Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 20, 2016: Even the Worst is the Best!

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, which blogger came up with the idea of trying to find really bad ideas at Disney, Derek and his Value Resorts Bar Crawl or the concept for this week’s Best Week Ever? The world may never know. (That is, if the world is lucky, we’ll never know.) Somewhere along weekly discussions with my family and flipping through the 2017 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, I discovered what I assumed was a glaring error. The Mad Tea Party, one of my favorite rides of all time, is one of the lowest-rated attractions in the Magic Kingdom. In between Kermit-like arm flailing as I tried to explain to my husband just how much of an injustice this is, the idea came up: Could a day doing the worst that Walt Disney World has to offer still be not only good, but the Best Week Ever? Challenge accepted.

Looking at the rankings for attractions, we knew we could get our fill with a day split between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. After parking our car at Epcot, we hopped on the monorail and made our way towards the Transportation and Ticket Center and then on to Magic Kingdom.

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On the way over, I booked FastPass+ times for the attractions we planned to hit. The benefit of going for “the worst” means that it’s pretty easy to get FastPass+ times. It was still fairly early as we took our walk down Main Street USA, but the blue skies and pops of fall color easily brings a smile to your face.

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Our first stop was the Mad Tea Party, which our FastPass+ was unnecessary, but gave our daughter a chance to see the colors dance from her new Halloween MagicBand. Unless you’ve got major motion-sickness issues, I think that just about everyone will enjoy this ride. Yes, it isn’t flashy, and waiting for it in the summer can be brutal, but look at the sheer joy of having you put into a human centrifuge.

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Ask yourself this–the Mad Tea Party gets an equal number of stars with Stitch’s Great Escape. Which would YOU rather do? (And yes, now that Stitch has gone seasonal, it wasn’t an option, but still…for the readership, I would have ridden it.)

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Even with resetting our next FastPass+ earlier, we had some time to waste before our next “experience”, and although both Astro Orbiter and Barnstormer are also two-star attractions, they’re over my threshold for panic attacks, so we did the next best thing. It was off to an attraction that gets 3.5 stars, but is often mentioned as everyone’s second least favorite ride.

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The posted wait time was 15 minutes, but I’ll let you decide if we waited that long.

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As we were exiting the ride and headed for our next stop, I noticed it was a couple minutes until Great Moments in History with the Muppets had its next show.

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I’m a big fan of the Muppets, and being able to really get our daughter excited about them (while learning a bit about American history on the way) is such a treat. Make sure to take the time to see this show. Skipping the show is distinctly unpatriotic.

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Time for our next FastPass+ — the stunning 2.5 star Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

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I actually don’t mind having a themed spinner in each park, but with the iconic Dumbo (which gets 3.5 stars), I’m in the “meh” category with this one. Still, my daughter enjoys it, as long as she sits up front with her dad and I promise not to tilt the carpet.

I mean it, mom. No tilting the carpet.
I mean it, mom. No tilting the carpet.

As I had been fighting bronchitis for a while and was still coughing pretty bad, I committed a cardinal sin–stopping by Aloha Isle and just getting pineapple juice, no Dole Whip. When you have a cough, though, it’s an awesome elixir of life.

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There was no way we would finish the park without doing the absolute worst attraction. Yes, there’s one rated even lower than Stitch. The Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade. Like Aladdin, I’m not sure what you would put in such a small slice of real estate, and so this “attraction” stays here at its $1/play price point. Within a few moments, the generous targeting of the rifle meant that we had hit most of the interesting effects, and left our daughter asking “So, what else does it do?” Nothin’, pardner… that’s why it is 1.5 stars.

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Time to head back to Epcot for another two low-rated attractions. The Express Monorail was bringing people into the parks, but leaving the parks meant the Ferryboat. In the end, there were a half dozen people on board, and one very hopeful bird that accompanied us along the way.

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Once at the Transportation and Ticket Center, we got on the Monorail for our trip back to Epcot. The trip in is always such a joy, getting a birds’ eye view of the park as a teaser of all the amazing things there are to see.

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Two attractions were on the low end of the scale–the pavilion that used to be my favorite and our daughter’s second favorite ride in Epcot. The first one is easy to guess.

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No doubt, this pavilion could use some of its old glory returned. Journey into Imagination with Figment is a ride we rarely go on, because the blast of air in the final scene scares our daughter. The ride is certainly showing its age at this point, and 2.5 stars may be a bit generous, even with Figment helping out in the end.

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By the way, does this scene remind anyone else of South of the Border or is it just me?

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Ride survived, off to the “reward”–the equally rated Gran Fiesta Tour. (As a side note, we’ve called this the Mexico Boat Ride so much that when I said we were going on Gran Fiesta Tour, our daughter asked where this “new” ride was located. A former associate of mine from Mexico described El Rio del Tiempo as patronizing, stereotypical, and patronizing to the people of Mexico. I often wonder what he’d think of the ride now, where only one in three of the characters is actually from Mexico. Does that make it better or worse?

