Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 2 – Universal

The way we plan our week is that we lay out all the information on park attendance predictions, based on information from past years and trends coming up until now.  We then try to pick the lowest attendance days to make our choices.  That’s why we had Universal on the first full day.

Universal Studios opened at 8am while Islands of Adventure opened at 9am, but stayed open later.  So we planned to start our day at US and then move on.  So, we get there about 10 minutes before opening.  We look around in the big shop at the front to kill a bit of time.  When the park opened, we headed directly to Despicable Me:  Minion Mayhem.  This was one of our favorite non-HP things the last time we came.  Last time our line was crazy because we did US after IoA.  This time, there was no line at all.  It was excellent.  We then went on to the HOllywood Rip Ride Rockit.  This is really an awesome ride.  We had no line.  However, the rides that have the pads that come down by your head…those are the jerky ones that give me a giant headache.  So my head was killing me when we got off.  However, there wasn’t much of a line, so Chris and Em went again while I waited on them.

Next, we headed to Revenge of the Mummy.  I like this one.  Em really does not, but she’ll do it.  We then stopped by Diagon Alley and did Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts.  Of course, it was awesome.  Next, it was on to Olivanders.  Once again, Em wasn’t selected!  We grabbed a frozen butterbeer (OMG yum) and headed over to the Simpsons area.  Chris wanted to ride Kang & Kodo’s Twirl n’ Hurl, for some reason.  There was no real line, so Em and I decided to ride with him.  It was dumb.  We then rode the Simpsons Ride.  This was our only REAL line the whole day, I think.  This is a cool ride too that we really like.  We then headed over to Men In Black.  This is pretty much the same ride as Buzz Lightyear at MK and Toy Story at HS.  This one I won by a very large margin.  🙂  It will be the only one I win.

We then headed back to explore Diagon Alley.  It seems like every time we were near it, we got to see the dragon breathe fire, so that was awesome.  We looked around everywhere.  I got a Bourgin & Burke’s tee at Knockturn Alley.  We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron (and another butterbeer for me!).  It was tasty and I think I prefer it to the place in Hogsmeade for sure.  We then took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade and Islands of Adventure.

First in Hogsmeade, we rode the Dragon Challenge.  The Horntail was down when we got in line, but up by the time we got to the area where we pick our dragon.  We went with the Chinese Fireball.  This is another one where it gives me a headache, though not quite as bad.  We then rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.  We headed out of Hogsmeade and went to ride The Hulk.  This was down for maintenance when we came last year and our little adrenaline junkie was itching to ride it.  We then rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man.  Near the end, something was messed up with the sound and graphics.

We then got in line to ride the new ride, Skull Island:  Reign of Kong.  This was our other long line.  It was…okay.  Em didn’t like it at all.  I wouldn’t stand in a long line to ride it again.  Maybe if the line was short.  We then went back to Hogsmeade and rode the Howarts Express back to Diagon Alley.  We stopped at the store at the front of the park.  Chris got a Simpsons tee.  I got a Ravenclaw hat and Em got a beautiful Hogwarts blank book.  We finished up around 4 or so and headed back to our room for a rest.

We had made our dinner reservation for 8pm that night so we would have a lot of extra time for Universal.  Turns out we didn’t need it.  So we were super hungry by the time we got to go to our dinner reservation.  We decided to try Kona at the Polynesian.  We’ve done Spirit of Aloha there twice, once for the early show and once for the late.  We’ve done Ohana there before twice too, once for the character breakfast and once for dinner.  So we decided to try Kona. When we had reservations at another hotel, we decided to drive there this time.  Last year, we got stuck getting from Spirit of Aloha back to our hotel because they stopped running the tram.  It ended up taking us over 2 hours to get back to our hotel and didn’t get back until after midnight.  So we weren’t going to let that happen again.  Plus, it takes SO much less time to just drive.

First off, the decor is dated.  I don’t know if it’s ever been updated.  The decor is okay, but there’s nothing special about it.  The restaurant isn’t closed off from the rest of the hotel at all, so it kinda feels like you’re sitting in a mall food court.  The food was yummy.  We were so hungry, we had some Sticky Wings for an app.  Em and I both had Pan Asian Noodles with chicken.  It was very tasty.  I think Chris had the Grilled New York Strip.  I can’t really remember the dessert, to tell you the truth.  I had to look it up to see what we had.  Em and I both had the Kilaeau Torte.  It was fine.  Nothing fabulous, but fine.  Chris had the chocolate fondue.  We headed back to our room and crashed for the night.

 

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 24, 2016

Disney – Day 1 – Epcot Evening

So, I haven’t written in ages and ages, but we went to Disney and I like doing these, so here we go.

