I can't believe it's not an ordinary trip report! (now with pictures!)
I awoke to a fanfare of trumpets...
I jolted upright in my bed as my dad came "We're going to Disney," he shouted! My dad's house has a speaker system that can play the radio and CD's. He had put on Walt's Tour of Disneyland on 100% volume. That got me out of bed. I looked at the clock, 5:00 am. Not a problem for me.
We quickly got up and dressed and out the door and onto the Turnpike. A few hours into our trip, the sun rose and we arrived at a plaza. We got out of the car and felt a cold blast of air. Absolutely freeeezing. I scrambeled for my sweatshirt in the trunk and made my way to attack the Disney brochures.
2 hours later brought us to the golden arch of (no not McDonald's) Walt Disney World.
We immediately made our way to the Studios because I couldn't be late for my Imagineer Lunch.
The park had just opened so it wasn't too crowded. The street actors were all roaming about Hollywood Boulevard. It was great to take pictures with them.
We arrived much earlier tan we anticipated so we made our way to Star Tours and Muppet Vision 3D. I made sure to look for all the sight gags.
(And I found most of them, special thanks : Lou.)
After Muppet Vision it was time for me to head down to my Imagineer Lunch.
We walked down to the Brown Derby, passing the High School Musical Pep Rally. It was pretty neat but nothing special. We finally arrived at the restaurant and checked in. I received a pretty cool nametag
(which I wore for the remainder of the trip).
At about 11:15, we were led into the restaurant by a waitress who gave us a pretty interesting history of the Hollywood Brown Derby. I definately learned a lot. The other 7 party members and I were then led to The Bamboo Room where we met Imagineer David Hoffman.
The room was absolutely beautiful. Like the title said, the roof was made of bamboo as was much of the furniture. I was very impressed. It was clearly reminiscent of the Asian influence in Hollywood.
The lunch was absolutely amazing! Let me start with the food. I am not a soup or salad person whatsoever. However, I was completely reoriented after eating the cheddar and mushroom soup and the Cobb Salad. Dave Hoffman was also an absolute pleasure. He told us that he is the Art Director for the Studios and worked on many of the major attractions. He also told us he was doing a project on Rock N Roller Coaster. Of course I asked about Toy Story Mania. He seemed surprised that I knew about it and told me basically what I know and that it would be, "Nothing like anything the industry has ever seen."
The lunch ended about 3 hours later. I managed to get him to sign my Imagineer book and we all got a beautiful glass plate with Sorcerer Mickey on it and his signature. My dad and brother picked me up after their lunch at the 50's Prime-Time Cafe. We later made our way to Sunset Boulevard. My brother was not yet willing to ride Tower of Terror or Rock N Roller Coaster, so I went by myself.
After Tower of Terror I went to RnRC. I noticed they were building a single rider's line, so the line was chopped in half by a pink construction wall. I came off of Rock N Roller Coaster feeling so happy I rode it. I reached for my Sidekick 3, nothing!! My eyes widened in worry. My Sidekick was missing!!!!!!! I immediately ran to the exit area already mentally finishing my last will and testament for when my mom killed me. Thankfully, after waiting for a few trains, the CM's found it in a train. Apparently, it went around again. Phew!! Today was my lucky day.
We decided to leave the park at about 5 to make our reservations at Il Mulino. We got back to the Dolphin so we could check in. They asked us which room we wanted. I was surprised by this. We asked for the room with the best view. 9030 was our room.
After unpacking, we went down to the restaurant. It was a very beautiful restaurant. The food was SPECTACULAR. I absolutely loved it. The service was also amazing! I highly recommend this restaurant. I asked if I could see the manager so I could compliment the restaurant. He greatly appreciated it.
We went back up to the room and got into bed. The beds were so heavenly as well. I couldn't wait for tomorrow!
Day 2 - A Park Hopper and a Curfew
*My camera is on the fritz (Enchanted Tiki Room pun intended) so I will be updating this day with more pictures later on.*
I was screaming, falling out of the window to my room and zooming to the ground below me...
I couldn't remember how I fell, but I did. The ground was getting closer and I was screaming my lungs out. BAM! I awoke on the floor next to my bed with my brother staring at me. "Nick, are you ok?" my brother asked. Phew, just a nightmare. I landed on the floor at about 8 am. Perfect timing! My brother and I shook my dad awake as her personally requested the night before.....I promise....
