November 16-23, 1999
TRIP REPORT, NOVEMBER 17 - 23, 1999
The Kelley Family
Carol Kelley: Age 35 - Author of this report, master trip planner, general Disney nut, TDC ScoutMom, 4th WDW Trip
Rick Kelley: Age 47 - My hubby, likes Disney trips, but isnt a nut, His philosophy is *tell me when were going, then shut up :-)*, 2nd WDW Trip
Matthew Kelley: Age 13, My older son, who likes to act *cool*, but loves Walt Disney World 2nd WDW Trip
Kevin Kelley: Age 12, My younger son, in the gifted program at school, has ADD, and loves his *critters*, mostly Disney, 2nd WDW Trip
The Mitchell Family
Dixie Mitchell: Age 50-something, my kids grandma, *Grandma Dixie*, a kid at heart, 2nd WDW Trip, went to Disneyland many, many moons ago
Tara Scheirer: Age 15, Dixies daughter, aunt to my boys, a goofy teenager, a sweet girl, 1st WDW trip
The Tipton Family
Robert Tipton: Age 37, Dixies son-in-law, loves to hunt and fish, and work with his horses, 1st WDW Trip (Didnt actually go on the trip)
Tammy Tipton: Age 36, Dixies daughter, aunt to my boys, a real nut, very outspoken and lots of fun, 1st WDW trip, went to Disneyland many, many moons ago
Tia Tipton: Age 16, Tammy & Roberts oldest daughter, also a goofy teenager, a sweet girl, 1st WDW trip.
Amber Tipton: Age 12, Tammy & Roberts middle daughter, a bundle of laughs, lots of fun, 1st WDW trip.
Joshua Tipton: Age 11, Tammy & Roberts son, a very smart fella, lots of fun, charges around like a *bull in a china shop*, 1st WDW trip
We were hoping Dixies hubby, Harvey would also go on the trip, but he decided to pass. Robert eventually also decided to not go on this trip.
Will WDW survive all of us? :-) Well see!!!! Now you ask how this crew got together? Dixie also has another son, which is my ex-husband. Well, when we divorced, I naturally stayed close with them due to the boys, and when I remarried, my hubby officially adopted my boys, and this clan *adopted* my hubby. Its a strange combination, but it works..... most of the time :-)
Planning for the trip:
This trip took on several evolutions before it became the *superbly planned masterpiece it is today* (even if I say so myself) <VBG>
Evolution 1: August, 1998
This trip was originally planned to be just Rick, myself, and the boys, Thanksgiving weekend, 1999. We were going to leave Tuesday, November 23 - Sunday, November 28, 1999, stay at All-Star Music using the *Resort Magic Plan with Dining Disney Style*. We were going to fly out of Huntsville, and go to the Hoop-De-Doo Revue. Total trip cost, about $3700.00. I booked a room for those nights and booked the Hoop-De-Doo Revue and was planning to have our favorite travel agent do the package come February when the income tax refund showed up.
Evolution 1 Is Blown Out of the Water: December, 1998
As most of you may know, Dixie and myself *Ran Amuck* at WDW the weekend of the big RADP meet last December. She originally went just to have a break from *life in general*, it didnt matter where. Well WDW just blew her away. She just could not get over how amazing everything was.
Evolution 2: December 1998
So on the plane flight home, we decided that Dixie, Tara, and Harvey would come with us on our November 1999 trip. We added an extra room to the reservation, added three people to the Hoop-De-Doo reservation.
Evolution 2 Is Blown Out of the Water: Christmas Eve 1998
At our Christmas Eve get together, gift swap celebration, we were talking about the trip we just went on and the upcoming trip. Everybody got upset that we wouldnt be around for Thanksgiving, plus Tammy & Robert said that they were going to be able to have a vacation this year, so *why dont we all go together*. I knew that Tammy & Robert had no idea of the magnitude and the costs involved, but they asked me to give them some estimates anyway. Dixie and myself gave them two caveats, 1) We would stay on Disney property, 2) They would pay all of their costs. Robert was scheduled for 4 weeks of National Guard duty this summer, so the cost would be no problem for them, but please do it as cheaply as possible.
I worked up several price options for everyone and we also agreed to change the dates of the trip. The new trip dates were November 17 - 23. Tara, Tia, Josh and Amber are all home schooled and my boys could miss a few days of school easily. This would have us home for Thanksgiving, avoid the crowds and the Christmas hoopla for the newbies and give my boys several days back at home before school started back to make up assignments instead of doing it on vacation.
Since Robert is in the National Guards, we all agreed that our hotel would be Shades of Green and we would buy six day Stars & Stripes passes. Shades of Green was considerably larger than All-Stars for about the same price and the Stars & Stripes passes were about 50 less per person than 5-night, six day LOS passes. We decided to eat one large buffet at lunch each day and purchase breakfast food and sandwich fixings for dinner at Wal-Mart when we arrived. After I priced all of this out, that left Tammy & Robert with about only $400.00 left to get them down there. None of their cars would make the drive and they couldnt rent a mini-van on their own for that price, so Dixie agreed to share the mini-van with them. Even with Dixie sharing the mini-van, the price was very close and would make for one long day and one long night on the road.
We called to make reservations at Shades of Green, but they were booked, however, the reservationist at Shades of Green told me that Robert could still buy Stars & Stripes Passes for ALL of our group as long as we were staying at a Disney resort. So, we booked All-Stars. So now the plan was All-Star Music, 6 nights, 3 rooms, 6 day Stars & Stripes Passes, the Kelleys flying, and the Mitchells and Tiptons driving a mini-van rented out of Birmingham from Alamo.
My dad finally made it to his personnel office and procured 3 Magic Kingdom Club Cards for us. I called CRO back and got MKC rates for the rooms. WOO HOO!!! With that savings, and the savings that Robert would provide for the admission passes, we decided to make up the difference between the rental van and flying out of Nashville or Birmingham on one of Southwest ~$104.00 internet specials.
So now the room reservation is made, we have verified and triple checked with SOG ticket services that we can indeed buy Stars & Stripes passes for all who have resort IDs in our group regardless of relation. Another interesting tidbit I found out about Stars & Stripes passes. They are slightly different than All-In-One Passes. You can buy them for any number of days up to your length of stay, they are not coded into your resort ID, but they do expire when you check out. So if you know youre going to have a non-park day in the beginning, end, or even the middle, just buy the tickets for one less day. We have also outlined an itinerary for the trip and are just waiting on Southwest to open up airfares and specials for that time of year. Everyone is saving their money and counting down the days one, by one, by one......... :-)
Ooops, more pot stirring creates Evolution 6:
Robert decided out of the blue that he really didnt want to go on the trip. It was hunting season and he decided hed rather use his vacation time to go hunting. Well, that was fine, but it might create a problem. Could dependants purchase Stars & Stripes passes for their group? After several tries to Shades of Green guest services, we finally got through and was told that yes, a dependant ID is valid to purchase Stars & Stripes passes for a group staying at a WDW resort. Yippee!!!! I also realized after looking at some old SW Airline Special e-mails that I had saved that the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was a blackout date for their special internet fares. We decided then that we might need to move our trip back one day to the 16th through the 22nd to be able to get the cheap airfare. I called CRO and was able to add the 16th to our reservation at MKC rates!!! WooHoo!!!! I will cancel the 23rd or the 16th after we buy airline tickets. Once again we are waiting as the days creep by one-by-one-by-one-by-one........ ;-)
Evolution 7, Final Plans
Well the airfares never came down to an acceptable level for anyone, plus Dixie had bought a minivan, so we all decided to drive. The new plans were to drive down using Dixies minivan and our car on Tuesday, the 16th of November, and drive back home on Tuesday, the 23rd of November.
ON TO THE TRIP!!!!
Tuesday, November 16, 1999
We left Huntsville about 5:30 am CST and headed out I-565 West towards I-65 South to Birmingham, AL., we then turned East on I-20 towards Atlanta and stopped at a McDonalds just past Birmingham for a pit stop and a quick bite to eat.
We continued East on I-20 and stopped at the Georgia Welcome Center for our next stop of the day. We then continued on I-20 East into Atlanta and turned South on I-75 towards Florida.
Just before Macon, GA we stopped at a small restaurant called Country Kettle Buffet and had a great meal. Rested and our tummies full we filled up with gas and continued South on I-75. We stopped at the Florida Welcome Center for the free juice and got lots of brochures on Florida.
We stopped just once more right before Ocala and then headed out again. We turned onto the Florida turnpike and then got off on Highway 27 South, then East on 192. We made the turn onto World Drive and proceeded to All-Star Music. We arrived in the parking lot about 6:45 pm EST. For the first time ever driving down there and with 10 folks and 2 cars I felt we did pretty well. on time. In addition, because of MapQuest and the advice of some of the locals on radp-friends we drove directly to the resort without one single wrong turn.
We went inside to check-in and were greeted by Anthony. He was very patient with our confusing group of three rooms and separate charges and getting the combination of folks and charge privileges correct.. I faxed the room controller the Friday before we left and received all of our requests which was Jazz courtyard view, non-smoking, two connecting and one adjoining room. We were in building 2 Jazz, 2nd floor.
After we checked in we parked the cars and unloaded my car, then Dixie, Tammy, and myself headed off in pursuit of tickets for everyone. We left All-Stars and drove over to Shades of Green. Tammys husband is in the National Guards so she was able to purchase Stars & Stripes tickets for our entire group. The cost for Six-Day passes was 214.00 per person no sales tax. If you are eligible, this is the best deal on property for tickets. After purchasing those tickets we headed over to the TTC in hopes of activating my annual passport. Everything at the TTC was closed so we headed to the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and was allowed in to City Hall to activate my pass. We then took the monorail back around and picked up the car. While we were on the monorail we saw the Electrical Water Pageant. It was quite colorful.
At that point we headed off property again in search of the Wal-Mart Supercenter. We didnt pass it coming in on 192 so we knew we had to continue on East.. After what seemed forever, we finally came upon the Wal-Mart. Now I know most of you prefer Publix and feel the Wal-Mart is too big, but since we all shop at our own Wal-Mart Supercenter at home every week, it is very familiar to us. We gathered what we needed and headed on out.. We got back to the resort at about 11:00 pm and unloaded the groceries.
While we were gone, my husband and the kids had carried everything to the room and pretty much unpacked. Rick and my two boys had dinner in the food court which was a grilled chicken, a hot dog w/topping and 2 regular drinks (13.66). Dixie and Tammys group ate in their rooms. My family was settling into bed when I arrived, so I took my shower and joined them.
