Amy’s Orlando Moving Adventures Part 1

Good Morning! I’ve been asked by many friends to start a blog about my journey to Orlando, and since we are leaving in THREE DAYS,  I thought I’d start with the preparation & packing portion of this new adventure in my life.

I have to say, when Tony suddenly sprung this on me – only 6 weeks ago – I was surprised, shocked, nervous, and a little bit scared. But what comes along with that is an incredible adventure in to the unknown. Pure excitement and joy of getting to live so close to our happy place. It’s very mixed emotions, but I’m loving every minute of it!

We’ve talked about doing this for years, but we really didn’t see ourselves doing this any time soon. We imagined getting down there once our youngest was headed for college, which is still 7 years away. But the gods had another plan for us! It seems like all the stars have aligned, the timing couldn’t be better, and if we were going to uproot Matthew, it had to be now, before high school. We didn’t want to do it once Matthew had grown a real attachment to his friends. We thought it would be an easier transition. But, sadly, he has finally made some really good friends. But being the social butterfly that he is, I know he will have no problem making new friends down there. In this day and age of technology, it’s so easy to keep in touch. He and his friends already spend a great deal of time playing and talking on xbox 360, through chat, on Facebook, and even on Facetime on their phones. So, I think he’s going to be just fine!

I’ve always  imagined growing old and gray with Tony (he’s already there, haha) maybe working in a shop on Main Street, spending our days watching the magic happen when kids see the Castle for the first time. And, taking our grand kids there every summer during their school breaks.

We are so ready to make new memories, get a fresh start in a new town, get away from terrible Buffalo weather! Being 10 minutes from our Happy Place, in the sunshine and warmth is going to be such an amazing feeling!

How can you be anything but happy when you get to see this any time you want?!

We were very lucky to find a nice condo in a great suburb of Orlando, somewhat removed from tourist activity, in a great school district – which is very hard to find in Florida – and only 10 minutes from Disney World! Epcot is closest to us.

So, we leave in just three days to embark on this new chapter in our lives. I am so organized, the massive to do list is now down to 1/2 a page. We are about 95% packed. I’m constantly standing in a room, staring at things and thinking “what can I pack next?!”. Well, at this point if I pack anything else, Tony and Matthew are going to be naked, so I suppose I can slow down! We are so overloaded with moving boxes – 70ish at our last count – that Tony decided it was time to get them out of the house, simply due to lack of space! So, he shuttled all those boxes downstairs and in to the garage.

It’s too funny, because Tony has been one to hold on to everything! The dumbest things, stuff we wouldn’t use in a million years, that he would insist on keeping “just in case”. But, when I told him weeks ago that the movers charge by weight, he was all too happy to part with a lot of that junk! He keeps asking me every day “are you sure there isn’t more we can get rid of”?  But no, there isn’t. All 85 boxes we’ll have need to come with us.

Packing supplies when you make a move this big are soooo expensive. I have spent around $300 so far just on boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, it boggles my mind how much that stuff costs! There are a lot of things you don’t think of either, like mattress bags, a box for golf clubs and boxes for flat screen tv’s. It’s so important to really pack everything properly. A 1200 mile move is very different from moving from one neighborhood to another. You really have to cushion things and pack them well. And, if you don’t, the movers will actually have to re-pack them for you, for which they will charge you a fee!

So, at this point, here’s what we’ve had to do in preparation for this big move:

buy packing supplies

pack and pack some more

cancel utilities here

start utilities there

change our address and emails with friends and family, banks, social media accounts, and anything else we could think of because our emails are through our cable/internet company, which will change once we are down there. It’s an easy thing to forget.

It’s because you can change your address with the post office on their website instead of going to an office. I have it set up for the 18th, but we suspect that they’ve already started forwarding our mail because we haven’t been getting very much the past few days!

We did a lot of research and checked references for moving companies before we booked one.

We made a deposit with the movers

We opened a bank account at a local branch in Florida.

we researched the best way to move our car down there, which turns out the best way to do that in our case is to have Tony fly back up here and then drive it down to Orlando. We had to really consider how much room we’d need in our vehicle to transport stuff down there that we didn’t want on the moving truck, so we had to rent an SUV for a little while. It’s an added expense, but there really was no way around it.

