Thursday, January 28, 2010

Walt Disney World... Day Five

A bright sunny day welcomed us this morning.  Animal Kingdom was upon us.  We had to finish up some attractions that we missed on our first day.  We got to the park right at opening and since we had already done Kilmanjaro Safari we didn't need to rush over to that.  We casually strolled over to Expedition Everest and I did the single rider line twice.  The single rider line for that attraction is amazing.  Very efficient for my mom and I since she doesn't ride.  To kill some more time until Finding Nemo: The Musical we traveled over to Dinoland U.S.A.  Mom didn't remember what it was like and I told her "don't expect much."  Safe to say she was pretty disappointed.  I really wish they'd do something with Dinoland.  Bah.

We got an awesome seat right next to the catwalk in Finding Nemo.  Every single time I'm blown away by that show.  Everyone is just so stinking talented and I feel like i'm seeing a Broadway show without paying the big bucks.  For those of you who are wondering...yes, I do cry at the end every single time. 

After Nemo we hit up Festival of the Lion King.  That's one attraction that i'm pretty much over.  I feel like i've seen it so many times and it's never changed.  Mom loves it so that's why we do it every visit.  We were pretty much finished with Animal Kingdom at that point so we left and headed to Epcot.  I think we waited a half hour for a bus from AK to Epcot.  Ridiculous.  By the time we got there it was about 12:30 and scorching hot outside.  Definitely the hottest day so far. 

We were starved and couldn't really agree on what to have for lunch.  I wanted Morocco and she wanted Mexico.  I told her that we could just stop at Mexico and she could eat first then we'd walk over to Morocco and I'd eat.  We had plenty of time with no where to be at that point so it wasn't a big deal if we did that.  Mom didn't want to do that though so she decided she could try some middle eastern food.  We started off walking from Mexico.  It was very busy in Epcot with it being a weekend.  Finally after what seemed like the longest walk ever, we made it to Morocco.  I got in line for the food while mom sat down at the only vacant table inside.  The line was long and moved very slowly. After I ordered I turned around and looked at my mom.  She motioned to me that she was hot and didn't feel good.  I motioned to her where the nearest restroom was but she just stayed sitting.  Finally I got the food and brought it to her.  She grabbed the bottle of water and wet down a napkin to put on her head and arms.  She said she felt like she needed to use the restroom but also felt faint so she didn't want to get up.  I told her that maybe she just needed food in her system and to try eating.  She took one bit and then said she really needed to get to a restroom.  I told her where it was and that it wasn't far.  She really kind of stopped talking at that point.  Within a few seconds she got up and walked towards the doors but didn't make it the whole way.

I looked up and saw her sitting down in the corner of the restaurant.  I knew this wasn't normal.

I ran over to her with a bottle of water and some napkins.  She said she felt like she was going to pass out so she didn't want to sit in a chair in case she fell.  I immedietly poored some water on napkins and put them all over her arms, legs, and forehead.  I kinda started a puddle of water on the floor.  She just kept saying she was so hot.  She tried closing her eyes a few times but I wanted her to stay with me so I kept shaking her lightly.  A woman came up and asked if she was okay and I told her what she was telling me.  The woman then ran out and got her son who was a doctor.  Just as the woman left though, my mom shut her eyes and her arms came up to about shoulder level and started shaking.  Almost seizure like.  I started crying and yelling at her to stay with me.  Her head was limp in my hands and I knew at that point she was out. 

The doctor and his wife (also a doctor) came and took over.  The wife held my mom up while her husband examined her and questioned me.  I told him that she's hypoglycemic but hasn't had very much sugar this morning.  He asked for someone to go get sugar packets and some Sprite.  The more I looked at her not moving the more emotional I got.  Eventually I was crying so hard I couldn't even speak.  The doctor's mother grabbed me and moved me away from the situation... talking to me and trying to keep me calm.  She went over to our table and grabbed our bags and my water.  The manager of the restaurant came out and asked me questions about her and then called 911.  He gave his cell to the doctor who told them my mom's stats.  It seemed that everyone in the restaurant was getting quite the show at that point.  Here a woman is laying on the floor unconcious and another young woman is crying her eyes out. 

