New Year’s Resolutions For The Disney Theme Parks – Walt Disney World Edition

FoF Croco

2015 is quickly coming to a close and with it, a pretty successful year for the U.S. Disney Theme Parks also comes to an end.  The 60th Anniversary was a huge success at Disneyland Resort while Walt Disney World kept humming along with massive upgrades to Disney Springs and noticeable progress at Animal Kingdom.  There was quite a bit that went right for the Disney Parks in 2015 (yes, there was plenty that went wrong too).  But, like those of us that want to drop a few pounds, read a few more books, or spend more time with family, Disney isn’t without places where they can improve.

I’ve never been good at making New Year’s Resolutions.  I guess I’ve never seen the point in waiting until the New Year to change something I didn’t like.  Or maybe I’m just too lazy!  Since I don’t enjoy have a resolution for myself, I thought I’d make a few for someone else.  That’s the spirit, right?  With that in mind, I thought I’d offer some New Year’s Resolutions for the Disney Parks.  Imagineers take notice!  I’m fairly sure (again, not much experience) that New Year’s Resolutions are supposed to be realistic so I’ll try to keep these in check.  Naturally, many will include food.  I’m going to start with Walt Disney World today and then Disneyland tomorrow.  Without further ado, here’s a New Year’s Resolution for each of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Be like 2015 Animal Kingdom

tot

For this resolution I could have just said “add more” but that didn’t seem specific enough.  Hollywood Studios does just need to find a way to add more to the park currently though.  In 2016, almost half the park will be under construction and there won’t be many attractions open.  Whatever can be done to help spread people out needs to be done.

Getting more specific, I hope 2016 finds Hollywood Studios having a year that was similar to Animal Kingdom’s 2015.  That park added several quality counter-service restaurants as well as new areas and shops to explore.  This was all done in preparation of new nighttime attractions opening in 2016 and Pandora  in 2017.  With DHS set to be reconfigured, it stands to reason that this year finds Hollywood Studios making little, quality additions to the park.  Let’s hope so!  Oh, and please add that Muppets restaurant…

DHS

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Become a must-do park at night

Animal Kingdom has almost completed its overhaul and will debut Rivers of Light plus a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris this year.  The goal will be to rid Animal Kingdom of its ‘half-day park’ stereotype.  These new additions need to be successful in order to complete that goal.  I’m encouraged by the news that has been released about both.  That’s not all the park has to do though.  The new restaurants have to be successes, as well.  Some of the paths that make this park so different need to be utilized in some way at night.  This will all keep the large crowds spread out.  Last of all, the ambiance of the area has to be special and I don’t think this will be a problem as the few times I’ve seen Animal Kingdom at twilight were beautiful.

Harambe theater

Epcot – Announce something big for the Imagination Pavilion

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Okay, I know these are supposed to be realistic but this is the biggest one on my list, I promise.  I think Epcot desperately needs a shot in the arm.  I’m guessing Frozen Ever After probably won’t be that.  The Imagination Pavilion used to be cherished by Disney fans and now just draws disdain.  2015 saw the end of Captain E.O.’s nostalgia-fueled, overdone run.  That’s a step in the right direction.  It will be temporarily replaced by them showing Pixar shorts in that theater.  I’m hoping that will be very temporary and we’ll find out about something long-term there soon.

It doesn’t need to stop there though.  I’d like for the whole Pavilion to be redone, including Journey Into the Imagination With Figment.  I’d be completely fine with them just going back to the original Journey Into the Imagination attraction.  If not, I’d also be fine with a well-chosen IP to help the Pavilion come to life.  Inside Out and the Muppets come to mind as interesting choices.  Mainly what I’m saying is that I’d like for the Pavilion to be redone and done well.  While that all wouldn’t be completed this year, announcing that isn’t out of the realm of possibility.  Good news about Epcot is needed, I hope 2016 is they year we get some!

