Rider Responses June 2016

Rider Responses June 2016

Today is all about you the listener!  I have been asking for your questions, comments, and feedback since we first started the podcast.  Along the way some of you have written some very encouraging and kind words, some have asked great questions, and some have even inspired future podcasts with your ideas and passion for Disney rides.

I’m so happy to share with the entire WDW Ride Guide community many of these responses today.  We won’t be covering one ride in detail, but through today’s responses we will learn more about what Walt Disney World has to offer.

No essential facts today, we are jumping right into the fun!

Our first rider response today comes from one of the first listeners to write in feedback.  I have to say his message on Facebook came at a time I needed a little encouragement.  Let’s see what he has to say.

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Hi Ben,

I just found your podcast and had to message you and say it’s awesome! I listen to a bunch of Disney podcasts and I think this is the first one I have found that is mainly about rides and the history of them which is one of the things I like the most about the parks. Keep up the great work! I just listened to the TTA episode and it’s great to hear somebody give it credit for being a great ride! I usually get eye rolls when I tell people it’s my favorite especially at night with the lights from Tomorrowland.

– Billy, Texas

Wow, thanks Billy!  Like I said your kinds words came along at just the right time and really gave me even more motivation to share Disney rides in the best way I know how.  If you couldn’t tell, Billy is talking about the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, or TTA for short.  Like Billy, I love this ride, especially at night when Tomorrowland comes to life with a rainbow of colors.  If you ever need a break from the hustle and bustle of a Disney vacation, head over to the TTA and relax for a few minutes as you get an elevated tour of Tomorrowland.

Billy is also to thank for our episode on the Monorail.  He wrote in some additional feedback and suggested we cover this ride on a future episode.  Well, if you listened to that podcast, you know I had a Monorail episode planned but I bumped it up once Billy wrote in.  After the podcast was released I was anxious to hear if we did the Monorail justice, so I reached out to Billy and asked him what he thought.  Here is what he said:

I got off the golf course and just listened to it on the way home. Awesome episode! I thought the observation that most people won’t have to ride and you need to find reasons to go was spot on and great advice. And it was great hearing you talk about sitting in the contemporary and watching them come through. Last time we were there, my fiancé had a conference call where we needed to be somewhere quiet and we had dining reservations at California Grill so we went and hung out in the lounge area by Chef Mickey’s. That ended up being one of my favorite memories of the trip just watching and listening to the monorail come through. Great episode!

– Billy

As Billy points out, the Monorail is not only a great ride to take, but a great ride to watch go by as well.

I did have another listener write in last week after listening to our Monorail episode and she had this to say:

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Dear Ben,

First of all, I want to thank you for your excellent, informative podcast. I am very happy that I found it a couple of months ago. I have listened to all of the episodes and look forward to the new one each week. As a librarian, I appreciate your thorough research and the many interesting factoids to share.

I think the fright rating is a helpful component of each review, but I have to take issue with your rating for the monorail system.  You scored it as a zero out of five, but both my husband and I think the score should be higher. He is fearful of heights so he feels uncomfortable when he can see far down to the ground from the monorail. I, on the other hand, am a bit claustrophobic and get anxious if the monorail compartment gets overly full. Also, I think many people are fearful that the monorail will break down while they are riding it because that has happened several times in recent years!  So, I suggest a fright factor score of 1 or 2.

It’s a small quibble, but I wanted to share my thoughts and let you know how much I enjoy and appreciate the podcast. Keep up the great work!

– Angie in Iowa

I love this feedback!  Thank you so much Angie!  Normally, I try to consider all the different perspectives that we as individuals bring to a ride.  What some find thrilling, others might find tame and what some find harmless, others might find stress-inducing.  The fright factor is one of the most difficult aspects for me to gauge.  I have to confess that I have probably taken a rather romantic view of the Monorail.  When I considered the fright factor for this ride, I was caught up in the sweeping vistas, ignoring the fact some may find the height giving way to the view rather scary.  You also make a great point about being claustrophobic.  I do not enjoy riding the Monorail when all you can see is the back of someone else’s head pressed against your face!  Finally, there have indeed been those stuck on the Monorail for lengthy periods of time due to a malfunction.  So, today we are bumping up the fright factor to 2 out of 5.

Thank you again for your feedback!  It makes me so happy to hear you enjoy the factoids and appreciate the research that goes into each episode.  If you take issue with any other fright factors be sure to let me know!

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Speaking of a ride that has a high fright factor, let’s move over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Jennifer from New Mexico asked this question on our Facebook page:

Are they really changing Tower of Terror to a Guardians of the Galaxy ride?

