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multimueller

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About multimueller

  • Birthday 09/01/1970

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  1. Thanks for the precise reply. That's a big diffence to Germany, where we have a federal law called "Allgemeines Leistungsstörungsrecht" under which the refund is statutory. Similar to the EU tourist ban, European users are blocked from disneyworld.disney.go.com (a "General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR" thing) and we have to buy our tickets from the Walt Disney Travel Company in London. It will be interesting to see if they will offer refunds to German guests who are affected. Brexit might be a factor here, too.
  2. To be more specific: I buy a theme park ticket with a fixed (although changeable) date. The park has to close on that date. They are not legally obligated to refund the ticket price? (where I life, they would be)
  3. I'm just curious. Disney just posted their ticket policy: "If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020 you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date." which basically means: you can reschedule, but you will not get a cash refund. In Germany that would be straight-out unlawful. How is the legal situation in the U.S.?
  4. That is very sad news. I just started to cancel different "components" of my Orlando Trip that would have started in two weeks. I would have brought two first-timers with me, who are incredibly disappointed at this point.
  5. Toilet paper, pasta, people stealing desinfectants from hospitals. The media situation is absolutely unbearable right now, too. There seems to be no other topic worth writing about. If one of our roughly 670 infected persons sneezes, there will be 10 to 25 articles about that “situation”. Luckily our health minister is doing a great job in handling the crisis.
  6. To put things into an international perspective: The leading virologist in Germany, Dr. Christian Drosten sees the mortality rate somewhere between 0.3 and 0.7 percent. We still ran out of toilet paper.
  7. I grew up with Star Wars. I was seven years old when the first movie came out and my dad had to pretend I was 12 when he took me to the cinema (the movie was called “Krieg der Sterne” in Germany and had a FSK 12 rating). So I was super-exited when Disney announced a “Star Wars Land”, although I thought to myself “Disney craziness plus Star Wars craziness: that place will be packed!”. So I decided to pay Orlando one last visit, just before they open the dark ride “Rise of the Resistance” and things start to get out of hand. It wasn’t the worst time to visit Orlando, as Disney had vastly expanded their Extra Magic Hours. Although we only stayed at a Disney partner hotel we could take advantage of one hour before the park opened every day at every park. At Hollywood Studios we could enter the park three hours early and while getting up for a theme park at 5am to be at the gate at 6am feels strange, it was great fun to enjoy sunrise on Batuu. With Star Wars Land Disney really pushed the limit, as the new “land” is quite different than other areas. There are no lines to have a picture taken with a character like in Ecpot or Magic Kingdom. Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren and all other characters just roam the place … and they stay in their roles while doing so. For the most part they use Aurebesh instead of the latin alphabet which can lead to some confusion. While I really like the concept, I think – as of now – it does not completely work. It’s not Disney’s fault, I think that people will have to get used to this new idea, which, when it works, will give visitors a way deeper level of immersion. By now people seem to rather “want a photo with the Wookie” than playing a role themselves. And – especially for foreign guests – interaction is sometimes a little bit awkward. While I was taking pictures some Storm Troopers came up and asked for identification. I was already looking for my passport when the idea came to me to just wave my hand (Jedi style) and say “You don’t need to see the identification”. Guess what: That worked! There is one concern I have about the land though: I know that Batuu is in another timeline and Darth Vader or Yoda or R2D2 or C3PO would not fit in there, but: I would really like to see them, as they stand for the Star Wars I grew up with. Lukily they have the Millennium Falcon! Flying the falcon is big fun, although I ended up as an engineer every time, which is the least “interactive” position. Waiting for your mission to begin is the best part as the inside of the falcon looks exactly like it does in the movies. These are the moments when I enjoy being in an American park, because in Germany or France this place would be a mess after a few days. I really look forward to 2020 when I’ll bring some friends and we’ll explore the new ride together. As of now, I am really curious how this whole area will develop, how people will adapt to the new concept and how it will affect crowds in Orlando. If you travel in you own space ship I really recommend "preferred parking" because they let you park right in Black Spire. They also offer free service in case you need it. An Interocitor. Kidding, I have no idea what that thing is. Grilling meat with pod boosters is the highest level of "haute cuisine" imaginable If you want to shop, this is the place to be until they start Amazon Prime on Batuu The line for "Rise of the Resistance" was incredibly short. It seemed like the ride was not even open yet. No joke: Aurebesh alphabet. This is the mural for Oga's Canteen The whole place does look very impressive ... ... from any angle. Those are the headquarters of AlJazeera on Batuu (if I get the logo right) They are carrying out engine tests in the queue for the Millennium Falcon ride The pre show features a famous smuggler called "Honda Civic" And this - ladies and gentlemen - is the moment when childhood dreams came true Can't be too difficult to fly that thing, can it? The area is dominated by a full scale Millenium Falcon Characters frequently use the ship to hide While the whole place looks very beautiful during daytime ... ... it really shines at night Or in the very early morning hours, when you enter the park at 6am Poe and Rey doing their thing Caring for space crafts You should really watch for storm troopers Those folks can tell! Some trouble while performing maintenance on the Falcon Some random Storm Trooper What are Rey and Finn looking at? Ah! Kylo Renn. That guy has some bad temper. A Jedi following the path of the Force. Or a cast member on the way to the bathroom break. You decide!
