Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Travel Diary - Tuesday, October 21st

Sue and I took the kids to Disneyworld today. We left Pinellas Park at 8:15am, drove across Tampa Bay through town to pick up I-4 east toward Orlando, and landed at the magic kingdom an hour and fifteen minutes later. I-4 is nicer that it used to be. They added a third lane both ways and it provided a buffer zone between the idiots driving under the limit and the maniacs driving way over the limit.

Sue produced a parking pass that allowed us to park close to the monorail station. We also dug up our magic kingdom passes from the past two years. We purchased a package in 2006 for seven days at any of the Florida Disney properties with no expiration. Today was day five. The park was not crowded and we walked to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and boarded without a wait. They worked a Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow robot into the ride in several spots. We walked to Splash mountain and found a short line, same at Thunder Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.

Our next stop was the Small World ride in Fantasyland. We also jumped on the Peter Pan ride with little wait thanks to a fastpass. Sue and I found a coffee vendor near the Dumbo ride and we slurped it down in time to race the cars on the Grand Prix ride. Skyler and I were held up by a grandfather/granddaughter combo. She was steering and trying to work the gas. I guessed she was five or six years old. They stopped short so many times I yelled at the elder to at least help her use the gas pedal. They managed quite well after that.

Sue sat out the teacups ride. She doesn't like spinning rides. The kids and I waited for about 15 minutes for our turn and spun like crazy while Mom took pictures.

The gang hit the Toy Story target shooting game with the help of a fastpass. We split up after making out of the Buzz Lightyear gift shop unscathed. Sue and Skyler did Space Mountain and Leah and I took the elevated tram around Tomorrow World. She's too short for Space Mountain.

There's only one restaurant in the magic kingdom that sells Pizza. It's Pinocchio's Rathskeller. We retraced our steps to Fantasyland and shelled out 36 dollars for a couple of mini pizzas and fried chicken strips. I rate it below average on taste, but the kids liked it.

We stopped in the kiddie water play area near the Little Mermaid's grotto, where the entrance to the 20,000 leagues under the sea ride entrance used to be. We walked over to Tomorrowland for a quick stop at the spinning rocket ship ride. The spinning rides take forever to board. The time in line outweighs the payoff but the kids love them.

We rode the mini-coaster in Mickey's toon town and toured Minnie's house. Somebody cut the cheese near the parlor and sent us back in the early afternoon sun post haste. We wandered over to Adventure land for ice cream at the Dole shop and a turn on the Amazon Cruise. They employ tour guides who are encouraged to embellish the banter with jokes and puns. Our guide foreshadowed things to come when he said, "If you think this ride is boring, try the Hall of Presidents, and then come talk to me." We walked through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house and rode the Aladdin carpet ride twice.

We rode Splash Mountain again but Thunder Mountain was shut down for a repair. We missed the Presidents show and settled for another tour of the Haunted Mansion. Skyler used to love anything President related but he's outgrown it. He wasn't keen on seeing the Hall of Presidents show again, but it gave Sue and I 20 minutes of sit-down time in the air conditioning and that's a nice break. Plus, it's the only ride that has robots AND presidents. The Disney website said this ride is scheduled to be closed for several months starting November first. They have to get a McCain or Obama robot ready and also get the new president to record a HOP speech.

We stuck around for a couple more hours to avoid Tampa at rush hour. We even rode the ferry across the lake to the parking lot on our way out. Jeez, what a day. The kids gave us the thumbs up from the back seat and that made it worth the effort. We'll take tomorrow off and drive back to visit Epcot Center on Thursday.

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