Cynical Musings: Hurricane Dorian, WDW D23 Announcements and my Camping World Kickoff Experience
Welcome back to Not Club 33, your new home of the Disney Cynic!
Today’s post comes after some time to reflect on our most recent trip to Orlando over the weekend before Labor Day. The wife and I had an amazing time, easily a top 5 trip. Then again, there’s always stuff I can be cynical about. While usually I would just dedicate an entire article to my trip, there were a lot of announcements from the D23 Expo related to Walt Disney World, and I can’t help but comment on those too. Plus there’s a Hurricane that apparently the Gator Defense just sacked again and prevented a direct hit on Orlando. Enough preface; let’s get to the ranting!
Hurricane Dorian kinda spoils Galaxy’s Edge Opening…
Hurricane Dorian has spent the weekend beating the shit out of the Bahamas like a stereotypical bully in a 1990’s kid sitcom trying to steal $1.25 from a nerd for lunch. As of now, it doesn’t look like it will make direct landfall outside of some of the outer bands of the storm, and that’s obviously good news for coastal Floridians, Georgians, and many others in the southeast. Continental shelf to the rescue!
That said, an evacuation was put into effect for much of south and central Florida, the parks closed early on September 3rd due to the threat of the storm, and it scared off a bunch of people from making the trip to Galaxy’s Edge this weekend. This is probably for the best too, since wait times for the Smuggler’s Run attraction consistently exceeded 3 hours, and that was with a damn virtual queue to get into Galaxy’s Edge.
Instead of the headlines being about the newest addition to Hollywood Studios, much of the news coverage has been on the potential impact of Dorian. I kind of feel like this is playing out like that Alanis Morissette song that is only ironic because it doesn’t once actually provide an example of true irony. It was absolutely rain on their wedding day. Perhaps this was a blessing for the cast member team at the park. They didn’t have to be completely overwhelmed by the rush of fervor that these Star Wars nerds possess, instead having plans altered by weeks or months. In the meantime, stay safe out there if you’re in the cone of uncertainty!
The Beach Club is definitely best resort on property still…
The wife and I were fortunate to get reservations at The Beach Club and had an awesome stay. There’s literally only one complaint I have about the resort side of the trip, and it’s that we were forced into a room with two double beds. Especially with more “Childless Millennials” booking stays at the resorts, I wish there were more King Bed accommodations available.
I’m a married man who isn’t exactly slender or short, so sleeping on a double bed would be uncomfortable for me anyway. Throw in that I’m not living in a 1950’s TV show and therefore not sleeping in a separate bed from my wife, and it was a little more uncomfortable than I’d have liked.
That said, the resort amenities were amazing, and room service at 1:00 AM could not have been better. My most recent opinion of the resort is undoubtedly clouded by the overall joy I felt on I’ve stayed at most, not all, Deluxe and Moderate accommodations Disney has to offer, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself more at Beach Club than at any other resort thus far.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser crashes into Orlando…
Speaking of hotels, it was announced at the D23 Expo that the much ballyhooed Star Wars resort will be called Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. From what I can gather, should you drop the $3300/person price tag on this experience, you’re basically going to get put on a fake cruise ship for two days. Disney is going to use the virtual port hole technology currently in use on their actual cruise ships to give you views of space as you travel to the Batuu area of Galaxy’s Edge.
Just like a cruise, you get a “port day”, where after being sealed inside without seeing the actual sun, you get exposed to 100 degree temperatures and 97% humidity for a few hours. While you’re inside, and therefore air conditioned, guests will participate in “special activities” and indulge in “incredible dining” per the release. Basically, you cos-play and eat shit that really is chicken but gets dyed blue or something.
I’m trying to be open-minded, and I hope this is a success, because maybe then there will be an experience I’m interested in that’s just as immersive. I should point out that this has been tried before in some fashion to little acclaim or success. Baseball teams, for instance, have a fantasy camp before spring training every year. I’m sure in 1987 that this was the coolest thing, but it’s not exactly the “it” thing now. I’m not sure how sustainable this possibly could be, especially at that price point, but kudos to Disney for trying something different I suppose.
Future World will be no more (RIP, bruh…)
At the D23 Expo, Disney announced major changes and updates throughout their various parks. As it relates to Epcot’s Future World, that section will apparently be no more. Instead, the park will be divided into four “lands”: World Nature, World Discovery, World Celebration and World Showcase. Obviously, World Showcase is already in existence, but the other three will replace what is now known as Future World. I’ll break this down further in a moment, but my gut reaction was to roll my eyes at the names to these “lands”. After thinking it through, I’ll give Disney a chance, because this at least seems like an attempt to bring more cohesive theming back to the park instead of the disjointed cluster-fuck it currently is.
