Mark L. Fendrick - August 2001 - Caribbean Beach Resort
Time of Year: Summer
Travel Method: Plane, Personal Car
Accommodations: Standard Room
Ages Represented in Group: Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Veteran
Comments: Mark and his wife Sandy flew down to spend a long weekend at WDW with their daughter, Iris, who happens to be a cast member. The trip was leisurely, without any evidence of commando touring at all. Still, the Fendrick's covered all four parks as they had a nice, leisurely vacation.
Mark L. Fendrick -- August 2001 -- Walt Disney World (CBR)
Date: August 28, 2001 thru September 3, 2001 (Labor Day)
Who: Mark and Sandy Fendrick (Frequent Visitors)
Guest Cast (Member): Iris Fendrick (CBR)
Stayed at: CBR - Trinidad North
Traveled by: Airline and Iris's car
Photos of this trip can be seen at:
Prologue and the trip down:
When last we spoke, I said, "One day I would like to be there when the parks are empty, but until that day we survive! <G>" Well, despite my dislike for Florida in the summer, almost on the spur of the moment we decided to head down to spend some time with our daughter in the few days, including Labor Day, before Sandy had to be back at school. (Even though my kids are grown, I am still stuck with school vacations since Sandy is a teacher.) We would leave Tuesday night and be back on Monday (Labor Day). Having never stayed at CBR we decided to try to book it for our stay. I called CRO and (having my daughter's information) booked a standard room for six nights with her CM discount. Iris would later upgrade us to a water view room in Trinidad North, close to the bus stop and OPR. As I expected she would be staying with us, saving herself a 20 minute commute from her home in Orlando. She would check us in the afternoon before we arrived, so when she picked us up at the airport we could go straight to our room rather than the front desk. This turned out to be more important than it first seemed.
Our flight out of Newark was scheduled to leave at 9:10 PM, but due to weather up and down the east coast, our aircraft didn't leave its previous airport until after our scheduled departure time. We got onboard at 11:00 PM, but didn't get into the air until almost midnight. We now were scheduled into MCO at 2:35 AM! I wasn't to concerned about Sandy or myself, but about Iris, who would have to be at work at 9:00 AM the next morning. Even with her short commute, from Trinidad North to The Customs House, that wouldn't leave her with much sleep. I offered to get a cab, but she said it would be okay, and at last we finally arrived in MCO and got to our room at 3:00 AM!
Day 1 - Wednesday, August 29 - The Disney MGM Studios
Although we slept late, Iris had to get to work at 9:00 AM. It would only be a 4 hour day this day, so we would wait until she was done working and go together to MGM for our first day. She had made a late reservation for dinner for us at Boma (in AK Lodge), but other than that, we had no place to be at any time, so we should have an opportunity to recover from our late/early arrival.
Since Iris had checked us in on her credit card, I would need to stop by the Customs House to replace her card on our account, so when we finally got up we walked there to take care of that. As we arrived there, Iris was standing in the Lobby, and informed us that things were so slow that when she was offered the chance to leave early, she took it and would punch out in the next 15 minutes. While we waited, I took care of business and then we all headed back to our room so she could get out of her costume and then drove to MGM.
Since by this time we were all hungry, we decided to go to Sci-Fi for lunch first. When we got there they informed us that we could get right in if we didn't mind sitting at a picnic table at the back instead of a car. This was no problem for us, having been there so many times, and it actually was nice being able to have enough light to read the menu and see our food.
From there we did the Great Movie Ride, on which I almost fell asleep, and then on to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Play It! The previous week my son and his girlfriend visited Iris, and they all fell in love with this attraction, and Iris wanted to go back, despite a certain detail. The first time my son, Bobby, went, he managed to come in first place, but had to decline the hot seat since he is also a CM ... campus rep for the WDW College Program and occasional butler in Master Gracey's Mansion. The woman sitting next to him asked why he declined and he explained that he was a CM, so she leaned over to Iris and told her to watch what Bobby did and perhaps she could be next. Iris then had to inform her that she too was a CM. The next few times they went to WWTBAMPI they both kept coming in at the number 1 spot but had to decline each time. Iris informed us that we were her last hope. Although I didn't place during this visit, Sandy did come in at #3 once. Anyway, a trip to a taping of WWTBAM in NYC would be about $3.00 round trip on the subway for us from home.
