Monday, October 25, 2010

Salmonella Meet the Mouse

On Friday afternoon, my younger sister Samantha and her best friend Ellie arrived in Orlando, Florida to visit me at Disney World.  Because they were flying alone, I had to meet them at the gate.  At first I thought I was going to get there late because of security, but Orlando's security isn't too bad.  I saw them coming off the plane and noticed they had made matching Disney World shirts.  It was adorable.  From the airport, we headed straight to the hotel, All-Star Movies.  When we checked in, the girls both got 1st Visit buttons and Samantha got a Happy Birthday button.

After getting to our room, we walked around All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music.  We all had a lot of fun taking pictures around the resort and talking to some of the life guards I know.  For dinner, we went to Downtown Disney with my friend Jenna.  I wanted to take them to T-Rex, but because of the line, we ended up going to Rainforest Cafe instead.  It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious.  Jenna and I both got steak and shrimp platters.  Yum!

Saturday we were up pretty early to get to Disney's Hollywood Studios at 8:00AM for Extra Magic Hours.  Needless to say, it was the earliest I've ever been to a Disney park, but we got a lot done.  We met a handful of characters and the girls got to do a lot of the rides.  They especially loved Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster.  Jenna met us at the park when the regular hours started.  That made it a lot more fun because then I had a buddy for the rides!  We did most of the rides and saw both The Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Ellie's favorite) and The Beauty and the Beast (my favorite).

After six hours at the park, we dropped Jenna off so she could watch the Nebraska game (time well wasted) and we went back to the hotel to swim.  Since Magic Kingdom was open until 12:00AM, we planned on getting there at 6:00.  After some showers and a quick bite to eat, it was off to the next park.

Getting to Magic Kingdom is always such a long process.  We drove to the parking lot, took the tram to the transportation center, then took the monorail to the park.  I guess it would have been nice to go to this park first since it's what people think of when they hear Disney World, but with Extra Magic Hours, it just worked better this way.  We went straight to Mickey's Toontown Fair to meet the princesses.  Since we were there so late, they were the only characters that were out--that we hadn't met already.  We did Pirates of the Caribbean (and I actually almost had to use my life guard skills while in line, but luckily the cast members working had it covered).  We saw Disney's Electrical Parade--with characters like Tinkerbell, Alice, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan & Captain Hook, of course Cinderella & Prince Charming.  Even Puff the Magic Dragon was there!  After the parade, we watched Wishes--Magic Kingdom's fireworks show.  It was actually the first time I had seen either, so that was a lot of fun for me too.  When the fireworks finished, we rode Space Mountain--which the girls loved--and did Haunted Mansion before heading back to the hotel.

At the end of Saturday, our character count was 14 between the two parks.  Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to meet Tinkerbell, but she is in a picture with it counts, right?

Sunday it was back to the grind, bright and early.  We had two parks to tackle still and no time to waste.  We ate breakfast at the hotel before heading out to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  While we were there, we met a handful of new characters and did the best of the rides--Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kilimanjaro Safari.  We were going to see either Finding Nemo: The Musical or The Festival of the Lion King, but I decided to surprise Ellie instead.  The character she wanted to meet the most was Ariel, from the Little Mermaid.  Unfortunately, at 4:30, she loses her legs and goes back to the ocean, so we didn't get to meet her when we were at Magic Kingdom on Saturday.  So we skipped the Animal Kingdom shows and went back to Magic Kingdom just to meet her.  We also did the Swiss Family Robinson tree house.

After Magic Kingdom round 2, we went to Epcot--my personal favorite.  We did a few of the rides, but we went all the way around the World Showcase to meet the rest of the characters we could.  The girls didn't like Epcot that much, but we didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked.  Ellie chose to eat dinner in the Japanese pavilion, so Sam tried sushi for the first time.  Jenna met us for dinner and before leaving the park, we rode Spaceship Earth one more time.  We would have stayed for the fireworks show--IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth--but Jenna and I had a few more tricks up our sleeve.

As we got into the car, Jenna asked if we could still stop by her work--Yacht & Beach Club.  I said yes, then asked the girls if it was okay if we went by there.  Of course they said yes.  We drove over there and as I parked, I told them it would probably take a while, so they should come in.  We walked through the lobby and over by the pool...  To stand in line to get a table at Beaches and Cream.  Neither Sam nor Ellie asked any questions, which both Jenna and I found a little odd.  They seated us at the counter and Sam mentioned the big bucket of ice cream we had passed.  I said, "Oh, that's crazy." as I took her menu, telling her she wouldn't need it.  The waiter came by and I said, "We'll have four waters and the Sink."  Ten minutes later an actual kitchen sink full of ice cream and an entire can of whipped cream was sitting in front of us.  The girls just about died.  The wait staff said we made it farther than most families of six.  And I would like to personally thank Ellie for that!

They were thrilled for the rest of the night, but we had to call it a day.  We had to get up early again for their flight.  The total count for the character meet and greet for day two was 21!  Plus we saw Belle again.

On Monday, we were already off to a rocky start when I let the girls sleep in too long.  We had to wait until the gift shop opened up at 8:00 anyway, so they could stock up on souvenirs.  Next thing I know, I miss the turn for the airport and had to drive about five miles out of the way to add up to a couple more minutes behind schedule.  When we got to the airport and saw the line to check in for Southwest, I started to get nervous.  The people in front of us were obnoxiously impatient and rude to everyone, so it was easy to keep my mouth shut.  Once we finally checked in, the woman said, "Good luck.  It's about 47 minutes to go through security right now."  I looked at the clock...50 minutes to go.  Panic mode!!!  Well, thanks a lot lady because it was only 15 minutes.  And we made to the gate with about 20 minutes to spare.

It was sad to say goodbye to them, but the weekend was a lot of fun.  On my way home, I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted to go to Monday Night Football in Jacksonville because someone got stuck in Miami.  Um, yes!  More on that to come.


  1. Sounds like ya'll packed a lot into the weekend! So much fun. I love Beaches and Cream. SO many people seem to pass it up.
    One day, try all 4 park in a day, with a minimum of 3 rides and one meal/snack at each. So much fun.

  2. Wow. That would be a lot of work! I'll try that before I go, but it's definitely gonna be exhausting.