July 10th-July 15th
Kiwi's July TR 1 - Arrival
I am not a morning person. My idea of fun does not include being awake at 4:15 in the morning unless I had been up all night. But for this morning, I could make an exception. I woke up fairly easily as the alarm went off at 4:15 since this was the day we were going to Disney World. We already had everything packed up, so all we had to do was pile everything into the van and go. We had decided to stop for breakfast in Murfreesboro, so eating wasn't an issue at the moment.
We left our house at 5:22 and started out on the road, headed for Patsy's house. Once we arrived, we secured all of her stuff in the van, said goodbye to her mom (who was very adamant about how Patsy needed a vacation since she hadn't had one in years), and we left. We got back on the road at 6:25 and headed for Murfreesboro.
Once there, we pulled off the same exit I take to get to school and found a Hardees. I got an egg and cheese biscuit, hash rounds and water, mom had a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, hash rounds and coffee, and Patsy had a steak, egg and cheese biscuit, hash rounds and soda. She also ran into a guy that she knew who was in the army, so we had to tease her..."Patsy, you're only away from home for twenty minutes and you're already flirting with soldiers!" :-)
Once we left Murfreesboro, I fell asleep and slept until we were at the Tennessee Welcome Center. When we arrived there, mom woke me up to see if I wanted to get out. So we all got out and piled into the small vending building in search of Mayfield Chocolate milk. Alas, we found none. We started the tradition of buying Mayfield chocolate milk every time we go through that rest stop, but as of the past three or four trips, they haven't had any. I guess that tradition will have to come to an end.
We got back on the road and made our next stop at a Target in Morrow, Georgia at 11:30. Sometime between Chattanooga and Morrow, Patsy had said that she wanted to buy a purse to carry instead of the backpack she had brought. While she was looking at purses, I was taking a look at the hats. I'd thought about buying a fisherman hat at the Disney Store before I left, but they were a bit more than I wanted to spend on one. I browsed the hats there, but almost all of them had Pooh characters on them, and I did *not* want a Pooh hat. Finally I found one that was white with three embroidered butterflies on the front. It was only $5.50, so I decided to get it.
In the meantime, Patsy found a purse she liked as well as a box of cookies. We bought our things and got back on the road. We stopped for lunch at an Arbys at 12:10. It seems like we always end up eating at Arbys on the way to Florida. On the last two trips, we ended up at the same exact restaurant and got bad service both times, so we made sure to have Arbys for lunch this time so we wouldn't be eating at the same one again. I had a turkey sub, curly fries and a sprite, Patsy had a turkey sub and homestyle fries, and mom had a beef and cheddar, homestyle fries and a diet Coke.
At 2:30, we stopped at the MTV market for gas. We had some fun taking pictures of Mickey with a Dale Earnhart cardboard cutout, a drink machine and an "indecent exposure" sign. Before leaving, I decided to get a giant freezie, which is a two foot long freeze pop. I got a cherry one, and it was really good. Patsy also got a Butterfinger ice cream bar. After leaving, it started to rain, and it rained on and off until we got almost to Orlando.
At 6:25, we stopped at the Disney rest stop. We didn't really have any reason to stop other than to soak up our first little bit of magic. We all named the Seven Dwarves and got free pencils. At first the lady handed me a Pooh pencil, so I gave it to mom, but them I saw that she had Goofy pencils too, so I asked if I could trade. I felt kinda ungrateful, but hey, I don't like Pooh. I can't help it. hehe
We stopped for dinner at a McDonalds at 6:50. We were less than two hours away from Kissimmee by now, so instead of waiting until we got any closer, we decided to go ahead and stop. I had a Big Mac meal with fries and pink lemonade, mom had a grilled chicken salad with red french dressing and Patsy had a hamburger happy meal with the Clayton Tarzan toy.
Once we left McDonalds, the next stop was our hotel. I'd decided about a week ahead of time that I was going to go to the Pleasure Island meet that was scheduled for that night, so I was hoping that I would get there in time to at least see a few people. There were also three loin registrations to be given out, and I certainly didn't want to miss the ceremony I'd already decided to buy an annual pass since I was going to be spending all spring working on College Program and was sure that I would more than get my money's worth out of it by just going to RADP meets at Adventurer's Club.
Once we arrived at the hotel, we checked in as fast as we could (the lady checking us in even recognized us...heh, it *was* our third time there) and moved one load of our stuff up to the room. Wow, talk about a speedy check in. We had pulled up at 9:00 and by 9:10, we were moved into the room. I called my friend Bill (Whimmel) because he was giving me a ride to the meet. I freshened up a bit, and by the time we got there, purchased our annual passes and got inside to the Adventurer's Club, it was 10:00.
When we arrived, a Mask Room show was just starting so we went in and grabbed two of the last seats. I didn't recognise anyone else, so I didn't know if the meet was already over or if no one had showed up yet. After our show ended, a library show let out and a bunch of RADPers poured into the Mask Room. Among them, in no order, were Rob, Royal Mermaid Rachel, Paragon, Mickymom and her hubby, Bartender Sam, Kimfudge, Larry from Scotland and a few other people I didn't get a chance to speak to.
At about 11:45, we decided that it was just about time to give out the loin registrations. Only two of our new registrants were present, but since some of the group wanted to watch the midnight fireworks, we decided that we should proceed. Rob Olsan and Whimmel were already there, but Steve Preskitt wasn't. Our fearless leader Alison said a few words, and right as she was about to give out the first one, Steve showed up. Bill was the first to receive his registration, which the board had decided should be an Apprentice registration. Steve was next, who also graciously received his Apprentice registration while displaying his beads. Rob was last, and he accepted his Loiners Permit eagerly.
Once that course of business was done, some people left and others went outside to watch the midnight fireworks. After chatting for a while, I, Alison, Bill, Steve and Kim went outside to watch the fireworks as well. Hmm...up until this point, I don't think I've mentioned that the next day was my birthday. I was turning 20 at midnight, which was part of my incentive to be at Pleasure Island that night. So at midnight, they did a countdown on the stage and shot off fireworks...all for my birthday as far as I was concerned :-)
Afterwards, everyone met back up again and chatted for a little while. The party seemed to break up at about 12:45 and everyone went their own ways. I got a lift back to my hotel and was back by a little after 1:00.
Kiwi's July TR 2 - My magical Birthday!
I was already pretty well awake when the alarm went off at 6:15, so I got up and showered. This was my birthday. It was gonna be perfect in every detail if I had anything to do with it. I'd planned out everything...breakfast at Chef Mickey's, then over to the Studios to ride Rock 'N' Roller Coaster and watch Doug Live! and have lunch at 50's Prime Time, then go to Epcot, where Off Kilter would sing to me and I would watch Lord of the Dance. The plan was set into action when we arrived at the Contemporary for our 8:15 Priority Seating at 7:45. I think that's the first time we've been early for anything in the morning.
We were seated immediately, and I requested chocolate milk with breakfast instead of orange juice. It was really good...it was thick and chocolatey with a big cap of whipped cream, but it got warm really quickly, so I didn't finish it. As we got there, my mom pulled our waiter aside and mentioned to him that it was my birthday, but nothing came of it. I thought the people at Chef Mickey's did special stuff for your birthday, but they didn't for me :-(
As for the rest of breakfast...eh. I guess I'm just not a breakfast person. I don't eat pork, so that eliminates a huge portion of the breakfast bar right there. I also don't like sweets for breakfast (in May, I tried to eat beignets for breakfast and my stomach started cramping), so that knocked out another big chunk of the bar. Of what was left, all I really had was scrambled eggs, hash browns, half of a biscuit and some sort of cheese pizza. I didn't feel like I got my money's worth at all. I still had a nice time with the characters (which all came around *very* frequently and spent a lot of time at the table), but I could have eaten at IHOP and gotten the same thing for much less. I had a nice time, but not being a breakfast person, coupled with not being a morning person makes me think I probably won't be going back. I may try it for dinner sometime though.
We left the Contemporary a bit after 9:00 (after stopping for pressed pennies and to explore a bit) and went to the Studios. We got there at about 9:20 and had a bit of dispute about where to go first. Mom wanted to go over to 50's Prime Time and check in, but I said that it was ridiculous to check in so early. Besides, the tip board said that Rock 'N' Roller coaster only had a *ten minute wait* and I *really* wanted to ride it! I finally convinced her to wait for a while on checking in at 50's Prime Time and we headed off towards the new coaster.