By the time the WDW medics came my mom had come to but couldn't really move much from being so weak.  I remember her looking up at me with the saddest eyes i'd ever seen.  I kept turning around because I didn't want her to see me crying because I knew it would make her feel bad.  While the medics hooked all these machines up to my mom the park manager (or something like that) came and talked to me.  Reassuring me that WDW had the best medical team and they were going to take care of my mom.  He stayed with me the whole time. 

While the medics put my mom on a stretcher, the doctors, restaurant manager, medics, and other park guests gave me a hugs and reassured me that she'd be okay.  The park manager and I followed behind the stretcher out into the main walkway of the World Showcase.  We wrapped around through a backstage area and in a few seconds the ambulance rolled up.  The park manager told me that we were going to Celebration Hospital.  He said when mom got to feeling better that we could come back to Morocco and get the meal we never got to eat.  I said goodbye to him and hopped up in the front of the ambulance while they got my mom settled in.  The EMT that drove was absolutely awesome.  He made jokes and tried to calm me down.  It worked because he even got me to laugh in the midst of the drama. 

We got to Celebration Hospital in about 10 minutes and I filled out a form with all of my moms information.  She was laying there on the stretcher looking up at me and tears filled her eyes.  I grabbed her hand and told her it was okay.  She said she felt like she ruined the whole trip.  I got stern with her and told her that this was just a bump in the road and things happen... That we'd get it all figured out and tomorrow we'll pick up right where we left off. 

After spending a good three hours in the hospital, going through a few tests, and them pumping a bag full of water into her... they determined that it wasn't anything serious.  She was just severely dehydrated.  Mom was feeling virtually back to normal by the time we signed the release papers.  We gave Pop Century's front desk a call and they called a cab company for us.  Within five minutes a cab was in front of the hospital and we began our journey back to the resort.  We got up to the front desk and explained what happened.  They reimbursed us for the cab ride and helped us figure out what to do now that we'd missed our dinner reservations at Raglan Road.  There were no openings at all anywhere at Downtown Disney so they told us to take our chances and see if they were accepting walk ups. 

Mom wanted to go back to the parks right after she showered but I told her no way.  I made her take a half hour nap and just rest for a bit.  I understood she was feeling back to normal again but I didn't want her to push it.  That's how we got into the issue in the first place. 

After a few hours in the room we hopped on a bus for Downtown Disney.  Not without a long ass wait of course.  I've always waited forever for a bus to Downtown Disney.  Just doesn't make sense to me why they don't have more busses running there.  Mom and I just stayed on the bus until the Pleasure Island drop off.  We walked into Raglan Road which seemed pretty busy and I proceeded up to the podium.  I explained the situation with my mom and how we missed our previous reservation.  They were so great!  They asked if she was okay now and said that they'd find a table for us and we'd be seated within just a few minutes. 

We were given a table in a smaller side section.  I didn't exactly like where we were seated.  It was a small high top table (not the problem) but it was very very dark in that section and it we had an obstructed view of the entertainment in the larger seating area.  Our waitress was very good and explained what things were on the menu.  Mom chose some kind of meatball pasta dish and I got the "It's not Bleedin' Chowder."  We both really liked our entrees.  Neither of us could finish what we were given because we knew that dessert was coming up.  I ordered the Dunbrody Kiss and mom got the Bread and Butter pudding.  I regret my decision.  Mine was good but very very rich.  It was just ALL chocolate.  Mom's was probably one of the best desserts I've ever had in Walt Disney World.  Ever.  You just spoon out all this pudding goodness and you get a caramel sauce to go along with it.  So so so good. 

