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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report in the Vacation Planning forums; First off, a special thank you to everyone on here who followed my adventures on Facebook over MLK weekend. And if you're not already my Facebook Friend, why not? What's ...
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    supernova's Avatar
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    Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    First off, a special thank you to everyone on here who followed my adventures on Facebook over MLK weekend. And if you're not already my Facebook Friend, why not? What's wrong with you? Feel free to add me by searching for the email address michaelscalice@ gmail.com (be sure to put them together... kept them spaced in case it wouldn't let me post the link) and I'll happily add you. Always great for the Disney community to stick together.

    Anyway, back in September, I booked a trip to WDW for MLK weekend. I wasn't sure what the crowds would be like, but since I only started my new job in April, I wasn't going to begin pressing for vacation time already, so I thought I'd take advantage of a three-day weekend, and I hoped crowds would be lighter than over Presidents' Day weekend. Originally I wanted to visit over Columbus Day weekend, but after calling WDW and learning that they were not running any Halloween parties over those three days, I cancelled my reservation and booked for January. Plus, I haven't seen the parks withouth holiday decorations up for several years now, and I was looking forward to hearing non-holiday background music, too. My wife's college was closed, at least for the students. But as an Academic Dean, she and the rest of the staff were required to come in. So, I set up a nice solo trip for myself. And since I missed out on visiting WDW for my annual Christmas trip because we just moved into our new home right at the beginning of December, I wanted to get down there before December 2013.

    FRIDAY 1/18
    True to my nature, I packed Friday night. Just one small carry-on suitcase, so it wasn’t much to gather up. I’ve travelled enough at this point in my life where I don’t need to pack for a vacation a week or two before. That’s just nutty. As I'm gathering up my park tickets and reservation information, I realized that I hadn't booked a car. I thought I had, but I've been down to Florida twice in December (for a funeral in Jacksonville and to my home in Lauderhill) and THOSE were the trips I had booked the cars. So, I scrambled to book a last minute car, and got a great deal through Alamo, with a 20% discount and free class upgrade through Visa. With the car and packing both done, I set the alarm for 4am and turned in for about 11am.

    DAY 1 - SATURDAY 1/19
    Saturday morning, I got to the airport for about 5:45 for my 6:50am flight and after making it through security and walking to my gate, the first thing I noticed was that the place was already teeming with little brats. Wonderful… I’m not even there yet and already way too many kids. This was not going to be a quiet weekend at the parks.

    My flight took off and landed without any delay, and since I only had a carry-on suitcase with me, I was able to skip baggage claim and go right to Alamo for my rental car. No line, no waiting. Since my room wouldn’t be ready until the afternoon, I drove right to Universal Studios. Last year, I took advantage of a Costco offer for a 3-day/2-park ticket for only $130. This was a deal I couldn't pass up, and the ticket will literally last me for three years, with one visit a year through 2014.

    The parking lot was decently full and the Security Bag Checkpoint was crowded. With nothing but a water bottle clipped to my belt, I was able to skip the line and head right over into City Walk and make the trek over to Islands of Adventure. The park was fairly crowded, but then it was still early in the day. One thing I did notice... LOTS of Brazilian tour groups. Everywhere.

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


    I made a left and hit The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. I took advantage of the single rider line and waited maybe 10 minutes before I made it to the load area. Not too bad, considering how long the regular standby line was. I know they said there were upgrades made to the ride, but I’m not one to read spoilers and reviews (actually this is the only forum I frequent) so I don’t know what the upgrades were. All I know is that Spider-Man is still, hands down, THE very BEST ride at any park anywhere. Period. Incredible technology.

    Universal has set the bar. Your turn, Disney. Top this one, if you can.


    From there, I walked the rest of the park, stopping to ride Pteradon Flyers, and then walked over to Harry Potter. The area was, as always, packed. Universal did well acquiring this property, and from how crowded this area still is (crazy people are buying wands and robes and scarves... what the helI are you people going to do with these things when you get home???), it's obvious why they are expanding this land. Should they have removed a great ride like Jaws for it? No, probably not. But it'll be interesting to see what they do with the space and see how they tie Universal in with Hollywood Studios. If they add a new gate, it'll be nice not to have to walk all the way over from one park to the other.

