I recently went to the Disneyland Park for the very first time. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World since childhood, I was beyond excited to experience a Disney Park, particularly Walt’s park, as a first time guest. In fact, the very first thing I did when I arrived was to pick up a first visit button at Disneyland’s City Hall. But before I even passed through the turnstiles, I did my Disneyland homework so that I could avoid some of the rookie mistakes and maximize my time in the park. Even so, there were definitely some things that I either didn’t expect or which would’ve helped my day run more smoothly. So glean from my first hand experience fellow Disneyland Rookies and discover what I wish I knew before my visit to Disneyland.
The Queues Are Narrow – One of the surprising differences for me between Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Park was how much narrower the queues are on the West Coast. When waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight, the Storybook Land Canal Boats, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and others, I felt squeezed in and very close to the guests on either side of me. This is something that I haven’t experienced as much in the queues at Disney World. Part of this could be due to the fact that Disneyland has less space to work with; but I think it’s something to note if your a first time guest, especially if you have fidgety little ones in tow.
One of the aspects that I feel truly separates Disney Parks from other theme parks is the presence of “classic” attractions. By classic attractions, I mean those that might not have state of the art technology by today’s standards, or cost the size of a small island, but remain relevant, charming, and downright fun years or even decades later. Attractions like Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are just a few examples of these that come to mind. As brilliant as Disney Imagineers are, there is an occasional attraction misstep from time to time, which is inevitable.
It’s incredibly difficult to determine what’s going to resonate with audiences at any one moment, let alone ten, twenty, or fifty years from now. For a variety of reasons, some attractions just don’t age well and feel outdated rather than classic. Most of the time those attractions are replaced (see most of Disney’s California Adventure) but other times, they remain. Below, I’ve listed some attractions that I believe fit this description. These aren’t outright bad attractions per se, but they are ones that have the potential to be really fantastic with a revamp or retheming.
Without further ado, here are some attractions in need of a “tune up” along with what could be done to make them better and my suggestions for what attractions to go on instead.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Tokyo Disney Resort! As some of you might have guessed, my vacation last week was to a far flung Disney destination. While I could never give any real summary of the parks in just one post, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from the trip.
When we visited Tokyo just six months ago, I thought it would be my only trip there for awhile. However, when we started planning a vacation to Disneyland we realized that it wasn’t much more to head back to Tokyo. When factoring in airline miles, the fact that everything is cheaper, and a good conversion rate, it actually saved us money to head back to Tokyo!Well, that was until we changed our flights to arrive a day early and found out there were no hotels in the city! (oops) We ended up having to pay $700 for a night at the Disneyland Hotel. While the hotel and view were amazing, the price was incredibly hard to justify. So learn from my mistake and book that hotel first. On the positive side it means I have this room tour to share. What do you think? Is it worth it?
There is a lot more Tokyo Disney to share so be sure to click to read more!
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World. Hot off the heels of our All Star Panel getting together and voting for the Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort, it was only natural to take a look across the street and get to the bottom, once and for all, of what the six best attractions at Walt Disney World were. But this is The World after all. The Vacation Kingdom. The most popular theme park resort on Earth. So naturally we had to go big. We contacted 25 experts for Universal? Well we’re getting 50 for Disney! And after negotiations that took so long that Disney could have taken down two Sorcerer’s Hats in the same time, we finally heard back from some of the most well known names in the Disney Universe. An all star, blue ribbon panel made up of members from some of the best Disney podcasts (Disney Hipsters, WDW Today, Radio Harambe, and the Mighty Men of Mouse), the most amazing Disney photographers (including Tom Bricker, Morgan Crutchfield, Brandon Glover, and Dirk Wallen), the greatest Disney bloggers/authors (Epcot Explorer, Sam Gennaway, FoxxFur, and Jim Hill), the nicest Disney fans we know (Scarlett Litton, Daisy Lauren, and Drunk At Disney), the meanest Disney fans we know (Tom Corless and Josh Humphrey), legitimate members of the Theme Park Media Elite (Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil, Attraction Magazine‘s Banks Lee and Matt Roseboom), and the only guy in the entire world who admits to liking Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Matt Hochberg).
SATURDAY SIX staff tabulating votes.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Maureen Deal of Autism at the Parks? Here. Gary Bruckner, creator of the Frost Bitten Rum Cider at the Dolphin’s Todd English bluezoo? Here. Fan Favorite Disney Twitter accounts? How about Mearn, Mark Diba, and Adam Roth. Not to mention both Jenn and Tim Tracker! They’re ALL HERE, and many more.