Mom and I hopped a bus right after dinner to go back to Pop Century.  I think we both almost totally fell asleep on the ride back.  We certainly slept like babies that night. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Disney World... Day Four

Today was the day that I planned on auditioning for Disney's newest attraction... American Idol Experience.  Being a viewer of every single season of American Idol you can imagine how stoked I was to have the opportunity to audition to stand on a replica of the American Idol stage.  I knew everything about the attraction so I came fully prepared with an audition song and everything.

I woke up incredibly early to make sure I got beautified and fully warmed up.  I even brought Throat Coat with me in case my allergies decided to close my throat up.  Mom and I got to the parks a little later since I knew I didn't want to audition first thing.  I didn't want to be in the first show since I hadn't seen it yet.  I needed an opportunity to check it out ahead of time. 

By the time I got to the audition area it was about 10:00.  They have a greeter waiting right outside the long walk way up to the doors to guide you in and explain a few rules.  My mom had her coffee with her so they wouldn't let her come into the audition area with it.  She just stayed outside and I bravely went in by myself.  You just stand there in this really nice waiting area with gold records of the real AI winners and wait for someone to come get you.

The first judge came out and greeted me by name.  Already I felt more relaxed simply because he was so nice.  I can't remember his name now.  He asked me a few questions about myself... where i'm from, who i'm vacationing with, what I do for a living, etc.  He told me to just sing my song whenever I was ready.  I was able to choose whatever song in the world I wanted to sing so I chose The Wreckers "Leave The Pieces."  My voice felt right on and it was shaky or anything.  The guy was just all smiles at me the whole time.  He then asked me to take a look at a list of songs (the official AIE songlist) and pick a few I might sing if I made it on stage.  I already knew my two choices.  "This Is Me" by Deme Levato and "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.  The judge suggested "Hot Stuff" because it was more age appropriate as "This Is Me" is typically sung by a younger crowd.  I sang some of "Hot Stuff" for him and after he stopped me he pulled out a card from behind the desk and said "I'm sending you onto the producer!"  I was SO excited that I made it to the "red room."  A big deal from watching season one of American Idol.  Nerdy.. I know.

I basically just listened to songs on an iPod and waited for them to call me in.  There was a 14 year old girl (the show age minimum) in the red room with me and her parents seemed like stage parents (not to be mean... but to be factual).  After they brought her back out and she was told she made it to the show, they told her they were going to profile her with her family for a clip during the show.  Finally, it was my turn!  I walked into the producer's lounge and immedietly I recognized the guy from the promo videos for the attraction.  This room is set up with amazing acoustically treated walls and an impressive sound system.  He gave me a microphone and told me to try my first song, Hot Stuff.  He really liked it and I suggested maybe he might like it better in the lower key.  I sang my second choice song, "Black Horse & A Cherry Tree" for him after that.  He told me he liked the original key version of Hot Stuff the best.  Basically at that point I knew I made it by the way he spoke to me.  He told me to look up on the screen behind him.  Ryan Seacrest came up and told me that I made it onto the show! Thank you, Ryan!!  I got my "Vote For Me" sign to wear around my neck and a piece of paper reminding me what time to come back before my show. 

I walked out of the producer's room and was shocked to see my mom standing right there with the rest of the staff waiting to congratulate me.  They all clapped and I ran up and hugged my mom.  I honestly almost cried because I could tell how proud she was of me.  We walked out and I told her about it all on our way over to meet some characters at the Animation Studio.  Mom and I met Pocohantas and Meeko, Mulan, The Incredibles, and Russell and Dug from UP.  I was very disappointed that Carl wasn't there along with the rest of the UP gang.  I really wanted pictures with all three of them.  Meeko suggested that I sing for him and Pocohantas.  She told me to sing "Colors Of The Wind" to them.  After I sang a little bit she freaked out and told me that I was definitely going to win my show.  It was funny because she was struggling to stay in character!

Mom and I caught the 11:00 show of AIE so I got a feel of what I needed to do.  By the time that show was over it was almost time for me to head back to the attraction.  My friend Ed left his family at Animal Kingdom to come and see me perform.  He's basically my biggest fan so it meant the world that he could be there.  My mom and him get along so well so they had a blast hanging out while I was in hair and makeup.

