Disney World! Day 5

Day 5

This was the first day that we actually got to sleep in. Gavin and I badly needed this sleep and we were really tired the night before. We ended up sleeping in to almost 10 am and we had leftovers for breakfast. Once breakfast was finished we took a bus to Disney Springs. We started out heading to a traditional Floridian restaurant, and all of us had coke, hush puppies, and most importantly, crispy fried gator. This consisted of deep fried gator tail and a house-made sauce. I had never had alligator before, so this was a first for me, but both of my parents had gator a long time ago. After eating it, I can confirm that it tastes like chicken. I would say that it seems more tender and has more flavour than chicken, but that also might be due to how it was cooked. I also got a tomato soup that had a huge layer of cheese at the top and a mound of pulled pork. Gavin got a hamburger with mac and cheese, and our parents shared a thing of yellow mashed potatoes with deep fried drumsticks and powdered doughnuts. Once had our lunch we headed for the nearest clothing store to buy some Mickey Mouse brand clothing. All of us were instructed to wear the same shirt for the day after, mimicking the many other families that were doing to same. Next we headed to the Disney candy shop where Gavin and I bought treats to give to our friends back in Vancouver. I bought a thing of taffy for my friends, and Gavin bought a bag of assorted candies for his friends. 

Once the candy shopping was done, we walked to a Star Wars themed store, which had tons of cool Star Wars stuff, but it was all super expensive. When we were done looking at overpriced toys, we made our way to Starbucks to get a refreshing drink, which was really nice considering how hot it was in Florida. I don’t recall what I had, but I remember it was cold and refreshing. When we started heading back after shopping we made a stop a the second Star Wars store and a stop at a Marvel store. They both had interesting stuff, but it was too expensive to consider buying. Now that we had been to all of the interesting stores, we took the bus back to the hotel. Once we were back at the hotel, we took a 20 minute break, and then we took a dip in the hotel pool.

The pool area actually had three pools, excluding the hot tubs. The first area was just a normal pool, but it has a bar right next to it. The second pool was warmer than the first pool, and it was kind of like a really large hot tub. This pool was also round like a hot tub, and much shallower than the first pool. The third pool was the largest, and was shaped like a river, with bridges going across it. At the sides of the pool were two hot tubs, but one was closed. At the end of the pool closest to the other pools there was a one foot tall waterfall, which felt pretty nice to just sit under. If you went past the first bridge there would be a waterslide, which was kind of small, but it was also for younger kids. Gavin was pretty eager to do the waterslide as soon as we arrived, so we did the waterslide a few times before I decided to just sit in the pool for a bit. After that we went to the beach right next to the pool, and that beach had a lake next to it, but we were not allowed into the lake due to leeches, crocodiles, and snakes. Due to how gritty the sand was, and how it refused to come off of our skin, Gavin and I took a jump into the pool before drying off and heading to our hotel room. 

On the way to the hotel room, Gavin heard some cheering from a room near the outdoor pool area, so we went inside and there was an arcade. We didn’t have any money, so we just walked around the arcade looking at various arcade machines. When Gavin finally got bored of that, we went back to the room and went to bed. 

Well, that concludes Day 5 of this vacation, and there should be a like right here to the blog post for next day of this trip. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not yet completed, and will be completed soon.

Disney World! Day 4

Day 4

This is Day 4, and there are 4 parks at Disney World, so this was the final park. I will admit that I did not have the highest expectations for this park, but I may have been wrong. This park had an interesting design, just like the previous park, Animal Kingdom. But for this park, instead of putting an island in the dead center of the park, they just put a massive lake there. The perfectly circular lake did allow a amazing fireworks show, but it also made walking from one side of the park to the other a hassle. They did have a boat that went across the lake, which was nice, just it was quite inconvenient to go all the way around the lake instead of across it. The boat was also not the fastest, so if we needed to get somewhere in the park soon, the boat was not the first option. Speaking of boats, we once again took a boat to get to the park. Once at the park we walked in a random direction until we reached Frozen Ever After in Norway. This ride was pretty cool, and this ride also marked the first Disney ride where they tried out using projectors for the faces of animatronics.

When we were exiting the ride Gavin decided to buy a penny that got pressed into the shape of one of the Frozen characters. We went to our reservation at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This was for sure the best ride in the park, and it was a rollercoaster with three cool features: the first cool feature was how in Guardians of the Galaxy fashion, 80’s and 90’s music played through speakers next to your seats as the ride went on. There are apparently many different songs that play, but we only heard two: Conga (add link) and One Way Or Another (add link). There is also a playlist of all the possible songs that can play when you are on the ride. (add link) The second feature of the ride was massive screens that surrounded the coaster, which took place in a large dark room. The screens displayed what was happening in the plot of the ride, which was basically that this really really large guy used some portals to try to destroy Earth, and the Guardians had to protect it. There were also props of various things on the ride, like a Milky Way, an Earth, and a Moon. The third, and best unique feature of this ride was that the individual carts could pivots 360 degrees during the ride. This allowed the ride to turn the carts around so that riders could be shot backwards at high speeds for the start of the ride. The twisting also allowed the ride to get riders to focus on certain aspects, like the props or screens. If you want to see what this ride looked like, click this link.

After that ride we went to the Connections Cafe, and on our way we saw some statues of Disney characters made from flowers and other vegetation. These flower sculptures were made for the Disney 50th anniversary. In the cafe they had traditions teapots and cups from around the world, which I found interesting. I ordered a Frappuccino from Starbucks in the cafe. We started heading to Paris to do the Ratatouille ride, and on our way there we took a bridge over a quite large pond, and the pond had a faint, but not ideal scent. We took the boat across the lake, and walked towards Ratatouille. On our way there we stopped by a restaurant called Monsieur Paul. Then we took the Ratatouille ride, and the cool thing about that ride was that you could smell the foods on the ride, like baguette and cheese. I believe that this was the first ride that Disney implemented smell into their rides, and it worked out well. Afterwards we stopped by a theatre where they were showing a Beauty and the Beast show, but when we went to enter we changed our minds and left, because if we had decided to stay, we would have been the only ones who were watching the show, and that would have been a little awkward. 

We went to Japan where we watched a different show that was outdoors. We got to see Japanese drummers on traditional Japanese drums, and it was pretty cool to see and also impressive. After that we walked through the rest of the word pavilion and we got to eat a 50th anniversary cake with real gold flakes on it. The cake was really good, but it was almost $20 American. Once the cake was finished we went to Test Track, which was one of the older rides in this park, and I got to sit in the middle of the car on the ride, which meant that I only got a lap belt. This was not my favourite ride as I thought it wasn’t that thrilling, and we got shaken around a lot, which was slightly painful. Although we did get to make our own digital cars and create an ad for them, which was fun.

Next we went back to Connections again, but this time instead of just getting Starbucks we had actual lunch. Then we went to Spaceship Earth, which was a slow, chill ride through the big dome-like structure at the entrance of the park. This was a pretty cool ride with some outdated equipment, but that didn’t take too much off of the overall experience of the ride. They also had some stuff you could do after the ride, and all of it was related to how we could do activities differently in the future. We roamed the world pavilion for a bit after this ride until it was time for Mission: Space. This ride puts riders into a capsule that spins fast enough to create 2.5 g forces pushing the rider into the back of their seat. This is not a surprisingly impressive number, as Space Mountain goes up to 3.5 g’s and rock’n rollercoaster goes all the way to 5 g’s, but Mission: Space has you under high g forces for nearly half a minute. This equates to way more effects on the body than any other Disney World ride, and this is also why this is the only ride at Disney World to have barf bags on the seats. The ride is structured like a less intense version of the astronaut training simulators, and the ride was made in collaboration with NASA. This ride takes you on a simulation of a trip from Earth to Mars, but if you take the easier version of the ride, which has no g forces, then you go on a trip to the Moon. The ride is pretty intense, and you are given a lot of warnings before boarding the ride. I would not recommend doing this right after lunch, as your lunch might just come back up. Just like the other space themed ride, Spaceship Earth, after doing the ride there are stations where you can play games themed off of space.

Now it was time for the final ride of the day, and considering that we just did a very intense ride and we all felt like throwing up, we went to the world nature building and rode Living with the Land. Living with the Land was a slow river cruise ride where we went through a series of various artificial environments with animatronic animals for the first half, and for the second half we got to see the farming systems they had for the park. We started out by looking at the fish and shrimp farming, then we moved on to the plants. There were loads of different varieties of plants, including coca beans for the chocolate that they made in the park. They also even had exotic plants, like dragonfruit. Then we moved on to the experimental farming sections, which had art made from different lettuce varieties, a system where the water from the fish tanks were also used for growing the plants. They even had a strange mechanism that allowed underground plants to be grown aboveground. Once this ride was done, we headed to find a nice spot to watch the special 4th of July 50th anniversary fireworks. 

The fireworks were extremely impressive, and split into two parts: part one was mainly water and a screen inside the big semicircle in the middle of the park, but we had sadly chosen a spot where we could not see the screen that well. There was also lots of music from different Disney movies with songs in different languages. The second part had a lot of “patriotic” music and huge fireworks that shot super high up into the sky, with colours including red, white, and blue. This was the most expensive, the largest, and the brightest fireworks show I had ever been to. At the end of the fireworks, they shot one massive firework that shot at least 50 meters up into the skyline, and just as soon as it started to fall it let of a huge explosion and split into hundreds on smaller fireworks. The explosion was so high up that it took a second to hear the explosion after seeing it. The sound of the explosion sounded like a cannon being fired, and as I was thinking to myself, wow, that was loud, the smaller fireworks all simultaneously exploded again, making a sound with twice the strength of the previous explosion. And when I thought it was surely over, those thousands of tiny fireworks exploded once again, shattering my eardrums. As loud as it was, it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, with the fireworks the colour of gold, to create the illusion of stars falling from the sky. Once the show was over, we learned that we had placed ourselves downwind from the fireworks show, which also meant that this became the most smoky fireworks show I had been to also. 

To avoid the smoke, we walked back and used our reservation for Cosmic Rewind, then we browsed the Guardians of the Galaxy themed store before taking the last boat ride home.

Well, that concludes Day 4 of this vacation, and there should be a like right here to the blog post for next day of this trip. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not yet completed, and will be completed soon.

Disney World! Day 3

Day 3

We started out the day taking the bus to Animal Kingdom and the first thing we saw was some live animals. I was very surprised by this, as even though it was called Animal Kingdom, it was still a Disney theme park and I thought there would be more animatronics instead of animals. The animals were kept in surprisingly large cages with lots of greenery. We saw a bunch of different animals including an anteater, lots of different birds, a group of monkeys, and two turtles. They had this huge tree with animal carvings all over it. We started out by watching a 4D Bug’s Life show which had a surprising amount of effects. It was also kind of a nightmare for someone with a fear of bugs. There was a part where you could hear the sounds of hornets buzzing, you could see the hornets, and there was one part where the hornets came over and stung you in the back. There also was a part where really big black widow spiders came down from the ceiling on ropes. After that we made our way to Pandora, which was the Avatar land of the park. One of the cool things about this park besides the large animals was that the center area that connected all the other areas of this park was an island, and you took bridges to all the other lands which were also islands. 

