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Old 06-13-2008, 10:00 PM   #61
Tonya2426
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Originally Posted by whogirl'smom View Post
I love the monorail trip into Epcot! I've actually been trying to figure out how we can do that again next time (b/c we're not doing park hoppers). I'm thinking about Kona for breakfast and then go, but then that would leave the car at the Poly....

That was a great picture of the philharmonic band, by the way.
I love the monorail to Epcot - it is like an attraction to me. Sometimes I ride it and don't get off at Epcot and just go back to the TTC - but only if the cars don't have that barnyard smell.

Leaving the car at the Poly after Kona is a good plan. I usually walk from the Poly to the TTC - it is a short pleasant walk. And it would be a great excuse to eat more tonga toast.

Another plan might be to have breakfast at Kona and then drive to Epcot and for a midday break you can ride the monorail. That way your car is where you will be when you leave the park and you don't have to wait in anymore lines. (Says the impatient person.)

I will have to give Mom the credit for the philharmonic pictures - she has one of those fancy digital camera that has tons of pixels.
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DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #62
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Day 2, Part 6 - Are you sure we are still in Epcot?

Day 2, Part 6 - Are you sure we are still in Epcot?

After receiving our co-pilot licenses, we thanked our driver and took the very long walk to Epcot. It is quite the trek from the monorail to the security bag check. The ramp takes you almost to the buses and back. (Well, not quite that far but it seems like a really long way.)


We got through the ticket stalls with no problems - which is a miracle. I typically have problems with my passes and have had to have them replaced on several occasions. On one such occasion, the Cast Member once told me it was because of my magnetic personality. Me thinks he was laying it on a bit thick that day.


Mom and I were excited to see the Flower & Garden displays. We had seen pictures and knew to expect Epcot in all itís glory. We were not disappointed but we then again were also a little bit disappointed.


Is it silly of me to take a picture of the exit sign when we were entering the park?



We grabbed a F&G guide and plotted our course. The general idea was to see the Future World stuff and then work our way over to the International Gate and spend the remainder of the day at the Studios. In order to efficiently achieve this, we decided to start on the left and move right. Translation - we went to see the sand sculpture close to Universe of Energy.


Momís picture



My picture



The sand sculpture was very detailed and impressive. I canít even imagine how many hours it took the artist to do this. But if you looked on the back side you could see where the sprinklers had sprinkled on it. The back side wasnít destroyed or anything but you would think that the landscapers would have thought to adjust the sprinklers or something.


As we were admiring the sand art, I heard a man call his two young sons over. With the thickest most stereotypical Brooklyn accent you can imagine, I hear "Mossimo!! Guido!! Come look at this." (Iím not making this stuff up, folks.) For a minute I thought that maybe we were actually at Coney Island and not Epcot. I had to look at where the voice came from . . . you would have thought I was looking at Tony Soprano minus the dark suit. It wouldnít have surprised me one bit if Carmela was right behind him. I decided to mind my pís & qís as to avoid annoying Mossimo and Guidoís father and live another day. Cement shoes in Bay Lake didnít sound like a very good way to end my vacation.


New York was well represented at Disney World this week because I also heard other children being called Anthony and Dominic.


After narrowly missing a swim with the fishes, we found Garden Town (former Wonders of Life pavilion) and went to check it out - and it was air conditioned and had a bathroom. Future World bathrooms are far and few between thereby making most of them busy and less than tidy - so knowing where a secret bathroom is heaven.


We spied some gardening tip sheets and found some that might come in handy in the future - things like composting, planning a water garden, etc... Of course we had to check out the Garden Town Mercantile where Mom and I both got F&G pins for our collection. (Sorry Dad - you donít get one of these since you werenít at F&G.) Then we saw a movie on how Disney landscapers get everything ready for F&G Festival. It was held in the old The Making of Me theater. There is still a sign up for the old movie.
Almost gives you hope that it will return some day - although I am not holding my breath.


We also discovered the trains.




Not really sure what the trains had to do with F&G but it was a nice display nonetheless.


Mom and I went to the Minnieís Magnificent Butterfly Garden next. Something was sponsored by Claritin so we got lots of allergy tips on the path to the butterflies - nothing my Allergist hadnít already told me but probably helpful for minor allergy sufferers.





It was very crowded when we walked in but we stayed long enough for the crowds to thin out so we could get a better look. It was fascinating to see all the different stages of butterfly development. Iíve seen pictures before but to see a butterfly actually emerge was exciting. We also had quite the task to try to identify the various butterflies. It made me have to think when I was on vacation - oh the horror of it all!!!





(These arenít the best pictures because of the wire background but I love the colors)





After the butterflies, Flat Brody found his buddy Pluto in Plutoís Play Zone.



We saw lots of great topiaries here and there but didnít take pictures of all of them. It was getting warm in the sun so I think we got a little distracted and failed on camera duty. But we found a bench in the shade to have a little rest and not a moment to soon because the dancing water fountain in Innoventions Plaza was starting. It isnít a huge show like the Bellagio but another bit of Disney fun when you happen upon it.


But enough of resting, we had the Sculpture Garden to see. Some were very classic in nature and others looked like Fred Sanford cleared out his junkyard. Just goes to prove that you can call anything art and get away with it.


Next up was Peter Panís Never Land Garden.


Flat Brody meets Tinkerbell.









I love all the topiaries but they remind me of the Rose Parade - donít have to be alive just made of natural things. I love the topiaries where they are in shapes of the characters or animals and are covered in traveling fig vines. Guess my purist attitude extends farther than just the People Mover.


Moving around towards Canada, we checked out all of the shopping booths. There were lots of fun yard stuff and art exhibits. We saw lots we were interested in but practicality set in and we just browsed. Although I think Mom really wanted a garden tote that was designed just for F&G she said she would think about it. As with most of her think about it items, we never went back for it. **Sigh** She missed the shopping gene but at least she got the Disney gene.


We came upon the Water Works area which was of special interest to Mom since they just had a sprinkler system installed a week before out trip. So Mom showed me which system they had gotten and even got some tips on programming the sprinkler system. And we even got some packets of flower seeds. I gave mine to Mom since I was not likely to grow flowers from seeds - I am more of a go to Home Depot and buy a flat of flowers.


We stopped by Canada to see the beautiful garden there. They didnít really have anything special for F&G but everything was in tip top shape.


Mom snapped a picture of the sunflowers for my sister since she had just had a party and had to go to three florists to find enough sunflowers. All she really needed to do was drive to Florida and sneek into Epcot.



Flower & Garden Festival is very nice but I was a little disappointed that there werenít more demonstrations and met the gardener typ of things. (There are some of these things but only about one a day which makes it hard to get to.) After experiencing Food & Wind Festival, I had it in my head that F&G would be really interactive - which unless they get people to plants stuff I am not sure how it could be truly interactive. It just seemed more like a botanical garden than a festival. When all is said and done, Mom and I had a nice time and enjoyed ourselves.


Next installment - Yes Mom, youíve seen the International Gate before - itís just up here on the right.

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Old 06-15-2008, 08:48 AM   #63
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The F&G was beautiful! Loved the Soprano story (I thought Mossimo was just a brand of clothing at Target...) Guido would be really hard to live with here in TN!

