Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Disney Vacation, A to E

Since it would take me about 10,000,000 words and three weeks to blog each day, I thought I would break down our sensational vacation to Walt Disney World in 26 steps. One for each letter.

The set up... The Lovely Steph Leann and I traveled with Steph's parents, Ron & Ruth, in the big Yukon SUV. To heck with global warming. Traveling behind us was The Lovely Steph Leann's sister Angie, Angie's husband Randy and their two kids, Madeliene, 10, and Benjamin, 6. So, in a recap of 26 letters, here's our Disney Vacation, 2007.

A if for All Star Resorts
I love the All Star Resorts There are three, the All Star Music, the All Star Sports and the one we stayed in, All Star Movies. As nice as I'm sure the Animal Kingdom Lodge is, and we've seen the lobby portions of the Polynesian, the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian and assume they are awesome too, Disney rooms are mostly good for one thing... sleep. As long as the bed, the shower and the sink is clean, why spend a fortune on a room that you'll only spend perhaps six hours a day in, and you'll be asleep then anyway? At least for us, that's what we did. Spent all day in the park, sometimes late into the night, came back to the All Star Movies, room 5853, collapsed, and dragged ourselves up sometimes four hours later.

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The All Star Movies is broken into several sections, including Toy Story, 101 Dalmations, Herbie the Love Bug and where we stayed, Fantasia. No the movie, not that obnoxious screechy voiced American Idol chick.

B is for Beast (how not to get a picture)
The Lovely Steph Leann and I love character pictures. So, naturally, when we saw that Beast was with Belle, we got in line. Having already taken a picture with Belle at a breakfast a few days before, we were excited because I don't know that we've even taken a picture with the Beast. Here we are in line, we get a few families from the front, and its announced that Beast is going to be leaving, but will be back in 30 minutes, and Belle will stay. So we made the decision to not stick around, and walked down EPCOT.

A little while later, we hopped back in line for Beast, knowing that he had a few more minutes to return. He did return, in all his hairy, thick, probably sweltering costume splendor. And again, we got a few families from the front--two, I think--and it was announced that Beast would be leaving again to return in 30 minutes. Sigh. At this point, we couldn't wait around, because we had fast passes for Soarin', a ride that's very, very hard to get into, so we left the line again. And never got our Beast picture.

C is for Cast Members
The people who work for Disney don't work on the "floor", they work on a "stage". The backroom is not a "backroom", it's a "backstage". And employees are not employees, they are "Cast Members", who are putting on a show on "stage", be it as a character, or a show performer or a cashier. The Cast Members are awesome. All are informative, all are fun to talk to, just about everyone took an interest in pins that The Lovely Steph Leann and I had on, and we have many conversations about them and other things. There were a few that were in a hurry, or you could tell were having a bad day, but they were few and far between. You can tell they love their jobs, even the bus drivers, even though the pay isn't all that good.

D is for Digital Camera
Last summer, I saved up my bonus, and went to Best Buy to get me a camera. You may remember me chronicling the event in the column Amberly & the Digital Sell. And it worked just like I wanted it to... I wanted a camera I could carry in my pocket, load pictures onto a computer, take multiple snaps of the same thing and get rid of the ones that don't work. And my Sony Cybershot was perfect.

Random story... the first night we were there, my battery was dying, and I couldn't remember if I had packed the battery charger. When we arrived at All Star Movies, I opened up the luggage, and felt around, and couldn't find it... which meant the Lovely Steph Leann and I decided to go to Best Buy to get another one. I mean, what, $30? $40? And Best Buy was right up the road, right? We just passed a shopping center with Target, Best Buy, Kohls and more. So while the rest of the family went up to Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney, we hopped in the Yukon and was going to Best Buy. And we got so lost. Seriously.

We thought it was right up the parkway, then take a turn on the right and down that way, but as we went 'down that way' a little farther than we thought, we realized we didn't know where we were. It took us several minutes to even figure out which direction we came in from... the area map we were given didn't help us none, and after stopping at two Wal-Greens, plus about 5,388 turn arounds, we found it. I spent $65 on a Sony 3x Charger, the only one available for my camera. And then we discovered if we had gone straight, right on Osceola Parkway, we would have come across it quickly.

Then, to add insult to lost-ness, after dinner at Planet Hollywood (which was really good), I found my charger under some shirts in my luggage. Thankfully, I had not opened the new one, but we lost the receipt over the course of the week. Yahoo.

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Working the settings on my camera, I was able to take great shots of various things, like the castle.

E is for Everest
Its the newest ride in Animal Kingdom, called Expedition: Everest. On our first full day in Walt Disney World, it was Animal Kingdom we went to first, and we, like most everyone else, headed to the land of Asia to get on Everest. One of the great things about Disney is the theme and atmosphere they set up for the ride, this being a large mountain where a giant Yeti lives and terrorized climbers and visitors.

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Everest looms large, as we approached it. The ride is in the mountain and around.

We were actually near the front, and the ride was so-so for the first part. It trundles through a few twists and turns, and then hits a point where it stops, right before a big piece of track that is all mangled and ripped up. I'm thinking we're about to plummet forward, but we don't... we go backwards. And fast. The ride takes off backwards, then goes forward again later, and rips through the mountain at all sorts of banks and speeds. In a word, Awesome.

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On the ride. That's Ron Campbell in the front, arms outstretched, as we are about to enter the mountain.

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There was supposed to be a big animatronic Yeti who swoops down over the coaster, but we heard it wasn't working. Instead, we got the shadow. This was taken in the middle of the ride, right as its about to go forward again.

Coming soon... F is for Fast Pass... L is for Le Cellier... S is for Soarin'... and W, for Why Disney is Better than Six Flags

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