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01-07-2007, 07:56 PM
Joe Fedenyszen -- May 2000 -- Offsite

Cast

Joe- Me, the eldest male in the family. Dominant? Having been a father for 30 years or so, I realize this behavior has somehow been lost in Homo sapiens.
Betty- My wife, who has always loved being a mother. That love is only surpassed with grandchild No. 1.
Rebecca, Beck, Becky-The eldest of our three children and mother of grandchild No. 1. Former CP CM Typhoon Lagoon lifeguard.
Glenn-Rebecca's husband of almost 7 years and father of grandchild No. 1.
Joshua, Shoo, Shua- Grandchild No. 1, two and a half years old.
What follows, started out as a brief report, but as brief reports go, soon expanded to a few installments. This is not as detailed as most trip reports may be, only because the trip was laid back. So laid back in fact, that some of you will wonder why we wasted 4 day park hoppers. What may appear as wasted days, I assure you, in our eyes, were not.

This is only the second time we've stayed off site in many, many visits to WDW. Though we prefer on site, the price here, was tough to beat.

Betty and I stayed off site in a condo with our daughter Rebecca, her husband Glenn and their two and a half year old, Joshua. The kids were on a 17 day car trip from Massachusetts to Florida and back with stops in between. On Sunday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m., they met us at MCO and we began our 6 night stay.

We headed off to the condo in Kissimmee, a short hop down 192 from WDW. What started out as short hops down 192 got much longer as the days went by in the unseasonably warm temperatures. I couldn't help comparing this stay with one last May, at the Boardwalk Villas, when temperatures and crowds were much more manageable than this May.

Betty and I were last at WDW this past December and attended the RADP meet. As usual, we had a great time at the parks and got to meet some of the RADP folks. When our daughter told us her and Glenn had the opportunity to use a friend's condo this coming May and invited us, it was tough to refuse. The price was certainly right, $0,000.00. We didn't even have to rent/hire a vehicle.

On the trip from MCO, Becky and Glenn suggested a drive through Celebration. They had been there earlier in the day and thought, since Betty and I had never taken the time to see it, we could now. Earlier, they had toured the model homes, but this early evening, we'll just check out the town. For those of you who have never been to Celebration, I think it's worth a drive through. The areas, now developed, have some very nice homes with well manicured property. My first impression, the place looked like a movie set, almost too perfect, but the longer we drove around, the more I warmed up to it, especially, some of the handsome Victorian homes. When we drove over to an area where the lots were just being sub-divided, it amazed me to see how many of them were already sold. Would I live there? Hmm, don't know.

Mistake number one was canceling our priority seating at 1900 Park Fair for this evening. I just thought, with our early evening flight arrival, we might have a hard time getting to a decent hour seating if something went wrong. We we're also hoping the characters would be Mickey and Minnie but understood it was Beauty and the Beast and we didn't know what effect the Beast would have on Joshua. If for some reason our flight was delayed or we had gotten tied up in some other way, I would have felt guilty missing our priority seating time. Silly us, even with our Celebration sojourn and luggage drop off at the condo, everything went off like clockwork and we wouldn't have had a problem. We decided to see if we could get into the Rainforest.

Trying to even find a handicap space in the "Village's" lot was tough. After we finally did, we had to weave Betty in her chair, with Joshua on her lap, through the thick crowd, towards the Cafe. This being Sunday night and thinking the 2+ hour wait for a 10:15 p.m. seating was nutso and might be the same at any other "Village" restaurant, we decided to try a trip around the corner to the Olive Garden, mistake number two. While I sat there eating a very salty chicken and pasta dish, visions of the Park Fair's buffet table danced through my head.

Before calling it an evening, Glenn and I dropped into Publix for a few essentials, milk, soda, cereal and the like. We couldn't find the barley or hops we wanted in the produce area, but we soon discovered they carried the liquid variety, so we stocked up.

MONDAY, MAY 8th

When we entered the Magic Kingdom this morning, I had to gasp. "Gasp". All I could see was a sea of heads moving down Main Street. A large stage set up at the foot of MS, above the park, was a sign we would be seeing the MK as we hadn't for many years. I couldn't help but think back, just a year ago, how quiet the parks had been. In fact, we've lucked out for quite a few years and always seemed to be here when the parks were fairly quiet, even last December. This seemed like a spring break crowd to me. Millennium Dreamers and their families appear to be from everywhere.

