Monday, October 3, 2011

May 2011 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 6

Day 6 - 5/26 – Hollywood Studios and a Birthday Luau

She had been wearing her birthday pin religiously throughout the trip thus far, but today was DD’s actual birthday. When we had started looking at weeks in May for a trip, our initial priority was to pick a week before it got ridiculously hot (we have frequently gone in August) or ridiculously busy. Since most schools would still be in session in May, we thought that would be a great time to go. It dawned upon us that we could combine the trip with DD’s birthday – what better party could you hope for?

We packed some of DD’s birthday presents (books, Star Wars action figures) but left her largest present (a Littlest Pet Shop set) at home. We printed a picture of it and included it with her card and a note explaining that it would be waiting for her when we returned. Here she is pointing to the picture we printed.

After presents and a hurried breakfast, we hustled over to Hollywood Studios, arriving a little later than we usually do. We were a little nervous when we saw how long the lines at the turnstiles were.

We implemented the DHS Rope Drop Plan. After we went through the turnstiles, I collected the tickets and quickly (but without running) worked my way as close to the rope as I could. DW and DD, meanwhile, made their way up at a little more leisurely pace.

When the rope drops and we’re led over to Toy Story Mania, I stay as close to the front as possible, nimbly dodging four-year-olds being dragged by their parents, bags falling off strollers, etc. I get right into the FastPass lane and get FastPasses for the three of us. Meanwhile DW and DD head over to the standby line.

We usually arrive at the standby line at about the same time, and we ride together, with FastPasses in hand, and without subjecting DW and DD to most of the mayhem.

Once in the standby queue at park opening, it moves pretty fast. There’s always a holdup by the Mr. Potato Head while people take pictures.

After Toy Story we headed over to MuppetVision. Normally people would be heading over to Rock n’Roller Coaster, or Tower of Terror. But DD is frightened of Tower of Terror, and not tall enough for Rock n’Roller Coaster (which is one of DW’s favorites). We’re all fans of the Muppets, though.

On the way over we spotted these Star Wars shackles. They leave them up all week, even though they’re only used for Star Wars Weekends. Given some stuff that’s been going on at our house lately, I could have really used a set of these.

I like how everything at MuppetVision has a joke worked in.

After Muppets, the plan was to take DD to “The Bug Playground” while DW rides RnRC a couple of times in the Single Rider line. We had to stop for some more photo opportunities, though. Looking at this snowman picture gave me the idea of taking some Christmas Card photos at WDW during our October trip. Maybe bringing Santa hats or something.

 Unlike the crazy lines over the weekend, there was no wait to get onto the Speeder Bike.

We parted ways with DW, grabbed a quick trip on Star Tours riding standby, and then headed over to the Bug Playground. DD loves to organize the kids to pretend they’re ants and whenever the sound of the grasshopper plays, they all have to run and hide.

When she was younger I used to keep a closer eye on her, but now I camp out in a shady spot near the exit and ask her to come by every five minutes or so to check in. That way, I get to watch all of the parents on hands and knees crawling through tunnels after their kids, and I reminisce, which in my head sounds a lot like laughing.

After a couple of rides in Aerosmith’s super-stretch limo, we joined up with DW and had lunch at Pizza Planet. We had a really bad experience. The line took about 20 minutes to get through. This was at 11:30 with literally four people in front of us. None of the lines were moving. There were about 10 CMs on the other side of the counter looking alternately at us, and then back into the kitchen. But none of them were actually serving food.

Once we were served we went upstairs to find a table. They were all pretty messy (again, even though this was well before the lunch rush) but at this point we weren’t being picky. We wiped it down and ate.

This was a short day at DHS, because we had a birthday surprise for DD. We had reservations at the early Luau at the Poly. So we went back to the hotel for some swimming, and then got ready for dinner. DW found this tropical-themed dress for DD.

One of the things DD talked about a lot was how she wanted to drink out of a coconut. Since we read that they offered a tropical alcoholic punch in a coconut, we asked if they could bring milk or just water in the same thing. The waiter was more than happy to (charging us $10 for the souvenir coconut), and DD was excited.

The food was pretty good, but I thought the Spirit of Aloha show was really not very good. It was super campy. There’s a story line about a cousin leaving her family to go off to college. There were some fun parts, though. At one point they invited everyone celebrating a birthday to come up to do a Birthday Hula.

They also had a fire dancer who was really great. I’m not sure if he’s the same guy who juggles fire at the Festival of the Lion King show, but it was kind of like that, but a lot more intense.

After the show we made our way back through the Poly, with DD stopping for some photo opportunities. She broke into an impromptu hula dance by this palm tree.

We drove back to the hotel and went to sleep, with DD proclaiming it was the best birthday ever. It was no Chuck E. Cheese, I’ll tell you that much.

Tomorrow – Gramma in the hizzouse.

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