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View Full Version : Finally ... 6 months later ... here it is!!! (*****FINISHED 01/20/01)


whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:13 PM
Okay folks, I'm finally finished with enough of my trip report that I can start posting. Two things finally motivated me enough to hurry up and finish: (1) my next trip is only 62 days away, and (2) I was determined to finish mine before WillyJ does his and DanMurphy posts any more of his pics from December! :D

I hope you all don't mind if I put this in one thread instead of splitting it up into different days ... and I hope you all think it's worth the wait.

Enjoy!

Sandy
WDW Veteran-in-training, DIS pet haiku writer, and proud Punctuationist
Port Orleans 3/98
Doubletree 11/99
Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge 7/00
Dixie Landings 3/01

[This message was edited by whosezMN on 01-20-01 at 07:52 AM.]

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:18 PM
July 12–19, 2000

The Cast:

Sandy: trip planner and journalist; third trip to WDW; loves taking rookies to WDW

Jan: my mom; big fan of gardens, shows, and the classic rides; not a big fan of coasters or simulator rides; would prefer commando touring; first trip to WDW; grew up near Disneyland and estimates she's been there at least 300 times

Ashley: my 15-year-old niece; huge fan of thrill rides; definitely not a commando tourist; prefers sleeping in and hitting the parks later in the day; first trip to WDW

Debbie: my aunt; decided less than a month before our trip to join us for 5 days; not a huge fan of thrill rides, but willing to try almost anything; first trip to WDW; lives near Disneyland

Transportation:

Airplane (Northwest Airlines from Minneapolis) and Tiffany Towncar (we requested Peter, the driver my sister and I had in November) for Mom, Ashley, and me. Airplane (Southwest Airlines from Los Angeles) and Mears for Aunt Debbie.

Resorts:

Polynesian (garden view) for three nights (July 12–15)

Wilderness Lodge (standard view) for four nights (July 15–19)

Planning/Background:

Initially, this trip was going to be just Ashley and me (a birthday/Christmas gift to her from me), and we planned on taking the Amtrak to Chicago, New York, or D.C. ... you know ... one of those laid-back "let's just go where it takes us" kind of trips. That was almost three years ago. Then one night Ashley and I were looking at the Amtrak map, and I noticed (out loud) that the train goes to Orlando. The decision was made. Ashley jumped on it, and it didn't take much to convince me. ;)

So then my Mom heard that Ashley and I had chosen Orlando, and she decided to go with us. Everyone was happy with that: Mom, because she was finally planning her first trip to WDW; me, because I got to watch Mom take it all in; and Ash, because, as she said, "now an adult's going along." :D I was briefly torn between feeling offended and flattered at that remark! (I chose flattered.)

Well, then I looked into Amtrak prices and schedules and realized that we didn't really have the time to take the train. If we left Minneapolis/Saint Paul on, for example, a Monday morning, we wouldn't get to Kissimmee until late Wednesday afternoon. And, knowing Amtrak (I can say this because I really love train travel), it more likely would be Wednesday evening. Two whole Disney days would be gone, four if we took the train both ways! The next option was to fly one way and take the train the other, but that was pretty expensive and still too time consuming, so we decided to fly both ways. What started as Ashley's 1998 birthday/Christmas "train trip to wherever" became her birthday and Christmas presents for 1998, 1999, and 2000 -- not to mention her first experience with flying, her first trip to any Disney park, the chance to join in the millennium celebration at Epcot, a stay at two deluxe Disney resorts (one of them on the monorail), and a few surprises thrown in for good measure! Now that's what I call a free upgrade.

Ashley's family lives in Wyoming, so we also had to figure out a way to get her to and from Minnesota for our flights. Her family decided to drive out for their summer vacation a few days before our trip, then Ashley would leave with us and the rest of her family would head home a couple days after we left. My sister and her husband offered to take their summer vacation after our trip, and they drove Ashley home a few days after we got back to Minnesota.

About a month before our trip, my Aunt Debbie decided to join us for 5 days. Mom and Aunt Debbie have a streak going -- although they live about 2000 miles apart, they've been able to see each other at least once a year for 6 or 7 years, and the only way they could keep the streak going this year was to meet in Florida. Who could resist? We're so glad she decided to join us.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:22 PM
Tickets:

Mom and I are MKC (now Disney Club) members, and we both decided on Annual Passes. I also took a 5-day trip to WDW in November 1999, so the AP was by far the smartest choice for me. Mom figured that with only a slight difference between AP and unlimited magic or hopper prices, and with the added benefits of the AP, she'd be better off going with the AP as well. Ashley's ticket is a 7-day hopper plus with 4 options. We'll be there eight days, but the flight home will not allow us park time on our last morning, so in this case (no matter what Dick Van Patten says) seven is enough. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> We bought all three tickets early (spring 1999), hoping to avoid the likely price increase. After we bought them, I sort of stopped paying attention to ticket prices, so I'm not positive we saved money by buying early, but I think we did. Aunt Debbie decided on a 5-day park hopper without options, and bought hers when she checked in at the Polynesian.

Resorts:

Because of the July heat and humidity, we decided to stay at the Polynesian -- gotta love that monorail access. It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but we booked it last fall and crossed our fingers for MKC or AP discounts. We got the MKC discount earlier this year, but never did get an AP discount. Sometime in June, I asked Jean (the travel agent from the PassPorter boards) to see if she could get us a better deal, and did she ever! We told her we'd be willing to split our time between two hotels if we could save money that way, and gave her a list of the hotels we were interested in. Our only stipulation was that part of our time still had to be at the Polynesian, because we were all hooked on the monorail idea by then! Jean wasn't able to get a better deal at the Polynesian than what we already had (MKC rate of $247/night including tax), but she was able to get us a manager's special at the Wilderness Lodge (about $185/night including tax). We kept the Polynesian for the first three nights, and asked Jean to book the last four nights at the Wilderness Lodge.

Dining:

We picked one sit-down meal per day, but decided not to make any PS's for our first and last days. I started calling at the 60- and 120-day marks, and we were lucky enough to get every single one of our requests at the times we'd hoped for. It had to be pixie dust! :D Here's our list:

Wednesday 7/12: no PS
Thursday 7/13: 3:00 p.m. lunch at Rainforest Cafe, Animal Kingdom (Ashley's only request)
Friday 7/14: 5:00 p.m. character dinner at Chef Mickey's
Saturday 7/15: 8:25 a.m. character breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table
Sunday 7/16: 11:50 a.m. lunch at '50s Prime Time Cafe
Monday 7/17: 9:45 a.m. character breakfast at Crystal Palace
Tuesday 7/18: 1:30 p.m. character lunch at Garden Grill
Wednesday 7/19: no PS

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:25 PM
The Night Before:

Ashley's family (her dad/my brother Will, her mom Julie, and her little brother Zachary) stayed with some friends the night before our flight, but we agreed it'd be better if Ashley stayed with me. That way, we could get to the airport early to check in for the flight, and her family could meet us there a little later. My mom and dad stayed with my sister Jean and her husband Elwood, not far from my apartment. The plan was for my parents to stop and pick us up on their way to the airport, and our goal was to be there for check-in at 5:30 a.m. I knew we'd be okay if we didn't get there until 6:00 a.m., but I didn't make that public knowledge. (You'll notice throughout this report that we set goals for ourselves to be early everywhere ... this is because one member of our happy group tends toward severe lateness. Out of a sense of family honor and loyalty, I am not going to tell you which member, but you'll probably be able to guess soon. :rolleyes: )

Ashley and I both had trouble sleeping, of course. After looking at a bunch of WDW brochures, she went to bed at 11:45 p.m., but was awake again when I went to bed at 1:45 a.m. I set the alarm for 3:30 a.m., knowing I'd hit the snooze at least once, and tried to get a little sleep.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:39 PM
The Details:

Wednesday, July 12
"Anything Can Happen Day"

I woke up without too much trouble, and promised myself a nap on the airplane. I took the first shift in the bathroom while Ashley checked her e-mail one last time. Then it was her turn in the bathroom, and she was still in there when my parents arrived about an hour later. We'd hoped to leave my apartment no later than 5:00 a.m., but weren't actually on the road until 5:30 a.m. A bit of tension for me, but I figured I'd better get used to it and wiped it away.

My dad, who's been quite happily acting as Family Chauffeur the last few days, dropped us off at the curbside check-in and gave us the first punchline of the morning: "I'm going home now, right?" :D I'm sure he and Mom discussed the plan a dozen times, but he had to double-check. He's pretty darn cute.

We checked our bags and then hiked to the gate, using the moving sidewalks as much as possible. We got our seat assignments and sat down to wait for Ashley's family to arrive. We were a little worried they wouldn't get there before we left, but they made it by about 6:30, and because boarding started later than scheduled, we had about 45 minutes with them before take-off. Zach was in a cuddly mood and sat on Ashley's lap for a long time. Julie, who doesn't like to fly, was nervous for Ashley, but Ashley didn't seem nervous at all.

The second punchline of the morning came when Julie told us that Zach had crawled into bed with them that morning and said to her, "Rub my feet and pray for me." :D That's my new WDW motto! The thought of Zach saying that, combined with the fact that I had less than two hours of sleep, gave me the giggles, and that always makes the rest of my family laugh with (at?) me.

Julie took a couple more pictures (including one of Ashley, Mom, and me at the door of the ramp) and we were off. Our seats were near the back of the plane, as usual, and Ashley had the window. She saw her mom taking a picture of us, and we made a note to tell Julie that Ashley was looking out the fourth window from the back in that picture.

