Disney Dreams Part II

I love Disney and our vacation to Disney World was everything we hoped it would. Our family of five was together for the first time in over a year. ANd now that political reality has intruded its ugly head into our lives (my husband is about to be furloughed if the stupid ^&#$%(* in Congress continue to not do their jobs), I’m thrilled we took the time to have this vacation.

Day Three was spent at Animal Kingdom. We loved it. It was totally new to us, and fabulous. The Expedition Everest roller coaster was such a hit that three of us rode it twice. The Dinosaur ride took out two of us (upset stomachs). In my opinion, Dinosaur is just the Indiana Jones ride of Disneyland with a different theme.  I made the same argument about Test Track–it’s the Disney California Adventures Cars ride with a different theme (Test Track was first). Someone back me up here. But the animals at Animal kingdom made the whole park worth while. My second favorite park in the place.

White Rhino at Animal Kingdom
White Rhino at Animal Kingdom

That evening, after Animal Kingdom closed, we went to Epcot for dinner. We really just dashed through for food and then did a couple of rides before they closed for the night–Test Track, Nemo, and Soarin’, which I will never go on again. I was laughing the whole way through because I was scared to death. It’s the heights. I can’t take them any more. Isn’t it odd the fears we develop as we go through life. I’m not afraid of the height in a plane, but I am never climbing another tower as long as I live. And I had no issue in Tower of Terror the next day in Hollywood Studios either, but I couldn’t ride on Soarin’ without scrunching my eyes shut. My daughters were laughing at me too. It was actually quite amusing for all of us, including me.

Anyway, back to Epcot. I had a chance to use my German in the German section, but only because my husband forced me to. I don’t know why I suddenly got shy. Maybe it’s because it’s ben years since I’ve had a chance to use my German. Even when I was there a couple of years ago, I spoke Hungarian with my cousins. The food in the international part was amazing. So much so that we went back on Monday night for dinner in Morocco (best shish kebab I’ve ever had). And the beer in Germany was awesome. I miss German beer.

Hollywood Studios was my least favorite park. Too sunny, too hot, not enough trees, etc. We did do Star tours, which was fun because it’s different from Disneyland, and saw the shows (Meh. I’m not much one for car stunts. I’m sure it’s impressive, but I was hot and bothered.) Tower of Terror was great fun, and we stayed long enough to see Fantasmic.

Sunday two daughters left to return home for work, but three of us still had two days. Morning was spent saying goodbye, and then we donned bathing suits again and went to Blizzard Beach,..just in time for the second rain storm of our stay. Still we were getting wet anyway, and rain didn’t stop us. I pushed my own limits and surprised myself at how much fun I had. I want to go back.

My husband's favorite character
My husband’s favorite character

Dinner that night was spectacular. We ate at Artist Pointe in the Wilderness Lodge. I had the best scallops I’ve ever eaten. Husband had buffalo and venison, and the honored graduate had filet mignon. And it was on the meal plan!! So except for the appletini I had, it was essentially free. (It did cost double points, but somehow we had accumulated them so it was on the meal plan.) The food and atmosphere was sublime, and the resort was impressive. Now I know where the rich folks stay. Beautiful lodgings.

On our last day, we revisited Animal Kingdom because we were so taken with it. Magic Kingdom is still our favorite, but we see that a lot in California (only slight differences between the two), so Animal Kingdom it was in the morning, then back to Epcot to see the few things we missed, a few country presentations, and redo Nemo so we could explore the aquarium further. And that’s when we had RAIN. We had ponchos and decided we wouldn’t let the rain stop us, but we were soaked. What an adventure though. We went on most of the exhibits and saw most of the films, including Norway’s. No offense to Norwegians–their country is beautiful–but why is Norway a country in the international plaza? There’s no Brazil, no Egypt, no Australia, no Russia, no India, but they do have Norway. Is lutefisk such a delicacy? (I’m kidding, but my husband and I did make many jokes about it.) We  buy a Santa figurine to add to our Christmas collection there. A Norwegian Santa is our Santa for 2013.

