Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where Do You Prefer To Stand?

My last blog post ended with a question: what should I write about next? My brother in law suggested I list the best and worst queues at Walt Disney World. Challenge accepted!

When I sat down with a list of Walt Disney World attractions, it took me about 5 minutes to realize that two parks top the list for the BEST queues: Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I suppose this is because they were built later than Magic Kingdom and Epcot. (I did leave off the bus queues and lines to get into shows.) Without further ado – here are the best and worst queues per park.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has, by far, the best queues in The World. Almost all of my favorite rides have something to keep my attention as I am waiting. The Great Movie Ride has movie clips and movie props (which I have been told rotate in and out). Rock N Rollercoaster has tons of music paraphernalia both new and old. When I rode Star Tours (before I had seen the movies) my cousins kept telling me how cool it was. I took their word for it and will have to check it out again in June. Toy Story Mania gets old kind of fast, but entering a world of oversized toys is always fun, and even better, there are a ton of great photo ops through the queue. Last but not least is my favorite: Tower of Terror. The queue actually moves too fast for my taste here! There are so many details and extras to view that I never notice I’m waiting (even though the queue does creep me out some)! I cannot think of an attraction queue in DHS that I do not like.

My first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom was in November 2010, so I have not seen even close to all of the park. Their queues are just below Disney’s Hollywood Studios though. I wished I had more time in the Dinosaur queue (NOT the ride itself!!!) to see all the artifacts and facts scattered through the line. I went through the FastPass line at Expedition Everest and wanted to read everything! It was full of fun facts and jokes. I am actually eager to stand in the full line to see it all. The whole Dinoland USA stuck well with its carnival theme by having awful queues. TriceraTops Spin is only topped by Dumbo in its slow-moving, boring queue. Primeval Whirl felt cheap and dirty (even though it was not dirty at all) simply from its plainness and lack of entertainment.

EPCOT has queues that are mostly adequate with a few that are awful, so this park comes in third on my list. The best are Living with the Land because I love getting to read the wall of quotes and The Seas with Nemo and Friends simply because it is cool (like temperature-wise), dark, goes fast, and has plenty to look at as you rush to the clam-mobiles. Honorable mention has to go to Spaceship Earth and the Grand Fiesta Tour because they move so fast you hardly notice you are waiting. The worst though is Maelstrom in Norway. It crowded, hot, and claustrophobic. Even a 10 minute wait there has me climbing the walls. I love the ride, but the queue needs some help. Ranking up there in sheer awful is Soarin’. I have only been through the FastPass queue (which tends to take at least half an hour), but it is like watching paint dry. Also, the queue area is so wide that it is hard to stop those overeager guests from line jumping. If the ride was not so amazing, I would skip it rather than wait in that hall of doom.

Magic Kingdom, being the oldest park in The World, has by far the worst queues. Thankfully they are working on improving them. I cannot wait to see how the Haunted Mansion interactive queue has turned out! Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean always keep me entertained with their attention to detail. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’s new interactive queue is a blast for adults and kids alike. That was a major improvement that I hope is coming for Peter Pan’s Flight. That queue is, again, hot and crowded. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is another that makes me completely claustrophobic. Astro Oribiter and Dumbo are by far some of the worst as you end up standing completely still for long moments as the ride is in action. Here’s hoping that the new Dumbo queue being built in Fantasyland will be as incredible as they claim. Nothing is worse than standing in that line!

Do you agree with my best and worst attraction queues? Did I leave some off, or were some of my favorites total snoozes for you? (Remember I’m talking queues only, NOT rides.) If you have kids, are there better queues than others for them? Hope you enjoyed my walk through the parks. Cannot wait to do it for real in June!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Disney Posts: What You Missed

Recently I've been publishing numerous Disney-centric posts, and they've gone by fairly fast. I thought it would be nice to have them all in one easy to find post, so I've rounded them up into this post. Here's what you might have missed!

It all started with this post: Things I've Never Done at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Trip Report:
Day 0: Can I Just Be There Now?
Day 1
: I Want to go oo Disney World!
Day 2: Only Those With Good Attitudes Make It in the Photos
Day 3: Look! The Fountain of Nations is Going Off *Again*!!
Day 4: Hey Look! It's Steamboat Willy!
Day 5: Remember When I Cried Through This?
Day 6: It's *Just* a Dinosaur!
Day 7: Wait! This is a Roller Coaster?!
Day 8: May I Go Home Now? (and How We Beat the Crowds)
Epilogue: When Are You Going Back?
Sum Up: Things I've Never Done at Walt Disney World (Still)

Movie Lists Series:
Introduction: Do I Have Bad Taste In Disney Movies?

