29 September 2008

I'm lovin' every step I take

I used to try and write out very detailed trip reports, for the sole fact that I love to read trip reports and felt it uncouth if I myself did not present one for others to read who had worked so hard on their own. Yet, every time I tried to consolidate my notes and anecdotes into a constructive narrative, the process took so long that it seemed like it was time for my next trip already. So, to hold true to the spirit of trip reports, and to give all of you some ideas of how the week was spent, here is the truncated version of my trip alongside some photographic evidence.

Monday (September 22)

Checked-in to Pop Century before the sun was up and headed over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You might say we were a little excited to be there…

Aileen had her first experience with Yak and Yeti’s Local Food, Finding Nemo the Musical, and the updated Haunted Mansion.

We spent the afternoon and early evening trapped in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland due to a torrential downpour. During said downpour I became a Galactic Hero on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, which was followed by me dancing around in the open of Tomorrowland singing Singin’ in the Rain with the hood of my poncho down. A less raucous dinner was spent at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.

Exhausted from the trip down, and all that it had entailed, we decided to head back to Pop Century a little earlier than expected to catch some sleep.

Tuesday (September 23)

Opened Epcot, though not as early as we had Disney’s Animal Kingdom the day before, and took in Soarin’ twice (Top Left and Bottom Right, this information will come in handy later in the trip report).

Aileen was finally able to experience the newest versions of O’ Canada, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and Spaceship Earth, along with the games of Project Tomorrow.

Lunch was spent at Sunshine Seasons before a whirlwind tour of Canada, France, and Norway.

Dinner was at Everything Pop, before heading out for an evening of resort cruising.

Fantasia Gardens, the Gardens Course, ended-up being a much closer game than expected: Aileen – 50 to Ryan – 46.

The evening concluded with a monorail trip from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the resorts of the Seven Seas Lagoon. The highlight of the evening were drinks at the Polynesian’s Tambu Lounge, followed by a viewing of HalloWishes from Sunset Pointe.

Wednesday (September 24)

The morning was started off with stand-by and Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania! I love this attraction, the games and 3D systems are top-notch, and it will be a must for us for many years to come. But, despite the overwhelming lines, this is not an E-ticket attraction. As Aileen said, “Oh, it’s an updated version of Buzz Lightyear.” I felt that Toy Story Midway Mania was fun for the whole family, a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a definite must-see D-ticket attraction.

Despite much fool-making of myself, I was unable to secure a spot as an extra for Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular this trip.

We received Fastpasses from other guests who had ADRs and could not return to Rock ‘n’ RollerCoaster and Chris at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror absolutely put Aileen through the ringer (It was awesome!)!

Lunch was at Backlot Express.

Upon arriving at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, received a Magical Moment and were taken from our parking lot (Dinosaur) all the way to the front entrance via golf cart. I must admit it was fantastic, even though I felt like heel having to drive by all those families with all their gear waiting for the tram.

Took in a final showing of Pocahontas and her Forest Friends, I really hope whatever finds a home here brings with it the same message of humans must find a way to protect nature.

Dinner at Yak and Yeti Local Food (BEST EGG ROLLS ON PROPERTY) was followed by drinks at Victoria Falls with Doc, Mrs. Doc, and their friends Nancy and Rose.

Thursday (September 25)

Crashed the gates with Doc, Round 2 of Toy Story Midway Mania.

Lunch was served at the ABC Commissary.

Met up with Lou, Lori, and Pat and took in Rock ‘n’ RollerCoaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Aileen and I had a quick dinner at Rosie’s All-American Café just prior to Fantasmic!

The evening concluded at Pleasure Island with a multitude of other geeks. I only have two notes to report on the evening, other than it was a wonderful time. One, I will definitely never forget that night on Pleasure Island for multiple reasons, but I will leave it at the fact that I had my fair share of adventures. And two, Fiona, with all that was going on, I feel like I had absolutely no time to actually spend time with you, and I feel absolutely wretched about it! Can you ever forgive this crazy old geek that got caught up in the moment?!?!

Friday (September 26)

Up early, and at the Magic Kingdom in time for the Good Morning show, we proceeded immediately to Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, and Tom Sawyer Island.

The Jungle Cruise placed us in Mike’s capable hands. This had to be one of the best trips down the river I have ever had!

As we made our way through Mickey’s Star Traders, Push came in and talked to Aileen. When the conversation was finished Aileen left the store, and Push followed her right on down the walkway yelling at her to stop. Push was only satisfied when Aileen had her picture taken with it.

We grabbed hot dogs at Casey’s Corner before I fulfilled my duties to the Carolwood-Pacific Historical Society by taking a loop around the Magic Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Railroad (Engine 1: Walter E. Disney), not that I am complaining mind you.

After a nap, much needed after the previous night, we dined at Flying Fish on the Boardwalk with Doc, Mrs. Doc, Glenn, and Lori. While waiting, we were serenaded by Musicale Mike and his Pedaling Piano. Dinner itself was, in all honesty, probably one of the best meals, if not the best, I have ever had on Disney property.

Saturday (September 27)

Sunup to sundown at Epcot, starting with Soarin’ (dead center this time which, along with the two previous rides, gave Aileen and I Soarin’ Tic-Tac-Toe).

The 2008 International Food & Wine Festival was delicious, even if lines were long. Lunch was a meandering affair, which included: Chicken Sha Cha and Pork Pot Stickers (Shanghai), Samosa with Tamrind Sauce (New Dehli), Durban Chicken with Coconut Milk-infused Root Vegetables (Cape Town), Irish Cheese Selection: Reserve Cheddar, Dubliner, and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread (Cork), Seared Beef Medallion with Cheddar Cheese Polenta (San Francisco), Milk Chocolate Crème Brulee (Lyon), Manti with Yogurt Sauce (Istanbul), and Cheddar Cheese Soup (Montreal).

My only real complaint of the Food and Wine Festival is that, aside from a few activities in the Pearville Fair area and the Kidcot stations, there were very few offerings for children. Lines were long and, due to the amount of alcohol available and consumed, crowds were unruly and unseemly at times, all of which makes for a not so family friendly event.

We had dinner with Doc and Mrs. Doc at Restaurant Marrakesh, a fantastic meal, before capping the evening with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

We attempted to make our way over to Pleasure Island, but, after searching for a parking spot for the better part of an hour, decided that we had waited too long to make the drive over and conceded that we had already had our last night on the island. Still, it was nice to see and hear it on its last night.

Sunday (September 28)

Magic Kingdom was fairly quiet. We walked on Big Thunder, Splash Mountain (we had our own log), Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion all before an early lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café.

One last ride on the Liberty Belle and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, before heading down Main Street U.S.A., and one last ride on the monorail, this time as co-pilots.


bigbrian-nc.com said...

Awesome trip report Ryan, I've been enjoying all the blog posts, and in this one especially enjoyed seeing all the other Disney fans you got to touch base with while you guys were there, the smiles on EVERYONE'S faces speak volumes, it looks like you two had a blast!

Anonymous said...

Great Trip report with plenty of photos, its wonderful to see the place when you live thousands of miles away. The food at the Boardwalk looks very tasty and will be one we recommend on our site!

Princess Fee said...

What a great trip report - you are making me feel even more guilty for not getting mine sorted out...

It was so great to meet you finally, and your wife, and I forgive you that we didn't get to properly converse! I am pretty sure that it will not be the last time we meet anyway! I know how daunting it can be meeting a Princess ;).

It was such a hectic couple of weeks for our group too that I am so upset I didn't get to meet Doc and Mrs Doc too! All I'm going to say is, next time I go I shall choose my friends I travel with very carefully...