with when it comes to shops, food and merchandise.... and it has windows. There was just something more satisfying about poking around Hogsmeade, trying to discover every nook and cranny and discovering clever references and details.

 

Shops like the Droid Depot, Dok Ondar’s and the Cantina have nothing to entice you into them or show you what you’re missing if you don’t come in, or what they even are. For someone not familiar with the land, you could walk right past the Cantina wondering what the line was for. The shops in the marketplace don’t suffer from this, but they are small and don’t take very long to explore. 

At one point I was standing right by the back door for the Droid Depot and had no idea until the door opened and someone walked out. 

 

The land is just begging for more interactivity. There are fake “buttons” and lights everywhere... but they don’t do anything. If all those buttons could at least be pushed, and some actually did something, it would make things just that much more interesting to explore. 

 

I did have a few moments of “wow” though. I first entered through the Critter Country/Resistance side and the transition from the music in the tunnel to wild animal forest sounds was quite stunning. It’s so impressive how they can direct the sound so that in one spot you hear one thing, and a few feet further, you hear something completely different. I just wish the music picked back up again. 
 

Walking into the area with the Falcon, especially at night (which is when I did it first) was almost overwhelmingly amazing. Not just the size of the Falcon, but everything surrounding it. the mountains and buildings and... just everything. If they had made it so the music picked back up in this area, I think it would easily be the most impressive reveal in a theme park.

 

Overall, I enjoyed my time there, but I was not blown away. A good chunk of that is certainly my own fault for not going in more blind and having watched many videos and read numerous articles about the land. I do think Rise of the Resistance probably will change the land and give people a reason to keep going back, which in turn will get them to ride Smugglers Run, and to poke their heads into the shops, and buy a blue milk. 

 

More thoughts:

 

- I rode Smugglers Run 3 times (once standby and twice single rider) and luckily got to be all 3 roles.  Gunner was my least favourite, although I was stuck on automatic aiming, so it was basically just mashing a single button. The real enjoyment of this ride really seems to be the reaction and enthusiasm of the people you ride it with. The last time I rode it was with a group of people, probably in or around their 60s that were having the time of their life, and that was infectious. 
 

The ride would benefit greatly from more missions, and a bit more variety and randomness in the missions to keep it fresh.

 

- I briefly tried the Play app, but my feet were hurting too much and there didn’t really seem to be much point to it. 
 

- I liked the Blue Milk. I would get it again, but I won’t crave it like I crave Butterbeer. I didn’t try the Green Milk as I was almost sure I wouldn’t enjoy it. 
 

- I had 2 meals at Docking Bay 7 and tried a Ronto Wrap. I tried the Ribs and the Tip-Yip at Docking Bay 7. The food was all fine (although the blueberry cornbread muffin was dry and stale) but nothing to write home about. The portions were not really sufficient for what you’re paying, and I would prefer to have had a choice of sides. The Ronto Wrap was good, and I would get it again. 
 

Disneyland is still using the themed food names. 
 

- I witnessed a great interaction in Dok Ondar’s. Someone asked if he could get a deal if he bought all the different colours of Kyber Crystals. The cast member asked Dok if he could have a deal, and Dok turned to them and laughed. I didn’t think they had any interaction with Dok, so I’m glad to see that exists somewhat. 
 

- The Cantina was fun. The drinks are overpriced, but they are fun to try, and have some clever elements. I tried the Fuzzy Tauntaun and the Jedi Mind Trick. I really liked the Fuzzy Tauntaun. I also got to witness Rex breaking down, which was fun. You gotta be careful leaving your spot though, because they will fill it up ASAP. 
 

- Hummed and hawed about getting a Lightsaber, and eventually I did. It was a cool experience, but again, one that I already knew too much about. I also was in one of the last groups of the evening, so the room was only half full, which made the reveal of everyone lifting their Saber a little less impressive. 
 

The Saber itself is very nice and quite sturdy. I have blue, red and green crystals and my daughter is quite taken with it. I wasn’t sure about getting it home on the plane, but it made it. 
 

