Magic Kingdom Part II
Today we decided to try something a little different. Rather than sleeping in and dealing with the crowds of people, we thought we’d leave a little early in hopes of getting on some more rides in less confined areas. So we took off early for the bus (OK, I think we still got on the bus around 9:00) and headed for the Magic Kingdom. If you’ve never been to Disney, the Magic Kingdom is one of those parks that you can spend days and days in, so our two half days really didn’t do it justice, but it would have to do.
We arrived just after the park opened and everything was as we hoped, there weren’t that many people there, but there were still a lot of them. We caught the end of the castle dance review before heading over to Adventureland where we would find Pirates of the Caribbean. On the way we got stuck at the Swiss Family Robinson area, which looked kind of lame, so I took the park passes and went to Fast Pass some other rides. I caught the Jungle Cruise right away and continued down to Pirates, but it did not accept fast passes. Oh well.
After pulling Jenny and Ethan off of the treehouse, and gathering mom, dad, and Quin, who had found another family to talk to, we went to Pirates which didn’t have much of a wait at all to get on it. It wasn’t a bad ride, another one of those that were designed much in the same vein as It’s a Small World in that it was a boat and we went through a bunch of rooms with characters in it. You can tell this ride is somewhat old, though, as it was pirate themed, and the pirates were doing what pirates do best, namely drinking and harassing women. Not sure how this ride would go through the committees that oversee this type of thing now-a-days. They also added Captain Jack and Davey Jones to the experience, which was kind of neat. It was strange how the movie was based on the ride to begin with, then the ride was re-inspired by what they did with the movie…
After getting off of Pirates, our Fast Passes came due for the Jungle Cruise, which is a pretty neat ride only in so much as the dialog is really enjoyable. This ride is, again, in the same vein as It’s a Small World again in that we got on a boat and looked at stuff, but it differed in that there was a live person on the ride giving us a tour and it was outside. The woman giving the tour was delivering the canned tour dialog very well. Some of the bits I can remember include, “OK, everybody listen very carefully, I have some very complicated boarding instructions, wait, wait, wait, OK, get in,” and “Perhaps at the end of this ride you will find their buried treasure. Oh wait, this is Disneyworld, you are probably going to find a gift shop.” Overall, it was a very old, crusty ride, that was made fun by the dialog they had put together for it.
After Jungle Cruise, Ethan wanted to go on a fair-like ride calld Alladin’s Magic Carpet ride, so I took the opportunity to Fast Pass another ride, this time in Tomorrowland. When I returned, I gathered the family and we decided it was time for some lunch. Lunch was taken in Frontierland (I’m not entirely sure on the names of these areas, so please, if you are a Disney purest, forgive me) at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Cafe. This was one of our quick service meals and was not bad at all. Burgers, wraps, whatever. I think Ethan actually got to eat something other than chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for once at this restaurant. As an aside, I was shocked at how limited the children’s choices were for food at Disney. You would think that they would cater (so to speak) specifically to kids when offering food choices, but most of the places only had chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
Having nourished ourselves, we left Frontierland and crossed back over to Tomorrowland where we rode on one of the most enjoyable rides we rode during our entire stay, Buzz Lightyear’s Spin Attack. This ride was basically a moving shooting gallery. You get in this pod thing on rails that took you through an area setup with a bunch of Zurg things with targets on them. There were two guns mounted on the pod and a steering wheel. Ethan and I manned the guns while Jenny steered. As you were going it kept score. I scored 33000 points, which I thought was awesome until I saw the point breakdown at the end. They had a category for over 1,000,000 points! I guess I suck worse than I thought.
We departed the Magic Kingdom at last after getting a picture with Buzz Lightyear himself and touring Tomorrowland on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The parade had just finished up along mainstreet, we had missed it again. I was intrigued to see they had people out with vacuum cleaners to clean up the confetti and leaves that had littered the streets. I guess I hadn’t noticed it before, but the Magic Kingdom is freakishly clean. I guess now I know why.
