Monday, December 15, 2008

Disney Memory

By popular demand ~ Here's my Disney Share (sorry it's taken me so long to blog about it!)

Our first night in Disney, we went to Epcot's French restaurant. Greg said, "It was too stuffy for a 600 dollar meal!" Dad said, "Well, it's expensive because you pay to be a snob for the night and have someone from France, who has only been in the states for 2 weeks, serve you." I'm sure we looked like a bunch of uncouth people, but we sure had a lot of laughs. (I loved going to the various "countries" in Epcot and hearing the authentic accents!)

One of the "typical French" appetizers was a small serving of "whipped asparagus" with mussel on top. Now, I like asparagus, so I was game. Interestingly, very .. interestingly. We sampled various appetizers and I had my first taste of snail. It was actually pretty good. Not that I'd purposefully order it again, but hey, it was worth the new experience! Roda and I both ordered the Orange Duck for the main meal. When it was served, she looked at me, looked back at her plate, and I could see the wheels turning. She said, "33 for this? I could buy TWENTY ducks (she motioned her hands to impress that it would be live ducks) in the Philippines for 33 dollars!" She was horrified with the cost of the food. I agree, it was pricey, but it's for the ambiance, the presentation, and well, it was very tasty!

That night we saw the Epcot firework display. The fireworks were beautiful, but we were not prepared for such cold weather in Florida! We actually had to buy jackets to make it through the night. And let me tell you... those jackets are not cheap in Disney.

Ok, some highlights of the trip:

SOARING ride in Epcot ~ do not miss this. We liked it so much that we went twice and I'd go again in a heartbeat. You sit in chairs grouped 6 to a row. The lights go out. You feel your feet dangling as your seat swishes up and high, all the while in the dark. Suddenly a massive screen in front of you fills with beautiful visions of California and you feel as though you are flying. The wind is in your hair, the seat tilts as the screen turns. As you go over the forest, you smell pine - oh my gosh, I love that smell. Then over the orange groves and sweet orange fragrence filled the air. We followed behind a glider in the sky, then behind a helicopter and felt the seat vibrant from the motion. You felt as though you dipped down and to find yourself over a golf range, just as the ball shoots straight for you! We ducked and laughed. My friend, Kristen, once told me, "Disney has 4 D affects - smell and feel." It truly does. The only disappointment with SOARING - it wasn't long enough! (Roda is afraid of heights, but even she was willing to go the second time.)

SEGWAY - Oh yeah! I road a Segway! Greg didn't think I would do it. We were walking through innovations and Greg wanted to try this. He was like a little kid to find out the time the classes would be offered and said, "Can we come back to this, Please!" Of course, we did. We listened as the lady gave us instructions; I was first in line. Greg later said, "I was shocked when you said you would go. I was more surprised when I saw you put your foot on the Segway. I thought for sure you'd change your mind. But I was the most surprised when you took to it so naturally!" And I did, I did!

If I was filthy rich, I'd buy one of those babies! (Heck, only 4-6k, what's money for fun like that.) It's so incredibly easy to use. It's balanced by your motions. If you want to go forward, just ever so slightly lean forward, the same going backwards. As I was going forward and came up to the lady, I asked, "How do I stop from going forward?" (Seriously, I was afraid I would run into the lady; there aren't any breaks on the thing!) She replied, "Just think - STOP" And sure enough. I thought, "Stop!" And it did. I swear, it feels like the machine reads you mind, but it's your mind controlling how you are balancing on the thing. To do a complete smooth 360 to the right, just gently touch the handle bar on the right and you do the same to turn left. I didn't want to get off the Segway. It's like a new, shiny toy gift for an adult kid.

Test Track - This is a cool ride. You get into a car and it does a test track to start off - such as driving in a vehicle without anti-lock breaks over ice versus with anti-lock breaks. Then going over gravel and difficult terrain and such. At one point it tested power and looked as though a car was about to crash into you from the side (Greg said this brought back bad visions of his car accident.) Then.. it acts like you're going to do a test-dummy crash into a wall (yeah, I wasn't happy about that thought), when suddenly you're taken outside - on the track around the park, going 70 miles an hour making bank turns. Niiicccee!

Most of that stuff was in Epcot. We also spent time in the Magic Kingdom. It's beautiful, what can I say? There are no adults there, just kids and big kids. If you go there, stay for the lights on the castle at night. OMG - you'll feel like a princess just looking at it! Our night in Magic Kingdom included snow ~ they had snow machines at the top of the buildings and soft flakes drifted down. Ohh, nothing like the pictures of New Orleans that I recently shared, but it was fun all the same.

The animal kingdom park was fun too. I enjoyed"It's Hard Being a Bug" with the 3-D goggles. The screen goes from a plain curtain to butterflies flying in front of you. Then the bugs attack the audience. You feel the spray of the venom, and when the wasp comes out to sting, you feel a bump into your back where a piece of the chair pokes at you, like a stinger... but the best part ~ The bugs "make nice" with the humans in the end - hey, it's Disney - and the main character says, "OK, human, please remain where you are. All bugs depart to the left of the room" - you feel a ripple under your butt on the chair, as if critters are crawling out of chairs and leaving! Everyone screamed - it was hilarious.

Greg's favorite and a top runner for me too is Hollywood Studios. It was fun to see the stunts and how they make it work on the big screen. I didn't realize that when you see a car chase and the car is going backwards making all these turns and twists while in reverse - it's actually a vehicle made to look like it's going backwards, but in reality, the engine is in the trunk and there's a double facing out of the back window driving it forward. Ha. And when you think someone is running the vehicle, say like 007, from a remote, it's actually someone strapped to the other side of the vehicle - on the outside of the car (hidden from the audience's view). Too funny.

I just remembered the Haunted House. The ride moves slowly but the scenes in front of you are great. You witness a "ghostly meal" with ghost dancing around via a laser show - it had a haunting, Victorian, romantic feel to it. There's also a "horse ghost carriage," which Greg liked. We took a picture of him next to it.

Hollywood Studios has beautiful parks with greenery carvings of Disney characters, which is a real treat. Greg and I went there one morning, just the two of us. (My parents, brother and sister-in-law were going to a different park that morning.) We didn't go on any rides that day, just looked at the sculpted gardens. Disney puts a lot of effort to keep everything clean and manicured.

Ohhhh and speaking of manicures. My word! We stayed on Disney grounds at the Saratoga Resort and Spa, the newest of the resorts on the land. It was beautiful! Yes, Mom, Roda and I had a spa day. That was the best Swedish massage ever. Roda and I had massages by women. This was the first time Mom had a male masseuse. We teased her about it afterwards with the guys. Mom started saying, "The guy who did me...." She stopped in her tracks and Greg said, "Not something I want to know about... Not...." Hehe.. Dad replied, "I want the name of this man.." We all laughed.

Now, you wouldn't think there is anything I wouldn't recommend about Disney, right? Eh... maybe a couple of things.

Ok, here's a word to the wise - never, NEVER, sit in the front of the ride for something called "SPLASH mountain." Greg insisted on this. He loves the "drop your stomach" feeling and who cares if your fiancé comes out looking like a drowned rat? Next time I'll be better prepared. Though I'm really not into rides like that.

But the worst, and I'm not saying this being funny, the most disgusting ride ever in Disney - where even little kids walking out of the ride said, "I didn't like that ride, Mommy." - and had me gagging for the rest of the night - Lilo and Stitch. Please, save yourself from the experience. It was putrid. You get locked into the chair, so you can't get up and if I had been able to, I would have bolted out of the place mid-show! The premise to the ride is cute - you are shown the creature and you have to find him. He bounces around on the chairs, which you feel on your shoulders from the lock coming across and down you. You feel the water from his gun and the gun fire to find him. That was all Ok. But then, the show has the creature spew gas or belches or something and there you are, with your head trapped into this chair and what you don't know is that on either side of your head, you're going to be hit with a gust of air in a LONG wave with the absolute WORST stench in this world. It is horrid. And it doesn't happen once. The first time, you think, "MY GOD! What was that?" Just as you think you are over the gagging reflex, you get it a second time and are turning green. I thought for sure I'd lose my lunch. Just writing about it makes me cringe. My mom, who doesn’t have a good sense of smell due to a car accident years ago, even said, "I thought I was going to throw up!"

Ok, I'm over it. That was the worst. I had more memories that were good to put that one to rest. I have to end this with some laughter. My brother, a very serious guy, has a fantastic sense of humor, (you're a fortunate person if he shares his smile). Roda brings out the best in Rob and I love her for that!

Well, she might not love me now though or Greg for that matter. See, when we were in the animal kingdom, we found out Roda doesn't like snakes. Greg and I went shopping and found this plastic cobra that looked real. Greg wanted to scare Roda with it and we came up with the idea of putting the snake in their bed. We even asked Rob what side she slept on, so yes, Rob was in the "know." Greg primed the situation by telling Roda, before they got back to the Saratoga, "Did you see the guard outside of our villa?" (This is all made-up by Greg.) Roda and Rob said, "No, what happened." Greg continues with his story, "It was a boy trying to find his pet snake. Seems like one is on the loose."

That night, we didn't hear her scream from our room, so didn't think anything of it the next morning. Until Roda told us. She got into bed and felt a lump on the other side. She thought it was the remote control. When she moved the covers and saw a snake "curled up like it was sleeping, like a snake looks" - she said she doesn't recall how she ended on the other side of the room, but she thinks she flew there! All the while, Rob is busting out laughing. Roda said, "He's a MEAN guy! Laughing at me like this!" (Roda imitated Rob with him holding his sides, which only made Rob laugh all the harder.)

God bless Roda for her being a good sport. We continued to tease her, but we didn't take the snake home (Mom did to show her classroom).

To see pictures and read a couple of other quips along the way, click here for the Picasa pictures! Below are video snips after Roda did a reinactment of her snake episode. Rob was laughing so hard he fell back on the bed. I had to capture it on video and share! (I told Rob I had it on video - he turned to Roda and said, "You can't tell Mom anything, she tells the world. You can't show Aleta, she'll blog to the world.")




Kel said...

Wow - after that experience I would probably need a bloggy break too! :) It does sound like you all had a wonderful time - and the snake...remind me never to stay in a hotel with you two pranksters! hehe

lmerie said...

What a great trip! Glad you had such a great time!

Hippomanic Jen said...

Sounds like a perfectly wonderful holiday - good company, good (if expensive) food, and magical experiences.

Lauren said...

You should be a travel writer. That was fantastic! I go and experience but I can never remember all the details to tell such a good story.

Lilly's Life said...

Aleta, I don't need to go to Florida now because I felt I was there with you from the way you wrote this. What a fantastic trip you had. You will have lots of memories to share forever. Some of those rides sound awesome. And I hate snakes too and that thing looks real from the other side of this computer too...poor Roda but glad sheis laughing about it. I relaly enjoyed your post - thanks a lot for sharing.

Kavi said...

Ah ! So you did write and tell the world !! Am not sure about them..but am glad that you did !!

Wonderful read ! Thank You !

Jessica said...

Glad you had a great time! :) Thanks for sharing it with us!

Margaret said...

The trip sounds like so much fun. I have always wanted to go to Disney. We are waiting on our kids to get a little bigger, so they can remember it. My husband wouldn't ride any of the rides with me (he's a chicken when it comes to rides so brave at everything else to be that scared of rides).
If a snake would have been in my bed, you would have been able to hear me scream. That I can not handle.
Have a great day.

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Whipped asparagus with mussels...hmmm, not sure about that. I love asparagus, but I think you are braver then me!

Dawn said...

Wow! Who had any idea you could do all that at Disney?! It sounds wonderful!

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C said...

We went to Disney last year and I agree with you on the Lilo ride...not cool! We didn't go to Epcot, I thought there would just be food and country info. Sounds like we missed a lot.

redchair said...

I haven't gone to Disney East Coast yet but of course, many times to the original one here in California. It sounds like such a cool trip, especially to go with your family. I'd also like to see your Sea World. (Ours is about 10 minutes away via freeway.)

One of the worst rides/shows West Coast Disney had was based on the movie 'Backdraft' You literally stood in a large room where things burst into wild infernos in front of the audience. We (also) were in the front row and ended up with little spot blisters where effects over-sprayed hot oil. (It was just awful). Lawsuit! lawsuit! No- but it did cross our minds.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like such an amazing trip--I'm glad you had so much fun!! You're so mean w/ the snake though!! LOL!

ugich konitari said...

Aleta, I am waiting to win some lottery, and have Epcot on a list of stuff that I have to see. I will know what to rush to and what to avoid..... Enjoyed your write up greatly, , and of course the snake trick.

Healingstones said...

That sounded fantastic! I went to Disneyland on my honeymoon - and will never forget it.

As for the snails - you are braver than me! I have been to France a few times, where they were on the menu but never had the nerve to try them!

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Grace said...

i don't get jealous very often, but the green-eyed monster is sitting on my shoulder right now. :)

Big Girl said...

Thanks for all the tips...sounds like a wonderful trip

The Blonde Duck said...

It sounds like you had a good time! I'd want to go to the Haunted House!

Kellan said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip - you are so lucky!

Take care - Kellan

Romany Angel said...

Fab write up and definitely a place I would really love to go to. I love scary rides and it sounds like Disney goes all out to give you the ultimate experience including some unwanted effects by the sound of things.

I couldn't help laughing in those videos. Laughter is so infectious don't you think? Loved all the photos too. Thanks for sharing with us. I almost feel as though I was right there with you and your wonderful family.

Walker said...

I want a Segway, they look like a fun way to get around.

I don;t think the fench food it worth the money as for the attitude, well i lived with a french woman for 10 years and you take it in stride or give them some of the attitude back and they don;t complain

Tiffany said...

What a great Disney trip! I love that place!

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Holly said...

Looks like you have a wonderful time! I love many of the rides you mentioned, but my least favorite was "It's a Small World". Ugh - took me months to get that song out of my head. Aw hell, now it's there again!

I could do without such a pricy meal as well! Yikes! Our splurging is more TGIF's or Appleby's! Sad, I know, but I'm a rather frugal person, and I have no idea what I'd do if I had money to just blow! But a Segway would be a good start - those are FUN, aren't they!