There was a line of planes waiting to take off, and we finally left the ground about 30 minutes late. Ashley loved the flight, and Mom and I were glad it was relatively smooth. The landing was pretty bumpy, though; both Mom and I thought we heard some excess scraping noises behind and under us. :eek: Ashley, completely oblivious to how unusual that landing was, said, "I liked the landing even more than the take-off!" Mom and I just let her go on thinking it was perfect.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:41 PM
Finally got off the plane (oh, the joys of sitting waaaaaay in the back), made a restroom stop, then headed to the luggage claim. Mom and Ashley liked the airport as much as I knew they would. When we got to the luggage claim, there was Tony from Tiffany Towncar. Tony was the best!! He was fun and chatty and joked with us about how long it was taking our luggage to come around on the belt. While we waited, Mom and I talked about stopping for groceries. We knew we wanted to get some bottled water, but still hadn't decided whether to get food, too. In the end, Tony helped us decide: "You might as well get some snacks. The store won't mind if you buy more than just water." :D

When our luggage finally came around, Tony collected all our bags (I think we had 8 total) and got a porter, who was also very friendly. By the way, the porter was quite talented -- instead of waiting for the elevator, he took a cart full of baggage down the escalator and didn't lose a single thing. It might not sound so great on paper, but believe me, it was an impressive sight. Tony went to get the car, and the porter (we didn't get his name) asked us if we wanted to wait inside in the air conditioning, or outside in the heat. We opted for outside, saying we might as well get used to it. The porter waited with us until Tony pulled up -- Ashley was quite impressed with that beautiful black Towncar. I think we gave the porter a $10 tip, and later, Tony got $15 for his service. That was more than we planned to give either one (actually, we didn't expect to use a porter at all), but worth every dime. I get a little tired of the constant tipping involved in a trip to WDW, but I was more than happy to pay these two outstanding guys for their help. We'll definitely request Tony on future trips.

When we got on the road, Tony was teasing us for being so quiet -- he said usually, people are quiet like that on their way back to the airport, not on their first day of vacation! That got us talking a little bit, but what really got Ashley going was the toll booths. She'd never seen anything like it, and every time we went through another toll, she'd say, "They make you pay to get everywhere here!" Tony just smiled.

We pulled up to Albertson's, and Tony dropped us off at the door. Ashley, still amazed by the toll booth thing, mumbled, "Do they make you pay to get in here, too?" Without missing a beat, Tony said, "Nope, just to get out." :D We spent about $25 on fruit, crackers, junk food, and two 12-packs of bottled water. I can't remember if they were 12- or 16-ounce bottles, but each 12-pack was $4.00, on sale. We compared it to the other bottles on the shelf, and it looked like a pretty good deal. (By the way, I ended up drinking most of the water myself. Everybody else preferred to drink cold water, even if that meant paying more in the parks. There was ice, of course, when we were in the hotel room, but usually we drank it at room temperature, just the way I like it. Mom said later she probably wouldn't bother getting water for the room, or at least she wouldn't get as much.)

Tony teased us about how much food we ended up getting, and we told him he was right -- they didn't mind at all if we bought more than water, and they did, indeed, make us pay to get out! ;) Ashley went to run the cart back to the cart corral, and Tony almost took off -- he thought she was in the car! Yikes, the first day and we almost lose my niece. :eek:

Finally got to the gates of WDW, and Mom and Ashley burst into applause. Yippee!! They were amazed at how huge the area was, and loved their first glimpses of the different parks. Their excitement made it that much more fun for me, and by the time we pulled into the Polynesian, all three of us were nearly giddy. I could see Tony was smiling at us -- and I could tell that he really enjoys his job. Where else can you personally escort so many people to the magic they've been dreaming about? Tony helped the Bell Services folks unload our bags, and we told Tony we hoped we'd see him on our way home next week. He said he hoped so too, and we said goodbye.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:43 PM
It was only 1:30 when we got there, but we thought we'd see about early check-in. I meant to get the name of the CM who helped us at check-in, but I didn't write it down. She was aware of our room requests (third floor, Rarotonga), but there wasn't anything available there. She said we could wait for one that more closely matched our requests, or take a first-floor room that was available immediately in another building (I think it was in Rapa Nui, way over by the Ticket and Transportation Center). Mom and I discussed it quickly and agreed to take the one that was available right away. A couple minutes later, another CM came over saying she needed the room we'd just been given. <IMG SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused"> Apparently, that CM was checking in a family that needed two or three rooms together, and ours was one of those rooms. We agreed to surrender our room and wait, and it wasn't that big a deal for us -- we were really hoping for a building closer to the Great Ceremonial House anyway. It was kind of funny, though -- I think our CM felt worse than we did about the mix-up. She apologized several times, put a rush on maid service for another room, and said we should check back in 30 to 45 minutes.

We were all hungry by that time, so we went to Captain Cook's. We picked up sandwiches, fries, fruit, and three refillable mugs for $42. Mom was surprised at the portion size, the quality of the food, and the fact that there were some reasonably healthy options available. After we ate, I sat and made some notes in my journal; Mom and Ashley walked around the grounds and found the pools. A little later, we went back to check on our room. Strike two. This time, we got a CM who didn't seem at all concerned about helping us, and kept saying we were too early for check-in, and why did we think we could check in early? :mad: She didn't seem to understand -- or care -- that we were told by the first CM to come back early.

By the way, there was nobody there passing out leis when we arrived, and Ashley was a little disappointed. She saw some in one of the gift shops upstairs, and went to buy one. About that time, Mom went to hunt down some free ones, and came back with one for each of us. Ashley decided to buy one she'd found anyway, and ended up with several in her collection. She wore two of them the rest of the day.

Finally, well after check-in time, about two hours after we arrived, we encountered a CM named Sheila. At first, she started off with the same answers that the previous (unhelpful) CM had given me -- that nothing was available, check back later, blah blah -- but then she saw something in the computer that made her suddenly put on her extra-helpful hat. She noticed that there was a rush on maid service for us, and that probably what had happened was that the room was cleaned immediately, but not updated in the computer system. At that point, Sheila actually left the desk and walked over to the Niue building (the only 2-story longhouse) to find a clean room for us. She was back in minutes with the news that Room 2706 was ready and waiting for us. If she hadn't been willing to go out of her way and find out for herself whether the room was ready, who knows how long we would have waited. Kudos to Sheila! :D

We had a corner room, facing the quiet pool. We didn't have a balcony, but that didn't make much difference. We loved having the daybed, and Ashley immediately claimed it for herself. Mom offered to share one bed with Aunt Debbie, which meant I had the other one all to myself. What a treat! We called Bell Services, and apparently the Seven Dwarfs were on duty that day, because Grumpy himself answered the phone. :eek: Thankfully, someone a little more cheerful brought our bags to the room, and we were surprised how quickly they arrived. Ashley unpacked everything and moved right in, but Mom and I decided not to unpack, since there wasn't a lot of extra drawer space, and we would be moving to the Wilderness Lodge in a couple days.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:44 PM
By that time, it was probably a little after 4 p.m., and Aunt Debbie was supposed to arrive via Mears at about 5 p.m. (By the way, Debbie later reported that Mears worked out just fine for her.) Mom wanted to stay at the hotel and wait for Debbie, but Ashley and I took off for Epcot, telling Mom to radio us when they were ready to meet somewhere. Ashley and I got off the monorail at about 4:45, and hit Spaceship Earth right away. The line was pretty short (less than 5 minutes), and we gave it two thumbs up. Next was the Living Seas, which I have to say is usually kind of boring for me. I prefer the movie to the ride, believe it or not. I think Ashley liked it, but we were both ready to move on to something more fun -- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! We had a 10-minute wait, but we didn't mind. I always enjoy the Kodak pre-show and was a little annoyed at all the talking around me, but what did I expect? I knew Ashley would love the show itself, and boy, did she ever! She laughed and laughed and laughed through the whole thing, even when everybody else was screaming. I had as much fun watching her as I did the show. :D

It was also fun watching Ashley's reaction to the water jumping over the sidewalks after HISTA. It's a pretty cool sight, isn't it? Great fun. There was no line at Journey Into Your Imagination, so we went there next. I liked it, Ashley thought it was so-so, and we both enjoyed e-mailing our pictures home in the Imagination Station or whatever it's called. The only problem there, of course, is waiting for an available camera! People do not understand the concept of taking turns at those things.

When we left there, it was raining a little, and just as we headed up the sidewalk to the Land, we heard Mom on the radio. The conversation was pretty humorous, and I'm sure anybody who happened to be on the same channel probably got a big ol' kick out of it. Allow me to recreate a portion for those of you who missed it:

Mom: Where are you?
Ashley: The Land.
Mom: Where?
Ashley: The Land.
Mom: Where? I can't hear you.
Me: Mom. WE ARE AT THE LAND.
Mom: Where's that?
Me: It's in Future World. Where are you?
Mom: England, by the phone booth.
Me: Okay, come toward Future World, go past the fountain, and turn left.
Mom: Wait a minute, wait a minute, what?
Me: How about if we just come find you?
Mom: There ya go.

It had pretty much stopped raining by the time we got there, and according to Mom and Aunt Debbie, we must have missed most of the rain while we were waiting to e-mail pictures home. They both got very wet, which brings us to our TIP OF THE DAY: When it rains while you're at Walt Disney World, do not put a wet park map between your knees for any reason, unless you want a nice little tattoo of the park on your legs. Just ask my mom. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz">

We found them, and Aunt Debbie (who already had sore feet) and I sat down while Mom and Ashley did a little shopping. Then we were all hungry again, and the unanimous choice was the counter service place at the American Adventure. I found a table while the other three got their food, then I went to order. While I was gone, Ashley and Mom saw Scottie Pippen (the basketball player) with his family. Mom said he gave her an "I know you know who I am" kind of smile.

I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and bottled water, and it seemed like it was taking a long time. Finally, the CM came over and said they'd forgotten to make my sandwich, and offered me a free dessert to make up for the wait. I was so surprised that I'm not sure I even remembered to thank her, and I picked a bowl of chocolate ice cream. By then, I must have looked really, really warm, because another CM came over, tilted his head to one side and said, "Do you need some water?" I told him I'd ordered a bottle, and he laughed and said, "Oooh, bottled water." Finally, my food was ready, and the CM brought my tray, then said, "Chocolate ice cream, right?" I said yes and asked for 4 spoons so I could share with my family. She smiled and brought me four spoons and a HUGE bowl of ice cream. She put it on my tray and said, "I gave you extra since you said you wanted to share it with your family." :eek: Wow! It was free in the first place, and then she almost doubled the size of it! Pretty cool, and my family was pleased.

At the table next to us, a little girl and her grandmother had noticed Ashley's leis. The grandmother asked where we got them, and when we told them we got them when we checked in at the Polynesian, she wondered if maybe they could stop by and pick up a couple, too. We weren't sure whether they'd be able to get any if they weren't staying there, so Ashley gave the little girl one of her extra ones. Ash didn't look overly enthused about giving up one of her treasures, but we told her we'd probably be able to get her another one later, and Aunt Debbie told Ashley she could have hers, too. The little girl was happy, and the grandmother was ecstatic.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:45 PM
It was almost 8 p.m. by then, and we had to be back near the Rose & Crown for a 9 p.m. surprise that a CM friend had helped me arrange. We knew the Tapestry of Nations would be starting soon, so we decided to get at least part way back toward England before the parade. Thanks to a huge case of good luck, we ended up in Morocco, right next to the gate where the parade came onstage. We had front-row spots, and we were entranced. How incredible! Thinking about it now makes me want to go back, just to see that parade again. We watched most of it from there, then started to head over to the Rose & Crown. We got to see the parade again as we walked, and it was just as beautiful the second time.

After Tapestry, we crossed over to the Rose & Crown, and found a couple CMs guarding the walkway to the little park area behind the pub. My friend Trina, who is a CM, had generously offered to get us VIP seating for IllumiNations that night, and I had kept it a surprise from Ashley. I pointed out the CMs and told Ashley to give them her name and see what happens. I had checked earlier to make sure we were on the list for that night (we were), but when Ashley gave them her name, they told her that the area was reserved for a private party. Darn! I was hoping they'd check their list, smile at her, and say "Follow me!" They didn't, apparently thinking Ashley was another of the many guests without reservations who ask about getting one of the coveted spots behind the pub. I leaned over Ashley's shoulder and asked them to check the list again, and they remembered me, apologized, and led us right down to this little terrace behind the Rose & Crown. Front row seats again! How lucky are we?! Four thumbs way, way up on IllumiNations.

Afterward, we -- and a gazillion other people -- made our way to the exits. When we got to a shop that was still open, we decided to stop and let some of the traffic go by. I sat outside and waited while the others went in. I was sitting near a Fantasia 2000 display, and it was drawing a crowd. An older couple stood next to me, discussing one of the prints displayed in the window. It was Mickey in his role as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and the man was trying hard to pronounce those words. He was so sweet, I could have kissed him. He kept saying "Sor-cer-cer," adding the extra "c" even though he knew it was wrong. He must have said it five or six times, then he looked at me and said, "That's a tough word!" :D How could I disagree? He was my favorite person of the day.

We finally made it back to the hotel and fell into bed. I asked everyone for their impressions of their first day at WDW, and all Aunt Debbie could say was "My feet hurt." Poor Auntie didn't have very comfortable shoes, and later in the week, she ended up borrowing a pair of Mom's. We talked about our favorite things of the day (Tony the Driver, Mom's rain-induced tattoo of the World Showcase, our luck at getting front-row seats for both Tapestry and IllumiNations), then I finished up my notes and went to bed -- the others were sound asleep long before I turned out the light. It was a wonderful first day.

By the way, I know others have mentioned the Hidden Mickeys in the shower curtains at the Polynesian, but did anybody ever notice that the pattern in the bathroom wallpaper spells out "HI" over and over and over? :D

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 07:59 PM
Thursday, July 13
"Not So Tough To Be a Bug Day"

We had four very sound sleepers in Room 2706! We requested a wake-up call at 7:30, and I told Mom she should answer it, so she could hear the surprise -- but it was just music! No Mickey. She got up happily and the rest of us lounged in bed for a bit longer. At some point, Aunt Debbie was still sound asleep and Mom went to get some coffee for her. Debbie hadn't stirred for an hour or more, and the second Mom got within 3 feet of Debbie's bed with the coffee, Deb's eyes flew open and she said, "I want coffee." How she knew there was coffee in the room, I'll never know. It was a little spooky, and quite humorous. Laughing is a great way to wake up. :D

The plan for the morning was to take part in the weekly Ladybug Release. The Polynesian's guests can help release the bugs as part of Disney's natural pest management program. (Note: When we were there, the Ladybug Release was Thursdays at 9:30 a.m., but the day or time could change, of course.) It's a great idea, and Mom had been looking forward to it for months. She and Ashley each got a box from Dr. L. Bug, let them go, and then got stickers for participation. Mom was amazed at how quickly the bugs disappeared once she set them down. By the way, a note for all recycling enthusiasts: They reuse the boxes! Also, you're not supposed to get a sticker unless you return an empty box, but Dr. Bug gave me one, too.

After the bugs were gone, we went to find a bus to the Animal Kingdom. We only waited about 5 minutes, and arrived at the AK at about 10:55 a.m. I caught a glimpse of the Animal Kingdom Lodge from the bus -- I can't wait to see the finished product! Wow.

We got park maps and checked the schedule -- found out Festival of the Lion King was on at 11:15. I told the others we'd have to book it over there and check things out on our way back; I knew there was a lot they'd want to see, but I also knew they wouldn't want to be late for FOTLK. We did stop long enough to get our picture taken on the bridge (by a guy who, we imagined, started as a children's photographer at a department store), then I hurried them on as much as I could. It wasn't easy, though -- there were a million things they wanted to stop and see -- the Tree of Life, the shops, the pins, and Chip and Dale, just to name a few! But how could I blame them? I wanted to stop and look some more, too.

We got to FOTLK at the perfect time -- we walked right in and found good seats in the center of the fourth and fifth rows of the Warthog section. There was a CM standing in front of us, holding two seats for apparent VIPs. We watched two men come out from backstage and walk over to the reserved seats, and when we didn't recognize them, my completely unafraid aunt leaned down to them and said, "Okay, we want to know who you guys are." :eek: They laughed, and one of them looked like he was about to answer, but didn't. It's a forever mystery.

Mom, Debbie, and Ashley all loved the show as much as I knew they would, and I was glad I'd hurried them to get there. I love that show so much, and I could sit and watch it all day. As the song says, "There's far too much to take in here, more to do than can ever be done." We were especially impressed by one particular guy on stilts, who would "sit" down on the stilts so far that his rear end was actually below the tops of the stilts -- and then stand up as if it was nothing spectacular. :eek: !!

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:00 PM
On our way back toward the Tree of Life, we stopped so Ashley could get her first two autographs, from Chip and Dale. One of them took her water bottle and pretended to drink from it, which was pretty funny. This turned out to be the first of many, many, many Chip and Dale encounters.

I had forgotten where to find the entrance to It’s Tough To Be a Bug, so we wandered aimlessly for a minute before I asked a CM for directions. By the time we found the entrance and started making our way around the Tree, it was raining. And raining. And raining. (We took the opportunity to remind Mom not to put her park map between her knees. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> ) Luckily, we had a poncho with us, and Mom, Debbie, and I held it over our heads. It covered the three of us pretty well, but it made me too hot, so I eventually decided getting soaked by rain was preferable to getting soaked by sweat. Ashley wasn't at all fazed by the rain. (Then again, she didn't seem to be fazed by sweat, either. What a trooper!) About the time we got far enough through the line so that we were mostly covered by the tunnels of the Tree, the rain stopped. We weren't at all surprised by the timing. :rolleyes: Speaking of timing, our total wait was probably about 15 minutes.

The pre-show area was pretty full by the time we got in. We were surrounded by all sorts of people speaking all sorts of languages, and not very many of them stopped talking during any of the announcements. We all loved looking at the "Broadway show" signs in the pre-show room, and I wished we could have gone farther in the room to see more of them. The Flight of the Bumblebee was playing, as usual, and the others got a kick out of that. Everybody loved the show ... even Aunt Debbie, who wasn't thrilled about the idea of a bug show. On our way out, Ashley stopped to talk with a CM who was holding some kind of monster tarantula in a small box. I didn't really want to get any closer to that furry little bugger than absolutely necessary, :eek: so I kept going.

Next was a stop for ice cream and a pretzel on our way to the Safari. There were many people getting FastPasses for the Safari, but the sign said the stand-by line was only 30 minutes, so we thought we'd try that. It turned out to be much shorter than that. I don't think it was more than 15 minutes there, either. So far, we've had very good luck with lines.

Our driver was very, very difficult to understand, and, as Aunt Debbie later said, not very enthusiastic. "Oh, no -- the bridge -- are -- we -- going -- to -- make it?” After a while, I just tuned out the narration and concentrated on looking for animals. We saw lots, which was a little surprising to me, since I'd heard that early afternoon was a quiet time for the animals. There were elephants, rhinos, hippos, wildebeests, gazelles, etc. The lions were sleeping, but everything else seemed to be awake and ready to show off. And Little Red, of course, was ohhhh-kay. Whew! <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz">

Next, we did a little shopping, and stopped to check out the picture they took on our way in. It was good of all four of us, so we ordered four copies and had them delivered to our hotel.

By then, it was time for our reservation at the Rainforest Cafe. Mom, Debbie, and I have all been to the Rainforest Cafe at the Mall of America, and I thought Ashley had been there too, but she hadn't. This was the only restaurant Ashley specifically requested for this trip, and it was fun for the rest of us to see a slightly different restaurant than the one we knew. Our reservation was for 3 p.m., but we checked in about 20 minutes early and were seated almost immediately. The food was adequate (Mom and I appreciated the vegetarian options), the service was a little less than adequate, and the price was improved slightly because we had a coupon. I don't think any of us would make a point of going there again, but we wouldn't necessarily avoid it, either. It was really, really loud, and too cold because we were still wet from standing in the rain a little earlier.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:01 PM
During our late lunch, I hit the wall and needed a break. Mom, Debbie, and Ashley, on the other hand, all seemed to find their second wind. (This turned out to be a common event during the week, but luckily, it didn't bother any of us to split up.) They decided to explore Downtown Disney for a little while, then head to the Magic Kingdom. I opted to head back to the hotel for a quick nap, then meet them at the Walt & Mickey statue at 7:30 p.m. We all took a bus back to the Ticket and Transportation Center, then they went on to Downtown Disney, and I headed for the monorail back to the resort. I first stopped at the little store there and found a t-shirt ($20).

I had two "assignments" when I got back to the room: (1) Find Mom's other comfy shoes and bring them so she could change when we met at MK, and (2) Look for her driver's license. Sometime during lunch, she realized she didn't have it, and thought it might be in one of her bags in the room. If it wasn't there, then she was pretty sure she hadn't gotten it back from the CM at the Epcot Guest Relations window. She'd stopped there when she arrived at Epcot to exchange her AP voucher for the Pass itself. I didn't find her license in her bags and tried calling Lost and Found, but it was closed for the day.

After my nap (wow, was it hard to wake up), I hopped on the monorail and made my way down Main Street. I was surprised to see so many people already sitting on the curb, waiting for the parade. I was sort of in my own little world, not really paying attention to anybody, and enjoying my walk toward the Castle, when all of a sudden, there's my family right next to me, trying to get my attention. Talk about timing!