Wednesday, November 17, 1999
Mickey called at 5:30 am and we got up and proceeded to get ready to go to the Studios which had early entry that day. We had breakfast in the food court which consisted of a scrambled egg platter for Rick and cereal, bananas, fruit, bagels, juice and milk for the rest of us. ($21.59) Tammy & Dixies group had breakfast in the room, but they did all buy refillable mugs. We had mugs that we had brought from previous trips at All-Star Sports. We went out to the bus stop and met the rest of our group there at 7:00 am. A Studios bus came quickly and off we went. We arrived at the gates and some of the kids picked up autograph books and hats and I picked up a hat at the stand outside the gates. ($48.23).
After entering the gates we proceeded to Rock & Roller Coaster and went right on the ride. As you may know, I was campaigning and pretending ignorance to get my husband on the ride because I thought he would turn out loving it.. Well the plan backfired on me. After the first loop, he was royally pissed and felt really bad when he got off and announced he was going back to the room. Fortunately, I didnt argue the point with him and proceeded to the photo counter as he exited. After viewing and purchasing our photos which we sent to the room ($59.31) (except for the picture of me & Rick), we proceeded to the exit and found Rick sitting in the courtyard. He had bought a soda and was feeling a little better and decided to stay with us but warned me about tricking him again. I wanted to ride again to get a good picture, so we picked up a Fast Pass and then headed over to Tower of Terror. Once again there was no wait for the ride. We all loved the new drop sequences and purchased the photo and had them sent to the room. ($12.72) Rick passed on the Tower and waited outside for us. We then went back to Rock n Roller Coaster with our Fast Passes and jammed with Aerosmith again. I got a great photo sent to the room. ($17.97). Rick & Josh decided not to ride this time, so they waited outside for us. We all proceeded to the Great Movie Ride and enjoyed the journey from the Great Movies of the Past until the new classics of today!
After that we headed over to Star Tours and took a wild ride past Endor and through a space battle with the Death Star. I love this simulator ride, but I cant handle Body Wars. After Star Tours, we wandered over to Muppet Vision and received our safety goggles and learned all about Muppetvision! I love this show, it is absolutely a riot! While we were back there, we caught the 11:00 show of Hunchback. This is one of my favorite live shows at the Studios. It is just absolutely beautiful. We then took the backstage tour and my son Kevin and niece Amber participated in the water tank segment. It was a lot of fun and they had a ball with it. My son Kevin was in the rocking boat and Amber was in tower. The look on Ambers face when she was bombed was priceless!!!! They caught up with us and we continued on with the tram portion of the tour. The residential street segment of the tour was filled with lots of workers and cherry pickers doing the final touches on the Osborne light show. Catastrophe Canyon was a lot of fun and worked really well. We then caught the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
By this time it was well past the time we needed to take a break, and everybody was ready to get out of dodge so we went back to the room for a short while. We had 3:30 PS for Hollywood & Vine so we came back to the Studios for that. H&V was wonderful. ($73.46) The food was good and the characters, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip & Dale were a blast. They kept messing around with each other and picking on us cause we were practically the only ones in the restaurant..
After we left H&V some of the kids went straight on to the room and some of us went to catch the Indy show. The show was the same as always and all of the elements were working this time. The show is really amazing the first couple of times seeing it, but after that the repeat value seems to lessen. Ill be glad to see it after next years rehab. After Indy, Dixie Tammy, & Rick went to the room so they could get a good rest before we headed to Adventurers Club and Disney Quest. Tara, Tia & myself stayed and saw Sounds Dangerous, and rode Rock & Roller Coaster & Tower of Terror again. We also rode the Great Movie Ride one more time. There were very few people in our car and the car behind us was empty. We gave the gangster Cast Member a very hard time. He took it all in stride and in character! We then went back to the room to gather everybody up to go to the Adventurers Club.
I cant believe it, but getting to Adventurers Club seemed to be an impossible task. First of all it seemed to take forever to get everybody to the bus. We got on the bus and I remembered to ask if the adults had ID with them, well it turns out Tammy didnt, so Tammy & Dixie get back off the bus and we continue on. The bus continued on to All-Star Movies, then on to the Marketplace, we get off at the Pleasure Island stop and head toward Disney Quest to drop off the younger kids. We make sure theyre safely inside and know where to meet us at closing and we head back towards Pleasure Island. I go to the ticket booth to buy my Pleasure Island add-on and find out they have discontinued them, so I have to buy a regular PI AP. ($52.43) Well, when we get to the entrance, Tia doesnt have her ticket, her mother Tammy does, so Tia & Tara wait in a shop and me & Rick head inside. We finally arrive at the Mask Room in the Adventurers Club almost an hour late. We say hello to some of the radpers and then get up to see about Dixie & Tammy. They finally arrive, then they go to find Tia & Tara, and finally by about 11:00, three hours after we first left the room, everybody is where they are supposed to be. :-/ We chatted with Bruce and his wife for a few minutes and go to the library to watch the Balderdash cup. We had a wonderful time, but all of the characters were all swapped around, nothing like I expected. It just didnt seem right. After the Balderdash cup some of the radpers said their goodbyes. I was a terrible meet hostess and I really apologize for that, but there wasnt much I could do except abandon my group and disappear on them and I wasnt going to do that. I knew most of the radpers coming to the meet were veterans and would manage just fine all by themselves. :-)
We stayed and had a ball. At Samantha Sterlings show, Rick, Tia, Tara, & Tammy were sitting along the bar and Dixie and myself were at a table. Samantha talked with Rick and realized he was with 6 women and really made fun of all of us, especially being from Alabama, something about family reunions and meeting women. It was hilarious. At midnight, Rick went over to Disney Quest and picked up the other kids and then we watched the new member induction and closed down the Adventurers Club. After they closed we went outside and watched the West End Boys play till 2 am and caught the last bus back to All-Star Music. We had way too much to drink ($123.75) and made total fools of ourselves singing the Adventurers Club Theme song all the way back to the room while the teenagers (who didnt drink) kept us from falling on our faces. We decided to skip heading to Blizzard Beach at opening the next day and did not set a wake up call. We took showers and crashed.
