Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Break - Day 3

Note: I didn't take a single photo while I was at Epcot yesterday. So if you're only looking at this post for the pretty pictures, you're about to be disappointed.

Day 3 was Epcot day! Yay! Except for one thing: It was really, really, really freakin' cold. In Florida. Jeans and double-jacket weather (and still cold) in Orlando. During Spring Break. So not fair. It got a little warmer as the day went on, but it was still very windy and unfairly cold.

There was a little snafu with the extra magic hours thing. A ton of people showed up at the gates around 7:30 and expected to be let in at 8 (myself included). They didn't actually let us in until 9. It was really awful because we were just standing outside the turnstile in the freezing cold. It's probably the worst experience I've had in all of my many visits to Disney World. All is forgiven, of course- anybody can make a mistake, and Disney makes, in my opinion, fewer mistakes than most amusement parks do. But still- waiting outside in the freezing cold for an hour and a half while knowing the entire time that you're actually in the state of Florida...

I like Epcot a lot. I could wander around there for hours. Our first stop was Soarin', of course, because the line grew quickly and the wait time was close to three hours before we could blink. We scraped by with only a twenty minute wait, and the ride was delightful. I like Soarin' because it's entertaining without being too wild and crazy, which means I can enjoy it with my whole family. Disney is good about making rides like that. While it does have wild and crazy thrill rides, it also has some that the entire family can enjoy without necessitating the title "kiddie ride."

We also hit Test Track, which has recently (or at least since our last visit) been redone and is now sponsored by Chevrolet. The crash test dummies are gone; now the focus is on testing the performance of cars the riders specifically design. Each rider scans his or her park ticket or room key at the beginning of the ride and designs a vehicle, which stays connected to the card throughout the rider's time at the attraction. The rider scans the card at a terminal directly before boarding the ride. As the ride vehicle goes through each of the test phases, scoreboards at each test phase show the score of each rider's car design. After the ride, the riders can race their cars against others, make commercials for their cars, and take photos to be emailed home. All this is available thanks to the new scanability feature of the cards. The building and ride vehicles look sleek and shiny and new; I love the changes. I'm still a little nostalgic for the crash test dummy days, though. The first time I rode that ride, I thought we were actually going to crash right into a big wall.

The other attractions we hit up on that side of the park were oldies but goodies: Living with the Land and Ellen's Universe of Energy. Always good. Ellen is always funny, no matter how old her footage seems these days. And who doesn't love Bill Nye the Science Guy? The other attraction we visited was definitely an oldie: Michael's Jackson's Captain EO in 3D. The usual corny 3D tricks were plentiful, although the theater seats shook, rumbled, and bounced in a way that I haven't seen before. You guys, when Michael Jackson claps his hands, all the seats in the theater jump. You'd better believe it.

A great part of our day was spent in World Showcase, and most of that time was spent in pursuit of food. We attempted to sample food from a bunch of different countries, but long lines and lack of food options left us largely without food. We grabbed a few things from Morocco. I got stuck chewing the chewiest stinkin' piece of lamb in the entire world while the rest of my family gobbled down the rest of the food. We ended up eating bratwursts and hot dogs at Germany. We browsed around in France a little bit, which I enjoyed, although I got a little irritated at my family's insistence that I go speak French to the French staff. To be honest, I did kind of want to chat them up. But as always, I could think of nothing to say. That was an awkward disaster of a conversation waiting to happen.

"Bonjour!" "Bonjour." "Comment allez-vous?" "Bien, merci. Et vous?" "Très bien, merci." "..." "..." "Okay, good talk."

Maybe I'll think of something to say by the time we go back on Friday. If not... Heck, I'm studying abroad this semester and I'll speak nothing but French for an entire month. I think I'll be okay.

We had dinner at the pub in England. It was lovely, except we had to wait outside for around half an hour even though we had reservations and it had just gotten cold again. I had cottage pie. It was tasty. Our waitress had an awesome British accent and she was from Devon, a place about which I know very little, but I think it has an awesome-sounding name.