Also, very cute pic of you looking like the croc was going to eat you! That is you, isn't it? I think the only picture I've seen of you was on Buzz.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:44 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whogirl'smom View Post
The F&G was beautiful! Loved the Soprano story (I thought Mossimo was just a brand of clothing at Target...) Guido would be really hard to live with here in TN!

Also, very cute pic of you looking like the croc was going to eat you! That is you, isn't it? I think the only picture I've seen of you was on Buzz.

I thought Mossimo was only a brand at Target also until that day at Epcot. And a boy named Guido would be out of the ordinary in SC .

Yep, that's me with the croc wearing my new Mickey Crocs. There really aren't a lot of pictures of me from this trip. Mom stopped taking her camera to the parks after this TR day which means I am the only one behind a camera. But there is one of me when we get to the Swan behind a towel - more on that later.
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DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:34 AM   #65
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Day 2, Part 7 Ė Yes, I am sure it is up here on the right!!!

Day 2, Part 7 – Yes, I am sure it is up here on the right!!!

After visiting Victoria Gardens we moseyed over to the United Kingdom and had a quick look through the shops and checked out the tea garden. I don’t drink tea so I never really gave where it came from much thought but it was a nice looking plant. It’s good to learn new things. And I loved the cute tea cup planters that were used.

When starting our adventures today, I had a plan in the back of my head that we would try to get over to MGM. (I know it was changed to Disney’ Hollywood Studios but I still call it MGM because old habits die hard.) There was a rumor that the new ride Toy Story Mania might be having a soft opening today and I thought it was worth a shot to see if the rumor was true.

I had revealed my 3 parks in one day plan to Mom and she was up for it. We discussed the various modes of transportation we would take between the parks and how we were going to take the boats from Epcot to MGM. I could tell Mom didn’t have a clue as to how that would happen but she trusted me and went with it. Every so often she would say "where are we going?" And I would say "to the International Gate." She would say "Oh. Where is that?" And I would say "between England and France." And she would say "where?" And I would say "just keep walking." And she did.

(As it turns out, Mom had never been to the Epcot Resort area and really had no clue about the International Gate or the boats or DVC - which I don’t understand because we have stayed at Saratoga Springs before. I’m not sure how this GIANT hole in her WDW knowledge/experience happened. I just assumed she was as schooled in the minutia of Disney World like me. Doesn't she read the DIS?!?!?)

We left the Her Majesty’s kingdom and as we walked up the only hill in Epcot there it was - the International Gate!!! Just like I had promised. And we even saw Dale as we walked down the only hill in Epcot. Not sure where Chip was though. And not sure I have seen one without the other.

We got in line for the Friendship launch and were only 2 parties from the start of the line. The boat came in a few minutes and we g
ot to sit in the back - that’s my favorite spot.

Flat Brody loved the ride on Crescent Lake.



Ever the opportunist to push my Disney World agenda, I used the leisurely ride to MGM to my advantage by discussing the benefits of being a DVC owner with Mom. I was laying the seeds to hopefully harvest at a later date. This is a long term plan I had unintentionally concocted in my head and I needed to be subtle and try to not push too hard. It is difficult to not push too hard but I am determined to be successful and be able to got to WDW even more often!!! I WILL SUCCEED!!!!!!

We arrived at MGM rested and ready to go. I was ready to get my thrill on and scream uncontrollably as a haunted elevator dropped out from underneath me!!! My inner Disney Commando was itching to come out and I was just about ready to unleash it. But wait a minute . . . what all of that commotion on Hollywood Boulevard when all I want to do is plummet to my death just for the thrill of it?!?!

You guess it, it was the Block Party Bash!!!

Everyone was enjoying the frenetic action of dancing and jumping and swinging and tumbling and hootin’ and hollerin’. Except it blocks the entire area!!! The sidewalks at MGM are freakishly narrow to begin with and then there are benches on them to boot - so the CM was directing people through the stores. It was like Grand Central Station on steroids - people were everywhere with no idea where they were supposed to go if they could even move. And you couldn’t hear anything over the endearing strains of a Disneyfied version of Kool and the Gang’s Celebration. Can you tell I don’t find this sensory overloaded "parade" charming in anyway, shape or form? (And I use the term "parade" loosely.) I seem to prefer a few princesses waving at me and a cute Jack Sparrow. What can I say? I am a girly girl at heart.

But back to happier endeavors. The street finally cleared and Mom and I made our way down Sunset Boulevard to either ride Tower of Terror or get a Fastpass Tower of Terror. Since the wait was longer than 30 minutes, we opted for a Fastpass with a return time of 4:55.



By this time our 11:00 lunch was pretty much gone and I was getting peckish and had a hankering for some kind of baked good and Mom needed coffee. Off to Starring Rolls for what turned out to be an eclair - or should I call it a stale gelatinous mess. It wasn’t very good but for some reason I ate it because I was hungry and needed a quick sugar rush. I do love Starring Rolls though since the patio there is so relaxing but you can still see some action from the streets. It is usually a hidden oasis - except for the eclair debacle - so I will give it another shot next month but probably not an eclair.

It wasn’t quite time for our FP return time so I consulted our times sheet and noticed that there was a Beauty and the Beast show about to start. Mom had never seen this show so we gathered our belongings and made our way to the theater.

(We are really checking off a lot of the things Mom had never done. I will convert her to the dark side soon enough.)

We found seats towards the front of the theater but on the end. It wasn’t front row center but we could see well enough so we were pleased - and who can complain when you walk in 5 minutes before the show.

I really like this show. I haven’t seen the Broadway version but have seen a local theater production and the MGM version is a good glimpse into the full production. I love the dancing desserts. I do have one complaint - what is up with the Prince’s wig?!?!? It looked like straw and something a Fabio impersonator might wear. It just didn’t do much for me.

It was time for our terrifying ride on Tower of Terror so we walked to the end of Sunset Boulevard but something was wrong - we weren’t hearing any screaming. Always the optimist, I thought that it was just a temporary thing and not to think twice about it.

As we approached the gate so we could walk past the waiting masses of people unlucky enough to not have a FP, we noticed that the FP line was longer than the stand by line. Something was definitely wrong and I wasn’t liking it!!! The planets were definitely not lining up for my screamfest.

So, we did the only sensible thing and asked the CM what was up. We got a lot Disney speak as a reply but I read between the lines of his happy babbling. Basically Tower of Terror was broken and that we should check back in an hour. Hmmmm, disappointing but not the end of the world. Besides we had other things we could do for an hour. We had animation to create!!!!!

Next installment – I think Piglet ate too much of Pooh’s huney!
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DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress

Last edited by Tonya2426; 06-18-2008 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:35 PM   #66
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Day 2, Part 8 Ė Hmmmm, I think Piglet ate too much of Poohís huney!!

Day 2, Part 8 – Hmmmm, I think Piglet ate too much of Pooh’s huney!!


So, Tower of Terror was broken. No problemo. I mean who wants to go on a broken ride and actually plummet to your death. Not me!!!


But what to do?!?!?


Mom suggested I go on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster since we were right there. She isn’t a roller coaster fan - well actually she doesn’t mind them but they don’t like her. The last roller coaster she was on was Big Thunder Mountain in 1989. It was a bright and sunny January afternoon and everything was fine until we got off the ride and her knees buckled and she got faint. Thankfully Dad caught her before she fell and we happened to be right in front of a bench. After a few minutes of breathing with her head between her legs she felt better but she was destined to never ride another roller coaster again. Rather sad, isn’t it? So, when we go to Disney World I ride the coasters by myself and Mom will shop or get coffee while my inner thrill seeker comes out to play.


