Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Magic Kingdom Day 4

This is it. Today is the day where all my childhood dreams come true. Today I get to see Cinderalla's castle. I'm so excited. We left our hotel bright and early so that we would be there when the gates opened. And its'a  good thing too. We arrived to a gate with some character entertainment and watched the train arrival carrying our favorite Disney characters including all the princesses, Mickey, Minnie and so many others. I was so full of giddiness inside.

We made our way inside and immediately made our way to meet the Disney Princesses Belle, Cinderella and Aurora. Oh how I want Cinderella's dress. Could be a great design for a wedding dress don't you think?

After meeting the princesses we went over to meet our favorite wooden puppet Pinnochio. He is so fun. Such a cute little puppet. I always think of the Adventures of Pinnochio with Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Pinnochio. Huge crush on him growing up.

As we made our way up the main street, looking in all the fabulous window displays, my jaw dropped when I saw the castle. It seemed to be calling out to the little girl within me saying ,"Welcome home princess Kara." I was so giddy inside. My heart was all a flutter. And there was the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey too.
We walked through the castel gates and found several fun rides. We journeye with Snow White as she sang by her wishing well, escaped the Queen into the forest, found refuge with the 7 dwarfs and their diamond mine, the old hag that fed her the poison apple, the prince who found her and woke her up to live happily ever after. (I want to wake up by a kiss). 

Then Mickey took us on a musical adventure with his Philaharmonic 3D movie presentation. Gotta love how Donald just wants to do what Mickey can. I guess this is a lesson in not being envious of what others have. It can get you into some magical, mischievious trouble. 

Then we boarded our own Jolley Roger as we flew over the city of London to follow Peter Pan to Neverland over Mermaid Cove, the indian settlement with Tiger Lilly, helped to rescue Wendy, Michael, John and the Lost boys from Captain Hook. And the crocodile was sure trying to get his teeth into Captain Hook. Hurry and help him Smee. 

It's a Small World was a fun little boat ride around the world to the various countries and cultures of the world.  I had never understood this song as being part of Disney until I rode this ride. Now I know that there is a ride, that it is filled with fun colors, and dancing dolls, and flowers, and even a room that feels like its glowing because it's all glowing white, gold and silver.

We rode the iconic Alice in Wonderland teacups and even got to meet the White Rabbit who for once was not late as I was his very important date. 

The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh was such a fun adventure ride. Piglet almost got blown away on that very blustery day and the heffalumps and woozles were dancing in pooh dreams as the rain came down. Sweet hunny was everywhere. I loved watching Winnie the Pooh growing up and this ride brought back all of those memories of watching these classic tales.   

We made our way over to Frontierland where we saw the Liberty Bell and tree, a great robotic/video presentation about the presidents of the United States that ended with all of the presidents on stage introducing themselves in order from George Washington to our current president.

We made our way over to Adventureland where we we experienced the great adventure of Captain Jack Sparrow on the Pirate's of the Carribean ride. We then actually got to see Jack Sparrow in his outdoor show where he was teaching the audience how to be a pirate.

Time to experience a whole new world with Aladdin and Jasmine who are just a riot. They were telling jokes to each other making us all laugh. What do you call a penguin in the desert? Lost. LOL! And Aladdin was really cute. After meeting them I went for a ride on a magic carpet soaring high above the park.

There was a show on the steps of the castle where Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were teaching Donald to believe in magic. As other characters including the prince and princesses, Peter Pan and Wendy, and the Evil Queen Malifscent eventually teach Donald to believe in magic which allows them to overcome the bad guys and bring fireworks at the end. How cute.

Ok, my dad told me not to kiss any frogs. But he isn't a frog anymore. He's a prince, and he kissed me. Let me explain. We went to meet the Princess and the Frog characters and there were a couple of high school boys in front of us in line wanting to take pics with just the princess. The prince played it up of not watching what they were doing with his princess. So when it was my turn to go up for pics I asked if it was my turn to just take a pic with the prince. He loved it! Totally played it up of take that princess. Then he got down on his knees and proceeded to kiss my hands. Ah!!!!! If only I could take him home. When we were done we allowed the princess to come and join us and I told her that I was born in New Orleans. She was so thrilled that I was born there and told me to come and visit them there again soon.