I’d estimate that this move is going to cost us about $6000 total, but that’s for everything you can possibly think of and then some. So, if you’re considering a big cross country move, you just have to be prepared.

A lot of our friends and family have been throwing little “send off” get togethers, which has been really nice, but it’s made our weekends very busy. So, organization and time management is key.

Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing all about the start of this Amazing Adventure. Next time I’ll be blogging when we’re on the road about staying hotel rooms on the way down, traveling with a cat and a 12 year old. Oh yay! This should be fun! I’ll be sure to post photos a long the way as well.

Until next time, remember this:

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

He was such an amazing man. Thanks Walt for the encouragement!

Disney World: When It Rains…

Our dreary, very wet weather here in Buffalo today has me thinking about things I’ve learned in my many visits to Disney World about how to deal with inclement weather and still have fun at the same time.

First off, DO NOT BUY MICKEY PONCHOS IN THE PARKS!!!

You’re talking almost $40 for a family of 4 to get ponchos there. And while they are very durable, and very cute, the are expensive, and a real pain to lug around when they are soaking wet. And of course, at that price you’d feel obligated to keep it and take it home with you.  And what of the things I find most funny is watching all the guests RUN in to the gift shops to buy ponchos, and by the time they cash out and get back outside, the rain stops! So, before you leave for your vacation, go to Target or Walmart and get disposable ponchos! You can find them in the camping department, and they are only $1! 0004786938365_300X300 Check the forecast before you go, if it’s going to be smooth sailing, then you probably won’t need them. But if there’s predicted rain, then get them just in case. I would suggest 3 ponchos per person for your vacation. And, just keep a couple in your park bag. They are small and come in a little ziploc pouch. AND, when you’re done with it, you just toss it in the trash! Mission accomplished. If you will be using a stroller, it’s a good idea to have a few extras for that too, it will help keep the stroller and all your belongings nice and dry in those lovely stroller parking areas. Because sadly, they are all outdoors, with no cover most of the time.

Keep in mind that rain in the Orlando area is very random, except in the summer months, since that’s their rainy season. You might get a steady rain all day long. Or you could get a pop up downpour thunderstorm that only lasts a few minutes. And, it could be raining at your resort hotel, and not at a park! So, just watch that weather forecast every morning. Because, weather in Florida is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get!

The parks, and what to do in the rain:

Most people will suggest taking a day “off” and going to Downtown Disney to play at Disney Quest or to see a movie at the AMC theater. BUT, Downtown Disney is wide open, and there’s a lot of walking outside without any cover. So, unless these are must do’s on your list then I’d say skip it. These locations tend to be very busy on rainy days, and while AMC can easily accomodate a large crowd, Disney Quest can be pretty cramped.

Magic Kingdom:  There is a decent mix of both outdoor and indoor attractions at Magic Kingdom. I don’t feel it’s the ideal park to visit in the rain, but the one positive is that it won’t be very crowded, so you can pretty much walk on to a ride with little to no wait. I would suggest things like Mickey’s Philharmagic, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Small World, Pooh…basically any of the rides indoors.  One thing that can pass the time nicely is the Carousel of Progress. It’s 45 minutes long, so you stand a really good chance of hopping on during the rain, only to find clear skies when the ride is done!

Hollywood Studios is a great park to visit in the rain. Every attraction, with the exception of the parades and Fantasmic take place indoors. And while the shows and things like Jedi Training will be shut down in bad weather, the rest of the park is yours for the taking. Hollywood is great too, because there are plenty of covered areas to walk under in the rain. A few places that are great for passing the time, because you can spend more time there: Animation Courtyard, Animation Academy where you can take classes and learn how to draw Disney characters. In that building there are great little interactive play areas for the kids. And, you can see Sorcerer Mickey and several other characters with very little wait!  The Great Movie Ride is another great idea. It’s a longer ride, making it ideal in bad weather. You can kill some time having a nice meal at the Sci Fi Dine In Theater. Kids love it there, great theme, great service, and really great burgers and shakes. Toy Story Mania for sure! One of the newest attractions at Disney World, it’s very popular, and in the summer months you can easily see 2 hour wait times. But in bad weather, the wait will be substantially shorter, and so you can spend a day just riding TSMM to your heart’s content!

