No Ride Was Too Scary For These Sisters

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Horse, May 31, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Horse
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    In the last 10 months, I've made 5 trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Each trip is planned to attend a special event at Disney such as Halloween, Christmas, and Food and Wine Festival. This trip my sister joined me to check out Star Wars Weekend. We stayed at one of the Disney onsite Deluxe level resorts, the BoardWalk Inn.

    Four weekends every Spring, the Hollywood Studios (MGM) Park has special events for Star Wars fans. This year, the main focus for many was the reopening of the Star Tours 3D motion simulator ride. Supposedly, there are 50 variations of the storyline and locations visited on the ride. I had the chance to ride the new ride three times and all three were unique.

    Also, several celebrities are present for autographs during the weekends. Kids under 12 can participate in the Jedi Training Academy. Photo opportunities were available with characters such as Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Disney's Mickey, Minnie and Goofy in their Star Wars costumes. Special merchandise for purchase galore. Also, there were a few Star Wars parades during the day and Hyperspace Hoopla was a must see.

    Info about Star Wars Weekends as listed on Disney's website:
    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios/special-events/star-wars-weekend/

    Info about the ride, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios/attractions/star-tours/

    Hyperspace Hoopla video:
     
  2. Horse
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    I headed down to MCO on Thursday, May 19. I flew on a free RT ticket with WN. Always a great way to start a trip ;)

    Snagged an exit row with the middle seat empty. Shared the row with another girl heading to WDW. We enjoyed our cocktails with free drink coupons (before they expire this summer) and had a good conversation.

    When I got to MCO, I headed down to where Disney picks you up with their Magical Express buses. Buses are assigned to specifically designated hotels. Each bus is assigned to about 1-3 hotels, so you arrive to your hotel quickly. One of the nice perks Disney provides if you are staying in one of their resorts. No having to arrange a rental car or transportation. Longest I've waited for a resort bus was around 10 minutes. Plus, Disney picks up your checked in luggage and deliver it to your room. I find checked luggage arrives about an hour or less.
     
  3. Horse
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    Sister was planning on flying down around midnight, so Day 1 would be all me.

    Arrived at the BoardWalk Inn which is located in the Epcot Resort Area (Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Swan, Dolphin hotels). Of course, I asked for a room change once I saw that my "Water View" room was more of a BoardWalk Villas (Disney Vacation Club version of a hotel) view than a water view. They said they would be able to accommodate me the following day.

    After checking in, walked over to the nearby Swan and Dolphin to see if I could get a massage at the Mandara Spa. Unfortunately, they were booked full, so I settled for grabbing a cup of soup before going over to the parks. The WDW Swan is a Sheraton and WDW Dolphin is a Westin. Cool for anyone interested in the convenience of staying in the parks, but wanting to use or earn points.

    Walked over to Epcot after my snack. Great thing about where I was staying was the proximity of two of the parks. It was a 5 minute walk to Epcot and a 15 minute walk to Hollywood Studios (previously known as MGM).

    Walked through United Kingdom. First ride in Epcot is one of my favorites, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Cabelleros in the Mexico Pavilion.
    three caballeros.jpg

    Norway was next with Maelstrom, a dark ride which is also a water ride. Checked out the shopping in China's Pavilion. Time for a glass of wine at Germany Pavilion's Weinkeller.

    Germany pavilion.jpg
    Getting hungry and was able to get a seat in Tokyo Dining in Japan without a reservation. Found traveling solo a big plus in getting into restaurants and on rides quicker than usual.
    Japan Pavilion.jpg
     
  4. Horse
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    After dinner, back out and about in Epcot. Made my way through Italy, Morocco, France, and Canada. Couldn't resist stopping in France for a glass of champagne. Nice to be permitted to walk everywhere in Epcot with a drink in hand if you so desire. With the World Showcase portion of Epcot done, I was ready to do the Future World half.

    Journey Into Imagination Figment was fun as expected and no line. I avoided Mission: Space because of the intense spinning and after dinner and two drinks in World Showcase at Epcot, things wouldn't be pretty. The Seas with Nemo and Friends also had no line, as did Spaceship Earth, so got to ride those quick. Forgot all about Soarin', but I knew I could go on that ride when I came back to Epcot over the weekend with sister.

    Spaceship Earth:
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    Test Track is the most thrilling ride at Epcot. Normally, the line is a drag since it's so popular, but this ride has a single rider line, so got to ride it almost immediately. This ride simulates a car that goes through testing by General Motors. Sharp turns, rough road surfaces, hard braking, and acceleration to 60mph are some of the experiences you go through.

    At this point, I was done with everything I wanted to do at Epcot. Went back to Norway to pick up a fresh fruit bowl for dessert and a bottle of Voss water. Returned to the hotel to rest up in anticipation of a busy day for Friday.
     
  5. Horse
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    Day 2
    Sister arrived safely and loved how Disney got her to the hotel without a glitch.

