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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Trip Report - a Tale of Two Disneys in the Vacation Planning forums; OK, here goes with my first trip report - apologies in advance if it’s a bit long but hey, we all like reading these things don’t we?! And please check ...
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    fray101's Avatar
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    Trip Report - a Tale of Two Disneys

    OK, here goes with my first trip report - apologies in advance if it’s a bit long but hey, we all like reading these things don’t we?! And please check out my select photos in the Photo Gallery (trust me, there were an awful lot more, many of which will hopefully turn up on my website).

    A bit of background first - I’d always wanted to go to Walt Disney World (or Disneyland - as a child who knew or cared what the difference was?) but it was never going to happen. Finally, in 1996 I made my first trip to Disneyland Paris and I’ve been back 4 times since then, the last time being November 2003. With the exception of my first trip, I’ve always been with my sister Susanne. Anyhow, last October we finally took the plunge and booked our first holiday to Walt Disney World - even booking just over a year in advance we got the last two seats on the plane! As I write this report I’ll try and compare the two resorts - just in case any of you are thinking of popping over to Paris!

    We’ve always stayed at resort hotels at Disneyland Paris - one time we were even lucky enough to be upgraded to the Disneyland Hotel (think the Grand Floridian, albeit on a smaller scale). With the exception of the self-catering campsite, all the hotels at DLRP are within easy walking distance of the theme parks, although there are also free shuttle buses laid on. The Disneyland Hotel is actually situated at the gates of Disneyland Park (there are two parks there - Disneyland Park is the equivalent of the Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney Studios Park is, you guessed it, like MGM -except much, much smaller. It’s only a few years old and is very definitely a work in progress…). Anyhow, this time we decided to stay off-site. There were two main reasons for this, firstly financial and secondly, we were going without a car and wanted to stay somewhere that had free transport to Universal and Sea-World. So we settled on the La Quinta Inn Lakeside which had a shuttle service to all the main theme parks.

    Fast forward a year (which, to be fair, actually seemed to go by relatively quickly) and we’re finally on our way. Except the plane was delayed by an hour, not the best start. It’s an 8 ½ hour flight from London Gatwick to Orlando International (time enough to watch THREE films on the flight!). Needless to say, it wasn’t the quietest flight I’ve ever been on - shouldn’t all those children have been in school?! Anyway, we finally arrived at the hotel around 8.00pm, ventured to the bar for a quick drink and then collapsed!

    Now, whilst I’d bought pretty much every guidebook available, we hadn’t exactly done much planning - no priority seating etc (I tried calling once to arrange a Fantasmic dinner package but was stuck on hold and gave up). Anyhow, I’d worked out a daily itinerary based on which days the books reckoned were the quietest at each park but that was pretty much the extent of my planning. My one concern was how reliable the free buses would be - would they come on time? Would there be room for everyone? We’d brought plenty of money to put aside for taxis, just in case.

    Day 1 (Sun Nov 7th)



    First stop: MGM! The timetable for the buses was not great - the earliest bus (to the TTC) was at 8.30am, then there were various buses to the other parks throughout the morning. Of course, we ended up getting the first bus every day and then transferring to the other parks and I guess that’s what most other people were doing to. Our hotel was first on the pick-up list so we were always lucky enough to get a seat but it was standing room only by the end of the route. But the buses always came on time, and it was rare for people to be turned away (I believe they called for a back-up if the first bus was full) so all in all I can’t complain about the service at all.

    So, we catch the Disney bus out to MGM and as we get nearer I see this tall building rising up to the sky - yikes! Presumably that’s the Tower of Terror. Now, I’ve been on plenty of roller-coasters before but I’ve never been on a ride where you’re dropped so this would be a new experience for me. We headed there first, and maybe had to wait about 10 mins in line (I would definitely recommend visiting the parks at this time of year, we walked on to many of the rides and most others we only to wait around 10-15 minutes). We were both a little nervous about this one - the build-up to the actual drop is so atmospheric, and we were both surprised when the ride actually moved forward before you get to the drop, it just threw us a bit. And the ride itself? Great fun! Although it’s a shame there aren’t arm-rests to hang on to….

