21 May, 2006

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.


At 9:58 PM, May 21, 2006, Blogger John said...

You make reference to the company not shipping until 10 days after they received your order. Did you pay by credit card or check? The reason I asked is that, just today, I saw an order form for a company that said all orders paid by personal check would be held 10 days before shipping (presumably, to allow time for the check to clear or bounce).

At 10:17 PM, May 21, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

It was actually via Paypal, and the money was deducted from our account right away.

In their emails the company said several times that they were just overwhelmed with orders.

At 9:52 AM, January 05, 2007, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I have noticed they are now selling the 20 DVD set for $39.00. So at that price it would be a good deal then? I have been looking at them and "almost" purchased them...but after reading your review have been holding off. Thanks for the info!

At 9:58 AM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Kat Coble said...


I think that's a fair price--if you feel you can stomach the extreme shakiness of the camera angles.

At 10:11 AM, January 05, 2007, Anonymous Jonathan said...

LOL...Well when I was looking at the samples they provide, "specifically" the Splash Mountain video, I did notice (and HOPE) that the poor camera work was because it was a water ride. :) Now I think that wasn't the case. One of the reasons I wanted to get this was my own video I shot was of that kind of low quality AND I didn't shoot that much because I either wanted to enjoy the ride OR thought it would look awful. :)

At 10:14 AM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Kat Coble said...

The Splash Mountain video is the BEST one on all 20 of the DVDs.

I'm convinced that's why they chose it.

At 10:40 AM, January 05, 2007, Anonymous Jonathan said...

UGH :( Well then...I will NOT be getting that video then. I actually JUST purchased two DVD's, the "Disney Where Dreams Come True Magic Kingdom" DVD and "Animal Kingdom" DVD. Do you have those...if so...i gotta question for ya. :) I bought them off ebay for $25.99 each(plus shipping and handling of course) and couldn't wait to pop em in to look at on my HDTV...what a disappointment..it looks HORRIBLE. The video quality was analog, I moved the DVD player to a 25in tube TV (and my laptop) and it looks ok. VHS quality I would say. Now I wonder if this is a copy (if so the labels and case sleeves they use are good)....or is this a poor Disney production. I hope not the latter. :) The seller is a major Disney Ebayer "fourparks". I will be sending them an email before I leave feedback.

At 11:36 AM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I don't have either of those DVDs but I'd imagine most of the WDW Vidheads aren't doing HDTV-quality stuff yet.

In fact, I only know of one fan HDTVer (whose name escapes me right now, but I heard of them through Inside The Magic) and they only do short ride stuff for the web--no DVD marketing.

I think it'll be awhile before any of the fanvids are high enough quality to look good on HDTV.

At 11:52 AM, January 05, 2007, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Well the video's I purchased are not Fan Productions. These are produced by Disney and for sale on the Disney Property. I saw them when I was at Disney but didn't pick them up. Now I wish I had of course. I am left now wondering if the poor video is on Disney's end (which I doubt) or if this is a (nice) copy. There was also an issue with the DVD's being new (they say) and when they arrived at my home they were in Shrink Rap (not the hard plastic kind but the reshink kind), it reminded me of when I used to work at a major Gaming Retailer and we would "re-shrink" new games people returned and resell them. They had marked through the price on the shrink rap with a marker than went through the shrink rap and onto the DVD. :(

At 11:26 AM, October 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is funny that someone from this company posted on your blog -- about the time it took to ship them -- and when you shot them down they didn't post again. I ordered my discs -- of DL -- over a month ago and still haven't got them yet.
I got mine at a way lower price, but it sounds if they may not even be worth what I pad for them.
What a disappointment. Perhaps they should call the company "Killing the Magic."
Wish I would have found your blog sooner. Good work.

Mark in Montana

At 5:03 PM, March 17, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are too kind - literally! This is the biggest waste of money I've seen for quite awhile. The videos are blurred, shaky, or too dark to see. Our home movies are 10 times better than these. DO NOT encourage these people with an order!

Steve in Illinois

At 8:59 PM, August 27, 2009, Anonymous Pete said...

Thanks for the heads up on this guys! I was literally hovering over the order button on these and decided I'd do a search for some reviews.

Thanks for saving me a huge disappointment... not to mention some $$$


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