Saturday, June 21, 2008

Walt Disney World Day 01….And it begins

Well, the beginning of our vacation didn’t begin the way that we would’ve preferred.  Enchanted Rose didn’t get off work until 3:00AM and we had to leave for the airport at 5:30AM.  So, she pretty much had to finish packing when she got home and leave.  I was up most of the night, as well, because I was trying to get work done to keep my clients warm and cozy with work product while I was gone.  Then I needed to get my stuff ready to go.  I’m not the best person when it comes to packing or getting organized.

The trip to the airport was without incident and we were excited to see that there was still come covered parking in the parking garage.

We are flying out Southwest Airlines this time.  I’m an old pro with them for business travel, but this is the first time we are using them for pleasure travel (aka checked luggage)

Enchanted Rose tried her best to capture some Z’s on the plane, but we had stops in Houston and New Orleans before Orlando.  So that meant she had about an hour between take offs and landings.  Not much time to spend in REM.

Upon landing and wandering our way to baggage claim (you know you are almost at Disney when you hear the familiar voice on the tram to baggage claim) where our driver from Quicksilver was awaiting for us.

I think our bags were the last to come off the plane, but they all did arrive and we were off.

We took full advantage of the 30 minute grocery stop.  This time we were doing a dual family trip with Tim Devine and his family.  So, we decided to eat in the room as much as possible.  That meant lots of food.  After 30 minutes and $208 later we were back in the car heading to Old Key West.

This first day we didn’t have a room.  We decided to tack on an extra day since Enchanted Rose’s mother and her husband were here at the same time.  They graciously offered up there couch for us to crash on this evening.

I probably should’ve mentioned that it was pouring outside now.  So, when we pulled up to her mom’s room (Turtle Pond, Building 35 at Old Key West) we had to unload everything and get it into the room in the rain.

My first impression of her mom’s 1 bedroom at Old Key West was pretty good considering it was built in the early 90’s.  The room was very spacious.

WDW Vacation - Day 01

After getting settled, we decided we were going to go to Downtown Disney to try and find a shirt and tie for Victoria and Alberts.  Yeah, I forgot to bring my shirt and tie.

We decided we were going to boat it over, but the distance from our room to the Guest Services Building (where the boat dock is) was a bit too much to handle in the rain.  So, we decided to hop on the first bus that came along and get off at the Guest Services Building. 

Disney's Hollywood Studio That bus happened to be one going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  By the time

Toy Story Mania

the bus got to the Guest Services Building, we had decided to just stay on and go to Hollywood Studios.  We were excited to see what was going on for Star Wars Weekend, but more importantly hopefully take a turn on the new Toy Story Mania attraction.

We decided to head straight to Pixar Place to see what the wait was to get on Toy Story.  It turned out to be 120 minutes. 

Toy Story Mania Wait Time

Much more than we were willing to wait.  But as luck would have it, a magical moment occurred and we got into the Fast Pass line and were able to experience the attraction.

I must say that this ride is GRUMPTASTIC!  I can tell you one thing, you will get Inside Toy Story Mania an arm workout on this thing.  I kept having to switch shooting arms because my forearms were on fire.  There is definitely a technique for scoring big, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

To top it off, a nice cast member saw the Birthday Button Enchanted Rose was wearing and let us go through a second time.

I have my new High Definition camcorder and wanted to see if I could get any good video of the ride but a cast member squashed it…LOL.  The cast member was only pulling my leg, but the captured video wasn’t worth viewing anyway.

Enchanted Rose Enjoying her Burger After getting off of Toy Story Mania, we decided it was time for some food.  Enchanted Rose wanted to take her mom and her husband to the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.  I told her that our luck getting in would probably be slim since we didn’t have an ADR, but we were going to try anyway.  Sure enough, the soonest they could seat us was 9:50PM (it was 5:00PM at this time).  We had them check the situation at Mama Melrose and it was not any better.  So, I suggested we go to our usual fallback quick service at The Studios.  I’m not sure of the name, but it’s the one on the way to Tower of Terror.

The food was so-so (which is to be expected from Quick Service).  I don’t think Enchanted Rose’s mom and her husband were too impressed.

