Trip Report - Nov 9 thru 16 WDW first timer
Here's my report from our twenty-person WDW family reunion. I think I've had a sufficient amount of time to decompress over the past week and a half. So, on to the trip report.
Nov 8 - SLC
Here's a fun tip. Double check your ORBITZ reservation before you hit BUY. A few months back ol' Grandpa Anderson surprised everybody with a family reunion in Orlando. The only rule was that everybody would provide their own airfare. Food and accommodations would be taken care of. Now since both the grandparents and I live in SLC, and since we intended to fly out together, I let them buy my airline ticket for me, with the promise of reimbursement. Big mistake. Grandpa had his heart set on a red-eye. He had his gaze narrowed down to two flights: one which left SLC at 11:40 pm and another at 12:50 am. He naturally chooses the 11:40 flight, presuming that earlier is better. Problem is, he didn't realize that the 12:50 am flight left on Wednesday morning, while the 11:40 pm flight left on Monday night. By the time we realized our error (about a week before the trip) Delta told us that changing the dates would cost an extra $250 a person. Uh-oh, extra vacation day. Why am I complaining again?
So, on to the airport. Check-in was harmless and quick. The security wing at the SLC airport has one of those new-fangled body-scanners. I walked in, sucked in my gut, and five seconds later it was over. Thank God the whole TSA backlash happened after I boarded the plane, otherwise I would've been acting all kinds of nervous and suspicious.
We head to our gate. All the restaurants are closed, and to my surprise, our red-eye SLC to ATL flight is absolutely packed. Apparently Atlanta is a big international hub for people heading to South America and the Caribbean. We board the plane, wait a few minutes for the wings to get de-iced (SLC, yeah) and we're off. My goal: Sleep all night. Reality: Didn't sleep a wink. Bad sign.
ATLANTA: We land five minutes early. We have 35 minutes to get to our connecting flight. Problem is, we are in the absolute farthest-back row of a full plane. We finally get out of the plane; 17 minutes until our connecting flight leaves. I run from the last gate of terminal A to the last gate of Terminal T, arriving sweaty, tired, huffing and puffing, but thankfully 5 minutes early. Elated I run to the guy at the gate, with a big smile on my face. He cheerfully responds "The plane's gone!" Ugghhhh..... Ten minutes later the parents arrive, equally exhausted and sweaty. We approach the Delta help desk, and get some good news - Orbitz rebooked us on the next flight to Orlando, which leaves an hour later. The next hour is a blur. I don't know if I slept or blacked out from the exhaustion. Either way, the lack of sleep is apparent. We board the plane, once again being placed in the last row in the back. I can't help but think of Rosa Parks at this point. Mental note: "Fly Southwest next time."
ORLANDO: We arrive. From the sky Orlando is FLAT. I'm used to mountains, and snow. We deplane, and make NO hurry. My lack of sleep on the plane is dampening my Tuesday morning enthusiasm. I'm reconsidering going to WDW today. I'd rather not develop narcolepsy on Big Thunder Mountain. We head to the rental car place, and head to the hotel. Check-in isn't for another couple hours. We lurch over to a Perkins and eat as slowly as possible. It's 11:30 am. We've checked in, I hit the sack, and I don't remember the remainder of Tuesday.
To be continued.
Re: Trip Report - Nov 9 thru 16 WDW first timer
Nov 10 - Orlando
It's Wednesday. I think I've slept for about twenty hours. We all get up and head to the hotel's complimentary breakfast. I pack it in because today's a Disney day. Yeah, that 6 and a half foot tall dude in the corner is excited to go to Disney World. Quit giving me dirty looks kids.
We jump in the rental and head out to Kissimmee. What have I learned today? Florida LOVES toll roads. Next time I better have a stack of singles in my wallet. My parents are still exhausted, and decide to stay away from Disney for the day. On to Hollywood Studios.
I arrive at the ticketing booth, trade-in my already purchased two-day pass for a six day pass. I've never been to DHS, but I do know the first thing I HAVE to do: Toy Story Mania. I bolt to Pixar playplace. It's 9:21 AM. I grab a fastpass with a 1:00 pm return date. That was fast. The line starts for me just under the swinging monkeys. 45 minutes later I'm on the ride. Wow, what a slick presentation. It is, essentially, a big video-game. Half way through my fingers start to fall asleep. My final score? HeckifIknow. I exit TSM and check the horizon for Tower of Terror. I spot it and bee-line for it. 10:12 AM. No line. This one feels superior to DCA's. I love how the elevator exits the shaft. The first ride-through was lots of fun. I exit the gift shop, turn around and get right back on.... four times. This was probably my favorite memory of the trip. After my fifth ride, I head out to get one of Disney's famous turkey legs.
WOW. I have now found my new favorite snack at Disney: A smoked turkey leg and a Coke Zero. I wolf it down, wishing I had wet-naps. I check my fastpass for TSM; two hours left. I head back to Tower of Terror, now feeling legitimately frightened; not because of the "haunting" nature of the ride, but because I'm about to ride this stomach turning elevator ride with a stomach full of turkey and coke. I'm seriously really nervous. I board the ride, again no line, and am seated next to a perky lady from the midwest. (Think Edie McClurg) She jokes with me "I apologize in advance, but I'm a screamer." I respond "I just ate a turkey leg and a large soda like, 3 minutes ago." She giggles nervously, and inches away from me. Now it looks like I'm not the ONLY frightened one. Long story short, I keep my lunch to myself. I exit the ride, and feeling brave, I get back in line. This time, the queue was a little longer and I hear screaming. I originally thought it was part of the ride; a few seconds later a 14-year old boy appears around the corner, screaming an ungodly womanly shriek. I remember that episode of the Simpsons where Flanders screams like a woman. First, it's sort of funny. The kid's a little old to be throwing a fit. After thirty seconds I, and most of the group, realize that he's not faking it. He's seated next to me, and continues to sob. This was a first for me. I've sat next to frightened children on rides before (and recently an adult turkey-phobe) but never a sobbing teenager. Suffice it to say, that ride-thru was not fun. My ears were ringing for the next hour and my knee still had that kid's claw marks in it.
I head to Aerosmith. What an awesome roller coaster. On my first ride-thru I somehow get seated in the front of the train. My eyes are watering afterward. My TSM fastpass is ready. I run over to Pixar Playplace, and jump in line. Part of me really wished I could have walked passed Potato Head, but I'm not giving up a ten minute line for a 45 minute line. The second ride thru is about as fun as the first. I'm spending more time working on my technique. My score: I don't remember. I exit the ride and immediately jump back in line. I love this queue so much. I especially love when Potato Head freezes in place. I only saw him do it when people were trying to take their pictures in front of him. Great presentation. This third ride was interesting, the gun's pull-string wasn't as sensitive as it's predecessors. I seriously had to yank that thing hard, and even then only every other pull would work. After a couple dozen yanks, I decided to lay-off shooting, for fear of breaking it. I left the ride and headed to the studio tram tour. It was fun, but still lacks that Universal Studios authenticity, oh well. I exit the ride and bee-line for Star Tours..... which is closed.... crap. I can't believe I forgot. I head over to Indiana Jones which is MUCH better than I imagined. I especially loved the audience participation and the plant stunt-performer. After that I head over to Muppet Vision. Now, honestly, this show is getting old and REALLY gave me a headache. My eyes are used to the Disney Digital 3D that was used for Toy Story 3 and UP. Whatever optical format they used for Muppet Vision just HURTS. I liked the interactive elements, but would prefer that they do a digital print of the film with more pleasant 3D.
I was getting a little bushed by this point. It was 4 o'clock. I call the grandparents, and find out that my siblings are slowly trickling in to Orlando. I have two hours to kill before my ride shows up. I make my way back to Aerosmith, and this time am seated in the back where there is..... drumroll please... no leg room. Ouch. By now it's really late and I'm all funned-out. With an hour to kill I make my way to TSM. There's a line out the door and there's a four hour wait on fastpasses. I start making my way back to the entrance, stopping along the way. I discover the great movie ride, and ride it twice in a row. I am still utterly surprised that there's an Alien segment in there. My first ride through was a bit lame. Our driver wasn't as in to it as he should've been, but my second ride was terrific. We had a really great actress who hammed it up but refused to phone it in.
After that I grabbed a corn dog from Herbies, made my way to the entrance just in time to see my parents pull up in the Yukon with my brother and his family.
In all it was a great day. I really thought I was going to be bored, since Hollywood has fewer rides than the rest of the parks, but I found that the ratio of rides to time allowed me to take things easy. I didn't feel like I had to rush all over to get everything done.
We headed to the rental home, I saw the nieces and nephews, who were all TERRIBLY excited, and before I knew it I was asleep again.
What did I learn today? Turkey legs are awesome.
Re: Trip Report - Nov 9 thru 16 WDW first timer
Yes, they are awesome! It's even on a T-shirt.
Originally Posted by Santoanderson