I met the two other contestants i'd be performing with.  We all took turns having rest time, private vocal coaching, and hair and makeup.  During vocal coaching my voice started to get warn out from doing my song so many times.  The guy was really awesome and gave me some good tips.  He said I looked "too professional" on stage and to appear less polished because the audience really likes people who feel "real" and not to "performy."  Made sense!  In hair and makeup I felt like I was talking to one of my girlfriends.  We talked about MAC cosmetics for a while and what she did before doing makeup at AIE.  Typical girly things. :)  After all of that excitement, the stage director took the three of us through a walk through of the show.  We learned where to stand and when as well as what order we would perform in.  Then we got to do a run through of our song. 

Show time came and we all nervously sat around backstage waiting to just go on and get it overwith.  I went third so I waited for the first two folks to go and then it was my turn.  By the way, I loved the people I performed with.  Totally down to earth people that were very supportive.  It was so much fun to be around really relaxed people.  It didn't feel like a competition because we all just wanted to perform.  Anyways... I had a great interview with Sean, the host, and they threw together a clip of all the crowd outside screaming my name.  And they even had a little boy saying "Stacey, you're my American Idol."  It was precious!! 

The judges had nothing but great things to say about me.  I was somewhat shocked.  They all said I looked very comfortable on stage and I put my own "voice" into the song.  The "Simon" like judge who wasn't exactly nice to the other contestants gave me a great compliment.  He said he could see me on the red carpet doing interviews and comfortably performing right away.  I was waiting for the punch line to the joke... but there wasn't one.  Huge sigh of relief that he didn't bash me in front of the whole audience. 

The rest of the contestants came out and we did a little "shake what your mama gave ya" dance time with the host, Sean.  I'll forever be singing "I've Got The Music In Me" in my sleep.  I can't imagine what Sean goes through hearing that song so many times a week.  Poor guy.  After dancing, we were brought to the center of the stage for judging.  Sean reviewed the judges critiques of us and then after long drawn out anticipation he announced the winner....... Me!  I was honestly surprised.  I thought the other two contestants did really well and they had a lot of family out there supporting both of them.  They played a video for me to watch where all of the previous Idol winners congratulated me on my win.  The judges then came up and we all waved goodbye to the audience. 

We got our mic packs taken off of us and we said goodbye to the staff.  The stage director gave me a slip of paper to remind me of what time I needed to be back for the finale show.  I ran down the steps of the stage to go find my mom and Ed.  I came out and they were right there waiting for me and gave me lots of hugs.  They both were BEAMING!  It made me feel really good to know that they were so proud of me. Mom bought me a microphone shaped "trophy" that said "Best Daughter" and an American Idol Experience coffee mug.  She then freaks out and grabs my hand dragging me over to the merchandise area.  She yells at two cast members "She won!  She won!  My daughter won her show!"  This was only slightly embarrassing given I didn't know these two women but I clearly could tell that my mom had been talking me up to random strangers.  The CMs were so happy and asked me all kinds of questions.  Right after that the three of us were walking away when this asian tourist stopped me and asked to record me for his home video.  I'll tell you... most awkward 3 minutes of my life.  He just wanted me to stand there while he zoomed in on my face.  Only, while i'm standing there posing he goes, "oops, I forgot to turn the camera on." 

Ed and I wanted to ride Rockin' Roller Coaster together as well as Tower of Terror.  On our way over there I kept getting shouted at by people telling me that they voted for me.  After riding those two things (very quickly I might add) we stopped into the restroom where I had a couple of people stop and talk to me that were at the show.  Ed departed from us so he could get back to his family and mom and I decided that we needed lunch.  We stopped over to Studio Catering Co.  Mom got chicken and I got the salad.  We both LOVED our meals.  The marble cheesecake was also pretty dynamite. 

