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  1. Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/magic-kingdom I actually kicked off my 3 days at WDW at Magic Kingdom. Plenty of new stuff to see. Things are a bit more high tech at Disney these days, you can load your ticket into google wallet and tap in at the entrances, entering Lightning Lanes (the new name for fast pass) , and the app is pretty comprehensive in terms of being able to check wait times and order food, and credit to them this aspect is all very tight. The more recent points of contention is Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes and Boarding Groups for certain attractions. Basically, fast pass is no longer free, that's an extra cost to use per day, and the service is branded through the app "Genie Plus" I did without it on 2 of my 3 days since crowds seemed light enough and I could game single rider a bit. I swear though they inflate wait times to encourage people to use it. On certain rides you can also pay to skip the line on a one shot basis and enter via the Lighting Lane, and well, I ended up doing this for Tron and 7 Dwarves mine train, more on them later. And finally, boarding groups. At the time of my visit, due to their newness and popularity, Tron and Guardians (At EPCOT) both require you to go into a ballot for a time to board the ride. They do one drop at 7am, and another at 1pm. It does make it a little stressful because who wants to come all that way to ride the new stuff and have it come down to luck. Personally I think they should still offer standby. If someone wants to wait 2-3 hours to ride the new thing, more power to em! I did witness a couple of people at the entrance who were not familiar with the system a bit annoyed about being unable to ride and the complexity of it. But it turned out not to be a worry. If you are on the app at 7am and refresh as soon as the clock ticks over, you can pretty easily end up with a timeslot to ride in the morning. Despite this, I still also bought a one shot lighting lane for tron just because I wanted a guaranteed re-ride. I rocked up early: I had a plan to rope drop Seven Dwarves Mine Train, but it was broken down so I started on Goofys Barnstormer Standard vekoma roller skater but the theming is really really well done. In fact, I had never ventured into the whole circus area before, but I loved it. Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid Also new to me. An omnimover dark ride with some really detailed theming right from the start. The beginning is pretty cool, with Scuttle the seagull trying to explain Airels story in a confused manner, before your ride vehicle goes downhill and 'under the sea', with projectors used on the walls to create a sense of dropping below the waterline. The ride is fun and colourful, with a huge scene of fishes dancing to "Under the Sea". The ride kind of skips over the whole epic battle with Ursula and just has Ariel transitioning to human and getting married to Prince Eric. Very well done, and I can imagine kids would find it magical. A certain foodstuff I had wanted to try was LeFous brew from Gastons Tavern. It's basically frozen apple juice, topped with passionfruit foam, which was the most tart thing ever, it was like straight passionfruit cordial mixed with wizzfiz or something. With some time to kill until my TRON timeslot I reacquainted myself with Space Mountain. I still reckon the HK/DL/DLP versions are better, just lacks something without the music IMHO. The layout is a little tighter on the MK version and feels like a wild mouse. The exit route has way more theming than my last visit, with various cheesy displays of futurism. Finally it was time for TRON Lightcycle Run. The scale of this ride is enormous, with a huge canopy and broad elevated walkways leading to the entrance, with trains thundering overhead regularly. Once you get inside its a whole bunch of black corridors with neons and backlit graphics. The coolest feature however is a little preshow room with switchable glass with a projection. After a bit of fluff about being "scanned into the world of Tron", the glass turns transparent, revealing the trains launching below and some seriously cool looking theming. The double sided locker system works well, and has hundreds of bays. The trains have you hunkering down a lot more compared to your average straddle coaster, it's practically like being on a flying coaster. Some people have commented the ride is 'short' but its 1km long. I think what happens is people mentally dont count the outdoor section, and focus only on the indoor part. The indoor part is pretty cool, with you racing through glowing checkpoints, plus the occasional wall projection of other lightcycles racing against you. One thing that sets it apart from other indoor coasters is the turns are a lot larger and more sweeping. It's not like they have tried to cram a spaghetti of track into a box, its more like a full sized launch coaster that happens to be in a building. Impressive ride! No sign of Seven Dwarves being open on the app so I decided to try a few other tomorrowland attractions I've never done. First Astro Orbiter, which offers some great elevated views over the land. Then Peoplemover, which also offers moderately elevated views, interspersed with a few little dark ride scenes with a bit of a silly space age feel to them all. I had never done Carousel of Progress so gave this one a spin too. It's a rotating theatre, and during the show you