UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Owen
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Owen's Floridian Fortnight | 26/08/17 - 08/09/17

Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:26 pm

Hello everyone, I am finally getting around to write up my trip to Florida in the Summer/Autumn of this year! I'm going to post each day as a seperate post, and I will be honest with all my experiences (especially on day 10...).

So let's begin...


DAY 1
TRAVELLING TO ORLANDO

The first day of my holiday began fairly normally, travelling to Orlando International Airport! I set off from Gatwick on a Virgin flight early on the 26th of August. The fight was actually pretty good, with minimal turbulence and free drinks all the way. Not to mention a fantastic selection of movies for me to choose from. Landing in Orlando and getting out of the airport was actually very easy, all done within 45 minutes to an hour! With everything going so well it seemed to be the sign of an amazing holiday. However, our hotel said otherwise. After escaping the first storm of the trip we checked into our hotel, but the room was awful! Broken furniture and lights, as well as dirty the room was terrible, and so we eventually got moved, to a much better room. After all of this, it was time to find something to eat along I-Drive, and I ended up finding a fantastic sports bar with some awesome food (we returned here a lot)!

We went back to rest up, for what would be our most intense day, a day at The Magic Kingdom...
Last edited by Owen on Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Chris
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Re: Owen's Floridian Fortnight | 26/08/17 - 08/09/17

Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:17 pm

Oh no.. which hotel was it?

Look forward to the rest!
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Owen
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Re: Owen's Floridian Fortnight | 26/08/17 - 08/09/17

Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:14 am

DAY 2
THE MAGIC KINGDOM

The first park just has to be this doesn't it? That's what I thought and so me and my party headed here early to catch the opening ceremony! It was a nice way to start off the trip, and it really helped in reminding me that at Disney, no one is an adult! Click the spoiler tag to see some castle photos!

Spoiler: show
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We then headed to Frontierland for the first ever ride in Orlando. I have a grudge with Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland Paris - mainly due to it being closed when I was a child. So I was desperate to get on the Floridian version. Needless to say this thing really shocked me, and set the tone for the two main coasters at this park for me. It was nicely themed, and the effects were great, but the ride itself was a winner for me. All the airtime and jarring turns made this a pretty hilarious ride, not to mention the awesome motion of the cars going up the indoor lift! In the spoiler tag below are a couple picture from the ride...

Spoiler: show
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After having a wild ride on Big thunder, we headed to our first Fastpass of the trip - Space Mountain. Now, when you tell me that Space Mountain is a family indoor Arrow coaster from 1975 I think "oh, that'll be ok then...". Boy was I wrong. Space Mountain looks fairly small from the outside if I am honest, and the queue was quite cool but nothing incredible (although the station roof was pretty awesome) and so my expectations were moderate. However, as soon as you head into the pre-lift section it's clear, this is going to be A LOT of fun. The ride began fairly ok, with not too much theming inside, but it soon was chucking me all over the place, with one airtime moment being so great I yelped every time! I cannot stress how absolutely insane this ride is, and how much I loved it. It's definitely one of the best indoor coasters I have ridden and it's a huge highlight of my trip. Again, in the spoiler tag you will find some photos of Space Mountain!

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After these two great experiences, it was time for breakfast and what would become one of my top highlights across the trip. I had managed to nab a dining reservation for the infamously popular Be Our Guest Restaurant, and let me just say that this was worth every little penny. Going in I knew that this would be good, but I wasn't expecting just how incredible this experience would be, and I think it is probably either my second best or even best moment from Magic Kingdom. Not only was the food fantastic, but the experience as a whole was absolutely astounding. This really made me feel like I was a kid again and I am still flabbergasted by the amazing experience. Below are some photos, and I do highly recommend you check them out...

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It was then time to ride the myth, the legend, the coaster that FINALLY opened... The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I was fairly optimistic about this ride, I won't lie. I had heard reports that it wasn't the best and that it was a let down, but I was confident that I had altered my expectations enough to make it seem cool. I hadn't. At all. To start, this already had an hour and a halfs queue, and so I was grateful that we had Fastpasses. However, even waiting 15 minutes felt like it was a waste for this. It is such a shame because it could have been so much better with the original layout, but what we are left with is something that every person I was with said was a bit boring - even in the back row! I have to admit I was pretty let down by this, because I did think it could at least make up for the lacking layout with some awesome swinging from the carts, that didn't happen either...

