Mickey Bars. Pirates of the Caribbean. Cinderella Castle. There are certain things that are nearly universally loved among Disney fans – so much so, that you might feel a little awkward revealing that you don’t share the love. Today, I’m laying all my cards on the table and risking having my Disney card revoked by revealing a few things that, while popular, just don’t thrill me as much as they do other guests. Are there any iconic Disney faves that fall short for you?
1. Mickey Ears
For some, a Walt Disney World vacation isn’t complete without the purchase of a new pair of Mickey Ears. Or three. If that’s you, more power to you – your options are practically limitless nowadays in terms of colour and style. I, however, will stick to my trusty collection of ball caps and wide-brim bucket hats, thank you. Mickey Ears, while adorable, have never seemed too practical to me – which maybe means I’m completely missing the point of them. But on my 14+ hour days in the parks, practicality is key, and the head bands that keep Mickey Ears in place can be headache-inducing at the best of times, especially for those of us with larger-than-average noggins. They also offer zero sun protection. And they’re not exactly cheap. In short, they’re the epitome of the WDW impulse buy that you’ll only ever wear, well, in WDW (if then).
2. Dole Whip
This is bound to be a controversial entry, given the cult status of the famed Dole Whip at Walt Disney World! Don’t get me wrong – this pineapple-flavored frozen treat can be quite refreshing on a hot Orlando afternoon in the sun! It’s not BAD, it’s just – meh. I enjoyed it fine, but to me, it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about, especially given the myriad other delectable frozen treats to be found on Disney property (L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream, I’m looking at you. And drooling). What this classic treat does have going for it is the fact that it’s dairy-free and considerably fewer calories than most other desserts you’ll find in WDW, making it the perfect choice for vegan guests, guests with milk allergies, and those watching their caloric intake.
3. Avatar Flight of Passage
Full disclosure: we did NOT wait in line for 5+ hours for Avatar Flight of Passage. If we had, I would have been even less impressed. While the star attraction of Pandora – The World of Avatar is undoubtedly gorgeously themed, with a highly detailed queue and pre-show that will reward fans of the Avatar universe, the attraction for me stops there. Guests with motion sickness may have a hard time with the simulator nature of the ride (I finally kept my eyes shut to avoid nausea), and the restraints don’t accommodate all body types; while you can sit in the test seat before getting in line, you won’t be able to try out the restraints. My own restraints wouldn’t disengage at the end of the ride, and a cast member had to release them; not a great feeling for someone with claustrophobia, being trapped on a ride (even if you ARE on a banshee)! Flight of Passage is not an attraction I’ll be revisiting – with or without a 5-hour line.
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4. Character Dining
Character dining has been modified since the pandemic began, to keep cast members and guests safe. While not as up close and personal as before (and with 100% less hugging), you can still get socially distanced photos with your favorite Disney characters. Though to be honest, the appeal of character dining in any format has always been lost on me. Rushing to finish your mouthful of food before Donald Duck comes by, trying to remain ever close-up ready for Minnie while chowing down on often messy food, consoling family members distraught that Eeyore somehow missed your table, and paying an inflated price for all this hassle and anxiety – none of that is a recipe for a relaxing meal in my books! Which is why I go out of my way to avoid character meals – even if it means missing out on fabulous WDW restaurants.
5. Hollywood Studios
Yes, confessing that you find an entire Walt Disney World park overrated may seem extreme, but in all honestly, when people ask which park is my least favorite, the answer is simple: Hollywood Studios. There are far fewer attractions here than in other Disney parks, and while the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lends another badly-needed dimension to the park, it’s still the park I get least excited about (and in fact, have been known to skip in favor of a resort day). That being said, the few thrill rides that ARE here are pretty great! But because there are so few rides, the wait times for attractions throughout Hollywood Studios can be a little over the top. The removal of my favorite shops, Villains in Vogue and Writer’s Stop, as well as the iconic Streets of America and holiday favorite The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, didn’t add favorably to my impression of the park. That said, Toy Story Land boasts some of the most unique selfie spots I’ve ever seen, and is a ton of fun just to walk through, especially when you want to do something without a line.