There are things we experience as children or teenagers that we remember fondly and would love to experience again, perhaps with our own children, or maybe grandchildren. Then there are attractions that we may have been too young, or too short, to experience before they were replaced with a new attraction. Although I am a huge fan of most things Disney, I still can’t help pondering on what my children would think of a Disney experience that is now in the past and we won’t get to enjoy together.
10. Cheaper prices! Don’t we all long for the purchase price of one of the Ticket books to get us into Magic Kingdom today? It seems that every week Disney is rolling out some new “Premium” experience is draw us into spending even more money than a Disney vacation already costs. But then there are guests who can’t wait to have that unique Disney experience and want it no matter what the cost. They scrimp and save at home to completely splurge while they are at Walt Disney World. Which camp do you fall into? I am old school and just love going to the parks, but now and then, a special offering does catch my eye.
9. Getting Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s in the Polynesian resort. Dole Whip is my undoing. I will stand in a hot line in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, in the sun, to get this amazing frozen snack any day. I particularly like the Pineapple Float version which can only be purchased in Adventureland. I blame my daughter’s boyfriend for getting me hooked on going to Captain Cook’s on our way from Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Just a short monorail away was the frozen pineapple ice cream treat being self-dispensed from the wall into a cup that you purchase. Now, the cup, is not big. But there are no signs or directions to tell you how high you can dispense the curly cues of frozen delight in your cup. Going for the first time I watched a young woman re-fill her cup to a height that I could not before have imagined. She inspired me to reach great heights. I was not as good as her at balancing the layers so mine had to be cut off shorter. Still. It was amazing and I miss it since it is no longer there. They are available at the new Pineapple Lanai walk up window, but we will always miss the self-serve version!
8. Displacing of classic Disney Princess’ from Princess Fairy Tale Hall: I am a big Aurora fan and I dislike the fact that both Aurora(Sleeping Beauty) and Snow White have been booted out of Princess Fairy Tale Hall in Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom. Why is Mulan’s picture up in the Hall but she is not present? Aurora is sometimes near City Hall, and Snow White is sometimes on “Center street” which I have yet to find her at. Disney just has not found good homes for them yet. Maybe when the Frozen Frenzy dies down they will be able to go back to their rightful home. Perhaps Snow White could visit with guests near the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. The gift shop that used to bear the same name remains closed, perhaps Snow White could reside there? Please, Disney, find them a regular, appropriate, home. Character meet and greets have been the most popular choice, even in special hard ticket events, so letting us know where the characters are going to be is really important to us. We want a clear map of who, wear, and when they will be there.
7. Mickey’s Toon Town Fair-my children remember when they were very little visiting this area of the park, now known as New Fantasyland, and touring Mickey and Minnie’s homes, seeing their cars, and playing in the water at Donald’s Boat. This land was first built to celebrate Mickey’s Birthday celebration and opened in 1988 as “Mickey’s Birthdayland”. After 22 years, and a few name changes, it closed in February, 2011. The houses had no right angles, rather they were built in the style they were drawn in the cartoons, thus the name “Toon Town”. When the land closed Disney intended to move the houses of Minnie and Mickey to the front of the park to use as unique meet and greet areas. That plan changed. Still remaining is The Barnstormer and that was a good choice.
6. Riding in the front of the Monorail. The Walt Disney World Monorail has always been a marvel to me. The ones operating today can carry up to 365 passengers at a time. There are multiple tracks so that the different color monorails can be sorted to particular tracks for a particular mission. For instance, there is a resort track that picks up and delivers guests from the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian resorts to the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom. There is an Express track that only stops at Magic Kingdom and TTC. There is an Epcot track that connects the TTC with Epcot. The Monorail has been operating at Walt Disney World since 1991. Together they carry over 150,000 passengers in a day. The Monorail operated safely until a tragic accident occurred in June 2009, resulting in the tragic death of a young Cast Member whose dream it was to pilot the Disney Monorail. The accident was investigated and it was the fault of a CM not switching one of the trains properly, sending it into the train holding on the same track. This occurred just after 2am on July 5, 2009. The other pilot survived. No guests were on the train as the last ones had just been dropped off, according to Monorail CM’s. Disney has changed its operating procedures after studying ways to prevent such a thing from happening again. They have also discontinued guests riding in the front of the Monorail train due to liability and so there are no distractions to the pilots. Disney is currently working on fully automating the Monorail system for faster service. There is no word if they will open up this riding opportunity again. So those of you out there that had the rare privilege to ride with the Pilot, treasure that. Some Pilots also gave out Co-Pilots license to those kids that rode up front with them.
