Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Walt Disney World Trip Report

Hey everyone, I finally have enough time to post a report on the wonderful one week trip that I just got back from. I will report interesting sights and sounds from every park I journeyed to this time around.

-One of the biggest controversies to come out of the Disney fan bases is the closing of Pleasure Island. Talking to a cast member over at the area, he told me that one reason for the decision was a new Florida Law which states (as I understood it) that anybody wanting to venture in an area with nightclubs must be 18 or older. This means that Disney has lost a lot of money on the clubs that were available for families to enjoy. I personally never liked Downtown Disney, I think Disney should stay Disney, But I understand the controversy. I'm sure this decision was tough for the Walt Disney Company. The only thing I don't understand is why do they have to close all of the clubs? If they close the actual nightclubs and tweak the comedy shows a little, wouldn't they not qualify as clubs, and thus regain the business?

-Most Likely the biggest surprise to come out of this trip, talking to our guide on the "Keys to the Kingdom" tour, he told me that as a reference to the Haunted Holiday Mansion over at Disneyland, Imagineers hid Jack Skellington and Sally dolls all though the attraction, as well as hiding a Nightmare Before Christmas book in the library. The book is very hard to see, but it is there. I also did catch a Sally Doll. If you lean forward and look to the right through the beginning of the attic scene, you should see one hiding behind a chair. The Imagineers intended the dolls to be inside jokes for themselves, and so some a hidden only so people working the ride can see them.

-Expect no new, groundbreaking rides for the Magic Kingdom anytime soon. A cast member told me that with the Imagineers focusing on California Adventure and Hollywood Studios/Pixar Place, The only ride that is being talked about is adding the Little Mermaid ride going to CA into Fantasyland.

-If there is one ride I hope is never knocked down, it is Carousel of Progress. It is the perfect testament to Walt's work, and it is the sleeper of the Magic Kingdom. I've been assured in the past that it will stay up, but what worries me is how long Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln has been "temporarily" replaced.

-Odd Character sighting #1: Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar were taking pictures and signing autographs. Now if they could get Humphrey the Bear...

-Besides the heavily talked about Soarin' update, nothing new in store for Epcot in the next couple of years. If anything, there will only be ride updates.

- I wish they would tear down the African Outpost and build another epic World Showcase Location. It still feels out of place, and a cool new country might thin out the World Showcase just a little bit.

-Odd character sighting #2: The Country Bears just outside The American Adventure. Not only are the Country Bears actually showing up, they are showing up outside their own park!

-With all the talk of the big expansion of California Adventure, the current evolution of Hollywood Studios gets lost in the mix. Toy Story Mania is super popular (Fastpasses ran out about an hour after park opening), the partnership with American Idol will be huge, and there are still tons of ride concepts on the drawing boards that finally take Hollywood Studios out of the shadow and into the spotlight.

-Multiple Cast Members told me that the Monster Inc. Roller Coaster planned for Hollywood Studios is being treated as day to day. My tour Guide literally told me "One day it was greenlighted, the next day it was back on the drawing board."

-Here are two things that I feel could really improve the park: Move Pizza Planet out of Streets of America and into Pixar Place, then add a new attraction or restaurant to the former area (If I were an Imagineer, I would suggest either reviving the idea of the Muppet Movie ride or my newest idea, a Phineas and Ferb interactive motion simulator. ) The other is to end the run of Voyage of the Little Mermaid, move One Man's Dream to CA, and add a new ride. (My idea, which is nearly ready to be posted on this very site, is The History of Walt Disney Animation.)

-One other interesting note: In one of the areas marked with the "Future thing here" sign, behind the fence, people were painting the old Muppet float from the former parade (The one with the Hot Air Balloon) Two possibilities: Either they are fixing it up to send to Paris, or they will go the Power Rangers route and use the float to transport a meetable Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Animal Kingdom
-Sadly, nothing new for Animal Kingdom. I talked to my guide about it, and he said although there have been very small talks about replacing Camp Minnie Mickey, nothing is on the horizon for Animal Kingdom in the near future.

-I really would like to See the Finding Nemo musical be expanded to Broadway. I thought they did an excellent job condensing the movie into just over 30 minutes.

That's all I have, if I remember anything else I feel is important, I'll be sure to post it here.

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