SATURDAY CLASSIX: Six Disney Obsessions We Just Don’t Understand
[EDITOR’S NOTE – In case you missed it, there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX this past Wednesday featuring The Six Worst Attractions at Walt Disney World According to Our All-Star Panel. Please check it out as it features the results of voting from 40 Walt Disney World experts including Len Testa, Jim Hill, and Tom Bricker. So today we are going to go back in the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman to fix earlier editions of the SATURDAY SIX that were written before your humble author could grasp the complexities of WordPress. Welcome to the first edition of SATURDAY CLASSIX…]
This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Disney Obsession We Just Don’t Understand. As resident theme park fans, we here at the Saturday Six understand obsessions. We collect park maps. We save our old hotel room keys. We get a new Disney ornament for our Christmas tree every single year. However, there are some Disney obsessions we don’t quite understand fully, and today we’re going to look at six of them. (PLEASE NOTE: these views have been determined after an exhaustive study by the Saturday Six staff and do not necessarily reflect the view points of TouringPlans as a whole or any other individual, especially Len Testa who thinks we are nuts with # 3…)
# 6 – The Turkey Leg Phenomenon
Now, the Turkey Leg made our list of the Top Six Most Iconic Snacks at the Magic Kingdom, but what we don’t understand is all the ancillary products that have also come out for the turkey leg, including wallets, hats, t-shirts, pins, sweatshirts, house decor and air fresheners…yes, AIR FRESHENERS.
Who is buying this stuff? Who outside of Oscar Meyer himself wants his car to smell like a turkey leg? Even the legendary Dole Whip doesn’t seem to have a fraction of the merchandise that the turkey leg does. May we suggest an immediate stoppage of any future turkey leg products and instead look at other food items on Disney property, including the cronut, the macaroons in the France pavillion, zebra domes at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or school bread in Norway?
# 5 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
One of the most amazing theme park hotels ever made, does Disney’s Contemporary Resort of today justify the price you have to pay for a room? It doesn’t seem to matter what Disney charges; we tried to book a room for Saturday, January 18, 2014, to get a price quote and got No rooms available. So we tried Saturday, January 25, and got prices starting at $361 per night but quickly jumping up to $469 and $559 for rooms not looking out at a parking lot. Club Level? $700. Keep in mind many of the more expensive rooms were already sold out. This is in January, what most of us would consider an off-season.
You’re paying Deluxe level prices, but you are getting a level of traffic and noise that the Grand Floridian and Polynesian don’t suffer from because of Bay Lake Tower, Chef Mickey’s, and how the Contemporary is laid out. Fantasia Gifts is closer to the Universal’s temporary Studios store than the well done gift shops at other Disney resorts.
There are a lot of positives to staying at the Contemporary, but is it worth the prices you’ll be paying? We’re not exactly sure on that one. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this article was written, your humble author had the privilege of staying at the Contemporary and I only have one thing to add… I was wrong.]
# 4 – Jack and Sally Meet and Greet
Meet and greets are becoming a larger part of the theme park experience by the day, to the point where they have been incorporated into the FastPass+ system. Gone are the days of just running into characters; now you need to plan out your trip if there are certain characters that you or your kids must meet, as some of the characters draw extremely long lines. One of the biggest draws currently is Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. In 2012 Jack and Sally were at Downtown Disney and drew huge lines as guests waited hours to meet them. Last year they moved into the parks as special characters for the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and again drew big crowds with waits of up to three hours.
Are they worth it? Rare characters are fun to meet, and recently runDisney marathon runners got to have pictures taken with Launchpad McQuack and Darkwing Duck, two characters who seem to be locked in the vault with the movie Song of the South. For the Saturday Six staff, our biggest hurdle in justifying these wait times for Jack and Sally is that Tim Burton’s movies just don’t scream “Disney.” Everyone loves Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, but who is clamoring for his portrayal of the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland? Maybe it’s just us, but while we can see wanting to wait hours to get a picture with all the Seven Dwarfs, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, or even Chicken Little, waiting a long time for Jack and Sally just doesn’t make sense. Not to mention Jack looks more than a little bit creepy, right?
# 3 – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
We can almost hear the hate mail being typed now, but – hold on – we’re not saying IllumiNations is a bad show, just that it’s the same show we’ve all seen a thousand times and needs to be updated, if only to change the seemingly never ending slow part in the middle. [Len responds: “On behalf of all IllumiNations fans, we’d like to thank Derek for his time here at TouringPlans.com, and we hope he gets the psychological counseling he so obviously needs.”] [EDITOR’S NOTE: Recent developments indicate that dreams just may come true after all.]
# 2 – Vinylmation
There are almost an unlimited amount of things to collect in the Disney fan universe. Pins, plush, Mickey ears, prints, statues, “toothpick holders,” golf balls and pretty much every other item you can imagine. One of the more popular collectibles is vinylmation, which is so popular it has an entire store at Downtown Disney – D-Street – dedicated to it.
No one is a bigger fan of the classic design of Mickey Mouse than those of us at the Saturday Six. He is one of the most recognizable characters in the world. However, the “Mickey Mold” that Disney uses for its vinylmation series just makes almost all of the other characters just look weird. The individual artists do what they can, but they are severely hampered by the unique shape of Mickey Mouse, especially his ears. Disney has put out the “Park Starz” series of vinylmation, where the artists can create any design they want without being shackled by any mold, and we think these are incredible across the board, with our favorites being Orange Bird, Captain Rex from Star Tours, Big Al, and The Bride. Regular vinylmation though? They can all be thrown in that landfill with all those unsold Atari 2600 E.T. cartridges. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Speaking of recent developments, it is looking more and more like Disney is possibly phasing out Vinylmation. I think there is one big take away from all this news…. I NEED TO WRITE MORE OF THESE ARTICLES!]