Imagination

Magic Kingdom – Keep adding dining

It’s not much of a debate that Magic Kingdom is the best theme park in Walt Disney World.  There are a number of great attractions and the recent changes to the hub look good and add space (even if they did unfortunately take out some trees).  For years though, the dining options at Magic Kingdom were lacking.  That problem has been remedied lately though with Be Our Guest Restaurant and The Skippers Canteen (which I can’t wait to try).  Still, the park could use even more due to its size and crowds.  Whether it’s a counter-service or table-service restaurant, I don’t care much.  I’d just like to see the dining options at Magic Kingdom keep growing.

Magic Kingdom ferry

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for Walt Disney World?  Leave them in the comments.  And be sure to check back in tomorrow to find out my resolutions for Disneyland.

– Andrew

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Twas’ the Night Before Christmas (Disney Parks Edition)

Christmas

There’s nothing people want do more on Christmas Eve than read a blog post with some annoying guy ruining one of those classic poems you learned as a kid.  So, that’s why you’re reading this!  I once did this for the start of football season and I’m sure it’s been parodied like this before, but all ideas on the internet need to be repeated at least twice (that’s part of the official contract all bloggers sign) so here goes nothing…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Walt’s house
Not a creature was stirring, not even Mickey Mouse.
The lights were hung on the castle with care,
In hopes that Star Wars Land soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in hotel beds,
While visions of Dole Whips danced in their heads.
And mamma in her P.J.’s, and I in my Mickey Ears,
Had just returned from Epcot, after too many World Showcase beers

When out on Bay Lake there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like Dumbo,
Tore open the shutters and stared at the Contemporary’s glow.

The moon’s reflection on the still waters of the lake
Felt quite peaceful, it gave me a break.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the Electrical Water Pageant, that dragon strikes no fear.

While on the other coast, the party’s just getting started
I sit by my bed, wondering which kid farted.
Still, I think of Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever
What great additions, to be remembered forever and ever

“Now Goofy! now, Mickey! now, Donald and Minnie!
On, Pluto! On, Elsa! on Woody and Anna!
To your Meet & Greet locations! Stand right by the wall!
Now guests will run to them, run to them all!”

I ventured outside to see who yelled that,
But all I found was a helpful Cast Member, dealing with a brat.
So up to the top of the hotel, I rose, was that voice fake?
Entered the California Grill to investigate, instead had a steak .

And then, in a twinkling, I heard that voice
Saying, “There’s something for everyone here, you have your choice.”
As I drew in my head, and looked from the roof,
A firework exploded, see, here’s proof!

California Grill Fireworks

Jiminy Cricket narrated, and my heart grew quite fond
Wishes played out, as if directed by Mickey’s Magical Wand.
A bundle of oh’s and ah’s I heard on that roof,
Reminded me of the magic that real life finds aloof.

My eyes-how they twinkled! my dimples how merry!
My cheeks were like roses, my nose like a cherry!
My droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And those watching next to me had an unmistakable glow.

We’ve heard stories of how Walt dreamed and built
Meaning to give joy that was free of guilt
With a childlike imagination, these parks were made
And it’s that imagination that won’t let them fade

After those fireworks, I could hear him shout
“That it was all started with a mouse”
Back to my room I staggered, the kids would be up too soon
They’ll run around like crazy, calling their ol’ dad a goon

The morning would bring our Christmas at Disney,
And away the time will fly, there’s so much to see.
But for now I just exclaim, “Wishes, that was quite a sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

It's A Small World Christmas - day

Disney (and Other Theme) Parks Increase Security

At Wandering in Disney, we don’t often react to the everyday news of the Disney theme parks.  We don’t make it to the parks as often as some other blogs and, as a group, we’ve decided that regurgitating press releases isn’t what we want our blog to be.  With that being said, I thought today’s news was of interest and I’m hoping I could add some interesting commentary to the news.

