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Cody’s Trip: Day 1 – And so it begins (eventually)

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Some of you might have been wondering where I have been since it has been quite some time since I have written a blog. Do not worry, I have not been eaten by reptilian-man creatures nor have I finally realized that there exists this thing called “life”. No, I have spent a week and a half down at Walt Disney World, enjoying the Florida sun while my friends were treated to the snow and freezing cold weather up north.

So without further ado, read on for a detailed look at my vacation including a wealth of useless information, amusing stores, thrilling adventures, and an opinion or two. It’s worth it. Trust me.

Accompanying me on this journey was my longtime girlfriend,
Alexis (also known as Lexi). Together, we set out to conquer the
World in nine days. In hindsight, that might have been a little too ambitious,
but more on that later. Prior to setting off, we used a variety of resources in
order to (hopefully) have the best vacation possible. Therefore, I have to give
a shout out and a thank you to a few of these valuable resources (other than
this wonderful blog and its readers of course!). So Thank You to…

WDWMagic – Great forums dedicated to Disney World, with a
lot of people willing to help out if there are any questions.

DIS – Especially great for their Dining forums. Since we
were on the Dining Plan, it was a great source for making those tough
decisions, like which Epcot restaurants to use our counter-service plan on. 

AllEarsNet – Menus, latest news, and other valuable

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2007 – Great for
planning each day out as well as making decisions on entertainment and food.

Finally, perhaps the single greatest resource for our trip: Passporter Walt Disney World. It’s colorful, fun, full of information
and stories, and, more importantly, it included a variety of scrapbooking tools
that made our vacation better. There is room to keep track of everything and
the deluxe version comes with a nice carrying case and inserts for tickets,
maps, and other essentials. It also had a handy list of phone numbers in the
back, just in case you miss your flight by 4 minutes, for instance.

I guess I should explain that. Living in Terre Haute means the closest airport is
Indianapolis International, about an hour away. Well, an hour on most days.
Just not this day. We had to go back because I forgot my Mickey watch, we
encountered odd traffic on the freeway, we couldn’t find a decent parking spot
due to the snow hills… the end result was that we got to the ticket counter 26
minutes before our flight left. Baggage closes 30 minutes prior to the flight.
That meant we missed our flight by 4 minutes.

So I did what every calm, collected, level-headed man would
do in this situation. I freaked out. And I called my father. Together we found
tickets leaving only two hours after our missed flight (Thanks Dad!). Alexis
and I then spent the next two hours calling AirTran, Disney, AAA, AirTran
again, AAA again, and finally just asking our AAA representative to try and
figure things out.

I also called Disney’s Magical Express and told them we had
missed our flight. I gave them the new flight info and the Magical Express
representative told me something I had been longing to hear for quite some
time. She said, “Come to the counter and we
will handle everything

I could finally relax. The flight (now on Southwest) was
uneventful. We landed at Orlando International Airport,
and set out to find the Magical Express counter. Disney had given us a map to
it, and before too long we had ran into a cast member waving a similar map at
us. We checked in at the desk, walked down the very short red carpet, and onto
the charter bus to the All-Star movies resort.

Arriving to and checking in at the all-star resorts was a
breeze. We got the room we wanted (first floor, Mighty Duck’s) and it was
available before 3pm. We threw our carry-on bags down and headed off for a
night of fun at Downtown Disney.

Earl of Sandwich
  Cody’s View Alexis’ View
Food: ★★★★ ★★★★
Value: ★★★ ★★★★
Service: ★★★★ ★★★★★
Setting: ★★ ★★★

Our first stop was the Earl of Sandwich for some lunch. I
ordered the Hawaiian BBQ (ham, chicken, pineapple, Swiss cheese all smothered
in BBQ sauce) and Lexi ordered the Cannonballs (meatballs). Mine was good, but
honestly, the Cannonballs was the best meatball sandwich I have ever had. I am
not saying I am a connoisseur of meatball sandwiches, but the Cannonballs was
one fine meatball sandwich.