Epcot: I think the best idea here is to stick with Future World. There’s less walking between attractions. All of it is indoors. And you can spend a few hours in places like the Nemo Pavilion. The Land has several attractions you can enjoy, as well as a nice food court for quick meals. And, of course, no trip to Epcot is complete without a ride on Soarin’! Again, in the busy season you could wait 2 hours to ride, but during bad weather, you could get lucky and only wait 15 minutes!  Another great place to kill time is Innoventions. There are plenty of things to do and see in there. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is great, it’s another 45 minute ride. Just beware that if you have little ones it’s a dark ride with huge, noisy dinosaurs, so it could be a little scary for those mini humans in your family. Just keep in mind that rides like Test Track won’t be open in bad weather, for safety reasons.

Animal Kingdom: Not the best idea in the rain. Too wide open, lots of walk, you’ll get many, many deep puddles due to the terrain. But, if you really, really want to be there that day, there are a few attractions that can be fun. Festival of the Lion King, Nemo the Musical and Dinosaur are great places to pass the time. And, if you don’t mind getting wet, why not hop on Khali River Rapids?!  Again, some things will be closed, Expedition Everest and possibly the Safari come to mind. Another great place to pass some time is at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You take a covered train up there, and the majority of things to do are indoors. There are nice bathrooms there, a gift shop with some snacks. You can watch the vets take care of some the the animals. We’ve seen them perform a few procedures at Rafiki’s. The last time we were there they were giving an antelope a dental checkup. Under sedation, of course.  And, you can see some characters there as well! Stanley, Jimminy Cricket, and Rafiki can be found here. And we’ve seen Tigger on occasion as well.

So, there you have it. My top tips & tricks for having fun in the rain at Disney World.  I hope this little blerb of what to see and do will help you on your next visit, when the weather is less than ideal. So, until next time, remember:

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.”

 

Hollywood Studios: Muppet Vision 3D

Muppet Vision 3D is one of my family’s favorite attractions at Hollywood Studios!  If you’ve overlooked this show because you think your kids won’t be able to relate to the Muppets, that’s really not the case. It really has a multi-generational appeal. Kids love characters/puppets. There’s a lot of action and humor in this show that will keep adults and older kids interested. Not to mention, with the release of a new Muppets film, and the sequel coming some time next year, more and more kids are familiar with these zany characters and all of their mayhem.

Muppetvision3D.jpg

Here are some mousellaneous fun facts about Muppet Vision 3D:

When guests first enter the queue for Muppet Vision 3D, they pass by posters of Muppets spoofing various movies. Some of the posters here include

Men in Black

Above an unattended security desk, guests can see a photograph of Link Hogthrob in a patrol man uniform. A sign nearby, tells guests that there is a key under the mat, and if guests lift it, the mat reveals a key to the building.

After reaching the end of the queue, guests enter a holding area which is designed to look like a storage facility for Muppet props. Some gags in the prop room including “a net full of Jell-O” (a pun on Annette Funicello) and a box of fruit marked “2D Fruities”. Also located in the room are crates full of:

  • “Gonzo’s Stunt Props (and really weird stuff).
  • Bunsesn’s inventions
  • Photograph’s from Fozzie’s photo shoot.
  • Miss Piggy’s costumes.
  • Lew Zealand’s Boomerang Fish

Here are some picks from the prop room:

A few fun facts:

  • Muppet Vision 3D was the last Muppet project to be directed by Jim Henson.
  • In the film, Jim Henson’s son John performs Sweetums.
  • The actors who play Sweetums in the live portion of the show are trained by the Jim Henson Company.
  • The fire truck used in the film’s finale used to be located around the corner from the attraction’s exit, but it has since been removed.
  • The Statler and Waldorf Audio Animatronics actually have three arms. The third arm is used when they are waving the white flags to surrender

Some great hidden Mickeys to look out for:

More fun facts…

This is not a hidden Mickey but it is a hidden Gonzo. As you are in the cue to enter the Muppetvision 4D and before you enter the building it is on the brick wall. Look up as you snake along the cue. There is a large diameter pipe which sticks out of the brick wall and then bends 90 degrees down towards the ground (in the shape of Gonzo’s nose). Around this pipe, in chalk, the rest of Gonzo’s face is drawn in. Pretty cool.

As one enters the Muppet 4D Vision theater, one passes several fake doors. (to the left I think). Many if not all of the doors have some kind of joke written on the window in the form of a sign. My favorite is : “Artificial Reality”. 🙂 

During the Lobby Video (preshow) Test pattern as Scooter crosses one of the screens, there is a Hidden Kermit in one of the test patterns. \

In the pre-show area, there is a hidden Jim Henson. There is a poster hanging from the ceiling with a picture of a muppet that looks just like him.

This isn’t a Mickey and it isn’t really hidden but I think it fits. Find the “Swine-trek” space ship from “Pigs in Space.” It is hanging from the ceiling towards the front and to the right of the preshow area. Now, look directly to the left of it and you will find a large picture of a Muppet with a camera lens around its neck, that is a Muppet of Jim Henson.

In the pre-show area, there is a hidden Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. There is also a ball and a whistle on the top of the monstrous projector in the back. The ball has glasses and the whistle has 2 bulging eyes. They look like Honeydew and Beaker.

Doors along the hallway as one enters the preshow for Muppet Vision 3D: “Muppet*Vision 3D and those clever folks at Muppet Labs”…. “Stress Testing Dept: Caution! Contents Under Extreme Pressure” “Institute of Advanced Chronology: ‘Staying Ahead of the Times'” “Division of Fashion Technology: ‘Making Tomorrow a Prettier Place To Be'” And my personal favorite: “Department of Artificial Reality: This is Not a Door”

And finally, my favorite quote from the show:

Kermit: We will also see a rousing finale from Sam the Eagle. What’s it called, Sam?

Sam: It’s called “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”.

Kermit: Sam, are you ready with that finale?

Sam:It’s a glorious three-hour finale!

Kermit: You got a minute and a half.

“Uh, well, uh, ladies and gentlemen I’d like to apologize for the slight technical difficulties, but I do wish to assure you that no one was hurt and this theater only suffered minor damage. So, thank you very much for coming to see this demonstration of Muppet*Vision Technology and enjoy the rest of your day and come see us again sometime!”

Thanks for joining me, have a magical day!

 

Hollywood Studios: Secrets of The Tower of Terror

Welcome to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, enjoy your stay! Today I am going to talk about some really interesting things I’ve learned about the Tower. It has such an incredible back story, and the fine details the Imagineers have put in to this ride are really amazing.

So, here’s just a little bit of what I’ve learned about this thrilling, scary, exciting ride at Hollywood Studios…

The elevator motors are 12 feet tall, 35 feet long, and weigh 132,000 pounds. They are able to accelerate 10 tons at 15 times the speed of normal elevators. They generate torque equal to that of 275 Corvette engines and reach top speeds in 1.5 seconds.

Statistics:

  • Building materials:
    1,500 tons of steel
    145,800 cubic feet of concrete
    27,000 roof tiles
  • Height: At 199 feet tall, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™is one of the tallest theme park attraction at the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort. (One foot under restrictions that would have placed a flashing red light on top of the Tower for Air Traffic reasons).
  • Show Time: 5 minutes
  • Speed:The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ is one of the most unique thrill attractions at any of the Disney theme parks. This is because the rate at which your speed increases is literally faster than the acceleration due to gravity. The top speed is 39MPH.
  • It cost $140 million to build the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

Hidden Mickeys

Images of MICKEY MOUSE have been hidden throughout the attraction by mischievous Imagineers. During the entire show, for example, the little girl is holding a MICKEY MOUSE doll.

Also, look for the famous silhouette of three circles along the balcony railing just before you enter the building and as a water stain on the wall in the boiler room.

Although probably not intentional, the bell for the elevator above Rod Serling’s head in the Library film also bears a resemblance to those famous mouse ears.

