Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Magic Kingdom - Trip report Part 2

Let’s get started with a tour of the West side of the Magic Kingdom. Adventureland is directly to your left from the hub and sports this dated looking entrance. I suppose the Adventureland entrance is Disneyland is dated too, just a different decade!

How about a ride on the Jungle Cruise? I really enjoyed this version, it’s of course bigger than Disneyland’s and even includes an indoor sequence that made me feel like Indiana Jones should have been close by. We had a great female skipper (skipperette?) she was funny and charming.

The weather in Florida fits the Jungle Cruise nicely, sticky and hot! This camp site got sacked by a Gorilla, I wonder if he blogs? Nah, Gorilla’s Don’t Blog!

A pet zebra, how cute. Don’t these look a little too plastic?

The Rhino looks upset. Notice how green it is in Florida, it works very well for this attraction.

That’s a fine “how do ya do”!

There is a wrecked plane that looks pretty convincing.

The natives get shade and protection from the sun and rain.

Next up, the Swiss Family Tree House. I must confess I have an “issue” with heights, I did the best I could with taking pictures while not stopping in one place for too long, a lot came out blurry because I was obviously in a hurry. Trust me it’s in great shape and is a complete flashback to the Disneyland version. Why Tarzana ever moved in I will never know, it’s time to evict him!

The Tree House is surrounded by tons of old plant growth; it mixes very well with the artificial tree making it hard to tell it’s not real.

Oh boy, I forgot how high this thing is, I almost think the Florida version is higher?

Vertigo anyone?

It looks as if the family will be returning any minute.

The boy’s room, I bet they are out racing ostrich’s!

We made it to the top!

The view from up here is amazing, sorry I did stop to take more and better photos, I was starting to get that same feeling when I rode the “Parachute Drop” at Knott’s!

Back on the ground we get a nice view of the kitchen.

See I told you they are coming back soon; the table is all set and ready to go.

You can’t see it very well do to the grown, but there is a stream here that feeds the water wheel which was broken so I didn’t take a picture of it!

This is the moat that surrounds the Tree House and connects to the moat at the Hub and in front of the castle. When they had the Plaza Swan Boats, you would board near the Tomorrowland entrance and sail all the way to here to go around the Tree House, boy that seems like the coolest thing to me, too bad it’s gone.

The Enchanted Tiki Room, and “Under New Management” yet. Well, I have read a lot about how the new management ruined the original show and it seems logical to me. Maybe because I never saw the original show in Florida, but this one didn’t bother me. It was actually kind of funny. Of course if they did it to Disneyland, I would cry foul and demand a return to the original, go figure. Anyway, I think once is enough for this show, so WDW should put back the original show.

The Building is big, with a semi-enclosed queue line. The actual theater seems a little larger than Anaheim's, but not much. The air conditioning was not so good in this attraction, I was surprised.

Pirates of the Caribbean. The outside has all the charm of my local Mission Burrito restaurant. An hours worth of the queue line is inside, which is great because it's air conditioned, but not much theme involved, basically like a long dungeon walk thru. When you approach the load area it’s weird and small. No high ceiling, no Blue Bayou. The ride itself is good, and basically the same as Anaheim from the Mayor dunking scene to near the end. It’s shorter for certain, not much of the cave sequences and the fort/ship battle scene seemed small and hurried. Honestly, I felt cheated after waiting 50 minutes to ride this attraction.

I caught Peter Pan on his way somewhere in Adventureland? I think I got his shadow too!

Passageway to Frontierland from Adventureland. This beats walking all the way around, it’s a lot further than you’d think.

Frontierland is fun and well themed.

This trio played great music, it really added to the atmosphere. Disneyland could use a few more of these and a few less pirates.

Now you KNOW you are not in Anaheim, I only found a few ducks in Florida, mostly they have these guys.

It was raining slightly when I took this photo; the river barely seems wide enough.

Tom Sawyer Island. I never got time to check it out, but it looks original as day one. It also seems a bit smaller that Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer Island. Note the lack of Pirates, I love it!