Becky and Glenn took Joshua on The Jungle Cruise and we all did Pirates. Ever since we came through the front gate, Joshua kept saying "ride twain" so we headed towards the station at Splash Mt.

Standing on the bridge at Splash Mt, again, all you could see was a sea of heads. From here, it was impossible to tell where the queue for Thunder Mt. even began.

Up on the platform, at the station, we decided to take a trip around the park plus one stop and get off at Toontown. It was better than trying to maneuver the wheelchair through this crowd again. It had been difficult enough getting here. We had to let one train pass as there was no wheelchair space and waited for the next. Conductor Bruce was not on either train. He must have been taking lunch over at the Brown Derby, the wonderful Grapefruit cake. :-)

Figuring Joshua had his twain fix and seeing that Toontown was wall to wall tykes, we walked the back "quiet" path to Tomorrowland and saved the Town till later. "Wacecars" were next up for the kid so his mom and dad waced him around while I videotaped the event and Betty sat in the shade.

When they were done wacing, the boy was starting to look beat. It was crash time for "Shua" so Betty and I volunteered to stroll back down the walk and sit in the shade while Joshua napped. Betty told his parents to catch a ride on Space Mt. and we would meet them when ever.

Sitting back there is very peaceful. It's just the muffled sounds of the speedway, occasional strollers and the train passing by every so often. Joshua must have napped an hour or so and was ready for Toontown.

When it was his turn to meet Mickey, he wasn't crazy about the idea. His mom had begun warning him, a month ago, that Mickey was almost as tall as his daddy. Well, actually, a little taller than mommy. We all survived the visit with the Mouse, however, and he left smiling.

Glenn was surprised when Joshua met the height requirement for the Barnstormer. When they got off, I expected to see a frightened child, but was greeted, instead, with a big smile. He loved it. As soon as he saw the water play area at the Stormer's exit, he wanted in. Being as warm and humid as it was, Becky had brought a change of clothing for him in case this kind of opportunity arose. After endless splashing and running with Glenn watching over him and trying to dodge squirting water, it was time for drying off and changing. With just coffee and cereal at the condo this morning, we were getting a little hungry.

It was tough trying to find a table in Cosmic Ray's. The place was loaded with hungry folks including Millennium kids, parents and their CM escorts. I told Betty and Rebecca, if they could look hungry and tired enough, which wasn't hard, maybe some kind folks would pass on seats to them. Glenn and I then left to hustle up some burgers and chicken.

By the time we had all done Winnie the Pooh, It's A (ugh) Small World and Joshua and family Dumbo'd, Pan'd and Carrousel'd, it was nearing fireworks time. We decided on our spot. It's next to the Castle's exit. It was funny seeing folks setting up cameras behind the Castle expecting to see bursts over it from that direction. Maybe they thought fireworks were shot off the Castle itself.

After ooing and ahhing with the best of 'em, we took our time heading out of the park. Passing Mickey and Minnie, who were dressed to the nines, Mickey in a tux and Minnie in a gown, Mickey tipped his top hat to Betty. There must have been a special party for the Millennium crew this evening. DJ's were setting up, folks were entering the park and kids were being videotaped and interviewed all over the place while we still had that "short" ride down 192. Boy, the Poly was sure looking good right now.

Tuesday, May 9th

During this weeks stay, we had all agreed not to use an alarm or rush to get out the door. Actually, we let Joshua be our alarm. He went around and woke everyone up after he had a solid nights sleep. In all fairness to him, it was a must after some of the hours we kept. We worked from what became his sleep schedule, not ours.

All of us are well seasoned. Even Joshua, if you can imagine, is a DL and WDW vet. We were of the mind, if we don't see it this trip, we'll catch it the next. It's been a little while since Rebecca and Glenn have been at the parks so, on this trip, we concentrated on things they would like to see. After all, Betty and I are "their" guests.

We pulled into a handicapped space at the Animal Kingdom around 9:30. It's already quite warm and growing more humid by the minute. For someone who doesn't mind hot weather, I wasn't ready for this. As a New Englander, I have to get weaned into these temperatures, not have it hit me square in the face. It was cool when we left Boston the other day, but today, we're only 2 degrees off the record high temperature of 95 with humidity to match. Good thing we brought along frozen bottles of water today.

