Thursday, November 18, 2010

It truly is the happiest place on Earth! - MEGA DISNEY BLOG!

Before you read this, remember, Jeremy writes in BLUE and Asha writes in purple.  Just so you don't get confused. Also, just to warn you, this isn't called a "MEGA DISNEY BLOG" for no reason. This thing is lengthy and we don't mind if you split it up between days to read. Enjoy!

So on my personal lists of "Best Trips/Vacations I've Ever Been On", going to Disney World ranks #2. It would've been amazing going there as a kid due to my love for Disney movies, but going for the first time as an adult brought, what I think, a different appreciation for the parks. Walking through each park and witnessing the insane amount of detail Disney puts into everything in each of their parks, and seeing the joy on other people's faces (the majority of them foreigners) just made me so happy. Seeing the popular rides and characters just brought sooooo many memories, it took me back to childhood. So for a week, I got to enjoy being a kid again.

(I'm going to try and talk about each park, but keep it as short as possible. No need to read a novel or anything here)

We started off with the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Relay race. It was actually really fun. I was disappointed with how many participants didn't dress up, but their enthusiasm was more than uplifting. And trust me, I needed that enthusiasm because I had never ran over 3 miles before (and I did that for the first time earlier this year!).  In the end, Asha and I finished in 234th place, haha (out of 602). I was just happy to finish the race, so the finishing place really didn't mean much to me. Again, it was a fun time. If you aren't already, go friend request Asha and look at the pictures from the race (and the entire time down there). You will be entertained.

So the first day was spent at Magic Kingdom. This is when I traveled back in time to my childhood. Magic Kingdom probably has the most recognizable sites usually seen on TV or in movies, so it was a great place to start (thanks, Asha). I'll go ahead and get this out of the way - Space Mountain was the best ride there (side note: Didn't get to ride Pirates of the Caribbean due to technical difficulties. I'll judge that one next time I'm down there). On Space Mountain, you pretty much ride in complete darkness. It was fast and fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. The other thing I really liked there was the Monter's Inc. show. It was set up as a comedy show and instead of screams (like in the movie) they used laughter to generate their power. It was an interactive show which placed audience members on screen to talk and react to the Monster's jokes. Best part about it all... I got on screen. Yup, I'm pretty much a celebrity (oh you don't believe me?! Peep my youtube debut for the best university this side of the Mississippi! Go to the 25 second mark and you'll find me. If you can't spot me... well then you're just blind - side note: quite possibly the corniest video ever created). 


Anyway, there was also lots of dancing at Magic Kingdom. The parades were pretty cool and it was nice to see so many Disney characters at once. Asha danced with Mr. Incredible (the character, not me) during one of the parades. It was pretty sweet. I didn't get jealous because they were some pretty terrible dance moves. Overall, very fun place. definitely captures everything that is Disney in that park and it was the perfect place to start.

Dancin' with Mr. Incredible

With Walt and Mickey
Day 2 on our Disney adventure landed us at Hollywood Studios! I DEFINITELY liked this one. When we entered the park, we bolted straight to the TOWER OF TERROR! I was actually EXTREMELY excited for this ride. Asha built it up to be nearly the scariest thing she's ever experienced and there was a cool sign advertising the ride as you entered the park. I've seen this ride on tv shows and commercials soooooo many times. I think the memory that sticks out the most is the episode of Family Matters when they were at Disney World and Grandma, little Richie, Rachel, and maybe a couple of the other Winslows went on the ride and afterward, Grandma was the only person not flustered. She kept it 'G' and wanted to go on it again. Thanks to that scene, I knew I HAD to get on that ride. Anyway, we finally get on the ride. My heart is racing with anticipation and excitement. By the way, I'm not a big fan of straight drops, so that was a little more nervousness added in. As I'm strapped in tightly, I've also got Asha clutching my arm hard enough to stop the blood flow down to my finger tips. The ride finally starts and we go up and down and up and down and up and down... and then it was over. Honestly, it wasn't that bad at all. Was I disappointed? No. I just expected the absolute worse. 

Hollywood Studios!
Also in Hollywood Studios was the section on Pixar and movie creation in general. I really liked the Pixar area because... well I really like the Pixar movies. I still remember when Toy Story came out, I said to myself, "man... that looks real." Well, that statement is still true for me with every Pixar movie released since then, so it was quite a treat to see a small glimpse into the animation process (Jeremy fact: way back in the day I wanted to be a cartoonist. Part of me still wants to be one, but computers have taken over so I'm good with making specialty, custom cards and doodling for kids.)

With Frozone and Mr.Incredible
One more awesome thing happened in Hollywood Studios. I got to star in another show! (I'm tryin' to tell y'all... I'm a celebrity!) This show was basically about how movies are shot scene by scene, then later joined together for your viewing pleasure. So in this "movie" I was the brave and courageous captain of a ship. I had a small crew and we were attacked by enemy forces! There were bombs and explosions and general craziness (I won an Emmy for it, no big deal, it's what I do).  

Captain Jeremy
Proof of the emmy

(My turn!)  

We were trying to do two parks that day so we rushed through Hollywood Studios as quickly as possible.  Our next stop was Epcot.  We get to Epcot and our tickets don't work!!  The tickets that I ordered didn't come in right.  I originally ordered hopper passes so that we could go visit each park as we please.  Instead, I received 5 day Disney passes where you could only visit one park per day.  Problem is, we only had  3 days for Disney.  Lady at the hotel told us we could just use the Disney ticket twice in one day and it would equal out.  She was WRONG.  We ended up going to Epcot later....

Animal Kingdom was next on our list.  I was pretty excited for this park.  It's been my favorite in the past but this time it was just too crowded.  It seemed like everyone wanted to go to Animal Kingdom at the same time.  We did experience some cool stuff there though. We hopped aboard the Safari ride where we saw elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and other animals.  We then made our way to go see The Lion King show.  We had high expectations since we had seen the Broadway this past January.  They did an awesome job.  It was a totally different show but a very cool experience.  Another cool show we saw at Animal Kingdom was Finding Nemo the Musical.  They did a good job making this movie into a musical.  Very catchy songs.

The Lion King

Finding Nemo the Musical

Top rides at Animal Kingdom were 'Expedition Everest' and 'Dinosaur'. Expedition Everest, or "The Yeti" as Jeremy would like to call it was a fast moving, going backwards, don't know what's next ride.  Very cool.  Dinosaur was our other favorite. I've ridden it 3 times and it still scares the crap outta me.  I still love it though.

Oh yeah, how could I forget?  Jeremy went off and proposed to Pocahontas!  RUDE!!  She did have some cute moccasins though. 

Asha = Jealous

Day 4 and 5 led us to Universal Studios.

And back to me... Universal Studios was fun. I had actually been there before, but I was in middle school the last time I was there. I should also point out that I CONSTANTLY get rides at Universal and Hollywood Studios mixed up. Asha has to repeatedly correct me, but she keeps me straight. So anyway, I liked Universal because it's filled with familiar things. We got there and immediately took a ballin' picture with Alex and the Penguins from Madagascar. Got some more pictures with Scooby Doo and Shaggy, and Homer Simpson. [Homer also succeeded in scaring the crap out of me.  He thought it would be funny to jump at me when I got up to him.  I ran back to Jeremy who was taking the picture.  Not cool Homer, not cool.]  Speaking of the Simpsons... the Simpsons ride was unexpectedly fun. It was an inside ride (wave of the future, I tell ya!) that basically rocked you back and forth as if you were on a roller coaster. Next we went on to the Men In Black ride. That was fun shootin' up aliens (Asha scored higher than me... pretty sure my noisy cricket was defective). [No, I was better than Jeremy.  He just doesn't want to admit it.] All in all, Universal has lots of fun, random things (example: mini concert from the Blues Brothers) and plenty of kodak moment spots. 

