Ramblings (Part 1 of 2) from my October 20-25 WDW Trip

Rather than a typical trip report, I am writing about my thoughts on certain aspects of WDW after returning today from a 5 night trip.

First off, the good … DW, DD4, DS2 (almost) and I all had a blast!

I had not seen crowds this low since 2010. And we also had glimpses of the Disney magic that I thought had mostly disappeared the past 5 years. Example - At Chef Mickey’s DD4 accidentally bumped her head pretty hard on the corner of the buffet area (crying ensured). A CM came over, asked if she was ok, and then came back a few minutes later with a small Tinkerbelle clip for her and a Buzz Lightyear clip for DS2. DD4 learned and later used (appropriately) the term “pixie dust”.

DS2 was afraid/anxious of the rides and characters the first few days, but by our last day, DS2 overcame his fear and raced up to hug Mickey! On our last day, he also enjoyed riding PofC, Small World, the Carousel, Magic Carpets, and the People Mover.

Throughout the trip I wondered why the crowd levels were so slow when October has become relatively crowded over the past 5 years. I mean, it was great, but strange and unexpected. There are the obvious potential reasons:

(1) Guests waiting until RotR opens.
(2) Guests staying away because huge crowds were expected for SW:GE opening
(3) EEMH spread the crowds out more than usual
(4) Price hikes have started to keep some guests away … enough to make some difference in CL
(5) My TP’s were just so good :slight_smile:

But, it also got me thinking that WDW has made some critical errors the past 20 years that have led to more significant problems that may be effecting the long term interest in WDW.

(A) AK never should have been built (I can feel the tomatoes b being thrown at me from the AK fans). But that was/is a very expense park (both initially and the upkeep due to the animals) and was built before HS was really a “complete” park. And that was about the time EPCOT started to become a but outdated. All the money from AK would have been better spent on HS and EPCOT. Example, forget about the animals and imagine Dinosaur, Kali, Everest, Nemo show, FotLK, A Bug’s Life to HS (with different themes for Dinosaur, Everest and Kali) and later Pandora were in HS … that would make the current HS a worthy full 1-2 day park sibling of MK. And the money spent on the animal portions, should have been poured into keeping EPCOT relevant.

(B) The error above was compounded when WDW did essentially nothing in terms of new attractions during the decade of 2000-2010. The result was that AK and HS remained half day unfinished parks with few attractions.

© Then the Billion Dollars spent on the new FP/Magic Band system. More money that would have been better spent at the parks … particularly when during that time (a) the New Fantasyland Budget was slashed and we got water downed versions of the supposed original proposals for Under the Sea and Mine Train, (b) AK and HS needed more attractions, and © EPCOT still needed updating.

(D) Recently we have gotten Pandora (great!), TSL (I love it, but other don’t) and SW:GE (jury is still out, but MFSF was horribly disappointing to me). If SW:GE continues to be a major disappointment after RofR opens, then this was another WDW mistake. More on my thoughts on SW:GE in PART 2 which I plan to post tomorrow.

Perhaps I’m just overanalyzing, but I wonder if the above factors which reduce the quality of the parks are effecting long term interest in WDW.


:tomato::tomato::tomato: but enjoyed your ramblings otherwise


So glad you all had great time! But, as you probably expected, would like to respectfully disagree on a few of the points:

First - the Magic Band and MDE does make touring the parks a lot easier and feels more modern comparing to paper FPs. I am glad WDW implemented it and was ahead of the game on what would be inevitable in a few years anyway.

Second - AK is our favourite park with the best theming imho (Dinorama exluded). Also, having animal exhibits provides great variety in touring. You can only ride the rides so much! When I first mentioned to kids we are going back to Disney, the animal trails was one of the first things they were excited about!

Lastly - having 4 very unique parks is what differentiate WDW from DL and Universal. You can spend many days on property and still do not see or do everything. From a strictly business perspective, I think it was a good decision to build the 4th park.

Again, please do not take this as an attempt to start the fight, just my thoughts on your ramblings :slightly_smiling_face:


Glad you had a good time.

I do not have any tomatoes to throw, just want to offer up that this once again shows that we all have our own views of Disney. I love AK, and believe that it is a perfect fir for Disney. Disney has always placed a large focus on animals. And I love the additional focus of the more adventurous activities, even if we do not really climb a mountain, and KRR is not quite like really going white water rafting. I think it is wonderful.