    Next stop was the Rock’N’Rollercoaster Ride, which we’ve done countless times before at DLRP. The pre-show is different in Paris - the video clip shows Aerosmith looking at a model of the roller coaster, from a story point of view the American version is more fun. The ride itself is pretty much the same although the scenery is more distinct at WDW. For the sheer novelty value of travelling through a giant donut, I’ll give the nod to the US version.

    We were debating whether to get a Fastpass for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, decided just to queue anyway and ended up walking straight into just as a show was about to start. I was a little disappointed with this - not the show itself as such, just the fact that it skipped through so much of the story-line. Does the CM playing Eric have the easiest job at the Park or what? There’s a similar show at DLRP called Animagique, which is about 20 mins long and features songs from a variety of movies (The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Dumbo etc) and in opinion this is far superior.

    Just a quick note about meeting characters - in DLRP you only queue for the most popular characters, Mickey and Winnie the Pooh. I can understand that with the sheer volume of guests at WDW it makes sense to have a queue but given that in DLRP you can’t walk 5 steps without falling over a chipmunk, it seemed so strange to see people actually having to queue to meet them!

    We got in the queue for the Great Movie Tour but it broke down just as we were within sight of the doors so next stop was the Muppet Vision 3D. Come on, who doesn’t love the Muppets? Mind you, we found the shop almost as much fun as the show - great to see the Fraggles making a comeback too.

    We had lunch at the Sci-Fi Diner - highly recommended. We were slightly worried when we got our first glimpse at the menu as Susanne’s vegetarian but our server said no problem, they could do a vegetarian burger. Which is great, but if it’s a readily available option why not put it on the menu to save confusion?

    By the time we’d had lunch we were ready to stake out a spot for the parade - once that had finished (and I’d survived my close encounter with Darth Vader, one of the risks you take with a video camera) we hopped on to Star Tours - just the same as in France, although at least we got to hear the full script in English this time.

    Then to the Back-Lot Studio Tour, which is also a feature at Walt Disney Studios in Paris. I think in this instance I reckon France has the best version. It has two large set pieces, from Dinotopia and Reign of Fire, and Catastrophe Canyon is slightly more impressive too - not only the tanker explode, before being doused, it also starts sliding down the canyon towards the Guests. Un less I blinked and missed it, this doesn’t happen at MGM, does it?

    Next stop Beauty & The Beast and our first unpleasant encounter at WDW….turkey legs! Sorry if I’m offending anyone by attacking a grand Disney tradition but ugh! We ended up sitting next to this little old lady eating what looked like something from the Flintstones! Like I said, my sister’s vegetarian but I’m a great meat eater and even I couldn’t bear the sight (or smell) of it. We spent the rest of our holiday rushing past every Turkey Leg stand we came across, although I have to admit I never saw another one as huge as that lady was eating! Loved the show anyway, although I think the “you’ll believe you’re on Broadway” is a slight exaggeration! I saw the show on the West End and it’s just a teeny bit different…

    Finally, we joined the rush to grab good seats for Fantasmic and actually ended up sitting right at the front (who needed that dinner package eh?). What a wonderful show - we would have loved to have seen it again but too much effort involved in staking those seats out in advance. Still, I’ve videotaped it so can watch again whenever. We were slightly concerned at the huge amount of ash left only a metre or so ahead of our seats though…

    The free bus from MGM didn’t leave until 9.40 (bit strange when the park closed at 8pm) so we hopped on a Friendship and headed for Epcot. We arrived just in time to see Illuminations (albeit not in the greatest spot - behind a large tree near the fish & chip shop!) and them wandered out in time to catch the Epcot bus at 9.50. Any reservations I’d had about staying off-site disappeared as we watched the masses of people waiting to get on their buses back to the Disney hotels - that first evening I reckon there were 10 of us on our bus!

    OK, that’s it for day 1 - I think we managed to fit quite a lot in, wouldn’t you agree?
    Last edited by fray101; 11-27-2004 at 09:00 AM.


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    sadizney's Avatar
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    Hilary thanks for the day 1 trip report. I love hearing the comparisons to DLP. I am so envious of your wait times if you even want to call it that! I was there in November only once, for a long weekend and I do recall very short lines. 98% of the trips I have taken are during peak seasons and boy is it busy!


