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Thread: Walt Disney World Resort 2/21 - 2/26

  1. #1
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    Walt Disney World Resort 2/21 - 2/26

    This year for my girlfriend's birthday I surprised her with a vacation to Walt Disney World. She had never been before, and I was able to save a lot of money by flying out of Detroit, getting my hotel booked by a cast member friend, and getting all of our tickets for free.
    Anyway, we got back two days ago and since I haven't written a trip report in awhile, I thought why the hell not. I took tons of pictures, and had tons of pictures taken by the photopass people (awesome system, BTW). I'm not going to post all the pictures, but I will post some random ones from the trip. Before I get started, I will state now that every ride, to me, gets a 10/10. As an imagineer in training, I love every single detail put into all the rides and am always truly amazed by the rides, no matter how many times I ride them.
    With that out of the way, I will begin.
    2/21:
    Left Windsor at 6:30am for Detroit Airport and our Southwest flight at 9:50. We arrived in Orlando a little past 1:00pm since our flight was late arriving from Chicago. A view of Florida from above
    Unable to book ourselves on the Magical Express, we had to take a taxi to our hotel. After repeatidly telling our driver we were going to the All-Star Sports hotel he kept driving us to the Wide World of Sports, and wouldn't listen to use whenever we pointed out the signs directing us to the hotel. Luckily, it was a flat rate. After finally arriving at our hotel, we checked in and got a room in the surf themed building closest to the lobby.

    Big Shark
    We bought lunch and some refillable cups before taking a walk around the hotel.

    Tara and myself on the Xs and Os
    Rested for awhile and went to Downtown Disney to look around and meet up with Jimmy so he could show the front desk his Cast Member ID and get us the cast member discount.

    Me and Jimmy at Ghiradellis


    2/22:
    After deciding that our first park would be Animal Kingdom, we woke up, bought breakfast and headed to the park. The crowds were pretty light, with barely any lines. The longest line we waited in was for Kilimanjaro Safaris, which was about 45min.

    Random Lemur
    The first ride we hit was It's Tough to Be a Bug; A Bug's Life is my favorite Pixar movie, so this is naturally a favorite attraction of mine.

    Tree of Life...Home of It's Tough to be a Bug!
    Next, we decided to hit Kali River Rapids. The ride wasn't complete last time I came here, the weather was nice, and there was no wait, so it was a great opportunity to ride. I loved the whole covered section in the middle for your valueables and wish more parks could start doing that. The seat me and my girlfriend got must have been cursed because we were the only ones that got completely soaked; it took us almost the entire day to get dry. After Kali, we headed for Everest. Watching this ride get built for years, I have been anticipating it since it was first announced. After getting fastpasses, we waited in line for about 20min. The ride did not disappoint, I loved every second of it; especially the backwards portion. The Yeti was incredible, but my only wish was that you could see it for more than 2sec. If it was up to me I would have made a break run there so the train stopped in front of the Yeti while he made grabs at you and shook the train/track. Oh well, still loved it.


    I <3 the Himalayas
    After Everest, we headed to Dinoland USA for Coutdown To Extinction...I mean Dinosaur. Thankfully, I didn't notice any changes, and still loved the ride. Next, we waited about 10min and got on Primeval Whirl.

    I'm going to Chester and Hester's DinoRama!
    After DinoLand, we made our way to Camp Minnie Mickey to get our pictures taken with all the characters we could, and then went towards Africa. In Africa we waited about 45min for Kilimanjaro Safaris, which is always worth the wait. I got a lot of great pictures, but am only going to post a picture of the coolest animal ever...the Okapi.

    The love child of a zebra and a deer, but really the closest relative to a giraffe
    After Africa, we made our way back through Asia to do the walking trail, and then to Finding Nemo the musical. The play was really well done, and being a fan of the movie, we all really enjoyed it. We spent the rest of the day re-riding some rides, and exploring the park before heading back to our hotel for dinner and rest.
    Last edited by Ryan F; 03-04-2008 at 01:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    2/23:
    Jimmy had the morning off, so we all met at EPCOT to spend some time together. He recommended that the first ride we hit should be Soarin as the line could get pretty long later in the day. Never being on Soarin before, I was really excited as I've heard a lot of great things about it. We waited about 5min, and got front row B, which according to Jimmy is the best seat (and I'd have to agree with him on that). I loved the ride, and it really did feel like we were flying over California, it was awesome. Although, for me, the entire time I was on the ride I kept picturing Joe Swanson from Family guy narrating the ride, since the actor that does his voice was the "pilot". After Soarin we headed for Future World and Mission: Space and Test Track. On our way to Future World we stopped in a store and found this scary Hannah Montana costume. We're not exactly sure if it's for boys or girls, as the picture on front is kinda ambiguous. Even the cashier didn't know when we asked them about it.

