(DISCLAIMER: The following was originally written by Jerry Skids back in 2009. He is a big Disney fan. He has his own WDW-themed podcast, which you can find here, or here. This is 100% Jerry’s words, completely unedited, out of respect to Jerry. I have not fact-checked any of this information. Obviously the prices have definitely changed since 2009, and should be used for comparative purposes only, not as actual real-time price quotes. And many attractions have come and gone since the time this was written. However, that does not invalidate his suggestions one iota. This is still useful, and I think this is so amazing, that I want to share his knowledge and wisdom. Thank you Jerry! Posted with his permission. – Editor)
Note: If you get confused by the acronyms, please see the previous posts.
WDW For The Single Guy: an experiment
The Magic Kingdom (part 1)
How This Guide Works
I will go through each park explaining what to do and what not to do to get the most out of your time. In WDW, even the most disorganized becomes a planner. Since this is for the single guy or couples, I will give a letter grade for each ride depending on what group you fall in. I’ll give a min-description, tips on how to tour the particular attraction, Fastpass information, and sometimes little anecdotes. If you decide to go against my rules and suggestions, then that’s fine., but don’t blame me when you realize it’s 6PM and you didn’t do anything yet! Here is some pre-planning information, tips, and warnings:
- I like to tour the parks in the order they were created, but you should definitely find out what parks have EMH and which don’t. Plan accordingly, but try to visit MK 1st.
- You must arrive at the parks an hour before the park opens or you will ber trapped behind crowds and waiting in more lines.
- Get ready to walk… A LOT! If you’re not used to it, practice at home.
- Resting during busy times (noon – 2PM or 3PM) is suggested by many. I disagree immensely!
- If you don’t want to use a park ticket on your first day, you can always check out Downtown Disney, Disney Quest, or an outside attraction.
- To avoid the inevitable blisters, etc., get a pair of crocs (that fit), bring along some band-aids in case, or line your feet in duct tape — it is up to you.
- BRING SUN-TAN LOTION (and bug repellant if you’re staying at Fort Wilderness) and aloe.
- Plan ahead if you want to get a lot done. Do not expect to see/do EVERYTHING on your very 1st trip. Use this guide, message boards (like disboards.com), and specialized websites (allearsnet.com, mousesavers.com, wdwmagic.com) and podcasts (wdwtoday.com) for more info on how to plan.
- Use the restroom before shows or any long attraction, or you will be holding it in otherwise!
- Be open-minded about all the attractions. The rides you think are geared toward a younger audience are many times incredibly enjoyable and the thrill rides are tame compared to Six Flags. The theming is almost always excellent and will appeal to everyone!
- Don’t forget to “stop and smell the roses.” There is SO MUCH to see and do. Do not pass all this by just because you want to get to a ride. This is a main reason I suggest going to the Magic Kingdom on your first half-day. I will discuss this …….. Now!
*Note from the Author: All “When to go” sections are assuming the park is closing at 9PM. The closing hours vary from 9PM – 12AM, depending on when you go. EMH can last up til 3AM if the park is open til 12AM.
The Magic Kingdom (MK)
Opened as Walt Disney World in 1971 (after Walt’s death), this park started out as a carbon copy of Disneyland. Now, it is a park of its own with many more not seen over in California’s Disneyland. This is the park most people think of when hearing the name Walt Disney World. It’s divided into seven lands around a central hub. [Where the tip board is located]. When you arrive at the park – an hour early – you will eventually be corralled into an area behind the Walt Disney World Railroad. There are two entrances into the park. Regardless of anything, get as close to the right entrance as possible since it is closest to where you want to go.They will have the Opening Ceremonies right above you at the train station. They are definitely worth watching – but once they start counting down, walk quickly, safely, down Main Street and either turn right for Tomorrowland or go straight through the castle for Fantasyland. I will discuss more about that and more touring plans as we conclude this section, along with more suggestions and must-dos. Here we go!
Main Street USA
Based on Walt’s childhood home of Marceline, Missouri, this turn-of-the-19th-century Americana Street houses no big rides, but plenty of theming and fun things to do. Let’s get started.
The Walt Disney World Railroad: (B – B+) (WDWRR)
Both “transportation” and “ride”, this laid back steam engine will take you through the whole park, with stops at Main Street, Frontierland, and Toontown. This is great to ride during the busy times of the day when the lines for the big attractions are huge. You can get off your feet for a bit and check out the sites. Trains come every 10 minutes or so.
When to go: 12PM – 2:45PM or whenever you want (it’s never too crowded)
Main Street Transportation: C- (“A” for couples) (MST)
It’s really not worth the long wait, but there are trolleys, horse-pulled carriages, and the like that are reminiscent of the turn of the century America in the South.
When to go: Anytime, if you’re bored or want to share a cozy moment w/ a chick.
ENTERTAINMENT + STUFF
Well, there’s the Dapper Dan’s Barbershop Quartet (who wrote the “Baby on Board” song for Homer’s Be-Sharps in “The Simpsons”), who plant themselves randomly around Main Street and sing popular barbershop songs and sometimes requests for about 20 minutes. In front of Casey’s, a pianist plays ragtime music as you eat throughout the day. A brass band plays music randomly as well. Also, there are citizens of Main Street who walk around throughout the morning and early afternoon. They are funny improv artists. At the Town Hall Courtyard, there are many random character encounters, but I will talk about characters in a separate section. Also, I’ll talk about parades + fireworks later.
Shopping + Other Things
The Emporium (a Disney superstore is the most crowded store in the park) – its got a little of everything.
The Chapeau – has monogrammed mouse-eared hats and stuff – you can also “build your own ears.”
Crystal Arts – you can watch glassblowers, personalize glass/crystal objects of your choice, etc.
Confectionery – lots and lots of candy – biggest candy shop in the parks, where you can get fudge + candy apples.
Uptown Jewelers – expensive jewelry for the lady.
Firehouse Gift Station – firefighter themed crap.
Harmony Barber Shop – a barbershop AND you can have them color your hair and put pixie dust in it. It’s fun!
Silhouettes – they make … silhouettes of you. Duh.
Main Street Cinema – once actually a cinema; now it has Art – expensive and stuff (This also once housed VMK Station. VMK is a MMORPG standing for “Virtual Magic Kingdom).
City Hall – home of guest relations where you can get maps and info on anything in the park.
Exposition Hall – they sell film and photography equipment. Also scrapping stuff + frames. In the back, they have a very cool area where they used to show cartoons all day. Now it’s got a few cool relics and murals as well as a place to take pictures. 🙂
Dining + Snacks
Casey’s Corner: [Food: A; Service: Counter; Price: B] (Casey’s) [American baseball faves]
I always stop off here first on my first half-day. Their ¼ lb hot dogs are pretty damn good and their fries are good too. They also have chili and “hot dog nuggets” which are awesome. For hot dogs, they’re not cheap, but they’re only a tad more than New York prices.
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant: [Food: B-; Service: A+; Price: A little too expensive] (Tony’s) [Italian fare]
Located in the Exposition Hall, this restaurant was modeled after Tony’s, the restaurant the dogs go to in Lady and the Tramp. And yes, they do have the spaghetti and meatballs so you can make a girl think you’re being “cute” by nosing the meatball to her and slurping up the same spaghetti strand. The lunch is moderately priced than the dinner. The food at dinner time is a bit too expensive for what you get. It’s a cool place to go, but there’s better.
Plaza Restaurant: [Food: B- (A for desserts); Service: B+; Price: not too bad] [Regular American food]
Down at the end of Main Street lies this small-town diner. The prices are all right, but for sandwiches, still not a bargain. But they do have Black Angus burgers that are very good and a chicken strawberry salad for the weight conscious. It’s what you’d expect from a diner, however, the real treat is their homemade ice cream. Out-of-this-world!
