Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Top Five Disney Coasters

Space Mountain

Disney has so much to offer, and their rides are no exception. Now, I grew up in Cleveland, OH, which was just a couple of hours from Cedar Point. Cedar Point is known for its record-breaking and unprecedented coasters, and I'd ridden almost all of them, until I moved from OH in 2008.

Because I'd been reared on riding the tallest, fastest, blah blah blah coasters, I just have to say that I've never been afraid of Disney coasters. That's not to say Disney coasters are for wimps or that they're no fun. They are loads of fun, because they're not just full of thrills. They're also amazingly themed and fit in well with Disney's brand.

Wow, did I just use the word brand?

Anyway, here are my favorite Disney coasters:

5. Space Mountain. A classic. The dark, the space, the whole 80s vibe makes Space Mountain truly magical. I have to say that I'm a bigger fan of the Disneyland version, though, with the music right in your car and being able to sit next to your companion. I love them both regardless.

4. Rockin' Roller Coaster. The blast off at the beginning is the BEST. It's the only coaster at Disney World that goes upside down and has corkscrews and let me tell you, they are amazing. The coaster is kind of jerky, which is hard when you have to keep your head smashed to the seat back for that blast off. But it's a lot of fun to ride and probably the most thrilling coaster in all of the Disney parks.

Rockin Rollercoaster!

3. 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. This new coaster is freaking adorable. Smoothest ride in the park, and the cars gently rock from side to side! The queue for this coaster is the best queue of any coaster, with fun activities and beautiful theming.

2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This coaster has some of the best theming in the park. It's an old favorite--a runaway train in a mining town. There's something sweet about it and I love, love, love to ride it. Over and over and over.

1. Expedition Everest. OK, I lied when I said I wasn't afraid of Disney coasters. The first time I rode Expedition Everest, I was terrified. I didn't know why. Probably because I knew it was in the dark and it went backwards and there was a YETI inside. But I'm a brave soul. I rode it and LOVED it and it became my favorite. If I can, I ride it multiple times in a day. I love it just that much.

On Expedition Everest
my first time riding!

Honorable mention: I am not sure if it even counts as a coaster, but I freaking LOVE Test Track. It's just such a well-designed ride that is great for all ages. At first, I wasn't a fan of the redesign, but now I'm in love with it.

So, there you have it. My five favorite coasters at Disney Parks. I hope to make this a series, so keep coming back! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ten Trips to Garden Grill

Garden Grill is my favorite restaurant at Disney World. It's a family-style all-you-can-eat place, with fresh vegetables, succulent meats, and the best character interaction in the parks. Instead of going to a buffet, they bring the food to you. And the restaurant rotates, so guests are looking over the ride "Living With the Land" for part of their meal. This restaurant also has the best character interaction in all of Epcot and possibly Disney World.

Dinner at Garden Grill

The menu changes ever so often, but they tend to keep a few favorites: turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy; some sort of beef; some variety of fish; and a type of cobbler for dessert. They're often accommodating when I ask if I can have some of the macaroni & cheese from the kid's menu. They used to use Stouffer's macaroni & cheese, but this year they seem to have come up with their own recipe.

Dinner at Garden Grill

I've been on ten trips to Disney World, and managed to eat at Garden Grill on every single one. Check out this picture history!

I Finally Met Mickey!
August 2001 - my first Disney trip and my first time ever meeting Mickey Mouse!

Me and Mickey!
May 2005

I Get a Kiss from Dale
September 2008 - on my DisneyMoon with Adam

Ronni and Chip
August 2009 - Chip and me.

Me & Mickey
January 2011

Us With the Boss!
June 2011

Me and Chip
Valentine's Day 2012.

Dancing with Pluto
February 2013

June 2013

November 2014

Interesting to note how the outfits have changed over the years! Mickey got a completely new makeover from when I first saw him. At one point, the chipmunks wore overalls. See?

Me & Chip!

Some things that have not changed though: amazing service, delicious food, and awesome characters. I will continue to go back to Garden Grill.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jammin' In The Jungle

Animal Kingdom

previous posts:
epic disney world!!
a magical day.
two worlds.
a slow start for hollywood.