Tom Sawyer Island Big Thunder blue night

The Disney community woke up today to the news that Disney Theme Parks have increased the amount of security inside of the parks, as well as adding metal detectors to the baggage check area outside of the parks.  As most bits of news are met with these days, there was outrage among some in the fan community.  I’ll add in my two cents but before I do, Disney Tourist Blog had a good response earlier today and I agree with everything Tom had to say on the subject.  I’ll try to add in a few different points, but his post is probably the place to begin reading if this news interests you.

dwarfs

To begin, I think this change was inevitable.  While I was hoping the parks would avoid increased security, and especially metal detectors, I’m honestly surprised it didn’t happen earlier.  One of the biggest aspects of this situation to realize is that this probably isn’t Disney’s call.  Universal and Sea World also added these measures to their park today.  I’m guessing that all three companies didn’t just randomly choose the same day to make these changes.  Theme Parks are high-profile areas that could be targeted for attacks and the government knows that.  They want the Parks to take the precautions necessary.  Is this being too cautious?  I don’t know and that’s not the type of argument or discussion I want to have on this blog.  If people want to be outraged about that, then that’s their right and that’s fine.  But, arguing that this will affect your vacations is what I really want to delve into.

Tree of life open AK

A few years ago, the Seattle Mariners decided to add metal detectors to their entrances.   I frequent quite a few Mariners games each year (pity me) and honestly didn’t notice much difference to the experience in this added security measure.  There was always a baggage check line that clogged up the entrance anyway (just like Disney Parks), and adding the metal detectors did nothing to slow down lines.  They were implemented in smart locations and did nothing to take away from the experience.  They definitely did not affect the beautiful nature of that ballpark.  I bring this up because I think this is much more applicable example than comparing increased security measures at Disney to airport security lines.  At this point, they aren’t even making all guests go through the metal detectors.  In short, I don’t think adding these metal detectors will ruin anyone’s vacation (unless you’re dealing with incredible grumpy people).

dragon

What I do think people may notice is an increased amount of security guards inside of the parks.  For whatever reason (I just write about theme parks, I’m not a scientist!), simply seeing security makes people nervous.  When seeing an unusual amount of security, people start to get worried.  I think this could be a short-term effect of these measures that we saw happen today.  I say short-term because I think theme parks, Disney and Universal specifically, are pretty good at adjusting to situations like this.  They will figure out the best spots to utilize security without them getting in the way of your vacation.  Still, there is an adjustment period and the next few weeks could feel a little awkward inside of the parks.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Disney security is made up of some of the nicest people I’ve met.  In the last few years, I’ve enjoyed being one of the last people to leave the parks, as I love to take photographs at night.  I usually run into security on those nights and they are always patient, kind, and happy to oblige as long as I’m being reasonable.  Just because there are more security guards doesn’t mean that they will all of a sudden be angrier and more frustrating to deal with.

FoF Croco

Last of all, please remember that this increase in security isn’t the fault of cast members or security guards.  If you are frustrated by the long lines at baggage check or nervous about an increase in security, don’t take it out on the employees as they are just trying to do their jobs.  If you are truly nervous, go ask a cast member or security officer about what might be happening and they will let you know as much as they are allowed to tell you.

I don’t think it will take long for the increased security measures we saw today to become more natural.  It’s sad that it has to happen but I wouldn’t blame Disney (or Universal) for these changes.  Stay patient and most of all just enjoy the parks.

Whale at night

Thank you for reading and Happy Star Wars Day.  May the force be with you!

– Andrew

Question of the Week (12/15/15)

Every week our writers get together and answer a Disney related question.  Here is this week’s question and answer, leave your answer in the comments!

Eureka Grizzly_edited-1

Question of the Week: If costs were equal and your schedule wasn’t an issue would you rather go on a Disney Parks vacation around Christmas time when crowds are high but there are decorations and special events OR go during an off-season when crowds are lower but the parks aren’t in holiday mode? Why?

Leslie – Having been at Disney for both time periods I would suggest the off-season for regular vacations. As a single person going to the park it is easy to cope with both, but if you’re the average family of four with children then off-season is best. You are able to do more, fast passes are more readily available, reservations are not all booked. It makes for a more memorable experience to be able to do and see more in my opinion. During holiday time some days I would only be able to ride 2-3 rides before I was tired of the crowds or of waiting, and nothing says Wishes like being packed like sardines and having people push their small children in front of you to try to get them a better view…

Disneyland Christmal

Cassie –  Having gone to Disneyland this weekend and having it be too busy to do hardly anything, I’m definitely going with the off-season choice! I much prefer the parks when it’s slower, even if I miss out of some of the holiday events. The crowds that I saw this week stressed me out majorly, and we had to park so far away it wasted an extra hour of our time. I can’t WAIT for January, my favorite month for visiting Disneyland. It’s so slow and empty!

