|three days of disney
||[Jul. 24th, 2011|11:18 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
I'm not really posting much here these days, but I have noticed an uptick in LJ activity (even amongst folks who haven't been posting in YEARS) and I happened to have this sitting on my computer. I was trying to keep a log of all the things we did and saw at Disney this month, but I ended up sidetracked by this GD ear infection.|
At any rate, here's the first few days. I'm not going back and editing, so it is what it is. Maybe it's of interest to someone!
- This was our first airplane ride with the kids. By and large, it went well. I think it took a little less than two hours to get from Cincinnati to Orlando and I managed to keep Elliot entertained with a variety of tricks and toys. We read books, ate candy, and he watched a couple of episodes of his favorite PBS shows on my iPad. I also downloaded an AMAZING Memory/matching type game; it kept the kid entertained for most of the trip. Henry was a lot more grouchy for the plane ride, but not extraordinarily so. We made it to Florida without anyone on the flight wanting to kill us.
- After hooking up with my parents and sister, we checked into our hotel: The Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. Our room was a spacious affair with, thank heaven, a full kitchenette. We were also about a three minute walk away from two amazing pools. The main pool was huge and featured a gigantic water slide. The smaller kiddie pool was just as cool... and perhaps a bit cooler! It was tricked out with two slides, a water cannon, various sprinklers, and a big water tank that dumped on the kids every ten minutes. I firmly believe we could have just told Elliot and Henry that the water slide was Disney World and they would have been completely content.
- We had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at The Grand Floridian Hotel. We had several character meals during our WDW stay, but this was the one I was most excited for because of the presence of Mary Poppins. Elliot is a HUGE Julie Andrews fan and I was interested to see how he reacted to meeting Poppins in real life. The entire breakfast did not disappoint. It was my favorite one we had the whole week, and besides watching E's eyes pop out of his head because of Mary, we also got to see Pooh, Tigger, and The Mad Hatter and Alice. The Mad Hatter was especially gracious to our kids- when Henry was being cranky and crawling on the ground, he followed suit.
- I thought we did very well on our first day at the Magic Kingdom. We hit a bunch of rides I knew the boys would be excited for- It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and the Jungle Cruise. The first thing we did was watch Mickey's Philharmagic, a 3-D sensory movie I thought was really cool. I was impressed with Elliot in that he kept his glasses on the whole time. I gotta wonder if now, in the age of the 3-D multiplex movie, if some of these movies are going to be come a little old hat.
- I also got to try the Dole Whip, a frosty confection that no less than four people told me was not to be missed. It was pretty darn good, I will say. We sampled the pineapple and orange flavors.
- That afternoon, as it did several times while we were in Florida, the heavens opened up and it poured rain for a few hours. We had already decided to head back to the hotel for a nap and dinner at T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney. The rain was inconvenient, but as Ellen said, I'd rather be rained on in Disney than in Ohio. The restaurant was really cool, filled with animatronic dinos and lots of cool light shows. The section where we sat featured a meteor shower every 15 minutes which freaked Henry out!
- While at Downtown Disney, Laura and Ellen started doing something I thought was kind of corny but came to really appreciate- they started pin trading. Cloisonne pins had been a big thing amongst us kids on previous Disney visits but the park has impressively monetized and organized the process! Ellen and Laura bought two lanyards and a couple of "starter" pins. Throughout the Disney parks, various cast members have their own pins attached to side bags and necklaces, from which park guests are free to trade. You can take that "common" Mickey pin and trade it for a rarer "hidden Mickey" pin.
It's not something I would have wanted to do, but the two girls had a ball pouring over people's pins and picking and choosing which new pins they wanted. I will admit, some of the more expensive, elaborate pins that Disney is making look absolutely stupid... but there are a lot of cute ones, and they did a good job covering a LOT of bases with obscure characters.
- On our first night, we ended up doing my favorite thing- instead of going back to the Magic Kingdom in the pouring rain, Laura, Ellen, and I decided to stay at the hotel and go swimming. The wet weather had chased EVERYONE inside, leaving the entire pool to just the three of us. We went on the water slide about 50 times!
- We started out the day at the Contemporary Resort Hotel, at Chef Mickey. I have to say, as far as spending time with the Disney characters, this was a good deal- you get a buffet breakfast and face time with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto... no lines, minimal waiting.
- After breakfast, we went back to the Magic Kingdom for Henry's very first haircut. I had read that the barber shop in the park makes a big deal out of first haircuts. They certainly did! Henry was a little wary at first, but the stylist put him at ease with lots of stickers and toys. At the end of the haircut, he got a pair of Mickey Mouse ears with "First Haircut" stitched on the back. Elliot also got a haircut at the barber shop.