Guardians of the Galaxy?  What could she be talking about?  Well, the big rumor out this spring was that Disney was floating the idea of doing a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  An overlay is not a new idea, especially for Disneyland.  Every year the California version of The Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, where Jack Skeleton and his friends take over the mansion.  Also, the Jungle Cruise is decked out for the holidays and is temporarily renamed the “Jingle Cruise.”

Well, before my Twilight Zone fans lose their mind, let me reassure you the 5th dimension appears to be staying put at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  For now, it looks like Disney’s California Adventure may be getting a larger Marvel renovation in the future which could include a re-imagineered Tower of Terror.  Here is what we know so far…

The theme park rights to Marvel characters are a bit convoluted, to say the least.  Yes, Disney has purchased Marvel, but Universal still owns the rights to the characters in the theme parks on the East coast.  Well, most of the Marvel characters.  You see, the contract giving Universal the rights to showcase the characters in the theme parks makes no mention of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  At least, not until these Marvel characters appear on film with the Marvel characters that they do own.  That means Disney can showcase Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket, Gamora, and Drax in their East coast parks right now if they so choose.  However, fans of the Marvel movies can tell you it won’t be long before we see Peter Quill alongside Iron Man or Captain America.  Spoiler alert, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, coming in 2017, is believed to be the moment we see the Avengers and the Guardians begin to band together.  Once that happens, Disney will no longer have legal claim to any of these Marvel characters in Walt Disney World.

So, now you can understand why the idea of an overlay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios came about.  Disney wanted to strike while they still could and capitalize on some of the Guardians’ popularity.  Evidently though, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is so popular in its own right, that Walt Disney World fans balked at the idea.  According to Jim Hill on the Unofficial Guide Podcast, this idea leaked out and was met with strong opposition on the East coast.  Hearing the backlash from the fans, the idea quickly changed to only include Disney’s California Adventure.

Even now, that idea is not confirmed.  If the rumors are true though, I think we will see a complete overhaul of the California version.  The Twilight Zone will go away and the hotel will become the warehouse of The Collector, an eccentric character with an equally eccentric collections of artifacts and lifeforms from across the galaxy.  This plan would leave us with two different towers, one in DCA and one in Hollywood Studios.  I for one like the idea of having two unique experiences to enjoy.  Some want to keep things the same on both coasts.  What do you think?  Let me know and perhaps we can revisit this idea on our next Rider Response podcast.

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For now, let’s get back on track with some more feedback.  We have another question, this time about the Disney Cruise Line:

Have you heard any rumors of Disney Cruise Line going out of Galveston in the summers again? Would love if they did so in 2017!

– Amy, Texas

Well, Amy I’m afraid there are currently no itineraries for Disney Cruise Line out of Galveston in summer 2017.  There are a couple of sailings departing the Texas port in January in 2017, but nothing beyond that.  If you want a 6-night cruise that ends in San Juan, Puerto Rico then I can help you!

New cruises can always be added and of course I will let you know if anything comes available.  That is the job of a good Disney Travel Specialist after all!

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Speaking of travel specialists, our next feedback comes from a fellow Disney vacation planner!  Man, I’m nailing the transitions today aren’t I?  Anyway, let’s see what she has to say:

I just discovered your podcast last week and I am enjoying listening to each episode from the beginning. After a few years of planning WDW vacations for everyone else, we are finally returning this fall. I become more and more excited with each episode! You do a wonderful job covering the rides and attractions and I am now recommending you to my clients – thank you for your dedication to this awesome project/podcast!

– Stephanie, Louisiana

Thank you Stephanie!  It is great to hear from a fellow vacation planner and I really appreciate you sharing our podcast with your clients.  We began the WDW Ride Guide to help people get the most out of their Disney vacations and it is so rewarding to know we are helping build the anticipation! The planning process can be so much fun and is just another way a Disney vacation is so unique.  I was curious what rides Stephanie was most looking forward to, here is what she said:

We are most excited for new Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Splash Mountain. My classic favorites are Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. And Dole Whip. I am really excited for Dole Whip.

– Stephanie, Louisiana

Ummm, Dole Whip!  Agreed Stephanie, I’m always excited for Dole Whip myself.  I don’t think there is a better snack/ride combo than enjoying a creamy, tangy Dole Whip while waiting to see Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.  You know, that gives me an idea for a podcast, Top 5 Rides/Snack Combos!  Be thinking about that.  I also like your mention of the Carousel of Progress.  That is another Walt original that we have yet to get to on the podcast.  There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow just waiting for that episode!