Last Saturday we got up early, dropped the dog off at the kennel and headed down to Disney.  We got there around 4 or so.  This time around, you can do ALL of your checking in to your hotel online and ahead of time.  So around 2:30, we get a text telling us our room number!  Awesome!  So we get there, lug all our stuff to our room and then head out.  We always go to Epcot our first day for the food.  We usually eat at Epcot multiple times, but this time it was just our first night.  Food and Wine had already started and those booths were PACKED.  Since we were headed soon to dinner, we didn’t bother with any of those booths.

We had picked Fast Passes for the Character Spot at 4:50p, Frozen Ever After at 6:35p, and Mission:  SPACE at 7:35pm.  We had dinner planned for 7:10p at Via Napoli.  The Character Spot, we did because we were under the mistaken impression that this was to see Baymax, Joy, and Sadness.  We figured out before we got there that that wasn’t the case, but there wasn’t really anything to change it to, so we left it as it was.  Frozen Ever After was the first FP I made.  Mission: SPACE we figured we probably wouldn’t do because it was after dinner and it’s a bit vomit-inducing, but, again, there just wasn’t much to make a FP for!

First there, we ride Spaceship Earth.  Not sure what was up with this ride this week, but the part where it takes your picture and then puts it into the video at the end wasn’t working.  Also the part where you enter your info and it shows you on the map as you exit the ride also wasn’t working.  This was true for when we rode it again on our full Epcot day.  Next we go to our FP for the Character Spot and met Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.  Em danced with Minnie.  We then went to see Baymax because Big Hero Six is one of our favorite movies.  Em and Chris both got hugs.  It was too cute.  We like Inside Out, but don’t LOOOVE it and the line was long, so we skipped Joy and Sadness.

We then went on to do Mission: SPACE since the line wasn’t bad at all.  It usually isn’t.  Of course, we rode Orange.  Next it was on to do Frozen Ever After in Norway.  We made our FP so we could do it right before dinner and it was on our way to our reservation.  We scan our FP and get in line.  Nothing is moving inside.  Pretty soon, we get the announcement that the ride’s broken.  We wait for a bit and then I get an email.  It says that we have an all access FP that we can use for anything the rest of the night if we want.  So we wind our way back to the ride entrance.  They won’t let us out that way and direct us to the other end.  So, we have to pass all the people still in the line who are grumbling and thinking we’re trying to skip over them and get ahead.  So that was annoying.  However, when we were leaving, we got a paper FP good for at least a week for anything at Epcot.  Since we were planning on coming back for a full Epcot day, this was great!  We planned to use our emailed FP before we left for Frozen if it came back up and then use the paper one when we came back to do it again.

We went ahead and made our way to Italy for our dinner reservation. We looked around Italy until it was time and then headed to Via Napoli.  This was Em’s pick.  We had originally decided to try Tutto Italia instead since we’d never been there, but had done Via Napoli twice.  We ended up changing it since Em LOVES pizza and we didn’t have any plans for anywhere else with pizza.  And VN has GOOD pizza.  So, we all did pizza and all opted for the ugly dessert, which was basically an ice cream sundae.  It was all super tasty, but despite the Lactaid it killed my stomach.  I stayed away from most dairy the rest of the week.

Frozen was STILL down when we finished and since Em LOVES Test Track, we used our FP for that instead.  After that, we stopped at Mouse Gear since they have an excellent selection of mouse ears.  Em got the headband kind again, but got some cute Jack Skellington ones this time.  Super cute.  We then headed back to our room for the evening.  We planned on a super busy day the next day, so we went to sleep early.

Posted by: wildflowerz | January 2, 2016

2015 Books in Review

Woohoo!  It’s that time of year when I make my book post that no one cares about but me.  😛

Overall Stats:

  • Total Books Read:  220 (13 more than last year)
  • Total Pages Read:  78,262 (1624 more than last year)
  • Total Number of Books from a Series 165 or 75% (last year was 135 or 65%)
  • Average Length of Book:  356 pages (370 pages last year)
  • Author Most Read:  Susan Wittig Albert (Joanne Fluke last year)

By the Month:

  • January:  13 (6%)
  • February:  20 (9%)
  • March:  19 (9%)
  • April:  20 (9%)
  • May:  20 (9%)
  • June:  18 (8%)
  • July:  19 (9%)
  • August:  18 (8%)
  • September:  11 (5%)
  • October:  23 (10%)
  • November:  23 (10%)
  • December:  16 (7%)

Last year, my biggest months were April, May and July.  But this year, I read more in October and November.  Can you tell we went to Disney and Dragon*Con in September?

Books Read by Category:

  • Classics:  2 (1%)
  • Fantasy:  14 (6%)
  • Fiction:  14 (6%)
  • Historical Fiction:  2 (1%)
  • Juvenile:  12 (5%)
  • Memoir:  1 (0%)
  • Mystery:  75 (34%)
  • Romance:  34 (15%)
  • Science Fiction:  5 (2%)
  • Supernatural:  23 (10%)
  • Suspense:  5 (2%)
  • Young Adult:  33 (15%)

Last year, I read  more of Mystery than anything else, followed by Supernatural and Juvenile, then Romance.  This year, I read more Mystery by far.  Then, Romance and Young Adult.

Books by Source:

  • Library:  68 (31%)
  • Owned:  94 (43%)
  • Owned/Kindle:  58 (26%)

I didn’t borrow any books this year from non-Library sources again this year.  I think, especially closer to the end of the year, I slacked off from reading Library books and tried to read down my home “to read” shelf.  It didn’t really work since I kept buying books to replace them.  🙂

Books by Rating:

  • A+:  2 (1%)
  • A:  17 (8%)
  • A-:  2 (1%)
  • B+:  19 (9%)
  • B:  17 (8%)
  • B-:  20 (9%)
  • C+:  31 (14%)
  • C:  30 (14%)
  • C-:  29 (13%)
  • D+:  22 (10%)
  • D:  15 (7%)
  • D-:  9 (4%)
  • F:  7 (3%)

So, did I do better about picking books this year?  Well, last year, I read 49 crappy books (D+ or lower), comprising 23% of my reading.  This year, I read 53 crappy books, comprising 24%.  So about the same  On the other end of the spectrum, last year, I read 25 (or 12%) A rated books last year and this year, I read 21 (or 10%).  So, yeah.

Best Books of the Year:

  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
  • Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Blood of Dragons, Dragon Haven, and City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
  • Legwork by Katy Munger
  • The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Triptych, Fractured, Fallen, and Criminal by Karin Slaughter
  • The Witness by Nora Roberts
  • Home Front by Kristin Hannah
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I had way fewer A+ books this year.  Only 2 compared to 12 last year.  But only one of my A+/A books are re-reads this year where last year I re-read all the Harry Potter and Pride & Prejudice.

Worst Books of the Year:

  • Vampalyers by Rusty Fisher
  • Grey by Christi J. Whitney
  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • An Eye for an Eye by Anthony Trollope
  • Beast by Judith Ivory
  • The Perils of Pleasure by Julie Anne Long

Not as many F books this year.  I do have two classics on there that I didn’t care for at all.  I also had one best seller and 2 highly touted romance novels.  I just didn’t care for them.  2 of those are free Kindle books that just stunk.

I had quite a few DNFs this year too.  I still don’t have a great way to keep track of them, but here are some I can bring up on GR:

  • Savage Beauty:  The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  • Her by Harriet Lane
  • Night of Fire by Barbara Samuel
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • Larklight by Philip Reeve
  • Frostborn by Lou Anders
  • Gypsy Hunted by Andrea Drew
  • The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato
  • Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
  • Dying to Read by Lorena McCourtney
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:  The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon
  • Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  • Highlander Ever After by Jennifer Ashley

A few of those weren’t BAD, they just weren’t for me.  Mostly the nonfic and the YA.

Well, that’s all.  If you’re interested, I put teeny mini-reviews of all my books over on Goodreads.  Check me out there.

Posted by: wildflowerz | October 8, 2015

Disney 2015 – Recap

I kept meaning to make this post and then kept putting it off.  Overall, we had a really good time this time.  It felt like the food was better, overall.  Even the counter service meals seemed better.  I felt much better this time, though I’m not sure why.  Usually I’m REALLY dragging by the end.  I have blisters and I’m just so tired.  But I survived this time with no blisters and I was tired, but I didn’t feel horrid.

