Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 3

Well, the big stormfront has moved through but left us a last little bit of rain to contend with this morning. We just decided to go with the flow and hoped it wouldn’t pour on us anymore. We even contemplated taking extra shoes with us into the park, since having wet feet is the worst part of the rain. But in the end we had faith that it would pass quickly.

We got up early for am Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. We dressed, ate a quick breakfast and then set out with our hoodies and ponchos for our day at the park. Although we arrived at the bus stop at 7:15am, it was a very long wait for a bus. We didn’t actually make it onto a bus until about 7:45 and weren’t dropped off at the park until about 7:55. We tromped through the misty rain towards Hollywood Studios.

There was no way we would make rope drop, especially since arriving that late meant we had more people to contend with. We got through security and the ticket gates and were finally in the park at about 8:05. We headed straight for Toy Story Mania, hoping to ride early before the line got too long. While the wait wasn’t as quick as we hoped it was only about 20 minutes. Nothing like the 90 minutes we would see later in the day.

This was our first time on Toy Story Mania and it was a big hit! Everyone really loved it and would have ridden it again, yet the long line (it was now about 40 minutes) kept us for going again so soon. We did grab some Fastpasses for later, which was a good idea since the Fastpasses were gone by noon today.
Once outside we realized that the misty rain was still falling so we kept on our ponchos (don't we look sweet in our ponchos and cool 3D glasses?!?). Would the rain ever go away?

Next up was our fave ride in all of Disneyworld – Rock n’ Rollercoaster! The line was pretty short and we were in our limo within about 10 minutes. Can’t beat that! We loved it, as always, and opted for an immediate re-ride. I just can’t tell you how much we love this ride! Doesn’t hurt that Aerosmith is blasting in your ears the entire ride. Gotta love it! We did have to take a short stop so Chase could buy an Aerosmith t-shirt from the ride store.

Well, my tummy started getting a little squirrely from all the rides already this morning but the Tower of Terror was right next door so we decided to go for it.

This was also a walk-on. Gotta love the low crowds! The kids loved the ride and wanted to go again right away. Unfortunately, the ride was a bit too much for me. I had to leave the gift shop and get some air because I was not feeling very good… not good at all. That’s the closest to hurling that I’ve ever come at Disney, so we decided not to re-ride right now and find some calm, quiet place to be for a bit.

We headed for the Magic of Disney Animation building. I don’t think we’ve ever been in this building but now that the kids are older we can do some of these things. Well, I didn’t know what we’ve been missing! We went to the movie, where the cast member announcing the show had a speech impediment that made her very, very hard to understand. We were thankful when it was time to move on.

First thing we saw was Tigger, who we quickly got a picture with. The rest of the character lines seemed a little long so we passed those up. I knew we wanted to go in and draw with an illustrator so we got in line for that.

Carissa and I sneaked over to get a quick meet and picture with Minnie. At this point she had a really-have-to-go bathroom run. Brian took her and they got back just in time to join us and we all filed into the animators studio.

The illustrator taught us how to draw Sorcerer Mickey. It was so much fun! I really enjoyed learning how to draw him and listening to the tidbits the animator had to share. We all came out with unique versions of Mickey and the kids all want to go back and draw with an animator again. It’s on our to-do list for our next day at Hollywood Studios.

(The kids are all holding their own drawings on top. Chase is holding Brian's drawing on bottom and Tristan has mine on bottom.) I carefully rolled up the drawings and we brought them home. I'm not sure what we'll do with them just yet, but I'm definitely keeping them all.

Thankfully at this point I’m feeling a little better. We decide to head over to the Great Movie Ride, one that I personally could totally pass on and never miss a thing. But Brian and the kids want to go so we do it. Eh, it still doesn’t change my mind. Not a fave at all. The coolest thing about the ride, for me, is the cool costumes and props in the queue line. Hey, but we did get to stop by a Photopass photographer on the way, so at least I got a good picture out of it!

It’s about 11:40 by now and we have lunch reservations for 12:20. Carissa really wants to go see The Voyage of the Little Mermaid, which is just about ready to start. The boys really don’t want to see it. Chase asks to go see One Mans Dream instead and in the end we decide to split up. The girls go see The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the boys go to One Mans Dream.

Carissa and I sat front and center (well, 2nd row and center) for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. She was just entranced. It was a cute show and she was really happy when we left there.

The boys had a great time at One Mans Dream too. Chase is our huge, huge, huge Walt Disney fan and Tristan has also done a research paper on Walt Disney, so they were both interested in learning more about him. They loved walking through to see all the tidbits and facts about Walt, his office and the desk where Mickey was created. Chase “learned about the original ideas for some of the parks – Adventureland is WAY off! I also learned a lot about the man himself, like how everything he had, including his family and the Walt Disney studios were all in debt when he created Disneyland making it a huge leap of faith.” Tristan liked the movie they showed at the end, the teeny-tiny models of the parks and the robot he got to play with. Hearing them so excited made me wish I’d had a chance to see this exhibit.

