Monday, June 28, 2010

A Magical (and tiring) Experience

Good morning! Well, the Dungan Walt Disney Expedition has come to a close. We spent 4 complete days touring the parks at Disney. I am quite sure the Dunganlets would love to go back for another day but I think Lynley and I have both reached our limit.

In all we toured 4 parks - the Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. It should come as no surprise that we spent the most time at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, we spent an entire day there from 9:00 AM until about 11:00 PM. If that was not enough, we also spent the better part of 2 other days as well.

Ironically, time spent at a particular park was not necessarily an indication of which parks the kids loved most. When asked what they liked most, the kiddos unanimously chose rides at parks other than the magic kingdom as their favorites. Ranked unanimously as a favorite was Expedition Everest, a roller coaster worth remembering at Animal Kingdom. This was closely followed by Dinosaur which terrified Ainsley in the beginning, but somehow, in retrospect is now embedded in her mind as one of her favorites.

The Twerps loved just about everything at Hollywood Studios and I must be honest and say that it was our favorite as well. While that was probably partially due to the easy accessibility of wine and beer, Lynley and I both enjoyed the experiences as well. The Tower of Terror ranked pretty high. In fact it was ranked as both Lynley and Ainsley's absolute favorite. Graham and Sydney both chickened out on a second run through but Lynley and Ainsley were right back at it. Oddly enough, Ainsley listed the Tower of Terror as her absolute favorite after her first ride and as her "worst" favorite after her second run through. Yet another example of why I have difficulty understanding the females in this family. Regardless, Graham, Sydney, and I took off for the Rock n' Roll Roller coaster which became one of Graham's favorites. The kiddos spent much of the afternoon in the "Honey, I shrunk the kids" Movie Set Adventure. In fact, I am quite sure they would still be in there if we had not lured them out with candy.

The kiddos only spent a little bit of time at Epcot and, therefore, never really got the full effect. The afternoon was poisoned by a mishap on Mission Space and long lines. The food was good but I think everyone had simply met their match. I would love to go there fresh on another day but the kids just never got into it. Other than in Innoventions, nothing was really able to recapture their focus. For that, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps, they were just tired. I would love to take them back but I think it may be difficult to talk them into it. In the end, they missed some of the best stuff like Soarin' and the Test Track.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent quite a bit of time at Magic Kingdom. We rode just about every single ride. As expected Splash Mountain was a huge hit and they also loved the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. In all, we had a great time their but I must be honest and say that both Lynley and I had felt that the Magic Kingdom had lost a little of its luster. Maybe we have become spoiled by our Walt Disney Cruise experience but we were both a little disappointed with the quality of some of the cast and the aging park. Many of the rides focused on characters and story lines that the kids had never heard of before. Sure, they were popular when we were little kids but now they just seemed dated. That left the kids with an inability to connect and I think they missed out on much of the awe that we experienced as kiddos. I don't want to get down on Disney. As an experience it is still far superior to Six Flags or any of the other amusement parks we have visited. It just wasn't as good as we have come to expect of Disney. I willCheck Spelling give them kudos in one area though. They have mastered crowd control. I was extremely impressed. They do a great job of entertaining people while they wait and the designs of their rides do an exceptional job of shuffling them through quickly.

In the end, the vacation has been a great success. It was a blast but now it is time to focus on the Junior Olympics. It is time to recover and prepare. Today is weigh in and tomorrow the Olympics begin.

It will be a day of restful refocusing of purpose.

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