Splash Mountain is neat, and big! People did not seem to get as wet as Anaheim’s version.

This is looking the opposite direction from the Splash Mountain picture above. I like this view and this photo; this is how I will remember this section of the park.

Liberty Square and the Hall of Presidents is a great part of the park. It has a super themed feel to it and the Hall is detailed and rich in person.

Nice carpet in the Hall of Presidents waiting area. There was a great Cast Member in the waiting area that knew TONS of Presidential Trivia; he went on for 15 minutes! He was charming and entertaining. Good show Disney!

The silhouette shop is in Liberty Square, where it seems to fit just fine.

The Haunted Mansion.

The queue setup was not so good for this attraction. While it is covered, it’s a snake of line, then you just sort of enter thru a side door and into the stretching room, I’m not even sure if you are even in the Mansion itself? Once I stepped out of the stretching room I was faced with hundreds of people packed in like cattle to squeeze into MORE queue lines. No casual walk, no changing scaring portraits (that comes later on the ride). Once again, tons of people were crushing down into a slim area, inch and push, shove and wiggle, bad show!

The ride itself was good. It had a weird “which way is up” room with stairs in all directions and a library that handled the changing portraits and statues that stare are you. Otherwise the ride was much the same as Anaheim’s and I was pleased with it.

The Country Bear Jamboree was playing as good as ever. I sure do miss this show at Disneyland. My camera was getting full so I only got one picture and a short video. I wonder what they did with the bears at Anaheim? Are they in storage somewhere? I hope they bring it back some day (soon!).


The firehouse, I wonder what’s upstairs, Roy’s apartment?

The interior of City Hall, just for you Jason!

The train station at the end of a long, wet day.

In summary, I liked the Magic Kingdom. I was sad to leave on the last day, knowing I would probably not be back for while. Is this how out of towners feel after they visit Disneyland?

The Magic Kingdom has its good, bad and ugly, just like Disneyland. I can see how if you grew up going to the Magic Kingdom you would consider it to be “the park”, and I respect that, even more having now visited the Florida Property. Of course, Disneyland will always be “the park” to me. It’s nice to know that my park has a great sister out in Florida.

Check back later today for a Bonus Sunday Special mini reivew of the other parks and all the guide maps.


Scott said...

I've never been on the Plaza Swan Boats. That would have been a nice relaxing ride.

WDW, please return the original Tiki Room. I saw the original in Disneyland last year and it was refreshing.

Pirates is another attraction that pales in comparison to the Disneyland version, but I still like WDW's.

Splash Mountain, on the other hand, is better at WDW than Disneyland IMO.

Can't wait for the mini reviews of the other parks and the map scans.

Major Pepperidge said...

Yay, I'm famous! ;-)

The Jungle Cruise looks great, I kind of like the plane crash idea. And the Swiss Family Treehouse, I am SO jealous that they have not converted it to Tarzan's abode.

I have never heard of the Swan Boats, but it sure sounds like a great idea. A relaxing, slow ride tht would be perfect when your feet are achin'.

The Tiki Room, I dunno...I've heard the audio, and it makes me want to rip off my ears. "Pirates" sounds a bit disappointing to say the least. So funny to see those "exotic" birds beggin for popcorn!

I always imagined that the Florida Frontierland would be even more vast, but the river really doesn't look much bigger. And TSI is smaller?? At least there are no pirates.

Up until recently I heard that the Florida "Mansion" had not changed since 1971, I was actually curious to see what that would be like in spite of its ratty condition.

I could go on and on, thank you for the continued trip report!

ericpaddon said...

Totally understand why our WDW version of Pirates would underwhelm a DL regular. Pirates placement in WDW though was done in great haste to accomodate guest complaints about it not being there when the park was opened, and so they really had to improvise quickly to find reasonable space to put what in the end was a shorter version of the ride. Had Walt still been alive, I believe WDW would have brushed off the complaints and gone ahead with their original plan for the "Western River Expedition" in Frontierland as Florida's POTC counterpart, and which if built would have been a leap forward from what POTC in DL is.