Cutting back in.  My favorite ride at Universal was Revenge of the Mummy (another inside ride).  It was fast, and dark, and just cool.  It even had fire!  One ride that was surprisingly fun was 'Disaster'.  It was cool because it took you behind the scenes of how to create disaster films.  They picked random people from an audience and showed how you put the movie together.  It was a longer wait (well, what felt long to us because we didn't really know what it was) but definitely worth it. Oh yeah, they had Christopher Walken guide you through the process at times.  He was showed as a projection but at times, he really did look real.  Technology amazes me.

Universal Studios!

Ballin' with Alex and The Penguins from Madagascar


Here come the Men In Black (clap clap)

The next day we ventured over to Island of Adventure, probably one of my favorite theme parks on the planet. Then, amazingly, one of my favorite theme parks on the planet got even BETTER by adding the new Hogwarts area and Harry Potter rides!! I don't know what the best part of the Hogwarts area was, but man... that butter beer was DELICIOUS! It was kinda like creme soda with some vanilla foamy, creamy stuff that just tickled my taste buds. I don't remember the name of it, but the Harry Potter ride (also inside... just sayin') was the highlight of the park.  [it's called 'Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey'].  I'm not even a huge Harry Potter fan, but that ride was supa tight! I'm going to go ahead and give that ride the title of "Jeremy's favorite ride of the trip" because:
  1.  It was unexpectedly great
  2. Great use of new technology
  3. The ride more than made up for the really long wait in line
You should have seen our picture on that ride.  My face was terrified.  I think it was taken when those dumb, huge spiders were attacking us.  Or when Lord Voldemort was trying to take over.  He scares me.  Not cool Harry, not cool.
    So yeah, moving on, the dueling dragons ride was tight, but the next best ride in the park was THE HULK! Asha and I sat right in the front for that one. I loved how it started with a the slow incline for about 4 seconds, then bolted. Moving on - I was supremely disappointed in the fact that we didn't have ANY superheroes out to take pictures. My heart cried. Very disappointing.

    Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey--Best Ride there!

    Butterbeer! Yummmm.

    Butterbeer Stache.
    Welcome to Hogwarts!

    On our last day, we decided to hit up Epcot before we left for home. It was a quick trip through the park since we ended there after our race AND we couldn't go there when we originally planned. I liked the ride inside the huge ball. It was basically a journey through the history (and future) of civilization. It was an entertaining history lesson, but the best part was the end (not because it was over). Before the ride started, they took a picture of you and later, you answered some basic, somewhat vague, questions about your lifestyle (what interests you, what chores you don't like, etc.). Well, the final portion of the ride was a quick video of "the future" which included your picture on a little body doing (or not doing) things according to your lifestyle answers. It was funny, got some good chuckles. Honestly, other than that, I don't really remember much about Epcot (guess that's saying something). I just remember that ride and Asha and I searching for a park photographer (never found one).

    One thing I remember about Epcot was waiting in line for the ride 'Soarin'.  The line took FOREVER but they had these interactive games on this wall to entertain you.  You played a different game every 5 minutes.  It had motion sensors so you had to use your body to do certain things like....clapping your hands to pop bubbles, or leaning right and left to finish a race.  It was better than just standing there so props to Disney on trying to entertain you while you wait in the monstrous lines.


    Future Jeremy

    Future Asha

    Future morning together

    How appropriate...."The Beginning of your future".  I think we'll add that to our wedding invitations.

    Overall grade: A++++++++++++++++++++++ I had so much fun and I'm glad I was able to get down there with Asha. We took GREAT pictures, ate some DELICIOUS food, and were able to act like kids again. It was awesome and now I can check one off of the "Life Goals" list because I FINALLY got to experience the happiest place on Earth!

    Mickey and Minnie treated us well while we were at Disney.  I think they deserve an invite to the wedding :)