Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation Vacation, June 2010; Day 5, Part 2: HOT! HOT! HOT

Part 1 of this day can be found HERE.

Eric’s not big enough to do RNR, but Aaron is, so I run up and grab FPs for it since the wait is already over 60 minutes. We then stop at Starring Rolls for the first entry in the battle of the best snack at DHS: the Butterfinger cupcake! We walk in just as they were taking the newest batch out of the chiller. We grab some water and a cupcake and head outside. The verdict? Not bad…extremely rich, but not bad. It’s a mess to eat, too, especially when trying to split it four ways. I can’t wait to try the carrot cake cookie to see which is better.

Eric is a total mess, so we hose him down and make our way out. The crowds are really swelling now, and the sun is baking everything in sight, so we decide to look for a long, cool respite. That can only mean one thing in DHS…the Great Movie Nap!!! Wifey was thrilled because we were in the holding room while a lot of Mary Poppins was showing. Eric was so enthralled with the movie that, while trying to walk through the switchbacks in the queue while watching the screen, he missed the turn and face-planted the end of the queue line. The bruise formed immediately. DCFS was almost called.

This is another one of those rides that Sheri likes a lot more than I do. Still, we’re out of the heat, and it’s the first experience for both boys. I’m a little concerned about the Alien scene, but I go along with it. We start off with a female CM for the beginning, and we could barely hear much of what she was saying. We’ve done this attraction probably 3 times (2 times too many for my liking), and we get the Western scene for the first time. The CM swap gives us a guy who we can hear with no problem whatsoever (it was distorted…yeah, that loud)! At Indy, we get the girl again and continue on through. Sheri and the boys loved Oz sequence, and you can’t prove that I sang during this part. The alien scene was fine because we were near the back of the vehicles and weren’t near the scary part. One of my favorite parts of the attraction is the end…no, not because it’s over. I like watching the montage of movies in that last room. I’m still “meh” on the attraction, and, judging by the boys’ reactions, they’re with me on this (though I don’t think GMR is geared toward children anyway).

We head out into the convection oven that is the Florida heat and make our way down towards Muppets! This is Sheri’s penance for making me do GMR…I’ve always loved the Muppets and watched the show religiously in the 70s when it was on (those born after 1974 can keep quiet about this). This is our first experience with the film cleaned up and the new TVs in the preshow area.


The boys again loved this attraction, and I even think Sheri was a bit impressed with the cleaned up film.

We head out and almost stop for the carrot cake cookie (thanks to Lou Mongello for introducing us to this), but we’re still in a sugar coma from the Butterfinger cupcake, and our pancreas would likely have shut down had we gotten the cookie. I make a mental note to make sure I try this next time I’m in DHS. It’s about 30 minutes before the Star Wars Weekend parade, so we decide to start making our way to our lunch location – the 50s Prime Time CafĂ© and watch the parade a few rows back so we can bolt over to the restaurant for our ADRs. A woman with a couple of boys around the boys’ ages notices us behind her and offers to let the boys grab some pavement next to her boys. We weren’t planning on getting up front, but we graciously take her up on the offer. About 15 minutes before the start, 3 families sign an alliance to guard the area around us as there was no more room for anyone, though many were trying (all adults, I might add, except for the family who walked up 2 minutes before the start of the parade and expected to sit up front on the road). They boys don’t know what the parade is about, so we surprised them again. One of my online friends from Lodgeboards was also in the Studios today and, after a few texts back and forth, was trying to get across the street before the parade started. We weren’t able to meet up before the parade, unfortunately.

Now, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll love the series of videos below as well as the pics that Sheri took (it was hilarious…she was taking pics as fast as she could, even though she had no idea who most of the characters were). If you’re not a Star Wars fan, just scroll down about 10 feet to the end of the parade. The video is chronological…the pics, well, I have no guarantees on the order.



Sandra and I continue texting to find each other, and we eventually meet up near the entrance to Indy. We talk for a few minutes and introduce the families to each other.

There's never enough time to catch up, especially since this is our first in-person meeting (we've known each other for several years from talking online, so it wasn't like we didn't know each other).  After a few minutes together, we say our goodbyes and head over to 50’s PTC before melting commences.

EVERYONE was trying to see if they could get in to dine because of the heat, but only the ADRs could get in (which is why I always tell the folks I help plan trip for to make those reservations EARLY!!). We head inside and wait for our kinfolk to call us to dinner. While waiting, I grab the video camera to zoom into the bar to see what they have on draft.


