It appears that I annoyed many mouses out there. Some went so far to say that I either explain my position, take it back, or I’m just a troll. Since I have no intention of retraction, lets get ready to rummmmmmble.
I will begin by saying, if you are a fan, the kind of fan who can’t wait to return to the most magical place on earth as soon as your check book and vacation time allows, even though you may still be unpacking from your last visit, leave now. That’s right, leave now and never return to this site because what I have to say will probably make you madder then you have ever been in your entire life. For the rest of you, the following post will attempt to explain why avoiding a certain kingdom is probably a good idea. Why? Lets see if I can explain why I feel that way.
I first visited the Kingdom when I was 11. Quite frankly I don’t remember much about it. To be honest, I was kinda miserable because if memory serves me correctly, my family did everything in their power to avoid the horrible lines. That meant running from one part of the park to another in a vain attempt to maximize the money they spent. The next time I visited the kingdom was with my new wife. It was to be our first trip since our honeymoon and it turned out to be the best set of events for all the wrong reasons. To start we were scheduled to fly out the day after 9/11. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. After numerous flight changes we eventually left on the following Friday and were met with tons of security. We understood, got through it and landed safely in Florida. When we booked our entire vacation we decided to go the stress free route. No rental car, no cooking, no nothing. Right from the beginning the quality of food available to us was pretty fast food bad. We kinda locked into a nearly mono breakfast diet of eggs, oatmeal and fruit. Nothing else came close for us. Like I said, we got by. On the other hand if we wanted to stuff ourselves with cold cereal, morning pastries, soda, mounds of crappy pancakes, and all the rest, there was plenty of crap to eat.
But the one thing that got us, being the typical engineers we both are, was the cost per attraction. Because it was right after 9/11, we got to do almost everything with very few lines. Keep in mind, I’m not talking a casual walk in a park. Oh no, we had to move and keep moving to pull it all off. When we got back home both my wife and I commented that our vacation didn’t feel all that relaxing but when prices are what they were, we wanted to maximize our output. We didn’t know if we were every going to get back there so we decided we were going to see and do everything even if it killed us. It didn’t kill us and on the plus side, we both lost around 5-6lbs from all the walking around and lack of eating we did.
So when the time came to consider a possible trip for the kids to said Kingdom, we were concerned about leaving empty handed. Our kids are use to heading up to NH, and being able to go on all the rides with minimal wait times. Most times it goes like this, line is long, ok no problem, do something else and come back later. At the end of the day the kids have gone on everything they wanted and repeated many of the their favorites. Mom and Dad are happy because we feel we have received the full value of our ticket so everyone ends up being quite happy. That’s why when we started researching how this summer’s trip would go, things like the “FastSkipToTheFrontofTheLinePass” were brought up. People who return to this magical place year after year extolled the virtues of this new way to bypass lines. Other people gave us books that contained strategies on how to get around and how to order the rides you will go on in order to see, and do it all.
Before I go on, if you are one of those people who go every year, this is your last chance to leave because from here on in I will be telling everyone just how much of a scam this place is. Still here? Suit yourself.
Lets start with their pass system. To the untrained visitor you are lead to believe all rides are open and the pass system doesn’t start filling up until the park opens. This is an outright lie. If you stay on their property, or buy your tickets from them, you can book your passes MONTHS in advance. At one park it was so bad that even though we got to one of their Pass Sign Up Kiosk things less then 10 minutes after the park opened, three of the rides were already booked for the entire day. Our kids went from beyond excited to devastated in a matter of minutes. These are the same kids who had spent a fair amount of time looking over the list of rides. Then deciding between them which rides they really wanted to hit. Instead they were now being told certain rides were never an option and all that time they put into their choices, was worthless. Unless of course you were willing to wait in line, watching all those “Pass” people pass right by you for almost 2hrs.
So we got wise and Dad signed us up for passes the night before we planned to visit a park. After creating an account for all members, entering all Hopper, Skipper and Jump Pass numbers into their awful system we carefully picked out three rides. We noticed right away, we could not book two rides on the same day. It wouldn’t let us do it. So the next day came and half way through the day it started to rain and never stopped. So we found a person with a Pass enabled Pad thing, and asked if switching rides via the pass system was allowed. No problem, we can absolutely help you, is what we heard. Until we asked for the one ride that we couldn’t book the night before. Nope, they said, you can’t do that. I know this is jumping to the end, but that was the last straw for us. We were done. We were not going to be scammed any more. It was during the walk back to the car when both of our boys asked that next years summer vacation see us return to NH.
