Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Magical but Exhausting Trip

Our First Night at Epcot
The books are not kidding when they say that a trip to Disneyworld is not a relaxing vacation. We returned Sunday night from our Disney extravaganza, and today both kids are laid up with colds, trying to recover before school starts tomorrow. But it was worth it because we had a great time. We hit each of the Disney parks at lest twice--and Epcot at least 5 times, because that's where the good food is! We also spent some time at the Universal Studios parks as well.

Gotta love the Cinderella Castle

Although it was very hot some days, it turned out to be a good time of year to go: the lines were extremely short most of the time, and the crowds weren't bad at all. Two or three times, we took a break in the middle of the day to go back to our hotel and swim, and then went to a different park for the evening (usually Epcot).

Before we left for this trip, Catgirl had repeatedly stated that she would not be riding any scary rides. It was a little frustrating for Rich and me, because we had visions of waiting in line for the teacup ride again. Oy.

On the first full day, we went to the Magic Kingdom, and Catgirl consented to ride Splash Mountain with us. This ride, in particular, was the one she had said for months that looked terrifying. She absolutely would not ride it the last time we were in Disney and she said she wouldn't ride it this time either, so we were pleasantly surprised when she changed her mind at the last minute. It's a great ride, with the whole Song of the South story and all the music, and the fall into the briar patch is awesome. We were so sure that she would enjoy it if we could just get her to try it. Well...
Splash Mtn from afar
Splash Mountain

...she loved it. And at that moment, a crazy Disney thrill-ride-seeker was born. After that, she wanted to go on everything. The Rock N Roller Coaster. The Tower of Terror. Summit Plummit, at Blizzard Beach (a five-story water slide, which you descend at about 50 mph, no tube). Dinosaur. Mission Space. Soarin' (one of our favorites). You name it, she and Mathboy were raring to go. Catgirl even wanted to ride the Hulk in Universal, but she did change her mind at the last minute about that one, and we did not blame her. Here is The Hulk, all seven loops and corkscrews of it:
The Hulk, Universal
Yikes. Once was more than enough for Rich and me, although Mathboy could have done it all day.

Here are Catgirl and Mathboy in the front car of Expedition Everest:
That's us in the Front!  Expedition Everest, Animal K.
I wish you could see them better, but trust me that they are there. The kids rode Everest six times, in the front car, the back car, the middle. Catgirl, Rich and I prefer the front, Mathboy likes the rough ride you get in the back. Man, that one is an incredibly good roller coaster. If you are in the front, or close to it, you get a tremendous view of Epcot and everything around there from the top--at the point where the Yeti has ripped up the tracks and you have to go back down through the mountain backwards, in the dark.

The Disney Imagineers should be really proud of Everest. Not only is it a great ride, the mountain they built for it is beautiful.
Mount Everest, Animal Kingdom

On the first day, as we were waiting for the Magic Kingdom to open, Rich bought Catgirl new mouse ears: Pirate Princess ears, with a pink kerchief. They were a riot, and they got her noticed by "cast members" (Disney-speak for their employees) all over. She got picked out to participate in the High School Musical street show, the Flights of Wonder bird show, the Monsters Inc comedy show, and all sorts of things. We also think her ears got us chosen to be the first family allowed into the Animal Kingdom on the day we went there. They gave us noisemakers to shake at the opening countdown and announced our names...
We get to Open Animal Kingdom!
...and we were able to race to the Safari so we got the first ride to see all the animals of "Africa." There was a lion. :o)
Lion in the Grass, Kilimanjaro Safari, Animal Kingdom

Just like our last visit to Disney, we all agree that we like Animal Kingdom the best of all the Disney parks. Beyond the fact that it has Everest, the whole park is so beautifully designed. I love the Tree of Life, and the design details on the walking trails are just amazing. Here's a meerkat standing guard on the Maharajah Walking Trail:
Meerkat Standing Guard 2, Animal Kingdom
And look at the awesome digs this tiger has:
Tiger Has Gorgeous Digs, Animal Kingdom

And here is the Tree of Life:
Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom
Clearly, this is no average zoo.

Well, I have many more pictures at my Flickr page, including some great pix of Universal. For example, here is one of Catgirl in Seuss Landing, at Universal Islands of Adventure, which we all really enjoyed.
Catgirl chooses Moose Juice, Thank you (Universal)
Go on over to Flickr to look at, oh, maybe another 150 pictures, if you like.

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