They call the Mushrush kids in, and we’re seated in the kitchen (for those who haven’t eaten there, every dining area is a kitchen/dining area setup from the 1950’s…thus the name).

As we look around, our server, Cousin Nicole, stops by to say “Hi.” As start to say “hi there”, the puts the silverware in front of me and orders me to set the table. Then she walks away.

That’s all the boys needed to see…they were in love with this place.  They were even excited to meet a new relative (to this day, they think Nicole is our cousin).

After a couple of minutes, she stops back to ensure that I distributed the silverware properly and then takes our drink order. Both Sheri and I order a Blue Moon, which elicited a long and loud “BLUUUUUEEEEE MOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNN” (a la the Marcels…always loved that song, and it was my first acapella song that I did..yes, I had the “bompapabompabompabombom” part. I’m still waiting for the Dapper Dans to call me).

That’s all I needed to see/hear…I was in love with this place.

While we were waiting, Sandra texted me…just as Nicole walked by. Yes, I got in trouble for having the phone on at the table. The boys wanted Sheri’s phone so they could call me and get me in trouble. They also tried pulling my elbows up on the table every time she walked by.


They rewarded the boys with extra straws…check out Eric’s drink:

I ordered the meatloaf, and it was good…not the greatest I’ve ever had, but it’s not bad at all for mass-produced food. Every few minutes, our cousin would walk by and give us another rousing medley of “BLUUUEEEEE MOOOOOOONNNNNNN”. It worked…I ordered another one. Sheri’s chicken was also good…again, not the best, but still pretty good.

Dessert was up next, and the boys got the make your own sundaes (duh). Sheri got the cobbler, and I had a brownie sundae with caramel.

We got a pic with our long-lost cousin:

It was fun…the food was a bit better than anticipated, and the server really did make the experience memorable.

We headed out and started to make our way over toward RNR for the fastpass return. Sheri and Eric bear off of the road and head into a store, more so for the cooler air than anything. Aaron’s already getting a little nervous about the coaster, after thinking back to the terror of Tower of Terror. Still, he’s doing okay as we make our way through the FP return line. We’re in the recording studio within a couple of minutes, and Aaron gets cold feet. When we get into the final queuing line he starts saying that he doesn’t want to ride it. I try talking him down (as do 5 others around us), but his mind is made up. I decide not to push him, and we take the chicken exit out just before our limo arrives.

Sigh…maybe he’ll ride California Screaming next summer. (Foreshadowing for the July 2011 Mushfam trip).


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mushfam Disney Family Vacation Vacation, June 2010; Day 5, Part 1: HOT! HOT! HOT!

Link to the previous day...

Somehow, wifey and I got some sleep, probably because of exhaustion. I think the wake-up call actually woke us up! We’re up, lightly fed, dressed, on the balcony to wave to the animals, and out the door in pretty good time. Today is Hollywood Studios day, and another surprise is awaiting the boys – Star Wars Weekend! I would put Eric up against most adults when it comes to Star Wars trivia (yeah, the 5-year old is THAT obsessed with it). Sufficed to say, I’m looking forward to the boys’ reactions to all that’s going on. It’s going to be another sweltering day, but we have hopes of getting the boys on TOT for the first time as well as getting Aaron upside down on RNR for the first time.

Yeah, I’m stoked.

The bus takes a bit longer than we are accustomed to; granted, it was still only about 10 minutes, but we’ve been pretty much spoiled with the “walk-up-and-the-bus-arrives” wait we’ve had. There are a few on the bus with us, but not as many as I anticipated. I want to make sure we get there early so we can see the Stormtrooper spiel at the turnstiles.

The bus arrives, and the crowd doesn’t seem too bad where we are; the queuing line for the Fastpasses for actor meetups is huge, though.

Good…they’re over there and not over here.

Sheri eyes a turnstile that appears to be open with (relatively) few people in it, so we head to that line. We’re somewhat under the overhang, but we can still see the patrolling trooper.

We get through the turnstiles in record time, and I take a minute to look around (this is a park that I haven’t taken a ton of time to explore…sorry Matt). As I look towards Sid Cahuenga’s, immediately recognize a face and start walking towards the cast member. Sheri is wondering what the heck’s up. I just turn to her and say “Muchoney”.

I may as well have said “akxcbouarnxgfyeet” to her, because that word means nothing.