We missed the next Festival of the Lion King performance so decided to get Fast Pass'd at the Safari, come back for the next Lion King, have a late breakfast, then do the Safari. This worked pretty slick. We were back in time for the Lion King seating. Even though all of us have been to the Animal Kingdom before, this show was a first. In itself, IMOHO, almost worth the price of admission. Kind of like a mini Cirque de Soleil meets Lion King. It even kept Joshua's attention. Sitting in the wheelchair section of the Warthog area, we felt right in the middle of the action. At the conclusion of this performance, there were ten thumbs up.

After a late breakfast, more like a brunch, at the Tusker House, we were ready for our Safari. This is the first time we've ridden the Safari in such warm weather and more than likely the reason animal sightings were few. In the cooler past, no matter what time of day we rode, there were plenty of beasts around. The highlight of this drive though, were the giraffes, right along the roadside. If it weren't for the "keep your hands inside the moving vehicle" rule, you could have ripped the greens from their jaws. Well, almost.

On the Forest trail, I was disappointed when we came into the Gorilla viewing area and the Silverback wasn't behind the glass. I find him such a fascinating animal. He has such an aura, like he 'da man and he knows it. When we rounded the bend, all the lowland gorillas were running up a storm on the left hand side of the trail, climbing, shaking the trees and just whooping it up. On the right hand side of the trail we caught up with Mister Silverback. What a sight. He was standing at the top of the waterfall, stretching his arm down to catch water into his hand, bringing it back up to his mouth to drink. Holy Might Joe Young! I thought that looked sooo cool.

The mid afternoon was now getting hot. After finding out the next few performances of Flights of Wonder were cancelled, we decided to leave the park for the afternoon, pool it and come back another day to see it. Walking towards the exit, I was thinking how much I like it here. This is beautiful park. I can't see why some people don't care for it. They should see it for the achievement it is. I reiterate, It's amazing what someone can do with a backhoe and a rake

Back at the condo, the pool is a relief from the afternoon heat. Between splashes and dives, plans are made for this evening. We decide to take in the "Village" and try for seating at the Rainforest. Gee, Glenn and I should really do something with that hops and barley before it goes bad

It is a warm evening at the "Village". We have gifts in mind for our other daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Scott, as well as our son Joel. Anything having to do with golf satisfies the boys and anything having to do with Pooh, Sarah will love. So it's golf shirts for the boys with Sarah getting a Pooh tea pot.

This evening, there is only, "only" an hour wait at the Rainforest. Glenn collects his time and we proceed to make our way over to the other side of the Marketplace.

I'm a glutton for punishment. We decide to look around the World of Disney store and it is chaotic. Early evening, it's "the" best place to go and test your patience and endurance. At this time of day the CMs who work in the infant and toddler section must have nerves of steel :-). On the whole, the store really needs a few $15.00 and under registers. Ya, you can find stuff for under 15 bucks there. Going in, this time of day, just makes me want to get out quickly. The Art of Disney, on the other hand, is such a peaceful place as is most any other store there. World of Disney and all, I still enjoy the hell out of the Marketplace.

The meal at the Rainforest is, well, a meal at the Rainforest. It is certainly adequate. At first, I was annoyed when, upon arrival, people rushed around us when we were asked to continue down to the Gorilla room. I felt vindicated when we were the first party called and I had to get Betty's wheelchair through the fifteen or twenty people who rushed ahead. Some of their toes looked awfully tempting.

Instead of having desert there, we, again, cross the Marketplace and hit up Ghirardelli's. Rather than anything chocolate, Betty and I split a small butterscotch sunday with coffee ice cream. Hey, don't knock it till ya' tried it. The kids split the hot fudge creation.

Tomorrow, we'll stick around the swimming pool for the morning, then head over to Epcot.

Wednesday, May 10

Glenn and I were out of the door while the others were getting ready for the pool. We went down the corner to see if the Perkins restaurant had take out breakfast. They did, so we put in our order and had a coffee while we sat in the foyer waiting for it. When it showed up, I tipped the server a few dollars and we headed out, chow in tow.

When breakfast was done, we went out to the pool for some sun and fun. Becky, besides other endeavors, is a high school diving coach. She had Joshua doing one and one half twists in a pike position, no, no, just jumping, into the pool. He shows no fear of the water, something they have to keep an eye on.