- After the haircut, we park-hopped over to EPCOT for the day... but the boys were NOT down for EPCOT and my parents ended up taking them back to the hotel. This was the only drawback to the trip- the traveling between hotels and various parks. A twenty-five minute trip between a hotel and a theme park isn't a big deal to me, but it's an ETERNITY for a three year old. When you stack three or four of those trips on top of one another? Forget it.
- Laura, Ellen, and I spent the afternoon walking through the World Showcase, which was fun. We had lunch in France, where again, it started pouring rain. We ended up running into a short line to meet Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in Morocco, and at my insistence, we saw The American Adventure in (natch) America. I've never gone in for many of the animatronic shows, but this was kind of neat. We also did Captain EO. I'm sort of glad they brought Captain EO back, but the movie is really showing its' age.
- Mom and Dad brought the kids back to EPCOT and we had ANOTHER character dinner... this time, with ALL the Disney princesses. Elliot's a fiend for most of the Disney Princess movies, so he was in seventh heaven. His favorite, Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, was very kind to him and held his hand during the "princess processional" wherein all the children walk around the restaurant in a big parade. He also was quite a charmer, saying (without any coaching that I know of) "Oh, you have such a beautiful dress!"
- Oh, I forgot: we went on Soarin'. I got us Fastpass tickets for that sucker at like 11 in the morning and they were already sold out until 4 in the afternoon! It was a very cool sensory experience though. Very cleverly done.
- Hollywood Studios was the park I was most excited for, and by happensance, our morning breakfast reservation was in the park. We got to the gates about an hour before opening and killed time until they ushered us in. At this point, I split up with my family, all their tickets in tow, so that I could run over to Toy Story Mania and get us all Fastpass tickets for the ride. This was my first experience being "first" at anything in WDW, and I can say with some confidence, it will be my last. I could not BELIEVE the pushing, shoving sweaty masses of people trying to get ahead of everyone else! It was nuts! An awful looking guy with a crew cut and tribal tattoos nearly tripped me in his quest to be the first guy in the Pixar Studios lot. I really didn't understand it, but I did get those Fastpass tickets.
- Breakfast was another character affair, this time with selected characters from the Disney Junior line-up of cartoons. We ate with Handy Manny, the Little Einsteins, and Special Agent Oso. A couple of things about this breakfast- firstly, there was almost NOBODY in the restaurant at the time we were eating. We were besieged by these characters whose mandate is, I'm sure, to get as much face time with park guests as possible. I felt like I could barely tuck into my eggs before Handy Manny was tapping on my shoulder and high fiving me. That being said, Elliot's eyes nearly bugged out of his head at this meal. Our kids don't watch a TON of TV... conservatively, I'd say they usually get about an hour a day, give or take. Often, that hour IS Disney shows. Elliot especially likes Special Agent Oso, a show that gets under MY skin a little bit, but whatever, it wasn't made for me. Our meal was also interrupted by several dance parties, which Elliot participated in with aplomb.
- After breakfast, Toy Story Mania. It's a great ride, a sort of mash of 3-D movie, midway game, and track ride. I rode in my car with Elliot, who got a score of 1200 on his ride. I am pretty sure that the ride starts you off with a free 1000 points.
- We met up with Laura's friend Meredith after Toy Story Mania- Meredith works for WDW in their wedding planning department. She was the person kind enough to book all these great restaurant reservations for us... as I understand it, it's pretty hard to book some of the restaurants we ate in for normal dining hours, so Meredith helped us with that.
- Muppetvision 3-D was next. I was excited to see if Elliot would be into this show, seeing as he is a HUGE fan of The Muppet Show. Again, this is one of the parks' older attractions and shows a little wear, but Elliot did like it. He was especially impressed when Sweetums came out from the theater.
- After this... Star Tours! As I mentioned yesterday, I have a real affection for Star Tours based out of my fannish devotion to Star Wars in my teenage years. I was glad to hear that Disney opted to refurbish the ride with some cutting edge technology, and it did not disappoint. I was a little disappointed in not being able to bring Elliot on the ride with us; he was like a smidge under '40 inches. Of course, the second Ellen and I got on, we saw about ten kids who were WELL under the posted height requirement, but after riding the thing, I'm glad E didn't come on. It was a tad too intense for him. The ride was great, one of my favorites of the trip. I like how the designers just threw continuity out the window and said "Hey, whatever, let's just make it fun." I also liked the little nods to the original attraction on the queue- all the original droids from the first Star Tours were being packed up in crates.
- At this point (thankfully) my parents took the kids back to the hotel and Ellen and I got some time to ourselves. We decided to walk to the other end of the park and try out the Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n Roller Coaster. We ended up Fastpassing the coaster and waiting in line for the Tower. We ended up hooking up with Laura and Meredith and did both rides together. The Tower of Terror was really fun, but I was more impressed with the Rock 'n Roller Coaster.