Mom and Patsy had decided quite firmly that they weren't going to ride it. Mom doesn't like rides that have dips in them, so no matter what I told her, she wouldn't ride it until I rode it first. Patsy kept saying that she was "too old"...yeah, right. We went through the waiting area (taking note of the really, really cool door with all the marbles in it) and found ourselves with about a five minute wait. While I was in line, I started talking to a guy in front of me. Turned out that his name was Eddie and he was a bartender at Pleasure Island. Since we were both riding alone, I agreed that I would ride with him, on the condition that I promise not to dig my nails into him if I didn't like the ride hehehe (he said that he'd ridden with a girl earlier in the week, and she got scared and hurt him by digging her nails into him). I promised that I wouldn't, and we decided to ride in the back car.
Once we were seated and pulled around to the launch area, my heart started to race. The tension of sitting in front of the tunnel, not knowing when you were going to launch, was tangible. The ride was over way too fast, and I really enjoyed it. The main thing I noticed about it was that the back car was very, very rough. When I got off, my ears hurt because my head was banged around so much. I told mom and Patsy that I thought they could ride it since there were no dips and just lots of fun, fast turns and inversions. Patsy also greeted me with my birthday present, which was a Rock 'N' Roller Coaster "Backstage pass" with my name on it.
Since I had gone through the line and ride in less than ten minutes, Eddie and I decided to go again. The second time, we chose to sit in the very front car, which was much smoother than the back. But I still don't see how everyone says that this coaster is so smooth. I thought it was extremely rough, eventhough the front was smoother than the back. I definitely think that Space Mountain is smoother. After the second ride, I couldn't convince mom or Patsy to go on it, but they both said that they would think about it. I said goodbye to Eddie and we all headed for 50's Prime Time.
Once we got there, we checked in with the lady at the counter. When we said that we wanted one of Brother Lerroy's tables, a lady next to us told us about how much she liked Brother Lerroy too! We started talking about him, and she said that she had eaten at one of his tables in 1996 and on every trip since then, she'd asked to sit with him. So it's not just us that love Brother Lerroy! The lady working there said that she would do her best to put us at one of Lerroy's tables.
Once we were done at 50's Prime Time, we went to see how much time was left before the next Doug Live! show. It was still about thirty minutes away, so since we were in the area, we decided to take in a Soundsations sound booth outside of Sounds Dangerous. Patsy really got a kick out of it and laughed almost the entire time. When we were done, we played with a few other sound machines since there was no one around, then went back and got in line for Doug Live!.
I'd originally decided that I was going to try to get myself chosen to be a Beet in the show, but when I got in line, I decided that I was too tired and that I was gonna sit this one out. Well, once we got inside the theater and the guy started asking for volunteers, I changed my mind. When he asked for the four adults, I jumped up and started screaming, "I can be a Beet!! *I* can *be* a *Beet*!!!" I was the last one picked (which kinda scared me...I thought I wasn't gonna get picked and had just made a fool of myself for nothing! :-) So I went onstage and had to dance a little bit, then we went backstage to get ready for our performance. (If you don't know, the Beets are Doug and Skeeter's favorite band, and they have won tickets to their final concert.)
Wow! Cool cool cool! I was gonna be a Beet! They had cast me as Wendy Nespah, the lead singer of the Beets. The first thing that happened when I went backstage was to get on my costume. I put on a white shirt and blue dress (both of which went on from the front, not over your head. The backs were open and got tied up to fit you. I guess that's so they could accommodate a large size range of people). Next came a shiny belt and shiny pink arm cuffs. Once I was done, I sat down and waited while the other three guys got dressed. I chatted with one of the girls working there and at one point casually mentioned that it was my birthday, and everyone wished me a happy birthday.
Once everyone was dressed, we had to watch a short video about how to be a good Beet. It was kinda funny. I was told to always stand with my feet at least shoulder length apart, to pretend like I was singing and to make sure to pretend to play my guitar. It also said to just move the neck of the guitar up and down and not to the front, back or sides since people would be standing on either side of me. I think my favorite part of the video was the part for the drummer. It told the guy to beat on the drums as hard as he wanted, and reminded him two or three times that there was soundproof padding on the drums so no one would hear if he was off beat. It was kinda funny.
Next we had to go to the cosmetologist and get our hair done. I had to wear a bald cap and a shiny headband, so those went on first. Next came my fake jewel necklace. In the meantime of all this, Quail Kid has been having a problem keeping her quail feather hat on. Her pigtails were directly where the hat needed to sit, but she finally got it to stay on. At one point, Doug even ran into the room and gave a quick pep talk to Quail Kid.
After we were all dressed, prepped, pepped and ready to go, we lined up near the entrance to the stage and got our instruments. Mine was this huge guitar, and it was really heavy. When we were ready, we walked to the immediate backstage area and watched them slide the Evil Dr. Rubbersuit lab set away and push the Beet set onto the turntable. That was pretty neat too. Once it was in place, we took our positions on the stage and waited for the stage to revolve.
Once it did, we all started playing and having a great time. It was so cool, and since I knew some of the words to the song they sing, I was actually singing along. The whole thing only lasted 37 seconds, so now I guess I only have 14 minutes and 23 seconds worth of fame left (actually, last year I was in the water effects show on the backlot tour so it would be even less than that...oh no! hehe:-) When the girl first said it would only last 37 seconds, one of the other guys jokingly said, "37 seconds? Ugh...I can't do it unless it's at *least* 40 seconds...where's my agent!? I can't work like this!" hehe
When we were done, we went backstage again and took off our costumes. The instruments went first, then the hair and accessories, then the costumes. After we were all back to normal, the girl that had been working with us so much came up to me and said that she had something for me. It was a birthday card signed by the whole cast! It was so nice! It had all the characters signatures as well as the signatures of all the CMs that had been working with us! I couldn't get over it! I had totally not excepted to get a birthday card from them.
The last thing we had to do was go back out onstage for the curtain call. We went to the side of the stage and lined up next to the Thicket of Solitude set. When the lights dropped, we linked arms, ran out onstage and took a bow. When everything was over, I caught up with mom and Patsy and told them all about getting to be a Beet and about the birthday card I had gotten. It was so much fun, and definitely helped make my birthday very special.
As we left, I asked my mom what she had done with my Rock 'N' Roller Coaster backstage pass (I had taken it off and handed it to her when I got picked). She acted dumb, like I hadn't given it to her, but I knew I had. So we had to ask a guy who was working there if she could go back in and look for it. He let her in, and about five minutes later she emerged with my necklace. She said that all the CMs inside the theater were helping her look for it and that she was kind of embarrassed, and I told her that she should have kept track of it in the first place since I couldn't.
At this point, mom wanted to go wait on the next Hunchback show, which was about an hour away. I said no way since we didn't have much time before we had to leave. I would rather Patsy see something else and get a less than wonderful seat for Hunchback than wait for an hour and get a good seat, but miss something else. Patsy agreed, so we stopped to see the Great Movie Ride. We had to wait about 20 minutes, but it wasn't that bad since I took trip notes the whole time. We got the western side, and Patsy loved the whole ride. She's really into movies, so she was transfixed with, eh, rapture through the whole ride.
Afterwards, we went to grab a seat for Hunchback. We sat in the front row of the back section, so we had pretty good seats. We came in about halfway through Matt's routine (Geez, of all the times we've seen this show, we've only seen Randy once...they must work poor Matt to death! :-) The show was excellent as always, with a particularly good Quasimodo. He's the best Quasimodo I've seen since the one that performed in '97 and early '98. Esmeralda was good in this show too...they seem to have a problem with keeping good Esmeraldas though.
After the show was over, it was time for lunch. Yay! Brother Lerroy time!!! First let me give you a little bit of background about why I had to have lunch at 50's Prime Time on my birthday. When we were there in May, we'd eaten at one of Brother Lerroy's tables. At the end of the meal, he asked me when the next time was that I was coming back, and I said that it would be for my birthday. So I tore a sheet out of my notepad and wrote "Tourist Mickey comes for a visit, July 11th, 1999 (Julie's Birthday!)" on it and gave it to him. He put it in the folder where he writes down orders and said that he would keep it with him until I came back on my birthday. I asked him if he worked on Sundays, and he said that he did, so I told him to make sure to work on my birthday so I could have lunch with him.