  8. Glad you guys like the photos. I am still using a Nikon D850 which is terribly big and heavy but shines in low light conditions. This year I really cannot say which scare zone I liked the most. The stilt walkers were a head-turner but not scary at all. The concept of "plastic surgery taken to far" in Vanity Ball was great. And yes - the Rob Zombie thing was "interesting" too. But I also liked the super creepy "Vikings" zone. Nahhh... Nothing beats those stilt walkers Nothing beats those stilt walkers
  9. I just returned from my annual Orlando trip and I brought some photos from Halloween Horror Nights to share with you guys. I have been visiting the event for a couple of years now and I have to say: this thing has become humongous. Shows, several huge scare zones, 10 haunted houses. I was really happy that I booked one of those R.I.P. tours. The tours not only greatly reduce the waiting and walking, but also provide international guests with some background information about the movies the houses are based on, as not all of them make it to Sauerkraut Country (or are even banned here). Okay, enough bad english for today. Let's look at some pictures, shall we? The start of the event came with a pretty pretty sunset And with some pretty ugly monsters This scare zone has been principally concerned with the over-use of plastic surgery Clever girl: bringing a replacement head - just in case Why is this place called a "scare" zone? Random Zombie Electrocution plus spanking. Isn't that weird or what? The Rob Zombie scare zone Never gets old. Bad hair day? O thanks heaven: a nurse! Oh man, this scene would be so banned in Germany ... Vikings eating slimy stuff Space Baby That girl was randomly spanking guests. Kidding. The event would sell out immediately if she would. Back to the video game "scare" zone Great lightning and tone Fashion show à la HHN You simply cannot post too many pictures of those stilt walkers, can you?
  10. Thank you for all those great comments (and compliments). I really appreciate the kind feedback. And I see, I still have three more parks to cover, so I better get a move on now… As the whole world knows “normal” people in Germany read Goethe all day, listen to operas and visit museums every weekend. And because we are all so very educated, Theme Parks are very suspicious places to us, places to ride dangerous rollercoasters, eat bad food and throw up. We even have two words for theme parks: “Freizeitpark” (which is neutral) and “Vergnügungspark” (which carries a rather bad connotation). And while “Freizeitparks” have drastically changed over the last years, these are places where you would rather not see people with college degrees. Or if you do, they would not admit that they went. And if the admit, they did it “for the kids”. Of course they did! Under very rare circumstances those “good people” visit a Theme Park in Orlando and to their great surprise, especially the Disney Parks are very different from what they would expect. Especially one park, which is undergoing a big transformation right now, did not fit in the common “Theme Park scheme”: Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When I visited the park for the first few times, it felt like a half-day park to me: I did all the rides, had lunch at a quick service restaurant and was basically finished by 1pm. It took me some time to learn, that the park wasn’t built around the rides. The centerpiece of the park was the shows. And compared to the crappy (and boring) performances you can watch in Germany (aside some few exceptions), those shows are quite good. Once I was aware of that, Disney’s Hollywood Studios became the trickiest park to plan, as booking my groups FP+ around the Indiana Jones Adventure, Beauty and the Beast, Lights – Motors – Action! and Fantasmic! proved to be a real challenge. Especially as two of the park’s rides – the Great Movie Ride and the Backlot Tour – had been extremely time-consuming. And I always tried to fit in a performance of the “American Idol Experience” as it is that kind of attraction that would never work in Germany, although we do have a German version of the show called “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” (Germany is looking for the super star, yes, this does sound crappy in German too). And at least two rides on the “good tower” were mandatory on every visit. A lot of the rides and shows are gone by now. And I’m not going to lie: I’ll miss all of them! I understand that most people did not get the concept of a show-centric park and I can comprehend why Disney had to change the whole concept of the park. I am confident that both Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land will make Disney’s Hollywood Studios a “full day park”, as Animal Kingdom has become recently, again. And with all those new attractions coming to Ecpot and the Magic Kingdom in the next years, those Orlando trips will become pretty exhausting again … As of today “Disney’s Hollywood Studios” is still an entertaining and relaxing park. Fantasmic! is a beautiful night show and a great ending for a Theme Park day. And you can have a seat (I appreciate that). And I still scream with laughter every time Miss Piggy sings “Dream a little dream”. And I fully understand, that if you work