We got up early, and blazed a trail to the park. Once we were immediately out of the hotel, the cold air struck.....It was SOOOO COLD that morning, I thought I was going to freeze in place. However, this is coming from a Miaminative so results may vary. We finally got on the Magic Kingdom bus and we arrived at Magic Kingdom. The air got a little bit warmer and was at a very nice brisk temperature. The sky was cloudless and the crowds were moderate. It was a heavenly morning to be at the Magic Kingdom. We did not head into the station immediately. We kinda hung out in front of the train station taking in the ambience before we walked in. I really loved it and highly recommend you do the same. It was during this time I noticed Walt E. Disney on the window at the top of the train station as the "Head Engineer". It was great to finally notice it.
So, we finally walked through the train station and out into Town Square. I couldn't wait to see the castle. My anticipation was amounting! I finally turned around the corner and there it was! The beautiful castle minus the gold fringe! It was absolutely gorgeous. However, my view was slightly hindered by a large construction wall stretching along the right side of Main Street. As we neared the Bakery for our breakfast, I came to realize what the construction wall was for. It was clearly for the refurb that the restaurant was getting. The line was, unfortunately, huge. So, we decided to skip it and head over to The Crystal Palace.
As we walked over, I noticed the Dream Along With Mickey Show going on at the Castle Forecourt Stage. My mind jumped to the animatronic character faces. As soon as I led my family to the Crystal Palace, I asked if I could go see the show. My dad let me go as we waited for seats and I RAN as fast as I could to the stage. The heads were, indeed, animatronic and amazing to watch. I got there about two third's of the way through so I couldn't catch much. However, as soon as I arrived, Maleficent made her grand entrance. She threatened to take away the dreams of all people in the Magic Kingdom and turn the park into the park of nightmares........hmm...my mind immediately jumped to the nightmare I had a few hours ago..waay too coincidental. My Sidekick III vibrated in my pocket and I picked it up. My dad beckoned me to return as our table was quickly ready. I skipped back to the Crystal Palace. Yes, I skipped. I mean, the emotion just swept over me.
We got in to the restaurant and got our seats. After some OJ, we headed straight for the buffet. It was great! I loved all the food! Of course, how can one NOT like a breakfast in Disney? The hot chocolate was to die for! My brother and I got to take pictures with Tigger and Eeyore as they made their rounds. I was very happy to see Tigger not in jail. I managed to get very nice pictures of the view from this restaurant. (don't worry they'll be up soon.) My favorite picture of the entire day came from this restaurant. Outside of the window we were next to, there was a view of the top of Cinderella Castle over the trees. Really nice.
We finished our breakfast and went straight to Adventureland. We hit Pirates of the Caribbean. 10 minute wait! I couldn't believe our luck. It was pretty neat. I don't think it's worth all the hubbub it's getting. No real major changes except for the animatronics and chickens in one scene. I'm glad it was kept the same. We then went on over to The Enchanted Tiki Room and then Splash Mountain. Both were 5 minute waits. Where were those crowds? Whatever, I wasn't complaining. We decided to skip Thunder Mountain because we weren't exactly in the mood for it. Heresy, I know.
We walked on over to Liberty Square and took in the atmosphere there. I managed to notice the two laterns of Paul Revere in the window. I managed to get a few people's attention explaining its history. After that, we crossed over to Tomorrowland to hit Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Unfortunately, the line was MONSTROUS. The crowds had arrived. The line for Fastpass was also HUGE! We got in line for them but then the realization struck. If all these people are getting fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear at that time, then perhaps that line would be bigger than the standby at that time? Well, we decided to test the logic. We hit The TTA instead. It was a nice, brisk ride that we absolutely love.
After that we went to Fantasyland to hit our traditional ride, Peter Pan's Flight. As we walked into Fantasyland, we noticed a rather large construction wall over the facade of Peter Pan's Flight. Thankfully, the ride wasn't closed, however, I asked a nearby cast member what the commotion was, and they said it was just a maintenance refurbishment to the ride's facade. We got in the relatively short line and rode it.
After Peter Pan's Flight we decided to have lunch at Columbia Harbour House. As we neared it, the line was going out the door! It was nuts! So, my dad asked if there was a restaurant with bigger space.. Cosmic Ray's. So, we walked over to there. The lines were somewhat big but manageable. So, we ate and got that over with. We then went back to Buzz Lightyear's to test my theory. It was wrong lol. However, the line was shorter so we did do it. I managed to get my own car and handle both the guns. That was fun indeed.
