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Friday, November 09, 2007

WDW After a Month's Absence

When you visit every weekend, you hit all four parks with some regularity (Epcot I see at least every seven days, for instance). So when you're gone for a month to Tokyo, you come back to seeing some changes!

Magic Kingdom
- Haven't been yet. But I've seen what the Xmas lights look like on the castle's facade during daytime, and it looks bad. Did they think we wouldn't notice? It's a bit like the Big City facade at MGM, how it looks during the day. The difference is that the castle is a major icon and photography target. I'll know more when I see it F2F, and not just via pictures online.

Christmas has come to all the parks early, actually. By the first of November, there were traces. Seems a bit like a long season to me, but what do I know.

Epcot
- The highly embarassing line breaks and typos in the text for Lincoln (at the new exhibit in the American Adventure) has been fixed, I'm sure at great cost. Good for them.
- I saw traces of fresh paint on lots of things. In France, the Litfasssaeulen (a German word for those round columns with ads on them) are brand new, with presumably newly printed ads on them. They pop with color now.
- Half an hour before park closing, the 25th celebration room in West Innoventions-South was empty and awesome. The piped in nostalgia music really took me back in time. What a great reflective experience.
- I think I saw wine booths open from one week to the next. They are still adding wine capacity this late in the game? Lines have been long enough, during this F&W Festival, so maybe they are just maximizing profit.
- To Jim McPhee: thank you for NOT opening Spaceship Earth. It was either you, or an Imagineer in charge, who must have decided the show was not ready and thus would not open on time. I applaud this. Quality will out. I'd rather have it late and right, than on-time and poor.

DAK
- Catherine Jobson is still in the queue video for Safari, though not on the ride. Ironically, we had a ride where none of the onboard audio was working, so there was no Warden Wilson, just our guide speaking to us. I kind of liked it, actually.
- We got into line for safari 40 minutes before stated close time for the safari (due to sunset). The Standby wait time said 40 minutes. Coincidence? The real wait time was about 12. Am I cynical to think they do that on purpose to make sure the ride 'closes' on time for sunset? I guess they have to, to make sure the animals get back safely to their cages.
- Speaking of wait times, they inflate it badly for Everest Single Rider. It's not 25 minutes with ten people there. More like 5 or 10 minutes. In general, one person per minute moves from Single Rider into the ride.
- On our visit at least, Everest was totally dark in the backwards helix - they fixed the 'light pollution' problem! Hooray!
- Of course, the yeti was operating in 'b-mode' (not moving, and thus not lit up normally, but only lit with a strobe to imply movement). I'm one who thinks having a B-mode is a good thing. otherwise, the ride would be 101 (broken down) all the time, and that's a worse scenario.
- As someone pointed out in email to me, DAK has paper straws now, and has for some weeks. Hooray! Long overdue. And the animals will still be protected.
- At the Dino Dig kid's play area, there are some rope tunnels that are supposed to be 'one person at a time' but usually isn't guarded. On this visit, we saw a CM at each such tunnel enforcing the rule (it's on and off enforced anyway). It struck me as a waste of manpower, not to mention a horrible job to have to actually work. Do they endure lawsuits here, is that why they have to station a CM there?

MGM
- We saw ODF carts being rolled backstage at the end of the night, but not pushed by workers with bad backs. The carts were electrically controlled - there was a motor and the CM was merely 'driving'. Have they had this out here forever and I'm only now noticing?
- MGM closed at 8pm on our weekend visit. Sad, sad, sad. Bring on Pixar, bring on Lucas, and keep this sucker open til midnight.

Universal
- Saw a guest riding a segway around CitiWalk. I guess Uni lets them in. Disney certainly doesn't; they don't consider it an 'assistive device'.
- From the top of the Dueling Dragons lift hill, look ahead and to the left. You'll see a very large rectangle of ground cleared, with bulldozers pushing dirt around - that's for Hogwarts castle. Potter really is coming! Seeing the castle located there, you get a sense for how really big this sub-park is going to be, since it starts back by Poseidon.