Friday, October 15, 2010

Dis pt 9 & Pictures

The Photopass disc finally came! I took advantage of pre-ordering the disc and then split it with a friend (Disney releases the rights to you so no problem making copies) which brought the price down to a reasonable sum. The photographers are a mixed lot, but I think we got some nice shots:
















9/11 Pete heads home and check out day at the beach club.

No park today. We had to pack up the room and store our stuff with the hotel. Originally, the kids and I were going to start back to NC this day, but then I heard all sort of horror stories about AirTran cancelling evening flights. I figured, if Pete was stranded in Orlando for the night, I wouldn't want to be in Jacksonville. So, I booked the kids and me in a value resort, a level we'd never stayed in before.

After checking out, I wanted to hit some shops and possibly use our waterpark or DisneyQuest tickets before Pete took off. I added the option on at the last minute because the homeschool price made it affordable and I was willing to skip it if it was just too much.

We headed over to Downtown Disney around lunch time. The Lego store was on our list and we spent a good amount of time there. Katie and I also wanted to hit World of Disney to buy some souvenirs. We also got pixie dusted! Had no idea that it would last for days despite showers!


World of Disney


Giant Lego dragon

Pete, again, was very patient with us.

We ate at Wolfgang Puck Express, which we remembered from our last trip and still liked very much.

Then we hit DisneyQuest. Not really Katie's thing but we did enjoy the pirates game. Zack was in his element and disappeared off to the arcade games. I thought Pete would also get into it, but he was way too tired to really enjoy it.

The morning went too fast. Even though Pete's flight wasn't until almost 7pm, Magical Express wanted him at the bus stop by 3:30pm. So we trekked back to the car (next time I would definitely move the car from one end of DTD to the other, the walk was long and HOT).

We hugged Pete and said goodbye :-( and off he went on the bus. We headed over to Pop Century to claim our luggage and find our room.

Really Pop was fine, but after the Beach Club, a total let down. In future, I'd probably vote for off-site than stay in a Disney Value again. The room was tiny, the distance to the pool and lobby was huge and it was mobbed and the food court was really awful. I found our stay at Country Inn and Suites a lot more relaxing on our first Disney trip than I found Pop.


These were pretty fun though...



Zack was eager to go back to DisneyQuest, so I agreed to head back in the evening. It was nice to see DTD all lit up too. I was starting to feel a bit of the cold Zack and Katie had cycled through, so we made it a fairly early evening while still feeling like we had seen everything at DQ.

Pete's flight took off fine and we settled in for our last sleep in Orlando.

9/12 The End

We got up pretty early so we could hit the Magic Kingdom before heading back to my mom's in NC. A long day, but I wanted just a bit more Disney Magic before we left.

I decided the best way to park would be to go to the Contemporary and then walk to monorail over to the park. It worked out great. We stopped in to the hotel to grab some breakfast, and then jumped on the monorail to the park entrance.

The park was basically empty when we got there and we were able to hit our favorites very quickly. Pirates first, Big Thunder Mtn twice!, Haunted Mansion, Laugh Floor, Space Mtn, not sure if we hit buzz again...


Can you see the hidden Tinkerbell?

Then we did a bit of shopping, heading back to Adventureland to get Zack a sword and, natch, MORE DOLE WHIP!!! This time we tried floats--DELISH!



Then on to Main Street and then it was time to say goodbye. We walked back to the car and off we went. Until next time ;-)



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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dis pt 8

9/8

This was supposed to be a Beach Club day, but the kids really didn't take to the pool like I thought they would and preferred to have an easy morning, but then head to Epcot. Katie wanted to see the tea shop in England and Zack wanted to do another Kim Possible mission.

Pete took a little time in the morning again while the kids and I rode Ellen's Energy Adventure, a strange ride, and the kids rode Mission Space again. Katie voted for the milder version this time and was underwhelmed. I think we rode Test track again too.

We all went over and it turned out that the mission was in England anyway, so we traveled around the shops there. Zack even got a tea sample as part of his clues.

Here's where I made my big mistake. We didn't know what to have for lunch. Generally, I made sit-down reservations for lunch, but because this was going to be a hang around day, I had made a character dinner res instead. I completely forgot that I had also made reservations at via Napoli in Italy for lunch. Bummer! Pete went back to Morocco to pick up food and the kids and I split some fish and chips. The pizza would have been better :(

Not sure if we went back to the room or not. We may have just continued around the World Showcase. We did go to Italy, France again, where we met up with Sleeping Beauty (still waiting for our photopass CD with those picts though), Mexico to ride the boat and shop, and I think that about covered it.


Very difficult not to buy this mask in Italy, but the price was unreal.


Hola Zack!

Pete was way over Disney by this day and the character dinner didn't really help this. I wanted to skip it, but Katie was looking forward to it. Pete was a real trouper though and put on a pretty good face for the meal. I didn't like the restaurant at all. The food was ok, but the place itself could use an update and I thought it was unacceptable that there was no photopass photographer at the meal. Katie and Zack had a good time, so that was good.

Characters!




Pete giving it a good effort!