So there I was, back on my birthday. I'd promised Brother Lerroy I'd go see him. When we walked in, we checked back in at the desk and they said they would seat us as soon as they could. I guess it was about fifteen minutes before we were seated, which was one of the longest waits we've had, but we *had* requested a certain server, so we were willing to wait. We were seated in a room off to the right of the main room, which was where we sat the very first time we ate there.
Brother Lerroy was already there, and when we walked in, we snuck up on him, then yelled his name. He turned around and started yelling, "Julie! I knew you'd be here! I knew you'd come back!" and he gave me a big hug. I sat Tourist Mickey on his shoulder, and he started loudly and quickly telling everyone else in the room about how he knew I would be back. Before we even got into our seats, he pulled out the piece of paper I had given him and showed me that he still had it. I thought that was so cool of him. Of all the people that come through that restaurant, he actually carried a piece of paper that I gave him around for two months! Man, I love Brother Lerroy!
Once we finally got seated, we chatted with him for a while. It was just like we were old friends. We introduced him to cousin Patsy and joked with him that we had brought a *real* cousin with us this time. He wanted to know how Tourist Mickey was doing, and I said that he was ok. Then he grabbed Tourist Mickey and took him to the other two tables and told them about how I take Tourist Mickey all over and take pictures of him. When we finally got around to ordering, we all ordered the loaded nachos and cokes, and mom and Patsy got theirs without jalapenos. Of course, Brother Lerroy had to make fun of them for not getting the jalapenos, but I told him that I was a real woman and that I could handle jalapenos. I think he gave me extra of them because I said that.
Once our food was at the table, we decided that it was time to give him one of the gifts we had brought to him. My mom makes fake spills, which look like spilled drinks, nail polish, ice cream, coffee and all sorts of stuff, but they're hard and moveable. Mom had made him a spilled coke and we needed a good way to give it to him. So I hid my drink under the table and put the spill where my glass was. The glasses looked similar, but the ice was different.
When he came back, he looked at it for a second, then I could tell that he realized it was fake. He looked at me and scolded me for being so messy and told me that I needed to be more careful next time. When we told him that we had made it for him, he was really happy and hugged us all. Then he took it to another table and tried to trick people with it.
After a while, I asked Brother Lerroy if he had baked a cake for my birthday. He said, "Of course! I made you one thiiiiis big!" and made a motion with his hand that started out about three feet wide, but ended up being cupcake sized. Then he said that instead of a cake, he would give me any sundae that I wanted. I told him that I wanted a Works with no nuts, which is what I always get. I also had to jokingly give him a hard time about not remembering what my usual dessert was hehe.
A few minutes later, he comes back into the room wielding my huge Works sundae with a pink candle on top. By now, one family has left and a new family has been seated, so he gets everyone's attention and tells the story about how I gave him the piece of paper and he carried it around for two months. Then he lit the candle and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me. When he was singing, he said "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday my beautiful, my best friend in the whole big wide world Julie, happy birthday to you!" I thought it was so sweet!!! Then he had me make a wish and blow out my candle, then made everyone clap for me.
Right as we were finishing up, Brother Lerroy came back into the room with a big mass of tin foil and sat it in front of me. I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to be, but he said that it was my birthday present. I honestly thought that it was just a tin foil sculpture (knowing Brother Lerroy, that's what I was expecting! hehe) because it had straws sticking out of it and it was roughly in the shape of a spaceship. But he insisted that there was something inside and he wanted me to open it, so I did. It was a little rubber ducky keychain!!! It was so cute! I thanked him profusely for it since I was totally not expecting him to actually give me anything for my birthday. I hung him on my backpack and assured Brother Lerroy that it would still be there the next time I came back.
By the time we were ready to leave, we had been there about an hour and a half. We got up to leave, and he gave each of us a big hug goodbye. I said that I wanted a picture of just me and him, so mom took one (and it came out soooo well!), then I took a picture of just him and mom. As we were leaving, I thanked him for everything again, and told him that I wanted to adopt him as my real brother. He said that was a good idea, so since then, I've been telling everyone that I have an adopted brother that lives in Florida :-)
We said our good-byes, then left and headed over to Epcot to finish up the rest of the day. We drove over, and got there fairly quickly. The first thing on the agenda was to watch the 4:00 hour Off Kilter show. We hurried over to the Canada pavilion, bypassing everything in our path, so we could make it there in time. When we got there, no one was around, eventhough the show was starting in about ten minutes. So we grabbed some seats to the left of the stage. The people sitting on the right had a good idea and dragged the front bench into the shade near the stage, so we did the same.
Randy was the first one to come onstage. Because of the construction of the Millenium pavilion, they have to walk around to front of the stage instead of coming out from behind it. When he came out, mom asked him when they would be playing Fields of Athenry, and he said that they could play it for her during that show if she wanted. She said that that would be great, so he agreed. After a few minutes, everyone else showed up and they started. The first song they sang was Fields of Athenry, followed by my mom's second favorite, Farewell Nova Scotia and Scotland the Brave.
After the show was over, we went to talk to them. Patsy had totally fallen in love with them by this point, so she was excited to get to talk to them. The first thing mom wanted to do was give them the things we had brought for them. About a month before the trip, she decided that she wanted to make them a little something since we liked them so much. She finally decided on Mickey keychains wearing tiny kilts! They looked *so* cute! We'd made four in red and one in blue, plus three more in red for me, mom and my friend Melissa (who is almost as bad about kilts as I am!) They really liked them when we gave them to them. Jamie clipped his on his bagpipes, and Tony hung his on his keyboard. Before we let them get away, mom had me take her picture with them and their keychains.
Afterwards, I pulled Jamie aside to talk to him. When I was there in May, I had been talking to him and after the last show of our trip, he said to stop by and say hello the next time we were there. I told him that the next time would be on my birthday, and he told me to bring it to his attention that it was my birthday and he would play Happy Birthday for me. So when I brought it to his attention that it was my birthday, he seemed more than happy to want to sing for me. I told him that I would be around for the 6:00 show too and he said he'd sing it then! *bliss!* I was so happy. I thought the 6:00 show would never get there!
In the meantime, we watched O Canada. I was a bit tired by this point, so standing through the show was even more tiring, but hey, this movie's got guys in kilts...so I'm there! I love the song Canada (You're a Lifetime Journey). I'd only seen the movie one other time and remembered that I liked something about it, but I didn't know what. Now I remember that it was the song I liked so much. O Canada really is a beautiful film. I'll probably start watching it on every trip now.
Finally 6:00 rolled around and it was time for my birthday greetings from Off Kilter. As I sat down, I felt a tap on the shoulder and someone say my name. It was Kimfudge! I'd told her that Off Kilter would hopefully be singing Happy Birthday to me at the 6:00 show, so she said she'd be there. When all the guys started appearing, Jamie spotted me, pointed to me and made some kind of motion to tell me that they would be singing it. Yay!
They first sang some Spice Girls, then some hard core alternative (because that's what's "in" in western Canada hehe) then something else, then came time for my birthday song!!! Jamie said that he had a dedication to make to his friend Julie. "She and I are the same age...20." That got a chuckle from the audience, then he said "But her name *is* Julie and today *is* her birthday, so here's a birthday greeting from Off Kilter." And they sang to me!!!! Happy Birthday sounds so nice on the bagpipes and when being sung by five kilted men! I was in heaven. Total bliss. I made lots of profuse "thank you" motions as they finished and everyone clapped for me. Ahhh!!! What a happy birthday this is turning out to be!!!!!!
The show continued as normal, while I sat dumbfounded and smiling from ear to ear. When we were done, it was just about time to head over to the American Gardens amphitheater to watch Lord of the Dance. Kim said she had something else to do, but eventually we convinced her to go with us and watch it. As we passed Japan, we all stopped for Kaki Goris. I had strawberry and I'm pretty sure everyone else had rainbow ones. We waited in line for about half an hour while one show ended and the show we were there for began to load. Once we were inside, it was a few more minutes before the show was going to start, and we got great seats about four rows back on the right side of the stage.
The show was great. Actually much better than I was expecting. The girls playing the violins looked really fake to me, but that's probably because they weren't really playing (I'm not *positive* if they were or not...I assume they weren't since they weren't that convincing). The dancing was great and I don't think there was one time that I saw anyone miss a beat.
My only other comment about the show is about the lead guy, the lord of the dance. The guy that was the lead in this show looked really young. He couldn't have been more than 21 or 22 if that. He was a really great dancer, don't get me wrong...I'm saying nothing bad about his dancing, but he just didn't reek of...raw sexual energy...the way the lead guy is supposed to. The guy was cute, but didn't strike me as sexy enough to play the main part. Most of the lead male dancers I've seen have very sexual motions and are always giving the audience sexy looks. But this guy was just cute. Like you'd say your little brother was cute. And he kinda looked goofy in the vinyl pants. He was a great dancer, but I think the lead bad guy would have been a better choice for Michael Flatley's replacement.
After the show, it was approaching closing time, so we all headed towards the front of the park. We walked in the direction of Germany and Norway, and found ourselves in Innoventions Plaza in no time. Kim said that she was going to make a stop in Ice Station Cool before she left, so we said goodbye and parted ways.
Since we hadn't ridden Spaceship Earth yet, that was our final stop of the day. Patsy totally love the whole thing. Through the whole ride, she kept ohhing and ahhing at everything. I think it ended up being one of her favorite rides of the trip.
The night before at Pleasure Island, I'd found out that Steve Preskitt was going to be working at the Magic Kingdom monorail station, so I told him that if Off Kilter sang to me, I'd stop by and show him my video. So since they had sang to me, we hopped on a monorail to the TTC. Mom and Patsy didn't want to walk all the way up to the station to the Magic Kingdom, so I left them there and hopped on the next monorail that came my way.
Once there, I found him fairly easily amid the throngs of people (it was right after Main Street Electrical Parade finished). He was pretty busy, but between trains, he was able to catch a few bars of it. Since it was getting late and I was sure mom and Patsy were getting impatient for me to get back, I bid him farewell and caught a train to the TTC again. When I got back, we all went back to the Epcot parking lot and then back to the hotel.
The last thing on the agenda for the night was to check my e-mail then go to bed. What a fantastic day my twentieth birthday turned out to be!!! It was certainly a day I'll never forget. It was full of lots of firsts and many special surprises. From my first ride on Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, to adopting a brother, to having Off Kilter sing Happy Birthday to me, to seeing Lord of the Dance, it was definitely the most fun I've ever had in Disney World.
Kiwi's July TR 3 - Rockin' 'N' Rollin'
*snore* *snore* After a very tiring day at the Studios and Epcot, I really didn't want to get out of bed, but somehow I managed. I'd brought bagels and cream cheese from home, so I sat in bed and lazily munched on those while mom and Patsy got showered and dressed. Once they were done, they went down to the lobby to get something from the continental breakfast bar for breakfast. I got ready while they were gone, and they graciously returned with two cups of fruit punch for me.
We had planned on spending a little bit of time at Animal Kingdom in the morning, so that's where we headed first. When we got there, I had to exchange my Disney Store complimentary passes for real passes I could use to get into the parks, so I went to the ticket window. I asked the man there if I could exchange all three at one time, thinking that he would be giving me three one-day park hoppers that could be used any time. He said yes, so I gave him three of them and he gave me three tickets.
Well, as I was walking away, I realized that all the tickets were dated to be used that day, July 12th. I went back to the man and told him that I didn't know that they were going to be dated and that I needed one for the 13th and one for the 14th. The guy kind of acted like there was nothing he could do since he couldn't give me the original vouchers back, and he told me to go to Guest Services.
So I went to Guest Services and explained what happened. The girl was helpful, and eventually gave me two more tickets, one that would expire on the 13th and one that would expire on the 14th. I though it was all set, so we left and went inside the park. Little did I know that that was just the beginning of my ticket fiasco.
I think Patsy was really excited about seeing Animal Kingdom since it was the only one of the parks she had never seen before. She had to stop and get a picture of her pointing at the Animal Kingdom entrance as well as one of her in front of the Tree of Life. It was pretty early, so we headed off for Kilimanjaro Safari. The wait wasn't that bad, and we all really enjoyed it. As with almost everything, Patsy spent the whole time pointing out things and exclaiming how good of a time she was having. I was glad she was having a good time because before hand, we'd worried about if the heat and all the walking would get to her. It hadn't so far, so it was clear sailing for a bit more.
Once we were done, we headed over to It's Tough to be a Bug. I'm still not overly fond of this film, especially now that I've seen A Bug's Life. It needs more story, and they need to redo the 3D effects to make them clearer. It has a lot of potential to be a great film, but they need to do more with it. Of course, Patsy loved it. Any time she would mention it, mom and I would say "If you liked that...just wait until you see Muppet Vision."
Next we went over to Dinoland to ride Countdown to Extinction. This is mom's favorite ride in Disney World and one of my favorites too. When we got off the ride, I thought Patsy was gonna faint! She kept groaning and saying something like "Are y'all trying to kill me???" She was scared through the whole thing, but was laughing too. She took it in good spirits though, and hobbled out of the building.
Lunch was next on the agenda, and since I'd had such a great chicken salad at Tusker House in May, that's where we were headed. It was a long, hot walk, but once we got there, it was air conditioned and comfortable. We all ordered chicken salads, Patsy and I had sprites and mom had a Diet Coke. When the girl was handing me my order, she accidentally turned around too fast and my sprite dumped over into my salad. I could tell that she was really embarrassed, but I grabbed some napkins and helped wipe up the spill while she got me another drink and salad. Well, lunch was really good, just as we expected. I like the atmosphere of the dining room, the food is great and it's reasonably priced. I'll most certainly continue to eat there. As we finished, we decided to do a bit of shopping before we left.
Since we were right at the entrance to the path to Asia, I said that I wanted try to find the "secret path" so we headed off in that direction. I saw the entrance to the first path, then saw what I thought was the entrance to the "secret path" beyond that. There was a man and young boy standing right at the entrance. I kept waiting to see if they were going to go in, but they never did. Once they stepped aside, we all walked right in. Cool! I found it! Yay! It wasn't much, but just to say that I had been there was reward enough. Mom kept saying "*This* is the secret path?" and I would say "Well, no one else is here are they?"
Satisfied that I had seen the secret path, we started toward the front of the park. The heat was starting to get to Patsy, so we stopped in every store along the way so she could cool off. We stopped in one and found some slippers with Mickey and Minnie heads on the tops of them that were on sale. They were $9 a pair, so I grabbed a pair of Mickeys. Then mom saw them and said that she wanted a Mickey pair too. I tried to get her to get a pair of Minnies so we wouldn't have the same kind, but eventually we decided to get a pair of each and trade one each, so we would both have a Mickey and a Minnie. I also got a safari Mickey beanie since they were so cute and I had always neglected to buy one.
On the way out, we passed the entrance to Rainforest Cafe and told Patsy that she should take a look inside since we hadn't gotten to eat there. Well, we looked at the gift shop and walked around the restaurant part a little bit and she seemed impressed. I hated that we weren't able to eat there, but by the time we got around to making a Priority Seating, all the lunch seatings were full. I really hated that because they have some great food there, but it was ok. On the way out, I noticed some khaki colored fleecy shirts with "Rainforest Cafe" embroidered on the front. It was marked down from $42 to $19, so I got it. It has turned out to be a well loved part of my fall wardrobe too!
Once we were safely out of Animal Kingdom, we drove over to the Studios. I was bound and determined to get mom and Patsy on Rock 'N' Roller Coaster today. It was wild enough to be fun but tame enough that they could ride it. The whole way over to it, mom was saying "I just don't know...I'm not sure I want to..." Then Patsy, who had been very indecisive about riding it, piped up and said "Pardon my French...but what the hell? Let's ride it!" That seemed to be all that mom needed to convince her to ride it.
