Monday, August 25, 2008
We decided to head back to our room for a while before heading to Epcot. Originally the plan was to return to MK to do the rides we had missed, but it was very warm that morning and we wanted to give it time to cool down outside. We got our wish (oh, Disney Magic). After a short nap we went outside to find perfect weather. It was sunny, but there was a nice breeze to keep it cool. We caught a bus to Epcot and began our ‘World Tour’.
When we emerged the weather was perfect. I think it may have sprinkled while we were in the Universe of Energy (the movie/ride takes close to 45 minutes), so it was nice and cool. We started our World Showcase trip with Mexico. Now, as Texans, we had promised ourselves (and my mother) that we would not eat in Mexico, because we can get good Mexican food anytime. The thing is we were hungry and it smelled SO GOOD!!! We started out in the exhibit, where they have a cute miniature street market and a little boat ride for the Three Caballeros. When we got outside again we went straight for the Cantina de San Angel. We split a combination platter with a beef taco, a chicken taco and some sort of fried cheese…thing. It was great, plus we got to wander around with a hot, fresh churro.
The next country we found was China. The first thing we saw were all of the kiosks for souvenirs and such in the street. I found one that was selling all different kinds of puppets, and I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks – there were Linda and Johnny! Remember the puppet show I did for GE, where we went to the Texas Children’s Hospital? Well we named our two lead characters Linda and Johnny, and their dopplegangers were looking at me from this puppet cart! It was so funny I had to take a picture. We went into the Chinese theater they had set up and watched a quick film about Chinese culture, then and now. We were in a round room with eight large screens all around the wall. It was truly beautiful.
We continued to wander. Not all of the countries had significance, but Germany was certainly fun. First we went into the WeinKeller. It was a beautiful wine cellar that sold German wines. Did you know that 80% of Germany’s wines are white? That works for me, as I am inexperienced with red. They were selling some by the glass. I asked if I could sample one of the reislings and the woman behind the counter said that I couldn’t, but then she changed her mind since I had on my Just Married button (seriously, that button is the best souvenir and it was free!). Then we went out into the street again and stood in line so Brad could get a dark German ale. We got a souvenir glass (it was the German flag on it) and a free pretzel – yea, honeymoon buttons!
We wandered through France and Italy, but by this time we were getting tired. We headed for the English pub, the Rose and Crown Pub, to get a beer and find a seat for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. This fireworks/pyrotechnics show is AMAZING! It was beautiful, and it is well told as a story.
After the show we got our Extra Magic Hour bracelets so that we could stay later. We went to Honey I Shrunk the Audience, which may have been a mistake. I think those kinds of things are fun, but Brad does not seem to agree. Oh well. After that we were tired (and a tiny bit cranky) so we headed home for sleep and a drink.
We were amazed how tired and sore we were after only two plus days!
He was an intern with the Letterman show and will soon/has recently begun an internship on Conan O'Brien's show. I found this article through Pajiba, and then I found his blog, The Dylan Love. It is completely random, but so delightful. He plays the banjo, for goodness sakes!
So hop on over, bored web-hoppers. It makes for a fun read.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Isn't that delightful?!?
At first I got so excited and went to IMDB to find out when it was being released. Imagine my glee when I found that it was out in Blockbuster's just waiting for me! Three actors I love so very much in a movie that looks funny and poignant. WIN!
The only thing is that I am such a nerd; Im worried that when he kisses this other girl, Im going to feel betrayed on Hermione's behalf. Gragert, I blame you for my massive nerddom!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Just in case anyone is underestimating the anger and betrayal felt by Harry Potter fans everywhere, please observe:
There are a lot of angry nerds right, including me. I don't know if we will get the movie moved back, but we will make waves. There is a website dedicated to sending Howlers to WB. Hundreds of people have already agreed to boycott the movie on opening weekend if they keep the July date. After waiting 8 months, we can wait another week (or sneak in after buying a ticket to something else, for some). It's not like the books, where you have to read right away to avoid spoilers. But speaking of spoilers, lets discuss how WB is spoiling other businesses:
The Half Blood Prince video game is slated for release in early November. Now EA is in a lose-lose situation. Either they release the game on time with less enthused buyers and experience a devastating drop in predicted profit, or they hold the game for later release and consider the ads and propaganda thus far as a complete loss. Also, what if the game includes spoilers for the movie?
Bookstores (and I'm including all major book sellers, so this also means Wal-Mart and target) have made considerable advance orders for Harry Potter merchandise to have in-store during the months surrounding the movie release, i.e. Christmas season. These stores will have to eat considerable losses.
One of the points that makes me so angry si the attitude of the execs at WB. They are pretending that this action is in the best interest of the viewers! They believe that this is an improvement because now viewers will not have as long of a wait between the sixth movie and the first installment of the seventh movie. ARGH! Dont get me started on the seventh movie; I love that they are doing two movies, because we will get more action. You really cant cut anything out of HP7. BUT we will have to wait six months between part 1 and part 2!!
My point is this: Dont. Piss off. Potter fans. Our name is legion.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The first thing you see at AK is the Rainforest Café right outside of the gates (way to go, Landry’s), and even it is a sight to behold. It definitely fits in. We all gathered inside the main gate and waited for this performance. It turns out it was Mickey and Minnie, in safari clothes, on a bus singing a checklist-song of what they would need through-out the day (you know, sunscreen, water, product placement, etc). It was really pretty cute, but not really worth the half hour of sleep we could have gained by not rushing. At least we got there before any lines could form at rides! We went straight to the Kali River Rapids, which are nearly my favorite in that park. We were the ONLY people going there, though, because everyone rushed either to a) Expedition Everest or b) the Kilimanjaro Safari. Both of these form lines quickly, and apparently am is the best time for the safari (although all times have their advantage). So we had an entire raft to ourselves. Note to self: when starting your morning with a bone-soaking water ride, do not wear white shorts! Brilliant move on my part. When the ride was over the guy asked if we just wanted to stay on because there was almost no line at all. Most (clever) people were waiting until it was actually hot outside to get soaking wet. Hmm… well, we got a Fast Pass so we could do it again once it once hot and there WAS a line. Oh, the Fast Pass: the first few times we rode rides and people were passing us, Brad got so irritated! I told him, “Wait until we have the passes, then you will appreciate the system” and sure enough, the truth! As we passed people for the rapids that afternoon, he couldn’t help saying “VIP, excuse us, VIP” not-quietly-enough under his breath. It was so funny (to us) and he did it EVERY TIME WE HAD THEM!
So after the rapids we walked, dripping, towards the Safari location. What a marvelous job they have done with this whole park! The AK is truly beautiful and interesting at every turn. We have heard exchange employees from Africa say that the park décor is so accurate in some places that it keeps them from being homesick. The market places and atmosphere feel truly international. Well done, Walt! Anyway, we waited some time in line for the Safari (maybe 15, 20 minutes in the shade) and embarked on a wild ride. We saw most of the animals, several of which I have forgotten their names. We got to see hippos and crocodiles. We saw elephants and giraffes, as well as ostrich eggs. We even got to see the lion out of his den and sitting on his shady rock. That in and of itself is mildly uncommon, but the best (and rarest) part was that we heard him roar! That almost never happens (we are told) so it was truly exciting. Brad was so excited; it was adorable, he turned 6 for a moment!
When we left the Safari we found some people crowding in the walkways. The first group was crowding around a character – Baloo from Jungle Book – which we could bypass. Then we saw a crowd around DeVine, a performance artist that works in AK. WOW. This woman is covered in vines and general shrubbery. She will generally stand up against a wall of foliage to blend in for a while and once she is surrounded by people who have not seen her move yet, she very slowly creeps out and… performs. Imagine a very slow motion Cirque de Soleil performance. No, Brad and I decided it was more like an extremely slow motion pole dancer with class. I do not mean that her movements were overtly sexual in nature, but my God. It was inarguably hot! We both were impressed.
