Trip Report

Walt Disney World

February 19-26, 2011

A trip report and new photo highlight of Walt Disney World from February 19-26, 2011.

Two weeks ago I had an opportunity to return to my favorite vacation destination.  This trip was originally planned to take place this past September, but an unseen event took priority and this trip was postponed.  We finally got a much needed break in the calendar last month, and it was great to finally set foot inside of a Disney theme park once again.  This was my first Disney theme park visit since December of 2009, and the first trip back to the theme parks since my brother's passing.  Needless to say, it was still a little bit weird being there without him.

Our week in Florida had ample amounts of warm temperatures and that famous Florida sunshine that helps make the state so appealing.  Each day was over 80 degrees, and plenty of sunshine prevailed during the first half of the trip.  As expected, it was mostly cloudy when Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.  The cloud cover prevented us from being able to watch the launch from Epcot.  There was a small window of blue sky, but the shuttle quickly passed and only an exhaust plume was visible for a few minutes.  Oh well.

The crowds in late February were heavier than expected.  For starters, the Daytona 500 took place at the start of our trip, and that was followed by President's Day the next day.  Throw in additional people being in town for the shuttle launch at the end of the week, and this apparently being a week off of school for students in Atlanta, Detroit, and also the New England area (just to name a few locations), and as a whole, the parks were crowded.  Some of the days seemed to be as busy as vacationing there during Christmas or the Fourth of July.

Surprisingly, the Magic Kingdom ranked at the bottom for parks to visit this time around.  Well, next to last.  Animal Kingdom still needs more attractions and it didn't help that Primeval Whirl was closed for refurbishment.  But with all of the construction taking place throughout the Magic Kingdom (not just Fantasyland and the former Mickey's ToonTown Fair, but also Main Street and Adventureland), it just didn't feel magical in the flagship of the Florida theme parks.  Epcot was the best with Disney's Hollywood Studios in second place.

On to the photos! (165 of them to be exact.)

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Disney's Pop Century Resort was our choice in lodging for this visit.  It was fine for the most part, but some of the waits for the buses were a bit extreme at times.  I know that budgets are tight all the way around the resort, but nothing is worse than delaying people from trying to get to the theme parks.

Walt Disney World - Monorail Teal

It's still a little bit weird seeing Monorail Teal and not Monorail Pink or Monorail Purple.

Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery - STS-133

Space Shuttle Discovery rocketed into the mostly cloudy sky on STS-133, leaving behind a white plume of exhaust.

Disney's Hollywood Studios - Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

I've never noticed this TIM sticker before in the loading station for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (look to the top right) but it seemed appropriate considering this was probably my brother's favorite ride in the park.  NOTE - The TIM sticker is actually in memory of a different Tim, and not my brother.  It's just a coincidence that I've never noticed it in all of my trips on the ride.  Perhaps it's because everybody (myself included) is looking the other way as the coaster trains are launched from 0-60 in just a couple of seconds.