Matt's Staycation Weekend trip to WDW
Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:10 PM
We checked in around 5 amid a big rain storm. Waiting for us was our Owners Locker, which I hadn't seen in a few years. We found a 1997 Unofficial Guide (Ding!), an unopened 1 gig MP3 player, pins, WDW spray bottle, toy guns and some other odds and ends.
The resort itself is quite nice and fairly new. Not 2009 new, but you can tell the units and buildings are about 5-10 years old and in great condition. It's an RCI resort so if you have RCI points, this is a good resort to stay at although as with any off-site resort, definitely rent a car. The Disney shuttle ....well, stinks. It only picks up and drops off at Epcot and the times for both are set in stone and honestly do not allow to see any fireworks other than Illuminations since the last pickup is at Epcot at 9:45.
The resort has some great water park type facilities, including a "75,000 square foot tropical oasis". The weather wasn't great with the rain so we'll check it out later.
For dinner we had a restaurant.com coupon for a mexican restaurant on John Young Parkway called "Los Generales Mexican Grill". My wife and I are Mexican food junkies so we've been to about a dozen Mexican places in Orlando and I think we thought it was about average. The chips and salsa were odd (salsa tasted like marinara sauce and chips had some red seasoning on them). But the food was a lot better and we had an appetizer sampler which was fantastic. Our entrees (burrito for me, quesadilla for her) were fresh and what I particularly liked about them was they weren't encased in a pool of melted cheese, which made them seem a bit less....."heavy". It's about 15 minutes or so away from WDW, so not practical for quicky trips but it was clean, inexpensive and not a bad option.
After dinner we returned to our room to relax. We are on the 7th floor and were able to see Illuminations , which with Mouse World Radio on, made for a fun treat. Our room had a master bedroom with jacuzzi, another bedroom with 2 full size beds (and seperate bathroom) and a sofa with pull out sofa. Full kitchen, dining room and screened balcony with chairs as well. Aside from our remote controls for the TV not working, everything else was great.
Tomorrow: Trails End and the Magic Kingdom!
Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:40 AM
After our bi-meal, we took the ferryboat over to Magic Kingdom and rode quite a few rides. Here are some of the highlights...
- (New) Hall of Presidents: I had last seen this ride in 2001 so my memory of it was a bit hazy. Not to ruin it for those who haven't seen it, but I liked it overall and felt it was pretty good. I'm not sure if I've perhaps matured a lot or gotten old or what, but I never felt like I wanted to sleep through it....maybe it's because if you see it once every decade it keeps your attention?
- Stitch's Great Escape: We did this because it had been a long time since the last time I had seen it and memory did serve correctly on this attraction because it was as bad as I remember it. It's simply uninteresting and between the terrible smell effects and boring plot, it's going to be another few years before I see it again.
- Tom Sawyer Island: I wasn't sure if I had ever been here before, but certainly never as an adult. We went here around 6pm or so and did a tour of the island it was a really interesting area. I'l have to go back again soon to see some more details but the caves were fun and the bridges and everything about it really set it apart as a fun time. I could see where it could get less fun if the island was a lot more full of people but I had a good time here and being there it made me feel like I wasn't in the Magic Kingdom anymore (that's not a bad thing).
- Exposition Hall: We took a break here and if you go all the way to the back there is a theater where you can sit and watch old cartoons. We watched the first Disney color and sound cartoon (Mickey's Band or whatever) and let me tell you that Mickey is a jerk! LOL He treated Donald so bad so know I know why Donald has a chip on his shoulder against Mickey.
- Flag retreat: First time seeing this done and it was a really neat thing to witness. Very somber yet well performed by the Cast Members and I think it's terrific Disney does this to recognize a veteran. Worth checking out.
Around 5pm, we met up with Eric and Cathy from MouseGuest.com (and their infant son Casey) and rode a few more rides. Casey's favorite ride was Carousel of Progress...don't ask me why but I assume the kid simply wanted to catch up on what's been happening the last 100 years or so.
We had dinner at Columbia Harbor House and I picked poorly. I had the hummus with veggies sandwich and Disney's hummus was just not good. It had the consistency of mayonnaise and if you know what good hummus is, you'll know that's not right. I also had the New England clam chowder but it was mediocre. Should have gone to Pecos Bills.
We stayed to see Spectromagic, which I had not seen in a little while and it was once again a great parade. I miss the "pumpkin head" men and I learned something. Am I the only one who thought that the Chernabog float only opened up to face one direction? Evidently "everyone" knew that it's the same float on both sides but all this time I thought I was always getting lucky and being on the right side of the street to see him! LOL. We watched in Frontierland and that has to be the best spot to see the parade in my opinion.
By this point, Casey had passed out so we watched Wishes and the baby slept through the entire thing, barely moving at all. It was so funny to hear the huge fireworks explosions and look down to the stroller and see Casey not even flinch. After Wishes was over, we said our goodbyes and took the ferry back to Ft. Wilderness and made our way back to our hotel.
Next up: Hollywood Studios and then.... ???
Posted 23 August 2009 - 02:26 PM
The line for Toy Story Midway Mania was crazy. The FASTPASS line was backed up all the way to One Man's Dream and the standby line extended all the way to Soundstage One. It was a busy start to the morning to say the least. Two buildings already have the Osborne Lights up and I can't help but laugh to myself seeing Christmas lights being put up in August, however, the new earlier Osborne Lights date mean it has to be ready sooner than before.
I had heard there was a new Hannah Montana prop on the Backlot Tour where the Armageddon props had been (near the restrooms before the prop warehouse) and walked onto the ride and was "asked" if I 'd volunteer for the Backlot Tour. I figured "Why not?" and was quickly brought on. I was assigned deck hand and were escorted out with the rest of the crew. Let me tell you, it was hot out there and so when the first splash of water hit, it actually felt good (the rest of the barrage of water not so much) and it was a fun time and if you haven't done it at least once, try it out. Yes, you look like dorks and yes it's a little scary but I think after everyone likes the experience and it makes for some great memories. Just make sure you have someone in the audience to take photos. Photos of my experience can be found on this week's update: http://www.studioscentral.com/column/studi...-studios-update
The funny thing was after the Backlot Tour tram tour, Luckymom22 ran into me and she had not only seen my escapade but video taped it! She hasn't said if she'll post the video but I'm wondering how I can bribe her not to.
After finishing the update, we met up with disney_commando and his wife and had a nice meal at the Backlot Express. His wife and I had the veggie sandwich, which was very good. My wife had the hot dog (decent) and disney_commando had the southwest salad which I only got an "okay" from for his review, so it didn't sound like it rocked his world any. We had a great time talking about WDW, DVC, DHS and everything between and it was a pleasure to spend some time with.
That's it for right now. We are resting at our hotel and deciding where to go for dinner.
Posted 24 August 2009 - 02:33 AM
Perhaps we need to bribe her so she does
Former Disney-MGM Studios Cast Member.
Studios Central Worlds Apart Column