Monday, August 31, 2009

Past Times: WDW Animal Kingdom and the end

On our last full day of Walt Disney World, we went to the Animal Kingdom. We only spent half a day here since we were pretty tired by this time and we weren't as excited about AK as we were about the other "kingdoms".

We started today a little more special since our honeymoon was coming to a close. We ordered room service for breakfast. I've never done room service so I was excited. We each got one of those big breakfasts that come with every breakfast food imaginable. It was delicious and the lady that delivered it was very funny and cute asian lady. Oh, I need to go back and tell a little story I forgot about. Remember that wine that was given to us when we first arrived? Well, it sat there for a couple days untouched, since, of course, we don't drink. I started to feel bad that they have wasted this bottle on us, so I decided to leave a note one day saying "Thank you for the sparkling wine. However, we don't drink. Sparkling Cider?" Yup, I inadvertently asked for a bottle of sparking cider instead. They next day, the wine was gone and cider was in its place! It was so nice of them. We loved it. And come to find out that the lady that brought us breakfast also gave us the cider. We thanked her tons.
We headed to Animal Kingdom, we were already so tired and so this day was going to be quick. We walked in and it was something like the San Diego zoo, to me. It was pretty to walk around all the green. We went over to the Africa area and went on the Kilimanjaro Safari. You ride a truck through "Africa" and see all the animals around. We did see basically all of the animals but I think we went at a bad time since they were all far away. My camera also died during this time and the pictures I did get were blurry. Photo fail.

We then headed over to Expedition Everest, the roller coaster in AK. We got some fast passes and looked for something else to do in the mean time. Nothing really was catching out interest. We people watched a little bit and relaxed.
Taking time out to smooch.
While walking I saw a bird show, Flights of Wonder, that was starting soon so we went ahead and went in to watch. It was a really good show. I got a few pictures. My favorite was when they brought out a bald eagle. It was awesome!After the show we still had time before we could use our fast passes so we stopped by a little place and got Coca Cola slushies. We saw a little "room" on the water that was empty of people and it had some stools to sit and look at the lake so we sat and gazed at nature.I don't know what was in these slushes, but oh my, did I go crazy after drinking mine. Brady still talks about it to this day as the moment I lost my mind. I guess I got really talkative and hyper.

We then headed over to Expedition Everest!This ride is perty awesome. Disney sure has been stepping up on their roller coasters. This one is like an updated version of the Matterhorn.

And that was it for Animal Kingdom. Yup. We left after we rode the coaster. We were tired.

I think we just went back to the hotel and slept until dinner.

That night we went to Downtown Disney to find something to eat. We settled on Planet Hollywood. I had never been here so this was interesting. We get seated in, of course, a weird spot. There is a live DJ on this stage and we were seated right below his stage and next to a staircase. I swear they put the table there when we arrived. I found a picture of the inside to illustrate where we sat:This wasn't our favorite restaurant.

We decided to skip Pleasure Island all together. We did do a little souvenir shopping. There is a Christmas shop at Downtown all year round and we bought a Christmas Tree ornament that was a ball with the Mickey-Minnie wedding ears on it, and it said "Our Honeymoon". I thought it was a perfect memento for us.

The next day was a half day. We took our Just Married buttons off and put them in our luggage since we didn't know if the airport would allow us to have them. When we were checking out, I guess the hotel has in their computers that we are Just Married and the guy checking us out asked us why we weren't wearing out buttons. We told him that we packed them. He pulls 2 more buttons out of a drawer and tells us to put them on. It was funny and we obliged.
The only picture taken the last day.

As part of the awesomeness of doing everything through Disney.com, we were able to check our luggage for the flight back at the hotel, and they took it to the airport for us. We were able to do this hours before our flight so we didn't have to cart our stuff around. We went to Downtown Disney to shop a little bit, I bought a couple little things for my mom and sister. We got some Ghirardelli Chocolate sundaes, yummy, and basically got on a bus to go to the airport.

I have a story about the flight back. You wouldn't believe who was on the flight with us. BTG!!! Oh Yeah. One of the infamous Brazilian Tour Groups was on our flight to Texas. They took up half the flight. One the leaders sat right next to me. They really weren't bad, they mostly slept on the plane. Also, it took forever for us to take off from Orlando. They must have the longest runways because we drove and drove and drove. Brady eventually leaned over to me and asked "Are we driving to Dallas?" I got a good laugh out of that.

