Disneyworld Day 2: Blizzard Beach, Epcot, Boardwalk

  • The free intra-resort bus service has pretty good thus far. In some cases it’s been faster than an Uber, since the buses can usually get closer to the actual entrance of the park. But on average, I think the buses are about 10-15 min slower than Uber, which is not bad given the savings. My main wish is that more stops would have ETA boards; some places do, most don’t.
  • Blizzard Beach was a lot of fun! Sure, the competition isn’t strong, but this has to be the best watermark I’ve been to. There’s a great range of slides, everything is clean and well-signposted, and all the staff were friendly. We’d read that on park opening you should run to the tallest slide, Summit Plummet, to avoid queues, but the entire park was very quiet. The longest we waited was about 15 minutes, and most slides had barely anyone at all in front.
  • FYI, while I like near-vertical drops, Summit Plummet wasn’t worth a second ride, whereas Toboggan Racers and the Purple rides were.
  • Epcot shouldn’t work as a theme park, and yet it does. It’s educational, but not as educational as a museum. It’s fun, but not as fun as the other parks. It’s got miniature versions of other countries… and yeah, those are pretty unique. I don’t say this to knock Epcot – I’m just amazed that Disney keeps it running. I guess the scale helps soak up a lot of visitors, and a lot of the capital expenditures have already been made.

  • Had lunch at the Moroccan quick service restaurant, Tangerine Cafe; tasty and fresh.

  • Living with the Land was a bizarrely dated slow ride, combined with a bizarrely interesting look at Disney’s in-House experimental farm and hydroponics lab. I’m not clear what their level of seriousness is here, but I guess they haven’t shut it down yet…
  • Soarin’ is breathtakingly good, although I preferred the quieter California-centric show in Disneyland from a few years back to the bombastic, CGI-laden highlights of every country here in Disneyworld. It would be great if they could rotate the shows, but perhaps that’s more logistically challenging than it seems
  • We almost skipped Turtle Talk with Crush, but I’m glad we saw it because it’s an amazingly successful example of using human-driven CGI-characters to interact with a live audience. Basically, the audience can talk with Crush, and Crush can see the audience, which is a fun trick – powered by (I’m guessing) pre-rendered CG sequences that can be easily chained together, plus cameras. I wonder how many people power it behind the scenes. I imagine similar things at the upcoming Star Wars hotel.

  • Finding Nemo is not worth it.
  • Who knew that Epcot had a decent-sized aquarium? People seemed to be more interested in taking selfies with the countless divers, though.

  • Spaceship Earth was a fun slow ride about the history of communications technology. Reasonably educational, and has bonus Judi Dench narration.
  • Gran Fiesta Tour really needs to get replaced by a proper Coco ride.
  • Disney Boardwalk… eh.
  • One of the fanciest restaurants at Disneyworld is Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. Decent, with city prices to suit. You can really see the power of Disney’s economies of scale by the fact that Flying Fish doesn’t have its own toilets – rather, it shared them with the nearby bar.
  • Day 1 bonus: The Hall of Presidents has one of the nicest panoramic screens I’ve ever seen, with truly impressive animatronics. I don’t think I was imagining the uneasy silence in the room when the haggard-looking Donald Trump model started talking, though.
  • The audio mix on many slow rides is off; it’s often hard to hear environmental audio vs narration from nearby speakers. I’m not sure if there is an easy solution hear, but with more storytelling and atmosphere being reliant on complex audio, a solution is needed.

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