When Shua woke up from his nap, we drove over to the Boardwalk, my favorite resort, pulled into valet, unloaded Betty's chair and walked over to the International Gateway and Epcot. Pluto was one of the characters at the Gateway and Joshua made a beeline to him. It surprised all of us considering the cool reception he had given Mickey the other day. Kids, go figure. After snapping some photos with the characters, we headed towards Test Track, an attraction Becky and Glenn have yet to experience. On our way over, a strange sound catches my ear. It sounds like "Dueling Banjos" only being played by electric guitar and bagpipes. After many visits to Epcot, this is our first time being entertained by Off Kilter. I'm surprised they didn't attract a larger crowd than they did. An unusual blending off instruments they pull off quite well. I really enjoyed their cover of Dick Dale's version of Miserlou.

Test Track is not running so Beck and Glenn collect some Fast Passes, good for riding over 3 hours away. We proceed to see "just Ellen" learn everything there is to know about energy then move out to another first for us, Ice Station Cool. I had to see what all this fuss was concerning Beverly. It does turn out to be a very nasty soft drink which, I think, not even a jigger or two of Bacardi would improve. All of the other flavors taste good though.

Since Betty and I had missed Journey Into Your Imagination last trip, I have to see for myself what precipitates so much net venom. W e l l, come - on - gang, at least it's better than what's presently the attraction over at Horizons, albeit not much. What's worse, riding JIYI or watching that building come down? Hmmmm. Apparently, so much money was spent on the post show area, there wasn't much left for the ride itself. Maybe,,, if you caught the ride vehicle right inside the door, as before, then ride up the ramp queue, go through the present ride, actually ride out of the post ride area while Kodak photographs the look on your face, then into HISTA? Could you "imagine" that? :-)

We're at Le Cellier a half hour early for our 6:30 seating so they give us a pager and we head out to watch Off Kilter again. As soon as we get there, the pager starts to vibrate in my pocket, oow. We have a table for six in the middle of the dinning room. Our server is named Mohammed and he's from Missouri??????? OooK. Kind of surprising when your expecting, maybe, Mary Ellen or Mark from Manitoba.

Le Cellier, for the past few years, has been my favorite Epcot restaurant. It won me over from Alfredo's. Now I think it's time to give Alfredo's another try. This is the first time, in a bunch of visits, I was disappointed with the meal. Hey, maybe it was an off night or somethin'. Maybe next time, maybe in December, I'll give them both a try. THEN, I'll make up my mind. The problem you ask. The prime rib was tasteless and tough. Ya, I shoulda' got the fillet. The old shoulda', coulda', woulda,. Becky got the petit fillet and loved it. Joshua had the gormet chicken fingers. Glenn, Betty and I had the Prime Rib. Glenn's was good, Betty's and mine were not. However, the rest of dinner was fine. No, I won't give up the cellar this easily. Mohammed (MOHAMMED?) was a good guy and server. He treated Joshua like a little prince.

We hoof it up to the nearest available spot to watch the Tapestry of Nations parade. MY GOODNESS! We find ourselves in front of the beer cart to the side of the Rose and Crown. What a place to be stuck! Right Kevin? (if you're with us).

This parade is an interesting piece of work. Joshua doesn't quite know what to make of it. Especially when the huge figures reach their hands down to him. I'm curious what his mind sees. Is it people supporting large puppets or the large creatures themselves? Then I wonder, what came first, the music or the look (art direction?)? I should have picked up the book on the parade's creation.

Joshua, Betty and I follow the parade while Rebecca and Glenn go over to Test Track and collect on their Fast Pass. We are on our way to the IllumiNations wheelchair seating area near Italy. We'll meet up with Beck and Glenn there.

Betty didn't feel well the evening we were suppose to see the new IllumiNations this past December. We were staying at the Wilderness Lodge then, where she managed to sleep off most of a virus that night. This evening, however, she and Joshua have a front row seat. At the end of the shows introduction, I thought the blowing out of the torches surrounding the Showcase Lagoon was a nice touch. We sat there and were dazzled by the display. Never, since I saw IllumiNations years ago, that very first time, have I so thoroughly enjoyed this show. Imagineers will have to go some to top this.

