Hard Target Hollywood Studios

Monday was our first ever visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While I entered the Sprint to Toy Story Mania, DW and kids shot to Rock-N-Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. I went to see Walt Disney “One Man’s Dream”. It is a fascinating look at the life, decisions, and affects Walt’s life had on society and entertainment.

We brought the family back together and moved on to The Great Movie ride. What a wonderful look at some of the classic flicks that have stood the test of time. I have to say that the “Public Enemy” scene was a bit corny, but also funny. And, the “Wizard of Oz” is a great way to close the ride out.

By now, it was time for my DS13 and I to head to the Hollywood Brown Derby for our special event, “Dine with an Imagineer”. We met with seven other guests and Mr. Tim MacCallister. Tim is in charge of the sign fabrication projects around WDW and is also watching over the DTD district projects. At first, I thought it would be boring, but it turned out to be a very nice event. I would suggest you consider doing this on your next visit. The food was very good, also.

My DW and DDs roamed the Streets of America, and the headed TP the 50s Prime Time Cafe. She reported that the food and service were very good. She particularly liked the theming and the way the staff interacted with guests. She found quite entertaining.

We aquired FPs for Star Tours and then met up to ride Toy Story. It was an excellent comination of ride and game. With each different scene, we got better at shooting the targets. This is a ‘must go back and do it again’ attraction.

We walked around to get familiar with the rest of DHS and then cashed in our Star Tours FPs.  It wasn’t what I expected. I had a little problem with the movements, I think I have a bit of a cold, but I enjoyed the overall experience. It is obvious that a lot of time, thought, and George Lucas went into the refit of this ride.

We decided to head back to our resort for a much needed away from the parks break. And then, we jumped on a boat to the Downtown Disney Complex. The ride down the Sassagoula was peaceful and ft he boat pilot was infomative about the other resorts and recreation areas along the way. The kids enjoyed the Lego Store before we went to Wolfgang Puck Express for dinner. Try the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf! Can you say ‘YUMMY’!  A tour of the World of Disney store and I was done!

DD9 and I hopped on a bus and rode back to our resort. The others collard behind about a half hour later.

We will be headed to EPCOT for a second day tomorrow, the Studios again on Wednesday. And will end this journey where we began, The Magic Kingdom.

Exploration EPCOT

Our day began by arriving to the park just as the welcome was finishing up, and then the gates were opened. We headed directly to Soarin’ for a walk-on experience. I knew then, that this was going to be a good day! What a thrill to see the California scenery, smell the different aromas, and have the sense of free flight. I agree with my friend, Liners, it needs updated. But, my first experience leaves me hoping for more.

From there we went right onto Living With The Land. It was a good ride-through with some history of the taming of the land, to preserving the land by choosing more natural methods to farm.  And, the alternative growing methods being used at EPCOT greenhouses are quite something to see.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends had me all clammed up. And, getting glimpses of the huge tank had a stunning effect on the ride. Turtle Talk with Crush is amazing with the interaction of guests, mostly kids. I suspect that enhanced the experience for those kids. It was totally awesome, Dudes!

Then we split up for a short time. My DW took the bookends back to Soarin’ on a FastPass, and I took DD11 to MY favorite ride, Spaceship Earth. I have only heard the Walter Cronkite version before, and miss him. However, Judi Dench does a fine job, as well. I liked most of the changes since I was last here.

Met up either the rest of the family at the entrance to the World Showcase, where we took a much needed lunch break. Then we began our world tour in Japan. We got the girls KidCot Passports to enhance their interest. Morocco was next with stunning carpeted, jewelry, and, of course, Fez hats.

Ahhhh, France! A good time to be had, especially DS13. He was part of the Serveur Amusant shoe near Le Chefs. Funny, engaging, and amazing. One guys does all his commands with a whistle (ans my son listened, AMAZING), the younger gentleman balanced himself on top of several chair that put him slightly above the restaurant roofline. After we saw Impressions de France, we jumped on Friendship 8 for a ride back to Future World.

We all took a ride on SSE this time, DW and DD9, went a second time. A little time in Project Tomorrow was quite enjoyable. The technologies they talk about are amazing and the kids really enjoyed the hands-on aspect. I would recommend this for some time out of the Florida sun.

Since we were way ahead of schedule, we took a little over an hour snack break and sat by the Edy’s Ice Cream Shop (packed). People do some interesting stuff when they don’t know they’re being watched. The fountain was nice and relaxing, too.

We ad-libbed an add-on to our plan, and boarded Mission: Space – Green. It was really cool! However, I don’t think I’m an Orange kind of guy. Orange might just make ME green!

