Saturday, October 29, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

This is the 4th post of my Disney trip report! To start from the beginning, click here!

Our day dawned bright and sunny, which made me happy. Today was the day we were going to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and I didn't want it to rain. I've been to the party twice and had good weather, but I had heard horror stories about trying to do the party in torrential rain. In fact, that had happened earlier this Halloween season. This was what Emily was most looking forward to so I wanted it to go well.

But the party wasn't until the evening. We slept in a bit and then headed back over to Ohana for our breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, since this is the only place you can meet Lilo. It took us a while to get seated but we were pretty much in the same spot we were when we had dinner a few nights previously.

The food was very yummy, and we had a chance to eat before the characters arrived at our table. It took them a while to make their way around. Emily was very excited to meet Lilo and Stitch. Mickey and Pluto were also there in their finest Hawaiian attire.

After we had eaten our fill and met all four characters, we headed back to the resort. Emily swam a bit and then we both took a nap. She tried to tell me that she didn't need a nap but I knew she wouldn't make it halfway through the party without some sleep.

I dressed up in my Tightrope Girl costume and Emily put on her Jasmine costume, then we headed off to the bus stop. We had to wait a bit, but then we were on our way. We got into the Magic Kingdom a little before 4 pm and got our wristbands for the party!

We got our picture taken with the Castle behind us, and then used our Fastpass to meet Tinkerbell who was really sweet. We also went to get our special party Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card.

After watching some of the castle stage show, we went to Fantasyland. We rode on the Teacups, which made me very dizzy, and then went on the Pooh ride.

Then it was time to go to the Haunted Mansion. I had Emily take pictures of me outside of it while I was Tightrope-d up. I got compliments on my costume all night which annoyed Emily a little. She had gotten used to get all the attention!

It was nearing party time but Emily wanted to ride on Dumbo. It's one of her favorite rides and I love the view as we soared way up high. The music tolled while we were in that area of the park to let us know the party had officially begun. The gift shop right by Dumbo was the one that was selling the pins you could only get at the party.

They had several to pick from, but I chose the Hocus Pocus one. It's really awesome! We headed to the hub to get a spot for the parade. We nabbed a really close one that was right in front of the castle. Emily held our place and I went to get us a snack.

Thankfully the weather held out and we got to see the Headless Horseman take his ride in front of the parade. Emily loved the parade even though Dr. Facilier talked to her and freaked her out. I thought it was interesting since he's from one of her favorite Disney movies.

We didn't have to wait too long before the Hocus Pocus stage show started up. Even though I'm pretty short, I could see fine. Sadly, Emily is still a kid and she couldn't see very well. So I had to pick her up. My kid is eight and she's heavy! But I managed to hold her for most of the show (I had to take some breaks), so all that weight training I did paid off in a big way!

There was some time before the fireworks were going to start, so we went to Tomorrowland to have some dinner. When we had entered the park, we had been directed to a treat or trick spot and we got a special bag that already had candy in it. So Emily wanted to check out her loot as well.

After we ate, we had a bit of time left so we went on the Tomorrowland Speedway. Those cars are really hard to get in and out of when wearing a hoop skirt and a corset. Emily is a very poor driver, though she started getting the hang of it. She had a blast being able to drive, though I had to push the pedal because she's too short.

We got back to the hub right as the castle projection show started. It was really awesome, and neither
Emily  nor I had seen it before. Then it was time for Hallowishes, the fireworks show. This is my all-time favorite fireworks show ever, and Emily loved it as well.

I had wanted to ride the Haunted Mansion but Emily said that it would be too scary. So we pretty much hung out in Tomorrowland. We hit some trick or treat spots, a couple of them several times. At one, the cast members gave her several big handfuls of candy because she was wearing her birthday button.

We did pretty much all the rides we wanted to in Tomorrowland. We went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which seemed dated to me, but Emily loved it. Partly because she ended up kicking my butt by a large margin.

I wanted to ride the PeopleMover but Emily wasn't too sure. Once we were on it, she loved it! PeopleMover is really really relaxing, and the views of Tomorrowland are really great especially that late at night. We got to see the dance party from up high, which was fun, though Emily didn't want to go and dance with the characters from Monster's Inc.

The last thing we did was the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, which was funny. Emily thought it was much funnier than I did but it was enjoyable. There was about a half hour left of the party at that point but Emily was tired and wanted to go back to the resort.