The Crystal Palace: [Food: A-; Service: eh… C+; Price: Expensive for breakfast, reasonable for lunch]
This American Buffet is a favorite to many. This is a character meal for all three meals. Winnie the Pooh and friends hang out with you while you eat. It’s fun to harass Piglet whilst eating bacon! Normal buffet fare for breakfast; for lunch and dinner, they have prime rib, slow roasted pork and, of course, an ice cream sundae bar. Oh! And you can get omelets made to order for breakfast! My advice is to go right at the end of breakfast and after you’re done w/ your first plate, lunch will already be out… Free Meal!! The glass pavilion is beautifully located in between the bridge to Adventureland and Casey’s.
The WDW Bakery: [Food: A; Service: A; Price: Regular WDW prices] [bakery!]
Just what it says. It sells mostly baked goods, and great breakfast muffins / croissants / bagels. The real deal here is the homemade Nestle Tollhouse ice cream sandwich. HOLY CRAP! They stuff it with so much ice cream, you may not even finish it. Share it with a girl for some action.
Make a left at the end of Main Street and start jammin’ to the bongo drum beat as you head into the great tropical rainforests, the Caribbean, the wonders of Arabia, and the African jungle.
The Swiss Family Treehouse: [D for fun; B for interest and architecture] (SFT)
Based on the 1960 Disney film, Swiss Family Robinson, enjoy a walking tour of the treehouse they built. Warning: Lots of stairs up and down. It’s cool to see the replica up close, but once you look, it’s kinda over…. One real bad thing: stupid tourists decide to stop in the middle of everyone’s way and gawk for a really long time, then people behind them stop. This causes bottlenecking and that’s a waste of time so…
When to go: It’s a walk-through, so anytime will be fine, however, go a little later in the day to avoid the crowds of people. I’d say 5PM – closing.
The Magic Carpet of Aladdin: [C- but add a couple of points for romance]
Just like the more popular Dumbo, this is a hub-and-spoke ride, based on the Disney film, Aladdin. You ride the carpets around and around – the front seat lets you control the carpet’s height and the back seat lets you control the forward + back tilt. If you are less than three people, then it can still be fun to reach back and fool with the controls. The ride only lasts 90 – 120 seconds and is a very slow loading ride. All hub-and-spoke rides include waiting for the ride to end and unload before loading the next group, etc. Also a camel spits at you! So you may get sprayed with water! 🙂 Bit of trivia: The spitting camel was from the Aladdin parade in MGM Studios in the early 90’s (The Royal Cancun Parade). Put your arm around your chick here.
When to go: 3PM (during the parade) or late, after 6PM when many kids have left.
Jungle Cruise: [A-, if you enjoy / get / appreciate cheese factor then definitely A+] [Fastpass]
Right across from the carpet is the ever-so-popular Jungle Cruise! This safari ride, based on Walt Disney’s obsession with The African Queen, (the 1951 Bogart / Hepburn river adventure), takes you through quite fake looking animatronic hippos, lions, elephants and the like. When it first came out, the animatronics were thought to be amazing and very scary. But now, the ride has turned into self-referential cheese-fest (in a good way). The Skipper driving the boat constantly cracks a bunch of groaners at you as he/she takes you deeper and deeper “to your death”. At night, the ride becomes wilder and many times more adult-oriented depending on your skipper. I would definitely recommend riding this cruise 2-3 times if you can during your trip for different perspectives. Joke sample: (when coming across a crashed plane) “Oh my word! It’s the other half of Oceanic 815!!” Or, “Those butterflies can grow from 12″ to a whopping 1 foot!” Cheesy, but FUN!! Warning: The line is deceiving. Make sure you see how much it wraps around before you commit. A great date ride unless your girl has no sense of humor or is stupid.
When to Go: If the standby line says 10 minutes or less or looks like a walk-on, go. Otherwise, use the Fastpass system. The best time to go is about 10AM – 11AM, and then any time after 7PM – very fun during late night EMH!! The ride is about 8-10 minutes long depending on the Skipper.
