As we made our way through Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, we glanced around for just a bit. E.T. was in our plan, but that one was expendable, if needed. When we were nearing Hollywood Boulevard, I saw Bart and Lisa out and posing for pictures. I became a kid and pulled my children over towards them so we could get a picture with them and our shirts. We hopped in line, and the Team Member said that Bart and Lisa were about to head out, but that Homer was coming out. Since I was wearing a T-shirt, I didn’t have anything to unbutton to show a little chest hair, so I just put out my bottom lip and showed her all of our shirts. I turned on the charm…and pleaded with her to let us get pics with Bart and Lisa. I pulled out a clean, crisp money amount with a certain Mr. George Washington on it.
Oh, all right! I asked, and, when she glanced at the shirts, said she’d talk to them to see if they can do one more photo shoot. Bart readily agreed, while Lisa simply shook her head and buried it in her hands.
Up next was Despicable Me’s Minion Mayhem. Before we got there, though, we saw the newly-opened Hello Kitty store.
Yeah, you can guess my interest level with this store.
Over to Minion Mayhem…
The line was fairly long, and the posted time was 40 minutes. As it’s the attraction closest to the entrance, I can see the reason for the long lines. That meant it was time to flip over the lanyard and get that Express Pass working for us! We were inside and queuing up in about 5 minutes, though we had a while before we got to the pre-show area. During the wait, the Team Member running this area hit us with a lot of trivia from the theming in the room as well as from the movies. While in there, I caught a glimpse of my friend and running teammate, Michelle Scribner-MacLean:
The second I saw this clip, I looked at Sheri and smiled. She paused for a second and then smiled mouthed her name. Michelle is one of the hosts of the very popular Mickey Miles and More Podcast (http://mickeymiles.podbean.com/ ), which a cool fusion of running and Disney. I also know her as one of the co-captains of Team AllEars, a fundraising running team that participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events while raising money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. When the movie Despicable Me came out, the social media world pointed out a striking resemblance between Margo – the eldest girl to be adopted – and Michelle. She even got into the fun by making Margo her profile picture on Facebook for a while. I had to give her a call out here…BOOM BOOM POW!!
Minion Mayhem…even though Wifey was still a touch green from the 1-2 punch of Gringotts and Men in Black, she agreed with the rest of us that this was a really good attraction. It’s a huge IMAX screen, and you’re seated in “gru”ps of four (man, that pun was bad, even by my standards…and I have no standards!). The gags were great, and we all found ourselves laughing a lot throughout. Eight thumbs-up from the Mushfam!
After that, I rolled the dice and attempted to steer us toward the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. We were definitely using the Express Pass on this one. First, though, we had another locker stop, where, as I found out from researching, you seriously want NOTHING in your pockets. Even though this coaster technically does not go all the way upside-down, there are so many turns/humps/etc, that it’s akin to holding someone by his/her ankles and shaking until everything falls out of his/her pockets. We emptied our pockets, and I contemplated even putting my sunglasses in the locker, even though I intentionally wore cargo shorts with "closable" pockets for such a situation. We closed the lockers and found ourselves going through metal detectors. Yeah, they take the “nothing in your pockets” seriously here. We made it through and hopped in the Express Pass line. We still had around a 12-minute wait, but I was ready. I had even researched the secret song codes that you can enter in the console to hear exactly what you wanted. I had memorized 113 – Led Zepplin’s Immigrant Song! Eric was going to ride with me, while Aaron was going to ride with Sheri, in front of us. While we waited, we tucked our lanyards inside our shirts.
As we neared the loading area, my research must have failed me, because this was a very unique load! Guests hop on a conveyor belt moving the same speed as the vehicle to get in. Aaron ended up being off a row and was one row ahead of Sheri. I threw Eric in the far seat, and I stumbled into my seat. The Team Members threw the lap bar down, and I tried to get my senses to figure out what to do next. Oh yeah…type in 113 for my song.