The waterwheel in Swiss Family Treehouse was broken when I was there four years ago, so it sounds like this old favorite is suffering from some long-term neglect.

We need the original Tiki show back too, because even if you like the whole Under New Management concept, the joke has worn thin. Florida already has the past precedent of bringing back the original Country Bear Jamboree show after an eight year hiatus when they replaced "Vacation Hoedown" in the mid-90s.

Greg Maletic said...

Thanks for the review! Been looking forward to reading it...

The original Tiki Room show in Florida was identical to the original one in California. (It had the now-excised Offenbach part of the show as well.) The only difference was that the visual presentation was more elaborate, with a larger building (I don't know if the capacity was larger), higher ceilings, and more birds.

Agree with most of what you said about Pirates, though I have a more positive reaction to the queue than you did. I like that it has two sides that give two distinct experiences, and little touches like the chess-playing skeletons. It almost, but not quite, makes up for the shorter ride. I do hate how the grotto area has been nearly destroyed with the inclusion of the Davy Jones effect.

I don't believe that Tom Sawyer Island in Florida is smaller than the one in Anaheim, though I could be wrong. It's missing the treehouse at the top, with the water flowing down, but in its favor, it does have an accessible fort with a secret escape route...even some primitive animatronics.

And you're right about Swiss Family Treehouse: I believe it to be significantly larger than the one in Anaheim. Shame that the waterwheel wasn't working; it was when I was there in December 2007.

You're right about the castle: it's a travesty that it can't be walked through during most of the day. But I do think the castle is ultimately more successful than the one in Disneyland. I say it probably too often, but the tile murals in the Orlando castle are the most beautiful piece of art in any Disney park.

Finally, glad to hear that your overall impression of the Magic Kingdom was positive. It has its lousy parts (the east side of Fantasyland, and much of Tomorrowland), but it also has its exceptional points (Swiss Family Treehouse, Crystal Palace area, etc.)

Greg Maletic said...

Two other things I forgot to say in favor of the Pirates queue in Orlando:

1) I like that it actually -makes sense.- I'm confused by what is supposed to be going on in Anaheim: you walk into a house and you're immediately greeted by a moat? Then a bayou? In Orlando, the now-gone barker bird out front described how you were entering into the fort, then ducking out the back escape route into the grotto. The explanation is no longer given, but it still seems more coherent to me.

2) Florida's separate disembarkation area allows you to enter the boats "empty", rather than seeing the bored Anaheim tourists waiting to disembark. Always a downer.

Anonymous said...

> Florida's separate disembarkation area allows you to enter the boats "empty", rather than seeing the bored Anaheim tourists waiting to disembark. Always a downer. <

Aye, mate, a downer it be, but them guests staggerin' off o' "Pirates of the Movie Tie-In" be not bored -- their slack-jawed look be sheer stupifaction at hearin' the name o' "Cap'n Jack Sparrow" repeated 537 times in 10 minutes, arrrr!

mr wiggins said...

Avast, n' 10 lashes with a wet churro to Mr Wiggins for neglectin' to sign the previous post, arrrr!

Major Pepperidge said...

The "Pirates" queue area in Anaheim has always been one of my all-time favorite parts of Disneyland. The way I see it, you have entered the building, and the line curves around. If you enter during the day, the change to night time is a bit hard to explain logically (it's cool though!), but you DO see what I presume is supposed to be the back of the same building you entered; it overlooks the "outdoor" dining area overlooking the bayou.

Entering empty boats would be nice I guess, but considering that you have to wait for previous riders to disembark from almost every other ride at Disneyland, it never bothered me.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Hi again Scott! Plaza Swan Boats seemed so cool! Yes, time for the new management to vacate the premises. Pirates was ok, I just I’m just spoiled from the Anaheim version. While I didn’t ride Splash at WDW I did notice it was larger and seemed less shoehorned in than the Disneyland version. The bridges around it are neat too, it all seems to fit in very well.

