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View Full Version : "One more time!" Day 1 -- Fri Dec 15th -- Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace, LTT, MVMCP


Rajah
01-10-2001, 03:20 PM
WDW Trip Report -- December 14th through the 19th

Cast:
Tammi, "Rajah", primary trip planner and trip report writer. 4th trip to the World

Michael, "VonDrake", once again seriously in need of a vacation. Finals are rough on the instructors too ;) 3rd trip to the World

Supporting Cast:

Becky, long time friend of Tammi and Michael, CM at outdoor foods at MGM

Art, new friend (this year), CM at Innoventions

Trip dates:

Thursday December 14, 2000 through Tuesday December 19th, 2000

Stayed at:

Caribbean Beach Resort Thursday through Sunday, transferring to Wilderness Lodge on Sunday


This morning the alarm went off at 7:30 and I tried to get Mickey to say hello. I finally gave up after 3 hellos and just as I was setting the phone down, I heard him start up. Oh well, we'll try later. I snoozed until 7:40 then dragged Michael out of bed around 7:50 because we really wanted to be at Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Okay, correction... *I* really wanted to be at Magic Kingdom for the rope drop ;)

It didn't take us that long and we were at the bus stop no later than 8:20, and didn't even wait 5 minutes before a Magic Kingdom bus arrived. However, for some reason it also stopped at two or three stops (Jamaica and Aruba at least) on its way out even though we were supposed to be the last stop. No big deal, we got to see the design of the other communities as well and I really liked both. The yellow of Jamaica was a little bright for Michael, but I liked it and really liked the patterning and carvings on the railings.

It was rather foggy this morning, so it was really neat to come up on the Magic Kingdom. Normally we can see something besides the monorail to indicate we're almost there, but this time it was really neat to see things grow out of the fog as we approached. The Contemporary looked rather nice as well for Christmas, with its giant tree with some poinsettias scattered over it.

The ride to the Magic Kingdom took less than 15 minutes, then we were on our way to the gate. I hadn't realized that Michael had never come to Magic Kingdom by the bus stop until we were walking up! Every time we'd approached in previous visits, it was either by boat or monorail.

We picked up a locker first thing, and after a false start of going to A255 instead of D255, we had our stuff in the locker and were walking out onto Main Street. We were somewhat surprised to see that they already had 2001 merchandise available. I thought about getting some but decided no, we were there during 2000, not 2001 and so I'll wait until our 2001 trip(s?) to get anything.

As we were stepping into Town Square, one of the horse carriages was loading at the front so we hopped in for a leisurely ride down Main Street where we could get a close look at the holiday decorations without trying to avoid stepping on anyone. When the carriage pulled to a stop at the hub, we stepped out to the beginning of the opening announcement, and they just finished the announcement and dropped the rope as we walked up to Adventureland.

Our first stop in Adventureland was at a cart where I saw a CM with a lanyard and pins. She was nice and we chatted for a moment before Michael and I continued on at a slow walk toward Pirates. We wanted to let the mad rush of people at the beginning go ahead and make it to whatever rides they were heading for (mostly Splash I suspect) so we could have a boat at Pirates all to ourselves. As we walked, I flipped through the camera manual to review how to operate the camera in full manual mode.

By the time we reached Pirates, the streets had pretty much cleared out so we were able to walk straight on with no one in front of us and no one behind us and got our boat with the same arrangement. One thing I found interesting was that the CM didn't indicate where we should sit on the boat we had to ourselves. At Disneyland, they don't like guests to sit in the *very* front row unless there are others in the middle or back of the boat to balance out the weight. Apparently there's enough difference in the drops between the two parks that being in the very front seat of Pirates at WDW doesn't cause any problems in the ride.

This time I did some experimentation with the camera on Pirates and tried taking some pictures that I hoped would come out with some enhancement when I got home. Unfortunately, that experiment didn't work. I'll just have to try again next time :) I did take one picture in the "normal" way, using the automatic settings and flash since there wasn't anyone to either side of us that would be bothered by the flash.

Once we got off of Pirates, we returned to the front of Adventureland, noticing some details of the land we hadn't noticed before and passing by the same CM. She blinked at us and said surprised "Leaving already?" We explained we had breakfast PS and she "ahh'd" and said to enjoy breakfast.

Around 9:25 we checked in for our 9:20 PS at Crystal Palace... unfortunately we have this bad habit of showing up fashionably late for almost every PS we make, but so far we haven't had any trouble at all with being denied entry because of being late. We were seated within 5 minutes and this time led to the dining area to the right of the entrance instead of the one to the left where we usually eat.

After ordering our drinks, we both hit the buffet and concentrated on the breakfast lasagna and the custom-made omelets. Breakfast as usual was quite good, and this time we had a good CM serving us who got us our drinks right away and, other than taking a while to bring the check, was quite attentive. The characters gave an average performance, but nothing too memorable.

They did have the restaurant decked out in all sorts of holiday finery, though. The dried-flower topiaries of Pooh and friends at the entrance had a Christmas tree added, and each character had Christmas scarves and hats on for the holiday. Christmas Garlands were strung around many parts of the building, and it was quite pretty. The Crystal Palace is beautiful inside under normal circumstances...it's even more-so at Christmas.

