“Wow, they actually went out of their way to spend some time in Disney World,” said absolutely no one who knows us. Disney is nothing new for us, so I’ll spare you the play-by-play of our five days in Florida, and instead, give you a countdown of the five best things I learned this time around in the most magical place on earth:
1. Disney is more fun with friends
We’ve dragged practically everyone we know to Disney World with us, and this time was no exception. Our friends Pete and Rachel joined us this time, and best of all, Pete had never been before. I went Full-Elliott on him.
2. The coolest ride yet now exists at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios)
If you read our post about Disney’s California Adventure, you read how enamored I was with the 4D Toy Story Midway Mania. Well, I’m pleased to report that this ride now lives at Hollywood studios as well. The second time we went on it, I thought to ask an attendant for tips on how to achieve a high score, but she told me there were no hidden secrets. Either she was brand new, or keeping the secrets secret. A quick venture online that night told me several key tricks for achieving high scores. Stephanie, Pete and Rachel had to work very hard to make sure I went to the other parks instead of returning to Hollywood Studios for more Toy Story action. But some day….oh yes…..some day…
3. Epcot is back on top as my favorite park
For a while it had lost its place on top, but now it’s back. Maybe it’s because half the park (the World Showcase) is dedicated to travel, eating and shopping. More likely it’s because of the return of “Captain Eo.” This throwback to 1986 was one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland when I was a kid. My travel companions were not quite as enthused at this Michael Jackson singing/dancing/space/obligatory muppet/ 3D adventure as I was.
4. Animal Kingdom can still surprise me
This time, I was surprised by how awesome I still find Expedition Everest to be, and how not-as-scary I found Dinosaur to be. (Three cheers for not closing my eyes at all!) Mostly, I was surprised by Stephanie who conspired with Pete & Rachel to take me out to a scrumptious, after-hours Asian feast at the Yak & Yeti restaurant. After four encounters with the Yeti himself on Expedition Everest, I was ready for some serious Lo Mein.
5. The Magic Kingdom is an ever-evolving entity
There’s a New Fantasyland which will be finished someday, according to Angelica (Stephanie’s father’s wife’s granddaughter who’s a character wrangler in Fantasyland) . It’s not unusual to see parts of the park closed for refurbishing. Walt had a strong commitment towards always trying to improve the “show.” It *is* unusual to see active construction including swinging cranes, pounding tools and workers in hard hats during park hours. I choose to believe that Disney is behind schedule trying to get the new stuff up and running, and not that they no longer care about preserving the magic for their guests. We also noted several changes to some of our favorite attractions – some good, some less than good.
Of course we’ll go back again, and maybe next time, you’ll join us (or join us again, as the case may be). If you do, be warned that I move fast, and I’m not happy unless I’ve maximized my park time. Also be warned that I have tons of useless trivia with your name on it.
Now *I* will raise the safety bar, and a ghost will follow you home! Mwah-hah-hah-hah…