Time of Year: Summer
Travel Method: Plane, Shuttle Service
Accommodations: Standard Room
Ages Represented in Group: Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Infrequent
Comments: The newlywed Lees spent several days at Caribbean Beach Resort for their honeymoon. Li-Bong's report covers a lot of "honeymoon" information, as well as typical details and information that is useful for any WDW trip
Trip Report 6/9/97 - 6/13/97
Jim Lee (1st year/2nd year grad student) and Li-Bong Wei (now a Lee), soon to be grad student- Newlyweds! (both 23) I usually post to r.a.d.p. using Dr. Wei (my dad's account), but now that we've moved I'm using my account again (less reliable) firstname.lastname@example.org eventually I'll have my account here at princeton. We're both in chemical engineering. The last time he was there, there was just Epcot and MK. I've been there three times last visit was when Splash Mtn opened. Went to Disneyland once, 3 yrs ago.
BTW, I will be writing this as a somewhat sequential event by event, plus a lot of little side notes/thoughts. I also tried to include how much things cost (I know it helped us when we were trying to budget) including souvenirs. The restaurant costs include tax but not tip (we did tip however).
This trip was to be our honeymoon. When we were planning the wedding, there was this whole issue of a budget. I thought it would end up that we wouldn't have a honeymoon but we decided that we would be able to afford one, plus our parents insisted that we take one. So we had to decide where. Hmm. At first we were thinking cruise. But when I looked into it, I wasn't sure we could get the quality we wanted for the money we were willing to spend (about 2k). I know cruises can be done on that amount, but as first time cruisers, why risk it? So then I started to thinking, Disney. All those commercials on tv got me hooked. And eventually convinced him too. He is not a disney nut. But he is a star wars nut, so MGM was kinda a draw for him. So, it was disney.
And I would like to point out that this is the ONLY part of the wedding that I felt I had complete control (well, we did get into a slight argument over which credit card to use).
As soon as we booked the reception hall, I booked the plane tickets, on Delta $124 roundtrip from Baton Rouge to Orlando. I booked them so early (Oct. 1996 for June 1997) we kept getting schedule changes of about 5 minutes every month. Then I called CRO and DTC. And some other places. I tried GM vacations, but the lady never got back to me. The travel agents here kept trying to set me up with these "great packages" that DTC was offering for about $40 less. When I called DTC and they gave me the prices for their packages. I decided to do it myself instead after I figured out the cost of each thing individually.
BTW, when trying to figure out if it would be worth joining MKC, it wasn't if we were going to be in the moderate resorts for only 4 nights.
We knew we wanted to stay onsite. At least _I_ knew we wanted to stay onsite. We couldn't really afford the deluxe resorts, but it would have been possible if desired. We weren't going to stay at the all-stars for our honeymoon. So we got our choices down to the moderates and WL, BC, and possibly GF. GF got ruled out quickly. If we were going to spend that much I really wanted to stay at the Beach Club instead. WL got ruled out because he is not so much an outdoorsy type of guy and wouldn't really appreciate it. (I think I would have loved it) So that left the moderates and the BC. We didn't want DxL or PO. We're both from Baton Rouge, and we've both worked in New Orleans for awhile. If we wanted southern living we would have just gone to a B&B here. So that left CBR and BC. I called CRO, and whaddyaknow, the BC is booked up for those dates. Now, I know lots of y'all say to just keep calling in the morning til you get them. But I believe in providence, so I figure that must be a sign to go with CBR. And so we did. And it was indeed providence because it turns out Jim wasn't too impressed by the Beach Club. Oh well.
For our wedding night we had booked a room at the Radisson here in BR. It was a good rate at $65/night, wedding special. They have an airport shuttle that could drive us to the airport since we didn't want to bother our folks with a 6:30 am flight. So we checked in, got our room and I washed all the crap out of my hair. Later that night I went to go grab my towel and what do I find? Several little fire ants. Not a good thing. SO I look around a little more. There's little ants all over the wall. I keep looking. They were EVERYWHERE. It was so disgusting I nearly freaked out. Needless to say I started throwing things back in the suitcases, and called the front desk, told them the problem. They asked if we wanted maintenance or a new room. A new room of course. I hate fire ants more than roaches, it has something to do with when I was around 6 and dug my foot in an ant pile (called stupidity). They put us on concierge floor which was slightly nicer than our other room, but I would just as soon not as moved to begin with.
Day One 6/9/97
We woke up at 5 to catch the shuttle. Delta puts its crew at the Radisson so we rode with them. The trip was uneventful, there were some other people going to WDW, some for their senior trip and such. Just looking at all the people I figured WDW was going to be packed. When we got to the orlando airport (great airport) 10 minutes late, Norm from Florida Town Car was waiting for us. He told us where to stand to pick up our luggage. Everyone else was standing at what looked to be where the luggage would enter, but when it started, it turns out they were at the exit. You should have seen the rush to get by the entrance (on the side - why? Your luggage is eventually going to pass you wherever you stand, right?) His car was very clean and he was nice to talk to. Though at times I thought we might be going a little too fast. It turns out he was a carpenter back in NY.