Well after that ‘show’ we headed for Dinoland USA for the biggest thrill AK has to offer that I am actually will to endure (no Expedition Everest for me). We went to DINOSAUR before we could be distracted by all of the fun stuff around us (including the Finding Nemo musical which we did NOT see. Unfortunately I do regret missing that. My bad.) The line for DINOSAUR moved very quickly and soon we were on our mission back in time to secretly retrieve an herbivore. The ride was so dark and so bumpy that every shock was genuinely thrilling and somewhat scary. I knew about most of the “surprises” so I knew when to close my wussy eyes, but Brad did not. He was screaming his head off, all in good fun! The ending is the very best. I won’t detail it here, in case you hate spoilers, but it was intense and fun! That was by far Brad’s favorite of the trip, and it is one of mine.
After our detour with dinos we headed for “It’s Tough To Be a Bug” in the massive and impressive Tree of Life. That movie is so cute and silly, but I will admit something to you. The first time I saw this 3D movie (when I was 17, mind you) it kind of startled me a bit. You know how sometimes you register shock as pain and even though you realize later that it didn’t hurt, you still remember it as pain? Just me? How embarrassing… Anyway, this time I truly enjoyed it (because I knew when to lean forward or pick up my feet). It is fun, especially if you prefer to people watch!
After another round of Kali River Rapids we headed out. On our way we decided to have Rainforest Café for lunch. It tasted wonderful and our server was great, but we have suspicions that a minor malady later in the evening might have been caused by the nachos… no details, for your benefit and mine.
After we left Animal Kingdom we headed to Typhoon Lagoon, one of WDW water parks. For this park the theme is a ship wreck (for Blizzard Beach the theme is a ski resort that is melting due to unseasonable weather). This place was the heart of my best memories from my previous trip; Jessie and I had SO much fun here (we swam with sharks, we crashed in the wave pool, so many jokes). Brad and I, however, did not have quite as much fun. The first thing we did was the wave pool, which I remember having MONSTROUS waves that “shot me like a rocket”, but these were the little rocking waves you would expect from any wave pool. Well that got old quickly, so we headed to the lazy river. Normally I love these, but the current was weak. They are more fun when you feel slightly out of control. So that was boring after a short while and we headed off to fins slides and tube rides. We wandered for-ev-er before we finally found one of the ones that sounded fun. We waited in line for a long time before hopping on a raft for what felt like 20 seconds – ride over. It was very disappointing, but as we walked back down we heard these loud thump noises. I followed my instinct to the wave pool where these gigantic waves were crashing over people. Now THAT is what I remember! We rushed in and steadied ourselves for the first one, which hit like a brick wall – but, you know, in a fun way. We went flying, and it was a lot of fun. After a while it became slightly less fun as you tried not to crush those in your wake. We decided that we had extracted all of the fun we were gonna get from TL and headed out.
After a quick change in our room we moved on to Downtown Disney. We had dinner reservations at Wolfgang Puck Café, which we were excited about. The food was very good, and the service was satisfactory, but certainly not exceptional. We had a nice view of the lake from our table by the window. As part of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) we got an entrée, a dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage. This is a great deal financially, but is so SO rare that I need, want or can even attempt a dessert to myself after a big meal. I had steak and Brad had the meatloaf (WP specialty), so we were sufficiently full. We ordered the crème brulee and the chocolate cake – whoa. The brulee was excellent, but we couldn’t even finish it. The cake was flourless, so imagine the darkest, densest cake you have ever eaten. TOO rich!
We did a little shopping in Downtown Disney; we found the most amazing store focused entirely on Christmas decorations and ornaments. We could have gone broke in there – we wanted all of it! We decided to comeback another time for an ornament so we wouldn’t be burdened with a breakable when we crossed the block to Pleasure Island. We wandered in and out of the bars there, which weren’t crowded yet. “Mannequins” has a rotating dance floor and $2 drafts, so we spent a little while in there. We went to the Comedy Warehouse for their Improv show and had a blast! It was a troupe of five women, and they were quite funny and very personable. It looked the most fun job in the world. The drinks in there were pricey, though. Oh well, lesson learned. We stopped into a few more bars after that, but they were pretty much empty, so we went to sit in Raglan Road and relax for a bit. There was a girl river-dancing on a small stage in the middle of the room, and after her show they brought on a band that played somewhat traditional music. It was so fun, PLUS we found out that they serve Yeungling beer! Brad discovered it in Pennsylvania on a business trip; it is brewed there (and also in Florida) and it is the oldest brewery in America. It is absolutely delish, but you can only get it in a few states, all on the East coast. They don’t even seem to distribute it in Texas, but I will be on the lookout.
We were EXHAUSTED by this point, so we headed home for a romantic and relaxing end to our day. Even after one-and-a-quarter days we had sore feet and tired bones. The pain was all worth it, but we could see we would need to pace ourselves better in the days to come. We went to bed, excited to see Epcot the next day!
They are planning on next July. They are both in Lubbock this semester; luckily they have several months together before Morgan graduates early (way to go, brainy) and moves home to Houston in December! Then I have her (not really) to myself for a few months before he graduates in May.
Brad and I are already planning a trip for the four fo us to go to Disney World in 2010 or 2011. He keeps "joking" that he wont see me anymore come January, and he started that before we he knew we would be planning a wedding in that time. Hopefully I can balance them with neither feeling neglected. And once the Midkiffs move to Katy (teehee) they will be close enough to hang out with a lot, but far enough so that we maintain family time.
I cant believe how lucky I am to have one best friend living with me and the other living near me! Oh, the blessings we obtain!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Once we were on the plane our excitement reached a new high. I couldn’t even try to sleep, not that it was a long flight. When we arrived in Florida we made our way to the Magical Express Service station. They showed us to our bus, which would take us to the All Star Sports Resort – woohoo! We arrived about 45 minutes later, checked in and made our way to our building. You see, the All Start Resorts are multi-building setups. There are ten buildings paired into five themes: Surfs Up, Touchdown, Homerun Hotel, Center Court and the Hoops Hotel. We were placed in the Touchdown, which was perfect; close to the main building and pool, but not so close that late night kid-noise would pollute our rest.
Once we checked out our room, which was perfect, we headed to the Magic Kingdom (of course). One of the first things Brad noticed was how he had underestimated Disney World. Even I forgot how huge the property is; they have their own freeways within Disney; it can be intense. When we finally arrived I was greeted with nostalgia and sense-memories, making me long for a popsicle. It was so exciting to be experiencing this as an adult, and with my husband! We walked in, bombarded by sights and people, we wandered through the shops. Our first mission: Mickey Mouse ears. We knew they had bride and groom ears, but we opted for the traditional kind you can get embroidered. They say “Mrs. Phillips” and “Mr. Phillips” (I already have a pair that say Allison).
Armed with our ears and out Just Married buttons (this was our honeymoon, after all) we set off for food. We decided on Pecos Bill Café in Frontierland. We had our first magical moment, as a Cast Member brought us a little carrot cake and said, “Congratulations!” After enjoying a burger and fries we found Big Thunder Mountain, one of my favorite thrills. I had forgotten how crafty Disney is about lines: it doesn’t ever appear to be a long line until you realize that it serpentines for about a mile inside the building! Oh well, it was worth the wait. It looks so tame and Brad was a bit surprised at the intensity! We went next to Adventureland to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which turned out to be one of Brad’s favorites for the week. It was nice and cool inside, with practically no line at all. They have added a few things since I was there last. Captain Jack Sparrow makes several appearances, and at least one of the mannequins is so life-like that I literally thought some poor Cast Member had been stuck with the short straw. Even riding it a second time I was unsure if it was real or fake – wow! Once we got our Extra Magic Hours bracelets we wandered in the direction of the Tea Cups. We came across It’s a Small World, which we rode. I neglected to tell Brad how pleasantly lame it is, instead going with “Everyone has to ride it at least once”. A Cast Member announced us newlyweds right before the ride started, and we got applause! (It is so cheesy, but I had forgotten how much I loved that sound!) We disembarked the creepy monotonous children ride and found Disney’s PhilHarmagic. I couldn’t remember what it was, but I remember wanting to do it, so we went inside. What a joy! It is a 3D movie that takes Donald on a wild-hat-chase through scenes of several Disney movies! He is invited to “Be Our Guest”, he meets “the girl who has everything:” and learns all about the “whole new world” in the sky. It is a lot of fun, and I would recommend it to anyone of any age.