Christmas

Andrew – Personally, I would go over Christmas. I’m lucky enough to go to the parks pretty often and have done most of the attractions there. It’s not really my goal to get as much done as possible anymore because I’d rather go at a slower pace. That, combined with crowds not really bothering me makes Christmas the choice. I’d love to see the parks over the holidays and see some of the special events (the Osborne Lights and candlelight processional in Epcot, specifically). Now, if I were going for the first time my answer might be different but, even then, I think it’s a hard choice.

lighthouse tea party castle

Kelsee – Christmas and Disney, you can’t really get much better. I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World and loved all but one of the trips. I would say, definitely go during the holidays if you can, but avoid the week of Thanksgiving and the week before, the week of, and the week after Christmas. The crowds are heavier in November and December no matter what, but if you go the right week, it’s not so bad. That being said, when choosing which park to go to during the holidays, Disney World is my choice because there is more room to disperse the guests and it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as Disneyland does. The reason I said that I loved all but one of my holiday Disney trips, is because we went to Disneyland the week of Christmas, and it was jammed packed. All of the other times I have went during the holidays, it’s been the week after thanksgiving or the beginning of December. Just like everything else Disney does, they pay extreme attention to detail for your holiday experience and add that extra magic that only they can deliver.

It's A Small World Christmas

Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney!  If you enjoy what you are reading, please like our Facebook page and subscribe to the blog.  You can do both of those things on the right side of this page.  Don’t forget to answer the question of the week in the comments!  Have a great week!

‘World of Color – Celebrate’ Review and Discussion

Cassie and Andrew have been reviewing Disneyland’s 60th anniversary entertainment lately.  Today, they are reviewing World of Color – Celebrate.  Enjoy!

World of Color lots of colors

Andrew – Hello Cassie! I guess to start, where did you see World of Color – Celebrate from? Did you have a FastPass for it?

Cassie – I watched World of Color in the far right section (think, close to Goofys Sky School.) We did get a fast pass for The Yellow Section, but we didn’t end up needing it at all because the show was actually really empty. It was a cold, slow, Tuesday evening. How about you?

Andrew – We watched it twice. The first time we were in the splash zone, closer to Ariel’s Grotto. The second time we were a little closer to center stage but still in the splash zone. I think we had the blue fastpass but I’m not positive. I obviously enjoyed being a little closer to the center, as the projections were easier to see.
I think we’re both big fans of Neil Patrick Harris, in general. What did you think of his narration?

World of Color roller coaster tall

Cassie – I was about to ask you the same question! And yes, I adore Neil Patrick Harris. He is an incredible entertainer and always has such a bubbly, theatrical presence! I also know he loves going to the parks with his adorable family. I thought he was a great asset to the show, and the perfect choice as a narrator.
What (if any) parts of World of Color disappointed you?

Andrew – I thought Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice for narrator. I do think the show overused him slightly but that’s no fault of his own.
I actually think World of Color 2.0 had quite a few flaws. I did love parts of it (we’ll get to that in a minute) but the show as a whole seemed really choppy to me. It didn’t flow well. I thought using nearly all of ‘Let it Go’ was a ridiculous choice and was easily my least favorite part. I thought the Star Wars part was a bit of an odd choice too.

Cassie – I definitely agree with Let it Go being a poor choice. Having seen the Disneyland Forever fireworks show use the entire frozen sequence already, I was irritated that WoC felt the need to add the full song as well. Additionally, I have always found the projections in the mist to be very hard to see. Every time I’ve ever seen World of Color I’ve found this to be true. I may be super picky in saying this, but it takes away from the show a bit for me. I love so many elements in WoC, but the mist projections always fall short for me.

Paradise Pier left side

Andrew – I can see where that would bother some people, though I’ve never had much issue with it. Back to ‘Let It Go’ really quick… I think we both thought it worked in Disneyland Forever. Why did it fail here?

