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Old 10-31-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
lugnut33
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A trip to WDW, then versus now

Reading all the FP+ threads got me thinking how a trip to WDW has changed over the years. If you compare a trip in the 80's to now it sure has changed a lot.

Back in the day very few people had to set up their travel more than 6 months in advance. Looking through early WDW brochures it was encouraged that people just show up and stay without a reservation.

You could just walk up to restaurants and get a table. No need to get up at 12 a.m. exactly 180 days from arrival to make ADR's at the popular restaurants. You didn't need a credit card to hold reservations. If you wanted to make a reservation at an Epcot restaurant back in the day, you could do it the day of at a special video communications kiosk inside the park.

When you got to the park, you just waited in line to ride the attractions you wanted to see. You got up, decided which park you wanted to visit, and that's where you went. You didn't need to get up at 12 a.m. exactly 60 days in advance to make your Fastpass selections or you'd be out of luck in seeing one of the E-ticket attractions. No need to consult the crowd calendars 60 days out and determine which park you wanted to visit. Or look at what dining reservations you made 4 months earlier to know which park to make your FP+ selections.

I should also add, that many times you would randomly run into Disney characters out wandering the park, but now you need to stand in line or use one of your Fastpasses in order to see them.

I know I'm forgetting other things that have changed. Some of the changes are no big deal and some have been for the better. I just know that a WDW vacation has gotten much more difficult to plan for.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:44 AM   #2
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I'm just saying...cable cars! It was my very first ride at the Magic Kingdom.

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Old 10-31-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
ArwenMarie
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There are still parks like that. Our next trip is going to be a Universal-only trip and there is zero planning to do other than the hotel. Nothing. On a smaller scale, we went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (which is a great park BTW!) and all we did is book the hotel room, drive down, and go to the park. We had a blast. No planning.

Disney is just very special, for better or for worse
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:49 AM   #4
Carbonfiber07
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Crowds. Its all crowds now. All the issues you listed as being changed by Disney are to handle larger crowds.

From a business perspective, Disney is loving the larger crowds (obviously), but many of us remember the late 70s and 80s at Disney when the throngs of people were just not as prevalent. Dont' get me wrong, there were times when we waited a while for BTMRR and Space, but those were usually during holiday periods.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:12 PM   #5
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There are still parks like that. Our next trip is going to be a Universal-only trip and there is zero planning to do other than the hotel.
Universal is MUCH less stressful than WDW in terms of planning, and we make no ADR's, but this is only true if staying on site. If staying off-site and going to Universal, a bit of planning would be involved. Universal just makes it so easy for it's resort guests. That's why we spend half our vacation there every year now.
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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Universal is MUCH less stressful than WDW in terms of planning, and we make no ADR's, but this is only true if staying on site. If staying off-site and going to Universal, a bit of planning would be involved. Universal just makes it so easy for it's resort guests. That's why we spend half our vacation there every year now.
It's not that they make it "easier for their guests". It's just not as popular. Not as popular resorts, dining, etc. No fastpasses even offered unless you're staying at the resort...it's a product of the visitors that you have to make ADRs 6 months in advance for popular restaurants. Disney doesn't force you to...
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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and all we did is book the hotel room, drive down, and go to the park. We had a blast. No planning.
I recently did this for my first trip to DL, I'd been planning my WDW trip for months and after a bad week at work I decided I needed a break and should just drive down to DL, I booked the hotel and drove down the next day. With all my WDW planning I was worried I didn't have any plans, didn't know the park, and didn't know what I was going to do but I had a blast.

There is something incredibly relaxing about just going with no plans and no expectations. I didn't worry about riding everything or worry about seeing everything, I was just immersed in the experience and happy I was there.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:30 PM   #8
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I recently did this for my first trip to DL, I'd been planning my WDW trip for months and after a bad week at work I decided I needed a break and should just drive down to DL, I booked the hotel and drove down the next day. With all my WDW planning I was worried I didn't have any plans, didn't know the park, and didn't know what I was going to do but I had a blast.

There is something incredibly relaxing about just going with no plans and no expectations. I didn't worry about riding everything or worry about seeing everything, I was just immersed in the experience and happy I was there.
In the 1990s we started alternating our visits between DL and WDW, and yes being able to walk from a nearby hotel (no Disney Buses!) and no ADRs six months out and less need for FPs at DL made for a better Disney experience in many ways.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
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I have a photo of my 5 year old self riding an elephant in what I have always believed to be Disney World.

That would have been about 1974. Did they have elephants to ride then?
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:55 PM   #10
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"Some people thrive on planning their trip. Not everyone wants to fly by the seat of their pants and just see what happens. Some people want to make sure they're getting their money's worth, and frankly, standing in line, for hours, doesn't sound appealing to me."

Same here, for me maximizing enjoyment, relaxation and value has always meant reducing as much as possible time waiting in lines at WDW. With some limited pre-trip planning, including when to visit off season and using RD (and on occasion FP) it was possible to at least greatly reduce the stress and time lost waiting in long lines 30+ minutes long. Even with MB and FP+ same approaches are possible.

If I want to simply go on vacation, lie around on the beach with a cool drink, and spend my time wondering through a city or driving the countryside, I simply make plans that do not involve WDW. Have taken many of those vacations over the years as well. Came to understand a long time ago that to enjoy and experience WDW as a vacation simply takes more advanced planning and structure.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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I remember a really long line for BTMRR, this is really the only vivid memory I have. It was 25 years ago. And my mom had back problems. We'd been waiting a LONG time, and we finally got to the sign that said don't ride if you have back problems, and I asked my mom about it and she said "I didn't wait that long to get out of line now!"

Oddly, it was also the first time I had teriyaki chicken, in Japan. And I pointed out the building to my DH and he thought that was crazy i remembered it.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:09 PM   #12
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I remember when there was only one park. I worked there then - at Adventureland . I hated the new menu with pineapple on everything. That place is now closed.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:42 PM   #13
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There are still parks like that. Our next trip is going to be a Universal-only trip and there is zero planning to do other than the hotel. Nothing. On a smaller scale, we went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (which is a great park BTW!) and all we did is book the hotel room, drive down, and go to the park. We had a blast. No planning. Disney is just very special, for better or for worse
Harry Potter can still get crazy if you don't get there early.
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Old 10-31-2013, 12:53 PM   #14
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I'm just saying...cable cars! It was my very first ride at the Magic Kingdom.

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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I'm just saying...cable cars! It was my very first ride at the Magic Kingdom.
You had to do something with the "a" tickets!
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