Sailing on a Dream – Part Deux

We slept in a bit this morning since the previous night was such a late one. Once we were up we refilled our resort drink mugs and were off to Downtown Disney!  We decided to take a detour to Saratoga Springs beforehand.  I have not personally stayed at Saratoga Springs yet, but after touring the grounds I may need to make a reservation there soon!  I love how close the resort is to Downtown Disney, and the resort grounds are gorgeous. Everything was perfectly manicured and the atmosphere was very calm and quite.  I was tempted to just pull up a lounge chair and spend the day relaxing poolside.  But I knew we had some serious business to take care off back at Downtown Disney.

We did a bit of shopping and then headed to Rainforest Café for some lunch. I always love the atmosphere here (especially the thunderstorms) and the food was good too.  We decided to split an order of Chicken and Steak Fajitas; they were cooked perfectly and offered just the right amount of toppings sides. We also ordered some drinks, the lightening lemonade (delicious) a Sangria, and a Corona. The Sangria was more like Hi-C punch and was generally disappointing but I was very happy when I got my Corona with more than one extra lime, success! Our server was great and we were both happy with the meal.

After lunch we made our way towards DisneyQuest and stopped at T-Rex Resturant.  We contemplated having a drink at the octopus bar, but decided three drinks plus motion simulator rides is probably not the best idea.

After checking out the Splitsville construction (opening fall 2012) we finally made it to DisneyQuest. I was pretty excited to try it out for the first time and we had some ancient no expiration tickets to use up. We began to tour DisneyQuest, and let me tell you, this place is really massive! With five levels and more arcade games then you could ever try to count you could easily spend a whole day there.  It was fairly quite while we were there which was a nice perk. Levels 4&5 have food, games, and also a “lounge” area.  I was really surprised by how quiet the lounge/dining area was, you would never really know you were in the middle of a huge indoor park.  I could imagine a lot of parents sneaking away up there with a Kindle and some snacks while the kids go crazy for a few hours.

The first ride we tried out was Buzz Lightyears Astro Blaster.  You get in a bumper car with an “asteroid-firing cannon”, one person is the driver, the other is a gunner.  Naturally I was a gunner.  The point is to hit the targets on the other driver’s car, if your car gets hit you spin out of control. We had way too much fun with this ride, there’s something really satisfying about shooting big rubber balls at people. :)

Next on the list was the Animation Academy.  I am a big fan of this attraction at Hollywood Studios and always enjoy learning how the animators work their magic.  For our session we learned to draw Pluto. It was a lot of fun trying to draw him, but I don’t think either of us ended up with a Pluto.  For an extra charge you can get your drawing printed off and also receive at Certification of Completion.

Next we decided to take a ride on “Pirates of the Caribbean, Battle for Buccaneer Gold”.  The technology of this ride was really cool, it is a 4D attraction so we donned our 3D glasses and stepped foot onto our pirate ship. There was a 3D screen all around us and we had to fire the cannons on our ship at other pirates while our ship swayed back and forth.  We got really caught up in the moment and I am glad each ship is in its own little room because by the end of the ride we were hollering and screaming like crazy.  Although our ship eventually sunk we both agreed this was our favorite attraction in DisneyQuest.

We then decided to try our hand on the virtual Jungle Cruise.  For this ride you step foot inside a raft and then the “water” inflates around you, as you try and navigate the river on the screen in front of you. This ride was fun, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to navigate our raft, and, sadly by the end of the ride my arms were tired of paddling nonstop. Shame on me for being such a wimp and it’s good thing we didn’t stop at the octopus bar beforehand.

After the Virtual Jungle Cruise we decided to call it a day at DisneyQuest.  We did not even try half of the rides or experiences let alone the hundreds of arcade games.  You could easily spend the entire day here, especially during bad weather.  There seemed to be more than enough games and ride areas for everyone and the entire area was laid out well.

The only real complaint I had about DisneyQuest was the additional cost items/experiences.  I felt that I should be able to get a print-off of my Animation Academy drawing as part of my ticket admission, as well as a few other items in the building.  All of the arcade games are included with your admission, but they do have “the claw” that you can play for an additional fee. I personally would just rather see the claw and other extra cost services removed.  I suppose these options are a perk for some guests, and I’m just someone who prefers the more “all-inclusive” type mentality. However, that is my only complaint with DisneyQuest, so that being said I look forward to returning in the future.  It’s a fun way to spend some time out of the parks, and also out of the weather!

Since my arms were still tired from paddling I figured we had better rest up at the House of Blues.  Now it is in my opinion that the House of Blues has the best happy hour in all of Walt Disney World property.  Half price appetizers and $2-$3 cocktails  can’t be beat.  Plus, the House of Blues has awesome appetizers, and you can easily make a dinner out of it. We decided to sit out on the patio with our cocktails and do a little people watching.

Afterwards we tried to head to Bongo’s and sit out on the balcony.  Unfortunately  they didn’t have the balcony open yet so instead we headed over Raglan Road for… you guessed it, more happy hour! We really lucked out with the warm weather so we continued to sit outside and ordered a drink and some fish and chips from Cookes of Dublin.  The fish and chips were amazing, and when we ordered I had been eyeing the deep fried candy bar for dessert.  I love anything deep fried, and I love candy bars, this has to be delicious right!?  Well, the bar was okay, I guess I don’t know what I imagined a deep fried candy bar to taste like but it was a little too rich (weird huh)?  However I gladly ate the entire thing and can now cross eating a deep-fried candy bar off my bucket list.

While sitting at Raglan Road we heard some live music playing off in the distance, so we paid our bill and went to check it out.  We were both very happy to see that it was one of our favorite bands, Nova Era.  They used to play in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT, and I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a trip when I haven’t accidently run into this band preforming. We stayed and listened to them play for a while and then went to do some more shopping! I could easily spend five hours and way too much money in the World of Disney. We were both getting pretty tired by 10:30 so we decided to call it a night and head back to the Pop where we had a nice little surprise waiting for us back in our room…

Stay tuned for more and a trip to Blizzard Beach!