Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Disney World

So in the interest of celebrating I went to Disney World.  It was very expensive.  It was a great positive experience.  the 3-4 times I went to Tokyo Disney Resort I kept thinking "They could try 10% more and I would be completely satisfied."  I went 3-4 times to Disney World for various reasons in high school.  I remember really liking Epcot.



I enjoyed all of Disney (outside of it being very expensive constantly.)  The expense was always at a forefront in my mind as an adult.  I went their with my fiance. I just kept thinking of the multiplication of cost if we had one child.  If we had 2 children that suddenly wanted the constant barrage of things they wanted to sell you.  The constant barrage of overprice food or Disney Park branded merchandise that had no value outside of Disney parks.  Lightsabers for the night shows that I got hit in the thighs twice and the crotch once walking by a kid swinging one.

But the need to sell you things constantly is also reflected back at you with how amazingly it all runs.  There was buses to everywhere in the D-World from our Disney hotel every 10-15 minutes all day.  The parks are incredibly run for the absurd amount of traffic every day.  One of the major attractions would be down for only 90-120 minutes if it broke.  For any kind of technical difficulty that is insane.  All of the stores looked perfect despite probably being destroyed by children and customers constantly all day.  It is an incredibly run machine.

This is partially because of the college interns that aren't paid but are given food and board to work 12 hour shifts.  And they have to be busting with smiles the whole time.  My fiance had a button declaring our "anniversary".  You know they say it to everyone, but twenty strangers throughout your day enthusiastically declaring "Happy Anniversary" does make your day better.  The level of service is constantly amazing.

It's also the same level of service you get in most places in Japan.  On Japan, when we entered Japan-land in Epcot we both immediately felt at home.  It is VERY Japanese.  Right down to the Irrashaimase.  Oh and they full equipped, full sized Japanese Department store Mitsukoshi.  Where most of the "countries" have a thing, Japan has a full sized Pagoda, Castle, and a department store made to look like a temple.  It is impressively large.

10 years ago Epcot's Worldshowcase would have had more value to me, or...most Americans.  Today we have the internet and World Markets.  The main feature of the different countries is shopping for goods from those countries.  90% of this is stuff you can find in your local import goods store or World Market or probably amazon.  I'm sure it has amazing value to people not from America.  All this stuff from around the world.

Despite what I claimed a dozen times before I went, I didn't get drunk, though getting drunk around the wold sounded like a heck of a fun time.  I originally planned to get drunk despite being a non-drinker because I wanted to turn off the thinking part of my brain a tiny bit.  A constant problem with Tokyo Disney as I said above, is I kept thinking "this could be a tiny bit better very easily."  World didn't have this problem.

The food in Tokyo Disney SUCKS.  It is tasteless and expensive.  At least Disney World will spend 10 cents per dish on some spices.  I thank them for that and then curse them for having to spend 10 dollars a meal.  I never drank a coke there, so I'm proud of that.  I kept looking at every (?American?) in the park and going "lood gord at least cut out soft drinks."  Having one water bottle we kept refilling saved us at least FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS (and you can too.)

I'm exaggerating that number (a tiny bit).

Most of the food was super greasy though.  So that wasn't great!  At least I got to eat some Moroccan food and a giant turkey leg (wonder what they do with the rest of the bird?)  I didn't get to dine at the restaurant that is also an aquarium (booked 6 months in advance, along with all the nicer places).  In Tokyo Disney we just walked right up and in to the bayou style place that Pirates of the Caribbean goes though and had an incredibly bland meal for Cajun food.

I can probably blame 90% of my frustration at Tokyo Disney on it not being actually owned by Disney.  FUN FCAT.



SO HOW ARE THE PARKS?

I'll try and talk about them one at a time, but y'all know my writing style at this point.  Lot's of parenthesis.