From there we decided that while we waited for the next performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame which we all wanted to see again, we would ride Star Tours. When we finished that, it was still a bit early to be admitted to the theater, Iris and I bought waters (a common thread during this very hot and humid week) while Sandy went into the Muppet shop ... mostly to keep cool. Earlier in the day, Iris told us about this family (she has a habit of "adopting" families for their stay) that she checked in earlier in the week. The day they arrived it was so busy that there was over an hour wait to check in, so management offered all incoming guests a comp ticket to go right to a park, so they could check in later that day when the wait was more reasonable. Iris was working luggage when this family from Buffalo, NY arrived. She took their luggage and gave them their park tickets. When they returned Iris was at the front desk and checked them in. They recognized her from earlier in the day and started teasing about wanting something for their inconvenience. Since they were very understanding and friendly, Iris arranged for them to have a refrigerator for their stay, no charge. (It does usually pay to be nice rather than demanding.) As the week went on she kept running into them. Now, as we were sitting near the theater, they passed by and recognized Iris (who was not in costume at that time, of course). She introduced us, and it turned out that they were also going to see the show. She would continue to run into them until they checked out on Saturday, when she left them a personal goodbye message.
After the show - and the preshow juggler who is as funny as ever - we decided to head back to our room to cool off, clean up and get ready for our reservation at Boma. We drove to DAK Lodge and Iris showed us around and I was very impressed. (She had stayed there a while ago with a few of her friends.) Perhaps the next time we might stay there ... providing we can get a room with her CM discount <G>!
The smells which were coming from Boma made me all the more hungry, and soon we were seated and about to sample the interesting African delicacies. I was not disappointed! But I was exhausted. We headed back to the room, and decided that since Iris was due into work at 1:00 PM the next day, she would come with us to EPCOT the next morning. We decided to have breakfast at The Garden Grill at the Land. Iris had just learned the dining reservation system earlier that day, but since she wasn't going to be near a terminal for a while, she called for a reservation. The girl on the other end of the phone must have been just learning herself, because she seemed very confused. After asking some strange questions, Iris got our reservation for 10:10 AM. It was at that point that she suggested that we leave ourselves enough time so as not to be late due to the Tapestry of Nations Parade. Huh? The parade is in the afternoon at World Showcase, and would not have any effect on our breakfast at Future World! Go figure!
Day 2: Thursday, August 30 - EPCOT
We arrive in EPCOT and head over to The Land for our breakfast PS at the Garden Grill. It's a nice breakfast, with the occasional character coming over to say hello. As always this is a great breakfast, which we follow up with a trip through Living with the Land and the Food Rocks. Iris decides that she will head back to the room to relax and change into her costume before heading off to work.
We then figure we would head over to Test Track and get a Fast Pass. Since it is so hot and humid, we go through Innoventions, something we very rarely do. We did this time and enjoyed the high tech demos, not to mention the air conditioning. We sat through a presentation and got our picture taken and printed.
We raced - virtually, and walked around both sides of Innoventions. Then we headed out and got our Fast Passes for Test Track.
Sandy needed to buy some room decorations in Italy since she will be teaching Italian in the fall, (She also teaches Spanish and French, but has enough of those decorations from over the years.) We take a boat across and she gets an Italian flag and a postcard. We then decide to head over to The American Adventure for an air conditioning break. We had hoped to see Voices of Liberty, but this show was preceded by a group of young singers (and a bass player) by the name of American Vibe. While they weren't Voices of Liberty, they were quite talented and it was indeed a different type of show.
From there we went on Test Track and just before the barrier test which leads outside, we had to stop behind another car, and eventually yet another one had to stop behind us. This was the first time that happened to us, but within about 5 minutes the cars started again and we were off!
Next was a soda stop at Ice Station Cool. As always it was fun watching everyone tasting Beverly for the first time. Finally we went on Spaceship Earth, and then one final task. My son and his girlfriend were there last week and had their Leave a Legacy picture taken. He wanted us to find it on the temporary board at the kiosk, and take a picture. Without too much fuss we found their photo and took a few pictures. As it turned out that was not necessary as when we got home this was in the mail.
We headed back to CBR where we would relax until Iris was finished working - about 9:00 PM. Together we went to Old Port Royale for dinner and then out by the pool and a drink at Banana Cabana. Iris - who is 23 - looks very young. Just a few weeks ago she and her apartment mate were shopping on what was the Orlando school's first day of classes. The shopkeeper wanted to know why they were not in (high) school. They had to explain that they were both college grads. This night, I went to order two drinks, one for me and one for Iris, and the bartender looked at Iris and said, "Not for her, right?" This would not be the last incident during the week of this nature.