The Pandora area contained only two rides, just like Galaxy’s Edge. Also just like Galaxy’s Edge, the area was super impressive with lots of stuff from the movie, like huge rocks that floated on vines, very exotic wildlife, some of which was fake, some of which was real. The two rides were also really elaborate rides, like Galaxy’s Edge. One of the two rides was the highlight ride of the park, again like Galaxy’s Edge. The first ride was Avatar, Flight of Passage. This ride was like Fly Over Canada, and if you don’t know what that is, basically you are in these seats that tilt and shift, and you look at this really big TV screen so that it looks as if you are flying. There is also a ride like this at Epcot, called Soarin’ Around the World. This was a really amped up version of that, the seats moved way more than in Fly Over Canada or Soarin’, you could physically feel the wind in your face, the screen was much larger, and it was in 3D. The coolest parts were how you could actually smell the stuff around you, like the ocean water, and the forest surrounding you. The other coolest part was how the Banshee, which was the dragon-like creature you were riding, would breathe. You could feel the breaths from the Banshee through airbags on the seats you were strapped to.

The second ride, Na’vi river journey, was a slow paced dark ride through the Avatar jungle, which had some pretty cool stuff, like flying jellyfish, six legged vibrantly coloured wolves, and an animatronic of one of the Na’vi people, which are the people who live on Avatar. The special effects and different technologies were very impressive, and they even had some see-though TV screen to create a 3D effect, which I found extremely impressive.

After we were done with those rides we had a drink from one of the stands, and the drink was literally just a really fruity slushee, but the slushee was pretty good. Once we were done with the Avatar area we headed to Africa where watched the celebration of lion king. We rode a Safari ride, and the ride had actual animals which was really, really cool. The animals had quite big cages, except for the cheetah, which had a smaller cage. There were rhinos, elephants, lions, and a bunch of other animals.

By this time it was already lunchtime, so we made our way back to Pandora to eat a themed lunch, which was pretty good, but it was a little over seasoned. I got these hamburgers that were bao filled with ground up burger. It was was really good and came with a side of plantain chips. There was also a side of coleslaw, but the coleslaw was really over seasoned. The meal was really good overall though. 

It started raining, but we walked all the way across the park to Africa anyway. We got on a train to a area with a petting zoo, but sadly the petting zoo was closed. We still got to see a Komodo dragon and the goats though. There were also tarantulas and geckos, and we got to do an activity where we were taught how to draw the pig from Moana. My drawing was not the best, but it turned out okay. When we were done we took the train back in time to watch the bird show. After we walked over to watch a Finding Nemo musical show before getting Yeti themed Himalayan ice cream in Asia. Then we walked over to a sort of zoo area where we saw some bats, tigers, wildebeest, and Komodo dragons. Then we walked over to Dinoland USA to ride the DINOSAUR! ride. This ride was kind of underwhelming and Dinoland also was not that great. We rode the River Raft, which was pretty cool, but I was not expecting to get absolutely soaked on the ride. We tried to ride the River Raft two times before, but it was closed. We went back to Pandora and did the Na’vi ride and I bought a plush Banshee that sticks to your shoulder. It was sadly too late to do the Flight of Passage again, so we just made our way back and took the bus home. 

Well, that concludes Day 3 of this vacation, and there should be a like right here to the blog post for next day of this trip. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not yet completed, and will be completed soon.

Disney World! Day 2

Day 2

We started out by taking the bus to Magic Kingdom. We walked through Main Street and lined up in front of the entrance to FantasyLand (which is where the huge Cinderella Castle is located) to do the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but once the gates opened, the roller coaster was closed. Instead of lining up for a closed ride, we took a 30 minute wait for Peter Pan’s Flight, which was frankly underwhelming, and I didn’t fully understand why the lineup was so long. We had also done this ride in Disneyland. Slightly less than half of these rides we had done in Disney Land when we went there many years ago. After, we took the ride right across from Peter Pan, “it’s a small world”. 

Don’t get me wrong, this ride was good, but they had a bigger, better, version at Disneyland, which also happened to be the original. The next ride we did was Space Mountain in Tommorowland. This was hands down my favourite ride at Disneyland, and the one at Disney World was just a bigger version of the Disneyland ride, so obviously I liked this ride, and I would rate it as my favourite ride in this park, with the Mine Train in a close second. Please note that I said of this park, not of the entirety of Disney World. I’ll get to my favourite ride of Disney World in about 30 minutes of reading, or 8 hours of writing. After about 3 minutes of twists and turns in the pitch black of space, we headed to our second ride of Tomorrowland: the Astro Orbiter. This ride was literally just one of those rides where you get into these little carts that just go in circles over and over, and they have these rides at every amusement park, themed or not. We decided to do the Tomorrowland People Mover right after the Orbiter, and the People Mover was this really chill aboveground ride that went through all of Tomorrowland, which included making a b-line through Space Mountain. There was also a virtual narrator who gave information on all of the stuff we passed by, or through, on the ride.

It was a short walk from the People Mover to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, which was a shoot ‘em up ride similar to the one we rode at Hollywood Studios the day before, but in this one you could manually pivot the ride cart, although the technology has not as advanced, which I found kind of ironic considering that this area was called Tomorrowland. 

We made our way back to Fantasyland in time for lunch, and we ate said lunch at the Be Our Guest restaurant, which was Beauty and The Beast themed. I had a fillet mignon again, and a cheesy soup as a starter. The Beast came out to greet people at the restaurant a few times while we were eating, and you could explore different parts of the restaurant that fit into different parts of the story. For dessert we had a plate with 3 different things, a macaroon, a ball of chocolate, and Grey Stuff. The Grey Stuff was the best out of the 3, and also the only one that was mentioned in the song, Be Our Guest. 

After that meal, we went to Under the Sea, another place that was named after a Disney song. This ride was pretty cool, but nothing compared to some of the rides we did the day prior. Gavin and I went to do The Barnstormer, which is just a small roller coaster, then it started raining so we went indoors to get ice cream, which didn’t really make sense, but I wasn’t going to say no to ice cream. 

