Tips and Advice from a recent WDW Cast Member- PART 2/2



Epcot at night

This is part 2 of an interview with former WDW Cast Member called L.C who was able to answer all my questions about WDW. As reported last week, L.C worked at both Epcot and Blizzard Beach. Below are some questions L.C answered about Epcot, Universal Studios, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and his visit to D23 (Disneyland Fan Expo) where he shares news on the new Star Wars themed land.  His tips and experiences are below:

At Epcot – which is better – the rides or the World Pavilions?
For Epcot personally I rather enjoy seeing the world showcase over the rides and I also really enjoy the multiculturalism the park offers. Recent announcements at D23 (Disneyland fan expo) this year are bringing some new elements to the park in the new future. With the festivals on especially there’s quite a lot of marketplaces and kiosks to experience scattered around the World Showcase which celebrates the types of things on offer from around the world. From the ever popular Food and Wine to the recently added Festival of the Arts that housed all manner of artwork and performances for guests to enjoy, the experience changes each visit.

At Epcot – What is your favourite World Pavilion and why?
Out of the world pavilions my personal favourite are Mexico and Canada. Although I love the design for Japan and most of the pavilions in general these two impressed me whilst I was there recently because there was more to the pavilions than just what you see on the outside. When walking inside the pavilion towards the Oh Canada! attraction there is a running waterfall and mountainous backdrop that portrays the Canadian landscape. Mexico also contains a marketplace, shops, restaurant, museum and ride inside the Aztec Pyramid marking its location which took me by surprise when I first entered.

Japanese Pagoda at Epcot
Morocco in Epcot

China, in Epcot
What do you think is the best ride in Universal Studios?
Out of the many times I went to Universal I would have to say my favourite rides were The Hulk and Rip Ride Rock-it since I enjoy my fast rollercoasters. However all of the attractions, shops and restaurants at the Harry Potter lands for both Diagon Alley and Hogsmede are designed really well and a great experience for those like myself that are dedicated fans to the franchise.  So if you are in Orlando for even just a short while I would highly recommend getting to both Universal Parks as well to experience it all; regardless of if you are a Harry Potter fan or not.
©L.C
Any tips for a trip to the Disney Water Parks
With both water parks I believe that aiming on a weekday (preferably Mon - Wednesday)  and avoiding weekends/ summer holidays is the best course of action to avoid longer queue lines for the attractions. Early in the morning when the parks open at 10am is always a good idea in my mind since most guests still sleep in and it gives you a chance to find a good spot and get on some attractions before the crowd picks up.

Location-wise most guests tend to place themselves around the wave pool at both parks so I would suggest finding a spot in a memorable location away from the crowd instead of along both the beach fronts if you prefer some personal space whilst relaxing at the parks.

The main thing I did as a guest at Blizzard Beach was avoid using the chairlift as the main form of transport up to the attractions on Mount Gushmore. The chairlift does have great views over the park, however it is slow moving and the line can be quite long as the chairlift only fits 3 people per seat. Most guests are unaware of the stairs or don't want to use them. But if you want to get on to the attractions quicker and get more out of your day, use the stairs. There are two slope steps that you can take up the mountain which reduces the wait time and slow pace of the chair lift if you wish to be more direct and get more out of your day. That noted; the Purple Steps over by Downhill Double Dipper are less steep than the Green and can still give you access to the attractions on the Green side. Just remember that both these parks typically also have restrictions on things to wear or what you can bring so you should take note of this before you go or before you enter the queue. 
©L.C
One thing I also noticed during my time at the water parks was that guests were also unsure about protocol regarding the cross country creek/lazy river attractions at the parks so just be aware that there is no need to wait for empty floats or tubes to make their way around to the beginning as there is no guarantee that one is shortly on its way. Guests typically leave or place their tubes when exiting the water and in some cases they have been stacked outside of the creek at different stops which reduces the amount floating along for guests further down the creek.