The Criteria: Each of the 50 experts voted on what they consider to be the six best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. These attractions could be any ride, show, nighttime spectacular, or parade currently in Walt Disney World (including the water parks.) Anything that was holiday exclusive – such as the Boo to You! parade, Happy HalloWishes, or the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – were not eligible. Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points. The votes were then sent to a top secret location in Florida and counted no less than 22 times. (We’ve had some problems in the past. We can’t apologize enough, Mr. Gore.) The results are in, and we now proudly present….
The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX BEST ATTRACTIONS at Walt Disney World.
# 6 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (12 points)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. (photo by Tom Bricker)
Laurel Stewart (TouringPlans Disney Cruise Queen) – Opening Date – 1980: Big Thunder has it all – story, visual puns, theming, great effects… a bluegrass soundtrack. It’s not as great a coaster from a technical standpoint as Expedition Everest (Yeti aside, which it turns out, was a mechanical overreach on Disney’s part) or Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. And it’s not a thrill ride by any means – there are more intense coasters all over Orlando. But this one is Disney at its best. It anchors Frontierland in a way that I don’t think Disney has come close to in years with the exception of Everest in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, which I think is its successor (and my would-have-been number one pick except that the ride is way too short). Because it opened in 1980, I never had to worry about the height requirement and was able to ride it from the start. Which I did, because I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS. On the other hand, my younger brother may have been tricked onto it when I told him it was “just a train ride, like the one at Main Street.” Suffice it to say, I have plenty of nostalgia for Big Thunder and love it just as much today as 35 years ago. And if you don’t take my word for it, take it from the French. Big Thunder Mountain is by far the most popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. And the French are never wrong. Just ask Jerry Lewis.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Magic Kingdom to see how things are looking, stopping by Downtown Disney for some shopping, and finishing up at Animal Kingdom. The weather has been just beautiful for two weekends in a row and I can’t wait to share it with you.
It isn’t often I’m stopped in my tracks on the way into the park, but this weekend it happened! Check out that photo on the left. It isn’t edited at all, it was really that bright and beautiful here last weekend. We’ve had the most amazing weather lately! Pretty soon the bone melting heat and daily monsoons will return, but for now it’s perfection. Ready to head to the Magic Kingdom? Click to read more!
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Magic Kingdom for a fun filled evening of playing with FastPass+ and then heading over to Epcot to check out the new show in Italy, ride some rides, and do some shopping! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well let’s get started!
Heading into the Magic Kingdom this weekend, I was blazing a trail to the new parade. The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party debuted on October 24, so I was excited to check it out. What did I think? You’ll have to click read more to find out!
Hello all you guys and ghouls! Just in time for Halloween, a new gift shop has opened right in front of The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom. To be precise Mementi Mori, opened on October 6, and we were there to check out all the new goodies so we could share them with you.
If you plan on stopping by, be aware that you might encounter a line just to enter the newest store in the Magic Kingdom! At roughly 7pm the line stretched nearly to Fantasyland and took just shy of 20 minutes to wait through. Once inside, the tiny shop was crammed wall to wall with people. Luckily, everyone inside was a fellow fan of the ride, and everyone was pretty civil.
So want to see what horrors are inside this creepy shop? You’ll have to read more to see!
The brand new Haunted Mansion gift shop, known as Memento Mori, is now officially open after a few days of soft openings.
The shop, which can be found in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, right outside The Haunted Mansion‘s exit in the location formerly occupied by The Yankee Trader shop, offers up some fantastic Haunted Mansion-themed merchandise. Items include things like housewares, accessories, souvenirs, clothing, artwork, and more. In addition, there is a unique photo experience where a guest’s face is transformed into a spectral image using holographic techniques.
The shop’s decor is inspired by the infamous Madam Leota, with great nods to the attraction found inside.
Guests who won’t be at the Magic Kingdom any time soon can order some of the items online, so that the next time you are preparing for a swinging wake, you’ll be all ready to go.
The shop is really a fabulous addition, and those who are fans of The Haunted Mansion will certainly not want to miss out.
I hinted at it being true a while back, but today the Disney Parks Blog made it official: The Haunted Mansion will indeed receive a gift shop (finally!) in Magic Kingdom‘s Liberty Square. The store will be located right near the attraction, in the location of the Yankee Trader store, which closed for refurbishment today. (Bye bye, Smuckers jams and jellies!)
The new merchandise location is slated to open officially this fall, drawing inspiration from Madame Leota herself, and will include a whole slew of hauntingly good merchandise for Haunted Mansion fans to purchase. (On my next trip, if the majority of my money is going to be spent at the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, the rest of it will now officially be spent here. Basically, bye bye money.) It’s been heavily rumored that this new store will also feature an on-ride photo pickup location.
While Disney didn’t announce an official reopening date, it is expected that the new store will debut on October 1, just in time for Halloween!