Jan 29, 2010

DisneyWatch 2010: Day 6

More things I've learned since we've been here:

- If your toddler sees cotton candy, Combos or popcorn tucked into the pocket of strangers' strollers parked outside of an attraction, he will help himself while you're not looking. TWICE.
- If a sign says that the standby wait time is 20 minutes, that really means three minutes to walk through the gate and through the EMPTY line, 20 minutes to wait in line once you catch up to actual people, four minutes to ride the ride, and three minutes to get back out to Your People. So really, that's 30 minutes. You have to use math skillz at Disney. This is very important if you're trying to get somewhere else for a show, meal or Fast Pass on time.
- You have to double the aforementioned 20-really-means-30-minutes calculation if you're doing a Rider Switch so that the rest of your party can ride. Again, may I suggest brushing up on your math before you come?

Day Five in the parks was spent at Hollywood Studios. It was also Wednesday and THE DAY MY SISTER ARRIVED!

She ended up feeling good enough to fly out for the second part of our trip, and she took the red-eye overnight Tuesday night and arrived at 9:30 Wednesday morning. I was THRILLED to see her!

My parents went to pick her up at the airport while we went ahead to the park and started looking around. The first place we went (at many people's suggestion) was to the Pixar section of the park to get Fast Passes to Toy Story Mania.

As we neared that area, we ran into a few Army men who were dashing around, creating little scenes in secluded spots. They looked JUST LIKE the Army men from the Toy Story movies!

Nicholas had his eyes peeled for characters, and he quickly spied Woody and Buzz behind a plate glass window taking pictures with kids. We got in line.

There were a few cute spots to take pictures while waiting for Woody and Buzz to get to us.

(You can tell that Nathaniel has gotten a little too Old to take pictures like this anymore. And apparently this just started this week. Lucky me.)

The Woody and Buzz picture is on our Photo Pass CD, which I don't have yet, but hopefully it will be cute. I want it for the scrapbooks!

When we came out, we ran into another Army man, and the boys posed with him.

Get a load of his feet! It cracked me up that he had big plastic sheets down there for realism.

We hadn't gone more than 50 yards when we ran into -- wait for it -- the entire cast of Power Rangers SPD! Nick wanted his picture taken with all of them. Individually.

He was more than happy to pose Power Ranger style.

Me: "Can we skip the pink and yellow ones and move on to red?"

Him: "NO."

Who knows how long this will be a novelty for him? If Nathaniel is any indication, not much longer. So I was happy to oblige him.

Just after we finished up with the Power Rangers, my sister and parents walked up. Jakey was so happy to see her!

They have quite a mutual admiration society going on.

We didn't have long until lunch at Hollywood & Vine, the restaurant I specifically chose for Jake.

It's home to the Playhouse Disney characters, who are his favorites! Here he is with June from Little Einsteins.

He was thrilled to meet her!

Of course, before Jakey was into Einsteins, Nick paved the way. He was beside himself to meet June!

She IS pretty cute.

June somehow cajoled Nathaniel to get in a picture with us. With our dark brown hair and eyes, I've been told I look a little like her! But she's missing my pronounced widow's peak, for sure. And I don't have pierced ears. (WHY AM I COMPARING MYSELF TO JUNE?)

JoJo was a big hit with Jake ...

AND Nicholas! Again, Nick and Nathaniel paved the way with JoJo's Circus before Jake was even a twinkle in my eye, so they treated him like a celebrity. (Someone referred to JoJo as a girl. Is JoJo a girl?!)

JoJo -- whether male or female -- did a great job of engaging Nathaniel, even getting him to grin!

When Leo of Little Einsteins fame finally made it to our table, Jakey was eating. He pulled another Kanye on Leo.

"Imma let you finish, but first I gotta eat this food."

Initially Leo was no match for Jake's meal.

But once again, Nick was there to pick up the slack. He loves Leo!

Nathaniel USED to love Leo, before he got so cool.

Nick was also very excited to meet Goliath the Lion, whom he's always called "Go Lion," because he thought that was really his name.

I didn't know if Jake would really recognize Go Lion, but he got one of the best receptions of anyone!

Right after lunch we headed over to the Rockin' Rollercoaster, which we'd heard a lot about.

And did I mention that it was another totally GORGEOUS day here? It really was. We all had light jackets with us, but I mostly ran around in shorts and a T-shirt.

In the waiting room for the ride, a 3-D movie of Aerosmith in a recording studio played. It wasn't impressive, but it was at least something to watch while we waited. Because did I mention that there's a fair amount of waiting involved, even if you're here in January?

Here are Nathaniel and Grayson in line, just before we got in our car.

Here's what the cars look like; they have deep headrests because you need to keep your head steady when you go into all the turns AND THE UPSIDE-DOWN PARTS.