So Epcot was full of awesomeness as usual, but it was just so cold that it was sometimes hard to enjoy. I'm hoping the warm, sunny Florida weather comes back before we have to leave and go back home.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break- Day 2

Did you enjoy the teaser for the Day 2 installment? I hope you did, because that's the only art you'll be getting for a little while. I'm a little limited in cartoon supplies here at the hotel.

But Day 2 is a tale of epic proportions. It's a tale of discovery, a tale of magic. It's a tale of heartbreak, tragedy, and misfortune. So let's get down to it.

Day 2 was the designated Magic Kingdom day. It was yesterday. But I was too tired to write about it yesterday, so I sketched out a quick doodle with the hotel pen and notepad and then I hit the hay. But we definitely had some adventures that ought to be recounted.

We woke up early and got to the park a little after 8 A.M. It was one of the "extra magic hours" days, so the park was open early. The weather was beautiful- a little cool, but still comfortable. I was dressed in perfect park-going gear: t-shirt, shorts, sneakers, and a pretty new hair clip. I have long bangs that I wear off to the side; if I don't clip them back, they fall into my face and eyes without fail. I forgot to bring hair clips, so I grabbed some new ones at a gift shop. There were silver-sequined Mickey Mouse heads on them, and I was quite fond of them. Just one little clip perfected my ensemble, rendering me ready for anything as I stepped into the Magic Kingdom. Since we had gotten there so early, my family and I were able to hit up a lot of the major attractions with little to no wait. Like, for real. My sister and I walked right onto the Dumbo ride. Anybody who's ever ridden that ride knows exactly how amazing an accomplishment that is. (Don't judge. You're never too old for Dumbo.)

We got to check out New Fantasyland, which really is something special. The Ariel ride is cute and fun (the "Under the Sea" part rocks and the Ursula animatronic was mildly terrifying) and there's a TON of Beauty and the Beast stuff. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever, so I was pretty giddy. There's a gift shop (naturally), Gaston's tavern, Belle's cottage (my inner little girl longed to go listen to Belle read a story), and the Beast's castle.

That castle...

...blew me away. The ballroom looks JUST. LIKE. the ballroom in the movie. Aaaaah! There's even snow falling out on the balcony.

How beautiful is that? It's just so decadent and wonderful... "Be Our Guest"? You don't have to ask me twice!

Just look at that dessert. LOOK AT IT. It was delicious, and there were a ton of other cupcakes to choose from as well. The entrees were mostly French (or French-sounding). I had a croque monsieur, which is like a hot ham and cheese sandwich. It was tasty. The service was pretty good. You order and pay for your food close to the entrance (you know, after you walk across the stone bridge and through the hall of talking suits of armor) and then you find a seat. The staff give you a red disc sort of thing with a rose on it (naturally), which you take with you to your seat. Some liveried waiters track your table down using the locator in the rose disc and deliver your food on large trolleys. It's fantastic.

The ballroom was the best dining room of all, but there were also two side rooms available. One, I believe, was supposed to be like Belle's enormous library, but instead of books, there were gigantic "portrait" stills from the movie. In the center were the rotating figures of Belle and the Beast in their famous ballroom dance. The other room was the West Wing, and it was delightfully spooky. It was dark, had ripped-up decorations, and even had a portrait of the Beast in his human form- complete with slashes and claw marks in the canvas. Wonderful.

We had a good time in the Magic Kingdom, although some members of our party got tired faster than the others. Since we had already done just about all of our favorite attractions, my mom and sister went back to the hotel around 3:30, after my dad clobbered us all at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. My dad and I stayed behind to catch up on a few last attractions and watch a parade. We found a pretty nice location on Main Street about half an hour before the start of the parade and got comfortable to wait for a while. We chatted about stuff. After a little while, I felt a strange thump on my head, as if a large insect had crashed right into it. An immediate reaction from someone standing nearby corrected that theory, much to my dismay.

Bird poop. A bird had swooped down and let loose on my dad and me.

I had bird poop in my hair.

