Magic happens

I just got back from five incredible days at Walt Disney World with my Disney pal Melinda, and once again, we had an absolutely wonderful time! As usual, we were amazingly lucky with our timing, and so many things just "worked out" better than expected. My mom says I have a "Disney star" watching over me to reward my sincere fandom, and even though I do a lot of planning before I go, I'm beginning to think it's true! We literally experienced every attraction we planned to see, plus a few more as a bonus! There were far too many amazing things to mention here all at once, but here's a few of the highlights.

Magic Kingdom: The new themed area on Main Street to meet Mickey is great, and when I saw Mickey and Minnie were there together, I was totally holding back the tears! The new graveyard themed queue of the Haunted Mansion is frightfully fun (not to mention the new interactive hitchhiking ghosts), and even though we had a bit of rain in the middle of the day, it cleared up before the Main Street Electrical Parade (with revamped and new floats) at night. The most magical event of all was lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table (inside the castle), which is one of the most difficult restaurants to book. I lucked into a reservation since the windows were supposed to be covered for refurbishing, but when we walked in, they were totally open to bright sunlit views of Fantasyland. Not only that, but we even got a window table!

Epcot: The Flower and Garden Festival really added a whole new dimension to the park with so many beautiful topiaries and displays to discover! We also got to experience the Sum of all Thrills, a new "industrial arm" attraction that lets you design your own thrill ride and experience it - difficult to describe, but awesome!

Animal Kingdom: Besides riding everything and seeing the big shows, we got to encounter DeVine (an exotic plant performer who blends into the jungle) up close, and follow the parade through most of the park!

Hollywood Studios: This is the big one! Thanks to constant updates from StarToursLive, we were able to ride the brand new re-imagined Star Tours attraction during a special preview, before the official opening on May 20th! It was just too good to be true, since we got to ride it three times and experience several of the random planets and events (there are 54 combinations you can experience). Plus, we somehow hit the Fantasmic jackpot again and got to view the show from the third row! It was so cool seeing the character floats go by on the water directly in front of us!

View photos: Walt Disney World 2011
Watch video: Walt Disney World Highlights


Pizza Planet Truck

LEGO Toy Story 3 Pizza Planet Delivery SetSince I'm getting excited about going to Walt Disney World next week, I've been gravitating towards Disney choices in music, DVDs, and even LEGO sets! I only recently discovered they make a set of the famous Pizza Planet truck, which was part of the original Toy Story and has since made a cameo appearance in every other Pixar movie except for The Incredibles. Being a huge Pixar fan, I had to get this set, which I needed to order online since for some reason it's not even available at my local LEGO Store. Even though it's only 224 pieces, the Pizza Planet truck is a beauty! There are quite a few unique custom pieces (like windows and curved body parts) that made this a really fun build, and I love the custom printed graphics (no decals) for the Pizza Planet logo on the working doors. There's even a "YO" brick (the middle of the Toyota logo) for the back of the truck! Of course this set includes great rubber tires, and they even added a "pizza launcher" feature that shoots little round pizzas from the front of the truck! The minifigs are really custom as well (I'm sure Disney required LEGO to create accurate representations of their characters), including Buzz Lightyear (who even has little wings), Hamm (with removable cork), one of the Claw aliens, and even Rex the dinosaur! You can actually get all four figures into the truck, although the process is so crazy (mainly because of Rex's tail) that they actually had to explain how to do it in the instruction book. I had a lot of fun celebrating my Disney happiness by building this cool set. I only have a few automobiles in my LEGO collection, so it's nice to see this Pixar classic on my toy shelf!


Technic Rescue Helicopter

LEGO Technic Rescue Helicopter 8068Last weekend I was checking out Toys R Us (as I often do) and decided to take advantage of a LEGO sale, so I got a couple new sets. One of them was the fairly new Technic Rescue Helicopter, which was a really fun and interesting build. Technic parts are very different from traditional LEGO bricks (although they work together nicely), since they are mainly girders and tubes with small connector pieces to lock them together. Several of my other sets have contained a few Technic parts, but the Rescue Helicopter is my first complete set of the Technic line. Technic sets are also considered a little advanced, since they usually have working gears and other moving parts, so even though this set was only 408 pieces, it took me much longer than expected to finish, which is great! The helicopter has working landing gear (with real rubber tires of course), and a really cool gear system that spins the main and tail rotors just by turning a knob on the side. The color scheme is really cool, and the decals look fantastic (although I prefer it when LEGO actually prints on the parts so you don't have to apply stickers). The instructions include complete steps to build two quite different styles of helicopters, so maybe someday I'll take it apart and try the other one!