Just got back from WDW, and it's looking pretty run down lately

I just want to vent my frustrations from my recent (Jan 24-Feb 1) WDW trip and chat with anyone else who’s feeling the same way.

As a massive WDW fan who doesn’t have a ton of expendable income, I usually go every 4-5 years or so, and really try to maximize my dollars and time while I’m there. I always target the “slowest” and coolest time of year, but this is the first time I’ve been dissatisfied with my outcomes. WDW is looking rough, the paint is literally peeling in parts of the lineups, light bulbs are burnt out, multiple elements of hugely popular attractions are not even working, and standby wait times were, in general, much longer than advertised for the headliners.
For example, when we rode Rise of the Resistance in 2020, our minds were blown. In 2024 I brought new people who had never seen it before and they were less impressed. Kylo Ren’s animatronic looked jerky and unnatural and the cannons were offline, making that scene a bit of a disappointment.

The bathrooms were filthy, each one had at least one dead-eyed attendant who was in there with a broom and dustpan but the toilets in multiple stalls, in every bathroom we used, were covered in urine and wet toilet paper. I don’t understand how people can be so rude to leave their stalls in such condition, but it’s the worst I have ever seen, and the attendants just seemed to standing there, holding a dustpan and looking demoralized.

For the more popular attractions, like Frozen and Jungle Cruise, we would get into line with the advertised 45 min standby wait time, only to watch the lightning lane queue pile up with tons of people all at once, and then there would be an announcement like “if you’re in the standby line for Jungle Cruise, the wait time is now 90 minutes, thanks for your patience.”

It really seems like they do not have a handle on lightning lane use and guest movement throughout the parks anymore. We got in line for Peter Pan, willing to wait the advertised 55 minutes but we actually waited 115 minutes! I faithfully checked the touring plans app but it predicted shorter wait times almost everywhere, when we were facing wait times that rapidly extended while we were already in the queue. In retrospect, I wish I had been more on-the-ball and timed my waits through the app to share the data, but I was preoccupied with two little kids and didn’t get around to it. :frowning:

There did not seem to be any air conditioning in any of the indoor lineups, so we were sweltering and feeling trapped in there with all these other people sweating and children understandably running out of patience.

I don’t remember it ever being like this. I blame the lightning lanes, because it always seemed like people would pile in and suddenly the standby line would slow to a crawl. I’ve never in my life considered not going back to WDW but this was an eye-opening experience for me. I feel like I spent more and got less for my money than ever before.

It will probably be a long time before I go back, since it seems that we need to pay to play now. I’m guessing this trend will not be reversed as long as they are still bringing in profits from the parks.
Is anyone else feeling disillusioned with WDW lately?

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We wanted to ride Dinosaur, since it’s closing soon, and it’s a childhood favourite for all the adults in the party. I showed the kids a video of it beforehand to see if they would like it and they were excited to do it. But the ride I remember (a fun, bumpy romp through dino anamatronic scenes and landscapes) was not the ride we got. I guess instead of cleaning and repairing things, they have just turned out all the lights? So we ended up plunging through noisy pitch blackness for most of the ride, I felt awful because the darkness terrified the children, and was not what we were expecting at all. Very dissapointing.

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Was it ever something other than this? The only animatronic dinos in landscapes I ever remember was in Universe of Energy. I don’t recall there really being much to actually see in Dinosaur. I will need to go look at old videos I guess!

But, in general, you are definitely seeing the effects of Disney’s major cost-cutting efforts at work. They raise prices, but give us less for it. Even the lack of queue A/C is likely a cost-savings effort.

I will say, crowd levels were higher than expected for the second half of January this year, which definitely played a role in the TP estimates being off.

I keep hoping Disney is going to restore the magic in time…but they have a huge financial problem to deal with on the studio and streaming side, which the parks are propping up. Until they solve the financial crisis they are in (thanks mostly to Iger himself), I am afraid the parks will suffer.

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HI! I can totally relate! I was a die-hard/tribal WDW fan for about 30 years…

Then in 2022, I went to Universal Orlando. I got an annual pass for all 3 parks for $500 that has minimal block out dates.

The “value” tier hotels are $75/night and were built in the last 5 years. So new with great modern amenities…

I can buy myself, wife and daughter UOR APs and then take them to the resort for 6 - 7 day/nights for about $4,000 with all expenses covered (APs, Hotel, food, transportation)

Then going forward any time I want to pop down for a solo trip to UOR with my AP its about $1,000 total for 4 - 5 days…

I just planned a solo trip for 3 days to UOR that was under $200 using flight points and credit card promotions!

Universal has “magic”. I used to scream about how awful and “basic” UOR was even though I’d never been there!

It is anything far from “basic”!

I have found my magic / happy place right down the street. The rides, admittedly use a lot of screens, are soooo cool! I hope you like pyro & water being shot at you, because that’s UOR’s bread & butter of rides!! :rofl:

The WWOHP is incredible. Diagon Alley is way better than SW:GE… (I will fight anyone about this! :rofl:)

There’s rides for little kids (not as many as Disney) and the whole family. It’s not just extreme coasters!

There’s no lighting lanes or G+ reservations. Heck, there’s no reservations needed except at table service meals! You can be as planned or as spontaneous as you desire!!