The Magic Kingdom

- The Peoplemover ride in Tomorrowland is definitely there for sweet teen makeouts and more adult stuff.  It is a slow moving ride where there is a good 1-2 minute section of complete darkness.  Like can't see anything dark.  It's not even a ride so much as an excuse for sweet makeouts or more.   You see like 2 things as it takes you in a loop around tomorrowland. I bet the disney cast members that get to watch the security cams for that ride have a real good time.  Oh yeah You're being monitored at disney world at all times.  By those college kids who aren't getting paid but are being wonderful to you for 12 hours with their incredible stamina.
- It sure is super annoying that everyone calls him Captain Jack Sparrow on Pirates of the Caribbean ride.   It is a joke that he asks for more respect than he deserves in the movies.  Then you have his nemesises call him by his full name CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW.  His animatronic looks super good though.  Weird next to the 60 year old ones though.
- It's pretty weird they still have Tom Sawyer island and frontierland.  I didn't see anything from the Lone Ranger there now that I think about it.  Make TSI the city for lost boys from Pinocchio.  Or something.  Keep the Tree House from Swiss Family Robbison.  Tree Houses are cool.
- The Hall of Presidents was super patriotic and almost got me in the mood.  I thought it would have something from every president instead there is just this long listing of each one who then slightly nods their heads.
- They certainly put 2000s era technology in Haunted Mansion and do one thing in there that frankly blows my mind and I'm not sure how they pull it off.  A+  also giving kids stuff to do in lines is super cool and they should do that in every ride.
- You get to touch this wall with musical instruments and it changes the song that is playing.  There's also a bookshelf that will just not keep all the books in place.
- No seriously it is insane how many rides give you nothing to look at or to distract the kids with.
- At the park entrance hidden is a special talking blinking mickey you can get your picture with.  It freaked us out. 
- The...light show on the castle is super awesome.
- we were in the wrong position for the fireworks, but they were going off right above us so I sort of super enjoyed that even though we missed a lot of the visual element of them against Cinderilli's castle.




EPCOT

 - Test Track had been changed since I went in high school.  Now you HAVE TO make a dumb fake car with a touch screen for 4 minutes before you can be in line to ride the car.  After the ride you get a statistic screen about how your car did.  You can then buy a thingy and if you wait in line again (40-60 minutes more) you can tune your car.  I wanted to ride again, but I definitely wanted to skip doing the dumb car thing. Also despite renovating it there is still this one person wide ramp up to the cars that is an echo chamber and absolutely miserable if you hate tiny echo chambers.
- The NASA ride ?Mission:space? definitely let me know about some fears I have.  It is a motion ride, but with a big thing strapping you in a tiny room.  As soon as that happened my brain screamed "GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT."  I did the mild course which I'm going to assume was shorted.  Interesting, but never going to ride if I go back ever.  I discovered a fear and I'm going to try avoid being in that fear.
- Francis Ford Coppola-George Lucas-Micheal Jackson's Captain EO is freaking bonkers and I loved it.  80s action movie aesthetic is a real good thing.  Happy it is back.
- Soaring definitely has the longest wait time of anything and didn't do a lot for me.  You sort of move next to an IMax screen through random scenes of California.  with really hard cuts between places.  The lady liked it a lot though.  Should really be a ride for one of the countries though instead of a transplant from Californialand.
- Weird that the 2 countries with rides are right next to each other.  Mexico and Norway both feature boat rides. Norway is the cooler ride.
- France sells baguettes for like 2 dollars.  I freaking love baguettes.
- In both Epcot and Magic Kingdom there's a Starbucks.  I originally screamed against it because there is DISNEY COFFEE and I was going to enjoy that if I was in Disney world.  Then on the last day I found out the starbucks in question is A STARBUCKS.  It has normal prices.  You could get a giant coffee for 3 dollars instead of a small coffee for 4 dollars anywhere else in the park.  Or a bottled water.  Or a pastry for 2 dollars.  The long lines for starbucks in Disney suddenly made sense.  I even used my starbucks card.  It was that much a starbucks.
- Epcot sure is huge.  It is huge and spread out and clearly the 80s Imagineers trying all sorts of things.  Like not having lots of clear direction.  Which is really a constant problem in all the parks is lack of knowing where you are going.  We'll revisit this.
- Epcot features Duffy!  The Disney Sea Bear from Japan.  That bear is super super popular in Japan despite being for all purposes a normal teddy bear.  Yes there were Japanese girls in line for Duffy.
- It sure is fun to walk around the different countries and see all the...well all the things you can buy because there's not much to look at really.  Morocco is cool for having a bunch of "back alleys". 
- When we had a sit down meal in Epcot I was suddenly confronted with the terrible thought, "Do I have to...tip in Disney World?"
- This is true of all the parks, the bathrooms are always completely undecorated. They might as well be a bathroom in a 2nd rate mall.  There are never mirrors at the sinks.  There is only a mirror right by the entrance and sometimes perpendicular to the first urinal.
- In MK there was a spring dress that the lady looked at.  it was a reasonable 30 dollars.  In Epcot Morroco there was a pretty dress that of roughly the same fabric that would set you back 90 dollars.
- Japan couldn't have been more Japan.  They had an engrish sign in the store.  Engrish in the middle of Disney.  "Do not let the pen to saturate for other customers."  It was a neat paintbrush that you painting with water.  You could also get a kimono.
- The monorail too Epcot is great because you circle the giant golfball.  I bet Big Disney fans get angry if you call it a golfball.
- The golfball ride is still the best place to take a 15 minute nap.
- Since the cold war is over maybe they should add a Russia?  It's weird they havent' given another country a space since it opened.  There are 2 "empty" slots.  Russia or India seem like the obvious choices.
my stupid car.

despite there being two food places right here there is no where to sit.




HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

 - In 9th grade I fell out of Tower of Terror.  The safety bar for the row was too high and as a small small teen my feet slipped out and went above my head.  I don't ride ToT.  I didn't even enjoy it before that experience and now I have plenty of reason to say Yeah I'm not getting on that.
- We also passed on Rockin' Rollercoaster because neither of us like Rollercoasters and I don't like Aerosmith.
- So the first thing we did was see the Beauty and the Beast musical.  Which was pretty good.  It was 20 minutes long which as a straight male is the exact length of musical I can take before I need to be somewhere else.
- Where Epcot is huge and sprawling, MGM is very compact.  This was clearly a reaction to Epcot being so big.  That doesn't stop there being either dead space or way too many shops selling more or less the same thing.
- I wrote in my huge deathsmiles article about the diner here where you're at your aunt and uncles and they tease the hell out of you.  We didn't go, but I still hold fond memories of it.  If we had spent more than 4 hours in this park we might have gone.
- The Toy Story ride had clearly the longest line of anything in any park at a healthy 70 minutes all day long.  We never rode it.  I'm not too shook up about that.  Tokyo Disney is getting it this year.
- The Captain Jack Sparrow Experience is clearly Disney going "we need another ride and we have 20 dollar budget."  So you stand in a room and watch a video and then you are told to leave the room.  There is audience participation.
- Star Tours actually delivered.  The 3D Graphics and Effects were all really good.
- I bet that Honey We Shrunk the Kids playground is fucking awesome if you are 9.
- There's a section made to look like NYC and now a section made to look like San Francisco.  Complete with signs for restaurants that don't exist.   There's also nothing to do here. You can take a picture in front of a large mural?  Or stare at an expired box of pocky in front of a Asian Supermarket Storefront.
- This goes along with a lot of Hollywood studios feels very half finished.  It's been around for almost 20 years I think and everywhere there is the feeling that "something should be here one day?"
- You could wait in line to take a picture of with a static-nonmoving car from Cars.
- This was the park we went to first because I knew it wouldn't take long and it was the first of 3 broken Afterburner Climax cabinets I found.  There was Afterburner Climax all over disney world and none of it worked.  At one was a creepy dude dressed like Jack Sparrow that clearly wasn't a cast member and also clearly had no business creeping in an arcade.  The state of Disney World Arcades.
- We saw the fireworks show here too.  Which was impressive especially since they do two shows a night and every night.  There's also an impossible to follow story that is an excuse for a bunch of different disney characters to be around and have a kick ass dragon robot.

There is nothing to do here.


A linux based and themed arcade game.  beautiful.

ANIMAL KINGDOM

- Is definitely a zoo.
- So you get to see some cool animals
- The Safari said they had a black rhino.  Which made me think "isn't that thing extinct."  I was excited to see one.  Then there wasn't one to see and the "tour guide" didn't say anything about that bit.
- This park has the worst design with several "choke points" that must be nightmares when it opens and closes.  The whole park is cut through a pretty small pathway.
- It's a zoo so it is depressing.
- Dinosaur is still HELL the ride.  It is bouncy, bumpy, completely black, with demon dinosaurs jumping out at you.  
- Once someone left a gun on Dinosaur.  LEFT A GUN ON A RIDE.
- You are completely lost in this place if you do not have a map.
- The rapids ride is entirely about getting wetting and possibly getting soaked.  It is also not about high level thrills.  There is a drop and then you get wet.  Li-li-like dubstep????
- Long line for the burger place.  No line for curry.  The curry was as good as curry you get in the frozen foods aisle.
- There's a few places to just be in a room with a bunch of birds.  It's weird.  The birds are just hanging out on the walkway
- Outside the bird cage a Florida specific grackle caws for your curry.  Him and his 10 grackle friends.







After 2 and a half days of Disney I was ready to go back to reality and again question how anyone brings their kid there.

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