Thursday, November 18, 1999
I woke up that morning about 8:30 am with a slight headache. I took a couple of Tylenol and felt much better very soon. I decided to head down to the laundry and wash clothes. Once I got the clothes started I went to the food court and got me some breakfast that consisted of a bagel and a banana. ($3.09) Slowly the rest of the crew got up and started getting ready. Rick & the boys went to the food court and had assorted breakfast items ($16.84) and I got the clothes in the dryer and then back to the room. Once all that was accomplished, most of us went to the Studios to finish what we missed there. However, Tammy, Tia & Amber were just not up to it, so they stayed in the room. When we got to the Studios, we saw Beauty & the Beast, Doug Live, Sounds Dangerous & the Animation Tour. Doug Live and Sounds Dangerous was new to all of us and we were pleasantly surprised. They were both very unique shows and we enjoyed them. My family commented that Beauty & the Beast was *bright*.
Dixie, Tara, & Josh then left for the room to meet Tammy & the girls and to have lunch at the room. Rick, Matthew, Kevin & myself headed for our lunch seating at Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. This turned into the most delightful afternoon. Lunch was wonderful. Rick had the flank steak, Matthew had the ribs, Kevin had the fried chicken, and I had the Portobello mushroom vegetable plate. ($65.29) After we ate, we wandered around the resort and took a boat over to the Magic Kingdom, we then took the monorail to the TTC and took the monorail over to Epcot. We then caught a bus back to All-Stars. I believe I would enjoy staying at Wilderness Lodge. The bunkbed rooms would be perfect for us and the pool and the theming are wonderful. Of course I would have to get a really good rate to justify staying there.
We met back up with everybody, then caught a bus back to the Studios to watch Fantasmic! We almost got into line too late. We were ushered into standing room only area, but because Rick had a handicap due to his knee surgery, they allowed us to sit. Fantasmic! was wonderful! The music was good and the floats were beautiful. It was a good show all around. The fact that Sorcerer Mickey is my favorite character makes me love the show even more!
After Fantasmic!, the four younger kids, (Matt, Kevin, Joshua, & Amber) got on the bus and headed back to the room to go swimming. The rest of us headed for the boat to go to the Boardwalk. We just slowly strolled along and listened to the music and watched the water. We saw the Illuminations 2000 Fireworks near the ESPN club then wandered over to the Beach Club to go to Beaches & Cream. Everybody had cheeseburgers & some type of ice cream concoction. I had an ice cream soda and Rick had a Lime Rickey and a single cone. Our bill came to $23.61. We left the Beach Club and took a bus to Downtown Disney, then swapped buses and went back to All-Stars and crashed for the evening.
Friday, November 19, 1999
Today, Mickey woke us up at 5:50 am and we got up to go to Epcot. After a stop in the Music Food Court having the usual egg platter and assorted bagels, fruit & milk ($23.19), we met up with the rest of the gang at the Bus Stop at 7:00 am. We waited for rope drop and had our pictures made in front of Spaceship Earth, then proceeded to Test Track. We walked straight into the ride and really had a fun time. Everybody enjoyed the ride. We purchased the pictures and had them sent to the room ($29.63) and a few of us rode again. We then went to the other side of Future World and experienced Honey I Shrunk the Audience. Everybody really loved it! My nieces and nephews jumped so high in their seats, it was really fun. We then rode Journey Into Your Imagination. The folks that had not seen the original liked it, but I was not impressed, it was just OK. We then went to the Land Pavilion and saw Living with the Land. This is always a surprise for me. I love it and so does everybody else. We then sat down and jammed to Food Rocks and learned how to save the earth in The Circle of Life. We headed over to the Living Seas and really enjoyed the presentation there. Oh by the way, United Technologies is still mentioned in the attraction and all of the shows are presented. There was a trainer playing with the porpoises which was kind of neat to watch.
We went to Spaceship Earth to enjoy that attraction. This is really a beautifully done ride that I hope never goes away. We then went to the Camera Center to purchase the pictures we had made in front of Spaceship Earth ($44.47) and headed back to the room. The kids went swimming and I went to the desk and checked on the bill and purchased our tickets for E-Ride night ($42.40). The kids and Dixies group had sandwiches and snacks in the room while Rick & myself went to the food court and had a cheeseburger basket, child pasta & sauce and a drink. ($11.21).
After our break in the room, we headed back to Epcot for our 4:00 PS at Garden Grille. Now just as we were heading for the bus Kevin decided he had to have eye drops so we went into Maestro Mickeys and picked some up ($3.50), well by this time, the bus had gone and the rest of the group had left with the bus. We waited for the next bus and met up with our group. Now while we were on the bus, we realized that Rick had Joshuas ticket, but fortunately since Josh had a hand stamp, they let him on in with the rest of the bunch. We finally got seated all together in one of the long booths facing out and had a really neat lunch. Everything was delicious. We had flank steak, pork, catfish, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken fingers, mac & cheese. Then for desert we had apple crisp with ice cream or worms & dirt. ($84.37) We waddled out of the restaurant and headed for World Showcase. We saw O Canada and wandered around some of the shops and gardens in Canada. As we exited Canada, the Tapestry of Nations was going on so we watched some of that then went into the Millennium Village. This was kind of neat, but it can eat up huge amounts of time.