We went back to Tomorrowland to watch the Carousel of Progress, which was apparently made in 1970 or some time in the area, and when you sat in the seats in the Carousel, it would move the seats around the animatronics, instead of the animatronics moving around you. After, we walked all the way to the other side of the park to do Jungle Cruise at Frontierland, which was pretty cool, but I kind of though that it would be different because of the Jungle Cruise movie.

We shot some (fake) crows on our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and we also saw the rainy day parade before we arrived at the ride. The Pirates ride was cool, but I personally think that the one at Disneyland was better.

Then we rode a Winnie the Pooh ride. I don’t remember the Winnie the Pooh ride very well, so I can’t say much about it. It was getting dark now, so we watched the fireworks before ending the day. We had to sit around for about an hour and a half to get a good spot for the fireworks, but I would say it was worth it. We ate some hot dogs for dinner, as the other nicer foods we had been having were extremely pricey. The fireworks were really good, much better than the ones we saw at Hollywood Studios. If there was one thing this park did well, it was the fireworks. 

After watching the fireworks, we squeezed our way through the crowd to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This was the final ride of the day, and this ride was pretty cool. When we were the line we noticed that there were these kind of stations, where you could do various things, and all of them involved “gems” made of silicone or a silicone-like material. The first station were these gems that you could press to make them glow and make a sound. The only problem with this station was that the sensors inside of the gems were inconsistent, so it would not work every single time that you pressed it. The second station was faucets, that when turned on, would cause the water coming out of the faucets to glow, then the water would hit these gems below the faucets, and the gems would glow too. This one was pretty cool, but the water was not very clean. The third and final station had barrels full of gems that you could spin, and if you spun the barrels fast enough, they would project an animation of one of the seven dwarfs onto the ceiling. There were seven barrels, one for each dwarf. After that station, it was time to get on the ride. This was the least impressive of the four Lightning Pass rides, but it was still really good. It was just a ordinary roller coaster until about halfway through the ride, where you slow down and go through the mine, and the carts on the coaster would sway back a forth as animatronics of the dwarfs would sing a song. The faces of the dwarfs were projected onto the animatronics, allowing for some impressively intricate facial movements that perfectly synced with the sounds. The mine was also glowing with colourful gems. Once we passed through the mine the coaster sped up again, and we were taken into a different mine with more music after about 30 seconds twists and turns. The ride ended and we were all really tired, so we took the monorail home. The cool thing about the monorail was that it went straight through one of the hotels, and you could see people eating a restaurant as you passed through. Once we arrived at the monorail station, we took a bus to the hotel and fell asleep quickly.

Well, that concludes Day 2 of this vacation, and there should be a like right here to the blog post for next day of this trip. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not yet completed, and will be completed soon.

Disney World! Day 0

Day 0 (the flight)

The flight to Disney World was quite uninteresting, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. We arrived at the airport at about 5:30 pacific time, and we got to our flight really fast, there were almost lines , which was nice. We stopped for a bite and then got on our flight. This flight had no WiFi, but that was expected. They did have those television screens that you can watch movies and shows on, but I forgot to bring wired headphones, so I just played the various video games that they had. I tried hangman, failed miserably, tried solitaire, got bored, played Angry Birds for about half an hour then played some Incredibles puzzle game where you play as the baby for about 45 minutes, and for the final 15 minutes I stumbled across some  game that was basically Subway Surfers, but in 2D with Mickey Mouse. 

We arrived at Toronto, waited about 30 minutes, and got on our second flight to Orlando. This plane was much smaller than the one we took to Toronto, but this plane had windows with adjustable tint, which I found interesting. They didn’t have the screens, but they had WiFi! But you had to pay for the WiFi, which was like $15 for one flight, and I was not going to pay $15 just for some crappy airplane WiFi. The good news was that the WiFi still worked for those who didn’t pay, but it was one website that worked, and it did the exact same thing as the screens on the first flight. After doing nothing for about 3 hours we arrived at Orlando in the morning, and I had little to no sleep. Nevertheless, we headed for the bus, and grabbed some drinks on the way. We got on the bus to our hotel, and I finally got some sleep, even though it was only for about 15 minutes. 

We arrived at the hotel, and it was massive. I was just surprised by how huge it was, although most of the size was just the large entrance area. Then all of us headed for the room, and took time to settle down for a bit. It was lunchtime, so we went to The Boardwalk for some food, and the restaurant we ate at had this really good crab soup with these equally as good slices of garlic bread with perfectly melted cheese. 

Once lunch was over, there was this store not far from the place we ate lunch that we went to and bought our Magic Bands, which were these wristbands with these chips in them so you could link your Magic Band to your park pass, so you could just scan your Magic Band and get access to the park. Now the bands cost about $10 each, which is a lot of money when you can just use your pass. This was useful to us because we had Genie+. Genie+ is just this service that you have to pay for, but it allows you to book Lightning Lane reservations. To book a Lightning Lane, you had to open the Disney app, go to a ride you want to do, and you can book that ride for one of the available times. Having the Magic Band was convenient because you have to scan your pass every time that you take the Lightning Lane, and this is to verify that you actually got Genie+, and that you actually booked that time. This makes it so that you don’t have to pull out your card every time, which is kind of a hassle, and also get this cool souvenir. Some of the Magic Bands were limited edition, and if you sold the limited edition Magic Band after it became sold out, you could sell it for more money. The battery on the Magic Bands supposedly last up to 10 years, which kind of makes sense, since it’s just this tiny  chip which only purpose is to send a signal to these scanners when you press the band onto the scanner.

