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Disney Day 4: Andy Meets His Best Friend

Up early this morning and dressed to head out to our first character dining experience.  Everyone told us to do Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary and I'm so glad we did.  We took the bus over to  Magic Kingdom and the monorail to the Contemporary.  I was temporarily distracted by a whole bank of pressed penny machines.  There was a family there with two kids crying while mom was digging through her purse looking for a quarter and explaining that the change machines weren't working.  Because I was prepared, I had a bag of cleaned pennies and two rolls of quarters.  I made change for the mom for two singles and made the kids smile.  I felt so good.  It cast a nice rosy glow over the morning for me.

So we had our ADR but had to wait a little while in a lounge area before we got our table.  The boys were playing on the long bench sofa and looking out the windows at the lagoon and the pool.   When our little pager started to buzz, we all got up and walked to the podium when we noticed Joey was missing.  After a frantic search for three minutes and a tip off from another family, we found him hiding under a stool at the closed bar.  We were seated in a back room area and almost immediately Pluto came over and hugged Joey.  All of the "classic" characters spent time at the table: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald.  Joey began his vacation tradition of grabbing character noses.  Andy really enjoyed the "celebration" part of the breakfast where he got to swing his napkin around in the air. 

After Chef Mickey's we took a bus to Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM Studios).  This was a big, big deal because at Hollywood Studios, you can visit with Lightning McQueen and Mater.  Every day up until this day Andy kept asking if he was going to see Lightning. 

"Is it Lightning day, Mommy?"

"No sweetie, that's Monday."

So we were finally at Hollywood Studios and I went into Guest Relations to find out when and where we could see Lightning and we based the rest of our day around that.  We caught the tail end of the High School Musical street show and had our picture taken with the sorceror's hat.  We walked around the lakey thing and got ice cream to share from the stand in the big dinosaur statue.  We went to a really dumb show called "Sounds Dangerous" with Drew Carey and the boys didn't like it.  I stopped at a open air shop and got three more characters to add to my "Disney Ball" collection.  Back at our hotel I'd seen a display of these soft Minnie and Mickey toys.  They're essentially ball shaped but have hands, feet and ears.  They are absolutely adorable.  I had to have them.  Well, at this little shop, they had Pluto, Goofy and Donald to add to my collection so I got those too.  I'll have to take a picture of all 5 living on my living room shelf.  We found a good spot along the parade route for the "Stars and Motor Cars Parade" which based on what I'd seen on You Tube, was supposed to end with Lighning and Mater.  They weren't in it.  I did spend about 20 minutes getting a lesson on pin trading from a member of the Dream Squad who apparently didn't like us enough to give us a dream.  (It's the extension of Disney's Year of a Million Dreams where they have people walking around the parks making dreams come true-- giving away stuff, special fast passes, meetings with characters, making one family a day the grand marshalls of the parade, and one lucky family per day gets to stay in the dream suite inside Cinderella's Castle.) 

Andy and I were both very disappointed in the lack of Cars characters in the cars parade.  It was about 3 and we had and adr for a late lunch/early dinner at Mama Melrose.  We headed in that direction, planning to get in the 5 pm line to see Lightning.  I actually considered heading over there now and letting everyone else eat.  If I had to hold someone hostage, Andy was getting to meet Lightning McQueen.   Wayne convinced me that we'd have plenty of time to get in line after we ate, if the restaurant would seat us early.  They did.  We had a great server named Lindsey who recommended that Wayne avoid the raspberry lemonade.  I had Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Mushroom Risotto.  Wayne had Chicken Parmagiana with spaghetti and the boys had chicken pasta with sauce, grapes, applesauce and a cookie.  For dessert, we shared Lemon Crema with berries, a sort of lemon mousse with fresh berries and a slice of honey ricotta cheesecake.  Both were absolutely luscious-- rich without being overly sweet.

From the restaurant we went over to where Lightning McQueen would be.  We were 45 minutes early and there were already five or so families waiting.  I was thrilled we got there when we did because in a short amount of time, something like 150 families lined up behind us.  I'd been warned that the line would get really long and that the cast members would cut it off at some point.  I really don't understand that, I mean, they're CARS.  People in costumes can get overheated, thirsty etc, so it makes sense to keep likes short for people, but these are CARS and apparently they're in high demand.  

Anyway, when the gates opened and Lightning and Mater came out, the look on Andy's face was just priceless.  The whole trip was worth it in that one moment.  He was so happy and he didn't even get up close yet!  When it was his turn he walked up to them and was so startstruck he didn't know what to do.  He wouldn't even turn around to face the camera.  Andy had a couple of minutes with them and then Wayne wrangled Joey over.  It was absolutely priceless.

From there we went to see the Muppets 3-D show and Joey LOVED it.  Both the boys put on their glasses and watched the show, reaching out for the 3-D elements that flew off the screen.  Joey was bopping to the music and didn't want to leave when it was over.  He was singing the Muppets theme song for the rest of the night.  On our way out of the Muppet Show, I saw a street vendor doing water slide tattoos and they had Lightning McQueen.  I had her put it on Andy's bicep.  He loves it.  It's still there 2 weeks later, faded but visible.  We are very careful not to scrub that arm. 

Andy played in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground and didn't want to leave.  I wasn't too fond of it because it was too crowded and difficult to keep track of him. We all rode The Great Movie Ride and shared some popcorn. 

It was getting late and we started to wander over to the other side of the park.  We browsed in the Art of Disney store.  The boys watched the outdoor Playhouse Disney Dance Party Show for a little while, but they were both pretty tired.  Maria took Andy up to an ice cream stand because Andy wanted ice cream and he had been so good all day that I was fine with that.  He asked for chocolate and they gave him three big scoops in a cup and said it was on Mickey!  I thought that was so nice!  It wasn't a small cup of ice cream either!  He shared it nicely with his brother. 

While Maria supervised the ice cream sharing, Wayne and I rode the Tower of Terror.  I loved the set-up and the queue, the ride up and the story areas but the bouncing up and down wasn't my thing.  Then Maria and I rode the Rock N Roller Coaster with Aerosmith.  That was completely awesome.

And that was the end of another day.  We went to the bus area and went back to the hotel with two very sleepy but happy (ice cream-covered) boys.

Wayne and I were a little munchy so I went over to the food court at the hotel and got a cheesesteak wrap and fries to split while we watched Pirates 2.  We decided that we'd call the sitter service and add a night of sitters to the two we'd already scheduled. 

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
redqueenmeg
Feb. 13th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I loved working at the Tower but miss the old setup. Finish the mirrored hall, get out, bounce down a TINY bit so everyone screams, rocket up to the top, get a tiny glimpse out, fall once, and done. Perfect.
purplejuli
Feb. 13th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
The up and down bounciness was just too much. Course, I had my eyes squeezed shut the entire time.
sweetjezebel
Feb. 13th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
Another day of fun!! One of these days I'm going to have to go there because I can't even picture what it's like compared to our D-Land! :)
purplejuli
Feb. 13th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
There will be pictures... oh, there will be 1 million and 5 pictures. I am just about done with them.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )