Swimming, Hunky Werewolves, and of course, Disney WorldNovember 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: Disney, Florida, photos
We had a whirlwind of a week, and Tori’s visit did not disappoint! She had a conference to attend over the weekend, so we met up on Saturday night for dinner and a movie at the Fork & Screen AMC at Downtown Disney. Breaking Dawn, the latest installment of the Twilight series, opened that weekend, and I couldn’t wait to see my favorite hunky werewolf take his shirt off. My friend Mandy joined us, and since neither of them had seen or read the books, I had to give a quick synopsis while we perused the menu in the theater. I warned them that the series takes a left turn to the bizarre (or more bizarre) in the last book, but I didn’t want to give away the plot, so I kept my description vague. The movie was decent as Twilight adaptations go – not nearly as good as the third movie, but not the worst – and Tori liked it well enough to sit through a Twilight marathon at my house a couple of nights later. (Which, incidentally, made her a Team Jacob convert, especially after that third movie. Hello, Nurse!) We all took a stroll through downtown Disney after the movie, marveling at how warm it was for November. Seriously, 70 degrees at night? In November? Moving to Florida, best decision ever!!
Sunday Liam and I drove to Tori’s resort for a swim in the amazing pool complex. There was a lazy river connecting two pool areas. One had a zero-entry side and one had steps. There was also a little baby pool splash area. But Liam made a bee-line for the steps, and there he stayed for about 45 minutes, refusing to let me take him in the water with me. I fear swim lessons has scarred him! I kept promising he didn’t have to go under water. But to my surprise, as time went on he started blowing bubbles and saying, “Look, Mommy, I’m going under the water!” He didn’t quite get his whole head under, but he was making an effort. He just needed to get used to it, I guess. At one point I just grabbed him and swept him with me to the deep end, and he went without protest! We made a couple of circuits around the river before heading back up to Tori’s room to change and get ready for our first trip to Animal Kingdom. Tori got an awesome military discount on a 4-day park hopper pass, and I had free parking with my annual pass, so we didn’t mind just spending a couple of hours there. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, then we walked around to see the animals. Or that was the plan, anyway, except it turns out all the animals go inside after dark, which at this time of year is around 5 PM. We saw a few birds before dark, but all of the walking tours and safaris were closed. Tori rode a few rides. The cool interactive dinosaur one was her favorite, and I’m bummed there was a height restriction or I’d have gone with her with Liam. No bother – Liam and I waited for her in the gift shop, and he found a dinosaur that, “Has to come home with us!” She also rode the Everest coaster and one of those river raft rides, and I took Liam over to an Indian dance party in the Asian section. Poor Liam! I was sitting there enjoying the show, and then I looked down and saw him pouting out his bottom lip, almost ready to cry. I leaned down and he shouted, “Too loud!” By the time the park closed at 8 we felt like we’d pretty much done everything that was still open. I’m looking forward to coming back to Animal Kingdom with Liam and James during the day sometime so we can see some of the other attractions. I think Liam will really enjoy seeing the animals.
Monday we spent the whole day at Disney, first at Epcot Center for lunch and a tour of the Japanese section. Tori and I enjoyed some delicious sushi, and Liam enjoyed watching people out the window. Tori went to Japan for a class trip in high school, and she was impressing the wait staff with a few words she remembered in Japanese. Hell, she impressed me, too! After some geeking out in the gift shop (Tori also loves Japanese Anime), we took Liam on the Finding Nemo ride. He was a little leery of riding in the little seashells, but he definitely liked looking at the fish. Tori adamantly elected to skip the ride inside the Epcot Center ball. During her last trip to Disney when she was 8, the ride malfunctioned and she was stuck inside for more than an hour! I can see why she’d not want to relive that!
An approaching storm sent us running for the monorail, and by some stroke of luck the deluge held off until we were safely aboard. Liam loves the monorail, so he was perfectly content to ride, change trains, and ride again on to the Magic Kingdom. It was still sprinkling when we arrived, so we took a ride on the steam engine train around the park until the rain let up. For the past year Liam has thrown a fit whenever I’ve tried to get him on a miniature train. But I guess, along with slides, he’s conquered that fear. We spent the rest of the afternoon in Tomorrowland, which is my favorite part of the park. We rode the kitchy People Mover (pictured above), and sat through a show at the Carousel of Progress, a funny little animatronic show from the 1963 World’s Fair. Every time the room turned Liam would look back at the doors, point, and yell, “We’re going out that door! When it’s over!” Needless to say 20 minutes was a bit more than he could take, and he practically ran to the door once it was over. We started to stand in the 30-minute line for It’s a Small World, but Liam whined, “Want to go home!” and Tori realized the limitations of Disney with a two-year-old. It was all good, thought – we had decided to save more of the adult fun for Tuesday night when James offered to watch Liam while Tori and I had fun. So home for dinner we went, and after Liam went to bed we had ourselves a little Twilight marathon until 3 AM.
Tuesday we spent a leisurely day at the park and lunch in our neighborhood, saving up energy for another late night. After James got home from work we practically raced out the door straight to Hollywood Studios. We made a beeline for the new Star Wars 3D ride, which I’d heard so much about. James says that was his favorite ride when he was a kid, and now they’d updated it with pod racing! It was cute, but apparently you get a different set of scenes based on your robot narrator, and pod racing wasn’t on our ride. James says the 3D element is new, and wearing glasses over glasses, then getting bounced around in a simulator mostly just made me ill. At least the line wasn’t too long – only about 15 minutes. Much more exciting to me was the gift shop, but we decided to save that for later in order to ride more rides. Racing to the other side of the park, we stood in line for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which my cousins raved about when they were here back in July. We waiting in line for about an hour (ugh!), wishing we’d gotten there early enough to get a Fast Pass, which gets you a timed ticket and you can skip the long line. The ride was really only ok, not terribly scary, and way too short for the amount of time we spent in line. We had just enough time for one more ride before that park closed, and Aerosmith groupie Tori couldn’t wait to ride this one! This one turned out to be our favorite, with a 0 to 60 launch in a “limo” and lots of twists, turns, and upside-down thrills in the dark. This was more like it!!
By 9:30 Hollywood Studio was shutting down, and we headed to Magic Kingdom, which was open until midnight. We made a beeline for the ride we were the most excited about, Space Mountain. And there we waited in the longest line ever, again lamenting that we couldn’t get a Fast Pass this late at night. At least this ride didn’t disappoint – it was just as exciting as James had described it and as Tori had remembered it. Determined to get in another ride before the park closed, we speed-walked across the park to Big Thunder, which Tori remembered as another of her favorites. By then the line wasn’t too bad, and we had a fun little jaunt on this zippy wooden coaster. Being this close to a holiday, I guess the park was more crowded than I anticipated. But by midnight it was starting to empty out, and Tori and I enjoyed walking around. Cinderella’s castle was spectacular, all lit up with icicle lights for the holidays. I’m a little bummed that we didn’t get to ride more of the rides, but this will give James and I more to explore on one of our anticipated Disney date nights.
Now Tori’s off to her parent’s for Thanksgiving, and we’re off for an afternoon gorge-fest at Maggie’s house. So nice that she invited us for dinner. And so nice we don’t have to deal with cleaning up or leftovers!