So after we got our Magic Bands, we went back to the hotel to take a power nap. We took our nap and took the bus to Disney Springs we walked around Disney Springs in the boiling Florida weather for a bit, then we ate dinner at Morimoto, which is a fancy restaurant owned by some guy who won Master Chef. I wasn’t that hungry, so I got a kid’s meal, but I tried some of the stuff the rest of my family got, I and have to say, the dining is Disney World so far is top notch. This is probably the finest dining I have had in a long time. I got this interesting Japanese soda that had some system so that you could only drink in small sips, which I found pretty cool. 

After our dinner we went to see the Disney World Cirque du Soleil show, which was a Cirque du  Soleil show that was exclusive to Disney World. The show was good, but I can’t remember it very well because I was really, really tired, and almost fell asleep at parts, even though I was far from bored. Once we were done with the show, we went back to the hotel, and Gavin and I fell asleep instantly. Well, that concludes Day 0 of this vacation, and there should be a like right here to the blog post for next day of this trip. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not yet completed, and will be completed soon.

Disney World! Day 1

Day 1.

So, we start the day by heading to the Tower of Terror, which is located at the bottom right of the map in Sunset Boulevard. Now the cool thing about Sunset Boulevard is that it looks like it’s taken directly from the 80’s, and I really like that retro feel, even though I wasn’t born until many years after those times. When we arrived at the Tower of Terror, it was sadly closed. Instead of doing the Tower of Terror, we did this ride called the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. It’s like a roller coaster where you can barely see, and it has this really abrupt start where you get kind of launched into the building. One thing I forgot to point out is that we were sleeping at the Swan & Dolphin hotel, which is not owned by Disney, but they have a partnership which basically means that we get to go to the park half an hour earlier than people who aren’t sleeping at a hotel in the Disney World area. This also means that sleeping in was not an option, so by the end of this trip I was pretty tired out. After the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster we went to Mickey’s Runaway Railway, which was conveniently also closed. Then we went to Toy Story Land and rode Toy Story Mania which was this shoot ‘em up ride with 3D glasses. I got a score of 140,000 which I think is good but I’m not sure. 

Then we went to Galaxy’s Edge to ride the Millennium Falcon on the Smuggler’s Run ride. It was really fun and kind of like a video game where you worked as a team to pilot the Falcon. We waited about 30 minutes for this ride, and I think that it was worth it. It was worth it enough that we did the ride again later in the day, but this time we used Genie+ to skip the line. I’ll get back to Genie+ later. After the Millennium Falcon ride we got blue milk and green milk, which were basically just glorified milk slushies, but they were still good. 

We left Galaxy’s Edge at about 10:30 to go do Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land. The ride was more fast paced than it looked and had a really cool toy aesthetic. When we finished the ride we decided to do our first show of the trip: Indiana Jones. On our way over we encountered the parade, which was pretty cool. The Indiana Jones show was cool, and it had the boulder scene and lots of (acted) fighting and (real) flames. 

By now it was about 11:40 ish, so time for our lunch reservations. I didn’t expect much from Disney World, but this was the finest of the fine dining. I had a fillet mignon with a really good tomato soup and some blue lemonade with a glowing ice cube. It was my first time having fillet mignon, and it was so good. 

We registered our Genie+ for the Tower of Terror because it was now open, and we had some time to burn before our reservation so we watched a lot of shows and browsed on Main Street. We saw the Beauty and the Beast musical, then we browsed a little, got some ice cream from a giant Loch Ness monster statue, took some pictures with these gold coloured BB-8 and R2-D2 statues that were there to celebrate the 50th birthday of Disney World. We watched a Frozen 4D sing along, which had actors, tv screens, projectors, and a very overused bubble machine. 

When we were done with all that we headed back up to Sunset Boulevard because it was almost time for Tower of Terror, and we browsed shops on the way up there. When we arrived it was not quite time yet so we watched a Cars show, and it was pretty cool how they made Lightning McQueen appear as if his eyes, mouth, and tires were moving like the eyes and mouth of a human being, whereas the mouth and eyes were just projected on in a very believable fashion and the sides of the tires moved to give the illusion of the whole tire moving. 

Now it was finally time for Tower of Terror, which had a pretty good plot, and was based around the black and white TV show the Twilight Zone. Basically the plot is that a long time ago there were these people in this very nice hotel, but the elevator got struck by lightning while they were moving, and the people in the elevator got sent to the Twilight Zone and guess what? It was Florida weather so it was boiling hot sun when we were heading over to the tower, but when we arrived it started raining and there was thunder in the distance. This kind of terrified Gavin because if the tower itself was not enough, it was actually thunder and lightning outside. So Gavin opted out of the tower, and my dad went with him. I still did the tower with my mom, and it was different than I expected. The “elevator” you were in went up so you could see a room that was empty. Then a thunder sound played and little sparks jumped around the room, then lightning struck again and we saw some cool hologram of some ghosts, then the room went dark. Our elevator went into this pitch black hallway with some weird effects on it, then we entered a second elevator shaft at the end of the hallway. We went all the way up to the top of the shaft and stopped. Then the doors opened and we had this great view of the entire park, and when I say the entire park I mean the whole thing. There was about 5 seconds to enjoy the view, which is a lot of time, but then once those seconds had passed we dropped into a sudden free fall which was absolutely terrifying. We were thrown all the way back up and into a free fall again, but this time there was not stop at the top. Finally we dropped from halfway up the shaft, and it was over. This was a really fun ride, but the actual elevator part was shorter than I though it would be. 

Just after we did Tower of Terror, Mickey’s Runaway Railway opened, so we did that. The Runaway Railway way really cool and used some very unique and fine-tuned technology to make the ride work. There was quite a large use of projectors and screens, and it worked really well to make you feel like you were actually inside of a animation.