- I saw all of the characters walking through the land, and while they do interact with people, it seems a bit awkward. People want to say hi and get their picture taken, and the characters are trying to role play and move around the land. Ironically, Chewie probably has the best interactions because he doesn’t talk. 
 

- The role playing of the cast members didn’t bother me. I didn’t experience anything egregious (and to be honest barely heard “Bright Suns!” at all). I did feel a little awkward trying to play along though because you have to actually try and think about what you’re going to say. I did see someone ask when Rise of the Resistance was going to open and the CM launched into how the Resistance was establishing a base. I dunno if he ever got a straight answer or not. 
 

My favourite character was “Alberto” the “I hate my life and I don’t want to fucking be here any more” server at Docking Bay 7. That guy did NOT break character. 
 

- I did hear people talk about how they didn’t know what the hell a Tip Yip was, or that they don’t have signs to tell you how to get into the land. I do agree that they could have more signage outside the land directing you to it. 
 

- The rock work is fantastic and looks amazing lit up at night. 
 

- While I was there, the whole area felt quite busy the whole time. It wasn’t overly crowded and there weren’t hour long lines for popcorn or anything, but it was crowded. Certainly not the ghost town it was, or was portrayed to be by some people. Rise of the Resistance will probably make a huge difference. 

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I admittedly spent the least amount of time in DCA, and it felt like quite a bit of that was trying to get into a long line. 
 

Here are a few takeaways from my time in DCA.

 

- Buena Vista Street is quite nice and a big improvement over how that area was

 

- There are still many remnants of “old” DCA, especially in the Hollywood area. I wish they would get rid of that huge mural at the end of it, and the entrance to the Hyperion Theater not being an entrance has always bugged me. 


- I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout. I don’t remember if they do multiple drop sequences on it or not, but the drop sequence I rode was great. I don’t have any deep connection with the Twilight Zone, so I didn’t really miss it. With that said though, they should leave Florida alone. 


- Soarin over the world is not as good as Over California. Too much CG and jarring transitions. 


- Cars Land is really nice. Nicely detailed and the Luigi dancing cars right is very cute. I was surprised of how little of the mountains can be seen from within Radiator Springs though. 

- Radiator Springs Racers is very good. Amazing rock work, good animatronics, and a fun race at the end. 

 

- I really liked World of Color despite having a bad viewing area and the show basically being a greatest hits medley. The music, projections, lasers, fireworks and water fountains all combined for a very entertaining display. 

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Received the Phantom Manor Decrypted book today as it was finally made available online via Disney’s UK store this past week.

 


It’s really lovely. Very happy to have this and the Pirates book. Both largely focus on the design and stories of the Paris versions of each ride, but do also delve into the history of the original versions.

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My big concern is the land getting sun bleached over time. I hope Universal stay on top of that as when I’ve seen IOA walkthroughs I can’t help but notice the Seuss land needs a re-paint (and they left those Grinch sets on the tram tour in Hollywood out in the sun for years and years before re-painting them).

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This is a good point. Hopefully the land will be popular enough that they will keep it well maintained. 
 

I really like IOA and think much of the theming is fantastic, but there have been some maintenance issues the few times I’ve been. Peeling, faded paint, and I think I remember a big hole in the Dudley Doo Right Falls mountain. 

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I was just at Universal a couple of days ago for the Ignite attendee party, and finally got a chance to try a couple of the rides for the first time:

-Kong is OK.  Screens, but at least they're really big and convincing?  Big animatronic at the end was neat.

-Hagrid is really good.  They're pretty crazy with the restraints though, and I almost couldn't get it tight enough for them to be satisfied on the bike.  Longest line of the evening though.  Most others were walk on to 10 mins, and this was 90 mins.  They didn't seem to have the whole preshow running though-just fang wandering around that 3d screen.

 

Besides those, managed to get on Forbidden Journey, Spider-man, and Gringott's before they shut down for the night.  Not bad for 3 hours or so. 

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