Monday, October 31, 2011

Practically Perfect Opinion: Pool Hopping

Welcome back my dears.   Maleficent here, having taken over V's body yet again just in time for a wicked Halloween.  Let's get her good and riled up now shall we?  For other cranky, witchy opinions, check out here, here, here, and here

I've been thinking recently of all the ways people "cheat the system" at Disney.  Line-cutters are an obvious example.  Pool hopping is another, less obvious one.  Disney says it is not okay (but isn't great at enforcing the rule except at places like Beach and Yacht Club where they demand resort ID before entrance).  I wish it was better enforced as a rule (not very shockingly, Disney seems to have a history of not enforcing simple rules that they themselves instituted (ahem mugs ahem).  Then guests get upset when Disney finally decides to hold them accountable - much like one Miss Ashlee (snort) Laurita on the Real Housewives of New Jersey). 

V is a deluxe-hotel fan, aficionado, and long-time guest.  As I am sure you know, she has ALWAYS stayed in the Polynesian and nowhere else when visiting Disney World, and she has stayed there about 20 times over the past 25 years.  Staying in deluxe hotels are NOT cheap.  In fact, it is super expensive.  So, like many deluxe hotel guests, V wants to get what she pays for.  Just as you would have higher expectations for Le Cellier than Pecos Bill's, deluxe resort guests pay a lot to stay at their resorts, so they should receive an equivalent high level of quality.  This includes hotel amenities such as the fabulous pool at the Poly (although the pool has been better in the past, in my opinion).

If you decide not to stay at a deluxe hotel, that is totally cool.  The moderates and values can be fabulously fun!  But then, those guests are paying less for their stay than the deluxe hotel guests are.   And those less expensive hotels have sometimes less themed and more crowded pools as a result.

Part of paying the mucho bucks for a deluxe is the less crowded, beautifully themed pool.  When people pool hop, they are taking a benefit of being a deluxe guest without paying the extra money that the actual deluxe guests pay.  That kind of sucks for the deluxe guests, who are now paying the same high money for a more crowded pool, while others are getting the pool for "free".  

It's kind of like a student saying, "Well, I know other people who cheat on the tests, so I will cheat too.  Who is it hurting?"  Well, (1) if there is no curve, it's hurting the students who worked hard and studied for the test.  They may still get an A, but now they are competing against cheaters to get into college.  And (2) if there is a curve, the cheater is directly affecting the hard-working student's grade, forcing it lower by the cheater's deception than it would have been if everyone had been honest.

To me and to V, this is not fair.  Further, this could make deluxe hotel guests less inclined to stay at such hotels in the future - after all, if you can get the deluxe pool without having to pay the higher prices as a deluxe resort guest, why would you pay?  As a result, I could see this negatively affecting deluxe hotel revenues which I think we all agree would be unfortunate for Disney.  And even if pool-hopping won't eventually force down deluxe hotel revenues, the pool-hoppers are still effectively taking something that technically doesn't belong to them for free and to the detriment of the people who are actually paying the high costs to be there.  Therefore, pool hopping - please don't do it or I may send my hellish minions after you!!  MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

That is all.  Have a spooky Halloween everyone!
Evilly yours,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday Blog Hop / Magical Memories

Welcome to the next installment in my Magical Memories series!

Below please find some of the photos my parents let me take of Disney World in 1989 when I was 7 years old!

Unlike last time, you can see the then-newly-built Grand Floridian in the background (from Sunset Point at the Poly)

Parrots - from Discovery Island?  I'm not sure.  Any thoughts?  Post in the comments!
Looking back at the Poly from the beach.
(Those are my dad's knees in the bottom foreground lol!)
I hope you enjoyed my youthful photography skills!  Now hop on to the next stop!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!
Continuing from last week with another Boma pic - this time, desserts!

mmmmm Zebra domes!

Now hop on to the next stops!

Focused on the Magic

Friday, October 14, 2011

Magical Memories: Magic Journeys

The next installment in our retro Magical Memories (and sometimes Flashback Friday) series!

I saw Magic Journeys as a 18 month old in Epcot and many times at the Magic Kingdom as a young child. The 3D movie about a child's imagination was a perfect fit for the pavilion, with the original (wonderful) Journey Into Imagination + Image WorksJourney Into Imagination was a colorful, whimsical and dreamlike journey, in the same way that Magic Journeys was a colorful, whimsical and dreamlike -ahem- journey.   ;)

You can check out some clips of the film here (they're not the highest quality recording ever but still worth viewing I think!).  Yes, it's a little 1970's trippy, but it was beautiful and I always enjoyed seeing it.  I miss it even though I am quite confident they won't bring it back like they did Captain Eo.  Oh how I wish they would!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.
Going back to my roots with another delicious food pic this week.
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!

How about a nice warm plate of dinner from Boma.  I miss that delicious mealie bread!

Now hop on to the next stop!

Focused on the Magic

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Worst Attractions Recap Part 5: Hollywood Studios

As you may recall, the original purpose of this blog was to chronicle my experiences riding all of the "worst" (read: boring, unpopular, ones I've routinely avoided) attractions in Walt Disney World on my trip with my sister last winter. Check out Part 1 (the Magic Kingdom "Successes"), Part 2 (Epcot Failures and Successes), Part 3 (Magic Kingdom Failures), and Part 4 (Animal Kingdom)!

Shockingly, I did pretty much all of the worst attractions at Hollywood Studios (Sounds Dangerous, mercifully, was closed).  After all my failures too!  Here we go:

  • The Magic of Disney Animation:  This was . . . underwhelming.  Granted, it's been many months since I experienced it, but I honestly don't remember much about it.  The preshow with Mushu was kind of cute (if a bit dated).  I still think the animators in the observation room are faking it.  Plus there was only two.  And the whole thing was confusing to navigate - I actually almost went in the exit because of the character meet and greets and the shop there.  All in all, meeehhhhhh.  But it could be worse!