Now it was time for the part that was probably the highlight of the day, and one of the highlights of the trip: Galaxy’s Edge. This was the Star Wars land of the park, so obviously it was busy, which made the lines for the rides very long. We did Star Tours which was pretty cool, and fun.

Right next to Star Tours was right next Galaxy’s Edge, but for some reason Star Tours was not in Galaxy’s Edge itself. After Star Tours we entered Galaxy’s edge to do Rise of the Resistance. Rise if the Resistance was such a good ride. It was the crown jewel of this park, the ride was so good that they you had to take a ride just to get to the ride. We started the ride by boarding a large shuttle with some Star Wars characters on the shuttle, and when we were supposed to be taking the shuttle to some resistance base or something we got captured by a star destroyer and they tractor beamed us in. Once we had arrived inside the star destroyer the same door that we entered from opened and we were led into this huge room filled with storm troopers and this massive screen showing space stuff. We were led by these imperial guards, who were pretty good actors, into a jail cell where Kylo Ren came in to try to take some information from us, and when he left the cell we were led into a room where the real ride started. I have a video, but there were some people in the video who were talking a lot during the ride, so if you want a full video of the ride just search Rise of the Resistance on YouTube.

When we were done with Rise of the Resistance we headed to do the Millennium Falcon ride again, and then we ate at this Star Wars themed restaurant called Docking Bay 7. The aesthetic of the restaurant was cool, but all the food was super salty. Now we had done all the rides except one, which was some Toy Story ride.

So we did that ride, which was right next to Galaxy’s Edge, returned to Galaxy’s Edge, and browsed the stores. The stores had some really cool stuff, but most of the unique and good stuff was unaffordable, and the stuff that was still good, but not unique you could buy off Amazon for half the price. It was getting dark so we went to watch the fireworks and took the boat home.

Well, that concludes Day 1 of this blog post, there should be a link to the next blog post here. If there is no link and no media in this post, the blog posts are not finished yet, and will be shortly.

tPOL Gr.9

Mr./Ms. (name), this is my mother, Erica, and this is my father, Paul.

Thank you for coming to my presentation of learning. I am the expert on my own learning. I am also responsible and accountable for my own learning. You can expect me to give an honest evaluation of my progress. We will discuss my strengths and opportunities for growth. Thank you in advance for listening and for offering feedback that I can use to improve as a learner.

As you know, I have been in PLP for two years, and I will be showing my learning from this current year, Grade 9.

Revision

During the WWI project when we were doing our Storyboard and Planning Documents I had to drastically revise my work multiple times, due to things that would not work in the final comic, incorrect facts, or the complexity of the image in the final comic. This caused me to have less time than I needed for my final comic, but it ended up working out in the end. This project was quite stressful, but it also helped me learn to improve my time management skills, and it also showed me that sometimes revisions are needed to make a good final product.

WWI

Teamwork

My best example of teamwork was during the destination imagination project, where we were forced to work together under pressure, as we were improv, and the whole point was that we had very little to no plan, and this caused us to learn to coordinate and work together well. If we didn’t work together well then we would not preform well when we had to present in front of the appraisers. I overall found this experience fun looking back on it, and I think I worked really well with my team. I also believe that during this experience I build such good relationships with my team that I am good friends with all of them to this day, and going into the DI project I barely knew some of them.

DI blog

Responsibility

I learned responsibility best during the 7 habits project, as starting that project I was not very interested in it due to some more interesting things overshadowing it, like Loon Lake and DI, but by the end of the project I was extremely interested in it and that project was one of the most, if not the most vital in helping me adjust and grow as a learner. I still remember the video for that project quite well, and it really helped me learn to prioritize, whether it is school work, or something outside of school. It helped me with responsibility as it got me to realize that I had a lot more responsibilities than I initially thought I did, and I had to take control of those responsibilities.

7 Habits

Production of High Quality Work

For this one I wanted to do 7 habits again, as my kinaesthetic idea for that project took many hours of my time and was very difficult to make, but I decided to do my Vibrant Video project instead. The “how to stack chairs” and “how to ride a bike” videos both used many various camera angles and filming techniques, and both contain hours of time spent editing. I think that part of the reason why I spent so much time on this project has to do with the fact that I really enjoyed it, which is good, but I need to spend this much time on all projects, so I am trying to teach myself to enjoy all projects just as much as I did on this one, and that will in turn help me to improve my overall work quality on all projects.

Vibrant Video

Reflect

Looking back on this year, there are definitely a few things I need to improve. There are also a few things that I have improved on since the start of the year

I need to improve my work ethic, as when I am not particularly invested in a project I do not spend as much time as I should. Sometimes when there is a project I am very invested in, and there is a project I am not as invested in then I will spend too much time on the project I am invested in, and not enough time on the other project. I think this is visible in one of my latest blog posts, the First Film & Exhibition Blog Post. This was the first blog post I did where I combined two projects together. In this post I spent way too much time talking about the exhibition, and not enough time talking about the First Film project.

When it comes to work habits, I think I best show this in almost all my Scimatics Blog Posts. With my Scimatics blog posts they all show a similar structure, and that structure is usually centred around the Curricular Competencies. I think focusing on the Curricular Competencies is better due to that it makes its easier for me to reflect and improve on future projects.

For my areas of improvement, I need to improve my ability to become invested in projects, as that is a skill that I can grow, and if I can do that it would greatly help me become a better learner. I also need to improve my ability to focus, and that I get distracted and sidetracked easily, which is a problem when I have lots of work.

Some areas that I have improved on would be mainly in group settings. I have improved my ability to grow positive relationships with my group, and I have also improved my ability to communicate with my peers.

Why do I feel like I should advance to the next grade level? 