Becky and Glenn catch up with us just before the finale. After riding Test Track, they caught most of the display on there way over. Once it ended, we sit on the benches and wait for the crowds to thin out.

We slowly walked back towards the International Gateway taking in the music and lights around the World Showcase. We even took the long way back to the Boardwalk, past the Yacht and Beach Club, then up over the bridge near, as Joshua puts it, the big Goose'n Pish (Swan and Dolphin).

Glenn wanted to take Joshua and Beck for a surrey bike ride around the lake, but we arrive at the rental desk 15 minutes too late. The next best thing would have to be ice cream from Seashore Sweets. As they sat on the benches next to the lake, eating their ice cream, I stood at the railing surveying the water. I was recalling to Glenn the events which led to the duck flying into some guy's head last May. A very cartoonish experience.

Even in the low light you could see the trash floating in the lake, near the walk, cups, wrappers and napkins. You wouldn't expect this at the Boardwalk, but I guess there's people who don't care everywhere. Does someone come out in a boat and clean it each night? I never noticed, they must. Hey, now there's a Trimobius title up for grabs. 'Your name/sig_____________, Capt. of the scow and janitor to Crescent Lake

It was time for that short ride down 192, yawning all the way. Boy, the Boardwalk (did I mention it was my favorite resort) was looking pretty good now. Joshua has it down pretty pat. First we have to pass the big doll, then the big golf ball and lastly, the big orange before we get to Poinciana Blvd.. That's a huge inflatable doll at a Wendy's, a huge golf ball on a tee at some golf store and the huge orange dome of Orangeworld or Citrisworld or what ever.

Tomorrow, it'll be our first time giving Universal's Islands of Adventure a look see. G'night.

Thursday, May 11th

I'm kind of bumming today. It was a few weeks ago we had e-mailed our Congressman for a car pass to Kennedy Space Center to witness today's launching of Atlantis. A few days before Betty and I came down to Florida, we got the pass and a terrific poster of the space shuttle's flight deck. I'm bumming because the launch has been put out to next Thursday, the 18th and we'll be home. I wanted to bring it to the parks and see if I could give it away to a CM, but as it turns out, I forgot all about it.

Glenn and I are back over at the Perkins restaurant picking up breakfast again. Yesterday's tip must have gone a long way. Instead of sitting on the benches in the foyer, they have us sit in one of the booths with never ending cups of coffee. The server doesn't seem to believe me when I tell her all I need is about six to eight ounces of joe and I'm good for the day. She doesn't want to hear it and keeps filling me up. Never being one to pass up a freebee, like a nut, I keep on drinking. When the order comes, we leave a few dollars tip and I head out to the men's room while Glenn gets the air in the car going. If this morning is any indication, today will be a another scorcher.

I was kind of hoping we would first be able to get in another couple hours of pool time but am out voted and we're soon pulling into the valet area of Universal's CityWalk. Now this is a place I would love to see some before and after shots of. I enjoy roaming the Walk in California. This past April we were there when a new section of it was opened. Here, in Florida, it's much more spread out. It is totally different. The Hard Rock now looks like the Coliseum in Rome and there's a lake in front of it. I'd like to know if this is the original building with an addition.

We buy our tickets and find out there's no discount on a one day pass. As we walk through, I admire the entrance to Islands of Adventure . We soon realize there's not much Joshua can do and even less, it appears, for Betty. It is, for all intensive purposes, a scream park. To make a long, hot day short, this is what we did:

Becky and Glenn, the Hulk coaster. Becky, Glenn and Joe, the Hulk coaster Beck and Joe, Spiderman. Becky and Glenn, Spiderman Glenn and Joe, Dueling Dragons, Fire Glenn and Becky. Dueling Dragons, Fire and Ice Joshua, Glenn and Beck The Suess carrousel and One fish, two etc.. All of us, The Cat in the Hat All of us, the Triceratops Encounter and some of the hands on stuff.

The rest of the time we just try to stay cool. The coasters were, of course, awesome. Spiderman is a neat idea. I hope we'll be seeing more of this ride technology in the future. I really liked the Triceratops Encounter. There was a CM who looked exactly like John Hammond greeting you at the "barn" where the beast was kept. The humming electrical fence surrounding the area was a nice touch. The themeing around the park, I thought, was pretty good. You knew you weren't in a Disney park, though, when crowds of high schoolers, some shirtless, were running around screaming and yelling. They weren't misbehaving, just running, screaming and yelling , something I've never seen at the parks down the street.