He dropped us off at CBR. I was very excited to see all the purple road signs. It's like a beacon that you've entered another world. Checkin was slow. There was this guy going through the line taking down info from people on some sheet of paper and you give that to the people at checkin. Well, he gets to the guy in front of me and they ask questions for about one full length of line. Any of the questions he asked could be answered in a guide book and such. Irregardless, the CM was very nice and courteous (I on the other hand was beginning to get a bit exasperated). When we finally checked in (express checkout, room charges please, and LOS passes), it was about 2 pm. The luggage system is confusing, but we figured it out after circling around the building.
The checkin guy put us in Jamaica 4411. Jamaica is the very pretty yellow and blue village We had requested a king, Jamaica or North Trinidad, courtyard view. We didnt get the king bed, but I think that worked out better.
*Our Room*, Jamaica 4411, we think, is perfect. It was close to the bus stop and it was close to the village pool and it was close to Parrot Cay. If we come back to CBR we are going to request this one. The room was very clean. The decor was nice. I like the light tone of the wood and the accent wallpaper with the fish. The bench is nice but we moved it next to the sinks under the clothes hangers to double as extra counter space. There was no key for the mini-fridge, but we hadn't any plans to use it or the coffee maker. I think it was convenient to have the second bed just to put things on it. And there was some floor space to put things there as well, but why put it on the floor when you have the extra bed? The bathroom/vanity area was better and more convenient than the one at the Radisson. This room had no ants and seemed much more cleaner. Our maid would arrange the face towels in a fan shape with another towel at the base and put our toothbrushes in it. And I kept the soap for my younger sister (it's the one thing she wanted from WDW besides a Muppet).
After we slightly unpacked, we went to OPR. There, I got a cheese pizza and two mugs for us (a WDW 25th, and a CBR one), and he got a hamburger. I found the pizza slightly salty. Total cost (including mugs): $ 24.73
We went back to our room to change and get ready to go to Epcot. I originally had priority seating reservations for 6 at Cape May but we changed them to 7:30, since we had just eaten. During this call, it turns out that the PS had already been cancelled, so the CM and I went one by one through my other PS ressies, they were fine. We packed up the fanny pack, got the maps, camera, booksack, step outside, and it's pouring. So we went back in took two of the ponchos that they have in the room and headed out.
We got to Epcot and just wander around a bit. I always find FutureWorld slightly disorienting. We went to check the message board, while we were there discussing it *in English, maybe with a southern accent, but still in English*, one of the too helpful CM's asked if we needed a map in Japanese. It would have been cool to get one and send it to my Ghanian friend in Japan.
We checked the message board and it said Universe of Energy was a walk on.
So we head over there and the show had just started. It's pretty good. I must say I like it over the other one. The first time I had been to Epcot was with my uncle, who worked at Exxon so we skipped the line (I recall that day being very hot and the line very long), but boy was it boring. This is much improved. We got a whole row by ourselves. Jim thought it was good too. In fact this is one of the ones he wanted to do again and he doesn't grasp the concept of why people like to do rides they've done before (i.e. me, but I love him anyways).
After UoE, we went to the Wonders of Life pavillion and played with all the stuff. I'm a big fan of playing with all the 'educational' stuff. I find them fun and amusing. Anyways, Jim is in the perspective room, when I feel this tap on my shoulder, it's a friend from high school that I hadn't seen since. Weird who you run into. (Jim and I went to high school together, so she knew Jim too, however, she didn't know we had gotten married, so gave her quite a shock). Cranium Command was about to start, so we went to see that, we were one of the last ones admitted into the showing. I love this show. We skipped Body Wars since it had a long wait, and went to Horizons, a walk on. I love this ride. Very peaceful. Very old, but still good.
By this time it was after 6, so we decided to start walking to the Beach Club. They are doing some sort of work on Canada. Went to England, just missed the British Invasion. We were going to get this lady (we think she was from the shops) to take a picture of us, but she never responded when we spoke to her. Hmph. We got some other people instead. That's one of the things I love about WDW, strangers are usually *nice*. (we only had one other person refuse to take a picture for us, I think he didn't understand english).
Then we head over to the Beach Club. I love it. It's gorgeous. Quiet, peaceful. I would really like to one day stay there. Jim looked at it and thought that if you had one of those far rooms you'd have a long way to walk. Get to Cape May which is in Ariel's temporarily and get seated right away. The waiter informs us that there aren't any steamed items since they aren't in their old location. Oh well. I was looking forward to it too. Instead there were some fried items. Everything was really good, we both enjoyed it. Except for our waiter. He was so slow! Total Cost: $ 48.13
After dinner, we headed back to Epcot. We passed by Stormalong Bay. Very nice. There weren't that many people in the pool since I guess it was slightly raining. I had originally thought we would grab a spot to watch Illuminations. But we decided to skip Illuminations *on the side - you never really know a person until you marry him, all this time I had been planning on catching the parades and fireworks at all three parks since well, I love parades and fireworks (well I _like_ parades, but I do love fireworks), turns out _he_ doesn't really care for it. We went to Jouney into Imagination, no wait and no one else there, so we sang along real loud and talked to Figment alot. We spent alot of time in the playroom. There weren't that many kids to fight for stuff. Jim really liked the music maker one (with the hands). I like the place with the lights and music (where you can run through them).
After we were through with the room, Illuminations had just started so we decided to hop to monorail to MK to catch the last two hours of it as well.
