Friday, August 20, 2010

Animal Kingdom

On Wednesday August 11th, 2010 we helped set up for the R2-D2 Builders' Club room at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for Star Wars: Celebration V which would start the next day. We were scheduled for 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, but we ended up staying until after 5:00 and the room still wasn't done. (I'll be posting those pictures on my R2's blog soon.)

We had planned to go to the Animal Kingdom after set-up, but the Animal Kingdom closes at 7:00, so we didn't have much time. It was ok, because the kids got to see a lot of really cool animals and they got to wander around the park. Originally, we didn't think we'd be able to go to all 4 parks, but thanks to a wonderful friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) we were able to go to all 4 because this friend bought us 3-day tickets (I had previously purchased tickets for the "Last Tour To Endor" party at Disney's Hollywood studios)!

After we left The Animal Kingdom we went to Downtown Disney, which we hadn't had the time to do yet so it all worked out well.

Here are the pictures we took:

Benjamin with a replica Wampa ice creature from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (CV was a celebration of ESB's 30th anniversary) :

Anna and Benjamin with a replica (smaller than life sized) AT-AT Imperial Walker (also from Empire Strikes Back) :

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life:

Pink Flamingos:


This kangaroo was digging in the dirt to bring up some cooler soil to lay down in:

Carvings in the tree of life:

A little waterfall near the "roots" of the tree of life:


On a bridge overlooking "Asia", you can see the mountains of Expedition Everest, the newest rollercoaster in the Disney family. We didn't even try for it, since we knew the kids wouldn't meet the height requirements:

Shops in "Africa":

African Cichlids:

A hippo butt:

The front of the hippo after it came back around, but the reflections in the plexi ruined the picture:

Playing with African drums:


Monkeys in the trees:

Just about to leave:

On the tram to the parking lot (you are parked in Giraffe 32...that's Giraffe 32...):

At Downtown Disney, the "World Of Disney" store:

Another Disney store, this one just toys:

Jedi Mickey statue (NOT cheap!) at the Art of Disney store :

Then, we went "home" for the night in preparation for a busy day at Star Wars Celebration V.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


For the second day of our vacation, on Tuesday August 10th, 2010 we went to EPCOT. There were quite a few newer things we wanted to try, but with a height restriction, we just decided to spend the day doing things we all could do together.

We did get to see the updated "The Seas" attraction, featuring the "Finding Nemo" characters. The funnest part of it, I think, was the "Turtle Talk With Crush" show. They have a room set aside for people to go in and sit down and we face a screen with computer generated coral reef images, so that it looks like we're looking into the coral reef through glass. Once the show starts, Crush makes his appearance, and asks the kids sitting in the front questions. They have technology where the person talking for Crush can see and hear the crowd so he can react to the things the crowd is saying and the computer generated Crush on the screen moves his mouth/body in reaction to the things that the person speaking for him says/does. It was so much fun! Crush picked a boy out of the crowd and asked him a question. The boy's name was Evan. The second boy he asked a question to said his name was Evan. So, when Crush said "What's your name?" and the boy answered "Evan." Crush just sat (swam?) there for a while saying nothing. Then he said "Ooookay!" Then when he asked another boy a question the kid said his name was "Michael" and Crush said "Whew! I thought you were gonna say 'Evan'!". He was funny, but it was a "you had to be there" sort of thing.


The classic EPCOT photo op:

I was feeling bad that Magic Kingdom's Toon Town didn't have the special "Meet & Greet" Mickey Mouse thing like they used to have and I was beginning to think that the kids would miss out on meeting Mickey. While at EPCOT we came upon a "Character Greeting" spot that is indoors and has an indoor queue which was a permanent place to meet not only Mickey but Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald as well!

Peter didn't want to sit still...

Minnie signing one of the kids' autograph books:

Since Peter didn't want to sit in the pictures, I just held him. Daddy wasn't able to be in the pictures, because he was taking them, but this way all three kids were in the shots:

Inside "The Seas" ride/attraction/aquarium:

Outside "The Seas" attraction, the sign featured some "seagulls" from "Finding Nemo". I think they must have been motion activated because occasionally they would "come to life" and say their famous line from the movie: "Mine! Mine! Mine!!" It was great!

Of course, no trip to EPCOT is complete without a visit to Figment!

Figment's Upside-Down House:

While walking through "The Land" attraction, we went past a character dining restaurant where Mickey was waiting to make an entrance into the restaurant. He was gracious enough to pose and wave to those of us who didn't have the $$$ to shell out for the restaurant:

Looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon at the U.S.A section of the World Showcase:



The miniature train was parked in a tunnel because it was raining off and on that day, but the kids still enjoyed the little village:


U.S.A. again:

Japan's coy pond:

Ever since I was 7 and my parents hosted a Japanese exchange student (the first of many from Japan) I've been fascinated by Japan, so the Japan pavilion and store are always a "must see" for me when at EPCOT. In the store, they had a display of a man's and woman's kimono. The ladies' kimono was ORANGE!! I just had to take a picture of it:


Paris, France:

The UK:


While we were trying to decide what to do next, some ducks came up to us hoping we had some food to share:

Getting ready for the fireworks, lasers, fountains, and lights show:

The show:

After the sun went down they shone different colored lights on the "Spaceship Earth" globe. It really was much prettier in person: