Friday, January 15, 2010

Exclusive: Interview With A Disney Dad

One of the main reasons why Around The Mouse was created was to give people an idea of our perspective on WDW - and how the many experiences of a family of four (Mom, Dad, 10-year-old-daughter, 7-year-old-son) local passholders may give you some informative entertainment about navigating The World and how it may relate to you and/or your family. Now, you might already know many of my personal opinions, since I write the majority of the articles here. But as an element of comparison, we'll include mine as well as Chance and Hope (Katie's interview will be coming shortly) so you'll have a full range of our opinions and how they compare and contrast with one another. So without further delay, this is my exclusive interview with Around The Mouse:

What are your top 4 favorite Disney Theme Parks?

1. Epcot

Epcot is my favorite for many reasons. It's the most "adult" park. It's a "strolling" park. It contains my favorite general "area" of any park: World Showcase. It has the best end-of-night show in Illuminations. It has some of the best restaurants on WDW property. It's based on an original Walt idea. It's just so different than anything else I've ever seen. It's a thing of genius.

2. Magic Kingdom

How can you not get chills when you take your first steps - no matter how many times you've seen it before - down Main Street USA with the Castle at the end? How can you not love how the Castle stands high, towering above everything else around it as you approach the park from the monorail? How can you not love the glow of it all at night when you approach on the ferry? How can you not love the original Walt created or inspired attractions (Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel Of Progress, etc.) that are still so great now?

3. Hollywood Studios

Perhaps the most intriguing park - as far as attractions go, it has such a phenomenally high end, and such a low bottom. This park, by itself, houses 5 or 6 of the absolute best things WDW has to offer: Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Rock N Roller Coaster, One Man's Dream, Fantasmic and Osbourne Family Lights. But it also has Lights, Cameras, Action!, Narnia, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the Backlot Tour. The Backlot wouldn't be on there as one of the worst if it wasn't so great in its heyday. It's just that it's fallen so far and should finally be scrapped completely. It's embarrassing now. But the great attractions are truly great.

4. Animal Kingdom

Life isn't fair to this park. Much of what makes Disney great is its history and longevity. Even Hollywood Studios has that at this point. Animal Kingdom suffers from being the newest of the 4 theme parks, and therefore has the least historical impact - it has to compete not only against the quality of the other parks, but their history as well. So while it loses there, it wins in that it's probably the most beautiful and well-themed park of the 4. It also has several of the best attractions on WDW property: Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur.

What is your favorite Disney World water park: Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach?
Typhoon, and it ain't close. That wave pool is a monster and I love getting far out into the pool and riding the waves in. The Lazy River is far superior to the Blizzard Beach version and the park in general is just so much prettier and well themed than BB.

What are your top 5 favorite rides/attractions?

1. Tower of Terror
2. Expedition Everest
3. Haunted Mansion
4. Spaceship Earth
5. One Man's Dream

What are you top 3 favorite end-of-night fireworks shows?

1. Illuminations
What a phenomenally well-put together show with some of the most beautiful and inspiring music you'll ever hear.
2. Fantasmic
3. Wishes

What is your favorite restaurant?

This is a tough one because so many are great. Chefs de France in Epcot wins out though. Incredible atmosphere, location and food. Went there on our honeymoon and you simply can't beat this place for an overall experience. Especially sitting on the side patio room after dark, with the fountains just outside your window. Gorgeous.

What are your 3 favorite ice cream snacks at The Mouse?
1. No Way Jose
This thing from Beaches N Cream is evil in ice cream form.
2. Dole Whip Float
The regular Dole Whip is overrated. But make it the float, and you're on!
3. Premium Mickey Head Ice Cream Bar
This is a classic. gotta eat it before the chocolate melts though.

Favorite Disney pin?

I mainly collect classic Mickey Mouse and WDW theme park-related pins. So when I saw this one of classic Mickey that opens up to show the mirror image of two Mickey's - Steamboat Willie and the contemporary Mouse - I had to get it. In fact, I used part of my 2009 Disney birthday gift card to purchase it.

Which is your favorite party: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?
I'd have to give the edge to the Christmas Party. First, personally I enjoy Christmas a little more than Halloween to begin with, so I love surrounding myself with that atmosphere. So there's that. I love the shows they have for Christmas. I also love the cookies and hot cocoa better than the candy as giveaways. And I like the cooler weather during Christmas time as opposed to October weather.

What is your favorite memory of going to Walt Disney World?

There are many, but this is a no-brainer: proposing to Hope in front of the castle. It's my favorite memory for obvious reasons, but also because it just happened to work out so perfectly - and the photopass photographer snapped about 20 shots in order, in such a way that the photos turned out better than I ever thought it would. We are fortunate to have been able to capture the moment on camera with such clarity, and in sequence. This all wasn't really planned until I was on the monorail that morning heading to the MK - I had kept the ring in my pocket all weekend waiting for the perfect opportunity to do it, and this was it.

What is your favorite hotel that we've stayed at?
I would have to say Port Orleans French Quarter. Absolutely beautiful. Quiet. Tranquil. Romantic. Incredible theming.

What is your least favorite ride/attraction at Walt Disney World?
I have to say Honey, I Shrunk The Audience. Not only is the subject outdated and obsolete, but it's LONG. Between the pre-show and show itself, if I were an once-in-a-lifetime visitor to Epcot and I spent a half an hour of my day in this attraction, I would be kicking myself at the end of the day. I don't want Captain EO back, but they need to change things up in this 3D theater to something new.

What is the first thing you think of when you think of WDW?

When I think of Walt Disney World, I think of home away from home. It evokes an emotion that is some combination of comfort, familiarity, awe, youthfulness and fun. It's a unique place, and it gives me a unique feeling.

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