We made our way over to Frontierland to see where Briar Rabbit lived. His typhoon ride was really cute through the trees and briars to the top of the mountain before plunging down the waterfall. Zippidy Doo Da. What a wonderful day.

The firework show that night was spectacular. TinkerBell actually lights up the castel before flying away. They reflect pictures that have been taken throughout the park on the castle and change it to so many different colors and patterns. It was breathtaking. The fireworks were amazing. We had such a great view from the main street of the castel with the fireworks lighting up behind it. Truly magical.

We made our way over the Tomorrowland where we went to infinitiy and beyond with Buzz Light year. Then we found the Stitch who had escaped the experimentation lab and was running all around us. Mike Wezkowsky had us laughing on the laugh floor with all of his jokes collecting our laughter to light up the Monster World. Space Mountain was pretty cool. It's an indoor roller coaster that has you feeling like you were traveling through the galaxy amongst the stars. And you know I have a need for speed so driving the race cars around the track was right up my alley.

We continued to venture around the park until 1:00am when the park closed. We did everything we could with not much left undone. It was truly a dream come true walking around this park and experiencing some of Walt Disney's iconic dreams.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Epcot Day 2 continued

Thank goodness the rain stopped as soon as the bus pulled up to the gates of Epcot. Not even the weather was going to stop this girl. We made our way inside the gates of Epcot. I can't believe it's only day 2 and already I'm seeing my third park here in Disney World. And this park has one of the most iconic Disney world attractions, Spaceship Earth. The ride that looks like a ginormous golf ball. I was so excited to see this iconic ride.

Once we grabbed the park map and schedule we headed over to the Finding Nemo Adventure ride which was this cute ride that had you sitting in clam shells (I know I'm a pearl). The ride would take you through several aquariums with real fish and coral and our favorite friends from Finding Nemo. They digitally screened them into the tanks which made it even more exciting to follow them along on this adventure. 

Next, we headed over to Turtle Talk with Crush the turtle from the movie. This was so cool. Crush would teach us how to talk like a turtle and would answer the audience questions about turtles. So cool. They passed around a microphone and Crush would talk to the kids. I was truly amazed at how this was done. Dude.
Do you hear that? That's the sound of engines revving up for a fast ride. Time to hit the tracks, Test Tracks that is. A ride sponsored by GM motors and is one of the fastest rides here at Disney. Here we are put in cars that take us through the testing process of all GM vehicles. We are testing for turning, brakes, terrain, climate control and speed! This was a fun ride. My car got up to 60 around the tracks. Yes I do that in my car but most coasters don't get that high so this was pretty fast. We did this ride a couple of times throughout the day because it was so much fun.

After pushing the limits here on earth, it was time to take our explorations to a new frontier. Time to visit Mars. That's right. Time to blast off into Outer Space. This was a crazy ride. There were two different ways to experience this ride normal or extreme. We went for the extreme ride. They keep giving all kinds of warnings about this ride. And once I got in I knew why. They first take us through training where we are giving different roles to play on the space ship. Then we board the aircraft. They warn you not to move your head left or right as this will disorient you. And there are barf bags hanging in between each seat in case you need one. Seriously? Once I'm strapped in and we are set to go, the door closes and the screen in front of you starts to turn so that it looks like you are seeing the tip of the space craft and the sky. But not only do you see it, you feel it. The launch commences and as you begin to see the sky changing as you are taking off, your stomach is also feeling the impact of blasting off to space. Then when you hit space you can actually feel that 0 gravity feeling down in the pit of your stomach. Crazy! We then proceed to loop around the moon and make our way through asteroids before we come in for a rough landing on the surface of Mars. Wow! They weren't kidding on this ride when they said it was pretty extreme. We never left our seats but your body felt like it had just been through space. This ride is out of this world Amazing! 

 Back on earth it was time to make our way around the world. We trekked through countries like Mexico, Norway, Japan, Moroco, France, Italy, England, Germany. Along the way we met some of our favorite friends. We found Aurora in France, Belle in Germany, Mary Poppins and Alice in London, Aladdin and Jasmine in Moroco, I even spotted Tigger and Piglet having fun. Snow White was sitting by her wishing well and she told me the best way to get a prince was to find a wishing well. Have to look for my own though. Hmm.  