All right, we only have time for a couple more and I have to share this one that just came in this week.  I received an e-mail this week asking about my vacation planning services.  Well, as you know by now, I am an Authorized Disney Vacation Specialist, and I love, love, love helping others plan their Disney vacations.  So, when my vacation planning world and my podcast world collide it is almost as magical as standing on Main Street U.S.A.!  This is what I received from Rachel in Louisiana:

Greetings, Ben,

My family is planning to take a Disney vacation late February 2017 (Mardi Gras week- we are in New Orleans area). We have made several trips to Disney but never used a planner before but interested in letting someone else do all the work!

I heard about your planning services after listening to your podcast. How can I learn more about your vacation planning services?

Thanks!

– Rachel

Well, like I told Rachel you can contact me anytime by sending an e-mail to b.crain@magicalvacationplanner.com, or call me at 210-853-2488.  My services come at no cost to you and I would love to send you a no obligation quote to help you get started.  After helping Rachel a little more she sent me another e-mail that just made my day.  Here it is:

I think you will find this funny-this story also made me realize I immerse myself too much in Disney – anyway, I listen to a lot of podcasts in the car (too much trash on the radio today with all those little ones with me) and often they are Disney related or if I can find cool kid ones we listen to those on the way to school/summer camp etc

so I guess the boys have heard you and actually paid attention. Last night at dinner I shared with them that we were going to decide this week about booking a trip for February and also told them we would try using a vacation planner this time. I told my husband I reached out to someone I had listened to on a podcast who called himself the ‘ride guide’ and my 11 yr old’s eyes got big and round as dinner plates and he says “Oh my gosh! Ben Crain is going to plan our vacation?!?!” – bet you did not know you were a celebrity?!

Wow!  How cool is that?  It’s not every day you discover you are a celebrity.  Well, I must say I’m honored to be planning the vacation of Alexander and his family.  Thanks for listening Alexander and big thanks to Rachel for sending in that fun story!

Families creating lifetime memories are what I love about Walt Disney World.  So, I feel compelled to share a couple of questions I received from my own family.

First, my mom asks:

What is your earliest ride memory?

and my dad adds:

What is your least favorite ride you’ve ridden and why?

Both great questions!  I had to dust off the cobwebs in my memory banks and really think back to answer my mom’s question.  One of the earliest memories I have of a Disney ride is the queue of Space Mountain.  I remember entering the mountain and walking down the descending walkway.  The dim lighting and space age interior added a touch of mystery to the ride.  I can remember being excited and a little unsure about what awaited me back up the slope of the mountain.  While I don’t remember much from that first ride it had to have been a lot of fun because Space Mountain is one ride I have to do every time I visit the park.  Today, I still feel nostalgic every time I walk this queue and though it may not be the most elaborate queue in the parks it is still one of my favorites.

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Now, to answer my dad’s question we don’t have to go very far.  If you have been listening for a while you can probably answer this question for me. Yes, just across Tomorrowland lies my least favorite ride, Stitch’s Great Escape.  I won’t be too hard on the little obnoxious alien today.  Let me just say, I think the ride’s dark nature misses its target audience.  If you want to know more, just check out the podcast on this stinker of a ride.

Finally, I have a little feedback to share from my long time friend and fellow Disney ride lover Tim.  If you have listened to our Top 5 Rides for Toddlers then you have heard Tim on the show before.  Well, Tim has supported our podcast since the very beginning and he is always sending me positive encouragement and ideas for future episodes.  Here is his latest:

I have an idea for the next Top 5 podcast.  Top 5 Rides to Beat the Heat.  It’s almost summer and going to be really hot at WDW, so I think it would be good to give an idea of what rides to try in the middle of the day when it is very hot.  This could include rides that occur entirely inside or where the queue is inside.

– Tim, Texas

Tim was so dedicated about the idea that he sent me a picture of the list he had been working on.  It had about a dozen rides from his brain storming session.  Well, I thought this was such a great idea I asked Tim to come on the podcast next week and help me with our next Top 5 Podcast.  Thanks Tim for all your feedback and constant support of the WDW Ride Guide!  I’m really excited about having you back on the podcast next week.

Finally, I want to thank all of you!  Even if you haven’t sent in feedback it means so much that you tune into the podcast.  If you have something you want to share with our rider community, you can send me a message on our Facebook page, shoot an e-mail to feedback@wdwrideguide.com, or comment on an episode on our website.  We will start compiling all of your responses for our next Rider Response Podcast.

Thank you so much for joining me today!  I hope you have a wonderful week and and remember to make each day a ride worth taking!

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