    • Rating: 3.5 out of 10 figments.

  • One Man's Dream:   Please don't hate me!  I didn't love this one.  I know that is a horrendous thing to say to an internet full of Disneyphiles, but here's the thing: I adore Walt for his legacy.  But for him, I would not have this wonderful place called Walt Disney World which I dearly love.  But aside from that, I'm not into all the Walt fandom.  It's not that I dislike him otherwise.  It's just that I don't find it that interesting.  What I find interesting is the parks themselves.  Particularly, vintage Disney park things.  So that is what I loved about this attraction.  I loved seeing items from the old WDW attractions that are no more.  But I could have skipped the movie at the end entirely.  Although I am going to get flogged for this, OMD is a one and done for me.

    • Rating: 5.5 Figments

  • Voyage to Narnia:  Okay, here's one I think we can ALL agree on.  It SUCKS.  It is so awful, I almost have no words.  This is what happens.  You go in and a cast member is waiting for you with a little spiel about the making of the movie (which is almost four years old and was not a blockbuster).  Then you walk through the doors and into a kind-of octagonal room that looks like a temple made of grey rock.  There's a broken stone table-thing in the middle (very paleolithic looking) and above it there's a screen.  You watch some clips from the movie, there are a few special lighting effects in the room, and then it's over.  Yep!  That's it.  Don't forget to check out a few small props and costumes from the movie on your way out!  What baffles me the MOST is that I have actually seen a LINE for this thing.  WHY are people waiting to experience this awful event?

    • Rating: 1 Figment

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Magical Memories/Flashback Friday: Backstage at the Poly

Welcome to another Flashback Friday Blog Hop!
Thanks again to Magical Days With The Mouse for hosting!

One time when the fam and I were staying at the King Kamehameha suite at the Polynesian Resort, my dad mentioned to the concierge there (oh yes, there was a private concierge in the second floor hallway plus a small variety of snacks - kind of like a very tiny version of the lounge in the Hawaii building) that I was interested in a career in hospitality. 

I was in early high school and, although I ended up in a different professional field (turns out I love staying at fancy hotels but I can't be sure it would be the same to work for one), it was something I was seriously exploring at the time.

Ever the consummate hospitality professional, the concierge set up a private meeting for me with the Polynesian hotel manager.  I can't remember his name (for which I am sorry) but he was a really lovely guy.  Very friendly and smiley, his main message was that the customer is always right.  He emphasized saying yes to customers and making the magic happen.  He was very inspiring.

I met him in his office (I forget how I got there - it was like 15 years ago!) and I remember he took me on a brief tour of the kitchen backstage.  We went in the door that is under the stairs by Captain Cook's and Boutiki. 

I didn't get to see a whole lot but I remember the kitchen being very clean and busy but not in a stressful way.  I remember saying hi to a kitchen worker. 
I am so lucky I got this opportunity and I wish I could remember more of it.  It was definitely special though! 

So that's my (a little fuzzy, foggy) flashback this Friday.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Now hop on to the next stop!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop. 
For this week I'm going to go back to a series I've been doing - Epcot vs. the Real World.
Thanks to Focused on the Magic and the Info Mouse for hosting!

I've done a bit of traveling in my time (including but not limited to: Croatia, Ireland, Russia, Greece, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Austria). So I thought it would be fun to do a kind of pictorial (but not side-by-side) comparison of the Epcot World Showcase Pavilions vs. my pictures of the Real World countries. 

Check out Part I, Mexico here!   And Part II, Germany, here!  And now, Italy:

I've gone to Italy countless times.  Rome, Herculaneum, the Amalfi coast, Sicily.  It's an incredible country.  The scenery is gorgeous, the people are wonderful, and the food is the most delicious food ever.  Here are some pics of the real Venice:

And here is Epcot Venice!

Less crowded than the real Venice?  Yep!  Now you know!

And here's Capri just 'cuz it's so pretty :)

Gorgeous right?  It was even more beautiful in real life too!  So I hope you enjoyed my travels.  Now hop on to the next stops!

Focused on the Magic

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Worst Attractions Recap Part 4: Animal Kingdom

As you may recall, the original purpose of this blog was to chronicle my experiences riding all of the "worst" (read: boring, unpopular, ones I've routinely avoided) attractions in Walt Disney World on my trip with my sister last winter. Check out Part 1 (the Magic Kingdom "Successes"), Part 2 (Epcot Failures and Successes), and Part 3 (Magic Kingdom Failures)!

Let's continue on with Animal Kingdom.  Given that AK doesn't have a whole lot, comparatively, in the way of attractions, my list of Worst Attractions was pretty short:

1) Rafiki's Planet Watch.

The end.

Naturally, I didn't get around to doing the sole attraction on my original list.   This is kind of embarrassing given that it's really a whole land.  I basically blew off an ENTIRE land, you guys.  Granted it sounds entirely uninteresting, but still, I should have done better.  I'll get to it someday I swear!

  • Pangani Forest Exploration Trail:  I did, however, go on one of the trails at AK, which we've never ever done before.  We did the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and it was actually kind of cool.  Even my sister enjoyed it!  I'm not SUPER into animals but it was worth going once.  The fish and the gorillas were the most memorable for sure - we got a pretty good view too.  I don't think I'll go again but I am looking forward to doing the Maharajah Jungle Trek on my next visit!

    • Rating for the PFET:  4 out of 10 Figments