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  1. If you're going to do the Magic Kingdom book your fast pass plus reservations now with the My Disney Experiences app; you'll want a fast pass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train because while it's a short family style coaster it's got an hour and a half wait usually. If you're a coaster fan then of course you'd want to ride Space Mountain and Big Thunder. But old rides like Pirates and Haunted Mansion have had upgrades so you'd want to experience those. But new attractions like the little mermaid ride and Enchanted Tales with Belle are really magical dark ride and animatronic experiences. You'll also want to have lunch at Be Our Guest in the Beast's castle. As for Epcot, there's Mission Space which is an intense ride experience; there's Soaring which is unique; there's the new Test Track & the Finding Nemo ride in the living seas so there's a lot to see and do and EAT there too. Animal Kingdom has Expedition Everest and Dinosaur and a Disney take on a spinning coaster plus the safari ride is fantastic if you like animals. The Lion King musical and the Finding Nemo musical are great theatrical experiences too. Hollywood studios has the Toy Story Mania ride,Tower of Terror which now has six drops; the rock 'n roller coaster which goes upside down three times in the dark and star tours are also not to be missed. You just need to figure out what appeals to you most and choose that park.
  2. Just saw your 60fps vid of Montu on my iPhone. Now you must must must go back and shoot EVERY coaster in 60fps. It was HYPER SUPER DUPER REAL. Like watching Showscan for the first time.
  3. Gringotts has a great coaster element to start but it's really an immersive 3D experience that together with Forbidden Journey are two of the most technologically advanced themepark rides you can go on today. I can spend three hours just wondering around Diagon Alley and exploring its nooks & crannies so if that interests you be prepared to spend more time there than Blah suggests. I also think the food is better at the Leaky Cauldon in Diagon Alley. Be sure to grab some Butterbeer soft serve ice cream at Florian Fortescue's. You also do not need to pay for an Express Pass in January. The Mummy ride has airtime btw
  4. I love the almost loop and the concept of the Maurer-Sohne trains and track elements but the execution is rough riding. That said I ride it when I'm in the mood and have learned how to counter the more intense elements
  5. 1. How do you most often watch videos? (DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital Download, Streaming.) Streaming/DVD-BluRay 2. What streaming services do you use the most? Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime 3. How many DVDs or Blu-Rays do you buy a year on average? 15-40 Blu-Rays 4. Do you use a device like Apple TV, Roku, or Chromecast? Not yet 5. How much do you watch videos on YouTube versus all the mediums listed in the poll? I watch short videos on YouTube, not features, although two of the feature length movies I wrote/produced back in my Hollywood days are available to watch on YouTube: Russkies and Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (a/k/a Night Warning)
  6. RE: Frozen. I agree with Robb -- Frozen is the first movie from Disney (not Pixar) that's had such an astonishing success because everything about it -- the story, the characters, the humor, the peril, the design and animation, and especially the astonishing song score by the Lopez husband and wife team -- worked. While Frozen doesn't take place in Norway (it was based on a fairy tale actually created by a Dane), it's inspired by Norwegian architecture and will fit within the pavilion. I've loved Maelstrom since it opened but the ride mechanism is getting rough and the ride is really too short. It will be exciting to what the Imagineers come up with within that small space (will the pavilion be extended?). As for Cinderella's Castle lighting -- well frankly Elsa's powers to create frozen structures fits the theme of an icicle covered castle even more than Cindy's Fairy Godmother doing same. We've been getting used to Muppets and Pooh and Star Wars and Indy and Pixar and now Marvel characters (and AVATAR too!) appearing in Disney parks and if done well, it works. I welcome these attractions. I'm just wondering who will get the Hobbits - Universal or Disney?
  7. I was at Opening Day too. I usually go to Food & Wine & Beer 8 times during the Festival, sampling 3 or 4 countries wares during each visit. Friday I hit up the two new pavilions: Scotland and Puerto Rico. Let me tell you, Scotland is a BIG WINNER: the Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar cheese sauce was AMAZING and the potato pancake with smoked salmon and herbed sour cream -- well the only thing missing was a bagel! So delicious! And then there is the Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer; it premiered last year and was an instant hit -- I think it's the BEST BEER at F&W, even better than Belgium's Leffe Blond, Germany's Grapefruit Beer and the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. At Puerto Rico I had the Conch Salad with onions, tomato and cilantro which is another winner -- served in a paper cone; you immediately want more. But I can't believe Robb missed the CRONUT which debuted at the Refreshment Port this year! OMG, it's really good; and you don't have to wait an hour and a half for one like you have to do in NYC where it was invented -- just 30 seconds at Epcot; Ask for the Croissant Donut - CRONUT is trademarked -- and not by Disney -- and besides tasting like the love child of a donut and croissant -- is sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Betcha can't eat just one!
