September 18th
 

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September 18th, 2021            

50 years ago on this date two wonderful people stood together at the altar, saying "I do" to one another. I'm sure that on that day they would have never thought that they would have raised two children who would each go on to get married, and the two of those children would provide them with six (6!) grandchildren.

Today, we got to spend the day celebrating those two people, who have somehow managed to make it through those 50 years without killing each other!

At Grandma Terry's request, we are spending the day/week together in the Orlando/Kissimmee area at a condo, and visiting Walt Disney World as much as possible. Today's plan involved visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios in an attempt (primarily) to get Samantha on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, as she has never been. We woke up (in our house, at least) at the crack of dawn in an attempt to get into the virtual queue, only to have it be full as soon as I refreshed the screen. While we still had a chance to get in to the afternoon queue, the odds just got a lot worse for us! With that bit of bad news out of the way, we spent the rest of the morning finalizing our packing and getting everything in the car to head off to Lake Buena Vista to visit the park!

We were the first of three cars to arrive at the park in the morning, with Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, and Uncle Steve coming in one car, and Aunt Erica and Marissa coming in their own car. Once we made it through security and into the park, we had some time to kill before the others arrived. We decided to go ahead and get in line for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. The wait wasn't too bad, and the timing put it so that when we got off the ride the others were getting into the park as well.

The first thing we had to do was rent the wheelchair for Steve, and get us all signed up for Steve's Disability Access Service (DAS). We also had to get Grandpa Gary & Grandma Terry some special 50th Anniversary pins to wear for the day!

Although my kids weren't exactly thrilled, Grandma Terry was disappointed that we rode Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway without them, so we got in line once again. The wait hadn't changed much, so we made it through without too much of an issue.

Even though most of us hadn't been in the park terribly long, it was time to think about lunch, as we were all getting a bit hungry. We had packed food for the day, so we found a spot in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to sit down and enjoy our meal. It wasn't totally shady, so we got a little warm, but the food certainly hit the spot! Since we were close, we next got in line to ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. We enjoy this ride, but with so many of us we had to split up into multiple rides.

Although I don't remember exactly what point it was during our day, somewhere around this time I made another attempt to get us in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This time my attempt was met with success! Unfortunately for us, it also meant a long wait before our boarding group would be called. At least we made it!

As we made our way out of Galaxy's Edge we made our way to Toy Story Land. We used the DAS pass to get a return time for Slinky Dog Dash, and with some time to kill we decided to get in line for Toy Story Mania! Of the two Toy Story related shooting games at Walt Disney World, this is by far the superior option! Once that game was over (Drew taking home the top honors) it was essentially time for us to head off to Slinky Dog Dash. This is a fun little coaster - I just wish it was a bit longer!

At this point most of the kids - Drew being the exception) wanted to do something a little more thrilling, so we headed across to Sunset Boulevard to take a drop on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! Samantha, Marissa, Jayden, Steven, and myself took part in this experience, while the rest found a spot to rest in the Sunset Ranch Market area. It had started to rain by the time we got off of the Tower, so we decided to hit up another indoor experience, this time we were joined by Drew for the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (which just might be his favorite coaster). The rain had only intensified after we got out of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, so we took shelter in the Market area until things began to let up.

Once the weather took a turn for the better, we decided it was time to get out and try something else. Although not everyone agreed (when do we ever?), the general consensus was that we would take a turn on Star Tours - The Adventure Continues. Well, most of us did, anyway. A few stayed behind to enjoy the 'cooling' evening Florida air. With a bit of time to kill before our chance to get on the newest Star Wars ride, we opted to take in the Muppet-Vision 3D show. Although it is a bit dated, and I'm not sure the kids get most of the references, I still enjoy this show. I guess that shows my age!

Finally, the moment that we were waiting for! Our boarding group was called, and it was time for us to head off to a galaxy far, far away on the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride. This was either the first (for Samantha) or the second time for most of us, so it is still a 'new' experience for us, and it was just as enjoyable this time as it was last time!

Unfortunately, at this point it was time for us to call it a day. We still had to check in to the condo for the night, as well prepare Grandma Terry's preferred anniversary dinner - tacos!

We made our way out of the park and to our vehicles to make the drive to the Villas At Fortune Place condos. Once again we made it first, with Erica and Marissa close behind. Tara went in to check on our Kroger delivery order that was dropped off in the office, and was able to check us in too (with Grandma Terry needing to follow up in the morning). When she finished checking in, Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, and Steve arrived at the condo too. We caravanned the short distance to our unit, and heading inside to check things out. Although this wasn't the nicest condo we've stayed in, it was a place to rest our head and fill our bellies, which is really all that we need!

Once we got in, we unloaded the cars and tried to settle in as best as we could. Dinner was underway while Drew and I headed off to the grocery store to pick up a few forgotten items. After our return, dinner was served! With dinner over and a great day complete, it was time to call it a night. Until tomorrow!

 


Disney's Hollywood Studios


Mr. Incredible making his way down Hollywood Boulevard during the Pixar Motorcade...

...as did Edna Mode...

...James P. Sullivan, aka Sully...

...the green army men...

...Woody and Jessie...

...and Buzz Lightyear!

Mickey & Minnie from Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway.

A few more scenes from Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway...

 

 

 

 

Walt Disney World has placed Disney Fab 50 Character Collection statues all over the parks - here is Frozone from The Incredibles.

Mickey standing on the rotating earth atop the Crossroads of the World building.

The Grauman's Chinese Theatre replica, home of the Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway ride.

Grandma Terry & Grandpa Gary on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway.

Jayden, Steven, Marissa, and Erica on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway.

The Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

The family hanging out in front of the Millennium Falcon while waiting to ride Smugglers Run.

Hondo Ohnaka giving us flight instructions before we board Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

The exit of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Another look at the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Some of the sights in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge...

 

...as well as in Toy Story Land...

 

Mr. Potato Head inside the Toy Story Mania! ride.

Jayden and Erica riding Toy Story Mania!

Marissa and Steve riding Toy Story Mania!

"So long partners!"

Jayden posing for a picture in front of the checkerboard wall outside the Toy Story Mania! exit.

Jay and Samantha posing together...

...before Sam attempts to knock out Jay!

Jayden photo-bombing my attempted picture of Samantha!

Sam posing for a picture in front of the checkerboard wall outside the Toy Story Mania! exit.

Drew waiting to ride Slinky Dog Dash.

The Slinky Dog Dash instruction manual.

Wheezy at the end of the Slinky Dog Dash.

A look at the outside of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror...

...as well as a look at the lobby.

Steven and Jay waiting to board the elevator on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

A view during the ride on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Here are some more of the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection statues - this one being Edna Mode from The Incredibles...

...as well as BB8 and R2D2 from Star wars...

 
 

Speaking of BB8, here the little droid can be seen during the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride.

Here are a few more scenes from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Samantha standing outside the hangar at the end of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

A few more photos of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge...

 

 

The Grauman's Chinese Theatre replica as night settles in.

A look down Hollywood Boulevard towards the Crossroads of the World and the park entrance...

 

The Hollywood Brown Derby sign lit up at night.



 

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