Some highlights:

  • Best Table Service Meal:  Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom)
  • Best Counter Service Meal:  Starring Rolls (Hollywood Studios)
  • Best Dessert:  Mango Pie at Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom) though still not better than the Bread Pudding at Raglan Road (Downtown Disney)
  • Best Dessert, 2nd Place:  Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls (Hollywood Studios)
  • Worst Table Service Meal:  Sci Fi Dine In (Hollywood Studios) though it wasn’t BAD, just the worst of this trip
  • Worst Counter Service Meal:  Simpsons area (Universal Studios)
  • Worst Dessert:  Doughnut at Sci Fi Dine In (Hollywood Studios)
  • Biggest Food Disappointment:  3 way tie between the Dole Whip, Citrus Swirl, and the now non-existent Cake Cups (All Magic Kingdom)
  • Best Park:  Magic Kingdom
  • Worst Park:  Animal Kingdom
  • Best Ride in Magic Kingdom:  Seven Dwarfs
  • Best Ride in Epcot:  Test Track
  • Best Ride in Hollywood Studios:  Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Best Ride in Animal Kingdom:  Expedition Everest
  • Best Ride in Islands of Adventure:  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Best Ride in Universal Studios:  Despicable Me
  • Most Disappointing Ride:  Transformers (Universal Studios)

I really liked a lot of things we did this trip.  Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios are really half day parks.  So, splitting the day up and going back to the hotel for a swim or heading to Downtown Disney on those days works well.  Doing both Universals in one day was a big money saver, but I would have liked to had a bit more time to shop around in the Harry Potter areas.  I obviously loved Yak & Yeti and would totally do it again on our next trip.  Obviously Starring Rolls too.

Spirit of Aloha was a pain to me this time.  I was so tired by 8:15 when we finally got to go in that it took away from the enjoyment of the show.  Also, the trip back was PAINFUL since we were so tired.  I’d totally skip this one next time, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been.  Unless you’re a late night person, though, do the first show.  But if you do the late show, drive there from your hotel if you can.

I’d also skip Sci Fi Dine In next time and maybe try Mama Melrose again or even another restaurant in the park.  Tony’s in MK was okay, but I think doing a restaurant on the monorail or one at Epcot would be a better idea.  Or possibly try the Plaza next time.

I’d also definitely want to hit Raglan Road on our next visit for sure.

A BIG help and time saver for us was the app from TouringPlans.com.  It’s worth every bit of the $15 or so we paid for the WDW & Universal access.  If you see the name and are turned off, thinking you don’t need a touring plan, don’t be so hasty.  If you’re going when it’s busy, you need one.  Even if you go when it’s not, it’s immensely helpful.  It’s mostly helpful because it will tell you when a ride is at it’s busiest.  It will tell you if you should go ahead and ride it now since the line won’t be going down or if you should just wait a few hours and come back because the line won’t be so long.  You can make a plan, but change it on the fly.  It also has real wait times for rides.  Those are usually much less than what WDW will officially tell you.  I SO recommend these apps.

Finally, how much did I walk while we were there?  Here are our totals:

  • Saturday:  13,750 steps/5.70 miles
  • Sunday:  25,047 steps/10.46 miles
  • Monday:  19,284 steps/8.05 miles
  • Tuesday:  19,288 steps/8.05 miles
  • Wednesday:  24,774 steps/10.35 miles
  • Thursday:  17,318 steps/7.23 miles

Totals:  119,461 steps and 49.93 miles

How does that compare to a normal week for me?  The week before Disney, Saturday until Thursday, I did 99,343 steps or 42.37 miles.  And it looks like I missed the gym the Sunday that’s in there so a regular week might have been higher.  And I know that I was having some issues with a blister that week, so I was a bit slower.  That thing they say about Disney being SO MUCH WALKING?  Eh.  It’s a good bit of walking.  But I don’t find that to be the issue.  In fact, I felt generally okay as long as we were moving.  It’s when we were having to stand in line that my feet hurt so badly.

Posted by: wildflowerz | October 2, 2015

Disney, Day Six – Animal Kingdom

12006334_10154267236118327_7282813995390669048_nOn Thursday we did breakfast in the room again before heading to Animal Kingdom. We got there just before opening again and headed straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Remember when this first opened and there was that whole bit about getting away from poachers? Then they dropped that part? Well, they’ve added a bit about it back into the commentary, but nothing major. Next, we went to do Festival of the Lion King. THIS is my favorite show at Disney. In fact, it might be the only one I actually like. I mean, I don’t like the Finding Nemo show AT ALL. I’m not crazy about the Beauty and the Beast one at HS. What other ones are there? Anyway, I love this show and even suffer through bleacher seats to watch it.