I feel like I should advance to the next grade level because I have shown capability to self reflect, I have shown how I can build positive relationships with my peers and teammates during projects, I have shown how I can produce high quality work, I have shown how I have an understanding of responsibility, and I have shown how I can improve myself overtime. 

I hope that this presentation is enough to convince you that I am ready to enter Grade 10.

⌛️=💵 Scimatics

This is how I solved the driving question for the Time is Money Scimatics project.  The driving question for this project is: How can we predict our finances for the future?

I will write the answer to this at the bottom of my post.  For this project we had to make a product and then make a video showing how much money we would make from that product.

Here is the final video

This is my review and process of creating the video.

I think that if I were to do it again then I would probably make the physical product, but that was not necessary and would cost quite a bit of money and time, as I did not actually intend to spend time selling my product.

I think that the finished video looks pretty cool, and I am proud of the final result.

The Curricular Competencies for this project are:

  1. Understanding and solving: Apply multiple strategies to solve problems in both abstract and contextualized situations

This means that all time, materials, and equipment are accounted for in the cost of making your product or performing your service.

I think I preformed quite well in this competency, as I did a lot of research to find the cheapest price for the supplies needed to make my product, and I found items that contained just the right amount of supplies so it would take make almost exactly an hour to use all of the supplies.

2)   Communicating and representing: Represent mathematical ideas in concrete, pictorial, and symbolic form

This means that linear equations are used to determine profit per transaction, hourly wages, and predicted NET earnings (minus deductions) over a year. Graphs are created, labeled, and explained.

I think that I explained my earnings correctly and well in my video, and I also think that the graph in the video was well explained and labeled.

3)   Connecting and reflecting: Connect mathematical

concepts to each other and to other areas and personal interests.

This means that the video compares your new business to other careers and considers the value of your time, if your business can cover your costs of living/operating, and its sustainability/impact on the environment.

I believe that I preformed okay for this part, as I spent a lot of time in my video explaining possible hazards from this product environmentally, and I also explained how some, but not all of those hazards could be avoided, and I also compared my business to the average pay of a McDonald’s worker, which is quite a low paying job and hard to have as your only job, but I explained that it was possible to survive with just the money from my business.

The steps that I took to make this game were:

Milestone 1:  For this milestone we brainstormed what product/service we wanted to make. I settled on magnetic fidget toys.

Milestone 2:  For this milestone we found out how much it would cost to make our products and how much we would sell them for. We also found out how much time it would take to make the product. Using the information we gathered we made charts to show the information.

Milestone 3:  For this milestone we used the data from the charts to make an equation.

Milestone 4:  For this milestone we put the equation into a graphing calculator.

Milestone 5:  For this milestone we made the final video.

Milestone 6:  For this milestone we made the blog post which I am doing right now.

As the answer to the driving question, it is actually quite easy to predict your finances for the future, you just have to know how much time it takes to make a certain amount of money, and how much money you are going to have to spend in that amount of time. (Money could be spent on rent, electric bills, taxes, or if you own a business then the money could be spent on startup costs.)

I learned a lot about jobs and how hard it is to make a good living during this project.

Before you go, I just want to say thank you to Mr. Harris for a great year, and I can’t wait for Gr.10

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and have a great day.

Screenplay

OPENING SCENE

(DRONE SHOT OF FOREST WITH TITLE OF MOVIE OVERLAID)

Cut to footage of trees (WORM’S EYE VIEW)

NARRATOR (V.O.)

When you think of rainforests, you probably think of the tropical rainforests of the amazon, filled with poison dart frogs and colourful but deadly plants.

(SKETCH OF AMAZON RIVER)

The Temperate Rainforest is quite like the typical tropical rainforest, but the temperate rainforests are located closer to the poles instead of at the equator.

BC’s temperate rainforests are lush with moss, fungi, and trees that tower over everything else

(FOOTAGE OF DEER FERN)

Here is the Deer Fern

The fern may seem very uninteresting, but it actually is the oldest known plant to ever exist

The Deer Fern has fibrous roots that allow it to collect water and nutrients with ease, which is why you see it everywhere.

(FOOTAGE OF PILEATED WOODPECKER)

The loud Pileated woodpecker can puncture through tough bark to eat the ants and other various bugs hiding in the tree

The pileated woodpecker has a wingspan of up to 77 cm

Now that we’ve seen the creatures that thrive at the top of the forest, let’s look at some a little closer to the ground.

(PANS FROM WORMS EYE VIEW TO BIRDS EYE VIEW)

(SHOW GARTER SNAKE)

This is the Common Garter Snake. This creature lives 

(ROTATING SHOT OF DOUGLAS FIR) 

This is a Douglas Fir

These trees are one of the tallest species of tree in the world. The Douglas Fir can grow to over 85 meters tall.

(SHIFT TO DRONE VIEW)

This fir tree is a living ecosystem, with moss thriving off the branches, squirrels and birds using the tree as their home, and various bugs living off of the nutrients that the tree pulls from the soil.

Even when the tree dies, termites and ants take shelter within the corpse of the great tree. Sometimes other trees grow out from the deceased plant, consuming the leftover nutrients and using it to grow.

Although these trees are majestic, they face massive threats from logging and deforestation. About 15 billion trees are cut down every year, and 42 million every day. That’s not even the only threat to these forest giants. Invasive species that are not native to BC take up valuable soil, water, and sunlight which could be used instead for the growth of the forests.

(Interview Portion)

Help protect these sacred forests. 

Making a Documentary! & Standing for Almost 5 Hours!

First Film

Films. Film are hard to make. For our last project we had to make a film. Now you may be aware of my Vibrant Video post, and if you have not read it I recommend you read it here.

The driving question for this project was: How can I engage and entertain an audience using my video and storytelling skills?

At the start of the First Film project we started out by filing out some sheet that we were supposed to show our interests in, and this sheet was supposed to help us come up with ideas for our documentary topic. I settled on BC’s Temperate Rainforests as my topic, which would kind of come to bite me in the back later. 

