Friday, April 16, 2010

Back from Vacation!

Paradise Pier
Originally uploaded by Mike Brister
I'm back from 2 weeks of visitors followed by vacation. It's been a blast.

First up, my parents came to visit for a week. I didn't see much of them at first because I was still working but I did manage to start my vacation a couple of days early to improve that a bit. This was kind of a whirlwind Vegas show tour for them. While they were here, they saw KA, Zumanity (which they were picked to be the finale dance couple in), Phantom (with Danny and I), King Arthur's Tournament (with Danny), Cher, and Crazy Girls. Danny and I also saw Lion King without them because we got free tickets from Cirque that happened to fall in the same week.

During the same week, we were also visited by friends from the UK, Dave and John. We had a nice lunch with them and, as a result, Danny and I now want to move to England.

A few days later, we were joined by friends, Keena and Erik from Orlando. I worked with them at Walt Disney World and they are still there. For a couple of days, Keena, Erik, Danny, myself, my parents, and local friend Sara (who is also ex-WDW) all hung out in Vegas and did the tourist thing. We went to the Venetian / Palazzo, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Caesar's Palace, and The Bellagio. I posted some pictures as things happened on Flickr and more pictures from all of the Vegas antics on Facebook (you don't have to be a member of either to see them).

Lastly, it was time for my vacation. Danny, Keena, Erik, and I jumped in the car and drove to Anaheim, CA for 3 days at the Disneyland Resort. My last trip there was in 2007 so it was overdue. We spent the first evening at Disney's California Adventure, the next day at Disneyland, and the final day at both. I posted some pictures as we went along on Flickr and the rest ended up in Facebook galleries: DCA and Disneyland.

There were several new things we wanted to see since our last visits:

Captain EO Tribute: I actually got goosebumps when "We Are Here to Change the World" started. This was a great moment of nostalgia for me and I'm glad I got to see it again. It sounded awesome! However, seeing it again, I agree it was right to close it. It's time is way over. Seeing it without the lasers was a bit odd and the floor shakes were novel but a bit annoying after awhile. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

Monster's Inc.: This cute little dark ride was just that - cute. Every time I have ever been to DCA, either this or its predecessor, Superstar Limo, have been closed. I mostly wanted to see it just because I never could before. It was cute. That's about it.

Nemo Submarine Voyage: This was new to Keena and Erik. I really like this ride. It is visually interesting and there are some very tricky technical things going on here. I really want to know more about how the audio and video synchronization are set up.

Midway Mania: Mr. Potato Head is impressive. That animatronic does some crazy tricks. I really want to know how the "recognition" systems work for him. Super cool. I really enjoyed the ride as well. We went twice - very fun. And there are some very clever track management things going on in this building. I need a tour of this facility. Someone get on that please.

Haunted Mansion: The new attic stuff is neat. Nice upgrade without upsetting a classic.

Fireworks: For the first 5 minutes I was watching Wishes from WDW. But, it turned out to be a lot more than that and it was a great show. It was also cool to finally see the multi-axis Tinkerbell flight. Nice!

The only new-ish thing we didn't get to see (because I forgot about it, honestly) was the character-enhanced it's a small world. I wanted to see the "controversy" for myself. Next time. I hope we can go back when Fantasmic and World of Color are back up and running too. The exposed equipment for both looked cool enough.

Now back to real life, already in progress...

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