The Cake isn't *that* bad. MK was still rather packed and Main Street was still full from the parade (I'm assuming). We headed over to Adventureland and did the Jungle Cruise (no wait). I don't know why I never did this one at night. It is sooo much better at night. You get the foggy swamp effect too. Then we went on Pirates of the Carribean, 10 minute wait. The last thing we did was Splash Mountain, 30 minute wait. We figured that was going to be the shortest wait we were going to have for it unless we were willing to do MK early entry. I love this ride. Jim had never been on it, so he didn't know exactly when the big drop was coming, anticipation killed him. we bought the picuture for it ($10.55). By this time it was 11 pm so we missed the fireworks. We took our time going down mainstreet and looked for the minnie and mickey bride and groom hats. When we got to Le Chapeau, this other couple had just taken the last pair. So I took that as another providence thing. In the end, I'm glad we didn't get them.
The bus back to CBR was crowded. Turns out, the bus was also going to BC, YC, and the Boardwalk. I was talking to the lady going to the BW and she said the bus driver told her that this was going to be the last bus from the parks. We both thought that was odd because we had been told that the buses run for 2 hours after park closing and it was only 12. So she was told to take the CBR bus. Well, nobody got off at BC or YC. And the lady I was talking to was the only one to get off at the BW. BTW, I wasn't so interested in the BW at first, but after looking at it, I wouldn't mind exploring the area. The CBR bus then started at Barbados first. So we were the last ones off the bus. This is also different since Barbados is supposed to be the last stop.
Very exhausting first day.
Day 2, 6/10/97 Tuesday
We slept late. It's our honeymoon, leave us alone.
Today was the day we had planned for MK. We headed to Old Port Royale (woke up too late for breakfast), filled our mugs and headed to the MK. It was packed (around 10:30 am). The first thing we did was go back to Le Chapeau, they had a new supply of bride and groom hats, but I decided I didn't want them and got regular mouse ear hats with our names on them. ($10.60) I made us wear them that day. They were cute and the pictures with us in them is really cute too. I will be posting some of the pics on his web page. We cut through the Plaza and did the Carousel of Progress - no wait. I really like this one. I find it neat to see all the different styles of appliances. After CoP, we did the People Mover, no wait. Last time, my sisters and I sat through the People Mover 3 times it was so relaxing. We then did the Time Keeper (no wait). We both really like this show. I knew it was a circle vision thing (which neither of us normally don't like), but this one's effects were really good and the show was really funny.
The line for Alien Encounter was 45+ minutes long and Space Mountain was all the way past Geigers Counter. So we skipped them both and had lunch at Cosmic Rays (hamburger and rotisserie chicken $ 9.66). After lunch (the place was very crowded and the food okay) we headed off into fantasyland. Mr Toad had a wait so we skipped it (I did want to look for Rapunzel though). Snow White had only a 5-7 minute wait, so we went on that. Boy has it changed. I like the old one better. Much better. This one is just so tame.
We went ahead and waited in line for Small World (15 min). This is where we encountered these HUGE groups of people in t-shirts that would have only one word on it. There were several groups like this. And there would always be some lady with a flag at the front. What was this? Is this the tour groups people talk about? Or is this some big company retreat?
I wanted to go on Peter Pan (favorite of mine, I like to see my tennis shoes glow in the dark), but the line was 30+ minutes. We went to check out the Haunted Mansion but that was line was extremely long so we hopped on the steamboat which was making it's last call. Here Jim took a short nap and i wandered around abit (my feet were tired too). I had never been on the boat before, it's a pretty nice and relaxing ride with still some stuff to amuse you. There was also no one on this ride either. The Remember the Magic Parade was about to start so we hightailed it to BTMRR for a 20 min wait.
We were going to back to our hotel since both of us were getting tired, when we got sidetracked by hot dogs at Caseys. The parade was still in the Adventureland part so it wasn't crowded on mainstreet yet. I wanted to go get some ice cream, but Jim wanted me stay with him for the hot dog toppings (I like sauerkraut, he's not too fond of it). So I did. The lady in front of him was placing some mega order and there were only two people working the counter. Next thing you know, the parade is passing by and all these people are filing in and 5 people show up for the counter. Sigh. The hot dog was good though ($ 3.23 - it was the big hot dog). I go and try and cross main street to get my ice cream, but of course it's packed. Oh well. We wait in line for a couple seconds and then decide to just get ice cream at CBR.
Of course when we got to CBR, I upgraded it to a banana split -very very good - vanilla, chocolate, and cookie dough ($ 4.77). They did put peanuts on it though without my asking (I can't really eat peanuts).
On the way back to our room we (actually I) fed the ducks (a quarter, it you're curious, oh wait, I mean it cost a quarter to get the duck food, not that we fed the ducks a quarter). I loved this part. The ducks would come right up to you and crane their necks seeing if you have food. I didn't pet any of them, but they did eat out of my hand. Jim's not into animals and wouldn't feed them. (but he gave me the quarter)
We went back to the park after our nap around 6:30. Alien Encounter was only a 15 minute wait so we went ahead and did that. Jim had read the warning signs that they post about how they do something with your shoulder. So during the "ride" (what would this be called?), I never fully leaned back, too freaked out was I. I thought Skippy was really cute and wish they could have done something more with him (besides frying him). The breathing on the neck thing was entirely terrifying to me with being in the dark. I like the coasters better. (Jim liked this one better than coasters)
We did Space Mountain with a 30 minute wait. We also went ahead and picked the longer line (the left) because there were some high schoolers there for some band thing (all that week apparently), who were in front of us that kept letting out gas. Space Mtn was a lot more fun than I remembered (minus the gas).