stop in front of animatronic dioramas of a family in the 1900s, the 1920s, 1940s and so on, with the patriarch of the family talking all about all the latest and greatest developments in the world, eg the 1920s talked about how you could travel coast to coast by train, and how Babe Ruth was hitting home runs, and how their house now had brand new electric lights. And then you get to the 2000s bit and it was like 1990s mixed with back to the future. At that point it was time for my paid re-ride on Tron. First ride was in the back, so I took the front this time (It's never a long wait to request a front seat at Disney I find) Back is better if you want to see all the projections on the wall and more of the theming, but front is better if you want to stick your hands out and pretend to fly and feel the wind. What other new stuff was there for me to see. Never had done Country Bear Jamboree so that was a must. Loved this detail on the floor of the foyer. The show takes the piss out of rednecks, with the bears in the show singing drunkenly, having buck teeth, and even alluding to dressing in morally questionable (For the 1900s) mannee. Entertaining, I imagine the local audience would probably get more out of the stereotypes. When It came time to ride Big Thunder Mountain it started raining heavily. Fortunately the queue is all undercover, and they have added various themed interactive things in the queue, like Zeotropes, and fresh air monitors with displeased canaires inside. And yeah, Big Thunder running in the wet rocks! Swung by the conversion of Splash Mountain into Tianas Bayou Adventure. Enchanted Tiki Room was up next (Geez Im having a passive day!), a colourful animatronic show with four main singing birds, each with a stereotypical accent (French, German, Spanish, Irish), plus hordes of other birds that are lowered up and down from the ceiling for duets and choral sets. Its funny how times change, at the time it opened people were mesmerised by singing birds, but I guess today it feels like a room full of those novelty singing birds you get a tobacconist/gift shop. The sets are beautiful though, and the actual lyrics and storyline are entertaining. Swiss Family Treehouse is always worth a stroll through. And I couldn't pass up a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, still the benchmark in terms of being the most immersive classic Disney ride IMHO. At this point, Seven Dwarves was still not open, and they had even put out a push notification to everyone apologising for the extended downtime. Another food I wanted to try was in Adventureland, Cheeseburger and Pizza Spring rolls (You get one of each). Still wish our parks had more gimmicky snacks like this on rotation. A total surprise to me was discovering they had a Christmas overlay of Jungle Cruise called Jingle Cruise. Most of the fun of it seems to come in the form of extra christmas theming in the queue with a tropical twist. During the ride itself, the jokes are just as corny, but of course with Christmas related puns. Further Christmas decorations on the way too At that point in the day I realised there was one other attraction on my hit list I had wanted to check out, Enchanted Tales with Belle. I was thinking it was more of a walkthrough, and it has a little bit of that, but by and large its a kids meet n greet that has a fancy beginning and some cool animatronics. The main thing I wanted to see was the magic mirror effect they have, which appears to magically grow larger on the wall in front of you and open up to reveal a direct portal into the Beauty and the Beast castle that you walk through. It's a pretty cool trick how they achieve it, and there are YT videos showing how they do it, so I wont spoil it. Surprised this hasn't been used on other attractions. Once you get inside they have a talking wardrobe, and most impresive, lumiere the candle, with actual moving flames on his 'arms', which fully move and gesture as he talks. But yeah other than that they get the kids up front and give them cardboard cut outs to 'act out' a scene from Beauty and the Beast, and then Belle turns up and meets the kids, so yeah not really worth it unless you have young kids. But, finally, Seven Dwarves Mine Train opened...And I was still stuck in this thing! The wait times were already building up, so I bit the bullet and paid for another lighting lane to get on it. Good Thing I did when I arrived at the entrance, the standby wait time had blown out past 90 mins, and even the lightning lane entrance was backed up. This ride has intrigued me since it has swinging cars just like Orphan Rocker at Scenic World, so it was good to get a glimpse at what it would have been like. Actually great fun, and the theming is really detailed, particularly halfway through where you go into the gem mine and all the dwarves are singing 'hi ho hi ho its off to work we go', with full projection mapped faces on each one of them, and lighting effects from all the glowing gems. The cars do actually get a a decent swing going 2 or 3 times during the run. I was expecting Disneyfied toned down intensity, but nah this was good! And I think that's all I did. I was still a bit jetlagged so felt there was a high risk of falling asleep If i did something like Small World, so park hopped to somewhere a little more energetic..... Did you know the streak down the middle of the street Liberty Square is meant to represent raw sewage of the olden days.
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