Living the Disney Life:  Magic Kingdom and Epcot (September 18)

With the reopening of the Haunted Mansion Rebekah and I headed into the park late last Saturday night. But we got a call while waiting for the Monorail letting us know it was down. We went in anyway and waited but alas, it was not do be. My next chance to get there would be Tuesday the 18th (Rebekah went in on her own on Monday to ride it). We were able to get right in as there was no wait. Here are my impressions (Note: I'm not the most observant person in the world, so this isn't a comprehensive look. For a complete list of changes and video from the new ride, see LP Lotion)…

The whole place looks and sounds really, really great. My all time favorite ride deserves this.

  • Stretch Room: Sounds great! Amazing what a different sound effects can make.
  • Changing Portraits: As a Disneyland vet it's nice to see them here
  • Escher Room: The endless staircases are awesome. Easily my favorite addition.
  • Madame Leota: She floats! What an amazing effects.
  • The attic: I love it. The paintings are awesome. I can imagine guests who aren't intimately familiar with the ride debating each other over whether or not the husbands had heads. I loved the changes here except…
  • The bride: The one thing I don't like. I don't like the look of they've chosen for the face (purely subjective, obviously). I really don't like the dialogue. And while often I like the projection of video onto a figure or animatronic, in this case I think it's just a little too much.

But the quibbles are minor and the improvements are many, the updated Haunted Mansion is awesome! Afterwards I took a walk throughout the Magic Kingdom (see LP Lotion for pictures). The park was pretty quiet and the new Main Street Halloween decor is wonderful and very funny in places.

A couple of hours after returning home we got a call from a friend at Epcot who said the new Italy restaurant was open. So out we headed for our first experience at Tutto Italia Ristorante. The new restaurant is run by the Patina Group. They run a number of restaurants at Disneyland's Downtown Disney but this is their first restaurant inside a Disney park. Right now the restaurant looks pretty similar to how it did as Alfredo's. It was only down for a short time for this change. After the new year it'll go down for an extended refurbishment and reopen again towards the end of 2008 with a new name and a new look.

Anyway, on to the restaurant. First the good:

  • The service was excellent!
  • The freebie appetizer is great. A couple of varieties of bread plus marinated olives, garden vegetables pinzimonio relish, eggplant relish and olive oil dipping sauces.
  • The desserts were awesome! I had the ricotta cheesecake and Rebekah had the cannoli. Both were amazing!

The so-so:

  • The entrees. My dish was very good. Rebekah's dish was just ok as was the mozzarella and tomatoes which is key for us at an Italian restaurant.

The not-so-good:

  • The prices. Dinner for three with a soup, two salads, three entrees, three desserts and five non-alcoholic specialty drinks was $175 before Disney Dining Experience discount and tip.  And all the entrees ordered were vegetarian. Seemed a bit steep to me.

The verdict…
If the price were lower or the entrees better it might become a favorite because the desserts are so, so good. And it's important to remember, this was only its second day of operation. So we'll definitely be trying it again after they've had a chance to settle in. It's not a bad addition to the World Showcase, just not as good as I was hoping for (and hopefully it will become).

We rushed out to beat the Illuminations crowd and got to the parking lot near the end. I turned around and got this shot…

With an ending like this, you know it was a great Disney day!




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