Hollywood Tower HotelAfter scarfing down some of Disney’s finest counter service cuisine, we fast passed our way onto Tower of Mutal Behind Picture Counter Terror.  Enchanted Rose’s mom and husband are seasoned veterans of Disneyland and are quite familiar with the West Coast version of this attraction.  We told them that the Florida version is totally different.  I don’t think they knew how different until they saw that the “elevator” car moves on a track outside the original elevator shaft.  That doesn’t happen on the Disneyland version.

As usual, Tower of Terror was entertaining.  I love to ride without holding onto anything.  The sensation of having your butt hover over the seat as the car plummets to the ground is kind of fun.Jedi Training Academy

Crowds at Star Tours After many random and fabulous drops, we decided to head toward the Star Wars  region of the park to see what was happening on the Star Wars Weekend front.  It was much more crowded around the Star Tours attraction than anywhere else in the park (and that was taking into account the crowd for Toy Story Mania).  But, the wait time for Star Tours was 5 minutes so we decided to hop on even though it isn’t one of my favorite attractions (sorry George, I just get a wicked case of whiplash on that thing).

Naturally, after getting off at the Moon of Endor, we needed to peruse the wares at Tatoonie Traders.  The place was jam packed.  It was especially busy at the build-your-own-lightsaber section of the store.

Enchanted Rose fooling around at Star Wars WeekendsWe noticed they were still selling the “Judge me by my size” shirts and were looking for a youth X-Small for my nephew, Collin.  Enchanted Rose needed to ask a cast member to look in the back for her which was a good idea because they did have one back there.

After completing our transactions and getting some mandatory shots on the speeder bike outside the Ewok Village, we decided to track down Wicket’s Warehouse.Anyone home?

A cast member told us it was between The Great Movie Ride and Toy Story Mania, but by the time we got to The Great Movie Ride we found that it was indeed where the cast member told us, but there was a giant wall between Toy Story Mania and Wicket’s Warehouse. 

Great Movie RideOn our way to doubleback and find Wicket’s Warehouse we decided to take a tour through the movies.  This is another attraction that doesn’t rate high on my list, but it’s a nice diversion when “The Studios” are crowded, hot and everything else has lengthy lines.  Nothing like a slow ride with great air conditioning to help you recharge your batteries.

After the Great Movie Ride, we continued onto Wicket’s Warehouse which Enchated Rose Hamming it up on the Streets of America involved a detour through the Streets of America.

Wicket’s Warehouse was pretty awesome.  There were many things that I’d love to purchase, but I’d put a serious hurting on my AMEX if I did.  Enchanted Rose ended up buying a “You are kind of short to be a Stormtrooper” t-shirt and I picked up a limited edition Star Wars Weekend pin.

At this point we were pretty hungry again.  I suggested Beaches & Cream.

Enchanted Rose on the Water Taxi to the Beach Club Resort We boated it over to The Beach Club from “The Studios”

It was about a 30 minute wait to get a seat at Beaches & Cream.  Enchanted Rose and I waited outside while her mom and husband went into the arcade and played several rounds of pinball.

Once inside Beaches and Cream, we ordered some burgers and ultimately some fabulous ice cream.  My wife and I shared the Brownie Sundae.Beaches & Cream

After getting fully stuffed and watching 5 or 6 tables get “Kitchen Sinks” [edit note:  “A WHOLE CAN!!!!!!”], we decided it was time for bed.  We  hopped on the bus to Downtown Disney from The Beach Club and then switched to the Old Key West bus from there.

After about an hour or two of bus riding, we got back to Old Key West and went to bed.  We were crashing on her mom’s couch since we couldn’t check into our room until the next day. 

To see the entire collection of pictures taken on Day 01, click the link below:

WDW 2008 - Day 01


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Anonymous said...

Allright Ray!
I've been looking forward to your trip reports since last summer!

Greg said...

Glad to see you back Ray. I am looking forward to reading more about the recent trip.

Alex Cenac said...

Thanks for the details! Reading trip reports is a good fix.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

keep them coming, my man! there are a lot of people out there who love to read your reports. i know its a lot of work and a labor of love but hang in there! you public needs you.

Anonymous said...

Hi... just happen to cross your site...

Im planning to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong Disney this Christmas. Hoho and I found some stuffs from Hong Kong Disneyland here as well:

I will definitely take tones of photos there!!!