Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Tomorrowland to Future World and Why it's Okay

If I had an awesome, catchy opening sentence or paragraph regarding Tomorrowland and Future World, it would definitely go here. But I don't. So let's just jump in!

If You Had Wings didn't even have wings!

Circle Vision 360. Mostly unnecessary.
Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland has gone through one hell of an identity crisis. When it opened in 1971, much like Disneyland's version, it was striving for realism and the wonders that the future holds. It reached far into the future to bring us such fantastical marvels like driving a car at 6 MPH on the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway (then called the Grand Prix Raceway.) Or you could go watch Circle-Vision 360 to see what the world would look like if you had eyes and the ability to turn around and look at things! Amazing! Want more? Head on over to If You Had Wings to experience flying in a mediocre airliner to outdated locales. Or skip your happy ass over to Flight to the Moon to watch televisions in the floor and ceiling...

Flight to the Moon. I wish an alien would burst out of the center
and start devouring the audience... Hey, that's a great idea!

Huh... the future in 1971 sucked.

What was Disney World to do? They were shooting for the future and ended up face-down in a steaming pile of the present. Then, in 1982, Epcot opened with two lands. Two massive, sprawling, glorious lands: Future World and World Showcase. This was a different sort of theme park. One the world wasn't really ready to accept yet. But sucks to the world! Epcot is awesome!

Spaceship Earth: Gateway to Future World

The Universe of Energy. Really long. Really fun.
Nothing says "Future!" like robot butlers on the no-longer-with-us Horizons.

 But the key here was Future World. Finally, a land that actually looked into the future, taking technology from the past and stretching it into the times beyond our grasp. Everything from marine biology, to horticulture, to energy resources, to a world on the go! Man, this place had everything, and it did not disappoint! Finally we had a real vision of a real-world future to look forward to.

Inside the Land pavilion

Concept art for the new Test Track

Tomorrowland today! Not based in reality at all!
But what about Tomorrowland back at the Magic Kingdom? What would be the point of having two lands competing for the same vision? Here's where Tomorrowland got set free. It's almost as if some bright Imagineer said "Hey, screw the real future! This is the Magic Kingdom! Let's just make a science fiction future!" And that's exactly what Tomorrowland has become today. We can go shoot the hell out of robot bad guys on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. We can take our own rocket to the stars in Space Mountain. Want to step through a wild portal to the land of monsters? You can do that! Because this is science fiction, and science fiction doesn't care about your piddly piece of reality. You can even visit a galactic prison and help contain an adorable little menace named Stitch (though most would advise against this.)
Space Mountain. What more needs to be said?

Kick Zurg butt with Buzz Lightyear!
With this change, a stubborn portion the Disney fan community has erupted. Apparently there are people that refuse to accept the fact that Tomorrowland is no longer set in reality, to which I say: Settle down. Take a deep breath, and stop holding on to your delusional thoughts. Tomorrowland is basically a futuristic Fantasyland now. And that's fine, because just down the road, Future World at Epcot is picking up the slack, and we can enjoy both.

 Although you can still drive around a boring raceway at 6 MPH... But for the sake of this post, we'll pretend that doesn't currently exist.

Monday, February 25, 2013

WDW's Mono-stale

Walt Disney World's monorail system opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971 and was intended as transportation from the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) to the only park. It also served as transportation from the TTC to EPCOT Center when that park opened. Way back then it served it's main purpose. Now I suppose it sort of does in a stale dirty way.

What once screamed "The future of transportation!" now screams "I'm from the time cocaine was big!" 
Lets face it kids, the monorail needs help and aside from a few hotels and two parks, it goes nowhere fast. I'm not saying I hate it, but I really try to avoid riding it. It has no charm, it has the feel that hobos are on it when I'm not and at night it's packed tighter than a sardine can at a porn convention.
Take this. Or you could take the ferry. I recommend the ferry. 
I prefer the ferry boats to get to the MK.  Maybe it's because I used to pretend I was a sailor, but the boats are just as fast and they are all open and airy.  Also, when some one pukes on deck they are immediately thrown in the lake with the brain eating amoebas and the deck is simply hosed off. Oh, and you can move away from the vomit hole. Not the monohell. You will stand there next to the chunder soaking into the carpet and you will like it! a Playdough factory vomited down the side.
I will admit that I do hop on the EPCOT line when transferring from the Magic Kingdom or vice versa.  Speaking of which, the monostale could be functional easy enough. Walt Disney World just needs to stop wasting money turning the tickets into armbands and extend the track to the other parks and a handful of other resorts. A line to Hollywood studios and vicinity resorts and yet another line to Animal Kingdom and resorts on the way there would be sick! "But Josh, that costs money!" No shit? I thought they just called up Pete's imaginary dragon and he pooped out tracks. No, you stay out of this Internet forums, this is my blog.
The monorail also doubles as a billboard.