By now it was just about lunch time. I took us on the “scenic route” to the Sci-Fi Dine-In (meaning I went the wrong way and took twice as much time and effort to find where we needed to be). The restaurant was busy and we were all hungry and grouchy. Thankfully they got us in fairly quickly. We had a wonderful server who brought our drink refills without prompting and was quirky and fun. The food was pretty decent too. Brian had the ribs, Chase and I had the turkey and bacon sandwich, Tristan had a grilled cheese and Carissa had a pizza (which she did not like!). We all ordered dessert too – hot fudge sundaes for four and a chocolate shake for Chase. Yummy!!! The ambience of the restaurant was awesome too and the kids enjoyed a little bit of mind-numbing television while waiting and eating.

By the time lunch got over it was 1:40 and Beauty and the Beast was scheduled for 2pm. We hightailed it over there and got some pretty decent seats for the show. I love this show! I love the songs, I love the singing and I love the costumes! Carissa loved it too. Everyone else dealt with it.

We decided that now was the perfect time to use our Toy Story fastpasses. The standby line was 70 minutes and the fastpass line took about 20. Sheesh! I like the ride but I couldn’t believe the hoards of people willing to wait that long for one ride. Guess that’s why I love the slow times at Disney. Brian beat us all yet again but everyone did fairly well. Our arms were all tired from pulling the darned string on the gun though! LOL

We meandered our way over to the other side of the park for Muppetvision. Again, not much of a wait and they only asked you to move ¾ of the way through the theater, since they were never full. We learned our lesson sitting too close on It’s Tough to be a Bug and sat about 2/3 up this time. Much better view of the 3D effects.

After getting out we rushed over to the 4:10 showing of Lights, Motors, Action. We have never taken the time to see this show before so weren’t quite sure what to expect. I had heard it was a fun, action show but I wasn’t so impressed with it myself. They start and stop the show to reveal how the stunts are done. Then they take some time and move on to another stunt. The show was really long – maybe 40 minutes? – and I would have rather been in the parks. The kids thought it was okay but nobody was really impressed with it. This definitely isn’t on my must-see list for a future trip.

At this point we still had Rock n’ Rollercoaster fastpasses to use. It was worth the long walk to the ride and the fastpasses got us in fairly quickly.

Next up was Osborne Lights. We’ve heard such wonderful things about this and we weren’t disappointed. By chance we showed up just a few minutes before they turned the lights on. We got a spot toward one end of the street and stood there, counting down with the huge crowd. When the lights came on there was a huge “AAAAAHHHHH” from the crowd. The sheer amount of lights was awesome and the colors and designs were so impressive!

The sun hadn't quite set in the west, so I got this photo looking down the street with the glow of the sunset in the background.

Immediately after lighting the lights started dancing, meaning that they played a song and the lights blinked off and on in time to the song. I would have loved some classic Christmas carol, and indeed we heard some later on in the evening, but the first song we saw them dance to was a crazy version of Jingle Bells. It was almost like a Chipmunks song, going way too fast for it’s own good. Jingle Bells on speed. And, of course, it’s stuck in your head all day. And even though I’ve heard the song only that one time I can still remember how quickly it was being sung. Crazy!

The lights are beautiful when they dance and even more beautiful when they are on to admire. We walked down the street, stopping to admire our favorites and searching for some of the Mickey heads hidden amongst the lights. We stopped for a Photopass photo of our family with the lights too. It was absolutely beautiful.
In all we spent about 25 minutes in the Osborne lights area. There were, however, tons of people and we finally made our way out of the area. We walked by later in the evening and there were still tons of people there. I must admit, this one was worthy of the praise and popularity. I’ve never seen anything like it!

We walked around for a bit, knowing that our day was winding down. We were hungry and stopped to eat, only to find the restaurant closed. We walked next to Pizza Planet, finding again that it was closed. I didn’t know that the counter service restaurants closed before the parks so was unprepared for it. I asked a cast member at the counter of Pizza Planet if they were closed. She said they were and I asked where we could find an open counter service restaurant. She directed me to the other side of the park. Oh man… another walk.

As we were walking away she called me back and asked what we were planning on ordering. I said that we were going to order a pizza for each of us, probably cheese for the kids and pepperoni for us. She told us to wait and then gathered a tray and loaded it up. They were out of pepperoni but she gave us 5 cheese pizzas, drinks and desserts. When I asked where to pay she said “Compliments of Pizza Planet”. Wow… how this made our day! Not only did we not have to walk to the other side of the park but we could finally sit down, rest our tired feet and fill up on pizza. It felt so wonderful and we were so thankful!

We headed towards the sorcerer hat in the center of the park, which was beautifully lit up, especially with the spotlights shining in the sky behind it. I took some shots of the hat itself, which turned out nicely.

But then I tried to take shots with people in them. Brian tried too. We even stopped so a Photopass photographer could take our photo in front of the hat. Unfortunately none of those pictures turned out well at all. I was quite disappointed, but not much to be done about it.

We thought we might do a little shopping at the end of our day but the stores were too packed to shop. Instead we just headed out of the park and waited for the bus from Coronado Springs. We waited. And waited. There was a pretty long line of people waiting for the bus so when a bus finally came we were lucky to get on. Some of us had to stand, but at least we got home. It was a quick bus ride for us. We relaxed at the hotel for a while and made the kids finally do their journal entries for the first few days of our trip (they kept “forgetting”… this was their homework).

When we heard Illuminations fireworks going off outside (we can see the tops of them from our room window) that signaled bedtime for the kids.
Tomorrow is our first Epcot day and we have both the Princess Breakfast and steak at Le Cellier to look forward to. The weather has turned up and the forecast looks good. I can't wait!

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