As our first full day in WDW we had planned on doing early entry at Magic Kingdom, but instead decided to sleep in, since it was such a late night and we were all so tired. We still managed to get up fairly early--around 8am--and hit the pool. It was a little overcast (but still plenty warm for us Pacific Northwest folks) so the pool was fairly deserted. It was quite a hike from our room, but we saw the hotel cafe had some tasty-looking baked goods and real coffee, so we vowed to get some grub as we passed back by. Being unfamiliar with the grounds, we took the long way to the pool (and only got brave enough to try alternate doors which proved to be shortcuts on our last day there, go figure). It was good to get to see more of the hotel though, even if we were in our suits, loosely draped in sarongs and beach coverups, toting very large colorful beach towels. Never underestimate the power of people fully dressed to make you feel like a chump in your swim suit!
Ursula bought an underwater camera just for this trip, and it was the only one we brought with us to the pool. We took a lot of funny pics with it, but for some reason I don't have those ones on my computer. Possibly will update in the future if I can ever manage to find them and transfer to my rig.
We passed by the boring rectangular quiet pool, passed a sandy kiddie area and on toward the main pool, which is shared between the Swan and Dolphin resorts.
The pool area was really great, with plenty of available loungers on an overcast day at 8am. There are a few different pools all connected, one had a slide area and all three of us gave that a whirl, even Ursula! It was pretty fun! There were at least 2 hot tubs, and possibly there is a third as well. The large middle area hosts a big waterfall, which looks great and would be fun to splash around underneath on a hot day. There were two bars nearby, but of course they were closed because it was still early. We had big plans to come back and spend time lounging poolside with fruity drinks.
Stitch after breakfast
After checking everything out quite thoroughly we headed back to our room to shower and change, grab some breakfast and hop aboard the Friendship boats to Hollywood Studios. We were anxious to get our annual passes and enter a park! We also had a dinner reservation at one of my favorite themed restaurants, the 50's Primetime Diner.
I can't tell you enough how great the Friendship boats are. They are pretty fast, and even though they stop at the Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club resorts, they dock and load up pretty rapidly. The journey is nice too, and it gave us ample time to sit back and enjoy being at Disney. I took a few dozen pictures. I really wanted to document all our travels and capture every instant of fun, partly so I'd be able to look back on the photos and remember everything, and partly because with digital cameras it's easy to take lots of pics, weed out the bad ones, and not worry about "wasting film." I really outdid myself with my little Cannon, taking over 5,000 pics. I realized once it came time to edit them and discard the bad ones what a fine mess I'd gotten myself into-- 5,000 pics take a long time to fuss over.
Friendship boat heading out in the misty morning
View of The Swan from the Friendship Boat dock
We sat in the back of the boat for maximum enjoyment
Towmater topiary just outside Disney Hollywood Studios
We got off the boat, headed over to one of the window boxes to turn our vouchers into Annual Passes. This seemed to take an eternity, but it really wasn't that long-- maybe 10 or 15 minutes. I was just so antsy to enter the park time was dragging. Once we activated our fingerprints on the bioscanners and entered using our brand new passes we grabbed a map to determine the fastest way to the Tower of Terror and Rock n' Rollercoaster.
Here are some photos of the park as we headed over to Tower of Terror. I just love the Art Deco theming!
ToT is one of our all-time favorite rides, and we wanted to do it right away, even if that meant standing in line a while. Since we got there in the middle of the day we weren't expecting short lines, but the waits weren't bad at all. I went and grabbed fast passes for Rock n Rollecoaster and met back up with the gals at the entrance of ToT. The line moved fast, and I had to hurry to take pics of the queue as we walked through. Pretty much as soon as we got to the braided ropes we were ushered into an open library to see the pre-show. It was fabulous as ever, and we were all thrilled to be there.
Since there were three of us we managed to always get the same seats in the front of the elevator, and every time I would pull out the wrong seatbelt as we sat down and buckled up. Every time.
It was pretty muggy out even though it was overcast, so we took a break for water and ice cream. I'm not the biggest fan of ice cream (unlike Stitch, who has the stuff coursing through her veins) but I couldn't resist the apple crisp sundae. It was vanilla ice cream with warm cinnamon apple compote and some sweet crumbly bits, and it was pretty tasty. Stitch got something boring-- maybe a cone? And Ursula stuck with water, taking bites of our desserts here and there. As it was I couldn't finish mine so 3 ice creams would have been overkill. It turns out we stopped to dine in the smoking section, which we quickly coined “the cancer ride.” We didn't linger overlong here.
It was just about time for the Beauty and the Beast stage show, so we ambled on over to the stage and got pretty good seats just a few minutes before it was to begin. The show was good. I don't remember seeing it when we were in WDW 15 years ago, but it is one of my favorite Disney movies so I really wanted to make time for it on this trip. I was a little disappointed though-- Mrs. Potts was a little dirty on one side and that was kind of an unsightly, un-Disneylike thing. Overall we enjoyed it, it just wasn't quite what I thought it would be (back in the nineties it was heralded as a “Broadway-level production” and I naively took that ages-old review at face value). It was shaded and gave us a good chance to relax a bit. I have a photo of Ursula looking dazed, hot and sweaty there in the seats, but she forbade me from posting it. I love it because it is an accurate representation of how we were feeling. Florida even in October feels oppressively hot to Alaskans.
We went over to Rock n Rollercoaster and rode as single riders. It was a first for all of us and it was quickly deemed another favorite. So nice that our two favorite rides in this park are really near each other, too.
After that we wandered up the street toward the big sorcerer's hat. I had the brilliant idea to walk through the stores to stay in the coolness of the AC, but of course we got distracted by shopping. We were just browsing at this point, but even so managed to pick up some cute mini mickeyhead rice krispie treats to snarf. Progress toward the giant hat was slow. We got some frozen lemonades to have with our mickeyheads (both treats we had been eagerly anticipating in the months prior to the trip!) and sat down to people watch. We didn't want a big lunch because we had dining reservations in a couple of hours, so frequent snacks seemed to fit the bill just right.
I helped Stitch with a quick camera (and camera angle) tutorial, and we got a cute one of me and Mumsy. I think we both look pleased as punch to finally be living the dream-- iced lemonades at WDW.
We then headed slowly over to Pixar Place and it was of course mobbed. We checked the wait for Toy Story Mania-- 90 minutes, no fast passes. We played a lively game of stroller and ECV dodge 'em as we headed out of the swarming hive. Mum stopped to apply a bandage to a developing blister, while Stitch and I went on the Backlot tour. The walking parts of the tour held no interest for Ursula so she was happy to skip it. We decided to meet up in an hour at Star Tours. As Stitch and I did the tour (different than I remember it, favorite part still the tram ride that showed the movie props and the glimpse into the costume sewing area), Ursula found that Star Tours was a walkon, so she rode it without us.
She then sat and worked on her trip report on her iPhone, and noted that the Star Wars Jedi Academy was more annoying than entertaining if you don't have kids in it. We never bothered to watch more of it than we saw as we strolled on by. No small children, not much fun.
After Stitchers and I ogled all the costumes and displays on the way out of the Backlot tour we met back up with Mum, being sure to show her the pictures of Nurse Ratched and Mommy Dearest we'd taken in her honor.
We all rode ST again together. The line was longer but we had enough time to take in the theming of the queue. Love seeing RTD2 and C3PO in “real life.” This time we got a fun sequence where we were plunged underwater, bitten and licked by a giant fish. We were howling with laughter! “This one was much better than one I saw by myself!” Ursula said.
It was time to use our Rock n Rollercoaster fast passes, so we went back for the wild limo ride and had an absolute blast. We also had ToT fast passes, but there wasn't time to use them before our reservation.
Cool movable marble door at entrance to the RnR "studio"
The person in the front left is not in our party (otherwise his mouth would be open)
We found our way to the 50's Primetime Diner and had just enough time to admire to décor in the waiting area and snap a few pics before being seated.
Our “mom” was so great, she was sassy and snappy we laughed the whole time. An older couple was seated next to us and did not seem as amused by the rough treatment as we did. I think by the end of the meal the man was getting into it, but his wife wasn't any too impressed. We were seated in a quiet back corner of the restaurant, so when “Mom” wasn't around it was decidedly hushed. Ursula got Dad's electric lemonade (boozy drink with a glow cube!) and absolutely loved it. I got some other sort of fruity boozy drink complete with glow cube, and Stitch got a fruity, non-boozy drink that she seemed to enjoy. Our meals were good, each of us cleaned our plates completely and “Mom” said since we'd done such a good job we would be allowed to have dessert.
We had intended to take pics of all the food and do restaurant reviews for the Disboard's food review section, but always managed to start eating right away, forgetting about taking photos. And it has been long enough now that I can hardly remember what we had to eat six months ago. I'll try to recall any noteworthy details when I can.
The 50's Primetime Diner didn't disappoint-- the food was better than we remembered and our “Mom” was so fantastic, we left there very happy. In 1996 we went there for the first time, loved the theming, but found the food wasn't great. Same thing in '97, but now, over a decade later we found the grub to be much improved. My only complaint was that my kale was overly salty, but I was starving so I ate it all anyway.
After having boozy drinks Ursula didn't want to risk going on ToT, so we decided to relax and watch Muppets 3D. Since most of the people in the park were at Fantasmic, the theater was pretty empty, and we were told that it was all right to sit down in the middle and it wouldn't be deemed unpatriotic, as Sam the Eagle warned in the pre-show. My eyes had a hard time with the 3D glasses, it was hard to make them focus. So I ended up falling asleep for the show. Mum apparently fought off drowsing somewhat successfully. And Stitch? She loved the show, especially the old codgers up in the balcony.
We browsed in the Muppets store for a few minutes, then decided to head back home. We were all tired, but Stitch began bumbling carelessly between me and Mum, bouncing off of the two of us like bumper cars. I finally had to hold my arms out, bent at the elbow so that when she bounced off of Ursula into me I'd jab her with a poky elbow. It was annoying but funny, and I still razz her about it occasionally.
We barely had to wait at all for the Friendship boat, and were delivered safely to our hotel in just a few minutes. A very successful first day at the parks!