Saturday, September 10, 2016

"Fuck August" Trip to Disney

After a monumental summer - mostly a shitty August - we needed a Disney Day. A day to stop adulting and just have fun.  Hubby had a rare Friday off, so I skipped out of work and we headed to the House of Mouse (with a stop for Daylight Donuts, of course)!

Since we'd be finishing our day at the Magic Kingdom it made the most sense to park at the TTC and take the monorail over to Epcot.

Vroom, vroom
I guess they're expecting a crowd today - that's a lot of rope queue
They love to ride backwards
I go for a more relaxed approach
When the windows are clean, I can get great photos from up here
Feels Crowded™
Even more crowded
To make the most of the day, I definitely made some FastPasses. Our first FastPass was Soarin' - now Soarin' Around the World.  Let's go see what changed!

See ya, suckers!
Fast Pass line allows you to not even view the unwashed Stand-By masses
High Five! Patrick Warburton is still in the pre-ridevideo!
Looks like a promo pic, but I really did take this photo!
This one too!
Hello, beautiful
Next, we hopped on Livin' with the Land. Yeah, it's cheesy, but it's cool (it has AC) and is a fun way to pass the time.

I always find something new of which to take a photo
We'd heard that Sum of All Thrills would be shutting down soon (as would all of Innoventions), so we wanted to make sure the Kiddo got one last ride.  I decided I might as well give it a try too.

It's a virtual ride, where you can build your own roller coaster/bobsled/jet race, and then experience it.

Somehow she and I got separated, so she was able to go ahead of me, while I had to wait behind the line for the next round.

Um, my daughter's in there... can I go in?
Guess not...
Kiddo making her roller coaster
Once inside the Briefing Room, I learned how to make my roller coaster (it's Edutainment!), then was sent out to a workstation to do it. I didn't create anything too funky, because I didn't know how my stomach would handle it (I did take some Dramamine earlier, just in case).

Each "ride" takes place in the pod at the end of a robot arm
My stomach was okay, but I doubt I would've ridden this again, even if it stuck around.

Next up, Kiddo wanted to play at Colortopia (she's such an artist!).  This was another attraction inside the (soon to be gone) Innoventions area. I don't really know what the "lesson" was, except maybe that color can evoke feelings? I don't know.

She needs to exfoliate, apparently
First, we were led into a round room that was starkly white. Then they began changing the lighting in response to different ideas or feelings.

The only selfie that actually came out halfway decent
Then they turned on all the lights and we got to see how blocking lights with our body created other colors on the wall.

All Hail the Great Wall
Photographer, Photographed
After that, we were let to a second area where we were given cool fiber-optic paint brushes and told repeated to not touch them (dude, don't give me fiber-optic shit and not let me play with it!)

Once inside the third area, we would "paint" with our cool fiber-optic paint brushes (that we still can't touch) on the digital coloring book on the walls.

Don't. Touch. The. BRISTLES!
There were buckets of "paint" in the middle of the room; when you dipped your (don't touch it!) paintbrush into the bucket, the bristles would turn the color of the bucket, and then you would touch the bristles (sure, the wall can touch the brush...) to the coloring page, and parts would color in and come to life.

I dipped my "brush" into the green "paint" bucket
It's a cute concept for a 5 year old, but at the same time, terrible for a 5 year old because all they want to do is to touch the damn bristles!

Once you finished 'painting' the attraction was technically over, but there were more things to play with outside. We all played the color matching game. The lights in the center would turn a color (like hot pink), and each person had to make their bucket match the color of the center.  I didn't do very well. I'm gonna blame the controls.

Dude, who made yellow back there?
Next, we Single-Rider'ed Test Track (we don't need to ride together so single rider is the way to go!)

Who needs to make their own car? Just get on the ride!
This one came out pretty good too!
The Kiddo had some cuts on her hand from a school project, and the Band-Aids I'd given her in the car were falling off, so we made a pit-stop at the Medical Center. In Epcot, this is near the Odyssey restaurant.

Like all Disney Medical Centers, this one was calm, quiet and not busy at all. We were able to get some new adhesive bandages (they don't give out name brands), as well as sit in the lobby and enjoy the AC for a few minutes.  I made sure to fill up my water bottle before I left, at the nice, cold fountains (they also have cone cups if you don't like to drink from a fountain - or can't take pills that way).

I'm not focusing on Hot Pink Girl - I'm trying to show off the lobby
Once we left the Medical Center, it was time for a trip around the world, to Italy. 

O Solo Mio
Not tilted enough to be Artsy™
Because, how else does one celebrate surviving a shitty summer? By having pizza, of course!!

Oh, yeah, baby!
Get out! You don't have reservations!
As always, the lobby of Via Napoli was a hot mess, full of people.  Many of these people were trying to get a table - Via Napoli is one of the hottest reservations to get, and not many people are lucky to get a walk-up seat.  No worries for us, we made our reservations over a month ago!