    DL trips: April '88, Oct '91, June '95, Aug '95

    WDW trips: Apr. '74, Aug '78, Aug '80, Aug '84, June '86, Oct '86, March '87, Oct '90, June '92, Aug '92, Jan '93, Aug '93 Nov '94, Aug '95, Aug '96, June '97, Aug '98, June/July 2000, July 2001, July 2002, June 2003, July, 2005 and June/July, 2006 for re-opening of PotC!!

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    Yep, we were really lucky (with one exception, which I'll come to later....). Of course the magic of Fastpass helps too - why everyone doesn't use it I'll never know (although of course if everyone did we'd all be stuck in the same line together...)


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    sadizney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fray101
    Yep, we were really lucky (with one exception, which I'll come to later....). Of course the magic of Fastpass helps too - why everyone doesn't use it I'll never know (although of course if everyone did we'd all be stuck in the same line together...)
    Believe it or not, during peak seasons they can actually run out of fast passes. It usually happens with Test Track more than any other attraction for some reason.


    DL trips: April '88, Oct '91, June '95, Aug '95

    WDW trips: Apr. '74, Aug '78, Aug '80, Aug '84, June '86, Oct '86, March '87, Oct '90, June '92, Aug '92, Jan '93, Aug '93 Nov '94, Aug '95, Aug '96, June '97, Aug '98, June/July 2000, July 2001, July 2002, June 2003, July, 2005 and June/July, 2006 for re-opening of PotC!!

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    Lou Mongello is offline Lou Mongello (AKQJ10) - WDW Trivia Book Author and Site Owner/Admin
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    Great report!! (and you got to meet Darth! Cool!! ) Can't wait to see the next installment and pictures!!
    Lou Mongello
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    Hmmm, "meet" is one word for it - I prefer "intimidated"!!!

    I've already uploaded a fair number of photos to the Gallery however you can find a (much!) larger selection here:http://www.ofoto.co.uk/BrowsePhotos....1&sort_order=0

    Just to warn those with slower connections, the photos are all in their original state and are over 200kb in size.
    Last edited by fray101; 11-23-2004 at 01:44 PM.


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    Day 2

    Ah - the Holy Grail! Yep, we were off to the Magic Kingdom today. That wonderful moment on board the monorail when you catch your first glimpse of the Castle across Seven Seas Lagoon!

    Main Street is pretty much the same as in DLRP. Susanne was just commenting on how she expected to see Casey’s Corner when, yep, there it was. No time to stop and look at shops now though - we had way too many rides to go on! Just made a quick stop at City Hall to make PS for lunch at Crystal Palace - I wasn’t too bothered where we ate during the holiday in general but no way was I leaving without a meal with Winnie the Pooh & Friends!

    First stop was Splash Mountain - no queue at all here. I couldn’t wait to go on this, there are no water rides at all at DLRP (well, only if you count POTC and It’s A Small World). Sadly I don’t think there ever will be - it would just be too cold in the wintertime. Anyhow, I wasn’t disappointed even though I probably spent the next two hours moaning about my wet backside! Later on in the week, after we’d been to Universal, I’d look back fondly on Splash Mountain and think how dry it seemed…

    Then it was over to one of our favourite rides, Big Thunder Mountain. No real difference between this version and the one in France, just slight variations on the theming. For instance, in DLRP, you see the dinosaur bones and geysers when you’re on the paddle-steamer (the Molly Brown and the Mark Twain in case you’re wondering).

    Next stop Haunted Mansion. From the stretch room on, this is quite different to the French version. “Phantom Manor” is much darker, and more “zombie” heavy. The DLRP version tells the story of a “ravishing bride and a vanishing groom”, needless to say the bride isn’t quite so ravishing by the end of the ride! Overall, we agreed we prefer the French version - guess that makes us a bit ghoulish!

    Anyone visiting Frontierland, please make sure you go and visit Woody, Bullseye & Jesse! When we stopped in there was hardly anyone there - as there was no queue the characters were just playing around, it was so funny! If you look at my photos you should see one of the poor CM in charge of this rabble, just after she’d been lassoed by Jesse!

