July 23, 2008

Laid Back Day 7

Our plan today was to spend the first half of the day at Downtown Disney and the second half at Epcot.

After getting to bed so late the night before, we slept in a bit the next morning and took some time to feed the birds.  Tuppence a bag.

Magic Moment #13 - Since we were on the first floor and were near a pond, the boys had numerous opportunities to feed all the birds.

This picture doesn't do justice to the amounts of ducks and birds that would come up to our patio.  Once they realized we had food, word spread like wildfire!  There were so many different kinds.  The white, long-beaked ones were so aggressive!  Once the bread was gone, they waddled back to the pond.

Downtown Disney was great fun if only for the Lego Store!  It was our first destination and the only one the boys were focused on.  After well over an hour, we were finally able to get the Legomaniacs out of there!

Italian ices and Ghirardelli chocolate did the trick.  FREE Ghirardelli chocolate!  It's great to walk into that scrumptious boutique and be offered that scrumptious square.

We thoroughly - very thoroughly - enjoyed the World of Disney.  World of Disney had so many interesting displays, obvious and not so obvious.  Coupled with all the different shopping areas inside that one store and the fact that my family was spread out amongst them, there was no way I could concentrate on all that was going on in there.  Must. Go. Back.

And how many times did I go around and around and around looking at all the pins at Pin Trader's?!

Upon leaving the parking lot, one of my boys spotted our Magic Moment #14, a Hidden Mickey in the clouds.

There's that side profile I told you would come up again!

July 22, 2008

I Love Beans!

On tap for the afternoon was a nice rest back at OKW.  We had a late night dinner planned for Hoop Dee Doo and we knew we'd need a nap.

It was dark by the time we started getting ready.  And it was raining heavily.

We kept hoping it would slack up, but it didn't.  We checked the local weather report on TV while we were getting ready and there was a tornado spotted in a nearby town.


We made it to the parking lot of Fort Wilderness in driving rain.  Upon opening our doors, we realized we weren't going to be able to wear our shoes as the parking lot was flooded.  CB decided we weren't going to try it anyway and hoped we could get into the lot that was closer to the bus stop.

So back out onto the main road we went.  When we got to the security gate, the guard would not let us in.  CB explained the situation and told him all the wanted to do was drop us off and then he'd come back out and park in the other lot.  The guard relented, thankfully.  It's not a pretty sight when CB is being nice and the other person is being irrational.

He dropped us off at the bus stop and by the time he got back to the other lot, it was only sprinkling.  After what seemed like a long time of waiting, the bus to Pioneer Hall finally arrived and we boarded with everyone else who had booked a late night dinner.

We had great seats two to three tables back a little to the left of the stage. The dinner was yummy and the entertainment was superb, if you like corny - and I do.

FM#2 loved the ribs and he and his brother were serenaded by Sixbits.

Yep, Magic Moment #12.

July 21, 2008

Top 7: A Study in Humor

Some of you, okay, maybe one of you, might remember a few posts back when I mentioned the kids' favorite channel while we were at Disney World -- the Top Seven! Well, I've spent a lot of time this weekend reading Disney blogs and websites and rediscovered http://www.netcot.com/.

The guy who runs Netcot and his sister spoofed Stacy and her Top Seven Must Sees with this video below. Not only is it funny, but some scenes are filmed at Old Key West.

That video makes me chuckle. And it's got some great music, huh? One of my favorite lines is:

There was so much progress on that ride I nearly lost my lunch!

Although this totally spoofs the real Stacy's Top 7 ("Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy!"), I have to say I agree with them about the Monorail, except it should be #1 on the list of Top 7 rides at Disney World ("Zoom! Zoom!). And I actually enjoy Living with the Land. Call me kooky!

Rock On!

July 3, 2008

Magic Kingdom Revisited

The skies were promising this day. Perhaps too promising as we decided to leave the ponchos in the car. Giving it further consideration, CB turned back to retrieve them as the rest of us headed for the Monorail. We'd meet up at the stroller rental.

Magic Moment #9 comes to us courtesy of the Monorail.

While my companions were waiting for the monorail I went to find a Cast Member to inquire if anyone was waiting to ride in the front compartment. The attendant said, "You are!" So I jogged back to retrieve my party and share the good news. Unfortunately, only four people can ride in the front compartment. It does not matter how large or small they are. Four. Only four. So MawMaw sat in the compartment behind us.

It never occurred to me that people were allowed to ride in the front compartment and I never would've known to ask if not for the Unofficial Guide! [Love that book! It's sitting beside me right now!]

Here we are going into the Contemporary. This further confirmed my love for the Monorail. When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom, the Monorail driver gave the boys official Monorail licenses.

We met up with CB, got FM#1's chariot, and embarked on our hot/sunny/humid day. But to that we were accustomed. We're from Texas, after all.

Due to the improved weather from the previous day, the crowds had increased a bit, plus this day had Extra Magic Hours.

Our park rotation started in Adventureland again because we wanted to ride Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Pirates. Today we started out with the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

While waiting in line we noticed that, to go along with the Arabian theme, jewels were embedded in the concrete. Oooh! Aaah! This ride was similar to Dumbo except not only can you make your magic carpet rise and fall, you can make it tilt and pitch. And there's a camel that will spit on you.