After we got out of Millennium Village it was close to 8:00 so we headed back to Showcase Plaza to wait on entrance into rail side seating for Illuminations 2000, ROE. I was really disappointed that Rick wasnt able to join us in this seating area cause he is not able to sit on the ground, he just cant get down there. So he found a bench a little ways back. How do I describe I2000. It was just beautiful!!!! The colors and the globe and the fireworks were wonderful. It was well worth the hour we invested in waiting for it.
After Illuminations, we headed toward Fountainview Cafe to grab a seat to wait out the exiting crowds. Rick grabbed a piece of Chocolate Truffle Cake, a large coke and a Bud Light ($10.33) for everyone to share and we waited for the fountain to dance; and we waited.., and we waited... I finally went inside to ask and they said every 15 minutes, so we waited a little more, then we asked somebody else and they told us the fountain had been down all day. That was a major bummer for us :-( So we finished our snacks and proceeded to the exit. Most of the bus crowds had already left so we had a fairly short wait for our bus and went back to the room. We then relaxed with a little television, had showers and crashed for the evening.
Saturday, November 20, 1999
Once again, we got up at about 5:50 am with a Mickey wake up call and headed for the food court. We had our usual assortment of eggs, muffins, waffles, fruit, cereal, and juice. ($30.86). We met with the other folks at the bus stop and headed to the Magic Kingdom. The first thing we experienced was Alien Encounter. Now that Ive seen it several times, it is more funny than scary, but I saw my youngest son curled up in a little ball with his eyes hidden, although after it was over he wasnt terrified and will probably see it again. We then went over to Space Mountain which Rick skipped. Now he has ridden Space Mountain before and likes it, but getting in and out of the coaster cars with his knee is difficult. We then went to Buzz Lightyear which is Dixies most favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World. I agree this is really lots of fun. We rode Buzz twice and shot at all the Zs and spun round and round in our cars. We then saw the Timekeeper which is really enjoyable. Robin Williams and Rhea Pearlman really did well with this. We left Tommorowland and went to Fantasyland and rode the Pooh ride. Something must have been wrong with the ride earlier because it wasnt running. We got in line just as the ride was starting back up and had about a 10 minute wait. This was kind of cute, but they shouldnt have replaced Toad. We then experienced Legend of the Lion King with a fairly short wait, then went to Snow White & Its a Small World. I wanted to see Peter Pan, but the line was just way too long. We left Fantasyland and went over to Liberty Square and Frontierland. The Hall of Presidents had just started, so we skipped that and headed over to the Haunted Mansion. The grim grinning ghosts were out to play and invited one more to join them. We all really enjoyed that attraction. We picked up a Fast Pass for Splash Mountain and went to Pecos Bills for a snack. Well, the biggest part of the group decided to go ahead and have lunch there. Matt had a double hamburger basket, Kevin had a Cheeseburger basket and chili/cheese fries, and Rick & myself had a soda and ate Kevins regular fries. ($22.21) After we left Pecos Bills we rode Splash Mountain on our Fast Pass, which somehow, they got really slammed, cause even the Fast Pass line was 30 minutes. We got the pictures sent to our room ($29.63) and then saw the Enchanted Tiki Room which was really cute. Everybody loved it, and then we saw Pirates of the Caribbean and most of our group except for Rick and myself went back to the room. We kept our PS at Crystal Palace and had a nice quiet lunch just the two of us with Pooh, Eyeore, Tigger, & Roo. ($37.86) Everybody left us their autograph books so we kept the characters busy signing their name and we got a few pictures. It was good thing most everybody decided not to go to Crystal Palace cause the PS was all messed up and there would have been a major mess to seat all 10 of us. Lunch was delicious and the restaurant is beautiful.
Rick & myself went back to the room and I checked on the room bill once again and took care of the weekly banking chores at the payphone in the lobby. I tell ya direct deposit and telephone banking sure makes life easier. However, the 75 cent phone charge from the hotel room made that little chore just a tad more difficult.
We then gathered everybody back up again to go back to Magic Kingdom for Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks and Main Street Electrical Parade. Rick decided not to go with us. His knee had about give out for the week. I tried to convince him to get an ECV, but he would have nothing of it. So 9 of us boarded the bus for the Magic Kingdom and took the train to Adventureland. We started to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but skipped it due to the 40 minute line, so we went to The Jungle Cruise. Rafiki & Baloo were out for signatures, so the kids stopped there and I picked up a Citrus Swirl ($2.50) and several spoons. We really gave the boat driver a hard time and had fun with the cruise. We then got a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade in Liberty Square near the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon and then found this quiet little walkway next to the castle with benches to watch Tinkerbells flight. We couldnt see the fireworks from there so we walked over to Fantasyland and watched the fireworks. We then went back to Liberty Square and caught the last Hall of Presidents Show, then slowly made our way out of the Magic Kingdom. Most of the kids had not ridden the monorail, so we took a round trip ride on the express monorail. We saw the Electrical Water Pageant from the monorail again and the four younger kids got to ride up front half-way around. Most of our group then headed for the buses, but Kevin & myself went back into City Hall to check lost & found for one of our mugs that we had left at Buzz Lightyear that morning. The mug wasnt there, but I didnt figure it would be. We grabbed a bucket of popcorn and some sodas and strolled to the bus stop and waited on a bench and enjoyed our popcorn and soda while watching the lights on the lagoon. The line on the bus finally got down enough to where we could just walk right on so we boarded a bus and headed to the room.
