Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fish and chips and beer, oh my!

With day 4 half way over, we decided to head to Downtown Disney to grab a bite to eat and enjoy it before the nighttime crowds really hit.  Our amazing resort had a charming boat that taxied back and forth to Downtown Disney, so we decided to take advantage of that.

We found a nice little pub at Downtown Disney that was serving a Baileys Iced Shake.  It’s basically an alcoholic milkshake…aka one of the greatest milkshakes in the entire world. 

Next stop was the Lego Store.  It is amazing to see the art created using Legos. 

To be continued…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Next time, take the stairs…

Normally, Monday mornings are nothing to look forward to, but we are in Disney World! Of course we are starting to feel the strain of a Disney vacation, but that’s nothing a little pixie dust (aka coffee) couldn’t fix.

It’s day 4 and we are off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The excitement builds as our bus approaches the park and the Hollywood themed music starts playing.  I will also mention how awesome Joe Hursh is.  His voice immediately puts you back on a Disney bus on your way to or from your favorite parks!  We could listen to him read the phone book and enjoy it.

Anyway…we stepped off the bus and through the gates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

First on the list was Sunset Blvd to grab Fast Passes for either Tower of Terror or Rock’n Roller Coaster.  Because we (and everyone else in the world) love the queue for Tower of Terror, we decided to go with Rock’n Roller Coaster for the Fast Passes.

Thanks to my handy, dandy Lines app that I have on my phone, I was able to check out the wait time for Star Tours 2.0.  Seeing that it was only about 15 or so minutes, we decided to try that out until our Fast Passes rolled around.

I love all things Disney…and I’m a huge Star Wars fan…so this refreshed attraction was near the top of my list this trip.  It was fantastic!  Being a 3-D attraction makes it that much better.  There are supposedly over 50 combinations/outcomes each time you ride, so you have a good chance getting something different every time.  I loved it, and Abbie got queasy, so riding again anytime soon was out of the question.

After this we walked around Echo Lake, taking in all of the Disney details.

A trip to Disney World is never complete until you’ve eaten a giant turkey leg.  So we went ahead and checked that one off our list.  And boy was it good!

After our “savage” lunch, we walked around the corner to use our Fast Passes for Rock’n Roller Coaster.  Thank God we had those because prior to the sound studio, this has to be the worst queue in the Studios.  Anyway…we got to see the band, who were running late for a concert, but were cool enough to get us a stretch…make that a SUPER stretch…limo so we could get there in time.  I love this roller coaster, but that second corkscrew always gets me nervous because I always feel my backpack move around as we go upside down.  We made it to the concert…and I snapped this good picture of our 0-to-60 moment.

It all started with a mouse.  But, before the mouse, there was the man, Walt Disney.  We left Sunset Blvd and hopped over to see One Man’s Dream.  Being a history buff, and a Disney buff, I absolutely love stuff like this.  It’s so much fun seeing how Walt grew up, got started, and achieved his dreams.  I was also excited about seeing the changes that had taken place since our last trip (Honeymoon in August 2010) because it was closed back then for the refurb.  Anyway…loved it!

Next we decided to go over to New York City, just a short walk away.  Lucky for us, we were only a block away from San Francisco too!  One of these days we hope to come back around Christmas so we can see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.  By the time we made it back towards New York we got to see and hear the cover band, Mulch, Sweat, and Shears.  They were fantastic and very entertaining.  I should have gotten some video of them, but the picture will have to suffice.

Anyone here scared of elevators?  I suggest you take the stairs then.  One of our favorite attractions in Disney World has to be the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  It has one of the most detailed and eerily beautiful queues ever, and the suspense starts the moment you see it at the end of Sunset Blvd.  You see the scarred exterior first, and the closer you get, you start to hear the screams.  Once you make it to the queue you hear the old big band music that takes you out of Florida and puts you in the Hollywood hills.  I could go on and on and on, but all of you that have been here know what I am talking about (sorry Kristen).  We loved it…I tried to take a picture of our picture and it didn’t turn out. 

We’re in the “dead” center of the picture…me in my red shirt.

Of course we rode it again right after!  We’re in the bottom left corner.  I’m pretending to be dead/asleep in this one.

