I've had this post on my "to do" list ever since I've gotten back from the trip. Finally it's here. A little background on this random trip. My boss, at the gym I coach at, sent myself and another coach down to Florida for a short little trip. Just 'cause! Ben and I decided we didn't want to just sit around the whole two days we were actually there, so we decided to hit up the theme parks. I hadn't been to Universal Studios Orlando/Islands of Adventure, but figured this would be a good oppertunity to do that park. So we took one day to do Universal. I didn't take my camera that day, so my only pics are on my phone, and I haven't figured out how to get them off it. Ben did take some with his camera, but I haven't gotten copies from him yet. I loved Dueling Dragons (but only if you wait in the line for the front seat) and I loved the Spiderman ride. I enjoyed the Hulk rollercoaster and the Doom ride too, but really we were done with the rides by about 1pm. We then realized that our tickets would get us into BOTH parks, so we hit up Dueling Dragons again and then headed over to the Studios and lunch. I've been to the LA Universal Studios when I was younger (that's a WHOLE other blog, as my family would be able to remember) and this version was pretty much the same. We got on the Simpson's ride (which I found out later that it wasn't even officially open yet). I guess it is in the old Back to the Future ride site, and according to Ben it was basically the same ride experience. Honestly, I can't even really remember what other rides we hit. There was the Mummy ride, which in my opinion was a little dated. The mummy animatronics were sad. The big thing that was confirmed on this day was my dislike of many middle school girls (and guys too, but mainly girls) let loose at an amusement park, alone. They can be the most annoying creatures at that age! One on one, it's cool..but dang...put them with other girls and BOOM! you got a major kill joy on some rides. That's all..I'm off my soapbox.
The second day we hit up the Walt Disney World Resort. Now, for most that know me, it's amazing to think I could go to the resort and spend only ONE day there. Four days isn't enough for me usually. But I took this as a challenge. Thankfully, an old co-worker from my Disney Store days (who had been working for the parks for about a decade) came through with two hopper passes for Ben and I. This solved a huge question of what park to go to. We decided to try to hit all four parks. A HUGE feat for anyone. But since Ben isn't a big Disney fan like myself...I figured this would be a good chance to try to just do the major rides and buzz through the world.
(Click on the images to see a larger view)
We hit up Animal Kingdom right off in the morning. Mainly cause I wanted to catch Expedition Everest. I had been wanting to get on this ride since it opened a year or so ago. The line went fast and the ride was in full working order and was a blast. I really enjoy the latest Disney Mountain. I'm always up for Disney to add more E-ticket rides!
After walking around the park for Ben to see the newest park (he hadn't been to WDW since he was a kid), we headed over to the Magic Kingdom to meet some friends of mine. After being introduced via iChat to fellow Husker fan/Disney fan/Mac lover Brian by my sister, it was great to finally meet him and his wife, Beth in person. We continued the challenge of hitting the main rides and experiences with our new friends.
We hit the upgraded Pirates ride. I still think Disneyland's version is my favorite. Although, I haven't seen how Hong Kong's version is. It wasn't open when I was there last. We also hit up the newly "plussed" Haunted Mansion.
That was great to see the changes and it's always a favorite. Then we hit Space Mountain and the new Monster's Inc, "Laugh Floor" (which if you've seen Turtle Talk with Crush, it's just as fun!). We then hit up Mickey's Philharmagic. I'd seen this in Paris or Hong Kong, but it's a fun show to see again. I kinda wish they'd come up with a few different shows so you could come back and see a new version every trip to the Magic Kingdom.
After that, we split up as Brian and Beth had dinner plans and Ben and myself were trying to get in two more parks. We headed back to the main gate and I did some shopping, of course! One of my gymnast's mom know's I collect Mickey Mouse ears and told me I needed to go to this one shop where you can build your own ears, called "The Chapeau". Well, I didn't end up making any ears cause it was a little spendy and I wasn't seeing any ears that I really really wanted. The ears I REALLY want are the cloud ears that are only given out by the Dream Team. Still trying to get those ears!!!
As we were leaving, the Disney people were setting up for the Mickey's Pirates and Princess Party. It's a Ticket Event that had plenty of people coming in costume for. It is similar to the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that I went to back in 1999. But from what I've heard, this incarnation has been scaled back so much it's not worth it. I guess you don't get as much cool, special free stuff like you did when it started or like other parties. I mean, why make an event WORTH the $50 ticket???
After the Magic Kingdom, Ben and I headed to the newly re-named, Disney's Hollywood Studios....