If your child does get picked for Jedi Academy, you’d better hope this doesn’t happen.
I liked Universal a lot more than mmalloy did, but the Islands of Adventure were pretty underwhelming with the sole exception of the Spider-Man ride, which was super awesome. Hulk and Dueling Dragons make for some good thrilly rides, but I was really expecting something amazing from the Dr Seuss area and the cartoon area and neither impressed. And while Disney has a store every five feet, usually it’s reasonably disguised to look like it’s part of the themed area. Universal’s stores are kiosks every five feet, most of which look abandoned.
The Spider-Man ride, if you can do 3D, is amazing and well worth the ticket by itself. Hulk was okay, but nothing had anything on Spidey.
Regular ol’ Universal was better than the Islands in my opinion. The shows were fun, the Mummy ride is awesome, though the line’s nuts. And Universal’s answer to Fastpass (“people who are staying at Universal hotels can always go to the front of the lines”) is fucking crazy. Men in Black is a fun ripoff of Buzz Lightyear and Terminator and Shrek are both good 3D shows. Jaws is crazy overrated.
Both things mmalloy says above are on the nose. You’d think Universal would price to be competetive with Disney, but naw, they’ve got the same shitty Coke products but have decided to go with pricing them higher than Disney. Which is kind of amazing, because WDW’s airport level $2.50 for a bottle of soda is pretty insane as it is.
At one point while on Marvel Island an announcer shouted “IT’S THE MARVEL SUPERHEROES!” and in came the heroes riding on ATVs. Cyclops! Rogue! Storm! Wolverine! Spider-Man! Captain America! Though Spider-Man was bulging out of his costume. Wolverine had no chin. At one point a girl shrieked “CAPTAIN AMERICA HAS A BONER!” Storm looked like she’d just come from the Old Country Buffet, where she’d been asked to leave. And Rogue… Rogue looked like she’d lived a hard life. Trading BJs for meth in back alleys. C’mon guys, at least Disney tries to find matches before spackling on the makeup and throwing them in a costume.
The worst part was that after a long day at Universal we decided we would go to their Olympus themed restaurant for a dinner. That’s when we realized that every fucking sit down restaurant in the place had closed at 4. Last straw, bitches. We jumped on the Spider-Man ride one more time, then went out and headed out to the Citywalk to whatever the shitty Parrothead restaurant there is. Margaritaville, I think.
I bitch, but I enjoyed it well enough. I’d like to go back to see the Wizarding World and fuck if Spidey might not be the best ride in central Florida. The theming in the streets of New York area of the Studios beats the pants off of the streets of New York area of Disney Hollywood Studios. And during the time we were there the place was empty. We walked right on to Men in Black, Terminator, Jurassic Park (nowhere near as good as Splash Mountain!) Hulk, Spidey and others. I think the only things we waited in line for were Jaws and the Mummy, one of which was worth the wait. There were places in the Islands where we could walk for 20 minutes and not see another guest. It was kind of creepy at points. But overall, the place just doesn’t have a anything on WDW.
A shame you had such a poor time. I know Disney has a monopoly on “magic” but as a theme park Islands is great. I’m shocked at the 4PM closing time. It does jump around a bit but the earliest I’ve seen it close is at 6 and sometimes it stays open until 10PM.
Harry Potter is pretty great. I got dizzy on the main ride at Hogwarts but I did enjoy their Butterbeer. There are no meet and greets with major HP characters. It’s kids and teachers from Hogwarts, etc.
Bahimiron, the HP ride is similar to Spider Man but it’s a lot more up-close and personal.
Oh and did you go to “Disaster!” at Universal? It’s got a holographic Christopher Walken!
It’s phony because most zoos don’t attempt to pretend that you yourself are in the place that the animals live.
It’s extremely artificial and phony. It’s the classic Disney showmanship. It’s amazing and incredible, but I just happen to dislike it a whole lot.
You guys really clearly love the place though, and that’s fine. I can see I’m not going to change your minds about anything and I wouldn’t want to.
But you’re also not going to get me to change my mind either. I don’t care how accredited it is…I don’t like it. :P
My only Seaworld advice is don’t miss the penguins! Perhaps my all time favorite animal exhibit.
And just to expand a bit:
What some people find repulsive about the average zoo–that animals are caged into a relatively small area compared to their normal habitat and expected to behave in a certain way–is exactly the way I feel when I’m at Disney.
It’s confining and it makes me want to escape and run rampant through Orlando while people in helicopters try to shoot me with dart guns.
We’re probably going to check out HP in the next few weeks. I think I may stay on property this time since you can get to the park an hour early and miss the bulk of the crowds which are supposedly insane.