  8. I was focused on the whole experience and not on coaster vs non coaster elements as you were so I'll have to ride again. DOF sim is my shorthand for 6 degrees of freedom motion sim effects which a high tilt would require (similar to Star Tours); accomplishing a steep motion sim tilt on a flat or slightly tilted coaster track would unleash a lot of force on the mechanical elements so if that's what they're doing that's quite a technological achievement.
  9. I don't think I imagined the second tilt drop and neither did our carful of screaming riders; it's about 2/3rds of the way through after the rotations -- unless it's just a DOF sim effect but the whole car tilts down again (I was in row 5) and we were definitely high above the front of the train.
  10. Wow! Great pictures! I did just want to clear something up, though - There really is only one "coaster section" in the ride. The first one. That's the only time it really uses gravity to propel the ride vehicle. All the other places that are you moving along it's not "coasting", but is powered and controlled as the car moves along the track much like Spider-Man or Indiana Jones is. It goes fast (or more like briskly) in other places, but it's not actually "coasting" in the same way Test Track, while it's going 60+MPH, is not actually "coasting." Just wanted to make that clear! Thanks for the update! Great stuff! What about the second tilt drop? Isn't that a coaster section also? Felt like it to me.
  11. Think of it as Utilidors for Diagon Alley to get merchandise and cast members into the shops without being seen by the guests in Diagon Alley
  12. You exit Hogwarts Express from Hogsmead into King's Cross Station which is OUTSIDE the Diagon Alley/London fence so you still have to get into line for Diagon Alley if there will be lines in the future. With the time-stamped Return Passes I believe there will not be long lines going forward.
  13. My experience of Diagon Alley Opening Day was quite different. Having checked the USO website that park opening was 9am (NOT the actual unannounced 5:45am for resort guests and the public who got the word), I got into the park at 9:30 am and made my way to the the Diagon Alley line entrance in Central park where they told us the wait to enter Diagon Alley was already 6 hours!!!) That turned out to be a blatant lie and in discussing this with park execs later, I was told they should not have told us what the wait would be; in any case, the line was moving fairly rapidly so I got into line. The worst part of the line occurred behind Simpsons where we were subjected to direct blasts of sunlight and the exhaust from Simpsons A/C which made the wait with a total of 2 misters like vacationing in hell. Fortunately, that part of the line only lasted about 45 minutes and once we got into the MIB outdoor queue with shade and misters, it was fairly pleasant. The total time to actually gain entrance to Diagon Alley was 3 hours. USO realized this idea was a disaster and started distributing timed return passes (USO's Fast Passes - not Express Passes) in the afternoon. After photographing London, I made my way through the brick wall entrance into Diagon and immediately got into line for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, which handled its lines very efficiently and the food (Scotch Eggs, Toad in the Hole and the Tongue-Tying Lemon Squash) was very tasty. The staff were fun to interact with and they have their own version of the Magic Rose RFID device to take to your table with your drink: a large magic candlestick which is amazingly heavy! After lunch I wandered through the shops and environments and each store was more awesome than the previous one. Caught Celestina Warbeck and the Banshee's concert performance which was great entertainment, then made my way over to Gringotts. The dragon roared and breathed his fiery dragon's breath and the wait time for the ride was then 300 minutes. I was advised that single rider was half that and ALL INDOORS WITH A/C whereas the Standby line spent 4 hours outdoors. I got into the Single Rider line which allows limited but good views of the bank lobby with the goblins at work before directing Single Riders into a luxurious mahagony wood paneled hallway. The line moved slowly so everyone wound up sitting on the floor and playing with our cellphones. We got excited when we saw the warning video which displayed the ride vehicles dropping and rotating. Just as we made it onto the curving staircase the ride broke down. The break down lasted 45 minutes and once again we sat down, this time on the stairs and got to know the people in line around us, including a couple from Sweden who chose that day to visit USO. Finally made it onto the loading platform after 3.25 hours; as we got to the top we asked the people in the standby line how long they had been waiting and they told us: 8 FREAKING HOURS! That's right. 8 FREAKING HOURS! we Single Riders felt awfully smug in our air conditioned 3 hour wait. The ride is extraordinary. Robb has described it but I have a different takeaway, believing it's more of a coaster experience than he does. Combine a tilt coaster (yup), Mummy-style trains, 4K High Def 3D. Omnimax and Cinerama screens and incredible visuals synced to ride movement, and the final reaction is stunned amazement, awe and lots of screaming! Frankly, I LOVED it. Other highlights: Chocolate Chili and Clotted Cream ice cream from Florian Fortesque's Ice Cream Parlor and the Hogwarts Express. All in all, a magical day and look forward to many return visits.
  14. Disney World, absolutely. I HATE Cedar Point. Too much walking, mediocre rides -- EXCEPT for Magnum, Gemini, Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster -- but then the restraints on MF and TTD are so restrictive, you can't ride them, so what's the point? And then there are the queues: CP: BORING, Disney: imaginative, interactive and fun. And the food at WDW is gourmet quality. Plus I live 5 miles from DisneyWorld.
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