Thursday, August 30, 2012

Florida: Disney Day 2!

I promise I won't make this post as long as the last one. :)

As I finished the last post, I confessed that we were exhausted. 
After a week on a cruise ship, enjoying Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and exerting little to no energy, our walking for 16+ hours did not agree with us.

We slept in until 10 the next morning, completely bummed that we couldn't get up in time for the park opening. But truthfully, we couldn't move. Our legs were stiff, our blisters were falling in love and creating more blisters, and our feet felt like they were filled with lead, twice their size in swelling.
We waddled across the room, trying to get ready.

By the time we left, grabbing some continental breakfast on our way out to the shuttle, we had decided.
We were going to rent a wheelchair for the day.

I know what you guys are thinking...we were thinking it too. Sad. So very, very sad. And pathetic.
Poor us. We had spent too much time in Disneyworld. And now we couldn't walk.
This is a #firstworldproblem if ever I've seen one.
(Are hash tags allowed in blogs?)

But don't worry. We survived, no wheelchair required. We stuck it out. :)
We decided to start our day back at the Magic Kingdom.

There was a list we had compiled in our heads of rides we still wanted to visit.
Top of that list was Splash Mountain (it was already really hot outside), Thunder Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion.

We headed to the far corner, where Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain were right next to each other.
We rode Splash first, then experienced firsthand what happens when it's humid-hot and you get wet.
Not pleasant.
However, it did help squelch the heat for a little while. So we headed over to Thunder.

Again, it was so much fun experiencing the differences in these rides. Splash Mountain had additional characters, and different scenes. The layout of Thunder was totally different too. 

I was particularly thrilled with our next order-of-business.

Dole Whip! 
There's almost nothing that I love more than Pineapple Dole Whip in Disney.
It's the most delicious, smooth, frothy and amazing thing. The float is the best, dunked in pineapple juice.
I want some.

While we enjoyed our delights, we climbed up in the Swiss Family Robinson tree-house.

We then made our way over to Haunted Mansion.
I think this was the most drastic difference of them all.

This is the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland:

And this is the one in Disneyworld:

The Haunted Carriage.
You wind around the left of the building, and you can either go straight into the main line, or go through "The Cemetery" route.

Of course, we chose the cemetery.

The best part about this route was that everything was interactive.
We walked past these statues, and began to wind around different gravestones and mausoleums.
The first one was for a dead musician, and on the side of his tomb there were engraved instruments. When you touched them, they began to play. When you touched more than one, they played together, according to what they were. It was fun!

Then this creepy guy was at the end of that tomb:

You could press the keys on this organ for more music.

But my favorite was the Captain.

We rounded a corner, and there he was, submerged in his watery grave.

"Here Floats Captain Culpepper Clyne
Allergic to Dirt, so He's Pickled in Brine
He Braved the Sea and All Her Wrath
But Drowned on Land While Taking a Bath."

Haha! I love all of the cute rhymes on the graves.

"Here Lies Good Old Fred
A Great Big Rock
Fell On His Head"

"Here Rests Wathel R. Bender
He Rode to Glory
On a Fender"

I think I could write some good ones. :) I'd love to have that job.

I remember when I first rode through Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, I kept my head down in my mom's lap the whole time.
I had tried to be brave, but had utterly failed.
To this day, the little heads that pop up from behind the graves startle me.

But we survived this time.

Off we went, back through the park.
It was time to investigate this foreign castle!
We were very familiar with Sleeping Beauty's castle...but not so much with Cinderella's. 

Rumor has it, there's actually a room in there where you can stay. 
But it's only for the "Make A Wish" Foundation type people...which is both really wonderful and really sad. Basically, you have to be invited/win a glorious prize.
If I was a millionaire, or Tom Hanks, I'd make them let me stay there. 
Especially if I was Tom Hanks. I mean, how could they say no to Woody?

Beneath the castle, there were these beautiful Disney princess mosaics.

And to the left, there was actually a Cinderella restaurant!

I got SO excited.
Of course, the restaurant was reservation only...and very private.
You couldn't even see inside, since the entrance was covered with lavish curtains.
I could hear giggling girls inside. I was so jealous. 

Now, it's confession time.
We bought souvenirs at the Magic Kingdom.
I know we said we weren't going to...but here's the issue.
Dusty's sister and my brother and sister-in-law are expecting babies very soon. So every little trinket and adorable little nonsensical thing we saw, we oohed and aawed. 
We broke down. First near Thunder Mountain, then again on Main Street.
We even bought ourselves a Christmas ornament.
For shame!
But I feel much better for cleansing my conscience. 
On our way out, we watched a little Prince/Princess show at the castle.

Then we made our way out, because it was time to actually ride Tower of Terror in Hollywood. :)

This ride was legit.
Not only does the elevator move up and then drop you several times, in this version, the elevator actually moves you forward first, through the hotel. THEN it drops you. Many, many times.

We also rode the Aerosmith roller coaster again,'s awesome.
Listen to this if you need to. :)

Hangin' with Aerosmith [holograms] in the studio.


We also made a visit to Star Tours! One of the best rides from Disneyland.

They had a gargantuan AT-AT Star Wars Walker. 
(No, I didn't actually know that was the name...I had to look it up. I'm not as nerdy as I may first appear.)