We had early reservations for dinner at Don Shula's Steakhouse at The Dolphin hotel. (I thought it was rather creative that it was at the Dolphin considering he was the coach of the Miami Dolphins. Kudos to Disney.) The steak was cooked to perfection! The service was also incredible! Another great Disney dining experience! We then got our park hoppers ready for Epcot to watch Illuminations! As soon as we got to Epcot, we grabbed a standing seat near Morocco and managed to watch Illuminations! This was the first time I've ever seen it in its entirety and I'm so glad I did. This was the thing at the top of my list (next to Everest) for this trip and I'm so glad I got it done. An absolutely emotional show as most of you know.
Our next stop was Magic Kingdom for the late night spree! Unfortunately, the cold weather set in and my brother developed a cold and wanted to go back to the room. I was somewhat disappointed, I won't lie. We walked out of the park and to the boat docks. It was at the boat docks that my dad surprised me.
He turned to look at me and handed me my park hopper. Go ahead, he said. I stared at him with a blank face. "Do you want to go to Magic Kingdom or not?" he said. I gave him a huuuuuuge hug and grabbed my park hopper. "I expect you back by 3 a.m." Holy cow! This was it! What I had wanted to do for my entire life. A day (in this case night) of Magic Kingdom by myself! I ran back into the park and was greeted by a very nice CM wondering what my rush was. I told him my story and he congratulated me in my luck and wished for me to have a magical evening. SQUEE!!! Such magic. I ran to Spaceship Earth towards the entrance.
I immediately ran to the monorail station and as I boarded it, I spoke in unison, "Please stand clear of the doors, por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas."
The realization then struck me that I had utilized all of Disney's transportation options in one day! The bus to Magic Kingdom, ferry to Epcot, and Monorail back to Magic Kingdom. How cool! This day was just getting better! I arrived at the TTC and made my switch to the Magic Kingdom monorail. I finally arrived at the Magic Kingdom and made my way into the park. As I entered, Spectromagic was going on. I decided to stay and watch some of it considering my long night ahead of me.
OH ****!! I forgot my room key! Darnit, now I wouldn't be able to experience Extra Magic Hours. I walked out of the park with a sad face of my blunder. A CM came by me and asked me why the long face. This definately brightened me up considering that this CM cared about my feelings. I told him my situation and his face brightened up. "Well, tonight's your lucky night." He reached into his pocket and pulled out an Extra Magic Hours wristband and put it around my wrist. My face lit up!! I couldn't believe how hospitable he was! I couldn't express my gratitude enough for him. "Just don't forget it next time," he said. I assured him I wouldn't.
I then ran down Main St. Spectromagic was almost at an end. I told myself that I was going to ride Haunted Mansion. Unfortunately, Spectromagic was winding its way back through Liberty Square so I was blocked from Haunted Mansion for the time being. However, a tip lit up in my head. Splash Mountain! I've heard Splash Mountain at night was amazing! So, I went there. I rode Splash Mountain twice in a row. Btw, when I rode it, I did notice the sneezing gopher that said FSU. I can defintely confirm this. It sounded too alike to be just a coincidence. By the time I finished riding Splash Mountain twice in a row, Spectromagic was over. So, I made my way to The Haunted Mansion. It was great to ride it at night. I don't know the difference, but it was still great.
After Haunted Mansion, I skipped my way to Space Mountain. Yes, more skipping. I got in line for Space Mountain which was practically a walk-on. I rode on Track A (the one on the left side when the line splits.) It was great to ride it. I then decided to get in line and ride it again. This time, I went on to Track B. Unfortuntely, just before I went onto it, the lights inside came on. How cool!! I finally got to see Space Mountain with the lights on! The ride, unfortunately, was broken down. So, we all kinda waited...andwaited...and waited...and waited some more. I made friends with the people in line and gave them some vacation tips. Finally, the lights went back down and I rode.
Unfortunately, the break-down took a HUGE chunk of time out of my night so I only had an hour left in the Magic Kingdom. Instead of riding rides, I decided to take a stroll down the brightly lit up Main St. USA. It was beautiful to do. Unfortunately, the construction walls blocked me from taking a picture at Lou's Spot so...sigh.. Well, I decided to take a picture on the Liberty Square bridge. I took the best picture to end my night. After I took the picture, I decided to head back to the room.
That is the image that will stay in my mind forever. Just me, skipping down Main Street USA to the end of a magical day.