Disney World, Day 1

As it turned out, all travel arrangements worked out perfectly yesterday. Kelly and I got to Dulles, were through security in two minutes, and made our way to the Red Carpet Club. We had a couple of drinks there before catching our 9:35 PM flight to Orlando. Our flight was on time and arrived 5 minutes early. We met vickyandnorm almost as soon as we got off the tram to the main terminal. Norm went to the rental car desk to get the car and we headed out. We ended up with a bright blue car, roomy, but it sure stands out. We spent last night at a time-share property, a condo that was really nice. Full kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, dining room, living room, balcony. Our bedroom had a whirlpool tub in the room. But were were only there for a few hours. We went to bed sometime after 1:30 AM and were up at 7:30 this morning. We had a quick breakfast, checked out, and then headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

The park opened at 9 AM and were there just a few minutes after it opened. The air was a little cool, but it warmed up quickly. We managed to pack in quite a bit. The first thing we did was the safari, which Kelly had never done before. Then we headed over to the Everest roller coaster ride, and Norm and I went on that while Kelly and Vicky waited. They actually saw us on the ride twice. It’s a pretty cool roller coaster. It goes backwards, there’s one good big drop, and some turns that probably reach 2-gees. We did more wandering and snacking and shopping. We caught a few shows. We had lunch. Eventually, we made our way back to Everest, and Norm and I rode it again, this time sitting in the front. Once again, the line was not long (we used Fast Pass). It was even more fun the second time around.

After that, we got some soft serve ice cream and headed for the park exit. Kelly lost her camera case, but it was a cheap one and no one was really upset by it. From the Animal Kingdom, we headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) park. I’d never been there before. We got a wheelchair for Vicky (who is 5 months pregnant with twins) and who had done a great job on her feet for the first 4-5 hours of the day. Once we had that, I ran over to Star Tours to get FastPass tickets and then met up with everyone else. Vicky and Kelly decided to shop, while Norm and I hit the two big rides: Tower of Terror and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. The Tower of Terror was fun, kind of like Free Fall, but more random and more dropping. I estimated about 1/2-1 second of true free-fall. But the Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Whoa!

The Rockin’ Roller Coaster is touted as the fastest, wildest ride of all of the Disney Parks and it lived up to it’s reputation. The ride “features” Aerosmith. When Norm and I got to the line, there was a 45 minute wait. We opted for the “singles” line and managed to get on the ride and get in the same car in 10 minutes. The ride itself was amazing, beginning with the initial 0-to-60 MPH boost in 2.8 seconds. There were loops and whirls and you name it–all in the dark like Space Mountain–only much faster. It was awesome! And best of all, they play Aerosmith while you zoom through the ride. strausmouse would love it!

After that we needed a rest and went to two shows. I slept through both. The first was only a few minutes long. The second was The Little Mermaid show. It was 17 minutes long and I slept soundly through the entire thing. By that time, it was dinner time. We had reservations at The Hollywood Brown Derby. The food there was excellent. We luxuriated through dinner, taking our time, talking, and really enjoying ourselves. Vicky and I had fillet mignon, Norm had duck and venison, and Kelly had salmon. It was terrific.

Finally, dinner was over and we made our way over to the “Hollywood Hills Amphitheater” for Fantasmic. This time, Vicky’s wheelchair managed to get us good seats. We arrived about 30 minutes early, but it was already packed and so the good seats helped. The show itself was great, although much-changed since I last saw it at Disneyland back in the 90s. Once the show was over, it was 9 PM and we made our way out of the park and to the Dolphin resort, where we checked in. Norm and Vicky’s room is right across the hall from ours, both facing east into the resort. Our rooms each have two balconies, very, very nice. The plan tomorrow is to hit the Magic Kingdom. It opens at 9 AM. We are meeting for breakfast just before 8 AM, so we should all sleep well tonight.

There were a number of amusing things that happened throughout the day, but I’m beat now. It was all I could do to write this all up before crashing. I’m getting in the shower and then heading off to bed. More tomorrow.