:: Pedantic Platitudes ::

Greetings! My name is Sam J and I am a student at Harvard University. Perhaps this blog will present a little look into the mundane yet unique events that make up my life.
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:: Sunday, April 09, 2006 ::

Yay, last week's spring break vacation to Walt Disney World was a blast and definitely the best week EVARRR!

People often ask me why I like Disney so much, and I talk about how I like the escapism, the journey into another world, the expression of the possibility of dreams fulfilled. These things definitely made my vacation to Walt Disney World so magical.

It was also a lot of fun to spend time with my friend Kayt, with whom I've been friends since freshman year here. We lived across the hall from each other freshman year, and we've been talking about going to Walt Disney World since then. I'm glad we finally followed through and made the trip! We went to all four Walt Disney World theme parks, as well as the Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Studios. Eight days, five theme parks, two friends: good times all around.

Obligatory photo in front of Cinderella Castle!!!:

Highlights of our trip:

- Having dinner in Cinderella Castle. I've always wanted to dine at Cinderella's Royal Table, but it is one of the most exclusive restaurants at the resort. Reservations are booked six months in advance, and you’re lucky if you get to eat there. Kayt was persistent, and we happened to get to the desk moments after somebody had cancelled. Yay for us! Kayt loves all things princesses, so it was a dream come true for her. I enjoyed the experience immensely, as well.

It was such a magical dinner. We met Cinderella and got pictures with her in the foyer, and she welcomed us - "prince" and "princess" - to her castle. We then went upstairs where there was a three-course dinner. I had the bacon-lettuce-tomato salad, which was nice but not as great as Kayt's vegetable spring roll with ginger soy sauce and bok choy salad, of which I tried a bite. The freshly-baked and still-warm pretzel bread rolls were amazing, particularly when paired with their pomegranate dijon mustard honey butter. I had so much of the butter because it was the best I've ever tasted. For the main course, I had the pan-seared salmon paired with asparagus and cheddar mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were a bit too salty, but the salmon was excellent - crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Dessert was an amazing blueberry buckle (kind of like a more dense blueberry muffin) with a cream cheese crumbled topping, sweet lemon ice cream (perfect with the blueberries), and fresh juicy berries. During the dinner, the Fairy Godmother would come out with Suzy and Perla (Cinderella's mice companions) and do a little show about how to make dreams come true. Sooo magical! It was expensive but totally worth it.

When we walked out of the castle following the dinner, the fireworks were about to start, so they had roped off the entire area around the castle, and we were the only ones in the castle forecourt stage area, looking out into the crowd of thousands of people lined up on Main Street waiting for the fireworks and watching us emerge from the castle. We felt so special. The night ended perfectly with Wishes fireworks and then all-night partying at Pleasure Island! The most magical night ever. I mean, EVARRR.

- Visiting Islands of Adventure for the first time. I've wanted to go to this relatively new theme park since it opened in 1999 but never went in my previous visits to Orlando because it's a bit hard to get to from where I've stayed. I already knew that the theming there is incredible, and I was still very impressed. Some parts even rival Disney in their theming. I loved the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, an intense hybrid ride-through attraction that combines 3-D film, themed sets, fire, fog, water, laser, and other special effects. It's almost worth the price of aadmission alone. Kayt loves all things superheroes, so she had a blast there, too. There was also The Hulk roller coaster, which is one of the most intense in the Orlando area. The Dueling Dragons suspended roller coaster was quite fun, too, because it's actually two different tracks designed so the cars will come just a few feet from each other at certain points, so it feels like you're going to fly right into the other riders. The wait would normally be at least an hour for each, but I went 10 minutes before park closing and went on both of them before it closed. The theming of the castle queue was amazing, too. So immersive. I also enjoyed the Jurassic Park ride, which I've experienced before at Universal Studios Hollywood. The single rider lines at the park allowed us to go on many of the rides with a short wait. Yay. Oh, and the Poseidon's Fury walkthrough/show was really amazing, too. Lots of surprises and special effects... I really enjoyed it because I felt like I was exploring a lost city underground... like Indiana Jones or something.

- Seeing the new attractions at Walt Disney World imported for the "Happiest Celebration on Earth." Disney was smart in recognizing the marketing opportunities for Disneyland's 50th anniversary, so they expanded the celebration to include all its theme parks worldwide. Walt Disney World used this as a chance to bring in new shows and attractions to each of its four theme parks. At the Magic Kingdom we saw the show "Cinderellabration" - a stage show that shows Cinderella's coronation ceremony as she becomes princess. The show was an abridged version of the original from Tokyo Disneyland. There, it's a nighttime spectacular with magical lighting effects, and a lot is lost when you cut half the characters and dancers and then present it in the daytime. The fireworks finale is still excellent, though. At Epcot, we went on Soarin', a copy of the attraction at Disney's California Adventure. I was surprised they copied the film exactly, without even changing the finale, which still shows a flyover of Disneyland. At Disney-MGM Studios, we saw the new Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Spectacular (yes, every show here at Walt Disney World is a "spectacular"), imported from Walt Disney Studios Paris. I've never been a huge fan of car chases in movies, but seeing it done all live right in front of you was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. These sports cars were moving back and forth so gracefully without colliding. The drivers executed the most daring car chases right in front of our very eyes. There were fast cars, motorcycles, jet skis, and big explosions! And at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the new and highly themed roller coaster Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain had just opened... The ride officially opened this weekend, but I got to go on a preview run. I enjoyed this attraction for more than one reason, ahem... But it was a ton of fun. It was fast, and there was, of course, the largest, most complex Audio-Animatronics figure ever built for a Disney theme park attraction. The theming to a Himalayan village was very detailed. Sooo much fun.

