Where Do You Stand on These Disney Debates?
In the before time when there wasn’t a pandemic, I wrote about some of the most frequent Disney debates.
At the time, I planned to turn the premise into a series, but then Coronavirus came along. Since then, I haven’t written about the parks enough.
So, I’m going to change that today. Let’s drown out all the depressing news and embrace our love of Disney for a while!
Where do you stand on these seven Disney debate topics?
When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit?
This question is another without a right or wrong answer. One of our favorite weeks to visit wouldn’t make sense to anyone else.
We frequently go a certain week in May because that’s when my wife’s birthday and our anniversary are. To everyone else, it’s just, you know, mid-May.
Similarly, we prefer the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to the others. So, the spring makes more sense for us.
Despite this fact, we’ve gone to all the other festivals, too. And that circles back to an answer to the question.
I believe that the best time of year to visit Walt Disney World is when EPCOT is hosting a festival. It doesn’t even matter which one. They’re all great!
I suspect that many people would argue that the fall is the best time since that’s when the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is.
Plus, Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on most nights.
Of course, many people prefer to visit during Spring Break. It’s easy to schedule for parents of school-aged children, and the weather is divine.
Honestly, I think there’s no wrong answer to this question. Any day that you’re at Walt Disney World is better than almost any other day when you’re not.
Should You Visit Disney on a Major Holiday Or Not?
Over the past calendar year, I’ve had this conversation more times than I’d like to count.
Many of my closest friends come to me asking for advice on Disney vacations. Inevitably, they point to the holiday calendar and say the same thing.
“These dates are the ones that work best for everyone.” And they’re talking about July 4th or Thanksgiving week or Christmas week.
I openly begged one friend to reschedule his December 26th travel plans.
Unfortunately, he was meeting other family members, and those were the only dates that worked for everyone.
Given these responses, you can guess where I stand on this topic. I prefer to spend the holidays away from Disney, save for one exception.
I do love Halloween at Walt Disney World due to the magical experience that is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
However, that date on the crowd calendar is nowhere near what July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas are.
When you visit Disney on these dates, the parks might reach maximum capacity…early in the day. Then, you’re waiting in lines that are twice as long as normal.
The positive is that you’ll never forget a magical holiday at Disney. For some families, December isn’t the same without Disney.
So, I appreciate that my point of view isn’t necessarily a popular one. If you love the holidays at Disney, I’m genuinely happy for you!
Dole Whip vs. Other Snacks
This one’s tough. I suspect that the majority opinion would favor Dole Whip. It is the One True Snack, after all.
However, the answer also depends on the phrasing. If it’s Dole Whip versus ever other snack, I’m taking the field.
That way, I get popcorn and churros and Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars and giant turkey legs.
Actually, if I could go off the board, I’m a huuuuuge fan of mints that Disney sells in those Altoids-like themed cans.
Truth be told, I waste about 20 percent of my dining plan credits on those each trip.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a Dole Whips for Life kinda guy. Speaking of which…
What’s Your Favorite Resort?
Okay, nobody will ever win this argument, as it’s 100 percent based on personal opinion and experience.
Disney owns and operates more than 20 resorts at Walt Disney World alone plus three more at Disneyland.
So, whatever your answer is, a large subset of people will disagree with you. It’s just math.
When I limit my answer to Walt Disney World resorts, my shortlist is still six resorts long.
However, I do have a favorite. I often joke that it’s whichever Disney resort that I stayed in most recently.
That’s not true, though. For me, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will always be the Disney hotel that matters most to me. And they even sell Dole Whips here!
Best American Space Mountain
Okay, this one’s somewhat arcane. If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World and Disneyland, you may not know that the structure is different on Space Mountain.
Magic Kingdom is home to the original ride, where guests experience the vacuum and bleak darkness of space as intended.
You’re totally alone on this version of Space Mountain. Once you exit Star Port, you’re in a struggle to survive a G-force filled battle.
At Disneyland, you ride in rows of two. The coaster cart actually hosts 12 guests as opposed to three at Magic Kingdom.
So, the experience is entirely different and much more communal. Also, it’s shinier and less bumpy.
Call me soft if you like, but I prefer this version to the original. And that’s rare for me. I’m pretty big on theme park history as a rule.
I make an exception with Space Mountain, though. How about you? Do you prefer to go solo or double-rider?
Original Disney Rides or ones based on movies?
This one’s tough. In recent years, many Disney fans have taken the company to task for its ride construction decisions.
The most recent attractions feature intellectual properties (IP) like Guardians of the Galaxy, Tron, Avatar, Ratatouille, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Star Wars, and Toy Story.
Star Wars and Avatar weren’t even Disney properties until relatively recently.
So, some stalwarts lament that Disney has moved away from its core strategies.
Look at some of the earliest Disney attractions like Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Jungle Cruise.
None of them was based on a Disney IP. Then, there’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which stems from an IP that Disney had to license.
Plenty of original ideas are out there if Disney wants to utilize them. Alas, the most reasonable financial decisions involve the maximization of existing IPs.
This strategy is cheaper and sells more tickets. It’s the same reason why so many Hollywood movies are sequels and reboots.
Consumers are more comfortable with concepts that they already know. I do wish Disney would try something absolutely original every once in a while, though.
This controversial topic flares up from time to time. The most recent instances involve Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
On Haunted Mansion, the “plussing” really only fixed something that was long broken.
The Hatbox Ghost debuted with the attraction in 1969. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as intended.
The lighting in the room prevented the Imagineering trick from functioning correctly. The vanishing act never transpired.
Disney wouldn’t fix the problem until 2015, when a brilliant version of the Hatbox Ghost arrived at New Orleans Square.
Haunted Mansion guests expressed delight over the change. However, they were decidedly more divided regarding the other attraction update.
The other prize at New Orleans Square is Pirates of the Caribbean, which Disney changed to reflect more tasteful cultural depictions.
Specifically, Disney leveled up the Redhead, making her a part of a new scene. She replaced the auction scene that came with uncomfortable overtones.
So, some guests decried both changes, especially the latter one, as bastardizing the intent of the attractions.
Personally, I follow the tenets of Walt Disney. He famously stated:
“Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
And that’s good enough for me. Also, I’d have a difficult time taking Jungle Cruise seriously, as was the original intent of the attraction.