When we got there, I said that the front car was really fun, so we all went toward the front car. Mom and I sat in the front and Patsy sat behind us. I though mom was gonna pass out as we were sitting in front of the tunnel for the launch. During the ride, I kept hearing them both laughing and screaming. Yes! They liked it! I was right! Well when we got off, Patsy was really having problems walking. She said that her back was hurting but that she would be ok. We looked at our photo, but since this one was *so* much more expensive that the other ones, we didn't get it. It was funny though, and mom got a few seconds of video of it.
To commemorate their first ride, they both bought fake backstage passes with their names on them. Mom and I said that we wanted to go for a second trip since the wait was still only at about ten minutes, but Patsy said that because of her back she would sit it out. So mom and I rode it again and found Patsy in the gift shop at the exit when we were done. As we walked away, she started really complaining about her back and asked if there was anywhere we could sit down for a while. Since Voyage of the Little Mermaid was fairly close, we suggested it. We didn't have much of a wait, but since we were three of the last people in the theater, we had seats on the far right of the theater. Patsy really liked it, proclaiming "that was just darlin'!"
Afterwards, we decided to go on the Backlot tour. During the wait for the water tank show, we decided that we should get dinner once we were done since we were all getting hungry. Patsy said that we should go back to 50's Prime Time and see if Brother Lerroy was there again, but mom and I concluded that we really didn't have enough money on us to do that. Then Patsy said that dinner would be on her since we were being such good tour guides and were putting up with her slow walking and aching back all day. We thanked her and decided that we'd go.
Once we were done with the riding part of the tour, we found some pretty darn cool stuff in the AFI Showcase. Any other time we've been through there, it's been a bunch of stuff from movies we'd never seen, but this time all the stuff was awesome. It must have been a showcase of puppets because they had the puppets they used in What About Bob, the marionettes from The Sound of Music, and the Oogie Boogie puppet and bug covered Oogie Boogie puppet, unrolling hill, sleigh and Jack Skellington heads from The Nightmare before Christmas. We took lots of pictures and spent lots of time looking at the stuff. I think there were also some puppets from some sort of Home Improvement sketch, but I didn't recognise them.
When we were done there, we went back over to 50's Prime Time, hoping that we would get to see Brother Lerroy again. When we checked in...no Brother Lerroy :-( I guess Mondays and Tuesdays are his days off. Despite that, we decided to go ahead and stay, and had sister Carmen as our waitress. Mom and I both got orders of buffalo strips and chili cheese fries, and Patsy had the turkey dinner and iced tea. They both also had Works sundaes afterwards, but I was full and didn't get one.
By the time we were almost done with our meal, we decided that we should leave Brother Lerroy a message. We asked Carmen if we could have another placemat to leave him a message on, and she brought us two. We wrote a message on one of the sheets and crudely tried to make an envelope out of the other one. When Carmen saw what we were doing, she took over the job and made a nifty envelope. She even got us some tape to close it up with. When we asked her how she knew how to make such good envelopes, I think she said something about learning how to make them while passing love letters.
After dinner, we stopped at Sounds Dangerous for a show. We all really enjoy this show, though I still think the bees are a bit much. All the sound booths were full when we exited, so we bypasses them. On our way over to Muppet*Vision, Patsy was huffing and puffing, and holding her back as she walked. She started joking with us that we were trying to "beat the crap" out of her since we had made her go on Kilimanjaro Safari, Countdown to Extinction and Rock 'N' Roller Coaster all in one day. "Oh, you're just beatin' the crap out of me! I can't believe that my own family would beat the crap out of me!" When we got to Muppet*Vision, we didn't have to wait in the preshow long, and we enjoyed the show. We were right...Patsy liked this one much more than It's Tough to be a Bug.
We thought that we were gonna be able to make the 9:00 show of Fantasmic!, but since we watched Muppet*Vision we weren't able to make it. We could tell that Patsy was really getting worn out (well, we *had* been in the parks non-stop since about 9:00 that morning, on top of our beating the crap out of her) so we decided that we should leave. But not without trying the dollar claw machines in Pizza Planet first! I love playing these machines! I tried one dollar for myself and two dollars for mom, but we didn't win anything. We came close to winning a stuffed cat, but we didn't.
As we passed in front of the Great Movie Ride, I remembered that SheGoof had been raving about the Bear in the Big Blue House show, so we decided to stop and check it out. Turns out the last showing of it was at 5:00. Oh no. Oh well, we hadn't even picked up park maps that day, so we could only blame ourselves for missing it.
We left the Studios at around 10:00, and on the way back, Patsy wanted to stop at a Cracker Barrel and see if they had any Beanie Babies she didn't have. She didn't get any, but she did get a mug. When we got back to the hotel, mom made a call back home to make sure everyone was ok. When she was done, Patsy asked her to call her mom (since she had laid down on the pull out couch and seemed to have trouble getting up). Once she was on the phone, from across the room, Patsy was yelling "Oh momma, they're beatin' the crap out of me! They're puttin' me on these rides that shake me to death! Just beatin' the crap out of me! That's what they're doin'!" Mom was laughing so hard that she couldn't speak, and I could hear Aunt Virginia (Patsy's mom) laughing over the phone from across the bed. Once we finally calmed down, we got to sleep.
Kiwi's July TR 4 - Otter nonsense
Being my normal morning person self, I whined and complained about waking up at 7:45. When I finally woke up enough to be coherent, I discovered that my remaining two bagels were moldy. Happens on every trip. I should expect it by now. I'd have to get something from the continental breakfast to eat, so I dragged myself from the warm safety of my bed and got dressed. After mom and Patsy were done getting dressed and ready, we headed down to the first floor for breakfast. Since they didn't have much I wanted, I got a plain donut, an English muffin and two cups of punch. I only took one bite of the English muffin before I realized it was really dry, so I threw it away. The donut and punch were good though, and surprisingly, I didn't feel yucky after eating it.
More Epcot today! Yay! Since I'd had so much trouble with my tickets the day before, I thought that surely everything was fixed by now. WRONG! When I looked at my tickets to see which one was dated for the 13th, I realized that they were one-day one-park tickets instead of one-day park hoppers. Grrr...I went to a ticket window and talked to a guy named Paul. I explained to him everything that went on with the tickets the previous day, and he set about fixing it. The thing I though was interesting was that he, basically, didn't have much to go on except my word about what had happened. I know there's some information stored on the tickets, but I'm sure they didn't type out the whole story on it. Yet he fixed them anyway.
After a good ten minutes, the guy handed me two more tickets. He put one in my right and said "Use this one today" then one in my left hand and said "Use this one tomorrow." I looked at them...one day park hoppers...one dated the 13th and one dated the 14th...looked good to me, so I met back up with mom and Patsy and went to the turnstiles. They went on in (mom has an annual pass and Patsy had a four day pass) but as I got up there, it wouldn't take my ticket. GRRR...it said that the ticket he gave me for today was expired. In a vain attempt at getting in, I tried the ticket he gave me to use the next day, but it was expired too.
Back to the ticket window. Luckily I found Paul again and told him they were expired. I don't know what he did, but he handed me another one with an X on the back and said "Use this one today" and handed me another one, and told me that where ever I was the next day, I would need to go to Guest Services, tell them my story and have them redate that one for the 14th. Sheesh...what a hassle! I wish the vouchers or the man at the Animal Kingdom window had said that the vouchers were good for dated tickets. If I had known, I would have just turned in one a day and not had to go through everything.
That ticket finally worked, so after a good half hour of haggling over the tickets, I was in. We had to go get a wheelchair for Patsy (since we had beaten the crap out of her the day before, remember?) so we went that way. Wheelchairs and strollers are free to Cast Members, so that was four dollars or so we saved right there.
With wheelchair in tow, we hoofed it over to Innoventions. Mom and Patsy wanted to send some e-mail postcards to some friends. We had to wait for a few minutes on a booth, but once we got in one, we sent four postcards to various people (including one to a manager at Disney Store which he never received). When we were done there, we went over to the Land to take in my favorite thing in Disney World, Food Rocks. Afterwards, the line For Living with the Land was really long, so we skipped it and went over to the Living Seas.
The prime directive of my going into the Living Seas this time, aside from looking at the tanks and stuff, was to buy an otter. When I went in February, I absolutely fell in love with a plush otter they had for sale there, but he was $34 so I never got him. Then, when I went back in May, I was hoping that he wouldn't be there any more so I wouldn't be so tempted to buy him, but he was still there. I wanted him so badly, but I just couldn't justify spending that much money on a plush otter.
