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Bachelorscope Weekend - A Trip Report

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by JungleSkip, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. JungleSkip

    JungleSkip Premium Member

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    So this past Thursday to Sunday, I was in Orlando for my bachelor party with a mixed group of theme park newbies and some of my theme park crew. It was definitely an illuminating trip, and a hell of a lot of fun. We stayed at an AirBnb, which may be my preferred method of lodging with groups bigger than ~3 moving forward. You just can't beat having a house to yourself.

    Thursday February 7 - Magic Kingdom
    On Thursday we went to the Magic Kingdom, and had FP+s for all three Mountains in hand.

    First, let me say how downright bad the TTC is right now. I understand that putting money into it will net Disney 0 return, but man that place looks so worn and tired. It's a bad first impression IMO, especially paired with the shabby state of the monorails. Disney also needs to adopt Universal's security setup. Disney is so painfully slow in comparison.

    With that being said, once you're over by the park, everything is a breeze, and the outside portions of the Magic Kingdom all look great. Upkeep on the streets and buildings is looking very good, and I like the decluttered look that has started to pop up in Tomorrowland. The paint job on Carousel of Progress is really, really great.

    Unfortunately, we started in Tomorrowland with Buzz Lightyear. which is definitely among the rides that is most negatively affected by FP+. On a ride where the line would be constantly moving, the Standby line is currently a painful experience, as it seems like too many FPs are in the system for this ride. This ride and SDMT were where we felt the evils of FP+ the most. Just long, long stretches of sitting still in a standby line. It's not a good look IMO.

    Elsewhere in TL, I really hope they take some rides down for refurbishment once TRON opens. TTA and Space Mountain in particular are feeling very shabby and could do with extended downtime. Still, Space Mountain is a lot of fun, and we all enjoyed it.

    Mermaid and IASW were all we did in Fantasyland and they both looked good, but IASW was the first example of something we saw a lot in MK and Epcot: Oddly quiet audio. In IASW, Splash Mountain, Gran Fiesta Tour, and Haunted Mansion I noticed a lot of sound effects and dialogue that were nearly incomprehensible due to being so quiet.

    We had the chicken and waffles sandwich from Sleepy Hollow for lunch, and that was a big hit.

    Both Splash Mountain and Big Thunder were great and looked good, outside of the aforementioned audio issues. Same with Pirates, although that new Redhead scene is...really bad. Sorry, but it is just so lame.

    It pains me to say it, but the Jungle Cruise looked awful. So many inoperable scenes. But it was definitely saved by the great skipper we had. Mansion is also looking a little worn around the edges, especially in the stretch room.

    Overall, we had a great day and I saw what would become my biggest take away from the trip: All it takes is 3-4 really great rides to form a casual guest's view on the park. MK and the Uni parks have the great ones that left a great impression on the casual guests in our group, but Epcot doesn't. At least not yet.

    Friday February 8 - Universal/Disney Springs/Trader Sam's
    We got to Universal the next day a little after 10 and went right to the Studios. Just like Disney, Uni has its own issues with the pre-park experience, namely their turnstiles. It's inexcusable how long it takes to get into the park when you're at the gate. Uni should just ripoff Disney's touchpoint entry ASAP.

    Once in the park, we headed for Mummy. It was weird to see the park without HHN stuff all over, as that's how I usually see the park. But things looked fresh and well taken care of for the most part. We rode Mummy first, and it was looking really good. We went to Transformers from there, but it seemed to be having some sort of nagging issue that kept taking it down, so we bailed and went to Springfield, as one of my friends is a big Simpsons fan.

    We didn't ride the ride, but he was in heaven in the land. We hung out, got a Duff in Moe's, and did some shopping before riding MIB. Seems like that got a little love recently, and it was looking pretty good.

    Then it was time for Diagon, and my friends were all blown away. We saw the shops, saw one of the Beedle the Bard shows, rode Gringotts, and got lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. From there we went to Hogsmeade, where Forbidden Journey absolutely blew everyone away. It was the consensus favorite ride for the non-theme park fans in the group. It was basically all they talked about the rest of the day. I also have to say the ride was looking superb, though the musion effects in the queue could use some TLC.

    From there we went to JP, and just wandered around a little bit before jumping on the ride. Other than the first Ultrasaur, which was stuck in the "up" position, I thought the ride looked great. This was another ride that got rave reviews from the group. Kong was next, and everyone enjoyed it but didn't love it.

    We finished our day with Spider-Man, another big hit.

    I think the day showed me that Universal's parks definitely speak to my generation a lot more than Disney's parks do for people who didn't grow up going to Disney all the time. While everyone enjoyed the time we spent at Disney's parks, the Universal attractions were the ones they talked about most.

    That being said, getting out of Universal that night was miserable. They need to somehow improve their traffic flow in the resort. It took us far too long, and we originally wanted to go to the house to shower before dinner, but because of this we didn't have the time.

    We went to Raglan Road for dinner, which was a lot of fun, and very good. It had been years since I went there, but it was still just as good as I remember.

    From there we went to Trader Sam's which is always a blast. My friends loved it, especially my cousin who repeatedly got made fun of by our server for ordering Bud Lights. This was another highlight for everyone.
     
