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View Full Version : Hi ho silver and away day 2 - Mears Shuttle, what Mears Shuttle?


Silver
02-28-2002, 07:17 AM
Sunday 28 October 2001 - Mears Shuttle, What Mears Shuttle?

The Plan - Animal Kingdom arrive at 8.00 am when park opens
Donald’s Breakfastsaurus @ 10.00 am

Awake at 6.00 am this morning as we expected, but not entirely because of jet lag, also because of the road noise. Once you woke up it was impossible to drop off again.

The plan was to arrive at Animal Kingdom for opening at 8.00 am as we would wake up early, at least do the safari if nothing else, then have breakfast with Donald at 10.00 am. However, because AK wasn’t opening until 9.00 am due to the reduced hours, and we knew it would take a while for us to get into the park and get our bearings, we decided we wouldn’t have time to do anything before breakfast and then most of the morning would have gone so we decided to cancel our PS and have the breakfast buffet at the hotel instead. This was OK, if a little bit chaotic as they had closed the restaurants and were just using tables in the lobby. Buffet cost $7 for adults, $3.75 for children and under 5s ate free and included tea, coffee and milk. Good food, as much as you could eat cereal, fresh fruit salad, porridge, grits, bacon, scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes and syrup, breakfast potatoes, bagels, crumpet type things, muffins, and bread to make your own toast plus at least 6 flavours of coffee including hazelnut which was yummy.

We needed to see the Virgin rep at the AMC cinema at some point over the next day or so to get our Adventure Passport for Sea World and Busch Gardens so decided to go today and get it over with. Back to the room and ready to leave at 8.30 when the telephone rings “Mrs Davies, your Mears shuttle is here”. “Sorry, but which Mears shuttle, I haven’t booked anything?” “To take you to the Virgin welcome meeting Ma’am, how long will you be?” “We’re on our way down, thank you”. Oh, right, didn’t know anything about this, it certainly wasn’t mentioned by the nice Virgin lady at the airport yesterday but it was free transport so what the heck.

Told the Virgin lady in the entrance hallway of the AMC theatre that we didn’t want to attend the welcome meeting but had just come to exchange our vouchers and she was fine about it and directed us into one of the theatres where another lady was sat behind a desk all on her own. Now the fun begins - she looked and looked on her computer screen and couldn’t find the Adventure Passport anywhere. She said she would have to go and ask somebody and I was starting to panic at this point because I knew you could only get this particular ticket in the UK. Anyway, she came back about 5 minutes later and apparently it wasn’t listed under A for Adventure or P for Passport but T for The - must have made perfect sense to the people who compiled the list (mind you mustn’t mock - sounds just like my filing at work with everything going under M for Miscellaneous!!!!). Also managed to get our Arabian Nights tickets without a fuss but didn’t realise we had to specify a certain night. Of course I didn’t have my plan with me and even after looking at it every day for the last 6 months I couldn’t remember what we were doing on specific days so we plumped for Friday thinking that it would be Friday of that week. When we later looked at the ticket it was Friday of the 2nd week, our last night, so in the end we never used them. Hope we didn’t miss anything.

Decided to stroll back to the hotel through a deserted West Side and Market Place to pick up the car as the Mears driver wasn’t coming back until 11.00 am (I suppose that’s so people like us don’t escape before being parted with very large amounts of cash). Finally on our way to Animal Kingdom at 9.30 am.

Arrived about 9.50 am and parked in the Dinosaur section, tram to entrance (our first Disney ride!!!!) through security and we were activating our passes for the very first time - how exciting is that!!!

First stop was the safari for FP one hour later (standby line by this time was 20 minutes). Wandered round the Pangani Forest Trail which was brilliant. Watched the gorillas and the hippo for ages and had great fun watching the naked mole rats and chatting to one of the CMs about them.

Got a snack of cookies from the Kusafiri bakery and wandered round Harambe just soaking up the atmosphere. Straight onto the safari for our first experience of using FP tickets and got great views of all the animals, especially the elephants and the lion who were really up close. Andrew was a little worried when the bridge collapsed but was fine when we reassured him it was all part of the fun!!