But I wasn’t in the mood for riding by myself so I suggested that we go to try our hands at some animation. I had told Mom about how I had done the Animation Academy several times on my solo December trip and loved it. She didn’t seem all that enthused about drawing but went along with the idea. So we moved back down Sunset Boulevard.


But what did I hear in the distance? Yes my friends - it was the High School Musical Pep Rally!! I am all about High School Musical and High School Musical 2. (I love Grease 2 also - don’t judge me!!) What’s not to love about a good romantic comedy especially if you throw in some music and snappy dance moves? And Mom loves an interactive Disney show that you can clap along with so we picked up the pace in order to "Get’cha Head In The Game."


We joined the crowd at the rope holding back the crowd as the stage/float/set thing moved by. Typically, as soon as the float thing passes by the CM’s walk the rope up to the viewing area so that there is no running and trampling of children.

But today there was a CM drunk with power in charge of the rope brigade. He was not going to drop the rope for anything - even when the show had already started in front of the giant Mickey Sorcerer’s Hat. The power drunk CM was just standing there as the singing and dancing was going on without us. Several people ignored the rope and went under it - and if I was standing next to the rope I might have done the same thing.


What happened next amazed me. The CM saw the offenders giving his rope blockade the slip and quickly handed his end of the rope to a totally clueless newly minted College Program CM who was working the broom brigade nearby. The Rope Nazi took off running after the rope ignoring children who disobeyed him and made them return back behind the rope to the now very disgruntled crowd. It was just silly since no on had any idea what we were waiting for.

Now remember that the show has been going on for about 2 minutes at this point and everyone is befuddled by the CM with the rope complex. Why isn’t he letting us through?!?!? I am missing the show!!!! I can hear it but I can't see it!!!!


I was getting really pissed at this point and the only thing that kept my inner Princesszilla under control was watching the clueless College Program CM who was even more confused than the crowd - he was holding his broom in one hand and the rope in the other watching some crazed control freak CM chase after small children whose only crime was that they wanted to see the High School Musical Pep Rally before it was over. The expression on his face was classic - total confusion with the whole situation.


Just as I had decided to find an alternate route to get to the show, the controlling CM gave up and dropped the rope. His power play was over and I suppose he won but at what cost. The Rope Nazi was just lucky that the crowd hadn’t turned on him yet or he would have been trampled.


I didn’t get any pictures of HSM Pep Rally on this trip but check out some video from December 2007 I took. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlpzaYPaStM

After figuring out "What Time Is It" and that "We’re All In This Together", I decided that I had better check to see if the rumor of a soft opening of Toy Story Mania was true. It wasn’t. But that is okay it was just a rumor and was worth a shot. Besides we were still having fun even if we hadn’t ridden ToT yet.

We found our way over to the Animation Courtyard and took the back way into the Animation Academy through The Magic of Disney Animation store. And darn it if we didn’t just miss the class - the doors were shutting just as we walked up. So that means that we had 25 minutes to "waste". It was a good thing we had all of the animation stuff to keep us busy or we might have to run into the Rope Nazi again.

We tried out "The Sound Stage" booth. We laughed a lot while doing this since we tried to do the character voices. Mom was reading the Scar part and I was reading the Simba part. My Simba voice was okay and mostly sounded like a childish version of my voice. But Mom’s Scar voice sounded like a drag queen with a cold trying to be sexy and mean at the same time. We tried it twice and it didn’t get better - we just ended up laughing even harder.

Next we tried the "You’re a Character" booth. It turns out I am a Belle and Mom is a Snow White. I think I turned out to be a Belle because I like to read and Mom is a Snow White because she likes to take care of people. As we stood reading about Mom’s alter ego I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was Frozone from The Incredibles looking over our shoulders. He was walking by and saw his chance to be sneaky. I even exclaimed "OH, it’s Frozone!!!" but Mom didn’t hear me so he kept looking over her shoulder until I tapped her. At this point she turned around and about had a heart attack - and who can blame her, there was a very tall masked super hero character stalking her. If I hadn’t been so sleep deprived I would have been quicker and thought to whip out my camera - but alas I wasn’t firing on all of my pistons and missed a perfect opportunity.

Although I missed a photo op, I wasn’t gonna miss our chance to be a Disney Animator for a little bit. We made our way over to the Animation Academy waiting area and waited for a few minutes for the next session to start.

The Academy doors opened and Mom and I found our drawing stations and got settled in to start our creative juices flowing. The Animator introduced himself and he decided we should draw Piglet. Not sure how they decide what to draw but I hadn’t drawn Piglet before so I was up for the challenge. Things went well but the Animator was a bit sarcastic and made a few border line inappropriate comments - nothing offensive but it could have spoiled the magic for a child. No one gasped so I think most people were busy concentrating on their drawings so no biggie.

Here are my results:

But I think Piglet needs to lay off the Huney for a little bit.

It was time to try ToT, again. We walked down Sunset Boulevard, again. We didn’t hear any screams, again. We saw the FP line backed up to the gate, again. We heard the CM try to spin why the ride wasn’t working, again. We walked back up Sunset Boulevard, again. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?)

Since it seemed ToT was not in the cards, we decided to see if Ariel still wore clam shells as a bathing suit top. I love The Little Mermaid!!! (Remember my love for romantic movies with singing and dancing - well, The Little Mermaid has more swimming than dancing but it translates to moving around to music so it works for me.)

The Voyage of The Little Mermaid is a nice show. But let me just tell you that they were shoving the pre-show area so full of people that after about 10 minutes I just about had a panic attack. It was wall to wall people and I couldn’t even move enough to get water out of my backpack without having to apologize to someone. And there was this family in front of us that was playing around and the little toddler in her parents arms was squirming around and kept almost hitting Mom in the face. The child wasn’t doing it intentionally but it was WAY to crowded for such nonsense.

I am not sure if it was where we were sitting in the theater but it was very difficult to hear Ariel. I tried to time our entrance into the theater so we would be in the middle of the row but people were pushing and shoving that we were lucky that we even got seats together on the end of our row - and we started off pretty close to the entrance doors. I think people get an almost animalistic attitude when they are herded and stuffed into an area. It just seems to bring out the worst in people. (Some Psych student should research this for a doctoral dissertation.)

It was getting about dinner time and we had to decide what to do for dinner. But before we decided, we thought we would try to do ToT, again. We walked down Sunset Boulevard, again. We didn’t hear any screams, again. We saw the FP line backed up to the gate, again. We heard the CM try to spin why the ride wasn’t working, again. We gave up on riding ToT - which is why I still have both of our FP that I could scan and post on my TR. Very disappointing!!!

Next installment – Another Eternal Question: What should we eat for dinner?
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:01 AM   #67
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Great update! Sorry about the ToT being out of commission, but it sure made you get your walking in for the day!

That CM was crazy trying to keep everyone back at the HSM show. That was the one place during our last trip that people were getting really mad and out of control waiting. It got so bad with some people refusing to move back behind the line, that we just left and came back for the afternoon show. Please, I love HSM as much as the next person, but it was the adults acting so belligerent, not the kids. We needed your power-hungry CM that day! (Or the Evil Queen--wouldn't that have been a hoot if they had sent her over to do crowd control!)
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:33 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by whogirl'smom View Post
Great update! Sorry about the ToT being out of commission, but it sure made you get your walking in for the day!

That CM was crazy trying to keep everyone back at the HSM show. That was the one place during our last trip that people were getting really mad and out of control waiting. It got so bad with some people refusing to move back behind the line, that we just left and came back for the afternoon show. Please, I love HSM as much as the next person, but it was the adults acting so belligerent, not the kids. We needed your power-hungry CM that day! (Or the Evil Queen--wouldn't that have been a hoot if they had sent her over to do crowd control!)
Ohhhhhhhh we got our walking in for the day and how - just wait for the next update. And there will be Flat Brody pictures also - my sister said she was missing him in the last installment.

And I should have called this the trip without any thrill rides - I didn't ride any coasters or scream worthy rides the entire trip. (Unless you call Test Track or Soarin' as scream worthy?)

I've decided that most crowd problems are with adults - they just leave their polite genes at home when they go on vacation. Add in sleep deprivation, cranky kids, and the heat and it is just a disaster waiting to happen. But the Evil Queen would be great at keeping the crowds under control - she could freighten people into submission - or Chernabog - but he might terrify small children.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:36 PM   #69
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Day 2, Part 9 Ė Heís Got Flat Brody In His Hands!

Day 2, Part 9 – He’s Got Flat Brody In His Hands!

I forgot to mention in the last installment that Mom really enjoyed the Animation Academy. When I first mentioned it I don’t think she realized that the Animator talks you through and demonstrates the entire drawing. And if there is one thing Mom can do, it’s follow directions. She is a rules girl after all.

After another disappointing trip down Sunset Boulevard only to find Tower of Terror STILL not working, we struggled with the age old question of what to eat for dinner. MGM isn’t known for its counter service restaurants - and we’ve eaten at most of them - which makes meal time always a dilemma for us. We had already had sandwiches for lunch so we were thinking we needed something different. Mom didn’t want pizza and I didn’t want a sandwich.

What to do?!?!?

We finally decided to head back over to the Boardwalk area and see what we could scrounge up.

As we left the park, we saw we had just missed the boat launch and there was already a really long line for the next boat. So we decided to walk back to the Boardwalk area - but only after I solicited an agreement from Mom that she would not expect me to power walk and instead we would just stroll. She reluctantly agreed and we set off on our walking adventure.

And let me tell you, it is a long way around to actually get on the walking path. It seems to take forever - and Mom was questioning whether we were going the right way. I had never walked between MGM and the Boardwalk area before but I knew we had to get around the canal so I felt confident we were heading in the right direction. (If you remember, I usually have a good sense of direction except when driving at WDW - walking is excluded from this WDW lapse of directional sense.)

We finally got on the path and found it to be a very relaxing walk. It is a good mile or so and is quiet and not heavily traveled. And wildlife can be seen.


The next boat launch went by. And we decided to play the beat the boat game.


We didn’t speed up but we kept tabs on the boat to see if we would actually beat it...sort of like the Fates Game. And this time we did beat it - we made it to the Boardwalk before the boat went by. Wooohoooo!!!!! It takes very little to entertain me.

But we still hadn’t answered the question of what to eat for dinner. I haven’t ever really paid attention to the more casual restaurants of the Boardwalk so we consulted a map and discussed our options. We finally decided on the Big River Grille & Brewing Works.

Flat Brody was happy we finally decided on a restaurant so we could finally sit down and get to eat something.


But the wait was 45 minutes. We decided this was okay since it would take us almost that long to get to another restaurant and then have to wait to get seated at the new restaurant. So we took our buzzing coaster and went to hang out for a good while.

We looked in the shops and watched the juggler and strolled from Jelly Rolls to Screen Door General Store (we couldn’t go further or our buzzing coaster wouldn’t work). We watched the surrey bikes go by in a circle time and time again. (And if I never hear another stupid surrey bike bell again I will die a happy person. People love those damn bells) We watched people eat their food - not stalkerish but longingly - or maybe longingly is stalkerish. We tried to find a bench with no luck. (You could see where the benches used to be bolted to the boardwalk but they weren’t there anymore. The must have been in the shop for repairs.) We even studied the menu. All the while never forgetting that we were tired and ready to eat.

***A little side note on the surrey bikes*** They look like fun but if you are hanging out on the Boardwalk be very careful. It seems that the surrey bike renters like to go up the bridge by the Swan and then speed down on to the boardwalk. While this is probably lots of fun, it is also very dangerous since the Boardwalk area is busy with little kids everywhere and the surrey bikes aren’t racing bikes and won’t be able to maneuver around people milling about waiting for their table at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. ***End of side note***

Finally we found a brick wall at the DVC model and took up residence to rest our weary feet and legs. Little did Mom know but this gave me another great opportunity to continue my little plan of convincing her to buy into DVC.

Flat Brody was happy to join in on my little plan.


He actually got really into my little plan but decided that he needed to leave it in Mickey’s hands.


Finally our buzzing coaster buzzed. Wooohoooo!!!!! And we even got a table out side. It was a very pleasant evening so it was a great table. You can actually see our table from the DVC picture above - it’s the second umbrella in.

Since we had already perused the menu we didn’t need a lot of time to decide. So when our waiter arrived Mom and I both ordered the Summer Seasonal Wowser’s Wheat beer - which was very good - and our meals.

Mom’s salad - Grilled Chicken Cashew Salad - marinated and served cold atop a bed of mixed greens with artichoke hearts, Feta cheese, tomatoes and cashews with honey mustard dressing


Flat Brody was anticipating my chicken - Hazelnut Crusted Chicken - sauteed and served in sundried cherry sauce, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day


Mom’s salad was really good but my chicken was only alright. Hazelnut crusted chicken sounded really good when I read it on the menu but it was just a piece of chicken with some gravy sauce. But the zucchini and squash were really good. Of course since I was starved I ate all of my chicken anyways.

One thing I did notice about Big River Grille & Brewery Works is that is wasn’t run very efficiently. They didn’t turn the tables quickly at all. People had to wait a good while to pay because the poor wait staff had to bus all of their tables. I just don’t understand why Disney can’t take a page or two from some of the really well run restaurants around the country. It would make the whole Disney experience much better for the guests and the company would make more money. Hmmmm - sounds like a no brainer to me.

After dinner we needed to get back to ASSp and I knew that in order to do this we needed to get back to a park. But which park? We could take a boat or walk back to MGM? Or we could take a boat or walk back to Epcot? Or take a bus from the Boardwalk which would require us to walk through the hotel and locate the bus stop and wait for a bus and then wait for another bus once we got to the park?

Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. We opted to walk back through Epcot and take a bus from there. This way we could see some of Illuminations since it was almost 9 p.m.

But by the time we got to Epcot we were pretty tired. We had left the hotel this morning before 8 a.m. so it was already a 13 hour day. Since we had to be up early then next morning for our Discover Future World tour and to check out of ASSp we decided to not stop for Illuminations in order to beat the end of the night bus rush. So we just keep walking through to the buses. (I really wish we had worn our pedometers this day because I think we walked at least 15 miles.)

We weren’t really all that sad about missing Illuminations because I knew that we would get priority viewing tomorrow night since we were doing an Epcot tour and we were really exhausted. And I got to show Mom the Illumination Cruises - what can I say, I am laying the ground work for future trips.

