Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Florida Trip: Walt Disney World (Part 1)

On Monday during our trip to Orlando we took advantage of one day Disney park-hopper tickets we each had left over from our last trip to Orlando four years ago, visiting Animal Kingdom in the morning/early afternoon and then visiting MGM studios in the afternoon/evening. That ended up to be a pretty full day as we arrived around 8:30 am, and left a little after 8pm, but we were able to do nearly every major attraction in both parks. It helped that the Animal Kingdom is the least popular Disney park so it wasn't crowded at all on Monday morning.

At the Animal Kingdom we went to the Bug's Life 3D movie, saw the bird show, walked through the gorilla and African animal zoo area, and rode the Dinosaur, Safari, and Kali River Rapid rides.

That pretty much finished everything available at the Animal Kingdom (at least that we wanted to see), so we went over to the MGM Studios. MGM was quite a bit more crowded than Animal Kingdom, although the crowds were pretty much only bad around the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith Rollercoaster rides which is typical in my experience.

At MGM we went on the Aerosmith roller coaster, the Tower of Terror, the Star Tours and Great Movie rides, and saw the 3D Muppets movie (which always makes me chuckle even though I've seen it a million times).

Overall I was somewhat disappointed with the Animal Kingdom. I had never been there, and was expecting something a bit more then just an elaborate zoo. The Bug's Life movie was pretty good, and the Dinosaur ride was OK, but not spectacular. The rest of the stuff was not all that great, and the Safari ride felt exactly like the Jungle Adventure ride at the Magic Kingdom, except with real animals instead of animatronics. The lack of any sort of crowd at Animal Kingdom probably means other people feel this way too. There is a giant rollercoaster under construction that looked pretty cool, but construction still looked like it had a long way to go (opening very late this year, or next year perhaps?)

On the other hand, MGM Studios was a lot of fun as always. The Aerosmith rollercoaster was easily my favorite ride on Monday. The initial acceleration from 0-60 in just a few seconds is always impressive. The only complaint is that it is so short, but I guess that is to be expected when you lose the long, slow ascent up a first hill. And they certainly pack a lot of turns and loops into what ride time you do have.

The worst ride of the day was easily the Great Movie Ride, which is just so cheesy and pointless that we don't usually go on it. The only reason we did ride it was that it is a relatively long ride with no wait and we had some time to kill before our FastPasses for Aerosmith became active and not many other choices of rides.

The only thing we weren't able to see that I would have liked to was the Indiana Jones stunt show, which I always enjoy even though I have seen it many times. But since we were tight on time during our visit to MGM, we couldn't fit it in.

All in all it was a very fun, if slightly long day.

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