College Gameday at Magic Kingdom
Speaking of cluster-fucks, College Gameday had no business being at the Magic Kingdom. Make no mistake, I’m glad I went. I got my picture with the Washington State flag guy. I caught a glimpse of Tim Tebow aka The Second Coming. I’m thrilled that I was part of a unique experience. I also wish they’d never have done it there.
Gameday from Magic Kingdom was jarring for football fans who happened to be at Disney World and even more jarring for Disney fans who couldn’t give less of a shit about football. It should’ve been held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. That location would have made it better to park, better to congregate, better to day drink, allow for real signs instead of G-rated ones, and had a better turn out.
Also, Lee Corso is starting to make me feel depressed. The guy didn’t even know who he was picking. I don’t want to see the grandpa of Gameday retire any more than most do, but it’s clear that the time is coming soon.
New and Updated Attractions at Epcot
Back over to Epcot and the announcements from D23. Disney announced an update to Spaceship Earth is coming. Instead of the theme being “Communication”, instead the theme will be “Story Telling”, which is the same fucking thing but makes insecure creative people feel better about themselves. In reality, they probably couldn’t find a telecom company to sponsor it, but it still seems a little like grandstanding. There is an expected update to the narration and some of the scenery, but fear not, I sincerely doubt they’ll remove the “Rome is burning” smell. Stay safe Jim…
In what was Future World, two new attractions were announced: Awesome Planet in The Land pavilion and Moana’s “Journey of Water” in what was Innovations East. They also gave more information about the PLAY! pavilion, which is set to take over the Wonders of Life pavilion when open. The Mission: Space restaurant was announced to open late this year as well, so look forward to that when planning your ADR’s.
At World Showcase, both China and Canada are set to get updated movies, while France is adding both the cooking rat ride and a Beauty & the Beast show. Also officially announced was a Mary Poppins attraction set to open in the UK pavilion, and a new three level festival home base to help with the never ending parade of festivals Epcot hosts each year/day. Finally, the replacement for Illuminations was finally given a name… HarmonioUS. It won’t be debuting until 2020, meaning night time at Epcot is a little more awkward until it does.
Camping World Stadium Experience
What a shit hole. This was the single worst stadium I’ve ever been to. There was no parking available at the stadium, no Uber or Lyft drop-off area, and all 65,000+ fans were forced to enter the stadium through two gates, neither of which were staffed by more than like 12 people. It was a nightmare getting in, and even worse getting out. We had to traverse the “not-so-magical” part of the city to find a rate of under $100 for Uber after the game.
Then again, the game was won by the Gators and I didn’t get choked out by drunken Miami fans. I literally cried when Felipe Franks took a knee. Before the game, I tried to explain to my wife that Miami fans were awful people. She thought I was viewing things through orange and blue tinted glasses, but then she interacted with them and now agrees with me that they’re the worst.
More thoughts on the new Epcot attractions…
Man, I’m furious at this slate that was announced. I know that every attraction can’t be a roller coaster, but the “Journey of Water”? What the hell is that? Why isn’t it at The Seas pavilion? They covered that shit in the old deluge movie that everyone hated. Just because The Rock was a cartoon, that somehow means that it’s cool now?
Also, Awesome Planet already sounds like a less cool Planet Earth. It’s probably just going to be another propaganda piece about the environment, and while The Land would be the place for it, they already bash my head with that shovel at Animal Kingdom. Can we just have a movie about farming or something instead?
HarmoniUS? Really? This is a serious question, does anyone in the creative side of Disney have diversity of thought? I’m not trying to suggest a drone show depicting the spoils of war, because that’s just as or more bat shit crazy. I am, however, suggesting we talk about stop being preachy. Not everyone is going to get along. Hell, I don’t like my neighbor because they have outdoor cats that hang out in my drive way and piss my dog off. I’ve never even met my neighbor. If you think that we can all drop that kind of pettiness and sing hippie songs while holding hands, then please provide me with what you’re smoking.
Mary Poppins might be ok though….
The Cynics Try a Minnie Van
One other thing that we tried for the first time on this trip was a Minnie Van. I was a little disappointed in it honestly. The ride was fine, but we took it to the Magic Kingdom. It’s not like we got a special drop off area for our money. Hell, if I had just been a little more patient or just woken up earlier, I probably could’ve caught the bus at the right time. I promised to try it though, and found nothing objectionable about the service, just the price. My wife that it was just “f***ing adorable” though, so I’ll probably end up using it again. Just not for Magic Kingdom.
Ultimately I’d like to end on the positive for a change. I really had a wonderful time this weekend in spite of the double bed and having to traverse the Orlando answer to Detroit. I can’t thank my wife enough for donning the Orange and Blue with me, and can’t thank the room service at 1:00 AM for coming through with a decent meal. Next time I’ll be sure to be less joyous and more bitter, I promise. Until then…
-The Disney Cynic
“I’m all beers!”