I was actually surprised at how well she had done because it was well past her bedtime. The party was wonderful, and we didn't get rained on at all. I'm really thankful that I had picked that party because the ones later that week got canceled because of the hurricane.

Up Next - Rest Day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Hollywood Studios!

This is the 3rd post of my Disney trip report! To start from the beginning, click here!

Even though we were in the Disney bubble, and enjoying ourselves quite a bit. I was still keeping an eye on what Hurricane Matthew was doing. I'd check the weather channel app at least several times a day. I truly hoped that we could continue to enjoy our vacation while staying safe.

We headed off to Hollywood Studios and made it right after they opened. Emily got to walk the red carpet because she was in her Elsa dress. I sadly didn't get any pictures because she was being shy and wanted me to hold her hand.

Every single time I go to Hollywood Studios I get turned around and lost. Mostly because of the way the park is laid

First thing we did was Toy Story Mania. Last trip, we were in line for over an hour. It's a fun ride but not worth an hour's wait. This time, we only waited about ten minutes. It was fun and Emily ended up beating me!

After that, we headed over to Star Tours. The waits were still short so we rode it twice in a row. We did have a fastpass the first time. The Jedi Academy show was also going on, but Emily did not want to watch it. Despite loving Darth Vader at home, and having just bought a Kylo Ren tsum tsum, she was afraid to be anywhere near any Sith Lords.

So we left the Star Wars area and headed to Hollywood and Vine for our lunch reservation. We don't have cable at home anymore, but Emily still watches the Disney Junior shows on our streaming devices. Last trip, Sofia the First was just starting to do meet and greets and Doc McStuffins wasn't doing them at all. So Emily had requested that we do the Disney Junior character meal, even though she thought she was too old to go to the Disney Junior show that they have at this park.

We got there before our 11 am reservation time but got seated
right away. The buffet ended up being a combination of breakfast and lunch because they were doing the changeover, so that was yummy. Emily was excited to see all the characters and we both got filled up.

After we were done eating, we headed back to the resort to take a break. We watched TV and Emily changed into her Star Wars dress because she was getting too hot in her Elsa costume. After a bit of rest, we headed back to Hollywood Studios.

We went to the Frozen Sing-A-Long show, which was really fun. And then we met Olaf, which was one of Emily's favorite meet and greets we had this trip. He was really cute!

Then we had to go to the Muppet 3D show, which was awesome as usual. Both Emily and I love that show. From there, we went on the Great Movie Ride, which was interesting.

Now when Emily was 4, almost 5, she wasn't scared of the Great Movie Ride at all. Not even the
scene when the Alien comes down. But this time, she was freaked right out. What scared her was when the gangster took over our car. She was seriously afraid this girl was going to shoot us, even though I kept telling her it wasn't real.

But we made it through and she was fine. Great Movie Ride is one of my favorites so I was a mean mom and made her go on it. Especially since she had liked it just fine when she was much smaller!

We had done everything we wanted to and the sun was starting to set. So we headed over to find a spot to see Fantasmic! I had never seen this show because events always conspired against me. On my honeymoon, we were seated in the arena and were being rained on. Because of the weather, they canceled the show that night.

On our last trip, Hollywood Studios was our last park day and Emily was just worn out. So even though I had a fastpass for Fantasmic, we didn't see it because she was too tired.

So I was determined to see it this trip! I planned our Hollywood Studios day earlier in the week and I
watched the weather like a hawk. It paid off this time! While we were waiting for the show to start, the Star Wars fireworks went off behind us. We couldn't really see anything beyond the higher shooting fireworks but it helped pass the time.

The show was worth the wait and went off without a hitch, even though it did start sprinkling in the middle. But's partly a water show, with barges floating around for the different scenes. I admit that I got tears in my eyes at the finale when Sorcerer Mickey shows up.

Unfortunately, we were about halfway down and all the way over because of having fastpasses. So it took forever to get out and back to the bus stop. Each resort has a queuing area at the bus stops. At the end of the night, the lines can be long, but nothing like it was once we finally got there.

Our resort's line was much, much longer than the other lines. And boy howdy, people were starting to get mad. Emily was tired and cranky, but she's a kid and she whined less than some of the adults in line.

