28 May, 2017

Controversies at the Most Magical Place on Earth?

If you have ever done an online search for Disney World, you will find that there are countless Disney blogs and fan sites. I'm not one to talk, I'm turning this page in to one as well.. The difference is I haven't been there a million times, like several of the other writers. I also was never a cast member or part of the College Program (but if I had known about it when I was in college, I would have applied for it). But I have been there a few times, and have read several of those other sites, and feel that I have a pretty good idea of the comings and goings

One of the sites that pops up on my radar every now and then publishes its posts as lists. The top 10 this or the 6 biggest that or whatever. Often they claim to be things that you don't know about one of the parks or rides or whatever. They rarely have anything that I hadn't read or seen from either personal experience or read from another source.

A list I came across today was interesting, and I figured I would have to give my feedback to it. You can read the list here: It is titled the 10 Biggest Disney Park Controversies. I'd like to take them each one by one and give my take on each of them.

10. Which Park Is The Best? –

This one is a bit tricky. I love almost everything about Animal Kingdom, and don't get it why so many people call it a half day park. Now that Avatar is open (which I will be seeing in September), there certainly is more to do, but I never had problems filling a day there. Often, we would spend 2 days there on a trip. I would rank the Kilimanjaro Safari ride as one of the best in all of Disney World. Kali River is a fun (albeit too short) water ride, and I love the Flights of Wonders show. There is something for everyone there, and has probably the 2 best quick service restaurants on property (Flame Tree and Restaurantasaurus, and the new one at Avatar, looks to be ready to take the top spot. With the addition of the 2 rides at Avatar, the projection show on the Tree of Life and the Rivers of Light night show, it will be difficult to call it a half day park any more.

That said, I think I have to go with the Magic Kingdom as the best park. It has the most to do, and it not only can never be called a half day park, it is hard to make it only a 1 day park. Even the experienced Disney goers can't get everything they want done there in a single day. It has all of the classics, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise. Not to mention the immersive theming that envelops you with every step you take. I would like to see some more table service options, but except for EPCOT, all the parks are rather limited. Some of the best places to sit down and eat are in the resorts, not the parks.

While I enjoy days at EPCOT and Hollywood studios, in their current conditions, they pale in comparison to the other parks. Things will all change in 2019 when Star Wars Land is expected to open at Hollywood Studios (or whatever it will be called then, a name change is expected). I love Toy Story Midway Mania, the Indy Show (I know, a lot of people think it's tired, but maybe I just haven't seen it enough), and it has some great shows for kids. I'm not much for thrill rides, but Tower of Terror is fantastically well done. Over at EPCOT, expect to do a lot of walking. I am looking forward to experiencing Soarin' around the World. I really loved the original version and have intentionally not watched videos of it online, waiting to see it for myself our next trip.

9. Which Is The Best Mountain? –

Ah yes, the Disney World Mountain Range, 3 (Splash, Thunder and Space) or 4 (Expedition Everest) mountains with rides. Do you count the new 7 Dwarfs Mine Train? For me, it's an easy one. Hands down it is Splash. Now, I haven't yet been on Space (as I said before, I'm not huge into thrill rides, and my family is less so, but I have intentions to ride it at some point, after all, how can you call yourself a Disney Park Nerd if you've never ridden Space Mountain?)

8. Turkey Legs v. Dole Whips –

Another no brainer here. Dole Whip for the win. I have never been a big fan of turkey legs, and wouldn't want to walk around the park picking past all the tendons. Give me a Dole Whip Float any day of the week.

7. Haunted Mansion Or Pirates Of The Caribbean? –

Ok, this one I had to think about for a minute. I love both, and a trip to the Magic Kingdom just isn't complete without a ride on both. There are people who don't like what is represented in Pirates, and many that don't like the Johnny Depp overlays, but it is still a great ride. But on this one, I have to give the nod to the Haunted Mansion. It is a lot of fun and can be ridden multiple times each trip.

6. Which Disney Resort Is The Best? –

Here is one I really can't speak of with a ton of authority. I have only stayed at 2 (Saratoga Springs and Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge). Both are great places to stay. I have visited other resorts for the restaurants. The live open savannas give Animal Kingdom Lodge the edge. I know a lot of people don't like how far away they are from other things.. you can't hop on the monorail or boat and get to the Magic Kingdom, you can't walk to EPCOT or Hollywood studios or Disney Springs. For us, the bus service has been all we need to get wherever we want to go with minimal waiting.

5. Walt Disney World Or Disneyland? –

Another one that I really can't comment on. Hopefully someday soon we will make it to Anaheim, but I don't know when that will be.

4. Are Certain Attractions Overrated? –

Of course certain attractions are overrated. Which ones are a matter of opinion. For me, the overrated things include Test Track, Mission: Space and most character meet and greets.

3. Are Certain Attractions Underrated? –

As certain attractions are overrated, there are underrated ones as well. On my list of underrated attractions you find things like Carousel of Progress, the People Mover, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.
2. Which Is The Best Disney Restaurant? –

I haven't eaten at them all, and haven't been to any of the 'signature' ones either, but of the ones I have been to, I have really enjoyed Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom) for dinner, Captains Grille (Yacht Club Resort) and Cape May (Beach Club Resort) for dinner and Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) for both Breakfast and Dinner. Honorable mention goes to 'Ohana (Polynesian resort) for breakfast (wasn't a fan of dinner), Garden Grille (EPCOT) for breakfast and Trail's End (Fort Wilderness Lodge) for dinner.

A couple I probably wouldn't be going back to include The Wave (Contemporary Resort) for dinner, 'Ohana for dinner, and Yak and Yeti (Animal Kingdom) for dinner.

1. Which Nighttime Show Is The Best? –

So much has changed since our last trip, that I really can't comment on this one either. Wishes is done at Magic Kingdom, replaced by the new Happily Ever After, Hollywood Studios added the Star Wars show, and the projection show and Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom are all new since we were there last.

The one time I saw Fantasmic! I wasn't thrilled with it, but we will be doing it again this time so I can give it another viewing. Wishes at Magic Kingdom was great. The music and narration were powerful. We had the opportunity to see Hallowishes at the Halloween party a couple years ago, and loved that and will be seeing it again this year, but of the shows that were in place last time we went, I have to give the nod of best night time show to Illuminations at EPCOT. The fact that there are so many great places to see the show around the World Showcase lagoon, to the music, fire, water, lasers and fireworks, it makes for a great way to end the day at EPCOT.

Well, there you have it. My takes on the 10 biggest Controversies at Walt Disney World. What are your thoughts? Where was I right, where was I wrong? Let me know in the comments!

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