(Also, there’s a coin-operated boat thingie when you get out of the ride — don’t waste your money.)
The Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management: [B+, dark, loud, good for dates too!] (Tiki Room)
This 15 ½ minute show is full of audio animatronic birds and was originally called “Tropical Serenade aka The Enchanted Tiki Room.” Because it was getting old they brought in Zazu (from The Lion King) and Gilbert Gottfried! Well, Iago (from Aladdin)… to take over. This was the very first audio-animatronic project that Walt made back in the 60’s. The only original song from the attraction is “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.” This is great if you’re drunk or on drugs. (Of course, no alcohol is served in Magic Kingdom). Either way, the show is fun and has lots of crazy thunder, lightning, tiki gods, volcanoes, and a rendition of “In the Still of the Night.” It’s an extremely fun and very unusual. The pre-show consists of Phil Hartman and Don Rickles (who also voiced Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 1, 2 & 3) as parrot agents. Definitely show up early for the show to hear the 5 minute back and forth.
When to Go: Anytime between 12PM – 3PM. The show is never too busy and those are the hours the rest of the park is insanely busy and insanely HOT.
Pirates of the Caribbean:[A+ for everyone unless you are an animatronic wench] (Pirates/PotC)
This attraction is the best ride in all of Magic Kingdom. It’s an indoor boat ride through the Caribbean where pirates act just like pirates! You go back in time and are in the middle of a pirate raid from the first signs of attack to debauchery after the victory. The entire queue is pirate-themed and spooky – don’t miss the chess playing dead guys in an eternal stalemate. The animatronics are awesome! There were threats of legal action after a pirate chases a woman through a house with a very vicious and salacious look on his face. Mothers said the ride promoted rape and violence — so now the woman chases him. Luckily, they kept “Strike yer colors ya brazen wench!” which is obviously a pirate ordering the woman to remove her clothes. This is more accurate than say, Captain Hook. OH! And a guy named Carlos is getting drowned in a well… he looks like Ron Jeremy! In 2006, they added Barbossa and Jack Sparrow throughout the ride. Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom did not want to participate. The animatronic Johnny Depp is amazingly + disturbingly accurate. Not only is this a boat ride another good boat ride to bring your girl, but it is a ride to go on over and over and over if there is no line. (about 8 minutes).
When to Go: 10:30AM – 12PM or after 5PM. You can go earlier than 10:30AM, but there are more rides with longer lines that you should be taking care of then.
ENTERTAINMENT + STUFF
Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial: a very convincing Jack Sparrow teaches kids + adults how to be a pirate. At the end, he literally RUNS away so you can’t get an autograph. The show is extremely hilarious – especially if you like Jack Sparrow. See it if you can.
[Characters are at Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, and behind Aloha Isle]
Shopping And Other Things
The Agrabah Bazaar + Zanzibar Trading Co. – next to the Carpets of Aladdin, specializes in safari-themed stuff, handcrafted sculptures, Aladdin merch, masks, and pottery.
Plaza Del Sol Caribe Bazaar – Pirates merch: costumes, fake gold, playsets, books, shirts, dreadlocks, patches, swords, pirate Lego’s as well as ride memorabilia. Of course, you unload here after PotC.
Island Supply Company – its got designer clothing from Quicksilver, O’Neill, Roxy, etc. You can get bathing suits here if you want… it’s across from Swiss Family Treehouse.
Dining + Snacks
Aloha Isle: [Food: A+; Service: C (slow); Price: not too bad at all] [ice cream/snacks]
This is where they serve the wonderful Dole Whips. That’s pineapple ice cream. You can get it by itself or w/ vanilla swirl. They also offer a Dole Float, which is pineapple ice cream in a pineapple juice. This is THE best ice cream in ALL of Walt Disney World. We go back at least 3-5 times a trip. They also have other snacks + pineapple spears too. But who cares?
Sunshine Tree Terrace: [Food: B; Service: B; Price: normal] [ice cream/snacks]
Another ice cream place. Here, you can get the Citrus Swirl. There used to be a character who ran around here in the ’70’s called Orange Bird. The Citrus Swirl is like a creamsicle in a cone/cup. So, it’s good. Otherwise, the ice cream is mediocre.
El Pirara Y El Perico: [Food: B- – C; Service: B; Price: normal] [Spanish-style quick service]
This counter-service place is only open during the afternoon hours, if it’s open at all. You can get a beef taco salad, vegetarian tacos, or regular beef tacos. Beside the quesadillas on the kids’ menu, that’s it. The food is decent, but you can get better. The large shared eating area is a great place to rest, regardless. The ironic thing is that the Tomorrowland Noodle Station is only open during the evening hours (if it’s open at all.) This leads me to believe the staff are zombies who must finish feeding at Adventureland, then go to Tomorrowland for fresh brains. Either that, or they get really bored in one spot — either way, they are the undead.
Next, we mosey on over to the Old West, where we can find lots of cool references to America’s 1800’s – (only Splash Mountain, which was built in the ’90’s, broke the Old West theme by taking place in the South during the Civil War … so let’s start with that first.
Splash Mountain: [A+, no doubt about it!] (Splash) [FP]
Based on the Song of the South’s animated segments, this water-flume adventure ride through the racist South has you following Br’er Rabbit throughout the mountain as he is chased by his nemesis Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, until they chuck him out into the Briar Patch. Uncle Remus did not make it to the attraction since he “may offend the African-American visitors”, so they replaced him with Br’er frog as narrator. Elaborate chutes, scenery, and animatronics fill the ride, covering over half a mile of swamps, caves, and bayous before the five-story plunge into the Briar Patch. Don’t miss the racist depiction of Br’er Raccoon as well as other oddball characters. Listen to the lyrics + dialogue because it is quite humorous. Watch Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear constantly getting in sexual positions. I kid you not!! Especially at their final appearance!! This ride is so much fun! You catch something new every time! The attraction is filled with music from the film, including: “How D’Ya Do?”; “Laughing Place”; and “Zip-a-dee-Doo-Dah.” This is one of the park’s most popular attraction with lines getting to 120-160 minutes. This is part of your “Morning Madness” rush that I will discuss. Ask for the front if you want to be doused with water. If you wear a poncho, a plastic garbage bag, or any sort of covering to prevent getting wet, then you are ridiculously un-punk, a pussy, and shouldn’t be on a water ride. But if you’re reading my book, there’s no way you’d do something like that. Take the hit. 🙂 (10 mins)
When to Go: Prior to 10AM w/o a FP or anytime with one. Also, as the sun goes down (as does the temp), so does the line. You might be able to go over and over after 6:30PM. If you follow my touring plan at the end of this chapter, you should definitely have a Fastpass for this attraction by 10:30AM the latest. You can always get another one later. Notes: At night, you can see the castle lit up right before you take the plunge. Go at night as well! People complain about being soaked “all day” – they whine and bitch — the Florida sun is so strong, you will be dry from head-to-toe within 20-45 minutes. These people are fucking losers.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: [A-] (add points if you are a wooden coaster enthusiast) (aka Big Thunder, or BTMRR) [FP]
This quite tame, but well-themed wooden coaster, careens you through the mountains of a ghost mine during the Gold Rush. Equipped with falling rocks, a bat cave (not THE Batcave, that’s Six Flags), small earthquakes, possums, and an old man in a bathtub, this fun ride (a runaway mine train) is lots of fun, pulling you through sharp twists and turns. Sit in front for a more surprising ride, but sit in the back for a more violent ride. This is, of course, the “wildest ride in the wilderness.”
When to Go: Since it’s right next to Splash, I always suggest you grab a Fastpass for Splash and jump on this ride without one.The line is usually pretty small until about 10:30AM (on non-peak days) – otherwise it’s pretty hectic during the day. Otherwise, you can try an hour before the park closes. The ride is faster and “scarier” when it gets dark – the oil on the tracks adds about 5 MPH, which you definitely feel at night. Yee-Haw!! Use Fastpass any time of the day if you wish.
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade [C-]
It’s a really cool-looking elaborate shooting range based on attractions in Frontierland. It costs $1 for, I think, 12 “bullets”. Target practice is about all you will get here, because there are no prizes. When you hit something, a different “animation” will occur. For example: shoot a gravestone, and a ghost may fly out. You’ve seen this before.
When to Go: Anytime. 12PM – 3PM is when everything ELSE is too busy.
Country Bear Jamboree: [C+, if you’ve never been here. B+, if you are a return visitor. B, if you like making fun of country.]
This hilarious audio-animatronic bear show pokes fun at the country-hoedown. With songs such as: “All The Guys Who Turn Me On Turn Me Down”, “Blood on the Saddle”, and “Mama, Don’t Whoop Little Buford”, this is an older, worn, but pure Disney tongue-in-cheek look at the old school country music scene. It hasn’t been updated since it’s arrival in the ’70’s, but that’s part of its charm. Boring for people with no sense of humor. The further back you sit, the more jumbled the audio becomes. Try the 3rd or 4th row. Hillbillies + other Southern bumpkins find this show to be a serious representation of their culture, and it’s worth going just to see how excited they get. If you don’t “Yee-Haw”, applaud, laugh, and join in the jamboree, you are boring and you disappoint me. The show changes at Christmas to a related Christmas hoedown. The show is 15 minutes. Big Al is the best part of the show. Thurl Ravenscroft plays a dead moose head on the wall.
When to Go: From 1:30PM – 2:45PM, or after 6:30PM. Once the parade goes by, a million people file into this building, to get out of the heat. The attraction is directly on the parade route.
The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon: [WAS B+] – closed
This used to be a cool dinner show. It’s closed, but the building remains open. Sandwiches only, but you can see relics from the show ALL over the place.
Tom Sawyer Island and Fort Langhorn: [“C” alone; B with someone else; A-/B+ if it’s a chick]
Take a raft through the Rivers of America to land on the island that Mark Twain created. It’s like walking through the book, Tom Sawyer, with caves, the windmill (Harper’s Mill), a barrel bridge, twisting paths, signs written by the title character, hills, the white-washed fence, and more. A great diversion from big crowds! The attention to detail is magnificent! It’s no thrill ride, but it’s really kick-ass cool! Also, you can cross a bridge to Fort Langhorn, where you can check out the rifles and shoot oncoming tourists — (no bullets) — (but it SOUNDS like there are) — chill and play checkers, or climb the narrow stairs and check it out! You should plan for at least 30 minutes on the island – the raft ride alone is 10, and time goes by so quickly while exploring the island. There are some comfy rocking chairs to sit and relax in by the white-washed fence and Aunt Polly’s.
When to Go: It closes at dusk, and you don’t want to waste your mornings. 12PM – 3PM is best, but also 3:45PM – 5PM. It’s up to you. I would say, it’s best to go on your second MK day, because it does take up a good chunk of time.
The Walt Disney World Railroad
The stop is between Splash and Big Thunder.
ENTERTAINMENT + STUFF
Banjo Bros. And Bob – a hilarious hillbilly trio of musicians/improv artists. Hilariously funny.
Frontierland Hoedown – a bunch of square dancers dance around w/characters. They’re always in the way, because it’s performed several times a day.
Characters by Splash Mountain, Country Bears Jamboree, and rarely by the entrance to Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Shopping And Other Things
The Frontier Trading Post – used to be “guns” and “coon-skin hats” and Davey Crockett merch, but now it’s a huge pin-trading shop.
Big Al’s – a small kiosk across from Country Bears that sells the things that used to be at the Frontier Trading Post.
Prairie Outpost: a very small bakery/candy shop.
Briar Patch – a small shop that sells Splash merchandise.