    I had made reservations for Kouzinna by Cat Cora on the Boardwalk. I had Two Scrambled Eggs with Breakfast Potatoes and Chicken Sausage. We shared the Press Pot Coffee. Breakfast was very good and we agreed we had to go there every morning for the coffee at least. Disney normally serves some really weak lame coffee. Not this restaurant though!

    We walked over to Hollywood Studios to be there for the opening day ceremonies of Star Wars Weekends. We had plans to meet up with 2 friends there who live locally. They got there early to get on line for the merchandise tent. Some of the pins sold were part of limited editions, so they were picking up those pins for themselves and for us so we could enjoy the park instead of waiting in line for 3 hours. Yes, they were on line for 3 hours just for merchandise. Can you tell people get intense over this event?

    When we got into the park, I could see this place was more packed than I've ever seen it. People were lined up along the parade route and they told us they had been saving their spot for about 2 hours. (I opt for getting there as late as possible and dealing with finding a decent view). The parade lasted only about 2 minutes. Happy I wasn't waiting for long, lol.
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  6. Horse
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  7. Horse
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    After the parade ended, we tried to make our way up to the Main Stage. George Lucas was there for opening remarks.

    Our friends finally found us and we tried to get over to where the new Star Tours ride was. But the place was too crowded. We felt the best thing to do was to have lunch and then go to Epcot for the rest of the day. We were hoping that park would be quieter since many of the visitors wanted to be at HS for opening day. On our way to the Hollywood Brown Derby for lunch, we met up with four more of our Disney friends. After a short chat, it was time to eat.

    Three of us had the Cobb Salad. Finely-chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes,
    Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing. It was a decent salad. Nothing more, nothing less.

    So I got to do a repeat of all the Epcot rides and countries. Epcot was again quiet enough to get through without crowds and long lines. We didn't have reservations for dinner, but were able to get into San Angel Inn at the Mexican Pavilion. Before dinner we had drinks at La Cava del Tequila. 70 different types of tequila are offered - yum! This visit I picked the pineapple margarita and it was great :)

    At the San Angel Inn, I selected Camarones al Guajillo - Crispy shrimp with guajillo sauce, served
    over a bed of potato relish. It was better than I expected.

    Part of what I like about this restaurant is that the Three Cabelleros ride goes past the dining area. If you get a railing seat, you will watch the boats go bye as they enter the ride.

    Mexico Pavilion.jpg
     
  8. Horse
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    Day 3
    Up nice and early to eat at Kouzinna's. Tried Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad for breakfast and that awesome press pot coffee.

    Hotel room was working out well.
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    View across the lake was Yacht Club Resort.
     
  9. Horse
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    Hotel to the left over the boardwalk was the BoardWalk Villas for Disney Vacation Club members.
    Next hotel (triangle shape) is the Dolphin.
    The Yacht Club is directly across from my hotel.
    To the right is the Beach Club Resort and the Beach Club Villas.
    To the immediate right of my balcony is the ESPN Club.

    They were right when they said the rooms above the boardwalk were noisy. Things never quieted down until after midnight. Between everyone being out in the nice weather, the street performers entertaining every night, and the noise coming from ESPN because of NBA playoffs, the place was LOUD! Bad place to stay for anyone trying to go to sleep early.
     

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  10. Horse
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    Magic Kingdom was first on our list. We had to use the Disney buses to get there. Wait was not long at all.

    First part of the Kingdom we went to was Tomorrowland. We went on Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape, Carousel of Progress, and the People Mover. Sadly, Space Mountain was down. Cool thing was that going on the People Mover gave me a chance to see the tracks for Space Mountain when the lights were on for that dark ride.

    Fantasyland was the next part of the park we headed towards. Fantasyland is in the middle of a big expansion project. They will be adding The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Storybook Circus, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, Little Mermaid show, Great Goofini roller coaster, Princess meet and greet, new Dumbo attraction, and Be Our Guest restaurant.

    Attractions we went on were it's a small world, Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

    After Fantasyland, it was a visit to Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion. I can ride that ride over and over and never get tired of it.

    Frontierland had two really fun rides. My sister and both loved Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I love going on during my visits. Didn't get too wet on Splash Mountain (thank goodness).

    Adventureland was the last stop. Had an ok skipper on Jungle Cruise. The one I had when I went in February with my brother had us in tears. It's always hit or miss with this ride. Pirates of the Caribbean was a must do too.

    We finally finished the Magic Kingdom and took the monorail to the Contemporary Resort for dinner at The Wave. I selected Whole Grain Penne Pasta with Florida White Shrimp, Cedar Key Clams, Prince Edward Island Mussels,
    and Roasted Fennel-Tomato Broth. It was ok. I've had better meals at this restaurant. Biggest bummer were the mojitos. The drink was so filled up with ice that the ice was piled over the top of the glass. Three sips and the drink was gone.

    After dinner, we were on a bus and going to see if the crowds died down at Hollywood Studios.

    Lucky for us, the park was back to it's normal state. We were able to try out the new Star Tours ride. I love it so much more than the older one. They usually have 6 cars going with about 50 people to a car. The line is long, but it moves quicker than expected. The only bad thing with this ride is that it probably affects those with motion sickness pretty intensely. Take your Dramamine or Antivert if you think you'll need it.

