Visiting Disney with Kara is the only way to do it. She knows the parks without maps, where the bathrooms are, where the restaurants are and what they serve and how to use Fast Passes and crowd psychology to plan our day.
First, we have to be there at "rope drop." You wouldn't believe the people who keep lining up behind a long line while turnstiles sit empty. We usually find one with no one standing at it. Once inside the park, Allen takes the tickets and heads off to get a Fast Pass for the most popular attraction. In the meantime, we all head to the second and third popular attractions and can be on and off in just a few minutes because the crowd has headed to attraction #1. There are usually five attractions that you can get Fast Passes for (at one hour intervals), so by the time we have seen #2 and #3, gone back and used the Fast Pass on #1, our hour interval is up and we can move on to Fast Pass #4 and eventually #5. We never waited more than 15 minutes to see or ride anything at any park on any day even when regular lines were posting 90 minute waits.
Our first stop, while Allen got Fast Passes for Soarin', was to visit the characters. This is a big deal, especially when Mickey and Minnie are there. Allen had made it back by the time his family got to Mickey. I chose Donald because he gets so upset about Mickey being so popular!
Next up was The Sum of All Thrills in the Innovations Building, sort of a hands on technology museum for kids (and adults!). Raytheon sponsors this ride but our other son-in-law's company, Kuka, made the robotic arms and software for the ride. You have a lighted engineering table to design your own roller coaster using four different thrill segments. Morgan and I chose two helixes as one, two big hills as another and I don't remember the other two. When we tested it, we had enough energy, but not enough speed so we increased the speed. Finally we had built a successful roller coaster. Then we got into Uncle Pat's seats that have hoods to pull down. Small TV screens show you the roller coaster you have created. When the ride starts, the seats move (not virtual or simulated) just as you designed it. What fun!
We encountered Cinderella along the way and Morgan couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose as a princess. And Sam and Morgan always want to sit next to Aunt Kristin.
Food at Disney is expensive no matter where you buy it so we don't do the counter service places but rather choose one of the nice restaurants to sit down for a good dining experience. Sam chose LeCelliar in the Canada area of World Showcase for his birthday lunch. The food is quite good with wonderful service and nice ambiance. The approach to the restaurant is patterned after Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. Ted and I have been to the Gardens and I think they've done a beautiful job.
We made our way to Mary Queen of the Universe Basilica for Mass at 5 pm. Afterwards, though we were less than one mile from our hotel, it took us an hour to get there. People kept blocking the intersections so when the lights changed, no one could move. It was maddening!
Sunday Allen and Sam were going back to Hollywood Studios and meeting their friends for a boys' day and Kara, Morgan, Kristin and I were going to Magic Kingdom where Morgan had an appointment at the Bippity Bobbity Boutique! More on that tomorrow.