We went to Canada to watch Off Kilter, a Celtic band that ended this show with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. It was a really good experience ANC I would suggest seeing this on future trips. O Canada was stunning, funny, and breath-taking. I loved the original show from 1982, but this one has merits of it’s own. We eat at Le Cellier on Tuesday.

Finally, it was time to check into The Rose and Crown for dinner. While we waited, we strolled the UK for a bit. DW got some tea at the Twining shop. We were seated for our meal and served by the beautiful Amelia. She was attentive, without going overboard. The Fish and Chips were worth the six month wait. DW got the Shepherd’s pie, and one daughter braved the Bangers and Mash. At a few minutes to 9, after an hour of so of pouring rain, Amelia showed us to a private viewing patio for Illuminations! What a fabulous view we had of a spectacular display. And, a great way to end our first day at EPCOT! We return here in two days time.

Tomorrow, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Dine with an Imagineer. Wonder if I can get any Avatar

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Operation Animal Kingdom

We made an early run at Animal Kingdom today. It was quiet, at first. Another testimony about the importance of making Rope Drop. During the stroll through the Oasis, we came upon several species of Macaw, an Iguana that was huge, and an anteater just to name a few. We made our way to Kilimanjaro Safari where we were almost immediately boarded for a jungle trek across African wildlife habitats. We saw rare Rhinos, some Giraffe, elephants, lions, cheetahs, and a host of other animals indigenous to the continent.

Similar was an interesting time. Primeval Whirl was a big hit with the kids riding it three times. TriceriTop Spin was fun for a few rides, and Dinosaur was quite an unexpected thrill with all the quick turns and simulated road conditions.

Off to Expedition Everest, which the wife snuck a ride while getting FastPasses, for the ladies of the family. She caught a few more rides later in the day by using the Single rider lane. A ride on the Wildlife Express brought us to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The “hospital” is really something quite special. The return train ride brought back just in time to head to Yak and Yeti for lunch. The meals were abundant, but the service was nothing out of the ordinary.

We finished the day out with a meet up of some special Liner friends for the Yeehaa Bob Show. The show was really good. Bob is an talented, and somewhat off the cuff, performer with a clean, family safe presentation. If you come to WDW, make the time to see his show Wednesday – Saturday starting at 8:30pm.

Tomorrow, Walt’s original, EPCOT Center! Stay tuned…

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Yeehaa Bob

Mission MKRD And Beyond

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Our day blasted off in style! We were an hour early to The Magic Kingdom. As we entered, we headed straight to Tomorrowland, where we spent a good portion of our day because we really like the rides in this area. First was supposed to be Astro Orbiter, but it was broken. So, my DW and kids headed to Space Mountain. DW and DDs rode twice, and at the time of this report, DW and DD11 are riding a third time.  TTA a few times, then back to Fantasyland to ride Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, and the Carousel.

It was time for lunch and we chose Casey’s corner. The hot dogs were pretty good, but the buns were a bit on the heavy side.

Back to the rides…Carousel of Progress impressed my kids, especially my DS.  Buzz was a blast and Monsters, Inc. laugh floor was a real cut up.  DW and DD9 went to the speedway, and then the big one, Splash Mountain. What a rush that turned out to be, I got a shirt to remeber the experience. (picture to follow).

Dinner was at O’hana and it was spectacular! The food just kept showing up at the table. I am really glad we are on DDP or we would never have eaten there.  The spicing of the food and the hardwood grill are worthy of the palate.

DS decided to part company and went for a swim while the rest of us ventured back into the MK. We rode TTA again, saw Magic, the Memories and You and Wishes. The shows are so much better live than on You Tube anyday!  A little stop in the emporium and we are back at the resort for a quick swim and a well earned night’s sleep.

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Mission complete! Tomorrow, Animal Kingdom rope drop.

Good-night..zzzzzzzz.

Day one is a rap!

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Well, our day had a very magical beginning. Our flight got an early start, resulting in a very early arrival in Orlando. Found Disney’s Magical Express, and were wisked away to Port Orleans Resort – Riverside in just about an hour. A quick bite, and we were headed to the Magic Kingdom.

We rode It’s a Small World first, followed by THE Haunted Mansion, the Hall of Presidents, Mickey.’ Philharmagic, Peter Pan with a fastpass, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tiki Room,  and Jungle Cruise.

Dinner was at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and Friends. While the meal was short of spectacular, our waiter, Kip, was entertaining and efficient. Character interaction was a definite highlight of the evening. Pictures all come at the end of the journey.

One final note…make use of all the PhotoPass people you can find. They are everywhere and quite good at creating some extra magic.

Tomorrow, Magic Kingdom, Part Deux.

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