Disgusted and appalled, my dad and I all but ran to the nearest bathrooms we could remember seeing (in Tomorrowland). I'm sure I was bright red the entire way there. The whole time, I was thinking, "Don't look at me. Don't look at me. Please don't look at the bird poop in my hair. Please, please, please don't stare at me. I can't believe I have bird poop in my hair THAT IS SO GROSS!!!"

When I finally made it to the restroom and fought my way through the slowly-moving people who seemed as if they were having a very hard time deciding which stall to go to, I discovered that there was an alarming lack of mirrors. So I held a wet paper towel in one hand and my iPhone set on its camera mode in another and tried with difficulty to wipe the poo out of my hair. I had trouble finding much, which was alarming. It was a pretty solid thump, after all. After a moment, I found it.

It was on my brand new silver-sequined Mickey Mouse head hair clip.

A wide range of emotions filled me at that moment. Dismay at losing the hair clip (there was no washing that; I would never get all the bird poop out of the sequins), bittersweet pride for the brave and loyal hair clip that had given its life to protect my hair, but most of all amazement at how the bird had managed to hit that one small spot on my head. I threw the hair clip away, wiped out whatever was left in my hair, and then rejoined my dad. We decided that prompt showers were in order, but since the parade was due to start in just a few minutes, we might as well stay and watch it.

The parade was nice. I love Disney parades; it always makes me giddy to see my favorite characters rolling down the street on a float, and the music was fantastic as always. I think the name of the parade was "Celebrate a Dream Come True." I'm all for that. However, as soon as the parade was over, my dad and I were anxious to get back to the hotel and hop in the shower. We did so, although when we got there and I finally found a mirror, I noticed something to top off the misfortunes of my day.

You see, I had an idiot moment. I went outside for several hours at a time while in the state of Florida and I didn't put on any sunscreen. So now I have sunburn all across my nose and cheeks. Owwwww.

So a few rather unpleasant things happened during my trip to the Magic Kingdom. But those things aren't enough to put a damper on the day. I had such a great time running around and riding all my favorite rides and seeing the parade. And New Fantasyland was incredible and well worth the anticipation. So many awesome things from my favorite Disney movie... and I even found the table settings for my wedding in the gift shop! Now I just need to find a groom. I should ask Cinderella's fairy godmother for advice on finding a prince...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Break - Day 1

It's Spring Break 2013! I have an entire week off from school! So what am I doing? Am I at the beach with my friends? Am I up all night drinking and partying? Yeahno. I'm in Orlando with my family.

...just so we're clear, I think this is infinitely better than being at the beach or partying excessively.

Technically yesterday was the first day of my break, but I didn't really do much. My family and I drove for six hours, explored our resort, and ate dinner. That's boring. You don't want to hear about that.

So this is what I'm calling Day 1:

We hit up Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure today. Now, the thing you have to understand is that we're Disney people. We take a trip to Disney World every two years or so. We love it and we've never really bothered with Universal. I went to Universal as part of a band trip in high school and I was so unimpressed with it that we as a family decided we never really needed to make a family trip there. But then...

...they built the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We grumbled. We complained. And then we forked over our money and our dignity and went to the park.

Frankly, it was more than I had hoped for. That entire section of the park is fantastic. Hogwarts is amazing. The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is housed inside the castle, and you get to walk through it while you wait in line for hours on end. They've detailed the inside of the castle to perfection and they've even got video clips of the real actors in the ride and the staging areas. I did a nerdy little dance each time we walked past something awesome like the house points hourglasses or the entrance to Dumbledore's office. The ride itself was fun, too. I'm very impressed with the effort they put into it.

The rest of that section of the park is comprised of Hogsmeade, the village that Harry visits during the school year. They have every type of Harry Potter merchandise you can think of. I bought a Ravenclaw scarf and a postcard- and then a witch outside the shop postmarked it for me. It reads "Hogsmeade: Owl Post." They also have Zonko's Joke Shop and Honeydukes, which smells like sugar and delicious things. The line of Honeydukes candy is very impressive. I saw just about every type of candy mentioned in the books- Sugar Quills, Chocolate Frogs... you name it, they have it. I got myself a Chocolate Frog and I'm saving it for a Dementor attack... or a rainy day, whichever comes first. We also bought a cup of Butterbeer in the street and found it was delicious, although I'm pretty sure it's technically supposed to be served warm. The entire Harry Potter area was just awesome. Really, really awesome. I'm the biggest Harry Potter nerd in the world and I found nothing to complain about. A-plus-plus-plus.