    Construction crane over Harry Potter in Islands of Aventure.


    Cranes over the old Jaws space in Universal Studios.


    After I was done here, I left and walked over to the Universal Studios park. For some reason, I went right instead of going up the main drag, otherwise I would have remembered to hit the new Minion attraction. Coming in, I saw their NY skyline and recognized the old Chemical Bank building, where my grandmother worked for a long time.

    Chemical Bank, just like my grandma, is dead.



    I walked around and decided to ride ET, but the ride was down for a short while, so I went to the Simpsons, but the line was too long. I rode Terminator and Men in Black.

    Lose the guy in the middle and I think you boys will do alright.



    From there, I went for lunch and went back over to the Simpsons, and decided to wait out the line. What’s nice about this ride is that the line moves very quickly. There are three floors and each one has 15 vehicles. And if you’re a Simpsons fan, the pre-show area is great.

    There was no way I was missing out on this photo op.


    On a side note, both on Spider-Man AND the Simpsons rides, I was seated next to two different women, neither of whom spoke english, both probably from miscellaneous tour groups of a particular nation. Either way, both of them were SCREAMING on these rides, and then laughing. But loudly screaming right in my d@mn ear. Holy cow. Really ladies? Shut up and enjoy the ride. Or at least shut up so that I can enjoy the ride.

    I walked back over to ET because, even though the second half of the ride is stupid, the first half is great. Everything that Peter Pan SHOULD be, but isn't. Plus, the queue through the forest is wonderful. After the ride, I walked back to see what else I missed.

    Who's the other yellow guy?


    Turns out they're right.

    On the way out, I thought I’d try to stop and see the new Despicable Me attraction, but the line was too long so I skipped it. I’ve seen the awful Shrek 4D and I figure it’s probably quite similar in concept. There were walls up for the new Transformers ride and I’m very pumped to see this one when it’s done. Knowing what Universal is capable of putting together, this should be another masterpiece. Much better than anything that we’ve waited years for at New Fantasyland, but that’s for Day 2.

    Sorry Shrek. Your 4-D attraction is awful.



    I had seen just about everything I cared to visit, so I decided to leave and check into my hotel, since it was now 2:30. After checking in, I wound up falling off for a while, which I guess my body needed. When I woke up at 6:30, I drove to Walmart to pick up some things (since my room had a kitchen and fridge) and then went to Bahama Breeze for dinner. Unfortunately, there were TONS of people spilling out of the restaurant waiting for a table, so I decided to drive over to the Boardwalk Resort and walk the full loop.

    There are a lot worse ways to spend an evening...


    After making the trip and pausing to watch a minute of Monsters, Inc on the beach outside the Yacht & Beach Club resorts, I drove back to Bahama Breeze and got a seat on their outdoor deck at around 9:45. I was back in the room for 11:00, showered and went to bed. Big day ahead on Sunday, with FOUR Disney parks to visit in one day.

    TO BE CONTINUED...

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    Last edited by supernova; 01-30-2013 at 01:43 PM.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


  2. #2
    HauntedGabe's Avatar
    HauntedGabe is offline Where'd she go???
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Excellent report so far. Love all the pictures, they are so crisp. It is amazing how well those parks have come together over the years.

    And I so agree with your ET vs PP analogy. Other than hanging from the rafters being the "draw" I don't understand the devotion to PP.
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Really enjoyed reading the first part of your TR! Looking forward to the rest
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    ohiodisneydad is offline Hi, my name is David and I like Beverly.
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Great report. Tried finding you on Facebook to add ya and I couldn't. Send me an email through here and I can look you up.
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Got a few PMs as well as the messages on here that people are having trouble finding me on FB. Happy to add you all. Here's the link to my page:
    https://www.facebook.com/#!/michael.scalice.14

    Day 2 should be up today, if I have some time over lunch
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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    Mo Noyz is offline Unfortunately, this user's actions have resulted in him/her being BANNED from the site
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    I booked a trip to WDW for MLK weekend.
    Originally I wanted to visit over Columbus Day weekend, but after calling WDW...
    And since I missed out on visiting WDW for my annual Christmas trip
    Dude, why would you plan a weekend trip to WDW? Why not Universal?