Once We'd made our way around the world we headed back over to Germany to eat a German dish of Bratwurst and a delightful cake. Yum! We ate while waiting for the firework show to start. I also did a little shopping around the world as well. Picked up a great book about how the Queen in Snow White became so vain. (this became a great read for the plane ride home).

The lirework/laser show was truely spectacular.  They turned off all the lights in the park and brought out a huge world that lite up to show different images from around the world depicting, food, culture, dress, animals, landscape, people. The music and narrative that went along with it was amazing. We had a great view of the globe, the fireworks and a fabulous backdrop of Space Ship Earth.

Well the park had extended hours for those of us who were staying on Disney resorts. Which meant more time to play!

We made our way over to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. They were so much fun to interact with. I love Minnie's polka dot red dress.

After meeting our favorite characters we went into the iconic Space Ship Earth ride. It was really cute. They take you on a ride up to the top of the ball showing the evolution of human communication starting with cave drawings, egyptians papyrus, greek and roman cultures and eventually to the world wide web. It was really cool how they showed all of this. At the very top of the ball you feel like you are looking out over the galaxy as there are so many stars and the moon to view. As you make your way down they have you create your perfect future world. Ours was an environmentally safe house. It was really fun.

We went on a ride that showed us how Disney is doing research of agriculture. We got to see some of the laboratories they are working in. It was really informative and interesting to think that some scientist actually come to work at Disney World.

Then Simba, Timon and Pumba taught us the importance of taking care of our planet earth. A little too go green for me but I appreciated in non the less.

Michael Jackson has a 3D video here called Captain EO. I'm not sure what it was supposed to be but there were some cool dance moves. While in line for Captain EO the guy at the gate gave me a special pass to make sure I got to ride the newest ride of the park Soarin. This was a line that had a wait time of over an hour the entire day and into the night. This pass allowed us to skip the line. I almost gave this guy a huge kiss but didn't think it was appropriate. (darn, he was cute too!).

While in the line for Soarin we were at the very end and there was this couple in front of us who were a little drunk. They pulled out their bottle of wine and glasses and began to drink right there in the line. They were too funny and we had a good laugh with them. We were labled cool by them. The ride itself was amazing. You are lifted up in front of a huge IMAX screen and proceed to glide over gorgeous scenes of California. You literally feel like it is just you up in the sky flying over California. You could smell the oranges of the orchards, the salt of the sea. It felt like I was sky diving again being up there only not quite. Still one of the best rides. So glad we were able to go.

Well that's a wrap on day 2 of my Disney Adventure. 3 parks down and already I've had a magical time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hollywood Studios Day 2

Up early for another great day of adventure. We headed back to Hollywood Studios to finish up the rest of the park.

We started the morning with a movie ride that took us through some of the greatest movies throughout the ages. This ride has us seated in a jeep like mobile that drove through classic movie scenes. You were transported to the land of OZ with Dorothy, Stepping in Time on the roofs of London with Bert and Mary Poppins, and we were even invaded by a mobber who took control of our car. Fun movie memories.

We then went over to discover what it would be like to have someone shrink you in size. We explored the backyard of Wayne Salenski in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. This was a fun jungle gym area where we climbed all over the grass and discovered humongous objects lost in the yard like Play-Doh, film canisters, yo-yos. I was able to successfully navigate my way through the spiderweb without getting caught. The bee almost stung me though. And ants are huge when your small.

We went on a Back Lot Tour where they showed us how water fight scenes are set up for filming. Fire the guns! Boom! Splash! Very interesting to see how this is done. Then we walked through a warehouse where several items that are used on sets were stored. I got to see the chicken house that was used in the filming of Hannah Montana! We boarded a train and took a trip to a mountain area where a semi truck is stuck in a desert area. Suddenly there is an earthquake, and rushing water, and then a huge fire explodes where you saw the semi truck actually catch fire. It was like being a part of the filming of this scene. It was pretty cool. Moving on we saw the Disney One Plane that Walt Disney rode when he was searcing for land to build his theme park. There were many other mobile props including Herbie the Love Bug and the space ship from Flight of the Navigator. Then they showed us how they use card board to help create back drops for city scenes and such. Kind of interesting.