It's a shame there was not much for Betty to do. We could take her wheelchair on Cat in the Hat, but little else. This turned out to be a rather unpleasant experience. Her wheelchair was not fastened down to the ride vehicle as well as it should have been. This ride spins and turns repeatedly so the chair moved in ways not easily controlled by her. Seems IOA CM's could use more training in this area. When a Disney CM fastens down a chair, it doesn't move.

Betty has a medical implant which keeps her away from "violent" rides. She has been on CTX, Temple of Doom and all the Mountain rides at DL and WDW before she had her implant, but nixes them now, so no Spiderman. Now, it's only smooth rides. She's just content to have Joshua sit and nap on her lap.

We only checked out most of the other attractions. It looks like a definite soaking at Rickshaw Falls. The Popeye ride was down, not even any water in the river. We've been on the big drop dinosaur ride in California. I thought the Jurassic Park Island was themed the best, while the Doctor Suess Island was second. Some of the structures where interesting, especially in the Sinbad show area. What can you say? You have to give Universal some credit. I don't think they totally failed. What they have is a park for young/adult thrill seekers and school age children. Becky and Glenn will come back when Joshua is a few years older.

It's now approaching 8:00 p.m. and IOA is closing at 8:30. It really has been a warm and exhausting day. Joshua has stood up remarkably well, maybe even better than memere Betty. What we all need is some cool air and a bit to eat. Rather than eat in the park, we decide to hit Daryl's on I-Drive, on our way out. It would have been nice to try Margaritaville or one of the other places at the Walk, but think that could be another time. About now, Joshua could use someplace fairly quaint and quiet. This evening, Daryl's, believe or not, was that.

Friday, May 12th

Just some coffee and fruit at the condo and we're out to the pool. This is going to be another warm one. Not many folks here are into using the pool I guess, there's hardly ever anyone here.

The plan of attack today is, after the pool, drive over to the AK, have a light lunch and see Flights of Wonder. I think Joshua, Rebecca and Glenn would enjoy it. Later, this afternoon, we can spend some time at the Studio.

As Glenn gets the air going, I pack the wheelchair into the trunk. Becky gets Joshua into his car seat and Betty gets comfortable riding shotgun (I haven't used that term in looong time).

It's around 12:30 when we sit down to lunch at Pizzafari. The queue's are long at the registers. The Animal Kingdom appears to be loaded with school groups today and most of 'em are in Pizzafari. Again, the girls with Joshua in tow, find a table, while Glenn and I get the lunches. It doesn't seem to take long and we are doing a balancing act getting the food back to the table.

Hey, call me silly, but I like the Flights of Wonder. It's a good demonstration of natural avian behavior in a controlled environment. It keeps Joshua's interest, MOST of the time.

Thinking this might turn out to be a late night, we decide, after some shopping, on returning to the condo. This will let Joshua take an honest to goodness air-conditioned nap. We'll all be leaving the condo tomorrow. Betty and I to catch a flight home and for the kids, to their next stop, Disney's Golf Resort at Hilton Head, SC. While Joshua naps, we can organize and pack what we can.

It seems to have cooled down a little and the crowd is kind of large trying to get into the Studio. I never expected this many folks to be entering at 5:30 in the afternoon. It takes us a few minutes before we're standing on Hollywood Blvd. We came over to the Studio to just do Rock N' Roller Coaster and see Fantasmic. It will be awhile before we can ride the coaster, so we collect Fast Passes then decide to check out the Bear in the Big Blue House area. While walking there, we look at the park guide and realize they close these shows early and we had missed the last one. At least Joshua is content to sit on Betty's lap while she points out things to him as we stroll. When he tires of this, he sits on Glenn's shoulders or walks hand in had with his mom, me or even Betty.

Back at the coaster, Glenn and I use the first two Fast Passes. I didn't know what to expect here, but it took longer to get on the ride than I thought. In the "it's a small world" category, when we start a conversation with a couple people in front of us, we find out all four of us live within 10 miles of each other. Neither of them had known each other. They had also, just started talking.