There was also an entire amusement park attached to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We hung out in Seuss Landing for a while (that's me posing like the policeman, my sister riding in the sidecar, and my dad accidentally getting his finger in the shot) and we decided it's cute and lovely, but mainly geared toward a younger audience. There was a lot to look at in Toon Lagoon (or whatever they call it), but they were mostly water rides and nobody was really in the mood for that. It was a rainy day. And I kind of enjoyed the Marvel Super Hero Island. I like superheroes like that. We only rode the Spider-Man ride, which was pretty fun. I have a bad history with the Incredible Hulk coaster and I didn't really feel like riding the Fear Fall thing. But I browsed through the comics and merchandise in one of the stores, and it was really cool to look at all the stuff.

So there was this massive thunderstorm in Orlando and the surrounding areas today. Like, it was huge. Tornado warning, even. They'd been predicting it for weeks. We kept an eye on the weather and tried to head out before it turned bad, but it caught us anyway. It was more than just a little awful. It was raining, but the wind was blowing so hard that the rain was going sideways in a wall of heavy mist. It didn't matter if you were under a roof or other shelter- you still got soaked. On top of that, there was very loud thunder and very bright lightning that struck very close to the park. People were running around and screaming. Like idiots. PSA: When thunderstorms happen in amusement parks, don't run around and scream. That's how people get trampled. Thank you.

So we managed to wait out the heaviest of the rain (wrapped up in our cheap ponchos) and then we made our way to the car and got the heck outta there. But the entire time we were standing there and getting soaked by the sideways rain, I had half a mind to march straight back into the park and tell my new friend to knock it off with the scary weather.

Universal is still not my favorite park (and not just because of the weather). I'd still take Disney over Universal any day. But Universal does have some fun things that people ought to do at least once. I really think that they need more things to do in the Islands of Adventure park (stuff that isn't shopping), but the rides and attractions that they do have are pretty fun. The Harry Potter area is definitely the best.

So now it's time to hit the hay so I can have all kinds of blog-worthy adventures in the Magic Kingdom tomorrow. Until next time, mischief managed.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Haiku of the Day - March 18

Warm, pretty weather
The rain is less annoying
Now that it is warm

I should probably just rename this Haiku Of Whenever I Get Around To It.

Haiku Of Whenever I Feel Like It.

Haiku Of When I Remember To Do It.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Napping With Literature 101

Sometimes I'll curl up on my beanbag chair with a blanket to read my American Lit. I don't get a lot done that way.

I tried to be clever and do some shading in this picture, but it just wasn't working out all that well. I guess that's why I'm an English major and not an art major! My favorite part of this is the book. It's beautiful! I love it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ides of March - Conclusion

The Ides of March have come and gone and I don't know about you guys, but I'm still here. I didn't get stabbed in the back by any of my friends (literally or figuratively). At least, not that I know of. Because I took the threat of the Ides of March seriously and practiced extreme caution, I survived the day and didn't even see any strange or fantastical visions. (Unless you count a glowing Frisbee and a smiling apple wearing a hat) Heck, I even got a free t-shirt and a free hot dog and my school's gymnastics squad beat the number one school in the country. That's a success story if I ever heard one.

Thankfully, we don't have to worry about the Ides of March again for an whole 'nother year. But when March 15, 2014 rolls around, be vigilant! Be careful! Beware the Ides of March!

For real, you guys. Shakespeare knew what he was talking about.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ides of March - Part 8

Occasionally when I type "Ides of March" on my iPhone, it accidentally comes out "Idea of March."

The Idea of March.

We can take it two different ways: First, an "idea" as in a concept. The concept of a month named March. Sure, I like the idea of March. We need a month in between February and April.

