disney 2012: epcot + heading home

We had packed up most of our stuff the night before, so Monday morning was fairly painless (for packing anyways, it’s amazing how sore my legs still are!). Checkout was at 11 so we needed to have everything packed in the car before heading to Epcot. I couldn’t pass by another breakfast of Mickey waffles, so mom went down to the cafe in our hotel to order them and bring them up to our room. After getting ready, packed and having eaten breakfast, we started to load up the car. On the way back from the first load, Sister and I walked around the grounds for a little bit to take some pictures of the hotel – at least we remembered before it was too late!

We headed to Epcot and there were really only two things on our list to do: go on Soarin’ and go on GM test track. It ended up being a really good thing we didn’t have anything else on our list – the place was PACKED! The marathoners were out in full force today after they rested the day before (or Epcot was just more popular today than Hollywood Studios had been the day before). Waiting in line for Soarin’ took almost an hour, but it was well worth it! Soarin’ across California is always nice :).

After we made it through that ride, we headed over to GM Test Track. the line for single riders was only 20 minutes vs. 45-50, so we gladly took the shorter route. Many other people had decided that as well, but it was still not a terribly long line. GM Test Track was not as great as I had remembered – fairly boring anyways, maybe the novelty had worn off? We definitely didn’t feel the need to go on it again.

With our two planned items off the list and not a whole lot of time left, we decided to go to the Coca-Cola refreshment station that has free samples of foreign soda. I know, I know, one of my goals for 2012 was to give up soda, but this was more of a special treat rather than actually drinking it as a beverage haha. I had a cup of the Kinley and some Mezzo Mix – Mezzo Mix is my absolute favorite and I’ve had it in Germany before. You can easily make it at home too, by just mixing half cola and half orange soda – sounds super weird but it’s awesome!

I saw these huge candy buttons in the store too – so cute!

We decided to get on our way then and spotted Bambi on the way out – Disney finally seems like they’re getting rid of their Christmas decorations and putting up some normal ones instead!

Our last day would not have been complete without our fourth and final trip to Sweet Tomatoes. I can’t wait until we can come here again!! After filling up on salads, sweet potatoes and frozen yogurt, we started heading to the airport to get checked in for our flight. The GPS ended up taking us on this super out of the way path that resulted in a dead end… it was great… We finally made it and got our rental car returned, and then checked in to the flight and through security. It was very painless and I didn’t have a mysterious medal toe like I did on our flight here (my toe had to get patted down by security – seriously?!).

I mostly read on the way home and once we got back to Wisconsin, we were greeted with extremely cold weather, but also adorable and excited Crosby so it wasn’t all bad to be back home! Until our next adventure…

disney 2012: hollywood studios + downtown disney

I have officially been a half marathoner for a week – can you believe it? This week was crazy busy at work so I didn’t have the time to finish out my Disney vacation like I had planned – nothing like a weekend to work on the blog! I already updated my about page and races page and will hopefully continue to recipage my recipes page! And of course finish out the Disney trip and then get on to more new and exciting things ;).

Now back to Sunday. This was our only full day to spend in the parks, but we still didn’t get going incredibly early. It is so nice to have relaxing mornings! My legs were still feeling it from the half marathon, but mostly when I went from sitting to standing/walking… continual walking seemed to be better and helped loosen them up a little bit so it wasn’t a horrible thing to be at Disney! We decided to go to Hollywood Studios again because they have the best rides and the most things we wanted to do.

We got there around 10, and we came across some marathoners still running the course. They were at mile 23 and the only thing I kept thinking about was that during the half marathon, the last three miles were the worst. Pretty sure anyone yelling “you’re almost there!” to the runners was risking getting punched. Although the crazy part in me was looking at these runners and was incredibly jealous of where they were. Mile 23 of a marathon? These people are going to finish and get that incredible Mickey medal – some were even going to get a Goofy! This group was finishing between 5 and 5 1/2 hours, and I just got to thinking that it really doesn’t matter the time you finish in, what matters is that you finished, and I can definitely finish a marathon one day – running, walking, crawling or a combination of all three. And next year just so happens to be the 20th anniversary of the Disney Marathon

Anyways, back to Hollywood Studios. We wanted to head straight to Tower of Terror to get in line, but we had to cross the marathoners. It was still a constant stream of runners and we didn’t know how we would manage to get across. Well, Disney is full of geniuses as well as imagineers so of course they had a spectacular plan in place. The running path was split into two paths with a small median in the middle. A group of the spectators/park-goers would group together, go across the path that runners weren’t going on to the median, and then the runners would switch paths while the walkers kept crossing. It’s hard to explain, but it worked like a charm.

Once to Tower of Terror we saw that there was only a 50 minute wait, but we still grabbed a fast pass first for a second trip. We got in line and it only took us about a half an hour to get to the “hotel” and through the ride. Immediately after we got off, we used our fast passes and went again. And then when we got back from that the line was so short we went a third time. We ended up going on Tower of Terror three times in under an hour – it was fantastic!

After we had enough of the Twilight Zone movie (why can’t there be a fast pass that goes straight to the ride?!) we headed to grab a fast pass to Rock ‘n Rollercoaster. We had some time to spend before coming back on that ride, so we decided to go to the 12:45 showing of Beauty and the Beast – mom’s favorite! It was a really cute show and it was a nice perk to be able to sit down for a bit. But getting back up was painful! I really should have worn my medal so that people knew I had an excuse for walking funny… ;).

Once Beauty and the Beast was over, we headed to grab a bite for lunch. We ended up at Studio Catering Co. near the back of the park and Kinley and I shared a turkey sandwich on an EnerG bun and a greek salad (how have I forgotten how much I love feta cheese?!). Disney was fabulous with dealing with the food – a manager came over, took our order and then saw it through from start to finish. They even offered to grill our sandwich between parchment if we wanted or get it cold – we opted for the grilled and it was devine.

After lunch, Kinley and I went back to Rock ‘n Rollercoaster when mom went to go stake out seats for the afternoon parade. Kinley and I hustled and got right to the ride. I had forgotten how much fun this ride was! I especially like the take off at the beginning!

We then hustled back over to where mom was saving seats (right in front of the American Idol experience on the steps) and ended up grabbing ice cream before the parade started. They parade was okay – it was filled with Pixar characters and even though I love Pixar, the parade was pretty boring. The same tiring tune over and over again, but it was still nice to be off my feet.

The parade pretty much finished us up for the day. We had spent a good 5 or so hours at Hollywood Studios, and in combination with Friday had done everything we wanted to do. We decided to go to Downtown Disney for a little bit to get some souvenirs and our last stop at Babycakes – I am going to miss these doughnuts so much!! I ended up getting a Mickey mug and decided to pass on everything else – I had already gotten the long sleeved t-shirt and track jacket from the race expo as well as the marathon goodies (my XS but still big tech T and race bling!) so I was pretty well set already!

We went to bed early tonight. One more day at the parks tomorrow and then heading back home! Vacations always go by too darn fast.