Walt Disney World Vacation

8 days in Florida – August 23rd – August 30th

August 23rd – Saturday – Flight to Orlando via Phoenix and New Orleans

Wendy’s drive through

Elaborate presentation to hook us on to a timeshare/condo presentation

Wendy’s and The Full Monty

August 24th – Sunday – Relax

Day off – no theme parks, just a timeshare/condo presentation sale + free breakfast + discounted Arabian Nights tickets (Medieval Times with more horses)

Exploration, gather our wits, buy supplies, watch movies (Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day)

We also (?) headed to the Grand Floridian to discover the magic of “Self Parking” where-in you can park your car just a short walk from the Grand Floridian Hotel’s Monorail station which can take you to the Magic Kingdom or the Ticket and Transportation Center, where you can catch another monorail to EPCOT or buses to any of the theme parks, water parks, shopping districts and hotels encompassed by the Disney World title.

The Crab House for dinner

August 25th – Monday – Disney’s Hollywood Studio – worst park ever award despite awesome vintage buildings

Parked in Self Parking, took the monorail from the Grand Floridian to the TTC and hopped on the bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studio (formerly Disney’s MGM Studios, but they lost the right to the name…c’est la vie…). Along the way, Laura discovers there’s a Disney pin stuck in her shoe (“Good Girl’ Daisy).  Luckily it didn’t stab her foot. We pulled it out, added it to our collection and headed on our way.

First stop was the gift shop right at the entrance to purchase a pack of 5 pin backings for only 4 bucks! Great deal and now we don’t feel bad about executing a pin trade!

Toy Story Mania fast passes and Pixarland Photos

Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian

  • It was really good – the cast member portraying Prince Caspian was really close to Ben Barnes and was in character the whole time.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  • Ariel wouldn’t sing along with the track damn it. I know you’ve gotta have monitors on stage….can you hear that you’re half a note behind the track?

Lights, Motors, Action 11 am show for Monday only is a misprint

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular 11am

  • After Indy got hit by the giant boulder, random people who had been in the tech booth ran onto the stage to make sure Indy was ok. For a moment (to unitiated viewers like Laura), it was unclear whether something had gone genuinely wrong with the performance or that this was part of the performance.

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage 11:45 am

  • Sucked much more than Voyage of the Little Mermaid for mostly the same reasons….that and the silly wave-the-magic-carpet-and-POOF! “special effects”

Tried to eat at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant, but it was too long a wait, so we had our sandwiches outside the ABC Commissary

Star Tours Fast Passes

The Great Movie Ride

  • Fun ride

Star Tours

  • Every single ride shunted us into a gift shop.

Dessert (it’s hot) at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre

Toy Story Midway Mania

  • The queue is amazing! AND they get Potato Head! What the deuce Imagineers?
  • We got to the next level in the scoring system (moved up from Beaver to Cat) and Laura won again (but only by 600 points)

Gift Shop wandering

Muppet Vision 3-D

  • Wow – the same thing in California – sure it’s the original…but it’s still the same bloody thing

Lights, Motors, Action – 4:30pm

  • Or in our case, Lights, Motors, Inaction since it got canceled halfway through…apparently the hero car sprung a leak and covered the asphalt with oil, making it unsafe to continue the performance. Now we both understood that it’s a stunt show and that safety ALWAYS comes first, but the way in which the cast handled the canceled show was of a non-Disney caliber (it completely lacked the Disney touch we’ve come to expect). Let me explain. Due to miscommunication, the second stunt was not executed properly, but they showed us video of what was supposed to happen. Then as they start to set up for the next stunt (including introducing a stuntman up on top of a building), they announce that they have to delay the execution of the next stunt while they do…something. After 15-20 minutes of just sitting and waiting, they announce that due to the oil leak, they have to cancel the rest of the performance. No video of the rest of the stunt, no consolation prize of the stuntman jumping off the building…just a complete cancellation. Needless to say we were very upset. To be continued…

Studio Backlot Tour

  • While waiting in line for the water tank, I dashed out of line and got nuts and soda, making it back just in time
  • The water tank was merely a demonstration and not an interactive one (with no explanation given)
  • Catastrophe Canyon bore a striking resemblance to Universal Studios Backlot Tour (big rig catches on fire, slides towards you and then a giant flood)

RAIN! Yay! We hadn’t packed our rain jackets that day, but luckily we had packed an umbrella – so we shielded the electronics in my backpack and went for a stroll in the rain! We both enjoyed it very much regardless of our wetness.