Since my birthday had just passed, some people in my family had given me money to spend on myself for my birthday. I had decided before I even left for Florida that I was going to buy that otter if it took every last penny I had. I'd wanted it for almost six months, and I was finally going to get it.
So we went into the Living Seas, watching the preshow of course (which Patsy also loved) and soon found ourselves inside the main tanks. The first thing I did after jumping out of my sea cab was to run over to the gift shop and get my otter. But when I got there...NO OTTERS!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! I looked everywhere. I picked up all the plush in this big box they had hoping against hopes that there would be one stashed away in the bottom, but there wasn't. I want my otter!!!!! I couldn't believe that I had wanted him so badly and never gotten him...and now he was gone. It was definitely a lesson learned the hard way.
Dejected, we watched the manatees for a bit, then watched the shrimp cultures. When we were done, we solemnly left and decided to have lunch. Since we had yet to have pizza on this trip, we told Patsy that she should have a Mickey shaped pizza for lunch. She liked the idea, so we went over to Pasta Piazza. I got a cheese pizza and mom and Patsy both got pepperoni ones. They were really good...I like Disney World pizza except that the sauce is a bit too sweet for my liking.
Right after lunch, we made a stop in Ice Station Cool so Patsy could test out the beverages there. We tried to get her to swig some Beverly, but she was smart and smelled it first, then decided on just a small sip. She thought it was totaly heinous, much like all the other people I convinced to drink it. I was upset that my favorite, Lift Pineapple, had been replaced my some Brazilian diet drink that mom said was really nasty (I didn't try it cuz I'm allergic to aspartame, the main ingredient in artificial sweeteners) Instead, I drank a couple of cups of VegitaBeta and I was consoled.
Once we had our fill of exotic drinks, we went to the Wonders of Life pavilion to watch Cranium Command. As we got there, the show was having technical difficulties. We noticed that an Anicomical Players show was about to start so we took a seat and waited for it. It was a cute show, but I probably wouldn't stop to watch it again. They did a courtroom drama about the digestive system (with lots of toilet humor hehe), a soap opera about smoking and a gameshow. It was a cute show. When that was done, Cranium Command was back up so we watched it. Once again, Patsy proclaimed that it was "just darlin'".
We watched Universe of Energy next, and it was a very relaxing ride. One thing of note here that I thought was funny...in the preshow when Ellen is talking to Bill Nye, he says "Hi, I'm Bill Nye, the Science Guy" and Ellen says "Hi, I'm Ellen the...well, just Ellen." During the pause after she says "I'm Ellen the..." I could hear tons of people in the audience whisper the word "lesbian" under their breath. I'm just stating a fact here folks. It was kind of funny how so many people said it in unison too.
Next, we were gonna head into World Showcase and see what was going on there. We went to Mexico first and rode El Rio del Tiempo. My running boy still wasn't running *sniff* *sniff*. On the way out, we looked around for tiny hats, but I couldn't find any. I guess poor Tourist Mickey's head will just get cold this year since I've exhausted all the tiny hat resources available to him.
After Mexico, we saw that it was getting close to time for an Off Kilter show, so we headed over to the Canada pavilion. We watched the show, and afterwards, as usual, we chatted with them for a bit. We thought that that was going to be the last time we saw them, so we told them goodbye and that we would see them in December. As we were leaving, I noticed the cart that sells Beaver Tails, so we stopped to look at them. They looked ok, but they didn't really look like anything I would want to get, but mom and Patsy wanted one. While they ate theirs, I got a strawberry Fruitopia and drank it.
As they were getting in line to get their Beaver Tails, Patsy called me over to the shop next to the stand and was pointing at something. I couldn't see what she was pointing at, but I heard her say "Is that your otter?" What?!?! I ran over to her, and sure enough, she was pointing at a big shelf full of miniature stuffed otters!!!!!! They weren't the big ones that I wanted, but they were certainly good enough. I must have looked insane because I was jumping up and down saying "My otter! My otter!". I feverishly asked a girl working at the booth if she knew if they were selling the larger otters. She said that they didn't sell them, but that the Mercantile shop inside the pavilion did.
I ran to the Mercantile shop. I didn't walk, I didn't jog, I ran. I was out of breath by the time I got up the steps and into the shop. I looked around and didn't see them at first, but then I turned to the right and...OTTERS!!!!!!!!! Lots and lots of beautiful otters! There were people in front of them, so I quickly made my way through them and grabbed the first one I laid eyes on. He was so precious! I was so happy that I had finally found my otter! I looked at the price tag...$16.99?!?!?! YES! ON SALE! I was a happy Julie. I bounced my way over to the register with my new otter and told the girl there my story about being so upset when they weren't in the Living Seas. With my Cast discount, my total for him came to $14.41...$20 less than what I had originally anticipated! Woo hoo!!!! I told her that since I had saved so much money on him that I was going to go back down to the shop at the entrance and buy the smaller one to go with him. She even gave me a bigger bag so I could put the little one in with the big one.
I was happy. I finished my Fruitopia on a bench outside the pavilion, hugging my two new otters. We decided that since we had yet to make it to the Magic Kingdom, that's where we should go. We contemplated taking the monorail over, but we wouldn't be leaving Magic Kingdom until around 11:00 and Epcot closed at 9:00. They might still be running the monorails that late, but we didn't want to chance it, so we drove over. I had to leave my precious otters in the car, but they survived just fine.
We parked at the Transportation and Ticket center and took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. We asked if we could sit in the front and we were told that we could. Turns out that the pilot was Melinda, a friend of my friend Bill's, so I got to meet her. Well, right as we got inside the park, it started storming. Since it was raining, Patsy decided not to get another wheelchair and have to push it around in the rain. It was approaching dinner time, so we headed straight over to Fantasyland into the best burger joint on property, Pinocchio's Village Haus.
Right as we got inside, the skies opened up and it started pouring down rain. We'd made it in just in time. The first line of business was to stake out my Monstro table. There was a family sitting there, but since it was pretty crowded, I figured that by the time mom and Patsy were through the line, the people would be gone. So I stood there...and stood there...and stood there, for the better part of twenty minutes I'd say. Finally, the people got up and left...but they left their trash on the table! Ugh. How rude. These Cast Members are not your servants, people. Pick up your own trash.
In the interest of sitting at the Monstro table, I cleaned off the table and wiped it off. A few minutes later, mom and Patsy showed up with our food. Everyone had gotten burgers, fries and water. Mmmm...best burger I've eaten in a long time. Good stuff. I also managed to purloin some tomatoes, pickles and sauerkraut from the topping bar, so that made what was essentially a side dish in and of itself.
It wasn't quite done raining by the time we were done with dinner, so we just slipped next door and rode It's a Small World. I think this ended up being one of Patsy's favorite things of the trip. I'm pretty sure her favorite was the Great Movie Ride, but It's a Small World may have been second. Through the whole thing, she was pointing out different dolls and saying how much she liked them. And when we got off..."That was just darlin'! Oh that was *so* darlin'! I just can't get over it...that was just darlin'!" I think she likes the word darlin'.
Next on the list was Legend of the Lion King. We were lucky in that we didn't have to wait long in the preshow before we got to go in. Mom insisted on riding the carousel next, so we all hopped on. Peter Pan's Flight was next. By this Time, Patsy has learned not to trust us with much of anything, so she asked one of the CMs if the ride had any dips or inversions. The person looked at her like she was crazy and told her that it was very tame. Did we forget to mention that you're suspended from the ceiling the whole time? Oops, sorry :-)
I rode by myself and Mom rode with Patsy. Right when we took off, I heard her scream. Hahaha It was so funny! Any time the ride would drop down or tilt forward, I would hear her yell. By the time we got off, mom was dying laughing and Patsy had an even worse distrust of us. She thought we were trying to beat the crap out of her again. It was funny.
Next came the Haunted Mansion. Once again, she had to ask if it had any dips and stuff. She liked it ok, except that the whole time she was saying "Why are those people screaming? Oh, now what's gonna happen? Is something gonna pop up at me?" And right as you exit the attic and the car leans sharply backwards, she let out a scream like the floor was dropping out from under her. Of course, mom and I had to laugh at her at the end of the ride.
