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Old 12-23-2009, 07:55 PM   #1
jamescorey
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Just back from The World....A Few Thoughts!!

My wife and I just returned from a five day/six night trip to WDW. I would like to take this opportunity to break down the good and bad experiences we had for each day, as well as a small trip report.

Friday, 12/18: Arrived late that evening due to an emergency lane closure on the Florida Turnpike. Went immediately to Downtown Disney to get our anniversary drawing and Christmas ornament. We were met with a dilemma at the Christmas Shoppe, as our personalization wouldn't be ready until late in the day of our departure. Luckily, a wonderful castmember (wish I could remember her name) got a personal favor from one of the personilization artists, and we had our completed ornament thirty minutes later!! We left DD and checked into Pop Century, and were suprised to receive an upgrade to a preferred room, and a king sized bed!! Again, super castmembers!!

Saturday, 12/19: A great day spent at Hollywood Studios, followed by a hop over to the Magic Kingdom for Spectromagic and Holiday Wishes. We were fortunate enough to be able to do everything in HS, including Toy Story Mania three times, Rock'n Roller Coaster twice, and I got my wife on Tower of Terror without her kicking and screaming. The only downer of the day was the service we received at Mama Melrose. The food was "so-so," but the service was terrible. Our waitress (Karen) did not seem to want to help anyone, outside of a table of four seated behind us. She did not even so much as acknowledge the fact that my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary, yet offered the other party complimentary champagne. This is the second bad experience I have had at Mama Melrose, but I assure you, there will not be a third.

Sunday, 12/20: Animal Kingdom until five, Magic Kingdom until 2am!!!
Another great day, but the crowds were UNBELIEVEABLE!!! In thirty plus trips to WDW, I can honestly say that this was the most crowded I have ever seen the parks. Wait times ranged from 120 to 160 minutes on Expedition Everest, which we were fortunate enough to get a Fastpass for. With careful planning and timing, we were able to do everything we wanted, but the crowds made the park almost not fun.
We dined at Cinderella Castle that evening, and had a wonderful meal. For starters, we eat there at this time every year, and we have always had the same table. Disney obliged us with this request. Our waitress was amazing, and very personable, and the food was excellent!

Monday, 12/21: Finally got some sleep!! Had dinner that evening at Kona Cafe, and was pleasantly surprised! For starters, our waiter (Kadana) was outstanding! He was very pleasant and professional. He came to our table and sat with us after dinner and talked with us. Super good guy!! As for the food...Probably the best meal we had all week!!! It was very tasty, and fresh. The desserts were incredible!! This was our first time dining here, but we will definitely be back!!

Tuesday, 12/22: Epcot, and the Candlelight Processional. Epcot was PACKED!! Got there around 9:15, and all Fastpasses for Soarin' were gone! Got a Fastpass for Test Track at 10:00, with a return for 5:10pm!! Waits stayed in the 120 - 180 minute window all day for all attractions, excluding Nemo. We had dinner at Le'Cellier with Candelight Processional advanced seating. Our dinner was AMAZING!! The service was great, and the food was out of this world!! The CP was beautifully done, with Brian Dennehey serving as Guest Narrarator. Mr. Dennehey gave a stirring rendition of The Christmas Story, bringing my wife to tears with his personal thoughts. One of the best performances we have seen for this event.

ALL IN ALL: DISNEY WAS PACKED!!! In thirty plus trips, I have never seen WDW this busy during this time of year. My wife and I were blown away by the crowds. We have visited at this time for the last several years, and it is usually very slow. I guess all of the incentives the Walt Disney Company is offering have finally taken hold. Too bad they are cutting them from next year!!!
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:15 PM   #2
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I was going to say that there was no way Soarin' was out of FPs by 9:15 AM, but I looked it up and see it was an EMH morning, so that would explain it I guess -- still shocking.

It must be SO much more crowded than we experienced last Christmas, but we don't do EMHs and I think that helps quite a bit.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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We are here now and have been since Thursday 12/17. It is incredibly crowded and busy. By arriving early at rope drop we have been able to ride everything, but only with careful planning. We usually go in January, but wanted to check out Christmas in Disney. We leave tomorrow, but will not come back the week before Christmas next time. All in all it was great trip, but so busy...
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:25 PM   #4
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I'm trying to imagine waiting three hours for a ride. I just can't.

Nice that you had such a great time in spite of the crowds!
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:00 PM   #5
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My sister and I were at WDW in November and only crowded place was Fantasyland. Could hardly walk through due to all the strollers parked EVERYWHERE!! We rode Soarin' without fast passes around 10am on two different days and also Safari ride (can't spell it!) on two different mornings without fast passes...again around 10am.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:05 AM   #6
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we were at AKL on Saturday, December 19th

