View Full Version : David Peters -- April 2000 -- Dixie Landings

Trip Reports
01-07-2007, 07:28 PM
David Peters -- April 2000 -- Dixie Landings

April 2-6, 2000

Wifey and I made our third Disneyworld in eight years, getting back to Michigan yesterday. Our two teenage boys marched with their high school band in one of the pre-parades and so stayed with their schoolmates and adult chaperones. Fine--let them find out my older kid needs at least three wake-up calls of increasing duration and intensity before rising. My wife and I were going to enjoy something we hadn't been able to enjoy here before: freedom. And we indulged it the first night by partying at Pleasure Island.

Since improv comedy has made a comeback with the popularity of "Whose Line Is It Anyway", we joined a packed house at the Comedy Warehouse to watch the four young men and one young woman play off suggestions from the audience, constructing little skits, songs, poems right on the spot. Judging by the audience response, they were successful despite not having a Drew Carey emcee to screen out klinkers. Like one younger boy brought up to give impromptu lines but who ended up just shaking his head and giggling most of the times his turn came up. He did suggest that one cast member 'throw up.' And that actually turned out to be pretty funny.

As far as clubbing on PI, I could have spent the rest of the night at the Adventurer's Club. More improv comedy in an expansive old style setting with a treasure trove of oddities decorating the walls. Did that rhino's head really blink? Very pip-pip, cheerio and all that. Definitely for explorers with a sense of adventure, but wifey preferred the clubs with music. The highlights: the traditional YMCA number at 8-Traxx with a sideline group lip-synching and imitating the Village People in near perfect choreography. Also, the live band at the Rock 'N Roll Beach Club and the bandleader who asked if it were ladies' night since there was only one guy on the crowded dance floor (me . . . and my kids say I can't dance). Finally, the avant-garde atmosphere at Mannequin's where you obviously don't need a dance partner to express yourself on the revolving floor. Such a diverse and laid-back group there that nobody flinched when the Phantom of the Opera crashed the festivities with his dancing troupe.

Next day we toured a crowded Magic Kingdom, spending much of the day camped out on the parade route or waiting for our prodigal sons to join us afterwards. They said it was the most fun they ever had marching. I would hope so. They also were able to record a soundtrack to a Disney cartoon and that was nearly as much fun as well. Wifey and I never miss a chance to catch the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree in Frontierland and, let me tell 'ya, if they ever give out statuettes for the best acting troupe in a theme park, this group gets my vote. They're hilarious, charismatic and good looking--particularly the lead blonde dancer (it's okay, wifey's not going to read this). For folks who deliver the same lines and routines show after show, they made it seem as fresh and as natural as if they were doing it for the first time. True professionals. The magician who brought up an innocent, unflappable five-year-old girl to be his assistant had me nearly in tears, the comedy timing of his act down to the millisecond.

Disney's Fastpass system worked best for us at Animal Kingdom. While waiting our turn for the safari, we took one of the nature walks; while waiting for Countdown to Extinction we were able to see "It's Tough To Be A Bug;" while waiting for the river raft ride, we rode the train to Conservation Station where we saw a squawking parrot get its nails trimmed. More exotic animals here than you usually see in a zoo, but the beasts that awed me the most were the giant bats. Had no idea creatures like this existed except in vampire movies. Wifey worried that one of the viewing windows had no bars or partition of any kind, a good portal for a giant bat. But like most of the AK creatures, the bats were content to hang around and loaf, though occasionally they would spread their wings, drawing gasps from on-lookers.

Highlight of AK for me was the 3-D bug movie. For someone who spent the better part of their vacation dodging strollers and hearing tantrums from young'uns, I saw this show as revenge of the childless couple. It's nearly as intense as Alien Encounter--right out of a child's worst nightmare with bugs attacking from every direction with every weapon in their arsenal. Kids were screaming in terror all round (the messages on the walkway warned them, though). It was great. I loved it. Who would have thought that Disney would have turned a charming movie into a roller coaster type experience. Bravo for the courage and imagination that went into this experience.

When the boys joined us, we went to Islands of Adventure for the last day of our trip. Here we saw all the teenagers that I thought were missing in Disneyworld. Guess that's why when my 14-year-old did his top ten list of attractions, three of the top five were from IOA--Dueling Dragons, Spidey 3D and the Hulkster. MGM's Fantasmic and the Rock 'N Roller Coaster rounded out his top five. I must say that Spidey lives up to its hype, a thrilling virtual reality ride that is the next generation, even without the 3-D effects.

A tough call as to how to compare our four nights at Dixie Landings with our previous trip's four nights at the Caribbean Beach Resort. At DL I enjoyed the water taxi to Downtown Disney, the river with its entertaining local waterfowl, the views of the winding Sassagoula River and the majestic, spacious rooms of Magnolia Bend. At CBR, it seemed quieter, the pool was more fun, and you didn't have to dodge surrey carriages on the walkway. Probably the parrot who greeted us with "Good Morning" at Parrot Cay in CBR gives them the slight edge, but the key word is slight.

Finally, in honor of mine and wife's 20th anniversary, I made a reservation for The California Grill. I had a rack of veal, my wife the striped bass. We also enjoyed the goat cheese ravioli which the waiter highly recommended. Everything was wonderful, but the ravioli was the best. Wished we would have also taken his suggestion of the pork medallions and the soufflé for dessert. Lesson: listen to the waiter's recommendations next time.

David Peters