Disney World - July 2015

Sandra, Christina, and I took Christina's friend Audrey with us for a trip to Disney World to celebrate Christina's quinceanera (fifteenth birthday). The "n" is supposed to have a squiggle above it (it's a Spanish word) but my browser won't render it properly.

It turned out to be a bit of a heat wave - mid-90's each of the four days we were there! Fortunately, thunderstorms rolled through on a couple of these days and cooled things down.

It had been almost six years since our last trip down there, the trip where I dislocated my shoulder running for the bus at Animal Kingdom! Even with that happening, it was still a great trip, so I was expecting to enjoy this trip as well. We did have a lot of fun, and made use of our three daily FastPasses to see our favorites without having to wait a long time. I always feel a bit guilty passing all those other people in the lines, but I'm pretty sure that we had to pay extra to get this as part of our package. We lined up for other things that looked interesting, if the line wasn't more than 20 or 30 minutes.


Animal Kingdom Lodge

This place was really cool, they definitely made a big effort to create an atmosphere of African flavor. As usual with Disney, they did a great job with the little details, even going so far as to put jungle-like stripes onto bare rooftops, for enhancing views from the upper hallways.

The lobby (left) was huge, with incredible large chandeliers with a shields-and-spears design. Outside, though, was the main attraction, a mini-Animal Kingdom habitat with African animals, such as giraffes and zebras. In the picture with the zebra (second row below, on the right) you can see that they have coated the trees in metal mesh to stop the animals from stripping them bare.

Magic Kingdom

It was so hot for the whole trip, and we got really lucky when finding a spot to wait to watch the parade. We were in the shade, nearly in the large doorway to the kitchen of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, sitting on a railing. They had some big fans running on full speed, and with the wind and the smell of the food, it was great. We had to make sure that we didn't move or we would lose our spots!

The parade was pretty cool, especially the large steampunk dragon, which shot fire out of its mouth. Check the video below the picture to the left to see it. In the picture to the left, I'm wearing the Chicago hat that was swept off of my head during the Animal Kingdom river ride.

Hollywood Studios

The big event here was the stunt show, full of speeding cars and motorcycles, as well as fire and explosions. There was a director and camera people, and they showed us what it is like behind the scenes when creating an action movie, including some interesting tricks to fool the audience. Lots of excitement! Check the video below the picture to the left to see some of the action.

We watched a Beauty and The Beast play also - Sandra really loves this story, though I'm not sure I want to think about why that is. I didn't get any pictures of it, but the Star Tours ride was really fantastic, perhaps the best experience of the entire trip. I read that they bought two $500,000 military flight simulators to make two of these rides. It was great to be moving around as the story unfolded in front of us. What a great job they did on this ride!

We repeated something we had done on our previous trip, participating in the animation class, where we got to draw Minnie Mouse. We were sad to learn that the very last class ever was going to be just a few days later, apparently they are going to tear down a lot of the buildings to make something else. I'm glad we got to do it again. We still have the pictures we drew back in 2009, of Daisy Duck.

Animal Kingdom

This was my favorite park on our last trip, and the highlight again was the river ride (left). This time, though, it was me and Sandra that got wet. My camera really got drenched, even though I tried to protect it - there was just too much water washing over us. My hat got washed away and disappeared, which really annoyed Christina, because it was actually one of HER hats! It's not a very good video for seeing the river, but check out the video below the picture to the left, just to see how soaked we got!

In the picture to the left, see those elephants with water squirting out of their trunks? Well, from up on the bridge where this picture was taken from, there is a control that lets people spray the people down in the rafts! Some of the people in the rafts seemed to know this, because they glared up at us ... but they got it anyway! The truck safari ride was a lot of fun, too, and the railway ride was okay. A fun place to visit, definitely.


"Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow" - that was apparently the original concept for this park, but I think it has changed over the years. That's "Spaceship Earth" on the left of the next row down, and it has a slow ride inside that shows the evolution of technology.

It's fun to explore the pavilions of each of the 10 or 15 different countries, but it's too bad that they don't have a lot more room to add many more. We saw a fun acrobatic show in the China area. That's the Germany area in the picture on the left. Two rows down, there are two pictures from the China area, then one from the Canada area.