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Vaporman87
Uhhhhgggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UHHHHGGGG!!!!!!!!!

Okay. Phew. It's been one of those days, lemme tell ya.

If you're a RetroDaze faithful, you know that my family makes an annual trek to Florida, more specifically to Walt Disney World. Sure, it's a memorable time, and the kids love it. And my wife is only slightly less enthused about it than they are. Me on the other hand... I see at as both Yin and Yang. And today was definitely ALL Yang! And so, my frustration has inspired me to create a new thread here so that I can vent to you guys because I SERIOUSLY need to!

And so feel free to use it for your own comparisons.

Now, on with my venting.

All the reasons King's Island (The Brady Family amusement park of choice) is better than Walt Disney World (specifically the Magic Kingdom)

1.) Parking/Getting to the gates:

  • King's Island - This part really couldn't be any simpler unless you were driving your car right up to the gate. Not only is the parking convenient and adjacent to the park gates, but you are free to choose your spot all by yourself! Or for those with a little extra dough on hand, you can buy "Preferred Parking" and get a spot literally within a few hundred feet of said gates.
  • Magic Kingdom - Prepare to enjoy parking that feels miles away from the actual park... because it IS! Once you arrive and are directed to park in that horrible space that is in no man's land, you are treated to a walk to a transportation center where you will be forced to cram your family into either a monorail car, ferryboat, or bus... all of which will have lines so long you will have aged 20 years by the time you board.

2.) Getting THROUGH the gates:

  • King's Island - It's as easy as walking up to a ticket booth with a moderate line, depending on the time of day and time of year, and purchasing your tickets. They are printed right there, and you whisk them to a gate keeper who will scan them and let you in. But if your really with it, you will have already purchased your tickets online and printed them off. Then by simply presenting them to your gate keeper, you'll be in the park in no time flat.
  • Magic Kingdom - Hope your a fan of waiting in line before you wait in more lines. Also, it may help to be a fan of being treated like a suspected ISIS member. That's because you will get to enjoy the thrill of having your baggage checked and searched through while you pass through a metal detector as an army of security guards stand by to take you down. But first, you'll enjoy the melodious sound of a screeching woman telling everyone over her bullhorn what row they need to be in. Now, in fairness to Disney, it is clearly a good target if you ARE an ISIS member. But come on... I really don't think the 80 year old woman with her grandkids are going to be the ones to finally take down Cinderella's castle with a dirty bomb. Nothing screams "Happiest Place on Earth" like TSA level screening.


3.) Finally IN the park:


  • Kings' Island -  Once you're in, you're only a short walk from your first ride experience. Yes there is a row of shops on both sides of the midway, just like Main Street USA. However there are paths shooting out to the left and right before, midway through, and at the end of the mass of shops for those who are really just anxious to get to that first vomit-inducing monstrosity of a coaster.
  • Magic Kingdom - If you survived getting in to Walt's dream world, your mettle will really be tested when you fall all over the wave upon wave of humanity trying to advance through Main Street USA to their first ride destination which is 5,000 miles away no matter which "land" you're headed to. Seriously... is this an amusement park or an elaborate series of walkways that only to lead to shops, shops, and more shops until you're so disoriented that you feel the need to buy something in hopes that the Goblin King will cut you some slack?


4.) Theming:


  • King's Island - So naturally this Cedar Fair owned park is not going to outdo Disney in terms of theming the park or the rides. However, the moderate amount of themed elements present in the park is enough to do the job without getting ridiculous with it. You have the beautiful and impressively sized fountains that extend the whole length of the midway, leading you right up to the mini-Eiffel Tower (mini in that it is dwarfed by the actual Eiffel Tower, but this is still enormous and easily the park's landmark attraction). The kid's area is themed completely in Peanuts branding, and it's amazing. Every ride is inspired by Charlie Brown and his gang and there isn't any more they could do to make it obvious.
  • Magic Kingdom - Again, Disney isn't going to be upscaled by anyone in the theming department. The problem is that the theming becomes a real annoyance. There is so much theming of space which could have been used to widen paths or add extra seating/tables or keep from obstructing the paths. What has happened over the years is that the original layout and flow of traffic has been modified and impinged on so much that everything feels half-"butted". Not to mention that the theming is so integral to the ride experiences that the actual rides suffer and become "blah". Once you've seen the seven dwarves mining away underground for the 20th time, you just want the ride to pick up the pace and give you an actual thrill.


