Observations from Magic Kingdom: May 11, 2013

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049Last week Disney announced it would host a special coronation ceremony making Merida an official Disney Princess. Although Brave is actually my least favorite Pixar movie, it was rumored that all the other Disney Princesses would be there, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them all together!

The ceremony was at 9:30am, so we needed to be at the park pretty early for a good spot. With 2 toddlers, a very slow McDonald’s Drive-Thru, and a not-so-magical on-property traffic ticket, we were a bit late. We got to Magic Kingdom just a bit after Rope Drop and headed straight to Cinderella Castle. Most of the area directly in front of the castle was roped off for the Social Media Moms conference, and invited media and regular guests took up most of the hub. We wandered around a bit before settling on a spot just at the back of the hub in front of the Partners Statue. The view wasn’t great, but I would be able to get a glimpse of the princesses, and we would be able to hear.

At 9:30 people started shifting around, and kids began going up on shoulders, so it seemed the festivities had started, but we weren’t sure because we couldn’t hear anything. If we listened very carefully we could just faintly hear an announcement being made up at the front. We quickly realized they weren’t going to use the speakers back where we were, only the ones right at the castle stage. All around us guests were looking around and trying to figure out what was going on, and people were really disappointed. We were all okay with having a very obstructed view, but not being able to hear or anything was frustrating. It wasn’t like we were halfway down Main Street or anything, we were right there in the hub! It seemed silly that Disney wouldn’t at least let us hear what was happening. After a few minutes we decided it wasn’t worth it and headed off to go on rides.

002Since it was Saturday I had my kids with me, and we decided the whole day would be for what they wanted to do. We began with one of their favorites: Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. Okay…it’s also one of my favorites. I have actually had days where I go by myself to the park and ride over and over practicing so that I can get the Galactic Hero rank (for a score of 999,999). Now that I’ve gotten good I really enjoy the extra challenge of trying to score that high while a toddler is controlling the spinning of the car. Today my youngest son felt like we should spin a lot so my score was nowhere near 999,999, but everyone had a great time.

When we left there we went for a quick spin on the PeopleMover and then headed to get the stroller from where it was parked. When we approached it near Lunching Pad we suddenly noticed that there were flies everywhere! At first we thought it might be because they were attracted to the food at Lunching Pad and juice and snacks left in strollers, but as the day went on we realized they were all over the park. They flew around us and landed on everything we had…we even noticed other guests complaining about them. It is also love-bug season in Central Florida, but the flies at Magic Kingdom were even worse. I don’t know where they came from but I really hope Disney does something to get them under control soon.

006From there we went to another favorite area: Storybook Circus. This is a perfect area for toddlers to burn off some energy, and as a huge Dumbo fan I love spending time there, too. We went straight to Dumbo The Flying Elephant so they could play in the playground. I didn’t even look at the wait time as we got in line. Since they added the play area, it doesn’t matter if the line is 10 minutes or 2 hours; the kids are happy to play, and I can sit in the air conditioning…I wish every queue was like this one. It was a somewhat busy day, and the area was at capacity, yet I still didn’t feel it was too full…I managed to get a seat where I could see the entire playground and could watch my kids run around, and they didn’t seem to have trouble getting a turn on any toys. After a short wait our pager went off, and we headed to the ride.

023After Dumbo the kids made a beeline for the Casey Junior Splash ‘N’ Soak Station water play area. It was a hot day and I always carry changes of clothes for the boys, so I let them go. I found a semi-shady spot on the edge and relaxed and chatted with some friends while the boys ran around and got absolutely drenched. Again, this is another play area I think is great, but I noticed a couple of things that bothered me. I saw a lot of kids running around barefoot or not wearing clothes…that is seriously unsafe. If you’re going to let your children play in a water area, bring a change of clothes or be prepared for them to walk around wet while they air dry. Their having a good time isn’t worth their stepping on something and getting badly hurt.