As we exited Haunted Mansion, Main Street Electrical Parade was just starting, so we stood there and watched what we could of it. I instantly loved the music. It was so happy and so peppy...much better than Spectromagic. And as the floats went by, I actually enjoyed myself. I had watched Spectromagic once in 1997, and that was more than enough, but I could tell that I liked Main Street Electrical Parade much more. It was pretty, fun, happy and all around more entertaining than Spectromagic. I left feeling happy and glad that I would get to see it lots more in subsequent trips.
After the parade, we headed into Tomorrowland to see a few things. Tomorrowland Transit Authority was one of the first things we came to, so we got on it. We assured Patsy that it didn't have any drops, so she was allayed for a while. But during the ride, mom and I somehow morphed into pure evil. As we entered Space Mountain (ya know, where it's really dark right before you get to the place where you can see the loading area) we said something like "Ok, we lied. This ride *does* have a drop in it...and it's a pretty big one too." Patsy started laughing and saying "I'm never trusting you again! I can't believe my own family would trick me!"
So once we got to where you can see the loading area, we said "It's coming...it's coming..." And there's one part there where the car speeds up just a little bit. Right as we hit that spot, mom screamed, "Here it is!!!" and screamed. Just then, Patsy let out a wail unequalled by anyone I've ever heard! She screamed in terror for a couple of seconds, until she realized that she wasn't dropping. Mom and I started dying laughing. I mean, laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. The people in the other cars probably heard us we were laughing so loudly!
Then Patsy started yelling at us..."Oh, I'm never gonna trust you again! You scared the %$#! out of me! I thought I was gonna drop! Oh I'm never trusting you again!" hehe Even when we got off the ride, we were still bent in half laughing about it. Any time we wanted a good laugh for the rest of the trip, we would say something like "Woah! here it comes!" Having scared Patsy half to death, we went over to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and took a couple of rides.
As we finished up there, the park was closing, so we went back to the hotel, checked e-mail and went to bed.
Kiwi's July TR 5 - Creepy Ben and the sauerkraut
7:00 rolled around quickly, and once again, I had a hard time getting up. Mom and Patsy ate at the continental breakfast again, but I said that I wanted to stop at a McDonald's for breakfast. So once we were done, we all piled into the car and headed out. At McDonalds, I got an egg and cheese biscuit and hash browns. Next stop was the Magic Kingdom via monorail.
Once again, I had to stop at Guest Services and get my ticket fixed. This was the quickest of the visits, and soon I was on my way in. Once inside, I decided that I wanted to ride Splash Mountain. Neither mom nor Patsy wanted to ride Splash Mountain, and I didn't want to watch Hall of Presidents or ride the riverboat, so we went our separate ways for a while. The line for Splash Mountain was only backed up through the top part of the barn, so I guess I had about a 20 minute wait. I got wet, but not excessively soaked.
Once I was done, I decided to try and find my friend Scott. He was working as a custodial host on the College Program in Frontierland. I stopped one man and asked if he knew who Scott was and he said yes, but he didn't know if he was working that day or not. Then I found someone else and asked him, and he said that he thought he came in at 11:00. It was only a little after nine, so I decided to try to find him later.
We had decided that they would watch the Hall of Presidents and ride the riverboat, then we would meet up outside the riverboat entrance afterwards. Since I had gotten in and out of Splash Mountain so quickly, the boat they were on hadn't left yet, so I hopped on and looked for them. They were shocked to see me since they had thought that the Splash Mountain line would be at least an hour. Not so, so I sat down on the deck and we rode. Patsy kept wiping her eyes and talking about how wonderful Hall of Presidents was. Turns out that she had boo-hooed all through it. I said that if she liked that, she should just wait until she saw American Adventure.
When we were done, we hopped over to Adventureland to see everything over there. We passed an ice cream cart, and an Itzakadoozie started calling my name, so I got one. By the time we got to the Tiki Room, I was almost done, so we went ahead and got in line. By the time we went inside I was done. I think Patsy thought the Tiki Room was "just darlin'" too.
Next we rode the Jungle Cruise, which was better this time than in previous trips. Afterwards we took in Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course since we'd had so much fun scaring Patsy on the TTA, we decided not to tell Patsy about the drop in Pirates of the Caribbean. We rounded the corner to where you can see the skull, then said "Oh yeah, did we forget to tell you that this has a drop in it?" She was like "No, I don't believe you! You're just being mean to me!" Needless to say, she let out quite a scream when we really did drop down the hill! Once again, we had a nice laugh at her expense.
Afterwards, I asked around trying to find Scott, but I couldn't find him (later, I found out that that was the only day off he had that week). We decided that we should get a bite to eat since our dinner was still a ways away, so since we still had a thing or two to do in Tomorrowland, we decided to go over to Cosmic Ray's. Patsy and I both got the stacked sandwiches and she had fries. Mine was really really good. All the meats are turkey based, so I could eat everything on it (eventhough the "ham" tasted a lot like real ham...yuck) and is served on a herb bread. It was so good. Mom had a burger, fries and water.
Just as we were done, we all regretted getting such a big meal because we had a priority seating at Biergarten in about two and a half hours. Oh well. While we were in the area, we watched Carousel of Progress, which is a favorite of ours. Patsy really liked it too. It was just about time to head back over to Epcot for the final time of the trip, so we took the monorail to the TTC, then drove over to Epcot.
As we went inside, we stopped in Innoventions to see if any of the postcard booths were free. We had to wait for a few minutes to get one, but once we were inside, we sent three or four postcards to friends at home. When we were done, we headed over into World Showcase and around clockwise towards Germany. Right as we got past China, we were stopped as they raised the drawbridge to let the ball for Illuminations out into the lagoon. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, and it was a fairly uncomfortable wait since it was in full sun.
When we arrived at Biergarten, it was 4:00 and none of us were hungry since we had just eaten a couple of hours ago. We were seated pretty quickly since it was so early. We had chosen such an early seating because we wanted to see the show they had, and the next show wasn't until much later. The hostess explained that the buffet was family style and that we would be seated with other people at a big table. Cool with us, so we went to sit down. A few minutes later, our waitress, Sabine, seated an older man named Ben with us.
The meal was really good! I was scared that most of the stuff on the menu would be things that I couldn't eat (I don't eat pork and don't eat most kinds of beef) but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to easily avoid the pork dishes. Actually, the only meat I had was some fried chicken patties they had, otherwise I would have easily been able to eat veggie for the whole meal. They had a great pasta salad, tomato salad, some puffed pasta type stuff, lots of good bread, and lots of other veggies and salads. I really enjoyed the meal and will probably go back at some point.
During the meal, I noticed that the only way they serve sauerkraut was in a big pot with ham laid on top of it. I asked the waitress if she could bring me a bowl of just sauerkraut since I don't eat pork, and she said that she thought she could. So she showed back up a few minutes later and said that all the sauerkraut they make is cooked in pork stock. Yuck! Too bad cuz I absolutely love sauerkraut.
Just about the only bad thing I have to say about the restaurant is that it was kind of uncomfortable having three women sitting at a table with a man they didn't know. Ben was nice enough, and we were able to give him lots of tips on what to see the rest of the day (he was travelling cross country and was only in Disney World for one day), but he seemed a bit...creepy...to me. He also exhibited a little bit too much interest in Patsy and I think it made her a bit uncomfortable. Aside from that, the show was excellent and we had a great meal.
When dinner was done, we said goodbye to Ben and went over to American Adventure. When we went in, it looked like it was about to start raining. Well, just as I suspected, Patsy boo-hooed through the whole show. I don't know how many tissues she went through, but when the show was over, we had to wait at the exit a little while before she and mom had quit crying enough to continue. While they were crying, I stepped over to the bathroom. Well, the line was huge, so it took me a l-o-n-g time to get in and out. By the time I was done and back to where they were waiting, mom was gone. Patsy said that we had probably passed each other because she had just left for the bathroom when I got back. Finally, we caught up with each other and headed off, in the pouring rain, to the Canada pavilion.
