View Full Version : Sharon & Evan's Magical Adventure - Day 3

07-30-2009, 09:20 PM
Day 3 – Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Billy Ray who?

I have no earthly idea what time the phone rang this morning, but rest assured, Mickey tried to happily spur us out of bed and Stitch commandeered the phone (again!) That Stitch!

Today, we’re off to Hollywood Studios, but first it’s breakfast at Captain Cooks. Evan opts for the children’s French toast and I have a cinnamon roll. It’s a nice morning, so we sit outside under one of the patio umbrellas. The landscaping at the Poly is just beautiful and this is simply a refreshing way to start our day. After breakfast, we made a quick trip back to the room to drop off the refillable mug.

We are due to meet the Stringers near the boat dock (at entrance to the Studios) at 8:45 in time for the 9:00 opening. They arrive just before 9:00 (I’m blaming it on Kevin) and we scurry through bag check and wait for the rope to drop. Toy Story Mania is first on the agenda and Kevin, the girls, and Evan take our room keys/park tickets, twist and turn through the crowds, and head for the FastPass machines, while the rest of us hop in the stand-by line.

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The stand-by line goes rather quickly – considering the wait was about 30 minutes – we had so much fun winding our way through the queue. And childhood memories came flooding back. Did you know that in the UK, Chutes & Ladders was called Snakes & Ladders? The loading area looks like Andy’s room and as is typical, there is absolutely no detail left unattended to. Excellent work, Imagineers! This ride was an absolute blast and we had fun comparing our scores – but none of us were anywhere close to the high score achieved for the month of June already (300,000 plus!) We all looked forward to coming back and using our FastPasses.

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Next it’s time to head down Sunset Blvd. for some adrenaline! There is a 40-minute wait for Rock n Roller Coaster, so Susan, India, Evan and I break for the single rider line, while Kevin, Tammy, and Georgia decide to go stand-by. We found a shady place in which Dot could wait for us. When getting off the ride, I realize perhaps I should not have ridden it so soon after my surgery as I was in a bit of pain – I’m guessing too much pressure from the take-off. Boy am I glad we jumped out of the Mission Space queue the day before – I can only imagine what that would’ve felt like on my cheek! I still love RnRC and I think it will remain at the top of my list for a long time to come. The odd thing about this ride was that the train we were in did not play the lead-in (before the launch). We only heard the countdown to the launch and we were off! Luckily, we still had music blaring in our ears throughout the ride! When the single riders finish (I think we all ended up riding in the same train), we went to pick up Dot so we could all ride Tower of Terror (something Kevin, Tammy, and Georgia were going to pass on). The wait time is 30 minutes and so we decide to grab Fast Passes instead. By the time we get back to the shady spot, Tam, Kev, and Georgia are back too.

Evan is a big Villains fan, so a stop in the Villains store is always a must. Shopping and browsing done, and our FP time for Toy Story Mania has opened, so off we go. Afterwards, Kevin, Dot, and Susan want to see Indiana Jones and Evan wants to audition for the American Idol Experience – so Tam, Georgia, India, and I wait for him. The audition process is explained: Evan would go in front of one producer and sing a song of his choice a cappella. If he passed the first portion, he would be given an iPod with several songs on it – and from which he would choose to sing in front of the next two producers. Evan says he’s still interested and heads backstage without so much of a good-bye to his adoring fans.

07-30-2009, 09:24 PM
It’s hot out today and the audition entrance is conveniently placed next to the ABC Commissary – where it’s air conditioned and where we can grab something cold to drink. India and I stand on line to get drinks and while chatting up the CM at the register, the CM decides she likes India’s accent and decides to give India her Magical Moment for the day! India gets a card, which the CM (Christine) fills out and signs for her, and gives her a choice of desserts (India goes for the chocolate mousse). Nice!

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Tam is craving a shake or a smoothie, so she heads over to 50’s Prime Time Café and returns with this awesome raspberry-mixed-with-something-or-another smoothie. Yum! We sit next to a window so that we could see Evan when he comes out and we also watch one of the other (obviously chosen contestants) be interviewed outside. How exciting!