After breakfast we headed straight for Peter Pan. Or, more accurately, we stopped every 10 steps for me to take a picture while on our way to Peter Pan ;) Michael counted and at one point I literally couldn't go 10 steps without stopping to take a picture, usually of the castle. But we did finally make it to Peter Pan. They are definitely doing Fastpass here, because the line was set up rather differently, extending farther around the building than it used to. Also, by the end of our trip, they'd added a "fastpass return" clock so it shouldn't be long now. It may even be open by now ;)

Next was the Carrousel, and this was the first time I'd noticed that Jaq (sp?) and Gus are on the sign for the attraction -- those are the two primary male mice from Cinderella for those who don't recognize the names ;) . I kept trying to point them out to Michael as we went around (we each had a horse on the outer ring and I was in front of him) but he couldn't understand what I was trying to pantomime and I couldn't shout enough to catch his attention, so I just waited until we were off to tell him what I was trying to point out to him.

Next was a quick hop through Snow White, where I was actually able to get several pictures to turn out! I love that digital camera!! Not only does it take pictures cleanly that wouldn't come out clear on my normal SLR, but I get to see right away whether the picture worked or not.

Then it was over to Pooh where we picked up some fastpasses (12pm return time) with our annual passes, then continued on to Tomorrowland. We briefly debated doing the teacups, but decided against it for right now as there was too much of a line and we'd just eaten not long before.

We decided to try out the tip we'd gotten on the DIS and went straight for Buzz where we were able to get a *second* set of fastpasses by using our room keys (though I've heard that Disney has since "fixed" that "bug")! So we were now holding FP for Pooh for noon and FP for Buzz for 11:45. Not bad, and we still had at least 30 minutes to kill in Tomorrowland before we could use them. So off we went to Space Mountain where the standby line was posted at 20 minutes. Since we greatly prefer the side you are directed to on standby over the side they try to send you to with Fastpass, we didn't mind waiting.

While we were waiting, we listened to a family in front of us trying to convince their son to try Space Mountain. They said it was the only thing he'd been talking about for weeks and was one of the primary rides he wanted to see, but they'd made the mistake of taking him on Alien Encounter as his very *first* Disney attraction without realizing how frightening that ride could be, so now he wanted nothing to do with the dark. The dad ended up taking him out to meet up with some friends or other family they were traveling with while the mom stayed in line. I wanted to cut in and try to assure them that this one was *not* scary and that Alien Encounter was one of if not *the* most intense attraction at all of WDW but Michael kept me quiet... he never has liked how I'll just jump into conversations at Disney out of nowhere if they're about the parks or if people have questions. He's very introverted, and normally so am I, but when at Disney or about Disney I turn into the always-on-stage outgoing CM (who isn't really a CM but has "fooled" many) and want to help everyone have a wonderful time. I can't help it, I just want to share what I know about the parks to help others have as good of a time as we're having.

We lost track of that family after we got through the turnstiles where the ride splits to two sides -- the father hadn't returned quite yet so the mom hung back there until he arrived, and then they went on the right side while Michael and I bee-lined for the left.

I'm sorry to say that this ride of Space Mountain was one of the most boring I've ever been on. After Disneyland's Space Mountain (which is phenomenal) and Rock 'N Roller Coaster, even the "wilder" left side of Space Mountain doesn't have the bang it used to have. I'll still ride it, but I won't wait more than 20 minutes for it, not that I would anyway since the invention of fastpass.

After that somewhat disappointing (but still fun) ride on Space Mountain, we glanced at our watches and found that we still had another 10 or 15 minutes before we could redeem our 11:45 fastpasses for Buzz, so we hopped on one of our favorite attractions (though I still can't really say why I love it so much), Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

By the time we got off TTA, we finally were able to redeem our FP for Buzz and did so, waltzing through the line and up to the vehicles with no more than a minute or two delay -- just enough time for me to get a couple of pictures of Buzz. Our ride through was enjoyable as always, and I was in the lead! All the way up until the very final room, when Michael apparently found the gold-mine Z because he jumped from something like 26k to 126k, just going over my 114k. So we still don't know which of us is honestly the better aim. :D (Though I suspect he is...)

We both agreed that it's gotten harder to see in that ride than it used to be, though. We both remember being able to see the laser beams much clearer when you were firing in January, and this time even in the foggier rooms there were no beams obviously crisscrossing the playing field. I don't know why not, but it was definitely harder to see where you were aiming than it used to be.

After Buzz, we strolled back around to Pooh, pausing briefly at the speedway to wonder why anyone would wait so long for that ride (it had one of the longest waits of the trip the entire trip) and then pausing again at the pin cart in Fantasyland for me to look for a Christmas pin. I had no luck there, so on we went to redeem our noon Fastpasses for Pooh.

Pooh was fun as usual, and I had more luck with photos this time than I did last trip in November. Of course, this time the camera batteries didn't die on me after the first picture so it wasn't hard to have better luck. ;) I tried to get a picture of the photo of Toad handing the deed over to Owl for my friends on the DIS, but I was on the wrong side of the pot to get a good one and unfortunately we didn't make it back over to Pooh the remainder of the trip. So that's a photo-challenge for next time. :D

After Pooh we started wandering around, then I decided I wanted to check the wait time to see Ariel. Last month we'd toyed with getting in line to see her when we had 15 minutes to spare, but she'd had a 40 minute wait. Ever since then, I'd decided I *really* wanted to meet Ariel for some reason so had it fairly high on the list. Since there was only a 15 minute wait, we went for it and ended up being the last ones to see her before her break. Naturally, I got a few pictures of the play area and of King Triton's fountain, and a nice CM was helping Ariel and offered to get our picture so we could have one photo with the three of us.

