An essential part of any trip to Disney World is hitting a few rides. Although I love so many of the rides and could do them any time day or night I always have the most fun when I get to share a ride with a friend….or twenty. Much to my delight Disney announced they would be doing a special pass holder event to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Expedition Everest. Without even thinking I signed up for the event mainly because it was occurring after the park closed and being in Animal Kingdom after sunset is a rare treat. There were several meet ups during the day inside Animal Kingdom leading up to the event and this allowed new and old friends to connect and plan out our attack for the evening’s festivities.
Once the time came for the parks normal closing hours we all headed for the entrance to get our special wrist bands for the event. Within minutes we were all rushing to get the first ride of the night in on Everest. Knowing this event was limited to a smaller group we couldn’t wait to see how many rides we could get in that night. The first ride of the night was fun with several familiar faces, but at this time the crowds were still a little heavy. To break up the night we decided to bounce between Everest and Dinosaur which was also open for the event.
As we headed over to the Dinoland area we were greeted with the growing sound of dance music as we got closer and closer. Much too many of our delights Disney had set up a mini dance party area with a DJ, lights and free goodies. On several of our journeys between the two rides that night we stopped for a dance break. This may not count as a “ride” but I definitely took away some great memories from dancing with all of my friends in the park. After we got our groove on it was time to take on Dinosaur.
Being that Dinosaur holds fewer guests than Everest we were able to secure a vehicle with all of our friends occupying it. Of course we had all been on this ride numerous times so we tend to try and find new ways to “spice” it up. This came in forms of grown men screaming like school girls and everyone doing their best “I’m scared to death” faces when the big Dino roars at us. Needless to say we had a few very memorable photo ops from those rides.
As the sun finally set we decided to head back over to Asia to get a ride that most of us had never experienced, Expedition Everest at night. Many people know that for the past few years the large Yeti audio animatronic hasn’t been working properly. These days he sits motionless in the mountain with only fans blowing his fur and strobe lights illuminating him. Because of this many Disney fans have affectionately nick named him, Disco Yeti. On this last and final ride of the night I believe the entire Everest train was filled with familiar faces. Since we all knew each other we were much more comfortable “goofing” off on the ride without fear of ruining it for a first timer. I was lucky enough to sit in the very front seat on this ride and as we started up the first small light hill a light bulb went off. Since it was night time the entire ride was basically pitch black, the only lights we’d see would come from the aforementioned “Disco Yeti”. Thanks to technology I quickly pulled out my iPhone and turned on a strobe light app I had and pointed it towards all my friends riding on the train behind me, which was instantly followed by laughs of my nearby passengers. We had successfully boarded the first disco train in Disney history! This night and that particular ride on Everest will go down as one of my most memorable and cherished Disney memories thanks to all my wonderful friends.
Being the parent of a 4 year old princess, my movie collection is generally filled with all things pink and princess. However every now and again, I am able to persuade my little lady to watch something out of her normal genre. When we received The Avengers Volume 1 “Heroes Assemble”, and Volume 2 “Captain America Reborn” cartoons (available now on DVD), I knew watching would be an uphill battle since most of my available movie time coincides with my Zoe time. To my delight, Zoe looked at the covers and immediately wanted to pop them in the DVD player.
Five hours and 13 episodes later we were still wanting more. Being a bit of a comic book collector in my youth, I was already a big fan of the Avengers, so keeping my attention wasn’t hard. However, all 13 episodes kept Zoe glued to the screen well past her bed time. The mix of quality story lines, well developed characters, and fantastic audio and video quality make this DVD series one of the best I have seen in a long time. It is a show that can entertain both young and old fans of the superhero genre.
Zoe and I definitely give it two big thumbs up!!!
Note: Series does contain mild cartoon violence, and might not be suitable for younger children.
The Avengers Volume 1 “Heroes Assemble”
Join the best of the Marvel Universe for the first seven episodes from season one of the electrifying new animated series, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Get ready for nonstop action as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Ant-Man, The Wasp, Hawkeye and The Black Panther join forces to battle a legion of villains bent on the total destruction of humanity.
Experience The Avengers at their very best in this spectacular collection, complete with an exclusive sneak peek at the secrets of season two. It’s a must-have for Marvel fans of all ages!
EPISODE1: Iron Man is Born!
