Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WDW Trip Report 2 or I Got Lost At Disney World

And not in a "It's so magical, I lose myself" kind of way.  More like "I don't know how to get out of here" lost.

Here's the thing: I know my way around the parks.  I don't usually need a map in order to get around.  Once I'm outside the parks though, it's a completely different story.  I have to follow the signs, but I am determined to figure out my way around - especially my way out of the resort.

I'm beginning to learn a few things.  First, I don't always have to head towards I-4.  In fact, where we are staying is not near I-4 at all.  Now that I know this, I've been better able to find my way out.  And paying closer attention to the roads themselves, instead of just looking for signs has been helpful as well.

Also, TomTom has been useful (most of the time).

Do you know your way around the Disney property?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WDW Trip Report 1

One of the things that I was really looking forward to was going to the Polynesian Resort the first night we arrived in Orlando and watching the Wishes fireworks from the Magic Kingdom followed by the Electrical Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

We grabbed some beach chairs and got our places on the beach.  The Magic Kingdom was farther away than I expected, but the fireworks show was great.  Wishes is still better right in front of the castle, but the show, the beach, the weather all made for a wonderful start to our vacation - except for one thing: we didn't get to see the water pageant.  Well, we got to see it sort of.  We waited about 15 minutes after the fireworks before we saw it off in the distance.  Unfortunately, it never came any closer to us.

After we got back to the resort, I quickly got on the Internet to see what we did wrong.  I found this website that has a general schedule for the water pageant.  Turns out, we were about 45 minutes late for it.  If Debby let's us, we'll try again later this week.

Overall, again, a great way to start our vacation. ( Here is a link to a video I shot of Wishes).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Budgeting For Our Trip

We've been given a $1,000 budget for our trip to Disney next week.  That may not sound like a lot when talking about a trip to the most expensive happiest place on Earth and in some sense that's true.

We are only planning on spending one day in a theme park, but, fortunately for us, Disney World is more than just the theme parks.

Our list of things to do includes:
Epcot ($90 per person, though we're considering a Park Hopper so that would increase the price some)
Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf ($12 per person)
Downtown Disney (free)
Watching the Wishes fireworks from the Polynesian Resort (free)
Visiting Disney's Wildlife Preserve ($3 per person)
Seeing Brave on opening weekend ($10 per person)
Resort hopping (including, but not limited to, the Boardwalk and the new Art of Animation Resort) ( free)

 That is less than $700 right now.  I haven't included things like food or gas in the budget but we shouldn't spend too much on those because we won't eat out more than once (if that) and once we get on Disney property we can go anywhere using their transportation instead of ours.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot

The Imagineers have written an entire series of guide books, each one highlighting a different park.  In light of my impending trip to Epcot, I decided it was time to re-read that one in particular.

I really enjoy this series as a whole.  The concept art, the history, the fun facts all come together to create a very interesting history of the parks.  I also like that the books are small.  You can bring them with you into the parks without out them taking up too much space in your pack or weighing it down.

The Epcot book will hopefully help me to gain a better appreciation for the park.  It has such a rich history that goes all the way back to Walt himself, though the final product looks very different than Walt's vision.

Fun fact: Epcot was planned to be in the exact center of the resort property (hence the original name, EPCOT Center).  It's actually a few hundred yards off center due to the discovery of an endangered species during construction.

Fun fact #2: In the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion, one of the building facades takes its inspiration from "it's a small world."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Countdown Begins - 14 days

Apologies for being slack in posting this week.  Life got the better of me this week for the most part.  The other part is that I've started preparing myself for my first trip to Disney this year.

I thought that I would take some time to let you know how I'm preparing.  First of all, my family has been to Disney multiple times so we don't feel the need to spend our entire vacation there (also, finances don't allow for such shenanigans).  We want to spend one day at a Disney park (my choice is Epcot), try out the Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, explore the Wildlife Preserve and possibly spend a day at a non-Disney park (heresy I know, but they have a Marvel themed island, so that counts right?)

My desire to go to Epcot stems from the fact that I've never really given it a fair shot.  When I go to an amusement park, I want to be amused.  "Edu-tainment" doesn't cut it for me (and, to be perfectly honest, I don't completely buy the message that Disney is trying to sell).  So, when we have to choose only one park to visit, Epcot is not high on my list.  But I want that to change.

I'm still more on the "amuse me" side of things, but I have learned a lot about the history of Epcot over the past few years and have become intrigued with the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

So, how am I preparing for my trip to Epcot?

First the movies.  I'm taking the list of movies that I made for both Future World and World Showcase and watching some of them.  Obviously, I can't watch all of them, but I started watching Tron the other day and am really looking forward to watching Walt and El Grupo followed by the other Spanish themed movies.

I'm also reading a few books, or parts of books.  The Imagineers Guide to Epcot is very interesting and I plan on reviewing it soon along with sharing some of the fun facts that I learned about the park.  I also want to reread the parts of the Hidden Magic of WDW and Mousejunkies that apply to the park.

We leave on the 23rd and I plan on having trip related posts over the next couple of weeks as the days wind down.


What is your favorite park to visit?  How do you prepare?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dinosaur!



Three things that I love:

1) Disney
2) Thrill Rides
3) Dinosaurs

Put them together and you've got one of my favorite rides in all of Disney World.

To say that this ride is based on the movie of the same name is a bit of misnomer.  The ride came first and was originally called "Countdown to Extinction."  But, because of the inclusion of the Iguanadon, Carnator and the impending asteroid collision in both the movie and the ride, they decided to rename the ride after the movie.

The story is that you've come the the Dino Institute for a tour, but one of the employees (Grant Seeker, get it?) has other plans for you.  He recruits you to go back in time and retrieve an Iguanadon to bring back to the present.

You jump in your Time Rover and, though not as classy as a Delorean, you head back in time to the very end of the Cretaceous Period.  As we learned from a certain other famous Dino-story, chaos has a way of getting the better of you.  Between the unknown terrain, the predator that is on your tail and the impending collision, your ride is anything but smooth.  But, oh, is it fun!

This is a ride that I rarely miss and if you've got a thrill junkie in your house, this is ride for them as well.

Fun Fact:  In queue line, if you look up at one point, you'll see red, white and yellow pipes running across the ceiling.  Each pipe has a different chemical formula - on the red is the formula for ketchup, the yellow is mustard and the white is, of course, mayonnaise. This is a fun nod to the ride's original sponsor - McDonald's.