Day 3: Friday, August 31: Magic Kingdom
Iris is once again up and out of the room before we wake up. We get up and head to the Magic Kingdom close to about 11:00 AM. We do see Iris before we get to the Magic Kingdom, though. Just before we are about to leave, our room door opens and in comes Iris to use the bathroom. She was doing Magic on Demand at the Trinidad North bus stop, right by our room, so this was the quickest and most logical place to go. We walked back to the bus stop and waited for the next bus to the Magic Kingdom.
As usual, we first head for my favorite attraction - the Haunted Mansion. It's not the same without my son working there, but it has been my favorite since I first rode it in DL when it first opened. From there we headed into Fantasyland, my wife's favorite. We take a Fastpass for Winnie the Pooh and then decide to get some lunch at Cosmic Ray's and catch Sonny Eclipse's act.
Once done, we went back to use our Fastpass and found that due to an earlier problem, there was a 10 minute wait on the Fastpass line. We were given the opportunity to come back anytime during the day and our FP's would be honored. We decided to wait. From there we got our FP for Buzz Lightyear and rode the CoP and the TTA while waiting for our return time.
This brought us to about 2:30 PM and Sandy wanted to watch the Remember the Magic Parade. (This 5 year old parade will be retired on October 1 in favor of the 100 Years of Magic Parade.) We walked down Main Street and surprisingly there were plenty of curb spots, as the park was not very crowded due to the time of year. Sandy wanted to watch it from the porch by Tony's so we continued. She found a couple of rocking chairs and brought them up to the rail. By this time it was hot and so very humid. I finally got tired of having a wet head of hair, so I told her to wait for me there, and I headed to the Harmony Barber Shop - in its new location between the Emporium and the Firehouse. Both barbers were free, so I told him to cut my hair VERY VERY short! (Just short of a buzz!) Surprisingly, Sandy liked it, and the response has been good, so I probably will keep it the way it is now. No maintenance at all!
We watched the parade, as it got hotter and more humid by the moment!
Next stop was the WDWRR as we went once around the property and then got off by Splash Mountain. We got our FP and headed off to the Pirates of The Caribbean. When we came out, it was pouring - typical Florida summer downpour. We waited a bit and when it let up and almost stopped, we headed out. Suddenly it started again, so we ducked into the nearest shelter - The Tiki Room! After the show there it had stopped again, but neither the Jungle Cruise nor Aladdin's Flying Carpets were back running yet, so we decided this would be a good time to get our Dole Whips. When we finished, the Jungle Cruise had just re-opened so we took a cruise and then returned for our Splash Mountain FP return time.
When we got off Splash Mountain, it was nearly 6:30 and we decided to take the WDWRR back to the entrance and start back to the CBR where we would meet Iris who would return after work. That night we had reservations for the Hoop-de-Do Revue. (CM's were getting 50% off at the time and since we all enjoy it, we took advantage of that.) It was here, when we were told to see the photographer, and Iris said, "No thanks" as we had no intention of buying the picture, that the CM commented that it was a typical teenage reaction. Once again, Iris was mistaken for younger than she is. But wait - one day she will appreciate that! We had a good table right up front and center, and once again had a fun evening!
Day 4 - Saturday, September 1, 2001: Animal Kingdom
Once again, Iris is off to work before we awaken, and today we are heading to her former work location, Animal Kingdom. It's another very humid day, as we head off to the park. Our first destination is Dinosaur, where we get our Fastpasses and then head out to see Tarzan Rocks, while waiting for our Fastpass return time. The show is enjoyable as always, although all I kept thinking about was just how hot they all must be. I was drinking as much cold water as I could get into me just to keep hydrated as the fluid was leaving my body as fast as I poured it in. (A nice way of saying that even sitting down in the theater with all the fans going I was sweating profusely!)
After the show we took our ride on Dinosaur and then headed back to Harambe to go on the Safari. However, as we passed, we decided to make a stop at the Passholder's Lounge. It was shaded and only slightly cooler, but the seats were comfortable and we got some more water into us while we looked at some pins and got a Fastpass for the Safari - not that we really needed it, as the line was hardly much of a wait anyway.
