Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Orlando Vacation Recap 2012

Before we left, my friends and I (mostly them because I hadn't been to Disney since I was like 7) created an itinerary for all four days to make sure we hit everything that everyone wanted to see and do. I think I'm going to post the itinerary for each day, then do a summary of the highlights after each park, in case you want to skip the list and move right to the paragraphs, or vice versa.

OK, here we go.

Disney Day #1 - Friday, August 31

8:15 AM - arrive at Magic Kingdom
9 am - rope drop!!
-get FastPass for Splash Mountain
-meet back at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and ride
-Peter Pan
-Haunted Mansion
-Jungle Cruise
-meet Peter Pan and Tiana
-get a Dole Whip
-use Splash Mountain FastPass
-grab Space Mtn FastPass
-Buzz Lightyear
-Monsters Inc.
-Carousel of Progress
-Winnie the Pooh
-use Space Mountain FastPass
-Columbia Harbour House for lunch
-Hall of Presidents

Thanks to Disney's FastPass system, we accomplished a lot right away the first morning. We were able to get on all the rides we wanted without much of a wait except for Winnie the Pooh. That wait was one of our longer waits, and it was only 20 minutes although it felt like longer. While the rides were run extremely efficiently, the food service was consistently slow throughout the trip. Can't win 'em all, I guess!

I love animatronics or any attraction that makes you feel like you're actually there, which means I loved pretty much everything. The highlight was probably eating/drinking the pineapple Dole Whip float. This link describes them perfectly. These are not over hyped. They are amazingly delicious and refreshing on a hot day. Not only that, but they're also a pretty yellow color that I now want to match paint to and paint a bathroom in my house that color.

Space Mountain was probably the thing I was least looking forward to. The last time I had gone on this ride I was 7 or 8, and I HATED it. But I wanted to avenge my 7-year-old self, and I did! It wasn't so bad now, but I could see how it would be really scary for a kid.

I didn't know what I'd think about meeting the characters, but it was actually kind of fun. Peter Pan was just eh, but Tiana was really sweet.

-grab Tower of Terror FastPass
-ride Rock n Roller Coaster
-Great Movie Ride
-Little Mermaid
-Animation Building for characters
-Tower of Terror
-eat Mac and cheese hot dog
-Star Tours
-Beauty and the Beast?
-Toy Story Mania?
-Head to Epcot?
-do Whatever

After I was brave enough to conquer Space Mountain, I felt like I could take on the world, which is why I finally agreed to try Tower of Terror. The girls had been trying to convince me for MONTHS to do this ride, but I had refused stubbornly the whole time. Finally, I figured, how bad could it be? And I actually had fun!

The other highlight was when a group of people leaving the park offered us their Toy Story Mania FastPasses. That ride is super popular, and the FastPasses tend to run out right away, so this was some awesome luck we had. As for the low point, I pretty much hated Star Tours. It was a Star Wars themed simulator ride, and it made me nauseous, even after taking anti-nausea pills.

Oh, and I personally wouldn't recommend the mac and cheese hot dog. It's fine; it's just a little much. OK, it's a lot much.

Disney Day #2 - Saturday, September 1  

-arrive at 8:30-9 am
-Kilimanjaro Safari
-get Expedition Everest FastPass
-ride Expedition Everest
-ride Dinosaur
-see Finding Nemo: The Musical
-Expedition Everest
-Flame Tree BBQ for lunch
-meet Carl and Dug
-It's Tough to be a Bug
-Camp Minnie Mickey for characters (and lion king show if time)
-Kali River Rapids?

This was super hot day #1. I don't like zoos (which Animal Kingdom is not but close enough), so I was kind of dragging my feet through Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest and Dinosaur were a lot of fun, though, and It's Tough to Be a Bug made me jump a couple times.

Talking to Prince Naveen and Dr. Facilier
from The Princess and the Frog
Move to Epcot NO LATER THAN 3 PM
-Soarin (FP or ride)
-Spaceship Earth
-Dinner Reservation at Coral Reef at 4:40 PM
-Finding Nemo The Ride
-Captain EO
-Mission: Space
-Club Cool
-drink lots and dick around world showcase/future world/whatever
-Illuminations prob at 9:30

Epcot is just huge. Since it was such a hot day, it wore us out pretty quickly, but we did get to meet a couple characters like Naveen and Dr. Facilier and Mary Poppins. We also saw a lot of Finding Nemo that day between the musical at Animal Kingdom and the ride at Epcot.

Dinner at Coral Reef was definitely the highlight. Everything was so good - the drinks, the cheesy lobster pasta, and the chocolate wave dessert.

As you can see, we skipped a few things at Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Although our plan was to hang out in the countries and enjoy some adult beverages and gorge on food, we ended up calling it an early night instead and got some much-needed sleep.

