Thursday, June 19, 2008

disney recap

Warning - long post.

So. We had a great trip to Disney and Sea World. It was not as hot as we feared, not a crowded, and gay days was not a big deal. Pretty good time - but tiring! Whew, getting all of disney in is hard work.

I shall recap the trip....since you are all dying to hear all the details and see the pics (haha, yeah, sure).

We left Saturday about 5:45am, stopped for breakfast bagels, gas and a packed lunch. Arrived at the condo at 3pm - so a 9 hr 15 minute drive with the 3 stops. Not too bad. Checked in, unpacked, went to the grocery store for snacks, sodas and wine. We went to dinner and hit our beds. We knew we'd be up and at em early on Sunday.

See, we had a plan. First, we decided to avoid Epcot due to gay day. Then we had a friend give us a disney planner that rated the parks as green (go), yellow (caution) or red (avoid) based on what was happening on the days we were there. So we planned our days based on going green days. Sunday was Animal kingdom, then: epcot, seaworld, magic kingdom, hollywood studios and finally Friday was free for us to choose where to return.

Also, we planned on heading out to a large breakfast buffet at 7am, be at the parks by 8am, wait for 9am opening and hit the parks. With the large breakfast we'd skip lunch then return to the condo early afternoon to swim then early dinner.

So Sunday am we went to breakfast and were parking in the lot by 8am-ish. Got our tickets, stood in line. We figured standing in line now was better than on the rides. Park opened the gates at 8:45 then held us again till 9am. Minnie, Mickey and Goofy came out to welcome everyone then off we went.

By this point, Hannah was soooo excited. Here she is walking in from the parking can't see that she has not stopped talking since 5:45am the day before and that she is practically bouncing out of her sneakers...

With Disney, there are some rides that just have longer waits. So we headed to the Safari first and had no wait since we were one of the first ones in the park. Rode the safari (fun) the got a fast pass to re-ride when we got off. We rode the train up to the petting area (pic below) and did a walking tour of africa then back on safari with our fastpasses.

We did all of animal kingdom except for everest expedition and the kali river rapids. Hannah got scared when she heard the screaming at everest and the fastpasses were all gone at the river rapids the time we got there. Hannah enjoyed the dinosaur ride and felt like she might be able to handle some rides.....good! We went home around 3:30pm, headed to the pool then dinner.

Monday - we repeated the am routine and was at epcot at 8am when the parking lot opened. Once again they open the gates at 8:45 and hold you till 9am. This morning we were at the front and Hannah was so excited. She was talking with a cast member - telling them it was her first time, she was excited, her birthday was in a few days....and they decided we would be their "family of the day". We were pulled from the crowd, played with the characters a bit and had photos taken then were put in a "test car" and driven straight the Test Track to be the first riders before the crowds were released. We were also give 3 additional instant fast passes to be used throughout the day - we could get on any ride immediately.


We loved test track, then got fast passes for Mission Mars and headed to Soarin. Used an instant fast pass and rode it right away ( and lines were already about 70 minutes for it). Then did the living land, spaceship earth, back to do mission mars and more. By late afternoon we headed over to the world showcase but by about 6pm we were exhausted and decided just to come back another day. We used our last instant fast pass to ride Test track again then headed to dinner.

Tuesday - repeat the am but now we headed to SeaWorld. We had to plan around the shows for the sea lions, dolphins and Shamu. Hannah was able to feed the dolphins and sea lions but she wasted her money on the stingrays. As they would come up to eat, she'd yank back her hand afraid.

By 4pm we had done most everything and storms clouds were looking very ominous. We ran to the car just in time before the skies opened up. We drove to the condo and stayed in for the rest of the afternoon - Chris kept his eye on the TV with tornado warnings all over our area.

Wednesday was magic kingdom day. We arrived about 8:20 and it was already pretty crowded. This was really the only park that felt super crowded while we were there. No family of the day today! Plus, our ride the busy rides first system did not work. We went directly to Splash Mtn. and Thunder Mtn Railroad and they were both delayed opening. We got a fast pass for Thunder Mtn but could not return for 2 hrs. We headed to Pirates of the Carribean but it was closed for up fitting. Argh.
So we did some little rides, Swiss Family Robinson, Alladins's magic carpet (see below) the jungle cruise, hall of presidents, haunted mansion and returned to ride Thunder Mtn. We never did get to ride Splash Mtn - just too long of waits and Space Mtn. was everyone's least favorite. The parade was at 3pm so Hannah did get to see one parade. After a little more cruising, another Alladin ride and some ice cream it was time to head home, there were just too many crowds. Still it was about 5pm so we'd had another 9 hr day.

Thursday was Hollywood Studios. Back to the am routine but HS had lots of limited shows. We went straight for Indiana Jones but it did not start a show till 11am so we went to Star Wars and were the first ones on. Got fast passes for Indiana Jones then headed over to the brand new Toy Story. Here was the only line we waited in - about 30 minutes. Toy Story was great. We came out and went directly back in - in the singles line. Here is Hannah (with her single rider) on the second round of toy Story:

After toy story we headed back to Indiana Jones then saw the remainder of shows and rides. We decided to skip the Tower of Terror, wait for the stunt car show at 2:45 then ride the Rock-n-roll roller coaster when our fast passes allowed at 3:55. During the stunt car show it started to rain but the performers went on anyway. The rain was not bad and brought the temperature down to the mid-80's so the afternoon was pretty bearable weatherwise. We did
not like the rock-n-roll rollercoaster - yikes - too fast and in the dark. Hannah kept moaning "I don't like this" during the ride. When that was done - we were done in - so we headed on home.

Friday - Hannah wanted to return to Sea World but since we had already seen all the shows, we decided to do Epcot instead and if we had time we'd ride the monorail to Magic Kingdom. haha. We finished epcot at 7:30 pm! But we gave ourselves a break and got there at 9:30 instead of 8am since we mainly wanted to see the world showcase. We rode Soarin, spaceship earth and Test Track again since they were our favorites then spent the rest of the afternoon at the World Showcase.

We got hannah some pins and she happily spent the day trading pins with every disney cast member she came across. She voted we ride the Living land again. Big clouds came in and cooled the afternoon down - nice temperatures once again! By 7pm I was worn out. We decided we could not make it another 2 hrs till fireworks time so we headed home, ate leftovers at the condo, packed up and called the trip a success.

We had planned on driving to Savannah - aobut 4 hrs - spending the night in the historic district then heading home on Sunday. Chris wanted to just head straight back and since it was fathers day on Sunday I decided to let him have his way. So we had a nice week. A busy, tiring, fun week.

We have now done disney. I think we can check it off our list. We are in no hurry to return since we did it all and did it hard. I do think Hannah at almost 12 was at a great age. She could keep up with us in the park, could make decisions on what to do and have input, rode rides she might not have ridden and enjoyed the educational aspects of the parks. She might have been more excited earlier on the characters but really this was the right age for her.

Okay - been there, done that.