Saturday, May 25, 2024

Space 220 Review

 


Space 220 is one of the newest and hottest restaurants in Walt Disney World.  It's located in Epcot, right next to the entrance for Mission: Space in the World Discovery neighborhood of the park.  Space 220 is still one of the most difficult advanced dining reservations (ADR) to score; in fact, we attempted to eat here a couple of years ago only to be shut out.  This was our first opportunity to visit.



This post will talk about what makes this restaurant unique, including the "pre-show" (for lack of a better term) process and the dining area.  We'll also talk about what foods we ordered, and whether it adds up to an experience that is worth the hefty price tag.


Friday, May 24, 2024

Motion Sickness At Walt Disney World

 


According to Google, one out of three Americans get motion sickness at some point.  This seems pretty low to me, as “at some point” can mean almost anything.  I know I could never read in a car without feeling motion sick.  But in my younger days, I could tolerate just about any amusement park ride with no difficulty.  Of course, being able to do something and having the desire to ride something that picks you up and spins you around are two different things.  I tended to avoid incredibly intense rides, so maybe I always would have been motion sick.

 

But as I’ve gotten older, I see that my tolerance for being thrown around like a rag doll on a roller coaster has certainly lessened.  Thankfully, my kids don’t seem to suffer from the same fate (yet …).  So I got thinking about Walt Disney World, and what rides to watch out for if you suffer from any kind of motion sickness.  I also have some thoughts about how to avoid or lessen the effects and how to work your day around these issues.  Nauseous people of the world, this one is for you!

 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

What I Want From An Animal Kingdom Renovation


 

I like Animal Kingdom, I really do.  But it is currently the park that needs the most work.  I am always an advocate for visiting all four parks on your Disney World vacation, but if you really had to skip one, my easy recommendation would be Animal Kingdom.  And that pains me! But it's the truth.



Walt Disney World usually does their renovations in cycles, so there's almost always one park that is in need of some love while the others are operating at peak efficiency (or close to it).  In the pre-Toy Story Land days, that park was Hollywood Studios.  In recent years, it has been Epcot, though that park at least managed to remain a fun, full day park, even if you had to walk all the way around the construction walls to get there.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Extended Evening Hours - Still Worth It?

 


On our recent trip to Disney World, we once again had the opportunity to take advantage of Extended Evening Hours (EEH) at both Epcot and Magic Kingdom.  After our last trip, I wrote this post, basically talking about how great this experience was.  This post will talk about whether that remains true a couple of years later.  



That post also breaks down who is eligible and why, so I won't rehash that too much here.  But as a quick refresher, EEH is only available to those guests staying in deluxe resorts, meaning that the pool of people who are eligible to take advantage of them is lower than the general pool of guests throughout the day.  That, coupled with the later end times, often means that the crowds are low, and get lower throughout the evening.


Friday, May 17, 2024

Facing (and Overcoming) Fears at Disney World


 

I'll admit it - I'm kind of a ride wimp.  Whenever we go to a "normal" amusement park, I always balk at roller coasters.  I don't love anything that goes really high, especially when my legs are free (more on this later!).  I won't go on any ride that goes upside down.  Even at a theme park like Universal, I avoid some of the "better" rides in the park (like Velocicoaster or Incredible Hulk) because they're just not my speed.




But Disney World is different.  Right?  It's supposed to be a family friendly complex, with rides for children of all ages.  What could possibly be scary about the rides there?  Well, I'll admit that I have been afraid of a few things.  But on this last trip, I decided to face my fears.  And since I'm here writing this, I lived to tell the tale.  We're going to talk about this here, but know that if you're hesitant about certain rides, you are not alone.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

Tiana's Bayou Adventure Opening Date

 


At long last, Disney has made it official - Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open June 28 at Walt Disney World.  This post will look at that announcement, talk about how you can ride and discuss some of the previews that have also subsequently been announced.



Let's start with the announcement itself.  Ever since Disney moved up the opening of this attraction from "late 2024" to "summer 2024", it was only a matter of time before we heard something officially.  What's interesting is that there had been numerous opportunities (shareholders' meeting, earnings call, etc) to make the announcement in recent weeks, and Disney didn't take any of them.  


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Tron Lightcycle Run Ride Review

 


We recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, where we had our first opportunity to ride Tron Lightcycle Run, Disney's shiny new launch coaster in Magic Kingdom.  Over the course of our trip, we were fortunate enough to ride it not once, not twice but three times.  This post will talk about what we really thought about it, how easy or difficult it was to secure boarding groups, and how it fits into the big picture at Disney's flagship park.


As we talked about in this post, Tron was a long time coming.  It took over five years from announcement to opening, which seemed long considering it was a clone of an existing ride.  Yes, the pandemic happened in the midst of this, but this one seemed to drag on for a while.  The canopy was under construction on our list trip in 2022 (and possibly in 2021 as well?  I'd have to look back at photos to be sure).


Friday, May 10, 2024

Island Tower at the Polynesian to Open December 2024



Disney today announced the opening month for the newest DVC resort on property, the Island Tower at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows (Disney loves a good long name - I'll probably just refer to it as the Island Tower whenever I talk about it here).  There's some new concept art, notably of the inside, as well as discussion of what types of rooms are available and when they can be booked.  We'll talk about that here, as well as some brief commentary.


The new artwork as well as an opening (sort of) date are really the only new things here, and I've mostly said my piece about this resort here.  Not much has changed here, including the concept art, so one has to assume that the final product will resemble these pictures pretty closely (right now it's mostly a concrete tower).  Oh, I guess the name is new too, as I think this is the first time I've heard the term "Island Tower" used in conjunction with this resort.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

How We Did Most of Animal Kingdom In Four Hours (Without Genie)

 


I recently wrote about how we did mostly everything at Epcot in one day with the help of Genie+.  In that piece, I revised my opinion about Genie, saying that it was a big help at Epcot, even if not strictly necessary.  If you have a limited budget, Epcot would be one of the parks I would skip purchasing Genie+ for, though it would make for a longer and more stressful day.


Today I'm going to talk about Animal Kingdom a bit.  As the title of this post should make clear, I did NOT revise my opinion about this park as it relates to Genie - I still don't see any way in which it's worth it, at least until Tropical Americas opens (in other words, we're talking about years, not months).  The only way in which Genie makes sense at Animal Kingdom is if you start at a different park and plan to hop here later, and you've already purchased the Genie+ multi-park option.  In that case, I can see an argument for stacking a few rides so that you can get more done in a shorter amount of time.  If you're really itching to spend money at Animal Kingdom, there is a better use of your funds (which will be discussed below).


Friday, May 3, 2024

How We Did Every Attraction in Epcot (with the help of Genie)

 


We recently returned from another successful trip to Walt Disney World.  I've had a lot of thoughts over the years on how best to "beat" each park and we had some opportunities to test out these various theories over the course of a week.  I'm going to be talking about some of these here, and the first one today will be about Epcot.  This is going to challenge or perhaps revise an old opinion of mine related to Genie+ and talk about some options whether you choose to purchase it or not.


The day that I'm going to focus on here today was our first day in the parks.  We had an incredibly early flight to Orlando, and were therefore at our resort by mid-morning.  After leaving our bags and reorganizing things we'd need to take with us, we walked from the Boardwalk over to Epcot, arriving right around 11:00 a.m.


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Crowd Report - New York Week (Boots on the Ground Style)


 

Even when I'm not in the parks, I like to look at wait time data.  That information can help be predictive, and can also show where we (and Disney) were right and wrong, once the actual crowds play out over the course of a week (or more).  I tend to post about these things here, since it doesn't necessarily need me to be at the parks in order to analyze trends.  I most recently discussed this here, if you were curious.



So even though the week of 4/20-4/26 wasn't a "big" week by most measures, I wanted to do an analysis of the crowds here since I can not only look at the data but supplement it with my own personal observations since we were there.  We can look at how our week was compared to those around it, and what factors may have contributed to these levels.  As always, the data here comes from Thrill Data.  


Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Review

 


This may be old news to some of you, but Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind opened at Epcot about a month after we had visited in 2022.  Just recently we had our first opportunities to ride this attraction, so I wanted to post my thoughts on this.  We'll talk about how to ride, how it stacks up to other recent additions and address some of the questions and concerns that have been talked about since the ride opened.



For some background, Guardians is the first ever coaster at Epcot (which is an impressive feat, given that Epcot has now been open for more than 40 years).  The pavilion that houses the coaster replaced the Universe of Energy pavilion, which closed in 2017.  Originally announced as opening in 2021, this attraction, like so many things, was delayed by Covid and eventually opened on May 27, 2022.


Space 220 Review