A reference to Mickey Mouse can also be seen in sheet music in the Echo Library which is a copy of actual music written in the 1930s (titled, “no mickey mouse? what kind of party is this?”).

In the Fifth Dimension scene on the Foxtrot side, the swirling stars form a Hidden Mickey just before they disappear.

The motors that are used in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are three times more powerful than those that were used in the World Trade Center.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was struck by lightning during construction.

By the concierge desk in the hotel lobby, there is a 13-diamond award from AAA. In reality, the real AAA award system only goes up to 5 diamonds.

The luggage in the lobby is a complete set made from genuine alligator skin.

Disney Imagineers have calculated that if both towers were to drop at the same time that Rock’n Roller Coaster launched it would bring down the Studio’s power grid. This is prevented because the Imagineering department decided to build a power sub-station that services just this section of the park.

The exterior of the Tower of Terror was designed to match the buildings in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot because Tower of Terror is visible from a certain angle in World Showcase and Imagineers wanted to make it look like Tower “fit in” with the landscape of Morrocco.

Hotel Props and Antiques: The rooms and corridors of The Hollywood Tower Hotel are full of items from Hollywood auction houses. Some items are particularly valuable: One set of leather chairs is an authentic Renaissance antique. (Similar sets of these 17th century Portuguese renaissance chairs are in New York’s Metropolitan Museum and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.) Other chairs were from the exclusive Jonathan Club, a well-known Los Angeles landmark built in the 1920s. Numerous French bronzes are found throughout the hotel, some by the famous 19th century artist Moreau, whose work graced many of the best hotels of the period. Even some recreations of a famous American’s own work can be found in the lobby. “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in the Photoplay Magazine on the concierge desk.

Thanks for riding along with me on the Tower of Terror,  “A warm welcome back to those of you who made it, and a friendly word of warning, something you won’t find in any guidebook. The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you’re filling. Or you may find yourself a permanent resident… of the Twilight Zone.”

Hollywood Studios: Rock n’ Roller Coaster

Helloooo! And welcome to this edition of my Amazing Disney Adventures. Today, I am going to talk about “Everything Rock n’ Roller”. My love of Aerosmith, the adrenaline rush, and the music makes RnRC one of my absolute favorite rides at Disney World! The Sweet Emotion that radiates from head to toe on this fast, fast, fast ride is just Amazing. Did I mention it’s FAST? So, secure your belongings, pull down the safety bar, keep your hands and feet in the ride vehicle at all times, and hold on tight, because this puppy packs a whopping zero to sixty in 2.5 seconds flat!

I just love going 60mph with my hair on fire. I would ride this baby sun up to sun down if I could!

In the first loop, you experience 4.5 G’s, which is more than a take off on the space shuttle!

So, here’s the back story of RnRC:

Aerosmith is recording some awesome new sounds, with a rocked-out new way to play them back…

We start off by visiting these music legends in their recording studio, but they are late for a concert, so Steven tells his manager to get us a fast car and some back stage passes!

I never tire of watching the launch, it’s AMAZING! And it just adds to the anticipation and excitement while waiting in line.

 

You’ll “ride the music” with 120 onboard speakers in your unique SoundTracker vehicle and more G-forces than an astronaut experiences. As the music rocks, you’ll “roll” from 0 to 100km/h in less than three seconds, into an amped-up, neon-lit, smoke-filled extravaganza of music.

As you blast through lighting rigs and navigate hairpin turns, heart-stopping drops and over-the-top flips, you’ll experience the awesome vibes of a non-stop rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

  • Each of the five SoundTracker trains has not only a unique on-board soundtrack, featuring a different mix of classic Aerosmith tunes, but a completely customised light show within the main studio. Ride twice or more and you might enjoy a different experience each time!
  • Here are the music combinations that you can listen, scream, and sing with on the Rock N Roller Coaster. Each limo has it’s own playlist, and here they are a long with the license plates you’ll see on each of them:1QKLIMO: “Nine Lives”* UGOGIRL: “Love in an Elevator” & “Walk This Way”

    * BUHBYE: “Young Lust”, “F.I.N.E.*” & “Love in a Roller Coaster”

    * H8TRFFC: “Back in the Saddle” & “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”

    * 2FAST4U: “Sweet Emotion”

Here are some hidden Mickeys you can find while waiting in the queue line:

And here are more, that sadly I do not have pictures of (yet).