As we reached Canada, we were able to catch the tail end of Off Kilter's 7:15 show. When they were done, we decided to just hang around for a few minutes and catch the 8:25 show, since we wouldn't have time to see anything else and get back in time. Since it was our last night in Florida, I wanted to get together with one of my friends from Orlando, so I hopped over to the UK pavilion and gave him a call. We decided to meet up at the Magic Kingdom at 9:30, which would give me just enough time to watch Off Kilter, do a bit of last minute shopping and catch the monorail over.
When I returned, mom asked if we wanted her to run over to Mexico and get us some churros, and I said yes. So mom went over there and returned a few minutes later with three churros. While she was gone, I had started chatting with the family on the bench behind us. The two little boys of the family (maybe six and four years old) were talking about Tower of Terror and Countdown to Extinction. It was funny, and I had a nice chat with them. When mom returned, we shared a few bites of our churros with them since they had never tried them.
As showtime neared, who should show up but Ben. He was a few rows back from us and started calling out Patsy's name. We talked to him for a few minutes, and at one point, he grabbed the handles of Patsy's wheelchair and said "I think *you* need to sit back here with *me*" and started pulling her wheelchair backwards. Then he let go and Patsy promptly wheeled herself back up next to us.
The show was great as always, and they sang one song that I had never heard before. It started out "My name is John MacKensie" and was absolutely beautiful. I'm so glad that we got it on tape because it's become one of my favorites they sing. When they were done, we bid them a final farewell, telling them that we would be back in early December and that we would certainly bring ourselves to their attention. We then went back into Future World and made a stop at the Emporium. I didn't find anything I wanted, so I left mom and Patsy to look around some more while I took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom.
I met up with my friend about five minutes late and after saying our hellos, we went over to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain. The long line afforded us some chatting time, and when we were done, we took a ride on the TTA. After that, we walked through Fantasyland over to Liberty Square. This was the first time of the entire trip that I had walked past the new Pooh ride. Mom, who likes Pooh well enough, kept saying before hand that she really wanted to ride it, but once we were actually in Disney World, she never mentioned it. I like to think that she was nice enough not to ride it for my sake, knowing how much I loved Mr. Toad and hated to see it go. I figured that she would run to Fantasyland and ride it first thing, but she didn't. We never walked past it or even mentioned it. Odd, but comforting at the same time.
When we were through Fantasyland, we made a stop at Haunted Mansion and rode it. As we left, it was just about time for Main Street Electrical Parade to start, so he suggested we stop and watch it. We both got popcorn and drinks and sat on the steps of Liberty Tree Tavern and took in the parade. I still can't get over how much more I like this parade than SpectroMagic. Aside from the music, I can't pinpoint one thing that makes me love this parade so much. Oh well...mine is not to question why.
After the parade, everything was closed, so we decided to leave. We took the monorail back to the TTC and I got a ride back to my hotel from him. What a great way to end a trip.
Kiwi's July TR 6 - Parting is such sweet sorrow
Would you believe me if I told you that I, the compulsive trip note taker, didn't take a single note about our return trip home? Upon inspection of my notes at the time of writing this, I have discovered only blank pages in my notebook after the notes about day five, so from here on, I'll just be going on memory.
I'm sure we left somewhere around 7:00 because we had to get on the road so we wouldn't be driving late into the night. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast, where I had an egg and cheese biscuit and hash browns. I don't recall what mom or Patsy had.
I think I slept through most of the ride back, or at least five or six hours of it. I think it rained some...I'm not sure. The next thing I remember, we were pulling up at Patsy's house. Her mom greeted us all with big hugs and stories of what had happened during the week. The final verdict from Patsy was that she had had a great time and was ready to go back! We hauled all of her luggage in and said goodbye.
By the time we got home ourselves, we were met with piles of mail and a kitty in need of petting. I wish I could go into more detail about the trip home, but you probably don't care anyway, right? hehe
Wow, what a wonderful trip! I probably couldn't have asked for this trip to turn out any better than it did. My birthday was magical beyond belief, I had a great time meeting up with all my friends, I had lots of new dining and entertainment experiences and I got to show a Disney World newbie around! I really noticed just how much the Cast Members went out of their way to make my birthday special, and I appreciated it a lot!
To have been July, the weather was pretty nice. Of course it was hot and humid, but there were very few times when the heat was overbearing. There were lots of overcast times and some rain showers to break up the insanely hot and sunny times. It never detracted from anything with the possible exception of making my hair really frizzy.
The only other experience I'd had with Disney World in July was in 1997 during the 25th anniversary celebration. Things were certainly not that hectic this year. It was crowded, but not overly crowded. I'd say the average wait for the E-Ticket rides was around a half hour most of the time, while for the smaller ones, it may have been around fifteen to twenty minutes.
One really great thing we noticed was the almost absence of Brazilian tour groups. I only encountered one great big group, and that was in the Magic Kingdom. We saw other smaller groups, but there couldn't have been more than 15 people in each of them. In 1997, the Studios was so packed with Brazilian tour groups that we were only able to see two shows and have lunch in the course of six hours, but on this trip, they didn't affect wait times or street congestion at all. I was surprised at this...maybe Disney is finally limiting the size of the groups that can come in or something.
As always, we were very pleased with our hotel. Though getting to it could have been a little easier (still had lots of construction going on on 192) we were very happy with the room, temperature control, water temperature and pressure, continental breakfast and hotel guest services. It was nice having the room separator too, so one person could get dressed on one side, one on the other and one in the bathroom. We never used the microwave I don't think, but the fridge came in handy for chilling drinks and cream cheese. Another flawless trip. I still recommend Magic Castle to anyone without hesitation.
Ok, enough with that. On to my best and worst list.
Favorite meal: Lunch on my birthday at 50's Prime Time with my Brother Lerroy
Favorite new experience: Watching Lord of the Dance
Most magical moment: It's a three way tie: 1) Spontaneously being given a Happy Birthday card signed by all the cast and CMs working backstage at the Doug Live show, 2) Seeing that Brother Lerroy had been good on his word and carried the piece of paper I gave him around for two months, and 3) Hearing Off Kilter play Happy Birthday for me.
Biggest disappointment: The sauerkraut at Biergaren being cooked in pork stock instead of water :-(
Best CM encounter: Had to be Brother Lerroy
Thing I wish I had done: Watched Food Rocks a few more times, gotten to see Scott and Josh, two friends on the College Program, and watch Fantasmic!
Thing I'm glad I experienced: My birthday at Disney World. I can't imagine a more special birthday than the one I had.
Favorite souvenir: My Otter! My beautiful Otter!
Thing I wish I hadn't done: Wasted the money on the Chef Mickey character breakfast. It was ok, but definitely not worth the money.
Thing I'll have to do again: Ride Rock 'N' Roller Coaster!
Funniest thing I heard: Patsy yelling "Oh momma, they're just beatin' the crap out of me!" hehehe
Favorite "Julie only" experience: Being a Beet and Pleasure Island the first night.
Nicest Loins viewed: There were some nice loins on display at Pleasure Island, but I'd still have to go with Off Kilter.
Thing I have a new appreciation for: Lord of the Dance. I really wasn't expecting it to be as precise and coordinated as it was. I was expecting someone to be out of step at some point, but no...no one missed a single beat! Wow!
Best thing about the whole trip: How even if I had been in 100% control of how things went on my birthday, I would not have been able to make it any better. All my plans fell into place wonderfully and made it the best birthday I've ever had.
Worst thing about the whole trip: How screwed up my tickets got. But it's a lesson learned now...if I'm using employee paper exchange tickets, redeem them *one at a time*!!!!! :-)
Final thoughts: I just can't emphasize enough what an exceptionally wonderful trip I had. When I think of all the trips I've taken to Disney World, I'm certain that this is one of the top two...maybe the top one. From Off Kilter singing Happy Birthday to me to seeing Brother Lerroy to watching Lord of the Dance, to getting to be a Beet, I could not have asked for a better birthday. Even with all the changes going on that are making people so unhappy, the Magic is still there. You may have to look for it a bit, but when you find it, it's totally overwhelming. This trip was the first time I had ever been totally in awe of all the magical things going on around me. I can't have those kind of experiences at home even if I try. I still believe in Magic...do you?
Thanks for listening to my diatribe. I know I can get long winded, and I appreciate those of you who have trudged through it. If you have any questions or comments about anything, please feel free to e-mail me. Have a Disney day!