# 1 – Toy Story Midway Mania
Toy Story Midway Mania is a good ride, but it has the long waits of a great ride. The mad rush to TSMM is the closest thing on property to Pamplona’s running of the bulls, and recently Len Testa described the amazingly fast disappearance of TSMM legacy FASTPASS tickets on an episode of WDW Today. Walt Disney World is full of incredible attractions. Whether it’s Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, or any one of a dozen rides that clearly show us the “Disney Difference,” TSMM is just a screen-based shooter that has variations on the exact same game throughout. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this writing Disney announced it would be adding a third track to help with the long waits at TSMM. While I would argue adding more family based attractions would have been a much better fix, at least this is something in the right direction
So there you have it: Six Disney Obsessions We Just Don’t Understand. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:
Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Happened at WDW
Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA “The Burgys”)
Six “Secrets” of the Portofino Bay Hotel
Six “Secrets” of the Universal Orlando Resort
Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, Morgan Crutchfield, and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
16 thoughts on “SATURDAY CLASSIX: Six Disney Obsessions We Just Don’t Understand”
Dole Whip! (That’s what he said, that’s what the man said, he said that)! I like pineapple. I like ice cream. Dole Whip is neither; it is powder and water. Ever google”DoleWhip ingredients”? It’s like the answer on an advanced chemistry exam. I’m not fundamentally opposed to powder and water; I’ve had Jello. But waiting 45 minutes for it, and only in Disney parks. Magic Mtn has Dole Whip, never seen a line. Santa Cruz Boardwalk has Dole Whip, never seena line. Menchies yogurt shops all over the country have Dole Whip. So if you have some pineapple sherbet, made wih milk (you know, the stuff from a cow), I’d love some. Otherwise, I’ll be buying a Mickey bar over there at the cart.
Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA also has a Dole Whip stand. I had to do a double-take when I saw it.
To be fair, I have also considered buying the mix for my ice cream maker at home:
the Saturday in January that was price is a holiday weekend. I would expect the resorts to have limited availability.
I can’t help but think some of these, like Toy Story, are caused by “tickle me Elmo” type group hysteria where it’s “the get” that Is The biggest payoff. More recent versions of this phenomenon might be: attractions like anna and Elsa meet and greet and, if you are TPs chat room…anything that has to do with getting a Be Our Guest dining reservation.
I will whole-heartedly say you are wrong with Midway Mania. It is very family based, despite your comment on the added track. You may have to sit in pairs, but you can compete with the whole car and the winner is displayed at the end. Each screen is different and requires different strategies. Not only that, but the theming is of a world that has touched multiple generations. This all adds up to a GREAT ride, not just a good ride.
I, however, think that Illuminations should be #1. Can’t stand that show.
I honestly thought I was the only person alive who was over Illuminations. I can’t believe that show has run so long without an update or replacement. If you told me I could only watch Illuminations or Wishes on my visit, I would pick Wishes every time, and that makes me sad. Here’s hoping the rumors are true!
I would buy a Dole Whip air freshener, or how about some Dole Whip wallpaper that tastes like Dole Whips when you lick them? (The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.)
I’m relieved you didn’t put Dole Whip, as that’s the obvious one that people tend to put in this type of post. I pretty much agree on Toy Story Mania. I like it; it’s a fun ride. It’s sort of painful at times, though. I don’t like it more than Buzz Lightyear, as I’m partial to physical sets. And TSM has huge lines! We enjoy riding it, but its popularity relates more to the other attractions at the Studios than how good it is.
Jim, if you’ve ever gone to Universal I’d love your thoughts on MIB: Alien Attack. I think it is by far and away the best shooter at any theme park here in Florida.
I agree with all points except TSMM. I happily would (and have) waited in that long line – and not just to ride, but to ride a second and third time. IMO it’s the best attraction in all of WDW.
Of course, that opinion is colored somewhat by the fact that motion sickness prevents me from experiencing most of the other “E ticket” attractions.
Great article – I agree with most of your observations! I think the turkey leg phenomenon has something to do with making regular black-sock-wearing tourists feel like cavemen. And if their car smells like meat, all the better.
I am ready for a new Illuminations, too, and I really couldn’t care less about meeting Jack Skellington.
I do think that TSMM is pretty amazing, though, and my main reason is that it’s perfect for every age. My ‘tween’ who isn’t into roller coasters loves competing with Dad, and my seventy-something mother loves it too. I agree that an hour is a long wait, but for something that everyone loves and no one has to sit out, it’s worth at least some wait.
Pins didn’t make the list but TSMM does? Where else in the world do you see people paying that amount of money for pins? What are the economics – there is an overabundance of supply and a demand that is uncanny for a device of limited use, value, and after a lanyard is full – where do you put them? At least the turkey leg doesn’t clutter up your desk.
While I don’t collect pins, I can understand why people do. In fact I have a couple myself (including the Castaway Cay 5K pin after doing that event). I think the beauty of so many (seemingly millions) of pins is that you can actually just collect an area you like. Whether it be a character, ride, park, or whatever. I actually usually get a pin at WDW hotels we stay at. Buying them to hopefully increase in value is next level bananas, but they are a relatively inexpensive collectible that are small enough to easily store.
Need more “John Carter” jokes.
Oh they are coming Mark. Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat channel.
I would add the food at Disney Parks and Resorts. While not all bad , most of it is just ok, and it is overrated and overpriced.