Feb 24, 2011




Rides and shows, run Forrest run, and lots and expensive shopping


We had set the alarm early as we wanted to make it to the Disney Hollywood Studios for rope drop. Tom made some coffee while I was in the shower and we had a little snack breakfast in the room before we left the resort, shortly before 9am. The drive to the Studios was short and uneventful and like always the car in front of us started a new row at the VERY far end of the parking lot and we both just didn’t feel like hiking all that way, so we left the lot and while driving out discussed if it was better to go to Epcot, but then threw out the idea, turned around and tried our luck again.

This time we were a little luckier as we scored a spot in the lower third of the row. The trams were packed and since we were still in walking distance to the entrance we just walked over to the bag check at Guest Services outside the park and got in line to enter the park. By then it was way past 9am and we could not believe at how packed the park already was.

Our first stop was the tip board and since there were shorter lines for Tower of Terror and Rock’n’Rollercoaster we decided to give Toy Story Mania a shot and walked over there. Once we arrived at the Voyage of the Little Mermaid theatre we saw that the line for Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania started there already. We did not get in line and just looked at the time the Fastpasses they were currently giving out was for and it was for 12.50.

There was no way picking up a Fast Pass, as we didn’t think we would stay in the park for such a long time. The standby wait time was around an hour and that was just too long. We walked over to the Streets of America section and it was empty. The perfect time for taking a few photos and checking out the little details that you only find when you take a closer look. Once we had spent some time looking around and people started to come over to that section we walked back to the tipboard. By then it was nearly 10.30am and the Fast Pass return time for Toy Story Mania was for 5 – 6pm! We thought that we could try our luck at the Tower of Terror, which looked so different with all the scaffolding around it.

There was only a 15 minute wait, so before getting in line we headed over to Rock’n’Rollercoaster to pick up a Fast Pass and the return time was only about 30 minutes later, so that was a very nice surprise. We walked over to Tower of Terror and got in line and within 10 minutes we were in the boiler room and on and off the ride a little before our Fast Pass return time was starting.

We browsed though the shop a little while and once our return time had started we picked up another Fast Pass for Tower of Terror and then walked over to Rock’n’Rollercoaster. Using the Fast Pass lane was a blessing as by now the regular line had built up quite a bit. We got to the pre-show room pretty quickly but were stunned when we left as there was still a long line before we could get on the ride. It’s a fun ride, but I think it is getting darker in there all the time and I seem to bump my head more often every time. Tom felt the same way and even though this is still a really great ride, once was more than enough for us. We had time to kill so we thought that maybe we could fit in The Great Movie ride, but the 25 minute wait that was announced on the tipboard didn’t appeal to us, so we just walked over to Starring Rolls for a little snack.

When we walked in all the tables outside were packed and we were prepared to take our food to go and walk over to Fairfax Fair. There are a lot of very wonderful choices we had a hard time deciding what to order, but then Tom got the Black Forest Ham Sandwich - with Chips and I wanted to try the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake.

We got a bottle of water to share and when I walked up to the counter to pay for it and ask for a to go container, Tom signalled me that there were people getting ready to leave and he walked over there so we would have somewhere to sit and eat. I was right in the door with our food when the people left. Once we had sat down a Cast Member was right over to clean the table and we were all set to indulge on our yummy snacks. Tom’s sandwich was huge with loads of ham and my cupcake was huge too. I cut it in half and it had a lot of fudgy icing on top and a huge was filled with a huge dollop of chocolate peanut butter mix. While Tom was successful in defeating his sandwich, I had to give up after having conquered about two thirds of it. Thankfully we had opted for water to wash it all down as it became sweeter with every bite. Once we had finished our early lunch snack I noticed that my watch had run out of battery. So, since we still had some time to kill before our Tower of Terror Fast Pass was to kick in, we walked into the stores and looked for watches.