    Moving on to Pirates of the Caribbean, one of Susanne’s favourites (hey, I like it to but I swear she’d be happy to sit and go round all day). Again, there are some differences between this and the DLRP version. In France, the ride starts with the battle, moves into the dungeons and then through the burning town. You’re then dropped into dark caverns where the pirate dead are left with their treasure (are you following the pattern? Europe = more skeletons). We noticed that the US pirates get to enjoy their booty, not so in France!

    Last stop before lunch was the Jungle Cruise - I know this isn’t the most exciting ride, but it’s one that’s always stuck in my mind from TV shows so I was really excited about this! And hey, unlike the Kilimanjaro Safaris, at least you know the animals will always show up.

    Onto Crystal Palace and our only real experience of queuing for the day! It was worth hanging around for though - OK, I’ve “met” Tigger & Eeyore countless times, but Pooh’s still a rarity (and one of my favourites) and this was a first time with Piglet! Oh yes, excellent food and lovely surroundings too! No complaints here. By the time we’d eaten it was time to go and find a spot for the Parade. Personally I like to watch parades on Main Street so you get the castle in the background but we found a decent spot in Frontierland and took advantage of being at the start to dash off to Fantasyland while most people were still watching.

    More Winnie the Pooh - what a cute ride! And then onto the ride we probably most curious about…Space Mountain.

    There is, of course, a Space Mountain in DLRP (currently undergoing a bit of a revamp). The first obvious difference is the theming. DLRP has “Discoveryland” as opposed to “Tomorrowland” and Space Mountain is actually based on Jules Vernes’ “From the Earth to the Moon”. So there are no astronauts or robo-dogs to be seen. But never mind that, the real difference is in the ride itself. Space Mountain at DLRP is best compared to Rock’n’Roller Coaster. I was pretty darned scared the first time I went on it (and we queued for over an hour so there was plenty of time to contemplate one’s mortality…), but of course ended up loving it and have lost time of how many times I’ve ridden it since (five times without getting off on one visit). Anyway, you have been warned…

    So we saw these pictures of Space Mountain at WDW with the teeny lap restraint and how we laughed! This is Disney’s big scary ride? But you know what, even if it can’t compare to it’s upstart French cousin, it’s a great ride and like Big Thunder Mountain a good test for coaster novices.

    Next, Philarmagic which I reckon has to be my favourite of the various 3-D/4-D films we saw over the next few days. But do they have to get you wet on every attraction?!

    Then it was off for a leisurely trip on the Liberty Belle and a repeat drowning on Splash Mountain before settling down for SpectroMagic.

    I'd arranged to meet Marie outside City Hall at 7.30 so we headed to Main Street to try and find a spot to watch the parade so we could get away in plenty of time. Well we thought we'd found a space near the hub but another look at the map and a quick chat with a CM and we found out the parade didn't actually go past there...Ah well, the best laid plans. So we headed back to Liberty Square and found a spot there. Of course it took quite a while to make our way back down Main Street afterwards, but we just managed to meet up with Marie and Kenny in time to watch Wishes - isn't it great how you can be miles away from home and still feel like you're meeting old friends? That's the wonder of sites like this

    Having heard so much about the Polynesian, how we could turn down the chance to have a quick tour so we got the boat back (arriving at the Polynesian just in time to see the Electrical Pageant) and Marie & Kenny showed us the sights of the Polynesian - we'd actually be back there later on in the trip but that's for another day!

    Marie, I'm so pleased we managed to meet up - and thanks again for the magical mystery tour!
    Last edited by fray101; 11-27-2004 at 09:01 AM.


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    MKBaughan is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Hilary and Sandy! I didn't know you dropped by here!!! What fun!!!
    Great trip report, Hilary!

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    Hi Marsha - guess you never know who you're going to run into!

    I've seen Maggie post a few times here too.


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    MKBaughan is offline A-Ticket holder
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    I saw her name in one of the other threads.... but I didn't post... I usually stop by here to lurk or play the trivia games....

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    Marsha I guess there are three of us "traitors" huh??