In the heat, I don't usually have much of an appetite and probably would have gone all day without eating, as long as I kept drinking. However, Sandy was now hungry, so we went into Tusker House. This was more than she wanted to eat, so I made the suggestion that we get a couple of hot dogs from the wagon at Conservation Station - which was our next stop. This was where Iris worked before she moved to CBR, and she still has quite a few friends there, including one of her apartment mates. Originally, all four of the girls who moved into the apartment in December were CP's at Conservation Station. We take the train back to Rafiki's Planet Watch and on the path back to Conservation Station, run into Iris's apartment mate, Jill. We promised her that we would return Iris in a few days and then headed back to the air conditioned Conservation Station. We watched a few keepers presentations (Iris knew both keepers who made presentations that day) and then got the hot dogs as planned. (Iris told us that occasionally she would get one there and they were not bad.)
By this point it was getting late in the day, and since DAK closes at 5:00 PM, we decided to see It's Tough to be a Bug and then head back to CBR where we would wait for Iris and have dinner at Cape May Caf at the Beach Club.
We had never been to Cape May Caf before, so this was a first for us. In fact, Sandy and I had never been to the Beach Club, although Iris had a class there at one point, and Bobby had his WDWCP formal there as well. Let me say that it has now moved to the top of my "must go to" places on future trips. I never even got to the meat portion of the buffet, filling myself with Clam Chowder (Manhattan, mind you, although the New England looked good as well!), steamers, peel and eat shrimp, crab legs, and on and on! And the desserts - yummmmmm!
Day 5 - Sunday, September 2, 2001: MGM and EPCOT
We tried to keep from remembering that this was our last full day in WDW, as we were being taken to the airport at 5:30 AM for a 7:05 flight the next morning. Iris had originally planned on being off this day, but had to work a few hours in the morning, so we waited until she got finished before we headed to MGM to start the day. Sandy and Iris were hungry so our first stop was the ABC Commissary, which was enjoyable. We next got our Fastpasses for WWTBAM PI and found we had just enough time to take a trip through the Great Movie Ride. This time we made sure to get the "Old West" show (the front cars) since we had the "Western" show a few days earlier. This time I was aboe to stay awake through the attraction. Then we headed over to WWTBAM PI.
The first "fastest finger" question was a mystery to me, and was won by a very young boy, no doubt guessing correctly. He really did not know any of the answers, and used his life lines right away, and was eliminated before he reached the 1000 point plateau, and received a consolation prize. When they went to see who would next be on the hot seat, I saw Sandy's seat number come up close to the top - and then - in the number one spot - seat 80 - HEY THAT'S ME!!!
My heart was pounding and I was surprisingly nervous as I sat in the seat. I am not afraid of being in front of a large group of people or even speaking in front of such a group. I was just scared that I would embarrass myself and get eliminated fast. So when I saw the first question my heart sank. What are the names of Daisy Duck's nieces? Luckily the answers to the first question usually show you the proper answer even if you don't know it. Three of the names were months and the fourth one was Bertha. Whew - got past that one! Most of the next questions were fairly easy and I made it through and past the 1000 point plateau - winning my hat and pins.
I used two of my lifelines (50/50 and Poll the Audience) on 2 questions which I was somewhat confident of the answers, but needed some reinforcement. Then I was at the 32,000 point plateau and was asked a question which I really did know the answer to, but I thought too much and rather than going with my first instinct (which was correct) I chose and incorrect answer and was eliminated. So now I join Iris and Bobby as ineligible for the hot seat - at least until October 2!
We next took the backlot tour and the backstage pass and then decided to head out to EPCOT where we had a dinner PS at Oktoberfest in Germany.
We took the boat from MGM to EPCOT (stopping at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, The Yacht and Beach Club, and the Boardwalk before getting to the International Gateway at EPCOT. We stopped at Canada and saw a performance of Off Kilter.
Next we wandered through the UK and caught the end of the British Invasion performance and then headed around to take a boat back across to Germany. As usual, dinner was enjoyable and the show was as well.
We finished as the second Tapestry of Nations was going on so we stayed and watched.
We then headed back to CBR to relax and go to sleep early. We had already packed so there was nothing left to do.
Day 6: Monday, September 3 (Labor Day): The return home.
It always happens - the day you return home always comes <sigh>. We called for Bell Services to pick us up at 5:15 AM for our 5:30 pick up by Tiffany Town Cars. As a change, Iris stayed asleep while we left, as she was not due to work until 10:00 AM. Again, she was planning on being off this day, but over 850 impending checkouts cancelled those plans. She would work 8 straight days before having a day off on Thursday. We met Donny outside of our room since we did not want to wake Iris up, and it was over. Everything went smoothly and our flights were on time and we returned home with no problems at all, unlike the trip down.
Time to plan for the next trip - maybe before my AP expires in November? (Not that I will let it expire - I will renew as will Sandy when hers is due in December.)
Mark L. Fendrick