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  2. JungleSkip

    JungleSkip Premium Member

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    Saturday February 9 - Epcot/Disney Springs
    The original plan for the day was going to be DAK, but Touring Plans said it was going to be an 8, so we called an audible.

    I've never been to the Festival of the Arts, and I have to say I was really impressed. I think it might be the best festival they have. Lots of cool stuff to look at, and a lot of fairly reasonably priced art and prints. I ended up with a Jungle Cruise print I really liked. But it definitely adds a lot of browsing to the park, which is good to do with a drink in your hand.

    We road Soarin' first, which was my second time riding the "Over the World" version, and I liked it a lot better this time. We also rode Living with the Land, which the casuals in our group seemed to enjoy.

    We went to Test Track after grabbing some drinks in Mexico, and this was a big hit with everyone, who enjoyed the design studio portion and the ride.

    Next was Spaceship Earth, which is sadly in really, really rough shape. The ride had multiple extended down times when we were there, and when we rode it the ride system definitely sounds like it's struggling big time.

    After that we started our trip around the countries, checking out the pavilions, eating, drinking, and just generally having a good time. We had a lot of fun back there, but everyone still agreed that it was bafling each country didn't have a ride. I love World Showcase, but Ratatouille just won't be enough. There needs to be a few other things added here or there.

    After we were done with Epcot, we headed to Disney Springs again for a meal at Homecoming, and man does that place live up to the hype. Great drinks, and the fried chicken is absolutely incredible. I will definitely return.

    When we were done, we did some shopping. I have to say, I think the new World of Disney is terrible. While the old one was probably a bit outdated, the new one is a jumbled mess. The former layout partitioned everything so you knew where to go when you were looking for something. Now it's a free for all and a bit of a mess.

    Went to the co-op for the pet store, and I think it's BS that there's barely anything for cat owners.

    Sunday February 10 - Hollywood Studios
    Most of the group left this morning, so the few that remained went to DHS. I honestly think we should have came here on Saturday instead of Epcot, as I think DHS has the "4 great rides" I talked earlier about Epcot lacking, but I digress.

    It was raining in the morning, so we kind of just shopped. We hit up the Incredibles area which is kinda sad...other than that cookie which is, well, incredible. We used our FP+ for Tower of Terror, which is still easily my favorite WDW attraction. Everything about it is just so great.

    Star Wars Launch Bay was next, and I met with Boba Fett and BB-8. Boba Fett's setup is...odd. He picks who goes up for a picture with him, not first-come, first-serve. It wasn't a huge deal, but definitely confused people. Still, Boba's canned responses are all great. BB-8 is also a lot of fun to meet.

    We then ate lunch at Brown Derby. In all my years going to WDW, I had never stepped foot inside this place, and man was I missing out! The Wagyu Beef Burger is easily the best burger I've ever had in WDW, and I will definitely be returning to eat here in the future.

    After lunch we headed to Toy Story Land for a ride on Slinky Dog. I've posted elsewhere about my appreciation for the land so I won't go into too much detail. But man do I think it's a lot of fun. And Slinky Dog is probably a Top 15 WDW attraction for me, if not top 10. I really love it. Alien Swirling Saucers is a ton of fun too, and TSMM is solid as always. The only thing the land really needs to be perfect is 1) Better shade and 2) Another flat ride, if not two.

    We spent some time in Grand Avenue, where Muppets looks GREAT and Baseline Taphouse is a great hangout, especially with how beautiful the weather became in the afternoon. Overall I like that they preserved some of the feel of the Streets of America in the reconfigured park.

    We rode RNRC as well, which definitely needs a retheme once SW opens. The Aerosmith look is really showing its age.

    Overall, I had a great time at DHS, and think it's easily going to be the strongest WDW park at the end of this year.

    Overall Impressions
    We all had a great time this weekend, no matter where we were. It shows that parks that even I find weaker than others are all great when you're with people and having fun. That being said, Universal was the clear "winner" for my friends, all of which already want to go back to those parks because of Potter, JP, and Marvel. It will be interesting to see the next 4-5 years as Disney adds rides that are more "Universal Rides" to their parks and Universal builds a park that will feel much more like a "Disney" park. It seems both sides know their weaknesses and are trying to fill them, which is definitely a plus for all of us.
     
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  3. Scott W.

    Scott W. Premium Member

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    That's an awesome trip for a stag weekend.

    Everything you said is so on the money about the current state of Orlando and it's refreshing to travel with a different group of people and how that can change or show a different perspective.

    Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage, mate. :toast:
     
  4. JungleSkip

    JungleSkip Premium Member

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    Thanks! I’m lucky that my friends seemed more excited than I was to go to Orlando! Haha it was indeed refreshing to see some fresh opinions on the parks, and everyone seemed to really enjoy them and was interested in returning
     
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  5. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Nice trip report. I enjoyed reading it. :thumbsup:
     
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  6. Joe

    Joe aka TestTrack321 Staff Member Moderator

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    I already miss this trip.
     
  7. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Congratulations on the impending nuptials!
    Curious, did you spiel along with the skipper?
     
  8. JungleSkip

    JungleSkip Premium Member

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    Thanks! And no, I let them do their job. I commented to friends here and there that the skipper was good, but that's about it
     
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