I recently took my Big Brother Neal to Walt Disney World for his first trip in over three decades. After three parks, and a full day, I asked Neal to share his thoughts. See below:
This was my first visit to a Disney property in 33 years. This visit took place Wed., June 12; my host for the day just happened to be Chris Wakefield.
What impressed me the most was Disney’s attention to detail like hearing the voice of Tom Carnegie, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway legendary track announcer, at the Tomorrowland Speedway; imitating the waste disposal system from the Liberty Square with a brown path in the center of the cobblestone road and by not having public restrooms in this area. But perhaps the best example of replication was the Wilderness Lodge hotel. A few years ago when visiting Yellowstone National Park I was fascinated when I saw the Old Faithful Inn; but while standing in the atrium of the Disney’s hotel, I was equally as impressed. Another great Disneyesque touch to details: while in the Magic Kingdom when you leave an area/section, you really leave it – as you enter a new themed area, you tend not to see nor hear the sites of the area you just left.
Magic Kingdom: I was surprised how little it appeared it had changed during the three decades of my absence – Main Street seemed the same, and Space Mountain is the best ride then. I was taken aback by how little presence there was in the Magic Kingdom of Disney’s blockbuster kids’ movies from the last 20 years. However, it was a Wednesday with 90 degree temperature and the place was crowded – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?!
Epcot: As a teenager, I never saw the appeal of Epcot – it wasn’t (and isn’t) an amusement park. Even though I have been told of Walt’s vision of a city of tomorrow, I still don’t see how Epcot keeps the attention of our tech savvy kids. I did enjoy Soarin’ – but it appeared to be too short – and the witty commentary of Turtle Talk – the Bugs Bunny concept of entertainment: interesting and amusing to both kindergartners and adults, at the same time but at different levels. When it comes to the aquarium at The Seas: This is Disney, I was expecting something more; I felt like I could have seen the equivalent in Omaha, NE.
Disney Hollywood Studios: A nice touch of replication, but I wasn’t “wowed!”. (And by the way, what is the Sorcerer’s Hat doing at the end of the main avenue?) For kids I could see where Toy Story Midway Mania is fun, but not much else. The Tower of Terror is an enjoyable ride, but I was expecting more from it.
Food: I enjoyed the variety of options in Sunshine Seasons at Epcot and 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios. However, the quality was not overly impressive; major league ballparks may not have the range of variety, but their quality is on a comparable average-to-slightly-better-than-average level of Disney’s food.
Overall: Did I think it was worth the $139 entry fee (one day park hopper ), and not to mention the parking and food cost? No. It doesn’t work for me – I am a straight, 50 year-old with no kids. However, I believe I understand why Disney World does what it does; it works for most people — millions flock here every year. As I wrote earlier: if it ain’t broke, why fix it?