We did Flights of Wonder next, which is a bird show, but actually entertaining.  Following that, we stopped at Tamu Tamu Refreshments and each got giant ice cream sandwichs with hand scooped vanilla between two large chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  Yum!  We hit Dinosaur next, then went to do Expedition Everest twice in the single rider line before lunch. Lunch.  Guys.  I officially declare Yak & Yeti my FAVORITE restaurant at Disney.  We waited 15 or so minutes to get seating.  While waiting in line to check in, Em spies one of her TKD instructors through the doorway, so she goes over to say hi.  For lunch, Em had a burger and fries (adventurous, she is not).  Chris had some seafood thing.  But me?  I had the ribs.  The yummy, yummy ribs.  I like ribs, but they aren’t a huge thing for me.  They’re incredibly bad for you so I almost never get them.  But these ribs.  I could write a love sonnet in ode to them.  They’ve got this yum hoison sauce on them and they fall off the bone.  They came with an Asian slaw and chicken fried rice.  Heaven.  For dessert, I’d heard that the mango pie was THE thing to get.  I only sometimes like Mango, but I was unsure.  But I was SO FULL from the ribs, I decided to go for the Mango and if I didn’t like it, I was already full.  Well, I had to make room in my belly because it was SO good.  Easily in my top 5 desserts at Disney.  For sure. 12003367_10154267727488327_2207551978377682365_n

We waddled out of Yak & Yeti and used our Fast Pass for Everest.  Then we hopped on a bus back to our hotel to hit the pool for a little while.  Originally, we were going to do Downtown Disney on this afternoon.  Then, keeping an eye on the weather, it was supposed to rain in the evening.  So we were trying to come up with something to do, so we were going to go to Splitsville, the bowling place at DtD.  However, then it didn’t rain.  But we were EXHAUSTED and still stuffed from lunch.  So what do we do?  We go to the movies.  Scorch Trials, the Maze Runner sequel had come out the previous Friday.  We went to the AMC at DtD to see it.  We were on the side where you can order food and watch a movie.  Let me tell you that AMC knows how to do this. We’ve got a place near-ish us that does this called Studio Movie Grill.  It’s awful.  They’ve got you sitting in these rolling office chairs and you’re packed really tight up against each other.  If you movie, it jogs everyone down the line.  Annoying.  But this AMC has regular movie seats, but extra wide and extra comfy.  I totally like to kick back and put my feet up on the rails and there’s places to do that at every seat under the counter where you eat.  It was awesome.

Oh, but back to the movie.  I read the first book, but didn’t continue.  Em read the whole series and loved it.  She was SO upset.  Like, on the verge of tears upset.  The “crazy people” in the book, evidently were just crazy.  In the movie, they were like super fast moving zombies.  I’m not sure if it just scared her or she was just upset that they didn’t follow the plot at all and was over-tired, but she was not happy.

After the movie, we went to Earl of Sandwich.  I’d heard that this place was fabulous.  I thought it was alright.  I was tired of turkey sandwiches, so I got a buffalo chicken wrap.  It was alright.  This place, you pick either a dessert or a side, so you actually get less food than all the other counter service places.  That was okay this night because, honestly?  I was still stuff from lunch!  We each had yummy cupcakes for dessert and then headed back to our room.

Posted by: wildflowerz | October 2, 2015

Disney, Day Five – Epcot, Downtown Disney, Spirit of Aloha

Wednesday was breakfast in the room once again before heading to Epcot.  This was originally supposed to be the day we did Universal, but since we did that all in one day, we had a free day this day.  Em chose to do Epcot.  We also decided we’d like to do Downtown Disney.  So, we went to Epcot first since most things at DtD didn’t open until 10am.  We rode Soarin’ first, after we stopped at a Fast Pass kiosk to make some FPs.  We then headed over to Test Track to use one of those FPs.  After that, we took a bus to our hotel, then another bus down to Downtown Disney.

12036891_10154265731763327_8003674322737224286_nWe did lunch at the Wolfgang Puck counter service in the Marketplace.  We all three had yummy pizza.  Em had a horrible brownie and Chris and I had adequate cheesecake.  After that, we looked around in some shops, getting tees for both Em and I.  We walked the entire length, then took the boat back to the Marketplace.  We took a bus back to our hotel and decided to do a pool break for a bit.  After the pool and showers, we took a bus back to Epcot. We decided to do a walk around the world.  We hit the frozen marg stand in Mexico for some refreshment for Chris and I.  Em got some friendship bracelets for her two best friends in the Mexico pavilion.  Chris REALLY wanted to see the Chinese Acrobats, though no one else really cared to and I actively didn’t want to stand out in the sun.  We tried to see them, but it started raining and they cut it short.  A YouTube Disney show was filming and we had to sign releases for Em to be in it.  It’s called WDW Best Day Ever.  It’s not up yet.  I just checked.  We finished walking through the World before we hit the monorail to the Polyneisan for dinner.

