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Thread: My Disney Top 5 - Current Walt Disney World Questions & Concerns

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    My Disney Top 5 - Current Walt Disney World Questions & Concerns

    My Disney Top 5 - Current Walt Disney World Questions & Concerns by Chris Barry

    Chris ponders the future of Walt Disney World and what his experiences are going to be like once a heap of announced changes settle in.

    Read it here!


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  3. #2
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    Hey Chris! Thank you for doing this! Excellent idea for a Top 5. I am surprised you didn't have the Park reservation thing as #1? Or the pricing on the hotels. I agree we get some perks but the sticker shock is incredible. And then the new Star Wars experience is out of this world pricing too. My family is not wealthy and we are working stock like you and yours, so the idea to have to pay more and more to experience the bubble is tough to take. Disney has the data and they know there are plenty of people that will pay these prices so not much we can do but go elsewhere with our vacation dollars. I loved FastPass and didn't understand why they couldn't keep us distanced in those lines too during the pandemic. Now I know why, they are making the transition to pay to play.
    I will be going to Boma for a meal soon, but for all the reasons you mentioned and more, we won't be doing WDW like we used to do WDW. Thanks again for adding your voice to these conversations. Always enjoy getting your point of view.


  4. #3

    Great list! I agree with everything. When booking our upcoming October stay (the first in about five years!) my family was dismayed to find out we would have to pay for MagicBands. They were even more upset when I told them MagicBands would likely be going away in the future. You're right - that box arriving in the mail was like a confirmation of a dream realized. Physical proof that the magic exists and we'll soon be experiencing it for ourselves. Reading about the prospect of MagicBands (and Magical Express) going away sparked a childhood memory for me of a long-lost signifier that the magic was approaching - the messages that would play on the car radio as you entered Disney property and made your way to the Magic Kingdom. I remember being six years old, riding with my parents, brother, and sister in our '75 Ford Granada, as we approached the park for the very first time, back when the Magic Kingdom was the only park. The signs on the road said to tune our radio to a particular station. When we did, it was like magic. A Walt Disney World radio station telling us when the parade was, where we could get something to eat, what attractions to see. Wow! All this before we even saw the parking lot! It made the long drive from Maine worth it. The magic began before you even got out of the car.

    For my kids, getting those bands in the mail (heck, even just picking their band color online) was the start of the magic of each WDW trip. Soon they'll just have a bunch of old, colorful, yet useless plastic bracelets and the memories of feeling the magic weeks before we even stepped out the door.


  5. #4

    All good points. (I would open with my (traditional ) "Another great top 5!" remark, but that seems wrong for the topic since a lot of these changes are possibly not "great" - time will tell...)

    1) Bands: I agree, even though I never bought in to linking them directly to my credit card, so I still carried a wallet. I liked them for park access and for the FP+ touch points, and I loved the special effects some of the premium ones would do at the touch points. That to me was one of the little Disney Magic things that will be missed if the bands and touch points totally go away in the near future. (I guess with the touch points not working all the time to trigger those effects, maybe Disney won't miss having to try to maintain that function if the bands do go away fully). With the inclusion of Photopass with the Annual Passe I used to get in the past, I also liked them for the ride photos (or even photos with park photographers), either the ones where you scanned, or the more recent ones (SDMT as an example) that linked the pics to your MDE without using a touch point at all. That was cool.

    2) EMH and Resort Pricing: I recall several previous trips where I got similar pricing as you suggest for Deluxe hotels. I think I got something in the mid to high three hundred range for 3 days or so at Yacht Club during the last year of Star Wars Weekends (2015, IIRC). I recall similar positive experiences for some EMH evenings. I recall walking on to Soarin' twice in a row right at the boundary of regular park hours concluding and EMH starting. That was nice. I have to admit though, since I enjoy driving during my trips, I stopped staying on site after they added the parking fees. I was considering making my peace with the parking fee and arranging my next trip (last time was Dec 2019) an on-site at a Deluxe Resort, but that was when I was assuming the parks would be returning to similar operations as before the COVID shutdown and phased re-openings. The retained park reservations and park hopping limitations (combined with Virtual queue for RotR) made me think better of that plan though, as I'm not sure I'm making a return while the parks are running in that manner.

    3) FP: I shared the love for the original paper. Yes it required exercise (hey, I need the exercise as much as anyone! ) to run to the machines to get the passes, and yes for the top rides, the line to try to get one could be a line in itself. But in general, I liked that method. The evolution to picking three to start and then being able to add more after you used them for anything that still had availability was decent enough too.

    4) DME: For me on solo trips, not an issue, as I'm a driver. I've never been on DME personally. It was very useful for a larger family trip though, so I fully appreciate it's usefulness. The mini van I rented was great for running the six of us all around during our vacation, but there is no way it could have (at least not in one trip) transported 6 people plus luggage to/from MCO. So everyone but me took the DME to/from the airport.