After Ariel, I spent a good 30 or 45 minutes (okay, maybe not quite that long, but I'm sure it seemed that way to Michael) just wandering Fantasyland and taking pictures of things I hadn't ever really noticed before. The sky was a brilliant blue with a few fluffy clouds floating along, and it made for some brilliant contrast between the buildings and the sky. Just as I had done coming to Peter Pan, I ended up stopping to take a picture every few steps and it really made me take more notice of the finer detail to Fantasyland -- detail I knew existed in Disneyland but I'd never really paid attention to in Disneyworld.

My photo-taking spree was interrupted only for a quick ride on Small World, where I had to tell myself *not* to take pictures since I already had enough from the last trip. Naturally, I didn't listen to myself :D But I came out of the ride with two good photos instead of the dozen that were rather dark that I got last time. ;)

Then it was more photos on to Haunted Mansion, which had a much more tolerable wait (5 minutes or less) than it had last month. As frequently happens, the ride stopped for a moment mid-way through. This time, it stopped in the graveyard where the viking-lady-ghost is singing opera just before the hitchhiking ghosts...and it stopped long enough, I got a picture! :D :D :D (if you hadn't guessed by now, I love taking pictures! Especially those harder-to-obtain ones)

As we exited Haunted Mansion, I decided this time to hunt for the fabled ring in the sidewalk, and happened to glance down right at it.

By this time, we were definitely feeling like true annual-passholders for the first time. As we wandered about, we had a hard time deciding what we wanted to do and were pretty lazy for the day. No rushing, just going where the mood took us. And this time it took us to Thunder Mountain where I decided to try the "goat trick" of Disneyland "fame". Basically, what you do is after topping over the hill where you see the goats standing on the spires, watch the highest goat as you go around the corner. It makes that particular curve much, much more wild. And it works at Disneyland as well -- on Thunder Mountain there, just keep your eyes on the goat that is chewing dynamite as you go around that curve and it becomes much wilder. At World, though, there's another "trick"...when you circle back around to where you can see the goat again, keep your eyes on him again...this time the train is going mostly straight, but it's where the small drop is that gives you a brief amount of air-time. It's a bit wilder and more of a surprise if you're watching the goat instead of the track.

After Thunder Mountain we decided we'd had enough of Magic Kingdom for the moment. Michael really wanted to go over to the Poly to see the Christmas decorations there and I had no objection to that -- after all, seeing the Christmas decorations was one of the primary reasons we came to the World this trip anyway.

So off we went, past the same CM we'd seen first thing this morning who this time inquired about our breakfast, to the monorail where we rode around past the Contemporary and back to the Poly. Thankfully, that musty smell that had plagued the monorail in November has at least mostly if not completely faded.

We spent several minutes exploring the Poly and observing the few Christmas decorations... maybe it was just me, but I didn't really notice all that much.
A few trees and a couple of wreathes or similar ornamentations along the walls, but not much else. So instead we stopped by the Kona Cafe to admire the sweet-sculptures (a fairy made apparently of chocolate and an underwater scene with coral and fish) and the Kona Cafe itself. We thought about stopping in for a bite to eat, but really wanted something quick so decided to save this neat-looking place for later.

We ended up downstairs in the lobby hunting for Captain Cook's and passed by some of the pool construction (visible out the window) as well as a rendering of what the pool area should look like (map) when completed, and what passed for a gingerbread house there. I wasn't that impressed, especially after seeing the one at the Grand Floridian later.

We did finally end up eating at Captain Cook's where we both had a poly chicken sandwich with fries. It was decent, but not really something I'd rush back specifically to get. For that matter, while I'd like to stay at the Poly once just to say I did, I don't think it's one I'd be rushing back to like I do the Wilderness Lodge and now either Dixie Landings or Caribbean Beach. After a little more exploring (and some pictures of the trees...interesting ornaments), we decided to head back to Magic Kingdom -- there was still a chance we could catch the Magical Moments parade even though it was already almost 3pm. Assuming the parade started in Frontierland and came to Main Street that is (which it did).

We actually ended up getting to Main Street early enough that we were able to get a spot on the curb near the edge of the train station almost directly across from the confectionary. There were a lot of little ones around us, and we scooted together to make room for two more who came up a little later than everyone else.

As usual, this parade brought tears to my eyes. I don't know why, it's not my favorite parade, but it's still such a wonderful thing... I guess because it reminds me of the parades I saw in my childhood which are only vague memories. Plus, I see all those kids being selected to participate in the parade and it just brings more tears to my eyes.