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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo Noyz View Post
    Dude, why would you plan a weekend trip to WDW? Why not Universal?
    One day at Universal, one day at the four Disney parks, one day on Disney property. I can't spend three days at just Universal.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    What?!

    Two days at the broken down wasteland of lost potential and shattered dreams, and only one at the excellence in theme parks Universal?

    Madness!

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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    DAY 2 – Sunday January 20 – Park 1 - Epcot



    Woke up at around 6:30 and made some breakfast. After relaxing for a short while, I headed out and went to Epcot for 8:30. Again, with just a water bottle, I was able to skip the security line and went over to find… a line. What the heck? Apparently Epcot opened at 9 that day, not 8, so I got stuck at the turnstiles for the first time since visiting WDW. I never EVER go to rope drop. I just don’t do it. So I got to stand around for a half hour. Eventually at 8:45, some people came around on wheeled scooters, they played some music and an announcement (I was not paying attention… too busy reading a novel) and then streamers came out from the ramp and they opened the park at 8:50.

    Third on line.


    I made the walk over to Soarin’ and rather than take a Fast Pass for a ride with literally NO line, I just walked through and was the fourth person on. While the scents were stronger than I usually remember them to be, wow does that ride need to be cleaned up. Allot. There are so many black patches it’s almost distracting at this point. After riding Soarin’, I walked across the park to check out the new Test Track. Visually, very nice. But I just don’t get the concept here. I rode single rider so I didn’t go through the queue, which had already built up quite a bit. At the end of the single rider line, you have the option of creating your ‘SIM’ car. Why, I have no idea. Even the portion of the ride that used to be breaks vs. ABS… I didn’t get how one ‘version’ of the car was supposed to outperform another ‘version’, especially when other people’s cards are all loaded into the car before you board. So while they made it look great, the story worked better under the old version. Another thing I noticed was that they used the same cr#ppy onboard screens, and it the screen was jumping and full of static.

    No line, no waiting before 9am on Soarin'

    After Test Track, I walked on to the Green Team side of Mission: Space. No line, no waiting. After that, I wasn’t sure where to head. It was barely 10:00 at that point. Rather than leave like I intended and go to another park, I figured I’d stick around until 11am and walk through World Showcase now instead. So, I decided to walk through Mouse Gears, which is a store I haven’t been to in a lot of years. Probably literally since they changed it from two floors to just one. The Jaminators so that kept the crowd in one place. I left Mouse Gears and saw that there wasn’t a line at Character Connection, so I went inside to find out why. Turns out they’re doing construction and you can’t see the characters from the windows. So five people later, I was inside taking photos with Mickey, Pluto, and Minnie.

    Guess everyone else thought the place was closed for renovations?






    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


    I left through the back door and walked through Innovations East and West, though I didn’t bother to try any of the activities. I did ask about the Disney Visa photo opportunity and found out that it wasn’t going to be held until 1pm, and by then I was going to be out of the park.

    Ahhhh, welcome back Habit Heroes


    As I crossed the walkway, I found Geppetto and Marie, so I stopped for more photos.



    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo




    I walked over to Finding Nemo and realized that the walk through the queue is actually longer than the ride itself. Then I thought I would try Living with the Land. Surprisingly, the line was actually long. I guess they were people that wanted to ride Soarin’ but were scared away by the line. I stuck it out and took the slow boat ride through the gardens. I skipped that awful Lion King conservation movie and walked over to see how long the line was for Journey into Imagination. The line was building, though not terrible. The only terrible thing is the ride itself, so rather than stick around, I took a phone call that was coming in and left. Let’s face it… walking right on is too long a wait for that awful ride. Standing around for five minutes or more is NOT going to happen. See ya, Figment.

    So, around to Mexico I went. I usually visit the temple thingie there, even if I am not going to ride the boat. Here again, the line was longer than it needed to be. And with three more parks to see today, I wasn’t about to waste time on this abysmal attraction. So, I left and continued my trek. I went over to Norway and was handed a red card to check the wait time. The sign said 10 minutes and I was on in less than five. I hope they updated the sign.

    The safest distance I can think of to be from Journey into Imagination


    A quick trip through the Stave Church and I was on my way again. As I walked, I saw Mulan outside, so I stopped and took a picture. First time meeting her. And no, I don’t use autograph books. Those are stupid.


    I stopped in Japan to buy a snow cone (the price went up a bit but it’s still an awesome treat, and checked out the non-holiday decorated train at Germany, and walked through Italy and France.

    What the helI is an Ice Cream Crepe?


    As I was walking through France, I noticed that the boat over to the Studios but by the time I walked over the bridge and tried to catch it, I knew I wouldn’t make the boat. Instead, I finished walking Future World and figured I’d just head back to my car. While at Canada, I noticed that there was a new meet-n-greet area set up. Back in Mexico, I was wondering why Donald wasn’t out in his giant sombrero. Instead, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale were all out in a winter area, complete with blowing soap snow. I somehow got Christmas after all. I decided to pass on the photo op, though.



    On the way out, I found Chip & Dale again in Future World (isn’t that a Disney no-no?) and kept walking over towards Art of Disney, one of my favorite stores. I was excited to see that they updated the offerings in the artist sketch book, but still nothing added for the Rescuers, so I didn’t buy any this time. I walked over to Spaceship Earth, but the line was crazy so I kept heading towards the exit. Daisy and Goofy were out front, as usual, taking pictures, but I just went to the car.

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


    At this point, it was 12:10... time to head to Hollywood Studios.

    Epcot? 1/3-day park.


    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    Last edited by supernova; 01-30-2013 at 01:39 PM.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Props on the photo op stops with Geppetto and Marie. Marie guilted me into having my photo taken with her and my wife on our last trip. She's a great character.
    "Life is an occassion. Rise to it."- Mr. Magorium
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    Mo Noyz is offline Unfortunately, this user's actions have resulted in him/her being BANNED from the site
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Hahaha... year of a million xenophobic nightmares!

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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo Noyz View Post
    Hahaha... year of a million xenophobic nightmares!
    Ahhhh, those crazy Brazilian tour groups.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by ohiodisneydad View Post
    Props on the photo op stops with Geppetto and Marie. Marie guilted me into having my photo taken with her and my wife on our last trip. She's a great character.
    I was going to pass on Marie, but with such a short line, I figure what the heck. It gave the little guy in the costume something to do.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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    Mo Noyz is offline Unfortunately, this user's actions have resulted in him/her being BANNED from the site
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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    BTW, forgot to comment earlier, funny you mention wanting to see the place without Christmas decorations. Something I noticed this past Christmas was how much more sparsely the parks were decorated than in years past. At the MK they pretty much only decorated Main Street. Epcot was even more sparse, especially in Future World. I guess when they did away with the Lights Of Winter, they did away with a lot of other stuff. The tree there was nice, though. Studios had a tree out in front of the gates, and seemingly nothing else. Same way at AK.

    Odd.

    Equally as odd was standing in the queue for Rockin' Rollercoaster and hearing Christmas songs instead of Aerosmith. Really changes the entire atmosphere for that particular attraction.

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    Re: Mike's 2-Day/6-Park MLK Weekend Solo Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo Noyz View Post
    BTW, forgot to comment earlier, funny you mention wanting to see the place without Christmas decorations. Something I noticed this past Christmas was how much more sparsely the parks were decorated than in years past. At the MK they pretty much only decorated Main Street. Epcot was even more sparse, especially in Future World. I guess when they did away with the Lights Of Winter, they did away with a lot of other stuff. The tree there was nice, though. Studios had a tree out in front of the gates, and seemingly nothing else. Same way at AK.

    Odd.

    Equally as odd was standing in the queue for Rockin' Rollercoaster and hearing Christmas songs instead of Aerosmith. Really changes the entire atmosphere for that particular attraction.
    Sounds like a weaker version of the Ghost Galaxy overlay from Disneyland. At least it's not as random as holiday tunes in Rockin' Rollercoaster. Unless they were performed by Aerosmith.

    I usually (always?) go during a holiday season, be it Christmas or Halloween, so every time I see the MK, it's always decked out for something. Nice to see the parks in their natural state every now and again.
    Really, Walt? Disneyland is MY land? Why would I want a silly little land when I can have the WORLD.


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