5.) Queues:


  • King's Island - If you manage to pick the right day, you'll enjoy short lines and moderate protection from the elements. More could be done here to keep the sun off you, but this type of thing is to be expected from almost any park experience. Got extra dough? Oh boy!!!!! You are in for a treat. Pay extra and get the "Fast Lane" option or the "Fast Lane Plus" option. With this bad boy your are permitted to literally skip every line of nearly every ride. No long waits. Zero. Zip. Zilch. That's music to a 40+ year old's ears and a must have. Leave the waiting to the peasants and become the King of King's Island lines!
  • Magic Kingdom - Easily the worst aspect of any Disney park is the line length. There is literally NO day of the year that isn't met with such wait times as 110 minutes for the Seven Dwarfs mine ride! Or you could go for the rides with the shorter lines like... the Teacups? It's awful really. Just awful. The only time that lines are reasonable is during late at night or Disney After Hours (for which you'll pay yet another entry fee... yay!!!) But wait... FastPass you say! Oh sure. Fill yourself with so much excitement that you need to immediately run to the restroom to drop the kids off at the pool as you schedule your 3 (THREE!!!) FastPass rides for the entire day, only to realize that the freaking FastPass line is itself 20 minutes long! Excelsior!


6.) Crowds:


  • King's Island - This ties in with the Queues section to an extent, and once again King's Island rules in this category. There are a limited amount of bottlenecks throughout the park, with most paths consisting of walkways that are easily wide enough to accommodate even the largest crowds. Rarely will you find yourself bumping into people because of a lack of space. On slow days, it can literally feel like you have the place to yourself. It's amazing. The people are those who have probably traveled from within a 300 mile radius and locals who have passes or routinely visit enough to know how things are done and where things are.
  • Magic Kingdom - You will want to kill everyone around you. It is no wonder there is a high level of security. There is plenty of thrills and spills to be had on the paths alone, with people crammed shoulder to shoulder, banging into your heels with their stroller, cutting in front of you just as you have reached a rhythm in your gait, constantly zipping left and right to avoid families, people coming to a dead stop in front of you with no way to get around them, and more! You'll be so glad you spent your life savings to enjoy this! But that's not all! Expand your cultural horizons in the most diverse swath of humanity on the planet, as people from all walks of life bring their annoying and awkward etiquette with them and allow it to collide with traditional American ways of doing things.


7.) Rides:


  • King's Island - If you're a family or a tween and beyond, King's Island blows the Magic Kingdom out of the water. There is a wealth of thrill rides screaming out to be conquered for those who have the need for speed and g's. And for the kiddos there is the Peanuts themed kids area with tons of rides for those of all sizes. Some of the kids rides are even kind of fun for adults. KI features what is easily the best wooden roller coaster on the entire planet, The Beast. Any coaster aficionado worth more than a poop in Georgia will back me up on that claim, not to mention many websites on the subject. And for those seeking a smoother ride, look no further than the Diamondback. A ride that will give you speed and intense airtime that can't be matched, except, perhaps, by it's lookalike in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg... Apollo's Chariot. For a more intense thrill there is the Banshee, a ride that feels like a constant series of 60 MPH loops that will juggle your brain loose. Ride attendants are as helpful as they need to be and nothing more. You are responsible for the row you choose, and for securing your loose articles. Some rides exit into gift shops, but others do not. These shops are generally small and easy to exit, not to mention a majority of them are not filled to the brim with crap your kids will want.
  • Magic Kingdom - There is no doubt there are some real classics here. Rides we loved as children and fondly remember. But as we age we come to realize they are all show and no "go"! Even Space Mountain is only a moderate thrill. If you're a kid, you're in heaven. If you're not, you're going to find it hard to let out any screams or raise any hands in the air. It's all about the kiddos. Instead you're going to find yourself looking forward to the part where you can make a ridiculous face for the camera more than any other aspect of the ride. That's not good. Ride attendants act as though they just came out of basic training and are always clamoring for you to speed up, stay close to the party ahead you, get in your assigned row, and cough up your loose articles. If there are pouches for your loose items in the ride itself, be prepared for the attendant to sift through them to make sure your 8 year old didn't stow a lit stick of dynamite on board. Most rides exit into a gift shop filled with crap your kid will want. And by the time you find the exit to the shop you will have to at least buy a bottle of water before you die of thirst.