Having experienced very long days the two days prior, we decided this time to take a couple of hours to relax at the resort. So we departed from the Magic Kingdom and did just that. Of course Ethan doesn’t really know yet how to relax, so he and I had to go to the pool and play “leech,” a game where Ethan clings to my neck and won’t let go and I have to try to get him off of me. It was hard. We did get to see a bunch of cheerleaders acting like cheerleaders in the pool which was mildly amusing. They were doing a bunch of throws and pyramids and stuff in the pool. Again, mildly amusing. My mom came out for a little while to swim with us. She never really learned how to swim, but she barely gets wet due to her huge amount of buoyancy. Ethan, being a know-it-all, started to tell my mom how to swim. Actually, he was doing a pretty good job of explaining it…
EPCOT Part II
Our master plan for the day had us going back to EPCOT for an afternoon of rides followed by dinner in China. On the bus on the way, we ran into the coach of the Germantown softball team who was down there with his team competing in some Disney softball thing. It was funny how many people we had met from Wisconsin, but this guy even knew a guy that I officiate with, which made it even stranger. Also on the bus we ran into a family who had a 9 month old boy that looked just like Quin, or rather, Quin looked just like him. He was a very smiley thing and was grabbing the hair on my arms and stuff. It was pretty fun to see what we have to look forward to with Quin in the coming months. They really grow quickly!
As we finally got into the park after bag inspections and ticket scanning, my parents decided they would like to go on Spaceship Earth. Knowing Ethan’s track records with getting on rides, we decided to go off on our own and allow them to partake so we went over to the Nemo Adventure in The Sea. The ride itself was a bit lame, and broke halfway through, but at the end they had some pretty neat aquarium animals on display including two manitees.
We ended our afternoon at EPCOT at the other half of Innoventions. Jenny and Ethan were exploring the wonderful world of garbage at the Waste Management area while Quin and I tried to find Grandpa and Grandma. After we had all met up again, we finally headed over to China where our reservation awaited at the Nine Dragons Restaurant.
It took a small miracle to get us into this restaurant. My dad had to go up to the podium and bust some heads after several walk-ins were admitted before we were, and we had a reservation. Apparently they had called our name and some other family walked in and took our table. Not to worry, we were seated right by the window, which gave us good seats to watch the fireworks later, which turned out to be the only time we got to see the fireworks during our stay. The food was excellent. Even Ethan ate Chinese food for the first time.
After dinner, we browsed the shops where Ethan bought some rare earth magnets and I bought a flower stick, some juggling sticks that look like fun. It was getting late at this point (9:30), so we decided to start heading back to the bus area. Along the way, we somehow convinced Ethan to go on a Viking cruise, another boat ride through a building with stuff in it (it’s a small world after all…). We departed from Norway at almost 10:00, the park was closing…
We had almost gotten out of the park when my parents convinced Jenny and I that we should go on Spaceship Earth since it was such a neat ride. They didn’t think Ethan would like it that much, so Jenny and I got in line. The line wasn’t very long, but it turned out that only resort guests were being admitted, and then only with a wrist band. So out of the line quickly to find the wristbands, then back in and we were admitted almost immediately. This ride was on a time machine which the two of us sat in. At the beginning they asked a bunch of questions which you inputted the answers on the touch screen in your time machine, and they took your picture. The ride then started with Judy Dench giving a verbal history of human progress, mostly concentrating on communication. There were some very interesting things that I did now know, like the Phoenicians invented the alphabet that we use today because they traded with so many different cultures, they wanted to have an alphabet that was compatible with all of them. Another thing they asserted was that the personal computer was invented in a garage in California, basically saying that Jobs and Wozniak invented the PC. I’m not entirely sure that is true, but it was interesting anyway. At the end, you are treated to a view of the inside of the ball which is completely lighted up with stars in a night sky, very breathtaking. Also, as we rode back to the “present,” they showed us a presentation with our pictures of how our future would look. It was neat technology, but the funniest part was Jenny’s picture. The algorithm they had to remove the background from the picture apparently thought her eye was part of the background and blacked it out, which made her look like a pirate. We laughed… Guess you had to be there…