We went on to Fantasyland again, except I made us walk through the castle. (you always have to do that every trip, even if it is a cake) We stopped at Sir Mickey's to buy a Tigger as Mickey T-shirt and a float pen for his sister ($20.14). We were going to have them delivered to our room (pay attention, this develops).
We then waited patiently to get a picture of jim with the sword in the stone. people were slightly rude there in that they just run up to it, without realizing that other people are waiting and/or already taking pictures. To note: the ones who did that were not kids; the ones who waited were parents with kids.
We then went to Peter Pan (we got a blue ship, I like the blue ships the best, no reason). This is one of my favorite rides. I like to see my clothes glow in the dark. By this time it was about 8:40 or so. We were going to go eat at the Columbia Harbor House, but decided to go to the Haunted Mansion instead. There was no wait. I love the ballroom scene here. After HM, we went back to CHH only to find out they were closed. We then tried to see if we could get a table at Cinderella's Royal Table, but of course they were all booked (we didn't try the honeymoon line here either). So we ended up going to the Plaza Pavillion. I had the large salad and soup, jim had a small salad and a deli sandwich and we split a small cheese pizza ($ 14.74). The deli sandwich at Cosmic Ray's was much bigger. He had order the sandwich based on what he saw at CR's. He still liked it though. We got there during the Spectromagic parade so there wasn't much of a line and we got a table where we could see the fireworks. After the fireworks, we went to ToonTown where we got pictures with Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. They also had the Villains line, but we didn't do that.
On the Side - Do characters "stroll" anymore? Or is it all the line up thing? I know if they stroll they get mobbed, but not always. I remember last time I went with my family, we came across Figaro and Pinocchio in Epcot and they played tug of war with my sister (my sister was the rope). And before we would always run across Chip and Dale just wandering around stopping once in awhile to goof off. This time, we saw tigger and someone else in front of the train depot, but that seemed like a organized signing. And I don't recall any characters just wandering.
Afterwards we went took the train (again, we made it during the last call) down to mainstreet to get our guest of honor badge and posters.
When we got back to CBR, we went for a dip at the village pool (we never went to the main pool). There was only one other couple there and they left a couple minutes after we got there. I really like the village pool. It's big and it seems so private, even though you know there are 500 other people sharing it with you.
Day 3 6/11/97 Wednesday
This was our Early Entry experience. The lady on the bus from the first night had reccommended Early Entry. When I had planned what we were going to do, it was all around avoiding early entry since I thought we wouldn't be able to wake up. Well, Jim, in the interest of making sure we did the big items, decided that we would try one, so we did.
We woke up early Wed. Really early. Far earlier than honeymooners should wake. But hey, we woke up at 5am to catch the plane here too. The bus to MGM was pretty full. By the time it reached Barbados, all the seats were filled and I think one or two were standing. (No it was not packed full, but the buses we had taken to the parks around 9 or so, hadn't been this full)
On the bus was another honeymooning couple from New Orleans. He introduced themselves since I was wearing my LSU National Championship Tshirt from last year. We talked a little bit about this year's College World Series (we won against 'Bama, sweet revenge). Jim and I had gotten married Sunday June 8th, the Game was June 7th. Had I scheduled the wedding for Saturday, nobody would have showed up (including my family).
Apparently we were one of the first buses in since we got to the rope (we were headed to TToT). There were sooo many people behind us though that I'm thinking if you're not one of the first, EE isn't going to do you any good. They did the rope drop and we walked right behind the CM until some of the high school band kids came up. We were in one of the first cars to drop since they had a spot for two people left. This was good. I like the falling. Next time I'm bringing a ball or something with me to drop. We bought the pic ($10.55) and sent it to our room.
After TToT we were going to go to Star Tours, but Jim was getting hungry. If we sleep through breakfast, he doesn't need it or miss it, but if we wake up in time for it, he needs to eat breakfast, so we went to Hollywood and Vine. I got the French Toast and he got the Omelet. The omelet came with a choice of hash browns or grits. In a way that so exemplifies my husband (whom I love very much), he chose the hash browns since "y'all probably can't do the grits right". Well, the lady there then says people eat grits in Florida and dishes him some to try. They are pretty good. Extremely creamy, I've never had grits this creamy, almost like cream of wheat. I can't decide whether it is a good thing or bad. ($11.35)
After breakfast, we went on star tours with a 10-15 minute wait. Jim was taking pictures of all the stuff they had there. We got on the ride with this family that had a screaming girl "Daddy don't make me goooo..". She really didn't want to go on this ride. Her little brother just kinda looked at her in amazement. Well after the ride, she was okay. Apparently on other rides she did the same thing, but always liked it afterwards. Jim bought one pack of stickers, Jabba postcard, and we bought Darth Vader and Yoda pez dispensers ($9.23).
We went on to Muppets 3-D, which to me is the focal point of MGM. I took a picture with the Piggy/Fozzie statue and the Sweetums cutout. And we were able to see all the preshow. I watched the TV screens this time around. Jim had to admit that this was a good show.
