Yes, the Disney Fan’s worst nightmare. I woke up bright and early at the All-Star Music resort. Helped get the kids dressed in the Phineas & Ferb t-shirts I’d made for them. Went over the Disney’s Hollywood Studios touring plan with my wife. And then put on my business casual clothes and went to work. 😐

This was going to be the downside of this surprise (to me) trip to Walt Disney World. For the first three days of the trip, I was on the clock from about 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. So as soon as the kids (and my wife) were dressed and ready to go, they headed to Melody Hall to grab a snack for breakfast and the bus to DHS. I headed to the rental car in the parking lot and drove over to the Royal Plaza hotel at Downtown Disney for my conference. I will say this about the conference – the facilities were good and the content of the conference was excellent. I learned at lot and the days did go fairly quickly.

Miriam executed the plan for the first DHS day to perfection. At rope drop – at the kids’ request – they headed straight for Jedi Training Academy sign ups. The crowd level for the day was low, but we wanted to get JTA knocked out right away, so they wouldn’t be tied to a specific show time later in the day. They got signed up for the 9:15 a.m. show, so they headed straight for check-in. Both kids loved JTA so much, that they insisted on doing it again when we returned to DHS later in the week. After JTA, the morning consisted of multiple rides on Star Tours, playing at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground (which Jon, especially, enjoyed), The Great Movie Ride (oops – should have warned them about the Aliens scene!), and Mikaela’s chance to be “mature” and ride Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster by herself. Tower of Terror was the one ride that Jon was tall enough to ride this trip, but he was afraid to try. They wrapped up the morning with lunch at Pizza Planet. I tried to warn them about the disappionting food quality and atmosphere, but Jonathan had been begging to eat at Pizza Planet on a daily basis for the last 80 days. Sometimes, you just gotta give in. After lunch, they headed back to ASMu for a nap. I had a conference session on Whistleblower statute enforcement policy. 😐

My conference ended for the day at 5:15 p.m. I borrowed a colleague’s room at the Royal Plaza for a quick change into theme park clothes and met the rest of the family in Downtown Disney for dinner at Earl of Sandwich. I managed to sneak up on Jon while he was distracted chasing bubbles across from the restaurant. 🙂 The Original 1762 really hit the spot (though I was slightly disappointed that the Holiday Sandwich wasn’t on the menu yet). The Quick-Serve Dining Plan was already looking like a good choice – dinner was fun, filling, and fast. We were back to Hollywood Studios by 6:30 p.m.

We started with MuppetVision 3-D, followed by Star Tours. I was really looking forward to Star Tours, and it didn’t disappoint. The entire ride experience – the script, the video, the sound, the variability – is incredible. Miriam says she’d be perfectly happy spending an entire day at DHS just riding Star Tours over and over again. After Star Tours, Miriam and Jon went ahead to scout seats for Fantasmic while Mikaela and I used her Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Fastpasses from earlier in the day. We caught back up with Miriam and Jon, and I realized that I probably should have made some suggestions about where to sit. Oops. I was initially concerned about sitting off to the left and in the fourth row, but it turned out fine. The show was incredible. We did get a bit of a spray from the water screens, thanks to an occasional breeze, but it felt good on a hot, muggy night. It was the perfect end to our first night in the parks.

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