Friday, October 21, 2016

Disney Day 5

Disney day 5 centered around plans to eat an early lunch with princesses.  We spent most of the day at Epcot, then moved over to Hollywood Studios, then made an epically bad decision to visit Disney Springs.

First up, everyone but Sedona wanted to say hi to Baymax, mostly just to see what the costume felt like.

We even got a fist bump from him on the way out.

Secora, the new roller coaster dare devil, wanted to ride Test Track and we had some time, so everyone got in line for that.  Sierra was pretty adamant that she didn't want to ride, but the cast member at the beginning of the line told us it'd work out best for her to just go through the line and then just not ride, so that's what we did, though she was scared we were gonna make her ride the whole time.  When you get in the car, there is the option of just taking a bridge over the track and waiting for your party to return, so she waited and the rest of us rode.  Secora LOVED it.  I kept telling Sedona she was okay and she shouted, "I am NOT okay!!" so much that the guy next to us couldn't stop laughing at her (she was still clearly okay, she just enjoys fast rides more if she can scream out her anxieties)

Lunch was actually the last breakfast seating at Akershus.  Secora was thrilled to see all the princesses and the big girls were secretly thrilled, but played it cool.

 "I'm on your shirt!  That was before I had my legs!"

We did the obligatory lap around the world show case.  Everyone got fans in China (which were REALLY useful for the rest of the trip...they carried them everywhere and used them often)
And we checked out the train in Germany

In Italy, we took a picture at the Neptune fountain
In Japan, we stopped to watch Taiko drummers
In Morocco, Sedona decided she wanted to get a henna tattoo like sister, but she wanted it to be a surprise.  Aladdin and Jasmine were doing a character greeting nearby, so I took the other girls over there while Sedona did her henna.  I didn't know it at the time, but this would be one of the first pictures of Jasmine in her new, more modest, outfit.  Apparently it's been quite controversial that they switched her over to this.  I'm guessing the change was because of creeper men that have been unable to keep their hands to themselves (a couple of those were actually in line in front of us).  Secora decided she was scared of Aladdin at the last minute, but Sierra went along as buffer.

By the time we were done, Sedona was proudly showing off her henna
World showcase is hot and sunny, so after we made it to the end, everyone was ready for a nice, air conditioned ride.  That meant another spin on Finding Nemo and some time checking out the aquarium inside.

For this trip, Hollywood Studios was our "not much to interest us" park.  The girls aren't really into Star Wars and don't have any desire to watch live shows, so there wasn't much to do there for us.  That meant afternoon of day 5 was a perfect time to go check out the few things they would want to do.  So we hopped a bus over to our second park of the day.  We decided to start out by heading to Backlot Express for a snack and on the way we noticed there was an Olaf greeting with no wait.  Who doesn't want to see Olaf?!  It was kinda neat, he's inside, set up with a beach scene and the scent of sunscreen is piped into the room.

"I'm gonna meet Olaf!!" 
 Sedona's in the "these giant characters are kinda scary" phase and opted to skip this picture too
 Warm hugs!! 
After we ate, we headed over to Toy Story Mania.  We stopped to watch the Green Army Men for a while 
After the ride, we had just enough time to kill that we were able to catch the Muppets show

Waiting to go into the show
This was a classic Disney show that they do so well.  3D, but also includes real life elements to make you feel like you're really in the middle of the show, not just seeing it.  

Next up, we had plans to see the Frozen Sing Along.  This particular day and this particular time, the guy playing the male historian of Arendelle was FABULOUS.  He made the whole show.  Josh and I were laughing the entire time and it was one of our favorite things of the trip.  He was amazing.  So much so, that we weren't sure if his jokes were scripted, or improv (spoiler: improv.  That explains why his fellow actors were having trouble keeping it together...several times they had to squelch their laughter.  The regular scripted show is nothing compared to this guy's performance).  We had no idea what to expect in this show, so we just went in with plans to sing loudly enough to embarrass our tween (we succeeded!).  At the end of the show, there's one last singing of Let It Go with Elsa up on stage and it "snows" (foam/bubbles) in the theater.  The girls were completely surprised and LOVED it.