We are due to meet Kevin, Dot, and Susan at noon, but Evan has not come out yet. We have no idea if this is good news or bad. As we head to Gertie’s (the meeting spot), I text Evan to find out if he’s made it past the first part and he responds “Yes”. I ask if he can text us when he’s done and he says “Yes.” We are all pretty hungry at this point and try to get into Sci Fi Dine In for lunch – and we could get in – if we wanted to eat lunch at 9:20 tonight! Never mind. We decide to go to the Studio Catering Company instead and a discounted lunch is enjoyed by all thanks to Tam and Kev’s DVC membership. I tried the Chicken Caesar Wrap – it was pretty decent and I managed to finish it – albeit chewing very slowly.

Our timing was perfect, as we wanted to catch the 1:20 show of Lights, Motors, Action! When walking in, Evan calls and wants to know where we are at (we are pretty far inside the queue and I try to explain to him how to reach us. He has to find someone with a park map and makes the long trek through the queue to catch up with us.) When I ask him how things went with his audition, he responds with a very moody “I’ll talk about it when I get there” and in fact, he sounds downright ticked! Tam and I anxiously wait for him, while the others go in and find seats for us. When Evan rounds the chain-link fence, he has on a contestant’s number and a “Vote for Me” lanyard – he’s made it to the show! He performs that evening at 6:00. Of course, Tam and I are full of questions: What did the producers say? What did you sing? What are you going to sing tonight? What time do you have to be back? Are you excited? We call Susan to find out where they are seated and make our way into the crowded theater. When the group sees Evan, they clap and cheer. We settled in quickly since the show was getting ready to start. Evan and I missed seeing this when we visited DLP a few of years ago, and after seeing it, we’re sad we didn’t see it then too. Lots of action and of course … stunts.

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Afterwards, we are stood out in the blasted heat while deciding what to do next. Evan is starving as he has not eaten since breakfast and it’s now 2:00 or so. We toyed with the idea of using our ToT FPs and decide the FPs will be good later. Besides, the AIE producers have given Evan 7 FPs, good any day, any time for a two-week period (since they kept him so long for the audition process). The rest of the group decides to head back to the Boardwalk for a break and Evan and I go to the ABC Commissary so he can get something to eat (unlike the real American Idol, they didn’t have any complimentary snacks for their contestants). But not before stopping for this:

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The Commissary is pretty busy so we have a bit of a wait, but finally get Evan some much-needed grub. He feasts on a burger and fries, while appeasing me by answering my 20+ questions. Evan’s song for the a capella portion of the audition was a number from Moulin Rouge. The second group of producers liked his voice and wanted him to perform, but they had difficulty finding “just the right song” for him (thus, the audition process lasted roughly two hours). He wanted to sing Iris (Goo Goo Dolls), or Elton John’s “Your Song”, but the producers would have none of it. I can just imagine the scenario as the producers chose the song they wanted Evan to sing, “Where did you say you were from? Texas? Ah … Then do we have a song for you!” Evan will sing Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart. To say he is annoyed with this is an understatement, and so we try to find the silver lining. We figure if there are young, teenage girls in the crowd, Evan can woo them with his smile and if they’re Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana fans, then even better since we have a Billy Ray connection there. He says he would’ve made the 4:00 show had they been able to agree on a song sooner. Contestants are allowed 6 VIP seats and a CM named Mark has signed off to allow us 7 VIP seats – so we can all be together and go in early. Evan has to be back by 4:50, at which time he’ll go through hair and makeup and work with a vocal coach. It sounds really exciting to me – he’s still dreading the whole “Achy Breaky Heart” thing. He tells me that when he was auditioning in Part 2, there were 3 sisters who were also auditioning and they all made it through. He thought they were going to perform at the 4:00 show. I can only imagine their parents having to choose who to vote for! Thank goodness Evan is an only child. He said they interviewed him inside, outside, shot video of him singing with headphones on, doing dorky dance moves, and asked him questions (two come to mind: who is your favorite American Idol and why did you choose the song that you’re performing – the producers had to give Evan the answer to this since they probably didn’t want to have him say “I DIDN’T choose this song!”).