We decided to go to Pinnochio's for dinner -- yes, another counter service hamburgers-and-fries place. A little boring, but we didn't mind. On the way there, Mom and Debbie looked for people taking pictures of their families. I had read a suggestion somewhere about having a contest while at WDW -- see which member of your group can volunteer to take more pictures for other families. Well, it was a great idea, but Mom and Debbie were being just a little too competitive about it. Mom actually chased one woman down, offering her services. The woman thought she was nuts, and frankly, so did I. But she took the picture, so score one for Mom. Aunt Debbie was winning though; she'd apparently found several families earlier in the day.

We were pretty much alone at Pinocchio's, and we enjoyed the quiet time. It's not often you find an empty space at WDW, so I always appreciate those moments. I don't think I ate much there, if anything -- I'd had a snack in the room before I left. It was nice to just sit and chat about the day, and hear what the others had found on their shopping trip. Mom was so excited to tell me that she'd purchased her first-ever Mickey Mouse watch. They liked Downtown Disney and were appropriately impressed by the immense World of Disney store.

Finally, then -- it was time for a ride at the Magic Kingdom! Because we were right there, and because there wasn't a line (big surprise), we headed for Small World. About halfway through the ride, Ashley looked at me with the biggest understatement of the week: "This would be the worst ride to get stuck on." ;)

The line for Peter Pan was too long, so we went to the Haunted Mansion. Mom and Debbie were in the Doom Buggy behind Ashley and me, and I heard them talking about all the differences between DL and WDW's Mansions. I made sure to point out the Hidden Mickey on the table in the ballroom scene. On our way out, we looked for the ring in the walkway, but didn't see it. It was getting a little dark by then, so I didn't really expect to find it then. I guess I'll have to look for it another time.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:03 PM
I'd never seen the Hall of Presidents before, and because of persistent rumors that it's going to close, I was determined to see it on this trip. They were all willing, and all four of us really enjoyed it. There were only a couple dozen other people in there, which was kind of sad but not really that surprising. When the show was over, we heard the music of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and stood on the brick edge of a flower bed to peer over the crowd. We'd missed the first couple of floats, but it didn't matter.

Next was a little bit of shopping, then we went to find some pay phones so Mom, Ashley, and Debbie could all call home. Then it was off to the Jungle Cruise, which was a walk-on. We had a great skipper, and without even knowing it, he provided an inside joke for the four of us! At the end, he gave a speech I've heard before: "If you enjoyed your Jungle Cruise, my name is Bob. If you didn't, my name is Phil." What he didn't realize is that two of Debbie's sons are Bob and Phil! Too funny. We laughed louder than we would have normally laughed at that joke, but Bob/Phil seemed to appreciate it. :D

Then it was on to Pirates, again with a very short wait. Mom and Debbie both preferred Disneyland's version, but still enjoyed WDW's. We did a little shopping afterward, of course, and then decided to split up for a little while. Mom and Debbie headed for the Frontierland train station, planning to take it back to Main Street for some shopping; Ashley and I took off for Splash Mountain. Even though this was my third trip to WDW, I'd never ridden Splash Mountain, and I was looking forward to it as much as Ashley was. Before we sat down, we asked which side tended to get more wet, and the CM told us the right side. Ashley had agreed to take that side -- but wouldn't you know it, Ashley was barely splashed, and I (on the left side!) got soaked. :rolleyes: Ashley thought that was pretty hysterical. Har dee har har. We both loved Splash, and knew we'd try to hit it again later in the week.

Ash and I wandered back down Main Street, making our way through the crowds watching the second MSEP of the night. The crowds were crazy, and we ended up going mostly through the stores instead of trying to get through the crowds on the sidewalks. We found Mom and Aunt Debbie at the Emporium as planned, and then we all headed toward the monorail. What a nice way to get back to the hotel each night. We're being spoiled!

Back at the Polynesian, the others decided to hit the pool for a late night swim, and I stayed in the room, making notes for this report. They weren't gone more than 30 minutes, and when they came back, they reported that they'd come up with the TIP OF THE DAY: Standing on the bubblers on the bottom of the pools is a great way to massage your aching feet at the end of a long Disney day. I only hope the rehab of the Polynesian's pools doesn't remove those bubblers!

I asked them all for their thoughts about the day, and Aunt Debbie, laughing because she knew she'd answered the same way the night before, said, "My feet hurt!" Her other thought of the day was "I miss Andrew!" (Andrew is Debbie's youngest son, who was originally going to join us for a few days, but ended up staying home. During the whole trip, we kept commenting on how much Andrew -- and other family members -- would enjoy it all. Next time, we want them all to be with us.) :(

Mom, after thinking for a long time, said, "I just can't think" what her thoughts of the day were. She asked for a recap of the day, and decided her favorite thing was the Festival of the Lion King, specifically Aunt Debbie asking the two "VIPs" who they were. Ashley's favorites were Splash Mountain (especially me getting soaked) and the FOTLK. My summary of that day was rain, rain, and getting soaked at Splash Mountain. ;)

Ahhhh, time for bed.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:12 PM
Friday, July 14
"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Day"

One of our first chores this morning was tracking down Mom's lost driver's license. She called Lost and Found, and we all crossed our fingers while the CM there tried to find the license -- ta daaaaaa! It was there. Whew. I was thinking Mom would ask them to have her license delivered to our room, but she asked for directions to the Lost and Found center, which is at the TTC, near the kennels. It wasn't really going out of the way to stop there, so it ended up not making a difference one way or the other. We were all just glad they had her license!

The next chore was calling the Luau Cove so Mom and I could order our vegetarian meals. There were four options -- a lentil and barley dish; couscous with veggies and tofu; veggie lasagna; and veggie stir fry. Mom wanted the lasagna, and I decided to get the stir fry so we could share and try two things.

It was a nice lazy morning, and by the time we left the room to get breakfast, it was almost 10 a.m. We ate at the counter service place next to the Kona Cafe, and sat at the bar that looked out the window, facing the monorail. It's a great view! The gardens below are just beautiful. While the others finished eating, I ran down to Guest Services and picked up our Luau tickets and E-night passes. Then we hopped on the monorail and headed to the TTC. Mom stopped at the Lost and Found window and retrieved her license; then it was off to MGM. I love this park, and I knew the others would enjoy it, too.

We first made our way to the back of the park and tried to see the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Because of "technical difficulties," there almost wasn't a show, but we decided to wait and see if they'd go ahead with the next show. Mom and Debbie checked out the Singin' in the Rain umbrella, and we all split up to explore, meeting back at the HOND stage. We noticed people going in to the theater, so we figured the technical difficulties were cleared up, and went in to find our seats.

What a great show!! We had pretty good seats, too -- in the front section, near the middle aisle. There was a group in the audience that we think was either friends of the cast or regulars at this show, because they stood and loudly cheered every solo and every time one of the major characters came onstage. Four thumbs up from us.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:14 PM
By the time the show was over, the skies were getting pretty gray and it was more than a little windy, so we decided to hightail it over to the Muppets theater and pray for rain while we were inside. We had fun in the pre-show area, finding all the puns and inside jokes. I love the picture of the Jim Henson "muppet," (almost makes me cry :( ), and I really enjoyed watching the digital announcement board instead of the TVs: "K-E-R -- are you having fun? M-I-T -- That's a school in Massachusetts. F-R-O-G Frog!" :D Other than the very tight and somewhat uncomfortable chairs in this theater, we all loved the show.

It was still raining (or maybe I should say "raining again") after the Muppet show, and we decided to stop for a quick lunch at the Pizza Planet. We were able to get the last available outside table with an umbrella, and only needed a few napkins to dry off the chairs. The general consensus on the food was that the pizza crust was great, but the sauce was only so-so. Not bad for fast food, though.

Ashley and I picked up FastPasses for Star Tours, then we all went to Indiana Jones. Aunt Debbie was especially interested in seeing this show because Uncle Jack (Debbie's husband; Mom's brother) was involved in part of the development of some of the special effects. Four thumbs up, although I always feel like this show is a little on the long side. (There's just no pleasing some people, huh? :rolleyes: Ha.)

Mom and Debbie headed off to do some shopping and exploring, while Ashley and I went back toward Star Tours. The timing was perfect, and we waited less than 5 minutes. Ashley enjoyed it, but unfortunately, I think that was my last simulator ride. Ugh, ugh, ugh. :eek: We sat in the front row, and I had to keep my eyes closed for about half the ride. We did a little shopping afterward (we bought Zach some Legos), then headed off to meet Mom and Deb.

While we were waiting for them near the front gates, we saw a few characters, and Ashley got some autographs. Jessie and her horse, a Green Army Man, and Timon were there.

We were still a little early for dinner, so we decided to head back to the hotel room to freshen up a bit before our big date with Chef Mickey and the gang. On our way to the Contemporary, we encountered the Funny Kid of the Day: At the Grand Floridian, a man and his son got on and sat down across from us. For some reason, without saying a word, the son got off and stood on the platform. The dad, with a completely confused look on his face, looked at him and said, "Shawn, are ya goofy? Get on. Doors close, me wave bye." Luckily, the son got back on before the doors closed. We used the dad's "Are ya goofy?" line quite a few times after that. ;)

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:15 PM
At Chef Mickey's, we expected a bit of a wait, but our luck at sit-down restaurants continued -- I don't think we waited more than 5 minutes, including the time before and after the picture-taking. Even more impressive, one of the chefs (not Mickey -- one of the human variety ;) ) met us at our table because we had two vegetarians noted on our reservation. He wanted to find out exactly what Mom and I did and didn't eat, and then he actually walked us through the buffet, pointing out the dishes that fit our preferences. I was really surprised by that service! There were a LOT of vegetarian choices, and we all had more than enough to eat. Love those potatoes.

Of course, there was napkin-waving, but because we'd never been there before, we weren't sure exactly why we were doing such a thing. Aunt Debbie asked a passing waiter, "What are we waving our napkins for?" and he grinned and said, "To shake all the crumbs out." :D (We figured out later it was for birthday celebrations.) Mickey, Minnie, Chip, and Dale all came around to our table several times; Goofy and Donald were out near the dessert bar. By the way, Aunt Debbie picked up another point in the picture-taking contest -- by this time, she was running away with it, and we sort of stopped keeping score. Aunt Debbie definitely won this time!

