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Monday, March 24, 2008

Disney: Easter 2008

  1. New Spaceship Earth
  2. Lots of sunbathing
  3. Famous people sighting!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Family gathering!

Ahhh... what a nice weekend. It's always nice to have a chance to unwind this time of year. This weekend, Todd and I joined the rest of my family in Orlando for our annual magical gathering at Walt Disney World.

Initially, we were supposed to be arriving Friday night, but since our Marathon weekend was cut short by a day due to Todd's work, we had an extra day to use for the Easter trip. So, we instead left bright and early Friday morning. The trip down was uneventful, and we arrived at our resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, at about 1:00pm. Our room wasn't ready, so we had some lunch and changed into our bathing suits (which we'd packed in our carryon) and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool. The weather was great, about 75 degrees and sunny, and the people watching was TOP NOTCH! (people watching happens to be one of our favorite activities to do together)

Once our room was ready, we went there and observed some giraffes wandering around outside our balcony. Then, we showered and then had dinner at Boma, the buffet in Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was good, although a little bit unusual African cuisine. We got to try a lot of new things though. I highly recommend their Butternut Squash Soup! Yum. We had an early night after that, renting Monsters, Inc from the DVC movie rentals and watching it in our room (the new Villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge include a flat panel HD television!).

We got up early for the extra magic hour at Animal Kingdom, which allowed us to ride Expedition:Everest four times (Extra Magic Hour, Extra Magic Hour, Fastpass, Single Rider Line). The true nuisance of the day was getting stuck on Kilamanjaro Safaris for over an hour while we waited for Cast Members to get four rhinos to get out of the road. The rhinos weren't in front of our truck, which would have been cool. They were maybe 8 trucks ahead of us, and we were stuck way back in the bushes with nothing to look at. We did eventually get off, obviously, and we did have a rhino run right out in front of our truck as well.

After Animal Kingdom, we went back to the room for a rest (and a look at the animals) and then headed out to meet my family at Epcot. The weather had turned a bit, and it was raining off and on, sometimes pretty heavily, but we persevered.

First off at Epcot was a ride on the newly renovated Spaceship Earth. I had high hopes about it, hearing that there were new cars on the ride. I was hoping that the seating on the new cars would be more comfortable for what is about a 30 minute ride. Alas, the new cars were in fact the old cars with a touch screen added. So... a low-down of changes:
  • Touch screens, as I said, which request some info about you and take a photo of you at the beginning of the ride. Later in the ride, they ask you a bunch of questions about your future and then tell you what your future will be like, complete with a photo of you in your future.
  • Completely new narration, Jeremy Irons was replaced with Judi Dench. It works - she sounds good. The first line, thankfully, still begins, "Like a grand and miraculous space ship..."
  • Some animations were added to the beginning where the cave paintings are.
  • Upgraded animatronics throughout, some mannequins having been replaced with new ones.
  • The family room scene was replaced with a different family room scene, with the family watching the first landing on the moon.
  • New scenes with a woman sporting a crazy big afro working in a data center.
  • A new scene with a guy programming in his garage. -- This one needs to be studied for hidden Mickeys.
  • Totally different ending, the scene with the Japanese girl talking to the American boy is gone, as are all of the scenes late in the ride (the miner guy, the woman getting her diploma, the mother singing to her kid in bed, etc).
  • Lame neon tubing lighting for transistions replaced with something that looks like it came out of The Matrix.
  • New post-ride stuff to do, which we did not fully explore.

Kim and Todd in "Our Future," which honestly looks a whole lot like our present. So... that's good news. Nice pink scuba gear, Todd!

Dinner was a Biergarten in Germany, where we listened to an Oompa Band and danced and ate Wurst and drank buckets of beer. Good times.

The family had gotten Fast Passes for Soarin' (which I hadn't ridden since September 2005, and that's actually the only time I've ridden it). So, we all got on that (well, mom and Vic watched the beers). Who was in the line next to us -- I KID YOU NOT -- John Travolta and Kelly Preston. I KNOW! I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER! Sharon pointed it out to me. It was definitely them and it explained why the cast members were on edge. Brother-in-law Frank swears Kelly Preston was checking him out. John said hi to Sharon and Shelly, but I didn't get to talk to him or tell him how much I enjoy the line "Bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good."

After Soarin', we headed out, the family going back to Fort Wilderness, except Bo, Dylan and Drew who joined Todd and me for a jaunt to the Magic Kingdom. The MK was not crowded because of the rain and we had a great time. There were changes to the Haunted Mansion also, but they were VERY VERY minor compared to SE.

We thought about the parks, but we were tired, so we layed by the pool all day, getting a little bit of color, people watching, and reading (I finally finished Shadow Divers). In the evening, we headed out to the airport, where our flight was delayed so we didn't get home and in bed until 2:30am last night... which is why I got to work late today and will be working late tonight. Blah.

But... a great little foray into Disney for the weekend! We'll be back in October for the 13k.


Tiffani. H said...

I was there with you. We were at the petting zoo. My kiddo loves John Travolta so he went and sat by him in the petting zoo, but did not talk to him. It was great to see an actor as great as he out enjoying a day with the family!

Lyss said...

My friend Chris constantly says that "bacon tastes good..." line. LOL.

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