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View Full Version : Jen's Birthday Trip to the World - Part 2


JenniBarra
09-23-2002, 12:16 PM
Wednesday, September 18
AKA “The Weather Stinks But the Crowds Are Wonderful”

We wake up to another muggy, warm morning.

This morning, it’s off to Animal Kingdom. We repeat some favorites from last trip (Kilimanjaro Safaris and Dinosaur) and experience some things we ran out of time for in February.

Since we missed the last show of Festival of the Lion King last trip, I make a point of finding the passholder lounge to get a priority seating pass. (Later on, I would find that I probably didn’t even need it, the crowds were so light!) It takes a little while to figure out exactly where it is since they’ve closed the blinds off so that the general public can’t see in. We get there and fill up on the bottled water and chat with the CM running it. (Yet another one of those folks that loves Disney so much, they decided they wanted to work for the company.) I agree with others who have said that it’s not luxurious like the Epcot one is, but, on a warm, humid day, it’s nice to sit down with a fan blowing on you.

From there, we take advantage of the non-existent Safaris line. Saw lots of neat stuff again. I’m still amazed at how they manage to keep all of the animals in (and prey away from predators) and yet guests don’t see the barriers.

We then take the train to Conservation Station. That was an interesting follow-up to Safaris because you get to see part of the backstage area. (I even saw a rock that didn’t look like a rock from the backside.) At the Station, we saw and did some neat things. We both really liked the Song of the Rainforest exhibit. Not that you could see much, but I saw them work for a bit on a bat that had something wrong with its wing. (You really couldn’t see much of the bat, but you could see the vet staff all around the examining table.)

We were hungry for lunch, so after we returned on the train, we headed back to Pizzafari since Keith thought it smelled so wonderful when we first walked through. We had headed toward the back, for the quiet, and it ended up that the room was supposed to be closed off, but the CM keeping the area clean said that it was perfectly okay for us to go ahead and eat there. It was rather nice to have that space to ourselves and some other CMs also walked by and commented on how peaceful it was. One of the folks that stopped by was an older woman working custodial. She was quite nice and asked about our favorite animals and where we’re from. She told us about how she is 63 years old and that this is the best job that she’s ever had because she’s treated so well and because she loves meeting and talking with people from all over the world. She also shared with us that every room in the restaurant has a different name due to the artwork. (I think she knew we would especially appreciate this since we had talked about how we like to take the time to take in the small details.) The room we were in is the Camouflage Room, while there’s also a Colorful room, a Snake room, a Home room (for animals that carry homes with them), and the Upside Down room.

After lunch, we headed to Camp Minnie Mickey. We were on the early side, but it gave us opportunity to go to the restrooms and take it all in.

The Festival of the Lion King was a great show. The singers were talented and the other performers were amazing! I’m not really sure what part I liked best because so much of it was so impressive. I also liked the big puppet Simba, giraffe, elephant, and Pumbaa.

After the show, I wanted to do one of my new WDW favorites, Dinosaur. Right behind us in line was a woman with a young child. I was very impressed that the mother kept asking the girl if she was sure she was okay with going on the ride. I thought this was very impressive, as I have been in line before with parents who insisted that a child was going to ride an attraction and, clearly, the child did NOT want to go! They were seated right next to us, and the little girl did great!

By now, Animal Kingdom was going to be open for a short time. Keith had asked if there was anything else I wanted to do. I said I had wanted to see the new Chester and Hester’s area, but that I figured it would be better to wait until January. It ends up, though, that he spied Primeval Whirl and just had to ride it! (Boy, did that make me dizzy!)

When AK closed, we headed for Epcot.

At this point, we were quite thirsty, so I wanted to work our way to Ice Station Cool. Of course, we did pass by Spaceship Earth. I had figured we could save that for later in the day, since it’s always open, but Keith wanted to go, and it was late enough in the day that there wasn’t any line. (Not that we’d really encountered any lines all day long!) It gave me an opportunity to see the changes that were made as one first ascends. I have to agree with others that the video screens do interfere somewhat with that neat feeling of mystery in the dark tunnel. We had also noticed that we seemed to be going really slow, but couldn’t figure out how we could be going slow in just a single section of the ride. (Upon exiting, we inquired with a CM who mentioned that they have the ability to simply slow down the ride, as well as stop it, in order to assist mobility impaired passengers. It just so happens that they were helping a disabled at the moment we were in the tunnel.)