Universal/Disney Day #3 - Sunday, September 2

Begin at Islands of Adventure at Rope Drop
-head to Harry Potter right away
-Forbidden Journey
-Dueling Dragons
-Butterbeer when we feel like it
-eat at some point
-Jurassic Park
-both water rides

We were all nice and well rested for our longest day. I began the day by excitedly speed-walking to Katie's and my home - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! (Katie lives in Hagrid's hut, and I live in the bedroom in the Dragon Challenge theming. By the way, does anyone know why there's a bed there? Because I don't.) It was good to be back.

The water rides here are some of my favorites. The two in Toon Lagoon get you so drenched that they would be more appropriate at a water park instead. I loved it, but my friends donned ponchos for both of those. Had it been either the day before or the day after, I would've dried right away, but Sunday ended up being the coolest day out of the four I believe.

-Rip Ride Rockit
-Despicable Me
-Makeup show
-Terminator II
-Movie/Cinema show???
-back to ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE for wand show/anything else we need to do again

After Islands, we walked next door to Universal Studios and started off with Rip Ride Rockit. That roller coaster is probably one of my favorites since you get to pick your own song to listen to while you ride. Even cooler than that, I spotted Kaley Cuoco (Penny from Big Bang Theory) getting on the ride! I couldn't tell if it was her at first, and I didn't have my phone with me, so I researched it afterwards and then told my friends about it. It was definitely her, though. Unfortunately, that was the only time I saw her; and from her Twitter, it looked like she left shortly after that.

Even though we didn't have fast passes for Universal, none of the waits were too terribly long, and I got to try the ET ride for the first time, which was cute. Erin decided that would be her home. The only one I skipped was Simpsons, which is another simulator ride that makes me want to ralph.

When we had hit all the Universal Studios attractions, we went back to the Harry Potter part of Islands to do a little shopping before heading back to Disney to finish off the night.

Head over to Magic Kingdom for Wishes/whatever else (MK now open until 11 PM...or 2 AM extra magic hours)

We were soooooo tired at this point, and I kept vacillating between having a good time and wanting to get out of there, go to bed, and never hear the phrase "it's a thing" again. ("It's a thing" was the theme of the trip.) But we saw the Wishes show from the side of the castle and also got on Splash Mountain (Theresa's home) after waiting nearly an hour in line (worth it!).

Disney Day #4 - Monday, September 3   

There's us four in the back row on the left (I'm in yellow)!

-grab fp first
-ride standby
-Tower of Terror
-Tower of Terror
-Tower of Terror
-Rock n Roller Coaster x 3 (haha jk....whatever we feel like doing really...)
-once Katie and Erin leave for their flight, Bek and I will head to MK (We did Animal Kingdom instead.)
-Eat dole whip
-Haunted Mansion

The original plan was to stampede for Toy Story Mania FastPasses first thing in the morning. Luckily, we didn't have to do that anymore since we got on the ride on Saturday. We ended up arriving at 11ish and started off the day with Tower of Terror, followed by Rock n Roller Coaster.

Then we grabbed a snack, said goodbye to Katie and Erin, and Theresa and I headed to Animal Kingdom to hit up Everest and Dinosaur again.

-buy Bek some drinks
-America Pavilion
-Rebekah for death.
(also...DIE DIE DIE.....I can't) (quote from Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

For our third and final park of the day, we went back to Epcot to walk around and chill. Except we didn't chill because it was the hottest day of the trip, so we tried to stay cool by walking into air-conditioned buildings and staying hydrated. We did some souvenir shopping, ate in America and France, and got to meet Belle and the Beast together. All throughout this, I was surprisingly chipper and not wanting to die, as we suspected might happen and documented in the itinerary.

All in all, it was a really fun but exhausting trip. The only thing I can really complain about is my luggage getting lost on the way home. Apparently, it's in Atlanta and will be back here shortly, but that made for a bummer end of the trip at 1 AM on Tuesday. Somewhere along the way, I also lost my keys (that was probably my fault), and Nate and Bridget ended up picking me up at the airport. I felt bad for waking them up, but at least I got to see them sooner. Gotta look on the bright side, right? Sure.

Photos: Some are mine, and some I grabbed from my friends' facebook albums.


  1. lol you didn't talk about the market research gone awry!!!

    1. Haha, I thought about it, but I didn't know if it violated the confidentiality agreement. Which of course, I didn't read.

  2. We actually went on Spaceship Earth at Epcot. That was the one that took our picture and then created our future at the end.

    1. Ohhhh yeah, that's right. I'll fix that. I should've remembered that with the derpy picture I ended up with.

  3. Easy Dole Whip recipe:

    1. Orrr you can buy a bag of the stuff here for $21 (includes shipping and it makes 288 ounces):

    2. That bag mix is only for commercial use, but I'll definitely have to try the first recipe you posted. Pinning that for later.

    3. From what I've read on-line, people have been able to use it in their home machines, but I'm sure it depends on how good of one you have, haha. I want to try making the recipe even though I've never had the original, they look good in your photo.

    4. You should! I don't know exciting they'd be now that it's cold out, but they were the best, most refreshing things ever when it was 90 degrees.

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