"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 Days: Animal Kingdom at Night

First off.......OH. MY. GOD. Three Days!!!!! :-)

Wednesday will be our Animal Kingdom day. We'll get (hoping anyhow) an early start with 8 am Extra Magic Hours and a first stop on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Our first FastPass+ of the day is for Expedition Everest between 11 and 12, so we should have plenty of time to poke around Africa and Asia. We're bummed that Dinosaur is still closed for refurb, but I'm looking forward to Primeval Whirl as I've never experienced that ride.

Lunch is at Tiffins and I can't wait for that! It looks amazing and the menu has me drooling already.

Our second FastPass is for another attraction we've never tried, Kali River Rapids, in the late afternoon. I'm dying to ride and planning to bring flip flops and ponchos to make the remainder of the day a little more comfortable after a possible drenching.

But the most exciting thing about this visit to DAK, even better than Tiffins, is experiencing the park at night. I'm imagining it being a whole new experience. Animal Kingdom is my second favorite Disney park, after the Magic Kingdom, because of it's incredible themeing. Seeing all of that at night, including the safari with our last FastPass, will be amazing, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

4 Days: Our First Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Tuesday will be Epcot day! We hope to arrive at rope drop and hit the new Soarin' before crowds build. Our Test Track FastPass+ is for the 10-11 am window, so we figure we can get at least the Living With The Land boat ride in before heading over.

Then it'll be Food and Wine time! We've never experienced this, so we're very excited. We have all three been pouring over the menus of all the booths and I have a map now, so by the time we go we'll have a good game plan. There's just so much that looks good! I mean , it looks like I'd be perfectly happy living inside either the Belgium or New Zealand booths. I'm thinking of maybe lobster roll at Hops and Barley and some buttered chicken at the Africa booth. A few of the Asian dishes look great as well as many of the Latin American ones. I'm just looking forward to grazing all over the World Showcase.

We have FastPasses spread out in the late afternoon and early evening to try to draw us away from the feed bag for a while. You know, so we don't explode. It's evening Extra Magic Hours and I'm told the booths remain open for at least a portion of the extra time, so more chance to munch before stumbling to the bus depot to get back to bed to rest up for....


Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Days: Magic Kingdom Monday

That's what I'm hoping for one week from today. It'll be Halloween day, and my birthday, and our first day in the Magic Kingdom.

It's Extra Magic Hours, so I'm hoping to get to the park at about opening to have a little bit of time before we need to meet out Keys to the Kingdom Tour group a City Hall at 8:45 am. I'm very excited for this tour. I've been backstage, and even in the utilidors, before but John and Lisa haven't and none of us have experienced this tour before. As I understand it, we get to see backstage and the utilidors, the parade storage/staging area and ride a couple attractions with the tour guide's commentary. I have purposely kept myself a bit vague on details because I want to be surprised.

We get lunch on the tour and it finishes about 2:30 or 3 so I'm hoping that leaves us time to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade, which we've never seen. I have FastPass+ for Jungle Cruise as well in case the parade doesn't pan out. I've also made FastPass+ reservations for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Dumbo in the early evening before MNSSHP begins at 7 pm.

We'll catch rides and shows and see all we can see until the fireworks and the late parade, which I hope to catch at the beginning in Frontierland so we can hop on Splash Mountain afterwards because I just love that ride at night. We'll close the place out and catch the midnight performance of the Hocus Pocus Villains show before zombie-ing ourselves home to rest up for......

Epcot Food and Wine Day!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

6 Days: Hollywood Studios Day

I figure for my sake as much as anyone reading this I'd take the next few days to go over our plans for touring next week. One week from today, next Sunday, is our first day on property and our Hollywood Studios day.

Since we'll be arriving Sunday morning and some of us will likely be napping after an over-night car trip, I figured we'd hit the rather abbreviated Hollywood Studios. I made our first FastPass+ for the Tower of Terror with an arrival between 3:40 and 4:40. I figure that's plenty of wiggle room to get everyone rested up and to the park. Besides that, my personal priority is the new Star Wars LAunch Bay to hug Chewbacca and hopefully see the stormtrooper march and if we're lucky some Jawas. I'm packing a few old flip phones to trade so I'm really hoping to see the little guys!

