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The Florida 2010 Diaries ~ Part 3

Read part one here...
Read part two here...

Friday 4th December 2010 ~

Ooo the day at Disney Hollywood Studios was the best day :) Once again we were pretty much the first at the ticket gate due to still waking up at a totally ridick hour. Today, this worked in our favour. Much like the X Factor with Cher Lloyd, Disney has created a monster with Toy Story Midway Mania. This was much much worse that the racing to rides at any other park. Parents had walkie talkies, telling kids that the slightest delay would impact on how long they had to wait and totally ruin their day/life and it would all be that child's fault. i exaggerate not. I was first at my ticket booth and when non nipple gazing Disney cast member opened it up, my entrance pass wouldn't go through. Oops. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!" screamed the normally delightful (probably) mom (with a lot of spit on my neck. Ew) behind me. Sheesh! Then we were all led by a velvet rope to the ride and I let Darren do his best. I am rubbish at barging past people in an angry mob, but Darren has no such compunction. He is like the emotionless Dexter of crowd control. He weaves in and out expertly, taking kids down and even had time to stop and glare at an old fella who ran over his foot with a motorised scooter. By the time I had (fairly speedily) got to the ride, Darren had put seething Disney moms to shame by getting fast passes and meeting me at the start of the minimal line. Amazes.

As we waited in line, we put the fastpasses away (9.43am - 10.43am) and a different normally delightful probably mom behind me announced loudly in her best WASP passive-aggressive tone to no one in particular "I think it's so unfair when adults with no kids get fastpasses. It takes them selfishly away from families". "Kids are baby goats" I retorted "and we're getting two more fast passes for tonight when we get off" I added just as Disney crew member asked for a party of two and I minced past about 20 people to the front of the line. SCORE!

(the ride, if you haven't been on it is brilliantly simplistic 4-D shooting game that anyone can do and is ridiculously fun. And yes, by the time we had ridden it, gone for a jimmy riddle and joined the fifteen minute line just to get later fastpasses, we got some of the last few and rode it for a third time just before the lights were switched on for the Christmas spectacular. Three times, no lines. Brillopants. Even more brillopants was that we saw selfish fastpasses passive aggressive mom just as we got out of the fastpass line for the 2nd time and I waved the tickets at her. she looked furious and probably ranted non-stop to her poor hen pecked husband about it. i felt no guilt. Ooo maybe I'm Dexter!)

So after avoiding 100 minute long lines for Toy Story Mania, we pretty much partook of everything the park had to offer - rides, shows, Disney museum and oh, American Idol: The Experience. This is essentially a mini version of the show. if you so desire you can audition and they choose the best 3 from each audition session to sing to the audience at 5-6 shows during the day. I was going to audition for a laugh but they didn't have Cee-Lo's F*** You. I can understand that, but they didn't even have mariah's all I want for christmas is you. Surely that is a crime against Santa?! Anyway, the show we watched had a pre-audience warm up from Disney Crew Member Mike - WHO HAD LONGER FINGERS THAN DEVON!! - and interspersed with "how great is this attraction" clips from people like Ryan Seacrest, Lee Dwayze, Kris Allen, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Jordin Sparks, some guy who came 5th last year and had won the guaranteed audition ticket that each ultimate daily winner gets and uh Justin Guarini. Clearly Kelly and Carrie are too successful (and Ryan is contractually obligated). We got some grizzled old navy seal doing a not sexy Sway (old and navy as in woo the troops, not the store, though judging from his too bright fleece, who knows?), some Justin Beiber wannabe, nervous as heck, Christian choir singing kid called Eric and some girl called Sarah, who if she was on the x-factor would get through just because she is quirky. Not because she could sing. Though she ennunciated mouthally worse than the vicar of dibley in the songs of praise episode. We voted for Eric because a) it was his birthday and apparently we have killed enough kids dreams today with our fast pass selfishness and b) one day he will realise he won't be giving his parents grandkids. As the seats next to us were empty too, they voted for Eric and he won the chance to sing in the night's finale (which we didn't watch). Woo hoo dreams restored.

Other highlights:

  • Darren agreeing to come and see the hideously edited Beauty and the Beast musical (30 mins! no Human Again! only half of Gaston! Surely they could have changed it to the Christmas one?) becaause he knows it is one of my favourite musicals of all time.
  • Darren doing his BEST ACTING EVER when at said musical, the couple behind had their maps out and were planning the rest of their day! DURING THE TITLE SONG! "Do you mind, i'm trying to watch this" he chided and made it sound entirely plausible even though i know he was bored silly.
  • The Osborne Spectable of Dancing Lights being turned on at dusk with fake snow and Christmas music. It really is quite lovely and I was filled with christmas spirit (possibly the festive margherita I was drinking to wash away the taste of cardboardy pretzel I had just bought. Yuck = buyer's remorse). Everyone seemed genuinely happy away from the pressure of Toy Story and I even fist bumped a guy in passing wearing a "Dudes marry dudes, get over it" t-shirt. Joy to the world indeed!!

