April 29, 2008

MGM Part 2

It was a very pretty drive to Wilderness Lodge. Nice to get away from the theme park atmosphere for a while and in the heat of the day.

We arrived at Wilderness Lodge. Wow! That place was huge! The restaurant was to our left. It was elevated from the main floor and ran practically the whole length of the lodge. We were seated almost right away.

When I made our dining reservations, the girl told me Whispering Canyons was a great choice, super fun and interactive. We would have a great time! She said to be sure and have one of the children ask for a spoon and ketchup.

As I looked over our table that afternoon, there were at least 12 assorted spoons scattered from one end to the other. And we were to ask for more? Okay, I'll give it a go.

I told my eldest to ask our waiter for a spoon to which the other adults at the table started to question my sanity because there were already SO MANY DARNED SPOONS ON THE TABLE!!! I tried not to give it away and insisted he grab the waiter. More resistance. So I asked the waiter for a spoon myself.

What funny thing would happen? What would he bring me? This is so exciting, isn't it?

He brought me just what I asked for. A spoon. Isn't that hilarious?

I had spied a boy at the back of the restaurant marching around his table with a giant fork. You know those big wooden ones that hung in many a kitchen back in the 70's? That kind of giant fork. I suspected our waiter was supposed to bring us a giant spoon. Was he seriously off his game or was it because an adult asked and not a child (as the reservation girl instructed)?

Lesson #4: Children, do as your mother tells you. Husbands, go along with your wife.

As the kids finished up their dirt and worms dessert, the waiter entered into some sort of routine involving bird calls and even though he talked way too fast to completely understand, his routine involved some disturbing rant about his mother-in-law and then he kicked over a chair.

I kid you not.

We just stared at each other, paid the bill, and went out to enjoy Wilderness Lodge's lobby. Which was beautiful! Everything about it screamed "LODGE!" Light fixtures, totem poles, log railings. There was even a "hot spring" that bubbled right up into the lobby. The boys thought this was really neat, especially the "steam" that rose from the water.

We even contemplated staying at Wilderness Lodge in the future. They have villas there, too!

Now, back to MGM! Where we headed straight to the back for the Lights Motors Action Extreme Stunt Show. This was a full-throttle adrenaline rush for the boys. They loved it! Lots of tire squealing and car exhaust fumes.

By the time this show was over, evening was closing in. We ventured over to the Backlot Tour. In addition to the wall of water, fire, and explosions that this ride includes, the boys got to see prop vehicles from Star Wars and the bone cages from Pirates of the Caribbean.

It was getting late and we were starting to slow down so we meandered back to the front of the park. On the way we saw the Power Rangers; the boys played in the rain which was an umbrella that rained water from underneath (Singin' In The Rain); and we got pictures with Herbie from Love Bug.

It wasn't quite 5:30pm, but we made our way to the front of the park for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular! It was the same show they did 16 years ago. But still good. Action, fighting, explosions, gun fire. What more could a boy want?

Unusual for us, we arrived at Indy's show early. Way early. I hate waiting. CB took advantage of this void of time to get our wristbands for Extra Magic Hours.

Lesson #5: Two things are needed for Extra Magic Hours. (1) Your body and (2) your room card. For every wristband issued, there must be a body and an accompanying room card. That way they know you're a Disney resort guest and Extra Magic Hours are only for resort guests.

Wristbands are only given out at certain locations within the park. When CB got there, he only had his room card. The rest of ours were back in the room! And all of our bodies were sitting at Indiana Jones. Neither was where they needed to be! What to do?

After the show we trekked back to the front of the park to Guest Relations to have them check that we were resort guests and issue our wristbands. We were a little bothered by this lack of communication -- how could we not know this? Maybe if I paid a little more attention to Stacey and her Top 7. Or The Unofficial Guide should've alerted me to this. But the Cast Members at Guest Relations were so nice and it was air-conditioned!

At this point, FM#2 wanted desperately to ride Star Wars again and this time he wanted to ride it with MawMaw! Maybe FM#3 was asleep or maybe he needed a snack, but CB stayed behind with him and the four of us ran across the park to Star Tours.