  • One in the pre-show (found on a small chalkboard in the bottom right corner of the sound room (this one was made by a cast member and changes at times.
  • One in place of each “Expiration Date” for the license plates on the limos.
  • Many on the floor in Studio C, hidden in the carpet pattern.
  • Two on the ride track itself (one found on a yellow sign behind a red limo, one on the ground in a cityscape area).
  • One in the post show area to the right as one enters this area.
  • One on Joe Perry‘s medallion on the outside poster.

So, there ya have it, just a little idea of what you can expect on this epic coaster. Thanks for joining me! In the immortal words of rock legend Steven Tyler…

The things that come to those who wait may be the things left by those that got there first”

Rock on!

 

 

Secrets of Toy Story Mania!

SPOILER ALERT! I’m about to reveal some secrets that I have learned about how to score big time on Toy Story Mania!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never broken 200,000 points on this game. Neither has anyone in my family. I was recently told by a cast member that the “Toy Story Maniacs ” who achieve very high point scores on TSMM are usually Florida Residents with annual passes he told me that some people will come every weekend, and spend literally the entire day playing Toy Story Mania from sun up to sun down. Now, that’s an obsession! In this segment, I am going to reveal some high point targets that I’ve learned from cast members, other guests while standing in line, and friends as well. Not to mention, my little friend Google, for good measure. So, let’s begin!

First off, keep in mind that in some parts of the ride, accuracy is a little more important to achieve higher point values, except when youe aim is to shoot your gun in all directions to hit things like multiple high score balloons dropping from clouds and such.

 

 

TSMScores

The first hint for a high score is…ride alone! A pair of Toy Story Midway Mania Missioners playing together will result in a tally of around 300,000 or less for each person.  There’s a lot of information circulating out there that claims working with a partner is the way to go. Apparently this is misinformation as your ride partner can steal your points resulting in less chances for you to achieve a high score.

 

Also..refrain from splattering characters in the beginning “Pie Throw Practice” round. You won’t be tallying any points and you will be wasting your energy.

 

Hamm_and_EggsYour first booth will be “Hamm & Eggs”. This is the booth where you launch plastic eggs at various barnyard characters.   Hit the 500 point Gophers at the bottom of the screen and make sure to hit the fox on the hen house in the bottom corner as well. Next, you want to aim for the 100 point pigs on the lower fence. Once you’ve cleared them, a cat will appear in the same general area with a 500 point value. Continue to repeat the process and each time the cat target point value will increase from 500 to 1000 to 2000.

 

Avoid wasting time and energy on the ducks with 100 point values as well as the cows and pigs near the top of the screen with low 100 point values. Concentrate on unlocking the cat for maximum scoring power!

 

Your score for the “Hamm & Eggs” booth should be in the 50,000 point range.

 

 

 

Bo_PeepYour second booth will be “Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop”.  In this booth you will be launching darts at balloons. Note: If you happen to hit a water balloon you will experience a water backlash that can be distracting.

 

Your strategy at this booth is to hit the 500 point lambs at the bottom and the 1000 point lamb in the middle of the screen.  To get the higher point lamb balloons to reappear you simply hit one of the green or blue 100 point lambs.

 

The two rain clouds are the true secret to a high score at this booth!  Each cloud has five balloons. You have to pop four on one and then four on the other, leaving one balloon on each cloud. After you have cleard the four balloons on each cloud you need to prepare yourself for a precision maneuver. Shoot the last remaining balloon on one cloud and then quickly pivot over to the other cloud and shoot the last balloon there. If you are quick enough, rainbow colored 2000 point value balloons will fall from the sky.  Go crazy and shoot as many of these high score balloons as possible!

 

Your ideal score for the “Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop” booth should be in the 70,000 point range, so your total score should be about 120,000 points.