There is an Express Pass queue, but UOR sells it for $200 - $300 per person per day. So, it’s not overutilized like WDW. You have “normal” ride waits at UOR - IMHO

Plus, a brand new fourth park Epic Universe is opening next year with so many exciting Lands and attractions!

If you’re done with WDW, come meet me down the street & I’ll show you around!! :rofl:
It’s soo clean and the TMs are on par with how WDW was in 2018.

Any one who knows me & sees this is gonna roll their eyes because I’ve transformed from Die Hard Disney to Disney Refugee and now Universal Addict!

I have many trip reports that show this transformation. You can see how amazed I was when I first went in Feb. 2022 and how much I still love it in 2024. I’d be happy to link them if interested!

I went to MNSSHP, MVMCP and Jollywood nights this year. I had fun at each, but I felt all the pressure of planning a full Disney trip. It was so stressful, even if I had a good time.

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Pretty sure @darkmite2 works on sponsored commission :rofl: :rofl:
I kid- but really, hearing you talk about UOR makes me more interested in going. We’ve been twice and it’s been maybe 10 years since our last visit. I say I’m going to wait for Epic but I may try to add in something around my bday trip (Nov) for a WDW/ UOR trip. Not interested in HHN I think. The more I read about it, the more I’m not sure the cost is worth it. I don’t really love haunted houses much anyway.

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Let me book your next Universal Orlando Vacation! It costs you nothing and you get the help of a Universal Orlando expert!

(I think that’s how TheDis does the opening /closing of their shows! My DW often says I should get a side hustle as a TA!)

Then you definitely should stay away! That’s really the heart of HHN. I was scared of them, but always interested. After going for a couple years, I love them now!!

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I do, lol. I’m starting my Universal training this week. I’ve done Disney for a year and finished Carnival training. It’s definitely a SIDE hustle. It hard to make money being a TA when there are so many out there. I wish I had a brick and mortar TA shop and local company to work out of but that’s old school thinking. You have to hustle to find your own clients now.

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I’ve been to some top notch haunted houses. When I was much younger I loved them. My town is know to step it up in the haunted department.
But I didn’t have nearly as much anxiety back then. I’ve done a couple here and there but only for my family. And i have to go in with the mindset of laughing at everything and if someone looks like they are going to touch me I make an X with my arms and say no touching loudly. But if there is a claustrophobic part I end up in tears on the other side. I will only go in a haunted house now if I can be assured there are no claustrophobic parts involved.

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If that’s your main “phobia” then you’d be fine at a HHN house. You are, typically, in normal ADA/wheelchair complaint halls constantly moving in a conga line. In most places, you could easily walk side-by-side with a person. In some areas it a giant open scene - like a bridge and street in Paris, a New England Warf or standing outside Eddie’s home in Stranger Things!

I was afraid of “touching”. I went to a local haunted house when I was in the sixth grade. It wasn’t “professionally” done - just kids doing everything. They grabbed my ankles and arms many times while scaring me.

Now, I know the #1 rule of HHN - NO TOUCHING! They won’t touch you, you don’t touch them!

These are trained “scareACTORS”. Not volunteers at a local fundraiser or travelling haunt.

I hope that helps! I tell everyone these are high quality set productions by a movie studio. You can really see why HHN is better than a local haunted house that uses plywood & black lights!

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Exactly why we are planning Disneyland or DLP now. WDW is the cash cow and it’s getting milked.

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I’m planning a DLR trip for 2025 while I wait for the Epic Universe opening crowds to disperse. I come from TN. A flight to DLR is three times as much as Orlando and the on-site hotels are so cost prohibitive. I can find “ok” deals on Neighboring Hotels, but I’m still paying at least $2,000 more than going to WDW for the same duration… :cry:

There’s still a couple new things for me to do at WDW. However, DLR has a lot of old, but “new to me” attractions. Plus, I’ve never been there! I’m trying to make it happen, but Disney makes it difficult! :money_mouth_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :innocent: :rofl: :innocent:

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Aside from flights, It’s cheaper for us right now for DLR. I found a hotel in walking distance for $160/nt though.

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It is. But also I don’t like people crowding in. When in those queues where they squeeze people in like cattle I have to be on the outskirts. I intentionally hang back. But I would rather haunted rides then haunted houses. I thought that’s what HHN was. But after research I see it’s really focused on the houses. So while I like the ambiance of Halloween, I’ll go just after and hopefully miss the hoopla a bit (in terms of pricing and crowds. My bday is at the beginning of November.)

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Although I say all of this about not being for me, this is probably perfect for DH and maybe I should suck it up for once, lol.

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They use sights, lights, water mist, fog and even smells to set the mood! It’s crazy!

I’m still a bit of a coward. I let DD go first in our initial runs of the haunts most times… I’m gonna make her let me go first at least once this year! I can be brave!!

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UOR essentially “scares” us away with HHN. We will avoid the place, if at all possible, during HHN season.

We have the same issue with Cedar Point. We avoid their Halloweekends.

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I have noticed this (I’m here now)

I’ve decided the story is it’s hot at WDW. If it’s hot OUT you’ll sweat outside. If it’s cool out they will make it hot IN so you’ll sweat inside.

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This!

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It’s hard to make a lot of money when commissions are relatively small and people can book directly so they do.

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True. I’ve done little exta things for the few clients I have to encourage using a TA. But I’ve also only used one once before and it was part of a group booking. It’s a lot of work but I also love travel in general so that helps. I doubt Ill ever get in it full time though.

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