At Blizzard Beach – What is the best ride in your opinion 
Summit Plummet, the 120 ft slide designed to look like a ski jump.
View from the  top of Blizzard Beach ©L.C

©L.C

How do you find the Orlando weather with regards to rides?
Florida's weather can fluctuate and have brief hourly rain/storms that appear midway through the day.  If the attractions do close down whilst you're visiting due to the weather just be aware that it is typically temporary and that they should open back up later once the thunderstorm clears. Most guests see the weather as closing the park down for the rest of the day but in most instances the park opens up to a significantly lower guest count as most have given up for the rest of the day. So if you stick it out and interact with the cast members in the weather shelters you should come back to a less crowded park when the attractions do open back up.

How to escape the crowds at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
In regards to basing yourself I personally liked to stay away from the crowds when setting up an area to relax on my days off. At Blizzard if you head to the right of the Ski Patrol Training Camp there is a couple of small areas of sand which are placed by the exit of Teamboat Springs. Otherwise the sand areas just further back of the beachfront have a slightly lesser crowd than the beachfront itself and is in a good distance between the main food location, Lottawatta Lodge, and Mount Gushmore with all of the attractions. 

Typhoon Lagoon has some smaller spots scattered away from the Wave Pool which may feel more spacious. Over by Crush and Gusher or the newly opened Miss Adventure are two spots where there is typically a lesser crowd and gives you more space to stretch out. Lockers are available if you wish to store items (typically $10-15 USD) which you can hire out for the full day as well as towels in case you forgot to bring some. Reserved patio spaces are also available to purchase if you wish to have more privacy and come with a server where you can order food and drinks for the day. 

Food options at the Disney Water parks?
Outside food can be brought into the water parks so if you wish to go a cheaper route you can arrive with a cooler or esky. Just be aware that no glass, sharp knives or outside alcohol can be brought into the parks and you may be asked to show the contents of your cooler upon arrival. Blizzard Beach food options include the main location Lottawatta Lodge as well as Avalanche, I.C.Expeditions and Warming Hut with open towards the middle of the day. What I can recommend from guests that I met at my time there is the ever popular Sand pail priced at $14 USD. This is a typical sand bucket which is filled to the brim with different flavours of ice cream like a sundae and topped with sprinkles which can be shared with the family. So if you want to give that a shot you can find them over at I.C. Expeditions at Blizzard Beach or Happy Landings Ice Cream at Typhoon.

Are you looking forward to seeing what Disney will do with the Star Wars themed lands to be completed in 2019?

Both the new lands (Toy Story and Star Wars) in Hollywood Studios are being constructed at the back of the park. The main concern in some peoples mind at the moment is that too much effort is placed on bringing Star Wars into Hollywood Studios and this has taken over some considerable space. Star Wars in Hollywood Studios currently consists of Star Tours and its shop over on the west side of the park (which was its only Star Wars attraction back when I was younger at was then known as MGM studios); Star Wars Launch Bay on the east side that has taken the art of animation attractions spot; two theatres which show films regarding the filming and an overall montage of the story; and in addition to this two performances at the centre of the park which go off at different times throughout the day plus the well constructed Star Wars Celebration Fireworks Show at the end of the night. I hope some of the Hollywood aspect of the park returns and some space in Hollywood Studios is reclaimed for attractions focused on movies and film making. My family loved the art of animation attraction and we would love to have it back.

Just before I came home I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the D23 expo (Disney Fan club expo) in Anaheim to actually see the model and details for the Star Wars Land. Both the attractions coming to the parks and the land itself sounds incredible and if done to the same level as Pandora will definitely be worth the visit. One is going to be taking place during a battle between the Rebellion and the First Order and the second is to be taken aboard the Millenium Falcon itself on a special mission. For all the Star Wars fans as well D23 have also released information  detailing a Star Wars themed hotel where the hotel guest will be immersed inside the Star Wars universe and given their own story inside the franchise. From the information they've currently provided and with the opening of Toy Story Land around the same time, Hollywood Studios in Orlando is going to be given quite an increase in attractions the next few years.

Concept artwork of a Mum and her daughter by the Millenium Falcon, D23,
©L.C

D23 Star Wars model exhibit, ©L.C
D23 Star Wars model exhibit, ©L.C


Thanks to L.C for letting me interview him about his Disney World experiences. I hope you as readers found it interesting and useful for any future trips. You can read about other Disney Parks below:


Disneyland Anaheim
Disneyland Hong Kong
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disneyland 

Until next week,
K.J



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