Second, we can consider it the featured idea or thought of the month of March. Some contenders for the Idea of March are "German shepherds are epic police dogs," "I should go to Moe's and get a burrito," and "It would be cool to have a blog marathon for the Ides of March."

Now taking suggestions for the Idea of March.

Ides of March - Part 7

I've been tagging all of these Ides of March posts "friday the fifteenth." It only misses being Friday the Thirteenth by two days! It's unlucky enough by itself, though (especially if your name is Julius). I thought I might as well make an ominous name for it- Happy Friday the Fifteenth, everyone! Mwahahahahahahaaaaa!!!

Of course, in the category of ominous names for days, it's hard to beat the original Ides of March...

Ides of March - Part 6

I just saw an ad for Little Caesar's pizza. I hope they're taking extra precautions today...

Ides of March - Part 5

Mean Girls shows why it's not okay to be Caesar.

What's worse... conspirators with daggers and knives or high school girls?

Ides of March - Part 4

Here's a list of people who should be extremely cautious today:

1. Roman generals who might become king
2. People who have a lot of friends
3. Anybody who has a friend named Brutus
4. People who can speak Latin
5. Regina George
6. Anybody who has a friend named Antony or a variant thereof. Good luck, Avengers.
7. Anybody who's ever worn a toga
8. People who work in kitchens (where they keep the knives)
9. People named Brian
10. Anybody who's gotten a warning from a soothsayer
11. Clumsy people
12. Paranoid people
13. Anybody who makes a list composed of exactly thirteen items

Ides of March - Part 3

I made it back home without running into any soothsayers.

If a soothsayer can't tell me to beware anything, then I have nothing to beware.

Definitely logical.

Ides of March - Part 2

Today is March 15th, a day that is also known as the Ides of March.

Beware the Ides of March.

Why? Bad things happen on the Ides of March. Like your friends ganging up on you and stabbing you repeatedly.

In case you need a refresher on exactly why you should beware the Ides of March, here's a link to the SparkNotes No Fear Shakespeare edition of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. No Fear Shakespeare is awesome- it puts a modern-day translation next to the original text so you can perfectly understand what's going on. Yay SparkNotes!

And because SparkNotes is just too awesome, they also have a video for you to watch:

Educate yourselves, people! The Ides of March is serious business! Caesar didn't take it seriously, and look what happened to him! Look out for soothsayers! Keep an eye on all your friends! Beware the Ides of March!

Ides of March - Part 1

I successfully avoided contact with all soothsayers on my way to class today.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Circus Staredown

I got smacked around by a piece of music today.

I hate it when that happens.

We were sightreading in band today, and I'm awful at sightreading. Like, terrible. Especially when we go at a million miles an hour. It was a circus-y song, but it didn't make me feel happy like the circus should. In fact, that song put me in a downright awful mood. I guess some practicing is in order...


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Haiku of the Day - March 6

Sleep or French homework?
I can do French tomorrow...
Done deal! Sleep it is.

*Note: Yes, I'm procrastinating, but not as badly as you think. My first class tomorrow was cancelled, so I'll just do my homework during that period. It's going to be glorious. I'm going to get up at my usual time and go eat breakfast. I'll have scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. Maybe even cinnamon rolls. Definitely orange juice. As long as the juice machine's working, that is. Then I'll scoot on down to the library and have a sort of study hall. I'll do French homework, write poetry, read... lots of stuff... And you know what's great? Since I'm going to bed now (or at least in the next little while), I'm going to get lots of good rest, and my brain will be at its best when I do this stuff. Yay sleeping!

Like, seriously, I'm way behind on reading. I've started everything I need to read, but I need to finish the works, preferably before it gets to be finals. Here's what I'm reading:
-My Antonia
-The Jungle Book
-The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
-Magic City

Maybe I should have titled this "Haiku of the Day PLUS disclaimer and all the stuff I'm behind on."

Maybe there'll be some art for you this weekend.

La Vie en Chocolat

One of the dining halls had a fountain spewing chocolate today. I drew this with a fondue skewer.