    Hilary I enjoyed trip report day 2! I cant believe there was NO wait on Splash Mountain!
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


    DL trips: April '88, Oct '91, June '95, Aug '95

    WDW trips: Apr. '74, Aug '78, Aug '80, Aug '84, June '86, Oct '86, March '87, Oct '90, June '92, Aug '92, Jan '93, Aug '93 Nov '94, Aug '95, Aug '96, June '97, Aug '98, June/July 2000, July 2001, July 2002, June 2003, July, 2005 and June/July, 2006 for re-opening of PotC!!

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    fray101's Avatar
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    Now come on Sandy, you know we're all allowed to visit "other" Disney sites!!

    Anyway, here goes with the final (lengthy) part...

    Days 3-5 were spent at Sea-World and the two Universal parks. I was two thirds of the way through writing my report when I experienced a computer “glitch” and the lost the lot. Can’t face writing it again, and since this is a Disney site anyway I’ll skip over these days. But if anyone has any questions about these parks feel free to ask.


    Day 6



    Back to the world of Disney and Animal Kingdom. Like most people we headed off to Kilimanjaro Safaris but the line was already quite long so we grabbed a Fastpass and went to do Dinosaur instead. No real line here yet, we walked straight through and ended up in the front seats. Can I just say that for the first time ever, I came off a ride thinking that if I was a child I’d be scarred for life! How many of those Carnosaurs could they throw at you? And that last one was so loud! Pretty scary….!

    A slow walk back (and a very encounter with DeVine) to the Safari. We saw a fair amount of animals but frankly I was happy with the elephants and hippos anyway! Then off to the wonderful Festival of the Lion King show (where, guess what, we were elephants although I was taping the show I couldn’t exactly wave my “trunk” around.” We’d decided not to bother with Tarzan as we’d seen a similar show in Paris - we just didn’t have time to do both.

    Lunch at the Rainforest Café (excellent as always) then we wandered around the Maharajah Jungle and Pangani Forest Trails - I spent ages trying to take photos of a tiger who kept wandering behind a bush, only to find several more in plain view just around the corner. Bit surprised at the number of people who thought the meerkats were prairie dogs - did noone watch the Lion King?! How cute are these little guys anyway?

    Then it was the time for the parade - we managed to find a spot near the start with a bench, always a plus! Beforehand I’d found a lovely cuddly elephant (or “stuffed ornament” as I prefer to call it!) but I figured I’d wait to buy it until after we’d been on Kali River Rapids! Ideally we would have ridden that in the morning but it was still hot but there just wasn’t time. Wasn’t quite so pleasant by the time we rode, and of course we got drenched! Just time for Primeval Whirl before the park closed, and then I headed off to buy my elephant only to find - disaster! - that the store had closed. Guess we’d just have to come back again.

    Our 10 day passes included a free character breakfast however the voucher had to be redeemed at Animal Kingdom. We figured this meant we could only have the breakfast there but it turned out it could be anywhere. My first choice, Chef Mickey, was fully booked so we settled on Ohana at the Polynesian for Monday.

    As the park closed at 5pm we’d decided this would be a good day to visit Downtown Disney. We hadn’t researched how to get there and foolishly assumed there’d be a direct bus from the TTC. Bit of a surprise to learn there wasn’t but we didn’t have to wait too long for a bus to Fort Wilderness and the we arrived there just in time for the Downtown Disney bus.

    Managed to get totally lost in the World of Disney then headed to Planet Hollywood - big queues of course but fortunately I have a Planet Hollywood credit card which gets me priority seating so we only had to wait about 5 minutes for a table. Plus I’m proud to say this was the only time I used my credit card the whole trip - and it didn’t cost me a penny!

    Day 7



    Back to Animal Kingdom so I could get my elephant! Did a repeat of the previous morning, Fastpass for the Safari and then off to Dinosaur. We were in the front yet again and I swear it was even scarier this time around - seemed to be even more of those darned Carnosaurs!

    Next up, “It’s Tough To Be A Bug”. Now Susanne doesn’t like insects and was a bit reluctant about doing this - but come on, she’s seen (and loves) “A Bug’s Life” so how bad could it be? Needless to say, there was nothing to be scared about. However, I confess we did sit forward in our seats to avoid the sting! Not much you can do about the stink bugs though….

