Roller Coaster

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We’re taking a break this weekend and spending a couple of days at the Hilton Grand Vacations Resort in Orlando. Right down the road from Disney, we kicked-off the day at the Magic Kingdom.

This picture of Mom and Adam on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sums-up the day pretty well (one of these days, Cindy’s gonna lose he phone! 😛 )

Mine Train

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First stop: The Magic Kingdom. We’re up early today to get a head-start on the crowd.

WDW Entrance

I’ve reserved a Fast Pass for Space Mountain at 9:00 a.m. and Adam is in a hurry to get started on his roller coaster weekend! Naturally, mom is in picture-taking mode as we board the tram for the park…

WDW Tram

Alex opted not to go on Space Mountain, so mom took him on what seems to be his favorite ride at Disney: The PeopleMover, which actually goes into Space Mountain.

Space Mountain

If Alex’s favorite ride is the PeopleMover, then his second favorite ride is The Grand Prix Raceway! Of course, Adam really likes it, too…

Adam Drives Alex Drives
Alex and Mom Drive Alex and Mom exit

After the race, we made our way toward Adventureland. We stopped by The Haunted Mansion, which mom and Adam went on alone, while I and a spooked Alex hung-out at the exit waiting for them to finish. Thankfully, Alex was able to summon his courage for The Pirates of the Caribbean!

Pirates of the Caribbean

The boys always get a kick out of locating Captain Jack Sparrow in various locations throughout the course of the ride…

Captain Jack Sparrow

Then the Magic Carpet…

Magic Carpet

And the Tea Cups…

Tea Cups

Later, we make our way to Frontierland to Fast-Pass Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, one of the two roller coasters at WDW that Alex likes to ride. However, just before we were to get on the ride, they closed it due to some malfunction. They gave us a pass good until the end of October that could be used on any number of rides, but we’ll likely try to swing back by the park tomorrow after Epcot.

Fortunately, the line at Splash Mountain wasn’t that long, so Mom took Adam, while Alex, who abdicated his seat on the log-ride, and I caught the raft to Tom Sawyer’s Island. This is actually one of my favorite places at Disney because there’s so much to see and it’s typically pretty quiet. Alex ran wild among the tree houses, pontoon bridges, Harper’s Mill, Injun Joes Caves, and Fort Langhorn (formerly Fort Sam Clemens) where he discovered the air rifles in the towers…

Alex on the Raft Alex Shoots

Whew! What a busy day! Now, it’s time to head back to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s sleep. After all, tomorrow will be another busy day!

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After a great night in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were ready for a day at the park. I paid the valet for the van and we headed down the road for the short trip to the park entrance.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

We had almost an hour before the first “Fast Pass” attraction I had scheduled the day prior. We went to the gate to activate our annual pass and in the middle of the process, Cindy realized she had forgotten her ID in the car. So I (literally) ran back to the van to retrieve her ID card. Once back at the ticket booth, panting and out-of-breath, we completed the admission process (or so we thought) and preceded to the park entrance.

Bag searched, we each held our magic band up to the scanner. Everyone cleared except for me. Evidently, in the confusion of the forgotten ID situation, the ticket-taker failed to activate my ticket. So, I had to accompany an attendant to the Guest Service Office where she processed my ticket manually, and then gave us an “Fast Pass” ticket for the inconvenience. The process didn’t take too long, and the boys played with the iPads which served as park information centers.

Anyway, despite the delay, we were still on schedule to make our first “Fast Pass” experience, The Kali River Rapids ride! So, we get to the attraction entrance and head to the “Fast Pass” lane where we discovered that Adam had inadvertently changed all our fast pass selections while he was playing with the iPad in the ticket office. Needless to say, I was not too happy.

Fortunately, one of the guest service guys was there and he helped us cancel Adam’s selections and rebook our original selections. Then he have us a complementary Fast Pass ride on the Kali River Rapids. Talk about great service!

Of course, Alex didn’t think it was so great, as both he and I got soaked!!

Kids Soaked

of course, Mom and Adam got a little wet, too, but not quite as bad as me and Alex!

Family Soaked

We figured walking would help us dry-off, so we headed to the Dinoland USA looking for DINOSAUR, a time-machine themed ride. We all road aboard these “time rovers” through a lot of bumps and flashing lights. There were lots of dinosaurs, but certainly not my favorite ride…

Time Rover

After recovering from the whiplash induced by the time rover, we took in the Primeval Whirl (which was, interestingly enough, one of the attractions Adam re-scheduled us to ride). Alex wasn’t crazy about this one, so he and I sat-it-out while Mom and Alex took a whirl.

Adam and Mom Ride

By the time they finished, Alex was good-to-go, so we got back in line, so he could ride.

But the highlight of the Animal Kingdom experience was the Expedition Everist roller coaster!

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

We used our “Fast Pass” to get through the line quickly. Here we are going into the 80-foot drop. And despite the looks on the boys faces, they absolutely LOVED the ride! So much so, they wanted to get back in line and go again…

Expedition Everest Roller Coaster

Sometime during the day, although at this point it’s really a blur, we stopped for ice cream…

Adam eats ice cream Alex eats ice cream

Oh, and the boys jammed on some bongos, and Alex got sillier and sillier, as Adam lost more and more enthusiasm…

Bongos Bongos
Bongos Bongos
Bongos Bongos

As the day was winding down, we headed to Africa for our last attraction, the Kilimanjaro Safari. But on our way to Africa, guess who popped out of the ground?!?

Stitch

Then it was on to the safari. There were a lot of animals, rinos, elephants, but the boys really got a kick out of the giraffe that crossed in front of the truck.

Giraffe

And so, with one more look at Mt Everest, we crossed the bridge and headed back to the van, and home.

Mt Everest from the lake

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Florida played Alabama today and I had to go to “The Happiest Place on Earth”. Given that the Gators lost the game, I guess this wasn’t such a bad idea after all! 😉

Anyway, here’s the obligatory family-entering-the-Magic-Kingdom photo…

Disney Entrance

Once inside, we headed down Main Street USA and hooked a right to Tomorrowland where I accompanied Adam for his first ride on Space Mountain! Meanwhile, Alex had an important meeting to attend to with Buzz Lightyear, so Mom assisted him with this agenda item…

Space Mountain Alex and Buzz

Next, we waited in a long, long line for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Alex didn’t seem to mind, though…

Alex waits for the Mine Ride

Our goal was to hot all the roller coasters on this trip. So, we made our way to Adventureland and rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railrode, and topped off the day with a ride down Splash Mountain…

Splash Mountain

It was a very, very BUSY and FUN day. Using Disney’s FastPass we were able to enjoy so many rides. Back at the hotel, I reminisced about my trips to Disney as a young boy. Tomorrowland looked a lot cleaner in the 70s; now it seems so cluttered. Instead of a smooth futuristic feel, it looks more cartoonish, like something out of the movie, Robots. I wonder what Alex and Adam will remember of these days 40-years from now?

Tomorrowland

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