    So while I thought all of those were good points, I have others (alluded to in my #2 above) that I personally consider even more important based on the habits the old systems got me into during my vacations.

    #1) The park reservations. I fully understand why these were needed when Disney was truly limiting park capacity in the early days of phased re-opening. But many, many photos/videos people have been posting on line over most of 2021 seem to indicate there is not a significant limit on park capacity being used right now. They may be limiting to something less than pre-COVID 100% capacity, but it seems pretty clear they are significantly beyond the 35% limit they last acknowledged using around the end of 2020 during the Holiday season.

    #2) The park hopping limitation of not being able to until 2 PM. This to me is again, at this point, a big question mark. I understood doing it for a while when they first brought hopping back at the beginning of January. The limited capacity at that time made sense to start that way and see how much impact there would be. At this point, though, it just seems like a control mechanism combined with the park reservations.

    #3) The virtual queue concept. I wasn't a fan of this even before, but combining it with the reservations and hopping rules makes it extremely restrictive. This needs to go away, not expand(IMO).

    #4) The expansion of ordering counter/quick service in advance via MDE to the point where it becomes required, and depending on what you may want to eat, placing your order many hours earlier than when you want to eat in case all pick up times are taken. This just turned quick/counter service into an ADR in terms of needing to plan it. Really? Really? (again, made sense perhaps during the earlier phased re-opening to keep people spread out, but at this point, it just saves them from paying staff to take orders, and transfers the line a guest must wait in from placing the order to picking up the order)

    So those first 3 I listed are to me the trifecta of why I'm not in a rush to make plans for a trip right now. I'm by no means feeling like I should be able to go on RotR every day during a trip, but I would really like to try to get at least one ride on it. With the current rules, I could start every day in DHS and if I get unlucky not ever get a boarding group. I'd be fine with that risk if I could just shrug it off and go spend time in another park once I miss getting the morning boarding group lottery. But since I now can't enter any other park until 2PM, that's the deal breaker. The total unknown of when your boarding group may come up even if you are successful is also limiting, since I'd better not plan any ADRs for any day I may try to get a boarding group. That aspect alone, I fail to see how the virtual queue helps Disney's goal to get us to spend money. If I can make an ADR, I'm probably spending a lot more than I am if seeking out quick/counter service locations. Maybe that part can be helped with Guest Services intervention, I'm not sure. I have no knowledge if they can move boarding group times if yours happens to conflict with an existing ADR. I know they used to be able to adjust FP+ times if things that were not in the control of the guest caused you to miss windows for using the FP.

    All that said, I did receive a positive report from a work colleague who spent some time at the parks last week and into last weekend. He mentioned having a good MK day with being able to do a lot of the key rides in Frontierland and Liberty Square. He pretty much hit all the big tickets except Splash (and maybe JC- not sure if he mentioned that one), along with HoP and CBJ, and I think he said it was all within about 3 hours, I think 11-2 on the day he did it. He also mentioned getting a standby boarding group for RotR when he arrived at DHS around 2:15 one day, and he got a notification that he could return to ride sometime right around park closing. He also indicated he heard they may have done a soft test of using a RotR standby line one day when he was there. If that's true, I'm glad to see that being considered. So I will try to remain positive that these things can work out.

    Looking forward to the day when I am comfortable committing to a trip where I can buy a multi day park hopper and not have all the hand-tying limitations listed above. Only time will tell if I am looking forward to something that ever returns or not.

    -Dave

  6. #5
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    I always enjoy reading the Top 5 posts, and I share your general positive attitude towards all things WDW, including the "Disney Bubble" concept.

    But I have consistently been underwhelmed with the Magical Express. It has always felt to me like a pale imitation of a Disney experience, especially when the Mears drivers I've had grovel for tips and tell you straight up that they don't work for Disney during the tipping spiel. ( I do tip, though!) The bus TV monitors were also in poor shape the last time I rode. I thought it would be amazing if Disney would just take over that service.

    I am hoping that the Brightline train service will eventually replace the need for a bus to the airport, and will have more Disney flavor!


  7. #6
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    On all the other Top 5's you comment on our posts. I guess this one stands alone.


  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    On all the other Top 5's you comment on our posts. I guess this one stands alone.
    That thought crossed my mind, but I'm feeling like Chris' kids may be right around college aged (based on many comments he's made before). This last weekend was the time for a lot of kids to move back into dorms, so maybe he's just busy with family stuff.

    I'll certainly be looking to see if he has any further thoughts or musings based on any of our responses. (even if my own falls into the category of "too long ; didn't read", I will forgive him 100% !)
    -Dave

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