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Disney Recap: Day Six

April 18, 2009

castleboys

Thursday turned out to be my favorite day of the vacation.

We started the day with breakfast down at the hotel café, and the headed to Typhoon Lagoon water park, arriving around 10:15am.  We rode the “Crush’n Gusher” right off the bat – it’s an actual water roller coaster where you ride a tube on an up-and-down path. That was a good ride, and one we hadn’t seen at other water parks before. We also rode a few other water slides – some with inner tubes and some without. The “Humunga Cowabunga” was the steepest and most intense ride (although I don’t think anything could compare to Blizzard Beach’s “Summit Plummet” that Glenn and Aaron rode).

The Lagoon also has a huge wave pool, which generates a 6-foot wave every 90 seconds. That wave really was impressive… there would be a sound like a canon every time the wave was sent out, and everyone in the pool would just start screaming as the wave barreled through and cleared everyone  and everything out of its path.

The final attraction at the park was the Shark Reef, which was a neat chance to snorkel over a live coral reef full of fish and small sharks. Over all, I’d say the Lagoon is a very good water park, but not enough to spend an entire day there. We left around 1 or 1:30.

After we had the chance to get  cleaned up and into dry clothes back at the lodge, we headed over to Magic Kingdom. Our main goal was to see about riding the famous Space Mountain, since we hadn’t been able to ride it up to that point. We got fast passes, but they weren’t good until about 10 p.m., so we had lots of time to kill. We headed across the park to see about riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again, but we were slowed down considerably – for the third or fourth time since we’d been to Disney World – by a parade!

A word or two about the parades at Disney World: Enough already!

And now back to our program.

When we did finally make it to the other side of the park, we found the lines very long for any of the rides we wanted. We decided to take the park train around to the front of the park and catch the monorail over to Epcot Center for a while… however, just as we were leaving the front gates of Magic Kingdom, we remembered that Glenn had wanted to see the Enchanted Tiki Room (he had seen it in CA at Disneyland as a child). So, we turned back into the park and as we headed toward Main Street USA I pulled out my cell phone to take a quick snapshot. It was then that I noticed that I had just missed a call from my cousin Jim Robertson — he was also in the Magic Kingdom that day with his three girls! SO I was able to find him coming off of another attraction and we caught up for a bit. It was great, because we hadn’t seen each other in decades! He even got to meet Glenn and the boys as they were coming out of the Enchanted Tiki Room (which, much to Glenn’s chagrin, was “under new management” and not much like the show he rememebered from long ago).

Me and my home-boy, chillin' near the lake at Epcot. Word.

Me and my home-boy, chillin' near the lake at Epcot. Word.

At this point we did leave the Kingdom and head for Epcot. The monorail is a nice, quick and easy ride between the two parks. We went right in and rode one of our favorite rides of the week – Test Track – and only waited about 20 minutes by using the single rider line. After that we went over to the World Showcase area in hopes of finding supper. We ate in “Japan” and enjoyed some sights along the way. Glenn especially liked all the bonsai that were on display as part of the huge Garden Festival that was underway at the time.

Glenn and I (sporting light-up mickey ears) waiting for IllumiNations to begin.

Glenn and I (sporting light-up mickey ears) waiting for IllumiNations to begin.

After supper we turned the boys loose (walkie talkies in hand) to go back and ride some more rides while Glenn and I continued through World Showcase and planned to catch the nightly “IllumiNations” show on the lake. Our timing was perfect as we made our way around, and we ended up arriving at the prime viewing location just in time to get some great seats (“seats” meaning that we found some great spots to sit on the ground). The show was incredible! A combination of flames, fireworks, electric lights and lasers… we could actually feel tiny bits of ash falling on us at certain times, from the giant fires that they ignited on the water. I’m sure the boys would have loved it, but we couldn’t convince them to leave Mission: Space which they were riding again. The show finished up around 9:15 pm and we met the boys and headed back on the monorail to return to Magic Kingdom.

We arrived just in time to use our fast passes, so we walked right on in to the ride. On our way, a man offered us three additional fast passes that he wasn’t going to use. This was a great gift, because we LOVED Space Mountain! The boys and I rode it right away a second time using the additional fast passes.

Ride Review: Space Mountain: Space Mountain, Space Mountain, Spa-a-a-a-a-ce Mounta-a-a-a-a-in!!!  Hey, what a great ride! I had really no idea what to expect. All I knew was that Space Mountain was the ride that everyone has talked about at Disney World for a long, long time. I didn’t know what kind of ride it was, or anything. And really, could it be all that great considering how old it is compared to so many of the newer, fancier attractions these days? Well… Space Mountain is basically an indoor roller coaster. And, it is quite retro. Think Star Trek, the original version with Captain Kirk. When you go inside and you finally (it did seem like a really long way, and we weren’t even fighting with lines since we used fast passes) get to the center of the “mountain” where the ride actually starts, you look up and see the sun, planets, stars, moons, asteroids etc being projected all over the inside of the massive domed roof. And then you see the little cars come around to be loaded up, and they reminded me a bit of the cars on the old Wild Mouse ride at Conneaut Lake Park. So I got in thinking, gee, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a big disappointment. But from the first turn where your car goes down a long “tube” full of laser-looking lights, you realize that it’s going to be a great ride. It’s pretty fast, with lots of turns and dips and ups and downs…a nice long ride and one that is thrilling enough that most people are dying to ride it, but also “tame” enough for younger children to ride with no problem. I give it four stars!

The park was getting ready to close at 11 p.m., and we had about half an hour left to try to ride something. We trekked across once again to Big Thunder Mountain and practically walked right on since the crowds were thinning out. Then, we were even able to squeeze one last ride in — Brent had been begging to ride Splash Mountain, so we did. I think we were just about the very last group to ride it for the day. It was long, mildly exciting (the last hill was great) and we did get splashed pretty good.

As we finally left the park, it was a very pleasant night. We caught our boat back to the Wilderness Lodge and we all got ice cream at the snack bar before heading up to bed. It was a long, wonderful day!

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