We walked to our bus stop but I had a hard time convincing Mom that I stopped at the correct stop. She thought she read Stop 15 on the sign and she wanted to keep walking. But it was actually Stop 13 and I was tired of walking. Finally convinced of the correct bus stop when I showed her the sign above our heads that said "13 Disney’s All Star Sports" she agreed to get in the relatively short line.

We didn’t have to wait very long at all for the bus to arrive. But I do remember that there was a Rosie Perez wannabe in line with us. She looked and sounded just like Rosie - big gold hoops and everything. Actually the woman and her daughters all sounded and looked alike. Sort of spooky.

We made it back to ASSp in no time flat but we didn’t go directly to the room. I wanted ice cream!!! So I obliged my craving and got a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. The sign at the ice cream counter said it was almost $4 which I thought was a bit excessive but I haven’t actually bought a scoop of ice cream in years so I had no idea what the going rate was. Thankfully when I paid it was only $2 and change. And as it turned out, I wasn't in the mood for just a scoop of ice cream - I was in the mood for a Mickey Bar so my craving wasn't exactly satisfied.

We took the short walk back to the room through the X & O football field and started packing up for our move to the Swan tomorrow. It didn’t take long since we hadn’t really unpacked. And then we got ready for bed and FINALLY I slept.


Next installment – I think they think we’re famous!!!!
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:28 PM   #70
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Hi Tonya!
I'm still following Flat Brody around the world ........ I haven't had a chance to post recently - sorry!

So - a few comments .......

I totally agree about the surrey bike bells! Lord have mercy those folks on bikes love to ring those bells, don't they!?! In our upcoming trip, we will be spending 3 nigts @ BWV with a Boardwalk view ..... I'm sure we'll get our fair share of the bells!

How in the world did we manage to miss the GIANT SAND SCULPTURE at F&G Festival!?! We were there ..... twice! I guess I really should take time to stop & smell the roses! (sigh)

Now, since we are staying @ BWV for the last part of our trip, we were thinking of taking the path to walk to DHS (MGM); however, you make it sound a LOT farther than I perhaps percieved it to be ..... Hmmmmm ...... just how long of a walk is it really?

Also, we've never tried the Big River Grille. Overall, how was it? Your photo of the chicken looked delicious, but you said it was just okay. Mom's salad also looked really good!

And, for what it's worth ...... I thought your Piglet was great! We've not done the Animation Academy in all our trips either .....perhaps we'll have to add it to the list for our upcoming adventure (about which I promise to write a full report!).

Okay - off to bed - I really need to get some sleep!
I've been packing most of the night! We only have EIGHT days left now!!!

(it is a LOT of work to take 5 ppl to WDW for 10 days!)
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mouseaddicts View Post
Hi Tonya!
I'm still following Flat Brody around the world ........ I haven't had a chance to post recently - sorry!

So - a few comments .......

I totally agree about the surrey bike bells! Lord have mercy those folks on bikes love to ring those bells, don't they!?! In our upcoming trip, we will be spending 3 nigts @ BWV with a Boardwalk view ..... I'm sure we'll get our fair share of the bells!

How in the world did we manage to miss the GIANT SAND SCULPTURE at F&G Festival!?! We were there ..... twice! I guess I really should take time to stop & smell the roses! (sigh)

Now, since we are staying @ BWV for the last part of our trip, we were thinking of taking the path to walk to DHS (MGM); however, you make it sound a LOT farther than I perhaps percieved it to be ..... Hmmmmm ...... just how long of a walk is it really?

Also, we've never tried the Big River Grille. Overall, how was it? Your photo of the chicken looked delicious, but you said it was just okay. Mom's salad also looked really good!

And, for what it's worth ...... I thought your Piglet was great! We've not done the Animation Academy in all our trips either .....perhaps we'll have to add it to the list for our upcoming adventure (about which I promise to write a full report!).

Okay - off to bed - I really need to get some sleep!
I've been packing most of the night! We only have EIGHT days left now!!!

(it is a LOT of work to take 5 ppl to WDW for 10 days!)
Glad you are still following Flat Brody. My next post is almost ready - we have had lots of bad storms recently and I have to keep turning off my computer. (I lost a computer last year to lightening so now I am hyper-cautious.)

And those surrey bike bells were annoying - but at least it did give you a few seconds warning to get out of the way before they mowed you down. I would be really interested to see how many surrey bike accidents there actually are.

The walk b/w MGM and Boardwalk is a good 15-20 min walk depending on your walking speed. It is a very pleasant walk - maybe not in summer though - but if your feet or legs hurt then take the boat. It was a nice way to sort of decompress from the frenzy of the crowds though. Sometimes I just need a little bit of quiet to keep me sane when I am at Disney World and this walk did just that.

Big River Grille? Hmmmm, I am not sure I would go back. It wasn't a horrible meal but it was just not all that good. I know I didn't love my lunch or dinner on Day 2 of the trip but I really am usually pretty easy to please when it comes to food. So for me to not say food was "okay" or "fine" it has got to be sort of on the bad side. I might give Big River Grille another shot but would probably stick with a hamburger. Actually I think I would rather try ESPN Zone next time or Spoodles - which isn't really all that much more expensive than Big River.

Thanks about my Piglet! He is sort of cute. It is amazing how easy it is to draw a character when someone walks you through it - almost makes you think you have some talent.

I had problems with my Pooh back in December - he really needed to lay off the huney - no jaw line at all, just neck.


You will definetly have to add Animation Academy to your must do list - and it is all inside so you get out of the heat!!!! (Very important for WDW in the summer!!!)

Good luck with the prep work on the trip - it takes a lot just to get me ready so I can't imagine what it takes for 5 people. Which reminds me - I need to go find my mister fans for my July trip.

***Update on my July trip*** I am taking one for the team and agreed to delay my start day of the trip by 2 days so that I could drive down with my sister and niece. My parents (and I) really wanted my sister and niece to go on the trip but for some reason my BIL refuses to let my sister drive to Orlando by herself. I have no idea why - she drives everywhere else by herself. So my parents are going to have 2 days by themselves which is good since it will be their anniversay - I did get Victoria & Albert reservations for my parents so they can celebrate their 46 years of marriage - but I STILL want my extra 2 days at Disney World!!!!!

Okay, I am gonna put on my big girl panties and get over it - but I am going to milk my sacrifice for all I can - character meals, Flat Brody pictures, matching t-shirts, mouse ear hats, etc.....

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Old 06-25-2008, 01:51 PM   #72
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Hmmm ...... I'll have to think about that walk to/from MGM ..... maybe walk over in the morning & ride the boat back when it's hotter! That sounds like a plan!!!

So, have you never eaten @ ESPN Zone? We actually like it quite well! We were there year before last during the GA/FL football game (don't talk about the score ), so we went to ESPN to grab some grub & catch the game on the big screen. (That would be upon my insistance - not DH's)

We particularly liked the nachos - and wings! We are wimps, so we get the MILD wings. My DD was double-fisting nachos! I swear I wish I had taken a picture of THAT! She be a lil bitty thing .... but can pack away some food when she's hungry. DS wanted to try the Boo-Yah chili, but we had enough food already. Maybe next time ....... we plan to be there either Friday or Saturday for lunch on our upcoming trip ......... in EIGHT DAYS!!! (you know - the one I promised to write a TR about)

Oh, I cannot believe we will miss you by TWO DAYS! That's rotten.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:29 PM   #73
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Day 3, Part 1 Ė I Feel So Famous!

