The Best Solo Trip I've Ever Had!
Disney Trip Report
Saturday, August 30, 2008 - Arrival
Today I arrived at Walt Disney World, checking into the Pop Century Resort. The moment I walked into the Classic Hall (front desk area, shop and restaurant), I was overwelmed by the amount of people milling about. I headed straight for the check-in area, and was greeted warmly by a Castmember from another country I can't remember right now. Thanks to my travel agents request, I got a room in the '80's building on the third floor overlooking the pool. The theming at Pop Century is awesome, see the pictures. It has been raining off and on all day, sometimes pretty heavy. After checking out the resort a little, I took a shower and decided to head towards Downtown Disney to eat dinner at Planet Hollywood because I had a fifteen dollar coupon to use. It was packed and very loud. I had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, I bounced between the gift shop and the bar, where I had a Bud Light Lime. I was then seated right in front of the stage area where I assume famous people have probably addressed the crowd at some point. I order the LA Lasagna and a Sprite to drink. The LA Lasagna was good, it was like a stuffed lasagna nood deep fried and covered in marinara sauce. Even with my coupon, I stilled ended up dropping about 10 bucks including tip on the meal. I don't think I was pay full price to eat there. After dinner I checked out a little bit of Downtown Disney West Side, hitting the Virgin Megastore and a few other shops, not seeing anything of real interest. I decided to head back to Pop Century to get some rest, I plan on taking advantage of the Magic Kingdom's Evening Extra Magic Hours that last until 3 am tomorrow (and I guess the next day technically speaking).
Sunday, August 31, 2008 – Animal Kingdom
I arrived at the Animal Kingdom at about 8 am, and the park opened at 9, so I was at the front of the line. There was a little ceremony starring Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, and Mickey to open the park, it was cool! Goofy, Minnie, and Pluto were on a truck, and Mickey was at the Tree of Life. After the rope drop I headed directly to Kilamanjaro Safari and walked right on. I saw pretty much all of the animals, and got good pictures too. The highlight was the lion and a giraffe that was blocking the road. After the safari I explored the Pangani Exploration Trail, and saw some gorillas. As I was exiting, I was awarded a Dream Fast Pass! It was good for six different attractions, but I only used it on Dinosaur, it will make a great keepsake. After the Dream Pass, I headed to Expedition Everest. I pretty much walked on in the single rider line. It was a blast. I was getting pretty hungry by then, so I ate at the Yak and Yeti quickservice spot, and it was awesome! I had the Shrimp Lo Mein, Chicken Fried Rice, and a Diet Coke. I also got a big cookie which I saved for later. I didn't really know that Lo Mein came with noodles, or I would not have ordered the rice, but the rice was the best part! Thank goodness for the Dining Plan, because this meal would have put me back over 20 bucks. Since it was a little early for lunch, I had a nice quiet spot around behind the restaurant by a fountain to eat at. This was probably the most peaceful, relaxing meal I had on this trip. After lunch I was heading to DinoLand and saw that I could walk in Finding Nemo: The Musical, and it was good, I had great seats, kind of to the left of the stage. On to DinoLand. I snagged a Fast Pass for Primeval Whirl, and did a little shopping, finding a cool Goofy Hot Wheels car for Isaac. I then rode Primeval Whirl, it was fun, but not too thrilling. Next I used my Dream Fast Pass to ride Dinosaur, it was a very bumpy ride in the dark, with lots of loud noises and surprises. By this time it was almost time to head back to the resort, so I rode Everest once more and filmed it. As I exited the park, I browsed quite a few shops, and saw a lot of cool stuff, but I'll wait until I've seen it all to make a purchase. So I head back to Pop Century, and its now about 3:15 pm. Next stop, Magic Kingdom.