  • Quite a few people huddled under overhangs smiled at us as we had fun in the rain

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

  • Ducked in for a brief respite from the rain. Although it’s the same video they brought to California Adventure to commemorate Walt’s 100th birthday, its Julie Andrews doing the dialogue instead of Michael Eisner (HUGE improvement). And the even better part is that it wasn’t just the movie as it was in DCA….there were 2 hallways chock full of exhibits and memorabilia from Walt’s life before the film. We were disappointed that we had to go watch the movie it was so incredible…especially since the Cast Member on site didn’t emphasize that the movie plays continuously and was just trying to shuffle people through the exhibit.

The Magic of Disney Animation

  • Instead of just shuffling into the attraction like everybody, I pulled Laura aside and led her through the beautiful queue the Imagineers had put together (which was chained off and unused – and is unused a large portion of the time). It was chock full of concept art from the Disney Animated cannon.
  • Then we went inside for the Mushu show from DCA + a trailer for Bolt (irony thy name is Chris Sanders). The post-show area mimics the animation building in DCA. Nice display on WALL-E.

Veto Playhouse Disney – Live On Stage!

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 7:30 pm

Talk with Fantasmic cast member about possible cancelation

  • Apparently the big concern isn’t rain, but the thunder and lighting that was prevalent throughout most of the storm…it wasn’t that close to the park, but it was still very dramatic and exciting.

Rock’n’Roller Coaster Fast Passes

Sounds Dangerous – Starring Drew Carey

Fantasmic 8:30 pm

Rock’n’Roller Coaster 9:45 pm

  • Brilliant music merge of Love In An Elevator and Walk This Way. Wander about the gift shop trying to find the soundtrack, but all they offer is Aerosmith CD’s.

Tune-In Lounge (inside 50’s Prime Time Café) for dinner

At the end of the day, we headed into the Guest Services Area to lodge our complaint about Lights, Motors, (In)Action. After explaining everything (we know it’s a stunt show, safety first, less than Disney quality), the Cast Member offered us free re-admission later on in the week so we can see it again (since we didn’t buy Park Hopper tickets, only 1-day, 1-park tickets)! Yay Disney!

August 26th – Tuesday -Disney’s Animal Kingdom (celebrating its 10th year by doing nothing)

Parked in Self Parking, took the monorail from the Grand Floridian to the TTC, made our way to the bus depot and hopped on the bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

First objective: Kilimanjaro Safari

  • Detour at store outside of security check – purchase cool-looking, Walt Disney World straw hat and execute Laura’s first pin trade (“Good Girl” Daisy for Pirate Lord Jack Sparrow’s Flag)
  • Security check/Front gate
  • Dawdle at shopping cart to left of main entrance
  • Get selected for test of GPS navigation system programmed for the park
  • Forge ahead to Africa and Kilimanjaro Safari
  • 20 minute standby line and all aboard

After the Safari, wander through the Pangani Trail and discuss our differing views of zoo goggling

Wander towards Asia

Photopass on backside of Tree of Life (baby Simba)

Catch Flights of Wonder bird show

Expedition Everest Fast Passes for 12:25

Finding Nemo musical – phenomenal

Wander back to Asia to check out Kali River Rapids – shutdown, no forecast on re-opening

Purchase awesome China hat (it looks like the one Kiera Knightly wears in PotC3) and Indian Chai Tea, Laura puts her Cap’t Jack pirate flag pin on her hat

Purchase liquidation and enjoy our packed lunch

Wander over to Dinoland U.S.A.

Dinosaur – Countdown to Extinction

  • Ride photo doesn’t go on Photopass discussion with cast member

Primeval Whirl

Expedition Everest (third time we’ve wandered back to Asia)

Kali River Rapids open again – we go down the falls backwards and get completely drenched

Maharaja Jungle Trek – oooh a tiger….and a kid making convincing monkey sounds

Fake argument with Dream Team Cast Member after passing him a second time at the Jungle Trek about not getting my dream twice

Purchase Chai Freeze (AMAZING!) and wander to Discovery Island

Run into Ken (he blessed my sneeze) who gave us GPS and give him two recommendations

1. Slightly larger cover for unit so that it doesn’t just flip open

2. Ability to clear “directions” once location is reached

More photopass from front of Tree of Life

Wander into Camp Minnie Mickey

Ask Cast Member about Festival of Lion King – more like the musical than the puppet show that Mickey’s Philharmagic replaced

Laura steals GPS and navigates us to a gift shop on the way out

  • Discovery of INCREDIBLE shot glass in gift shop – GPS starts beeping that it’s being stolen if Laura moves near the register

Turn GPS in outside Guest Relations

Stand in line at Guest Relations to say that Nemo was incredible, but cast member says just e-mail the company (was willing to accept cast member compliment, but not general compliment)

Walk out to the bus stop

Grand Floridian Dancing

Navigate to Arabian Nights

  • Get inside and redeem the free booze coupons while the preshow magician breaks out of a straightjacket and makes lots of racially and sexually charged jokes
  • An interesting show about an Arabian Princess and an evil villain, gypsies, cowboys, etc. Look at all the pretty horses!

