Tag Archives: Disney

A Series of Exciting Events Sponsored by Google

12 Jul

Between all the offsites and public holidays, James hasn’t worked a full week in over a month. He can never go back to Australia – he is far too spoiled here!

Disneyland

James had to go to Anaheim for a work convention. Since his airfare, hotel and taxis were covered, it was a no-brainer for me to tag along and go to Disneyland for a couple of days. Coming so soon after our trip to Disneyworld, I was curious how Disneyland would compare.IMG_20170624_181532Disneyland has just two parks (conveniently located across the street from each other) – Disneyland and California Adventure – versus Disneyworld’s four. It doesn’t have the Magic Band system so getting fast passes was a lot less convenient. Disneyworld was definitely more elaborate, but I don’t care so much about getting the immersive Disney experience and was glad we didn’t have to stay at a Disney hotel to be conveniently located.

I also thought the rides at Disneyland were better – every adult ride that had a Florida equivalent, the California version was more fun (except for Haunted Mansion – that seemed pretty much the same to me). I also really enjoyed Indiana Jones in Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure.
IMG_20170623_112304(This was actually part of a series of signs one behind the other that said something like “Sheriff’s old but he ain’t slow” but I like this picture because it seems like an unnecessary burn on the sheriff).

James’ conference started winding down on the Saturday so he joined me for one day at Disney, where we focused on the stuff that was the most different from Disneyworld.

His (and my!) absolute favourite thing was the Animation Academy, which was a class where you could learn to draw different Disney characters. There was a schedule of different characters, with old favourites like Mickey, Minnie and Donald, and new characters like Baymax and Olaf.

There was a screen on stage where you could see the artist’s hand as they drew to help guide you:
IMG_20170624_110256James and I went for the Baby Groot class and he liked it so much we went again for the Steamboat Mickey class. Here are our masterpieces side by side (I’m on the left and James is on the right):

Baby Groot
IMG_20170712_130423I went too big and Groot got too hard to manage. =( James’ is much cuter.

Steamboat Mickey
IMG_20170712_131350When I started Steamboat Mickey, James looked over at me and shook his head because I’d gone too big again. I think it turned out OK though! I’m sad I forgot to colour in Mickey’s head like James did – I didn’t notice it until just then and I think it makes a big difference.

The park started to get busy and hot in the late morning so it was really nice to go to a quiet, air-conditioned room and chill out for awhile.

LA Offsite

This was a team bonding trip where James went to LA and did cool stuff like go on food tours and drink a lot. Every time he sent me a selfie (James: a group selfie is called a weefie) he was hanging out with different people. This one he took outside Paramount Pictures:
IMG_20170608_194617They also went to a Q&A with various industry people, and also famous people like Conan O’Brien and Snoop Dogg.

James: The rumour going around was that they kept having to reschedule Snoop Dogg’s interview because he was too high to get out of his limo.

They also went to a private Snoop Dogg concert which was pretty cool.
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California’s Great America

Last month Google hired out California’s Great America for an employee (and family) picnic. It was on a weekday, so it was nice that employees didn’t have to dip into their weekend to go.

People we talked to said they added too many departments this year and that in other years you could walk onto almost all the rides. That would have been awesome! Oh well – we spent a good amount of time in line but managed to ride everything we wanted.

The Tiki Twirl was fun! Long line though – maybe 20-30 minutes?
IMG_20170628_134941We waited a similar amount of time for Loggers Run and it was pretty disappointing. Disney definitely does the log flume rides better.
IMG_20170628_172301Whitewater Falls was a much better ride. James decided he hadn’t gotten splashed enough on the actual ride and went to the bridge to get re-splashed by the next boat.IMG_20170628_121428By far our favourite ride of the day was Xtreme Skyflyer. Normally it costs extra (I guess because it’s so elaborate and awesome) but it was included in the day for everyone. It had the longest line – I think we waited almost an hour for this.
IMG_20170628_102533There was a really detailed pre-ride process. You’d go up, put on the harness, get it checked and re-checked, then they’d explain how the ride worked. Then you went in those cherry-picker machine thingies where they hooked you up to the cables. And then you got slowly hoisted up until you were crazy high off the ground (150+ feet/17 storeys) and it was fucking terrifying. Then when you pulled the ripcord you’d free fall for ages and then swing in a huge pendulum under the arc.

I took this photo of another group while we were waiting in line:IMG_20170628_104432It was insanely fun. Getting slowly raised up was scary because you could see how high up you were, and the initial drop was also freaky, but the swinging afterwards was actually really relaxing. =)

The food was all free as well. We ate later in the afternoon so the lines weren’t too bad, but they looked really long at lunch.

Each employee also got to play $10 worth of games so of course James went to his nemesis – Jacob’s Ladder. And yet again he failed to beat it. (I’m kind of glad though – look at those giant fucking prizes – what would you even do with them??)IMG_20170628_125106So yeah, that’s been our last month. Thanks Google! =)

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5 Days in Disneyworld – The Most Magical Place on Earth

9 Jun

In May this year, James and I went to Disneyworld!

Disney wasn’t really on our radar but Brian (who now lives in Atlanta) suggested it would be a good place for a friend reunion. James and I spent 5 days at Disney and 2 at Universal – we added an extra day at Magic Kingdom since it was our first time.

Day 1 – Magic KingdomPhotoPass_Visiting_MK_402717919769 (1)We got to the Magic Kingdom early and knocked out a bunch of rides before it got too busy. We could walk onto rides that normally had a 60+ minute wait, so it was definitely worth doing.

At 2:30pm we took a break to go back to our hotel and nap, before coming back for our dinner reservation at Be Our Guest.