This time, we were right at the stopping area for the Beauty and the Beast section. The float was just a little too far away still to see as clearly as I would have liked (I love that stained glass doorway) but it was still fun. It was absolutely hilarious to watch when *all* the kids were called to join in the fun on this one. The CMs tried to get the kids to participate in a small kick-dance (like a very-very mild can-can) to the music, but of the...oh...15, 20 kids on our side of the street who went out... two made an effort to participate and...didn't succeed that well ;) At least not to the music. All of these kids were staring blankly from the CMs to their parents who were all snapping pictures...too funny and I think the first time I've ever seen so many kids together in an activity like that who *didn't* participate. They were so cute!

That was (I think) the only float to actually stop next to us, but it was fun nonetheless. One thing we found odd was that Jafar had joined in the parade since the last time we saw it. It just seemed a little out of place to see him practically dancing to "Remember the Magic" with such joyous music. ;) He was also the only villain I can remember seeing in the entire parade. But some of those dancers really had their show down pat...they sure looked like they loved what they were doing, despite the fact that they'd already been dancing for a good 20 to 30 minutes and were so close to the end. Thumbs up to the performers!!

After the parade, we just wandered along, once again hitting the "We're AP holders" syndrome... we didn't want to wait for anything, it was really too late to get any fastpasses, and we had just *been* here a month ago...a month that felt like only yesterday. This trip really did feel like just an extension of the November trip since they were only a month apart.

So, we wandered down Main Street and I decided why not check the wait on Dumbo. I don't know why, but this trip I got it in my head that I *really* wanted to ride Dumbo. So we headed for the wait times board and as we were scanning that, we heard the opening music of "Everyday's a Holiday" on the Castle Forecourt Stage. Problem solved!! This was a show we'd both been curious about and had seen parts of time and time again, but we'd never taken the time to watch it because we always had somewhere else we wanted to go instead. The timing was perfect :D

So we rushed into the hub to try and find a place to watch, and finally ended up standing next to one of those statues around the hub. I don't remember who it was, but it was the one to your left and closest to the Castle if you're facing the castle.

I really enjoyed this show -- there was so much more to it than I expected and I decided we had to try to see the Christmas show on the Stage tonight at the party. It was somewhat hard to see from where we were because there were so many people crowded around to see the show, but we eventually got up against the wall where we had an easier time viewing the show. I really enjoyed getting to see Maleficent, even if her coloration was kinda strange.

After the show, our relaxing time came to and end for the afternoon...suddenly, I realized I'd left the tripod and chestbrace back in the room this morning :eek: ! The chestbrace I could do without (it's a mini-monopod that attaches to the video camera and hangs around your neck so your body acts as a stabilizer) but I *REALLY* wanted the tripod for tonight's Party. We glanced dubiously at our watches...4:30, and we had dinner PS at 5:40...that left 1 hour to get to the busses, ride back to CBR, get to our room, get the tripod, and catch another bus back to the Magic Kingdom and *still* make it to Liberty Tree Tavern. It was iffy, but I banked on our luck with Disney transportation holding so said let's do it.

So there went our "no rush" day as we rushed out to the bus stop and waited about 2 minutes for a bus... then waited about *10* minutes *on* the bus while the driver was apparently on break. But from there it was only a few minutes to the resort and the driver was funny. Up we rushed to our room, scrambling through the bags to make sure we had everything. Michael grabbed another memory card for the camera since I'd only brought one to the park thinking 48 mb should be enough for one day. :rolleyes: I should have known better ;) I'd almost filled it up after one day... have I mentioned I like to take pictures? Do you see now why Michael agrees readily to checking out the digital camera from work, and allowed me to purchase 2 memory cards before the trip to use in addition to the 2 we could use from his work? :D

Anyway, so we grabbed those things we needed for the evening and dumped a few things we didn't need, and I checked the message waiting for us. I was expecting a call from Becky or Art, or possibly even from "Roodles" from the DIS...but it was *housekeeping* saying *Welcome* and wishing us a wonderful stay :eek: :D ! First time I've had such a message waiting for me from any staff :D Added a little smile to my face as we rushed back down to the bus stop once again and caught the next bus back to the park.

We entered the gates of the Magic Kingdom right at 5:30, as the tree-lighting ceremony was starting. I really wish we'd had time to see that, but we only had a moment to pause and watch for one minute before we had to hurry to Liberty Tree Tavern to have any hope of getting there on time.

We ducked back into the locker to grab the video camera and I decided to drop off my hat because it was still too hot and the hat was just one more thing to keep track of. I somewhat regretted that decision later that evening, but you'll see why in a moment ;)

We made it to the Tavern and checked in on the dot at our PS time, then took a seat on the bench to wait for our name to be called. The lobby was a little more crowded than we were used to and because of that, I feared we'd be disappointed in this character meal after the FANTASTIC and HILLARIOUS show we got in January.

While we waited, I took a look at the Christmas decorations around the Tavern and was impressed. They had a modest sized (for Disney) but *very* nice Christmas tree, and the garlands hanging from the upper balcony were really nice. And I also liked the place settings on the tables, as well as the Christmas-additions the characters had to their costumes (like Christmas aprons for the Chipmunks).