Other than that, we want to see much of what's left--the Great Movie Ride (with the Ark of the Covenant now in the queue), Star Tours, Muppetvision 360, One Man's Dream and the associated Dr. Strange preview, and if the line isn't silly long Toy Story Mania.

I'm playing food by ear and hoping Pizza Rizzo is open. If it isn't (and maybe even as a second stop for grub) I'm considering dropping into the Tune-In Lounge.

We'll finish the day using our second FastPass+ for the Fantasmic show before heading back for some well-deserved rest to prep for a HUGE Day Two at the Magic Kingdom!

7 Days: ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to catch up on the whole "blog-a-day" thing. This week hasn't been the best for that. And this coming week doesn't look like it'll be much better. But I've come this far and while they haven't all been on time, I have done a post for each day of the 100 Day Countdown so far, and I plan to ee it through.

This is yesterday's post, and yesterday marks one week until we leave for Disney. We'll be taking a bit of a non-traditional route, meaning we'll be driving about 2 1/2 hours in the wrong direction first and leaving for our trip at 9 or 10 pm. See, John's last band competition of his high school marching band career is Saturday and we aren't going to miss that. We'll be spending the day we leave in Cary, NC watching the Pride of the South Coast compete. We'll leave when the show is over and the awards all handed out, drive through the night, and arrive at Coronado Springs for or Saturday reservation at about 8 or 9 Sunday morning.

I'll have to call down there and explain that to the front desk, because we still want our Saturday reservation so we can have a room to sleep in when we get there. I don't see that being a problem. The question is, will I be able to sleep, even nap? I'm kind of doubting that. I suspect at least Lisa will be able to doze off and likely John as well. So I may just spend the morning chilling at Coronado Springs. Which sounds pretty ok to me!

Here, for your edification, is why are plans for Disney start off in such a strange manner. That face. How could we do this any other way?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

8 Days: Disney Visa Rocks

We're terrible about discovering and utilizing the perks and rewards and discounts available through our Disney Visa, but even so, we are taking advantage of a few this year, including a couple of meet-n-greets exclusive to card holders. I bring this up because they've just moved the Epcot meet and greet location from Innoventions West to the Imagination Pavilion, and the new spot looks awesome!

We also saved 15% on our Keys to the Kingdom Tour by utilizing a Disney Visa discount I didn't even know existed until the cast member asked me if I was a cardholder. That's a decent bit of change, really. The card also gets you discounts at Disney Stores all over as well as many merchandise locations in the parks. Many restaurants, including the wonderful Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, offer a Disney Visa discount. I had no idea it could have saved us 10% at Artist Point last fall, which also would have been a not insignifcant amount of money.

The card also racks up Disney Dollars, redeemable for purchases throughout the parks and Disney Stores worldwide. I have no idea how many we've accumulated. I figure I'll check when I start planning our next adults only, non-park trip.

We've used the card's early shot at the Free Dining discount before, and many if not ll discounts are offered for a few days to cardholders prior to the general public. That's really helpful in getting the room you like in the resort you most prefer.

Here's a link to the Disney Visa site explaining all the perks and discounts. Give it a look, you might just find a way to save yourself some money!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

9 Days: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I hadn't realized this film was scheduled for this coming summer until the teaser trailer dropped this week. Now I'm really excited. Sure, you can hate on them for taking the Tower of Terror in Disneyland. I don't care, and besides, that ToT doesn't even work right. Come to Florida and experience the 5th dimension if it bothers you that much. And, sure, there are those upset they are rumored to be coming to Epcot with a roller coaster replacement for Universe of Energy. Get over it. Ellen is annoying, the ride has run its course and from the rumors, the coaster would be epic. And I don't wanna hear about "edu-tainment" either, that idea has been on the way out for years. I say if you own a franchise as cool as Guardians, you use it.

And they ARE cool, the Guardians. They aren't terribly super and they are pretty lousy heroes. They are misfits and freaks led by an over-compensating, socially inept geek. In other words, my kind of people. So move over and let them into my Happy Place.

The trailer is great, and I've pasted it at the bottom of this post for your amusement, but the truly exciting part is this photo.

Am I seeing some punk here? A lot of punk here? I'm telling you right now that if they put the Ramones on the Vol. 2 soundtrack, they've earned a Guardians fan-for-life here.