Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 1

Despite the comfy beds, our wake-up call from Mickey and Stitch came very early this morning. We were up at 6:15am so we could catch an early bus and make it to a.m. Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom. It was a bit of a stretch to get everybody up and running this morning. Our luggage had arrived very late last night so nothing had been sorted or put away. Clothes and shoes had to be found, as did hair clips and socks. The kids ate dry cereal in the room, as we forgot to get milk last night. I hurried them through that and we were finally on our way about 7:05 am.

The bus stop isn’t too far from our room so we arrived there about 7:10am and then waited.
A bus for Animal Kingdom arrived, then one for Epcot, then one for Hollywood Studios. Finally, about 7:20 a Magic Kingdom bus arrived and we quickly boarded and headed straight to the park.

Now, we’ve never stayed on-site before so I fully expected to find myself dumped at the TTC then having to board a monorail or boat over to the Magic Kingdom. Imagine my surprise and delight when they drop us off near Space Mountain, just a short jaunt from the parks entrance. YEAH! One less transportation issue to worry about today.

When we arrived we waited near the tunnels. They held the park opening ceremony, sprinkled the pixie dust and then let us all into the Magic Kingdom. We headed straight for our first stop, the newly-renovated Space Mountain! Getting there was no easy feat though, as the thundershowers projected for Florida had them scrambling to get performances completed early. So we had to contend with a stage and camera crane in front of the castle. They directed us to the left side of the hub and we had to weedle our way around so that we could wait at the rope for entrance into Tomorrowland. No sooner had we arrived then it was time for rope drop. We scurried our way to Space Mountain, grabbed some fastpasses and then followed the queue to the ride. It was pretty much a walk-on and we waited just about 2 minutes before we loaded and were on our way.

I have loved Space Mountain forever, since I was a kid in fact, but this ride made me feel sick and disorientated. It’s no secret that I suffer from motion sickness, but I’ve never had a problem with Space Mountain before. Well, that time has now ended because I felt nauseated and topsy turvy for a while afterwards. Something I learned this trip is that my stomach isn’t as iron-clad as it used to be on rides.

Our next ride was Buzz Lightyear, where we again walked on and I TOTALLY kicked butt. Beat Brian’s score for maybe the first time ever. Yeah for me!!! Of course, Brian would catch his revenge later in the trip, though I still contend that it was equipment malfunction. But I’m getting way ahead of myself…

The next attraction on our Ridemax agenda was Mickey’s Philharmagic, however on the walk over we noticed that there was no wait for the teacups, so we quickly got on. It was then that I realized that this was the last time that all 3 kids and myself would ride in the teacups together. There just isn’t room! My boys are both nearly as tall as me and our knees were banging the entire time. Poor Carissa was squished into a tiny little spot because all us “big people” took up the room. Brian found a nice place along the rail to take photos of us as we rode, as spinning just isn’t his thing. I think he might have been on the right track. I quickly realized that this might not have been the best ride to follow so soon after Space Mountain as the kids really like to spin and are way faster spinners than they used to be. Again, I felt all topsy turvy.

When we got off I knew we needed something a little more tame to help us recover from the motion issues. We headed to It’s a Small World and sat through the monotonous song and all the cute little dolls. This has long been a required ride for Carissa and at this point the boys would be THRILLED if we never rode it again. But since we’re here together we ride together.

After all this deviation from our Ridemax plan we decided it was time to get back on track, so we headed where we should have been all along, PhilHarMagic. As we were walking in the cast member warned us that the show would be starting in about 30 seconds. We put the hustle on and made it into the theater in plenty of time. We sat down to relax for a minute and then it began. I wish I could have taken pictures in this attraction, because Carissa was just priceless. She kept smiling at the screen and holding her hands below her chin, like she was so excited and just couldn’t keep it in! We all jumped at the water and enjoyed the sights and smells of this awesome show. It’s still one of our absolute faves in all of WDW.