Good Dessert

We picked a nice spot near Japan to watch the fireworks at the end of the night. It was nice to avoid the crowd which tend to gather more toward the front of the park for a quick exit at the end. The show was great, but the wind shifted and blew ashes right at us after the finale. Not as fun but a good day all in all.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Dis pt 7

9/9

Epcot Day! So easy to get there! Pete was pretty tired, so the kids and I went over first and Pete was going to hang around and sleep in the room. I think there was an issue with room cleaning or something, so he ended up relaxing in the lobby instead, but still had the morning off.

The kids and I headed over to Future World to ride Soarin (Katie's and my favorite), the Land Boat ride and hang around the Seas a bit. I left them to go grab some fast passes, but we ended up skipping turtle talk with crush. We did ride Spaceship Earth and got some funny videos.



Pete joined us around 11am when we grabbed lunch at Les Chefs de France. It was a great meal. Pete's French is actually very good but he was a bit shy about it, he still did nicely.

We headed back to FW and hit all the majors--test track, Pete and the kids did Mission Space. I had planned on doing that ride on the easy level, but was not feeling up to it and didn't want to risk dizziness for the rest of the day just for one ride. I loved the arcade at the exit though, and we all spent a lot of time there. Pete and Zack talked Katie into the more intense version and the look on her face afterward was pretty hysterical.

Outside Mission Space


Dude!


Cruisin'

It was especially nice to have a lot of time at Epcot. We didn't last trip and I think we all enjoyed it more having several trips over there this time. The kids are a really good age for it now--although I didn't realize that one of the Horizons buildings has quite a lot for smaller kids. I don't think we even entered the buildings last time.

We were feeling hot and it seemed like the perfect time to hit Club Cool. Pete actually LIKES the Italian flavor of Coke. It reminds me of the yellow Triaminic medicine my mom used to make me take as a kid and even the smell of it alone can give me chills! Refreshing, air conditioned and free--all great in my book.

Chugging.

Refreshed, we hit the Horizon's buildings, which Zack was looking forward to. We all got into it in the end, but the first one (East?) was not especially interesting to Katie and Pete and I were tired and sat around quite a bit. The other building was much more interesting for all of us. Katie and Zack designed their own roller coaster, although Katie's bossiness backfired on her when she insisted she and Zack go together and he insisted the coaster go upside down!


I enjoyed my first ride on a Segway

Pete and I left them there to ride Spaceship Earth on our own.

The evening is a bit of a blank for me, but Katie reminded me that we ate dinner at Seasons and the food was great for quick service fare. I know we all rode Soarin together and I think we called it a night.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dis pt 6

9/8

Animal Kingdom day. I find this the hardest park to plan for and RideMax was only a slight help. The problem with the RM plans is that if you run them as-is, it schedules you for the safari in the afternoon, when the animals will be less active or hiding. So, in order to work around this, I started our schedule as though we'd arrive late and didn't schedule the safari. All this, ofcourse, hinged on arriving at rope drop and doing the safari first, then starting the RM plan.

BUT-

This morning, Zack woke up with a sore throat and feeling pretty under the weather. I should have changed the entire plan to just hang at the hotel all day but instead decided to hunt down some lemon and honey--the concierge was great and got us both plus a knife to cut up the lemon--give him some hot lemonade and see how he was feeling.

He rallied, so we ditched the idea of driving over to the park and took the bus.

We arrived late and never quite caught up. By mid-day, we had ditched the idea of doing any of the trails in the heat, they would not be open for late night hours and we only had a ride or two left to finish up. THAT'S where we went wrong. Instead of heading back to the hotel, taking a break and going back to the park, we decided to hit the rides. But this also meant crossing the park several extra times. Not fun and exactly what I'd wanted to avoid since doing the same thing the last trip.

So once again, I left the park feeling like we really didn't get to see it as fully as we seem to cover all the other parks.

We did do some very cool things though. The safari was nice, and I got to see baby rhinos--increadibly fun!


We went to Rafiki's Planet Watch this time, which was right up Katie's alley. She asked lots of questions.

Jiminy was at Rafiki's! Wish a PP photographer had been as well.

Katie rode Expedition Everest for the first time! (I watched.)


We got soaking wet, twice, on the rapids ride. I left my hat on the rapids ride and had to go back for that (are you noticing a trend here?).

We went on Dinosaur and liked it better than Indy at Disneyland. I thought it seemed like a longer ride.

We had Mickey Bars! We weren't completely crazy--when we decided to stay in the afternoon heat, we got some Mickey bars, sat in the shade and just sat for a while. Still, it was not the hotel pool or air conditioning. Next time, we get the bars to-go!


We saw the 3-D bug film--but I can't find the picture Pete took of us in the bug glasses, wonder what happened to that one? Anyway, I was once again freaked out by the spiders.

We also had lunch at Tusker House and thought the food was good and it was nice to stay in the park for lunch.

Don't get me wrong, we had a good time, but it was hot, we got pretty cranky and even though we had the night at the hotel, Zack was not feeling great and the rest of us were knocked out so we ended up hitting the sack at 8pm.

Live and learn to stay at the hotel and move the park to another day when one of us is under the weather.

If you hit play on the vid below, then hit pause, you can see the photo of Zack in front and Katie and Pete in the second row on their Everest ride.

video