We walked the streets and such enjoying the sets and shops. The It's a Wonderful Life christmas store was too cute. The ornaments were beautiful. Inspires me to want to create a Disney wonderland at home.

Of course we have to meet a few characters. Lightning McQueen and Mater were there reving up their engines with excitement to see us.

Mike Wazowski and Sully were there to show us the door to enter that Monster Inc. world.
Walking around the corner what's this I hear? The sound of a light saber! Time to follow Luke Skywalker on an intergalatic adventure to fight against Darth Vadar and the clones. This ride is super unique. It's a simulator that makes you feel like you are actually going somewhere when in reality you haven't even left the ground. Pretty cool.

For lunch we knew where we needed to eat. Pizza Planet! The pizza was great, Woody and Buzz and all the green aliens were there. I felt just like Andy did in Toy Story eating there and looking at all the cool games you could play. Love it.

Before leaving the area we made our way back for one more ride on the Rockin Roller Coaster with Aerosmith before it was time to leave the park. Good thing we did to. It started raining as we got on the bus to head to our next adventure.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hollywood Studios. Day 1 continued

Welcome to Hollywood! The main street when you first walk into the park is set up to look just the way I would imagine Hollywood to look in the 1950's. Cute shops line up on both sides of the main street. Coke vendors with authentic uniforms and old cars. I literally feel like I have been transported to the movie center of the US.

Right away we get a picture with the iconic Sorcerors Apprentice hat which has a stage set in front of it with Disney Channel music performed live. So glad I know my Disney Channel Movies, High School Musical, Camp Rock, and Hannah Montana. Yes, I am singing along. Would I be doing anything else?

We made our way over to see the Little Mermaid live. It's a 17 minute electrifying show highlighting some of the favorite moments from the show. Not the best show I have seen but it was cute enough. T

We then made our way over to see the Beauty and the Beast show which is a great shortened production of the Broadway Musical Beauty and the Beast. We had pretty close senter seats which made for great viewing pleasure. The dancing was amazing. I was completely captivated by the stage, the dancing, the costumes, and man while Gaston may be a chauvenistic pig, he is one sexy man.

Time for a parade! Making our way back to the main street we found a great place to sit along the road for spectacular viewing pleasure of the parade when it came time to roll. Never a dull moment of entertainment to be had, I jumped in to learn the dance for a flash mob that was recorded by the park. Why not be in a flash mob? If nothing else it was a great work out. Once we learned the dance we went back to our seats, but as soon as the music came on, up on the streets the mobbers went and I have to say it was fun. I'm pretty sure I made the camera as it went right by me. Maybe I'll be in a movie!

Here comes Mickey! The parade was making its way to our area of the park and it was so much fun to see all the classic, timeless, favorite Disney characters. Most of the Pixar characters were present, including the grandpa from Up! I had a great time dancing along watching the parade go by.

After the parade we made our way over for some rides. Got a ticket to ride Rockin Roller Coaster with a soundtrack provided bu Aerosmith. To begin the ride you go into this recording studio where it appears that you are getting a viewing of the band recording. They have to rush off to make it to their show, but not wanting to leave us, their fans behind, they invite us to come along with them including back stage passes. They take off in their limo and a stretch limo is sent for us. Climbing into our seats on the limo (yes the front and back are shaped to look like a car), we buckle up and take off through the streets of LA at full speed, up and down and spinning around through black light signs listening to classic Aerosmith songs along the way. This was definitely a rockin rollin good ride.

Character greeting time. And let me say these characters are Incredible! Mr. Incredible and Elastic Girl were so fun. Definitely a married couple where the woman keeps the man in check. He danced with me, and kissed my hand. Love it.

I also got another pic with Winnie the Pooh in front of the Mr. Sanders tree. He's so huggable and lovable. 

