Florida! Part 2:Walt Disney Presents: “Erin & Rob’s Disney Adventure!”

DIS-NEY WORLD!  DIS-NEY WORLD! DIS-NEY WORLD!

Man, I felt like a 5 year old little girl when we drove through those gates.  So. Excited.

It was a beautiful day.  Blue sky, clouds here and there and nice breeze.  I was wearing a new sundress for the first time (which would prove to be a challenge due to the refreshing breeze blowing through).  Our first day at Disney World was spent at Epcot, the home of Spaceship Earth and the ability to travel around the world in a matter of hours.

Here I am proudly displaying my park ticket.  This ticket held the magic fun that was to be had.  With this ticket you could obtain a “Fast Pass” on a ride with a long wait and return at the allotted time without waiting in line.  With this ticket you could come and go from the parks as you pleased.  It was my ticket to fun!

And there she is.  Spaceship Earth.  This was our first ride on our Disney adventure.  It was  a little different than I remembered it to be.  This time around your photo was taken and towards the end of the 13 minute ride you were given a quiz on the touchscreen panel in front of you.  You were asked questions about what you would want life to be like in the future.  After the quiz you’re presented with your face on animated bodies going through life in the future.

Rob and his animated friend.

Myself and my sister in law, Kristin, presenting the beginning of our future.

And here’s your run of the mill Epcot photo.  A word on this: Working in a photo lab I see this photo everyday.  This exact photo.  I said I didn’t want to take any of “those photos” that everyone else takes.  But I found myself doing it anyway.  I’m just like everyone else I guess.  Oh well.

After our first official Disney ride on Spaceship Earth, we started to make our way around the world.  We didn’t stop at every country because some, like Africa (not a country, Disney) were nothing but a couple of food carts and a souvenir stand.  Some had rides.  In Mexico, where Rob and I had some lunch, there was a ride featuring the Three Caballeros.  Why is Donald Duck a Caballero?  Not a great ride.  But the Viking ride in Norway was pretty great.

The architecture was fun to  look at.  I’ve never been to any of these places, so it was kind of fun to see what it might look like.  I remember coming here with my family when I was about 10 or 11 and my brother was 3 or 4, and my mom bought us passports and we went around to each country and got our passports stamped and she bought us a flag pin from each country.  Coming here also made me realize that I’m beginning to forget things that happened in my childhood and it bums me out.  I’m too young for that dammit!

Throughout the day we grew tired.  We were doing a lot of walking, it was hot and I did my best to drink as much water as possible.  We did as many indoor activities as possible, and there were a lot.  Epcot was full of educational rides and exhibits.  I think it was a good starting off point for our trip, we learned a lot there.  We learned that Disney World is similar to Las Vegas in that everything is so big, and just because you see doesn’t mean you can walk there in a short amount of time.  We (re)learned that teenagers are ridiculous.  We learned that the indoor sit down rides are good for relaxing, and refueling.  The lines weren’t bad, but this was Epcot, not the Magic Kingdom.  Favorite ride at Epcot?  The Fast Track.  A simulated crash test track that has you speeding at crazy fast speeds (I don’t actually know how fast).

Here’s Rob relaxing by the water spitting fountain after we saw Honey I Shrunk the Audience in 3D.  That was pretty fun.  There was a part in the movie with a 3D snake, which I knew was coming cause I’d seen it before, where I buried my face in Rob’s arm.  And at the end the dog sneezes and water spits out from the seat in front of you.

On our way out of the park we stopped in a gift shop where Rob found a table with little charms and bracelets.  He picked out three charms for me.  A Mickey Mouse Club charm, a Minnie Mouse charm, and a Lady and the Tramp charm.  Very sweet.  At each of the parks after that he would get me another charm.

Here’s a couple of things we learned on our first day in Disney: Bring your own food.  For some reason I thought you couldn’t bring outside food or drinks in the parks, but you can.  Food is insanely expensive.  Rob and I stuck with just eating your basic hot dog, but for $7!!  It was nuts.  Second: Bringing small children to Disney World might work out well for some people, but seeing the literal sea of stroller parking areas, and the amount of stuff you need to carry with you for a kid just doesn’t seem worth it to us.  They can’t ride the rides and you’re too busy tending to a child to do anything for yourself.  But that’s just our opinion.  Third, and lastly, check the weather, or at least check the wind before walking out of your hotel room in a flow-y sundress.  I spent a great deal of time holding my dress down so I didn’t put on a show.

After leaving the park we went to Orange World.  It was just a gift shop that sold Florida oranges and grapefruit, and it was shaped like an orange.

It was cute and weird.  Rob picked up some grapefruit for breakfast.  I don’t like grapefruit so I stuck with the free cereal and muffins in the lobby.

On to Disney World Day 2: Hollywood Studios!

This was an unexpectedly great day.  I remember Hollywood Studios as MGM Studios.  I remember it when the Tower of Terror had just opened up and I rode it, what seemed like, a million times.  I don’t remember having an exceptionally amazing time there when I was a kid.

