Well thanks for hanging in on the Disney Debrief my bloggy friends.
After covering preparations and strategy, let’s talk about the fun stuff in today’s Disney Debrief. The fun and not so fun stuff.
I asked each of the kids to make a list of their favorite two things about Disney. Apart from one another and without consulting each other.
I also asked them to list the top two things they didn’t like.
They all had the same top two (specific rides, they just named different ones) and the bottom two.
Building on their list, I’ll add my own. The best things about our trip:
The rides. For sure. We are rollercoaster people. Well, Bray was NOT a rollercoaster person but he rode every last one of them and we may have even converted him on a few.
Our favorite rides were:
• HS – Slinky Dog Dash (SUCH a fun rollercoaster, not just a kiddie one, I loved it) and Aerosmith Rock N Rollercoaster (great jam, super fast, even Bray didn’t mind being flung upside down).
• AK – Avatar (hands down the most amazing ride I’ve ever been on, wish I could have ridden it a dozen times), Everest, and Primeval Whirl .
• Epcot – we really didn’t get to ride much here because of not having FP+. I hear Soarin’ is great, we thought Test Track was fine but not awesome, and none of us enjoyed Frozen. The Land was interesting though just for educational value, Disney has it’s own greenhouse and laboratories.
• MK – Splash Mountain we all loved and rode almost 10 times between the two days (don’t sit in front if you don’t want to get wet), Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (neat new ride but way too long of a wait for what you get), and Space Mountain (only three of our five liked because it’s in the dark and spinny so both Bray and the eldest got really queasy) .
Bray’s favorite was Aerosmith.
I loved them all but Avatar and Slinky Dog are probably my top two.
The baby couldn’t pick but put Thunder, Slinky, Avatar, Everest and Aerosmith as his top five. Little bit agreed. And the eldest liked Slinky and Mine but also wanted to add that he loved Dumbo. We rode all the spin around rides like Dumbo, Triceratops, Aladdin Carpets, and Tea Cups, he is still a little kid deep down.
Photo Pass! Y’all buy this service in advance! We never get family photos (except the once a year Christmas shoot). We got so many amazing pictures of the five of us not to mention al the awesome photos from the rides you could never capture otherwise. It is $169 if you buy it in advance, less than any photo shoot, and you just swipe your Magic Bands (also an awesome feature!) after any ride with cameras or with any park photographers. And some of the photographers add fun extras like the cartoons shown above. This should really be free because of all the great press these pictures buy Disney!
The people. Everyone from our hotel (we stayed at Art of Animation, a nice “value” property), waiting in ride lines, etc, was nice. The kids complained once or twice about a Cast Members scolding them (I thought everyone was nice at Disney) but it was usually because they were climbing on something they shouldn’t have.
The characters. Aside from the princesses at the breakfast I mentioned yesterday, we really did enjoy the character interactions. We didn’t wait in line at parks to meet them like we did when we went the first time, but the meal interactions or passing them in the street they were warm and friendly.
All the traditional characters hugged the kids and waved and posed (what a great job, kids light up when you walk in the room and run to hug you!) and the Star Wars characters were appropriately menacing! And the eldest’s favorite thing of the trip was the Star Wars dessert party at HS.
The bummers about our trip:
Those were the exact two things all the kids wrote completely independent of the other.
It really was awful. You pay all this money to go to an amusement park but you’re basically done by lunch unless you want to wait in 90+ minute lines. Which we did not. After you’ve used your FP+, then there aren’t any left for the good rides and the lines are terrible. You definitely are not getting your money worth.
And then what do you do? The one day we left AK early (around 3) because we couldn’t bear to wait, we went back to the hotel, the kids swam (it was TOO cold for me), and then we went to Epcot for dinner. But you couldn’t ride any rides (besides The Land and The Sea) because of terrible lines, and we couldn’t even get around to France because the countries were all so crowded.
Y’all, this is in mid January when kids are in school. I can’t fathom July when it’s more crowded and brutally hot. I wouldn’t do it.
In addition, I would add The Food. I know it’s a universal compliant but the food should either be affordable and crappy or expensive and good. Not expensive and crappy.
There are places you can get good food. We didn’t find them. I’m guessing you need a reservation and even more money.
We priced out the dining plan and it wasn’t for us. It’s $75 a day for adults but you have to pay for all the days you are there. For us, that meant six days even though we arrived one night and left at lunch one day. They counted all six days instead of four. The kids (9 and under) would have been a deal at $25 a day but you have to buy for all people in your party. That means it is $225 a day or $1350 for six days, two of which you’re not even there for half of the day.
We did the math, and we probably spent almost $1200 on food. Seriously y’all. We didn’t order a bunch of desserts or snacks. That’s just lunch and dinner, once or twice breakfast, two character meals, and a couple of ice creams.
The vacation itself, for a family of five to stay at a value hotel (lowest cost) on property with four park days, is over $4,000. No airfare. No food. To ride a handful of rides a day. It’s a lot of money.
I love Disney magic. I’m glad we did it. But if you are looking for affordable or relaxing, go read my Yosemite posts and take that vacation. Hand’s down, that’s still our favorite vacation.