with explosives, it’s dangerous. Care to see some present and former attractions of the park? I have some pictures: Welcome to Disney's Hollywood Studios. They once put a hat in front of the Great Movie Ride. They just did. The only upside-down attraction at Walt Disney World: the Rock'n'Roller Coaster feat. Aerosmith Make it a super-stretch Ah! It's the "good tower" One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare... You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination… in the Tower of Terror. Hello, I'm C3PO. Let's talk about Star Wars. Let's talk about me getting beaten up by 10-year old kids. I'm pissed! I think we should just arrest some random people. Yeah, that's a brilliant idea. It's Wookie-time! What a great shirt! They even have a star wars fireworks show Did I say, I really enjoyed the Great Movie Ride? I mean: it was a 23 minutes dark ride. 23 Minutes! Follow the yellow brick road. That's Arielle in the "Little Mermaid" show And Ursula. And here's Belle, the beauty (without the beast) Be our guest They even had parades in the park then! The parade always was a lot a fun and reminds me of the "Move it - shake it" parade they have at the Magic Kingdom today That's the American Idol Experience They did a surprising job finding regular guest that could really sing. The show was replaced by "Frozen" though Let it go! (Always works) Lights - Motors - Action. I'll have to get back to Paris as they still have the show down there I approve every show that has explosions in it. Be careful Dr. Jones! Be CAREFUL Dr. Jones!!! I approve every show that has explosions in it. It's time for Fantasmic! A very colorful night show that has explosions in it. Which I approve. I approve every show that has dragons in it. Mickey saves the day Mickey says: bye bye!
  11. Being a seasoned theme park enthusiast it has been quite a while since the last time I was deeply impressed by a new attraction or a themed area. I think the last ride, that really wowed me, was “Revenge of the Mummy” in Universal Orlando and that one opened back in 2004! Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy new attractions like “Kong – Skull Island” or “Radiator Springs Racers”, but those gave me no feeling like “oh my god, what just happened?” after my first ride. To my surprise not one but two attractions brought back this so much missed feeling in the last couple of months. The first was – of course – Klugheim and Taron at Phantasialand – the best themed rollercoaster and one heck of a ride. The second one is “Avatar – Flight of Passage” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Orlando. That’s rather astonishing, as I really do not like projection based attractions. And I’m not a fan of the Avatar Movie. I do not know, if it’s the dynamic motion system, the giant screen, the brilliant 3D image quality, the perfect alignment of movie and motion, the breathing seats, the pre-show or the whole package. But when I visited Orlando in November I had to ride “Flight of Passage” six times in two weeks. And apart from the one time I had a FP+ und the other, I was just lucky to have a super-fast moving line, I waited about two hours each time. And it was so worth it. I think that “Flight of Passage” has the most beautiful queue of all Disney attractions. Actually some of the most amazing vantage points of Pandora are from the outside part of the queue. And although I had to stand in line alone most of the time (as my fellow trip mates did not share my love for the attraction to my extreme extend) I always had some interesting chats with other people waiting in line – again something that would not happen in Europe. The attraction itself would be just half the fun without the amazing themed area “Pandora”. First of all: it blends perfectly into the rest of the park. Picking “Avatar” instead of a Disney-IP sounded odd first, but was a really clever choice. Secondly: the whole place looks amazing at day and even more impressive at night, when all the artificial flowers and plants start to glow. And although thousands of people flock into the new area Pandora never feels crowded. I’ve taken some pictures. Care to have a look at “Pandora”? The whole place has lots of "water features" Can you see the "Flight of Passage" queue in this picture? You can't - as it's so well hidden Those floating mountains look even more impressive in reality Real or fake plant? You decide! Again: Mother nature or father Rohde? The amount of detail is astonishing The bottom of the "big rock" waterfalls Isn't that amazingly beautiful? More water Sunset in Pandora Pandorian rocks - Floridian sky And always water, water, water When night falls, the whole place starts to glow Well ... those plants ARE artificial It's an jaw-dropping sight This picture was taken onboard the Na'vi River Adventure The best animatronics I've ever seen That's inside the queue of "Flight of Passage". The blue guy in the tank moves! Neytiri is guarding the gift shop Avatar could almost make you forget about the other great new attraction at Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Not the most popular night show in Walt Disney World, but definitly a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom. I watched it two times and really enjoyed it.