As dusk was falling upon us it was time to enter the Twilight Zone in the Tower or Terror. From the moment you start to walk toward the Tower of Terror the doormen are there to greet you. Once inside you are shown what happened in the 1960's in the hotel when the elevator was struck by lightning. Twilight Zone! Then we are escorted to our elevator to continue learning and experiencing what happened in the Twilight Zone. Up we go, doors open and a ghost seems to appear. Door closes, up we go again, and the doors open to show another room, with ghosts. Doors close and up you go again to see the park with the sun setting over the horizon. Beautiful! The doors close and down we gooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Plunging down the elevator quickly stops and rises again and drops and rises. Spooky!

That evening we went to a showing of American Idol. The contestants were park visitors who had tried out earlier in the day and were the semi finalists from all the earlier shows. The winner would receive a pass to skip to the front of the line at the next real American Idol tryouts. The contestants were pretty good. It was tough to choose. The American Idol experience was pretty fun to watch.

Well, this was a great first day in the park. So many characters were greeted. So many great rides. The ambiance of the parks are incredible. I'm ready for bed so another great day can begin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Animal Kingdom. Day 1

I had such a hard time sleeping that night. I was so full of anticipation for what the day would bring and being able to go out to see the park. When morning came I jumped out of bed (I literally wanted to but refrained so Jessica could sleep a little longer). I proceeded to get ready for the day and once we were both ready to go out the door we went.

We headed to the bus pick up area and the first bus to pull up was heading to Animal Kingdom. Not wanting to stand around waiting we hopped on the bus and headed to Animal Kingdom. We arrived at the park early so the gates hadn't opened yet which was nice as it allowed us time to look at the map and activity schedule to see what we wanted to do.

As soon as the gates opened we headed for Camp Minnie and Mickey. We were the first in line to see The Festival of the Lion King. It seemed fitting to start our adventure hearing The Circle of Life. Whenever you hear those open chants you immediately wake up and know that something exciting is about to happen. We had front row seats to this 360 stage. When the show started I was immediately swept into the Pride Lands. We learned to do the monkey dance (very similar to waddaliacha from girls camp days). Then they needed a volunteer from each section to lead the animal call. I volunteered to lead our section. Note to self, work on elephant sound.

Flying monkeys, bright lights, elaborate costumes, music you can dance to and sing along with, and your favorite Lion King characters made this an amazing show.

As soon as we got out of the show it was time to meet some characters. We met safari Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy along with the rabbits from Bambi and the Chipmunks.

After meeting Disney friends, we went to see Finding Nemo the Musical. This was absolutely adorable. I was looking for the soundtrack but to no avail. I am amazed at the theatrical creativity some people have. Being the theatre lover that I am, I was swept away to the Australian Barrier Reef with Nemo, Marlin, Dorey and Crush. Best song was where Nemo sings "That's My Dad" where he sings about how proud he is of his father. I love my daddy too.

After a couple of shows it was time to hit a few rides so off to Mt. Everest we went to see the Yeti, a creature that haunts the local area. Waiting in line was actually kind of fun as there line wrapped through a museum explaining the legend of the Yeti and some of the findings of the creature along with expeditions. It was really pretty cool. The ride was amazing! You start going so fast up to the top of the mountain and then all of a suddent there is no more track. Someone (or thing) has broken the tracks. With no where to go all of a sudden we are being fiercely being pulled backwards through a dark tunnel where you can't see anything. Somehow we find our way into a cave with a dead end and there is a Yeti! He's not too pleased to see you there. Quickly you are pulled back out of the cave and somehow turn back around looping up and down and around getting off the mountain as fast as you can to the bottom. Loved this ride.

For a little tamer ride we went to the 4D experience inside the Tree of Life where we learn from Flick how "It's Tough to be a Bug." Yes the stink bugs made an appearance, Peeewww! Spiders crawled down onto your heads. Centipeds crawled along the benches behind you, and something else poked me from behind. It was a super cute show and we got to meet the star of the show afterwards.

We settled for a fabulous animal style lunch of fruit and barbeque salad that was absolutely delicious.

 After lunch, we made our way over to the Hundred Acre Woods to meet Pooh, Tiger and Eeyore. Pooh is just as huggable as he you can imagine him to be. Eeryore gives the best hugs. And, you can't help but bounce along with Tigger.


With so much to see we felt it was time to make our way to the next park. Hollywood Studio here we come!