Friday, August 3, 2012

Florida Trip: movie wonderland and the definition of magic

Very rarely do I write blogs so early in the morning!  Even though I fell asleep last night well past one a.m. I was forced awake two hours ago by the smell of bacon floating under my door and into my room.  Now I'm just bloated and the path to the backdoor seems too great a challenge to tackle so my favourite arm chair will be my home as I write again about what I've done in the past few days on vacation.

Admittedly, in comparison to my last entry, the past two days have been more low-key even though we went back to theme parks on both.  (hardly low-key, but considering Monday-Tuesday was a back-to-back visit of the Magic Kingdom and Universal's Islands of Adventure, it almost seemed like a much needed break) While I sweat my ass off those two days, Wednesday's visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios was largely overcast (complete with nonstop thunder); yesterday, though hot as hell again, was spent in avoidance at an outlet mall, but to my dismay the sweat poured from every pore of my body even at ten o'clock at night while watching the Electric Parade and fireworks show over Cinderella's Castle.

Now that was the epitome of magic.  I faintly remember seeing the Electric Parade thirteen years ago, but my memory doesn't extend past "floats with lights" which isn't general whatsoever.  No, as we stood packed on a street corner swimming in sweat even though the sun went down, I smiled like a kid when the brightly illuminated floats rounded the corner and passed in front of us.  Alice rode atop a giant mushroom; Cinderella in her pumpkin; Snow White dancing with her seven dwarves in tow and Mickey and Minnie atop a bright train.  Admittedly the music that they blasted on loop got on my nerves within minutes, and I'm almost positive that that is the music that plays for eternity in Hell, so I hope to never get there.  The moment the last float passed, the crowd turned into a chaotic frenzy, but thankfully a Disney worker had our backs and sent us off in a shortcut to rejoin the Main Street.  From there, we stayed for the fireworks display, a display that puts shame to every single other fireworks show I've ever seen.  You don't know spectacle until you see the gigantic explosions over top the grand castle, and I'm glad I'll have those images forever stuck in my head.  (for those of you who can't access my mind I might suggest lurking my sister's albums on Facebook as she is the resident photographer this trip) From there came probably the most efficient exit I've seen which lay my stresses to rest; we somehow skirted around the thousands in the crowds and made it home by eleven.

Somehow, I get upset when I think about my time in Disney being over.  For now.

Two days ago, Wednesday, we visited another Disney park, Hollywood Studios, which - if you might've guessed by its name - was geared more toward the movies.  A section stood devoted to the animation, and honestly, I was disappointed that there wasn't a greater focus on how these movies were made; instead this 'animation headquarters' was a place to get pictures with various characters.  Blah.  Not that the day was a bust, anyways!  The other only misstep was The Great Movie Ride which, in theory, sounded fantastic (you travel through iconic movie scenes), but instead it was a cheesy guided ride through animatronic settings.  Just like in It's a Small World, those robots are creepy.  The part where the cart travels through the Alien ship with Sigourney Weaver was awesome, though.  In a similar vein was the Studio Backlot Tour, where we were treated to a special effects display of explosions, gun fire, and a rushing tidal wave which stopped my heart momentarily as it crashed toward us even though I knew we were safe.  Safe, not dry.  The gift shop connected to the exit was my absolute dream: you walk through an archive of movie props and costumes and concept arts and set pieces, including the costumes from Pirates of the Caribbean, the Alien from Alien, and Morgan Freeman's AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.  That, mixed with the whole movie theme of the area, should've effectively put a stop to my heart due to happiness overdose, but I made it.  I might not be as lucky today.  (Universal Studios)

A Little Mermaid stage show was somewhat impressive, what with the glow in the dark puppetry to simulate the aquatic characters swimming around under the sea.  (sidenote: I can't imagine being an actor performing the exact same performances tens and tens of times on repeat over a full day) A Muppets 3D ride was just okay, but it was the Muppets, so it was fundamentally good.  My three favourite visits of the day were the rides: the Tower of Terror, the famous elevator drop ride which scared the living shit out of me; Aerosmith's Rocking Roller Coaster, something I was lucky enough to ride twice in a row, which is indescribably fun as it blasts through a dark building while 'Walk This Way' plays over your head; and hands down the best of the day, Toy Story Midway Mania 3D, an interactive ride-game where you fire cannons at targets on 3D screens to rack up points against the other people in your party who, for those four minutes, are your opponents.  That we played twice, too.  Laughed like a kid.  The set up of the park was cool, anyways: sections were made to look like studio sets, including an entire path as a mock New York City.

Later today we make our last stop on this wild theme park tour at the other end of Universal Studios, and given I survive the day on my foot (that, or if I don't die from seeing Hogwarts loom over me again even though I can't revisit), tomorrow brings about a final chill-out day by the pool before coming home on Sunday.  Yes, I'll write again tomorrow night, though I'll only have today to recap: rest assured, though, I've saved the topic of rude foreigners to rant about, and lord will I.  I've never encountered so many rude people in my life, but that's enough for now.

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