045When they were worn out we took a quick trip on the Walt Disney World Railroad to dry off a bit and then headed to get some lunch. I had heard that Be Our Guest had taken the Steak Sandwich off the menu and replaced it with a Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich, and I wanted to try it out. We got in line at 1:00pm and were at our table 45 minutes later. The food came fairly quickly, and I was immediately impressed with the way my sandwich looked, it had more meat than I expected, and the bread looked fresh. However, when I tried it, I wasn’t blown away. It was okay, but not great. The Horseradish sauce could have had more kick, and the meat was a bit cold, but it was edible. I actually liked the sandwich, itself, more than the Steak Sandwich it replaced, but the Steak Sandwich became amazing if it was dipped into the restaurant’s delicious Potato Leek Soup. The new sandwich didn’t really work when dipped in the soup, so overall I wish we still had the Steak Sandwich on the menu.

050We spent some time after lunch doing a couple of easy-going things (Tiki Room, it’s a small world) and then saw the afternoon rain storm coming in and decided to head out. On Main Street we ducked in to Uptown Jewelers to look around and saw that they had removed all the pins and Vinylmation from the back of the store. The area is now used for purses, scarves, phone cases, and other merchandise usually found in the front part of the store. When I asked a Cast Member she said that all their pin and Vinyl stock was spread throughout the park with most of it going to Frontierland Trading Post.

 

 

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Posted on May 13, 2013

43 Responses to “Observations from Magic Kingdom: May 11, 2013”

  • by Linda Kozian on May 13, 2013, at 1:10 pm EDT

    Waaaaaaaaaaa this woman is on a whine fest. I think she would do Disney a great service by staying home.

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 13, 2013, at 1:18 pm EDT

      Could you be more specific? I don’t think talking about my day or even discussing specific issues constitutes a “whine fest”…I was just being honest about things I noticed.

      • “Disney should do something to control the flies” lol
        they’re not audioanimatronics are they?

        • by 999happyhaunts on May 13, 2013, at 1:46 pm EDT

          @Scarlett I really enjoy your posts, so dont let these guys get you down! And disney does TONS to combat bugs so saying they should do something about the flies is totally reasonable. I have heard many other people complaining about the flies recently too!

          • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:16 pm EDT

            Thanks! I know they work hard to keep pests down, that’s why the flies seemed so note-worthy.

          • by greengirl37 on May 18, 2013, at 1:43 pm EDT

            The flies were really bad that day! We were there as well and the stroller next to ours was black (and maybe doused with juice)and it was covered in flies. The lady next to us was freaking out! So I don’t think you were out of line mentioning it!

          • by Scarlett Litton on May 20, 2013, at 10:19 am EDT

            We had an issue with them on our stroller too! The parking areas were really bad. It probably is because of all the spilled juice and cracker crumbs.

        • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/08/0827_030828_greendisney_2.html

          There’s an interesting section on here about what Disney does to control insects and other pests in the parks:

          —-

          Q: Pest management must be a problem with more than seven million trees, shrubs, and flowers. What sort of problems crop up and what solutions are used? Specifically, can you detail the program that uses beneficial insects—what species are used to control what pests?

          A: Disney’s Pest Management frequently inspects and monitors the pest and beneficial populations across the Walt Disney World Resort property. Using sprays of insecticidal soap, dormant oils, and Bacillus thuringiensis (also known as Bt) to aid in the control of insects such as aphids, mealybugs, whitefly, mites, and caterpillars to name a few. When other alternative pesticides must be used, spot treatments take place spraying only the affected plant or area.

          To help aid in the control of the pest populations, we released over ten and a half million beneficial insects last year. These beneficial insects are ordered in from a supplier and then released across property. Ladybug beetles and lacewing larvae are examples of predators that help control aphids, whiteflies, thrips, mites, and other soft-bodied insects. Cryptolaemus, also known as the mealybug destroyer, helps to control mealybugs. The big-eyed bug (Geocaris punctipes) and the minute pirate bug (Orius sp) aid in controlling small caterpillars along with other soft-bodied insects. Predatory mites offer good control for mites since they thrive in humid conditions, unlike pest mites that thrive in dry conditions.

          • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:21 pm EDT

            Thanks Brad!

          • All this sounds good but it was a non factor this weekend! Flies were out of control. There Pest management failed big time. The park was less enjoyable because of them. With the revenue Disney brings in this should never be an issue.

        • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:15 pm EDT

          Lol. No, they aren’t. But I figure there must be some way to get rid of them…don’t they figure that kind of stuff out over at Living with the Land?

      • Love your posts. You’re doing a fine job. We ran into a massive fly problem during one of our mid-Spring trips last year. I think there may just be a very specific time of year when they swarm badly. We couldn’t keep them off our very fair-skinned toddler and they would swarm our food. It is the only time I have ever had to use bug spray for a day at the park.

        • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:24 pm EDT

          Interesting…I had never noticed them before. Maybe they do cycle like the love bugs do and I just always missed them.

    • by Andrew Drummond on May 13, 2013, at 1:26 pm EDT

      With the deepest of respects intended, if you felt this was way too whiny, you might not be the target of audience of this blog (or necessarily even this site).

      While I have never met Scarlett, I am sure she loves the parks (as evidenced by how often she takes her kids there) and is only pointing out the things that dissappointed her from the perspective of a regular visitor.

      Most of us find this both enlightening and useful as things we may want to watch out for on future trips.

      Please keep up the writing Scarlett.

      • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:14 pm EDT

        Thanks for reading! I will keep writing them and being honest about what I experience.

      • by lindakozian on June 30, 2013, at 10:10 am EDT

        Blogs are SUPPOSED to be for all opinions (or so I thought until now), if this one is just for people who agree with each other and other opinions are not allowed then it is not a true blog.

    • Linda – your comment is very unprofessional and unbecoming of a travel agent (Black Pearl Travels). Most people, like myself, find obervations like Scarlett’s very informative, especially if they have plans to be there soon. Congratulations on your graduation from the Disney College of Knowldege, but don’t let it preclude you from seeing things that can be improved at Disney.

      • by lindakozian on June 30, 2013, at 10:06 am EDT

        I was speaking personally not in a professional matter. Didn’t realize this blog was only for people who agreed with the author, my mistake I was under the impression blogs were for all opinions. Apparently not this one. I also really do not care what your opinion is of me but kindly leave my profession out of it, since I was not speaking in that capacity.

    • I have no doubt that Scarlett is a huge fan I have read many of her blogs and have enjoyed most of them but I can see where Linda is coming from. If I didn’t know better, just getting the tone of the blog I would say that Scarlett isn’t the lover of Disney that we know her to be. In fact I had to go back and make sure that Scarlett was the author of the other observations posts. Her other posts have always seemed upbeat and positive even when pointing out things that need improvement or fixing. This post however seemed negative and full of distaste for our beloved World.

      • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:34 pm EDT

        Thanks for the honest feedback! I try to always talk about what I enjoyed in my day along with the negative (ie everything we did in Storybook Circus, riding Buzz, etc)…I guess this time I just had more negative things to say than positive that were note-worthy. I still do love Disney!

        • sometimes negative things need to be said. Disney is not perfect and criticism is warranted here!

  • Personally, I like the “Observation” blog posts – there’s always some good things and some bad things to be said (and frankly, if the speaker system wasn’t working for the coronation, I could understand how that would be a major disappointment.

  • I talked to multiple people who couldn’t hear the Princess ceremony. It appears the only people who could hear it were the Disney Social Media Moms. You can hear the castle show all the way to the Polynesian Resort at times, so it’s disappointing that they couldn’t turn up the microphones enough for the hub to hear this event.

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:17 pm EDT

      Exactly! We’re so used to being able to hear what’s happening up there it seemed really odd.