While we were gone, Rick hung around the resort, washed clothes, and watched the Iron Bowl & had a few drinks at Singing Spirits ($55.99). He got to relax and Alabama won, so he was happy.
We all had showers and crashed and said goodnight to another day at Walts Wonderful World.
Sunday, November 21, 1999
This morning was Animal Kingdom day. Rick decided to join us later in the day. We got up about 5:30 am and headed for the food court and got sausage & gravy biscuits, oatmeal, and chocolate milk. ($18.87) We met the rest of our group at the bus stop and arrived at Animal Kingdom very quickly. I picked myself up a millennium water bottle holder ($10.60) and we watched the opening ceremony. We then proceeded to Its Tough to Be a Bug after wandering through the Oasis some. There was no line for the ITTBAB, so we just wandered along admiring the carvings. Everybody loved the show but Kevin did complain about the sting hurting his back. The poor kid has no meat on his bones, so it must have hit right on his backbone.
After ITTBAB, we went to Kilimanjaro Safaris. There was no line so we went straight on to our safari jeep. The safari was great! We saw all types of animals including the cheetahs, but the lions were not out. We then went on Pangani Forest Trail. All of the animals here were very beautiful and interesting to watch. The gorillas were out and playing, giving everyone a good show. We saw meerkats and saw too many birds to name and saw the mole rats. It was really a nice tour.
We then went and saw the 10:30 am Festival of the Lion King Show. This is truly an excellent performance. The singing, dancing, and acrobatics are all just top notch. I always marvel at the ability of the performers to keep this level of energy several shows per day.
Then we went to see Pocahontas and her Forest Friends. This was a cute show with a great message, but unless I have lots of time, I probably wouldnt repeat it. I stopped at the Creature Comforts shop after this show and got the boys the Animal Kingdom water bottle holders. They saw mine and had to have one. ($33.92)
After we got out of Pocahontas, I thought I started hearing Rick on my little radio, so I pulled it out of my waist pouch and sure enough, he was in the park and looking for us. We met up at the entrance of ITTBAB and started heading for the Tarzan Rocks show. While everyone else grabbed a spot in line, Rick & myself went over to Countdown to Extinction to pick up Fast Passes for everyone. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get a late enough window to ride after Tarzan Rocks was over.
We met up with the rest of the group and got some sodas while in line and got really good seats for the show. Although the show really didnt follow the Tarzan movie at all, it was wonderful live acting and singing and acrobatics. It was really energetic and fun! I was thinking about all the times those kids parents probably told them they shouldnt do such wild stuff on roller blades, but now theyre getting paid for it! Pretty neat!
We left Tarzan and hurried over to get in the Fast Pass line for Countdown to Extinction. This was great! The dinosaurs were loud and realistic and the ride rolled and was bumpy! Everybody loved it! The picture was great! We had it shipped to the room ($17.91) then we left the park for our afternoon break. We went to Ft. Wilderness Campground to have the lunch buffet at Trails End. This was great! ($46.33) All of the food was really delicious and our server Nancy was really helpful to our group. We wandered around Ft. |Wilderness a bit and then took the boat over to Magic Kingdom to take the bus back to All-Stars. Dixie had some telephone calls to make to take care of some business stuff and Dixie and Tammy bought their E-Ride tickets.
After a short break, Rick & some of the kids went to Blizzard Beach for a little bit, some of the kids stayed at the hotel pool, and Dixie, Tammy, Tia, Tara, & myself went shopping! (Insert Tim Allen grunts here) J We went to Downtown Disney and wandered through various shops and then hit the World of Disney. I picked up the majority of what our family was planning to get in the way of souvenirs. I got myself a pair of gold Mickey silhouette earrings and a matching necklace, the WDW official CD, and each of us a WDW t-shirt. ($118.01) with AMEX discount. We had to carry our purchases since they couldnt guarantee delivery before we checked out on Tuesday. :-( Dixie, Tara & Tia also picked out some purchases and then we headed over to Adventurers Club.
We ordered some non-alcoholic drinks and went to the Treasure Room to watch Gabbys show. It was kind of cute. However, Wednesdays Samantha was playing Gabby tonight, so it was kind of strange. :-) We watched the new member induction in the main salon and saw the Balderdash Cup and the Radio-thon in the Library. While we were in the main salon, Dixie and Tara were sitting at the bar, while Tammy, Tia, & myself were on the circular couch. I went over to the bar and asked the bartender about the stools and then went and sat down again. I told Tammy & Tia to watch and in just a couple of seconds, Dixies stool started dropping. It took her a minute to notice it, but the look on her face was priceless. Both me and Tammy were almost rolling on the floor we were laughing so hard. It was really great! We were pretty tired by then, so we headed back to the room. The total on virgin drinks that evening was $30.50.
While us girls were out Rick and the kids spent the evening at Blizzard Beach and the Music pools. Rick bought the boys a t-shirt each at Blizzard Beach ($40.28) They had a pizza delivered to the room ($25.62) and Rick got himself a twelve pack of beer and some key chains for folks at work ($36.82). Rick also washed clothes again. Isnt he sweet :-)
We settled into our various rooms that evening and watched a little TV and crashed for the evening.
Monday, November 22, 1999
Today, did not go at all as planned, and it could have really ruined my trip, but having that annual pass and knowing I would be back in just a couple of weeks really helped put it in perspective. Before we left, the plan on paper was to go back to Epcot and spend the morning there and then go to E-Ride that evening. Well during the course of the week, Tammy decided she really wanted to take an animation class, so we scheduled one for that morning. I figured I would get her over there and then meet up with the rest of the group and head to Epcot, but that even fell apart. Anyway, heres how the day really turned out.
I got up about 7:30 and met up with Tammy and we got the complimentary taxi over to the Disney Institute. I got her registered for her class with a $10.00 Annual Pass discount making the total $59.00. We found where the class was going to be held and realized it was at 10:00 instead of 9:00 so we had some time to kill. We went to the Chips & Slices snack bar and had a muffin, OJ & Soda ($5.83). We sat at a table near the pool and watched several little birds eyeing our muffin. We left the muffin crumbs on the table as we left and they descended on the table and cleaned every crumb. Tammy then headed back to her classroom and I proceeded to take the pathway to Downtown Disney to catch a bus back to All-Stars to meet with the rest of my family. As I was strolling along I saw what appeared to be bus driver training. There were several cones up in the West Side parking lot, three or four buses and about a dozen drivers. They were working on backing, and parking and working the wheelchair lift, and several other close maneuvers. It was kind of interesting to watch.
I parked myself on a bench at the West Side bus stop and enjoyed just relaxing in the sunshine waiting on a bus to arrive. There were quite a few people waiting at the Epcot stop, but nobody at any of the resort stops. The Epcot bus pulled up and after everybody loaded came up to my stop to make sure I knew where I was going. Almost as soon as he left, another bus pulled up going to All-Stars. As I boarded, he commented that the other driver had radioed him to let him know I was sitting there. Disney Magic at its best!
When I got back to the room, Rick announced he was taking the four younger kids to Blizzard Beach for the day and Dixie said she and the older girls were going to wait on Tammy to get back and they were going back to the Studios to see Beauty & the Beast and the Animation Tour cause Tammy had missed those things earlier in the week. I commented that we had missed the majority of Epcot, but nobody seemed interested and Rick said he wanted to see it, but his knee would just not let him, so he was going to go float on the lazy river at Blizzard Beach. I was kind of getting steamed at this point, but reminded myself that I could come back anytime all year, and this was probably going to be their ONLY trip ever and decided to buck up and hang with them and enjoy the day. So we hung out at the resort and when Tammy got back from her class, she showed us what she had drawn and then we headed for the Studios. Tia & Tara had been wanting a Rock-n-Roller Coaster t-shirt so they picked those up. We thought we might get Rock n Roller Coaster in one more time, but the regular line was about 40 minutes, and the Fast Pass was way later, so we headed over and waited for Beauty & the Beast. We noticed before the show started that some of the doves from the previous shows were still up in the rafters. I wondered how they got them all in each night. There was no pre-show and no one selling any drinks or snacks, so it was a long thirsty wait until the show started. We enjoyed the presentation once again and then headed over to the animation courtyard to see the Animation Tour. On the way, we stopped at Rosies Red Hot and got baked potatoes, a turkey leg and some sodas and sat down for a quick snack. (~$15.00) The animation tour was really interesting for Tammy and Im glad she got to see it. Tammy is a rather good artist herself and can paint in both acrylics and oils pretty much anything she sets her mind to. She does rather well at the local craft shows with her paintings on canvas, rocks, sawblades, and just about anything else you can imagine.
We then wandered through the shops on Hollywood Boulevard, and Dixie, Tammy, Tara & Tia got a few things they liked and we headed back to All-Stars to meet up with Rick & the younger kids and to rest up for E-Ride night. I was also hoping that Rick would feel up to going to Epcot with me for an hour or two, just the two of us.
We got back to the hotel and Rick and the kids were nowhere to be found, but there was a picture of them all in a tube at the foot of Teamboat Springs from Blizzard Beach sitting in the room. I went to Maestro Mickeys and got the 1999 and 2000 glass Christmas ornaments and got Rick the 1999 t-shirt. ($49.22)
Dixie and myself figured out what she owed me from room charges and her share of ride pictures, so we went to the front desk and she paid that amount on her Visa.
Rick & the kids finally got back and here is what they had done for the day.
Rick, Matt & Kevin went to the food court and had breakfast consisting of the usual eggs, muffins, fruit & milk ($26.21), then they grabbed Amber & Josh and went to Blizzard Beach. They got a large locker ($8.00) found a couple of benches as home base and everybody split up. Rick did indeed go float around the lazy river most of the day. The kids rode the slides and went to the wave pool. They met up for lunch and had cheeseburger meals, a pasta meal, a hot dog meal and sodas. ($34.77). They rode Teamboat Springs all together and got the picture they do at the bottom ($10.60) and then played in the lazy river some more. They came back to All-Stars to get dressed and then went to the Beach Club to Beaches & Cream and split a Kitchen Sink!!!! ($22.59) Josh & Amber really enjoyed their day with Uncle Rick and loved all the attention they were given when the Kitchen Sink was brought out! Rick said that Josh thought the Yacht & Beach Club resort was the most beautiful place he had ever seen in his life!!