I walk up and simply say, “You’re Justin Muchoney!”

I think that, had he had pepper spray, he would have pulled it out at this moment.

I introduce myself and explain that I’ve heard him on several podcasts/vicasts as well as being a Twitter follower/FB friend. He puts the pepper spray away as the CM next to him (currently holding a large video camera that you’d typically see with a local news company use for a live feed) starts recording Aaron and Eric. I introduce him to Sheri, who’s still bewildered and wondering if she should know this guy. I explain Justin’s role as “Chief Magic Official” and his appearances on several of the podcasts that I listen to. The camera-toting CM explained that he was filming the boys for a promotion for the American Idol – The Experience attraction. We talk for a brief minute before saying good-bye and heading up to the rope for the opening. We’re actually fairly close to the rope, which means one thing:

We’re going to get trampled by the runners on our way to Toy Story.

We’ve got about a 15 minute wait near the hat…then the CMs run to the side for their lives as the crowd screams toward Toy Story. We maintain a walk and are in the queue line for the attraction in mere minutes. To ensure a calm and organized flow of traffic, they have the Green Army Men out there directing.

We get inside.

…say hi to Potato Head & get the 3D pic...

...and prepare for battle!

As we spin around in between games, we shout out our scores to each other…well, actually, I shouted my score to Sheri, who replied with some sort of raspberry/growl sound, which I assume meant that her score was lower…much lower than mine. We head out of the attraction and notice that line for the Fastpass machines is longer than our queue was to get in. I look at the watch and notice that it’s 9:20 – and THAT is why you get to the park before rope drop!! We’ve got the most-popular attraction in, and it’s only 9:20. Those coming in to the park now and going straight to TSMM will likely have around an hour wait.

Feeling pretty proud of myself for taking The Unofficial Guide’s advice 5 years ago, we stroll over towards Sunset Boulevard for our first attempt at the Tower of Terror (or the “Tower of Tara”, as Eric calls it). The boys are excited….I’m excited…Sheri’s already green, and we’re not even in the building yet.

Then we enter the building.

The boys are nervous…I’m still excited…Sheri’s different shades of green.

We go through the video spiel and start to make our way down to the boiler room.

The boys are scared…I’m still excited…Sheri’s singing Kermit’s theme song (It’s Not Easy Being Green)

Before the loading area, Eric decides he’s not riding. You should have seen the look of relief on Sheri’s face as she grabbed him and ran to the chicken exit. That leaves me and Aaron. Before Sheri is completely free from the grasps of this attraction, I ask Aaron if he wants to ride it. I get a (quiet) “yes”, so he stays with me as we load. We get put into the middle row on the right, and I quadruple check Aaron’s lap belt to make sure it’s on. I can tell he’s nervous, but I talk him through the build-up to the drop sequence as the elevator makes its stops and its movements around. Finally, we’re in the darkness just before the first drop. Aaron is silent.

The first drop begins.

I hear this blood-curdling scream coming from a girl that is seated where Aaron was at just a moment ago.

Then I realize it’s Aaron.

We pop back up to the top with the daylight allowing me to see Aaron, and the look of absolute terror on his face has me struggling not to bust out laughing. We finish the first drop and ascent, so he knows what the drops feel like…perhaps he’ll be better now.


We drop back down, and almost wondering if I’ll have to catch Aaron when he falls over after passing out from the experience. I keep trying to let him know that it’s all right throughout the random drops, but he’s too freaked out about having his butt leave the seat. I keep reassuring him that he’s safe and that there are probably only a couple of more to go. We get to the top and pause there for a brief second…then do the jolt…jolt…jolt before heading down again. I’m absolutely loving it, but Aaron continues practicing for his eventual role in a slasher film where he gets chased through the house with a guy in a mask holding a chain saw (yes, that’s almost exactly what he looked like!). I think we’re done with the attraction and let Aaron know that he did i….UUUUUUUUPPPPP we go again. Now I’m feeling bad for him.

Finally we’re back down and heading toward the exit. As expected, Aaron is breathing heavy. I ask him how it was. “It was SCAAAAAAARRRYYY!!!!!”.

“Did you like it?”

“Kind of.”

Moment of truth…

“Wanna ride it again?”


Guess that answers that question.

I wonder if perhaps I should have done RNR first, because I’m a bit worried that he’ll be too freaked now after riding TOT.

(Continued HERE)