And the next day was home. Too sad. I don’t even like to think about it. Our week was magical. Then it was back to reality: our remodeling has started, and then the politicians started playing idiotic games with our nation that directly impact me and my family. Our timing was really off on both the vacation and the remodeling–I’ll know next week if we won’t have income for a while–but I refuse to regret the week at Disney. It was worth every penny and we have so many memories to treasure.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

A Week of Magic, part I

No one who knows me doubts my love of Disney, so when the youngest received her high school diploma (a major milestone in her life and such an accomplishment–it is a regular high school diploma, no asterisk or special designation) I knew her graduation present had to be a trip to Disney World, a spot none of us had ever been. And what a magical idea it was. Not only did the three of us spend a week in Florida, but my oldest two were also able to join us for four days.

We stayed on site, not only because we wanted that experience, but also because the thought of having the Disney Magical Express pick us up at the airport and collect our luggage was something I wanted to have. That’s right. Ever since I saw those buses picking people up at the Orlando airport at the last RWA conference held there, I’ve wanted to take the Disney Magical Express. Big part of the decision making. Now for a bit of a rant. Not against Disney, because the bus ride was everything I had wanted, but against the airlines. Their policies against luggage piss me off. Yes, I understand that luggage adds weight to a plane, but charging for luggage has  made carry-on bags bigger, people more impatient, the seating area less roomy, and the experience of flying more like a bus ride. And you know what they say about bus rides. People are so intent upon getting their luggage into the cabin they lose sight of politeness. And the airlines don’t enforce the “one carry-on, one personal item” rule.  And let’s face it–for a week of travel for three people, we needed a suitcase for clothes. Especially to a humid climate where multiple changes of clothing are definitely necessary. Seriously, who travels without a change of clothes, and if you are on just such a trip why would you pack an unnecessary bag anyway? Aren’t clothes part of what one needs to take?  I think airlines can charge for heavy bags or for the second bag, but really? I read somewhere that airlines collected over six billion in bag and reservation change fee. Numbers that big make me nervous. And suspicious. And we’re pretty much stuck. On the plus side, we are freaking flying in the sky and that’s awesome.

So back to the magic. After getting to the quite lovely Caribbean Beach Resort, we headed to Downtown Disney for our first night. There was a performer who absolutely lit up Steffie’s night. He was playing kid music (YMCA, Who Let the Dogs Out, etc) and teaching dance moves and making the audience sing. I have rarely seen her so animated. She loves to sing here at home–at the top of her lungs and so totally off key. But there she was singing as if she was at home but doing it in public. It was so incredible. Yes, we got many looks from strangers, and it was beautiful.

Full day one was Magic Kingdom in the morning with…wait for it… no lines. Seriously. No lines. We stayed until noon and never stood in line more than five minutes. Now I have to let you know that because of Stef’s disabilities we received a pass that we used the rest of the week to make our stays in line much shorter (read practically none), but there were no lines to speak of that morning. It was magical. And then it started to rain. What better thing to do than hit a water park. So Typhoon Lagoon it was. We did several slides and swam with the sharks. And again, it was magical (Have I used that word yet?). Most people stayed away because of the rain. So again, no lines. We got back to the hotel (the water park closed at 5:00PM) in time for our dinner reservations and waited for the other two daughters who were arriving that night.1232571_10152445237526677_1435708030_n

And speaking of food, when we bought our tickets they were offering the dining plan for free with travel during the time we had planned. More food than we could possibly eat. Although we managed. And dessert with every meal. Okay, so some of the meals weren’t anything to blog about, but free food. What’s not to like? And a couple of the meals were spectacular–particularly at the Wilderness Resort Artist Point restaurant and in Morocco at Epcot.  We also ate lunch one day at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.  But we didn’t go to Disney for the food.

Day two–family united again. For the first time since June, five of us were in one place–The Magi Kingdom. we did the whole park. So much fun. Our first ride was the one with the longest lines throughout the day. I bet you’re thinking Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. You’d be wrong. The ride with the longest lines throughout the day is Peter Pan. According to the robotics engineer husband and computer scientist daughter the through-put on this ride is not efficient, so they can’t move people like they can on Pirates of the Caribbean.  So Peter Pan it was.  But we did them all. Small World, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Thunder Mountain. There were some special surprises. The Monsters Inc Laugh Floor was surprisingly good and the use of technology in it was impressive.  And right now we are having an on-going argument whether the California Splash Mountain has a taller drop than the Florida one. If you know, let me know.

More to follow.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips