While surfing the Net we all come across many articles about how great Walt Disney World is. Top 5 lists abound recommending everything from the best attractions to the tastiest foods and more. And I’ve even written some of these lists myself!
But today I thought it would be only fair to look at the other side of the Disney Dollar, so to speak. Is everything at WDW worth the time?
Here is my Top 5 list of what I consider to be time wasters out of any Disney vacation. I’ve chosen only one from each of the four Parks and one from Downtown Disney:
MK: Tom Sawyer Island
I’m sure back in 1955 when Disneyland first opened this was a fantastic place for kids! Davy Crockett was popular as were Westerns in general. And the works of Mark Twain were still regarded with respect in schools, unlike today. So the chance to crawl over a turn-of-the-century island with a cave and a military Fort must have been almost irresistible.
Even in 1971 when WDW opened, the pull of Tom Sawyer was still strong. But we have to admit that Disney was offering a lot more entertainment on the shores of the Island back then. Characters like Huck and Becky roamed the paths as well as a few soldiers and Indians.
But now it’s just a big empty Island really. You simply walk around and then leave. For me and mine it simply isn’t worth the raft ride until Disney adds some more magic perhaps as they did briefly at Disneyland with the Pirate makeover.
EPCOT: Wonders of Life
Not so much a waste of time anymore as a waste of space. I never got to see the attractions in this Pavilion, which I regret. Cranium Command and Body Wars only exist on YouTube these days, which is a shame. But things change and that’s not a bad thing. If the changes bring better things.
But in the case of Wonders it was simply shut down. Now it’s just a big empty building taking up prime real estate that we’re all paying to see! Oh, Disney does open it for conferences and lectures during The Flower and Garden and the Wine and Food Festivals, but it offers a bland experience at best.
Without a corporate sponsor to pump money into this building, don’t expect anything new in the back corner of Innoventions East anytime soon.
DHS: Backlot Tour
In a nutshell: Just stop already! This ‘attraction’ was never really a great thing to begin with, and so as Disney has raided it’s footprint for other attractions over the years it’s become even less inviting. When I last bothered to give it a chance, the special effects demonstration at the beginning was broken, so perhaps the best part of the ‘attraction’ was missing. Then we just rode past rooms with stuff in them before going out into the sun to drive past other Park Guests who were walking in the same area.
Hardly an exclusive backstage pass! With rumors that this ‘attraction’ will soon be closed entirely swirling around the Internet, I say: It couldn’t happen too soon.
DAK: Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Do your kids dream of going to school while at WDW? I didn’t think so, but that’s how it may feel for some when they visit the Watch. It’s filled with educational opportunities, but they usually require a lot of milling around and reading. You may see an animal being cared for. But not likely. You may see a candid moment in an animal’s life on an Animal Cam. But not likely. Getting the idea?
It tries hard to be both educational and entertaining, but simply doesn’t have enough to work with.
Having said that, I do enjoy the train ride over to the Watch on the Harambe Line. And sometimes you can meet the Talking Trashcan! But after that, plan to be bored.
DTD: Pleasure Island / Hyperion Wharf
Pleasure Island is no more and Hyperion Wharf is in a complete stall. There simply isn’t anything there now.
When Pleasure Island was up and running, I never saw it as a viable family experience anyway. Mainly designed around the nightclub culture, it was more for partying adults than your typical Disney Guest. And the stores in that section of DTD were not usually Disney themed.
But that was all to change with the coming of Hyperion Wharf! A new family environment with this and that and blah blah blah. So where is it? When will it be finished? No one knows.
So until Disney finishes whatever it’s trying to do over the bridge, this area wins as the biggest time waster, and space waster, of DTD.
In conclusion, I’ll just say that for some areas, I found it hard to find a time waster, while for others I had to choose between two or three. Do you agree with my list, or do you have a bigger time waster for one or more of the Parks?
Be a sport and let them be known! Perhaps we can save some unsuspecting WDW Guest from boredom!
Oh.. and I forgot about Backlot– been there( a few times) done that- not interested anymore 🙂
Tom Sawyer Island is the other one I knew I wouldn’t get away with! lol But again, while anyone with kids would find this area inviting, ‘single’ adults not so much.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Ok.. have to put my two cents in here 😉 lol. My daughter and Nicole’s son LOVE Tom Sawyer Island. I think they love the feeling of running free without a major crowd in front of them… I love the spooky caves and the view of haunted mansion and some other areas as well, they make for great photos.. Is it my FAVORITE place in the park?.. no.. but it is still a cool area for kids to not wait in lines and run free. Wonder of Life.. I am so sad over the closure of this pav. It was awesome and I LOVED all it’s attractions- I feel Rebekah has been cheated out of a great experience 🙁 Onto Rafiki’s Planet Watch (Ironically I am actually writing a post on this right now)- I can understand your viewpoint on this… Rebekah does love to take the train ride out- but it isn’t a place that holds her attention for great lengths- but if I took my Girl Scout Brownie troop there- I know I could make it great fun for them- It is not a thrill ride.. but there are some fun things to see and find. Before 10am is your best time to hit it.. maybe right after Kiloj- Safari :)….. and lastly Pleasure Island! Family Fun spot? You are right.. that it is not. BUT.. man oh man.. when I was in my 20’s ( and we are talking awhile back, lol) I had some awesome! times there and the pictures to prove it! We took a family trip to WDW when my brother graduated from high school and my Dad thought it was the greatest place ever! But my Dad likes a good party. haha- I think Disney made a wise choice in it’s decision to move out of that “club” phase onto a more family friendly atmosphere…. ok.. so that’s my two cents 😀
I have to agree with Tom Sawyer Island because, quite frankly, as a family we’ve never gone over there. I say on every trip that I want to at least go over and check it out (and ride the Riverboat) but we never do. The boat is usually closed when we are there, and we fill our time with other things and the Island always gets missed.
Of course I agree with your Epcot choice since nothing is really there anymore. And the Backlot Tour – such a shame. I am so over that special effects show at the beginning. The prop room is kinda fun (the first time or two). I just wish they would add more to the actual “backlot” like they used to have – more movie/show sets, etc.
I kinda like Rafiki’s Planet Watch – but then again, I’m a homeschool mom. So, we find a great deal of education at Disney – and we count our days there as school. LOL
I wonder how the new Disney Springs will be in comparison to what’s left of Pleasure Island? It will be interesting to see the transformation.
I thought some might disagree with my choice of Rafiki’s Planet Watch (I know you homeschoolers are out there watching!) I guess that one might only be valid from my adult-without-kids perspective, but I can see how good it would be for parents.
Thanks for your thoughts!