Whew! What a week!
After a week-long hiatus, Short and Hat are back in the saddle!
A week ago yesterday, we got into Orlando (finally) after driving all stinkin’ day (and into part of the morning). We locked ourselves out of our car, and one bent wire hanger and 20 minutes later, we were back on the road. We pulled into Orlando around two in the morning and crashed until 5:30 am or so when we peeled our little road-weary selves out of the bed and headed down the road to Orlando International Airport where I (Carrie) dropped Seth off; he flew out to Washington DC for a film shoot. Later that afternoon, I picked The Tonettes up from Orlando International, and we proceeded to spank Disney World.
First on the docket was Downtown Disney. The good news: it’s free (kind of). Parking and admittance is completely free of charge, but finding parking can be somewhat of a headache. Everything else costs money–kind of a lot of money. We ate at Paradiso 37, a fusion of North, South, and Central American food and were not super impressed.
Downtown Disney, like anything Disney, is a feast for the eyes. Cute, themed shops line both sides of the streets, filled to the brim with the typical Disney souvenirs no one ever needs. Jazz/latin musicians are practically on every street corner. The few attractions cost money, so we didn’t find them that important to experience. However, we did discover that you can buy Disney theme park tickets at Disney Quest in Downtown Disney. Do you get cheaper tickets? No, but you can bypass the long ticket lines at the park in the morning and get right in! We also purchased a parks hopper pass ($54) which was on top of the price of admission into just one park ($87). The guy at the ticket counter thought we were crazy for trying to do all four parks in just one day. We were determined, tickets burning a hole in our pockets.
We stayed at the Radisson at Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, and it was fabulous. (We highly recommend!)
The next morning, we got to Disney World at 7:35 am before they opened. We did have to pay for parking which was $14 for the Subi, but it counted for all day at any of the parks.
Along with a huge crowd, we busted into Park #1: Magic Kingdom at 8:00 am and headed straight for Cinderella’s Castle (of course). Someone pointed out to us that we’re probably some of the only people out there with pictures of themselves standing in front of Cinderella’s Castle without anyone else in the background.
The whole first part of the day truly was magical. We got to see the sun’s first rays shine on the very spendid Cinderella’s Castle. We pretty much walked on to some of the major rides: Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain (lots of mountains), Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion. These rides were pretty much what I remembered: classic Disney rides. By the time 11:00 came around, we were pretty much done with Magic Kingdom having ridden all the rides we had set out to do. Could you spend an entire day, nay, an entire week at Magic Kingdom? Easy.
But we had an agenda.
An agenda to ride rides.
To ride all the rides we wanted to do in all four Disney World parks. In one day.
And we pretty much conquered.
Next, we shot over to Park #1: Animal Kingdom.
We had our sights on Expedition Everest, a relatively new ride that takes you up a freakin’ huge mountain (see picture above), through through twists and turns, and shoots you backwards until you meet a very lifelike yeti. At least, that’s what I was expecting after watching a Disney World documentary on Netflix. Apparently, the yeti (who guard the great mountain) were some breakthrough technology in animatronics that were supposed to look incredibly real, and at one point in the ride, they were supposed to scare the daylights out of you when you rounded a corner and it cowered over you all hairy and toothy, angry that you would trespass on its mountain. I guess that either the ride had two possibly outcomes or else the yeti was laid up sick or something because all we saw was a shadow projected on a wall. I was so disappointed that I didn’t get my yeti experience!
However, the ride was still fantastic.
After a quick bite to eat at Animal Kingdom, we hit the road again for Park #3: Hollywood Studios.
The two rides here we had our eyes on were Rockin’ Rollercoaster and my personal favorite, The Tower of Terror. Folks, we waiting in line, hot, sweaty, some of us cranky (we won’t mention who ; ), feet hurting for TWO HOURS to get on to Rockin’ Rollercoaster. I had a headache, so I wasn’t too thrilled with going from 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds with my head bouncing like a pinball between the restraints. Was it a great indoor ride? It wasn’t my bag, but some of the other girls liked it–it’s kind of a violent ride, and I think I would have appreciated it a lot more if I hadn’t had had a headache.
Then, it was time.
Time to ride the last ride of the day, my very favorite ride in all the world. Ever.
The Tower of Terror.
It was fabulous. Here’s the thing about amusement park rides. Sure, we want thrills and loop-d-loops, and speed, etc…but we also want a good story. And I gotta hand it to Disney, they do a darn good job at setting the scene. From the minute you even approach the tower, you are in the story: the crumbling, old exterior, the dirty windows, the peeling paint. Then, when you walk inside, you’re floored by the attention to detail. It really looks and, more importantly, feels like you’re in an old, broken down hotel in the 1930s–right down to the cobwebs on all the light fixtures, the threadbare rug, and the thin blanket of dust covering everything.
The drop at the end, for me at least, is only the tasty cherry on top. For me, it’s the setup, the story, the lengths they go to to get you into the story even before the ride officially starts that makes this ride my absolute favorite ride at Disney World.
Last, we headed to Park #4: Epcot to catch the fireworks which weren’t as good as I remembered them to be. That could be because we left a good five minutes before the finale because we wanted to avoid the mad crowds trying to get out of the park.
I wish I could have spent more time looking at Epcot’s gorgeous flower show they had going on. From what I could tell, it was spectacular.
And so it was that we conquered Disney. All four parks. In one day. Later that evening, we arrived at our hotel, feet blistered, headachey, sore, and hungry, but at least we can say that we had a blast doing everything we had set out to do.