Relive The Magic: 18 DVD Set Review
Now is one of those times when I have a really good answer for the "why blog?" question. Because I get to give an honest review of a product that I hope people will find when they Google "Relive The Magic 18 DVD Set Walt Disney World WDW". I know they will. I Googled it two weeks ago and read many reviews.
All of those reviews had two things in common. 1) Glowing praise for this compilation and 2) Paid "associates" of the company. If people buy the DVDs through a link from your site, you get $50+. Not bad. If I stood to make fifty bucks a pop, I'd praise it too.
I don't make any money off this review. Or these DVDs. So, this is an honest recap.
For starters, I am a WDW junkie. I am the person who has downloaded the Monorail speech off the web on more than one occasion. I'm the person who melts when they hear the water slap the side of the boat on the Jungle Cruise. If there was ever a person who was gonna spend $200 on DVDs of Walt Disney World, it'd be me. Fortunately (?) my spouse suffers from the same condition, and we gladly forked over for these as a joint birthday/anniversary present. After we read the other highly-positive reviews.
The customer service people at RLM.com are very kind, helpful and forthcoming. It does take awhile to get the DVDs, though. Keep in mind that they are most definitely not an Amazon or other big-box webtailer. I think they wait to actually burn the DVDs one at a time when they get the order. Because they didn't even ship our discs until 10 days after receiving our money. However they did overnight them at no extra charge to compensate for the delay.
The discs arrived. Each DVD is in a coloured sleeve, and the contents of the DVD are printed onto its face, viewable through a cellophane window in the disc envelope. There is no rhyme or reason to the discs. That right there should give you an idea of the quality of the video workmanship. It's not unusual to have a DVD with two features from Fantasyland alongside three features from MGM studio. So if you're looking for a soup-to-nuts walkthrough of each park, you'll have to reburn your own DVDs in sequential order. This is not mentioned at all on the website. In fact, they list events in the order in which they should appear on the DVDs. Many of the "dark rides" are listed as selling features on both the main site and the many review sites. BUT....for Snow White, Peter Pan and Pirates of the Carribbean be forewarned. You'll sit through long minutes of near-total darkness. If you feel like closing your eyes and soaking in the audio, you'll be fine. If you're expecting a blow-by-blow ridethrough with all the little goodies you'll be sorely disappointed.
Other rides, like Tower of Terror are listed, but are only shown in part. TOT only shows the lobby queuing area and the Serling intro video. There is no ride through and no visual of the drop.
BUT the part I need to warn you about the most--and pay close attention--is the fact that if you have any kind of motion sickness at all THESE ARE NOT THE VIDEOS FOR YOU. The camera operator has no basic skills with panning and scanning. He'll see one thing on the right hand side and then zoomreallyfast to catch something on his left-hand side. He'll pan very fast up and down and pull frames rapidly in and out of focus. And this isn't even on rides. This is on walkthroughs. I literally became nauseated during the tour of Mickey's Toontown. Not to mention all of the times the camera is held at an angle.
Another important item to note is that these were filmed during Christmastime. That can be good and it can be bad. If you are a Disney World Christmas junkie, you'll be in seventh heaven. Swatches of garland are everywhere, and the giant Christmas tree is viewable from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority portion. If, like me, you don't care for the WDW Christmas decorations this can detract. Even more distracting is the background audio. Various places that have distinctive soundtracks (Wilderness Lodge, Hollywood Boulevard,etc.) have their "normal" soundtrack replaced by Christmas carols. Yeah, I'm one of those people who've downloaded all the Wilderness Lodge background tunes and built a playlist for them. So I was quite bummed to have the walkthrough featuring seasonal music.
When all is said and done, I think the videos are worth a look if you would like to see bits of WDW in small doses. (Even my stout-hearted spouse was a bit seasick after 45 minutes of various discs.) I think they are WAY overpriced, given their poor filming quality and the number of rides that are not actually visible. I'd say they're worth about $65 tops. And that's ONLY if you are a complete fanatic--like the Cobles.
For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis and aren't into WDW please forgive this commercial message.