Simply put, IF you plan on giving all your money to the House of Mouse, then you will be granted the very special “privilege” of picking out your ride passes. To those people who show up when the park opens and pay the same amount (around $95) as the previous people I spoke of, your choice of fast ride passes we will not be the same. You will not be able to go on all the rides, you will stand in lines, you will feel like cattle and you will wonder why you paid for this experience.
Pathetically over priced
Ok, we all know that when you go to a “place” on vacation, prices tend to be high. But in this Kingdom, ripoff takes on a whole new meaning. I made the mistake of ordering an espresso at an Italian restaurant. What I received was a rip off in every sense of the word. The amount I got can only be described like this; half the way up an espresso spoon. You know the really small ones. The same price at home would get you, in most places, a double espresso. In the kingdom, not even a full shot. The worse part, here we are, in an Italian restaurant and it wasn’t even good espresso.
While visiting a certain country area in Epcot, known for it’s tea production, I decided to try some green tea. Until I saw the prices and how it was prepared. So much for highlighting their culture. Seriously, they wanted over 3 dollars a cup for bagged green tea. When I asked them who made the tea, they replied with, ” we don’t know, its some off brand.”
In that same country we saw a video about that country and my and I were aghast. I can’t say for sure but we think the video being shown was the same one my wife and I saw post 9/11. Seriously, the video had “computers” with CRT screens everywhere. Not a single flat panel. The cars looked dated. And on and on it went. Are you telling me a billion dollar company can’t update their media every few years? Unacceptable.
When we arrived at Legoland, also in Fl, we walked right in after getting our tickets. At the happiest place on the whole world, we lost nearly 30mins every morning standing in line waiting to have our bags checked. Making it worse we got talking to a few people who were just as annoyed as we were by the whole process only to find out it was worthless. Come to find out a father had left his Leathermen in his backpack along with diapers, creams and the rest. No one saw it. Another family was beyond outraged because a syringe was not found in their bag as well. Their daughter was diabetic and needed insulin shots so they had a cooler with ice and all the medical papers to prove their need. Instead one of the needles had somehow made it’s way into the bag instead of the cooler. This wasn’t found either. So much for maintaining the security of your “guests”.
I could go on an on about how crammed into main street we all were to watch the fireworks. Or how if you didn’t find a spot 30+ minutes before the show began your kids had a very slim chance of actually seeing them. Because they would probably end up behind one of the many over zealous adults with ipads who were blocking everyone’s view so they could record the event. My kids initially had a blast with their Jedi Training School, but after it was done, they both said, “Wait? That’s it?” As I taped their Jedi training another parent asked me, “Is that really it, that’s it?” His son waited in line longer then the thing lasted. For me the entire place is 80% anticipation and 20% of actually doing something. Heck Goofy’s Wild Barnstormer ride (name??) was the perfect example. It took longer for us at the end of the night to walk from the start of the line, up the pathway, pause, wait for the ride to come along, get in and get out then the length of the actual ride. Think I’m lying? Head over to youtube and check out the many videos. You’ll see the ride is barely 45 seconds long. That’s right folks, Seconds!!! One ride we started out liking but again things get ruined. The Star Wars ride was great the first time. Darth Vader throws the ship, and lasers and …. you get the rest. So we went again but this time, half the ride was the same. So we asked, why was it repeated? The worker explained that each time you step in there is a good chance you’ll see some part of the ride repeat. Sigh.
I’m sorry but I just don’t see or get any of the magic given the prices we paid. Making things even worse, I know of 2 people who worked at the park, and my family knows of at least another 3. Add to that I have some family who own property down there so I think I have enough data to form a decent opinion. Disney doesn’t pay their staff. In each case mentioned above, they were overworked, underpaid, and improved their life by leaving for another company. Then there is the whole copyright stance Disney has taken. If you are un-aware do some searching and you’ll see they are not timid to use the lawyers to get what they want.
To end I’ve gone 3 times now, once as a child, once without children and once with. Each time was a bigger disappointment then the last. If you enjoy going, each to their own. But if I have my way, I will never pay a single penny to step foot on their property ever again.