Our last day at Disney World took us to Animal Kingdom, which is painfully underrated in my opinion. Of course, there is the safari, and Dinosaur, and Expedition Everest, but it's just a beautiful park in itself. It's one of those parks I'd like to just go and hang out in and read or something, except there's too much to do and see to just sit! Ha.

We'd had mild weather all week, and this Friday was the first day we'd gotten to experience the true Florida summer sun. Even I wasn't prepared for it... but I still loved it.



We didn't ride much at Animal Kingdom. Aidan and I rode Dinosaur. I was really impressed he wanted to ride it--it's kind of a scary ride! I still have to close my eyes at parts... but we still had fun.

We spent some time over at Rafiki's Planet Watch. I like to go over there because I get to do things like make Falandos hold a big pile of poop.


All four of us did the safari, and there were lots of animals out. Our Fast Pass time was later than I'd normally have it, so I was worried. I needn't have.




We finished the safari just in time to see the Jammin' Jungle Parade! YAY! Now that I know most of the dance steps, the parade dancers like to come over and dance with me. It's really cool!



It's Sarah!
yay, sarah! she's one of my favorite disney performers.

This was our last day at Disney World. :( After finally making our way back to the park, it was a mad dash to meet our car (this time an Escalade!) and head to the airport. Where the travel snags started again.

Our flight was to leave at 7:45. Imagine our shock when we saw that our flight had been delayed until 11pm. And as we stood there, the numbers flipped until after MIDNIGHT. Well. We figured we'd just relax, shop, have dinner... except randomly, they gave us another flight, which left at 8:15. I was convinced we were going to miss our flight. It was 7:45 already. Security was taking FOREVER. Talk about stress... trying to make it our gate on time.... where they weren't even boarding. We made it home OK. Hungry, tired, and sad that the trip was over, but happy we had a few days together to talk about it and relive it through our pictures and stories.

So naturally, we'll be planning next year's trip soon....

That's all of the trip reports for this Disney vacation. If you want to see all the pictures, just click here! :)

Till next time!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Day in Hollywood

Hollywood Studios

previous posts
epic disney world!!
a magical day.
two worlds.

Thursday morning was a slow start for us. We slept in, took our time getting ready, and then, when we were finally on our way out the door, the rain came down with a fierceness. THEN, a friend of mine, Joey, who used to live in Chicago but had relocated to Orlando wanted to have lunch with us. So we hung around the resort and waited for them.

We played in the arcade while we waited for Joey and the gang. With our package, we got some free play time, but Falandos and I went ahead and splurged for a bit more. I'd never done that before--I feel like Aidan plays enough video games that it's stupid to go to freaking DISNEY WORLD and play more, but because we were waiting and it was rainy, we both went for it. Aidan racked up the tickets.

aidan playing fruit ninja

We had a great lunch, catching up, making new friends, hanging out. I'm not a huge Hollywood Studios geek, so I didn't mind not getting to the parks super early in the morning. (Really, the only reason to do that is to get on Toy Story Midway Mania, which Aidan and I both said wasn't a "must do", and for Tower of Terror, which gets a resounding HELL TO THE NO from Aidan.)

lunch with friends and family

We got to Hollywood Studios and the clouds were looking crazy ominous. We made our way to the Animation building and proceeded to spend hours inside, meeting characters, drawing pictures, and people watching!


That's Incredible


By the time we got out of there, the rain had cleared up! It was a beautiful evening with perfect weather and low crowds. We rode the Great Movie Ride, went on the Backstage Tour, and saw Muppet Vision 3D. Then, it was time for dinner at 50s Prime Time Cafe.


cutest mommy ever!

aidan finishing up his drawing before diving into that big ole pile of friend chicken

My mom said this was her favorite meal out of the three table service restaurants. The food was yummy, the atmosphere was fun, and we LOVED when Falandos got reamed out by "Mama."

After dinner, we enjoyed the outside some more. The crowds were pretty non-existent. Aidan and I rode Star Tours three times in a row with barely any wait. He even got to be the Rebel Spy on one of the "flights"!