 At that point, we were done with Hollywood Studios, so we were trying to decide how to use the rest of the night.  We made a very poor decision to head over to Disney Springs so we could shop for souvenirs at the main Disney store.  Disney Springs is way different from the Downtown Disney that existed five years ago.  It was packed with people, completely overwhelming to all of us, and the bus depot is set up in such a way that we had to walk a LONG way to get to our bus.  It was a total waste of time, not fun at all, and we would have been so much better off just going back to the hotel to swim.  I can't recommend taking kids to Disney Springs.

Now that we had hit all the parks, we talked about our favorite rides and hatched a plan to ride everyone's favorite rides on Day 6.  That meant 4 parks in one day, so we had to get to sleep and rest up!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Disney Day 4

On Day 4, we had late night plans and no morning reservations, so we let the kids sleep until they woke up on their own and we did one load of laundry while we ate breakfast and checked out the rest of our resort.  We were staying in the Nemo section and we'd already been the Cars section, but we wandered over to the Lion King section.
"Follow ol' Rafiki, he knows de way!"
Mufasa at Pride Rock
Sierra with her finger up Mufasa's nose, 'cause why not?
Hakuna Matata!
The elephant graveyard

Banzai ready to pounce on the elephant graveyard
Shenzi calling the shots
Watch out for Scar!
Zazu, trying to keep everyone in line
The Little Mermaid section is farthest away from the main buildings.  It has smaller rooms that are more like a standard hotel room and all of the doors open to the outside rather than interior hallways.  Still the same over the top Disney theming

Look! A dinglehopper!
 And a snarfblat!
 Ooh! Treasures!

 Why hello, Prince Eric
 King Triton (holding the triton is better than sticking a finger up his nose, right?)
 Under the sea with Sebastian 
 Dancing with the fishes.  Soon after this, we saw a 3-4 foot snake slithering across the sidewalk and into this area, so we decided to stay on the paths....

 Ursula the sea witch
 And at the very end of the resort, Ariel!
It was about time for our clothes to be dry, so we made our way back to our room to grab our supplies for the day and head out to the parks.

We were back at the Magic Kingdom, with plans to stay there until they closed.  First up was a fastpass for Peter Pan's Flight, but everyone stopped on the way to see if they could pull Excalibur from the stone.

Peter Pan's flight was interesting.....the slower rides like that frequently slow down because the cars are constantly moving and you get into and out of the car from a conveyor belt, but if someone takes too long getting out or is in a wheelchair and needs more time, they slow it down to make that happen.  Sometimes the ride stops completely for a very short period of time.  Well, Peter Pan (which runs on track above the cars, not on the floor, so you're hanging from the ceiling), full out stopped....for quite a long time.  It seemed to be an error, not a loading issue.  Sierra and Sedona were in their own car and Sierra was NOT happy that she was stuck somewhere without an obvious escape route.  Eventually the ride started moving again, but it wasn't exactly a fun time.

No worries, we moved on with our day.   Of course, because we were close by, yet another spin on the teacups was requested.  I wasn't eager to abuse my vestibular system, so Josh went with them this time.  He may have been slightly regretting his choices by the time he was done
Secora requested more rides on Barnstormer, so Josh took her on that while the big girls checked out the splash pad nearby

 Then we all went to the Big Top gift shop and got a cookie as big as our head (it's a snack on the dining plan and it looked better than it tasted)
We decided to ride Little Mermaid again, but to wait in the regular line so we could see what the decorations were in there

 There was this cool game where all throughout the line these projections were'd see crabs scurry by with different objects and you help sort them by pointing at the crabs.  The game would pop up in multiple places while you were waiting in line

 Scuttle explains the crab game
After the ride, we were all hungry, so we grabbed a late lunch at Pinocchio's Village Haus.  Sedona had plans to ride Seven Dwarfs' that afternoon, so she made Secora pinky promise that it was a fun ride. 

We had a little bit of time to kill before our Seven Dwarfs' fast pass, so Josh took the little girls on the carousel again
Seven Dwarfs' fast pass time rolled around and we had the only experience with a cast member that really annoyed me.  Sierra and Sedona were both old enough to ride without an adult, but both too scared to do so.  There are only 2 of us though and someone has to ride with Secora.  So we asked if we could do a rider swap (which is a pretty routine thing at Disney), so we could take the two little girls while Sierra waited, then one of us could take Sierra.  The way that works is they give you a fast pass to come back through the line (a 5-10 minute wait, versus the 2-ish hour wait in the standby line).  The lady running the line couldn't seem to comprehend this.  She kept saying Sierra could just ride by herself.  That wasn't gonna work, Sierra was near tears just because it was brought up.  It would've been easiest if Sierra and Sedona just rode together and Josh or I rode alone, but they were both too scared to do that.  We did rider swap on other rides that Sierra wanted to skip, but "she wants to ride with a parent" (instead of little sister) seemed to be beyond comprehension.   Anyway.......Sierra was stepping way outside of her comfort zone to ride it anyway, so she decided she just wouldn't ride at all.  Sedona still wanted to give it a try though and Secora was chomping at the bit for another turn.