We were seated around 10 minutes later in the same room we were in in January but one table farther back. We were almost in the corner, right next to the room that the CMs would go into for drinks and stuff. There was only one family immediately next to us, and we found out *after* we got home that that family was fellow-DISer Cora, her husband, and her son who was celebrating a birthday. "15th" according to many of the CMs, something like 7th (was that right Cora?) in reality ;)

We had a *wonderful* CM waiting on us whose name was I believe Jennifer. When we heard loud bangs outside a few moments after we were seated but before anything but our drinks arrived, she told us to go ahead and slip out to see what was going on. Silly me, I *knew* the fireworks would go off while we were in the restaurant, but when I heard the booms I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on until she said to go to the window.

She encouraged us to go outside and watch the show, but after seeing what it was and knowing we'd be seeing the fireworks later that night *and* had a plan to see them again later in the week, we decided to just stay in and sit down. It was very nice of her to give us the chance, though.

We came back and got our drinks and food, and as usual the food was very good. Jennifer took good care of us that night, and the characters were once again wonderful.

The meetings started out "normal" enough... Dale came by first and decided to play with my hair. Then Goofy came by and became ever fascinated with Michael's hair, messing it up like crazy and "giggling" all the while. So naturally Dale had to come back over and continue to mess mine up <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> This continued every time they passed by for the first third of the dinner, and while I thought it was funny, poor Michael kept ducking and whimpering every time a character -- especially Goofy -- came by. ;)

Finally, they tired of that game, though and left his hair alone. (Note, I said *his*...)

Minnie was cuter than usual too. She's usually so prim and proper and sweet, but this time she snuck up behind Michael and placed her hands over his eyes. I didn't tell him who it was and he tried feeling the hand and arm to decide. Since it wasn't fuzzy, he knew it couldn't be Chip, Dale, or Pluto. And since Goofy wasn't wearing any lace, he correctly guessed the character was Minnie. Only she gently grabbed his head and shook it "no". It took a few minutes for her to relent and agree that yes she was the culprit after all ;) Then she did the same to me even though I knew she was right behind me ;) I teasingly guessed Mickey and she "giggled".

I think around this time I slipped up to the restroom and returned to find Dale in my seat "eating" my food. Michael got a picture of him while I had slipped up behind Michael and gave a scolding look to Dale. He started acting all innocent and offered my food back ;)

Right after he gave me my chair back, Goofy came by (and for once didn't toy with Michael's hair) and joined us in an empty chair then tried to decide what to eat. He never did find anything he wanted on the table, though he lifted a spoonful of everything we still had left, before he was called away for a birthday across the room.

And then....after the evening was about 2/3rds complete and the characters had been by every table at least once...the *real* fun began. :D Since everyone in the restaurant was "stuck" there until 7:30, they had a captive audience. Since the park closed at 6:00 and those not eating in the restaurant were shooed out of the park fairly soon after the fireworks, no one else was coming in for a "fresh" audience. That left the characters with the freedom to tease and play more than they usually can.

It started, I think, with Dale and Pluto. Dale decided to pick on Pluto and tied his tail into a knot. Pluto, complaining because tying his *tail* "hurts", fought with Dale until he got Dale's Christmas-apron off. First Dale reacted with the classic "oh no, I'm naked" pose, and waddled off. But then he returned and grappled with Pluto for the apron. Pluto of course escaped so then there was a chase to the other side of the restaurant where I couldn't clearly see what happened but I believe Pluto gave the apron to a guest at a table and the guest played along.

So along comes the CM in charge of "keeping them in line". I'll call her "purple-CM" since she was the only CM in the restaurant wearing a purple shirt and I didn't catch her name. She scolded Dale for losing his apron then scolded Pluto for *taking* the apron, then untied Pluto's tail (I think...either that or another CM did so). She then I think sent them to the back as punishment. Dale still didn't have his apron back by the way.

This started Chip on an apron-stunt of his own. Only he purposely undid *his* apron, then slung it around his shoulders and became SUPERCHIP!! Who promptly "flew" from one end of the restaurant to the other and back. And then around everywhere he went.

When Dale returned a few minutes later, he was jealous of the attention Chip was getting so put *his* apron (which I think purple-CM retrieved for him) over *his* shoulders and tried to become SUPERDALE! Only Chip didn't like that and tore the apron (velcro) off of Dale's shoulders, threw it to the ground, and stomped on it while pointing to himself and clearly "saying" (pantomiming) "*I'm* the superhero here!"

I forget what happened next, but in all of this hullabaloo at some point Dale and Goofy shoved Superchip into the closet. This attracted Minnie and Pluto's attention, which in turn attracted purple-CM's attention. She pulled Minnie and Pluto out of the way then scolded Dale and Goofy and sent Dale to the corner. He sulked off to go stand in the corner pouting for several minutes while purple-CM got Chip out of the closet. I think he then tried to put Goofy or Pluto in, but with no success.

At this point I made some comment to purple-CM about having her hands full, and she laughed and said they were worse than a whole classroom of kindergartners, which she apparently used to teach.

Then (or somewhere around here) Cora's family had their birthday celebration. There were several tonight, and each family attracted all the characters (or at least most of them) as well as most if not all of the staff on the floor at the time and a giant hand bell which they rung to announce the birthday.

Well....

Chip got ahold of the bell. And rang it.

And rang it.

And rang it.

And continued to ring it all throughout the announcement.

And after.

And some more.

I did mention Cora's table was right next to ours, right? ;) And that it was a big *loud* handbell ;) So this entire time the bell was being rung in poor Michael's ears. :eek: !