After lunch, we did some good ol’ shopping. We had fun
messing with all of the Toys at Once Upon a Toy (the Mr. Potato Heads were
cool), browsing at World of Disney, and playing endlessly with Legos and the Lego Imagination Center. We only ended up
buying two things: a set of Mickey earrings for Alex
is that matched a white
gold Mickey ring I had bought her at Tokyo Disneyland, and a set of three Lego
Star Wars magnets.

After shopping at the marketplace, we still had some time
before our Planet Hollywood reservations, so we headed over to DisneyQuest. I
had been to DisneyQuest before, but this was Alexis’ first time. Sadly, we were
both disappointed. While we enjoyed some of the virtual reality rides, the
entire place was in need of an update. The rides were very outdated, many games
simply didn’t work, and maintenance seemed lacking on some of the games that
did work. I remember liking it 7 years ago (the last time I had been to
DisneyQuest), but the rides that were still fun (Virtual Jungle Cruise, Cyberspace Mountain) hadn’t changed at all. With
the pace that video game technology improves, 7+ years without an update is a
very long time.

Planet Hollywood
  Cody’s View Alexis’ View
Food: ★★★★ ★★★
Value: ★★★★ ★★★
Service: ★★★★ ★★★★
Setting: ★★★★ ★★★★★

We shopped some more after leaving DisneyQuest and then
headed to Planet Hollywood for dinner. The line was long, but our reservations
allowed us to head straight to the front. We were seated on the second floor (I
think), right next to a cityscape from “Lost in Space”. I ordered the fajitas
and Lexi ordered the LA Lasagna. The fajitas were very good, the lasagna… not
so much. It was ok, but it wasn’t anything special. We also thought it was a
little crowded, with very little room between tables. However, it was not so
bad as to be a detriment to our experience. Because we booked through AAA, we
had a $15 off voucher and used that instead of using our dining plan, allowing
us to enjoy a two table-service meal later.

After our meal, it was time for Pleasure Island.
We were really only interested in two places: The Comedy Warehouse and
Adventurer’s Club. As we were heading there, we ran into some of the
carnival-like men on stilts. Alexis stopped to take a picture, as did another
woman with a camera phone. Just as Lexi went to snap a picture, he charged
straight at her. Both her and the other woman screamed in terror and scampered
backwards as fast as possible. My response was to burst out laughing. The best
part was, Alexis still managed to take a wonderful picture of a camera phone
and a multicolored man diving at her.

After that event, we headed to The Comedy Warehouse. As we
walked in, Alexis was seated next to the phone (unaware of what the
consequences of that could be). Sadly (or luckily depending on the perspective)
when it did come time for the phone to ring, it rang one row behind us. They
did a very good job with ensuing song.

My favorite bit though, was a sketch where they attempted to
get one of their own to say an exact phrase. In this case, the phrase was
“don’t put your mouth on the bubbler.” The resulting series of improvised
circumstances was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Overall, the comedic actors and actresses did a very good
job with the show. Some of the songs were lacking, but it was definitely a
hilarious 45 minutes. We both agreed that we wanted to see another show later
in the week.

Our next (and final stop for the night) was the Adventurer’s
Club. The show was just starting when we arrived and we were quickly seated in
the library. The show was their weekly radio broadcast. They invited some
people on stage to do the sound effects. The audience interaction was
definitely one of the better parts of the show. While I felt many parts of the
show weren’t all that funny, there were moments (especially with their
advertisements) that were hilarious. The Adventurer’s Club was definitely one
of those places you would have to do multiple times to fully appreciate it.

So after a yell of “Kungaloosh!” we headed to the door and
back to our hotel, our first day of our trip coming to a close. I fell
fast asleep in no time at all (Lexi took a little longer), ready to begin a week of unbridled euphoria…