That was it, our wonderful Disney World Honeymoon.

Other things we did that had forgotten to include:
  • We did go swimming at our hotel one night. It was probably after the Magic Kingdom day. It was a nice big pool. We wanted to try out the hot tub, but there were some kids that kept jumping in it, so we steered clear.
  • After Epcot, after eating dinner, we went for a walk around the Resort grounds. They have a beach so we walked on the beach and then over to the Wedding Pavillion. It was so nice, the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom began at that moment and we were able to watch them from there. Nobody was around the pavillion so we walked around looked in the windows. It really is quite beautiful. This was probably one of my favorite/romantic moments we had.
Overall, we had an amazing time. I never regretted for a day choosing to go to WDW for our honeymoon. It had everything we wanted. A nice hotel, low-stress, and built in entertainment/guaranteed fun. I hope to go back again one day with my amazing hubby and future kids (or without the kids ;) ).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happiness

I was about to post about a day in Disney World when I saw some of my pictures decided not to work, so I have fix that at home.
In the mean time. I stumbled onto this blog while reading a blog that I stalk every once and a while. I've read the entire blog. Pathetic? Maybe. But sad? NOPE! Every post made me smile. This girl is amazing/optimistic/creative/sweet and I want to be her friend. I've thought about keeping this find to myself, since I want to copy some art she does, but I can't resist. She's too adorable.
Update: My WDW post worked, I hope, see below. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Past Times: WDW Honeymoon July 2008: Hollywood Studios

Here we are, Disney World! Today we go to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Today we also learn to hate Brazilian Tour Groups. The whole week or our trip, Brady and I kept seeing these big groups of Brazilian teenagers everywhere. We didn't really care to much, until Thursday, at Hollywood Studios. Two frustrating stories ahead.

We walked into HS and it was already pretty crowded. It also has kind of a weird layout, so we found a street to walk down and looked to see where it would lead us.They have random little movie themed shops that we browsed then we went and got fast passes to the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, and this is where we have our first frustrating moment with the BTGs (Brazilian Tour Groups). We're standing in line to get our fast passes and it's moving along pretty fast, then it all of the sudden stops moving. We look ahead and see a kid with HUGE stack of tickets getting fast passes, one, by, one! This stack must have been 3 inches thick. Of course he's with a BTG. We're all getting pretty ticked. Finally a frustrated person behind us tells a cast member, and the cast member tells the kid that he needs to step aside. We got our passes although an hour for the return time had elapsed since we got in line.

So we now had a couple of hours to burn so we head to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. It was awesome. The ToT at Disney World is better and than Disneylands because it has more story in the ride, instead of just the drop.

Still with time to kill, we decide to run over to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. Which was starting in about 15 minutes, we get there and can't get in! Why? You ask. BTGs! About 15 BTG Leaders are holding hands in this long line, blocking the entrance so their HUGE group can get in and nobody else! I'm pretty sure that this wasn't allowed. Since one puney cast member looked helpless while this was happening. Once the BTG got in, everyone standing outside, like us, was informed that only standing space was available. Stupid BTGs! We are now fuming and will never go to Brazil.

BTG girls ruining my San Francisco pic! Grrr! (Man, I was skinny)

We walk a few steps over to Star Tours and enjoy the awesomeness. We even saw some young kids fighting Darth Vader with light sabers, pretty cute.

If memory serves me correctly, and it probably isn't, we went back to the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster.

This ride is awesome! It's so dark on the roller coaster that you really can't see where the turns are. This ride became one of my favorites.Next we went and saw "Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show"! This is a show all about stunts done with cars, motorcycles, jet ski's, the like. It was pretty cool.
The set Herbie the Love Bug
Cool picture huh!
Random one of Brady in "New York"

Next we went on "The Great Movie Ride"!

They had some movie memorabilia around the lines.Judy Dench's Queen Elizabeth dress from Shakespeare in Love
Mary Poppin's carousel horse

This ride is all animatronics and cheesy "tour guides". It was good for a laugh, and a little sit down.

LUNCH TIME! Brady had read about the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant, and wanted to try it. We arrive and put our name in.