Day 3, Part 1 Ė I Feel So Famous!

This is our Undiscovered Future World tour day and we had a lot to do in order to get to Epcot before 8:45 a.m. So we got up and down to business at 6:45 a.m. (We opted not to schedule a wake up call from Stitch and instead used the clock radio alarm. Two mornings in a row with Stitch screeching at you is just too much for a non-morning person.)

When I booked the tour, the Reservations CM repeatedly told me that we needed to wear comfortable shoes, have an ID ready to present, and to check in for the tour no later than 8:45 a.m. I told Mom all this which meant she was all nervous that we would be late. Me on the other hand knew we were close to Epcot and wasnít all that worried. Thankfully we were up, packed and ready to leave ASSp at 8:25 a.m. so no worries were necessary at all.

This is the only day we actually drove to the Parks and that was only because we were moving over to the Swan. Maybe I am a bus person after all?

Since we were at Epcot at 8:35 a.m. we parked in a lot on the left side that was within walking distance to the entrance. This took us near the kennels and darn it but I forgot to take a picture of Flat Brody. My whole plan for Flat Brody was that I was going to take his picture in front of each of the Parksí kennels - and I totally forgot. I was really pissed at myself. Thankfully I have worked on not dwelling on my "failures" and so I didnít dwell on it but I am still disappointed that I didnít fulfill my plan. The worst part of being a natural born planner is that you just have to let some things go and be flexible and it is very difficult to go against my natural tendencies. (But I get another chance with Flat Brody next month - so all is not lost!!!)

Since we were near the kennel we even went through the "secret" security line - one lonely security guy standing at the gate. We approached the far left turnstile that let in the Princess Breakfast and Tour people. The line seemed really long and it had us a bit worried. But as we got closer we realized those people were just waiting for the regular Park opening and were stalking the turnstile - like at an airport gate when they start the boarding process.

We checked in with the CM with the clipboard - although he had to search for our names. I always get nervous when people canít instantly find my name on a list. Immediately my mind starts thinking of the best way to explain to the clipboard person that I am indeed on the list and it isnít my fault that he canít find me and to just let me in or I might have to apologize for his mistake. I think this comes from being a middle child - or maybe I really do need therapy after all.

I always love getting into places while other people have to wait. It makes me feel special - like I am a VIP. Iím not, mind you, but that is always the way it makes me feel. I guess secretly we all want to be a important and special in some fashion.

Once inside Epcot I turned around and snapped this picture of all those "non-VIP" people that had to wait until 9 a.m. to enter the gates.


Flat Brody was very excited to see Spaceship Earth again.


Look!!! Empty Epcot pictures!!!!





We made it to Epcot Guest Services and checked in for our tour. (We didnít need an ID for either check-ins, by the way. I guess it is a case of better to be safe than sorry.) And the CM looked our tour up and said "oh, there are only 2 people signed up for your tour. Janet will be out in a few minutes." I said "oh, okay" all the while thinking Ďoh my gawd they are gonna cancel our tour!!!í But they didnít. Actually Janet came out in her plaid Guest Relations vest and introduced herself and said it was just the two of us for a private tour. She asked if there was anything special we wanted to do since she could tailor the tour just for us. We didnít really have any special requests but told her if we thought of any we would let her know.

Brody checking in at Epcot Guest Services


Let the tour begin!!!

We started by Janet chatting with us about some of Epcot's history and such. Through our chat, Janet figured out that we were pretty experienced Disney visitors and she could skip over the beginner stuff and give us her advanced spiel.

Our first tour stop was at Innoventions and The House of Innoventions. It was just Mom, me, Janet and Ann, a nice CM who was new on the job and new to USA - she had just moved from England to Florida. This was Annís first private tour and she was VERY nervous to be performing in front of Janet. (There is a certain reverence for Guest Relations CMs for new CMs - like in high school and the Guest Relations department is the cool clique. Who ever said high school doesnít last forever lied!!!)

Ann stumbled over her words a little bit at first but quickly settled down for her scripted spiel and after a while just started chatting with us. She showed us the kitchen of the future but to tell you the truth it wasnít very futuristic and quite impractical. Mom and I are well versed in kitchen design since we use one so we could tell that some designer - who probably doesnít cook - thought of putting drinking glasses in a pull out cabinet on the bottom or an oven that you would never be able to bake a cake in. Since CM Ann was from England she said she was amazed at how big kitchen in the US are (ugh - I get the trembles just thinking about trying to cook in a small European kitchen) and what large quantities you have to buy things at the grocery store (yes, I do need a 24 pack of toilet paper!!)

I did get to play the electronic drums in the teenage room of the future.

We then walked around to the other side of Future World and on the way we chatted with Janet and she pointed our tidbits here and there. She is fluent in American Sign Language so she is Marlee Matlinís tour guide each time she visits the parks so we also talked about Dancing With The Stars and Marleeís kids and husband. Janet is also Corbin Bleuís tour guide - she said he is the nicest sweetest person but that he was going to miss the Disney Games the next week because he was in Arizona filming High School Musical 3. Since Corbin was not going to be at the Disney Games, Janet was assigned to be the tour guide for the girl who plays the friend of the girl witch in the Witches of Waverly Place - I didnít even know there was a friend on the show. Janet seemed sort of bummed about not having one of the bigger Disney kids but you never know when one of those Disney kids will be the next big star.

Next we moved over to The Living Seas pavilion - well actually it was the Coral Reef restaurant. I had never seen the Coral Reef and it was a really beautiful restaurant. Janet told us all the facts about the aquarium and we watched the sea life. We watched a sea turtle swim over to the corner of the tank and settle in to a spot and then it closed itís eyes and went to sleep. It was amazing!!! Definitely something you would never see in nature. Who knew that sea turtles slept?!?!

I did stump Janet with a question though. I asked how the sea turtle would nest if it couldnít go back to the beach where it was born? Since I live on an island (and have watched discovery channel) I know a few tidbits on sea turtle egg laying and was curious. She didnít know the answer but I am sure that she will know for her next tour. Since I still donít know the answer I think I may stop in to ask her next month.

Next came our Soariní experience. As we walked in Janet mentioned the mosaic in the entrance to The Land pavilion. Donít hold me to this as fact but I seem to recall that she said some Italian artisans created it and that each side were mirror images of each other. You will have to remember to look at it next time you pass by it - it really is beautiful. And look at the tiles up close you can see little gold tiles.

We made our way to the entrance of Soariní and Janet checked in and we waited for the Soariní Attractions Manager Joe. While we waited Janet suggested that we get some Fastpasses for Soariní. At first I declined because I knew we had no intention of being at Epcot after the tour but she insisted, so I went along with it. Sometimes it is easier to just go along with things then to protest - know what I mean?


I know, I know - it is DIS sacrilege to not use a Fastpass for Soariní but I am a rebel. What can I say? And if I ever get around to scrap booking I will be ready.

Joe arrived and Mom loved his watch - it was a lego watch. (This is only important because she mentions several more times how much she loved it and really wanted one. More on that later.)

Joe walked us back stage and through the back door. (There are a lot of trucks and hubbub going on behind the closed doors of Disney. Makes you appreciate how much effort it takes for everything to seem effortless.) He told us a few Soariní facts and then we waited for a few minutes. The next thing I knew we were getting ready to board Soariní - front row center!!! I felt like a movie star. It was so much fun to just all of a sudden be on the ride and in the best seats. And since we had a plaid clad guide, people were looking at us like we were famous and that they should know who we were. I felt like saying "Iím ready for my close up, Mr. DeVille."

After our brush with "fame", we moved over to the courtyard area outside the Imagination! pavilion and watched the fountains for a little while. One of them was misaligned so Janet explained how someone calibrated them regularly but that they needed a little tune up. We also "decided" that Honey I Shrunk The Audience had outlived itís usefulness and that they should bring back Captain Eo - without Michael Jackson since he is a sometimes alleged child molester - but that it might be hard to get George Lucas to produce it again.

We then ducked into Club Cool and tried a little Beverly. The first sip is always a little startling but Iíve decided that all Beverly really needs is some vodka and a lime. (Can anyone say "flask"?)


Next installment - You know - that Tom Hanks movie!
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My blog: The Life and Times of Tonya2426 . . . Flat Brody takes a Pick-A-Number DIS Unplugged Podcast Trip Report!!!


DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress

Last edited by Tonya2426; 07-03-2008 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:39 PM   #74
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Day 3, Part 2 Ė You know, the Tom Hanks Movie!

Day 3, Part 2 Ė You know, the Tom Hanks Movie!

After figuring out that a Beverly & Vodka might be the new "in" drink, we crossed Future World and went to Universe of Energy. We walked to the left of the building and took a side door and down a corridor to a room just on the other side of the ride. We could hear the dinosaurs growling and snarling and Janet told us that if the door was opened during the ride it would immediately stop and have to be evacuated and would take an entire ride cycle for them to get it restarted. Needless to say, I stayed away from the door since I didnít want to risk having all those people on the ride waking up from their naps and getting made at me.

(If truth be told, I enjoy Ellenís Energy Adventure. It is 45 minutes of air conditioned, sitting down, educational enjoyment. And, how someone could sleep on that ride with all that noise is just beyond me.)

There was also a few terradactyl animatronic models for us to look at. They were older models now used for salvaged parts for the newer models but they were intact enough for us to make the wings and beak move. I felt like an Imagineer-in-Training.

This room we were in looked like some kind of break room for the CMís and there was the oldest looking microwave I have ever seen. It had to be original to the building which dates back to Epcotís opening (1982). It might just be time for Disney to splurge a little and buy the CMís a Walmart $59 microwave - sort of a way to usher in the 21st century.

Next up was Mission: Space. We stopped outside to explore the Planetary Plaza. There is a big Moon sculpture that has markers on it of where all of the Moon landings occurred. I happened to notice that there was no Apollo 13 marker and mentioned it. (Apollo 13 is the ill fated mission that never made it to the moon but did make it home.) Janet looked at me sort of weird so I explained the Apollo 13 mission and Jim Lovell and the lunar and command modules and using a free-return trajectory to get the crew home safely. She looked at me like I was some sort of space geek who had just come home from Space Camp with a head full of NASA trivia.

Not wanting to seem like a freak of nature I explained that Apollo 13 was one of my favorite movies. She still didnít really get it so I said "you know, the Ron Howard movie with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Billy Bob Thornton in it." At this point I think she just humored me and we moved on. Janet must not be a movie buff.

We went in another side door and Janet punched in a code on a secret key pad and we got buzzed in to the Red Planet Room (HP Lounge). It was a nice lounge but nothing terribly extra special. They have drinks and some chips for the HP employees when they stop by. Mom took a bathroom break and we watched the ride queue from up above since the lounge looks over the queue. Janet pointed out the Gravity Wheel prop from Horizons which is a nice homage to the former attraction. I like it when the Imagineers pay tribute to extinct attractions - I think Walt would approve.

We did happen to chat with one of the HP Hostesses who was planning her wedding. She had recently come back from a wedding dress shopping trip at Kleinfelds in New York and was filmed for "Say Yes To The Dress" on TLC. I havenít seen her on the show yet but keep looking for her in hopes I will recognize her.

Next up was Test Track. We walked along side the building to the back of the attraction right underneath the outdoor track. It is very noisy!! We saw the maintenance shop where they repair the cars and all the extra cars. Janet told us about how the Imagineers had a hard time with the car designs at first but eventually got it right.

We then entered a side door to the Test Track building and ended up in the line for the pre-show. Woohooo, weíre VIPs again!!! Some man tried to engage Janet in conversation while we waited. She was polite to him but essentially turned her back to him in favor of chatting with us since we were her 'peeps'. Janet was very protective of us at this point and made sure we had VIP treatment by holding people back for us to pass and such. (We had been together for almost 4 hours and we knew all about Janetís husband, kids, parents, siblings and she knew about us also. So we had formed a little bond.) I could get used to being a VIP.

After the pre-show we got in line for the ride. During the pre-show Janet and I had noticed this man in his late 50's with a young woman - early 20's. At first we just thought it was his daughter but it soon became clear that she was NOT his daughter. The woman appeared to be Filipino and the man was a little on the tubby side and not what you would call attractive so it made me think of a mail order bride situation. What was really odd was that the man was wearing what I call a Boca outfit - you know those outfits worn by older woman in South Florida during the late 90's. It was white pull on pants and a white button up shirt with flowers painted on it with some glitter. Janet and I both commented on it and decided it was definitely a womanís outfit. We may have giggled a little also. All he needed was a Bedazzler to give it a true South Florida look. It was very strange - but part of going to Disney World is the people watching and I am rarely disappointed when I look around.

We got in our test car and had a fun ride. I was in the middle seat which is no fun on the curves because I donít want to smush the people next to me so I end up bracing myself and not enjoying it as much as I would if I didnít care whether I end up in my neighbors laps. And I love the end of the ride when you race around the track. It is just too short for me. Iíve decided that my Disney Dream might be to just race around the track over and over without having to get out of the car or doing all the testing part. But has anyone ever noticed that your hair flies forward into your face instead of blowing off of your face. It is really weird since you are moving forward and not backwards. Hmmmm?

After racing around the track in our test car, we found another side door and went back stage to check out the Epcot Cast Services building. Janet asked if anyone needed a bathroom break but I think it was just because she had to go REALLY bad. It had been about 4 hours at this point and we had all been drinking lots of water. I, of course, took advantage of the break and used the facilities because of my adage that you never know when youíll get another chance.

We checked out the costuming department. Things have changed since I was a Cast Member. We used to have to go up to a window and tell where we worked and what sizes we wanted. Now there are just rows and rows of costumes and the CMís just walk in and get their own costumes and take them home - which makes it much easier. But the CMís donít get walk time any more. (Walk time was extra time you got paid for because you had to change in and out of your costume.)

There were lots of awards on the walls and Janet explained those to us. Her husband is a CM and had won some big award. There was also a hall way that each department got to paint a section - of course the Imagineering departmentís section had fiber optics in the design - show offs!!

We then wandered over to the Illuminations staging area. And egads!!! Mom snapped a picture of backstage. I said I wouldnít post it so Janet wouldnít get in trouble but here it is anyways. (I whited-out any distiguishing parts other than the globe which you can see when they bring out the barge. And I saw this area shown on Modern Marvels so I donít think I am showing anything secret.)