After this we left Hollywood Studios and went back to our resort to go over to Downtown Disney.

The Piggy Bank? The Ding Dang?

We got an early start this morning with a fun day ahead of us. We were up by 6:30 and headed out the door for church at 7:30. I wish I hadn’t left my phone in the car when we went to church, because that church is just so beautiful and a few pictures of it would have been nice to post. After Mass, we headed back over to our resort to change and get ready for a day at Epcot.

First we needed to drop off the rental car back at the Dolphin. After that we walked over to the Boardwalk and got a delicious ham, egg, and cheese croissant at the Boardwalk Bakery. It was soooo good! The Boardwalk is so beautiful in the morning…and so peaceful.

After our light breakfast and stroll around the Boardwalk, we made our way to the International Gateway to enter Epcot. I love this entrance…it’s always so quiet and peaceful.

We made our way to Soarin’ to pickup a few Fast Passes and then went over to the Living Seas. Yes, I still call it the Living Seas. We found Nemo in the big blue world and then enjoyed watching the fish swim around. It was this attraction’s queue that inspired me to paint Abbie’s classroom to look like it was under the sea. I always wanted to be an imagineer. Speaking of imagineering, our next stop was the Imagination Pavilion to ride Journey Into Imagination with Figment.

This was my favorite ride when I was 4 years old, and I knew it had changed a few times since then, but man was it a letdown. It just never really got me using my imagination…and I do miss the Dream Finder. Anyhow…after that I snapped a few pictures of Space Ship Earth (SSE) from that different angle. SSE has to be the best photo subject in all of Disney World!

We walked from there over to Future World East to ride Mission: Space. We’re big kids, so we rode the Orange side…and then I got queasy. We figured a nice, serene attraction would be best, so we scooted over to Space Ship Earth. This is definitely my favorite Epcot attraction, and might even be my favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World! The animatronics are fantastic and the smell of Rome burning always brings me back.

After sailing through the universe of time, we stopped by Test Track (or Fast Track Winking smile) to pickup some Fast Passes for later. Then we made our way over to San Angel Inn for lunch.

Eating lunch at San Angel Inn is a tradition of mine going back years and years and is now a tradition with our family. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is second to none. We had heard about how good the new Jalapeno Margaritas were, so Abbie decided to try one out. The rumors are true! It was one of the best margaritas either of us have ever had. I got the classic lime (left) and Abbie got the Jalapeno (right).

I ordered a steak and Abbie got enchiladas I believe. Both meals were amazing. After our meal we rode the Gran Fiesta Tour. Before we left Mexico, we made sure to get another Jalapeno Margarita to go.

We needed to walk off that wonderful meal, so we strolled around World Showcase, hitting the countries we didn’t see the day before.

Remember me mentioning how important it is to get good seats for Soarin’? Well, somehow we ended up getting sent down at the last minute to fill in the boarding group on Soarin’. Because we got pulled out of line, the CM wouldn’t let us wait on the next group, which forced us to sit on the very outside of the bottom row. The seats were horrible and it almost ruined the experience. We were pretty upset. But, we decided to shake it off and we headed over to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, one of my nerdy favorites in Future World. A lot of people don’t like this ride, or they think it is a snoozer, but I disagree. It is funny, educational, it moves, and it has dinosaur animatronics! How could you not love it?

I guess some kid on the ride got a little restless because we had a few announcements made during the ride for people to stay in their seats and rows. Right before the Final Jeopardy scene, the ride stopped, the CM revealed the outcome of the last scene (Brain Power, Alex) and told everyone that because that restless kid could not follow directions, the ride automatically shut down and we had to leave through a side door. It was very awkward, and actually my first time ever having to evacuate during a ride.

On our way towards Test Track to use our Fast Passes, we walked by the Wonders of Life Pavilion (so sad) and I snapped this depressing picture of what used to be.

Test Track was awesome (as always) and that jolt of energy helped us get back to the park entrance to head back to our resort. We waited FOREVER for our bus to arrive, but it eventually did and we got back to our room for some needed rest.

Day 3 was in the books, now onto our “dream sequence” as we rested up for Day 4…Disney’s Hollywood Studios.