And Chip continued to ring it!

Finally, Goofy started fighting with him and they grappled, each having a good hold on the bell so neither could ring it and neither one letting go. Eventually, one of the waiters got into the group so you had three people/characters holding onto the bell at once spinning in a circle each trying to wrestle the bell from the other. Finally, either Goofy or the other CM retrieved the bell from Chip...

...who promptly fell down onto the floor and threw a temper tantrum, right behind Michael's chair. This drew the attention of everyone in the rooms nearby so people circled around Chip... who was promptly sat upon by Dale who started picking on Chip. Chip got Dale off and, seeing all the attention and cameras and video cameras, started posing. When he started to get up, Dale came running in and slid on his knees a good distance across the floor to come block Chip...which started another semi-fight between the Chipmunks that the CM-who-keeps-them-under-control had to break apart.

Then, I think, we had a break to "let tempers cool".

During the break, we decided to try the eggnog cheesecake. We almost decided to split one because I was already stuffed, but Michael really wanted one of his own and I *could* always get a doggie bag for it. So we ended up each getting our own slice.

YuuuUUUUuuuuUUUUUUUmmmmmmm!! WOW was that good cheesecake! Full as I was, I finished almost the entire piece! And I'd definitely get that again in the future!! YUM!

Before we finished eating our dessert, the characters came back out and returned to a more normal act. Only this time Dale and Pluto each had Mickey-confetti which they spread around. Dale "sneezed" on my hair, sending those tiny confetti pieces all over my head...it took me several minutes to get them out, but I didn't mind...it was fun ;) Then Pluto (I think) sneezed over Michael, leaving us with more Confetti.

By the time it was time to go, we were very much NOT disappointed. :D I'd been a little concerned about whether we'd be able to spend the almost-two-hours we had to wait in the restaurant, but there was no pressure for us to leave our table and the characters were fantastic, just as good as our last visit when we were one of 10 families in the restaurant for over an hour. I won't expect this kind of a show for every visit, but it seems that if the characters find they've already done the "normal" routine with everyone in the restaurant, then they start to put on these fantastic shows where you're literally sitting in the middle of a Disney cartoon. Major thumb's up to all those involved in making such a wonderful character meal!!

We went down to the lobby about five minutes before they started letting everyone out and glanced at the map to plan our route of attack. We decided to hit the pictures first (after straightening our hair a bit after the mussing up we got between Dale and Goofy) then go do Thunder Mountain since we wouldn't have much of a chance to do Thunder after dark again. Then we'd stop by the locker to get my hat (which Cora *might* have recognized as the hat of a DIS member since I had a green ribbon tied around the tail) and drop off the tripod and my doggie-bag of those delicious rolls from dinner (which naturally I ended up not eating :rolleyes: ) before heading for our first show.

So as soon as they let us out we were off to the first picture. We weren't the first ones in line, but we *were* either the second or third group for the evening. They had us fill out the address card, pick up a button-badge for MVMCP, then put our stuff on a table while our picture was taken. That was it, quick and easy, then it was off to Thunder Mountain.

Walking through Frontierland after dark when there's almost no one around was so nice. They had the Riverboat all decked out for the party and were apparently doing a holiday ride around the Rivers. I wanted to do that, but we didn't have enough time this trip and figured it wouldn't be that different... now I wonder what we missed ;)

Thunder Mountain itself didn't open until 8, so we were at the rope with I think the same 2 groups that were in front of us at the photo stop when they let us in and were on the first train of the night. Thunder Mountain after dark is, IMHO, more fun than Space Mountain! And it was lit up so beautifully! So much so that when we finished the first ride and had the opportunity to ride again without getting out, we decided to go around again instead so I could try to get a couple of pictures (which came out a bit blurry) of the hot springs and main spire all lit up.

Another quick ride in the runaway mine car then we hurried to Main Street -- where it was SNOWING! Michael's reaction was priceless...*I* knew it would be "snowing" (though I wasn't sure what they'd do for snow) but Michael apparently didn't know. What I didn't know was that it would be snowing all night and not just during the parade. As far as I know, they only turned off the snow machines during the fireworks.

Well, we fought our way like fish swimming upstream through the crowds along Main Street (which actually wasn't that crowded compared to some of the other times we've seen and fought Main Street crowds) to the locker where I retrieved my hat and we left the doggie bag. We decided to hang onto the tripod anyway just in case we needed it.

Then it was back up Main Street, pausing to admire the snow with me squinting so hard I almost couldn't see it because I was so concerned about it getting into my eyes. Naturally, we tried to catch some (on our hands, not our tongues) to see what it *really* was (suds of some sort) but they always disintegrated at first contact.

We hurried over to the Galaxy Theater (or whatever it's called) to see the 8:15 performance of Mickey's Night Before Christmas, which we'd heard was good. Despite the fact that there were only 5 minutes or so before the show and that tonight was sold out (meaning approximately 20,000 people), there was plenty of room in the theater and we grabbed a spot in the very back row near the middle where I could sit on the back of the bench to tape (dangerous, I know...I'll admit I sometimes check *my* brain at the entrance, too, when it comes to taking pictures or video). I also kept my eyes out for Roodles since we had agreed to look for each other there first thing. That was the main reason we returned for my hat -- an identifying feature for her to locate me since I only had the possibility of a green ribbon to look for. By the time the show started, the theater was full with people standing at the back so we got there just in time for a good spot.