Here we are outside the castle:
IMG_20170429_164316Seeing inside was cool, but the line to meet The Beast was really long and we paid upscale dining prices for very average food (though it was nice to get out of the heat). Would not recommend. IMG_20170429_181446We went on a few more rides after dinner. The lines definitely got shorter after 8pm.IMG_20170429_201733 (1)But we were pretty knackered from the heat and all the walking and crowds, so went back to our hotel at 10pm.

By then, Brian and Will had arrived and tried to entice us out to drinks with this photo from Downtown Disney:
18216083_10107913183972700_1484057744_o But we were having none of it and sent back this photo from our hotel bed. IMG_20170429_215434It’s basically single vs married life.

We all agreed to meet at Animal Kingdom bright and early the next day. “Tomorrow,” Brian said, “the Four Horsemen shall ride.”

Day 2 – Animal Kingdom

The original plan was to go straight onto Expedition Everest but the ride was down that morning. =( So instead we went to Dinoland and did a few of the rides there.

Will was so jealous that I was the Chosen One.
IMG_20170430_091124(Disney uses the red card to time how long it takes to get through the standby line).

We went on Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids a few times. Each subsequent ride on KRR got more and more fun. Not everyone would get equally wet, so each time we’d try to predict who would get drenched, and when they did the whole raft would laugh at them.18216344_10107917558980150_264678123_o (1)We did pretty much everything at Animal Kingdom, and it was James’ favourite park. He liked the safari and all the rides and the general theme.

The River of Light show at the end of the night was pretty meh though. I thought the Tree of Life was much cooler.
IMG_20170430_214420Animal Kingdom was by far the walking-est day at 30k+ steps compared to 20k+ at all the other parks. My feet were absolutely killing me, and when we got back to the hotel James gathered some ice to make me an ice pack which really helped. =)

Day 3 – Epcot

The next day was Epcot, which again involved a lot of walking. But this time I was ice-fortified.IMG_20170501_090025There were pretty short lines for everything so between that and strategic fast passes we didn’t have to wait too long for anything.

Here we are about to go on Mission Space: Orange. Notice how careful James was to get the astronaut display in the photo.
IMG_20170501_121458I had voted to go on the wussier Mission Space: Green, but was overruled. Later, everyone was full of regret. It felt like that Gravitron ride where you’d stick to the wall as the ride spun around – I’ve definitely lost my tolerance for that kind of stuff!

We had lunch at Via Napoli right afterwards, which settled our stomachs. James ordered a Moscow Mule (with Mickey ears!).IMG_20170501_131341This is the huge pizza that I split with Brian. I don’t know why he looks so suspicious of the pizza.IMG_20170501_134304Then we headed to the World Showcase. We tried to drink our way around the world but it was too much booze and instead we settled for taking selfies in every country.

Mexico
IMG_20170501_153124Me and Will after we split a margarita.IMG_20170501_161421(This is why we couldn’t continue with drinking around the world).

Norway
IMG_20170501_163207

China
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Germany
IMG_20170501_173123

Italy
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USA IMG_20170501_180915

Japan
IMG_20170501_182643   Morocco IMG_20170501_183138

France
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United Kingdom IMG_20170501_184731

Canada
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Then we had dinner at Le Cellier, watched IllumiNations, and headed back to our hotels, ready for the next day.

Day 4 – Magic Kingdom

James and I sprung for Early Morning Magic at Magic Kingdom. This let us in 45 minutes before everyone else and we could ride Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh as many times as we wanted, and came with an AYCE breakfast. It was pretty magical being in the park with hardly anyone else there.

Front cart for Seven Dwarfs!
IMG_20170502_080856We tested out a bunch of different cart locations and thought back cart was the most fun.

We went on Seven Dwarfs 4 or 5 times, Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan once each, then had breakfast before the rest of the park opened.

Then we met up with Brian and Will and went on a bunch of other rides. My favourite thing was seeing talking Mickey Mouse. The talking effect was so realistic and even though I know Mickey isn’t real it was still mind-blowing. Even James was impressed. It was really fun seeing how he interacted with everyone – he did a magic trick for us. =D
PhotoPass_Visiting_MK_402717787521 (1) And of course, the Mickey selfie! IMG_20170502_111057We stayed to watch the fireworks show, which was really lovely, and got a group photo at the end of the night (we’re a little bit wet because we went on Space Mountain again).
PhotoPass_Visiting_MK_402717847017 (1)Splash Mountain was our favourite ride in Magic Kingdom. It was down the first day James and I were in Magic Kingdom so we were very glad that they got it working again. =)

Day 5 – Hollywood Studios

This was our final day at Disneyworld. As soon as we got to the park we went on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (front cart again, yay!)

Then we headed to the Star Wars section, which the boys were very excited about.
IMG_20170503_110247Here is Will, butting in on our Star Tours photo:
IMG_20170503_105126(Also, I discovered that I’m not very good at rides where you’re in a moving vehicle while you watch a 3D movie. Brian says he’s the same way, and it’s because your brain detects the slight differences between what you’re seeing and how you’re moving and it messes you up).

But anyway, I got to meet the Mayor of Hollywood! He gave me some mayor money and told me to vote for him.
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We did all the rides since it wasn’t a very big park. I think theme-wise though, it was my favourite.

We got a group photo in front of the Tower of Terror. =)
PhotoPass_Visiting_STUDIO_402717787543 (1)And a selfie in front of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster!
IMG_20170503_155501We just kept getting fast passes for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror and walking on with hardly any lines, so that was nice.

The original plan had been to stay for Fantasmic at the end of the night, but we’d done everything we wanted and decided just to head to our Universal hotel early.

So we grabbed our bags, said goodbye to Disney and hello to Universal, ready for two more days of theme parks!