I still wanted to look at watches in the larger stores at the entrance to the park before we made a purchase and so we finally started walking towards the Tower of Terror. When we came close to the Beauty of the Beast theatre we noticed that the next show was about to begin in less than 10 minutes time, so we headed inside, found a nice spot at the far left of the stage and waited for the show to begin.

The theatre was filled to capacity and the show was as wonderful as we remembered it. We have not seen Beauty and the Beast in a few years and it was an awesome show. The Cast Members who perform in the show do a great job. Once the performance was over we were “swept” out of the theatre with the rest of the audience and since our second Tower of Terror Fast Pass was good by then, we made our way over to the Tower. The standby line had picked up quite a few guests and being in the Fast Pass lane let us bypass a lot of people. We walked right into the library and the boiler room was only half full of people, so we got on the elevator quite quickly. After the ride we decided to leave, but wanted to pick up a carrot cake cookie and still look for a watch. So we went through the stores in search for a watch and we did find a nice one I liked. And like always it was the most expensive one of the ones they had hanging on the racks! We picked up a few more other things and we made good use of our Annual Pass, as they now give you a 10% discount on mostly all merchandise in Disney operated stores.

Having done all the shopping we completely forgot about the cookie, so I guess that will have to wait until the summer. Loaded with all our shopping we left the park, the tram pulled out just as we were approaching the waiting area and the next one went out of service, so we waited for quite some time. Then finally the tram that had pulled out when we arrived came back in and we were good to go. They didn’t wait too long and we were on our way to our car.

Once back at the car we debated what to do next and we thought that going back to the resort for a short break would be nice. Maybe today our room would be ready by 12.30pm. So we drove back to the resort, parked the car, walked over to the room, mousekeeping is nowhere to be seen, we opened the door and SURPRISE -  NOT ready, yet!!! By that time we started to laugh it off, but it is quite annoying if you come back to the same old dirty room during the day. And it is the first time and first resort this has ever happened to us. One day when the room is done late, okay, but EVERY day?

We decided to be ready to head out should mousekeeping want to come in and just relaxed on the beds for 20 minutes and finally headed out again. We got into the car, hit the freeway and drove over to Universal Orlando. No, we did not want to go to the parks, we just wanted to go there to have lunch. We arrived at the Universal Parking lot about 20 minutes later, followed the many signs all around their parking lot and finally got a space WAY down the row. Oh well, it would mean that we would work off some of those Bubba Gump calories. Once we had trekked over to Citywalk we headed right for Bubba Gump. We were greeted at the entrance and told to follow the footprints, which we did. Inside the restaurant we met a very nice and chatty greeter who made the time we had to wait, fly by.And then we were seated at one of our all time favourite restaurants. We had a nice table for four, were briefed on the signs on the table and when we told the server that we had been to Bubba Gump before, she left with a smile and told us to “just use the sign” when we were ready to order. There are signs on the table that say “Run, Forrest, Run” and “Stop, Forrest, Stop” which indicate to the server to either just walk right by a table or stop, according to what the sign says. We took our time, studied the menu and when we knew what we wanted we turned the sign and the next server who came by, stopped right at our table to take our order. Tom ordered some Diet Coke and there is one drink I always need to have, the Strawberry Speckled Lemonade, which is just so good. Tom ordered Lt. Dan’s Drunken Shrimp, large chargrilled Shrimp and Andouille Sausage with Mashed Potatoes and Bourbon Sauce. It looked and tasted fantastic and was a really good choice.

Even though there are a lot of things that appeal to me on the menu, I always order the Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp, served with Cajun Marmalade and Fries. They are just too good to not order them! While we were sitting and waiting for our food we were given the usual little Forrest Gump quiz and even though we have done it a “million” times, it was still fun and helped to pass time while waiting for some shrimp yummies. Both portions were huge and we were too stuffed to order dessert and we had another place we wanted to try for dessert. But before we did anything else we walked over to the Fossil shop to look for a watch for Tom. There were a lot of designs that looked nice but nothing he really wanted, so we left without a purchase. Next was a shop I wanted to go to, Fresh Produce. They have a lot of Vera Bradley bags and I wanted to just to have a look. They had lots of new bags but very little that really peaked my interest.