EPISODE3: Thor the Mighty
EPISODE3: Hulk Versus the World
EPISODE4: Meet Captain America
EPISODE5: The Man in the Ant Hill
EPISODE6: Breakout, Part 1
EPISODE7: Breakout, Part 2 The Avengers Volume 2 “Captain America Reborn”
Get ready for more action-packed adventure with The Avenders: Earths Mightiest Heros!, Volume 2. The excitement reaches new heights as the best of the Marvel Universe stand together to battle Klaw, Baron Zemo, The Enchantress, and a horde of the Leader’s Gamma-Mutated Monsters.
Bring hime six sensational episodes from Season One of Marvel’s newest animated series. With an exclusive bonus feature – a sneak peak at the secrets of Season Two – for every fan of thrills and adventure.
EPISODE8: Some Assembly Required
EPISODE9: Living Legend
EPISODE10: Everything Is Wonderful
EPISODE11: Panther’s Quest
EPISODE12: Gamma World Part 1
EPISODE13: Gamma World Part 2
The last stop on our week of firsts, is a look at the newly refurbished Lego Store that Opened earlier this week at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
The store looks amazing!!! They have added several new sculptures around the outside of the building and spruced up the activity tables outside. Also, you’ll notice that they removed the playground area…
The inside of the store also received a MAJOR overhaul!!! There are new cute Lego dioramas, activity areas, and an innovate way to look at what your Lego creation will look like once it’s assembled.
Now this was the absolute coolest addition to the refurbishment…The Digital Box!
After all, You’ve got a friend in me…at the Lego Store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
Continuing on our week of firsts, I take a look at Discovery Cove’s Grand Reef opening this June.
Discovery Cove is the boutique of boutique parks in Orlando. It is an all day resort-like experience that only allows in 1,000 guests a day to participate in up close encounters with birds, rays, and of course dolphins.
It is hard to imagine, but The Grand Reef is really going to be cherry on top of what is already a really amazing place!!!
The Grand Reef will be 2.5 acres with sandy beaches and almost a million gallons of salt water that will be home to approximately 10,000 animals representing 125 different species of fish), rays, and sharks. Another unique and exclusive part of the Grand Cove will be the removable coral which will be repositioned to create new experiences every visit.
Thousands of colorful fish will dart and school through crystal clear waters creating a rainbow under the sea. The fish include angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasses and tangs, and larger hogfish and filefish that will eat almost 150 pounds of food a day!!!
Spotted eagle rays, who are usually found in Caribbean and Pacific waters, will take their place among the dozens of rays who will call the reef home.
There are three showcase moments when you will come face to face with a few guys that belong behind glass! The first moment happens when you can get a new perspective on the venomous and invasive lionfish. Then you will come face to face with a not so pretty or friendly group of eels who will make their home with grouper and triggerfish. And finally you will get an exciting view, both in and out of the grand reef, of Zebra/Australian leopard, nurse, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks.
SeaVenture will be the crown jewel experience of the Grand Reef! This innovative experience is an underwater walking tour where guests, wearing dive helmets, will be able to walk the reef as an inhabitant. After climbing down a latter, guest will set foot on the reef floor where they will come face-to-face with sharks through a full, 8 foot talk, 21 foot long panoramic window. Along the way, guest will be able to really explore the reef, its showcases, and be able to touch starfish & sea urchins along the way. The adventure will end with schools of fish feeding around the divers with the massive open reef as a backdrop. This hour long program will be for groups of up to six people per excursion, and cost $59 per participant.
The Grand Reef will also offer eight new cabanas for rent as the water’s edge to add a touch of luxury to an already amazing day!!!
I personally CANNOT WAIT to experience the reef and the SeaVenture!!! It is truly going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what it is like to live under the sea!!!
The thing that I was the MOST excited about when we decided to move to Orlando was not having to endure a few months or even a year of waiting for Zoe’s next Disney Milestone. She got her first haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop, she rode The Barnstormer as her first roller coaster, and learned that fairy tales come true when she met the Fairy Godmother as her first character experience.
And while Zoe is a lover of all the mountains (Space, Thunder, and Splash), there was one thrill that she still had on her list (that she is tall enough to ride)…The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
So after months of debating, she finally agreed to ride The Tower of Terror!
We walked the queue in silence sharing quick glances, waiting for her to chicken out. Then as we walked through the lobby, we realized that it was really going to happen we all got nervously excited. As the preshow “movie”, as Zoe called it, ended she led us to the elevators. After being strapped in, she took a death grip on both mine and Dave’s hands…and the rest is history!
I hope that you all enjoy sharing the terror and joy that was Zoe’s first ride on Tower of Terror!!!
The America the Bountiful Garden is a whimsical look at gardening with a focus on the 3 R’s (Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle) located to the right of the American Adventure in Epcot and only here during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which continues until May 15th.