Hi! Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek at my trip report. Let me start off by telling you a little about us; who we are, what kinds of things we like and what our impressions of Disney World are.
We woke up at about 5:00. Ugh! What kind of ungodly hour is that? Oh well, I guess I can wake up early for Disney World. We had already packed everything over the course of the last few days, so all we had to do was throw the bags in the back of the van and go. I said goodbye to my grandpa that lives next door to me and we piled into the van and left.
We decided that we were going to have breakfast at the IHOP in Murfreesboro, about 30-45 minutes away from our house. I go to college in Murfreesboro, and there had been many late night trips to this IHOP during the final weeks of school. Two waiters had become good friends, and the cops always recognised us when we walked in. So IHOP it was.
We got to IHOP a little after 6:00. I was hoping that my favorite overnight waiter, Bruce, was there, but he wasn't. I ordered my usual; cheddar omlette, no butter on the pancakes, and a glass of water with extra ice and no lemon. Hey, I'm picky. Sue me. Mom and Dad both got the International Pancake breakfast.
After we ate, we stopped at the nearby Wal-mart to grab a couple of last minute necessities. I decided that I needed a new pair of sunglasses, so I got a nice pair. Only five bucks. Hey, can I pick 'em or what? We filled the tank and headed off onto the highway.
A couple of hours later we arrived at our favorite rest stop, the Tennessee Welcome center just to the north of Chattanooga. Before this trip, I decided that I was going to take my plastic chicken with me and take pictures of him everywhere we went. My friend Cory gave me my plastic chicken a few years ago as a gag gift and I liked it so much that now it goes on all our vacations with me. So I got my chicken out of the car and prepared for my first (and only, unfortunately) picture of my chicken. I sat my chicken on a bench outside the rest stop and took his picture. The bench was a mosaic of lots of other animals, so he fit right in.
We went to the back of the rest stop and bought Mayfield Chocolate Milk (a tradition of ours), then proceeded on our way. Right as we got to the Georgia border, I started seing one of my favorite road signs I have ever seen. It simply says, "DUI. It kills. Don't do it." 'Nuff said. I fell asleep shortly after Chattanooga and slept until we were well past Atlanta. Finally, my parents woke me up and told me that they were going to stop and eat lunch. We like to get Jimmy Dean Tastefuls for lunch on long trips. They're usually cheaper than a fast food meal would be, plus it's a nice change from the ordinary. So we stopped at a rest stop past Atlanta and munched on our Tastefuls.
Back to driving. Another nap followed the first one (why am I sleeping so much? I don't get it. I never sleep this much on trips). I woke up somewhere near the Florida border. Yeah! Florida Welcome Center time! It's another one of my favorite rest stops. We pulled over and went inside.
"Welcome to Florida!" the woman behind the desk exclaimed. Mom and I made our rounds, collecting any flyer or booklet that looked remotely interesting or useful and made our way back out to the car. We had collected some twenty or so booklets, coupons, flyers, hotel brochures, and even two window decals that said "FLA USA". We piled back into the car and headed off again.
Soon, we began seeing billboards advertising "Disney Radio", a small radio station in northern Florida that advertises different things around the Walt Disney World resort. All it is is a fifteen minute commercial loop talking about each of the parks, each water park, and Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island. It gets repetative after a while, but it really gets you in the Disney mood. I love the signs for it too. "Heigh Ho! Disney Radio!"
Shortly after the station went out of range, we stopped for lunch. We decided on McDonalds so we could try to collect more of the Animal Kingdom toys they were giving away in the happy meals. Mom and I both got a Happy Meal and a hamburger and Dad got a value meal #3. Mom and I both got the lion. In fact, Mom got two.
When we began to approach the Orlando area, Mom got out her sheet of directions and tried to find the exit number we needed to get to our hotel. We looked...and looked...and looked...and could not find the exit we needed. We finally decided to just get off somewhere and try to find our way. After about 30 minutes and $3.75 later, we finally reached U.S. 192, a.k.a West Irlo Bronson Memorial Parkway.
We were staying at the Magic Castle Inn and Suites. We decided on that hotel for a number of reasons. First of all, it was pretty cheap. $30.95 per night for all three of us. Extremely reasonable if you ask me. Second of all, it had a free continental breakfast. It also had a refrigerator in each room, so if we didn't want to eat the continental breakfast, we could get something at the grocery store for breakfast and be able to keep it cool. So we figured, all in all, it was a good deal. The majority of the hotels along 192 are at least decent, so we had no worries about cleanliness of the room or surroundings. Plus we found out that this hotel used to be a Ramada Limited, so the rooms would be nice. It was also close to one of the hotels we stayed at last year, so it was close to Disney World.