Guys.  I was so tired.  And so not into it at that point.  My feet were extremely swollen and I was super hot.  But, on we went.  We got there and had to stand in line to check in.  We had ADRs for the later show this time, rather than the earlier one.  We didn’t wait too very long before we were seated.  The food came quickly and we filled up just as quickly.  The show was almost the same as last time, but it was cooler because the fire stuff was at night.  We finished up around 10pm and had some bad news.  Evidently, the monorail stops running at 10pm.  Who knew?  So, we had to find a bus to Downtown Disney, then transfer to a bus to our hotel.  The bus was there when we got to the bus stop and tons of people were just milling around instead of getting on, so we hopped on.  Once we got to DtD, we got in an already long line to our hotel.  It took about 45 minutes before a bus came.  Seriously.  It was after midnight by the time we finally got back to our hotel.  UG.
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Posted by: wildflowerz | October 2, 2015

Disney, Day Four – Magic Kingdom

12036540_10154263097393327_6859518865832231992_nTuesday we did breakfast in the room again before heading to the Magic Kingdom.  We got there just a bit before opening.  We first headed over to Space Mountain.  This is one of Em’s favorites.  We then did Buzz Lightyear (where I KILLED it), then on to Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.  We went over to Liberty Square to do Haunted Mansion (short line, first one of the day), then back to Fantasyland to do Mickey’s PhilharMagic before lunch. 12020051_10154263345313327_3101337872268626490_n

Lunch was Be Our Guest.  Last time we did BoG for dinner.  We were unable to score ADRs for dinner this time, but we did get lunch.  We had ordered ahead of time, so that really sped up the process.  We checked in outside, got our rose tracker, and then went inside to stand in a short line to check in.  We found a table in the portrait gallery.  The wait was about 10 minutes or so, but once it came it was totally worth it!  I had a turkey sandwich with green beans.  Chris had a roast beef sandwich with fries, and Em had the turkey with fries.  Chris and I did Master’s cupcakes and Em had the strawberry ones.  The cupcakes here are small, normal sized ones.  The papers on the bottom of the cupcakes aren’t the tear-away kind, so they’re kind of awkward to eat.  Our’s were tasty, but they were really nothing special.  The Master’s Cupcake has the “grey stuff” on top of it, which is just grey colored plain icing.  So, tasty, but really nothing special.

After lunch, we used our Fast Passes on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We then tortured Em with the Hall of Presidents.  Okay, I’m not sure if I’ve ever even done this one.  I kind of enjoyed it.  We then used our Fast Passes for Peter Pan, which always has a ginormous line for some reason.  We hit Under the Sea (short line). Then we headed over to the Mad Tea Party and to score a cake cup at Cheshire Cafe.  News Flash:  The cake cups are a lie.  They don’t have them any more.  Em rode Mad Tea Party with Chris and we went over to do the Carousel of Progress.  Em had also never done this one.  Next we took a trip on the People Movers.  This turned out nicely. It was cool and Space Mountain was temporarily shut down when we went through so the lights were on and we got to see the inside.  Cool!

Next, it was on to Stitch’s Great Escape.  Seriously I hate this one for the burp alone.  Ew.  We ventured back to the main area in front of the castle to stand in the scorching sun and watch the Festival Parade.  It was pretty cool, with this giant clockwork-type 12019919_10154263718258327_891582257676620295_nMaleficent.  After the parade, we went back into Fantasyland and did Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor.  Chris got to be “that guy.”  Every time we’ve done this one, Em’s been spotlighted, so Chris got his turn this time.  Next we used our Fast Passes for Big Thunder Mountain.  We had a little time before our dinner reservation, so we got in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train again.  This was our only painfully long line of the week.  The TouringPlans app said it would be about 30 minutes.  It was more like 45 and it was awful.  By the time we finished, we were tired and decided to head to Tony’s and see if we could get in early. 12046998_10154263275458327_5871734683220285819_n

We’d never done Tony’s before.  Usually when we do the day in MK, we make dinner reservations somewhere else.  We decided to try Tony’s this time.  It was fine.  Chris and I both had the chicken parm.  We both liked that the chicken was crispy fried and not super soggy like it is when you get it most anywhere else.  The sauce was fine, but really nothing special.  I had amaretto cheesecake for dessert.  It was yummy, but VERY VERY VERY small.  Chris and Em both had chocolate cake, Chris the adult version and Em the kid’s.  Em said Chris’s was MUCH better.  She had pizza for dinner.  Surprise.  After that, we headed back to the room for an early night.