First thing we did when getting there was head to the Tower of Terror.  Rob, myself and Chris made our way to the beginning of the line fully prepared to get a Fast Pass, but the line wasn’t long at all.  So we waited.  Once we were in the “hotel” (this ride is based on the Twilight Zone and people falling to their death in an elevator.  Sounds like fun eh?) the employees/cast members (yup, you work at Disney you’re a cast member!) were dressed as bell hops and looking disgruntled.  One walked passed us and through a small gate that he opened very slowly.  And as he opened it oh so very slowly it made an eery squeaky noise.  Chris asks the bell hop “You need some WD-40 for that?”.  The bell hop, who by the way had huge dimples, tries his best not laugh and says in a slow (fake) accent that sounded like someone who belonged in the Addams Family says “No sir, we’re doing just fine.  Enjoy your stay.”.  We laughed and thought it was funny.  You had to be there I guess.  We were impressed with his staying in character, even though his dimples made him look too sweet and innocent to be working at the Hollywood Tower Hotel/Tower of Terror.  Anyhoo, Rob was wondering if I was nervous about this ride.  I wasn’t.  I am terrified of heights, but the beauty of this ride is that you don’t actually see how high up you are until you’re at the top floor, 199 feet up, and the doors open and you’re looking over the whole park.  It’s at that point the camera snaps your photo.  You fall so fast that if the seat belts weren’t there you’d be flying out of your seat.  It’s awesome.  Seriously.

We are in the back row on the right hand side.  That dude is covering Rob’s face with his monkey arm.  It’s a pretty good shot of me screaming.  Oh, and I didn’t pay the $18 for this.  I just took a picture of a picture.  For free.

After our Tower of Terror experience we went to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith to get a Fast Pass for later  in the day.  We would never use them.  We were too busy having fun.

Now, I forget the order of what we did that day, cause we did a LOT.  But I think we hit the Studio Backlot Tour next.  It started with a simulated filming (there are a lot of those in Hollywood Studios.  And I could really do without the fake filming, it seems to just be a time waster.) of a Michael Bay type movie.  Ooooh, I almost forgot this tidbit of greatness:

This is THE nuclear weapon used in Armageddon to destroy the asteroid.  It was in the waiting area for the Backlot Tour.  I truly love that movie for all it’s ridiculousness.  I cry every time Bruce Willis is saying goodbye to Liv Tyler, and then he throws Ben Affleck in the elevator and he’s crying and everyone’s crying and Bruce Willis saves the day and then that shitty Aerosmith song plays.  I just mentioned Aerosmith for the second time in the same blog-eeeeew.  So laugh if you must.  I also love Independence Day.  Boom.

So back to the tour: It started out with a simulated filming of a Michael Bay style movie complete with explosions and floods.  Some people from the crowd were chosen to “act” in the scene, and it went about as well as yo might think.  They weren’t very good actors, but the explosions were cool.  After the filming we were led to the tram where we were loaded on and taken around the lot for our tour.  I remember taking this tour when I was a kid and I surely didn’t appreciate it as much as I did this time around.  From the loading area you could see this:

Yup.  That’s the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator.

And next to it was my favorite part of the day and a huge surprise for me:

That’s the Deep Search submarine from The Life Aquatic.  My favorite movie.  From around the corner before seeing it fully, I thought it was the yellow submarine from the Beatles movie, yeah I know it was a cartoon.  I was sooo excited to see it I squealed like a little girl who just got a pony for her birthday.

This was the helicopter used in The Life Aquatic. Also awesome.

Those were the best parts of the tour.  We also saw the costume shop which was actually pretty cool too, but I have no photos of it.  When the tour ended we were dropped off outside a small exhibition of villain costumes including this (which I think is cool now that I’ve seen the movies):

Excuse Rob hamming it up.  He was on the phone with his mom.

At the end of the little exhibition was a gift shop.  Every tour, ride, museum ends in a gift shop.  This one had some silly things.  Like this:

I saw the picture of Debra Messing before I saw Paul Newman’s and thought to myself “Who the hell buys a picture of Debra Messing?”.  I thought it was silly.

We broke for lunch and Rob and I opted for the $7 hot dog again.  Then we went to the Indiana Jones Adventure thingy.  It  was another pretend filming thing, that in my opinion would’ve been better without that, but I know they needed the “in between takes time” to move the sets around.  It was a fun show, that I saw last time too, but was still worried when the giant boulder came rolling down.

From Indiana Jones we went to Muppet Vision 3D.  Rob was pretty stoked cause he loves the Muppets, and I have a soft spot for them too.  In the theatre there was a balcony where Statler and Waldorf sat during the show did their thing, making fun of whatever was happening on stage.  The movie was fun with the exception of the 3D character created for the show.  Animated 3D characters and Muppets don’t go hand in hand.  It was still enjoyable.  Of course the show exited into the gift shop where there was only a small portion of Muppet merchandise.  Rob got a box of Star Wars themed Muppet figurines for $13 that go for $30 or more on Amazon.