Cassie – For me, like I said, at this point it just seemed like an overkill. Pretty sure I turned to Alex, rolled my eyes, and said “oh here it goes again.” Frozen has taken over SO MANY aspects of the parks, that I can’t believe they included the full song in BOTH shows. These shows are supposed to showcase the history of Disneyland over the past 60 years, and yet the very modern and very new Frozen got a vast majority of air time.

Andrew – I think that definitely played a large part for me too. The other aspect is that nothing special happened during Let it Go. In Disneyland Forever there was snow and the song was slightly shorter. In this it dragged on and nothing happened aside from the fountains getting higher.
Enough about the bad though! What did you like about it?

Cassie – I loved the nostalgic parts of the show! I was most interested in the Steamboat Willy clip and the parts with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I also felt the most cathartic and excited when Walt Disney was mentioned. I loved the clip of him at Disneyland in the 1960’s.

World of Color blue

Andrew – I agree that was great. I basically loved the beginning and the end. Loved the soundtrack and the use of the Bob Dylan cover (Forever Young). I thought the look back at the first Disney animation was great, as you mentioned. So were the parts about Disneyland attractions (I loved the Tiki Room part).
Did you like this version of the show more or less than the original version?

Cassie – I liked the new version of World of Color more, mostly because it was something different! I’d seen the old version so many times before, it’s nice to see it mixed up and new. I hope that they regularly update World of Color, evolving as time goes on.
What advice would you give to someone seeing World of Color for the first time?

Andrew – I didn’t like this version nearly as much but I agree that it was nice to see it updated. This seems like a show that shouldn’t be extremely tough to update so I hope that it keeps evolving.
My advice would be to not be afraid to get a little wet. I find that standing in the section below (that warns people about getting wet) offers much better views and is a lot more fun. You aren’t going to miss having a wide-angle here, I don’t think, as long as you can see the projections on the water. They do a good job of spreading out the fountains and fire, so you won’t miss out on that.
My other piece of advice would be to stay long after the show. There is a really enjoyable post-show where they play a couple of songs and the fountains are still running. There was a great ambiance to this and this was a great time for photos. Most everyone left and we could get as close as we wanted. That might have been my favorite part of the whole thing.
What is your advice?

Cassie – I would also urge people to stand in the “you may get wet” section. You WON’T get soaked but you WILL have an amazing view. I would also say to come prepared. Obviously getting a fast pass is a great idea, especially if you come with little ones who won’t be able to see over the heads of others. There are other elements that may make World of Color even more fun for you. I like to grab a hot cocoa or a beer before the show. Alex likes to have some popcorn! Another fun element to have for WoC is the Mickey Ears that light up with the show! I’ve always thought that was a fun extra experience that people really love!

World of Color Pink high fountains

Andrew – Absolutely! Any other thoughts on the show?

Cassie – Overall, WoC is super impressive and there isn’t anything else like it! I will definitely need to see it from a different angle next time, and keep an eye on this show for years to come

Andrew – I agree the technology keeps advancing and making this show unlike anything else. I think the actual production is more of a mixed bag. The imagineers hit an absolute home run with Disneyland Forever and Paint the Night, this show didn’t flow nearly as well and felt like too much of a commercial at times. I still loved parts of it and thought the nostalgic portions were excellent. It’s absolutely worth seeing, but it’s not in the same class as Disneyland’s nighttime spectaculars.

Andrew’s Favorite Attraction: Kilimanjaro Safaris

Here at Wandering in Disney our writers love to converse about everything Disney Parks related. Andrew recently came up with the idea for all of us to write a blog about our favorite attraction, and prove why our pick is the best! We hope you enjoy reading this series of posts about our favorite attractions! Here is our first installment, written by Cassie.

I love Radiator Springs Racers as much as the next person.  In fact, I probably love it more than the next person.  It’s the best thing Disney has created in at least a decade for the theme parks.  RSR is huge and cost millions of dollars to make.  Cassie made a great choice.  But my choice is bigger, better and more impressive.

giraffe

Kilimanjaro Safaris is the biggest theme park attraction in the world.  The footprint of the attraction is 110 acres.  The footprint of the Magic Kingdom is 107 acres.  Kilimanjaro Safaris is literally bigger than most theme parks.  The amount of time they took to build up this land to fit the attraction was over three years.  Massive amounts of dirt (1.5 million cubic yards) and landscaping were brought in to make the attraction fit the Safari theme.  All of the trees and plants in Kilimanjaro Safaris were planted two years before the park opened so that the area would look natural and could feed the animals.  Why so much work for one theme park attraction?  Because that is what Walt wanted.

deer

Walt Disney took several trips to South America in his adult life and was fascinated by animals.  His True-Life Adventure Series showed some of his fondness for these animals.  One of these True-Life Adventure films, The African Queen, then turned into the inspiration for the classic Disney attraction The Jungle Cruise.  When The Jungle Cruise was simply a concept, Walt wanted the attraction to be filled with live animals instead of audio-animatronics.  Of course, this was a pretty outlandish request and more or less impossible to do safely.

antelope thing

In typical Disney fashion, no good idea ever dies and that led the company to brushing off those original concepts of the Jungle Cruise while designing a park built around animals.  Many people overuse the saying, “that’s what Walt would have wanted” (or not wanted).  I, unfortunately, did not know Walt personally.  I have no idea what he would have wanted or not wanted.  But, based on the history of how Kilimanjaro Safaris came to be, I’m guessing he would have taken a ride on it and thought it was pretty cool at the very least.

As for the attraction itself, guests take off in a jeep fit for a 2 week safari.  As we travel through rough terrain and off-road, animals are everywhere to be found.  There are typically around 40 species of animals on display.  As you go, your driver will helpfully point out animals but won’t overdo it and distract you.  For my money, this would be one of the best jobs at Disney World.

upside down tree

One of the best parts of Kilimanjaro Safaris is its re-rideability (that’s only a real word on a theme park blog).  No two rides will ever be the same on Kilimanjaro Safaris.  That’s what happens when you leave your attraction up to animals, they are unpredictable!

My favorite part of the attraction is when your jeep comes down a slight slope and you enter the great big safari.  The best song ever to grace a theme park attraction then comes over the speakers and everything feels right in the world.  Then you see a giraffe smiling at you while standing in a bush!

giraffe

I’m excited for Kilimanjaro Safaris going forward, as well.  In 2016, my favorite attraction will become open during the night.  They’ve added animals to the area to make sure your ride at night is as interesting as during the day.  More than anything, I’m glad that they keep adjusting the attraction and making it different and more exciting over time.

Some people on this blog may try to convince you that there are better attractions at Disney theme parks than Kilimanjaro Safaris.  That’s cute that they think that.  Their attractions are smaller, less complex and don’t have the history that my favorite attraction has.  That’s because Kilimanjaro Safaris is the best theme park attraction in the U.S.*

How can anyone resist elephants rolling in the mud?

How can anyone resist elephants rolling in the mud?

-Andrew

*I may have exaggerrated a bit in that last paragraph.

Question of the Week (12/7/15)

Every week our writers get together and answer a Disney Parks related question.  Here is this week’s question and answer!  Leave your answer in the comments!

California Grill Fireworks

Question of the Week: Which of the 6 night-time shows at U.S. Disney Parks (I’m not counting the Star Wars fireworks at DHS, as they are supposedly temporary) would you most like to see get replaced or revamped. You have to choose one, even if you love them all!

The choices would be Fantasmic! and Disneyland Forever at DL, World of Color at DCA, Wishes at Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, or Fantasmic! at DHS.

Melissa L. – I think my choice would be Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is great, but I personally enjoy the one in Disneyland better so I think this show could use an update.

World of Color roller coaster tall

Andrew – This is a tough one for me as it comes down to two choices… Not to spoil an upcoming review, but I’m not a big fan of the new World of Color show. With that being said, I’d choose Fantasmic! at DHS, as well. I don’t think that show holds the same energy or charm as Disneyland’s Fantasmic! The space that the show is in is a great amphitheater and I’d love to see what Disney could come up with to fill that spot.

Finale 1 Disneyland forever

Leslie – I would also choose Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios because I was incredibly underwhelmed when I saw it for the first time. Compared to Disneylands it is sub par and I would really just like to see a different show entirely there. I don’t like there being a comparison and it feels like they can’t live up to Fantasmic in Disneyland.

Fantasmic!

Cassie – I would choose World of Color at DCA. I really enjoy World of Color, but it doesn’t impresses me as much as the other options I’ve seen here so that’s why I had to pick it.

Kelsee – I agree with the World of Color. It’s a really good show, however I feel it’s missing something that the other shows have. When I watch this show compared to the others, I don’t feel as entranced and absorbed in the show. I feel distracted which could have to do with the location of the show or the fact that it just doesn’t have that extra magic that the others have.

World of Color lots of colors

What night show would you choose to change?  Leave your answer in the comments.  If you like what you’re reading here at Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog and like our Facebook page.  You can do both of those things on the right side of this page.  We really appreciate you spending a few minutes of your day reading our blog.  Have a great week!

FastPass+ Guide to Epcot

I find that FastPasses are the biggest source of frustration to first-time or infrequent park goers. Many people don’t know what FastPasses are, how to use them, or what to use them on. With this in mind, I’m going to write a guide to each U.S. park on when and where to use FastPasses.

We started this series with Animal Kingdom and then wrote about Hollywood Studios. If you are completely unfamiliar with FastPass+ I would recommend starting with the Animal Kingdom post, which has a detailed description of how to use FastPass+.  In this post I’ll cover how to use FastPass+ at Epcot.

Are there differences in FastPass+ at Epcot than other parks?

Epcot uses the same tiered system as Hollywood Studios.  FastPasses at Epcot are divided into two different groups – Group A and Group B. Group A is supposedly the marquee attractions while Group B is slightly less thought of. When reserving FastPasses ahead of time, guests can select one attraction from Group A and two selections from Group B. If you are at Epcot and have completed your FastPasses then you can reserve a FastPass from either group at a kiosk, assuming they are available.

Here are the attractions in both groups:

Group A:

  • Living With The Land
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
  • Frozen Ever After

Group B:

  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment
  • Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
  • Mission: SPACE
  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Turtle Talk With Crush

Japan Bridge Epcot_edited-2

Group A FastPass+ Strategy and Rankings

Let’s start with Group A.  Typically, I’ve said that using a FastPass+ on a big show is the biggest waste of a FastPass but that’s not true here.  Living With the Land is one of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World but it is an absolute waste of a FastPass.  This attraction hardly ever has a line that is over 5 minutes.  The only reason that it’s in Group A is because Disney hopes they can sucker a few first-timers into wasting a FastPass on this to help spread out the clubs.  Ride Living With The Land, just don’t use FastPass+ on it.

Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Soarin’ are the marquee attractions at Epcot and it’s fairly tough to decide between where to use your FastPass+ here.  Soarin’ is about to have a brand new film and will probably become even more popular.  Frozen Ever After is coming on line this summer and will surely have the biggest lines in the park.  With that in mind, I’d use my FastPass+ there and make it for later in the day. I would then immediately go to Soarin’ and Test Track at park opening.  Personally, I like Soarin’ a little more than Test Track while I find the queue for Test Track more interesting.  That makes picking Soarin’ for my FastPass+ an easy choice if you don’t care about Frozen Ever After but I can certainly understand someone going the other way with it.

Epcot Sunset_edited-1

Here are my rankings for Group A:

4. Living With the Land – This would be a complete waste.

3. Test Track – These last 3 are both good choices, it just depends on which you like better.

2. Soarin’ – If Frozen isn’t your thing then this is probably the way to go.

1. Frozen Ever After – This attraction is sure to have huge crowds and not a very high ride capacity.  In other words, definitely FastPass it.

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Group B FastPass+ Strategy and Rankings

To be perfectly honest, Epcot’s Group B is lacking.  We’ll start with this, don’t use a FastPass on a Meet and Greet.  Especially a Meet and Greet that the writer of a Disney Parks blog didn’t even know existed.

Moving on, Turtle Talk With Crush and Journey Into Imagination With Figment don’t often have long lines.  If something doesn’t have long lines then well… It’s not worth talking much about here.  Don’t use a FastPass on these.

The Seas With Nemo and Friends is a tiny bit more popular but still not worth a FastPass, probably.  I guess if the top 2 attractions here don’t interest you much then use a group B FastPass here.