As we left the theater we heard loud noises. We stepped out and got to see most of the Wishes Night-time Spectacular. It was amazing! Really, I usually don’t care about parades and fireworks; those are the best times to ride rides, anyway. But something about standing directly underneath the ‘works, standing next to my husband, made it breathtaking and I actually got tears in my eyes (I know, I know, like it is hard to make me cry).
Afterward we went to a snack counter to get a bottle of water, but they were closing. Brad asked, “Do you guys just have some bottled water” and the guy threw him a bottle, said “Magical Moment, sir” and then closed the grate. Woohoo, free stuff! We headed over to the Mad Hatter Tea Party for a quick spin and then headed out. Waving good-bye to Cinderella’s castle we found our return bus and went back to our resort. We already felt as though we had been there for ages, but it had only been four hours! It was a hint of how exhausted we would be by week’s end. We spent a little while relaxing by the pool in our resort that night, and then made our way back to our room to rest and…relax. All in all it was a perfectly excellent first day at the World!
For quite some time I have been counting down the days until the sixth Harry Potter movie comes out, which was slated for November 21st. This is exactly one week after my birthday, and right around Thanksgiving, so my family has been looking forward to the outing. But now WB has decided to change the release date to JULY 17TH, 2009! Summer of two-thousand-effing-nine! And they aren't behind schedule; "The picture is completely, absolutely, 100 percent on schedule, on time. There were no delays," Horn told The Associated Press. "I've seen the movie. It is fabulous. We would have been perfectly able to have it out in November." SO basically these guys have made it perfectly clear that they are doing this solely for profit pushing; they are choosing that weekend because it is the same weekend that boasted such successes as "The Dark Knight" and "Titanic". AS IF THEY NEED HELP GETTING BUTTS IN THE SEATS!!! ITS THE SIXTH HARRY POTTER MOVIE!!! I am so disappointed, but its not as if I can boycott it; I must see it!
Argh! Check out the article for yourself if you care. Sigh...
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We have made our reservations for the Yachtsman Steakhouse - woohoo! I am including a picture of the restaurant, but I couldn't find a great one of the aging room, where you can select your own cut of meat!!
Even borrowing a suitcase from Kelly and starting to pack it, I can feel the adrenaline pumping. How lame am I? But you love it. I need to find a scale just to be sure we dont go over the weight limit. Plus I have to figure out what Brad will do for a carry-on bag.
The first thing we are doing is going to the Magic Kingdom, getting our complimentary "Newlyweds" buttons and buying Mickey ears, Bride-and-Groom style. You know you love it.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We will take a disturbing number of pictures, so be prepared.
I can handle puppets, generally, but marionettes freak me the fruit OUT! They are unnatural and created by Satan and his evil gypsy women. Have you ever seen "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"; it was on Nickalodeon (sp?) when I was a kid. There was a cree-ee-eepy episode where this evil gypsy woman would con kids into her evil gypsy cart and turn them into tiny, wooden puppets, whose faces were stuck in a perpetual scream of horror.
Again, not acceptable.
Monday, August 4, 2008
That was my heart.
In light of the Hurricane watch over the Texas coast I decided to double check the 6-10 day forecast for Orlando, which just two days ago was bright and sunny. Now look at it.
If it is rainy and stormy the whole time I will... over react in a very dramatic way. Honestly, it will be ugly.
LESS THAN ONE WEEK LEFT!!
In one weeks time Brad and I will be on a bus to the Animal Kingdom; that's right, at 8 in the freakin' morning! Even if I wanted to sleep late, it's Disney World - who can sleep?
Wish me luck thinking about ANYTHING else this week (like my job)...