Travel Journal: Entry #8

Magic Kingdom
The next day we took the shuttle first thing in the morning to The Magic Kingdom theme park, the main Disney one, with all the princesses and the big pastel castle. I have to say, this was one of our least favourite parks. It was really crowded and, well, the novelty of people dressed up like Snow White and Cinderella was lost on our children. Now if Buffy the Vampire slayer should have popped out of one of the alleys…

Still, fun was had.

The morning rush at Magic Kingdom

We started the day off in Frontier land with the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which was our favourite. Old style, rickety roller coaster built to look like a train? Yes please!. Then Splash Mountain, which was a meandering water ride (called a flume ride) with a few heart-stopping dips where I can’t remember now if we got wet or not….

Then Space Mountain (C is right beside me and she said it was awesome – I however, remember it being more than what it was), Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (where the sad fact that I cannot shoot laser guns very well was emphasized), Jungle Cruise (a lame safari boat ride with a tour guide/stand-up comedian with very bad jokes and no actual animals), and, to finish off our morning before we took a few hours rest in the hotel, The Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a live, interactive, animated show featuring the best comedic stylings of the monster world. It was a lot of fun.

We took my friend Ruth’s advice and decided to go back to the hotel for lunch, a dip in the pool and a rest before going back in the late afternoon.

Going back to the hotel via ferry- hot and hungry

Pause for a station break. Here we eat lunch, S uses her budget to purchase a lanier with pins that she can now trade with Disney people in the parks, and we all have a nice swim and a read. Around 5 pm, we head back to the park, and this is where we get a little discombobulated as we had already done everything we wanted to do, the girls were too old for many of the rides and services (see the Bibbidi bobbidi princess makeover boutique) and there were a lot of screaming toddlers and harried parents everywhere. I gotta admit, I was getting a headache. But still, we soldiered on. C wanted to go on the Mad Tea Party , which were just your average spinning tea cups. Then we went to the Tomorrowland Speedway, where the kids drove the cars. It was a long wait in the hot sun, made worse by the smell of burning rubber, gasoline and revving noises. Add to that the stress of having your kid not being able to drive, and well, I wouldn’t recommend this ride unless you have a nice, full flask of your hard liquor of choice handy (which we did not).

I tried to get the kids interested in the Astro Orbiter, but I had no takers, so we didn’t do that. (Why? I have no idea. They are crazy.) No. Instead, we decided to revisit the old classic, It’s a Small World. Now, I remember going on this as a kid, and although it was not the thrill-a-minute ride like Space mountain, I remember liking it, just so that I could look at all the different costumes of the cute, little animatronic dolls.

As an adult, however, this ride is somewhat different. I felt like I had just taken some bad mushrooms. Completely surreal with the same doll replicated a thousand times but dressed in the different caricatures of the world’s nations, in addition to the incessant chorus of shrill voices blasting out from everywhere, It’s a small world after all, over and over and over again, plus, as luck would have it, a young boy from France with the highest pitched voice you’d ever heard and the urgent need to shriek and point at everything, this ride was the one that most tested my sanity levels. When it finally stopped and we could get off the damn boat, I was ready to run away from Disney and never ever come back. Besides which, nothing has changed on that ride since I was last there in 1985. And I think it might have been old then. So. Adults, be warned. And, heck, even children. It is scarier than Pirates of the Caribbean, which I forgot to mention we rode in the morning. But unlike the one at Disneyland, where it is a flume ride, this was just a very boring ride into the world of the movie. Kinda meta-something if you think about it…

To conclude our visit to the Magic Kingdom, we tried to view Mickey’s Philaharmagic, a 3-D animation,  but it crapped out five minutes into it. Too bad, though ’cause it looked good. We also decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain again, before heading home for the night, because we enjoyed it so much (rollercoasters make me laugh hysterically). On our way out, we had trouble getting through due to the nightly Disney parade. Once again, the floats were all lit up and and everything looked amazing. But we were tired, and well, didn’t really care about the Disney characters so we found a way through. While we were on the ferry back to our hotel, we got to see the fireworks from a distance. It was perfect.

Hollywood Studios
The next day, same routine: we got up early and took the shuttle to the Hollywood studios theme park.

Morning rush at Hollywood studios

First stop? The Rockin’Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, where you get invited by the band with backstage passes for their concert across town. Only problem is, the show starts in 5 minutes and you have to take a fast car through L.A. traffic. Okay. Basically, it is an indoor roller coaster made to look like an albeit warped L.A. Highway. Brief but fun. So much fun, we decided to not wait until the end of the day when the line-ups were crazy and did it again. Right away. From there, across the road to the Tower of Terror, that had a lot of build up and amazing props, but the ride was a bit of a let down. It was basically a wonky elevator, that liked to drop you several stories at a time. My belly didn’t like it.  Besides, some of our fellow elevator riders were the type of people that make me worried for humanity.

On to our next must-see, especially for our resident Star Wars fan: Star Tours. Yeah. Can’t say much about it ’cause it was kind of lame. Silly flight simulator with out-dated technology leaving you with a slightly queasy feeling.

But they did have…I think they are called AT-AT walkers…
And here it is again. Amazing, how many Star wars pictures we have.
Silly droids on the silly ride.

Okay. Enough Star Wars. Moving right along. We then headed over to the Streets of America display, a grandiose movie set made to look like the streets of New York, San Francisco, etc.

Streets of America
More streets of America: these are all just fronts by the way. They are not real.

Here is where we caught the Muppet Vision 3-D film, which, alas was not as funny as one would have hoped. And I love the Muppets. I am feeling very critical today- but I do remember feeling disappointed and I gotta stay true to my heart, yo.

The girls in front of the Muppet fountain and stage hall.

Mainly, Hollywood Studios is a bunch of shows, so our schedule was pretty much determined by the different show times. However, we did have a few minutes here and there and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Adventure Park was just the place to go and play.

How it feels to be an ant.
C sliding down a roll of film.

Then to our favourite show of the day, The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, where they actually re-create a couple of the scenes from The Raiders of the Lost Ark. My favourite was when they did the airplane scene. Alas, it was sans the blood bath.

Now, how much does this thing weigh so I can put just the right amount of sand here and trick those silly pagans out of their idol?

Back by the Honey I shrunk the Kids Park, who should we come across but the one and only Sully from Monsters, Inc.?

The girls with their friend Sully.

And his friend, Mike Wazowski?

The girls with their big eyeball of a friend, Mike.

Disneyworld is weird. Just sayin’….After our photo op with the Monsters, we joined the crowd and found our seats in a large outdoor stage for the Lights, Motor, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
It was okay. Although I learned some tricks of the trade (the backward driving is usually just a car facing forwards but built like its the back -confusing, I know.), the stunts were very orchestrated and didn’t make much sense. Add to that the sweltering heat, the overwhelming smell of rubber and the loud revving noises, I was a little underwhelmed and so was the crew.

When car chases can’t even get you excited, you know it’s time for lunch. We found a place by the Indiana Jones’ place called the Backlot Express and had some expensive, but not bad food. We finally gave up on bringing our own lunch as they ended up being really gross and soggy. We got there right before a huge Brazilian tour group of teenagers (which seemed to be the majority of the Disneyworld crowd actually- it was weird – all the tour groups seemed to be under 18 and from South America) and were able to get our food quickly and find a good table.

More streets ofAmerica
Garbage can at lunch. It’s good to be reminded. Sometimes we forget….

We decided to not take a break during the middle of the day as there was not much more we wanted to see. We had tried to go see the Toy Story Mania, but after standing in line for a half an hour, an announcement was broadcast claiming the ride was having technical difficulties and it would be shut down until further notice. But we were welcome to stay in line if wanted…Yeah. Right.

The we headed to the Studio Backlot tour. After a wait of about half an hour, we were herded in with a group and 3 people from the audience were taken as volunteers. We then walked to a viewing platform looking onto a tank with a boat on it as well as a cross-section. The volunteers came out in rain gear and they proceeded to show us how many of the water scenes are made in movies. Think sinking of the Titanic in James Cameron’s film. The scene included the boat being attacked with an aerial bombing so there were many explosions. Very cool. Then we got to hop on one of those tourist trolleys around the backlot where we got to see many of the props used in various movies, as well as this scene below, which showed us how:

Oil tanker disaster+flood
One of the star wars props just lying there…

At the end of the tour, we exited it through a room that had many famous film costumes, including this one below. J was thrilled.

Thus concludes our Hollywood studios tour. I am now going to split this post up again, as it is taking me too long to finish.  Okay, it is getting ridiculous. It has been more than a month since we’ve been back, J and I have actullay been on another trip, we’ve had visitors, and the kids are even back in school for pete’s sake. But my linear brain refuses to budge and I will finish this willy nilly….

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One Response to Travel Journal: Entry #8

  1. Tom Weston says:

    I believe you need to get J to do a guest blog spot about the Star Wars stuff.

    You might need to transcribe whatever he dictates to you, but although I've been waiting for this post, I had no idea there was star wars content… but I know you aren't the fan that J is.

    Did C kick Sully or anything? Cause that is what I imagine, having received a couple of those powerful kicks back in the day.

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