ThemeParks and Characters, Orlando
Kat and I had our strategy all mapped out, while the parade was going on we would do a little souvenir shopping on Main Street, get some dessert, go for our Fast Pass time at Space Mountain and then watch the fireworks. The only problem? When the parade started we were on the wrong side of Main Street and there is no crossing the parade route so we couldn't get to Tomorrowland for a final ride on Space Mountain. And we never did get dessert :-(
They were letting some people cross by the main entrance/exit when there was a break in the parade but by the time we realized it, it was too late to go back to the entrance, make it to Space Mountain and still see the fireworks.
The parade route is shown on the Guidemap and it isolates the Adventureland section from the rest of the park. There are two parades, one at 3 pm and one at 8 pm (times may change throughout the year) and last for at least a 1/2 hour.
Many times during our visits I have wondered if some of these parents use their common sense. On several occasions we were in line for rides such as the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Snow White Ride and noticed parents not caring about their child's obvious fear of the attraction. We had a small child (maybe 3) in line in front of us for the Haunted Mansion. He was already crying and afraid just by looking at the house and seeing the tombstones. By the time he entered the house he was in full shrieking mode and crying even worse. We experienced the ride with his crying and screaming in the background (we wound up waiting in line again to ride it without the child's soundtrak). I thought it was irresponsible of the parents to make him go through the Haunted Mansion screaming and crying in fear.
Disney sometimes closes it's rides in order to repair or update the atraction. It is important to check the Disney website (disneyworld.disney.go.com) and see what rides might be closed during your visit. Whenever we have planned a Disney trip, Liz is on the computer making sure her favorite attractons are open.
Currently Space Mountain is closed until November 21, 2009 for refurbishment.
I was against going to this Disney storybook character breakfast for two reasons. First, scrambled eggs were on the prepared menu and there was no way to substitute for fried, boiled, or whatever. Second, if we were going to get up that early, I was all for hitting the rides. However, we had my (then) 5-year old brother along and this was for his benefit. The thing that made this all worthwhile was seeing the Pluto cartoon dog character get overly aggressive with Daddy such that I could say, "See, if we had gone straightaway to the park, you wouldn't have been attacked by Pluto."
On August 3 our party was leaving Epcot at 9:00 p.m. ahead of the main crowd who was watching the Illuminations Show. Since we were parked in Handicapped Parking we were walking to the handicapped lot outside the main gate. We, along with other guests, were crossing in the cross walk across a tramway. All of a sudden, this parked tram jumped and came speeding toward the crosswalk. Myself, some members of my party and others were able to jump ahead before the tram crossed. I turned to see my daughter and father on the other side of the speeding tram. Four tram cars go by before the tram is brought to at a stop by the young driver. I quickly went to see that my parents and daughter were safe. The tram missed by dad and daughter by about a foot. Had they been another foot into the crosswalk, they would have been hit by the speeding tram.
After seeing they were safe, I along with other Disney guests who were in the crosswalk went to the front of the Tram to confront the driver. Other Epcot Parking attendants had came up to the front of the Tram as well. As we approached, the parking attendants attempted to wave us back saying things like: "no one was hurt," "We have this under control," "there is no reason for you to be concerned." etc. Another guest and I expressed our outrage at what had just taken place and were again met with comments like, it wasn't our concern, it was under control, we should just drop the issue, etc. The person in charge then decided that the tram needed to be moved out of the way to open up the crosswalk. He was going to let the driver who had almost killed people back into the cab to move the tram. Several of us standing there complained loudly about that and finally the supervisor himself climbed in the cab to move the tram.
I also saw Disney Trams speeding through the Handicapped Crosswalks at Magic Kingdom as well but luckily we didn't have to cross them at the Magic Kingdom. Disney really needs to investigate and improve their tram operations.
Warning signs, Americans has enough of this. On food package, in public places it's hard not to trip over the Caution Wet Floor warnings.
And offcourse the theme park capitol of the world Orlando has it's own warnings...
Take the Splash Zone warnings, the go on very high in the dolphin and orca stadiums. Some people don't take them that serious. Some of them don't mind to get wet and others think "well how high can that water go" .
Believe me the water can get very high see the picture on this page for some proof of that.
Picture taken summer 2000
Most people already know it, but I'll give this warning anyway. Think carefully before you go on the 'It's a small world'-boatride in the Magic Kingdom! Once you've heard this song, you will nog be able to get it out of your head for the next 3 days! It is sure to make any sane person go completely mad!!!
Pre-school children do not expect Winnie the Pooh to be the size of their mom, or for that matter Goofy to be bigger than their Dad. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine something that looks like goofy walking towards you. As you can see from the picture once they are frightened, even 'human' characters can seem scary
Don't take pictures at the Clydesdale Hamlet until you know the horse gender and the mood of the moment. Doreen had her new camera and took the picture of the Clydesdale in the Stable. He thought it was time to perform stud duties.
Many of the venues have picture-posing points, but if you are in a hurry you'll miss them.
Pin Trading is something that Walt Disney World now has all over their theme parks. Its a great thing for kids , and even adults to do. However, it can get extremely expensive, and adults are aloud in the parks to set up booths and "trade" pins. Usually they are nice, but some of them will say, that their pin is worth two or three pins, and tell you to go in the store and buy him certain pins because he doesnt want any of yours. So instead of actually trading pins, you end up buying pins for the guy who has a lesser value pin than you just "bought". Good luck and be careful !
The most memorable event of our family trip in August was a very bad event....my 10 year old daughter and 78 year old father in a motorized wheel chair, were almost ran over by a Tram at Epcot.
On August 3 our party was leaving Epcot at 9:00 p.m. We were walking to the handicapped lot outside the main gate. We, along with other guests, were crossing in the cross walk across a tramway. All of a sudden, a parked tram jumped and came speeding toward the crosswalk. Myself, some members of my party and others were able to jump ahead before the tram crossed. I turned to see my daughter and father on the other side of the speeding tram. Four tram cars go by before the tram is brought to at a stop by the young driver. The tram missed by dad and daughter by about a foot. Had they been another foot into the crosswalk, they would have been hit by the speeding tram.
After seeing they were safe, I along with other Disney guests who were in the crosswalk went to the front of the Tram to confront the driver. Other Epcot Parking attendants had came up to the front of the Tram as well. As we approached, the parking attendants attempted to wave us back but another guest and I expressed our outrage at what had just taken place and were again met with comments like, it wasn't our concern, it was under control, we should just drop the issue, etc.
What transpired after our return home from Disney World is what is most upsetting. When someone asked my daughter what she remembers most about Disney World, her reply has been: "Grandpa and I almost got killed by a Disney Tram." What a wonderful memory for my daughter to have for the rest of her childhood about her visit to Disney World!
Basically, Disney's attitude through the whole ordeal has been, no one was hurt, so its not a big deal. It is next to impossible to lodge a complaint or to get them to respond to you. Too bad that a child or handicapped person has to be killed or injured before Disney cares.
No, they don't spike the tea with Orlando moonshine. Riding the giant spinning teacups too often can make you so dizzy you can't find the exit.
Watch out for the green plastic army men!!! They look harmless, but not! They're vicious killers!...j/k