After coming home from the trip I went to my mom’s house and found our old scrapbook from our Disney World trip in 1995 and found basically the same photo of me.

Last time I was here, this giant hat wasn’t.

Rob and I were getting hungry for dinner so we asked the Disney cast member that took that photo of us where we should eat.  She said the ABC Commissary would probably be the least busy, so we went.  Here’s the menu:

I had the “Lost Fried Fish”.  Rob had the “Ugly Betty Double Cheeseburger.

Grey’s Anatomy chicken curry?  Dancing with the Stars chicken bleu?  Desperate Housewives chocolate mousse?  Whoever came up with these names is a genius.  The food tasted about as good as it looked.  The best part of the ABC Commissary was this gem:

Yup.  Dharma Initiative suits that were actually worn in an episode of Lost.  Pretty sweet.

Rob wanted to have his picture taken by the Walt Disney statue.  He decided his backside was his good side.

We made our way to Star Tours.  The wait was about 30 minutes, but it was ok cause the line winded through scenes with animatronic characters interacting with each other.

The ride itself was pretty fun.  It really felt like we were on a spaceship flying at warp speed shooting at other ships.  It was as realistic as a Star Wars themed ride could be.  There was one little thing.  The ride was hosted by a new Star Wars character, Rex.  He wasn’t as bad as the 3D Muppet character.

Our next excursion was the line for the stunt show.  We waited for a while, longer than other attractions I wanna say.  It was worth it though.  Despite the whole “we’re shooting a movie” theme (again!) it was fun.  Even though you know these people do this day in and day out and rehearse like crazy, I still got all tense and scared that they were gonna crash.  There was this poor woman in front of us who was with the rest of her family, who after the last big finale stunt was crying.  The whole show she had her ears plugged and would jump at any little noise.  I think she was just scared of it all and her family made her go.  It made me sad for her.

At this point it’s about 6:00.  We couldn’t believe we had made through most of the day.  We decided we were going to stay for the fireworks show.  To pass time we went to the Walt Disney museum thingy.  I forget what it was actually called.  Basically it was a small museum of Walt Disney’s life.  It was much more enjoyable then it sounds.  There were vintage poster for some of the older Disney movies.

There were stories of his childhood and how he started the whole Disney empire.  Interesting stuff.

There was a case of these in there.  I’d never seen an Academy Award so I thought it was pretty cool.  This one was the first one he won.

By now we’ve killed enough time, and Rob’s brother has brought Kristin and the baby back the hotel so we could go to the fireworks show.  Babies and loud noises aren’t friends.  The show didn’t start for another hour and a half, but they recommend that you get a seat that early.  We got a front row seat for the show and waited it out.  In the minutes before the show started one man and his family thought it’d be a great idea to start the wave.  Once it got going, it didn’t stop.  Every time the wave made it to the end of the amphitheater everyone cheered and clapped like they had just done something really great.  Rob took video of it.  I won’t post it cause it’s just silly.  Once the show actually got started it was pretty exciting.  Mickey made his big entrance as the conductor of the fountains.  I should tell you that this show was called Fantasmic, sort of based on Fantasia.

There were two fountains that created screens that they projected images from Disney movies on.  They showed villain clips, princesses, heroes.  There were scenes from movies performed on the giant fake mountain.  My favorite was the one where John Smith fell in love with Pocahontas and made life better for her and the natives.  Actually, it was pretty cool when Malificent came out with her dragon and Mickey pulled the sword out of the stone and defeated the dragon.  Then there were fireworks and all the characters came riding out on a big boat.  It was a pretty fun show.  Except for the water screens that they projected the movies clips on.  The breeze was blowing just so the spray came right to us.  I was wearing a white shirt.  Luckily it was nighttime and no one noticed.

This was about as close as we would get to any of these characters on our trip.

The show was over around 8:30 and we tried to quickly get over to the Toy Story Midway.  All day long we had tried to get into this ride, but the wait was probably the longest we saw during our whole trip.  At times it was a two hour wait.  Now, you’re probably thinking “Toy Story?  Really?”.  This ride is supposedly really great.  You sit, I believe, two to a car, and you’re wearing 3D glasses and you shoot a laser gun and it’s awesome.  That’s all I know.  But since there’s no height restriction on it there was constantly a wait.  So we swiftly walk through the whole park, make a wrong turn somewhere and by the time we get there the wait is still an hour.  We didn’t do it.  It was a bummer.  We began to make our way out of the park.  Near the front gates there was a fancy pants store with autographed photos.  Then there was this case in the middle of the floor.

You can’t see the prices on these promotional movie items but that Kung Fu Panda shirt was going for $40.  So was that Love Guru shirt.  I thought that was just ridiculous.  I know Disney’s expensive, but come on.  Nobody’s gonna buy this crap.

And that concludes Part 2 in a 3 part series.  Join me next time for the Magic Kingdom!  And the Animal Kingdom!  With an appearance at Downtown Disney!

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