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I actually do enjoy this ride, and not because it both helps me get an appetite for lunch and provides a cool, dark place to sit and relax. Even though there’s a lot of screens in the ride, the constant abuse that happens to Donald causes our daughter to crack up every single time. Poor Donald. Even young kids know that the duck gets no respect.

And thus ended our tour of some of the bottom-ranked attractions at Walt Disney World.

Did we have fun? I like to think so. I had a blast watching our daughter end up in giggles on the Mad Tea Party. We all got a good laugh how Small World refused to say goodbye to my husband, keeping his streak of being snubbed by the right complete. I think everyone in Adventureland had a good laugh at my squeal when I got hit by an errant shot of water from a spitting camel. And even though I may grumble about the current state of the Imagination pavilion, it still gives me warm fuzzies to see Figment in there. And so although I wouldn’t advise people to only do the lowest-rated attractions on their dream trip to Walt Disney World, as long as you are with people you love, or at least people who rank higher than the attractions you go on, you can still have your Best Week Ever.

P.S. Does anyone else have a soft spot for the Mad Tea Party? I know I’m mad, but I can’t be the only one, right?

Yeah, I may get this when it arrives at the Outlets....
Yeah, I may get this when it arrives at the Outlets….

 

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

17 thoughts on “Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 20, 2016: Even the Worst is the Best!

  • October 20, 2016 at 8:22 am
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    A number of these attractions are ones that my family loves. Figment – a requirement. Mad Tea Party? Wouldn’t be a trip to Disney without a spin. Thinking of skipping it’s a small world? Heavens no, it’s a must do for us! Ready to tackle all of these (and more) in just a few weeks when we will be in the parks!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2016 at 9:11 am
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    Small World is my favorite! and we like Mad Tea Party too, though I’ve learned my lesson about getting on with my kids!

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  • October 20, 2016 at 9:28 am
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    I LOVE the Aladdin ride! I won’t do Astro Orbiter either, but rode Barnstormer for the first time our last trip, and it was a blast (albeit a very short one). We enjoy Stitch (just hold your breath during the burp) and Small World and Gran Fiesta Tour – well, all the ones you mentioned, really, except for the Shootin’ Arcade.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2016 at 10:09 am
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    I never miss a “Best Week Ever” Thanks for sharing Disney on a weekly basis!!!

    P.S. Quick Question, Is the Haunted mansion outside refurb done or are there still tarps up? Thanks

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    • October 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm
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      P.S. P.S We are going to be there in 2 weeks and I have $25 in quarters packed for my 3 boys and grandpa and myself for the shooting gallery. Last time we went the change machines were inoperable so we didn’t get to do one of our favorite activites.

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      • October 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm
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        the shooting gallery was the ONLY thing my 2 un-Disney boys enjoyed. We had a tube sock full of quarters with us for this attraction alone. the boys would shoot while I went shopping through Frontierland 🙂

  • October 20, 2016 at 11:01 am
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    My mom HATES the spinning on the Mad Tea Party but we always ride and just don’t spin. Instead we call it the “Sad Tea Party” and frown the whole time. We think its hilarious.

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    • October 20, 2016 at 11:14 am
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      That is outstanding.

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    • October 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm
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      I quit riding the small spinner rides several years ago, old age I guess. However, our son is now 19 and not so inclined to spin so we may add this to our next MK trip! “Sad Tea Party”, awesome!

      Reply
  • October 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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    My 10 year old son loves the Mad Tea Party, in fact we both complain that the ride is too short. We spent many nights at MK during our summer and Christmas trips riding it repeatedly. Each time we spin our tea cup as fast as we can.

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  • October 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm
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    All of them, except Figment and the Shooting Arcade are must rides for our family. Usually multiple times each visit to the park.

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  • October 22, 2016 at 8:41 am
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    I have serious issues with the Shooting Arcade having such a low rank. Yes its $1 a play after paying for entry to the park. Yes it doesn’t do much aside from the most basic of movements. But, I absolutely love it. Its always part of my touring plan for MK and long may it live!

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    • October 22, 2016 at 9:35 am
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      I agree with Dan. It brings back memories of the one they had in the basement gameroom at the Contemporary when I was a kid. I hope it lives on forever!

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  • October 23, 2016 at 9:03 am
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    Any day in any of the parks riding anything or doing anything is a Best Day Ever!! If I lived close enough – I’d be there at least every week!

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  • October 23, 2016 at 9:48 pm
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    You just described a regular day at either park for us. Except for the arcade, these are all must-do attractions for us. And we’ve called it Donald Boats for so long I don’t think my kids actually know the real name.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm
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    When it comes to thrills, how is Astro Orbiter different than Aladdin’s Carpets or Dumbo?

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    • November 1, 2016 at 10:52 am
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      It’s a lot higher off the ground, and the turning radius is smaller, which means it’s more vertigo-inducing. Or so I’ve heard – I haven’t dared it, myself!

      Reply

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