She looks terrified, but she actually liked it

We finally decided to branch out to Adventureland and Frontierland.  First up was a few spins on the Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride
Then everyone went to ride Jungle Cruise while I waited for them (Sierra's scared of roller coasters, I'm scared of being crammed on a boat with a bunch of strangers...).  We also enjoyed our very first Dole Whip, we never got one last time we went!

Everyone took a short walk over to Splash Mountain to check out the drop and the big girls decided not to ride, but Secora said she wanted to.  It was a 50 minute wait, so we went to stand in line while Josh took the girls to look through the gift shop.  Sedona spied a soft blanket that looked like an owl when you rolled it up, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to get it.  Sierra was eyeing things like piggy poop soap
Meanwhile, Secora and I were standing in line and she looked like she wanted to cry.  I kept asking her if she really wanted to ride and she kept saying yes, but she looked miserable.  Finally, after 30 minutes in the (hot, sweaty, with a bonus ornery squirrel pelting us with acorns) line, she pulled on the hem of my shirt and whispered, "momma?  I changed my mind."  So we got out of line again (being one of the older rides, it's not exactly the easiest line to leave, by the way) and we reassured her it was okay to change her mind.

It was getting pretty close to our dinner reservation time, so we started wandering towards the front of the park.  All three girls decided to spend some of their souvenir money getting a custom painted umbrella with their name on it.  They all picked the basic (and cheap) design of just flowers and their name, but they all apparently thought they were only getting one picture of flowers.  They were pleasantly surprised when we picked up the umbrellas later and all the panels were painted.
On the way to dinner, we stopped to watch this little bunny rabbit, can you find him?
 He eventually hopped out into the open
We also took a quick picture because there was no crane in front of the castle (there was a crane most of the time we were there).  We all thought it was funny that Secora held her hands like that and looked surprised.  The Disney photographers will ask you to do that and then they photoshop a picture of tinkerbell in your hands.  She didn't quite get that Daddy's phone won't do the same thing
We snagged a photo pass photographer to do the real shot 
And a nice one too

Next up, we had a date with Winnie the Pooh and his friends at the Crystal Palace.  We had a great table at the edge of the room and happened to come in at a point in the character rotation where we got to sit down and eat most of our meal before the characters came by.  The girls got up to march in the friendship parade at one point
 And Eeyore was the first to come to our table

 The girls were saying, "Momma! Momma! You need to take a picture with Eeyore!" He held out his hands (paws? hooves?) but I said, "that's okay".  Eeyore, being Eeyore, let out a big sigh so that his shoulders drooped and hung his head and slowly started shuffling off.  So I called him back for a picture and he was happy again.  The girls loved it.
Tigger was next.  Of course, he was a favorite

Tigger saying bye to Secora
 And then.....we had the sprinkle event.  All of the girls got sundaes at the buffet.  Sedona was thrilled to have access to sprinkles.  I don't remember exactly how it started, but someone made Sedona laugh while she had a mouthful of ice cream and she couldn't stop laughing.  Then Josh suggested sprinkles might shoot out of her nose.  And that set off about 10 minutes of uncontrollable giggles.  Our waitress came by to drop off the receipt and none of us could get enough of a breath to talk to her.  She said we were definitely having a lot of fun.
 We did eventually calm down enough that we didn't scare Piglet away

 Pooh was going to take a long time to get to us and everyone decided they wanted to leave and go pick up the umbrellas.

The last order of business for the night was the watch the fireworks and the Electrical Parade (which they will be stopping soon!)

 We had positioned ourselves near the very front of the park, so we were at the beginning of the parade route and near the exit, which meant we were at the front of the crowd making their way to the bus stop.  It was a busy night with CRAZY crowds between the fireworks and the parade, but we made it through, found a spot where we had some breathing space and didn't have to wait long for the bus back to the hotel.  It was a "carry the sleeping children off the bus" sort of night.


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