By this time it was 9:15 so we decided to parkhop back to Epcot (where I had originally planned to spend the entire day). We went to The Land and did the ride, 15 minute wait. I don't care for the beginning part. I just really like the greenhouse where they grow everything. After the Land it was pretty close to 11 so we went to wait for the rope drop for World Showcase (on the Mexico side). While waiting we noticed the flamingos. There were about 6 of them. 4 of them were moving around and the other two were perfectly still that I thought they were lawn ornaments until they moved! When they dropped the rope we hustled to Norway and did the ride (one of first on). We also watched the movie. We browsed around the shop some until it was time to go to lunch at Akershus.
Akershus, what an interesting restaurant. I liked the food there, Jim liked just the hot food. He's not too fond of fish. I like the pickled herring (herring with tomato was good), and I LOVED the other pickled salads. They also had a wide variety of cheese that were good. We did have this one cheese that was brown, it was kinda sweet and we didn't like it too much. The waiter (Peter, very nice and talkative) told us it was goat cheese with brown sugar. The only thing that neither of us like was the lamb. Very, hmm, dead meat tasting. I had a Finway (very good!), it was vodka with something. Talking to our waiter he asked what we were doing etc etc and we told him it was our honeymoon, he came back with champagne and a postcard from Norway with a troll on it. ($34.93)
After Norway, we were planning to go back to our room. We stopped at Mexico and did the ride (no wait) and watched the glass blowers. Then we passed by Innoventions. Boy did we get sucked in. We played with the computers by ATT and pulled up Jim's homepage (www.princeton.edu/~jimlee). We also looked at some of the Direct TV stuff (you couldn't even pull up Clueless!) Then Jim saw the video games. We played video games for several hours with one break when I insisted that we go see the other innoventions. Jim thought that one was boring. We saw some "future home" thing. Some of the items they had pegged as "future" didn't seem so future. We then got some ice cream Mickeys (sorry, I don't remember how much these are, and I *know* how important it is to budget for several of these!) and hit Spaceship Earth with a five minute wait. I remember this ride being more intriguing. Now it's just fun to go backwards. After the Big Golf Ball, we went back to play more video games until I made us leave again.
We had PS at Bistro de Paris/Chefs de France for 8. We caught Honey I Shrunk the Audience on our way to World Showcase. The line here is deceivingly long I realized after we got in. The line usually goes all the way out past the food cart (ours wasn't that long), but they herd a bunch of people inside, so it moves kinda quickly. This was a really good movie. I liked the mice effect. And I didn't watch the snake part. I just really don't like being eaten by reptiles.
We took the Friendship boat to the Worldshowcase, there happened to be a rainbow over Italy, so we took a pic of that. These boats seat a lot more people than it appears. We got to France for our PS early. We wanted a window seat. We told the hostess of it and she said they wouldn't be able to guarantee it, but we ended up with a window seat. It was a pretty nice view. You could see Mexico. The Bistro is operating with the Chefs de France menu but located in the Bistro location. Both Chefs and Au Petit Caf are closed.
Our waitress was really nice, but seemed slightly out of it. We did order a lot of food and I think that confused her. I deliberately scheduled this dinner and Norway on the same day since I figured that Jim prob wouldn't care for much of the food there and would make up for it at France. I had the snails (very good, Jim did try one, brave soul) and Jim had the lobster and shrimp temeche (???, not too sure, we have the menu but its at my in-laws house! Otherwise I'd send it to Deb, which I will if you don't mind it in October for a June menu) for an appetizer. We also ordered the house salad (for myself, not enough dressing) and he had the consommee (he said it was good). For our entree, I order the duck orange and he had the chicken with Pasta. The duck was pretty good, but I think the duck I had at Mansur's (the restaurant where Jim proposed in Baton Rouge) was better. Jim liked the chicken. We could catch some of Illuminations from where we were seated, we could definitely see the fireworks. After Illuminations, we had peach melba for dessert (also very good). BTW, the butter here gets shaped like a little man. It was like torturing someone while you ate. (we started feet first and got half way up his torso, which left his head staring at us at the end of dinner) Total was $ 77.81 (oh yeah, that includes the one glass of house wine).
When we finished it was around 9:30+ so, we took a leisurely stroll back to the bus. Epcot is empty and gorgeous at night, this is the perfect time for a romantic walk. Really really is. Got a anniversary/honeymoon/ perfectdate/proposal? This is it - cap it off here - nothing like it. Especially going from WS toward the GolfBall when it's all lighted up and the fountains are going. Wow.
After our nightly swim, we checked the bags that we received that day which were supposed to contain the shirt and pen that we bought yesterday. Well the shirt was there, the pen was not. So we called the front desk. In this age of computers, it is awfully hard to get a person. They connected us to Sir Mickeys and they said they would send another pen to CBR's front desk. Supposedly, problem solved.
Day 4 6/12/97 Thursday
Since we had already done the major things that we wanted to do in MGM, we woke up late and lingered around CBR. The morning was really nice - BTW, the weather during our trip was really pleasant, not very hot at all (definitely not what I expected) and of course it rained but short and sporadic.
We went to rent a water sprite for half an hour ($18.02). The lake is just big enough to do in half an hour. We went to the far side down by South Trinidad and saw some fish there (one was actually dead floating in the water, it looked like it had a gash in it). They were pretty large fish, which made me really want to go fishing - maybe next time when we have more than 5 days.