The other thing, as I mentioned, is that it is filthy in those things. Not that Disney World is the best at housekeeping lately. To that, I say, clean up your room and no dinner until it is done. If I wanted to pay to see dirty shit I would go to Vegas... Which is fitting, because when the Las Vegas monorail first began operation between two stations, it used two retired Disney World monorail trains. Dirty enough for Disney, dirty enough for Vegas.
"We won't paint this thing unless it's making money for us!" 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Podcast Episode 6!

Wooty wootin'! We made it to episode 6! You can listen on the player over there to the right under the Amazon banner, or by clicking HERE, or by subscribing on iTunes! Buckle up, because this week things get out of hand! In the best way! We discuss the rumors surrounding Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Josh wants to switch the Autopia cars from gas to electric. Tim throws out an idea to build a Labyrinth labyrinth at Hollywood Studios, just because he likes Labyrinth. There's some Oscar talk, a dash of Downtown Disney, and some peeing in lines at the parks. I wish I was joking. Oh how badly I wish I was joking... And then there's a listener question. Enjoy this!

Also, from the corrections department, when we're answering the listener question, we meant Maharajah Jungle Trek, not the Pangani Forest Trail. You'll see. Tell a friend! Support the show by clicking the Amazon banner and making your normal purchases! Follow us on Twitter @mickeymutineers! And uh...other things as well!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tribute to Tony Baxter

Tony Baxter
A few weeks ago, one of the most beloved current Imagineers stepped into the world of retirement. There are speculations of why he did it so suddenly, and most Disney fan sites have written about it, so I figured my input at this point was moot. So instead, let's take a look back at his accomplishments in pictures! Because a picture is worth at least seventy five words. Maybe more. But definitely more than I want to write. So here we go! The attractions we love, brought to you by Tony Baxter:

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland
Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland
Splash Mountain

Disneyland Paris. Yes, the whole park.

Star Tours

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The original Journey Into Imagination

New Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-through at Disneyland

The odds are that you absolutely love at least one of these attractions. That being the case, Tony Baxter has touched your life somehow. He will be missed at Imagineering and we wish him the best in his future endeavors. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Paying it Forward

I used to think the internet was just a bottomless pit of hatred and despair. And I still do. But, like Darth Vader, there is some good in it. So I'd like to point some of that out to you. If you enjoy our blog or podcast, then here are some others you might like. If we're a little too obscene or inappropriate, then you'll really enjoy these. These have been some of our bigger supporters and friends, and it's only right to throw some high fives back to them.

Jambo Everyone Some great Animal Kingdom stuff can be found here.

Plus the Magic A great blog of all things Disney. Wordless Wednesday is always a creative post to look forward to each week.

Mouse on the Mind Another blog featuring all things Disney. Funny, informative, and super nice people!

Disney With Me Another blog for all things Disney (why do I keep writing that? I'm pretty sure these all are all things Disney blogs!) But it is not to be missed! Trust me. I get bored when I read, but not at Disney With Me. Always a good time!

Modern Mouse Radio! It's a fun informative blog. It's a podcast. And it's awesome. They got to interview Rolly Crump, for crap sake! Check these guys out!

Epcast Fellow podcasters of the highest degree! Fairly new, just like us. Entertaining. Funny. I like them! You should too!

So please, everyone, check out these blogs and podcasts. They're really good! I'm not sure if acceptance and recognition from the insanity of Mickey Mutineers is what they're looking for, but bah! They got it! Support them, thank you for supporting us, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter!!!

Hey everyone, how's your week going so far? I hope its better than a kick to the nuts, cause if it's not, perhaps this post will put a smile on your face. Its full of good stuff, nostalgia, loud noises...alright, so its about one ride that resided in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. The ride doesn't even exist anymore, but it scared the crap out of everyone who went on it time and time again. This ride almost made Jake pee his pants...almost! He was really close! Of course, the liter of Mountain Dew he had consumed before the ride didn't help. As everyone can tell from the title, I'm talking about the one, the only, Alien Encounter!
Past this sign, terror awaits you.

The pre-show room.
This ride had it all. It had a clever story build up with a nice "testing room", a funny, yet sinister robot, and a little alien named Skippy. Now this Skippy was the real star of the show. He was cute, cuddly, oh man, I wanted to take him home and hide him in my closet! You know, because that's what you do when you bring home a cute alien... Anyway, this Skippy is just minding his own business when the sinister robot known as S.I.R. (Simulated Intelligence Robotics) who was voiced by Tim Curry, tests the teleportation device in front of the audience to give us an idea of how it works.

S.I.R. is uncaring.
Sure enough, Skippy disappears from the left side of the room, and reappears on the right side, only somethings gone horribly wrong. The cute cuddly Skippy that everyone wanted to take home and hide in their closets was burned to a crisp, and glowing! But on a good note, the teleportation did indeed work. S.I.R then makes Skippy disappear indefinitely. That's right folks, the damn robot killed Skippy! When parents ignored the warning signs out side of this attraction that warned that the ride is “intense and unintended for children under the age of 12”, they soon realized that, indeed, the Walt Disney Company was not lying. I tried not to laugh at those parents as their little ones began to ask what happened to Skippy!

Poor little Skippy.
After that fun pre-show, you would finally get to sit inside of a round room that was used for an old ride called Mission to Mars. Same seats, however a bit modified. As you chose your seat, you were then instructed to put on the shoulder restraints so you can't get out of your seat! Those things were so secure that I think the HULK would have a hell of a time ripping you out. So there you sat, in a chair with roller coaster type restraints wondering if you perhaps made a poor decision in choosing this ride. Too late to change your mind, though...the terror was about to begin.

The tube from which terror is born.
The lights went dark and some humanoid alien was on a screen talking about some jibber jabber, and that they were going to teleport some dude from their planet to ours to talk about something. I didn't listen to that part, I was still wandering if somehow this ride blasts off and we go through ten loops! Why the hell else would you need shoulder restraints? Well, I learned that teleportation doesn't go so well, because that's what the pre-show taught me (R.I.P Skippy), so I knew something bad was about to happen.

As soon as the teleportation started, my gut served me well. We were in a crap storm of trouble! The teleporting messed up (big surprise) and the computer scanners showed something huge, bug like, and rather unfriendly was locked inside the teleport tube. Steam is blowing out of pipes everywhere, Aliens are on the screens screaming about not to worry, and also about how there's no way the creature can get out. The shields around the tube lift, the thing inside of it is pretty much my worst night mare, and holy shit, the lights go out, glass shatters, air blasts punch you right in the face, I pee my pants, the lights come back on and the tube is shattered. Not only is the tube shattered, but so is my heart, because I know I’m about to die. To my horror there isn't an alien in the tube any longer...its in the room with all of us, and we’re strapped to our seats, no where to go.
Commence self-pissing.

I weep, the lights go out and I feel something run behind me. That freaked me out. I felt the shoulder harness compress upon my shoulders and I knew I was about to be food for an ungodly creature! Just then the audience hears some sorry soul scream bloody murder as the creature’s battle cry rattles the entire seating area. I don’t remember the poor mans name, but I remember him screaming, a crunching noise, warm blood (just water) splattering on everyone's face, and then silence...

Promotional art, but a very accurate depiction.
Where was the wretched beast now? I heard something on the screen stating they were going to lure it back into the tube, but I was more worried about the warm breath that was on the back of my neck, and that steady low growl! Yep, I literally shit in my shorts! The sucker was right behind me, I was next! As I sat there realizing that up to that point in my life I hadn't really lived, its wet tongue licked the top of my head (this really happened on the ride) and it bellowed another scream just before some how they lured it back into the tube!

The lights turn on, the bug's in the tube, some lady next to me is squeezing my hand so hard I thought she was in labor, and then BOOOOM!!! The bug explodes, we get all wet, I start crying tears of joy that everyone is still alive,(except for that brave soul who’s blood we all wore on our faces), and the ride ends as brilliantly as it started. As my brother and I sat there, hearts still pounding, pants full of urine, I realized then that Disney is capable of straight up scaring the hell out of people at will!

Ugh. Just...ugh. Too cute. Too many smiles in the audience.
Not enough horrific terror. 
 Brilliant ride, amazing affects, and now it's been taken over by Stitch, a cute, furry, less menacing alien, because everyone complained that the ride Alien Encounter was too intense for their children. If they would just read the signs! It said in big bold letters that it wasn't meant for kids under the age of 12. I feel that they were using their kids as a scapegoat, the parents were the ones afraid, and rightfully so, that ride was more intense than waking up next to a warthog with a wedding dress!

(Editor's note: Alien Encounter is the one Disney World attraction I miss the most and wished they would bring back. Stitch's Great Escape is a piddly joke of a once-great attraction. That is all.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hotels Around Walt Disney World Part 1: Staying Off Property

This is a hotel in Orlando.
So you're going to Disney World. You've saved your money, you've mortgaged your second child, and you've sold your soul to some guy named Stan. Now the big question remains: Do you want to stay in a Disney hotel on the Walt Disney World property, or do you want to stay at one of the many off-property hotels? I'm here to help you out! Or at least make it sounds less confusing... Okay, worst-case scenario, I write all this up and you say "Oh, pretty pictures!" and move on.

So is this.
Let's start Part 1 with staying at a hotel off of Disney property. There are countless hotels to choose from, all with varying degrees of distance from the parks, prices, levels of quality, amenities, services, speakeasies, drug cartels, etc. Rather than telling you what's available, I'll tell you some of the things to look for in your query so you can make your own decisions.

No no no. Not THIS kind of shuttle!
Some hotels have scheduled shuttles to the parks so you don't have to drive your own car. Other hotels don't. Those that do also have different drop-off areas. For example, some hotels will have a shuttle to each park, while others will only have a shuttle to the Ticket & Transportation Center (AKA Magic Kingdom's parking lot.) One hotel has a shuttle to a gator pit where the alligators eat you, but I'm not going to tell you which one. It's like Hotel Russian Roulette. The best way to figure out what sort of shuttle service is available, simply ask the hotel you're inquiring about.

Rental cars come in a variety of shapes, colors, and prices.
Don't want to depend on shuttles? That's great. Then I recommend renting a car. Renting a car frees you up from shuttle schedules. You're free to come and go as you please. Need some groceries for your room? Take your rental car to the grocery store! Want to visit other parks like Universal Studios or Sea World? Or even the world famous Gator Land?! Go nuts! Because you can! The biggest downsides of rental cars are cost. It costs to rent, and if you're not staying on Disney property, it costs to park at the theme parks. Speaking of theme parks, at the end of the day when hoards of cranky, sweaty, smelly tourists are clumped together waiting for hotel shuttles, just remember that your rental car is a short walk away and you're set to go! If you can afford it, rent a car, but don't forget to visit Stan first for extra cash for parking.

Then there are the hotel amenities. Most of the Orlando area hotels will have the same things, just in varying degrees of quality. Take swimming pools, for example. The Motel 6 has a pool. So does the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. They're both water. But one is going to supply a little more satisfaction than the other. It all just depends on what you're willing to pay for. And that goes for everything else. Continental breakfasts, room service, etc. The best way to find out? Again, just ask.

Well that pretty much wraps up Part 1. I'm not one for recommending particular hotels. I'm just one for showing you how to hone in your own tastes in what you're looking for. Did I forgot anything that you want to know? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it in! Stay tuned for Part 2, where I tackle the Disney-owned hotels on Disney World property.

You must choose...wisely.
A note from our Josh: I stayed at this nice little place off-property once, had its own micro-brewery and a German brew master that looked a lot like Max von Sydow.  Beer was delicious, although, I didn't seem to sleep so well.  Kept hearing weird electronic organs playing and felt restless, woke up with hockey gear on...  Anyways, as Jake said, research your off-property pick.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Podcast Episode 5!

