Top Five List: Why Wait in Long Disney Line Ups?

A: Because you’re crazy.

B: Because you have no choice.

C: Because it’s the only way to get into or onto an attraction.

D: Because after you’ve read this post, you’ll realize it’s not that bad.

E: All of the above.

OK, probably this is an occasion when the answer is ‘All of the Above’. But for the purpose of this post, we’re going to pretend that only statement D is true!

So why shouldn’t you mind waiting in a long line at Disney? It’s Top Five time:

Reason No. 5

Anticipation

One year we stayed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and had to wait in line for many a bus. Waiting for Disney transportation is probably the first long line you will experience on your trip and can be very frustrating!

But what are you really waiting for? Your day of magic is about to begin and perhaps a delayed bus ride is just the time you need to reflect on what you hope to reap from your day. It can be a time to plan and a time to get excited about what is to come!

OK, I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but that’s why it’s Reason number 5.

Reason No. 4

Beautiful Views

Although you almost always have to wait to get anywhere at a Disney Park, it doesn’t have to be drab. The Water Taxis around Walt Disney World ply the most scenic areas of the property. Views from most docks are breathtaking! Take a moment (or many moments if the boat isn’t on time) to relax and take it all in.

Reason No. 3

Atmosphere

    

Whether it be waiting for a table at a restaurant or entering the queue of a beloved attraction, Disney always tries to enhance the experience.

This time of waiting can prepare you for the event to come! Sitting in a waiting area that looks like grandma’s old kitchen will only make that traditional meal taste better. And passing through a cloud of foreboding fog will get your mind adjusted to the weird and wild attraction that has ‘terror’ in its name!

Reason No. 2

Unique Perspectives

    

Most lines for E-Ticket attractions are very long and heavily themed. So bring along your camera and take lots of pictures. Sometimes you can see things that aren’t always obvious from other places in the parks.

For example, you can see the loading areas from above, or watch ride vehicles pass underneath you as they leave or return to the loading area. Standing outside an attraction can give you a basic idea of what it’s about, but walking through its line (even if painfully long) can give you a more intimate feel for what the Imagineers were going for!

Reason No. 1

Interaction

Disney realizes that no one visits a park to stand in line. So they do try to make the waiting less aggravating by supplying something to do. In the Soarin’ queue at Epcot, guests can enjoy interactive screens and activities. In other attraction lines, there may be things to play with, audio stimulation, or tactile challenges.

These five reasons not enough to convince you to enjoy standing in line?

Then never forget that you are usually with your family or friends! And you are surrounded by other Disney Guests who may be just as bored as you are. I’ve enjoyed some very interesting conversations and shared tips and experiences with fellow ‘liners’ only to find it’s time to board the ride and I was left wondering where the time went!

Your time at Disney will only be as fun as you choose to make it, so find the joy wherever you can, even in that long line-up!

Happy Anniversary

They lived happily ever after!

Happy Anniversary

Special thanks to my friend Sheila for taking this photo!

14 years ago today, my wife Cindy and I were saying our vows on our wedding day.  This is our story.

In June of 1999, we had a new employee start — her name was Cindy.  She worked in our Development department, and on her very first day I was given the opportunity to meet her because she was having a problem with her computer.  When I showed up to meet her, she said “I’ve tried this and this and this and this (listing all of the troubleshooting steps she had taken) and nothing worked, so I called you.”  I was impressed because most people don’t get past the first step!  I was able to fix her issue, and over the months we became friends.

Cindy has a background in payroll, but the job she had here was that of a Volunteer Coordinator.  She was really good at it, as she is at everything she attempts, but she just wasn’t satisfied with her position, and one day she told me that she was going to be leaving her job.  A going away party was organized, and I was invited at a local restaurant/arcade type place (kind of like a Dave & Busters).

Since I would be driving right by her house on my way to the party, I offered to pick her up and give her a ride to the restaurant.  I was politely declined because she was having dinner with her neighbor, who would also be at the party.  When her neighbor found out that I had offered, she made plans of her own (unbeknownst to any of us).  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Anyway, I get to the party with all of her other friends, and we are celebrating Cindy and the job she had done.  As the party progressed, her neighbor was talking with Cindy and I, and then she said “Cindy, Mike is going to give you a ride home from the party.”  Of course, this kind of surprised Cindy, but since we were friends, she agreed to it.  It seemed like very quickly after that, everyone cleared out, and Cindy and I were just sitting, talking, and drinking Diet Coke.  The next thing we knew, the bartender is calling last call!

As I was taking Cindy to her town home, we noticed a big light going on.  When I asked was it was, Cindy told me that our Museum of Natural Sciences had done a remodel of the museum, and the grand re-opening was going on, and they were open for 24 hours straight.  So, at 2AM, we decided to check out the museum.

All in all, it was a great time, and it was the start of a wonderful relationship, the most important relationship in my life.

Three months later I was taking Cindy to Florida to meet my grandparents, introducing her to Walt Disney World (we had a great time visiting the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on July 3 & 4, 2000 — and the crowds weren’t that bad at all!), and on August 11, 2000, at 4:20PM, we were saying our vows and getting married.

After all the trials, all the successes, after seeing our child Sophie born and raise her in a loving, Christian environment for her 13+ years, after all the laughs, the tears, the sorrow at losing loved ones, and the happiness at gaining new loved ones,  after all of that, 14 years later and counting, I think I can safely say that “They lived happily ever after.”

I love you, Cindy.  Happy Anniversary my friend, my love, my soul-mate.

 

High Disney Expectations Can Make or Break Your Vacation

You’ve dreamed of it for years. You’ve planned it out for months. You’ve been packing for days. Now it is time. Your trip to a Disney Theme Park is about to begin!

Will it live up to your expectations? (Photo from Disney PhotoPass CD)

Disney is probably one of the most talked about, and hyped, vacation destinations of all time. We all know someone who has been. We have all seen advertisements for the latest promotions. In one way or another, we have all built up a bias as to what we expect.

Is this true of you?

If so, perhaps you were influenced by the Internet. It is filled with Trip Reports. This is when a person visits one of the Disney Theme Parks and then takes the time to tell the world how it all went. They list what they liked. And they list what they didn’t like.

One Trip Report that was posted on the MSN homepage did just that. But what stood out to me was one assessment about a certain attraction. It is called Soarin’, and is found in EPCOT at Walt Disney World. This ride simulates hang gliding over California. They said, basically, that it was a disappointment because their children thought that they would be really flying. When it turned out to be only a simulation, they called it lame.

And therein lies the problem with basing our perception of a Disney Park on what other people experienced: their experience was tainted by expectation. Would we fail to enjoy Soarin’ too because it is a simulation, and not the real thing? Possibly. And yet Soarin’ remains one of EPCOT’s most popular rides. So who is right? It is impossible to say.

What we can say is that we are more likely to enjoy our visit to The Happiest Place on Earth if we just go and take it for what it is, and not what someone else expected it to be. A Disney Park offers something for everyone. Yes, you may not enjoy Soarin’, but you will definitely enjoy some other ride. Overall, you will have things that you liked, and things that you didn’t like. Just like everyone else.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t read Trip Reports? Of course not! These can sometimes be informative, and provide a basic guideline for planning our trip. But should they be used to make a final decision about a ride, attraction, or Park? By no means.

I had just one expectation when I planned to visit Walt Disney World back in 2005. I expected to have fun. And I did! Some things weren’t what I thought they’d be. Other things were. Did this make or ruin my trip? No!

The point: Don’t expect your expectations to turn out the way you expected! But of course, that’s just my opinion.

Test Track

8 Days: Test Track

Test Track

One of the rides that I am most looking forward to seeing is Test Track! We haven’t ridden it since before it was updated!

Today is #Day8 in our #DisneyWorldCountdown, and for our choice for today we’re taking a look at Test Track — the ride that changed a while back and we haven’t ridden since the changes!  When we last rode it, we were “crash test dummies” and we were helping to test out some of the safety features of the cars.  The ride was fun, and ended with a ride outside on the lap at top speed!  From what I understand, the changes are more in the first part of the ride, where, instead of going through the tests, you now have the opportunity to design your own car!  I may be wrong on this a bit, so if I am wrong and you know, leave me a comment to clarify for us please!

In the past, the problem I had with Test Track was that it was so problematic from a standpoint that weather could totally ground the attraction.  Because of this, it’s not my favorite ride by any stretch — if I had to rank Future World attractions, I’d have Soarin at #1, Spaceship Earth at #2, and Ellen’s Energy Adventure at #3.  Still, we are excited to see if it has improved with the new design of the attraction.

What do you think of Test Track?  Is it still problematic from a weather standpoint, is it still slow loading like it was, or has it improved?  Do you have to design your own vehicle or can you skip that?  Do you like it or do you skip it?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

 

Soarin'

32 Days: Soarin’ Over California

Soarin'

Soarin’ over California is our choice for #Day32 in our #DisneyWorldCountdown.

With each passing day, we get one day closer to our vacation!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it!  As we start getting into the smaller numbers, you will hopefully see an increase in the number of E-Ticket attractions that we profile in our countdown.  Today we are taking a look at Soarin’ Over California, the ride that takes us on a visit across many of the absolutely incredible features of the state of California!  This attraction is so lifelike that I used to get sick — not physically, but certainly wobbly — as we rode it, and it took me a long time to warm up to it as a result.  However, now, this attraction is one that I look forward to each and every visit to Epcot!

Soarin'

Cindy, Sophie, and Stephanie pose for a picture before we rode Soarin’ on September 30, 2011.

We rode this on September 30, 2011, and Cindy, Sophie and Stephanie posed for a photo in the queue as we were waiting in line.  Who can tell me what September 30, 2011 is memorable for (or perhaps more importantly, the day after September 30, 2011?)

Soarin'

The queue for Soarin’ is like walking to a futuristic airplane!

The queue to get to the attraction is really neat in my opinion.  There are games to play on these big screens, and while they never seem to do much for me, they are a distraction.  Additionally, the colors and wavy screens do really seem like an advanced hangar type loading area.

Unfortunately, I do not have any ride photos to show you because my camera is always under my seat.  However, I did find this video of the ride that I hope you enjoy.

Rumor is afloat that changes are going to be made to Soarin’.  Many people saw special helicopters flying over the Magic Kingdom with cameras attached to them, and it has a lot of us wondering if the ride is going to be redone in the near future.  What do you think?  Is it destined to change, and will it be great when it comes back?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!