  12. While my favorite travel time in autumn is the end of October, I chose a way earlier date this year. This enables me to share some HHN pictures with you, while the event is still running. I was looking forward to the “Shining” house and it did not disappoint. Overall these Halloween Horror Nights were packed with nine incredible houses and lots of scary street entertainment. A great event, and everyone who has the chance to should really see it, while it’s still running. He is in a particular bad mood tonight And she is not really better It's way easier to snap some pictures while there is still a little daylight left Cute, isn't it? Anyone for princess dinner tonight? Even more wicked princesses Evil clowns work. All the time. Nice teeth! I like those scare zones The evil lurks around every corner Impressive stilt walkers Some voodo Meet the grady girls Hello Mr. Alien! Hello Mr. Alien Overlord! Hello grandma! Night starts to fall What are YOU looking at? Raygun United we purge Support the purge A really cool outfit That guy was really impressive More evil stilt walkers Sexy bloody dancers all around Some atmosphere shots The classic "die in" joke UFO crash site The twins from shining were insanely creepy Big eye horror HHN featuring death himself The "inverse bear trap" from SAW One lady in red Good bye HHN. It's been a GREAT event!
  13. True, they have a clear "too much Walking Dead" tendency! I personally prefer "odd" themes, like in the Edgar Allan Poe house or the "fairytales gone bad" idea. I'm looking forward to see the "Shining" house this year.
  14. When I grew up in Germany there was no such thing as Halloween. The only occasion on which we dressed up was Carnival. Because of Gulf War I that custom was cancelled in 1991 leaving the german costume makers with a massive overstock. In order to solve this problem, the industry started a marketing campaign to introduce Halloween in Germany. 1991 was also the premiere year of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, although the event was called “Fright Nights” then, took place on just three nights in October and featured only one haunted house. For a German visitor, it’s astonishing how “easy” Americans are when it comes to “blood and gore” (as astonishing as it might be for an American visitor how easy we are concerning nudity). Movies like “The Evil Dead” have been forbidden in Germany until 2016. “Forbidden” means: you may not advertise them, sell them, show them (to anyone) and they will be confiscated if you own them. Everybody has seen the movie on VHS though. The same applies to video games: ”Doom” was banned until 2011, Gears of War until 2016. Strange fact: those games were not banned in other European countries so you could easily (and legally) buy them via mail order. Thank you European Union! That said, I must say that the Universal Halloween Horror Nights are massive. It’s amazing that the HHN Team builds nine haunted houses from scratch every year. The amount of detail they put into those temporary attractions is just mind-blowing, especially when you consider that you basically rush through them while hundreds of foul creatures are trying to scare the living daylights out of you. Oh yes, those scare actors: amazing costumes, great make-up, and a mean attitude. And then, there are the “scare zones”: I sort of like those open air places better than the houses because they give you more opportunities to watch and interact (which means: a zombie creeping up from behind while you are distracted). And they have great shows! Some of them – like Bill & Ted – might be a little bit more enjoyable for Americans, because as a German I get about 50% of the jokes at best. Universal is doing a really great job on Halloween Horror Nights and the event is growing bigger and bigger and bigger each year. And: more crowded. Even on a slow day lines for popular houses reach up to 3 hours pretty early. So an express pass is a clever investment. But even if you can eliminate the waiting, there is still a lot of walking involved as most of the houses are outside the park, inside the sound stages or in tents in the back of Men in Black. If you’ve been in the parks for the day, this will result in aching feet. I speak from experience. From a personal point of view, I have to admit: I’m a pussy. When I’m home alone at night, I turn on the lights in the house. It’s super-easy to scare me. So while I really enjoy visiting the event with my friends, I feel they enjoy visiting it with me even more. But it’s better to fear the zombie around the corner than the tax assessment in the mail, right? Nightmare made by H.R. Giger French maid ... rotten Disney sure puts pumpkins to other use while Halloween Haystack monster Sometimes they use literature themes for their houses - like this Edgar Allan Poe nightmare Now that is a blunt abdominal trauma Freezing cold - thanks to air condition Closing your eyes won't help either She's going to get you Now that's a show a fully understand! It's Resident Evil - not the Milla Jovovich movie but the video game An american Werewolf in London in Florida in a haunted house Zombies. Works all the time. Lunatic ladies One very beautifully designed scare zone Armageddon - chicks - gas masks, feels like home Zombie cheerleaders with chainsaws. It doesn't get any better than that! Wait. It does! Ninja geishas with chainsaws. Take you chance! And one of her sidekicks Guten Appetit, die Dame Light and darkness ... The director will see you now Hollywood, 1939. Amid the glitz and the glitter of a bustling, young movie town at the height of its golden age, The Hollywood Tower Hotel ... wait ... wrong park Headache? Light and darkness and pumpkin monsters Bad Alice Bad bunny Goodbye for now
  15. Hello everybody! Some time has passed since I wrote my last installment of this ongoing trip report. I’ve been to Austria in the meantime. You all will have read Robb and Elissa’s amazing “river adventure” trip report, so if anyone needs a little bit more persuasion to visit this amazing country, here are two pictures of how it looks like: This is the Lagazuoi - almost unpronouncable but soooooo pretty The Lago Nero - black lake I would also like to take the opportunity to thank everybody for their kind comments. As a hobbyist I basically “run on compliments” and it’s always wonderful to see when someone enjoys your work. So … let’s move on to the next park. When people ask me what I do when I am in Orlando, I truthfully reply “mostly theme parks” which will always lead to the question “but what besides theme parks?” which I can happily answer with “there are eight”. And those eight major parks are so unique and different! Probably the best example of that uniqueness is Seaworld. I believe most people in Germany think that combining marine animal exhibits with shows and roller coasters is a very strange concept. But they are wrong. More experienced theme park visitors might see Seaworld as a “half-day park”: do the coasters, see one show, done. They are wrong too. Of course: You can “do” Seaworld that way. But you would miss a lot, as this relaxed park offers plenty of things to keep you occupied for a whole day. There are countless opportunities to watch animals: strange creatures from the deep, cute sea lions, dolphins (over and under water), penguins in a freezing cold environment (be sure to pack a sweater, seriously), sea turtles, manatees. There is an underwater tunnel from which you can observe sharks floating around you and an underwater restaurant. There are three big shows. And there are four amazing roller coasters: Journey to Atlantis – a water coaster – where you can survive the big drop without getting too wet and will be soaked rushing down a ridiculously tiny hill. Kraken on which you can enjoy 7 inversions. Manta – a flying coaster – where everybody has his personal “holy crap” moment on the top of the pretzel loop. And – my new favorite – Mako – an action packed B&M speed coaster with lots of airtime. Seaworld offers beautiful themeing all around Journey to atlantis - a very nicely themed water coaster If you like water - that's you ride If you prefer your water behind a wall of glass, one of the animal exhibits might be your thing. You can also find Nemo. You can find strange creatures like this octopus. You can watch playful dolphins. And you can watch indignant moms rushing out when two of them get too playful. And there are cownose rays - Rhinoptera bonasus You can take the tunnel! If you like dining by the sea, why not dine under the sea? A sea horse - incredible! And a seal. The german term is "Seehund" which mean sea dog. Woof, woof! If you can stand the cold you'll be awarded with some awesome penguins They are good swimmers too And flamingos for you personal "Miami Vice" moment One of the past dolphin shows And the orca show "One Ocean" It's the most intense coaster in Orlando: "Manta" A B&M flying coaster with beautiful trains And an impressive splash effect Though you look kind of silly while riding it Mako - first drop A flawless, fun packed B&M speed coaster If you have “a thing” for animals: go there. If you like to ride some of the best serious roller coasters in the area: go there. If you need a relaxed park day: go there. You’ll have a great time. I always have one.
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