After dinner, we took the monorail back to the TTC, then a bus back to MGM to finish up what we hadn't seen already. We did Sounds Dangerous first, with a very short wait -- less than 5 minutes. Four thumbs up! (WOW, does it get dark in there. :eek: ) Next was the Great Movie Ride (the gangster side) -- again, four thumbs up. I can't stand the thought of Disney closing this ride; I sure hope that's just a rumor.

Time to split up again: Mom and Debbie went to the early Fantasmic! show, and Ashley and I went off to Tower of Terror. First time for both of us -- what a great ride! I loved it, and we thought about buying the picture, but there was a big shadow on my face, and you couldn't even really see that it was me. Not worth buying this time. Then we were off to Rock 'n' Roller, where there was a 35-minute wait. We were thinking about going to the first Fantasmic! show too, but that wait at RnR would have made us late, so we decided to skip it until after the show. Instead, Ashley settled for a second ride on ToT, and then we headed off to see Fantasmic! Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was already Standing Room Only, and we decided to pass and maybe hit the second show that night.

Then Ashley went to RnR, but I passed. One of these times, I'll work up the courage to try it, too. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy it, but I'm a little afraid I'd lose my glasses! :rolleyes: I guess I'll have to try it on a contacts day. Ashley loved it, and then we talked about whether we should stick around for the second Fantasmic! show. It had been a long day, though, and in the end, we just decided to go back to the hotel.

In three trips to WDW, I still haven't seen Fantasmic! (haven't seen the Disneyland version either), but oh well. My Disney mantra: It will be here next time. Just another reason to start planning the next trip! :)

It was about 9:15 when Ashley and I left MGM; Mom and Debbie got back to the hotel about 10:45 p.m. We all made a quick trip to the pool (gotta love those bubbler foot massagers!) and then went to bed. Another great day!

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:32 PM
Saturday, July 15
"Sand 'n' Castle Day"

Today was our hotel switching day, and while we were looking forward to experiencing the Wilderness Lodge, we weren't completely thrilled about packing up and moving in the middle of our vacation. Our little list of pros and cons:

Pros:
* being able to enjoy more than one resort, and all the incredible detail and magic of each
* feeling like you get two mini-vacations in one trip
* in our case, switching hotels saved us more than $200

Cons:
* having to buy two refillable mugs (we didn't feel comfortable using our Polynesian mugs at the Wilderness Lodge)
* double the bell services tips
* that somewhat inconvenient time between checking out at the first resort and checking in at the second; it left us feeling a little bit homeless

I guess I'd switch resorts again if it saved money -- and if my trip was long enough to make two hotels worthwhile -- but for simplicity's sake, I'll be more likely to stay put once I get settled.

We were up waaaaaaaay too early this morning -- packing, waiting for bell services, checking out (we were able to use express checkout -- love that!), and then we hopped on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom for Early Entry and breakfast at the Castle. Early Entry at the MK is my favorite!

We wandered pretty slowly down Main Street, then had our picture taken in front of the Walt and Mickey "Friends" statue. The photographer was very friendly and took a lot of time with us, arranging us carefully and then getting down on the ground to get us all in the picture -- including Mickey, Walt, and the Castle.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:33 PM
We checked in for breakfast at about 8 a.m., and although our PS wasn't until 8:25, we were seated almost immediately. Our luck with PS times continued! Pocahontas and the Fairy Godmother were in the waiting area, and we thought about getting their autographs before we went upstairs to eat, but decided to wait, since they'd be there later. (NOTE: This was not the best decision of the week; keep reading to find out why.)

Once again, the wait staff was very concerned about the vegetarian notation on our reservation, and our server (John, I think?) took the time to tell us about our two options. Mom and I both passed on the healthy option (we're on vacation!); we had pancakes, eggs, and that delicious cream cheese French toast. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. :) Debbie and Ashley had the same, plus bacon, sausage, the breakfast potatoes (which had bacon or ham or something in it) and birthday cupcakes! We all had fruit and breakfast breads. All in all, a pretty good meal, though not our favorite of the week. Aurora, Cinderella, and Aladdin came around to our table for pictures, autographs, and birthday wishes.

After we ate, we went back down to get autographs from Pocahontas and the Fairy Godmother -- and realized we'd made a huge mistake by not getting them before we ate. Before we went upstairs, there was nobody in line downstairs; after we ate, there were a million people waiting. :eek: The line for Pocahontas moved pretty quickly, but the line for the Fairy Godmother -- although it was only 15 or so people -- took a full 35 minutes. The woman can talk!!! :eek:

When we finally got to the front of the line, a man holding two autograph books unbelievably tried to cut in front of us -- then, even more unbelievably, told an outright lie to the Fairy Godmother (of all people!!), saying he was next in line! Well, since I had just helped her up off the floor when she finished chatting with the kidlets before us, she knew better, and she kindly informed him so. He meekly retreated to his proper place in line. Score one for the Godmother! :D TIP OF THE DAY: If there isn't a line and you have time before your table is ready, get the downstairs autographs (especially the Fairy Godmother's) right away. You never know how long the lines will be later.

Oh -- a funny thing happened on our way to the Fairy Godmother. As usual, the hostess would ring the bells and then announce that they had a table for "the Royal Smith Family" or "the Royal Jones Family." While we were waiting, we heard them announce a table for "the Royal Payne Family." :D After we laughed a little about that, we started playing a game that helped us pass the time -- coming up with other family names that would fit in that particular announcement. "The Royal Blue Family" is the only one I can remember right now, but you get the idea.

After we finally got our autographs and pictures with the Godmother (which, I'm sorry to say, was the slightest bit anti-climatic :rolleyes:), it was time for more rides. It was only about 9:15 by then, and I expected the Early Entry crowd to be bigger, but we were in luck. We waited for Peter Pan less than 5 minutes, then I hopped on Snow White (wait time: 5 minutes) while the others went on Dumbo (wait time: 10 minutes). I finished before they did, so I stood and watched them -- and Mom came up with a funny idea: she took my picture as I watched them on the ride! :D The picture turned out blurry, but you can tell I'm laughing. That Mom o' mine is pretty humorous.

Next was our first Adventure with Pooh, and we all enjoyed it. I looked for the Toad/Pooh scene, but I was pretty distracted by all those colors! I'll find it one of these times. Of course, we did a little shopping after the ride. Love the stuff in that store.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:34 PM
At some point during the morning, Aunt Debbie came up with our Rule of the Day: No backtracking. Believe it or not, we managed to follow the rule pretty well all day, and our feet thanked us for it later.

After Pooh, Ashley took a solo spin on the Teacups. None of the rest of us can handle spinning rides (I can't even handle Dumbo, much less the Teacups!), but Ash didn't mind going alone. She sat with another family and had a good time. While Ashley was riding, Aunt Debbie went ahead to the Speedway kiosk to do some shopping, I sat down to watch Ash spinning wildly, and Mom got in line to get autographs for Ashley from Alice and the White Rabbit. Alice was still there when Ashley's ride was over, so she and Mom got back in line so they could get a picture.

We headed over to find Aunt Debbie near the Speedway, then we all rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority with (of course) no wait. I love facing forward on that ride and enjoying the breeze -- what a nice refresher!

Ashley and Debbie got FastPasses for Space Mountain, then we decided to wait for the Carousel of Progress to open. This was another one that I was determined to see, just in case the rumors of it closing have some truth to them. There was a HUGE line by about 10:45, so Mom volunteered to stand in line, and the rest of us joined her when she got closer to the turnstiles (I felt ever-so-slightly like I was budging, but nobody seemed to mind). We were at the front of the line for the second showing, and we all liked it (even Ashley, which surprised me a little). Later, I sheepishly admitted to the others that as much as I enjoyed it, I had a little trouble staying awake toward the end. I didn't feel so bad when both Ashley and Debbie said, "Me too!" ;)

Then it was time for Ashley and Debbie to head back toward Space Mountain (some of the only backtracking we did all day), and Mom and I shopped at the kiosk in front of Buzz Lightyear. Ashley really liked Space Mountain, as I knew she would, and Debbie did too, I think -- I know she was surprised by the differences between this Space and Disneyland's. While they were riding, Mom and I got four Buzz FastPasses, and the timing was perfect -- by the time Ashley and Debbie got back from Space, it was time for Buzz. We loved this ride!! It was the first time for all of us, and Ashley won -- she had something like 201,200 points. Mom had 75,600; I had 37,800; and Debbie had something less than 20,000. I could ride this one over and over again.

Just by chance, we caught the "Disney Mania" show at the theater near the Buzz exit -- it was cute (singers, dancers, and characters -- how can you go wrong?), but we agreed it wasn't something we'd have to make a point of seeing. A nice little break in our day, though, and since we were there at exactly the right time, it was worth staying to see.

By that time, we were hungry, and I suggested the Plaza for lunch; Jean and I ate there on our November trip, and I knew it was on our way out. By this time, Aunt Debbie's poor feet really needed us to follow the "no backtracking" rule, so I led them to what I thought was a shortcut, and then prayed that I was right. Instead of crossing the bridge back toward the hub, then turning up (down?) Main Street, I turned left before the bridge, then cut through that eating area, past the restrooms, and ... right to the Plaza!! :D Whew. Aunt Debbie congratulated me for knowing the shortcut, and was I ever happy and relieved that I remembered it correctly! I'm not sure how much shorter it actually is to go that way, but it worked out well for us, especially since we stopped at the restrooms.

We gave our name to the CM and sat down to enjoy our wait in the sunshine. It was a surprisingly short wait -- maybe 10 minutes? -- and then we were led inside to that cute little corner room. Love that room! Lunch consisted mostly of french fries. Mom had a salad and fries; I had a sandwich and fries; Debbie had a vanilla shake and fries; and Ashley had an iced cappucino and fries. Could we get any more carbos, please? :eek: Not the healthiest table full of food, but pretty darn tasty. Besides, we're on vacation. Calories don't count. Mickey told me so.

After lunch, we did some shopping on Main Street. Jean (my sister) had asked us to look for a Goofy watch for her -- the kind with the hands that go backward -- but no such luck. I don't remember if anyone else found anything, but I found the figurines for my collection. On each trip to WDW, I get a "baby" character figurine (about one inch tall), and a Mickey figurine (about three inches tall) -- this time, I got Baby Eeyore and Fireman Mickey.