8.) Staff:


  • King's Island - Most of the time you won't even realize there is staff. Their impact on your experience is minimal, and they don't go out of their way to try and be a "star". Some will try to make the boring rules for riding a little spicier with some humor of their own creation, but beyond that you'll never remember anything about your experiences with the staff.
  • Magic Kingdom - Disney clearly stresses to it's staff that they are to adhere to a specific set of parameters depending on the job. This should be a benefit to the park, and to some extent it is. But then there are those times when they become an annoyance instead of a help. Looking to ride some rides? Expect to hear the endless droning of staff members telling you to keep up with the party in front of you, don't climb on this, move this way, come that way, hold it here for a second, "How many in your party?", pull up on your lap bar, pull on the yellow tab, do this, do that, STOP BREATHING!!! And it doesn't stop at the rides. The shop people will be sure to give you a twenty question survey that extols the virtues of being a part of the Vacation Club, owning a Disney credit card, and more, in addition to making sure once again that you are who you say you are by showing your ID for EVERY purchase. By the end of your day you will have memories of the staff mixed in with the rest of your park experience and those won't be fond memories mind you. This isn't to say they aren't helpful or friendly in many cases, but you won't remember those friendly ones like you'll remember the annoying ones.


9.) Dining:


  • King's Island - There are several places where you can easily walk in and enjoy a decent meal at a fairly reasonable (yet still inflated) price. Many are franchises you may already know, like Subway, Chick-Fil-A, Skyline Chili, and LaRosa's. Then there is the finer dining experience like that provided at the Red's Hall of Fame Grille. And of course there are your standard quick service places serving soft pretzels, pastries, ice cream, and the like. You make the choice and if you have the money, no problem.
  • Magic Kingdom - Disney should have this in the bag. They have the resources to provide a first class meal in many areas of the park, and they do. The problem? You can't eat in any of those places. Not unless you scheduled your reservation 17 years in advance. For those of us who were too lazy to do that, feel free to wait in line for eternity for a hotdog or cookie that will surely blow your mind.


10.) Entertainment and Special Events:


  • King's Island - King's Island has a few different venues for entertainment purposes. Much of this entertainment consists of outside acts that are booked. I recall once seeing Steppenwolf perform on stage there. These acts are exclusive to these venues. There are no parades, differently located quick setup performances, etc. You want entertainment? You have to go get it. What about special events... like Halloween parties or Christmas festivals? They have them. I myself have been there when they were decked out for Halloween. It is really more of a teen and above experience, as some of the decor can be a bit scary or somewhat gory for children. Still well done, and there were several haunted houses and haunted walks to enjoy.
  • Magic Kingdom - Disney knows how to put on a show, of that there is no doubt. And they are going to make sure you see it, because they're going to rope off pretty much every path you can take back to that Buzz Lightyear ride you have a FastPass scheduled for that runs out in 15 minutes. Odin's beard... I HATE this! Just leave the stinking walkways ALONE! Nothing irks me more than walking 600 miles from one side of the park to the other only to find out I can't get through because the Eastern Catholic Jewish Monastery Junior High Band is coming through and we can't have you peons passing in front of them to do what you paid to do in the first place. Hey! Here's an idea! Let's have a show in front of the castle so 1,000s of people crowd into the center of the park and make it so you have to take the long way around to get anywhere! Sweet! Whoops... sorry folks. We need you get off our already way too slender pathways and get up on the sidewalk made for ants while our ridiculously loud parade comes through. Sure, everyone will stop dead in their tracks to watch for the 900th time and make it impossible for you to go... well anywhere really... but at least you can stand and have your feet hurt instead of walking and have your feet hurt!



Okay. That's the end of this rant.


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eddstarr
It is still my belief that the tremendous growth in Non-Disney Theme Parks has been inspired by the experiences of Disney Park visitors.

Six Flags, Busch Gardens, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios have all heeded the stories of Disneyland visitors and have designed workarounds that work with smaller crowds during peak season.

King's Island point for point better scores over Disney has probably caused many visitors to re-think vacation venues - just as you have Vaporman.

What's really troubling, the cost of everything in Theme Parks continues to increase waay faster than inflation regardless of attendance numbers.

