Animal Kingdom 2014

My last post on my vacation in Orlando… Still having Disney withdrawals, and MG is still asking when we’ll be going back.

The last theme park we went to was Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom - Balds and Kay

Animal Kingdom Tree
Obligatory Tree of Life picture!

The safari ride will always be on the top of my list, especially after this visit! All the animals were out around noon time. I’ve seen everything at the zoo before, so nothing new, but it’s so much cooler to see animals a safari ride in fictional Africa.

Safari Ride

Pink HipposPink hippos! 

Giraffe
Up close and personal ^^^ This giraffe walked right towards me! The driver had to drive faster in order to avoid the giraffe hitting the truck.

We also took a train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and had some fun in the petting zoo section. Donkeys, goats, lambs, deer, and a pig! The animals enjoyed being brushed.

Animal Kingdom Pig
I’ve never touched a piggy before ^^^

We went on the Dinosaur ride, and there’s a surprise element (I won’t spoil it). Of course the picture is taken at this time, so here’s what we looked like:

TRex ride
MG just smirks, I scream, Balds hides, and Kay grips. Haha!

Most of this park is all about conservation – differences we can make in order to preserve our natural environment. They have added a Wilderness Explorer program for kids to go around the park and gain badges (anyone know where this is from?).

DING. DING. DING.

From Pixar’s Up.

Up
We got to meet Russell and Dug ^^^

Oh yeah, and some of you want to know what we ate right? We had chow mein in Asia (super craving Chinese food at this point in our vacation). And MG had his first turkey leg, EVER! That’s cray, cause I basically grew up eating turkey legs in Texas!

Turkey leg
Monumental moment ^^^

It was such a great vacation! Every time I turn on the TV, I see ads for Disney parks or Universal, and it makes me reminisce my time in Orlando. I think the next time we go will be in a few years, and who knows, maybe I’ll have kids by then. It’ll be a totally different experience from this trip, where it was all about food and rides! Damn, am I going to be that parent that just stands in line for an hours to see characters?

If you’ve been to Disney World before, which park was your all time favorite? And why?

Now I must plan my next vacation…
Jay

  

Hollywood Studios 2014

Catching up on sleep and exercise since I’ve been back from my vacation!

Last week I ran my longest yet – a total of 3 miles without stopping. Ever since our trip to Orlando to support my sister and her boyfriend’s half marathon, MG and I have been thinking about doing the Disneyland half this August. We’re starting to train now. Proud of running 3 miles since one month ago I couldn’t run a block. My goal is to run further at a steady pace. Since I’ve been running, I’m also in need of some good shoes. Any recommendations?

My adventures from Disney continue! Today it’s all about Hollywood Studios. Personally, this was my least favorite park. Not because it was a bad park, but the other ones outshine this one. This is more for shows and doesn’t really have too many rides. The top rides here were Tower of Terror, Rock’n Roller Coaster (Kay’s favorite ride), and Toy Story Mania!.

Tower of Terror
MG, whatcha lookin at?

Rock n Roller Coaster
Yay! Baldwin went on this ride – Monumental!

CandylandThe Toy Story line is so cute! Lots of childhood games all across the walls and floors.

Funny story – I took bread, peanut butter, and jam from our hotel breakfast so that we could save some money and eat sandwiches instead of theme park food. While we were in line for the Toy Story ride, I got really hungry at the beginning of the line and it was going to be a 60 minute wait… So I busted out with bread, a knife, and started to spread the PB&J. Genius right? Too bad I was totally roasted for this, by MG, Kay, and Balds. They were so embarrassed of me, but yet everyone ate a sandwich. HMPH. I think I actually saved y’all from starvation… Just sayin.

But around lunch time we ended up going to 50s Prime Time Cafe  and spent $120 on lunch! Everyone said I deprived them of real food so they overcompensated! Not my fault!

Though I have to admit, lunch was the best part about this park!!! It was all homestyle, comfort, diner food – PB&J shakes, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot roast, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes. The waitress will tell you “Welcome home, set the table with silverware, and elbows off the table.” Food was SO good, Aunty M was a fantastic waitress, and the design of this restaurant is flippin’ amazing! Everything has a 50s feel. The waiting room is set like a living room with black and white TVs. Even the dessert menu can be seen through a View-Master toy!

50s Prime Time

50s Prime Time - Lams

Yes, food coma after. The boys didn’t want to share entrees. We ordered four dishes, 2 appetizers, and 3 drinks. Too full to move after… Thankfully while we ate such an extravagant meal indoors, we were able to get out of the rainstorm.

The highlight of Hollywood Studios – 50s Prime Time Cafe. Hands down! I think this is MG’s all time favorite restaurant! He loves this era and diner food.

Hollywood Studios Night

Have you been to this park? What’s you favorite ride here?

Love,
Jay

  

Universal Studios 2014

Reminiscing about vacation… Having withdrawals…

I’ve been waking up at 6am every morning since we haven’t adapted from East Coast time. MG will make a joke and even say “it’s time for Disney!” Then we’ll both be sad.

I have a ridiculous amount of pictures, all from various iPhones. Nothing top notch, high quality since carrying a camera around a theme park is too much responsibility, not to mention dangerous to the camera. I’m going to break up the vacation into two parts – Universal Studios (short post) and Disney parks (photo dump!).