Right across from Aladdin are tikis that squirt water. The boys enjoyed a bit of refreshment and then we headed to Pirates! While they were in the Pirates gift shop - again! - trying oh so hard to make their way to the queue, I ran down to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder to get Fast Passes. On my way, Woody and his friends were just wrapping up their parade through Frontierland so I paused for that.

He's the rootin-est tootin-est cowboy in the wild, wild west!

Knowing not everyone would ride both Splash and Big Thunder Mountain, I split our six tickets, 3 and 3, between the two Fast Pass machines and ran back to the Caribbean. We had a longer wait this day because of the crowds, but it wasn't too bad. The people behind us kept trying to squeeze in front of us, but we spread out shoulder to shoulder. Don't mess with Texas.

The boys got another adventure through Pirate land and noticed new and different things this time around. Again, back to the gift shop. CB wanted to surprise the boys at Christmas with a gift from here since they loved it so much. FM#1 got a flag which is hanging in his room. FM#2 got a set of metal jail keys that he uses as part of his various costumes. And FM#3 got a sword set that came with sound effects, a dagger, an eye patch, and a parrot.

We bid farewell to Pirates ("the coolest ride ever") and walked quickly (much to the disapproval of my party) to Splash Mountain where CB and I were the only ones wanting to ride. I donned my rain poncho because I just wasn't in the mood to get wet on such a hot day. Good thing, too, because when we got to the bottom of the Big Drop, a huge sploosh of water kerplunked on me at the bottom of the hill before rounding the corner. (I was sitting on the right side of the log, if anyone is interested.)

From here we trotted next door to Big Thunder Mountain where three of us jumped aboard. We not only used our Fast Passes, but we got a Child Swap so we could Fast Pass it again. On our way out of the ride a lady handed us each a packet and said something about Year of a Million Dreams.

Yes, Magic Moment #10! When we got outside we saw that we had received Year of a Million Dreams trading pins and matching lanyard. Cool! Little did we know when sitting in Pinocchio's Village Haus Restaurant the previous day oohing and aahing over that family's perpetual Fast Pass, that we'd get our own surprise in the Year of a Million Dreams.

Now we'd have to start getting pins.

At this point we had convinced MawMaw that Big Thunder Mountain wasn't a roller coaster and that she should definitely ride it so me and FM#1 took her on it using the Child Swap pass. She wasn't amused. As we zigged zagged along the track I kept looking back at her and she would say, "This IS a roller coaster!" She clearly does not know what a real roller coaster is like for Big Thunder is not one. She survived anyway.

From here we went to a MawMaw favorite - Country Bear Jamboree! She loves these corny bears. We enjoyed the respite, A/C, and goofy show and exited across the breezeway for lunch at Pecos Bill's Cafe. Bill serves up burgers and taco salads, but what is unique about this place is that they have a fixin's bar. You can add the usuals to your burger, but they also have sauteed onions and mushrooms and salsa. Yum.

Magic Moment #11. Upon exiting the restaurant we stepped out onto the sidewalk and the afternoon parade was in full swing. We had a front row seat. What timing! And FM#3 got to see Donald Duck! So many things would come together during this vacation.

As the last float went by we found our stroller amid the sea of blue and pointed ourselves toward the Haunted Mansion, Round Two.

From this picture all you can see is Gracey Mansion. If you look at aerial maps of Disney World...what?

You've never seen Disney from the air?

Wh-, wh-, I just don't understand. Don't you spend inordinate amounts of time looking at the Wonderful World of Disney on www.bing.com/maps? Is it just me?

Well, when you go there - and you will - use the Bird's Eye feature. You'll see that what is in the picture above is only a facade. The actual Haunted Mansion ride takes place in a huge warehouse type building. Does that spoil the magic? Not for me! It's fascinating how they have filled your field of vision with only what is necessary to create the illusion. You are completely convinced that this ride is inside that house! Or at least I was!

After picking up our Ghost Host we threatened the boys with It's a Small World. Mua ha ha! Aren't we fun parents? But their begging and pleading for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin was more than we could bear.

Once in Tomorrowland, CB and the older FM's wanted to try Stitch's Great Escape. My Unofficial Guide strongly recommended to pass up this attraction. When it first came out it was too scary so they toned it down. Now it's apparently just bad. Or 'lame' according to FM#1 and 2. Stitch burps on you at one point and they said it smelled horrible. Not a funny horrible either. Gross, oniony kind of horrible.

So on to Buzz where there was no line! Again, the bad thing about not spending any time standing in the queue is that you miss the little nuances along the way. We did spot a Hidden Mickey and took a picture of it while several people went around us. Can you spot it?

We walked back up Main Street; gazed lovingly at the Crystal Palace where we had enjoyed a yummy breakfast the morning before; peered into the shops; gathered our packages at Package Pick-Up; and headed for the Monorail. Again, we asked to ride up front. This time CB and the boys got the front row seat.

A good end to a good day. But was it the end?

Hint: The Hidden Mickey in the Buzz Lightyear photo is right in the middle. It's not the typical three-circle silhouette; it's the side profile silhouette.

Remember this side silhouette. You'll see it again, Mouseketeers!