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5. “Show quality” is arguably a bit tarnished in places today, that did not exist when either Walt or Roy were still in charge. Walt did not want the guests to see trash, unkempt landscaping, or dull paint. Everything had to be polished, and any work areas hidden from guest’s views. Granted, the trash is the guest’s fault that are too lazy to walk no more than a dozen or so steps to a trash can at any point in the parks. Maybe the custodial Cast Members are fewer, or less motivated(?) because I am seeing a lot more trash these days. Let’s not put that on the CM’s because if people would just use the trash cans, and bath rooms, we wouldn’t have trash, diapers, and stuff you-don’t-want-to-know-about getting tossed everywhere. there are areas of the parks that could use a good cleaning, repairs that are kept waiting need completed, metal that is tarnished needs polished, and rides that break down often need fixed. I know the focus right now is build, build, build, but the things that are already here need closer attention to the details and operations. I think Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin is one of the worst kept up, especially the queue.
4. Disney performers and artists of days gone by. There are some things that just disappeared through the years like the Festival of Nations Parade in Epcot, Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends in Animal Kingdom. Just recently though we have lost PUSH, the talking trash can in Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom and a partner attraction of Wes Palm over at Animal Kingdom; Miyuki the candy designer in Japan, Epcot(she may have retired on her own, but we still miss her); musicians in China, Epcot; Ziti sisters in Italy, Epcot; Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, Animal Kingdom; firing of 9 top hand-drawn animation artists and about 150 artists under them, destroying their 2D animation division (I admit, I am a huge fan of hand-drawn animation); meet and greets cut with Jiminy Cricket, Pocahontas, and others at Animal Kingdom; the opening shows at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade at Hollywood Studios, several acrobats from Epcot, and more.
3. Guest experiences like finding the paint brushes on Tom Sawyer’s Island in the morning and turning it in for a FastPass to Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. There was another experience where a child could “wake up” Tinker Bell in the Tinker Bell Treasures gift shop behind the castle. Allowing Miyuki to give away the candy that she sculpted per guest’s requests really was a different experience than watching her create candy, then have to put it away and end the show. The problem was some guests would be so bent on their kid being the one to do any of these that they would mow people down with strollers to get to the front of the crowd. I think that Disney has done what they could to still give magical experiences to guests in a manner that appears “random” to the rest of us, this solves the problem of guests “demanding” their special experience. No one is entitled to something above what they purchased an admission ticket for, so kudos to Disney for providing special moments anyway.
2. Former attractions: there are just some I do not understand why they got rid of and I know I would love them as much today if they were still here. Topping that list for me would be the Sky Buckets, I loved these and I would love to have that form of transportation between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland today. “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” audience participation game in Hollywood Studios was a great guest experience. My family looked forward to this experience each time we came on vacation. I still wish they would bring it back, but the space is now being used for more shopping. The Trolley car on Main Street to transport us to the Cinderella Castle; Alien Encounter, replaced by Stitches Great Escape which even though I am a Stitch fan, this is a below standard attraction and it needs attention; Expedition Everest WITH the Yeti working; Double Decker bus in World Showcase; Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride; and the older version of Test Track was a better “show” in my humble opinion.
1. Walt Disney- I would have so loved to have a meet and greet with Walt Disney. After reading those huge books about him I have so much respect for what he accomplished in his lifetime. If you have not visited “One Man’s Dream” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, please take the time to see it. Don’t be in a rush because you will miss so much. He is a great model of being an entrepreneur for our children, and us. If he hit a wall, he created something new that got him over it. He has created new forms of photography, recording, animation, and even that bouncing ball karaoke singers used to day! I would like to thank him for creating so many wonderful films and these parks that we can take our families to on vacation. I would thank him for his inspiration.