Sunday, January 20, 2013

Where Dreams Come True

I was four years old. I remember walking across the parking lot. I remember getting a Jiminy Cricket button at the gate. I remember drinking a frozen lemonade while waiting for Tinkerbell to fly into the castle. And I remember being on the It's a Small World ride when it malfunctioned and we had to get out of the boat and walk through the scenes to exit the ride. That was the last time I was at Disney World.

1992 - Back in the blurry photo days before digital photography.
I'm on the left, holding daddy's hand of course!


 2013 - Never too old to enjoy Disney world!
Funny - My sisters' neon shades have come back in style!

Two of my favorite friends decided to run the Disney World Marathon. They are incredible. I didn't even entertain the thought of running, but I was more than happy to go to Orlando for the weekend to cheer them on! So nine of us packed up and headed to Florida! 

 Some of the group - Normal 

Some of the group - Awkward

I love my friends. I love warm weather. I love theme parks. I love cheering. And I really loved Disney in 1992... 

So I knew this weekend would be perfect! And it was! Dare I say... magical!

Disney World

On Friday we got Disney Park Hopper passes and went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot! Oh yes, a very busy day! We got there when the parks opened and didn't leave until the last firework went off. Because we got there early and because it was an off-peak weekend, we just walked right up to every ride that we wanted! We waited about 45 minutes for a couple of rides, but that was rare. One of the guys with us had a pedometer and told us at the end of the night that we had walked about 17 miles that day. No wonder I felt so tired!

Magic Kingdom:

 The singers that greeted us at the park

 From The Little Mermaid ride. TLM has one of the best Disney soundtracks, hands down. I was singing those songs all day!

 Unfortunately TLM also has one of the scariest villains. I didn't think I remembered this ride until I saw Ursula and had a flashback of being terrified! She's huge!

 The "It's a Small World" Ride - No malfunctions this time!

 "Scared" to ride Space Mountain...
Yes, I have a weird "frightened face". Thanks for pointing that out. No worries, you'll see it again soon.

At Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D Show. It was literally my favorite 3D show ever. I'm not kidding.

Cruising the Disney monorails to the other parks

Disney's Hollywood Studios

 Mr. Incredible in a Parade

 A random concert float cruising around the parks. 
I'm a fan of spontaneous singing and dancing.

There it is. The other "scared" picture. This time we were scared of Tower of Terror.

Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater

Oh, you know. Just checking out the Disney bus system.

We ended our day with dinner and fireworks at Epcot. Perfect!

So here are is something that surprised me at Disney. I didn't feel nickeled and dimed. You can take your own food and empty water bottles into the parks and the transportation from Disney resorts to the parks and between each park is free. Of course, we stayed at a time share and I was only paying for one person to do everything and not four or five people like most Disney-goers, so my view is a bit skewed.

Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure
On Saturday we drove down to Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure. This park had more roller coasters than the Disney parks, so I was a big fan!

My favorite ride was The Hulk!

We loved it enough that we rode it twice in a row!

But my second favorite was spiderman. It was a 3D simulated ride and a roller coaster type of ride all in one!

 We did that one at least twice. Maybe three times? I lost count.

Speaking of Spiderman, after the ride was over we actually met Spiderman. He was flirting. I thought that I was flirting back - or at least being cute. And then I saw this candid picture that a friend took.

 So that is what my face looks like when I'm think I'm being cute... Awesome.

At least I smiled in the real picture! And no, we didn't purchase the photo. Just imagine a thrilling urban scene behind us.

So I heard somewhere that on this Jurassic Park River Adventure ride that you don't get very wet. I mean, you ride in a boat down a big drop off, but surely we'd stay dry, right? We rode. We got soaked. We looked soo cute for the rest of the day.

We discovered at the end of the trip when reviewing pictures that the girls did not - in fact - ever need to squat down in a picture. The guys are over six feet tall. No need.

Confession. I've never read Harry Potter. I think I saw part of one of the movies one time, but I'm not even sure about that. I'm not into fantasy fiction stuff. So yes, Harry Potter world was interesting, but I had no frame of reference for how cool it was. My friends that are Potter fans LOVED it though!

Seuss Landing did not disappoint with its whimsy and color and charm!

Erica loves Seuss

The end of our day at Islands of Adventure. We were really tired... but oh, so happy!

Downton Disney
That night we went to Downtown Disney to walk around and have dinner. Our friend Elizabeth - the same one who dressed up like a character from Downton Abbey for Bible study a few weeks ago...

...decided that we should take a picture like the Downton Abbey shot. So here you have it:

 Downton Abbey

Downton Disney

I've never watched the show. In fact, I just learned on this trip that it is Downton, not Downtown. You learn something new every day.

Disney Marathon!!!
Sarah Belle and Linzi Tinkerbell are rockstars.

They ran the whole 26.2 miles. In costumes. At 5:30am. And looked good the whole time! I must say that I still have no desire to ever run a marathon, but if I did, the Disney one is awesome! More than half of the runners are dressed up in some way. The marathon goes through each disney park - beginning and ending at Epcot. And there are characters and shows and marching bands and all sorts of entertainment along the way for the runners! My friends and I started at Epcot (the starting line)...

And then headed to Magic Kingdom to cheer them on around mile 6!

 Running may not be a hobby of mine, but cheering might be! It was a lot of fun! Anyone running soon? I'm a great sign holder...

I have known these girls for about a year and a half. Sarah and I always attribute the beginning of our relationship to her surprise birthday party in which a few of us dressed up in tacky Christmas attire. She and I were both fully committed to the awkwardness.

So what better way to cheer her on than dressed up in costume?

Never in my life have I ever worn a tutu. But I've always wanted to wear one. So I figured that I'm 25, I'm in Disney World, and I'm running out of chances. So I whipped up a tutu the night before I left town and cheered on my girls as Snow White!

I had to leave before the finish to catch my flight, but I was so proud when I received these pictures!

Yes, this was AFTER the race. They looked so awesome! I would have been purple and sweaty and laying on the ground at this point!

Disney? Thumbs up. I'd do it again... soon!