I think the ride is great fun. The quick start isn't nearly as bad as it looks when you first see it. You get the idea your cheeks will be pulled back to your ears, giving you that Steve Tyler look to your mouth. Glenn and I don't even check out the Aerosmith shop. We're getting within an hour of Fantasmic and he still has to ride with Becky. The plan is, if they're not out in 20 minutes, Betty, Joshua and I will leave for the show and try to meet them in wheelchair seating. Well, 15 minutes go by and they're out of there and we're out of here. When we get to the street entrance of Fantasmic, a CM tells us there is no more wheelchair seating. Wow, it 40 minutes before show time and they're gobbled up already. We ask him if we can try anyway and he says sure. About half way up the walk we are stopped by 2 other CMs, one of which tells us he thinks there is no more wheelchair seating, but he'll see what he can do. He then calls all the areas to ask for availability. They all come back, none. He apologizes and says there has been a large amount of wheelchairs this evening. He apologizes once more.

Becky and Glenn do not seem real disappointed. They say they'll catch it some other time. I feel bad. If it wasn't for Aerosmith holding us up, we'd have seating, no problem. This would have been the third time Betty and I would have seen Fantasmic. Glenn comments that Fantasmic was the only thing on his to do list he wasn't able to do. If this was the worst it got, then he wasn't all that disappointed.

On our way back down the walk, Glenn suggests we go back over to the Boardwalk. He, Becky and Joshua would at least be able to get in that surrey ride they couldn't do the other night. I think it's a great idea. I love the atmosphere there and wouldn't mind just hanging out. Did I mention it was my favorite resort?

By the time we get out of the Studio's lot and over to valet at the Boardwalk, IllumiNations is just ending. This being Friday night, I expect a big crowd when we get down to the walk, with all the Epcot folks and it wouldn't be long before the boats would be dropping of the Fantasmic people either.

It takes Glenn a few minutes to get their surrey as there are several families in the queue. As no surprise, there is quite a few people here and all the bike drivers will have to keep their eyes open for stray tourists. I ready the camera's, both still and video and take my position, near Jellyrolls, for their first lap.

The Atlantic Dance Hall has DJ's out front and right now, the crowd is a bit thinner here. When the kids come around the Dance Hall, Joshua is ringing the bike's bell for all he's worth. There was never a two and a half year old who met a bell he didn't love. They stop and I snap off a couple shots and video a bit till they're on their way again. Sitting on the bench, next to Betty, I comment about being so close to Jellyrolls and not being sucked in. She laughs, she knows it's another one of my favorite places. I'll have to save our visit in for our next trip.

I think I can hear a bell clanging. It takes a few minutes to get here, but yup, it's Joshua. Here comes Joshua and there goes Joshua. Clang, clang, clang. Holy smoke, there's people diving out of the way in the front of the Big River Grille :-). They make it around the lake four times before they have to return the surrey.

Seems everyone, except Betty and I, would like ice cream again this evening. Betty would like a shake, and as I passed the (coffee?) stand on the corner, the Kiwi ice gets my attention. Betty just wants a vanilla shake, but I talk her into a black and white, chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream.

It's time for that short hop back to the condo. The Boardwalk is looking even better tonight. We know it's our last night and what's even worse, Betty and I have to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight tomorrow. This means we have to be up at 4:30 a.m. If we were staying at the Boardwalk, we'd be almost asleep by now.

May 13th, Saturday

The sunrise here is a little later than it is at home so it's still dark out as we head down 417. It was great being able to take so much advantage of Glenn, er, I mean it was super of Glenn to get up so early and take us to the airport. He still has to drive up to Hilton Head today.

Betty and I board the 3/4 full plane and it leaves on time. We get as comfortable as we can get on a plane and I pull out Michael Crichton's Timeline. In what seems like only a matter of minutes, we're landing at Logan. It's 9:30 a.m. and it seems like only moments ago we were at McCoy. We taxi up to the terminal. The flight attendant opens the plane's door to the jetway, looks at Betty and I and says "Brrrr, it's 50 degrees". I ask if her crew is Orlando based . She says "Yes".

Now I can see the reason for her "brrr"

I ask "Is this flight going right back down to the warmth of Orlando?"

She raises an eyebrow, smiles and answers

"Does Pumba fart in the jungle."

Joe Fedenyszen