Well, we were still a little behind our Ridemax plan so again hustled our way to the next stop, Haunted Mansion. We were supposed to be here at 9:01am but arrived about 9:10am. When we arrived we were notified that the ride had not yet been opened and was having some minor technical difficulties that should be remedied in a few moments. We waited with the group of people in line for about 5 minutes and then the ride opened. We made it into the first group in the stretching room and used the Ridemax tip so we knew where to stand to be among the first out of the room. We were on the 5th or 6th doombuggy to take off. Yahoo!
The next step in our Ridemax plan was to send a runner to get Jungle Cruise fastpasses. Well, we just didn’t really want to do that so skipped it altogether today. Instead we headed for one of our fave rides, and one that we missed last trip because it was shut down – Splash Mountain! We first grabbed some fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then headed into Splash Mountain. We walked right on the ride! And it was just our family in our boat. The kids sat up front. Brian and I sat behind taking photos and shooting video. The ride itself isn’t that exciting, until you get to the fabulous drop! The highlight of the 3 Magic Kingdom mountains, for me, is that one single drop on Splash! LOVE IT!

By now we’ve deviated enough from our Ridemax plans and just really don’t like walking here, there and everywhere when we’re bypassing rides with no lines in them! So we decide to go our own ways for a while and see how that works for us. Big Thunder Mountain is showing a 15 minute wait so we head into that line. It was one of the longest lines we stood in today and 15 minutes is nothing to complain about!
After riding our fastpass window had opened up again, so we got a fastpass to come back later for Splash. We’re now holding 5 fastpasses for each of the major attractions in the Magic Kindgom.

It’s now 10:30 and we’ve made some pretty good progress today. We’ve ridden all 3 mountains, gone on Buzz, teacups, small world, PhilHarMagic and Haunted Mansion. Not too bad for 2 ½ hours!

At this point one of the kids asks when we can ride Pirates. Well, there’s no time like the present.

Since it’s not too far away we walk that way, stopping at Pecos Bills for some free ice waters. Then it’s off to Pirates. Chase gave us the whole spiel about how we should use the left-hand line because most people are right-handed and therefore chose the right line when given a choice. Unfortunately, by now we have already committed to the right line and we decide to just go with. Good thing we did, as we just about walked right on the ride and watched while there was a line of people on the left-hand line. Score.

After riding we spent some time looking around the giftshop, where Brian broke down and bought the first souvenir of the trip – a skullcap with skulls on it for use when riding his motorcycle.

I had neglected to eat breakfast this morning so was feeling a little munchy. The kids wanted to go on the Swiss Family treehouse, which we always let them do together and without us. They set off to do that and I set off to FINALLY try one of those Dole Whips that everyone on the Disboards raves about. While I was ordering Brian saw they had an orange and vanilla swirl variety so he ordered that. He said his was ok, but shared most of it with the kids. Mine was just iffy, not really my thing. I ate about 1/5th of it and then passed it on to Chase when he came out of the treehouse.

Now I’m still hungry and we’re near our first ADR restaurant, The Plaza. We decide to meander over that way and see if we can get an earlier seating. No problem. They give us a pager which vibrates within 2 minutes. We’re quickly seated, our order is taken and we sit and chat while enjoying the chance to be off our feet for a while. Chase, Brian and myself order the chicken sandwich that Brian loved so much last trip. Tristan and Carissa order cheese sandwiches. The food takes a little while and we’re all so hungry, but we sing 2 rounds of Happy Birthday to guests in the restaurant while we wait. Our food finally comes and it’s okay. Nothing spectacular and I only eat half. Oh well, at least it’s food and I’m feeling much fuller and better than before.

We’re given desserts on the dining plan and all order goodies to end our meal. The boys share a brownie sundae (it’s pretty big!), I order one for myself and to share with others at the table. It was SO GOOD! Brian orders a chocolate shake (which is extra chocolatey) and Carissa orders mini chocolate chip cookies and milk. Hers comes with the tiniest glass of milk I have ever seen! It was adorable but nowhere near enough to go with her cookies.
The entire meal at the Plaza took us about an hour and we ended up singing a total of 4 rounds of Happy Birthday!

