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Monday, June 20, 2016

sweating it out at the world

going to disney world is a lot different than our weekly-ish treks down to anaheim for a few hours of magic.  the property is so vast and the parks so spread out, and a trip here requires quite a bit more planning ahead than we're used to.  fastpasses can be booked online 60 days in advance, which is really weird to us.  and while you can still often get dining reservations at some places at disneyland even when you call the same day, all the good places at disney world book up weeks in advance.

armed with this information, i had started booking rides and meals as soon as i realized that our window was open for reservations.  except that the serious disney world folks were a step ahead of me, and a lot of the places i wanted to try for were already gone.  sheesh.  so i just went ahead and picked out whatever i could find that looked interesting and planned our days around what i was able to book.

our fastpass for our second day was for expedition everest in animal kingdom park.  this is probably our least favorite one out of the four, but we knew we wanted to try that ride at least once.  it wasn't until later in the day, so we decided to head to the magic kingdom for the first part of our day.  the hub decided to sleep in a bit longer, so the girls and i got up and headed out to have some fun.

their entryway is pretty much identical to ours.

the buildings on main street seem taller, though.  

we decided to grab something to eat in their starbucks...along with a bazillion other folks.

with coffee in hand, we made our way through the crowds and headed into tomorrowland.  

as i was looking through our pictures, this one reminded me that we failed on our promise to the bean that we'd come back for this attraction.  oops.

we were on a mission, though.  our goal:  the peoplemover, a ride that used to be at disneyland but went away many years ago.  i have lots of great memories of this ride, mostly that it was a fun way to cruise through tomorrowland and see a lot of the attractions from a different vantage point.

i hadn't anticipated the line being so short and had to do some serious chug-a-lugging.  the one time i splurge on a venti, too.  of course.

i drank it so fast i ended up with a little brain freeze, but whatever.  i was properly caffeinated and ready for anything.  peoplemover time!

our autopia = their tomorrowland speedway.

as we made our way into space mountain, we noticed that no one was waiting in line...something was wrong, and the ride was closed.  boo for everyone else, but yay for us - it's not every day you get to see space mountain all lit up.  

that would be a great way to ease a scaredy-cat's fears about riding this one, i'd think.  taking away the usual space mountain-y darkness shows you that it isn't all that scary.  does it ruin the magic, too? i don't think so.

we had enough time to squeeze in "stitch's great escape" show and a turn on the "carousel of progress," which the old lady and i both love for its cheesiness and look at how technology has evolved since the turn of the century.  and then we met up with the hub, who'd finally made his way out of the hotel and into the park.

the girls and i took this picture so that we could compare it to the last time we were here.  then, and now:

the hub was hungry, so he decided to stop on main street to grab a hot dog.  apparently, as they stood in line, the bean managed to charm a cast member out of some free cotton candy:

and while they ate, i had to get one more castle photo.  with a photobomber.

knowing that catching buses between parks can take a while, we allowed ourselves plenty of time to get to animal kingdom before the window for our fastpass opened.  on our way out of the park, we ran into a friend we'd already hung out with earlier:

somehow, we managed to walk up to the right bus stop just as it was pulling in, and we managed to get to animal kingdom in record time.

all i remember is how freaking hot it was.  i don't think there was a moment that i wasn't sweaty.  ugh.  as we made our way towards expedition everest, we all wished that the "snow" on the mountain was real.

i always love seeing how disney picks a theme for things and really commits.  their attention to detail is phenomenal.

the ride, by the way, was really awesome.  it's fast and tall and takes you backwards and we loved it.  i wish we had something like it at home, but with the limited amount of space we have, we'll just have to return to florida to ride it again.  someday.

with time to kill before our next fastpass, we found ourselves in the dinosaur, u.s.a. section.  it was cute and reminded me a little of the flintstones.

we did the primeval whirl ride, which is a lot like california adventure's "goofy's sky school," except that the cars spin during the ride.  not too fast, though, just enough to make it extra fun.

the centerpiece of the park is the "tree of life."  i managed to get everyone to stop for another cheesy photo, and we laughed when the photographer decided to get a selfie with us too.

although i'd already had coffee that morning, we were hot and icky and ducking into the starbucks was a great excuse to grab something cold to drink and suck up some a/c.

we noticed that drinks came with paper straws throughout this park.  i'm guessing that that's to make sure that none of the live animals end up choking on plastic ones, because we all know people are litterbugs and can't seem to figure out that trash goes in trash cans, not just the ground.

making our way into "africa," we decided to check out the gorilla falls exploration trail.  there were lots of animals to see here, which is always a good time.

our fastpass was for the kilimanjaro safari ride, a 20-ish minute journey through disney's take on africa.

we rode in an open-air vehicle and got to see lots more animals roam about the 110-acre sanctuary, with narration by our guide and driver.

 afterwards, while the girls and i went to watch the "lion king"-themed show...

the hub grabbed a spot at the nearby bar and enjoyed an adult beverage.

with just enough time to kill to wait through this line, the bean and i decided to try their rapids ride.  i figured a 20-minute wait was worth it to cool off a little.

but it was not to be.  the line snaked around a lot longer than i'd anticipated, and the posted wait time was clearly inaccurate as we waited at least 10 minutes beyond it and then had to leave to make our dinner reservation.  disney only holds a table for 15 minutes past your reservation time, and we didn't want to miss it.  i'd gotten us a reservation at tiffins, the newest restaurant in the park, which had just opened a week before.

the hub and the old lady had already checked in for us, and they reported that they'd tried to order drinks at the bar and been told by the surly bartender that he was so busy, he'd come take their order...IN TEN MINUTES.  yeah.  that sucks.  dude clearly skipped out on disney 101.  we were seated in a corner table and then waited on by a server who had also missed the memo on how to treat customers.  ugh.

i'd apparently signed us up for a package that included an appetizer, entree and dessert plus reserved seats for the new "jungle book"-themed nighttime show.  and so we perused the menu and placed our order and then just sat back and relaxed a bit.

maybe it's because i'm cheap, but i was a little put off at the idea of shelling out $10 for bread.  the hub chose it as his appetizer, and it was...interesting.  several different types of carbs served with pomegranate olive oil, two yogurt-based dipping sauces, and hummus that looked like cat food.

the old lady chose the roasted beet salad.

and this was my fish crudo.

i opted for the wagyu strip loin and braised short rib:

this was the old lady's chermoula-rubbed chicken:

the hub was annoyed at the server's attitude, and so i don't even remember what he ordered.  i do know that none of us were impressed by our meal though, which sucks since it was so stinking pricey.  to pass the time between courses, the girls played with snapchat.

i'd chosen the chocolate ganache, while the hub and the old lady both tried the lime cheesecake.  both were meh.

and since we'd had our fill of the animal kingdom altogether, we opted to hand our show tickets to a family we saw sitting outside.  they were quite appreciative.

we decided to stop in the magic kingdom again to see it at night and hopefully catch the fireworks.  since we had time, we all hopped onto the tomorrowland speedway.

and then the girls and i went to ride space mountain while the hub went off again in search of...something to distract him.  we came out of the ride just as the fireworks were starting.

he'd found a nice spot where he could see the projections onto the castle during the show.

and then to close out the night, we waited out the 50-minute line to ride the seven dwarfs' mine train ride.  halfway through the line, there were these barrels of "jewels" that spun and projected the images of the dwarfs on the ceiling.

it's a really fun ride, similar to big thunder, and the cars sway a little from side to side as you ride it.  super cute, but worth an hour-long wait?  hmmmm.

back in the hotel, we devoured the chocolates that were left by housekeeping.

and that was the end of day two at disney world.

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