In the end I bought one a bit bigger bag and Tom insisted we needed a laptop case and that our netbook would fit fine. Well it didn’t in the end, but we only found that out once we were back at our resort and it has since found a new owner! We strolled through Citywalk for a while and finally ended opposite from where we had started, at the Cinnabon shop. I had read so much about it in some trip reports and we had passed by quite a few times, so it was time to try for ourselves. We ordered a helping of Cinnabon Stix, dusted with sugar and their famous Makara Cinnamon, plus a small container of their signature cream cheese frosting. We wanted to save them for later, so took them for take-away. The other thing we wanted to try, there and then was the Cinnabon Center of the Roll.

It's the best part of their Classic Roll - the ooey, gooey middle!  These bite-sized pieces were hot and topped with their signature cream cheese frosting. It was so good. We both really loved it and I guess we will pick them up again, when we come across a Cinnabon Store. Stuffed there was only one place we still needed to walk through, the Bubba Gump Store. And low and behold we did find something, a T-shirt for our cousin’s son, George. Happy with all our purchases and the lunch and snacks we hiked back to the car and since we were already in the area we decided to pay a visit to Petsmart and picked up a few feathery treats for Pixie. Our next stop was a Dollartree which was in the same building and finally Walmart where we picked up a few items for school, a few more bits and pieces for little George and a pair of jeans for Tom. Once we were done shopping at Walmart we hauled our purchases out to our car, loaded everything into the boot and drove back to Walt Disney World.

When we were near Downtown Disney we decided to stop and spend a little more money there. When we had first arrived I had had a look at the new Dooney and Burke bags and now was the time to decide and pick one up. So we parked our car, walked over to the World of Disney and picked up a few more items we wanted to take home before we headed to the section where they kept the D&B bags. I was torn between two of them and asked the shop assistant to let me have a look at both. I really liked both designs and Tom encouraged me to take them both, then urged me to have a look at the wallet they sold there too. Once I had opened it, I really liked it, a large compartment for coins, lots of little slots for Credit and Company Cards, perfect. How much can a wallet be, so I decided to take the wallet as well, without even asking for a price.

It turned out the wallet was as expensive as the more expensive one of the bags I had picked, but hey, once I had made my mind up I was going to buy it. Thank god for credit cards. Loaded with more goods we made our way back to the car and to our resort, but wait! There was still the question of where we would have dinner.

We both didn’t really feel like going to another restaurant, so why not pick up a few salads and some more tortilla chips and come back later to Downtown Disney to pick up a sandwich from Wolfgang Puck’s Express. So instead of driving right to our resort, we went over to Publix, picked up a few more snack items and then finally went back to our resort. Who would have thought it, but when we finally arrived there around 7pm our room was actually cleaned and made up. Yippie! Time to mess it up again.

We dropped all our purchases on the floor near the sinks and fell on the beds. Both of us were tired and before we did anything else, we just relaxed on the beds for a few minutes. We watched TV and nibbled chips and forkfuls of salad for a while, then I started to pack some of the things we no longer needed and finally around 9pm we went out again to drive over to Wolfgang Puck’s Express to pick up some very late night dinner.

On the way there we decided to not only pick up a sandwich from Wolfgang, but to get another sandwich from the Earl of Sandwich. So after we had parked the car, we walked over to Earl of Sandwich and ordered The Earl's Club - roast turkey, smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato and after we had picked it up we strolled over to Wolfgang Puck Express and got a Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich - romaine and plum tomatoes, with a side of house made chips. It didn’t take long for our order to arrive and soon we were on our way back to the resort for some late night nibbling. Once we had finished our feast, we cleaned up, watched a little more TV and turned off the lights around midnight.