“Splash Mountain Unload Shop” – No one knows the name; it’s where you pick up your Splash photos and buy some good Splash merch. These are some of the best restrooms too.
Dining + Snacks
Aunt Polly’s [Food: B-; service: F; Price: too expensive]
Get your PB&J sandwiches here. And ice cream. If you ever find it open, and if the old ladies who work there ever get picked up from off the ground.
“Fry Shop” [Food: D; service: who cares; Price: worth it? No.] (these stats are before the change) (snacks)
Ooh, you can buy McDonald’s fries. What’s the point? I can get that in NYC cheaper. Well, they changed it something else.
The Snack Shop by Big Al’s [Food: B+; Price: decent] (churros/snacks)
You can get churros here! And dipping sauces that are MMMM! I dunno the name of it. But the dipping sauces are chocolate, butterscotch, and caramel.
Pecos Bill Cafe [Food: B- (some say A-); Service: B-; price: usual burger prices] (American food, burgers, etc.)
For some reason, people love the burgers here, but I think they taste the same as anywhere else. I’ll do a back-to-back test one day, but until then, I think this is a normal fast food spot. I almost gave it a “D” because one time I went, they skimped on my fries and gave my girl a ridiculous amount. I was pissed! But that was only once. They also have chicken wraps, veggie burgers, chili, a great fixin’s station (where I suggest you get “free food” — we’ll discuss later) and for dessert, peanut butter brownie mousse. 🙂
Recreating America during the Revolutionary War, the architecture here is colonial and federal. A real 130=year-old live oak, the Liberty Tree, lends dignity and grace to the sitting. Of course, this is across from the gallows, so that’s kinda funny. Fun trivia! If you walk from the beginning of Liberty Square to the end of Frontierland, you will see the transformation from the east in the 1700’s, to the west of the 1800’s. The addresses in the buildings change with the year. For example: the Hall of Presidents is 1776, the next shop is 1788 and so on.
The Hall of Presidents: [C -> A, depending on your love of history or robotics]
Re-opened on July 4, 2009 with new audio, a new film, including President Obama, this attraction is a 25 minute historical auido-animatronic / film show. The theatre is huge and the show begins every 30 minutes. If anything, it’s a dark theatre where you can take a nap, get a blow job, and/or enjoy the air conditioner! The animatronics are so impressive, (the Presidents’ tics and statures have been thoroughly researched) that you think you really are in the room with all of them. as of 2009, you will hear Abraham Lincoln speak (as always) as well as George Washington (which is new), and of course the latest President, Barack Obama, has recorded something for the attraction. The film highlights milestones in American history and climaxes w/ a roll call of all the Presidents. A moving show if you’re patriotic – very funny when you BOO Reagan and the Bushes — people get VERY VERY angry. Trivia fact – they were going to refrain from asking John McCain to record a speech if he won, because Republicans got very angry when the Democrats and liberals and libertarians and anarchists and any sane human booed (George W.) Bush. Since Obama won, they went back on that decision, knowing Democrats have more class. 😉
When to Go: Anytime is fine, except directly after the parade. The parade route passes the Hall of Presidents, so people lined up on the streets will go here for refuse from the sun. I suggest 12PM – 2:30PM, or 4PM – 5:30PM.
The Liberty Belle Riverboat: [C alone, but B+ with a date]
This large paddlewheel riverboat takes you through the Rivers of America and around Tom Sawyer Island. You’ll feel like you’re back in the day, hanging among the hoity-tioty (the opposite of Frontierland) as you pass old settler cabins, Indian villages, and fake wildlife. The Liberty Belle is a beautiful craft, but very slow-moving. You can sit inside, hang on the balcony, or find the “Captain’s Quarters” where you can close yourself in with a girl. However, there are no locks, so fuck at your own risk! Otherwise, this is a very romantic setting if you go to the upper deck to look at the sights. By yourself or friends, it’s still kinda cool. There’s a guy announcing it… I think it might be Thurl Ravenscroft – eh. (15 – 17 minutes)
When to Go: Get there 10 minutes early yo secure a good spot. Anytime after 12PM. Be careful of parade crowds around 3:30PM – if you go after dark, it looks like a cabin on Tom Sawyer’s Island is on fire.