More soon!!

Posted by Paul 12:39 am 22 comments  

The Florida 2010 Diaries ~ Part Two

Wednesday 1st December 2010:

Hurrah. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It's the first of December and despite warnings of a sharp temperature drop, it turns out to be the hottest first of December in Orlando for yonks. Luckily, The Magic Kingdom (now the second most magical place on earth) has decked their halls and I'm ready to fa la la along with the Disney crew. Amazeballs. We arrive at the opening gate with about ten minutes to spare and enjoy a nice little sing and dance routine. This is like the contents of my head come to life because each morning, I imagine that life IS a song and dance routine. It's all very twee and looks of wonderment abound, etc. Charming. And then the gates open...

Let the memories begin indeed. It is a scene of carnage and devastation as parents grab, pull and drag their children and run through the not that busy main street to get to the attractions first. "Mommy, it's cindy-wella's castle" pants one breathless little girl. "Yeah yeah, i've seen it before, we will look later" chides the trotting mare of a mother. "I need the toilet" whines another probably desperate little boy. "Well i hope you know we will spend most the day in lines now" fumes his dad. Good grief. Way to embrace the enchantment.

The part was fairly empty. I've done my research. I know which parks will be quietest on which days and which order to do the fastpasses/rides. It involves a bit of (darren) criss-crossing and lots of walking but it totally works. Though the lines are minimal for the magic kingdown we seem to remain one step ahead all day - arriving to walk onto rides just as queues build up behind us. I think the haunted mansion is my fave, though I must once again express (milk) my disappointment that they don't Nightmare Before Christmas it all up like they do in California.

The jungle cruise - always a hoot - was delightful for one reason: Unfeasibly long fingered camp chicken Devon. He did a brilliant southern accent "I do declare" which reminded me of Dame Annie from Sunset Beach. And he made an amazing Shakira-muppets waka waka joke that I don't entirely recall now, but made me chortle even if it went over everyone elses head. Go twink Devon!

Was a lovely day until we got totally and horribly lost on the way back to the hotel. What a bummer. The gleaming light of hope was a Super Target with a starbucks where a nice barista directed us while I enjoyed a delicious white chocolate mocha with peppermint. Yummy. Coming out of the store, Darren asked me why I had bought People magazine (it's usually shite isn't it?) "Oh to have a perv over the 25 sexiest men" I answered loudly strolling through the parking lot. A rough looking dude in a pick up WITH AN ACTUAL RED NECK looked well angry at this so I quickly said in a well butch gruff voice "oh i mean lady dudes with beautiful pussies." One can't be too careful - he had God stickers on his car and according to the news, there has already been rapes, murders and muggings. Delightful...

Thursday 2nd December 2010:

The morning news is still about rapes murders and muggings (and now police brutality. Some old geezer sassed a cop and got his neck broken. Harsh.) None of these are the top stories. No sirreebob. There are two far more important stories. One is the cold snap that has dropped the temperature 10 degrees in Orlando. It is now a little bit chilly. There are clips of people at Walmart in shorts and a t-shirt with a blanket wrapped round them going "this wind chill is gonna kill me. Imma gonna go Miami" Incredible. The other story is Susan Boyle showing the limits of her voice on some tv show where she croaks, pulls a face and asks if she can start again. On live tv. Silly SuBo. Oh how I longed to be on twitter. You can now pinpoint on youtube the moment when she realises that if she ever had to sing more than one song on a tv talent show, she wouldn't be where she is now. VIVA MARY BYRNE!!!

Oh, ok, it was actually quite chilly waiting for Animal Kingdom to open. My nipples were clearly visible through my favourite Unsung Hero t-shirt (Discotheque). Crew member Aaron at the ticket gate could barely take his eyes off them. I'm sure I had a "my face is up here mister" moment with him!! People in the line were having a right good natter about the best strategy to get to Everest before anyone else. I love a bit of organisational strategy but this was mind numblingly dull and a moot point because a) it's not very good and b) they walk you there behind a velvet rope. VELVET ROPE! (Janet Jackson) One woman was so eager to be first, she practically straddled Aaron's rope. I bet it gave her the best ride of the day. Thanks to our excellent ropework we were on and off in less than ten minutes.

More rides followed (including Dinosaur, which was like behing shaken from behind. In the dark. For ten minutes). The highlight was definitely the Kilimanjiro Safaris. Not for the slightly racist white truck driver whose African game reserve accent was more Jamican than anything else (he was no Devon). Not it was for the batty old woman behind. She was brilliant. Couldn't see a baby rhino not 10 feet from her line of vision yet she came out with (what I thought were) hilarious one liners like (when a herd of graceful gazel were pointed out) "oh i wish I had a gun"!! & (when some ostrich eggs were spotted) "mmm omelettes"! Amazeballs. There were lots of tuts and shushs but I thought she was brillo. Rock it bonkers Granny!