Maybe the best constructed rant post I've ever read. Nice job Vaporman.
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Silvervix
Going to Disney was never in the cards for me, but now that I have read this I'm not sure if I would go there (even if I could).
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Rick Ace Rhodes
Disney Land has always been a two time ordeal for me: you guy once when your a child so you can experience the magic, then you go once again with your children so they can experience the magic.

I have family that goes multiple times a year and I just don't get how they are still thrilled time after time again. I went twice over the span of two and a half years, by the second time I was like "been there, done that". Kudos to anyone who can do it time and time again.
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vkimo
Excellent post, had me chuckling in a few spots!

Nothing screams "Happiest Place on Earth" like TSA level screening

Just more reason to have swat members roaming the park in Goofy suits.


If there's one thing I learned, there is no enjoyment with crowds. I don't care what the venue is. When we would go see the Giants play, we'd leave 6th inning to avoid the traffic out of the park.

As far as Disneyland, well we had a few good years due to loopholes in the system. The first time we went I was in 5th grade and we went in October. I actually remember running down the corridors to the Indiana Jones ride, it was that empty. Same with Back to the Future at Universal. I remember ignorantly thinking this was the norm.

Fast forward and I'm 14. My father was had a work related injury and his doctor issued us a temporary handicap placard. This got us preferred parking AND we didn't have to wait in line, we went through the exits. We got a lot of salty looks from people but who cared! That little trick soon caught on though and Disney patched it up.

We went to the SF Zoo last year, I took the day off from work and what a different place. No waiting in the back 4 lines deep just to see the Penguins fed. No perching over people in the cafeteria waiting for them to leave to grab a table. It was so calm and enjoyable.

Sucks to hear that Disney was such a pain, a victim of its own success.

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Benjanime
disneyland would've ended up on my bucket list for sure but i'm glad i read all of your post. who would've thought one theme park would be such a lengthy test of patience?
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Silvervix
Just more reason to have swat members roaming the park in Goofy suits.

Dude, yes, please! That would make up for EVERYTHING (as long as we are aware of what's going on) ;D
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Rick Ace Rhodes
We got lucky the first time I went to Disney, it was in the first week of February so it wasn't tourist season. I can't remember it being that crowded.

The second time was far worse: we were originally supposed to go in October but decided to instead go in August. Not only did we have to deal with huge amounts of crowds (apparently in August, all the foreign tourists from countries like Great Britain and Australia descend on the park at the same time), we had to deal with the scorching heat.
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pikachulover
vkimo wrote :

Excellent post, had me chuckling in a few spots!

Nothing screams "Happiest Place on Earth" like TSA level screening

Just more reason to have swat members roaming the park in Goofy suits.


If there's one thing I learned, there is no enjoyment with crowds. I don't care what the venue is. When we would go see the Giants play, we'd leave 6th inning to avoid the traffic out of the park.

As far as Disneyland, well we had a few good years due to loopholes in the system. The first time we went I was in 5th grade and we went in October. I actually remember running down the corridors to the Indiana Jones ride, it was that empty. Same with Back to the Future at Universal. I remember ignorantly thinking this was the norm.

Fast forward and I'm 14. My father was had a work related injury and his doctor issued us a temporary handicap placard. This got us preferred parking AND we didn't have to wait in line, we went through the exits. We got a lot of salty looks from people but who cared! That little trick soon caught on though and Disney patched it up.

We went to the SF Zoo last year, I took the day off from work and what a different place. No waiting in the back 4 lines deep just to see the Penguins fed. No perching over people in the cafeteria waiting for them to leave to grab a table. It was so calm and enjoyable.

Sucks to hear that Disney was such a pain, a victim of its own success.

-end quote

I think the leaving early is a California thing. That is sort of the joke in LA to get to sporting events late and leave early.

For me I wouldn't mind working at Disney like at a shop or something. I think working there would be a bucket list thing. I really don't mind working on a holiday.

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Rick Ace Rhodes
vkimo wrote :
When we would go see the Giants play, we'd leave 6th inning to avoid the traffic out of the park.

-end quote
Are Giants games really that bad? I've been to Yankees games and never experienced traffic like that.
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jkatz
I enjoyed reading that. I'm going to Florida at the end of next month and was seriously considering taking an extra day or two to stop by Disneyworld. Now though...ehhhhhh.
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