The Haunted Mansion [A+] (HM)
Not very scary, but ultra-fun! The special effects are really cool. After a freaky pre-show and getting yelled at by disgruntled butlers, jump into a doom buggy with your Ghost Host, Yale Gracey (voiced by Paul Frees). The attraction is jam-packed with special effects, hidden Mickeys, and Victorian-spooky sets. This is one of the great rides that makes WDW what it is. It’s about 10 minutes long, and includes the theme song “Grim Grinning Ghosts” by X. Atencio (the same guy who wrote “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” for PotC. Travel through the mansion and check out the library, dining room, séance room, creepy hallways, the spooky attic with the dead bride and the graveyard. Note: When Cast Members tell you the story of the ride, don’t believe them. There originally was no story. In fact, the Ghost Host only became “Yale Gracey” in the ’90’s! THe story was created by cast members after finding a “ring” embedded in the floor outside of the mansion. It was actually the remains of a stanchion pole. Either way, it’s still fun. There’s a small cemetery in front with all the names of the creators and a pet cemetery in the back — check out “Mr. Toad’s” grave alluding to the destruction of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in 1999.
When to Go: After 4PM. The lines are usually gone and the ambience is better later on. I always say, the later, the better. Thirty minutes before the fireworks is best.
Shopping + Other Things
The Heritage House – American souvenirs + shirts.
Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe – a random holiday shop.
Yankee Trader – Kitchenware like aprons, plates, and other home appliances (Disney-oriented).
The Haunted Mansion Gift Shop – before, it was just a small kiosk that sold very little HM merch, but it also sold The Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. It is possible that a bigger gift shop has opened inside the Haunted Mansion sometime after 2010.
Dining + Snacks
Sleepy Hollow [Food: A-; Service: C (slow); Price: not bad] (snacks/funnel cakes/cookies)
Here is where you get your funnel cakes (ask for extra sugar) as well as cookies and other yummy bakery treats. The funnel cakes are great ti eat while watching the evening fireworks. Especially with some slut or your girl! It’s right over the bridge from the castle, but the lines are HUGE at night, so beware.
The Potato Company [Food: B; Service: A-; Price: usual] (potatoes/fruit/snacks)
You can get fruit and other healthy snacks, along with chips and other non-healthy snacks. But the baked potatoes are pretty good. I don’t condone it, but it’s easy to steal from here.
Columbia Harbor House [Food: C-; Service: B+; Price: too expensive] (sandwiches/American)
So, this place, reminiscent of New England during colonial times, serves fried fish and chicken strips, New England clam chowder, humus + tuna salad sandwiches and other boring crap. The soup and sandwich are a change from MK’s usual burgers + fries, but the food is not very good – although there’s lots of seating upstairs and a decent view of Liberty Square.
Liberty Tree Tavern [Food: B; Service: A; Price: depends on what you get] (character dinner American fare)
Another New England style restaurant. However, this one is table-service, and reservations are a must. Dinner is a $29 family style meal with Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Chip + Dale, and Meeko (from Pocahontas) as the regulars. Mickey is never found anywhere but Toontown and in the shows/parades in MK. Very beautiful colonial architecture and artwork w/ a somewhat nautical theme. They serve pot roast, roast turkey, salmon club sandwiches for lunch – dinner at the moment is all you can eat turkey, carved beef, and smoked pork lion. However, they talked about removing characters for dinner, so the menu may change as well. Note #1: Family style is NOT a buffet, it’s a plate of 5 – 8 things that just keeps coming to your table. Note #2: A good time to have lunch here is about 2PM – then when you finish eating, you can just go outside and watch the 3:00 parade. It gets there about 3:05 – 3:10.
(To be continued…)