- Hanging out and being "adults" at Pleasure Island. When Kayt was 11 her dad somehow snuck her into Pleasure Island, an 18/21+ bars and nightclubs complex at Walt Disney World. She fell in love with the Adventurer's Club, a bar themed to a safari explorer's private club, and insisted we hang out there on our visit. I had a lot of fun watching the high-energy shows, and the improv actors there were hilarious. We also danced at a couple of the clubs at Pleasure Island. Strangest moment? Dancing to a techno remix of the instrumental background soundtrack theme of Brokeback Mountain... um... whose idea was that?

- Meeting all the classic Disney characters at Epcot without having to wait for long. We saw Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, Chip and Dale, and Goofy, and we took lots of pictures with them. Chip and Dale were particularly fun, as they competed over who could court Kayt because she was dressed like a princess. It totally made our day.

Here are some of the great pictures!

Kayt got to meet Prince Charming, who turned out to be... um... not so charming:

But she did look great as a princess...

- Having a character dinner: We went to Goofy's Liberate Your Appetite character dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, and it was so much fun meeting the characters! Sad tear that Mickey himself wasn't there, but Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and Pluto were there, and they were so great to interact with. We actually had met Mickey earlier that day in Epcot, so it was still great. The buffet was amazing. Served family style: bbq beef, roasted turkey, glazed ham, with mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and the creamiest mac and cheese. The mixed greens salad with strawberry vinaigrette was a great starter, and warm apple cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream (and my Asian upbringing regarding never wasting food) ensured I was stuffed beyond belief by the end of the meal. We definitely couldn't go on any roller coasters right after that...

- Eating a Mickey Premium ice cream bar. In all my visits to Disney theme parks, I don't think I've ever had a Mickey Premium Bar. I shelled out the $2.50 to get one, and it was so wonderfully creamy and chocolatey. It was a great snack on that hot day. Here's a mini photo essay of my gustatory journey with the Mickey Premium Bar:

Yay! It's cold and fresh and new!

Yum, a tasty first bite.

Sad tear! I'm almost done eating it.

- Becoming old people... One day, Kayt and I had stayed up late partying at Pleasure Island, and then there was the daylight savings time change, and then we got up early the next morning right at park opening so we could get on rides with shorter wait times. Thus, we only got four hours of sleep that night, and that combined with the constant walking around all day made us extremely tired by mid-afternoon. It got so bad that afternoon that we actually picked which rides to go on based on how well we could sleep on them. I picked "it's a small world" because it's slow-moving and long, and I actually did fall asleep on it. It was hilarious. And sad. I never thought I could fall asleep on a Disney theme park attraction. Actually, when I was younger my father would always use slow boat rides like "it's a small world" or Pirates of the Caribbean as a chance to nap because he would always get up really early to drive us down to Disneyland and was tired throughout the day. And of course everyone falls asleep in the Hall of Presidents, but who actually goes there for the express purpose of sleeping? Haha. Kayt and I, apparently. I told Kayt as we sat down at the Hall of Presidents to sleep, "You know, this officially makes us old people," for sleeping on Walt Disney World rides, but she replied, "Well, not really because we're only tired because we stayed up all night clubbing at Pleasure Island." Haha.

- Writing out and teaching the lyrics of "Doncha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" to a nice Korean girl with limited English skills who heard the song at a club and really liked it and wanted to learn the lyrics. We then all sang it together loudly on public transportation.

- Being hit on by said Korean girl, whose name was Candy. Her friend's name was Sugar. No, they weren't strippers.

- Kayt and me picking up each other's slang terms and then using them nonstop...

"How fawkward."
"Sad tear!"
"That was just a bad sich."
"We suck at life."
"We are sooo good at life!"
"We win at life!"

And, of course, adding the letter "d" to the end of any word or phrase to make it into a passive verb, like we were somehow victimized by the noun phrase:

"Social convention'd!!!"
"Bad at life'd!!!"

- Finally, the best story EVARRR: When we were going through the bag security check at Epcot, what should fly out of someone's bag and onto the ground but a condom package! The owner of the prophylactic quickly bent down and picked it up, but it was too late... everyone around had seen it... The security guard was like, "Ummmmmm..." Haha.

Quote(s) of the Day: "How was Prince Charming?" "More like Prince Disgruntled..."

"Ahhh! This is aggravating my rubella condition!!!"

"I think I have smallpox..."

"Sam J!!! Children!!!"

"Hey, Kayt... Is it true that silence is a virtue?!?!"

"Hey, Kayt, what's the most annoying thing in the world?" "Loud teenage boys who won't shut up?"

"Damn! ... I mean, curses!!!"

:: SL 6:44 PM [+] ::

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