We finished off our night in the gift shops, of course!


When we got back to the resort, Aidan wanted to use up the last of his arcade points. He did and hit a lucky jackpot on one of the machines and got a TON of tickets! He got to pick out bunch of little cheap toys and candy, which made him pretty happy.

It was a low key day, but it was really fun, relaxing, and fulfilling. We all had an awesome time. :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Worlds

Epcot - Spaceship Earth

previous posts:
epic disney world!!
a magical day.

Our second day at Disney World consisted of a trip to Epcot! It looked to be another wishy washy weather day, so once again, we all lugged along our ponchos and raincoats. I even brought my umbrella.

We started the day in The Land, where I got us Fast Passes for Soarin'. Then we went on Living with the Land, which my mom thought was really cool. Living With the Land is a favorite of mine because I love hearing about all the food they grow there, and the research they're doing. And seeing everything growing is also really cool.

We walked around and did things as we were exploring--saw Captain EO, went into one of the Innovations buildings, and met some characters at the Character Spot. Now, back in MY day, the Character Spot had loads of characters to meet, even though it still felt rushed. But now, there are fewer characters, so the line goes quicker, but I was disappointed that Goofy wasn't there, or Donald Duck, like they used to be.

But I wasn't that disappointed. We still had fun with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, who were all sweet.

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Meeting Minnie Mosue

Meeting Pluto

Of course, we tasted the sodas at Club Cool. I got video of Falandos tasting the infamous Beverly, but my camera would NOT FOCUS so I didn't upload it. The the rain caught up to us. It poured for quite a while, and we hung out under the awning at Club Cool until it let it. Then we made our way to World Showcase. We stopped in some countries along the way, and we also ate at the America Pavilion because that's easy. The rain had let up enough for us to sit outside and enjoy our lunch.

We played in some of the stores in the countries, but we didn't have a lot of time to really explore. I remember last time I was there with Adam, we found places in the countries that we'd never seen before.

I had to take a photo from the bridge over the lagoon. I was so used to seeing this particular section of the park in February, when it looks like this:

Prettiness in Epcot

That it was neat to see it all green and lush in June:


We made our way back to Future World, where we took pictures and Aidan and I got Fast Passess for Mission Space. Then we headed to The Land again, because I do like the pavillion even though it can get crazy in there. Plus, it was time to redeem our Soarin' FPs!

Soarin' is when one of my favorite moments of the ENTIRE trip happened. We took off, and I glanced over at my mom. I have NEVER seen such a look of pure awe and joy on her face in my life. It was ADORABLE. On the other hand, Falandos looked like he wanted to poop his pants, and his reactions were cracking up the little girls on the other side of him. Riding Soarin' with them was definitely one of the Top Five moments of my trip. I'll never forget the look on her face.

The rain started full force, so when it came time for our FPs to be redeemed, Aidan and I braved the elements and went over while my mom and Falandos stayed in The Land and watched that Circle of Life movie and people watched. Aidan and I had a blast, splashing in puddles and walking barefoot. The rain had scared a lot of people away, and plus, Epcot is so spread out that walking barefoot feels really good and liberating. I'd NEVER walk barefoot in Magic Kingdom--I'd get my toes crushed in a heartbeat.

By the time Aidan and I made it back, it was time to check in for dinner at The Garden Grill! :) I was really excited for this because this was my mom's time to FINALLY meet Chip & Dale, her favorites!!

Here she is with Dale. So cute! :)


I also adore this picture of Aidan, Chip, and Falandos!


We had a wonderful dinner, and then we just randomly explored a bit more. Rode Spaceship Earth, went to some shops, and then ended up catching part of Illuminations. We were on our way out the park, but the fireworks started and well, if you leave in the middle of fireworks at Disney World, there is something very strange about you. So we didn't get to see the huge display with the Earth and stuff, but we saw the high, loud stuff and that was just fine.


aidan sitting with my mom during the fireworks

My mom said that Epcot was her favorite of the parks, and that Soarin' was her favorite attraction. Despite the rain, it really was a pleasant and relaxing day. :)


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