Spoiler: show
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It was then time to experience some classic attractions, The PeopleMover, Pirates of The Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion! The PeopleMover was actualy quite nice as a way to get the weight off our feet, as it didn't have much of a queue, not only this but I found going through Space Mountain and seeing the original plan for EPCOT to be a great aspect of this ride. However, the other two rides were much, much more exciting! With Pirates, I actually found it really cool, and I didn't know that this ride actually had any ‘more thrilling’ sections. It was a surprise favourite of mine and I am actually quite happy I saw the iconic auction scene before it gets removed! However, the overall winner for me was The Haunted Mansion. I have to say I loved this ride from start to end, and I didn't think I would! It really is a fantastic attraction, one that really shows what a classic dark ride should do. The theming was fantastic inside and out, with so many great little effects, blending old and new tech together. Brilliant little ride that remains as my 10th favourite dark ride ever!

Spoiler: show
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We followed this with a very funny ride on a Jungle Cruise. I loved this ride and it's ridiculous jokes. It really put a smile on my face, and I also found a new appreciation for "the backside of water!!!!!". The ride actually made me excited for the upcoming movie! After this, we re-rode Space Mountain, Big Thunder and The Haunted Mansion until it was time for Peter Pan.

I have to say, I have been on some shocking dark rides, but this. This takes the cake. Why on earth does this awful ride get even a 10 minute queue, let alone it's average hour and a half! The ride was awful after the first scene, with the noisy and clearly visible track above head, we entered what is one of, if not the worst dark rides have experienced (and will do for awhile). The scenes consisted of black floors, ceiling and curtains with the occasional UV character placed on the floor. Terrible, terrible ride! We followed this up with Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, and I have to say this one was pretty good, although I do feel it needs an update. It wasn't anything to write home about - lets put it that way. After these, it was time for our final Fastpass of the day, and the final mountain - Splash Mountain. This ride may be based on a very controversial film, but the ride itself is so fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cheery vibe of it all followed by the large plunge was fantastic, and the water effects made it even cooler!

Spoiler: show
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After yet more re-rides on Space Mountain and The Haunted Mansion it was time for us to head to our Happily Ever After Dessert Party. Now whilst we did pay extra for it, the desserts and special viewing area for the fireworks made up the money instantly. The selection of desserts available was fantastic, and I certain made the most of it! However, the real thing that took my breath away was the firework display. Happily Ever After is easily the best display I have seen. Not because of the fireworks, but because of how the projection mapping worked with the fireworks to tell an amazing story. Absolutely fantastic. 

Spoiler: show
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Finally, the signature "Happily Ever After" castle...

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Incredible. 

This marked the end of our first day in Orlando, and whilst this park seems quite average to me the highs really set the Orlando parks to be phenomenal!

Based on this visit, I'd give The Magic Kingdom a 6/10. Whilst the restaurant, mountains, pirates, mansions and fireworks were brilliant there was nothing that made me want to re-visit the park desperately (until TRON of course), and so it sits very comfortably at a 6! 
Last edited by Owen on Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Owen
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Re: Owen's Floridian Fortnight | 26/08/17 - 08/09/17

Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:18 am

Chris wrote:
Oh no.. which hotel was it?

Look forward to the rest!

It was the Coco Key Hotel on I-Drive. The service wasn't the best but the room we eventually got (after being told they had no availability) was nice. However, we then discovered they weren't changing our bedding - they explained that this was because they are an 'eco-friendly hotel' which meant they changed bedding every 3 days. There must be a difference to what 3 days means between the UK and USA, as the sheets hadn't been changed for the entire first week!
On the plus side, the hotel has a brilliant view of Volcano Bay! :lol
 
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Robert.W
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Re: Owen's Floridian Fortnight | 26/08/17 - 08/09/17

Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:26 am

Really enjoyed reading your Magic Kingdom "review".

Having only been to Disneyland Paris, I can only technically speak for that park, but how can you have a grudge on what is generally considered the best Big Thunder Mountain?? :P
It is a shame about the Seven Dwarves Mine Train though. I've always thought it looked a bit... I'm not sure, just a bit flat if you get what I mean.

Can't wait to read the next part!
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