So my fiance and I went to Disney (DIS) World in Florida this past weekend. It was a last minute thing as we live only a couple of hours away, but nevertheless we went full tourist and got a hotel for Saturday night and passes for both Saturday and Sunday. I had been to Disney two years ago (just a one day, quick hit) but to be honest with you I didn't get quite as into it as I did this time. Let me go ahead and lay out some things that I noticed on this trip. I will only go over the first day to keep my story short.
HOW DO YOU SEE IT?
In my opinion there are two types of people that go to Disney. The first are the people that go and get completely lost in the "magic" of the parks (my fiance). They see the characters as semi-real, the landscape as a portal to another dimension, and of course the rides as transport vehicles through the scenes of their favorite movies. They see Disney just as children do (if they aren't children) and truly love every minute in a "I'm a prince/princess" type of way.
Then there are people like myself. While I love the rides, the newer Frozen ride is spectacular by the way, I also see Disney for what it is; a money making machine. It was unbelievable to me at just how innovative Disney has become at not only the marketing, but also the ease of spending money in the name of entertainment. The logistics behind this must be even more unbelievable.
We enter the hotel at around 11am on Saturday morning, a full two hours later than we had wanted, and are stopped by a security guard that checks us in by our IDs. He welcomes us with the happiest comments I have ever heard and our magic begins.
Fiance sees - Disney is the happiest place ever!
I see - Wow how do they train/hire people like this?
Next we enter the hotel and park. We go inside the hotel and check-in. We also buy "Magic Bands" (mine Star Wars, hers Minnie), that will connect all of our information including credit card, room card (which you don't even get if you have a band) and much more. We go put the bags in the room, using the bands to open the door, then head back to the lobby.
Fiance sees - These are so convenient!
I see - What a way for Disney to get you spending money without knowing how much!
We walk less than 50 yards to the hotel's bus stop. The hotel has buses that run to every park so that you never have to drive. A bus picks us up within minutes and we are off to the Magic Kingdom.
Fiance sees - Disney is so nice to provide this!
I see - I wonder how many times do they run these buses per day?
We get dropped off at our bus stop, with the driver reminding us that we will be picked up at stop 26, and we move to the security. We stop at the bag check and quickly get our bags checked by another "happiest person on earth". Next we walk to the entrance. We have no tickets but guess what? The tickets are on our bands! We scan our bands on a small pillar that lights up green, then scan a fingerprint to sync our tickets with only us.
Fiance sees - I told you this was convenient!
I see - Hold on a second. What are they really doing with these prints?
We enter the park and immediately open up Disney's free app that shows us a map, ride wait time, and allows us to sync our fast passes. We see that Ariel's Grotto is only a 10 minute wait and immediately head there. As we wait in line I check out the app in real time, on Disney's free Wi-Fi.
Fiance sees - We can literally do everything so much quicker now!
I see - Who runs the servers here?
After exiting the Grotto we are off and running. From one ride to the next we are having a blast and I have completely lost my sense of business and instead have been sucked into a child's mindset as we go from riding with pirates to being haunted in a mansion. We make a quick pit stop for lunch at a place that serves a great fish and chips. There are a plethora of workers herding well over 200 people into one line, that separates into 7 lines, with 7 cashiers, and 14 food workers. From entering the door to sitting for food we wait only 15 minutes.
Fiance sees - This food is actually pretty good and cheaper than I thought!
I see - What's the revenue per hour of this restaurant?
We leave lunch with full bellies and a full bottle that I have refilled at the local water fountain. Off we go again, ride after ride, with minimal wait until we get to the almighty coasters. We enter a line that says 80 minutes above the line start and are handed a small scan card by an employee. "Give this to the employee when you get on the ride" she says.
Fiance sees - Okay, no problem.
I see - Oh, so that is how they get those wait times!
We wait in line for the coasters and as we do are occupied by the props that are placed in the lines. There are placards with stories, things to spin and push, and other distractions of the same sort. The kids in line (and yes us) play with them until we reach the front of the line. Who would have thought that we just stood for 53 minutes?! (Yes I timed it)
Fiance sees - Yes we can ride!
I see - What a genius way to distract from that line!
We finally hit darkness and the firework show is about to begin. The music blasts up and the fireworks begin to go up in sync with the music. The soundtrack goes from movie to movie with the air show following along. We stand there together and watch the fireworks as the whole park has gone silent except for the blasts above Cinderella's castle. After the fireworks we ride a few more rides then get on the bus back to the hotel. The bus is filled with small children and their parents, both looking exhausted but still somehow ecstatic. We reach our stop and exit with a "Have a great night" from the driver. Entering the hotel there is a man at the bar piano singing Disney songs. We go over, have a drink, and sing along with the crowd until the late hours of the night. We soon retire to the room and fall asleep underneath princess pictures and a headboard that has an LED firework show if you press a button.
Fiance sees - This has been magical!
I see - This really has been magical!