After lunch we walked around quite a few attractions, went into some shops, and got our dinner reservations switched at Guest Relations.  After One Man's Dream (best attraction at DHS by the way) we went into the restroom right outside.  After I came out of the stall I could tell this woman was looking at me.  Then I was washing my hands and she stood there staring.  Her companion came out of the stall next to me and they gossiped together.  Just as my mom joined me they came walking over going, "you were great on the show today!  For half the show we thought you were a cast member standing in."  I got a good kick out of that one. 

I even ran into another good friend of mine at the Studios that day...

By the time the evening rolled around we were actually getting pretty tired.  I was pretty much ready to get the performance overwith.  I went backstage at AIE about an hour before the show.  I met the other 5 contestants that i'd be competing against.  I've gotta be honest, it felt cut throat backstage.  No one talked to each other and some people threw out some death stares.  There were also a couple of sets of stage parents that annoyed the heck out of me.  We all had to introduce ourselves to each other and say what song we'll be singing.  Immedietly I could tell who would be crowd favorites based on the songs they chose.  When the black girl said she was singing "Respect" I knew we were all toast. 

We all got touched up by hair and makeup again and got our mic packs put back on.  I was told that I would be closing the show yet again and had the privalage of the coveted seated interview.  Only one person a show does this.  We did blocking with the stage director again because now instead of 3 people there would be 6.  After all that we just sat nervously backstage waiting to go sing. 

One by one people went on and came off.  It all flew by so fast.  I really was wishing at that point that they hadn't chosen me to go last.  The only person who seemed even friendly enough to talk to me was a guy from England.  Everyone else kept to themselves for the most part.  It was finally my time to go on and I was feeling the pressure.  My nerves really had a hold of me this time for some stupid reason.  I did my little interview and they played the same clip that they did before with people cheering for me outside and a cute little asian boy saying "Stacey, you're my American Idol."  They started the music before I even got out of my seat.  Threw me off my flow a little bit.  I did fine though.  I felt a little more tense and my voice was kind of getting some of that tenseness.  After my performance the judges gave me some critiques.  The first judge liked me,  and the female judge said she liked my stage presence and the tone of my voice but that I could have been more solid on the high notes.  If the female was just "ehh" on me I was worried about the "Simon" judge.  To my surprise he told me that my performance was his favorite.  That I had the most personality, was the most marketable, and all around the most talent.  I was shocked and so happy. 

Judging time came and to none of our surprises it was the girl who sang "Respect" that took the cake.  She really did an awesome job and deserved to win.  I had a blast doing AIE and would totally do it again since I can't get enough of performing. 

Mom was waiting for me right outside again and I got lots of hugs from her.  We both were so pooped and so hungry that we were just excited to be leaving the park and heading to dinner at Cape May Cafe.  We had to take the boat over to Beach Club from DHS that night.  When I got on the boat there were people that were at the show congratulating me and even some from Michigan saying that I represented the state well.  The older couple we sat next to told me they voted for me. How cute :) 

Dinner started off bumpy because the reservation that Guest Relations had made for me must have not gone through properly because they didn't have us in the system.  They were still able to squeeze us in on a busy evening and we waited maybe fifteen minutes for a table.  Cape May Cafe has always been one of mom and I's favorites.  It's typical clambake food with some regular "meat and potatoes" selections. 

After a very exciting day at DHS we headed back to Pop Century and met up with Ed again.  The three of us went to Downtown Disney together.  At World of Disney a very nice family stopped me and gave me their support.  They were from Indiana... just south of where i'm from.  They were at the first show and saw me so they came back to support me for the finale.  Apparently they were rallying to get people to vote for me outside of the theater before the show.  HAHA!  They thought it was a crock I lost the last show.  I explained I didn't do it to win anything... just to get to perform.

I was so happy to hit the hay at about midnight that night after saying 'bye' to Ed.  He left the next morning.  What a great day mom and I had!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walt Disney World -- Day Three

Day three started with a bang! We traveled to the crazily beautiful Polynesian Resort for breakfast at Kona Cafe. Only the best breakfast on Walt Disney World property. It was a GORGEOUS morning traveling on the boat over from Magic Kingdom. We got to the resort early so we ended up getting our table a little bit earlier than our ADR time. Mom got an omelet and I got the best thing on the menu... Tonga Toast. For you Tonga Toast virgins, it's sourdough bread stuffed with bananas covered in sugar. They give you a strawberry sauce to poor on top of it too. Not only are you given sugary banana goodness but you also get the best potatoes ever. We paid for this meal out of pocket (off DDP).

After breakfast we took the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. Right after the entrance there were some characters greeting so we stopped in line for Pinocchio. It was my first time meeting him and it was so awesome. I saw Snow White come out and take a little boy by the hand and walk with him to a private place to do some photos with his parents. It was adorable to watch. Disney knows how to give personal moments to guests even though there are so many people in the park. Simply brilliant. The statue of Walt's brother, Roy, is also a must-see for me every trip. I finally got a picture with it where my eyes were open.

Mom and I had the CRAZIEST run in with Push the talking trashcan. I haven't seen Push in action since I was like 14 so this was a huge deal for me. I whipped out my camera and video taped him talking to guests. Only, about 20 seconds after getting my camera out Push came right over and started talking to me. I have a video of him and I having a 5 minute conversation. Seriously was the best moment of the day.

Space Mountain was closed down for refurbishment at the time but they had just opened Tomorrowland Transit Authority to guests again so we rode that. Mom and I were able to see the inside of Space Mountain with the lights on. It just looked like a gray warehouse with a coaster inside.

After Tomorrowland we went and had lots of fun in Adventureland and Frontierland. Ran into Cowboy Goofy which was just adorable. I told Goofy that I have a crush on his son, Max. True story. Before leaving Magic Kingdom we stopped and got some ice cream. Mom got vanilla & chocolate and I got the amazing raspberry sorbet. Yummy in the tummy.

We went back to Pop Century to get around for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party later. After some down time and primping at the resort we went to Epcot for dinner. We had to do some rearranging with dinner because we decided to attend the Halloween Party that night. Had to cancel our previous reservation and the only thing that was available at the right time was Biergarten. I had a bad previous experience when I was 17 at Biergarten. Just didn't care for it other than the sweet German music.

We were seated at the back of the restaurant with this stuffy ass family from North Dakota. In order to make it through what I was already expecting to be an awful dinner, I ordered an Oktoberfest. Biergarten's speciality beer. Oh good Lord folks... I could have drank that stuff 'till the cows came home. Mom and I went up to the buffet and immediately started whispering to each other "What is that? It looks weird and has a German name." We decided to go balls out and just pile stuff onto our plates even if we weren't sure what it was. If it didn't have meat in it, I tried it. There were actually more options for vegetarians than I had expected. I was shocked! After sitting down and taking a few bites... I was in heaven!!! I take back everything bad I ever said about this restaurant. The salad was killer and so was the red cabbage. All around i'd say Biergarten is now a "don't miss" for me at WDW. Yay!

Mom and I took the monorail over to Magic Kingdom for the party. We got our wristband, candy bag, and candy trail map. The park seemed pretty busy even though it was a hard ticketed event. We didn't know what to do with ourselves so we just waited in line for a "meet and greet area" to open up in Adventureland. They put out signs in various places so you know where characters and candy will be. We didn't know who would be inside the building and to our surprise we got three awesome characters... Timon, Baloo, and Jane. I'd never met Jane before and she was really cute with a bubbly personality. After each meet and greet you get candy in your bag which sometimes ends up being raisins. I wasn't a fan of this.

The rest of the night was spent meeting more characters along some "haunted" trails, watching the Villains show in front of Cinderella Castle, and enjoying the Halloween parade and fireworks. While I really liked the events going on, it just seemed really crowded because everyone was in the same spot at the same time. People weren't really spread out enough. I'm glad I did it once and i'd probably do it again but not for a few more trips. I'd also dress up more.

We could have stayed in the park longer but we had to get to bed at a decent time because I needed a good nights sleep. I had a big day ahead of me... American Idol Experience!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Disney World... Day Two

Good morning from Pop Century! Mom and I got a full nights rest and we were raring to go. We both ate a granola bar in the room and mom ran down to the food court to fill up her refillable mug with coffee. I tried warning her that the coffee at WDW tasted like urine... yeah, she didn't listen. She ended up not being so fond of it.

Once we arrived at Epcot we headed straight for Soarin' of course. But, only after we stopped to take pictures with Daisy and Stitch. We then knocked out some more Future World attractions and even ran into a Food & Wine Festival performing group. These guys played percussion on a kitchen set!

Once World Showcase opened I loaded up a Food & Wine Festival gift card to wear around my wrist as we "traveled." This was our first time experiencing the F&WF and we LOVED it. It was hard to decide what to get since there was such a variety. Plus, we had reservations at Coral Reef for lunch so we couldn't just gobble up EVERYTHING in sight. We started on the right side of the World Showcase and walked around until we reached the International Gateway. There was tons of signage everywhere representing all of the countries.

We had FastPasses for Test Track so then we headed back to do that. We couldn't resist seeing more of the World Showcase so this time we started at the left (Mexico) and worked our way around. They had the champagne and dessert booth which I could NOT walk by apparently. I stopped and got myself Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial and mom got the strawberry shortcake. We were having tons of fun walking around the World Showcase thoroughly looking at everything and taking lots of pictures. Mom got a F&WF t-shirt and I got a t-shirt from Norway. For the first time we saw the story teller in Japan. She was awesome! On our way out of the World Showcase of course we saw a cute French guy that we stopped and looked at for a few minutes. My mom suggested that I take a picture. Of course, as I was doing this, oh so subtly, adorable French guy looked right at me.

Lunch time at Coral Reef! We waited maybe 10 minutes then we were seated right by the aquarium. After getting our drinks and bread (which we love by the way) our entrees came out. Mom got the new york strip and I got the...? I don't know... some kind of fish. Mom and I both liked our meals. Wasn't the best i've ever had there though. Dessert is the best at Coral Reef. I got The Chocolate Wave and mom got the new and improved cheesecake. Yum yum yum. Successful lunch indeed!

Mom and I went back to the room for a bit to relax. I can't remember if we took naps or not. My friend Ed came with us to the Magic Kingdom that night. We walked around for little bit and went through some shops. Mom claimed our spot on the sidewalk for the parade about an hour early while Ed and I went over to Aloha Isle to get the three of us some dole whips. Oh do we love our dole whips. While sitting on the sidewalk I successfully saw a set of twins that I couldn't help to take pictures of. It only got awkward when the boy pointed at me while telling his mom some strange lady was staring at him.

After Spectromagic we walked around through MK at night and I rode the carousel for the very first time! I can't believe i'd never done that before. I couldn't remember which horse was Cinderella's so I just picked the one that I thought was prettiest.

The three of us went back to Pop Century and grabbed some late night dinner in the food court. Ed got a chicken flatbread which my mom also enjoyed eating. Mom got chicken alfredo while I enjoyed the new and improved veggie burger.

We said goodnight to Ed and then hit the hay. Lots of food that day. Lots of calories. Very little guilt.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Four Months Later... Day One

This morning I woke up with the incredible itch to plan another trip to Walt Disney World for myself. It's just too soon for me to be able to say when i'm going next. In the mean time... i've decided to actually finish blogging about the trip back in September with my mom. Better late than never, right?

The night before the flight out I did my "rush packing" since I was being horrible about getting things packed ahead of time. The mess looked something like this...

Matt and I woke up very very early the next morning and finished all of our last minute packing pretty quickly. We were out the door on time believe it or not! We grabbed my mom and then his mom. His mom is kind of a slow poke so that part of the morning kind of slowed us down and put us behind schedule. Luckily, we made it to Detroit in a good amount of time. Not too early and not too late. Checking the bags took longer than security. That's typical for Detroit. When we went to the restroom there was a family on their way to Walt Disney World for the first time so I chatted with them for a while and told them they were going to love it! Matt and his mom then went to the left side of the airport for their flight out to San Francisco and we went to the right. Saying goodbye wasn't as hard as it has been before since we knew that we'd both be having fun on our own vacations. Here's a shot of mom and I goofing around before our flight.

Mom and I watched some "Disney On A Dime" on my iPod during our two and a half hour flight. Smooth flight... no issues! Just how I like it! Once in the gorgeous Orlando International Airport we headed down to Disney's Magical Express. Very short line at the counter but we had to wait a half hour to get on a DME bus. I admit, I was getting impatient. Once we were on the DME we made a little video talking about how excited we were to finally be in warm weather again. The bus had to drop some guests off at Caribbean Beach Resort (where we stayed last year) so it was kind of fun to see our old stomping grounds again. We got to Pop Century pretty quickly and we were SO happy to feel like we were back "home" again.

Our room wasn't ready at express check-in so they took my cell number and texted us later when we could come back. We dropped the bags off, went to the restroom to change into shorts and tank tops, then stood in line for a bus to Animal Kingdom. Once the bus came, a kid got off and gave us two FastPasses for Kilimanjaro Safari. Yay! We got to the park after having a looooong conversation with the bus driver and headed for KS. We waited in the FP line about 15 minutes. The park seemed pretty packed but we weren't there to do attractions... just eat. We both love KS and this time we got a great view of the lion. Very rare!

Mom and I walked around for a little while to kill some time before our reservation time. Didn't ride anything though.

I tried to check us into our reservation at Tusker House early but the hostess suggested that we wait for the technical "dinner" time to roll around (which was our ADR time) and enjoy the parade while we wait. So, I grabbed an African beer (my first alcoholic drink at WDW) and we sat down to watch the parade. The beer was awesome! Believe it or not, this was our first time seeing the parade at Animal Kingdom! We REALLY liked it! The floats are just gorgeous!!!

Tusker House was renovated a little while back from a counter service restaurant to a table service buffet style diddle. It was just like I remembered only the decor wasn't so tacky. They had some cool art on the wall that I would have liked in my living room. We both ordered our drinks then headed straight for the food. We were starved at that point. This was our first visit to Tusker House and we couldn't have loved it more. I thought maybe the food might be to "weird" for my mom but it wasn't! The chefs were really great about showing me what was vegetarian friendly and what wasn't. There was more than enough there for me to eat. I absolutely fell in love with Disney World hummus on this trip. Tusker House has the best. Mom and I both agreed that it was the perfect meal to start our vacation out with. Clearly she liked it...

Mom and I headed back to Pop Century because we got the notification that our room was ready. We grabbed our bags and headed for our room in the 50's section behind the juke box on the 4th floor. It was nice to unpack and organize the room how we wanted it. For some reason our bathtub liked to drip water. No matter how hard we turned that stupid knob it just wouldn't quit running. The maid always could do it when she'd come to clean up though. Guess we were either just weak or dumb. haha!

My friend Ed was vacationing with his family at WD at the same time we were so I met up with him that night and we went to Epcot. Mom stayed in and relaxed so she'd be pumped and ready for the next day of fun. Ed and I had a blast walking around the World Showcase for the Food and Wine Festival. It was our first time during F&WF and it was SOOO COOL! I can't wait to do it again. Really really. All the different countries represented with great drinks and yummy food. Pure heaven in my eyes. We both got Grand Mariner slushes from France and then watched Illuminations. It's still not my favorite nighttime show. Just kinda short and boring to me.
Back to Pop Century we went to go to bed. It was a very fun and exciting first day at Walt Disney World.