Florida 2015

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Just as it started to get cold in Colorado, it was time for Thanksgiving break.  Time to go somewhere!  This year we decided to head to Florida to take the kids to Disney, Universal, and catch up with family.  Here they are in my selfie attempt on Its a Small World.

Florida 2015

The big girls still love this stuff but I try and be sure that my baby has the greatest time ever.  She is totally out of character meet-and-greets.  She is ready to hang with the big kids on everything she can ride.  Which was pretty much everything we tried this trip except maybe 2 rides at Universal.

Florida 2015

I saw wildlife too, Disney-safari style.  Still a fun ride after all these years.  They go rid of the whole elephant poaching scenario which felt like it gave the ride more time.

Florida 2015

Uh?  Yeah!  I came around a building at Universal and saw this sign.  Transformers!

Florida 2015

Optimus Prime showing the way!  My girls loved this ride as did the adults.  Universal has a bunch of rides which I guess are motion simulators but you aren’t in a box.  You are in a car that moves through 3D scenes.  It is pretty sweet. Some of the actions like when you fall off a building really freak out your senses.

Florida 2015

But don’t puke!  I was pretty good on most rides.  I never puked.  But I am getting older and too much motion puts a little kink in my wellness for the day. When I was a kid, I thought adults were wussies for not riding all day.  Now I get it.

Florida 2015

I was enjoying the signs while waiting in line.

Florida 2015

Universal had these “drink all you can” plans so I got one.  You could take it to a Coke Freestyle machine and fill up all day.  I figured I will get one and just keep refilling to get drinks for me and the kids.  Plus we were coming back another day! But I knew there had to be catch.  These guys are smarter than the average tourist.  Turns out there is a chip in the bottom of the cup.  Once activated the cup is only good for the day.  When you put the cup in the normal Coke Freestyle machine like you have seen there is an additional sensor on the plate and it gives you restrictions on screen.  Darn.  And if you try and refill too quickly, they tell you you have to wait and tell you how much longer.  Nifty.

Florida 2015

This was Diagon Alley at Harry Pottter World.  Pretty impressive.  My mom was with us and was really blown away by the detail.  She likened it to when they went to Disney in the 70s and were in awe after never seeing things like that.  Such detail.  All those stores are working stores.  It was thick with people.

Florida 2015

The dragon up on the bank from Harry Potter.  It breathed fire a few times a day.  I never saw it but the kids did.  The ride inside the bank was pretty awesome.  Another motion simulator like Transformers as if you were in a mine car.  They new scenes from Harry Potter inside like with the real actors.  I don’t know if they film these with the cast after or how that works.  Or its all just CGI.  Cool in any case.

Florida 2015

My sister-in-law is a Florida resident and Disney annual pass holder.  So he had a few tricks up her sleeve that I had never seen.  She was able to get us FastPass comps a few times on rides.  Stuff I didn’t have the balls to do.  Like complain about the experience on a ride.  There were these people speaking/screaming non-English in front of us throughout the Star Wars ride.  Disney is there to please.  Take advantage of it.  Nice work, Sara.

Florida 2015

I totally was just posing for this.  I wasn’t pretending or anything.

Florida 2015

MagicBands!  In Disneyland (California), they don’t have this technology.  So I was curious to see what this multi-million dollar retrofit/upgrade had in store.  Basically, you buy these bracelets and they are your ticket to the park.  No more turnstiles.  You basically wave this RF bracelet near a Micky logo and it turns green and you are in.  The FastPass system in Florida was totally replaced by these too.  You would use your mobile app to reserve rides and the passes are linked to your band.  The rides all have the RF readers. When you got off the ride, you go to those screens to find your picture but now you just hold your band to the screen and it puts the picture in your account for later review and optional purchase.  A couple other rides made us of the bands as well.  It was pretty neat technology upgrade for the park.  Although, I think people are down on this FastPass experience.  If you knew how to work, the old system was more lucrative.

Florida 2015

I hadn’t ever seen this light display at Epcot with a bazillion lights.  All timed and sequenced to music.  Fun to watch the detailed programming they had in place.

Florida 2015

The tree.  Disney was blowing snow too.  I came to get warm people!

Florida 2015

Finally bumped into a buddy of mine.

Florida 2015

He was a little skinnier than I thought he would be in person.

Florida 2015

Jurassic Park still is magical to me.  From the day I read the book (written by my favorite author!) to the movies.  The ride gives me chills with the music and all.  I sort want to believe that they could really build this park someday.

Florida 2015

Hi, T-Rex.  Love ya.

Florida 2015

More Harry Potter time.  They recreated the Hogwarts Express train.  It travels between the 2 parks at Universal.  I thought it would be just some lame train where you look out the window at the parking lot.  Not.  It is a whole experience.

Florida 2015

Then I bumped into Megatron.  Just standing there.  He moved and talked.  he was huge.  Like 10-12 feet tall.

Florida 2015

The worst thing…we got broken down on a ride.  This is the Harry Potter ride inside Hogwarts.  I mentioned those motion simulators?  This is one kind.  It is known as “the arm” in industry.  You ride on those seats and the arms throws you around.  The black screen the people are looking at is a big movie screen.  IMAX like as it wrap around you.  We broke down here and they turned the lights on.  Fun to check out how everything looks behind the scenes.

Florida 2015

Bad part was we sat there for an hour.  They had to install scaffolding to get us off as they couldn’t get the ride restarted.  It was pretty shitty.  On my birthday no less.

Florida 2015

So 5 days at Disney.  1 at each park and a repeat at Magic Kingdom.  2 days at Universal.  4 tired people.  Me too.  We went every day until the park closed.  No strollers.  No stopping.  Vacations are an endurance event for this group.  I train for long days and long distances.  But even with Hokas, my feet were throbbing at the end of each day.  But it was worth it.  All my girls pictured here had a great time.

Florida 2015

See you again, Florida.