Well, needless to say, Rick was worn out, so we didnt go to Epcot, as a matter of fact he went straight to bed and didnt even go to E-Ride with us.
Me & the boys went over to Dixie & Tammys rooms and we ordered two delivery pizzas ($20.84 each) and the kids played cards while Dixie & Tammy took a nap. I took the opportunity to walk around the resort. I have stayed at All-Star Sports twice and had never explored the buildings opposite of where I was staying, so I wanted to make sure to remedy that situation for Music. I strolled along the inside circles of all of the buildings, Broadway, Rock Inn, and Country Faire. Of course I saw Calypso and Jazz every day going in and out of the resort. I found all of them to be charming and Im glad I had the chance to do that.
About 8:00 we went to the bus stop to go to E-Ride night at Magic Kingdom, but a bus never showed up. I finally realized that the buses coming from Magic Kingdom were all marked special and were dropping folks off at the Mears stop. Finally about 8:45 I went to the front desk to complain and a bus did show up at the Magic Kingdom stop. However, it was marked Yacht & Beach Club. We told him the situation and he changed his sign and took us straight to Magic Kingdom really fast. We werent too happy with that. We finally got in and got our tickets exchanged for wristbands and got on Splash Mountain about 9:45, some of the kids rode Splash a second time and then we went to the Tiki Room which was going in place of Country Bear Jamboree. We also went to the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This was the first time we had gotten on BTMR all week, and everybody loved it!! We then went over to Tommorowland and rode Buzz Lightyear a couple of times. There was a big show going on out front with Buzz & Woody, but we only glanced at it as we got on the ride. We then split up. Dixie, Tammy, Josh, Amber & Kevin stayed and continued to ride Buzz Lightyear, while myself, Tia, Tara, & Matthew went over to Space Mountain. Shortly before we were to get on the ride stopped. I mean really stopped. They escorted folks off the ride, turned the audio off, turned the lights on, and closed off anybody else getting in line. It was kind of neat. About 5 minutes after 12 they got the ride going again and allowed everybody that waited it out to ride. So my last ride of this trip to Walt Disney World was Space Mountain after midnight, kinda cool huh!!!???
We walked through an empty Tommorowland and stopped on Main Street to get a soda and some ice cream. Dixie popped her head in the ice cream shop looking exasperated cause we had been missing. We headed out to the fairly empty bus stops and serenaded the bus with Adventurers Club and Disney songs on the way back to All-Stars.
While we were gone, Rick had woken back up for awhile and browsed around the resort and had a hamburger meal & some beer ($13.78) and washed clothes again. J He also bought a picture frame for a dear friend of ours back home and a couple of other odds & ends at Maestro Mickeys ($18.41).
Now its time to say goodbye to all our company.
Tuesday, November 23, 1999
BooHoo! Time to go home. The park passes were empty and no more hotel reservations, so nothing left to do but leave. Wrong!! We had one more meal planned at Chef Mickeys at 11:00!!!!
We got up about 7:30 and packed up all our stuff. The express checkout was on the door and all was correct. We found a couple of carts and loaded everything out to the cars. We were having trouble finding a place for everything!!! How can that be? It all fit so nicely for the drive down.!!! We finally managed to get everything loaded. We checked the rooms a couple of more times and headed over to the Contemporary. They let us through the Magic Kingdom gates with no problem and we told the guard at the Contemporary about our P.S. He did check a list, then directed us to visitor parking. Our first mission however, was a boat over to the Wilderness Lodge. I had specially planned a lunch there during the week so Tammy could enjoy the decorations of this resort, however, she didnt eat lunch with us there, so we had to let her see it. I was right! She loved the place. She is really a nut about Indian stuff! After we had wandered around the lodge, we took a boat back to the Contemporary to keep our appointment with the big cheese!
We had our picture taken before we were seated and then were seated at the big table in the center of the main dining room. We really had a great time at this meal. We stuffed ourselves silly and played and danced with all the characters and waved our napkins and laughed and joked. It was really a wonderful hour or so. This meal was our treat to everybody for joining us. The cost including the pictures which were two 8x10s and two magnets was $200.21.
After the meal, we went upstairs and took a look from the observation towers. This was amazing!! We finally gathered everyone together and loaded back up into the cars and we sadly said goodbye to WDW.
Dixie wanted to check for some less expensive souvenirs off-site, so we stopped at a shop on 192. They all seemed to love it, but all I saw was cheap, not quite Disney stuff, the same stuff I can get at my local Wal-Mart. The place was hot, the cashier was rude. They advertised that they accepted ALL major credit cards, but in reality only took Visa and MasterCard, so I didnt buy anything just on principle. They did have a Pepsi machine outside, so I got my first Mountain Dew in a week!!!!
After the stop in the little store, we began the long drive home. We stopped a couple of times for gas and stopped at a McDonalds somewhere, then I slept the rest of the way home. At Atlanta, we parted company and we headed West on I-20 to go to Birmingham and then Huntsville, and Dixie & crew continued North on I-75 to go to Scottsboro through Gadsden and Ft. Payne.
So there ends our family adventure to Walt Disney World. However, as I finish this report, Im looking forward to being back in the world to meet with all of the radpers for the 4th Annual Meet and us Kelleys (Rick, Carol, Matthew, & Kevin) have tentatively planned to return Spring Break 2001.
I hope everyone enjoyed this report and remember.
Always have a Great Disney Day!!