When we drove up, the first thing we noticed was that the outside of the building had been redone to resemble a castle. Not too much had been done, just a little brick work on the front and the placement of some crests on the railing. Plain, but charming at the same time. We checked in and were assigned to room 208. We unpacked our stuff from the van quickly, because Mom and I wanted to make it to Magic Kingdom, because it stayed open until midnight that night. Dad didn't have a ticket yet, so he stayed at the hotel and watched TV, got something to eat and went to bed early.
Mom and I headed out for the car to go to Magic Kingdom. It had been about five months since our last trip, so we were eager to go back. I wanted to see what had changed since the last time we were there. We had to drive up 192 to get to the highways, so we passed numerous landmarks that we recognised. Old Town, Movie Rider, American Gladiators dinner theater (which I'm still really curious about. Gotta go there sometime), Captain Nemo's, Xentury City, Celebration, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Water Mania, and our beloved Larson's Lodge, the hotel we stayed in last December.
We arrived at the Magic Kingdom fairly easily. Just follow the signs and you will get there. We showed my Mom's annual pass and got in the parking lot for free. The first stop, I'd already decided, was going to be Space Mountain. When we got to the Transportation and Ticket Center, I was going to renew my annual pass, but all the ticket windows were closed. What to do...what to do? We went ahead to the Magic Kingdom entrance hoping that the attendant would let me in since I didn't have the opportunity to renew my pass.
When I got there, I told the guy what happened. He took my pass and came back a few minutes later. He told me that he would let me in since all the ticket windows were closed, but that I needed to get it renewed as soon as possible. That was very nice, in my opinion. When we went inside, I was amazed by the throngs of people just standing around. The parade had just ended and everyone was waiting on the fireworks to begin. We battled our way to the Plaza Pavilion Terrace and were brought almost to a stand-still by all the people just stopped out in the middle of the sidewalk. It took us twenty minutes to make it from the end of Main Street to the entrance of Space Mountain. What a hassle. But hey, it's worth it, right? I mean, it is Space Mountain.
So I got on Space Mountain with only about a ten minute wait. Mom, as always, waited on the bench outside next to the Skyway entrance. I prefer the right side of Space Mountain. For some reason, it seems darker and isn't as break-your-neck-in-two wild as the left side. The wait always seems longer for the right side, but I figure that it's worth the extra wait. After I was done, we quickly went to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Being an avid, if not obsessive, Toad fan, I vowed to ride it as often as possible during this trip. We rode the left side, which has always seemed to be my favorite side, first. After that came the right side. Somehow, the first time I rode Mr. Toad, I didn't like the right side nearly as much as the left side, but I think this go-around, I changed my mind. I like the first half of the left side and the second half of the right side. I guess I'd call them equal now. Both sides have their advantages.
After Toad, we figured that we would head over to Snow White's Adventures. Neither I nor my Mom had seen Snow White before any of our subsequent trips. I'd always liked the ride, but had never understood what some of the scenes were, what certain things mean or why things were in the order they were in. This would be our first ride since seeing the movie. When we got in the car, things immediately began making more sense. I recognised the crockodile logs, the skeleton reaching for the jug of water, and the scene where all the dwarves are dancing. I also, for the first time, understood why the witch doesn't drop the rock on you at the end of the ride. I always thought that that would be a cool effect if the rock would actually come falling off the cliff at you. This time, I finally realized that she falls backwards off the cliff and the rock isn't supposed to fall on you! I left the ride with a feeling of "Wow! I get it now!"
Then we went to the shop inside the castle, then looked around at the Fantasyland architecture and such. I'd never stopped and looked around at it before. It's really beautiful. This was also our first trip in 13 years when the castle looked normal. Our other three trips were all last year, and it looked like a cake all three times. Absolutely beautiful if you ask me. We saw the fountain near Tinkerbell's Treasures for the first time also.
We decided that, since we didn't have too much time left (it was about 11:00 by this time) that we should see one more thing then make our way back to the hotel. We opted for the Haunted Mansion since it was close and had almost no line. I really like Haunted Mansion. One of my favorite effects, and it's a really small one at that, comes right after the line "...and hot and cold running chills." There's a really cold blast of wind that hits you. Every time I ride it, I have to remark to myself, "Oh that was a running chill!" I also love the hitchhiking ghosts. That's one of the most unique and ingenious scenes I've ever seen. It always kind of gives me the willies, too!
After we were done with the Haunted Mansion, we started to leave. We walked back through the castle, taking pictures of the murals as we left. We got out without much of a hassle, and went back to the hotel for a good nights rest.Go to Day 2