Part 2 – Magic Kingdom
I headed to Magic Kingdom around 4 pm. I parked at the Ticket and Transportation Center in the Pluto lot, row 14. I then took the tram, and then took the Ferry to the park. The Ferry ride was very pleasant, but the day was still pretty hot. On the ferry I could see the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian resorts. I arrived at the Magic Kingdom a little early for my 5:00 reservation at Tony's Town Square Restaurant, and was seated within 5 minutes. My waiter gave me probably the best service I've ever had. The meal started with bread and olive oil, which was very tasty. For my meal I had the Chicken Parmagiana. It only took about 2 minutes after I ordered for it to arrive. The meal was excellent, and I followed it up with a chocolate cheesecake that was great. I checked in a the restaurant at about 4:50, and was out of there by 5:10, fastest sit down meal ever! After Tony's I headed for Tomorrowland and snagged a FastPass for Space Mountain for 7:50. I took a spin on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, a conveyer type ride that goes all around Tomorrowland, going thru Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. It is a slow ride, but very cool. I would ride the TTA many more times after this, as it is a great way to take a break. After this I saw the Carosel of Progress, a Walt Disney original from the Worlds Fair. It had 5 stages of the same Audio-Anamatronic family in different time periods showing the advances in technology. It's a little dated, but cool none the less, the seats move in a circle to each stage. I then took some pictures and browsed a few shops, then headed for Space Mountain. It was about a 10 minute wait with my FastPass, and it was worth it, a very fast ride in the dark. It was getting to be about 8:15, so I headed for Main Street to grab a spot for The Spectromagic Parade. Already at this time the street was packed. I decided to get an ice cream cookie and Diet Coke to snack on from the Main Street Bakery, it was gigantic and very good (and very messy in the heat). I settled down in from of the Candy Store to watch the parade, it was very fun and bright, with floats covered in lights featuring Disney Characters. After the parade I headed for the castle to watch the Wishes fireworks display. I sat off to the right in front of the castle by the Walt and Mickey Partners statue. The show was fantastic, with more fireworks than the Forth of July, and Tinkerbell flew from the top of the Castle. As soon as the show was over, I immediately took off for Adventureland, and walked right on the Jungle Cruise, which was very cool at night (about 10:00). Our driver had some really great jokes. Next was Pirates of the Carribean, with was a lot bigger and longer than I remembered, and featured Captain Jack 3 different times. There was one point where I even thought I was outside, the ceiling of the attraction looked like the night sky. By this time it was getting close to midnight, so I found a station to get a bracelet for Extra Magic Hours. I did a lot of roaming during this time, the second Spectromagic was going on and cutting off a few routes, mainly the one I wanted to take to Big Thunder Moutain. I then walked back to Tomorrowland thru Mickey's Toon Town Fair to check the wait time for Space Moutain, but it was lined out the door, so I hit the TTA again. The second ride was more about resting my feet. After this I headed back toward Frontierland, going thru Fantasyland, so I hit It's A Small World because there was no line. Man, what a crazy ride. It's cool because it's a Walt original, but it gets annoying after a while. Finally, I made my way to Big Thunder Mountain and waited about 20 minutes to ride, and it was very exciting in the dark By this time it was about 1:30 am, and I felt a little punchy, so I decided to call it a night and head for the Ferry. The ride back to the TTC was pleasant, the night was still muggy, but the breeze cooled things down a lot. Back to Pluto 14, and a mostly empty lot. I made my way back to Pop, but took a wrong turn, so I detoured a little, but made it back about 2:00 am. Right to bed, not to wake until about 9:30 in the morning.