All The Best Movies Were Made Before I Was Born (in 1983)
Part I: #30-21, Part II: #20-11, Part III: #10-1
My Top 20 Disney Live Action Films
Part I: #20-11 & Part II: #10-1
The Top 28 Disney Animated Films (since I was born)
Part I: #38-21 and a rant, Part II: #20-11, Part III: #10-1

So did you have a favorite? What should I post about next? I do have another Walt Disney World Trip coming up in June!

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Top 28 Animated Disney Films (Part III: #10-1)

Finally we’ve reached the end of the “Joanna Ranks the Disney Movies She Loves” blog series! Somehow I’m finding my voice as a Disney blogger which is not something I really expected, but I’m enjoying it. Hope you are too! Here we go with the Top 10 Disney Animated Films (made in my lifetime):

#10: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) – Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? Most would not even put this movie on the list. I know it’s full of dark themes, but I adore Esmeralda and her song “God Help the Outcasts”. The music in this movie is beautiful. If I were to dress up as a Disney character, I’d pick Esmeralda. Goodness knows I could totally get my hair as big as hers!

#9: Wall-E (2008) – Another movie I didn’t want to see but went because my niece and nephew loved it. After all, how could Disney make a robot that doesn’t actually speak entertaining? Watch this movie and find out. The lesson in this movie is top notch as well, and we should all pay more attention to it. (Part that made me laugh uncontrollably: Wall-E getting his "hand" stuck under Eve's arm!)

#8: Up (2009) – Squirrel!!

#7: Tangled (2010) – My brother-in-law called this the “best princess movie ever” and while I won’t go quite that far, I will say it was endearing, entertaining, energetic, and I need more “e” words. The music alone is phenomenal! The horse cracked me up more than anything else. (After reading this list are you surprised the animal in the movie stole my heart?)

#6: Beauty and the Beast (1991) – I remember seeing this movie in the theater and loving Belle. A princess who loves books as much as I do, is highly intelligent, is brunette (because there are too many blondes!), and wears some rockin’ dresses? Awesome.

#5: Tarzan (1999) – The music in this movie is what pulls it from the bottom of the list to the top. Phil Collins hit a homerun with this score, and at the time I was obsessed (and that’s putting it lightly) with *NSYNC who had a track on the CD. Jane also made this movie for me: “And Daddy! They took my boot!” Wouldn’t we all like to look that fabulous while hiking through the jungle?

#4: The Little Mermaid (1989) – Now this was the princess movie of my childhood. I always wanted to be a “Part of [Her] World” and pretended to swim like a mermaid in the pool. I wanted hair like Ariel’s and a voice just as golden. (By the way, a part of me died when Disney characters stopped singing.) Her prince actually had some excellent character development going on too! Oh and her dress at the end of the movie looked like it was made of glitter, and if you know me at all, you know that I want that dress!

#3: The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) – When I saw this movie (finally) in college (Whitney made me watch it) I couldn’t stop laughing! Something about a sarcastic llama does it for me every time. It’s my cheer up movie after a bad day, and I have been known to yell out “you threw off my groove!” from time to time. (I’m always delighted when someone actually *gets* where that’s from.)

#2: Lilo & Stitch (2002) – Another “Whitney made me watch it” college film and another huge favorite. (Thanks Whitney!) I finished the movie having a new character favorite to rival Tinker Bell. Stitch was such a perfectly adorable, almost dog-like, alien that I wanted to take him home to live with me. The phrase “Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind” is wildly overused now, but I do still hold this movie close to my heart.

#1: Aladdin (1992) – Aladdin was my first cartoon crush. Seriously, to use my sister’s word, I “lurv”ed him! Robin Williams as the Genie was hilarious; Steve from Full House as Aladdin was an added bonus. While Jasmine was part of the show, for once we had a star who wasn’t the princess. I remember a friend’s mom being so mad that Jafar got so much screen time and ranting about how awful the movie was. I couldn’t stop smiling though as I pretended I was staying “one jump ahead of the lawman!”

There you have it! That’s the end of my Top Disney Films lists. What are your top Disney animated films? Did I hit the nail on the head or totally miss?