  • I was there on Saturday (I’m a local Tampa) and I too noticed the fly issue. I have never seen this many flies in one place in all my years of living in Florida. Many people noticed it too. There were mltiple chats about the issue going on on the app. It was bizare! I was at Universal last weekend and didn’t see the crazy fly swarms! Someone needs to clean up the trash more at Disney or something.

    I didn’t find your post whiny at all! We didn’t make the coronation because we were driving lol

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:18 pm EDT

      I’m glad I’m not the only person who noticed! It was insane. Sorry you missed the coronation…luckily there are several good videos online.

  • I would have been sincerely disappointed had I not been able to hear the coronation. I watched a live feed, which you could barely hear, but I attributed that to the connection and a lot of talking by guests near the camera operator. I guess those weren’t the only issues. We experienced the same sound issues at the Magic Kingdom 40th celebration. Pretty frustrating after arriving at the park more than an hour before open and then camping out in the hub for a long time for what we hoped would be a good spot. We eventually just gave up trying to hear and went to ride Space Mountain. Such a shame.

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:19 pm EDT

      Wow I didn’t realize they had similar issues at the 40th…you would think they would have learned to turn on more speakers.

  • by Belinda Porter on May 13, 2013, at 5:37 pm EDT

    Thanks for the observations Scarlett – I very much enjoyed your take on the day! Keep up the good work.

  • I have seen other chat boards discussing the massive fly problem at Disney right now. Someone said it could be linked to new mulch since it smelled kind of bad too. I hope they remedy this quickly! Eww!

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:20 pm EDT

      I heard a rumor that the mulch they got was infested with larvae and they are all hatching now and causing the issue…not sure if that’s true though.

  • One thing I love about all the folks at the UnOfficial Guide is the honest, objective views they present — while still being huge Disney fans. I LOOOOOOVE Disney, but part of that love comes from the fact that they always do everything just right. I am willing to save for a few years to go experience the magic. That magic comes from the fantastic attractions, the cleanliness of the parks and the excellent customer service. The grounds are beautifully manicured and everything is darned close to perfect, in my eyes. It’s so special because EVERYTHING is just the way it should be. I think I would have been disappointed, had I had some of the same experiences as you, Scarlett. And flies? Ohhh noooo. Not magical. Not at all! That would have made me crazy!

  • Great article!Hope the flies are gone in a couple of weeks. We have been when love bugs were out and didn’t notice a huge problem. By the way, where’s Linda!

  • Great post Scarlett. Enjoyed as always. I am concerned about the vinlymation moves they are doing and wonder if anyone over there has heard details? They removed them all from the resorts and even when we went to our usual spot in HS they had the box turned around facing the guy trading in front of us! So uncool. Maybe its for the best as we spend way too much on them as it is!

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:27 pm EDT

      They have been cutting back on Vinylmation trading a lot lately. There is only one trade box in each park now. I’m not sure the reasoning behind this but I know there have been lots of changes with case sizes and stuff. Hopefully we will see trading boxes come back…I know many people have complained.

  • I was at Magic this weekend as well and while waiting for the Tinkerbell meet and greet in Adventure land one of the CMs mentioned that it was an infestation of flies. She was quickly repremanded for telling me this, but it explains why Disney does not yet have the issue under control.

    • by Scarlett Litton on May 14, 2013, at 5:32 pm EDT

      Yikes. It’s pretty obvious that there is an infestation…odd that the cast member was reprimanded.

  • My husband and I are taking our four kids (ages 6,5,4 & 2) to Disney World this September and we’re SO excited! I am concerned about one thing: our kids are obviously young (and super tiny) so they can’t ride much alone. Were you able to take BOTH of your boys at the same time on Buzz Lightyear? What about Dumbo? I haven’t been to WDW for 13 years and the last time it was just the two of us so I’m not sure about some attractions.

    Thanks so much!
    I realllllllllllllly hope they have the fly problem corrected by September. Actually, I really hope it’s taken care of by June 1st or there’s going to be a lot of HOT, miserable, fly-swatting guests. :(

    xoxo,
    Becca