After the sprite, we hopped on a bus to MGM (around 12:00). We arrived at MGM hungry and headed to the Commissary at one of the worst times possible. _This_ was the longest line we had at Disney. It was amusing (and broke the doldrum of the line) when the counterstaff and kitchen staff all started to dancing to Happy Days at one point. We got the chicken basket (not bad, but they only had the barbecue sauce, so I also ate it with Ranch dressing, tasted pretty good) and a hamburger ($10.64).
On the side - When talking about WDW before arriving, Jim had assumed that hamburgers is what we'd be eating the entire time since "that's all they serve". The last time he was there, that _was_ all they had. Yet this time, despite the variety in offerings he still picked hamburgers.
When we finished lunch it was storming something awful. We put our ponchos on and ran to the Great Movie Ride. It had a short wait (at least the wait was inside). On the carpet there was a gorgeous portrayal of a phoenix which I had been searching for the past two plus months. I was planning on making the grooms cake in the forms of a dragon and a phoenix. I had lots of depictions of dragons but very sketchy ones of phoenixes. Oh well. (I did take a picture of it though).
We got the Gangster shootout (I've never had the cowboy). This is always a good ride. I especially like the end where they play clips from all the movies.
After TGMR, we headed toward the Backlot Tour, it had stopped raining. We were going to skip the Backstage Pass Tour, but Jim stopped and asked if they were doing anything back there, so we went to look. They bring you into one of Jim Henson's creature shop. So cool. Saw no muppets, but to be where one of muppeteer thinkers might be is skin tingling. They also took us through where they are building the set for the HBO thing about Space. And the last thing was 101 Dalmation stuff. A lot of it. They had replicas of Glenn Close's costumes from the movie. When we asked why, we found out that she puts it in her contract to keep the clothes. Good for her, those outfits are incredible.
We then headed to the Backlot Tour. Again, we made it in the next "batch". I like going through the prop stuff during the line. Kinda neat, including the film with Bette Midler.
The Backlot Tour hadn't changed much since I went on it last. I *hate* how they threaten you that you're going to get wet. You never get more than a couple of drops. I want to get just a little soaked.
We spent some time in the memoribilia stuff from the movies. Jim took pictures of all things related to StarWars, I took the stuff related to Gone with the Wind. In the gift shop they had a couple of more things from GWTW that I don't have yet, but i didn't get them. It's sad that all the stores along the entrance to MGM only sell the Disney stuff - they used to sell all the MGM books/posters/etc, I loved that store.
Then we hit the Muppet Store. I couldn't decide what I wanted and ended up with a Kermit muppet for my sister, a Kermit plush posable for myself and a Bunsen and Beaker t-shirt for myself ($68.37). They had Gonzo but no Rizzo, and you have to get them in pairs! (or at least Gonzo and Camilla)
The Hunchback show was about to start, but we wanted to make our seating for Mama Melrose's. Okay, I know alot of places are classier, with more nouvelle cuisine, and quieter. But this was our best restaurant experience. Our waitress was nice and friendly (Alana), the place was dim but not dark, and it was friendly atmosphere. And the food was very good! We had calamari for an appetizer (good). Jim loved the bread that comes with dinner and I really liked the salad - though now knowing how much salad they give you, I wouldn't have order the calamari.They serve the salad in a big bowl and then you dish it out yourself. Jim had the never ending pasta with sausage. He chose the meat sauce and then regretted getting the sausage since the meat sauce had more meat than he expected. He was about to get pesto sauce til I reminded him that he doesn't like pesto sauce. He did eat one and a half bowls. I had the fisherman something or other. I don't remember what it was called - it was pasta in fish/seafood broth with mussels, scallops, shirmp, and fish. it was soo good. I would go back to Disney for that. Definitely something to order if you like seafood. Plus it was very light (not oily or greasy). I still couldn't eat all of it (I did manage to finish the shrimp We were both full at the end of the meal and couldn't order dessert. Total cost ($43.83)
On the side - a note to honeymooners - they definitely do something here if you let them know. There were at least three other couples there (besides us). Apparently they mentioned it and one of the waitresses went over and made a fuss (the restaurant would clap or clink their glasses) and then alot of the waitstaff would come over and bring a dessert and take a picture. We didn't mention it, we didn't feel like the attention that day.
After we left Mama's we sat for a while (let the food settle). Then we noticed that Muppet 3D didn't have any line so we went to go see it again. This time I watched the message board. If you can, watch the pre-show twice - both the screens and the message board are hilarious. I also took a pic of the muppet of Jim Henson and the net full of jello (I *love* that!) There weren't that many people for this showing. We sat in the third row. I would reccommend sitting further back since one of the gags requires people ahead of you. Also when Sweetums came out, he almost fell along the rope barrier.
We went back to the Muppet store place and bought Fozzie (we were holding a lot of muppets that day, two frogs and a bear).
We went walking to the VOTLM, the line was long there plus it's not one of my must sees, so we skipped it and caught the animation tour (just started). My sisters and I loved this the last time - I believe then they were working on Aladdin or Lion King. This time we saw the cells for Hercules, really nice (and since we've seen the movie since then, I'll add that we really liked the movie too). Jim really liked the film with Cronkite and Robin Williams. I liked it too. But I think this is the same film that they would show when the animation tour was just a walkthrough past the animators on a series of tv screens. Funny both times of course. I saw some drawings for the Legend of Mulan. I can't wait for this one. I had my parents explain the tale when we got back home. It'll be interesting to see what they do with this one, especially since most people are prob not familiar with the tale.