    We’d thought about going back to MGM but abandoned that idea because of the Soap Star Weekend so it was back to the Magic Kingdom instead. We arrived there about 12.30 and wandered over to Tomorrowland to see whether they were doing any previews of Stitch’s Great Escape. The huge queue soon told us they were but Fastpass was open so we went to grab tickets. It was only when we got the tickets that we saw the return time - 7.55-855pm! Never mind, we had PS at Liberty Tree Tavern for 6.30 so that fitted in quite well and we could do the ride before watching SpectroMagic again.

    We’d yet to visit Mickey’s Toontown so headed over there for our tour of Mickey and Minnie’s house. Then we popped in the Hall of Fame - could not believe the huge queues for the characters who surely must be more accessible elsewhere? For instance, there was no queue at all to see Winnie & friends at Animal Kingdom.

    Never mind, we had more important things on our mind when we saw the confectionary. I’m a huge Reeses Cup fan (Ok, I admit it - I only visit the USA to stock up) so I just had to have the Mickey Mouse peanut butter cup! Didn’t expect it to cost over $4.00 though…I had to take a photo to remember it by (to be fair, it was a meal in itself).

    The queue wasn’t too long for the Barnstormer so we figured we might as well do that. We’d read about how short it is but we didn’t mind too much as we only queued for 10 minutes or so. But I pity anyone in the summer standing in line for an hour or so.

    Onto Buzz Lightyear - honestly, I was useless at the Men In Black ride at Universal and (if possible) even worse at Buzz! A lady two cars in front of us was taking photos of her family and I thought that seemed a good idea - if you don’t even try to shoot you can’t be embarrassed by awful scores.

    It was Saturday and needless to say by far the busiest day we’d experienced at any park so far. No queue at the Haunted Mansion though so we popped in there before heading back to Adventureland and the Enchanted Tiki Land. We finally tracked down those Dole Whips and then went to watch Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration before going on the Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain again (nice views as it was getting dark and we didn’t get too wet this time around). Then off to the Liberty Tree Tavern (apparently every restaurant in the park was booked out by this time). Not too long a wait for our table and a huge meal! Characters were Goofy, Pluto (the only one not in period dress), the ubiquitous Chip & Dale and Minnie who was looking very glamorous!

    Meal over it was off to Stitch - we watched the minutes slowly count down until our Fastpass time arrived, of course we then had to wait for the next show to start anyway. There were two pre-show waiting areas, the first with a couple of animatronics of other “cousins”, the second a short video clip. Then onto the attraction itself which has to feature the most uncomfortable shoulder restraints ever, not to mention that chilli dog smell (on the plus side, at least it wasn’t turkey legs…). The animatronic Stitch is amazing and this is a certainly a show that any Stitch fan should experience at least once. If you’re not a fan of the little blue guy, there’s probably not much to recommend, certainly if there’s a large queue.

    By the time we exited Stitch Main Street was so packed we decided against staying to see SpectroMagic. So we decided to get the monorail to Epcot and get on the bus from there. The monorail station was deserted so we managed to ride in the cab - there was also a young couple, we think the driver found it quite refreshing to have adults to talk too! We arrived at Epcot just as Illuminations was starting and got a great view from the cab - and how cool are those Mickey approved “co-pilots” cards they give you!

    Day 8



    The last day of the International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot but I had other things on my mind - Mission: Space. Despite having been on so many other rides without ill-effect, I just did not want to go on this. As a child I used to get really car-sick and some of the motion simulators still make me feel a little queasy (actually, the one time both Susanne & I felt really ill on a ride was when we ended up on the back row of Star Tours!). So I was getting rather worried about this - I sat in silence on the monorail and frankly was ready to throw up BEFORE I got on the ride, let alone afterwards!

    So we arrive at Epcot and I tell Susanne “If you’re going on Mission: Space we should go there now” (please note the “you” not “we”!). So we head over that way and Susanne’s saying how I made her see “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” even though she doesn’t like bugs! Ok, number one, I did not make her - I said we didn’t have to do it. Number two, we’re talking cute little “Bug’s Life” bugs! How can that possibly compare? Finally she says she’ll buy me a Stitch pin if I throw up - seems like a good deal!

