Category Archives: Rides


Dinosaur and The Boneyard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I had been to Animal Kingdom once in October of 2001 and I remembered the ride Dinosaur being super scary. Combining this memory with the fact that Luke was pretty frightened of lava and meteors at the time of our trip (and I really can’t blame him), we decided he would skip that ride. So I went over to ride Dinosaur while Tom brought the kids to The Boneyard, then we switched.


I did not remember the dino skeleton inside the Dinosaur ride. Pretty cool.


The ride was still scary. I don’t care if it’s animatronic, a Carnotaurus lunging at my head will always make me scream! Plus it’s super fast. Ahhh! But I really like the storyline on this ride. Time travel is fun!

I got Fast Passes to ride again, but it never happened. There’s just too much fun stuff to do in the ol’ Animal Kingdom. Oh well.

Meanwhile, back at The Boneyard, the kids were enjoying an excavation site playground. With lots of slides, yay!


As soon as I could locate Tom among the bones and stones, he headed to ride Dinosaur himself. The kids and I crossed the bridge from the playground to the digging area. Oh, the joy! The kids could’ve stayed all day. These kiddie playgrounds are one of the best parts of Disney for several of us.

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Most of the dinosaur was already uncovered, but Luke was content to dig elsewhere.

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Scarlett enjoyed filling and dumping and filling and dumping a pail.

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These tiny rocks were really neat to scoop.

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This was such an engaging playspace, I wondered if they kids would ever be willing to leave.

Luckily, Dad’s return was enough of a change to get everyone to move on to the next attraction: Finding Nemo, The Musical!


Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

After our great experience on Kilimanjaro Safaris during Extra Magic Hours, it was still early and many rides hadn’t opened yet. We made our way across the park to Dinoland U.S.A. in search of breakfast and something fun to do.

Tom and the kids rode TriceraTop Spin while I looked for a place to eat.

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Turns out there weren’t any restaurants open for breakfast over by the dinos, so after the ride, our morning meal consisted of Mickey shaped cookies and rice krispie treats from Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures gift shop. Breakfast of Champions!

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We ate while Tom took a ride on Primeval Whirl. It looks cutesy but you have to be 48″ to ride this thrill ride.

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Finally, it was time for most of the attractions to open. Onward to The Boneyard, Dinosaur, and Finding Nemo: The Musical.


Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Our first stop at Animal Kingdom was Kilimanjaro Safaris. The animals are reportedly most active in the morning and we were in luck, arriving at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at just 8:15am.

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Luke was super excited to be on a safari truck.

We saw animals right away.

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Nyala (I think)

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Nile Crocodile

The kids were fascinated. Luke chattered the whole time.

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The tour guide was looking for rhinos, but we never saw any. We did see lots of birds, though.

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Ostrich with Eggs

We also saw a warthog and some crazy cool gazelles!

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Look at that jump!

The coolest part, though, was the LIONS! They were lounging on some big rocks as we drove by.

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If that was the end of our day, it would have been worth it. It was that awesome.

But even awesomer was that it was ust the beginning of our day. Much more Animal Kingdom to come.


How Not to Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios Part II

After a much needed afternoon break, we returned to Hollywood Studios in the evening for some more Star Tours, dinner and the Fantasmic! show during Extra Magic Hours. The kids wanted to go right back to Honey, I Shrunk the kids, but it was closed, and after our awkward morning, we had other things to do anyway.

Sorcerer’s Hat at Night

Our first attempt at doing something was getting dinner. I didn’t realize most restaurants would be closed by the time we got back. The only Quick Service place open was ABC Commissary and the lines were really long. I waited to order for about 30 minutes while Tom tried to keep the kids occupied with crayons at a table Finally, I got our food and we wolfed it down as fast as we could so we could get to another long line for Fantasmic. The line went all the way down Sunset Blvd, but luckily moved fairly quickly. We reached the  top of the hill, parked the stroller, and got good seats before the show started. Phew.

Glow Before the Show

This, of course, was before we knew the kids were scared of fireworks and pyrotechnics of all kinds. Both kids enjoyed the beginning of the show with Mickey and movie clips projected on water, but once it gof to the nightmare portion of the show, Luke was done. Too scared to watch anymore, he went with Tom to the concession stands until the finale. Scarlett and I stayed in our seats, but she spent most of the time covering her eyes or hiding her face in my sweatshirt.

As the only one who watched the whole thing, I thought it was really impressive!

Dwarfs, Mary Poppins and More on a boat!

After that debacle, we stopped by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to see what the wait time was. It was 20 minutes so Tom decided not to ride. Instead, we went back to Star Tours.

Tom and Luke rode while I watched Scarlett do gymnastics in the Tatooine Traders gift shop. 


When he was done with his ride, Luke got to make a custom Lightsaber. At only $21.99, it was a really fun souvenir.