We stopped at the Camera Center to look at our picture -- it was really, really bad of me, and I don't mean bad like everybody says their own pictures are bad. I mean REALLY bad, as in please-take-that-thing-off-the-monitors-before-anybody-else-sees-it bad. :eek: Burn-that-negative-now bad. :( I was disappointed, because it was pretty good of the others. We decided not to get any, and I think Ashley was bummed, but she didn't complain. Next time, Ash!!

While we were there, I mentioned to Mom that I thought this was where you could sometimes find the Seven Dwarfs, so she and Ashley went back to find them. They were all there, along with Pinocchio and one of the Tale Spin characters, so Ashley got pics and autographs with all of them. My favorite picture from that day is Ashley kissing Grumpy's nose. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. :D I got my picture with Dopey (love him!) and then it was time to go.

We found the ferry to the WL, and just as we got there, it started to rain. There weren't very many people under the awning, and they nicely made room for us. I don't think we waited more than 10 minutes for the ferry -- what a great alternative to buses!

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:36 PM
We found our way to the Front Desk, and checked in immediately, even though we were a little early. Less than 5 minutes later, we were in Room 4110, which faces the new villas -- they look gorgeous! The room was a little smaller than our Polynesian room, but we didn't mind. I was glad to see the double sinks and mirror outside the bathroom; I knew that would help in the mornings. Bell services delivered our luggage almost immediately, and I have to admit I was a little surprised and relieved that nothing was lost on the transfer from the Polynesian. It was really pretty easy to switch hotels. Mom, Ashley, and I unpacked our stuff, then we all got ready for the Luau.

We discussed the best way to get back to the Polynesian, and we guessed it'd be fastest to take an Epcot or MGM bus -- after making sure that it was going to the Polynesian after its stop at the WL. Mom was excited about taking buses (we'd mostly relied on the monorail until that point) and said, "Whoo-hooo!" When we laughed at that, she defended herself with the First Quote of the Day: "I can whoo-hooo about buses!" Maybe you had to be there. ;) I have to admit, we were inexplicably giddy by that point, and just about anything was crackin' us up.

We were happy to discover that our room wasn't far from the bus stop, and (even better) we didn't have to wait long for a bus to the Polynesian. It was kind of strange pulling in to the parking lot there and realizing that we'd left there less than 10 hours earlier. I was sitting there looking at the Great Ceremonial House when Mom gave us her Second Quote of the Day: "Remember the time we stayed here?" As if it had been years! :rolleyes: I'm sure the people around us wondered what was so funny, but we couldn't stop laughing. :D

It was raining, so the Luau CMs suggested we all stay inside, near Captain Cook's and the shops, until they knew for sure whether they'd still have a 5:15 Luau that day. They checked our names off the PS list, and then just before showtime, we all walked out to the Cove together. It was farther than I expected, but it was a beautiful walk.

We all liked the show, but we were probably too tired to enjoy it completely. Four thumbs up on the food, too. We didn't even come close to eating it all, never mind asking for more. I meant to keep track of how many times we had to say "Alooooooooooha!" but I forgot. It had to be at least 20 times. Made it kind of easy to make that our Quote of the Week.

After the show, we were walking through the TTC and all of a sudden we heard a girl say, "Ashley?" to which my niece responded "Lauren?" The girl is 2000 miles from home and runs into someone she knows! :rolleyes: (Everybody now: It’s a small world after all ...") It was a Kodak moment.

I decided to head back to the room, while the others went to Epcot. Mom took a spin on Spaceship Earth, and Ashley and Debbie hit Test Track. Thumbs up from all of them. I think maybe they went back to see Tapestry of Nations again, but I can't remember for sure. While they were gone, I went down to Roaring Fork to pick up a couple refillable mugs. I was already in my PJs and working on my notes when the others got back to the room. Then it was late-night jacuzzi time for Mom, Deb, and Ashley -- sounded like they enjoyed it immensely. Four great days in a row!

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:43 PM
Sunday, July 16
"Circus Day/See You Real Soon Day, Part I"

The alarm went off this morning at 5:00 ... thanks so much to whoever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, Room 4110, the night of July 15, 2000!! Grrrr. :mad: Ashley slept through it, and I was able to go back to sleep, but I think Mom and Debbie were up and at 'em not long after that. When I woke up a little later, they were out on the balcony with coffee and the newspaper, discussing the trip so far -- the surprises, the things they'd change, and the tips they'd pass on to others planning to visit WDW. Mom was surprised that we hadn't needed any bug stuff -- July in Florida, and no bug stuff?! <IMG SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused"> They both liked having some bottled water in the hotel room, but didn't really think we needed as many snacks as we had. For the parks, they thought it would be better to have a small umbrella instead of a poncho, which was too hot in the Florida humidity. Of course, "bring lots of foot care stuff" made their tip list.

We enjoyed the lazy morning and left for MGM at about 10 a.m. Luck with short lines continued -- we saw Voyage of the Little Mermaid with no wait. Four thumbs up, except we were distracted by people taking flash photos in spite of the pre-show announcement. Unfortunately, it was one of those cases when one person took a picture, then somebody else apparently thought they could too, and it snow-balled until people in the audience were actually saying "No flash photography!" in the middle of the show. We saw the CMs off to our right, trying to find the offenders, but we didn't notice whether they actually found them.

After the show, we stopped for a couple autographs (not sure who -- at this point, I felt like there couldn't possibly be any more characters left!), then shopped a little, and made our way to lunch at the '50s Prime Time Cafe. What a great place that is! I hadn't seen it before, so it was new for all of us. We checked in almost 25 minutes early, and had barely sat down in the "living room" when our name was called. Cousin Ouida was excellent!! She was extremely helpful with the vegetarian options, and later took Ashley to the "neighbor's" to see the Chicken & Biscuits. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch there, and Mom got her Clean Plate Club sticker.

Next, sadly, it was time for Aunt Debbie to head back to the WL to get her things and meet the Mears shuttle. :( We stopped a passing family and asked them to take our picture together, one more time, and then said our goodbyes. I am so glad she was able to join us for this trip! Looking forward to the next time, Auntie!! :D

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:44 PM
Mom, Ashley, and I went to check the board for wait times, and saw that there wasn't any line at all (at least according to the board) for the Backlot Tour. We headed that way, but on our way, we found a bunch of other characters in front of the Chinese Theater. If I remember correctly, Ashley got autographs from Quasimodo, Pocahontas and John Smith, Mary Poppins, and a couple others. By then, we knew it was about time for Beauty and the Beast, so we skipped the Backlot Tour (which didn't really disappoint me at all) and wandered over toward Sunset Boulevard.

They weren't letting people in the theater yet when we got there, so Ashley went to get a FastPass for the Tower of Terror, then came back to find Mom and me sitting in a small patch of shade across from the BATB theater. Until this point, the weather had been warm, but not hot -- but it was definitely getting warmer each day. Just sitting in the shade was a welcome refresher.

Thanks to Ashley's great footwork, we ended up with really good seats for BATB -- center section, only about a dozen rows back. I wasn't overly impressed with this show in November, but this time, I thought it was really good. Ashley and Mom both liked it too, and I was glad we'd found time to see it. The show ended just in time for Ashley's FastPass time for Tower of Terror; she said it had a different drop sequence this time.

By then it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for Cirque du Soleil. We just missed a bus from MGM to WL, so we had a bit of a wait -- about 15 minutes, I think? At least there was shade! When we finally did get back to WL, we were surprised that our room hadn't been cleaned yet. It was almost 4 p.m., and the only possible excuse would have been if Mousekeeping arrived to get started while Aunt Debbie was packing up and didn't want to bother her. I meant to ask Aunt Debbie about that, but forgot. No biggie -- we just called Mousekeeping and said we'd need our room for about another 45 minutes, then we'd be gone until late, so could they clean it then? The woman who answered the phone was having a rough day, I think, because she got pretty defensive. I hadn't meant to make her angry; I just wanted to let them know we'd be in the room for a little while. Sheeish! :eek:

We got down to the bus stop a little later than we hoped -- about 4:45 p.m., I think -- and then I had to run back up to the room to get our Cirque tickets (of all the things to forget!), so we missed the first Downtown Disney bus. That added to my stress level a bit, but I tried to keep it under control. Another one came about 20 minutes later, and wow, does that trip (WL to Downtown Disney) take a long time!! Of course, our stop was the last of three stops at DD, :eek: and we finally got to the Cirque tent at about 5:50 p.m. I was stressing big time, and to make it worse, I needed to find a restroom. While I did that, Mom and Ashley found the concession stands (popcorn and M&Ms, yum). Somewhere during the day, Mom and Ashley told me they wanted to buy a souvenir for me as a thank you for the planning I'd done (puh-leeeeeze, as if you have to thank me?! :rolleyes: LOL), and Ashley bought me a beautiful program and a Cirque du Soleil calling card -- she couldn't believe I didn't have one along. Ashley also bought a program for herself, and both Mom and Ashley bought t-shirts.

The show was as incredible as I'd heard. I'll try not to include any spoilers here; feel free to e-mail me if you want more details. We had really, really good seats -- first row, center, in the upper section. I'd ordered our tickets nearly a year before, and I didn't realize until many months later how good our seats would be! I'd heard the seats were a bit of a tight squeeze, but that wasn't our experience at all. It's possible that the chairs get smaller in the higher rows, but we had plenty of arm, hip, and leg room! Some of the introductory scenes went right in front of us (we could have reached out and touched several of the performers), and most of the show itself was perfectly at eye level for us. Wonderful show; worth every penny. Three thumbs way, way up.

Back to the WL for a good night's sleep. The Mousekeeping person must have felt badly about not cleaning our room earlier, because our beds were turned down (with Ashley's animals under the covers) and we had a stack of extra towels. We watched some TV, did some laundry (Ashley), had a late dinner at Roaring Fork, and talked about our game plan for the next two days.

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:53 PM
Monday, July 17
"Silly Ol' Bear Day"

Happy 45th Birthday to Disneyland!!

Mom got up early so she could hit Early Entry at the Magic Kingdom. She almost overslept (the alarm was set for PM instead of AM), but she was still able to catch the bus and get there before the gates opened. She said a CM there was playing Disney trivia with the guests; according to that CM, it would cost $1 million to extend the monorail the distance from one of those huge support beams to the next one, :eek: and so there are currently no plans to add to the monorail.