When you first walk into this place, it looks like the back of movie set, very warehouse-ish. We waited about 20 minutes and then the guy at the front desk announced to people in line that if they don't have a reservation, they won't be able to get in. We already had our name in so we were good. They then call our name and take us down this narrow hallway of backstageyness and we go through this entrance and we all of the sudden feel like we're outside, at night, at a drive-in theater. All of the tables are in cars. We sit down and about 5 minutes later another older couple gets seated in the backseat of our car. We chatted with them a little bit, they were nice and had recently been to Tempe to visit one of their kids, or something like that. Our waiter was a lot of fun. He was all excited for us being Just Married. He took a bunch of pictures of us at all angles and even took our camera to the back to get a shot of the whole place. The food was delicious, we both got burgers, yummy.

The restaurant plays old Sci-Fi movie trailers (when we were there), and old disney cartoons with a sci-fi theme. The sound really did come out of the speakers next to our car. This restaurant became our favorite instantly, not only was the food good, but the atmosphere really is amazing. It was so much fun.Inside joke

Now that we were fed we decided to go on the Studio Backlot Tour. This is comparable to the Universal Studios backlot tour, but not as good. Probably because they don't have enormous sets like Universal does. Oh no! That truck is gonna roll onto us! Not really. But a huge wave of water came rolling down over the top of the "canyon" I got a little splashed.

Where the tour ends they have a shop that has more memorabilia. Darth Vader


Darth MaulIce Queen from Chronicles of NarniaThe Evil Queens costumes from EnchantedCaptain Barbosa from Pirates of the CaribbeanAl Pacino's AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

We were now tired and had enough of Hollywood Studios. We decided to head back to the hotel for a nap. After resting for a bit at the hotel, we decide to go somewhere nice for dinner. We wanted to try something new and Moroccan food sounded good. We took advantage of our concierge service for the first time and had them make a reservation for us for 7:30pm at Marrekesh in Epcot.

It was probably about 5pm at this time so we decide to go to Epcot and do something before dinner. We get there and are walking by Test Track and see that the wait is 70 minutes. We thought this sounded perfect so we we decide to get in line and wait and be out in time to go eat. The line was long, slow, and stopped for too long everyonce and a while. Well, we get near the front of the line and the ride breaks down, again. Since we were so close and had a little extra time before our reservation, we decided to sit and wait.

After about 15 minutes, it starts up again and we move on. We move into this dark room where they showed a video or something, I don't remember because I all of the sudden got really dizzy and light-headed for no reason. I squat down for a second, thinking it will pass, when we had to start moving again. I was sure I was about to faint and felt really cold. I tell Brady I'm dizzy and we stop in a corner so I can sit down. Brady's pretty worried and wondering what's wrong, and I don't know. I just felt really faint. There is an exit right behind us and Brady is telling me that we should leave. I was quite resistant. We've been in line for about 90 minutes now and were so close! I could see the cars! And I know Brady really wanted to go on this ride. But being the amazing husband he is, he pulled me out to the exit. We sit down for about 10 minutes and I feel that I can walk again. Brady said that I was really pale. Well, I was hungry, so Brady supports me while we walk over to the restaurant.

We get seated in about 2 minutes, hurrah for reservations. The restaurant was pretty cool, as you can see in the picture above, very Morrocan. We got seated in a weird place though. It was a small table, almost right on the aisle and we were next to a pillar and the waiters would all walk by us really fast and the dancing area for the belly dancers were right next to us. Slightly awkward place. I got some kabobs which were delish and we got baklava for dessert. And I decided that Morrocan girls are the prettiest.

I was feeling a lot better now, as if nothing had happened, and felt really guilty about missing out on Test Track. By the time we left the restaurant, Epcot was closing so we head for the exit, Brady trying to be adventurous, takes us on a detour and gets us lost and in a dead end. We managed to get out and back to the hotel for sleep.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Adventure!

So I'm taking a break from the WDW posts to tell about our adventure on Saturday. I have mentioned before how Brady's family is into motorcycles and stuff. Well, Brady's dad decides he wants to do a day trip up to Mormon Lake to escape the heat. So Brady and I went along with my brother-in-law, Riley, and the Gillman's family friend, Steve. Of course I'm a passenger and so I rode on the back of Brady's bike on the way up there. We left around 7:30 in the morning and rode up through Payson.
Here is Brady before we left.