I have never seen AKL so busy...
I have to say we were surprised at the amount of people.
LOL, I know I probably sound ridiculous... but we also noticed when we got there there was quite a stir. It seems right at the entrance where that beautiful tree before you go through to show tickets... there was a package wrapped in christmas paper tied up with black ribbon and a back pack. The security people were very serious about keeping away from the tree. It was kind of spooky... at first we were not sure what was going on but we saw the package and the back pack and realized they were worried. Mind you they never said why we couldn't go near the tree but one of the officers said " you can take pictures later... you want to get as far away from here as you can." This is an exact quote. We were kind of spooked but went on into the park.
I guess stuff like this probably happens everyday. I don't know it was freaky to us.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:47 AM   #7
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My sister and her husband, 3 kids and mil are down there now. Oh my goodness. Yesterday at Epcot they got fastpasses at 10am for Test Track for 5:40pm.
Within 10 minutes of Soarin opening, there was a 60 minute wait and they announced it over a loudspeaker. She was one of the first groups in and they waited 20 minutes.
The fast passes were for 10:30 that they got into line for first. (which wasn't too bad) but they couldn't get near it the rest of the day. Fastpasses gone and two hour plus waits. They got right into Ellen, that is never a long wait. But everything else was just too long of a wait.
The World Showcase was not as bad, it wasn't elbow to elbow, but waits on the few rides there were upwards of 45 minutes.
Her MIL keeps saying over and over-I don't get it. Why are we here in this madness? Why do people LIKE this?! They picked a terrible time to take her for her first time. She won't be back. Maybe that was their plan.
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:18 AM   #8
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One of my big plans for our trip was to see Whoopi Goldberg at the Candlelight Processional, but when the cast member told us we needed to line up at 1PM for the 5PM show, my family refused. We did walk by and hear her do a few lines of the reading. I was too short to see her, but DD held her camera high and got a couple of shots.

We got in late Saturday. Sunday didn't seem too crowded at all for the season, but it has gotten worse every day. We stood in line at Guest Services for about 30 minutes yesterday (we were waiting for the kids anyway) and saw a guest rush from the end of the line right in past us all to the counter. I think we were all too surprised to protest.

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Old 12-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustManFan View Post
My sister and I were at WDW in November and only crowded place was Fantasyland. Could hardly walk through due to all the strollers parked EVERYWHERE!! We rode Soarin' without fast passes around 10am on two different days and also Safari ride (can't spell it!) on two different mornings without fast passes...again around 10am.
Ironically enough (aside from Peter Pan which is always crowded), Fantasyland wasn't bad at all. We rode Pooh, Dumbo, IASW, and Snow White with minimal wait. Soarin' was out of control. I personally don't see the allure of it, but apparently there are some people williing to stand in line for upwards of two hours to ride. The Safari also wasn't bad when we got there, although we went straight to it at rope drop. I think we waited maybe 15-20 minutes.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:54 AM   #10
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:23 AM   #11
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I hear you about Mama Melrose. We had the worst server there. Glad the rest of your trip was good but man, I could not handle those crowds. I could imagine crankiness amongst the people!
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:38 AM   #12
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I just got back as well, and the crowds blew me away. I've been going to Disney the week before Xmas for years and have NEVER seen anything like it.

On Tuesday, we were at Hollywood Studios and we got caught in the worst mob between the Indiana Jones show and Star Tours -- we were shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people and it took us a good 10 minutes to get out of it. It was very dangerous -- if somebody had tripped, or a stampede had started -- I shudder to think what could have happened.
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:07 AM   #13
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im goin to disney on the 15 of january i am sooo excited
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:43 AM   #14
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We arrive late on January 16th. We always go during slower times, and I really hope we don't run in to the crowds people are seeing (I know Sunday will be busy - but hope the rest of the week is not). We are sooo excited too

Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 12-26-2009, 11:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamescorey View Post
My wife and I just returned from a five day/six night trip to WDW. I would like to take this opportunity to break down the good and bad experiences we had for each day, as well as a small trip report.

Friday, 12/18: Arrived late that evening due to an emergency lane closure on the Florida Turnpike. Went immediately to Downtown Disney to get our anniversary drawing and Christmas ornament. We were met with a dilemma at the Christmas Shoppe, as our personalization wouldn't be ready until late in the day of our departure. Luckily, a wonderful castmember (wish I could remember her name) got a personal favor from one of the personilization artists, and we had our completed ornament thirty minutes later!! We left DD and checked into Pop Century, and were suprised to receive an upgrade to a preferred room, and a king sized bed!! Again, super castmembers!!

Saturday, 12/19: A great day spent at Hollywood Studios, followed by a hop over to the Magic Kingdom for Spectromagic and Holiday Wishes. We were fortunate enough to be able to do everything in HS, including Toy Story Mania three times, Rock'n Roller Coaster twice, and I got my wife on Tower of Terror without her kicking and screaming. The only downer of the day was the service we received at Mama Melrose. The food was "so-so," but the service was terrible. Our waitress (Karen) did not seem to want to help anyone, outside of a table of four seated behind us. She did not even so much as acknowledge the fact that my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary, yet offered the other party complimentary champagne. This is the second bad experience I have had at Mama Melrose, but I assure you, there will not be a third.