We enjoyed this show, it was quite cute, but it was my less favorite of the two we saw. I'd see it again if I had the chance, but if I could only pick one of the two shows we saw to see again, it wouldn't be this one. Of course, I was also fighting to stay balanced on the back of the bench where I could hold the tape over other peoples' heads (my main reason for wanting the very back). That wasn't a very sturdy bench with all the people bumping up against it and I really wouldn't recommend anyone following my example in that particular theater :eek: But, I made it just fine and got the show...I just had to shake out my arm and awaken my numb backside at the end ;)

We waited for a few minutes outside the theater after the show to readjust everything and to look for Roodles, but no luck so we decided to move on. Our next major goal was the fireworks at 10 so we decided to wander over to Fantasyland where I expected to run into Cinderella and her coach.

Sure enough, they were there, and MY what a BEAUTIFUL sight! And to one side was Aurora and the other Esmerelda, but we only had 5 minutes to see all three. We stood in line for a picture of Cinderella, and for once I didn't try to get a picture of myself or Michael or both with her since the "guardian" CM kept saying it was almost time for Cinderella to go back into the back. So *naturally* I then find out that for once Michael really had wanted his picture this time :rolleyes: . He almost never wants his picture with the characters, so it never crossed my mind...I was more concerned about not taking too much time so the kids behind us could have a chance, too. If he would just speak up for himself every once in a while... :rolleyes: . So we saw that Aurora had no one in line and I asked if he wanted his picture with her instead or if we should get back in line for Cinderella. He decided Aurora would be good, too (especially since Sleeping Beauty is our favorite classic Disney Animated Feature) so I got their picture with the carriage behind, all lit up and beautiful. Then it was time for the princesses to return to the back and get ready for the parade.

So, we continued back to Dumbo, which was our first goal for the evening, only to find too much of a wait there. Eh, we'll do it later tonight when all the families with young kids leave and the lines are shorter. Off to Liberty Square where we stopped in the Christmas Shop briefly. Funny... a month before, I'd been really anxious to get some good Disney Christmas ornaments, but now that we were here I wasn't that interested in any. Maybe the fact that our tree had almost no *room* for any other ornaments had something to do with it, but I still found that strange since it was something I'd been looking forward to looking for a month.

Well, we found nothing, including the cute Christmas hat I wanted (a Tigger-Santa which is apparently only available at Disneyland. Or was, anyway) so out we went in search of something else to do. We glanced up at the Castle and there were these giant snowflakes projected on the brilliantly-blue castle...I *had* to get a picture of that! So where there bridge crosses over from the hub into Liberty Square we found a corner between two drinking fountains and I tried to get my picture. Naturally, the castle changed before I could get one, but that caused us to look around a little more and we realized *this* would be a very nice spot to view the parade. Especially since the parade route was completely PACKED ALL through the park from Main Street to Frontierland. Usually, you can find a spot on Frontierland up to the time the parade officially starts -- if the parade starts in Main Street...this time, nope. So we held onto our spot and I tried and tried to get pictures of the parade from that point, but it was *just* out of flash range so we ended up just watching and enjoying the parade.

As soon as we could, we cut from there back to Main Street itself to stake out a spot for the fireworks and to watch the parade. Plus, I had to get something back at the locker, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was now... we *had* the tripod <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> Maybe I was just looking for a better viewing spot for the parade.

I was amazed at how absolutely deserted Main Street was now that the first parade was over. No one was in line, and even the balcony of the train station was completely empty! So I asked a few CMs if that would be a good place to watch the fireworks, but one smartly pointed out that the tree would be in the way, though that was a good place for the second parade. So I trekked back to where I'd left Michael up near the hub and we ended up staying there for the fireworks.

Silly me...we had the almost-perfect spot all along! All we had to do was take three steps into Main Street itself, away from the curb, and WOW what a sight! The fireworks were going of IMMEDIATELY behind the castle so that sometimes the castle was silhouetted (as much as can be) against the fireworks! WOW what a show! That show was worth coming in and of itself!!

And when Rudolph appeared...I even got two clear pictures! (Which I hated myself for later in the trip because at a quick glance it wasn't clear what that was so I deleted *both* before I realized what I'd just lost... GRRRR :mad: I'm STILL kicking myself for deleting those pictures... :mad: )

Well, despite later losing the pictures of Rudolph, this show was FANTASTIC! Just barely one notch below my favorite fireworks-only show, "Believe, There's Magic in the Stars" that was at Disneyland this last year. I still hope that one returns. Anyway, back to *this* trip...

After the fireworks, I held our spot this time back on the curb while Michael went back to the front of Main Street to check the train station balcony. He reported back that Main Street itself was almost completely deserted and *no one* was waiting for the parade. What, 10:45 and no one at all waiting for an 11:00 (we thought...) parade? So I told him to grab a spot up on the balcony and I'd come join him, which I did.

We sat up there for the next 30 minutes until the parade actually started, which gave us enough time to get the tripod set up then for me to practice with the camera until I had the flash set about right to work for the parade. Naturally I discovered mid-way through the parade that the pictures actually worked better *without* flash from this vantage point.