This post will be dedicated to Universal Studios, without The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was most epic (posted here). We spent the first two days of our vacation at Universal Studios. All four of us didn’t take many pictures cause we were so excited about the rides and shows. Typically people buy a one day pass to go to both Universal parks, but we took it slow and did one park a day. No regrets here! We were so tired by the first day, we ended up going to be at 9pm.

Universal Studios

First day we went to the main theme park. The new Minion ride and Transformers ride is AWESOME. I also really enjoyed the Rockit roller coaster, where you immediately start upwards at what feels like a 90 degree angle. Funny thing is one of our favorite part of the day was the Horror Makeup Show, a comedy where two women explain how scary movie make up is done, improv style. You’re old when you enjoy the show more than the rides! “One, Two, Three, QUESO!”

Kay-Jay MinionHis face ^^^

Minion MeMinion Jay

MG Donut
Lard Lad Donuts from Simpsons!!! We devoured it in about 10 minutes between four of us!

Universal - SF
Looks like we’re home, but it was just a set at the park

Optimus Prime
Just hanging out with Optimus ^^^

Day two we went to Islands of Adventures, but it was in the 30s. SO COLD. We bundled up and wore 3 jackets each! Glad we were prepared or the day would have been miserable. Again, the highlight of this park was Harry Potter World. We basically didn’t get pictures of anything else… Nothing could beat the fabulous HP World.

Bundled Up

In the morning, all the roller coasters were shut off since it was too cold. Employees said that they needed to test out the rides to ensure it was safe since metal can contract in cold weather. Thankfully the sun came out in the afternoon, and it hit 40’s so the roller coasters opened up. Hulk is one of my favorite rides, same for my sister. MG loves the 3D Spiderman ride here. Baldwin likes the Dr. Seuss rides (clearly he’s not much of a roller coaster person).

Have you been to Universal Studios in Orlando? What are some of your favorite rides?

All in great fun!
Jay

  

Weekend in Austin

Starting off the year right by hanging out in Austin for the weekend. That means LOTS of eating, naps, and margaritas! Fortunately my New Year’s Resolution wasn’t to be healthy or lose weight… Ha!

While driving to Austin, it’s blasphemy to not stop at Buc-ee’s for a restroom break, ICEE slushie, jerky, and Beaver Nuggets (word from the wise, eat this like cereal and you’ll have a fantastic start to the day). And it’s possible to spend $40 here…

Beaver Nuggets

It was hard to pick out the top restaurants to go to for our 2 day trip to Austin. It was time to prioritize – decisions, decisions.

We first went to Hopdoddy for burgers. Don’t let the line trick you, it’s worth the visit. Amazing burgers, sugar cane sodas, and Cervezaritas!

Hopdoddy
Fried egg in a burger is always a must!

ChristineAnd this sweet girl came out to play! Thanks for coming out Christine!

Then we hit up Dragon’s Lair to look at comics and board games. Everyone nerded out. MG walked in and his eyes bulged… the employee asked “Did he just geek out?” I can totally understand why people are obsessed with comics. Every book is drawn in such detail. In the back of the store, people have tables set up to play games, more specifically Magic. If you know what this is, then you’d enjoy this store!

Look at this cute little guy we found at the store – it’s the zombie from the well in Walking Dead!

We planned on eating Whataburger, In-N-Out Burger, Golden Chick, and VIA 313 after dinner, but all those planned were disengaged after an epic food coma. So onto the next day!

Mandola’s is flipping amazing! I never heard about this place before, but it’s damn good Italian food. If you go, get the garlic fries, parma pizza, Fedelini Pachino with fresh mozzarella (this is my favorite pasta dish of all time), and load up on free bread! But do save room for dessert because the lemon cheesecake is melt in your mouth amazing, and the Italian cream cake is yummy in my mouth and tummy. I cannot rave about this restaurant enough. The ingredients are so fresh that it truly makes every dish amazing.

Mandola'sThe Aftermath

Obviously Tex-Mex is also a must in Austin. Chuy’s is my favorite, favorite, favorite for Tex-Mex. The Chuychanga is melty cheesy fried goodness (need I say more?) and the chicka chika boom boom sauce on the side is a total necessity.

Chuy'sFrozen sangria with a Chuychanga but be prepared to go into what we call “worm mode” (a boneless stance where all you want to do is nap).

And everyone knows that you have a second stomach for dessert. We hit up Gourdough’s for donuts afterwards. The Miss Shortcake donut has cream cheese icing and fresh strawberries, but we also got a side of ice cream.

Gourdough's

After all this, we needed to walk around. For $6 a person, we went to Peter Pan Putt Putt. It was my first time playing mini golf – highest score, me, but that means I lost. Boo… This place is BYOB so you get some interesting characters too. Good times!

Get it

Peter Pan Putt Putt
Watching Katie trying to get on Peter Pan’s lap was a comedy!

Trex
Sister, sister ^^^

LamsLove <3 

Weird...
Hate </3

Putt PuttHow’s my stance?

GangThe gang ^^^

Now I’m at the airport and getting ready to go to Orlando, Florida! But can’t leave without my Salt Lick BBQ, so finger-licking while I’m typing this right now.

Salt Lick at the airport

The TSA guy who checked my ID, asked me what I was doing for my birthday. I said “Disney World! That’s okay for someone who’s turning 26 right?” He laughed, said yes, and wished me a Happy Birthday. Oh, that Southern Hospitality.

On my way to Disney & Universal Studios. More importantly, Harry Potter World and butter beer, here I come on my day of birth!

What did you do this weekend?
Jay