As is always the case in the face of loss, the WDW community is abuzz with the announcements of more changes to our beloved parks – many of the “say goodnight, Gracie” variety.
I thought, initially, that I might add my voice to the din, because what is a Disney blogger if not an Opinion Factory? But instead…
Oh, who am I kidding. Real quick:
Date-based ticket pricing: I tend to be all or nothing when it comes to Disney ticketing – I’m buying an Annual Pass or I’m busying myself outside the parks entirely. For the time being it doesn’t worry me overmuch, but then I’m unmarried and childless and enjoy the travel flexibility that comes along with that. We’ll have to see how this one plays out over time.
IllumiNations being replaced by a new show: They’re giving us a fair amount of time to say goodbye, and anyway this was never my favorite anyway. I mean, I like it well enough, but it’s no Wishes or Fantasmic. And speaking of Wishes, I was reeeeeeal skeptical when they replaced that, and I ended up frickin’ LOVING Happily Ever After. So I’m cautiously optimistic!
The closing of Rafiki’s Planet Watch/Conservation Station: HEY! I liked this one! But to be absolutely honest, I never made it a priority. Now, if they’re simply going to shut it down and enjoy the added profit margins, fie on Disney! However, if they’ve got a new land in mind, I think it might be a worthwhile trade. Although I will miss my porcupine friend.
Anyway, what I was going to say is that Disney is merely distracting us from a much older, greater injustice. They departed the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow at this time approximately four years ago – a piece of Epcot that should NEVER have left us. One that could return at any moment if only the Powers That Be would make the call.
No, I’m not talking about Horizons, or even the original Journey Into Imagination. I’m talking about these guys:
I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps a small shrine to Disney parks in their cubicle. Some of the more enterprising of you may have beautifully framed photographs and artfully fanned park maps. Me, I more or less slapped some schmatta on the wall with push pins and called it done.
Okay, so it’s not the most impressive display, but it definitely cheers me up to glance over once in awhile and see my old Annual Pass or the pin I got for helping train a porcupine at DAK.
Recently while casting an eye over my collection, I spied an ancient relic. Do you see it?
That’s a paper WDW FastPass, all right. But so what? I’m sure there are tons of those floating around. They’re even still issued for some special occasions. But this particular kind may never be seen again. Check out the text: it’s a Surprise FastPass from 2011!
This particular type of FP was spit out in conjunction with the FP you had actually come to the machine for. I only ever remember getting one for Philharmagic, as this one is, but maybe someone in the audience remembers getting a different kind?
Obviously its presence on my work wall means I never used it. That is because a Philharmagic FP is basically useless. I like the show, but since I can basically wander into it at any time I don’t generally worry about it. Unless it’s a peak period, I can’t imagine this FP being useful to anyone – and I betcha these FPs weren’t sliding out of the machines as a bonus when the crowds were Thanksgiving-heavy.
The only thing I can think of is that Disney was trying to a) shuffle crowds around and b) hoping that n00bs would just be excited for an extra FP and not actually realize how pointless it was.
But the real question is this: think My Disney Experience will ever randomly assign surprise FastPasses?
I just don’t know, guys. Should I buy a WDW annual pass?
The facts, as they say, are these.
Yes, thank you.
Disney is currently offering 13 month APs if you buy by January.
I currently have three WDW trips on the docket: November for the Wine & Dine, January for the WDW Marathon, and April for the Dark Side Half.
I haven’t received or found any runDisney discounted ticket promotions for W&D. Even if discounted tickets are offered in conjunction with the marathon and Dark Side, I’m already paying full price for one three day hopper.
There has also been some light chatter from my mom about going again during the Christmas season. If that trip was in the combined last week of November/first week of December, given the 13 month promotion that trip would come in under my AP’s expiration date (assuming a W&D-spurred start date).
Disney’s also added a 20% AP discount at a bunch of restaurants on property. Wouldn’t hurt to have that.
APs have gotten EXPENSIVE. Like, crazy expensive. I should save money and can save it on tickets, starting by:
I could not purchase tickets for the WDW Marathon weekend and just hang around the gateless parts of WDW, a la last year.
I could also use my Disney Visa points to pay for a good chunk of the AP, but if I do that I can no longer use those points for hotel rooms or food, which are other money sucks associated with WDW trips.
I have a Southwest Visa and use those points to fly… well, Southwest, so I’m pretty exclusive with the airline. And for some reason, fares on Sunday, January 8 (the day of the WDW Marathon and the day I planned to return) are INSANE.* I save a good $300 worth of points if I fly back Monday instead. But then I’m in WDW for three days instead of two, and do I really want to hang around for three days without playing in the parks?
This would give me more opportunities to see and do stuff I otherwise wouldn’t be able to or would have to wait much longer for. Rivers of Light, for example, should be running by then. I can finally get a brioche ice cream sandwich.
There are lots of things I can do outside the parks that would be fun. I could actually check out the Disney Springs post-marathon weekend party. Maybe splurge on a massage, which would be expensive but still cheaper than a ticket. Go bowling or see a movie at that fancy one that has food.
That would be a second three day trip all by myself. I’m a strong, independent introvert, but do I want to double down on that? At least Pat should be coming with me in April.
If I keep waiting Southwest might lower the prices on Sunday, allowing a 2-day trip for the marathon again and thus saving me money.
Frankly I’m at a loss. The pro/con lists come out even-ish by my reckoning. People of the internet, advise me!
* Flights are also weirdly expensive the days surrounding Wine & Dine. Is Southwest on to the runDisney community?