Off for a stroll round the Tree of Life next taking hundreds of photographs on the way and straight into ITTBAB. Andrew was not very impressed with this and sat on my knee for half of the production. I had my eyes shut for some of it too but the 3D effects were stunning. Must say here that I was half expecting not to be able to see the 3D effects as I can never see the 3D pictures that you get in newspapers and magazines but I was fine with this.

Mickey ice cream bars all round (the first of many over the 2 weeks) and off to Dinoland to get FPs for Dinosaur before heading for the 2.00 pm showing of the Festival of the Lion King show (the last show of the day). Really getting into the swing of this FP lark now, what a brilliant, brilliant idea it is.

On the way back we spotted a sign pointing to a character greeting area so asked the CM who was down there. It was Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore so autograph books and pens duly purchased from the very convenient stand next door and down the path we go. Waited literally 2 minutes in line and had a brilliant time with the characters for our first autograph experience. Tigger was an absolute hoot bouncing around all over the place.

Waited about 10 minutes to get into the Lion King show and it filled up very quickly but managed to get good seats in the middle of the Lion section. This was not intentional but I was very relieved afterwards as I don’t think I could have done a Warthog or Giraffe noise to save my life. All I can say is WOW, what a brilliant show this is, worth the park admission fee on its own. I am a little biased because I love the music from this film but I defy anyone to say they didn’t enjoy it.

Back to Dinoland in time to use our FP for Dinosaur and straight onto the ride again although I think the standby line was only about 10-15 minutes. We all enjoyed this ride except Andrew who was a bit scared (OK, very scared) - poor child will be traumatised by the time we take him home.

Onto Asia next to do Kali River Rapids which Andrew refused point blank to do because he didn’t want to get wet. After much threatening (sorry I mean persuasion) we agreed to buy him a poncho from the stand outside to keep him dry and still protesting we dragged him through the queueing area and straight on the ride with no wait. Well he absolutely loved it, especially when Dad and Michael got soaked, the two women opposite us got soaked and me and Andrew stayed completely dry. This was to turn out to be a theme for the rest of the holiday - maybe we made a mistake taking him into ITTBAB. He was always very unsure about going on the rides but once on them (with one exception which will be in a later trip report) absolutely loved them. It was really sweet because he would ask the CM very politely at the entrance to every ride “Excuse me, is this ride scary?”

After KRR we strolled through the Maharajah Jungle Trek which again was awesome. Spent ages watching the tigers as they were really active. Have only ever seen tigers lying on the floor asleep in zoos before.

Decided to call it a day after this as it was close to 5.00 pm when the park was closing anyway and headed back to the entrance stopping on the way to look in a few shops.

On our way out of the park the Rainforest Café entrance looked very inviting so decided to stop off and see how long we would have to wait for a table and if it was really busy we would go elsewhere. There were only about 6 people in front of us at the podium and even though there were plenty of people inside we could see quite a few empty tables so decided to wait. Only waited about 10 minutes and got a good table in the middle of the restaurant. Children had pizzas and Brian and I shared a large pizza and salad which were OK, but nothing fantastic.

Left the park about 6.15 and straight onto a tram and out of the car park. Another theme to the holiday was that we never rushed out of the parks at closing time, preferring instead to linger and let the crowds go before us. This seemed to work really well for us because the parks were closing so early and we still had time to do things in the evenings without feeling rushed.

We had promised the boys, and Michael in particular who was itching to spend some of his holiday dollars, that we would go back to Downtown Disney tonight to the Lego shop so we drove back to the hotel and had another nice stroll down to the shops. The boys spent ages choosing their Lego, what a great choice there was in here. In the end Andrew chose some Harry Potter Lego and Michael chose some Star Wars Lego both of which we could have got in the UK but the prices did seem to be quite a bit cheaper here.

Boys happy with their purchases we were all getting tired by now so another stop off at Ghirardellis for coffee and chocolate and back to the hotel and asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows at about 9.30 pm.

Tomorrow - Epcot

Minniespal
05-21-2003, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the wonderful reports - luv reading them!!!