    OK, we get in line - although I’d have preferred to wait outside with Mickey & Goofy! Once again there was only a few minutes wait which is just as well. If I’d been stuck in there for an hour or so I’d almost certainly have backed out! And I have to say, I’ve never been on a ride where so many guests have left at the last minute!

    To cut a long (OK, about 2 minutes) story short, it was fine! In fact this was a bit of a running theme - from the photos I’d seen there were numerous roller-coasters (basically all the ones at Universal) that I hadn’t fancied doing and then I rode them and ended up being almost disappointed because I wasn’t scared to death. But it is quite an amazing feeling - have you tried moving your legs? You can’t! We ended up riding it again later that evening - of course I was quite the seasoned pro by then telling other nervous riders not to worry.

    I did, however, suffer my only holiday injury here, banging my knee as I climbed out the boat in Maelstrom!

    Whilst we probably could have made do with the free samples of honey, peanuts and cheese, we had lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant. Elegant setting, great service and yet I much preferred the Sharks Underwater Grill at Sea-World. The menu was more varied and there were a better array of fish on display, at least the day we went anyway.

    We didn’t get round to riding the Test-Track however we did go on Living With the Land which was very peaceful and quite fascinating - the size of some of that fruit and vegetables being grown! We hadn’t even made it to Wonders of Life, which was now closed, so at this stage we were thinking about coming back to Epcot on our final day. Well, we changed our minds about that so there were a few things we didn’t see but never mind. Grabbed some chips from the United Kingdom (of course) and settled down to watch Illuminations. Had a long chat with a couple of other families - this is another difference between WDW and DLRP, guests talking to each other while waiting for shows. Guess the language barrier’s too great in France as guests are from all over Europe (and beyond) however the American parks feel a lot friendlier as a result.

    Day 9



    An early start this morning as our breakfast at Ohana was for 7.50. Got a taxi to the Polynesian and arrived in plenty of time, fortunately we were seated as soon as the restaurant opened so we didn’t have to wait until our actual seating time). We got a window seat with a great view across to the castle. The food was wonderful, our favourite Mouse was there (but come on guys, bring Stitch over next time!) together with our favourite Chipmunks even if Dale never made it to our table…all in all a great start to the day.

    With the Soap Stars gone it was safe to venture back to MGM for repeat visits to the Rock’n’Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror (the latter seemed a lot worse this time, can’t think how many times we were bounced up and down). Made it to the Great Movie Ride this time, then off to the Art of Animation (there’s a similar show in Paris) which was rather spoiled by a couple of children who screamed the whole way through. This exits onto a meet and greet with The Incredibles. Finally it was the Indiana Jones stunt show before a lovely lunch at Mama Melrose and then back to the Magic Kingdom, for our last chance to see SpectroMagic and Wishes.

    First though, was another go at Buzz Lightyear and I stuck to my plan of videoing the ride rather than try to shoot anything! It just worked better that way…We’d got a Fastpass for Space Mountain but just as we reached the front of the queue it was close - apparently some poor CM had accidentally pressed “the big red button” which shuts down the whole ride. The lights came on (well, sort of) so we could see the whole track overhead - not to mention the poor guests stuck on the ride! It was obvious this was going to take a long time to fix so we gave up and headed to Adventureland instead.

    We were in the queue for Pirate of the Caribbean when we suddenly realised the park closed at 7pm, not 8 so we better go find a place for the parade (we’d thought it strange that Main Street seemed so busy TWO hours before it started!). As Main Street was already busy we went to Frontierland and found a good spot there. Our last parade of the trip, sigh…At least with the park closing early we got back to the hotel at a decent hour (by which I mean anything before 10pm), so could grab a drink and pizza and then start the sad task of packing.
    Last edited by fray101; 11-27-2004 at 08:58 AM.


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  13. #13
    fray101's Avatar
    fray101 is offline C-Ticket Holder
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    Ok, last post was too long so this REALLY is the last part...!

    Day 10


    Our transfer to the airport was due to arrive at 4.15 (finally turned up at 4.50, thanks Mears…) so we still had a busy day at the park ahead of us. We’d decided to go back to the Magic Kingdom and this turned out to be a wise decision. For today was the Grand Opening of Stitch’s Great Escape! Ok, we already knew that but what we didn’t know was exactly what would be going on in the Park.