After the tour - we *think* we put the ponchos up, but come 11 pm at CBR, we noticed we didn't have them. We went to go get a good spot to see Sorcery in the Sky. Good show. And then we went browsing through the stores. This is when I went looking for the store that sold MGM stuff - but of course, I couldn't find it. What we did find was one of those photo places that superimpose your face on an image. Jim found the StarWars one and we both did it (me as Leia and jim as luke, they didn't have one where you superimpose as Hans) -guess which cover we did? ($32.81, we bought the frame). The computer system apparently went down when we tried to pay, so they sent us to the neighboring store, but that store couldn't figure out the code. By the time they got the code, the original cash register was up again. Technology, it is amazingly human sometimes.
We went back to CBR and played air hockey for awhile (I won) and then noticed we were missing our ponchos. Sigh, I wanted to keep them since they had mickey. I deliberately didn't bring ponchos from home because I wanted these.
When we got to the room, the TToT photo was there, but no float pen. So we called again to CBR, they said they hadn't received it. So we called sir mickeys again. They said they would send one over (but we were leaving the next day) or send it to home. Lesson learned: package delivery is convenient for large items, and a pain for small ones.
Day 5 6/13/97 Friday
Last day. Sigh. Well, we woke up around 9 or so. Called luggage services to arrange for our bags to be picked up at 10:30. Right around then, the maid knocked on our door to ask when we would be leaving. I thought that was kinda odd. Jim went to fill up our mugs and I waited outside in the courtyard. I really like the courtyard that our room faced, better than a water view. (This is one of the tips we picked up from WDW for Couples) The express checkout thing was also there so I went through it to make sure everything was correct (which it was, I would suggest keeping all of your receipts in case there is a discrepancy though).
Luggage services arrived exactly at 10:30, there were two guys, one was apparently the trainee and picked up the lighter makeup case while the other guy handled our two big suitcases - he learns quick. I had packed our bags only half full, now they were crammed. I was a little worried about suffocating Fozzie and Kermits.
We took the bus to MK to get a replacement pen from Sir Mickeys - we didn't want to take the risk that it wouldn't find it's way to Louisiana, esp. since it was for his sister. The bus driver was hilarious.
The best one we had all week. MK wasn't too crowded and it was a beautiful day (lucky for us since we lost the ponchos). We got the pen replaced with no problems, the lady was real apologetic about it. We were going to go on the Carousel, but I noticed the Skyway was running. And if it is, you have to do it. The line wasn't too long for it too. We got some great pictures up there and it is so relaxing to just sit there and see the entire world of magic beneath you. We could also see the Mr. Toad had no line, but we didn't feel like walking through Tomorrowland to ride it. We took the monorail back to Epcot (PS at Biergarten 12:30) where we passed by the GF and Poly.
Back at Epcot, I realized I hadn't gotten my other sister anything, so we stopped to get her a baseball cap with Pooh on it (it is soo cute!) and another float pen and tshirt for his sister (of Minnie). ($39.83, caps are not cheap)
We were at the desserted side of innoventions/discover something. It seemed just like an empty building with not that many people in it. Jim wanted to go ahead and see what was in there - and we found Mickey, Chip and Dale, and Goofy. We got our pictures taken with them and then headed to Germany.
I love sauerkraut. This is the one thing I really really wanted from Germany. All the other stuff - I don't really know what it is. But sauerkraut - yum. I buy jars/cans/bags of this stuff at home and eat it for dinner with a can of tomato soup. Most satisfying. Apparently, I should have some sort of ulcer within a couple of months since I eat so much of anything pickled. Germany had sauerkraut - nicely heated. Not too sour, but very good.
We were seated with a family of six - the grandparents, parents and kids. Three generations. They were also from Arkansas (razorback fans) and staying at CBR. The buffet had sausage, hot dogs, several pickled salads (I liked those), and spaetzle, which I've never had but always wanted to try.
I really want to eventually buy one of those contraptions that you make them in - really neat thing. They also put out a plate of pickled vegetables on the table for you (daicon radishes, carrots, etc). We also split a bavarian cream something (was not a pie). Total cost: $29.05 (includes an iced tea)
Apparently while we were eating and listening to the German music makers - the clouds above had been making their own music. The family seated with us were planning on taking their daughter to go to the Snow White reading, but it was cancelled,so we all stayed in for a little bit longer stuffing ourselves.
When we finally left it wasn't raining very much so we just dealt with it and walked through the countries. Norm from FTC was supposed to pick us up at 2:30 so we didn't have that much time to spare. When we hit France I thought our parents might like some wine so we bought two bottles there (which they put in really nice boxes). It's my parents 25th anniversary so I thought they might like it.
We got on our last ride back to CBR (sniff sniff), taking one last picture in front of my favorite golf ball. This is when that guy refused to take a picture of us, but I think he didn't understand english. Instead we exchanged camera talents with this other couple. We got our luggage back from CBR and waited about 10 minutes when a town car drove up but it wasn't Norm. Ken had taken his place. He was really nice to talk too.
