Archive for January 2013

WDW – Day Five

January 31, 2013

Today we were present for both the opening and closing of the Magic Kingdom. Crowds were relatively light, so we got to everything we wanted to do.

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K wearing her new Geek Mickey shirt.
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A and J watching the opening ceremony.

The Disney equivalent of the Running of the Bulls.


First up was Dumbo
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Then we hit the Speedway

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Teacups!


K even bravely took a turn.
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Winnie the Pooh had lots of hands-on toys in the line to keep kids entertained (which also has the side benefit of immune system testing, since they are touched by tens of thousands of kids a day).
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Flying with Peter Pan
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There is a neat new interactive meet and great with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. A even volunteered to have a part in the action.


J does his best Gaston
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On to the new Little Mermaid ride
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The ride stopped for several minutes while we were in front of this scene. At least it wasn’t “it’s a small world.”
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Lunch. Pork Shank. ‘Nuff said.
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A was brave enough to try The Haunted Mansion for the first time. Maybe we’ll get J on it tomorrow.
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A high-brow moment at the Hall of Presidents
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A less-than high brow moment at the Country Bear Jamboree
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Pirates!

A little sword fighting amongst siblings
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Jungle Cruise
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J gets in a little target practice on Tom Sawyer’s Island
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We got both kids on their first roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain
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How did they like it?


Nana concentrates while A aims (with one eye closed) on Buzz Lightyear
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I rode with the kids the next time around.
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I maxed out on my score, thank you very much.
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A trip on the PeopleMover
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A continued with her day of firsts, this time on Space Mountain
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She had some last minute jitters.
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But she made it though just fine


We ended the day with dinner, the castle projection show, and fireworks. Whew!
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Tomorrow, back to the Magic Kingdom for a birthday celebration.

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WDW – Day Four

January 29, 2013

Today was at Hollywood Studios. But to us, it might has well been called Star Wars Studios, since that was pretty much a major focus of our day.

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But first up was Toy Story Mania, the ride you need to get to early or risk long, long lines
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K always tried valiantly
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But I emerged victorious
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Hello there!
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We met this guy outside. I think my Halloween costume was better.
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On to Star Tours, where J narrowly avoided being stepped on.
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This was J’s expression during most of the attraction.
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Threepio!
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While K and Nana rode once and were done, J, A and I rode a total of 5 times over the course of the day. Yes, we like Star Wars.
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Photobombed by an AT-AT
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Next to Star Tours, they have a little show called Jedi Training where they let little kids battle Darth Vader. Our kids were a little hesitant to partake, but they loved to watch.


J was a little nervous about the outcome of this battle.
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Lunch was at Sci Fi Drive In, where you eat in tables shaped like cars, while watching 1950’s movie clips.20130129-212737.jpg
J was even watching the movies while we walked out.
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Raiders of the Lost Ark Stunt Show
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Oh look, a parade.
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But we stop and watch because of these faces.
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Then it was time for me and K to do a couple of thrill rides. First up was Rockin’ Rollercoaster, which is K’s favorite. This is the 0-60 mph launch:


Again, from the front row.
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Obligatory rocker poses.
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Then it was on to Tower of Terror, which is my favorite. I can only get K on it once a trip.
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She made it through without spewing.
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We ended the evening at Fantasmic, an outdoor show. It fills up about an hour ahead of time, so they have some pre-show entertainment to keep everybody occupied. Can you tell which one of the kids is more outgoing?


It’s really a great show.
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And this reaction to the end of the show is why we keep coming back to Disney:

Tomorrow, back to the Magic Kingdom for a full day.

WDW – Day Three

January 29, 2013

Day three was in my favorite park – Epcot. Being a geek, I’ve always enjoyed the technical aspects of the Futureworld part of the park, combined with the international flavor of World Showcase.

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First up is always Soarin’
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Then a trip on Living with the Land, a favorite of my Environmental Science major wife.
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Time for a snack
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First, an animated turtle …
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… then the real thing.
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We got the kids on Test Track for the first time. I think it will be the last time for A for a while.
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But J loved it, so K and I took him back on right away

We took some time to listen to the Voices of Liberty

We met a character or two
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J wanted nothing to do with Minnie when she wanted him to kiss her
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At the spot where you can test Coke products from around the world, I got A to try some “Beverly” which is a very bitter soda.

Nana offered to put the kids to bed while K and I had a date night. We had dinner at The Coral Seas, a restaurant that faces the huge aquariums at The Living Seas. We even got a table right next to the glass.
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Not many places where you can watch sharks during dinner
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And we finished the night watching fireworks.
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Tomorrow – Hollywood Studios!

WDW – Day Two

January 27, 2013

Day two started bright and early. But, if you remember what happened on our first night at Disney two years ago, it didn’t start THAT early. You may recall that our first night at Disney two years ago was interrupted at 2am by a call from the police asking us if we had a daughter named A, since she was found outside our room. She woke up in the middle of the night and tried to find us. Unfortunately this meant going out the front door of our rental condo. Luckily our neighbors were night owls, found her, and got the authorities involved.

Good times.

So, without that drama this time, we headed out to Animal Kingdom for rope drop.

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First order of business is always riding the safari
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Nana is not impressed by elephants
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Three primates
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A playing bird watching bingo
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K won the “First pooped on by bird” award
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K did get picked to help out with some other birds

J was finally tall enough to ride DINOSAUR
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He may have had his fingers in his ears the whole time, but it still counts
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We did see a couple of characters
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I did get K on Expedition Everest.


Once.
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A bought some ears. Coordinated with the rest of her outfit, of course.
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The parade was a hit
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So were all the shows
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J even liked the shows. With ears plugged, of course.
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Tigger was a big hit
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J makes friends in the boneyard playground
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Everest is even more impressive looking at night
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The Tree of Life isn’t bad either
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Day two down. Tomorrow – Epcot!

WDW – Day One

January 27, 2013

Ok, it’s really more like Day 1/2. We got to the parks at 4:30, and took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. I really didn’t have a plan (which K always appreciates), so we just took in the sights, rode rides with the shortest lines, all while enjoying the weather.

The temperature when we left.
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The temperature when we landed
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Rolling in
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Assume monorail positions!
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Gotta love this line.
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Meeting the Big Cheese
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it’s a small world
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This face is why we come here
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Carousel
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Parade watching
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Official fireworks watching positions
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Mesmerized by explosives
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Tomorrow, Animal Kingdom!

A Day of Contrasts

January 26, 2013

I’m typing this from the airport, waiting to get on a flight.

By myself.

K, Nana and the kids just took off on another flight.

Ok, let’s back up

A week ago Friday, I got one of those calls that you never expect. The father/husband of some very dear friends of my family went out for a morning walk and did’t come back. It appears his heart simply stopped as he was walking through their neighborhood. I’ve known this family for my entire life. And while 68 seemed to be really old when I was 10, I find it is much too young now.

When the family asked me, my brother and my father to single at the funeral, there was no answer other than “absolutely.” One wrinkle popped up, though. The service was scheduled for the time my family was supposed to be on an airplane for a week’s vacation. Knowing there was no way I was going to miss this service, I quickly rearranged my flight for a couple of hours later.

So, this morning, I dropped off K, Nana and the kids at the airport, sped back to church, sang in the service, sped back to the airport, and am now waiting for my flight to leave.

And what makes this whirlwind morning even more of a study in contrasts?

We’re headed to Disney World.

Very odd going from a remembrance of a dear friend’s life to an airplane full of cheerful kids headed to The Happiest Place On Earth.

Hopefully I’ll be able to provide updates on our adventure during the week.