Monday, September 1, 2008 – Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon was somewhat of a letdown. It was good, but I am just on a waterpark guy I guess. The wavepool was huge, and went out to almost 7 feet deep. You have to cross a sand beach to get to it, which gets all over your feet. Instead of continuous waves, the pool just puts out one monster wave every few minutes. The first wave knocked me down and into a very large man. After a retreat to remove my shoes and glasses, I did a few more waves, and then went in search of the Crusher N Gusher. This was the slide that shoots you up hill, and it was fun, but not better than any other waterslide I've every been on. After this I had seen enough, so I got my gear out of my locker and turned in my key to get a Typhoon Lagoon travel coffee mug with a bag of coffee inside instead of my 5 dollar deposit. The best part of Typhoon Lagoon was the coffee mug. There were quite a few men wearing speedos that just shouldn't have been wearing speedos, it was a shame. Typhoon Lagoon as a whole is kind of confusing, while it is well themed, it is hard to find where anything is. It also needs more food options. Back to Pop.
Part 2 – Pop Lunch
I headed down to Everything Pop Restaurant for a bite to eat after hitting the showers, and had a bacon double cheeseburger, fries, a brownie, and a Diet Coke. The brownie ****ed, but the burger and fries were good, but no veggie fixin's. This was probably the best burger I had all week, it was definitely different than the burgers in the parks. I browsed the gift shop after lunch and got Colin a Pirate Mickey plate. I'm on the lookout for a nice big coffee mug and stainless steel travel mug, Pop has a big mug I've got my eye on, but I want to check the Studios and Epcot before making a purchase. So far I've been pretty light on souvineers, just finding a few things for Colin and Isaac. Next Stop Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Part 3 – Disney's Hollywood Studios
Since I was pretty much tired of driving everywhere, and thought that maybe I would have a drink at the Studios, I decided to take the Disney bus to the Hollywood Studios (I never got that drink). I waited about 15 minutes for the bus at Classic Hall, then sat all the way in the back with a foreign family. After arriving at the Studios, I went directly to Rock n' Roller Coaster, and discovered it was down because of technical difficulties. After this I walked into the Beauty and the Beast stage show, and it was pretty good, just a 20 minute version of the movie. After B&B, I went to the Animation Courtyard and entered the Magic of Disney Animation. The first part was a show featuring an artist interacting with MuShue from Mulan. It was a good show, with a really well decorated stage, kind of like an artists home office. After the show, I got my picture taken with Sorceror Mickey, what a treat. Next I entered the Animation Academy, probably the coolest experience thus far in the trip. (Other than the TTA, this would be one of my favorite attractions). The same artist from the show showed us how to draw Goofy, and my drawing turned out great! I hope to hang it in Colin's room. After this I kind of roamed the Streets of America, and then headed for dinner at the ABC Commisary. I had a Cuban Sandwich, Plantain Chips, Sprite, and a Strawberry Parfait. Pretty good, I used a table service credit for this meal, and in return got a coupon good for two snacks, a pretty good trade off. After dinner I took in Sounds Dangerous starring Drew Carey. 90 percent of this show is in total darkness while you listen to sound effects via headphones. It was funny. By this time it was time to get a seat for Fantasmic, and I had no idea what I was in for. After waiting almost an hour, the show started, and it was AWESOME. It stared Mickey and most of the Disney Villians, and used water, fire, film, actors, fire, and fireworks. I won't really describe it, you just have to witness it. It totally blows any show I have ever seen up to this point out of the water. The show ended, and I checked in at Rock n' Roller again, and it was still closed. After this I just kind of roamed for a while, and got an Extra Magic Hours bracelet, but didn't use it, and caught the bus back to Pop. I wasted a lot of time this evening because I had not touring plan. I was the last person to load the bus, karma I guess.
Part 4 – Pop Petals Bar
I arrived back at Pop Century, and found the Petals Bar at the Hippy Dippy pool, where the Tennessee football game was on, so I pulled up to the bar and ordered a Hula Hoop. It had Malibu Rum, Pineapple Juice, Bannana Liquer, some other Liquer, Grenadine, and something else. Not bad, but not worth what I paid for it (11 bucks with tip!). I hung at the bar for a while, half watching the game and half observing other bar patrons. After this I headed back to the room and the Vols are losing 17-14. Epcot Tomorrow.