What had happened was the Art of Animation bus that was at our queue had broken down. Since the park had been closing, tons of people were trying to get back to the resort which resulted in long lines. We did have to wait a while, but they ended up bringing a bunch of buses in from other parks to get everyone back.

Finally we got back to our resort and then our room, and we pretty much both passed out right away!

Next up - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Epcot!

This is the 2nd post of my Disney World trip report. To start from the beginning, click here!

We got up bright and early the next day to head off to Epcot. Emily was especially excited because this was her first ever visit to Epcot. We actually got on the bus early enough that we made it through bag check and the entrance gate before the park actually opened.

After a brisk walk, we made it to the Norway pavilion which is home to the new Frozen ride. Even though we made it there right about the time the park was opened, we still had about a 20 minute wait. That was ok because the queue area was very cool and it went by quickly.

Right now, Frozen Ever After is the most popular ride at Disney World. It was a great ride and of course, Emily loved it. As I would check wait times throughout the day, I noticed that for this ride the wait times went up and up and up. It was close to an hour wait when we got off the ride. I honestly wouldn't want to wait more than a 1/2 hour to ride it.

After we looked in the gift shop, we headed over to the line for the Anna and Elsa meet and greet. The queue for that was really cool as well, we were in their Summerhaus and it looked like a real house! Emily was thrilled to meet both Anna and Elsa for the first time. They were both lovely and Anna loved that Emily was dressed in an Anna costume.

We did some more shopping after that. Emily still had money on her gift card and it was burning a hole in her pocket. She got herself, among other things, an Elsa doll. She had to go and get Anna later that day.

After a snack we headed off for our fastpass for the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Emily loved the ride and she really enjoyed looking at the tanks once we were in the aquarium itself. What she loved most was watching a dolphin swimming around and around. I think if I had let her, she would have stayed and watched that dolphin all day!

At this point it was nearing lunchtime, so we headed back to our resort. After having some food and taking a relaxing dip in the pool we headed back to Epcot a few hours later. Our first stop was to see Baymax, whose line was really short. The line for Joy and Sadness, on the other hand was very long, so we didn't get a chance to meet them.

We had a fastpass for the other side of the Epcot Character Spot, so we used that to meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. From there, we headed off to World Showcase.  We had a little time before our dining reservation in China, so we went to go shopping in Japan.

The store in the Japanese Pavilion is amazing! Emily loved it because the first thing we saw when we walked in was Pokemon stuff. She got a stuffed Pokemon and some Pokemon cards. Then we went to get Japanese candy! Some pocky, some gummies and a few other things.

By this time, we were cutting it a little close so we hurried to China which was on the other end of the World Showcase. Our dinner at Nine Dragons was ok, but I don't think we'll be going there again anytime soon.

After dinner, we had some time before our Test Track fastpass so we went  did some things in World Showcase. We went back to Norway to get her Anna doll and she also went to the Kidcot station to color a Duffy which was on a stick. She also got a stamp on it.

Next we went to Mexico where she did the Kidcot station there and then we went on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros ride. Emily loved this ride and I loved that it had no wait. Even though she wanted to ride it again and see Donald Duck's exploits through Mexico it was time for Test Track.

This was the ride Emily was most looking forward to. On the Disney planning DVD, it shows that you get to build your own car in the ride. We had fastpasses and we were quickly to the screens to build our custom car. It was basically Emily's car because she designed it without a lot of help from me.

The first part of the ride was doing tests and seeing whose car did the best. Emily and I's car did get number 1 for something. I don't remember what. I do know that our car was not environmentally friendly at all. Emily had a need for speed.

Once the tests were done, our car sped outside for the thrilling finale around the track. Emily wasn't scared at all and loved the thrill of it. Afterwards she declared that Test Track was her favorite ride ever!

Now we have gotten to the part of the day where I really screwed up. Emily really wanted to ride the Imagination Ride with Figment. I had checked the park
schedule earlier and didn't see that this ride closed at 7 pm. Which I didn't find out until we were walking to the ride.

I felt really bad for Emily because it was my fault. She has pretty much spent all of her money at this point, but had really wanted a Marie stuffed animal. So to make up for missing out on Figment, I bought her that toy. It cheered her up.

After that, we got in line to ride Spaceship Earth. I hadn't rode it since I was a kid because it was down for rehab when Todd and I went on our honeymoon. It was really awesome and Emily liked it so much that we went right back on. We had time to kill before our Soarin' fastpass and there was no line at that time for Spaceship Earth.

Our last ride of the night was Soarin'. Emily wasn't too sure about it but I really wanted to ride because it was the new Soarin' Around The World. Emily screamed a few times but said afterwards that she really enjoyed it.

Even though it was time for fireworks, Emily was tuckered out so we went back to our resort. Emily loved Epcot a lot!

Up Next - Hollywood Studios!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - Traveling and 45th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom

 It's been nearly a week since Emily and I returned from our girl's only Disney World trip. It was very interesting, in part because of Hurricane Matthew. I'll take you through each day of our trip through this trip report!

Though this first post is going to to include two days. Because I have never made the drive down to Disney without Todd, I opted to take two days to make the trip. I'm not a great driver and being in the car makes me sleepy. Plus we left on Friday, September 30th, and I wanted to make sure Emily was in school for the majority of that day.

I packed up the car in the morning, and then worked for a few hours. I picked Emily up from school a half hour early, mostly so I wouldn't have to deal with the car rider line of doom.

I had made reservations at a Ramada Inn in GA that was about 6 hours into the trip for that night. By the time we got there, I was pooped. The guy at the front desk was nice, but he kept telling me that there were other
hotels close by that were better. It was odd because he kept putting down his place of work which is a huge no-no usually.

I opted to stay there because I was pooped. The room was a bit musty but it was fine. Emily passed out right away and I got a decent amount of sleep. We were only there about 8 hours, just to sleep, because I had wanted to get on the road early.

Emily woke up around 6 am and her waking up woke me up. We were on the road again before 7 am. The reminder of the drive was easy and I was happy that we didn't run into a ton of traffic once we got to Orlando.

Like last trip, we stayed at the new Art of Animation resort. Since it was just me and Emily this time, we stayed in the Little Mermaid section which is the only part of the resort that has regular rooms instead of suites. We checked in and even though it was before noon, our room was ready! I'm really glad it was - that way we unloaded
the car before we headed to the park.

We had a great room. It was on the top floor of the Ursula building and we had a pool view! The room was nice. Not huge, but plenty of room because it was just the two of us. It made for a nice home for the week.

Emily had requested that we ride the monorail this trip so I decided that we would spend a little time at the Magic Kingdom before we used the monorail to go to dinner. 

It was also the exact date of Magic Kingdom's 45th anniversary. It seemed fitting that we go there. We got a free button for the 45th anniversary which was a cool souvenir. Since we weren't there for the park opening we didn't see anything else that was specific for the anniversary.

We used a fastpass to do Enchanted Tales with Belle. This was one of Emily's favorite things from last trip. It's not really a ride or a character meet - it's an experience. You are transported to the day that Belle and Beast fell in love. We meet up with Belle before she has dinner with the Beast and people are picked to act out Belle's story (to that point). After that, the actors get their picture with Belle, but no autographs.

Emily got picked to be Belle's father, Maurice. She was thrilled to have a part more than a dish. I didn't have a part but I just sat in the back taking pictures. There was a family there who got really
upset with the cast member who was working the show when they were told that Belle doesn't sign autographs here. They actually stormed out in the middle of it with their small kid in tow.

After that, we found a spot to see the new Festival of Fantasy Parade which was amazing! We had to leave after that, though we got stuck on Main Street by the parade before we could exit the park and use the monorail to head to the Polynesian Resort.

We had dinner at Ohana, which is my favorite table service restaurant in Disney World. We had a castle view, and I'm pretty sure we were seated pretty close to where Todd and I were 9 years ago on our honeymoon.

The food was delicious as always, and the bread pudding for dessert was so excellent I may have stuffed myself too much. We waddled our way back to Magic Kingdom where we rode
"It's A Small World.".

Our original plan was to stay in the Magic Kingdom to see the Main Street Electrical Parade, but after we got done with Small World the sky opened up and it started pouring! I had forgotten to put my umbrella in my bag so we got soaked. We made our way up Main Street, to our Fastpass with Talking Mickey.

Meeting Mickey and talking with him was magical but it was still pouring when we got done so we opted to head back to the resort for the night. I have no idea if the parade went on that night but I was soaked and I just wanted to take a hot shower. Plus we had an early day the next day.

Up next - Epcot!