    This park has three more really awesome rides. Toy Story Mania is fun for everyone no matter your age. I was high scorer in my group every time I rode. Woot woot! And my two favorite WDW rides Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster impressed my sister as well. We loved those three and we planned on going on them as often as we could this trip.

    A short walk back to the hotel and we were ready for sleep. Day 3 down and I couldn't ask for a better time.
     
  11. Horse
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    Day 4 once again began with a stop at Kouzinna's. I enjoyed the Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast Two Poached Eggs, Kalamata Olive Toast, Artichoke Spread, Sweet Potato Hash and Chicken Sausage. I substituted scrambled eggs for the poached since I can't do those. Had to ask the waiter for three new press pots. He was doing it incorrectly and we ended up with weak coffee and a cup full of coffee grounds every time he did it. I finally asked that he deliver it unpressed and I would handle it. He also made a few other errors. The other two servers we had previous days were much better.

    We took the Disney bus to Animal Kingdom in the morning. Many people I know aren't crazy about this park. Being an animal lover, I think it's cool. We rode my favorite ride of the park, Expedition Everest, a roller coaster train that goes both forwards and backwards.

    Kilamanjaro Safari is another fav of mine in AK park.
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    We also went to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, a self-guided tour with various animals found in Africa.
     
  12. Horse
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    Maharajah Jungle Trek is something I didn't have time for during my other trips, but we made sure to go on this walk through attraction. Creepiest thing were all the big bats. Coolest thing was the Komodo dragon.
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  13. Horse
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    After we finished with what we wanted to see at Animal Kingdom, we went back to Hollywood Studios for some something to eat and rerides.

    First had a small lunch at the Tune In Lounge which is the bar adjacent to 50's Prime Time Cafe. Had the appetizer Aunt Annie’s Seafood Salad - Lump Blue Crab, Bay Scallops, and Shrimp tossed in Citrus Vinaigrette served on seasonal Greens. Would get this again. Had a Mowie Wowie to drink —Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Melon Liqueur, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice.

    Had to get in another round of Rockin Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, and Star Tours before we left the park.

    After that, went back to Magic Kingdom. To me, MK is very different at night than it is during the day. Since we were too early for dinner, we stopped at the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Resort. Got the pineapple drink, Lapu Lapu. Last drink for the day. A little stronger than I wanted so it took forever to finish it.

    Finally time for dinner and it was at one of my favorite restaurants in Disney - Citrico's at the Grand Floridian resort.
    The restaurant I visit at least once each trip. We started with Gâteau of Crab - Lump Crab, Orange-Fennel Cream, and Tomato-Fennel Slaw. For dinner, I enjoyed the Roast Chicken Breast - Tanglewood Farms Chicken with Cabernet Mushroom Risotto and a Lemon-Thyme Broth. Service was great as usual. And nice to share a restaurant with well-behaved children (sadly not seen often enough in most of Disney World's restaurants).

    After dinner, we went to the Magic Kingdom to do some rerides and to finally get onto Space Mountain.

    Sadly, this is the end of day 4 and the end of sister's trip. She was flying out early the next morning. Still, getting three parks into one day was pretty damn good.
     
  14. Horse
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    Day 5 and the last day of my Disney World trip started with saying bye to my sister. I then packed up, checked out, and headed back over to Hollywood Studios. Since I didn't have to be back at the hotel until 1PM for my bus to take me to the airport, I took advantage of those 4 hours. I was able to ride Star Tours, Toy Story's Midway Mania, Rockin Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. A great way to end a great trip.

    Got back to MCO easily and then only had to deal with some delays WN had in returning to NY due to weather issues. Flight was good once we got going.

    Now I just have to decide when I'm going back to see the mouse. My annual pass doesn't expire until August, so I'll have to squeeze in another visit before then. :)......................................................................................................The End
     
  15. Tenmoc
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    Absolutely awesome Horse.
     
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  16. travelingmore
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    Agree - outstanding reports - thanks Horse!
     
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  17. Kaanapali
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    Definite thank you - loved reading it and made us feel eager to head down in December :)
     
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  18. Horse
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    Thank you all :) I didn't realize how long it would take to do a trip report. Thank goodness I only took a few pics. (pics of Germany, Japan, and Mexico Pavilions courtesy of Disney, rest were some of mine).
    I can't wait for your trip report, Kaanapali!
     
  19. BeachMiles
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    excellent trip report.
     
  20. Chimpy
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    Fantastic trip report Horse, I loved the photographs.
     
  21. bakedpatato
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    Never been to the Magic Kingdom before(in fact this year was the first time that I crossed the Mississippi ;)). Nice read!
     
  22. Horse
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    Thanks! I appreciate the nice comments. :)
     
  23. BeachMiles
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    Any pics of Princess Minnie ?
     
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  24. Redcap
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    Thanks for a really good report
     
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  25. Horse
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    ;)
    Thank you for taking the time to read it :)
     
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