    Hannah Montana costume. Not sure if it's for a boy or girl
    For Mission Space we took the full throttle side, as anything less would be pointless. Another 5min wait and we were on the ride. Going to space has always been a long time dream of mine, so I really do love this ride and can never find a complaint with it. Test Track was another walk on, and as always, was a really great ride. The best part was definitely a broken video file, so all a TV could show was Windows Media Player and a corrupt file warning. After Test Track we headed back to the other side of the park for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and The Seas With Nemo and Friends. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was another walk on, and still a decent attraction. I especially love how Eric Idle is the host of the ride. Nemo was a new one for me, since it's been changed since the last time I visited. The ride was entertaining, and the aquariums were stunning.

    Hidden Mickey in the ray tank
    After Nemo, Jimmy had to leave for work, so we spent the rest of the day walking around World Showcase. This was the first time in a long while that I actually took the time to walk around World Showcase and take the time to look in the shops and just enjoy the scenery. There was on and off rain throughout the time walking around, but being inside most of the time helped. We stopped in Germany for a lunch of Bratwurst and Sauerkraut, Morocco for a picture with Jasmin, Aladdin, and the Genie, and in England to watch a Beetles cover band. We also made sure to check out the rides in Mexico and Norway.

    A nice day in Paris.
    After walking around the World Showcase, we headed back to the entrance and went on Spaceship Earth. The new ride is a lot of fun, and the touchscreen interactive aspect was really cool. After that we hotel to rest and then back to the park for Illuminations. I was in complete awe from the show, it was simply breathtaking; I loved it. Once the fireworks were done we went back to the hotel for some dinner and sleep.

    Closing shot of EPCOT


    2/24:
    For our third park, we headed for Disney's Hollywood Studios. Jimmy was working during the morning, so we made plans to meet up in the afternoon. After Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios is my favorite; the rides and the atmosphere are awesome. The first thing at the park I noticed was giant Dicks Sports Weekend stage set up right in front of the hat which ruined any picture opportunity I would have liked to have.

    The Hollywood Tower Hotel looms above Sunset Ave.
    First ride we headed for was Tower of Terror. We grabbed some fastpasses and got in line. It was a short wait, and after getting off we were able to walk on again with our passes. We got a different drop sequence each time, which really added to the thrill. I absolutely love Tower of Terror, and there's nothing I can say about the ride besides that it is just pure awesome. After not being able to see Jimmy at Tower, we headed to Rock'n'Roller Coaster to see if he was working there. The ride was down so we got some fastpasses and went towards the back of the park. Along the way we stopped to take pictures with Cruella D'Ville and Donald and Daisy Duck. I've learned that a good way to make Donald angry is to hug Daisy right in front of him.

    Daisy, Myself, and Donald
    After some picture taking, we went on the Great Movie Ride, which had about a 10min wait and then headed back to Rock'n'Roller Coaster. It was a short wait with the fastpasses, and the ride was great. I love the theming inside the ride itself, and it really adds to the experience. We met up with Jimmy at Tower after getting our picture, and got some more fast passes.

    Me and Jimmy...I want to steal the uniform
    After another ride on Tower, and another different drop sequence we headed over to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and sat down with about 5min before show time. The seats weren't the greatest, but we saw everything nicely.

    I can't wait for May
    After Indiana Jones we did Star Tours, Muppets 3D, and walked around the backdrops of New York and San Francisco. We met up with Jimmy after this and went for dinner at the Sci-Fi Drive In theater. After all the help Jimmy had given for this trip, it was only fair we bought him dinner.

    At the Sci-Fi Drive In
    After dinner we went on Rock'n'Roller Coaster two more times, checked out the making of a character show, and got pictures with some more characters. Once we were done with rides and attractions we headed for Fantasmic where Jimmy pulled some strings and got us VIP seating. From where we were sitting, we saw everything perfectly, the show was incredible. After the show we looked around some stores so the crowds would die down a little, and Jimmy told me some facts about Tower of Terror. One I found interesting was that the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign was designed so sparks would fly off of it, but the idea was scrapped when it was realized flying sparks would pose a fire hazard, and a safety hazard to guests waiting in line below.

  3. #3
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    2/25:
    The final day of the trip, we headed for the best park of them all: Magic Kingdom.

    Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth

    My favorite statue
    I never know where to start with this place so the first thing we did was head to Adventureland and go from there. Pirates was down, so we waited and got our picture with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. While we were waiting Captain Jack Sparrow came out for his pirate tutorial, so we watched the end of that, but unfortunately he didn't stop for pictures afterwards. After Adventureland, we headed right for Frontierland, and my favorite ride, Splash Mountain. Before getting on we got fast passes for Big Thunder Mountain so we would be able to ride once we got off Splash. It was a short wait for Splash Mountain, and as always, the ride did not disappoint.

    I really do love Splash Mountain
    Once we got off Splash Mountain we got in line for Big Thunder and waited about 5min. The ride may not have a lot of speed, but the theming and atmosphere really makes it feel like you're flying along; great ride. Next, we headed over to Liberty Square and Haunted Mansion. It was only about a 20min wait to get on the ride, and the new effects were awesome. I especially love the floating crystal ball scene, and the attic with the bride was really cool. The ride stopped during the graveyard scene, so we were stuck listening to the grim grinning ghost song for about 10min. After Haunted Mansion we went into Fantasyland and It's a Small World.

    Awesome Cinderella fountain. From any angle, it just looks like Cinderella and her mice; from this angle, the crown fits right on her head.
    Normally, I wouldn't ride It's a Small World, but since it was my girlfriend's first time here, she really wanted to ride it. 8mins of the same song can really get to you, but luckily I was so busy taking pictures I barely noticed the song. After the ride we went to Ariel's Grotto to try and get our picture with Ariel, but the line was over an hour so we decided against it.

    Apparantly I'm not the king of England
    After Fantasyland, we headed to Mickey's Toon Town Fair to get some more pictures with the characters. The line for Minnie was massive, and the princesses was 45min, so we opted out for Mickey, who only had a 20min line.

    Mickey's garden
    After getting our picture with Mickey, we found Malificent in front of the train station, so we took a shot with her and got in line for the train. We took the train back to Main Street Station and watched the Disney Dreams Come True parade.

    Dopey smiling for the camera
    Once the parade was done, we headed towards the castle, and through Fantasyland to Tomorrowland (I know this is the long way, but my girlfriend really wanted to see the castle up close). While we were in Fantasyland we went on Snow White's Scary Adventures as it was only a 20min wait. I had never gone on this ride before, but it was really well done, and a lot of fun.


    Forced Perspective at it's finest. I wish I could have got chosen for the night in the suite
    When we got to Tomorrowland we got some fastpasses for Space Mountain and stopped for a quick lunch where I got a Turkey Leg, because when I'm in Disney I have to eat at least one turkey leg.

    yummy
    Once we were done eating, we used our fastpasses and got on Space Mountain in about 10min. Sitting in the last seat of the back car was a total blast, and I really felt some good pops of air time down just about all of the drops. After Space Mountain we headed back to Adventureland in hopes that Pirates would be open. Thankfully, the ride was open, and we only had to wait about 20min to ride. I really enjoyed the new effects and animitronics, and was happy that they didn't really ruin the ride. It was still a lot of fun and nothing really changed for me.
    Once we got off the ride, we headed back to Main Street to get a good spot for SpectroMagic. With rumors that the parade might be on it's way out, I made sure that we got ourselves a good location. The parade was just as incredible as I remembered it, and it still is my number one parade at Disney. When it was over we made our way back down Main Street towards the castle to get a good viewing spot for Wishes. The fireworks were awesome, and I couldn't think of a more fitting way to end our vacation. Once they were done we spent awhile in the stores letting the crowds die down. After spending the rest of my money we took the monorail to Contemporary to get a bus to Downtown Disney to meet Jimmy and say good-bye thank-you one last time.

    2/26:
    Woke up early to get on the Magical Express back to the airport. Had a big breakfast at the cafeteria and got to the airport with about 2hrs to spare. Unfortunately, because of the weather in Chicago our flight was delayed an hour. Once we boarded our plane, we were delayed even further on the tarmac because of extreme weather conditions in Georgia. They actually stopped all flights heading North for awhile, so were were delayed about another hour. After getting to Detroit 2hrs late, there was no way we were going to catch our bus back to Toronto, so we waited at my girlfriend's dorm to take the 1am bus. Finally got home about 8am yesterday morning, completely exhausted and missing the warmth of Florida. It's depressing to go from shorts and a T-shirt to winter jacket, hats, and gloves. Either way, me and my girlfriend had an amazing time and she's already asking when we can go next.


    Highlights of the trip:
    Tons of pictures with the characters
    Amazing weather the entire time
    Barely any lines
    Cast Members being extremely friendly, especially towards my girlfriend when she was wearing her happy birthday button
    Seeing my friend Jimmy again
    Getting made fun of by Mary Poppins and Malificent
    Making Donald Duck angry by hugging Daisy Duck
    Queen of Hearts trying to block my camera and glaring at me during SpectroMagic


    There's really so much more, but trying to describe everything done at Disney World is so hard to do, as everything is amazing and beyond explanation. I truly love Walt Disney World, and I'm so happy that my girlfriend loved her gift as much as she did. The look on her face when she saw Cinderella's castle for the first time was honestly the best moment of the trip. I can't wait to take her again.