We got seated at a Booth-able; that's a combination booth+table.  As I have a bony butt, I always get the booth part. Because Hubby always wants to sit next to me, he also gets the booth part. This meant, of course, the Kiddo is stuck in an uncomfortable chair.

First up, we got our beverages (Coke and Sprite for them; water with lemon for me, and then later a Diet Coke).  I love that they bring the lemons on a little plate so that you can lemon the water yourself.  Or, you can do as I do (and my grandmother always did) - shake salt onto your lemon wedge and suck on it. I don't know why she did that, but she taught me to do it (usually at seafood restaurants), and I've been doing it for decades!

The non-liquor part of doing shots of Tequila, I guess
I also requested a little-known perk; bread service.  Many, many people don't know that Via has complementary bread service! They will bring a few slices of bread, and pour the olive oil right at your table! I, however, keep forgetting that I don't like the flavor of a strong olive oil, and end up not eating the bread, because the bread is very dense, firm bread (if it was warm, with some butter, it would be great!)

Rustic bread + Pure Olive Oil
A meal at Via Napoli is loud.  There are a LOT of people in this building, and the ceilings are very high. Also the floors are tile, and there are a lot of hard surfaces for sound to bounce.  Also, your servers speak with very heavy Italian accents (duh), so it can make both hearing and understanding your server a bit difficult.  Also, they all talk really fast! Is that an Italian thing, or a server thing?

Pizza Ovens - Stromboli, Vesuvius and Etna
Via Napoli offers three sizes of pies: Personal (which is about the size of a dinner plate), Large (a "normal" pizza) or Mezzo (which is literally a METER long).  We've ordered a Mezzo before, after I ran the Princess in 2014, and it was spectacular. The three of us ate the entire thing!  For this time around, we decided to go smaller, with the "large" pizza. This pizza is, of course, regular pepperoni, but it's really good, authentic Italian pepperoni, that curls up and gets crispy around the edges, as well as delicious fresh mozzarella that melts and oozes and drips.  I just love this pizza!

They very nicely cut it into SIX slices instead of EIGHT (since there are three of us)
Our meal (pizza + three sodas) came to $50 after AP discount, tax and tip.  Is it worth fifty bucks for pizza? Oh, hell, yeah - if it's this pizza!  (And besides, that's less than a $17 meal per person, completely on par with any other sit-down restaurant, and many counter service restaurants these days).

Being amazingly full at this point, we wandered over to Universe of Energy for a 37-minute nap.  There have been rumors that UoE may be disappearing or being replaced, so we wanted to hit it one more time.

Oogah, Chaka
If it is going away, I'm sure gonna miss Salt-n-Pepper Alex and Stupid Judy.

Alex Trebek, Stupid Judy, Einstein and Dream Ellen
Look, Humans!
We headed back to the monorail after riding Universe of Energy and mono'ed back to the TTC, then caught the Ferry to the Magic Kingdom.

Haven't been over to the Contemporary in a while...
Yes, even though it's only just past Labor Day, Halloween is in full swing at the Magic Kingdom!

Hey, Pumpkins!
Hello, Beautiful!
A service dog got it's photo taken in front of the castle! How cute are those booties?
Our first stop (almost every time, really) is the Haunted Mansion. We always ride solo, and I got lucky this time, the ride stopped right outside the "mausoleum" area. I think this is a pretty good shot of the Bride.

You can see the details of her dress really well
Next up, Pirates - I do love that Disney water smell!

Yo ho, yo ho...
A better shot, but I know I can do better.

Oh my God! Is that really Johnny Depp?
We took a spin around Tomorrowland on my favorite ride - the PeopleMover (I'm still so full from pizza!)

Could also be called "Fat Ass Mover"
Sunset in Tomorrowland
I dig the new colors for the Carousel of Progress
I think this side is my favorite side
As the sun began to set, we hopped over to Sleepy Hollow to devour a few funnel cakes (I say a few, because we got two for the three of us to share - *I* didn't eat a few... though I could). This, plus three free ice waters cost $14.

ALWAYS ask for extra powdered sugar - if you ain't wearing it, you ain't eatin' it right!
These ducks give no fucks about people - they want food!
Evening light bathed the castle from Liberty Square bridge as I stopped for a few shots.

Okay, THIS is my favorite side (really just a different angle from above, same side)
Finally, though, we hopped back on the monorail to return to the TTC.

Ridin' backwards again!
Waitin' for a Tram
Good night, parking lot!

Yes, even sunset photos of parking lots are awesome at Disney World
Of course, no trip to Disney is complete without a WaWa run!  We grabbed snackage, as well as a sammich for hubby's lunch tomorrow, then hit the road for home.