 

Green_Army_MenNow you will be on your way to the “Green Army Men Shoot Camp”.  I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER, BREAK THOSE PLATES!!!  You will be breaking plates with baseballs at this booth.  At the start…break as many of the higher point plates that you can.  Two 2000 point plates will pop up on each side of the horizon. Hit them. They aren’t static and will drop back down below the horizon if you don’t hit them.

 

Once this step is finished, the front of the mountain will sink to reveal a hidden army tank inside. After the army tank reveal…a wave of four 2000 point plates will pop up in succession on each side of the mountain. These too aren’t static and will drop back down below the horizon if you don’t hit them.  Hit all eight 2000 point plates as well as the 5000 point plate that the tank shoots out at you and then repeat the process.  Making sure to hit all of the plates that the newly revealed tank throws out a at you.

 

See if you can rack up 80,000 points at the “Green Army Men Shoot Camp” Booth, total score you’re looking at should be about 200,000 points.

 

Flying_TossersNext up is “Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers”.  At this booth you will be tossing rings.

 

Your first job is to ring all of the Little Green Men in the rocket ship in the center of the screen. When you ring one, it will pop down into the rocket ship. Your goal is to get all of the Little Green Men tucked safely away in the rocket ship so that it can launch. You have to be quick and get all of the Green Men safely inside! If one of these tiny aliens pops back up, the rocket will not launch. If you are successful in ringing all of the aliens fast enough, the rocket will launch and reveal a Gigantobot.

 

Gigantobot’s mouth will open and you can toss rings inside to score. The first point value for Gigantobot will be 100 points. Avoid the temptation to shoot your rings into Gigantobot’s mouth when the point value is 100 and concentrate on ringing the 1000 point rockets, planets, and jetpacks as well as the 5000 point aliens that drop down from the top of the screen. Gigantobot will close his mouth and will reopen it to reveal 500 points.  Now is the time to shoot rings into Gigantobot’s mouth. His mouth will close and reopen two more times revealing 1000 points and then subsequently 2000 points. Shoot as quickly as you can and you will accumulate thousands of points at this booth.

 

Your score for this round of play will be in the 130,000 point range, so you should be at about 330,000 points by now.

 

Shootin_GalleryLast but not least is “Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery”, the Grand Finale Game.  You will be throwing suction darts at bullseyes in this booth.  There are three stages.

 

The First Stage – Try to clear the bullseyes in the center of the screen. Then move on to the gopher at the bottom and the barrels.  When the 100 point bullseyes have been cleared they will reveal 500 and 1000 point bullseyes on the buildings. When those are cleared they will reveal 2000 point bullseyes near the bottom of the screen.

 

The Second Stage – Your carnival vehicle will then start to move horizontally. While moving, aim for the 500 and 1000 point bullseyes in the corner under the vultures’ tree. Clearing those will reveal 2000 point bullseyes.  Repeat this process until you hit the next screen.  Aim for the snakes in the center to rack up 2000 points. Also shoot the bullseyes at the bottom of the screen underneath the gophers for 500 and 1000 points.

 

The Third Stage – The Mine Carts are the third stage of the Grand Finale. Try to hit ALL of the Mine Carts and 1000 point bats. A lot of people tell me “what bats???” They are at the top of the screen, about the doorways to the mines. The carts will start with 500 point values, clear those and then move to the 1000 point carts.  Next will be the 2000 point carts and then a few 5000 point carts. Your very last chance to score is the “Woody’s Bonus Roundup” in which a 500 point bullseye will pop up. Fire as fast as you can!! The bullseye will increase in point value the faster you shoot progressing from 500 to 1000 to 2000 points.

 

This is where you really accumulate points! In fact…you can easily rack up 175,000 points in this final round alone.

 

And finally, my secrets for getting in that line multiple times in one day, without standing in too long of a line. RUN, don’t walk, to Pixar Place, the minute after you get past rope drop! And get there are park opening! Fast Passes for TSMM often close out for the day before lunch time!

Get your Fast Pass immediately, then hop in the regular queue. The queue will most likely have less than a 10 minute wait. That’s basically the amount of time it takes to walk in the door and get your tushy on a ride vehicle! DO NOT stop to chat with MR. SPUD! Unless it’s your first visit, he is costing you valuable time.