It was dark by now and I think everyone had migrated to the other side of the park to see Fantasmic because we walked right onto Star Tours. This is good because there's no waiting, but it also prevents you from noticing the details of the scene they've created in the queue. The part that puts you in the frame of mind for embarking on a space ride! But we were still okay with jumping right on!

MawMaw loved that ride and FM#2 was thrilled to share it with her!

Now it was time for the Tower of Terror!

Throughout the day FM#1 kept asking me if I was going to ride the Tower of Terror. Quite frankly, I just didn't know. I'd figure it out when it was staring me in the face.

After we rode Star Tours, we met up with CB who took off to test the Tower by himself. We needed him to test it out and report back to those of us who were skeptical.

As we waited for him, hoards of people streamed out of Fantasmic for what must've been 15-20 minutes.

Finally, CB came off the ride with a huge smile on his face. He said it was fantastic and that we just had to ride it.

Well, there it was. Staring me in the face.

FM#1 would only ride it if I would. Great.

I really didn't want to. Let's face it. Freefalling isn't my favorite. I don't even like the song by Tom Petty. But I knew I had to ride it. I didn't want to regret NOT riding it and we were only going to be at this park for one day. So off we went.

I was extremely nervous. I kept checking my pulse which, I should probably say now, has been an ongoing concern. It tends to be high.

Aren't these the kinds of things that keep you from getting on rides like this?

Aren't these the kinds of rides that people have had heart attacks on?

Yet here I was. Too late to turn back. The things we do for our children.

The first room you go in is fairly small. It reminded me of the elevator at the Haunted Mansion. It is here that you watch a short clip hosted by what I suppose was a Rod Serling impersonator.

You exit to the boiler room which doubles as a queue. Much pulse checking here.

Once we reached the "I'm next" point, CB told me to sit on the back row - less scary there. So the somber Cast Member put us on the appropriate number for the back row. The elevator doors opened and the rows of theatre style seats stared at me.

I guess I'm really doing this. There's no turning back nowWas this a smart thing to do? We'll see.....

I moved toward the back of the elevator all the way to the right. I buckled myself in and grew instantly concerned that there was no shoulder harness. I expected some shoulder harnessing here!

Why is there no harness?! All I have are these lousy straps to hang onto?!

This was not going to be good.

Once the elevator started to move, it snaked through hallways, past scenes as the story was told. Extreme apprehension and anxiety filled my body as I didn't know when the doors would open and we'd plummet to the bottom of this ding-dang tower.

When the scary part of this ride starts, there is no mistaking it. Thankfully. I don't like surprises like that. Metal doors open and you enter into utter darkness. You know it's about to start. Brace yourself.

Honestly, the dropping wasn't my favorite, but in short bursts isn't too bad. Screaming helps.  Seriously, go for it. Scream your head off.  It'll make for a great attraction photo.

And when you're catapulted back up the shaft you feel like you're floating which is totally wicked cool awesome!  You vascillate between AHHH, ahhh, AHHH, ahhh.

At some point the doors open and you're looking out over the park. I couldn't tell you much about this, folks, because my eyes were closed almost the entire time! I opened them once and darned if we weren't overlooking the whole bloomin' park!

Oh no! I'm afraid of heights. I'm gonna puke! Quick, close your eyes again!

The last drop is the biggest and about the time I was ready for it to stop dropping, we dropped even more. But it was over and I DID IT! FM#1 and I were very proud of ourselves. What a relief and a surge of adrenaline at the same time!

We bought our picture on this ride. All of our expressions are priceless.

Will I ride it again?

The Magic 8 Ball says, "Ask again later."

After all the lead-up and anticipation and excitement of having conquered the Tower, we were starving! We stopped at the counter-service restaurant, Rosie's All American Cafe, and had dinner outside. FM#1 spied a Hidden Mickey there.

We visited a shop on Hollywood Boulevard and drug our weary happy bodies home to rest up for a second day.