The kids have been looking forward to the make-your-own Mickey ears since I told them about it a few months ago. Now was the perfect time to go make them! We headed to the Chapeau on Main Street and quickly found the right place. The kids dug through all the bases, tried on different ears and picked out patches before taking them to the desk to be assembled. Names were added and patches were heat-set. The kids set off with their new sets of ears.

As a side note, Chase’s hat is super cute but the heat set patch was off before the days end, lost somewhere along the line. Bummer!

We continued our way down Main Street, perusing the shops and stopping to see the Mickey’s “A Christmas Carol” displays in the Emporium windows. We didn’t buy anything, although the kids were all itching to spend some money. We tried to get them to wait for a little while, since it is only our first day.

After we got bored of shopping we headed to Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
We really love this show and were thrilled when Tristan’s face popped up on the screen. Marty, Mike Wazowski’s adorable little orange nephew, was astonished that Tristan had 4 ears. He asked Tristan how long he’s had 4, to which Tristan replied “About an hour.” Marty seemed astounded that Tristan could grow extra ears but Tristan just smiled and excitedly blurted “It’s a hat!”. Marty was grossed out that they take other ears and wear them on their head. Then they showed all the kids on the screen and said “Looks like they have the same fashion sense.” It was just so neat to see the kids on the screen and for Tristan to have the chance to shine.

Next was “Stitch’s Great Escape”, which neither Chase nor myself wanted to see. Brian took the other two to the show while Chase and I looked in a few stores and then sat down on a bench outside The Lunching Pad to relax for a while.

After Stitch we decided to try out Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I don’t recall ever riding this with Brian and the kids so this was the first in a while. It was a nice, relaxing time with great views and the breeze felt wonderful in the warm weather.

We finally had a chance to use the Fastpasses we’d picked up this morning for Space Mountain. We rode the left side this time, which Brian said felt faster and more of a wild ride. It made me feel a little ill again.

After Space we took the back pathway to Toontown. We went on a mission to find the frozen lemonade stand there. We picked up 2 frozen lemonades which we shared and enjoyed then hopped on a train to Main Street.

We stopped at Main Street because we wanted to see Santa who was visiting Candy Cane Lane. We got there just before the time I thought he was supposed to arrive. Unfortunately, I was wrong and we had to wait for about 20 minutes for Santa to arrive. This became the longest wait of the day for us.

When Santa finally arrived the kids waited patiently for their turn. We were the 4th family in line and it took an additional 10 minutes before it was our turn. Santa’s a good talker and took his time with each family. Carissa didn’t have anything to tell Santa so she said she didn’t know what she wanted for Christmas. Tristan asked for a dragon statue. Chase asked Santa for books, which impressed Santa to no end. They posed for some pictures with the big guy and then we rushed to hop on the train waiting at the Main Street station.

We got off in Frontierland station and went to use our fastpasses for both Splash and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We got fairly wet on Splash Mountain this time because there were more people (and thus more weight) on the boat.

But we all commented about how fabulous the drop on that ride is. It makes putting up with the song that then gets stuck in your head. LOL Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was great again and it was nice to just mosey past all those people without fastpasses.

Once we’d used our passes we considered getting in line for the 5:00 Parade of Dreams, but they’d changed the time due to parade taping and now all the MVMCP people were lining up to watch this parade too and the parade line was already packed. So we moved on and walked towards Pirates. I stopped in a little Kodak shanty on the way and found a Mickey camera strap for my Nikon that I just had to have. It became my first souvenir of the trip.

We headed towards Main Street and shopped a bit, ending up in the shop next to Tony’s restaurant. We’d gone there expressly to find snow globes, which a castmember mentioned might be found there. No such luck. Carissa only collects musical snow globes and the ones they had were either too expensive (like $100) or non-musical. The only one under $50 and musical is the same one she got last trip.

We left the park without a snow globe but happy to be on our way. We even stopped on the way out to take some photos in front of the train station. This one was taken by a nice stranger. I love the friendly people at Disneyworld!

Since we’d gotten out earlier than expected we decided to hit Downtown Disney this evening. There are no buses from the parks to Downtown Disney so I knew we’d have to go to a resort and transfer there. We hopped a monorail to the Contemporary and then wandered around until we found their bus stop. We were getting tired and it didn’t help that it took forever before a bus to Downtown Disney came around. Just as we were considering leaving, one did. In hindsight I guess we should have taken the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center, as there are probably buses from there to Downtown Disney and probably come at a more frequent pace. Oh well, you live and you learn, right? (Note: there are not buses to DTD from the Ticket and Transportation Center. We learned this another day…)

We arrived at Downtown Disney and were all pretty famished so we headed straight for Wolfgang Puck Express. Brian, Tristan and Carissa each ordered pepperoni pizzas while Chase and I ordered chicken strips (his with fries, mine with garlic mashed potatoes). We all ordered brownies as our dessert and brought them back to the resort to munch on later. The food at Wolfgang Puck Express was pretty darned good, probably the best counter service our entire trip. The adult pizzas were a decent size and fairly tasty. The chicken Chase and I got was really good too. I especially liked it with the mashed potatoes. It finally felt like I was having a “real meal” and it was pretty good.

Now that our bellies were full and we had woken up a bit we went shopping. I checked out the Disney kitchen store and then the Disney’s “under $10” store before relenting and letting the kids make their way to Goofy’s Candy Company. The kids love this place! Who doesn’t love a good candy store? But what makes it more fun is the make-your-own candy. The only candy item allowed on the dining plan is the marshmallows, so that’s what the kids each made. Chase had dark chocolate covered in sprinkles and then drizzled with milk chocolate. Tristan had dark chocolate covered in Butterfinger pieces then drizzled in milk chocolate. Carissa had milk chocolate covered in mini M&M’s and drizzled in milk chocolate. Once they were ready we headed outside for a place to sit down and eat. Chase barely made it out of the door before he took a huge bite of his! “I just couldn’t wait, it looked too good!” he said. Who can blame him?

While the kids munched their sweets I jumped over to the Disney “memories” store which has frames and scrapbook goodies and such. I didn’t find much so came back to Brian and the kids. When the kids were done eating they wanted to go to the Disney Sports store with Brian to look for something for Grandpa’s birthday. We were thinking that a Disney jersey or something similar might make a great gift for him. Brian, Chase and Carissa went to the sports store while Tristan and I went to Disney’s “12 Days of Christmas” shop. I know I want a Christmas souvenir from WDW but I just don’t know exactly what. There are so many beautiful things to choose from and I just couldn’t do it! We’ll be back in DTD later in the week so I’ll decide then what to get.

Brian and the kids didn’t have any more luck at the sports store, coming out empty-handed. Most things are t-shirts and not jerseys or the like, which are Grandpa’s faves.

Our last stop tonight was the huge “World of Disney” store. The kids loved the spitting Stitch on top and we were all in awe at the huge size and scope of the store. We shopped there for quite a while. I knew when one of the kids said “I don’t want to spend our time in Disneyworld shopping” that they’d had their fill for the day. It only took a few more minutes before Brian had decided on a new jacket and Carissa had found a fabulous new snow globe. We paid and went on our merry way, dragging all the way to the bus stop. Our bus took off shortly after we arrived and we efficiently made our way back to the Coronado Springs, then up to our rooms where we drank some water and sent the kids to bed. Brian and I milled around for a bit, prepared for tomorrow, went to the gift shop for some milk for breakfast and then headed to bed ourselves.

Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom and it looks like rain is on the horizon. It’s only forecasting ½ an inch. That’s not very much, right?!?

1 comment:

mevballmom said...

i wish i had told you about ttc....we tried it our first day and it was are biggest mistake of the week!!! It took us forever to get to a hotel and down to downtown Disney!!!!