Your Fast Pass will probably come due within 20 minutes of getting off the ride. So, hop right back on! Then, get your fast pass for a little later in the day. (keep in mind that you can no longer use FP’s past their expiration date) Even if you’ve missed your time slot by as little as 15 minutes, most cast members will not allow you to use it.

I would suggest then heading down to Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster at this point. Lines should be minimal, unless you are one of those poor unfortunate souls who have to go during peak season! Again, get your fast passes for these rides for later in the day, hop in the lines and get one ride out of your checklist for the day.

Break for lunch!

Then your TSMM FP will probably come due by the time you are done with lunch! At this point, you will have gotten 3 rides on TSMM, which most people think “oh, there is no way I’m getting on again today”! WRONG! If you are lucky enough, you might still get a FP, but keep in mind that you can’t carry more than two at a time. So, if you are with a party that is split between lovers and “meh” feelings about Toy Story Mania, tell them to hand over their park tickets so you can get more rides in!

Try to hop on during the afternoon parade, and when there are two showings of Fantasmic, go to the later one and use that time to ride your favorite rides.

So, there you have it, some great tips and tricks for conquering this Rootin Tootin Shootin Saloon!  Have a Magical Day!!!

Secrets of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Spoiler Alert: If you wish to conquer Zurg on your own, you may not want to read this!

Join the Battle! Evil Emperor Zurg is stealing batteries from helpless toys to power a new weapon of destruction. As a Junior Space Ranger, it’s up to you to maneuver an XP-37 star cruiser through the neon-lit Gamma Quadrant and fire lasers from an onboard cannon to stop him and score points. Spin Around and Fire! Take aim with your space cannon and fire an invisible infrared laser at a constellation of “Z” insignias. Following an introductory mission briefing with Buzz Lightyear, board an XP-37 star cruiser, take hold of the onboard cannon and begin your space crusade into the Gamma Quadrant.Score Points  With each “Z” insignia you hit, you’re rewarded with beeping sounds, flashing lights and points. The more targets you blast, the more points you’ll receive. As expected, harder-to-hit targets are worth more points.Star Command Rank  At the end of your mission, you’ll receive a Star Command ranking, based on the points you accumulated during the mission. The lowest rank is the humble “Space Cadet,” but advanced players can challenge themselves to reach the highest classification, “Galactic Hero.”

Hidden Mickeys are a favorite pastime at Disney World. My family is no exception. And, if you actually take time to look around, you will find several of these hidden gems on Buzz. While we are usually busy competing with each other for high score, on a recent ride I chose to ignore the targets, and focus my camera instead. Here are just a few of those Mickeys I have found…

While the highest scores on Buzz are not easily attainable, there are some secrets we’ve discovered during our many quests to help defeat emperor Zurg that make it much easier .

Now, spinning here is very important to reach some targets that are at an awkward angle. But there are also some that you can try to hit head on.

For starters, there are several targets that will award you with 100,000 points, if you get it dead center. Which can be a real challenge, but once you hit it, you can fire away and usually get it more than once on a single ride. Another tip: Don’t try to rapid fire your gun, just keep your thumb down on the trigger for the entire ride. Your gun will not fire any faster if you “pump it”.

In the first room, there is a robot. If you can get to the inside of the left hand, you will score 100,000 points! Now, you will need to spin backwards, and stay there in that room in order to get to it.

In the next room, there are several targets to shoot for, but the best ones for high points are those farthest away. There are batteries to your left that can be knocked over. The top of the volcano will score you

25,000. And the “alien in the box” will get you some too. I think it’s 5,000 each time you hit the handle, and once it opens the target inside will give you 25,000.

In the next room, on your right, the bottom middle target on Zurg’s ship will get you 100,000 points. This is another one that you have to ride backwards to hit properly, and you won’t be able to hit it until you are almost out of the room.

And, finally, in the “dark space room”, the fast moving Zurg ship, bottom center target will get you another 100,000 points, but good luck with that one! He’s all over the place. It’s dark. I think we’ve only hit him once!

So there ya have it. A few little secrets to make your trip to infinity and beyond, and the quest to defeat Zurg, a little bit easier. Happy hunting!