Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Time Experiences

   Ahhhhh... after a refreshing dip in the waters of my fountain of youth (WDW!), I'm enjoying the glorious afterglow of memories.  We enjoyed the company of 2 dear friends that traveled all the way from Idaho to spend a week at WDW with us, and it was their first time.  I came alive at the thought of showing them some of the wonders to be found there.  I hope they will forgive me if I pushed too hard as their tour guide, but I just can't help myself sometimes... I get caught up in all of the color, technology, and fantasy of the Walt Disney World complex.  I always carry a big yellow satchel with the WDW Today logo on it.  And our friends came up with a new motto for our touring days... "Follow the yellow bag!"

   For them, the entire trip was a first time adventure.  But for Dear Disney Wife and I, there were a few first times for us too.  In no particular order, here are a few of them:

1. The American Idol Experience: (Disney Hollywood Studios)
      I'm not really a fan of this show, in fact, I don't think I've ever watched a complete episode of it.  But, I thought it would be a nice way to spend a little time, and when our friends said that they watch the show, then it became a  must and was added to my touring plan sheet.  It was totally enjoyable!  It was fun and the venue was very comfortable.  This is one that we will be adding to future touring plan itinerary sheets.

2. Night of Joy: (Magic Kingdom)
    We tried to do this one during our Sept. 2009 visit.  But I came down with something, and we decided not to do it.  It was being held at the Disney Hollywood Studios then, but now was moved to the Magic Kingdom.  I wasn't sure what it would be like, but we love contemporary Christian music, and a few of our favorites were performing (Jeremy Camp & Francesca Battistelli).  Our friends also enjoy the music, so we all bought our tickets on-line and attended the Friday night event for our big finale of the trip.  It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  We went in a little early and enjoyed some attractions before lining up for the concert.  We got hit with a huge rain storm, but hid out on the Carousel of Progress until it slowed down and eventually stopped.  From some of the tales told on various Disney group sites, we thought we might be swallowed up by hordes of mischievous teens, but it was not anything like that!  Other than a group of screaming girls on the Haunted Mansion, It was wonderful (even they added to the fun). The rain cooled things down, and the atmosphere was totally relaxed and fun. The rides had short lines, and the concerts were great.  Even the recorded music that was blasting as we walked around Main Street made me want to sing along (of course I tried to do it quietly so as not to ruin the trip for our friends).  You can be sure that our next Sept. trip that is scheduled around the Night of Joy time will include at least 1 night's ticket for the weekend event.

3. Kali River Rapids: (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
    Yup, that's right, we had never done Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It was a warm day, the line was short, and we hopped in.  It was a blast... so much fun we had to do it again and queued up for a second trip.  The queue area is well themed too, much like Expedition Everest.  Our friends loved it, and so did we.  It's really well themed, and kind of exciting since you don't know who's going to get the wettest each ride.  Everybody gets wet, but some folks get DRENCHED... I was one of those folks.  I guess I asked for it, since I WANTED water from "the fountain of youth"!

4. Sum of all Thrills: (Epcot)
      Having heard so much about this new attraction inside of Innoventions East, I put it on our attractions list.  After leading us to the wrong side of Innoventions, we found it and hopped in line.  It looks a little intimidating as you see the giant robot arm swinging people around with their legs and feet flailing around, and our friends weren't sure they wanted to try it.  But after the cast member explained that you can control the intensity of the ride (that you design yourself!), they hopped in line with us.  It was a hoot.  Mrs. Boxing Guru and I designed a pretty mild ride with just a few big drops and curves, no upside down loops.  It turns out that our friends made a very similar bobsled ride too.  We'll do it again, and will probably design a much wilder ride next time.

5. Town Square Exposition Hall: (Magic Kingdom)
    When we entered the Magic Kingdom for the Night of Joy (our final night), I saw that there was only a 10 minute wait at the new Expo Hall to meet Mickey and Minnie, so we hopped in line and were led almost immediately into the room to meet and take pictures with WDW's star couple.  It was so much fun We didn't feel rushed, in fact we felt very welcomed as one of the cast members noticed our shirts (WDW Radio & WDW Today Podcasts) and commented on them.  It turns out that Josh is a regular contributor to both the WDW News Today and Inside the Magic Podcasts

6. Behind the Seeds Tour:  (Epcot)
      This was our first tour of any kind, and I think that Behind the Seeds is a great way to start.  It was another highlight of the trip for me.  To be taken back into the Living with the Land attraction really makes you feel like a true "V.I.P."  Our tour guide Britney was outstanding.  You could tell that she really loves what she does, and it was so interesting to be learning about things as ride boats glided by us.  Now, every time we take a ride on the Living with the Land boat ride at Epcot, we'll be remembering our tour Behind the Seeds.


A couple of others were not really firsts for us, but were firsts in their new form.  Star Tours - The Adventures Continue (aka- Star Tours 2) was a great ride.  The 3D effects and new and changing story line has spiced up the attraction.  Just as exciting as the original Star Tours, but spiffier. It's a wild ride that we had to do twice.  And The Enchanted Tiki Room has returned in a form much closer to the original that Walt designed.  No more Iago bird screaming at you throughout the show, just those talented singing birds and flowers taking you on a relaxing and colorful experience.  Thank You WDW for bringing them back!

   The beauty of Walt Disney World as a place to vacation, is that there is always something new to experience. We have a long list of things that we plan to do on future visits, but these are a few that were checked off on this last trip.  

   Did our friends get infected by the "Disney Virus"?  That remains to be seen.  But for us it was a great "Booster Shot"!