Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Solo Trip - Day 3 - 11/04/2010

I met Shelley (@shelleycaran) at 10am in front of the Food & Wine Festival decorations at the entrance to Epcot. We squealed and did a little dance again. Then we went right on Spaceship Earth, paying homage to Dame Judi Dench and watching the Phoenicians hit on me. We were cracking up at the end, with our faces on the screen. We made silly faces, of course, which added to the hilarity. Next was Test Track. I had only been on that once before, but it immediately became a favorite of mine. We had a blast on that, and again were laughing, this time at my hair when we got off the ride. It was sticking out in all different directions!

Next was Living with The Land. It is always so cool to tour the greenhouses, especially when one of the Behind The Seeds tours is going on.

We then had a lovely lunch at Via Napoli. The loveliest part about the lunch was the waiters. One in particular, whose picture I will post with the others on Flickr.  The place really is beautiful, inside and out. I’m looking forward to returning there next time.

We rode Maelstrom after lunch. I think I’m now famous for my fear of the polar bear. Not both of them, just the one on his back legs. After that, Shelley had to leave to get her daughter Zoe from school. Unfortunately, Zoe has a cast on her arm, and because rain cannot get on Zoe’s cast, Shelley did not return. That was unfortunate, but I managed to keep myself busy!

I was a big girl and rode Test Track again, this time by myself. Wasn’t frightened one bit! Next I did the Universe of Energy. Love that one! @AmyBethCombs was cracking me up because we had been texting, and when she had not heard from me in a while, I had a text waiting from her that said, “Are you being eaten by a pterodactyl????” This made me laugh because if I WAS in the midst of being eaten by a dinosaur, I would not take the time to text her back about it. LMBO!

I proceeded to do some shopping around the World Showcase. Then I had a lovely dinner at Tutto Italia. When I arrived, I informed them I did not have a reservation but was wondering if they had a table available, and the manager came over and said, “For you? Immediately.” I blushed. Let me tell ya’ll something, the Cast Members there are a bit scary. There were two of them guarding the room I was in. I felt like Michael Corleone. I was expecting machine guns to come popping out at any second. While I was scared, I also felt kinda cool and protected…in a mafia sort of way. My waitress was an absolute doll! And for dessert, I had the vanilla gelato which was ah-mazing.

After dinner, I shopped around a lot more. OH! Along the way, I was able to meet Judd (@SailorJ) who is a great guy! We watched a bit of Off-Kilter together. That band is fantastic. I also got to meet up with a friend of mine, Amanda, from a forum I belong to. It’s great to meet new people. 

In the United Kingdom, I bought Mary Poppins and managed to catch a comedy act by these three insane guys. They called it “The Holy Grail” and they took three people from the crowd to be their king, prince, and a witch. The entire crowd, myself included, were laughing ourselves silly. They had the guy playing the king shaking his hips and saying, “Ah cha cha cha! It’s good to be the king!” LOL!

Later that night, I was able to meet the one and only Duffy. HE IS ADORABLE!! I gave him the biggest hug, then Photopass snapped three pictures of us, which I will be showing on Flickr. When I left, I hugged him again and he made kissing sounds on my forehead. I melted! Love love love love Duffy. He is the sweetest bear!

It began raining quite hard. I did have my poncho on but it became irritating so I was ducking in and out of buildings to shop in. Soon after, I hopped on the Monorail to TTC, TTC to Magic Kingdom, ferry boat to the Lodge.

It was a lovely day…despite the rain.

The Solo Trip - Day 2 - 11/03/2010

When I awoke, I grabbed some breakfast at the Roaring Fork, and cleaned up for the day. I took the ferry over to the Magic Kingdom. I began the day by shopping for about a half hour inside The Emporium. I bought some awesome items (for myself and family) and put them on hold for package pickup later that day. At around 11am, I met Jared (@jaredsward) at the front of the park, and we made our way to Tomorrowland. I asked where we should go first, and he suggested Space Mountain. Oye. We stood in front of it and I panicked. I said, “Let’s go on the Wedway first. Maybe I just have to get a ride out of my system.” We go on the Wedway, then return to Space Mountain. I panic again, followed by a shriek, ‘OH LOOK! Buzz is only a 10 minute wait!’ He laughed at me, and we rode Buzz. (Jared puts me to shame on that ride. He got WAYYYYY more points than I did.)

After Buzz, we returned to the front of Space. He talked me into it, and I told him to force me on the ride, so he pushed me through the queue as I jokingly freaked that “I was being forced against my will.” It was only about a 10-15 minute wait. We were in the first car and I sat right behind Jared. SPACE MOUNTAIN IS AMAZING. I absolutely loved it!! The music is epic and the ride itself is quite cool. When it ended, I looked at Jared and said, “Let’s go on it again.” LOL! So we did! We sat in the back…not a good idea. We were lunged all over the place. So from now on, I will request a seat in the front; I would rather my organs stay in their natural positions, thank you very much. Anyway, I have PROOF that I was on the ride (AHEM @enthuxiasm who did not think I would brave it), which I will be posting with all of my pictures on Flickr.

After Space, we went on Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Again, I managed not to cry at that show. We then had an incredible lunch at Tony’s Town Square. I proceeded to get my package at the front of the park. We decided to meet up later at Epcot, so I returned to the Lodge to drop off the package. Relaxed in my room a bit, then met back up with Jared at Epcot. We went on Spaceship Earth, which was awesome as always. Thank you, Dame Judi Dench, for your continued inspiration. Next we went to see Captain EO. That was so many levels of awesome. Yes, it was filled to the brim of 1980s cheesiness, but THAT was the awesome part. Hooter the elephant was precious! And I loved how the seats moved a bit. Way too fun and I’m SO happy I went to experience it!

Next was Imagination with Figment! Imaginaaaaation Imaginaaaaation….one little spark….from me to you! That song was in my head the rest of the night. So worth it though. Afterwards, we got on The Gran Fiesta Tour. They renovated it a bit with the television screens – the quality is sharper and looks crystal clear now. They did a good job. By this time, it was around 8pm, and we decided to split ways. I'm so happy I got to hang out with Jared! A part of #teamepic to celebrate Disney. :)

I returned to the Lodge and decided to eat at the Whispering Canyon CafĂ©. My waiter was a tall, thin fellow nicknamed Big Al. As soon as he came over to my table, I knew he would be trouble. He sat across from me to take my order. He returns with my drink and sees I’m quietly on the phone with my mom. He proceeds to scream, “Will everyone please quiet down?! This lady is trying to talk on the phone!!” I could feel my eyes bulging. I stared up at him and whispered, “Thank you for drawing attention to me”, to which he responded, “You’re welcome, dear.” THEN a while later, I had to call up @AmyBethCombs momentarily to tell her something…bad mistake! I thought Big Al just wanted to say hello to Amy. He takes the phone and says, “Hi, Amy? Yeah, your friend is trying to have her dinner. Bye” and hangs up on her! LOL!!!! My jaw dropped to the floor. We stared at each other and he said, “That was long-distance, wasn’t it?” I just stared at him. That was hilarious!! I called Amy back and she was laughing hysterically. The whole dinner was comical – Big Al and I were constantly teasing and torturing each other. At one point, I threatened to throw my fork at him and he said, “Sweetie, I have knives.” LMBO!!

Crazy, wacky, fun day!

The Solo Trip - Day 1 - 11/02/2010

After less than four hours of sleep, I sprang out of bed and into action. I put on my clothes and got ready for the flight. My parents and I left for Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY at 5am and we arrived there at 6am. I checked my one suitcase in, then the three of us sat in the eatery area and talked. We also chatted with this couple who were cousins (well, the wife was the cousin) of the San Francisco Giants player Mike DeRosa. Too cool. At around 7am, I bid a tearful farewell to my parents. That was a bit difficult but I managed to get through it okay. I was in line for security and a sweet family kept me company, as they could see the pain I was going through at that moment. So I got through security hassle-free, and waited in the vestibule for boarding to begin. When I got on the plane, not only was I sitting in the same row as Mike DeRosa’s cousin, but across from me and one behind was the family from the security line! I thank God that happened, as I was a bit frightened with this being my first solo flight and all. Everything went without a hitch, the plane ride was spectacular, and I was extremely joyous to see Florida outside the plane windows. Welcome to the Orlando International Airport!

We piled off the plane and I took the terminal to baggage claim. I said goodbye to Derosa’s cousin, and off I went on my search for the Magical Express. Okay. That was annoying. It took me a while to find an employee kind enough to show me the way. When I saw the waving Cast Members with Mickey’s gloves on, I became ecstatic. I got in line and called up Amy (@AmyBethCombs) while waiting. People stared at me as I talked to her while munching on a banana. She tweeted shortly after about my arriving safely in Orlando, which I’m thankful for (love you, Amy!). When they were boarding the bus only after about a 10-15 minute wait, who was I sitting across from but the family from the security line! We spent just about the entire half-hour ride discussing Disney. They were such great people. When we came close to the Walt Disney World welcome sign, I naturally freaked out and snapped a picture.

The Wilderness Lodge was the third stop. I began shvitzing. I headed inside and the Cast Member welcomed me home. I shivered. Then I walked in…and THERE WAS THE DISNEY SMELL. That smell we all know and love. I went to the online check-in kiosk and they put me on the sixth floor. I went to the room and realized I did not like it. They put me in the far back corner of the hallway, in a secluded area. No thank you. So I quickly changed and took my things downstairs. A Cast Member told me they would have another room near the elevator on the same floor, later in the day. YES! So I left my luggage with the concierge (thank you, sir!), and took the ferryboat to the Magic Kingdom. On the way, I hear, ‘Briana!’ I whipped around and across the aisle and behind me were the airplane/bus family!! Great people.

When I entered the Magic Kingdom, I excitedly called Aurora (@RoraBorieAlice) and she told me she was at Pecos Bills. I made my way over there (yeah I took the long way by accident…don’t judge me) but soon enough, I saw Aurora’s pretty, smiling face outside of the restaurant. I waved happily and we hugged each other tight! We went inside and there was her husband James (@THATJamesMoore) and her brother Cade (@CadelLadelSoup). First of all, hanging with them is like hanging with my own family, so it felt like home. As we left Pecos Bills’, I was able to briefly meet Josette (@disneymom1218) and her family! They are great people. We all headed to Thunder Mountain but the line was too long, so we went to The Haunted Mansion. Oh and um…it was kinda raining. As in pouring. Cade and James blame me for the rain. Apparently, Florida had not experienced any form of rainfall in thirty-something days, and I totally jinxed the entire state. Oye. Anyway, the Mansion was extremely fun as always. Next we all went on Small World. Thanks to Cade for one of my pictures being blurry, as he purposely hit my elbow as I was snapping it. As we departed the ride, James let me borrow his sweatshirt hoodie because I had nothing else with me except the tank top I was wearing. I still feel really bad about that. He was drenched and I felt responsible.

We went to see Mickey’s Philharmagic then. LOVE that show! I reached out to Ariel and Aurora said, ‘You can’t hug her, Brie.’ Wish I could have! Surprisingly, I managed to keep a dry eye throughout the entire show. We then walked back to Pecos Bills’ to meet John (@DisneyWorlds) and Nicole (@njoysiscaretti). Nicole was sporting the adorable little pink and green Minnie Mouse D&B purse that I love! SO glad I got to meet her (we were able to hang out more too – see Friday’s post soon to come). And seeing John again was awesome, since he is like family. We all sat at the table for a while to chat, laugh, and take pictures. Aurora, James, and Cade left then to see Boyz II Men at Epcot. Unfortunately, I did not get to see them anymore during the trip, but I’m very thankful I was able to hang out with them a while.

John, Nicole, and I headed to the Haunted Mansion but it had broke down (we think it was something to do with an actual ghost…yes indeed) and went to It’s A Small World. Of course, John’s humor had me laughing hysterically throughout the entire boat ride. THEN Peter Pan! Yay! We all got into one ship and sailed over London. It was a beautiful journey. John took a couple of pictures of Nicole and me along the way....

We made our way to the Main Street Bakery. We were good kids and did not get anything sugary. I had a fruit cup and Nicole had a coffee. We were living it up healthy, although the cinnamon buns looked amazingly tempting. We walked outside and over to Tony’s, where I met Shelley (@shelleycaran). We screamed and hugged. I have loved talking to this lady on Twitter, so to meet her was awesome. John and Nicole had to leave, so we bid our farewells, agreeing to hang out on Friday.

Shelley and I did a little dance down Main Street, then made our way to Buzz Lightyear. That was my first time on the ride ever. The first experience wasn’t too great, because our vehicle was broken. She was trying to spin it and nothing was happening. Needless to say, we did not score many points. I think I had 12,400 points. Bummer. Still, it was a VERY cool ride. We went to the Frontierland Shooting Arcade next (also a first time experience for me). It was fun! I only got about 1 out of 35 shots, but it was still cool!

Shortly after, it was time for the MSEP tweet-up. First, we spotted Craig (@Craigory24) with Bonus Chris (@opherlee). They are such great people and it was awesome getting to chat with them! Then Amy (not Lisa, haha!!) (@Disney4Babies) and Chris (@CWRidgeway) came along…more great people! Then Todd (@tperlmutter) and Cheryl (@cherylp3) joined us. They are one of my favorite Twitter couples EVER. I’m so blessed to be friends with these people. Seriously. We had a lot of laughs that night. Shelley was all Mary Poppins with her umbrella and Todd snapped a picture (still waiting to see that one!). Todd and I totally did the hot diggity dog dance pre-parade as well. Also, I bought myself a poncho to survive the unending rain, so Bonus Chris and I did a fashion pose for a picture, which ended up being one of my most favorite pictures of the entire trip. Everyone was jealous of the sexy ponchos.

Before long, the MSEP began! Todd will tell any of you, I was shvitzing. Jumping up and down with excitement. It started with Tinkerbell and her fairies…and all I remember after that was being in absolute amazement, and being surrounded by beautiful, bright colors. Shortly after Tinkerbell, the float came along that says vintage-style ‘Disney’s Electrical Parade.’ I just about melted. There was an adorable turtle with a sombrero on that I named Fernando. (This is the only name he can go by now – write this down and remember it.) My favorite float, above and beyond all else, was Elliott from Pete’s Dragon. I stared in disbelief at him. And I did become a little emotional, of course. That was such a memorable moment for me.

After the MSEP, we said goodbye to Craig & Bonus Chris. Sadly, we could not find Amy and Chris, so we did not get to say goodbye to them. The Perlmutters, Shelley, and I made our way to a dessert stand in Liberty Square. Todd bought this irresistible-looking Toll House cookie sandwich with mint chocolate chip ice cream in the middle. It looked amazing. Todd and Cheryl left shortly afterward and Shelley & I watched Wishes. We squealed at certain parts. It was beautiful, as always. We split ways after the display, and I returned to the Lodge via ferry boat. Received my luggage from concierge, and went to my new room, complete with a Mickey head made of towels on one of the beds. I ended my magical night with a phone call to Amy (@AmyBethCombs).

I was SO ready for more magic the next day.