Yay, 5! Yeah, 5. Here is episode 5. This week, we discuss our favorite stories about Walt himself, Jake keeps us up on the latest Star Wars news (whether we like it or not,) and we discuss some Hidden Mickeys in the parks that we enjoy. Josh brings up some stories about being anxious to go to the park as an adult. Heck yes, it still happens! The GREAT MOVIE Ride makes an appearance. And then we answer some listener questions! Question. One. We need more. Send 'em in. So yeah, listen on that player over there on the right, or go to , or subscribe on iTunes! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yesterday's Tomorrowland Today

In the beginning there was nothing, then Walt said let there be Disneyland! And there was Disneyland. Walt saw that there was Disneyland and saw that it was good. Good, but not finished. And that it would never be finished as long as there is imagination...

Entrance to Tomorrowland, 1955

Some more original Tomorrowland
I'm STILL waiting for this! 
That all happened in 1955 just like that.  What else happened you ask? Well, Tomorrowland opened, partially at first.  You see, it was the last "land" to be finished, and with that it opened incomplete.  What we got was a glorious representation of what 1955 thought 1986 was going to look like.  (Might have been a bit easier if 1955 jumped into Marty McFly's DMC12 and had a gander of the mess itself, but that is another story.)  I'm not going to go through the opening day attractions, but I will try to convey my view of how it must have felt like.  Go to a retro-fifty's diner and open a copy of an old Popular Science magazine.  Did that work? I hope so.

Sign me up!
Anyway, Tomorrowland has gone through metamorphosis over the years and I am here to claim that it is a shadow of that view.  Does it capture imagination?  To that I ask, does Buzz Lightyear fight Zurg? Could it be much, much more?  I believe so.
Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris:
A retro look into the future that never was 

I really enjoy the retro future view.  There are so many futuristic things that have yet to happen (flying cars, anyone?) and with that I would like a land where we can see how we saw that 58 years ago.  I sort of look to Disneyland Paris's Discoveryland as inspiration for this thought.

  They have a beautiful view of how the future looked through the eyes of Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, and even Leonardo da Vinci.  It's the thought and hope of this not very humble, awesome-as-hell writer that with the looming rehab of the entire land we will once again see what the citizens of 1955 thought the future may look like.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's GEM TIME!!!

On a bi or tri-weekly basis, I like to do a little writing about Disney Gems from inside and around the Disneyland and Disney World theme parks. What classifies a Disney Gem? In my professional opinion, it’s something that people usually don't see, know about, or it’s something that has historical Disney deliciousness slathered all over it. It can be anything as small as a hidden Mickey or something as big as a ride! In my past posts I've written about original art work by the famous Marc Davis, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and the human skull inside of Pirates. Well this one is a little different in that a lot of people may know about it, and it’s just full of gooey awesomeness!

Sleeping Beauty Castle. Gateway to Fantasyland
 I’m dedicating this segment of Disneyland Gems to non-other than the Sleeping Beauty Castle itself. It’s the center landmark of the park, and the gateway to every child’s favorite land in the park.

Neuschwanstein Castle
The Castle at Disneyland is as beautiful as it is majestic. It’s a fantastic center piece for the park of dreams and every time I walk through the gates into Fantasyland, I get goose bumps. After all, Walt Disney himself took that same walk almost daily when he was alive. Walt designed the look of the castle after Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. Looking at Neuschwanstein, you can definitely see what elements Sleeping Beauty kept for herself.

 A little something people might not notice is a golden spike, driven into the ground within the walkway in the tunnel of the castle. Why is there a spike there? I’ll tell you why, and it’s not the exact center of the Disneyland park, like many people would have you believe. In fact, it's a survey marker. It marks the center line of Main Street so that the castle drawbridge and entrance would be perfectly centered with Main Street. And that in itself is a fantastic Gem! However,that’s not what I’m trying to bring to your attention. As soon as you walk underneath the castle and into Fantasyland, take a sharp left and find the doorway to venture inside of the castle itself.

