Last Wednesday as soon as I got finished with school, Robert and I rushed to the airport. Needlessly it turns out because even after a leisurely dinner at the airport Ruby Tuesday that included TWO orders of crab cakes (because the first ones fell apart? I said don't bother, but the manager insisted.), our plane was delayed. We spent the extra hour sitting in the rocking chairs and watching take-offs until Delta got there. Then we had to literally sprint through the Atlanta airport to catch our connecting flight. So much for no marathon training on vacation!
After landing safely at the Orlando airport, we caught the Disney's Magical Express straight to our hotel at the Disney Caribbean Resort. Super easy, but it was so late. We were exhausted by the time we got to the hotel complex, then we had to wait on a second hotel shuttle to take us to "Jamaica" where our room was located. It was a long day for sure.
Our room was decorated like Nemo! And no matter how comfy our beds were and how worn out we felt, neither of us slept much because we shared the room with my Mom and Dad who snore like bears. It was at least nice to lay in bed listening to my music on full blast and staring at the ceiling. I'm being sarcastic if you can't tell.
At 6:20am I couldn't take it anymore. I got up and went exploring. Took a bunch of pictures of the hotel complex, watched some resort cranes poking around the sand, and took advantage of the lovely sunrise in a hammock swing.
We headed to breakfast two hours later once everybody else was up. We got the Disney dining plan for the week, and the food was good. I'll talk more about it on a separate post, but we sure didn't go hungry! Brant and the rest of the gang were really excited to see us, and we were happy to see them too! I just wish they hadn't been sick so I could have cuddled with them more.
When we were ready to go, we found out my family had rented two minivans (guess we didn't have to wait on that hotel shuttle after all...); we piled in and drove to Disney's Hollywood studios. When we got to the parking lot, we got to see some sky-writing evangelism! :) This was only one of several things the plane wrote, and it was really cool to watch. Brant was fascinated of course!
Here's the entrance to the park.
We couldn't resist a picture with the famous Tower of Terror! Robert refused to ride it with me (he hates going up and down), but I grabbed a fast pass for it anyway because I knew someone would go with me later! Fast pass is such a genius system. You grab a ticket with a time, and as long as you come back after that time, you get right on the ride. Hardly any waiting in line!
After grabbing fast passes for the Tower, we headed over to the new Toy Story Ride. We actually waited for this one because Brant was so excited about it. (We were too, so I can't blame it all on him.) It was an awesome ride! Like a mix between a 3D ride and an arcade game. You had a little space-like gun thing that you had to point at big screens and shoot different objects for points. I know that's probably incredibly descriptive, but I hope you get the picture. Robert scored higher than I did at the end, but I was trying to help poor Kenleigh who was too short to even point her gun at the screen properly. By the time I realized she didn't care, I was too far behind to catch up.
Mr. Potato Head entertained us in line, as did the decorations to look like Andy's room from the movie. Could I photoshop my face on this poster? Is it sad that I want to?
Outside the ride, some of the Toy Story characters were gearing up for a mini show! They grabbed a line of about 15 kids and taught them some Toy Story Physical Training. Ha! Brant and Kenleigh doing push-ups and pretending to pose with bazookas was really entertaining. This army man was actually doing an impression of Justin Bieber when I took this picture. Spot on, eh?
Hollywood Studios is full of special effects, including life-size areas of San Fransico made of optical illusions. This street wasn't actually a street at all. It may have been 100 yards, but it seemed so much longer.
Here's Ang in front of a famous San Fran Hill, Golden Gate Bridge included! Pretty cool and convincing, right? That "hill" is entirely two dimensional though!
After playing around in the streets, we went to one of the places I actually remember from the last time I went to Disney at 6 years old- the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground! Brant and Kenleigh really liked the film canister slide, although I'm not sure they know what camera film actually is...
Lunch was at Mama Melrose's: a sit down table restaurant next to "Pizza Planet."
While Robert and I waited for all 15 of my family members to reassemble and be seated at our table, we went exploring in the muppet stores. He got cozy with Kermie...
and I fell in love with the most adorable mouse ears ever! I would have come home with these if they hadn't been $18.99. Disney- you are expensive!
After lunch, we managed to all stay together and head to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Extravaganza! Really cool, even if I still haven't seen the movies. (I know! I know! It's on the bucket list ok?) After this, we went to the 3-D muppet show and explored some sets.
After that we went to one of Disney's famous street parade block parties. The parades were so cool! I honestly think they were one of my favorite parts of the trip. We parked ourselves under Mickey's Wizard hat to munch on chocolate covered frozen bananas and watch bugs dance.
Then, it was finally time to go to the Tower of Terror!!! I have been waiting for this ride since I first saw the commercials as a little kid, and I loved EVERY SECOND! It was so much fun, and Ang and Kenny rode with me. I adore the feeling of my tummy in my throat, but it makes poor Robert sick. He had promised me a roller coaster though, and he ended up surprising me by riding them all! The Tower was the only thing he refused. I'm so proud!
We regrouped again, and headed to one of their newer shows. It was a car stunt show that was really cool, but nerve racking in my opinion. I have an irrational fear of automobile collisions, so watching them chase and jump and skid had me on the edge of my seat... but not in a totally enjoyable way!
Character sighting! Hey Mike Wazowski! Love your work! Monsters, Inc. is quite possibly the best Pixar movie ever made. (Next to UP! anyway. Unfortunately, no parks featured anything from that movie surprisingly. No Wal-E either.)
We detached ourselves from the May family masses to head to what Bobert had been slightly dreading all day... the first roller coaster of the trip. As you can see, it turned out great! This would be my awesome husband after he conquered Aerosmiths' Rockin and Roller Coaster! He actually really enjoyed it!
Since it was just the two of us at this point, we grabbed dinner and then set off exploring. Loch Ness Lizzie anyone?
"I'd like to thank God and my family and all my fans for helping me receive this Academy Award. You love me! You really love me!"
He says Bill is his "homeboy."
And while neither of us are fans of reality TV at all, we did stop to watch the finalists in the American Idol type show they have here. You can actually try out and compete, then the winners from all six shows compete to be Hollywood Studio's American Idol during the finale. A middle aged man in boots and a cowboy hat named Jerry won after he sang "Boot Scootin' Boogie." We were definitely pulling for him to beat the cookie cutter teenage pop stars he was competing with! Jerrrr-ry! Jerrrr-ry! Jerrrrr-ry! Such originality, but unfortunately the girl in this picture is not him. If you couldn't tell.
At night, the parks get even more beautiful. Disney has a fireworks show every night in practically every park, and my family wanted to stay for the show "Fantasmic." However after realizing we would have to stand in line for two hours to go to the late show and remembering that none of us even liked Fantasia to begin with- we opted out. I grabbed one last shot of Mickey's Magic Wizard's hat all lit up and beautiful, watched the kids while Ang and Kenny rode the coaster, consoled a distraught Brantley after he epically failed at the claw machine in the Pizza Planet arcade, and then headed back to our Nemo room to sleep like babies despite the logger competition happening one bed over.