I looked down, and I had a blue screen of death on my console.
I also realized that I had my lanyards (inside my shirt but still around my neck) pinned under the lap bar, which had me situated in a somewhat “interesting” position.
Houston, we have a problem.
There was no time to complain or rearrange, because we were already turning vertical and heading STRAIGHT up the 90-degree lift to the top.
With no music blaring in my ear (the blue screen of death on the console just went away to a dark screen), I could easily make out my soon-to-be-ex-wife yelling, “Oh, man…UGH…Mushrush...I’M GOING TO........KILL YOU!!!” in the row ahead of (and now above) me.
I was able to extract the lanyards from the lap bar a couple of seconds from the top of the hill....just in time, too, because we crested the hill and shot down the other side…also at about 90 degrees.
I think I heard Sheri make the sound that Robert Plant makes at the beginning of Immigrant Song…I guess I didn’t need the code after all!
As we flipped over to ride on the outside of the top of the loop (so you’re not 100% inverted), the view was incredible! We then flipped back to the inside of the loop on the way down and had a HUGE hill up to a braking section.
Sheri broke through the silence with another perfect Robert Plant (“AAAAAAEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!”)
I contemplated shouting back, “WE COME FROM THE LAND OF THE ICE AND SNOW; FROM THE MIDNIGHT SUN WHERE THE HOT SPRINGS FLOW!!!”
When we hit the treble clef portion of the track, my glasses shifted on my face, and I had to make a decision as I saw my life flashing before my eyes: Do I take off my glasses and hold them or just hold them to my face?
I turned to Eric and hollered at him to make sure his sunglasses were staying on. He was all smiles and said they were good! I wish I could have said the same thing, as, with each turn, I felt like mine were goners! I kept one hand on my glasses and one hand on my lanyards (with my ring and pinky fingers feverishly trying to hold on to the lap bar) and continued on, wondering if A) Aaron had passed out two rows ahead of us; and B) Sheri would have enough strength to kill me after we got off the ride or would even have a voice after her fourth Immigrant Song scream.
As we came into the station, I think I started breathing again. It was chaotic! It was insane!! It was definitely the best coaster that I had been on in years! Had I not been so distracted by the lanyards and glasses, I’d be able to rank it with the likes of Top Thrills Dragster and Millennium Force. We exited the vehicle, and I did the funky chicken with the conveyor belt thing again. I fully expected Aaron to be in tears, Sheri to be barfing, and Eric to be running to get back into the line again.
Aaron: “I LOVED IT AND WANT TO RIDE AGAIN!!!!!!”
Me: “WOOHOO…awesome!!! Eric?”
Eric: “I LOVED IT BUT I LOST MY 1ST FAMILY PIN!!!!”
Me: “Damn…that sucks…Not your fault at all.” (evil grin) “How about you, WIFEY?”
Sheri: glares at me and doesn’t say a word as we walked to the video/picture viewing area.
With Aaron in a separate row, we couldn’t get all four of us in one single frame for a pic for the PhotoConnect. We were able to find Aaron’s video on the ride, and we all got a good laugh at the look of terror on his face on some of the turns and negative-Gs. We weren’t able to pull the rest of our videos, though, so we went up to a Team Member and asked if we could see one more. She found Sheri’s video and played it for us.
I think that wiping tears away from laughter and trying not to fall to the ground was not the preferred reaction that I should have had when I saw the video. She wasn’t a big fan of the ride, and she definitely wasn’t a fan of me contemplating purchasing her video to take home.
I gave Eric my pin so he could wear it around for the rest of the day and decided that I wanted to try this again; hopefully, we’d be able to get back on sometime on Sunday before we left. I will admit, though, that I was a bit queasy, which was not like me. Sheri was fifty shades of green, though, and needed a break. We scrambled into the bathroom at the Classic Monster’s Café, which is just the place you want to be at when you’re trying not to throw up, complete with an electric chair prop to get your picture taken in.