Those top 2 attractions are Spaceship Earth and Mission: SPACE.  We could argue if these attractions are actually quality attractions (I like Spaceship Earth) but they are definitely the most popular on the group B list.  Some people don’t go on Mission: SPACE because it makes them sick.  While the tamer one doesn’t affect me or anyone else I’ve talked to, I can understand people being nervous about going on it.  Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good use of a FastPass.

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Here are the rankings:

6. Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot – I didn’t even know this existed.

5. Journey Into Imagination With Figment – Until we get the long-awaited refurbishment, this probably isn’t worth a FastPass

4. Turtle Talk With Crush – When I’ve experienced this attraction, I’ve been able to just walk right in.

3. The Seas With Nemo and Friends – This has a pretty cool queue but seems like the 3rd most popular attraction on this list, which isn’t saying much.

2. Spaceship Earth – A Disney classic and my personal favorite on this list.  The lines are typically between 20-40 minutes so this is a pretty good use of a FastPass.

1. Mission: SPACE – Lines seem to really vary here but this is one of the most popular attractions at Epcot.

Epcot

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, please send leave them in the comments!

– Andrew

Cassie’s Favorite Attraction: Radiator Springs Racers

Editor’s Note:  It’s our 1 year anniversary here on Wandering in Disney.  We’ve had so much fun seeing the blog grow over the last year.  My sincerest thanks go out to our writers, Cassie, Kelsee, Leslie, Melissa H., and Melissa L.  Of course, writing isn’t nearly as much fun if no one reads your posts, so a hearty thank you goes out to you, the reader.  We can’t wait to bring you another year of posts and it seems fitting to start this next year with a brand new series.  Take it away, Cassie!

Here at Wandering in Disney our writers love to converse about everything Disney Parks related. Andrew recently came up with the idea for all of us to write a blog about our favorite attraction, and prove why our pick is the best! We hope you enjoy reading this series of posts about our favorite attractions!

RSR rock

I am going to kick this post off by saying there is a reason why Radiator Springs Racers has the longest average wait time of any ride in the Disneyland resort…because it is THE BEST! I had an easy time picking out my favorite attraction, because this ride is a truly superior choice. In this post, I am going to explain why I believe Radiator Springs Racers is the most remarkable attraction that Disney has ever built.

Cars rock

Radiator Springs Racers, located at Disney’s California Adventure, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The ride opened June of 2012 with wait times reaching up to six hours. I moved to Los Angeles in September of 2012, getting to experience the magic of RSR only several months after it’s debut. The ride was so brand new, pristine, and remarkable that I immediately fell in love with the entire journey that RSR takes you on.

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For those of you readers who have not ridden this incredible attraction, let me brief you on what you get to experience; you begin RSR by settling into your own custom racecar. Your racecar then takes you on a lovely and relaxing jaunt through the canyon, before heading back inside to await your endeavor. You then head through town and get up-close-and-personal with the entire cast of Cars, experiencing animatronics of epic proportions. After your meet and greet with the cast, you are ready to race! RSR takes you on a high-speed racetrack, competing with an opposing vehicle for the first place prize! Both vehicles twist and turn throughout the canon, reaching speeds of 40 MPH. One of the vehicles inevitably wins the race and the ride concludes.

Hudson

It is clear to see that the Disney Imagineers spared no cost for the magic that is RSR, and Cars Land in general. The ride itself cost upward from 200 million dollars, and upon riding, it’s clear to see why. The animatronics in this attraction are state of the art, putting you into the world of Cars like no ride has ever done before. If there was ever an attraction that takes you out of our world and puts you right in the magic, then this is it. The details in Cars Land. and while riding RSR, are phenomenally beautiful. As I’ve said in posts before, Cars Land is my favorite place to be at sunset. It’s breathtaking.

Cars Land night as you go rock

Although RSR is not a classic Disneyland ride, I believe as the years pass, this ride will hold as much nostalgia as any other attraction. I personally had the pleasure of experiencing Disneyland much more as an adult than as a child. So for me, it does not matter how new RSR may be, this ride keeps me coming back, year after year.

-Cassie