Went to Disney World!
Usually when I go on vacation I bring the computer and try to post in the morning before we go sightseeing and at night before I go to bed but I knew that I wouldn't have access to the Internet this trip since we were staying in a condo, so I decided not even to try to find hot spots or spend $10 an hour for the Internet. I decided to take a break and enjoy my down time. It's been a very busy year and it was time to just forget about everything and do something completely different. And Disney World is certainly completely different :-)
It was a very busy vacation. We left for the parks around 9:15 AM and returned between 10-11 PM. We spent the entire day there for 5 days. We had park hoppers so we could go to more than one of the parks which we did on Sunday and Friday. We took Wednesday off and went shopping at Downtown Disney, which I'm glad we did since we barely had time to shop at the parks.
The Lord blessed us with perfect weather, it was in the 80's the entire week we were down there. In fact it was hotter here than it was there. He also blessed us with short lines :-) The longest we waited for a ride was half an hour. For some of the rides we were able to walk right on. It was the perfect time to go. The only time we had crowds was Friday night at Magic Kingdom. I figured that would be the case but we decided that we couldn't take the parks anymore and needed a break on Wednesday.
On Sunday we went to the Animal Kingdom. Here's a shot of the tree of life or whatever it's called.
Click on the photo and you can see the animal carvings in the trunk. The tree is where they show the 3-D Bugs Life movie. I finally got to see it this trip, last time my daughters started to cry when they were squirted with water (Samantha still refuses to go see it -- I think she was traumatized for life) and they were really hysterical by the time the bugs farted. I had to try to find my way out of a darkened theater with two crying children and all kinds of special effects going off around me. Having seen the whole thing now, I'm really glad that we left when we did because Samantha would never have gone on another ride if she had been attacked by the spiders and being "stung" by the hornet.
We also went on the Safari ride. I love seeing the wild animals but it was really hard to take shoots in a moving (and bouncing) vehicle. Here are some of my better shots:
We went over to Magic Kingdom and had dinner and went on a number of the rides. Almost no wait for any of the rides. It was great. We saw the fireworks from the bridge near Tomorrow Land, we almost missed them because I was more concerned with getting on as many rides as possible since I feared that the next day would be spent standing in line.
On Monday we spent the day at Magic Kingdom and had dinner at the Liberty Inn which has excellent food and some of the Disney characters come over to the table and interact with the guests. It is so much easier to get a picture with Goofy, Chip (or Dale, I keep forgetting who it was), Minnie Mouse and Pluto. They kept coming over to our table and putting on my daughter's hat. It was pretty funny.
Goofy came and sat at our table when he made two little kids cry at the next table.
That's Samantha trying to comfort him.
Here are some shots of the refurbished It's A Small World ride:
Last time we went on this ride, Samantha threw up in the water. Needless to say the ride was less eventful this time :-)
Here's the obligatory shot of Cinderella's castle:
We stayed to see the electric light parade. There was really no place to stand and the people we were standing next to were annoying. I didn't really enjoy it at all and was glad when it was over.
On Tuesday we went to Epcot. If you go, make sure you do the Soarin ride, it was so much fun. It simulates being in a hang glider over the state of California, so you see some beautiful aerial shots of California. You feel the wind in your hair and smell the scent of pine trees and orange trees. It really was a neat experience. Another fun ride is Mission:Space. It had two tracks: a wimpy track and the more adventurous track. Samantha and I did the wimpy track because I'm prone to motion sickness but my husband and Sarah went of the more adventurous ride and he said that it felt like you experienced g-force. Avoid the The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride if you don't have really small children but make sure you see Turtle Talk with Crush -- he's the turtle from Finding Nemo. It's funny and it's amazing because the cartoon interacts with the audience, really cool when you think about the technology used to make that happen -- I loved it and so did my daughters.
The fireworks at Epcot are nice and if you go, get a seat in Italy by the water. There's a little platform area that you can get a good view of the fireworks and the globe.
Here are some of the shots I got of the park:
On Wednesday we had lunch at the Earl of Sandwich which has a very nice BLT and strawberry shortcake. Make sure you go to Downtown Disney to do your shopping when you go to Disney World. That way you don't have to schlep your purchases through the park with you. They have some of the stuff that they have in the parks. It's amazing to me the variety of stuff you can buy at these shops. I went from shop to shop in the different parks and I always found something new that I hadn't seen in the other shops.
On Thursday we went to the Disney-MGM Studio park and I have to say that it was my lest favorite park since it was the most stressful of the parks. They start the shows late and they have conflicting times for the shows. We had a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants and then we were going to see the Mickey Fantasmic show which meant that we had to finish the rides and shows early. If we made a misstep (which we did) we would miss something. There were three main shows that we wanted to see: the Indiana Jones stunt show, the driving stunt show and Beauty and the Beast. Samantha, my mom-in-law and I went to see the Muppets 3-D movie and Doug took Sarah to the rock and roll roller coaster. Big mistake because they missed the first showing of the Indiana Jones stunt show and Sarah had to choose between the Indiana Jones show and Beauty and the Beast. Very annoying!
Loved the stunt shows and the backlot tour. Thought the Narnia attraction was a big waste of time. The Beauty and the Beast show was well done. Here's a little video of part of a song (I was trying to conserve my chip space :-)
The Fantasmic show was one of the best light shows in Disney World, it was really beautifully done and well worth the effort to see it.
On our last day at the parks we decided to go to three parks and really use that park hopper ticket. We went back to the Animal Kingdom so that Sarah could go on the Everest ride, she decided after the rock and roll roller coaster to give it a try. She liked it. Here's a shot of it from the Africa part of the park:
Here's a close up shot:
Samantha, my mom-in-law and I went to on the Safari ride again. I sat on the other side of the car and took these shots:
Click on it. Notice anything hiding in the trees?
We did a little shopping and then went to Magic Kingdom and took the monorail to Epcot. Had lunch at the Rose & Crown (which was amazing given the fact that we didn't have a reservation). I had bangers and mash which was very good. I thought the sausage was going to be heavy but it wasn't. Here's a shot of my lunch, doesn't it look yummy?
We went shopping and I fell in love with the Japanese store, it was very cute. They had beautiful kimonos , cute change purses, lovely tote bags, a Hello Kitty section and a Pokemon section. Plus many other products from Japan. They even had a pick your own oyster to get a black pearl. Samantha loved this and was tempted to get one.
Here are some shots I got from Epcot.
After shopping we took the boat to Future World and then the monorail back to Magic Kingdom which was a little crowded. We saw the Hall of Presidents show and I cheered for Reagan. The Bush robot was weird -- it's head looked too small for it's body. We got to see the light parade again but this time in Liberty Square which is a much better place to view it -- not as crowded.
As you can probably guess from this schedule we were pretty exhausted by the end of the week. There was so much to do and not a lot of time to do it in. I'm so glad that on some of the rides we were able to just walk on or had a short wait. For longer waits, we used fast pass which is a really helpful and time saving way to enjoy the park. The Soarin ride was an hour wait and we were able to walk on. The Peter Pan ride was also an hour and we were able to walk on that one as well (which is good because I wouldn't want to wait an hour for a ride that was that short).