Wait in the airport was a bit long for Delta, the guy there directing people where to stand was unnecessarily rude to the lady in front of me. She thought she had a 3:30 flight and he had asked for anyone flying 3:30 or earlier, but it turns out her flight was at 4:00. I hate people who just can't take a little bit out of themselves to understand a genuine mistake.
Well our flight was overbooked. And they were asking for people to jump planes. We would have, but we thought we would miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. Apparently, that was not the case. When we reached Atlanta, our flight to Baton Rouge was delayed from a 7:30pm arrival to a 10pm arrival.
Ouch. Last time that happened on a Delta flight the plane comp'ed the drinks, not this time. This other lady was flying to BR to surprise her boyfriend - she was supposed to get in at 4:30 pm, but they decided not to continue her non-stop flight to Baton Rouge (from Newark) in Atlanta.
Well that was our trip. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
We loved CBR. We probably would not have liked it if we were in South Trinidad. WDW for Couples recommends that village for honeymooners- but I think that's for honeymooners who want really leisurely walks and stuff.
The food court worked okay for us - but I guess since we can go off and order what we want and pay for it like the adults we're supposed to be, it's fine. With kids, I can see this being a problem.
Refillable mugs are worth it. We carried them with us and would sometimes take the buses from OPR and drop off at OPR to fill them up. They have the basic soft drinks: coke, sprite, diet coke. Plus caffiene free coke and I think diet coke. Lemonade and of course coffee.
Don't eat at common lunch hours. Way too many people to fight against.
We found we didn't snack as much as we thought we would. We didn't buy any drinks or frozen slushes. We drank water when we ate fast food and would get water from the fountains too - we spent a good while looking for the talking fountain. Our food bill was also cut down when we slept through breakfast (unintentionally).
For honeymooners - we didn't get anything "special" from CBR, which is fine with us since we really just wanted a good room placement. It seems most restaurants will do something if you let them know. We didn't since we don't really care for all the extra attention. The wedding ears can be found in The Chapeau.
I wore the fanny pack and kept the passes/room key (LOS), camera, extra cash, gum, themepark maps. He kept the booksack with the ponchos, extra film, the journal (where we would write what we did, it was a wedding gift from one of my best friends), extra plastic bags (wet ponchos went in oneof the plastic bags, and the mugs (put the mugs in one of the plastic bags). Worked out pretty well.
I mentioned this before but - Jim consistently ordered hamburgers at the fast food places even though when we had originally planned the trip he was complaing about variety. There is quite a variety and some stuff that is lowcal/lowfat too. If nothing else, they have salads and soups. The only time we had coke was for our refillable mugs and at sit down places (but now that I think about it, we would order juice or ice tea instead).
The following are the restaurants we did with *'s (out of 5) to denote how we liked them, (Jim's *, My *), plus my comments.
Akershus (**,***) do it at least once. I liked it and would go there again.
Cape May Cafe (***,***) I would go again once they have their steamer to see what it is like, otherwise I'd prob rather try somewhere new. It was good though and Jim really liked the place.
Hollywood and Vine (****.5,**) I like cafeteria places than fast food ordering which is why I put this in separately. Very diner/cafeteria style. Jim had a good breakfast, I thought the french toast I had was just okay (better toast at Denny's).
Bistro/Chefs (***,****) Thought this would be a "romantic" dinner. It was very nice. The food was extremely good, the view was great, the atmosphere elegant, the place was _loud_. While we liked it, I think we'd go to other places first before coming back to repeat it.
Mama Melrose's (***,****) This was just all around good. The food, the service, the atmosphere (okay, not elegant, but extremely comfortable). We would definitely do this one again. One thing that Jim noted, the never ending pasta comes in a REALLY BIG BOWL. He was able to eat another half a serving, which he could have tried with a differnt sauce but he like the one he picked. I think it's around 13/14 dollars. So if you have someone in your party with a big appetite, come here. They have lighter fares like the dish I ordered too (see Day4)
Biergarten (**.5,***) Possibly do again, if only to eat plates of sauerkraut. We liked the setting. Eating with other people is slightly discomforting at first.
We didn't see All-Stars or the other moderates. I have no interest in the other moderates (except for Coronado). The All-Stars interest my sister (she's 17). BC - I really liked. The YC I think my parents would like. Or the Boardwalk. I wasn't too interested in BW before, but after seeing it, I wouldn't mind.
I like to gawk at GF, but ultimately I know it is not the place for me.
However, I will stay there one day just to see.
We didn't get to go see Wilderness Lodge, which I really would have liked. You can't even see the hotel in passing like you can the other deluxe resorts.
And for some reason, I was struck with the desire to stay at the Contemporary this visit. Maybe just wanting to have one of the tower rooms and see the monorails go zipping in and out.
Florida Town Car:
Very clean, efficient, courteous. I will prob not ever take Mears if I fly in. My goal in life now are: get my PhD, go back to WDW, collect muppets, and get a town car. Very smooth ride. Though it was not cost effective for us to take FTC v. Mears, the convenience was definitely worth it. BTW, Ken was saying that they would be on the web eventually.
We didn't see some of the stuff I usually like to catch - Swiss Family, Living Seas, the shows. We'll do that next time. So, that's it. That was our honeymoon minus some stuff ;> If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com
Li-Bong Wei Lee