Sunday, 12/20: Animal Kingdom until five, Magic Kingdom until 2am!!!
Another great day, but the crowds were UNBELIEVEABLE!!! In thirty plus trips to WDW, I can honestly say that this was the most crowded I have ever seen the parks. Wait times ranged from 120 to 160 minutes on Expedition Everest, which we were fortunate enough to get a Fastpass for. With careful planning and timing, we were able to do everything we wanted, but the crowds made the park almost not fun.
We dined at Cinderella Castle that evening, and had a wonderful meal. For starters, we eat there at this time every year, and we have always had the same table. Disney obliged us with this request. Our waitress was amazing, and very personable, and the food was excellent!

Monday, 12/21: Finally got some sleep!! Had dinner that evening at Kona Cafe, and was pleasantly surprised! For starters, our waiter (Kadana) was outstanding! He was very pleasant and professional. He came to our table and sat with us after dinner and talked with us. Super good guy!! As for the food...Probably the best meal we had all week!!! It was very tasty, and fresh. The desserts were incredible!! This was our first time dining here, but we will definitely be back!!

Tuesday, 12/22: Epcot, and the Candlelight Processional. Epcot was PACKED!! Got there around 9:15, and all Fastpasses for Soarin' were gone! Got a Fastpass for Test Track at 10:00, with a return for 5:10pm!! Waits stayed in the 120 - 180 minute window all day for all attractions, excluding Nemo. We had dinner at Le'Cellier with Candelight Processional advanced seating. Our dinner was AMAZING!! The service was great, and the food was out of this world!! The CP was beautifully done, with Brian Dennehey serving as Guest Narrarator. Mr. Dennehey gave a stirring rendition of The Christmas Story, bringing my wife to tears with his personal thoughts. One of the best performances we have seen for this event.

ALL IN ALL: DISNEY WAS PACKED!!! In thirty plus trips, I have never seen WDW this busy during this time of year. My wife and I were blown away by the crowds. We have visited at this time for the last several years, and it is usually very slow. I guess all of the incentives the Walt Disney Company is offering have finally taken hold. Too bad they are cutting them from next year!!!

It sounds like overall you had a great trip - that's awesome!

We recently returned from a way too short 4 day adventure - we arrived on Thursday, 12/17 and left on Monday, 12/21. We did MVMCP on Thursday night when we got there and had a GREAT time - we knocked out all of Tomorrowland in about 30 minutes (including Space Mountain) from 6:30 to 7:00 pm that night.

Friday, 12/18 we went to DHS - not bad at all. We didn't have many plans for this day, but managed to do Toy Story Mania 3 times, Muppet Vision, Art of Animation, and Osborne Lights - plus we walked up to Sci-Fi Drive-in and got seated within about 10 minutes with no ADR.

Saturday - we split between AK and EPCOT. AK was crowded - but seemed about like normal to us because we always feel cramped in that park. All we did was the Safari (twice), one of the walking trails, and Camp Minnie-Mickey (with the Lion King show). We had lunch at RFC and the headed out of there. EPCOT was madness - since we got there late in the day, we pretty much skipped Future World (except Journey into Imagination - one of DDs favorites) and just hung out in World Showcase. I was bummed to miss Whoopi, but no way was I standing there for 2+ hours just to get in. We still saw Marie in France, Helga the storyteller in Germany, and the 3 Wise Men in Mexico, plus Illuminations.

Sunday - Magic Kingdom all day - this was insanity. My BIL (a CM) was supposed to meet us later in the day and couldn't get in because the park was at capacity (I don't know that the park was closed, but we assumed that they were not letting CMs enter due to super high crowds). We accomplished almost NOTHING from noon to 4 pm - in those 4 hours, we managed to have a funnel cake in Sleepy Hollow (a tradition for us), meet Tiana and Naveen (they were quite lovely), and see the Hall of Presidents (which was FULL!!). We did a lot of criss-crossing the park because we just didn't wait in any line over 20 minutes - wait times we saw were about in the 60 minute range, but we didn't venture to the big ticket rides (DD doesn't do roller coasters yet). I about lost it when we were looking for somewhere to eat at 2:30 pm and places were packed like the noon-hour - we finally found an alcove of outside tables at Cosmic Ray's and had a few moments to ourselves. After that, things seemed to look up - we got through ToonTown (since it will be gone before we go again) and waited awhile to see Mickey - we also waited an hour to see the Fairies for DD. By the time we cleared ToonTown around 5:30 or so, we got everything else done we wanted to:
Totally Tomorrowland Christmas
TTA (again!)
Castle Forecourt Christmas show (I can't remember the name of this one - it was great though!)
SpectroMagic
Holiday Wishes
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Peter Pan (with Fast Pass)
Small World
Dumbo (twice)
Buzz Lightyear
Winnie the Pooh
Midnight snack at Casey's (another tradition)
After the 2nd Spectro parade, the park emptied out considerably - partly because it was FREEZING cold - and we walked onto everything during EMH - no wait more than 5-10 minutes. I'm glad we stuck it out because we ended up having a great time after 5 to 6 pm.

We had breakfast at Ohana on Monday then hit the road out of town.

Sorry for the long reply - I'm just glad we left when we did because I don't think I could have handled one more day of the crowds we saw on Sunday at MK!
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