Walt Disney World & World Travels

Posts Tagged ‘Big Thunder Mountain Raliroad

I can’t believe it’s over already.   All that time waiting & planning, and planning and waiting and now it’s over and time to plan the next one.

Cast of Characters for this trip: Dear Husband 39, Me 37, Dear Daughter 14 & Dear Son 11

We left home (Charlotte NC) Saturday June 7th, 2008 and drove down to Altamonte Springs Florida.  We’ve found an Embassy Suites there that is very nice, full hot buffet breakfast and only $115 a night. Plus it’s only a half hour to Disney on Sunday mornings.  We arrived at the Embassy Suites before dinner, allowing us time to relax, eat and play in the pool.

We drove over to Disney’s  Saratoga Springs Resort  on Sunday morning and checked in at 9:30am.  We got our request of the Grandstand, but not the building we wanted.  We had wanted the building overlooking the pool and backing up to the golf course. The Cast Member did look to move us,  but  the building by the bus stop was closed because of noise from the road work, so they were full at the other building.  It worked out just fine though.  Our room was ready, a dedicated 2BR, 1st floor with a courtyard and golf course view.  Room 9111.  It was perfectly clean, everything worked, nothing was broken. The only thing missing was the cable for the internet but that was brought down after we called about it.
The plan for the day is take it easy and relax. Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours till 2am tonight,and we plan to go in the late evening.
After unpacking and settling in we went to Artist’s Palette for lunch right at noon. No crowds, no line.  Got our food to go and went back to our room to enjoy.  As always, the food was excellent!

A little back story, DD had been fighting an Upper Respiratory Infection for about a week & half.  We’d taken her to the Minute Clinic the night before her final exam in Geometry and on Wednesday before the trip to her regular Dr. “Viral” is what we were told.  She was on cough medicine, an inhaler, zyrtec and motrin/tylenol for fever & throat pain.  She was feeling worse when we got to Florida on Saturday and even worse on Sunday.

After lunch, DD went to take a nap and DH, DS & I went to the main pool for the Welcome Home party.  DH & I had our books and drinks  and DS was off in the pool until the party games started.  They had a Hula Hoop contest (done by age group) DS is really good at hula hooping so he was very excited to join in this.  When they got to several people who were still going, they had them stop and add a 2nd hoop and then there were 3 left who added a third hoop.  Jason from North Carolina was the last one standing and recieved the new Pixar edition of Monopoly.  He was soooo excited! What a great way to start our vacation!

DD was feeling a little better after her nap, so after we all got ready we headed out for Magic Kingdom.  We waited almost 40 minutes for an MK bus, the people already at the bus stop said they had seen 3-4 of all the other busses.  In the end, they waited just over an hour. I might have thought they were exagerating, except that as we went to all the other stops, others were saying the exact same thing. The bus was packed, but we eventually made it to the Magic Kingdom.

We had decided to start the night in the back of the park. Debated getting Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Moutain  fast passes, decided to get BTMR.  Then went and got dinner at Columbia Harbor House.  First time there, thought it was pretty good.  DS said the new chicken nuggets were much better than the old strips, DD said they were fine.  After our dinner we walked on to Haunted Mansion, then made our way thru the Spectro crowds over to Splash Mountain but the wait was up to 50 minutes so we headed over to Adventureland.  Kids hopped on Flying Carpets as Wishes started. That was neat. As soon as they were done we went over to the Jungle Cruise.  I love the Jungle Cruise, I love every single corny joke.   Maybe because I had friends on the College Program that were Jungle Cruise Skippers, but it’s one of my favorites and my dear family only indulges me every couple of trips.  Pirates in undergoing refurb, so I get to go on Jungle Cruise.  nce Wishes is still going we’re able to walk right up and get on the next boat. Captain Sarah is great, and we play along with everything.  Now I have to say, the other group in our boat did not seem to get the jokes (or the point of the ride), that’s ok, I was having fun. Then something that I’ve never seen happen, we come up on another boat who’s captain yells over that there’s a boat in front of her that’s dead in the water. Yep, we got stuck on the Jungle Cruise.  Poor Captain Sarah, she said it was her first night and I’m sure it’s one she’ll never forget/  She went thru every joke she learned, then I tried to help by asking about the “local vegetation” So she was able to show us the “High”biscus and the “low”biscus.  The Captain of the boat in front of us started yelling out knock knock jokes to our boat and then moved on to singing “if you’re happy and you know it”   Boats are now backing up behind us and none of the radios seem to be working. I really wish I could have seen what was happening at the dock when there weren’t any boats showing up.   After a good half hour, they managed to get a boat out there to tow the dead boat back home and then we resumed our three hour tour (oops, sorry wrong story )

Crowds dropped significantly after Extra Magic Hours started and we were able to ride Splash & BTMR a couple of times with practically no wait.  We went over to Fantasy Land and DS & I rode the Tea Cups. DD was starting to crash, and not feel well at all.  She toughed it out, mainly because she’s 14 & stubborn and she was the one talking about staying at Magic Kingdom till 2am since park hours were released.  It was time for a snack so went and had Dole Whips (in honor of  Bawb–for those who listen to the DISunplugged podcast).
We moved over to Tomorrowland, rode the Wedway People Mover, Space Mountaintn & Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. We left the park just before 2am, got a bus no problem and were back to our room in no time flat.