Inside the castle
“Wait…you can really go inside of the castle?” Yes, yes you can. Not only can you go inside this historical landmark, but it’s pretty much a ride in itself, but you walk through it. So, a walk-ride. A walk. Let's move on. There’s a ton of Sleeping Beauty stuff in there. It is her castle, anyway. You can see the dungeons of Maleficent, the sewing wheels with needles, the dragon, the prince…oh man, it’s awesome. It had been closed after 9/11 but reopened in 2008 with some pretty amazing add-ons and special effects. I feel this is a Gem because you get to see what the Imagineers can do in small spaces, and also for its historical value. When Disneyland first opened, the walk-through was just some hand paintings and a few dolls from Sleeping Beauty. Now its full on amazing with special effects to boot! And watch out for that damn Maleficent, she’s always keeping an eye on you, and her shadow lurks behind a few corners! No really, her shadow lurks…you have to watch out for her, she’s crazy!

So next time you visit the Disneyland Resort, treat you and your family to an amazing walk-through of the castle to revisit the magical story of Sleeping Beauty. You won’t be sorry that you did, and your kids will love it, especially if you read all of the story notes in an English accent. Disneyland, thank you for making everything so awesome!

Sleeping Beauty Castle at night

(Editor's note: It's only a model...)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Remember the days of Disney vacationing when you had to go through all that hassle of waiting in lines, being bludgeoned by the rush of crowds stampeding to the FastPass machines of the new hot ride, or breaking out your nunchucks just to secure your spot for your favorite fireworks show or parade? Remember excruciatingly reaching all the way around to your back pocket for your wallet so you can get your hotel key/park ticket card out every time you wanted to go into your room or enter a theme park?

Yeah, I don't remember it being that bad either. But apparently Disney thinks we were working too hard, and now they're rolling out the new MyMagic+ system. Here's a brief rundown of this super new and improved system:

The old system being phased out consisted of a card. On that card was your room key, theme park tickets, and your credit card (if you chose to add it to your card.) The new system consists of a wristband. On that wristband is your room key, theme park tickets, and your credit card (if you choose to add it to your wristband.) But wait! There's more! The new wristband also holds your Photopass information! Is your mind blown yet? Yeah, it shouldn't be. So far it just sounds like they've duct taped the old key card to your wrist and called it "innovative!"

Okay, here's the real innovation. These wristbands are powered by RFID tags. That's Radio Frequency Identification. Now instead of scanning your card for FastPasses, park entry, or getting into your hotel room, you simply wave your wrist past a sensor. The supposed benefit of this is a phasing out of turnstiles at the entrances to the parks. Now people can just walk right in and beep their wrists at the sensor, and this should improve the crowd flow, especially during busy periods like when the parks open. See, look how nice and open it looks at the Animal Kingdom entrance:

Animal Kingdom entrance. No more turnstiles.
(Although I'm not sure what will stop people without wristbands from just blending in and breezing past the cast member on duty. I'm sure they have an answer to this and they're just not telling me.) 

My Disney Experience screen
A big addition to this system is that now families can reserve a limited amount of FastPasses for rides and showtimes before they ever leave home. Some people were concerned that this wold completely destroy spontaneity, to which i say "Nay!" With this system is a smart phone app called My Disney Experience, which you can access at any time and move your reservations around all willy nilly. Don't have a smart phone? There are also kiosks in the parks that let you do the same thing, so your FastPass reservations aren't nailed down to a specific time and you're not screwed if you miss it. 

Now there have been concerns of security and privacy, especially with the children wearing these wristbands with essentially all their information and their family's information attached to it. Will Disney exploit the children and market to them? No. No more than they already do. See, here's the thing: Any information people are afraid of giving to Disney, Disney already has that information. You gave it to them when you booked your trip. They already know your address, your name, your kids' names and ages, your credit card information, how long you'll be staying, and anything else. And the old system had all this same information. Unless there's some risk not coming to my mind (and if there is, please leave it in the comments and I will address it) this system is perfectly safe. It's no more Big Brother-ish than the old system. All I can say is that if you're going to Disney World, and have saved up loads of cash to give your family a vacation they'll never forget, don't waste your time worrying about these simple issues. You'll probably just regret the time you spent worrying. And don't let your kids lose their wristband. 

Another issue is how will this affect the annual passholders and locals that like to pop into the parks for an evening with no previous planning? My answer to that is...I don't know. All the details of the system haven't been rolled out yet, and it'd designed to be tweaked and modified, so I'm sure Disney has a plan for their local fan base.

But honestly, the biggest issue I see from this is going to be the awkward tan line around your wrist that you're going to have to explain to everyone when you get home. 

Alright, that's all I have. Did I miss anything? Let me know!