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The Happiest Place on Earth… Sort of… Part 1

My review of Walt Disney World's MagicBands.

by
Megan Fox

Bio

June 6, 2014 - 10:00 am
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I just returned from a vacation to Walt Disney World with my family and I took plenty of video to highlight the new changes that are happening at the Orlando resorts that are billed as “the happiest place on Earth.” I doubt I’m the only one who thinks they have been happier in the past.

By way of introduction, we waited until we were 30 minutes outside of WDW (or “Disney” as most people I know call it) to tell our daughters (ages 8 and 4) where we were going. They were in the back of our van on a 20 hour trip without knowing where we were headed because we wanted to give them the magical experience of thinking they were headed to a dreary, dusty-sounding place called “Rattlesnake Ranch” and then be delighted to discover they were in that “happiest place on Earth” instead. That surprise was truly fun.

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But imagine after finding out you’re headed to ”Disney” that the minute you get there you are turned away like the Griswold family at the fictional Wally World in the old National Lampoon’s Vacation movie with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. Seriously. This began my first experience with the Not-So-MagicBands you may have heard about.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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I think they figure that since it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip they won't be losing any return customers. I always just took my kids to HersheyPark. When they asked about Disney parks I said, "It looks great in the ads but if you're there for twelve hours you're spending 11 of those hours standing in line."

The kids never asked about Disney parks again.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The employees still call it Mouschwitz...
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Which is actually a bit ironic (Mouschwitz = Mouse + Auschwitz, the infamous death camp in Nazi Germany), as a Jewish person (secular Jew, but Jewish nonetheless) was largely responsible for the messes in WDW, and Iger (BTW, is Iger religious, or is he secular like Eisner before him? Some posts imply that he was a religious Jew, at least regarding Hasidic or Rabbinic Judaism) not only continued the mess, but arguably made it even worse.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Next time consider spending that $5K in Texas for a family friendly and enjoyable vacation that the kids will remember. There are all kinds of things to do in Texas year round and there are wonderful adventures you can have on the way to and from. My best suggestion is to check out a lovely little town called New Braunsfels. Located between Austin and San Antonio, it offers a wide variety of family friendly adventures (many of them free) and the opportunity for day trips around the Hill Country. You can rent a condo right on the Guadelupe River. Then, spend a couple of days at Schlitterbaun (an all ages family water park where you're welcome to bring your own picnic lunches and drinks). You're less than two hours from all kinds of attractions for every kind of interest in all directions. We also have great grocery stores called HEB, where you can load up your coolers each day for economical meals and amazing eateries of all kinds.

Of course, I'm prejudiced..... I just don't get the point of spending a small fortune on standing in lines, fighting crowds, purchasing overpriced food and such. Nothing personal against Disney, I don't enjoy SeaWorld or Six Flags either. When our kids were growing up, we got much more enjoyment from spending time in the mountains or at the beach where they were free to roam and explore. Because of school trips, we did go to many of the major parks - my kids rarely mention them as favorite memories. They do talk about trips to historic sites, NASA, national parks, observatories, camping and swimming in the ocean.

The year my in-laws did the "family trip" to a Disney resort, my kids were too big to hang out with the younger cousins and too young to be turned loose on their own. Instead of the misery of waiting in lines and such, we hopped in our rental van and drove out to tour NASA. We had a great day, dinner at a fun retro diner and were back at the hotel in time to watch the fireworks show from the balconies. Sent the kids to bed at a reasonable hour and didn't have much whining.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you are dealing with "customer service," you are doomed. Its function is to keep you from annoying people who could actually help you. It could be worse, you could work in "customer service" and have to reject people with legitimate problems that you would like to fix but cannot because of "company policy."
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
First - thanks for making me laugh out loud - twice!! ("Mommy Dumbest Ruined Disney" !!!)

Second, thanks for bringing all this to light. I've been noticing over the years that the Disney experience is going downhill. My grown daughters still love it, so we'll no doubt be returning, but more and more Disney is not what it used to be.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, and from what I can gather, WDW stopped being what it used to be around summer of 1991, where then-CEO Michael Eisner, choosing progressive politics over, you know, actually making sure the experience was well suited for visiting families, instituted Gay Days of Disney World, which as the name of the event implies, was a weekend where gay couples and other sexually amoral people that aren't straight manage to do various obscene things in front of visiting families. What's even worse, Disney pretends it isn't responsible for the mess, even claiming it is independent. Thankfully, due to the efforts of the Florida Family Association this year, sales decreased sharply due to using airplane banners warning people in Florida of the event, so hopefully they'll get the message (then again, considering Bob Iger hasn't even come close to cancelling it and dithered at it when confronted about it, and seems to place leftist politics over even sales when it would be in the best interests of his company, chances are they won't).

I know it's been a few weeks since that weekend, but any chance you'll do a coverage as one of your next parts, Ms. Fox?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I want to take just a second to make sure my fellow libertarians don't go off on this post. I was not aware of the gay days until one of my gay friends (getting married shortly) warned me NEVER to go there in early June because he went once and the public displays of lewdness made *him* uncomfortable. This is a guy who knows I'm a full on gay marriage supporter and am pretty unfazable when it comes to this stuff.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't get me wrong, if they want to do some things in the bedroom, as much as I object due to my Christian upbringing, they can do so since, well, neither I nor any of my fellow Christians are omnipotent (God never gave us that, for some reason). However, there's a big difference between simply doing such proclivities in the bedroom and making a public display about it. My mom and dad, for example, wouldn't strip naked and have sex in front of everyone, so why should they? And my parents wouldn't make obscene gestures to any families with little kids, so why should they (and that's been a frequent complaint, BTW). And good for your friend to recognize it for it bad thing it is, BTW (the event, I mean).
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please see Jim Gaffigan for full treatment of the Disney World experience.
"How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable and listen to my children complain and whine." "Disney!"
"It's like going to the DMV. On the surface of the sun."
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's an excellent film exposing the dark underside of Disney theme parks: Escape From Tomorrow. I mean, how could you have "The Happiest Place on Earth" without a dark underside?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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