Remember how nobody knows the Avatar story? And so how building an entire land around it was a dumb idea? I mean, Disney Twitter was sure it was dumb!
Yeah, Disney Twitter was wrong. Pandora is incredibly impressive. The level of detail, both day and night, is just stunning. Frankly, I think this is true of all of AK. For example, I had the chance to wander the Maharaja Jungle Trek today; the ruins that you walk through are worth spending a bit exploring in their own right. And FoP? I've been on it twice so far, once with a same-day stroke of luck, once pre-booked. The first time was hard to follow because I was amped with nerves and there is so. much. going. on. Both trips had me periodically shouting "Wow!" It's amazing. The standby line this morning at one point was posted at 195 minutes. (Yes, you read that right: more than three hours) and people were still getting in line. I wouldn't wait very long for the River Journey, but it was very well-executed for what it is.
Rivers of Light is IMO under-rated. It's not A Big Spectacle, nor is it chockablock with Disney characters. So, it gets passed by. But, I like the theme and execution very much. I think if you are someone who really "gets" AK, you will like Rivers of Light. If you aren't, you may not. YMMV.
Lunch was today at Olivia's. Pork carnitas plus an iced tea was $25 or so. Somehow that wasn't nearly so bad; this was a good dish. Olivia's always comes through for me. I took Disney transport back to WL but that was relatively calm; I did not need to be here at any particular time.
Finally I've done two AM EMHs now: once at Studios and today at AK. I'm not sure I'd recommend doing this to get on The Big Ride in any park.
At Studios, I was there specifically to get on Slinky. And, that worked out, but I got a little lucky and managed to make my way up front as the crowd built along Hollywood Blvd. But, that's because I was flying solo and got lucky with the bus. I got on Slinky on maybe the 4th train out, a shade before 8. By the time I was off, Slinky's posted wait was an hour. I rode Aliens after maybe a 10-15 minute wait. By the time I got off that, the entire Land was completely slammed. If I had been even a little farther back for Slinky, I would have lost the entire first hour there, or worse.
In contrast, my bus luck for AK was not nearly as good. I got to the bus stop a bit before 7A, and there was already a decent crowd waiting. The bus arrived at 7:20. That was enough to put me far enough back that I did not have any expectation of getting on FoP. Luckily, I was not trying. But, by not trying I zigged when everyone else was zagging (to borrow an old TGM turn of phrase). I walked onto River Journey. Walked onto Primeval Hurl and was allowed to re-ride it without getting off. I then got two almost-walk-ons on Everest before the Park opened to the GP and the wait jumped to 25.
If I could not get FP+ for one of the prime attractions (Slinky, FoP, 7DMT) I think I would either skip it or hit it at Park close. If I absolutely had to use a rope drop for any of those, I would be sure to have a car or take a cab, and not rely on bus luck.
Happy belated birthday! Nice that you could close the last year's journey with what appears to be a great trip so far! Your change in attitude is apparent and, I'm sure, hard won. Must be all those rollercoasters!
Today is the day. Today is the reason I really came down. Today marks a full year of sobriety---the first of many to come.
So, other than the obvious, why is this trip different? My visits to WDW used to be an escape from the world, and a way to get in touch with bits of my emotional landscape in a safe but artificial way. They were taken alone, and that was by design, because even when I was around other people, I was truly alone. This trip I am by myself, but contentedly in solitude, and better connected to everyone around me.
I got two buttons the day I arrived.
The Birthday button I wore only on the 2nd. I've worn the "1 year" button the rest of the time. Nearly every CM who's asked about it has been genuinely thrilled. Several have shared the recovery story of close relatives. One shared their own recovery story. Many guests who have overheard have also been openly supportive. There's lots more to this that I might share later, but for now, I leave you with the back of the shirt I made for the trip that sums it all up.