I didn't know that it was going to go upside-down (it's an indoor coaster, so you can't see it before you ride it), but I absolutely loved it. In our picture (on Photo Pass -- sorry I don't have an image to share here!), my dad's eyes are completely shut tight, Grayson and I look like we're having fun, and Nathaniel looks like he's sitting on the couch watching The Backyardigans. I kid you not, he was totally unaffected -- but he LOVED the ride.

We loved it so much that my dad and sister switched places and my sister rode it with us on our second time around. If you like great rollercoasters, put it on your list!

Right next door to Rockin' Rollercoaster was the Tower of Terror. It sounds MUCH worse than it is.

I kept waiting for something BIG to happen, like a 10-story freefall, but it didn't happen. It was relatively tame, especially after the thrillride next door.

When we got off and I asked Nathaniel what he thought about it, he paused for a couple of seconds and then said, "Well, it was sort of ... unusual." From a 7-year-old, I wouldn't really call that a stamp of approval.

By that time, it was time to head back over to Toy Story Mania for our assigned Fast Pass time.

I hadn't read up on this ride; I just knew that several of you had recommended it and also said that it was so popular that we needed to FP it early in the day. Thanks for the tips! All eight of us were able to ride it together.

The waiting area was full of brightly painted toys and displays.

It's a 3-D ride, so we all had to don our glasses.

Jake wore his glasses on top of his head (like he sees me do with my sunglasses all the time), but the ride was sort of jerky and they fell off, so he just held them.

Here are my parents on the left and Grayson and Nathaniel on the right; they were in the car in front of us. Basically it's a target-shooting game themed as Toy Story. It was really cute!

Jake loved it even though he scored zero points. He loved the jerkiness and laughed every time we rounded a corner. (I was surprised that the darkness and jerkiness didn't bother him.)

Grayson and Nathaniel really got into it.

We finished up at Toy Story Mania around 2:30, and then we had to make the decision whether or not to try to get the kids into the 4:00 Jedi Training Academy session. They insisted, so we decided that was what we had to do.

I took Nathaniel and Nicholas to the Jedi Training Academy line to wait. We got in line at 2:40 for the 4:00 show, and we were second in line. (They only take the first 15 kids in line, which is why we REALLY had to commit if we were doing it.)

The first hour was a loooooong wait. But I'm being totally serious when I say that the kids were MODEL CITIZENS. They stayed behind the ropes, obeyed me and entertained themselves. I was so proud. At 3:45, just before they came to put our names down on the roll, the 3:00 park parade finally made its way around to us. It looked really fun!

By the time they got to us, they weren't really "performing" any more, as they were on their way to the storage/breakdown facility right behind the Jedi Training Academy.

But they were still waving and smiling at us.

It was definitely nice to have a break from the monotony of standing in line to enjoy some colorful costumes and familiar faces!

It kept us entertained for about five minutes, which was a nice diversion.

Before we knew it, they were gone.

But we loved it while it lasted!

This is where we stood in line for the Jedi Training Academy Show.

At 4:00, the show began. The 15 kids were brought up on stage and began training with their Jedi Master, who trained under Yoda himself.

Nicholas was REALLY into it and took it extremely seriously.

Nathaniel was a little more laid back but also was very into it.

When Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers came out, they made a BIG impression!

I think it was pre-recorded James Earl Jones dialogue, but they did a great job of pulling the kids up on stage with Vader and using lines that were specific to each child. Nathaniel went before Nick did.

And then it was Nick's turn. They both did wonderfully and accepted their Jedi Training certificates happily.

The whole show probably lasted about 20 minutes, but it was worth every minute of waiting in line for the boys to have that experience. They just LOVED it!

Our final stop of the day (because the park closed at 6:00 and at that point it was 4:30) was Indiana Jones.

This stunt show was full of fighting, fire, trucks, airplanes and action in general.

In other words, it was almost tailor-made for our kids.

The pyrotechnics and stunt work were really first-class.

It was a pretty long show, and once it was over everyone was leaving the park.

We were discussing what to do afterward, since our sit-down meal of the day had been lunch. Ultimately my parents, sister and I (plus Jake) decided to go BACK to Earl of Sandwiches at Downtown Disney because we'd loved it so much. But the big boys and Grayson decided to skip supper and go back to Animal Kingdom to ride Expedition Everest during Extra Magic Hours (5 to 8 p.m. for resort guests only, for those of you who haven't been here yet).

AND RIDE THEY DID. They rode that coaster five times that night -- after all the activity we'd already had that day! They closed the park down and didn't get home until after 9:00.

We don't let a moment go to waste around here!


Sarah T. said...

Nick and I would like to point out that we won Toy Story Mania, with more points than Grayson and Nathaniel by 500. That is all.

Rachel said...

How sweet that the 'boys' are having so much fun together. I really want to get our family there.

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