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 30, 2015

Disney, Day Three – Hollywood Studios

12043017_10154260700333327_2664015470630601148_nMonday, we had breakfast in the room and then went over to get a bus to Hollywood Studios.  We got there just a few minutes before they let everyone into the park.  We only stood around a few minutes after that when they officially opened 15 minutes early.  Do they always do this?  They’ve opened 15 minutes early every time we’ve gone.  We headed over to do the Tower of Terror first.  No line.  Then we went over to Rock’n’Roller Coaster.  We had about a 15 minute wait for this one.  We then headed over to Star Tours.  We finally got a new scenario!  We landed on the Wookie planet this time.  Em really wanted to be the Rebel Spy, but she was thwarted all day.  After riding this one, we took a look in the gift shop and found a cute SW tee for Em.  Then we rode it again.  After that, we did the Indiana Jones show.  I’m not a huge fan of the show.  And I loathe sitting on stadium seating where there isn’t a backrest.  It KILLS my back.  But whatever.  🙂  After that, it was time for our Fast Pass for Toy Story, so we went and did that.  By that time, it was lunch time.  We headed over to Starring Rolls. 12011345_10154260810408327_1163004925164772256_n

Guys.  WHY has no one told me about this before now?  So, for actual lunch, they’ve not got a big selection.  They have turkey sandwiches, ham sandwiches, and sushi plates.  We got one of each.  Chris didn’t mention much about his sushi, but my turkey was REALLLY yum.  Em’s ham was tasty too.  But the read draw, is the dessert.  This is the home of the famed Butterfinger Cupcake.  And it’s all that they promised, children.  It’s a chocolate cupcake with a fudge center.  It’s piled high with white icing and then dipped in a very heavy layer of crushed Butterfinger.  OMG.  SO good.  Em got the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, which was also tasty.  Normally, we just eat at the ABC Commisary since it’s got a decent selection and plenty of seating in the air conditioning.  But this is SO going to be our go-to place from now on.  Even without the cupcakes, we’d still do it.  The sandwiches were THAT good.

Next we used our last Fast Pass to ride Tower of Terror again.  We then headed over to see MuppetVision 3D.  Before we headed back to the hotel for a swim, we stopped by Waddo’s Grotto.  You know where the warehouse area of the Backlot Tour used to be?  That’s where the Grotto is.  It’s just a big Star Wars store.  But the thing is, it’s all the same merch that’s in the store outside Star Tours, it’s just more spread out.  So it wasn’t all that special.  Anyway, we’d ridden everything we wanted to, so we headed back to the hotel for a break in the pool.

IMG_20150921_084147687_HDRAfter swims and showers, we got ready and headed back to HS.  We hit Star Tours again before heading to our dinner reservation.  Even though we had a reservation at 7, they were packed and we had to wait about 30 minutes before we were seated.  Okay, this isn’t my favorite place.  I like it okay, but it’s just burgers.  The one thing it has going for it, that I never take advantage of, is that as your drink on the meal plan, you can get a milkshake.  Chris and Em did this.  I got the veggie burger.  It was okay, but not any better than the kind you buy frozen at the grocery store.  Chris and Em had burgers and shakes.  For dessert, Em did the sundae, while Chris and I had the doughnut with ice cream.  This is one of those regret desserts for me.  The doughnut wasn’t great, but I ate it anyway.  Meh.  The service here was also super slow.  We had scheduled our 4th FP for Rockin Roller Coaster from 7:30-8:30, but it took so long to be seated and to be served that we missed it.  Chris and Em went and rode it as a Single Rider anyway.  It kind of gave me a headache earlier, so I skipped.  We then headed over to the MASSIVE line waiting to get into Fantasmic.  We got in and got decent seats and only 10 or so minutes before the show started.

I like Fantasmic.  It’s my favorite of the evening shows.  I’m not a fan of Illuminations and the crowds you have to stand in for Wishes makes it less than ideal.  But Fantasmic is cool.  I’m not sure what was going on, but the cameras for the projections on the water kept flickering in and out.  It also started misting a little near the end.  After the show, we headed back to our hotel.

Yes, technically not Disney, but whatever.

12027788_10154257682298327_1467022501844316065_nSunday we got up and had breakfast at our hotel before driving over to Universal.  In our original plan, we planned to do Islands of Adventure on Sunday and Studios on Wednesday.  But we use TouringPlans.com and when I made the plans for both those days, they had us ending ridiculously early.  So we pared down a few things and decided to attempt it on one day.  We did IoA first, though we probably should have done US first since it opens an hour earlier, but whatever.  We got our tickets and headed to the Marvel area to ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.  The line was super short.  We went right over to Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, which also had a super short line.  Sadly, the Incredible Hulk coaster was down for refurb.  😦 After Marvel, we went over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area.  Em was finally tall enough to ride Dragon Challenge.  So we rode twice, once on each coaster.  We were disappointed to see that they evidently aren’t running the two coasters at the same time any more.  But the line was super short too.  Sadly this ride requires that you go through metal detectors and you can’t bring ANYTHING on the ride, including your phone.  The whole locker situation at Universal is highly annoying, but at least you don’t have to pay for them.  Anyway, next we went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, then Flight of the Hippogriff.  The line for Forbidden was a little longer, about 15 minutes.  But Hippogriff was only about 5 minutes.  Somewhere in there, we got a Butter Beer.  Guys.  I don’t know if my tastes have changed or they’ve gotten better, but it was YUM!  We then headed to the Hogsmeade Station of the Hogwarts Express.  Also, no real line.  This took us over to Universal Studios.

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We first decided to do lunch.  We headed over to the Simpsons area for food.  Chris had tacos.  Em had pizza.  I had a chicken sandwich and applesauce.  It was…meh.  We then went to a spur of the moment show of Animal Actors on Location.  It was kinda cute.  Then we headed over to ride the Simpsons Ride, followed by Men in Black.  After those, we went to the ET Adventure, then headed to Production Central to ride the new Transformers ride.  MAYBE if I were actually into the Transformers, I would have liked this one.  But it was stupid and made no sense.  I couldn’t tell which transformer was trying to “help” us and which one was trying to “kill” us.  The ride is exactly like Spiderman though.  After that, we stood in a long line for Despicable Me.  12036515_10154258420743327_2286304250950583587_nAfter that, we stood in line for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.  I think those two were the only ones we had a big line for.  We headed over to the New York area to ride the Revenge of the Mummy.  That one’s pretty cool.  There’s one part with an awesome fire on the ceiling effect.  We then headed to the Harry Potter area.  I got another Butterbeer and Em and Chris got ice cream at Fortesque’s.  We looked around a bit before heading to Ollivanders to wait a bit for it to start.  I thought it was just going to be us and another adult couple, but at the last minute, more people arrived.  So, Em didn’t get picked for the wand sorting.  Oh well.  We rode the Hogwarts Express back to King’s Cross station and then left the park.

For dinner, we had reservations at Boma.  We went to our room to change and then just drove over there instead of taking the buses.  The buses are great for getting to the parks, but from resort to resort they’re a pain in the butt.  Boma’s at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  It’s an all you can eat buffet of African food.  It was really yummy.  It had a lot of meat, a few sides and breads, and a few soups.  And lots of desserts.  This was Chris’s favorite meal of the trip, I think.  After dinner, we drove back to our room and slept.IMG_20150920_110814949

Posted by: wildflowerz | September 29, 2015

Disney, Day One – Drive Down & Epcot

So, we’re back.  We’ve been back for a while, but I’ve been putting these off.
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So, a week ago, Saturday we got in the car, dropped off the dog, and drove down to Disney World.  About half way there, the air conditioning stopped working in the car.  It was MISERABLE.  We left it off for a while and about an hour before we got there, we tried it again and it was working.  Not sure what happened, but it was miserable there for a while.  We arrived at our hotel, Pop Century again, around 4pm.  Our room wasn’t ready, so we left our car and took the bus over to Epcot.  We got there a little before 5pm.  We hit Spaceship Earth right away.  We then did Sum of All Thrills.  Someone had some sort of medical issue right before we headed into the orientation room, so it took a while.  Not sure what happened.  It looked like some woman was over-served, but I don’t know.  After that, we headed over to Mission Space, Orange of course.  Then we used our FPs for Test Track.  We headed on over to Rose & Crown for our dinner reservation and got a LOVELY seat outside, right next to the railing.  Em and I got bangers and mash and Chris got steak and fried fish.  I had the sticky toffee pudding for dessert (REALLY yum) and Chris had the chocolate bread pudding (it was okay).  Em wasn’t feeling great, so she didn’t get any.  We went ahead and went back to the room and called it a night.

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So, I’m not sure what was up with Chris this time.  Normally, he’s all advocating for going back to the room in the middle of the day or calling it a night really early.  THIS time, I think he’d lost his mind.  A few days before we left, he comes up with the idea that since Epcot closes at 9pm and Magic Kingdom had extra magic hours and was open late, we should have dinner, then head over to MK to see Wishes and ride some of the rides at night.  After having been in a car all day long.  Yeah.  I think he’d lost his mind.  Listen, I hate the idea of leaving in the middle of the day for a rest.  First, I like to power through.  Second, it takes SO MUCH TIME to get the bus back and forth.  And?  I hate napping.  Look at all that time you’re wasting!  We’re at Disney!  But, I’m not a fan of super late nights either.  Needless to say, Chris’s plan didn’t happen.
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