August 27th – Wednesday – Epcot – Future World

Self-Parking, monorail to TTC, another monorail to Epcot…whoo!

Test Track Fastpass

Coffee + Cast Member John

Ellen’s Energy Adventure

Mission: SPACE (Green Team)

Test Track

International Gateway to Hollywood Studios

  • We figured we could interupt this day most easily as Epcot Future World isn’t as large (individually) as any of the other parks at the resort. So we walked through Canada and UK and grabbed a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Stand in line at Guest Services, get our re-admission tickets and in we go!

Lights, Motor, Action

  • Wow!  The show’s really impressive when everything works!  😉

Rock’n’Roller Coaster

  • I was less impressed with the music selection this time because apparently it’s randomized! That was quite a revelation to me, but explains why there’s no singular soundtrack to the ride and giving it incredible re-rideability.

One Man’s Dream

  • Finish wandering about the exhibit, then walk into the theatre and push open the doors (temporarily blinding patrons of the theatre and washing out the screen, but we weren’t going to wait…)

Boat to Swan and Dolphin hotel, walk to Boardwalk

  • Investigate Atlantic Dance Hall – no swing anymore, but there’s Jelly Roll’s Dueling Pianos across the way…
  • Go into Boardwalk Hotel to ask about dancing – no swing anymore
  • Crappy Boardwalk photos, the stupid photo booth lied
  • Walk back to Epcot

Journey Into Imagination

Leapfrog fountains

Strawberry Lemonades

The Land Pavillion

Soarin’ Fastpasses

Timon and Pumbaa movie

Boat Tour


The Seas

  • Mr. Ray’s Pop Quiz

Spaceship Earth

  • By the time we got off the ride and to a computer to send our photo, we had already missed our chance. No fair! But it’s late and we’re too tired to talk to a cast member about it.

Monorail to TTC, Monorail to Grand Floridian, live music!, drive home

August 28th – Thursday – Epcot – World Showcase

Self-Parking, monorail to TTC, another monorail to Epcot…whoo!

Initially tried to drink our way around the world, but ended up very short of that goal.


  • Explore Mexican figure exhibit
  • Excellent boat ride utilizing the Three Caballeros
  • Margarita slushes (free one for Laura’s first visit)


  • Swing dancing! There was a Norwegian band playing local music and it was totally danceable so we busted a move. At the end of the song, they acknowledged us and they knew swing dancing! They played “O Lady Be Good”Â!
  • Traditional Norway food (lefse) – kind of the European churro (goes great with margarita slushes)
  • Explore Norwegian church and exhibit on Viking leaders
  • Maelstrom boat ride and video on Norway


  • Exhibit with terra cotta warriors
  • Reflections of China video
  • Green Tea Alcohol Slushie

African outpost thing

  • Examine world pins


  • Lunch
  • Shopping


  • Window shopping


  • Disney World Soundtrack
  • American Adventure


  • Tin Toy exhibit
  • Window shopping


  • Explore
  • Alcohol


  • Tried talking to a waiter about getting food to go and she was so stand-offish that I was afraid to ask more questions
  • Impressions de France
  • Laura grabbed some Tartine (French pizza) while I went back to Impressions de France to film our vivacious host, she found the servers to fit the rude, snooty French stereotype

Grand Floridian Dancing

We missed the Canadian band! Damn!

United Kingdom

  • Visit the pub for a pint
  • Window shopping


  • Window Shopping
  • O Canada!


August 29th – Friday – Magic Kingdom

Swiss Family Treehouse

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Jungle Cruise

The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management

Pirates of the Caribbean

Big Thunder Mountain Fastpass

Splash Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain

Tom Sawyer Island

Country Bear Jamboree

Peter Pan’s Flight Fastpass

Mickey’s Philharmagic

It’s A Small World

The Haunted Mansion

Liberty Square Riverboat

The Hall of Presidents

Peter Pan’s Flight

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Fastpass

Walkthrough – Mickey’s Toontown Fair

Pooh’s Playful Spot – Pin trade with Dream Team Cast Member

Mad Tea Party

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm

Space Mountain Fastpass

Stitch’s Great Escape

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Tomorrowland Transit Authority (PEOPLEMOVER!!!)

Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor

Snow White’s Scary Adventures

Dream Along With Mickey

Space Mountain

Mickey’s Philharmagic



August 30th – Saturday – Flight Home

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