Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 7: Day of favorite rides! New and Old!

May 8, 2009
Disney's Hollywood Studios

We were up early today and got out of the room fairly early. We made our way down to the Boardwalk to catch the boat to the Studios. Janice had time to use her mug to grab a "free" coffee at the Boardwalk stand.

We hopped on the boat, which was quite spacious. They are the same boats that they use in EPCOT, as they are technically on the same waterway.

We walked in to the Studios just before 9am, just before the rope drop. I had never witnessed a rope drop before, so i was very interested to see what they did.

Janice and Steve waited at the back of the large crowd, while I made my way up to the front through the stores. I had heard that Toy Story Midway Mania was a very popular ride and that the Fast-Passes went quickly. We planned it that I would grab the passes and regroup under the hat (which I still can't stand).

The rope drop ceremony was pretty good. The street actors that roam the park during the day are involved in the ceremony. It looked like they had a pair of Newlyweds acting out a "Lights, Camera, Action!" type sence. Before the rope fell to the ground, they emphasized that no one was to run, so that no one was hurt.

As expected most people made their way to Pixar place and the Fast Pass line. I picked up our passes, which were for 10am (already!) and met back up with the group. Donald Duck and Minnie were out for pictures. There was next to no line, so we waited and got some great pictures with them. Surprisingly, Graydon didn't cry, meeting his first Disney characters; he was very intrigued with them. When Charlotte met Donald, she proclaimed he felt really soft!

We took in the Great Movie ride, since there was no wait. Unfortunately, Graydon cried, as parts of the ride were a little loud for his small ears.

We went back to Midway Mania, and took turns, as we didn't think we could take Graydon on. Good thing too, as we probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. The ride is really fun and it is no wonder it is so popular. The Fast-Passes were gone in no time!

"Boy, the crowds are large today Sarge!"

The balance of the day was spent taking in Muppet Vision 3D (still one of my favorites), Rock 'n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

We did visit most good stores including the Art of Disney (3 down, 2 to go). That the villains store, I purchased the Small World nine inch Vinylmation for Janice for Mothers' Day. I also saw a blank nine inch Vinylmation signed by the Disney Characters. Apparently, the characters will sign anything!

We made it back to the hotel for a swim. This was the second time for Graydon in a pool and he loved it more than the first time.

Back in the room, the kids had dinner and we had some adult beverages before heading out for dinner. Tonight's reservation was at Spoodles so we didn't have to go far.

This was the first time we have eaten at Spoodles. The menu is Mediterranean fare, so something different for a change.

We ordered Sangria, but were disappointed with how much we received. Apparently, they had changed jugs over and there was actually less in the new jugs. The story is that since the restaurant is changing over to Kat Kora's, the old jugs were "walking out" the door, as they had "Spoodles" printed on them.

We commented to the waitress, who mentioned it to the manager. The manager apologized and gave us a free second jug of Sangria.
The food was very good at Spoodles. I had roast pork tenderloin, which was very tender. Probably one of the best pork tenderloin I have ever had.

Overall, we had a great second day. Tomorrow will be fun as it is Janice's birthday and there was one more surprise to come!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 6: A day in the Kingdom

May 7, 2009
Magic Kingdom--Daytime

Despite my concerns with the Magic Kingdom having morning Magic Hours (which usually means heavier crowds), we boarded the bus for the original park early in the day. The wait wasn't long for the bus, unlike the evening before when we never got on the Downtown Disney bus.

We arrived at the front gates and my original thoughts looked about right: the park was busy.

We made our way past security, through the turnstiles, walked over the Mickey shaped pixie dust (which Janice still doesn't have), under the train station and out onto Main Street. What a sight! There were already lineups for a couple of characters around the flagpole (can't remember which ones as there was too much going on), a lineup for Mickey (I assume, as he wasn't out yet) and a lineup for Chip and Dale.

We continued up Main Street where we caught a bit of the "Towns Folk" performing a song and dance number. We made it to the hub and decided to head to Fantasyland before it got too busy. This was a bit out of the norm for me, as I usually head to Adventureland first for Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course, we now had kids with us, so we needed to show them a good time too.

Peter Pan's Flight was already pretty busy, so we grabbed a fast-pass and headed onto It's a Small World. This was the second time I noticed some refurbishments (the first was Main Street). There was next to no wait.

We moved on to Winnie the Pooh and Snow White, and then made our way over to Adventureland. On our way we stopped for a coffee and bottle break.

We took in Pirates of the Caribbean and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Surprisingly Graydon fell asleep in the Tiki room with all the birds singing around him.

We had lunch at the Columbia Harbour House while Graydon slept. At the quick service restaurant, I noticed the new laminated menu cards (which somehow ended up in the diaper bag). By the time he woke up, it was our chance to use our Fast-passes for Peter Pan.

We finished off the day with the Jungle Cruise and the Haunted Mansion. We used the baby swap system at the Haunted mansion, as we felt Graydon wouldn't handle the attraction. Steve and Charlotte went first while we waited in the shade of the Haunted Mansion merchandise cart.

We made it out of the Mansion without becoming the 1000th haunt and walked down Main Street through the many shops. I poked my head in the Art of Disney shop in the old Main Street Cinema only to be disappointed: I was hoping to find the three inch Vinylmation figures, but was told the sold out shortly after they were released. They still had the nine inch series one figures, which I figured I would pick up later on.

Our last stop was the hat shop to order our personalized Mouse ears. We were heading out of the park, and since we would have had to wait 45 minutes for them, we had the hats shipped to the resort.

We were soon on the bus back to the resort for a break and a swim.

Our dinner reservations that night was for the San Angel Inn, in the Mexican pavilion in EPCOT. When I made our reservation, I found out that tonight was the last night before they closed for renovations (for the new Tequila bar I presume).

We made it to the restaurant on time (unlike the night before) and we're seated fairly quickly. Dinner went by pretty quickly, which was somewhat disappointing, as the atmosphere in Mexico is the best.

We went on the Gran Fiesta Tour and made our way to Spaceship Earth to end the night. This was our first time on Spaceship Earth since the renovations and we were pleasantly surprised. They retained many of the former portions but included new interactive portions at the end, which included photos of the three of us (well, actually just Janice and Graydon).

I went into the Art of Disney (yes, two in one day) quickly. I actually bought the Vinylmation at the EPCOT location .

We went back to the hotel room and turned in for the night. Day one was a very busy day, so we were very tired!

Note: Sorry for the long delay in posting Day 6 and subsequent days. I'm hoping to have the rest of my trip up within the next couple of weeks. And sorry for the lack of photos on this particular day. I used my video camera for most of the day.