We loved this ride. Rumor has it that Disneyland recently remodeled their Star Tours to be more like this one.
In Florida, the ride had over 50 different scenarios for you to experience! So it's different every time.
I wish we would've had the time to see more of them!

While we were over in that direction, we realize there was a whole other section of the park that we hadn't even known was there.
Part of that was the Muppet Show. :) so we ran in there (it was raining again). 

Then, we saw THIS.
Holy mother of all that is Disney.

I think this is the dream of everyone in our generation...
Especially people like us. No, especially people like Dusty. :) who is basically Andy, and is more attached to Toy Story than anyone I know (other than our friend's almost-2 year old).

After we finished playing at Pizza Planet, we just walked around the back section of the park.

I love these fake city streets! It makes it feel so much bigger than it actually is.

We then saw this awesome billboard...can't wait for this show to premiere for season 2!

We then ended up here.


Which is where they had the Toy Story Mania ride. :)

The night before, when we had been denied in using our Fast Past for Tower of Terror, we ended up riding Toy Story.
And for once, I actually won!!
I'm not normally one to brag (that much...) but Dusty always beats me at these types of games.
The line was basically nonexistent, since the park had been about to close, so we were thrilled to be able to ride one of our favorite rides before we left. :)

Also, another little tidbit I left out from my other post (my memory is fuzzy, from fatigue and foot-pain, and I don't have any pictures to remind me since our cameras and phones had died), we actually ran around quite a bit in the Magic Kingdom park before we left. We got to ride Pirates mere minutes before the park closed, which was really fun.
Then, to our great surprise, there were still a lot of people around.
Apparently, they were keeping the park open until 2am for special Disney hotel guests.
For a moment, we were really excited...but then we saw them checking every single person's hotel key before they got on the rides. No way to scam them with that one!
Not that we wanted to scam them but...

So back to the present time! This was really cool!

We spent a lot of time in here, walking through this special museum for Walt Disney.
It was awesome.
They had old videos of him, explaining his dreams for Epcot and other park features.
It went through his life, his childhood, and his family.
They had displays of the first Mickey/Disney toys, stuffed animals, and sketches.
It's such a shame that Walt died so young...he didn't live to see so many of his dreams come to life.
His brother continued a lot of what he had started, making sure to name Disneyworld (which Walt never got to see open) Walt Disney World, so people would know it had been Walt's dream from beginning to end.

We made our way out of Hollywood, feeling really hungry and looking forward to our tacos in Epcot!

Once we got there, we decided to check out the Space ride in the giant dome at the front of the park.
To refresh your memory:

 It was actually really cool!
We figured it would be a bunch of evolution stuff about the earth and our universe...
But it was actually more of a "what will our future look like?" type of exploration.
You wound through amazing scenes of stars and planets, and then you got to take a little survey on the screens in front of you.
You answered questions about hobbies, and "would you rather have..." type questions.
Then, based on our answers, it projected a future for us.
(They had snapped our pictures earlier.)
I know these are cheesy, but we got a kick out of it!


We ventured further into the park, stopping for more soda at the Coca-Cola shop. :)

We walked to a back corner we'd never been to before, and this is what we found!

Mission to Space.

You can either ride the Orange version (for the wimps or children) or the Green version (for the studs).
Now, I'm most definitely more of a wimp.
But, we chose green, because we wanted to be cool.

This ride was crazy. You were strapped into a space shuttle type thing, then shot into the atmosphere and "put to sleep" until you got to the moon. You were seated in front of a small screen, which was your window out into space. Each person had a job to do, and when the time came, you pressed the buttons in front of you to initiate your action and save the shuttle!
It was actually intense. The pressure of "flying into space" was actually the fake shuttle spinning at incredible speeds. It's a somewhat realistic feeling of how they actually train astronauts.
I felt a little light-headed at the end of it, but it was a really cool experience.

The rest of our night was pretty blissful.
We found Mexico, and decided to grab some food, which ended up being really good. It was actually spicy!
The view was incredible. The sun was starting to set, and it was so beautiful across the water.
You know those moments when you think, "I'm going to want to remember this moment..."
That was one of them. It was really perfect.

There weren't any seats, so we just leaned up against the railing and ate our dinner.

Dusty took this picture, as I was properly cherishing the moment.

Our night was slowly winding down.
We had one last stop to make...
And it may or may not have to do with Cheri with Cats!

The day before, my mother-in-law texted me that I needed to have that bag (which I totally agreed with) and that she would buy it for me as a gift. 
Since gifts are my love language, I was feeling extremely full of love as we made our way back to Japan.

Meant to be.
So. Much. Love.

We grabbed some teriyaki chicken for a mini snack, then headed back toward the crepe stand so Dusty could get some more chocolate ice cream. :)
We were almost done. It was almost 9pm, and the fireworks were getting ready to start.
Oh and also, our feet no longer wanted to be a part of our bodies.

We sat on a couple of benches (separate benches, so we could elevate our feet) and watched most of the show. It was really beautiful. And the music was awesome!
Despite another absolutely incredible day, we were happy to be heading back to the hotel.
We had an early morning ahead of us, since we would be heading to...wait for it...
Harry Potter World the next day. 

We caught the shuttle (thank goodness) and made it back to our hotel, tired but happy.
After we were clean and pajama-clad, we fell asleep watching the Olympics. It was bliss. 

Thanks for the memories, Disney!
And thanks for your legacy, Walt. 
We're just a bunch of children at heart.

In love,