During this project we would watch a short documentary every few days, and the first one we watched was The Lost Forest, which is really cool, and you should watch it.

Then we learned interview etiquette, and how to record an interview. Recording a good interview is harder than you probably think, and I will leave the example video we made here. In the example video our question for the interviewee was their whether they liked pineapple on pizza or not, but the idea was almost scrapped because we were worried it was too political and the interviews might get heated.

When we were working on the interview video we were also watching this list of short documentaries, which was named Doc a Day.

Now we made our treatment and log line, did some research on our subjects, and then made our screenplays

Screenplay

After we had finished the screenplays, we made our storyboards.

Then we filmed for about a week, made a rough cut, edited for a few days, and we had our finished film.

One thing that I am willing to admit is that I barely got my documentary done in time for the exhibition, due to many reasons, 1. I am a professional procrastinator (probably not something I should brag about.) 2. You know how I said earlier that choosing temperate rainforests as my topic would not be a good decision? Well it just so happens that the day I go to start filming, it rains for almost 2 weeks, and most of my shots could not be filmed in the rain. Luckily I did get my doc done in time for the exhibition.

Now for the thing you have been waiting for: the answer to the driving question.

The audience can be engage and entertained by using different filming techniques, making it fun to watch, and hooking the viewer in the first few seconds.

Spring/Summer Exhibition

(Note:) Why is it called the spring exhibition when it takes place during the summer???

At the end of the First Film project we had our Summer Exhibition, and in the exhibition we decided to showcase our documentaries. For the exhibition we were split into groups, each group with a different topic for the exhibition. There was Intro, PBL Pathway, Beyond the Classroom, Tech for Learning, and Conclusion. I was in the Tech for Learning group, but we’ll get back to that later. We had to have 3 things: a themed food, an interactive activity, and a documentary showcase. The Intro group had cups of candy as the food, the pamphlets as the interactive activity, and they had a projector projecting the documentaries onto a whiteboard. They were located just outside of the main entrance to the school, and they had some grade 9s acting as students and teachers, which was showing how they thought that PLP was more effective than average school.

Next is the PBL Pathway group, and the were located inside the main PLP classroom, and they had marshmallows and toothpicks as one of their foods and interactive activities, in which you would use the marshmallows and toothpicks to make structures. They also had a interactive activity where you could make a drawing and put it up, and people would give the drawing kind, helpful, and specific feedback, and the feedback that best fit that criteria would get these brain candies, which was the second food that they gave. This was one of the most creative groups, and for their documentaries, they had a ingenious idea to take iPads, and put them into boxes where somebody could come up and look into the box, which amplified the sound for the person looking inside of the box, and increased the lighting quality for the person looking inside of the box without disrupting the people in other parts of the room.

After them was the Beyond the Classroom. Beyond the Classroom had a very fun interactive activity which I will get back to later, but for the food they had this watered down orange juice with orange juice concentrate that was pretty good, and they were located in room 217, which is right next to the main PLP room. They had the documentaries projected onto the wall and because they decided to do a theme of the Loon Lake Learning Advance (read my blog link here) they had iPads up with a slideshow of photos from Loon Lake. That’s also the reason why they gave out orange juice, as the juice was a very memorable part of Loon Lake due to a whole fiasco where the orange juice was taken away, but then we got back the orange juice and everybody celebrated. Going back to the exhibition, this group also had some grade 8’s acting out the laser tag and battle archery we had at loon lake. If you head out into the hall you would see the interactive activity that they made, which was extremely fun, and basically you would sit on a skateboard and pull this rope to go faster, and you would race the other person next to you. This station was supposed to represent canoe racing, and it was definitely my favourite interactive activity.

IMG_4344 IMG_4273

Now is my station, the Tech for Learning station. In the Tech for Learning station we had these cookies that were shaped like apps such as things, pages, and basecamp. We also had this “Pagerade” and “Keynoterade” which was originally just going to be orange and blue Gatorade, but that was too expensive so we just used this “Kool-Aid Drink Mix” and that was these tiny bottles of flavouring that you put into water to turn it into a coloured drink 🍹 

Behind that stand was our Vibrant Video stand. We had a projector for that station, but the projector did not work as well with the lights on, so we just used a iPad. If you have not read my Vibrant Video post you can read it here.

Our interactive activity was where you use the Action Movie app to make it look like you were being hit by a car or something similar. We also used a green screen to make it look like you were on a beach. I was at the documentary stand, and all I had to do was press the subtitles button every 5 minutes, so I spent most of my time substituting for people at the interactive activity station when they were on break.

Looking back on the exhibition, I think that some parts that could have gone better would probably be when I was setting up the projector, as I did not start setting up the projector until about five minutes before the exhibition started, which could have led to a few problems, but luckily it did not. Another thing that was not ideal during the exhibition was how we did not taste test the flavouring that we put into the drinks until the day of the exhibition. There was one flavour that I taste tested, but that happened to be the only flavour that did not have any problems. One of the flavours turned out to not be the colour that we wanted it to be, which created many problems, as then we had less of the colour that we wanted. Another problem that could have been avoided with testing was that the other flavour for the blue colour turned out to taste really bad, so we basically only had the orange flavour.

Looking back on the things that went well though, the interactive activity station was something that definitely went well, even though there was one iPad mishap, that station worked out almost perfectly and a lot of people liked it.

IMG_4258 IMG_4259 IMG_4260

Overall I think that this exhibition was probably my favourite out of all the ones we have done so far, except for the part where we had to stand for 5-ish hours. But other than that, it was the most fun exhibition we had so far, and the people who came to the exhibition seemed to like it as well.

I also want to thank the all teachers for making this happen.