Back from the three-day surprise trip!
(See http://www.disneyworldtrivia.com/for...next-week.html for how this came to be...)
Friday around noon-ish, my friend and I arrived at MCO within minutes of each other, her arriving from Norfolk, me from Hartford. Down to Magical Express, we checked in, with just momentary confusion because we didn't have a packet (we booked a week ago, so they didn't arrive in time), and because we each had different flights and airlines there and back. No more than a 5-10 minute wait in line for the All Stars, and we were on our way. For the fourth consecutive time, the welcome video was not shown. Ah well.
We arrived at All Star Sports and went to the check-in desk. As the CM was checking us in, he started looking confused, and then said "Uhm, can you excuse me for just a minute?" and went into the back office. That's probably not a good sign.... after about 10 minutes, he and a manager came back. The manager told us that they'd like to move us over to All Star Movies instead, because of all the groups and competitions staying at Sports that weekend. To compensate us, they deducted $50 from the bill, which was pretty nice. We were still able to completely check in at the Sports desk, so when a CM drove us in a van from Sports to Movies, we were able to go straight to our room in the Fantasia (original) building.
Down to the foodcourt since neither of us had eaten since leaving our respective hometowns. We both had the surprisingly good Turkey & Muenster on Foccacia sandwich. And from there, on to Hollywood Studios. By the time we arrived, it was about 1:30 or 2pm. Our first stop was for FPs for RnRC, with return times of 6:15, I think. We went to stake out a spot for the new Block Party Bash parade at Star Tours, watching the Jedi Training Academy in the process. Unfortunately, the new parade starts at the park entrance and *ends* at Star Tours. Once we overheard a CM saying this, we left and found a good viewing spot between the ABC Commissary and the Hat.
I like the new parade a lot, actually. It's definitely not a traditional parade, and maybe shouldn't even be called a parade. I think the best part of it is that it will be different every time you watch. The Monsters Inc section stopped in front of us, and we watched Mike, Sully, Boo, George, and many others, along with insanely energetic CMs. Not everyone was jumping up and down and participating like they would have liked, but I'm hoping it catches on once people come to see this isn't a normal parade.
After the parade, we watched Indiana Jones, got a FP for Star Tours, and then did Muppets, taking the time explore the whole preshow area. My friend wanted a picture with the Green Ranger, so we did that and then went back for our Star Tours FastPasses. Then over to the backlot tour, where we were volunteered to be in the water effects show portion. That was fun, but I think once is enough. :)
Crossing the park over to RnRC to use our FastPases, we skipped what was by then a 70 minute line. Whoo. Then we crossed the park again to eat at the Backlot express (grilled turkey and cheese panini, made super-fresh because I ordered it without peppers. YUM). Finally, over to Guest Services to upgrade my friend's ticket to a Premium Annual Pass. Yes, friends, she's become a convert.
We decided to call it a day and get started on the night instead. :-) Back to the hotel to change and then on to Pleasure Island. We went to 8 Trax first, and found almost no one there. Over to Mannequins, and unfortunately more of the same. We stayed there for maybe half an hour before leaving. We realized it was early yet and they'd probably fill up later on, so we went into the Adventurer's Club. My friend's first time here, and she's completely sold on it. We saw Hathaway Brown in the Mask Room, Fletcher Hodges in the Treasure Room, Samantha Sterling in the library, and we stayed for the Hoopla (HOOPLA!!!). Then over to Motion, where we ended the night. I should point out that we were, er, partaking in quite a number of adult beverages throughout the night (including the refillable pails across the street from the Beach Club), so I don't have the most crystal clear of all memories of the clubs. But I know we both had a great time. Motion at 12:30 was significantly more packed than 8Trax and Mannequins had been at 9 or 10, which made it a much more fun dancing experience. We stayed there at Motion until it closed at 2am, then headed back to the bus stops (where a bus was waiting at each stop, very conveniently), and back to the hotel.
A wonderful start to our trip. I'll post about Days 2 & 3 a little later on. I should be, like, working or something. :-P