We finally made it to Ice Station Cool – heaven! We’d never been to it before, but I’d heard enough stories about the Beverly! We sampled each and every flavor. (Keith surprisingly really liked the Japanese Veggie Beta, while I liked the lemon and the watermelon.) The Beverly made me think of a nasty six-pack of a San Pellegrino product I purchased once, out of curiosity. (No wonder it came in such teeny, tiny bottles! ; ) )

Being a Figment lover, I insisted we also ride Journey Into Imagination again. (Keith whispered to me that he thought Figment was actually ugly, to which he got an elbow to the ribs!)

We had debated whether we were open to staying for IllumiNations or not, so, in the meantime, we decided to wander through some of World Showcase. Among other things, we checked out the menu at the Rose and Crown to decide if we would like to make priority seating reservations there for watching IllumiNations in January.

I had also told Keith that, despite this being my fourth trip, I’d never seen any of the films, but that this was something I would like to do some time. (On trips with my parents, we always spent far more time in Future World, going on rides and playing with exhibits.) I knew that one was a sit down film, while you had to stand up for others. Being tired from the weather, I decided that I didn’t want to do any of the stand up films right then. However, we came into the French Pavilion, just as they were letting in for the next showing of the film. It was quite beautiful and I liked the music. (Keith, however, thought some of the music was so relaxing, he slept through part of it!)

After doing this wandering, Tapestry of Dreams was set to begin. I had planned to work my way toward Mexico, for a viewing spot for IllumiNations. We eventually decided to just stop and watch the rest of Tapestry because it was so challenging to navigate through the crowds anyway. (I don’t think they like to encourage people to walk along the parade route because you’re forced to cross the pathway multiple times in order to keep walking.)

After the parade, if people weren’t already in their spot for IllumiNations, they moved to it. Due to low crowds, it wasn’t too hard to find a good spot because, even if you had to stand behind someone, there was just one person in front of you. I even saw people leave after the initial fireworks. I guess they didn’t know that the show wasn’t over, or else they didn’t care for the cool globe effects. (Their loss!)

It was over all too quickly, which made me sad because it meant my leaving the parks behind for the business portion of my travels.

On the bus back to Port Orleans, we ran into Aaron again, though this time we were also able to meet his wife and their children. Aaron had said that he was kind of glad to see me again because he could then wish me a happy unbirthday. <g>

We had a late dinner at the food court. This time, we were actually early enough to have some options besides pizza and pasta, but Keith happened to want another sausage sub. (I had a chicken wrap.)

In trying to figure out if we were sitting in a smoking or non-smoking area, Keith spoke with the person in the lobby who does caricatures. We ended up having a very nice conversation with her, about what it’s like working as a contractor for Disney (pays nice, but no discounts and she’s referred to as a “participant,” as opposed to being a “cast member”) and her interest in art. Keith was trying to talk me into having a caricature done, but the store that accepts payment was closing up by then, so I squeaked my way out of it!



Thursday, September 19
AKA “Where does the time go?”

Unfortunately, due the Mears schedule which requires that you be on their bus three hours before your plane leaves, we didn’t have time to go to any of the parks. We instead planned this to be the day we took our pictures of the hotel. We had a late breakfast in the food court and rushed to get the photos.

And so it was time to leave Walt Disney World… I look forward to having my full week in January, but, despite the short duration of this trip, I’m glad I went because I still had a wonderful time and definitely recommend celebrating a birthday there! : )

pumba
09-23-2002, 05:24 PM
I think I did everything you did......but thank goodness my hubby likes figment as much as I do....phewwww......I do love the spaghetti sauce that the resorts use.......I even asked Port Orleans once..I love it.....thanks again for your report

JenniBarra
09-23-2002, 07:26 PM
Thanks for your nice comments, pumba! :)

nativetxn
01-02-2003, 05:36 PM
You sure packed a lot into this day. Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday trip. Now it's almost time for your January trip :)

I'm posting links to this report on the Adults and Solo Traveler's board. Hope you don't mind.

Katholyn