I have never found HS to be a half day park. We have only been able to do one day there on other trips, and were not able to do a lot of things. I am looking forward to spending most of a second day there in 2 weeks. Maybe part of this is because there are 3 or more years between any trip- it has been 6 years since I have been to HS- wow, time flies. I love Muppets, ST, and IJ every time. I am finally going to see BatB, because for the first time I am planning my own days instead of just following my mom and dad who live close and go often. Reading about people not wanting to do the shows anymore is actually incentive to keep our trips from becoming more frequent.

I would agree with some of the reasons for low crowds. People are waiting for things to open. Some are just waiting for RotR, but others are waiting for other things. My next trip (after the one in 2 weeks) will not be until there is a Tron ride, MMRRR, EP refurb and GotG are open. I also believe that pricing is at a point where it is very difficult for a lot of people to go. I do believe that having all the EMH at 3 parks everyday was a great equalizer. Not sure that would not have happened anyway because most people do not plan a WDW vacation and just go to one park, but I am happy for all of you who got to benefit from those hours. I actually hope that since we will only be there 3 weeks before RotR opens people will keep waiting to visit. Also hoping that the end of all the EEMH will also work to my benefit by keeping out those hoping for extra time in the parks around the holidays.

There is one other thing that I believe has kept some people home. I believe there is a LOT of people who have no idea how the FPP system really works. I do not believe it is because it is complicated. It really isn’t. There is also a massive amount of information. Anyone who wants to find out how it works can. A lot of people just don’t. I say this because the evidence of it was all over the place when they announced the changes to the tiers at HS. There were comments all over the place about how it was not worth going if you could not get FPP for more than one ride. A part of me wanted to tell people, but I saw how they reacted when someone tried. You can’t teach someone who is secure and confident in their ignorance. People were deciding to wait to visit, and cancelling visits because of it. It may have been a small piece, but when you add it to all the rest…

They say a good TP can make even a high crowd day great. :smiley:


It takes a lot to offend me or start a fight with me … and you certainly didn’t do either of those. If you personally insulted my Mom, wife or kids, I would take it a a fight.

I appreciate your reply and thoughts. I enjoy AK too, but if given the choice I would rather have 3 parks I consider full and updated rather than 4 parks where I think 3 of them need some work. Reasonable minds can differ. The real question for Disney that you and I can’t answer is whether more people feel like you or more people feel like me.

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I think you are right about this. When I was at HS this past Wednesday, I overheard a CM explaining to a guy how he cannot get another Tier 1 until he finished his initial 3 Fastpasses. The guy looked completely confused. I have also had to help a number of friends visiting WDW who did not understand the FP system. It’s easy once you spend the time to learn it, but most people don’t put in the time.

You are at WDW now, right? I recall you trip was right after mine.

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we get there this evening


Interesting observations.
I am sad we miss the EEMH but hope that we will still have tolerable crowds when I get there in 16 days.

I love AK, but don’t argue that concentrating on EP and HS would have made a lot of sense. I have never felt HS was a half day park. I thought it was a 1.5 - 2 day park BEFORE TSL and SWGE. I have 1.5 days allotted to it next month.

I do agree that MDE was a ridiculous investment. I don’t believe for a minute it was to enhance guest experience. There are countless threats about the subject so I won’t hash it out again here.

I’m glad you had a good trip and I hope our trip next month.


Is part of why it is a 1.5 - 2 day part for you because the lines are so long due to there being so few rides at the park? I get that there are shows, but even with the additions of TSL and SW:GE, I think there are not enough rides at HS (hence the need to tiering). If there were enough rides at HS for everyone (like MK), there would be no need for tiering (except for maybe the really new rides).

We spent one full day there in 2016. We are commando tourers but still had to chose between shows. We left without IJ and VOTLM and did nothing Disney Jr. TSMM was closed and we had to skate over Star Wars displays. Did nothing in Animation.

Did do Jedi and had a sit down MM ADR for F! package. Also met rare characters (Bolt) and that unmentionable character meet thing.

The lines were manageable with two sets of magic bands. We just really enjoyed DHS.

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So exciting! Have fun!


thanks. glad to hear you had a good trip.

I, personally, am with the original poster on AK. We visited the first time in February. I think the layout of AK is confusing and annoying. The shows and rides were fantastic, but if you live anywhere close to a good zoo (we do) the animal exhibits/trails aren’t worth the time. (With maybe the exception of KS, which we missed, so I can’t even speak from personal experience.)

Epcot needs an update, and it is one of my favorite parks.

Disney, between crowds and cost, is probably not as much fun for those who don’t plan ahead. I felt like I was planning an assault on a fortress rather than a vacation in the weeks/months leading up to it. We had a great time, and my TPs helped a lot. But most people don’t do the research and the legwork. In the end, this may lead to more people just staying away.