Here’s a tip from our visit to WDW 3 years ago: take in the Spectromagic parade from the entrance gate. The parade starts from an alleyway just to the left of the loop and works its way up Main St. Enjoy the parade, then follow it up Main St when it’s over. This will allow you a prime viewing spot from the middle of Main St (right at the intersection at the top) for the Wishes fireworks show. Cinderella’s castle will be right in the back-center, and you’ll be able to see Tinkerbell and everything.
I’ve also got a pretty nifty planning spreadsheet I’m happy to share (shoot me a PM with your email). You’ll have to check to ensure the parade times are still the same (they’ve likely changed), but it will come in handy for planning your days and meals. Character meals are a big hit with the little ones, and are highly recommended IMO. We really enjoyed Chef Mickey’s and O’hana for breakfast. The Sci-Fi Drive-In was also a lot of fun.
When Matt & I went it was mid-October, which is right in the middle of the festival. We had no problems with crazy lines in World Showcase, or anywhere else - I would say it’s the best time to go. So either you went to a pod-person EPCOT or we did. :)
Such an epic thread. I’m printing copies of many of these responses out to take on the plane. Heading out in the morning. Will keep checking in. Thank you so much!
In an interesting coincidence regarding the existence of this thread, my aunt called me last week. Seems the government has just gotten around to noticing that my uncle died last August, and that, for 10 years now, he’s been in a VA rest home not collecting any general benefits. So, my aunt is now due a lump sum benefit from his fund. She’s self-sustaining right now, and pretty satisfied with her lot in life.
But, the one thing she’d love to do is have the whole family at my uncle’s most favorite place in the world, toasting to his memory. So, sometime in August, she’s going to be paying for our flight down, we’ll be staying at Old Key West (where she’s a vacation club member), and she’s paying for our park hoppers. We have to come up with the money for food and incidentals, but I think we can manage it.
So, basically, woohoo! We haven’t been there since December of 2008, so this is a big deal for us.
Yeah, you guys are crazy. Epcot is FULL OF FOOD for a WEEK. If I could have slept in the park, I would have.
We were there at the beginning of October and Epcot was shoulder-to-shoulder people. You could seriously barely move, I have never seen it so bad. Epcot is our favorite park and we ended up going there all of one day because we couldn’t stand it!
I also really didn’t think the food was worth it. Portions were tiny, expensive, and overall pretty bad. I did like the extra booze though.
My most memorable Epcot moment was fishing on the artificial lake with my father and a guide as a teenager, an island of solitude in this infrastructure median alone amid these masses of humanity, as fishing was the only “manly” activity left to guys at Disney, and being told how the girls at the Norway pavilion were caught turning tricks for the “incredible” price of 50$ because they were bored and most of the men who worked at Disney were gay. And they really did get the hottest Norwegian girls to work there, all i wanted to do at Epcot was hang out at the Norway pavilion and eat Marzipan chocolate.
I think all the foreigners working at Epcot means there are lots of fantastical stories and rumors about them. A friend of mine whose wife worked for Disney said the guys from Morocco like to troll Pleasure Island for American women to try to become US citizens. Haha.
I’m sure most of it’s bullshit though.
Well, it was coming from a Disney employee. It appealed to my teenage mind though.
I’d be surprised if mid-October was significantly different, but who knows; we were there in 2008 starting on October 13th, and when we went to Epcot it wasn’t especially crowded except after IllumiNations and everyone left the park at once. We never felt crowded.
How very strange!
Actually, in one of the “Disney Insider” books that I bought my wife one year for her birthday, the very first story the guy relates is how there’s a bar outside of Disneyland in Anaheim where all the princess actors go to drink and make out. It reads like bullshit fantasy, but come on, the mental image of the afternoon and evening Ariels making out is stuck in your head now, right?
And I’d have to agree with you on the Norwegian girls. Dayum.
Imagineering at its finest.
I go on one of the weeks that has very low attendance (no, I’m not saying which one for all the evil search engines to find it!) and the experience is sooo awesome and so much different from normal weeks. Last time my son and I rode Pirates of the Carribean four times in a row… Haunted Mansion three times… Mission Space twice and Kali River Rapids like 6 or 7 times. The only rides where there was any wait at all were Test Track, Soaring, and the Toy Story ride at DHS.
By the way, the MOST fun ever had at Disney ever was getting on Kali River Rapids with a stoic Proper Old Southern Lady with her finely pressed clothes and her hair ever so strongly structurally supported by a half-gallon of Final Net hairspray and just praying she’s in the part of the raft that gets splashed… And then having her get soaked. Ah, the memories!