When the gates opened, Mom made her way to Fantasyland with everybody else; she rode the Carrousel and Snow White, then headed over to Tomorrowland for the Speedway and another shot at Buzz Lightyear.

Ashley and I got up a little later and met Mom at the Crystal Palace for our breakfast with Pooh. We got there about 9:20 a.m. (25 minutes early for our PS), checked in right away, and weren't seated until 10:00 a.m. Normally, being seated 40 minutes late would have bothered me, but this was the first time all week we had to wait -- so it was no big deal! :D

Mom and Ashley both liked the Crystal Palace as much as I knew they would; lots of food and the characters, of course! The only minor complaint was that both Piglet and Tigger took their water breaks when we were the NEXT table (so close, but yet so far :rolleyes: ) ... but we just ate slowly and waited. We got lots of great pics, and loved all the kissing noises from the characters.

After breakfast, we were off to the Tiki Room (three thumbs up), then Country Bear Jamboree. Ashley didn't seem too excited about that one until Big Al with his "Blood on the Saddle" and then later, the three bears in bonnets singing "All the guys who turn me on turn me down." :D LOTS of people taking flash photos before the end, when they're allowed to. Drives me crazy. :eek: :mad: :eek:

It was a little early to think about eating again, but we didn't want to miss the Diamond Horseshoe, so while Ashley went to get FastPasses for Splash Mountain, Mom and I went to find a table for the noon show. Just by luck, that show included an American Sign Language interpreter. I took a year of ASL in college, and I think it's a beautiful language, so I enjoyed the show even more than usual. Before his last song, the sing-along cowboy pointed out the interpreter, invited us to sing "Home on the Range" with him, and to pay special attention to the interpreter while we sang. The cowboy got us started, then dropped out, so it was a room full of guests singing softly while the interpreter painted the air with deer and antelope playing. It was really lovely ... and the skies were not cloudy all day. :)

There were two other acts in the show: the dancing girls, who were fun as always, and an excellent magician, who could not have picked a better helper from the audience. The helper was a 6-year-old boy named Chase, from Georgia. Perfect, hilarious, cute as a bug! We got a big kick out of him. Good job, Chase! :D

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:54 PM
After the show, we took a ride on the Liberty Belle (a first for me). We had a great spot at the railing on the second level, and I really enjoyed the trip. We noticed that BTMRR was down when we went by -- and yet all the CMs working there (even those trying to fix the ride) stopped to wave at us when we went by. Another one of those Disney details.

Mom decided to do a little shopping while Ashley and I headed back to Splash Mountain to use our FastPasses ... but no luck there either. We noticed the water wasn't running and there was a car stuck at the top of the drop. The CMs there were announcing that FastPasses would be honored all day, no matter what time was stamped on them, but they had no idea how long the ride would be down. Since we were ready to leave for the day, we gave our FastPasses to a couple we met, then went back to meet Mom. Little did we know, she finished her shopping early and walked over to Splash to find us ... we crossed paths and completely missed each other! :rolleyes: We waited for Mom where we said we'd meet her and after a little while, she came back and found us. She and Ashley did a little shopping and found some stuff for Zachary.

Did a little more shopping on Main Street on our way out, then went to wait for the boat to the WL. There was a little girl named Cassandra there, and she had one of those mister bottles. She squirted my legs, and when her mom started to warn her about not squirting other people, my mom and I both jumped in with, "Squirt me! Please!" We made sure she knew that we didn't mind. ;) Thanks, Cassandra!

Had to stop in the shop at WL to pick up our packages from yesterday, then went up to our room. The Mousekeeper had made a "pool" out of a blue garbage bag and a couple of rolled-up towels; Ashley's animals were enjoying a little swim. It was pretty cute! I took a quick 20-minute nap ... after which I decided that 20 minutes was not enough. Mom and Ashley were going back to the Animal Kingdom (hoping to hit the Tarzan show, Dino-Sue, the Dinosaur ride, Kali River, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek), but I passed. I went back to sleep and enjoyed my quiet time, mostly in the room. I did run down to Roaring Fork for dinner, and treated myself to a "magic bar" for dessert -- chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut. Oh, please excuse me, I didn't realize I was drooling. ;)

After another 45-minute bus ride, Mom and Ashley got to Tarzan at 4:25 p.m. (the last show of the day was at 4:30), but they couldn't get in. They were disappointed, but decided it was okay because ... "the best cast wasn't there today anyway." Hey, you have to convince yourselves somehow. ;)

They got fastpasses for Dinosaur (which they liked, but thought it was a little too jerky), found some cold drinks while they were waiting, then saw Dino-Sue. Next was Kali River for Ashley. She liked it, but thought it'd be longer, and she's one of the few people I've ever heard say, "I didn't get very wet." <IMG SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif" alt="confused"> Next was the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where Mom got some really beautiful pictures of Ashley with tigers in the background. Mom and Ashley got back to the room about 7:30; they gave me a WDW 2000 photo album, perfect for all the memories of this trip. Thanks, you guys! :D

They had a quick dinner, then Ashley went swimming (after waiting 30 minutes, of course). I sat by the pool and watched her on the slide. The weather was beautiful, and I enjoyed people watching and taking in the scenery. Mom came down to the pool about 9:20 or so (I think she'd had a nap), then we all went down to the beach for the water parade. Very cute! Afterward, Mom and I went right to bed, but Ashley stayed up to make a phone call. My dad, who thinks he doesn't want to make a trip to WDW, called shortly after 11:00 ... maybe we'll get him down there after all! :)

whosezMN
01-12-2001, 08:57 PM
Are you still with me? ;) I'll try to have the last two days posted by the end of the weekend.

Sandy

Tarheel Tink
01-13-2001, 08:35 AM
Still with you and waiting! What a great time your group had; giggling and giddy! You had to be a fun group to be with!

Tarheel Tink

DIS member since 9/98 and dang proud of it!
Disneyland multiple times
WDW 1982(in a seedy off-site rathole), DxL(Bayou)1997, CBR 1998, WL 1999, PO 2000, DxL (Bayou) 2000, AS Movies 2001, WL 2001

Edayy
01-13-2001, 10:07 AM
Well worth the wait, great trip reports and i can't wait to read the next two days.

Eda

file:///C:/WINDOWS/DESKTOP/pic/Fish%20At%20Epcot.jpg

pumba
01-13-2001, 12:43 PM
;)

http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/crissup/Pumba.jpg

Beanie
01-13-2001, 05:22 PM
Excellent trip report!! Well worth waiting for!! How nice of Ashley to give one of her lei's to that little girl..how thoughtful!! Thanks for posting...anxiously awaiting the next installment!! :)

<font color=purple>Tricia</font>
http://www.geocities.com/lisatxdis/tarzanjane3.GIF
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whosezMN
01-20-2001, 04:32 AM
Tuesday, July 18
"Gardens of the World Day"

This was the hottest day of the week. Hot. Hot. Have I said HOT?

Our last full day!

Mom got up early for her Gardens Tour at Epcot, and she was gone when I got Ashley up at 8 a.m. so she could make a phone call. I took a shower while she was on the phone; then she went back to bed for almost an hour while I watched TV and got ready for the day. It was a nice relaxing morning.

Forgot to mention on Sunday morning: While we were all getting ready, Mom and Debbie were telling Ashley about the changes in hair dryers and other such products since they were her age. After scaring Ash with stories about big, clunky, salon-style hair dryers, Mom looked at Debbie and said, "We're our own Carousel of Progress!" Yet another Quote of the Day for Mom.

Back to Tuesday: When Ashley got up the second time, we talked about our game plan for the day. We hadn't seen WL's geyser yet, so we were aiming for the 11 a.m. "show." Then it was off to Epcot for lunch and a few rides, back to WL for resting and a swim (we were sure Mom would need to cool off after her tour on such a hot morning), then back to Epcot for the early Tapestry of Nations (one more time!), then MK for the MSEP, fireworks, and E-night. That was the plan, anyway. ;)

We left the room just a little bit too late to catch the geyser (oh well...) and waited for an Epcot bus while a zillion other buses went by. We finally hopped on a Crockett bus to the TTC. When we got there, we asked to sit in the front of the monorail and ended up sitting with Pilot Joe, who was very quiet and a little bit grumpy. He's allowed, I guess. Didn't bother us, but I was a little disappointed that we didn't get our Co-Pilot's Licenses. What a great view of Epcot, though!! Very cool. :D

Ashley went off to Test Track, and I went to the Imagination Pavilion to send some e-postcards. We had plans to meet at the Land by 1 p.m. Test Track was closed, so Ashley got to the Land well before I did; she found Mom and they both came to find me at Image Works. We sent a couple e-cards together and then got FastPasses for HISTA.

Lunch was our last character meal of the week, at the Garden Grill. Our PS time was 1:30, and once again, we had just a couple minutes' wait before being seated. What great luck we had with PS times this week!! This turned out to be Ashley's favorite lunch of the week -- she ate everything except the fish. Mom and I had delicious pasta and veggies. Mickey, Chip, and Dale were the characters here -- and all three of them kissed my hand. I had a Grumpy t-shirt on, and Chip or Dale (can't remember which) thought that was pretty funny. I never in my life thought I'd be the object of a chipmunk's snickering. ;)

During lunch, Mom told us about her tour, which she loved except for the unbelievable heat. I don't remember how many people were on the tour with her -- about 8? Their tour guide offered them all bottled water (usually, the guide said, the tour guests each get one bottle -- today, because of the heat, each of them got two bottles, and Mom drank every drop). Mom, whose two favorite things in the world are gardens and Disney, loved being able to go backstage in a couple places. She told us that in one country (Japan? Not sure.) they got to see a beautiful blooming flower that, as it turns out, only blooms THREE DAYS the whole year. By pure luck and coincidence, Mom's tour was on Day #2 of those three days. Mom took some great pictures, but I'm sad to say I don't remember anything more about what she saw or learned on her tour. If you're interested in knowing more, please e-mail me, and I'll ask her.

whosezMN
01-20-2001, 04:34 AM
After lunch, we went back to the hotel. It was about 3 p.m., and a bus was waiting for us. We sat there for a little while before leaving, but we didn't care at all -- we were in a lovely air conditioned bus! :D Back at the WL, we found Ashley's animals in another Mousekeeping Original: a canoe! Very cute. Mom and Ashley swam while I took a little nap.

My feet were more than a little sore by this point in our trip, so I decided to skip going back to Epcot with Mom and Ashley. They left at about 5 p.m., figuring they could still catch HISTA on our FastPasses from earlier in the day (I think our FP window was 4:45 to 5:45 or something), then see Tapestry and get back to our room for a little rest before the MK fireworks and E-night. (Decided to skip MSEP since we saw most of it the other night.) While they were gone, I packed.

When Mom and Ash got back to the room, they packed up most of their stuff, then we went down to Roaring Fork for dinner. Mom and Ash brought chocolate cake back from somewhere in Epcot, which we scarfed down before dinner.

We finally left for the Magic Kingdom at about 9:15, and got to the MK gates at about 9:50. We thought we could still catch the train around to Frontierland, but of course the train was down until after the fireworks. We thought about staying upstairs at the Depot to watch the fireworks, but it was crowded, so we went back down to get our E-night wristbands. Mom decided to watch the fireworks while making her way slowly down Main Street, but Ashley and I decided to head off toward Frontierland.

Ash and I stopped near the Crystal Palace to watch Tinkerbell's flight, then watched just a couple fireworks before heading over toward Splash Mountain and BTMRR. We'd stop every once in a while to turn around and catch a glimpse of the fireworks. We did Splash Mountain twice in a row with less than 10 minute waits each time; after the first time through, we stopped to look at our picture and decided we'd go a second time before buying a picture, in case the second one was better. (We ended up buying the first one, of course. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> )

Next, we tried to do BTMRR, which was down for "technical difficulties" for about the fourth time this week. I hoped it would be re-opened a little later for E-night, but I wasn't holding my breath. We headed back toward the Haunted Mansion, which was a walk-on. One of the ghoulish CMs scared a girl in front of us.

We fought our way through the MSEP crowds to Tomorrowland (we weren't allowed to go through Fantasyland, so from the Mansion, we had to head around the long way), and met Mom at Buzz Lightyear. As it turned out, she'd watched the fireworks from near the Walt & Mickey "Friends" statue, then went over to Tomorrowland and saw Timekeeper, which she really liked except for the standing. She'd had a long day!!

Ashley rode Space Mountain one more time, then we all rode Buzz, and they both beat me in a miserable, huge way. I had a measly 1,300 points ... Ashley had 11,900 ... Mom had 193,800. She said afterward, "I don't know what I hit, but I must have hit something big." I guess so! Either that, or she was somehow getting all of my points. ;)

Mom's tired feet wanted her to head back to the main gates, so she said she'd meet us near the Emporium. Ashley went on Alien Encounter, and I met her afterward at Merchant of Venus. We considered heading back over to Frontierland to see if BTMRR was working, but we were both tired and so we just went to find Mom. We all had fun at E-night, but we didn't even stay the whole three hours. We were too tired, and it had been the hottest day of the week. I don't think I'd do E-night again on the last night of a week-long vacation.

We took the monorail back to the TTC with some other very tired people, then sat down to wait for a Boone bus back to the WL. A Crockett bus came by and wouldn't take us (we were waiting there with another family), and a little while later, we encountered the CM of the Day: A driver named Paul offered to take us over to WL instead of making us wait for a Boone bus. I'm not sure which route he was supposed to be on, but he went out of his way to take us "home." Even at 1:25 a.m., you can find a little bit of Disney Magic. Thanks, Paul! You made our night. :)

Back at the hotel, Ashley and Mom went right to bed, but I opted for a soaking bath. My feet really needed it, and I figured I could maybe sleep in a little bit in the morning.

I can't believe it's our last night. :(

whosezMN
01-20-2001, 04:45 AM
Wednesday, July 19
"See You Real Soon Day, Part II"

Not much to report from our last day: Mom was up at 8:30 or so; I didn't get up and go down for breakfast until a little after 10:00. We made our checkout time with minutes to spare; we used that oh-so-convenient Express Checkout, which I love.

Our Tiffany Towncar driver was waiting for us at the doors -- it wasn't Tony this time, and although this driver said his name at least twice, none of us could understand or hear him. Not as much fun as Tony, but he did his job just fine.

We had a little extra time at the airport, so we checked out the Disney Store (what else? <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> ) and then finally got back on the plane to head home.

Again, we were waaaaaaay in the back, and this time, we were surrounded by folks who were seemingly unconcerned about their fellow passengers. One family was split up into two rows, and two of the kids took turns sitting by Dad. Not a major problem, except that "Dad" was sitting next to a total stranger, who had to move or be stepped on each time one of the kids switched places. That guy was way more patient than I would have been. Another family decided to switch rows without asking -- or even informing -- anyone else, so that when the people who were supposed to sit in those seats arrived, the "row thieves" pointed out their original seats and said, "Your seats are back there." Not even a "Do you mind if we switch?" or anything! Drives me crazy!! As Eeyore would say, "A little kindness, a little consideration for others, is all it takes. Or so they say."

The flight attendants and crew gave Ashley a signed "First Flight" certificate, which I thought was kind of cool, even if it was technically her second flight.

Back at the Twin Cities airport, my Dad met us at the gate and happily played Family Chauffeur again. He dropped me off at my apartment, then he, Mom, and Ashley went on to my sister's for the night.

Home again! It's always a little bit of a letdown, but of course it was a magical trip. I am learning more and more how much fun it is to go to WDW with people who have never seen it all before. I loved hearing Mom and Debbie talk about the WDW versus Disneyland differences; I loved watching Mom enjoying herself so immensely; and I loved hearing Ashley's "Wow!" and "Cool!" over and over. First-timers see the Magic in a special way, and somehow, that helps me see it all again for the first time. We had a wonderful trip. :D

whosezMN
01-20-2001, 04:50 AM
Highlights:

* Except for our last full day, we had beautiful weather. We'd expected unbearable heat, so we were pleasantly surprised. A little rain now and then, but we didn't mind.
* Almost always being seated on time -- or even early -- for our PS's. The only time we were seated after our PS time: Crystal Palace for breakfast on Monday.
* Short lines! A miracle, I know.
* Tapestry of Nations and our VIP seating for IllumiNations.
* Tony from Tiffany Towncar.
* Disney Magic, in the form of a bus driver named Paul, at 1:25 a.m.
* Staying at two beautiful resorts, and finding out that switching resorts mid-stay is a piece of cake.
* Speaking of cake ... excellent food, all week.
* Very kind CMs at the American Adventure counter service restaurant.
* Cirque du Soleil!!
* FastPasses. Gotta take advantage of those things.
* Riding in the front of the monorail on the way to Epcot.
* For Mom, the Gardens of Epcot Tour and the Ladybug Release.
* For me, getting to see attractions and rides that I'd missed on previous trips (Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Splash Mountain, etc.).

Lowlights:

* Mom losing her Driver's License at Epcot Guest Relations. But, on a positive note, she got it back within 48 hours.
* Sore feet. Aunt Debbie and I had the worst of it, even though I'd brought all kinds of foot stuff with me. Love that moleskin, though.
* Inconsiderate people on the airplane on the way home.
* The whole check-in process at the Polynesian, especially CM #2 (didn't get her name), who wasn't very helpful. It's a good thing we didn't let that ruin our trip, because it was an inauspicious start.
* People ignoring the "no flash photography" rule.
* Not getting to ride Big Thunder Mountain, which was always down because of "technical difficulties."

Sandy
DIS pet haiku writer and proud Punctuationist
Port Orleans 3/98 ... Doubletree 11/99 ... Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge 7/00 ... Dixie Landings 3/01 ... DIS Convention 2001

#1 Disney Fan
01-21-2001, 01:39 PM
That was a wonderful trip report, Sandy! I really enjoyed reading the whole thing and am glad that I checked back for part 2. Sounds like it was an excellent trip. :)

Thanks so much for posting it, it was great! :)

http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/disneyfan/NewWinnie2.jpg

Marla Hellwig
02-13-2001, 06:51 PM
What a wonderful Disney trip you all had. Thanks for posting!

disneykelly
02-14-2001, 07:38 AM
Hehehe just kidding :P

I truly enjoyed your trip report, and it was neat to be able to visualize most of the things you did!
I'm heading to the world in May with my extended family and only hope we get along as well as yours did :D

Hope you have a blast in March!

Kelly

jimmiej
02-15-2001, 12:35 PM
I read your report over 3 days lunch(I'm a school teacher, so I only get about 30 minutes). Loved it! My wife & I went in June, so I know what you mean about the heat & rain & sore feet. Thanks for being so detailed.

1990- Offsite(roach-motel somewhere)
1995- Offsite(Quality Inn-Lake Cecile)
1996- Port Orleans
1998- All-Star Music
2000- Coronado Springs
2002- Next trip I hope!!!

CarrieAP
02-16-2001, 08:59 AM
Thanks so much for sharing. Love the attention to detail and the anecdotes. Having the entire report in one post added to the enjoyment as the momentum was sustained. Sounded like you had a lot of fun, and a bit of luck as well. I went in July 1999 with my mom and sister and boy the heat was more than any of us expected. The sad part was that even though we were staying at the Yacht Club, we could not even cool off in the pool as the water temperature was in the mid 90s.

3/98 CSR
6/98 Dolphin
4/99 CSR
5/99 DL
7/99 Yacht Club
5/01 CSR

ALostBoy
02-17-2001, 08:06 PM
Hi whosezMN,

Thank you so much for the trip report. I enjoyed
it alot. I love the reports with that much
detail. Thanks again.

ALostBoy

amychafe
02-18-2001, 10:43 AM
EXCELLENT trip report! One of the best I've read! I especially liked the original format of using one post. Can't wait to hear about your next trip!

Debz
02-19-2001, 11:50 AM
Great trip report!! I love your attention to detail and the Quotes of the day. It was a lot of fun to read.

CAMP13
02-19-2001, 06:26 PM
Thanks for a wonderful report. My daughter and I are on count-down to our April trip. Actually, she's been counting since December. Reading your report brought back many wonderful memories. Thanks again. Wish we were going to be there on your next trip but you'll be before us. Hope to hear about that trip also.

Jacque

*Wish*Upon*A*Star*
02-20-2001, 07:04 PM
Great trip report... I really enjoyed it :)

Keli
02-21-2001, 12:15 AM
I loved your trip report. You provided lots of details (my favorite thing in trip reports because it helps me in planning my own trips) And I must say, I love this format too. It was much easier to read the reports of each day because I didn't have to go hunting for them. I also like the format some folks use of putting a link to the next day on the previous day's page.