Meeting the Mouse

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Cinderella's Castle
Once again, we made our pilgrimage to Florida. After a few days on in St. Petersburg Beach with Michelle's folks, we went to Orlando. While last time we stayed at and visited Universal Studios, this time we stayed at Walt Disney World (WDW).

I've always been amazed by Disney properties. At their best, they're amazing. Great attention to detail, sometimes super customer service, and just an incredible world. This trip was no exception. It was especially fun with the boys being older since they really got to enjoy the place (even though they don't like the thriller rides or even many of the loud movies).

We went to all the major parks. Animal Kingdom continues to be a snoozer (although the boys liked The Boneyard, a dinosaur dig themed playground). MGM was similarly a bust for the kids aside from Star Tours. The Magic Kingdom, of course, was great.

However, Epcot turned out to be the surprise favorite of the guys, mostly because of the newly revised Innoventions pavilions. My geeky kids loved all the hands-on activities; this is a huge improvement over the old Communicore with their outdated technology. The Japan pavilion was a hit too, although I'm pretty sure that's just because of the great Pokemon, Transformer, and Yu-gi-oh selection at the Mitsukoshi department store there.

Michelle, being a Disney expert from growing up in Florida, had the system down and managed an excellent vacation. We went at opening each day, playing through noon or so. Then we'd head back to the hotel, have lunch, and hang out a bit. Then we'd head back to the parks in the late afternoon. This strategy kept us out of the crowds and the hottest parts of the day; combined with the fact that Florida schools were already in session, we rarely waited in line for more than ten minutes ever. Very nice.

The only really odd thing (aside from the fact that virtually all the other guests were fat, fat, fat -- especially the people visiting in the water parks -- scare me) was how heavily Disney was pushing their Disney Vacation Club. There were booths and signs everywhere. It was a bit off-putting, frankly.

Despite this push, the visit was good and the kids had a great time. Say what you will about Disney, but they do a great job.

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