All in all, a very good 1st day, Just wish DD would feel better.

AK & Boma

Wow, Wednesday all ready! It’s going so fast, but it feels as if I’ve been walking for an eternity. I’m still amazed at how much fun the party was last night  (other than the wet clothes )!

After such a late night, no one is moving fast this morning. Today is our day to see Animal Kingdom, Boma  at Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner (zebra domes!) and if we’re up to it, EMH at AK.  Expedition Everest in the dark? Terrifiying or Awesome?   

We start the day with some bakery items brought back to the room for breakfast and a quick call with Dad to make plans. Dad & Jackie are at the Studios  getting breakfast, they’ll meet us around noon in front of Animal Kingdom. I haven’t had enough coffee yet, breakfast at the studios? I planned all of the sitdown meals to make the best use of them and have our meal together. They must be having Counter Service somewhere???  At least they’re learning how to get around, and sounds like they’re having fun!

We meet up at Animal Kingdom and head in.  Wow, it’s feeling pretty crowded. We head over to Africa to get fast passes for the Killamanjaro Safari.  This is the one thing that Dad learned about before the trip and has been really looking forward to. Oh Oh!  Standby is 60 minutes and there’s nothing on the Fast Pass board.  DH goes over to the fast pass area to ask what’s going on, and it turns out the machines broke right before they ran out of fast passes.  The Cast Members were handwriting passes for everyone that was in the line, so DH managed to get one for our party of 6, after 2pm. Way to go honey!  Oh, and since it was a handwritten pass, we were able to get fastpasses for Dinosaur.  Now everyone is still tired from last night, we’ve walked to Africa, then to Dino Land, now we’re talking about getting lunch so it won’t be too close to our 6:20 Advanced Dining Reservation at Boma.  Poor DS is starting to get a little frustrated.  We’ve been in the park for an hour and haven’t done anything. Allright, the four of us hop on Primevilwhirl  real quick.  He’s a trooper, and always tries to please everyone else before himself so he’s ok with lunch for now.  Most of us want Flame Tree BBQ, ok, everyone but DS.  So DH gives me his order and runs to Pizzafari for DS. Dad & Jackie order and take their food. I order while DD & DS find a table. I’m getting 3 Counter Service  meals, entree, drink & dessert. It’s on 2 trays and oh yeah, no lids at Animal Kingdom (to protect the Animals)! I quick call DD’s cell, but she doesn’t answer (she’s good at calling, but answering is not her strong suit) Well, here we go. Somehow I manage to carry the tray with drinks & desserts in one hand and the meals in the other through the crowds. One very kind gentleman did offer to help, but at that point I was afraid if I tried to transfer it would be a disaster. I made it to the sauces & cutlery stand and DD showed up. Good girl! We grabbed utensils and straws. Straws?  Whoa, they’ve got straws at Animal Kingdom now; they’re cardboard.  A little strange, but I liked it. With DD’s help we get the food and drinks to the table (could they have picked one any farther away?!!) I had the smoked chicken, which was very good & and juicy. Not a big fan of their beans, and the corn muffin was a little dry. DD & DH had the ribs and loved them. Of course, DH wasn’t back from pizzafari yet, so DS was hungry. His sister was nice and let him try a rib, and he liked it. I’m starting to think the kids name should be “Mikey” (anyone remember those Life Cereal ads?)  DH did make it back, enjoyed his meal and DS enjoyed his pizza.

It’s 2pm and with full tummies we decide to head over to the safari now, even though our fast passes for Dinosaur are good now.  We walk back across the park again, but Dad is really happy, he can’t wait to go on the safari. The safari was good, Dad was happy. We know it’s much better in the morning, but hey we weren’t moving in the morning.   Now Dad wants to see the gorillas, ok, cool. We haven’t gone on the Pangani Trail in years. DS is starting to look a little upset.   It’s almost 3pm and all we’ve done is Primevilwhirl, eat and ride the safari, so I can see his point.   “Dad, why don’t you & Jackie ride the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you’ll really like that and we’ll take DS to “do” something”  Poor kid, at 10 it’s hard to wait.  Off we go towards Expedition Everest.  Maybe if we walk slow I can see the Jingle Jungle Parade ?  Nope this kid wasn’t waiting for a parade, he wanted to ride.  Expedition Everest  here we come!

On our June trip, DH rode Expedition Everest  by himself, single rider line to “check it out”.  DS had wanted to go, until the opportunity presented itself and he suddenly he “wasn’t in the mood”.  This trip, we’re all going to ride.  The line isn’t bad, and the queue is pretty cool. DS is getting a little nervous but DH tells him it’s a lot like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but faster and smoother like Space Mountain.

Next up: EE 

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