I just returned from two weeks at Disney World (jan 25th - feb 8th) as a solo traveller. Beware during that period of the year, temperature changes are big, bring those warm clothes ! I had been to Disney World Paris and Europa Park in Germany but that was my 1st time in Florida. I’m writing a quick report originally for myself but I thought why not publish it here ? So there it is…
Since I live between Europe and central America I was able to get the 14 Days Ultimate Ticket. Staying two weeks at a Disney hotel is way over my budget so I stayed at Cypress Pointe, north east of Disney Springs, great location and price/quality ratio. Very quite neighbourhood, plenty of restaurants around and I got to use all the amenities of the neihgbour hotel Grande Villas (owned by Diamond as well) which includes a 9 holes mini-golf, swimming pools, fitness room etc.
Transportation: I mainly used Disney buses and the hotel shuttle. The shuttle drives to and from EPCOT and Magic Kingdom (TTC). It left MK early but you could stay longer then hop to EPCOT and catch the 8:15 return shuttle there. Hopping (from 2pm) between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios is easiest (and fun !) with the Skyliner. To get earlier to the parks I could walk 5 min to a link 50 stop (Orlando’s Lynx buses, 2$/ride) and go to Disney Springs Superstop (west of DS) then walk 5 min to Disney’s Saratoga Resort and catch a Disney bus to any park from there. Or link 50 direct to TTC then Monorail Express to Magic Kingdom.
The whole trip cost me 2300$ which I think is a good deal considering it was 2 weeks. That includes airplane (Spirit) + hotel + park pass + food. Note that I never ate at a Disney restaurant, prices were too high for me (french menu was 50$), I only took a coffee or a tea here and there. I could find all sorts of good meals around Cypress for 15$ (pizzas at hotel, burgers and sandwiches at Wawa, asian food at Hokkaido etc.). A standard room alone at the Pop Century (“inexpensive” Disney hotel) would have costed me more than this whole trip inlc. everything ! Disney probably doesn’t want you more than 2 or 3 days, or people are richer than I thought :)))
On to the best part: the parks ! I did 155 attractions in 2 weeks !!! With an average wait time of 7 minutes (for some reason I get agressed when I say that ;). I logged everything, at the start of a queue I would write the time and name of the attraction and coming out of the ride I would add the wait time, I did this for every single attraction so the stat is very accurate. I did all the rides of all 4 parks (some are closed others under construction) and did my favorite rides multiple times. After approx. 10 days I didn’t even bother going early to the parks anymore and would take longer and longer breaks, WDW had become home ahaahaha. Many attractions have 0 wait time and I considered 20 minutes to be a long wait. Max wait was Flight of Passage after park opening at 35 min, I did it twice fearing it would rise but it actually dropped and I could do it near park close twice more with 0 wait time (or 10min walk into the zig zags to be precise
Note that I had a solid strategy: 1st and last hour have lower wait times (even better 30min before official opening) and throughout the day semi-popular rides have big wait times fluctuations so stick to your Lines app (TouringPlans) and walk fast (but don’t run, not allowed !) to those opportunities. Very short or very long wait times don’t vary much so do the most popular rides very early or late on a week day. And long waits don’t mean necessarily great rides, it can mean “family ride” like Slinky Dog had much longer wait times than Expedition Everest but Everest is soooooo much more exciting, I did it 3 times in a row at 0 wait time. Of course the super star ride of the moment is Rise of the Resistance and this is on reservation only. You need to book it online through the MDE app at 7am or 1pm within the first few seconds and you’re allowed to ride it only once per day. The first time I screwed up because I hit “virtual queues” instead of “join”, fatal mistake, no time to go back, seriously: not even two clicks, you’re out ! Next day I did it from my hotel at 7am within the FIRST SECOND and I was only boarding group 52, can you imagine !! Is the ride that great ? Well the quality is on par with other big rides but it lasts 20 minutes that’s why I think you need a boarding pass. You get to do multiple simulators, you have a rail free moving cart (like Ratatouille will have), you get a bit of Tower of Horror action with a drop, you get shot at by lasers, very cool. So which is my own (subjective) favorite attraction ? I’d say Soarin, I wish it would last the duration of a documentary soaring around the whole world for over an hour :)) But I guess the wait line would go around the world as well :))
I’ll finish this quick report with what I loved at WDW and what I wish was slightly different. I really liked the low capacity and the distancing I wish that could stay (without the virus of course). I wish everyone could have a similar experience as mine but without wearing a mask all day long ! Being distanced in queues is very appreciable, you have space and you walk instead of standing, more space on the rides themselves or the skyliner’s gondolas (and buses etc.). Would WDW still be profitable in those conditions I don’t know… I absolutly love the politness and great manners of all the staff, they have repetitive jobs which is tough and yet they remain kind at all times ! It feels like WDW is the most civilized place on earth, exit and welcome back to grumpy land ! I wish everyone would get the same communication training as the cast members, this world would be a better place. It’s truly a miracle that the spirit of Walt Disney still floats around WDW over half a century after his passing. I also love the immensity of the domain, it’s quick and easy to park hop so the attraction diversity offering is phenomenal. I heared they built only a 1/3 of the property (info from our great shuttle driver, tip the guy !), a third will remain at its natural state so they will build twice more attractions within several decades, very cool Everything they build has a touch of magic, being in WDW feels like being in a city where everyone is partly an artist, some are of course full blown artists, listen to the fabulous Voices of Liberty and all the great live shows out there ! It was actually Walt’s dream for EPCOT, to be an actual city that would be very technological and artistic and where happyness of the citizens would be the priority. The actual ECPOT became more of a mix between an amusement park and an educational park where you learn respect for nature and foreign countries. Not quite the original goal but still beautiful.
What I would change ? I think in general attractions should be less repetitive, think of a carousel vs a movie theatre, one of the 2 is very repetitive ;))) So maybe future attractions should include more screens like Rise of the Resistance so that the films showed could evolve or completely change. Think of Soarin with a different sequence at every ride, it’s possible ! Or Flight of Passage or Millenium Flacon etc. could vary a lot as well. If you’re a resident I’m pretty sure you go to the parks for the restaurants only, you know all the rides too well. I also haven’t seen theatres showing the latest or classic Disney movies / cartoons / documentaries, I’m a bit shocked about that I must say. If I let my imagination go wild (like Figment would teach me I would make all parks free entrance and you pay only per attraction with a digital card. This way flows can be regulated to reduce those wait times (yes you’d be temporarily blocked on heavy days if you’ve done the ride too many times and you’re a local etc. those kinds of policies). I would lower food and hotel prices as well by at least 25%, currently WDW is too “deluxe” vacation. And if I now “let it go” completely I’d say that the US should have one Disney Park per city. What do you think ?