Major; Glad you caught my Gorilla reference…. The Jungle Cruise was great, much better than I expected. Yes, too bad the tree house has not been converted to Tarzana’s, maybe it will come next season … Tiki Room was not as bad as I thought it would be, it was actually kind of funny, but I can see how it can wear thin quick. One of the added birds (who know which one) does make two interesting comments. (1) he references 1963, which no one in the room but me got and (2) he makes a comments at the end about how it might not be smart to walk under a bunch of birds… I am told TSI is larger, but it doesn’t look it, plus its actually two islands connected via a bridge. I heard that about the Haunted mansion too. It seemed to have many of Disneyland’s newer effects and in certain parts it was a direct copy, other parts, not so much.

Eric; The POTC constructed in has still shows 35 year later. I have read about the Western River Expedition, boy did we all miss out with the loss of that one. I was hopping the tree house water wheel was just broken that day, but you are the second person to tell me its been that way for a while. Interestingly, the rest of the tree and house seemed in fine shape and rather popular still. I can see how the “new management” could wear thin and in a hurry. They could and should bring back the original. The Country Bears where so fun to see again, like old family members!!

Greg; I thought the Tiki Room was a little large too, definitely higher ceilings. Regarding the Pirates queue line, I guess I only did the one side (right side) so maybe I didn’t see it all. You make TSI sound exciting, now I am sad I missed it. It seemed small from the shore, but then again, everything else is so big it’s hard to tell exactly. I thought the Tree House was taller too, it’s like it’s up on a hill or raised somehow. Not being able to walk thru the Castle was a total downer for me, I’ve been told you can go thru it early and/or later in the day, but I was there from 9am to 8pm and it seemed closed the whole time, the Murals (all 1 ½ of them) did seem awesome! I would say by the number of people that take pictures of just the castle (no people) is about 10 to 1, Florida to Anaheim, so yes I’d say the WDW Castle was ultimately more successful. Funny how perceptions differ, I think the POTC queue at Florida was uninspiring and sorta of an after thought. I supposed I am just so used to the Disneyland version that it makes sense to me since that’s I have ever seem for 40 years. Also the disembark thing seemed odd to me, again, I am so used to going “up” the waterfall then staring at the new group of people that I guess I don’t know any better 

Mr. Wiggins; you’re cracking me up! That’s half the fun in Anaheim, staring at the bored tourists. Captain Jack Sparrow needs to pack up with McDonalds and move out!

Major; I feel the same way you do about the Anaheim Pirates queue area, its all unique and one heck of a visual. The separate disembark idea it ok, WDW is full of them. But it really doesn’t save any time; in fact, the “boats” have to make an additional stop. Folks in Anaheim know the Pirates and Space Mountain drill, exit quickly to your right or get yelled at!

Artwork by Christi Bunn said...

I have loved seeing how someone who grew up going to Disneyland sees Florida's Magic Kingdom. I only know the Florida version, but one day I hope to see Walt's original. We got the Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets DVD not too long ago and have literally devoured it. We've watched it again and again... it is so fascinating. I especially loved the footage of the "time lapse" where everything was being built. It really is an amazing thing to think of all that one man (and mouse, of course!) inspired. And I am longing to ride the Matterhorn, among others!

I am a real EPCOT fan, so I am sad you didn't get to spend much time there. Sorry you felt it was contrived, but maybe if you got to spend a little more time there you wouldn't feel that way. Or perhaps you have traveled the world and seen those countries for yourself. I have never been to any other country except Canada (Niagara Falls), so I was hooked on EPCOT from the first minute I spent in World Showcase. I am thrilled that we did get Soarin' at EPCOT as it has become my favorite ride. I will never forget the first time I rode it... chills.

Thanks for all the wonderful pictures. I can't wait for these next 41 days to go by ...I will be there again with my fam of 5 and this time with my mom who has never been to WDW. It's always great to see someone you love experience the magic for the very first time!