Watching the parade from that vantage point was great! The only problem we had we discovered only when we returned home, and that was that with electronic image stabilization on on the camera, every time something flashed (like the flash on my camera), the picture jumped <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> But other than that, we had a wonderful view for watching, taping, and photos! And even by the time the parade actually started, Main Street still had a lot of empty space along the curbs.

After the parade we took our time taking down the tripod and the video camera and returning pretty much *everything* at this point (except the digital camera which I carried) to the locker (including my belly bag, and it was so nice to walk around the park for a while without that encumbrance) then we started off to Fantasyland. But, we got caught at Liberty Square by the parade yet again. We only had a couple of floats to watch before we could cut through, so we did so then I paused for yet more pictures of the castle before moving on to Fantasyland.

Finally, we hit Dumbo without a long wait! I finally got to ride on Dumbo, my first time for Disneyworld. Heee! That is still a fun ride, I don't care that we aren't kids ;) The fun is in how you move your elephant...I found that if you start to lower, then raise up real quick then say down again, it will drop you almost twice as fast as if you just lower normally. And all the elephants were so cute! *Somehow*, I'm not entirely certain how, they attached Santa-caps to all the elephants :D

When we got off, we were debating what to do next when I saw Mary and Bert from Mary Poppins. I started over their way, especially when I saw them cut through the exit of the carousel and jump onto the ride just before it started :D They were so fun to watch going around and around waving and calling good evening to everyone who looked their way :D

By this time it was getting quite late and about time for the very last Celebrate the Season show on the Castle Forecourt stage to begin. Michael really wanted to see this one, and after the show we saw earlier so did I, so we hurried (as fast as our tired bodies would let us hurry anyway) to the front of the castle and got pretty good seats for the show.

This was another 4-star performance, and IMHO the better of the shows. It was essentially a mix of the Nutcracker and a "generic" (with a twist) Sleigh-ride show with lots of classic carols. I was actually kinda wishing I hadn't returned the video camera and had recorded this one instead of Mickey's Night Before Christmas, though if I had I wouldn't've gotten the pictures I got. This is one I'd definitely return to see again!!!

By the time the show was over (something like 12:40 or so) there wasn't much time to do much else. I wanted a picture of the Carriage in front of the castle without anyone or anything else in it, so I dragged poor Michael (who was very ready to go back to the resort by this time but he humored me, sweet thing that he is) *back* around to Fantasyland so I could get my pictures.

By the time we made it back to Main Street and our locker, we were the *very* last locker on that wall to be turned in (in fact, they came looking for our locker as we walked up) and the park was officially closed. Only then did I realize I'd forgotten to hunt down a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party pin! :eek: I was a little upset but not overly so since I figured if nothing else, I'd just get it on eBay. Though I hated to obtain it that way. (I did eventually get it later through the kindness of a friend, as you'll see)

We joined the herd in line for the bus and actually made it onto the very first bus, though it was standing room only. Oh well, it wasn't that bad of a ride, kinda fun with everyone actually since most people were in a festive-if-tired mood after the party, and we eventually got to sit down. Though the bus driver was kinda funny...he stopped at two stops and waited for people to get off, but no one did. So he asked a little pseudo-frustrated if anyone was stopping at the *next* stop (which was ours...I think?) to which half the bus shouted YES! Heh, poor guy. I wouldn't want to be a 1am bus driver either ;)

It didn't take long from there for us to get to our room where I tried out the foot-bath-massager I brought (the *only* time I used it, but I think it helped...after my tortured feet last trip, I decided this would be worth it...naturally, my feet never got as sore as they were in Nov even without using the bath) and made notes on the day, then we set the wake-up call for 9am for the next morning.


On to day 2 (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=tpc&s=40009993&f=12309246&m=670092546)

-Rajah
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cdrtrisal@aol.com

Rajah and VonDrake's Honeymoon (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/membook/index.html)

Rajah's Disneyland Crossword Puzzle (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/dis/rajah1.html)

snuggles
01-11-2001, 07:50 AM
Sounds like you had a fabulous day! Plenty of excitement and suprises!

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Aerobics
01-11-2001, 01:19 PM
Wow, you sure accomplished alot! I'm sorta considering doing a Christmas-season trip to WDW, but after reading about MVMCP, I know for sure that I'm going to HAVE to go!

And, I know why you love the TTA so much--it's such a nice break from the action. You're up above all of the crowds, and you move along at just the right speed for the ride to be both relaxing and enjoyable.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your report!

Somebody call I-X-I-I!!!

Beanie
01-11-2001, 04:49 PM
What a wonderful trip report so far...I loved reading it...thanks

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Marla Hellwig
02-09-2001, 04:54 AM
Wow what a day. I loved our dinner at the LTT. Had great character interaction but nothing like yours. Thanks for posting!

Robin1116
02-09-2001, 11:29 AM
What a long and wonderful day!!!
I truly enjoy the trolly rides when you get to the MK, you are able to enjoy all of the decorations without tripping over anyone!!!
You character meal sounded like a real hoot!!!
And as for that evening, we went during Thanksgiving this past year, however the begining of December is starting to sound better and better all of the time!
Thanks so much for your descriptive posts, I look forward to reading the next one!

Robin Longley