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Afterwards, we decide to head back to the Poly for a break, to cool off a bit, and to freshen up. With transportation time thrown in, we have a little over an hour to hang out in the room, watching the resort channel and assorted other Disney-related channels (Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Excursions – or whatever they’re called – Disney everything – all the time).

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07-30-2009, 09:26 PM
We are back at the Studios shortly – just in time for Evan to go in. When we walk up, there are four contestants that are taken backstage – we later find out that only 3 perform for each show and the 4th was an alternate (in case one of the other 3 didn’t show up). I grabbed a vanilla shake while walking around the shops, looking for my gift for India for our un-Merry Birthday exchange. I didn’t think India’s parents would appreciate me picking up the feathered Minnie nipple tassels for their daughter, so I opted for the more conservative Lilo g-string instead. While waiting by the Sorcerer’s Hat for the Stringers/Susan, my phone rings and Kevin asks if I have Dot’s ticket (there was much exchanging of tickets and Fast Passes this morning as we were satisfying our adrenaline fix). I don’t have it and I can’t get in touch with Evan either. Guest services saves the day as they graciously take care of getting Dot another ticket. I meet them just inside the entrance and we make our way to the AIE theater a little before our VIP seating time of 5:30.

We were able to watch Evan and one of the other contestants warm up and receive their stage instructions. Evan looks calm, cool, and collected and for the life of me, I cannot understand why! Of the three contestants, I’d say Evan has the biggest challenge – singing an old, overplayed, relic of a country song – when compared to two beloved Disney songs sung by the other contestants (“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid and “Go the Distance” from Hercules). The lights dim, the stage lights shine and it’s showtime. Before Evan performs, they show the video montage from the interviews they did earlier in the day. Basically it went something like this:

“Hi! My name is Evan and I’m from Austin, Texas. I’m 21 years old and attend the University of Texas at San Antonio. My favorite American Idol is David Cook because I think he’s genuine and he keeps it real. I chose the song “Achy Breaky Heart” because I’m from Texas and I think most Texans would choose this song” (he even managed to keep a straight face!) “I’m dedicating this performance to my friends from England, my friend from Oklahoma, and my mother – who are all here with me tonight.”

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Evan looked perfectly natural up on the stage and really played to the camera.

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I could tell he wasn’t necessarily into the song – and I think the judges could tell too. The Randy Jackson-type wanted him to “dig deep”, the Paula wanna-be asked for “a little more twang” (hey! Evan and I actually pride ourselves on our lack of twang!), and the mean one (who is actually from Texas also) tells Evan he’d do great if Hooters had a karaoke night. Evan seems excited at this prospect and Kevin is beaming with pride.

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In the end, Nikki from New York won this round – she did a great job and Evan was very happy for her. Afterwards, we met Evan and just couldn’t have been more excited for him. He was thrilled with the experience and claims he did exactly what he came to do – which was to make it on stage. Evan hands me a PhotoPass card which was graciously started for us by one of Disney’s photographers (Disney’s money-making machine at its finest!). Susan and I are surprised that they haven’t figured how much they could bank if they sold videos of the contestants’ performance – I know I surely would’ve bought one – especially if it included the video montage. They did, however, let Evan keep his AI number and lanyard.

Those of us who are holding ToT fastpasses (retrieved this morning) have yet to use them, so this is a must before we head out of the park. Susan, Dot, India, Georgia, and I are on and off the ride in short order, pleased with yet another rush of adrenaline.

Before leaving the Studios, a spot of shopping is also in order, much to Kevin’s dismay. He occupies himself by watching some of the streetmosphere characters and the rest of us join him as we finish our excursion into the shops along Hollywood Boulevard.