With Lightsaber safely packed up, we made our way towards the exit of Hollywood Studios. In the end, we had an enjoyable day. It was just a day that fell short of my ambitions to ride more than three rides, my wish to meet the guys from Monsters Inc, and my desire for a Darth Vader cupcake.
This park needs a do-over for sure.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground

Just before we left Hollywood Studio for our mid-day break, we visited Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.

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This was by far the highlight of the kids’ day.

I adored Honey, I Shrunk the Kids when I was little, and I rented the movie before we went on our trip so the kids would have some reference for the giant ant and stuff at this attraction.

We spent about an hour in here. Luke went off with Tom to explore (and put his hands up the giant dog nose) while I stayed with Scarlett, who spent almost the whole time sliding. She had never seen a roll of film before, so that element was lost on her, but it sure was fun!

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Scarlett also thought the giant Play-Doh can was pretty awesome – especially since it was pink!

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It was a really good time on an otherwise blah theme park day. 
See Part I and Part II for more of our Hollywood Studios trip.

How Not to Visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios Part I

After a very late night at Magic Kingdom, we spent our first full day in Orlando at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I had ambitious plans for this park but, as you can see from the photo below, the kids were really not interested in what I wanted to do.
After two rides on Toy Story Mania and an aborted attempt to meet Woody and Buzz, the kids were grumpy. We tried to stand in line for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, but it was crowded and with about 10 minutes left until the show started, we left. If there was anything our family would like, it was Star Tours.
3D Glasses and a smile!
Scarlett was too small for this ride, so Tom and Luke went on the ride while Scarlett and I played with LEGO people and pretended to drive outside of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.

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To Infinity And Beyond!
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Then we did a rider switch and I got to do Star Wars with Luke, too. Yay, fun!


Next we headed over to The Magic of Disney Animation to meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope, one of Tom’s top character meetings. We had planned to meet Jake (of Neverland Pirates fame) while we were over there, but the kids weren’t used to characters yet, and didn’t want to meet him. Since the Disney Junior Live on Stage show was closed for renovations, we decided to just go ahead and get lunch. More grumpiness ensued.

We never did meet any other characters. No Sulley, no Incredibles, not even Lightning McQueen.


We did spend a good hour at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. It was really fun, and tired the kids out just in time for a midday nap.

On our way out for rest time, everyone was happier.


We came back a few hours later with more mixed reviews. Part II is coming up.

Disney Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Midway Mania!

It was our first full day at Disney World and we were up bright and early. We had to get to Hollywood Studios, and more specially, we had to ride Toy Story Midway Mania!

We walked quickly down Hollywood Boulevard, grabbed Fastpasses for later, and hopped in line. It was already about a 25 minute wait. While this was the shortest wait all day (it was up to 75 minutes at one point), Luke was not impressed.
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I admit, I was kind of impressed.

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Once we made it through the line, Luke cheered up. He really enjoyed shooting stuff! It’s basically a 3Dshooting range video game and it’s really fun. Luke didn’t even wear his 3D glasses, so he did well considering. (I still kicked his butt, though.)

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We got to ride again right away with our Fastpasses. Luke was refusing to go until we convinced him we could bypass the line. The second time was much better!

Yay, Fastpass! Luke is forever indebted to you :).


Magic Kingdom: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

One of the rides I was looking forward to at Magic Kingdom was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
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As one of those sad individuals who didn’t go to Disney World as a child, I didn’t have any particular attachment to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Plus, it seemed like a pretty good one for the preschool set.
We got a Fastpass the first night we were there, so we bypassed the play area. The Fastpass machine did spit out a bonus pass for Dumbo, though. Score!

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(It didn’t really matter since it was a light crowd on Super Bowl Sunday, but I appreciate the gift anyway.)

We did get to drum in Rabbit’s garden the next time we went back, in the morning.

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The line was short so we didn’t have a lot of time for the interactive queue. But that was okay with us!

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Over the course of the trip we rode this three or four times.

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The characters were just adorable!
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(So were the kids!)

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Overall the kids liked it. They could’ve done without the thunder and lightning portion of the ride, but they black light nightmare section didn’t scare them like it could have.

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Scarlett absolutely love the gift shop at the exit. We could’ve ended up with a whole Pooh collection if we had taken any time to shop. Thank goodness my Master Touring Plan didn’t allow for deviation!


Epcot World Showcase: Donald Duck in Mexico

After meeting Mulan in China, we made our way back to Epcot’s Mexican Pavillion for a Donald Duck extravaganza.

Mexican Donald had almost no line, and Luke was willing to meet him. Yay! Scarlett was not into Donald at this meet and greet, so it was just Luke and Dad. For some reason, this is the only photo we ended up with.

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So festive! 
Next, we hopped on a boat at the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. Luke was a little nervous about the volcano in the distance of this ride, but ultimately had a fun time seeing all the scenes of Mexico and Donald Duck showing up all over the place.

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Welcome to Mexico
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Donald Duck Pinata

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Adios Amigos!
I definitely think the kids liked this ride more because they knew Donald from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I thought it was a fun little trip with really nice videos and some good educational stuff for when the kids get a little older.

Next up: Norway!