Felt need for shopping. Went to mall. Bumped into someone from Darren's gym. It's a small world after all...

More soon!

Posted by Paul 5:01 am 1 comments  

The Florida 2010 Diaries ~ part one

Monday 29th November 2010:

Hurrah (said in a deeply sarcastic voice). It is travel day. The only downside to a dream holiday is the amount of time it takes to get there. Manchester to Orlando in "just 8 hours" is a bit of a lie because it becomes over 12 hours once you (x) factor in check in, immigration, car pick up, etc. Still it's freezing cold and I'm happy that the plane isn't snowed in. Leaving the de-icer in the car though was a bit of a neddy no no. It is beyond cold and my fingers can barely wrap around it. While Darren takes the difficult job of warming the car up ("my body heat will help the temperature rise"), I fumbled around with the piddly de-icer that instead of releasing a magnificent ice killing spray, a single jet emerged making the job twice as hard. By the time I was done, my gloves were actually frozen to the can. Yeeshk.

At check in, I managed to charm slender check in dude into upgrading our seats. I can be very delightful when I want to be. We went straight through to the executive lounge (block capital alert) BECAUSE THERE IS NO STARBUCKS AT MANCHESTER AIRPORT!!! I wept. AND IT WAS THE WORST EXECUTIVE LOUNGE EVER> For starters it was tiny and overbooked. I had to squeeze in next to a sour faced looking lady who was so obese her body cascaded like jelly over the few inches into my chair. The "full menu" included cold toast and dry croissants. Yum. And they guy who looked like Storm Lee opposite me opened an unwelcome conversation with "God, I hope there are no asians on this flight." HOW RUDE. I mean what do you say to that. I gave him a withering look and shifted away from the racist bigot. God, people can be vile.

Amazingly, the flight was actually quite nice. Decent seats, ok food, not too crowded. I settled down, started reading Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire (of Wicked fame) and watched Disney's A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey not brilliant Muppets version), Easy A (it's no Mean Girls but it had it's moments, a decent soundtrack and a yum Penn Badgeley) and Toy Story 3. This is still emotionally devastating and I was weeping from the hand-hold of Jessie and Buzz right through to the end. Sniffle. It was almost ruined halfway through when a bloke walked past my chair and let out a blast of bottom wind so hot and forceful that it went straight to my eyes and throat. It burnt and stung for a good ten minutes. Vile. He did have the good grace to look chagrinned on the walk back. Vile.

Arrived. Got car. Went to hotel. Checked in. Slept. See you tomorrow!!

Tuesday 30th November 2010:

Of course I was up ridiculously early - about 4am. Oh well. This means I had time to catch up on Glee and Entertainment Weekly before a full day out at Universal Island of Adventure. We get a nice cooked breakfast as part of our hotel suite package. We went down to enjoy it, and while we were waiting (no one was around), Darren helped himself to a coffee - only to be interrupted by a large woman called Shaneisha who yelled "oh no you di'n't" and chased us out (LITERALLY) into the actual cooked breakfast room next door. Oops. The thief.

We went straight to Universal IofA because I could not wait to experience the Harry Potter stuff they had built since I was last here (2008). $15 to park the car!! I was agog and aghast (is Marius in love at last). I've bent over for less... Are they not making enough from sales of the slightly yucky butterbear... Still, all parked up, we were a bit early so went for a yummy starbucks. So much cheaper than the UK and so much more choice. On the advice of TRWhite88 I had a salted caramel hot chocolate, which the entire store (ie 2 staff and Darren) were watching intently to see if I would enjoy. it was nice, then different, then unusual but overall I've had worse in my mouth and swallowed so I think I will probably have one again.

There was a bit of a line to get in, which were quite close to the front of. There was a charming British family in front who were intent on having a good time - mom "Shannon, stop being stressed because then you will stress me out and then it will get all unpleasant". (All Shannon had said was "i'm looking forward to Flight of the Hippogriff"). Dad "if you don't take that look off your face, I will slap you silly". charming. Someone set Bellatrix LeStrange on their arses!! Once the park had opened, I expected people to run to Hogsmeade, but there were quite a lot of large people and large people in motorised scooters so we easily power walked past them to the part of the part where the descriptive words of JK Rowling came to life. And bloody amazing it was too. I decree it the new most magical place on earth. Hogsmeade and Hogswart look as real as anything you've seen in the movies and a meticulous attention to detail reveals fantastic delights everywhere. The rides are pretty wonderful too with Journey into the Forbidden Forest being the giddy best. Though it did make me feel a bit pukey. I'm not quite the rollercoaster riding spring chicken I used to be...

The rest of the day was a pleasant whirl of rides and shows. Incredibly hot day and not too busy so went back to hotel to have a bit of a relax. Plus wanted to catch up on my 2nd favourite famous couple (after Katilliam) - Gyllenswift/Swillenhall! Love it...

More tomorrow....

Posted by Paul 12:57 am 1 comments