  4. #4
    Intimidating Poster! Carowinds 73-03's Avatar
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    Amazing Trip Report. I hope you had fun in my favorite park Animal Kingdom. I love the shot from the airplane.

    Note: The Okapi is acually the only known living relative of the giraffe. I miss that little fella. The Okapi was my favorite too. Do you by chance remeber the name of your Safari driver? Maybe someone i know and was the driver good?

    I miss working at Safaris. That is quite possibly the best job on property. After my cruise i want to go back there.

  5. #5
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comment, we had a blast in Animal Kingdom. The last time I was there was 98, and not everything was completely ready. I forget who my guide was on Safaris, but he did a great job.

  6. #6
    He's So (The) Fly Wes's Avatar
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    Is this a hidden Mickey too?

    Cool report. I had no idea what you looked like.
    Intimidator Ride Count - 313

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  7. #7
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the comment. I'd just like to add one thing in.
    I've read a lot of people complaining about the theming on Primeval Whirl, saying that it sucks for Disney. Anyone saying that isn't looking at the big picture and what area of the park the ride is in. Primeval Whirl is located in Chester and Hester's Dino Rama, which is supposed to be a carnival area themed to Dinosaurs. Primeval Whirl is themed just like a carnival would do for a ride themed to dinosaurs.
    Imagineers look at all this stuff when they theme a ride, it's not like they just plopped it down in the area and said ok. If they had made a huge elaborate theme for the ride, then it would have been out of place in Dino Rama.
    The ride is themed perfectly IMO.

  8. #8
    Looping Poster KW fan's Avatar
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    How were the crowds in the parks? I was wondering because I am going to Disney for my band trip in 12 days.

  9. #9
    Ain't followin' Whitey's rules Diesel's Avatar
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    Wait, how do you know that the girl was ONLY wearing a towel? Elaborate on that story.
    "It's just gonna be goin' on...like Donkey Kong...144,000 strong."
    I still BRAKE for Kraken.
    Favorites: Amusement Park: Magic Kingdom | Wooden Roller Coaster: Phoenix | Steel Roller Coaster: Millenium Force

  10. #10
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    I don't know exactly, but when I saw her running back and forth along the deck it looked like she wasn't wearing anything else. Plus, the lack of straps led me to that conclusion.

    KW Fan, the crowds weren't bad at all. It was actually part of their peak season, but the longest line we waited in was only 45min. We never waited more than an hour for anything.
    Last edited by Ryan F; 03-01-2008 at 02:37 PM.

  11. #11
    Ain't followin' Whitey's rules Diesel's Avatar
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    For anyone who wanted a better look...here's a close-up of towel girl.

    EDIT - I removed the picture. I think she may be underrage (12-13ish maybe).
    Last edited by Diesel; 03-04-2008 at 10:54 AM.
    "It's just gonna be goin' on...like Donkey Kong...144,000 strong."
    I still BRAKE for Kraken.
    Favorites: Amusement Park: Magic Kingdom | Wooden Roller Coaster: Phoenix | Steel Roller Coaster: Millenium Force

  12. #12
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    Since theres worry over the age of her, I replaced the picture. I never really noticed what age the girl was, so it never crossed my mind.

  13. #13
    Ain't followin' Whitey's rules Diesel's Avatar
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    LOL...I wasn't implying that we were doing something illegal by having your picture up. I just noticed after I made an enhanced zoomed-in version that she seemed awfully young. I figured it wasn't in good taste to have mine since it was solely created to exploit her.

    If it's an adult, I'd figure that she knew the risk before she went out. If it's a minor, I'd remove the close-up.

    Anyway, do you know the girl behind you in the picture under the caption "Rested for awhile and went to Downtown Disney..."?
    "It's just gonna be goin' on...like Donkey Kong...144,000 strong."
    I still BRAKE for Kraken.
    Favorites: Amusement Park: Magic Kingdom | Wooden Roller Coaster: Phoenix | Steel Roller Coaster: Millenium Force

  14. #14
    Rapturian at Heart Ryan F's Avatar
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    I realize you weren't implying I wasn't doing anything illegal, but after I also zoomed it, the girl looked a lot younger than I had first thought after I noticed her in the picture.

    Anyway, about the girl behind me in the picture at Downtown Disney. I do not know her, the only one in the picture I do know is my friend Jimmy, sitting next to me.

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