Disney, Day Two

Anna had planned for us to get up this morning and leave by 7:30am; however, our experience yesterday with the light crowds convinced her it would be OK for us to sleep in a bit. We got going at about 10am, and headed for the Magic Kingdom using the fabulous Disney buses.

Photos: today only, all days

While we were on the way, an amazing thing happend: we saw the Space Shuttle Atlantis take off! We were just arriving, and saw a rocket streaking up into the sky in the distance; we watched it go up as it blasted off into space! All of us on the bus had goose bumps from watching it go up. Even though it was at a distance, seeing that made the whole trip worth it, even without all of the Disney fun!

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We spent a few hours in the Magic Kingdom, where we again didn't have any problem with lines. We rode Pirates of the Carribbean, It's a Small World (the song is still in my head), and saw the coronation of Cinderella, The Hall of Presidents, and the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse while we were there, among other things. Anna found a Christmas store, which made her very happy, too. It was warm out, but we were in enough air conditioning that it didn't seem too bad to me, although Anna may disagree.

At 3:20, we had tea at the Grand Floridian, a fancy resort on the Disney grounds. Anna had read about the tea they had there, and we absolutely had to be there, even though it wasn't one of our prepaid meals. We had a fantastic time! The tea was OK (for being warm, and not Luzianne anyway), and we stuffed ourselves on a fruit/cheese plate, a scone with cream and butter, a plate of finger sandwiches, and a dessert–I had a fantastic English trifle, and Anna had a couple of pastries. It was great! We stayed there for a couple of hours enjoying the whole thing.

After that, we decided to make our way out to Downtown Disney, where they also had DisneyQuest, an indoor "virtual" theme park where they have lots of virtual reality rides and such. To get there from the Grand Floridian, we took a monorail to a monorail station, got on a different monorail to Epcot Center, then took a bus back to our hotel, and from there took a bus to Downtown Disney. Quite elaborate!

There were lots of shops and clubs there; Disney's "Pleasure Island" is there with lots of dance clubs and such, none of which really interested either of us. We browsed a few of the stores (including an amazing Lego store), but spent most of our time in DisneyQuest. We rode several of the "rides" in there, including a virtual whitewater rafting trip, a virtual magic carpet ride, and others. They also had FREE arcade games in there of all sorts! Unfortunately, as it was Saturday night, the place started to fill up with (as we understand it) local residents (punk kids), so we made a hasty exit. It was sprinkling rain, though, so we had a long walk back to the bus stop at the other end, where we caught a ride back to our hotel.

Lots of fun. Tomorrow, we go see Animal Kingdom! 😀


Disney, Day One

I booked (and paid for!) a Disney vacation for Anna for her birthday, back in May. Why? Because she's never been, and that issue needed to be addressed. 🙂 Today, we made the trip to Orlando. The day started too early for my taste (7am), but we really packed it in.

Before I get too far, photos are available here.

We flew Southwest, which was awesome; we'll definitely do that again. The staff was super-friendly, and, since we got there so early, WE GOT TO SIT IN THE EXIT ROW. Since I'm (apparently) quite tall, most airline seats are not (how do you say it) "comfortable," but these rocked.

The entire experience of geting from the airport to the hotel was smooth; we went downstairs in the terminal to a desk, where we were directed to a bus, which drove us to our hotel. We made special reservations for our bags, so we didn't even have to pick those up–they just showed up in our hotel room later!

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Once we got to our hotel, we turned around pretty quickly and took a Disney bus to MGM Studios, which I was interested in, since I'd never seen that park before. Amazingly, there were very few people there–we had no waits on most rides, or, at the very worst, short waits of five minutes or less. I spoke with a park worker who said that the reason is just that kids are back in school; the parks have been that lightly crowded all week! Given that, it sounds like we should have awesome experiences throughout our trip, but I think we'll probably play it safe for the next few days just to be sure.

Those of you who know me realize that I'm not much of a "heights" person, so it will likely come as no surprise to you that I didn't get on the "Tower of Terror". I waited outside while Anna went on it, but that was only for a few minutes since the lines were so short! She, like everyone else, claims that it's "not that bad" and that I should "totally do it," but I don't think that will probably happen. Maybe later in the week. 🙂

Later, we took a boat to the Beach Club resort where we had a fantastic seafood buffet at the Cape May restaurant.

We decided to walk to Epcot, and go through it to get to a bus, which would take us back to our hotel, the Pop Century. We rode Spaceship Earth (cool!) and a new ride called "Soarin'" (cool also!) before braving the crowds and catching the buses back to the hotel. This, of course, was the only long line we waited in all day (and, actually, it only took us about twenty minutes to get through it).

More fun tomorrow!