I took some pictures while riding, I'm such a daredevil.
(Brady says: "I didn't even know she was taking pictures! Its not easy to look around and see whats going on behind you...")
The back of Brady's jacket.Steve led the way with Riley following, then Brady and me, and Blake was behind us.HiWe got up to Mormon Lake and 10 seconds after I got off of the bike, I got stung by a bee on my finger! It hurt a bit, but not too bad, and since I'm not allergic, no problems.
(Brady says: "Stupid bee! Its ok though, Nicole promptly stomped on it when she found it on the ground.")
We went to go eat at the Mormon Lake Lodge restaurant; Steve had raved about the hamburgers they serve there. Brady and I decided to be different and get the French Dip sandwiches, which were delicious! (Brady says: "YUM! The onion rings were good too!")

After eating, we started heading back home. I decided to ride on the back of Blake's bike on the way back, Brady's bike isn't the most comfy for my legs and feet.

We left expecting to be home by 3:00pm. But that is when bad things start happening:

About 15 minutes out, Brady's bike ran out of gas.
I'm glad I wasn't on his bike when this happened since he said it started jerking badly. (Brady says: "Its a little scary when your bike starts bucking all over the place and you don't know why! I basically coasted to a stop while everybody in front of me sped off, Steve was behind me and stopped. Then all of the cars behind us were passing me, making me feel like a loser. That was until a lady pulled over in her truck and asked if I needed any help, but help was already on the way. I said I was ok, and told her thanks anyways... You always feel like a fool when you're out of gas! FOOL!")

Well, we waited for Steve and Blake to go get some gas back at Mormon Lake and when they got back, they had put the gas in a drinking thermos since the place they got gas didn't sell those gas can things.
After Brady got his bike started, he headed back to fill up with Steve following, Blake, myself and Riley went ahead to find a better place to pull over to wait.
(Brady says: "I took off back to Mormon Lake to fill up, but I forgot my wallet. I had put it in my Dad's saddlebags. Thats why Steve had to follow me. Again, feeling like a FOOL, I managed to fill up an make it back to the group.")
Once we all got together, back on the rode we went to another gas station and topped off. Then something else happened: RAIN!

We weren't exactly prepared for rainy weather so we just rode through it. It was coming down hard and almost horizontal. I was slightly more fortunate to be on the back with someone since the rain didn't come right at me. The rain stopped about 10 minutes later and we pulled over and saw how bad everyone got soaked. I was soaked up to my knees but Riley was soaked everywhere since his bike didn't even have a front window to stop anything. Steve had rain gear with him so he changed into that since his clothes were pretty soaked. I couldn't help but laugh at all this.

(Brady says: "By the time the rain started we were just coming off of the Rim, so all of the roads were switchbacks and super steep. It was a little scary in the rain when the roads are so slick.")

We started up again and stopped in Payson for a snack, ice cream sundaes from Sonic. We had mostly dried off by now and were feeling pretty good and ready to get home since our booties were sore, especially mine, Blake's back seat was a little narrow, but my legs weren't sore, so there was a slight plus.

So the last stretch was a doozy, we hit rain, again, and it was worse than the first time. It came down hard and thick. I was still dry in the torso for a little bit, but that didn't last long. I did finally start getting soaked everywhere. I was wearing two jackets, but they weren't rain resistant. We were going slow, and traffic was speeding past us and spraying water all over. I'm really glad I was with Blake at this time as well. Brady had to practically stand up to see over his fogged up windshield and his got splashed with a huge wave of water.

(Brady says: "I had to stand up to see over the windshield because of all the spray off of the other cars. It was pretty freaky, but then a minivan passed me pretty quick and drenched me with a huge wave of water. NOT COOL MINIVAN! Not cool. Later when it had been raining for a while we passed a rock wall that had waterfalls gushing off the top. It was crazy to see all that water come from nowhere like that.")

It rained until we got outside of Fountain Hills.

Once we got back (around 5:00pm), my butt hurt so bad, every bump we had hit was torturous and I was surprised I was able to walk after getting off of the bike. Brady took a picture of me telling me to show how I felt: Apparently I felt like a rooster with a sore toosh.
(Brady says: "Look at how soaked Nicole is! I couldn't help but laugh a little.")

Even with all the rain, I did have a fun time. I would go again, but take a pillow to sit on next time.