    Well the first thing you noticed was the giant Stitch inflatable outside the Park entrance (not sure whether this was the same one as at Downtown Disney or a duplicate - surely there can’t be that many? I know they had one on display at DLRP when the film opened) and there was a sign up announcing the opening.

    We stepped onto Main Street to be confronted by “Wanted” posters everywhere, Elvis blasting from the loudspeakers and, of course, the newly decorated castle! Now I know that many of you feel strongly about the castles being tampered with but this was so funny and just so appropriate for Stitch! OK, maybe Wishes looked a bit strange that night! As this was our last day I don’t know how long the decorations stayed up but I’m guessing just for the one day.

    There was a live TV broadcast from the Castle and I’ve since seen a video clip of Stitch hijacking Cinderella’s Surprise Celebration - it would have been nice to see what was going on at the Castle but there was too much to do! My one regret from that day was that we didn’t actually get to see Stitch himself. I believe the ride itself opened to the public around 1pm. When we walked past the stand-by queue was actually only about 20 mins - judging by the Fastpass return times everyone must have been grabbing those instead. We decided we didn’t need to do it again, but its just as well we caught that preview.

    Anyway, off to Fantasyland to grab a Fastpass for Peter Pan. We hadn’t been too concerned about this having ridden the DLRP version numerous times. That also attracts huge queues but at least the pirate ships there seat 4! Then back to do Winnie the Pooh again and then a walk-on to Snow White. Again, we hadn’t bothered with this before but we were curious to see how it compared to the French version. In case you’re wondering, I think there are more dwarves in France (well, obviously there’s still only seven) and I think you spend longer in the forest there too. Not a huge amount of difference though. Personally, I prefer the similarly themed Pinocchio ride at DLRP. Not much difference to speak of between the two Peter Pan rides either.


    Off to Frontierland for a final trip on Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. We came off Splash Mountain just in time to catch the Railroad and did a full circuit of the park before going on Pirates of the Caribbean. Next stop Space Mountain - Susanne was in the front car and said it was actually quite scary with nothing in front of you!

    Finally, one last trip to the wonderful Philarmagic before waving farewell to the Magic Kingdom one last time…

    So that’s my trip report! I have to say I was surprised at how easy it was to get around the parks (aside from navigating around strollers that is). I was expecting it to be a mammoth expedition to get from one part of a park to another, no park hopping etc and yet we had no real trouble at all. No blisters either!

    Given the amount it costs and the actual amount of time you need to spend there, I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be back at WDW. But at least I’ve finally been! Before going I was also worried that Disneyland Paris might lose its appeal once we’d been to Walt Disney World. But I’ll be more than happy going back there. Of course, I’d be happy at any Disney Park!
    Last edited by fray101; 11-27-2004 at 08:59 AM.


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  14. #14
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    sadizney is offline C-Ticket Holder
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    Well Hilary I am so glad you got the opportunity go to WDW and the USA!! I hope it won't be your last trip. After all, they have great new things coming next year at EPCOT (Soarin' Over California, and Mount Everest in Animal Kingdom.) I guess this is easy for me to say, living in the USA, but never say never. I am very anxious to visit DLP as well. Your reports were excellent! I am also glad you had the chance to eat at "Liberty Tree Tavern." It is one of those restaurants that are so easy to miss, but according to the staff there, once you go, you will always go back there to eat. The food is sooo good! I hope you are cutting and pasting your reports when posting at Disney Echo...they are so long and thorough. Thanks again for such great detail in everything you did!!


    DL trips: April '88, Oct '91, June '95, Aug '95

    WDW trips: Apr. '74, Aug '78, Aug '80, Aug '84, June '86, Oct '86, March '87, Oct '90, June '92, Aug '92, Jan '93, Aug '93 Nov '94, Aug '95, Aug '96, June '97, Aug '98, June/July 2000, July 2001, July 2002, June 2003, July, 2005 and June/July, 2006 for re-opening of PotC!!

  15. #15
    fray101's Avatar
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    No problem Sandy, was great to relive the holiday via the reports (the Echo version does vary slightly...)

    Back to the US in April, this time New York.


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