07-30-2009, 09:30 PM
Finally, we are off to Epcot via the Friendship boats – and what a long trip this seems to be – especially if you are standing towards the end of a long day. Upon disembarking, Kevin and the kids (I recognize it’s hardly fair to call them “kids” at this age, but is there a reasonable age at which to stop?) head for “the” Illuminations viewing spot in Norway, while the ladies meander slowly past the UK and Canada pavilions, through Mexico, then on to Norway. Evan and I are in desperate need of nourishment and someone suggests the Kringa La bakery has scrumptious sandwiches. Upon inspection, they are correct and a Norwegian Club and Ham & Apple sandwich are ordered. We cannot leave without dessert in hand, so one creamberry horn and rice cream later, we re-join our party, who randomly dispense to gather either food or beer or gifts as needed. The members of the Illuminations fan club (otherwise known as our party of 8) ooh and aah accordingly throughout the show. Despite the fact that there are issues with the globe this evening, it still makes for an impressive show.

Afterwards, those who didn’t eat and some who did (Evan) are in search of food throughout World Showcase. A stop in China for India’s beef something-or-another soup (and requisite beers for Kevin and Evan), then onto Morocco for Tam and Kev’s dinner, while Georgia and Evan hop to the UK for fish and chips and re-join us in Morocco. Susan, Dot, and I enjoy some quiet time, eyeing the dishy CMs who served us frozen drinks from the cart in the Morocco pavilion.

Evan and I have yet to ride Soarin’ this trip and think that perhaps EMH might be a good time to try. The girls join us while the others return to the Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the wait time is 50 minutes. We ride Nemo & Friends instead (some would say a poor substitute for a ride on Soarin’, but Nemo is among my favorites, so I’m happy). At this time, the girls are flagging a bit and head home while Evan and I make our way through Future World.

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We spot the Fab Five at the character spot and spend probably 20 minutes debating whether we want to have our pictures taken or not. In the end, we decide that a 20-minute wait for all five of them isn’t bad and we have so much fun with the characters – especially Pluto. Evan is a big Mickey fan and is actually excited about having his picture taken with the Big Cheese.

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With our butts dragging, we make our way to the exit and onto the monorail for the short return to the Poly.

To conclude our day, we score a couple of beach chairs and sit quietly staring at the castle, reflecting on our day, and listening to the water lapping up on the beach. Yes, this was a great day.

If you’re keeping up (or in case you aren’t), Evan’s “Drink around the World” count:
Mexico – Margarita
Japan – blue-fruity thingy
Canada – Moosehead
UK – Guinness
China – Tsing Tao

07-31-2009, 12:04 AM
We owe Evan a big THANK YOU for making this day special for us. His performance on stage--both interview and singing--was impressive and he made us proud. After the show we were able to bask in his reflected glory as people waved at him, gave him a thumbs up or stopped him as we walked around the Studios to congratulate him on a job well done.

Reading this reminded me what a long and fun packed day this one was. I do appreciate your detailed chronicle--of my trip! Thanks to your report and Kevin's, I have a lovely record of my vacation without the bother of writing a report. I'm feeling pretty smug about that.

07-31-2009, 03:29 AM
What a great report and so cool to hear about Evan's AI adventure through different eye's!

Great pictures with the Fab 5 too :)

07-31-2009, 03:29 AM
Wow !!! what a fab day :cool1:

07-31-2009, 05:42 AM
Evan was robbed!

07-31-2009, 06:24 AM
Another great day Sharon .. and fab photos too :thumbsup2

Tammy Stringer
07-31-2009, 06:34 AM
A great day Sharon and some real unexpected treats for us all.

Happy memories


07-31-2009, 07:32 AM
We owe Evan a big THANK YOU for making this day special for us. His performance on stage--both interview and singing--was impressive and he made us proud. After the show we were able to bask in his reflected glory as people waved at him, gave him a thumbs up or stopped him as we walked around the Studios to congratulate him on a job well done.

I completely forgot about that Susan - thanks for the reminder. I have to say, Evan got a big kick out of being recognized just as we exited the AIE theater. And in true "it's a small world" fashion, there was even a woman from the city where Evan attends college that had been in the theater for the 6:00 show.

08-01-2009, 09:54 AM
you must have been so proud :hug:. glad Evan enjoyed it all so much.