And this is the only picture we took while actually on our tour. We just sort of forgot about taking pictures. In the moment you just forget taking pictures but afterwards you kick yourself for not capturing the moment. It is a hard balance to achieve.

We then took another random door and ended up in the Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store in the China pavilion. (Who knew the store had a name?!?! I had to look it up.)

Our tour was over. Janet told us that we could get a 10% discount in the China restaurant and in the shop and gave us a commerative pin. I had no intention of eating bad chinese food but I appreciated the offer. (If they had only ended the tour at the Mexican margarita stand!!!) The pin is a nice souvenir though.


And then she told us about our special viewing privileges for Illuminations later that night. Yeah!!! Another VIP moment. All we had to do was find a plaid clad CM later tonight in front of Italy and we were good to go. More on that later.

Saying thanks and good bye was a little awkward though. We had been buddies with Janet for over 4 hours but we really didnít know her know her. In the South we hug but you never know if other people are huggers so you hate to go in for a hug and have it rebuffed. And Mom got all weird because she thought we should tip her like they had on tours they had taken other places. I told her I didnít think she could accept tips and that we shouldnít. Of course all of this is going on with whispers and nods and facial expressions because Janet was standing right next to us. I felt like Lucy and Ethel on their trip to Hollywood. In the end, we shook hands with Janet and thanked her profusely saying how much we enjoyed the tour.

The tour was a great experience for us. Basically, with our Disney Visa discount, we paid about $80 for a private tour of Future World. If we had booked a VIP tour it would have been over $600. Iím not sure if the tour would have been as much fun if we had been with lots more people but Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed it and the time we spent together.

It was getting late and we still needed to check in to the Swan, eat lunch, and get to Animal Kingdom, so we made our way back to the parking lot. But on our way out of Epcot we spotted the F&G guy and had to snap his picture.


Next Installment - Finally Big Towels!!!!
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My blog: The Life and Times of Tonya2426 . . . Flat Brody takes a Pick-A-Number DIS Unplugged Podcast Trip Report!!!


DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:24 AM   #75
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Day 3, Part 3 Ė Ohhhh, Look Big Towels!!!!

Day 3, Part 3 Ė Ohhhh, Look Big Towels!!!!


As we walked back to the car we actually had to search a little bit for it. We took a walkway back that took us to the middle of the parking lot so we couldnít see the row numbers. Hmmmmm, what to do?!?! Well, in a pinch when finding your car you can always rely on a carís automatic trunk/door release on the key chain. And that is what we did - we looked for the car with the back door going up and down until we spotted it. What can I say - if you canít use technology to your advantage what good is it?

(And as it turned out anyways, Mom and I had remembered different row numbers when we arrived that morning so we would have had to search either way. )

Back in the car we quickly found our way to the Swan Hotel. I can hear you now asking "did she get lost this time?" And the answer would be nope, not this time. I knew it was just around the bend and let my navigational skills do the rest.

The next big decision was whether we would valet park or not valet park? Since I was driving and getting on the hungry cranky side of things I opted to valet park and not really giving Mom a choice in the matter even though it was her car. Some things in life are just worth the price and valet parking is one of those things, especially when you are getting hungry and cranky.

The valet quickly had our car unloaded and all of our various bags on a cart as we made our way inside. Ahhhhh, quiet elegance. Afer a few busy days at Disney World a little luxury was just what I needed. We found the registration desk and there was no line at all. A nice young man checked us in quickly. (You know you are old when you call a man in his 20's a nice young man.) Of course I was a little apprehensive checking in because this was the part of the trip that I had won on the DIS Unplugged Podcast and I didnít have a confirmation number for the reservation since I didn't make the reservation. It was just the uber-planner in me itching to come out and play. But everything was as if I had made the reservation myself and went smoothly.

I didnít remember to bring my newly acquired Starwoods Rewards number but I had just gotten an email from them on my mobile phone so I looked up the number and gave it to the clerk!!! Woohooo - a free Swan stay and rewards points to boot!!!! All was right with the world.

With room number in hand, we found the elevator and made our way to Room 420 East. We opened the door and this is what we saw

(Actually, the picture was taken after I moved our bags off the bed. Some picture moments have to be recreated for Trip Report purposes you know.)

And then we checked out the view

Not an Epcot view but nice all the same.

And then there was a knock on the door. It was the Bellman with our luggage. That was really fast. We only had enough time to fall on to the Heavenly Beds and appreciate their luxury and there our luggage was. I could get used to having people be at my beckon call.

The Bellman was very nice and efficient. He chatted while he brought in our bags and even turned on all of the lights to make sure they were working. This may seem odd but I have been in hotel rooms where a light bulb has been burned out and it is a pain to get another light bulb for some reason in most hotels. It must be a union thing or something and only maintenance can change a lightbulb and not housekeeping.

Flat Brody really enjoyed the Heavenly Bed.


More room pictures:



But enough about the room, we had lunch to eat and Animal Kingdom to see, so I decided to tinkle before we left - you know the rule - do it while you get the chance. And that was when I really realized I wasnít at a value hotel anymore - BIG TOWELS!!!!


It was then I decided that I prefer deluxe hotels to value hotels because a deluxe hotel has better towels. It was like an epiphany and my inner girly girl came out - especially when I saw the wonderful smelling Bath & Body Works products on the bathroom counter top. Now donít get me wrong, the value hotels are nice. But after a few days a girl needs some decent products and a towel that covers her butt. It is just the laws of girly girlness. And if the towels and product werenít enough, there was a wall mounted magnified make up mirror in the bathroom. ***HALLELUJAH*** It is just a crying shame we didnít have time to enjoy the spa.

Okay, back to the real world. It was time for lunch and it was time to introduce Mom to the joys of Beaches & Cream. I was determined to eat both lunch and ice cream this time. It is a challenge for me to have room after a meal for dessert. I always think I will but never do. It is a curse because I love dessert and cheeseburgers. Since I follow tradition and eat my meal first dessert usually falls by the wayside. Some day I will eat dessert first!!!!

We decided to walk over to Beaches & Cream from the Swan. It was a nice afternoon and it would give me another opportunity to put my "evil" DVC plan in to action. ***Insert evil laugh*** And I got to show Mom how fabulous the Stormalong Bay area is - another part of the master plan to get to go to Disney World more often.

We had seen the Boardwalk area the night before while we waited for our table at Big River Grille & Bar so we opted to walk around the Yacht Club way. There was lots of hubbub going on because they were setting up for a big wedding. It was out on the lawn facing Crescent Lake. (Just remember this wedding for later in the evening.)

We made it to Beaches & Cream and guess what? We only had to wait a minute for our seats. They didnít even give us a pager. We were seated at the counter which suited us just fine since we got to watch them make ice cream sundaes - only making my desire for a No Way Jose more palatable. Mom even said the Milky Way Sundae sounded really good.

Mom and I both ordered cheeseburgers but Mom got the fruit instead of fries. But now that I think about it, maybe Mom ordered a hamburger to save the calories by going cheeseless - sheís got Weight Watchers on the brain even on vacation. I think I even told our waitress that we wanted ice cream for dessert. Alas, that was not to be our fate.

It took about 15 minutes to get our food and it was just as yummy as I had remembered. Nice and juicy - well that may be grease but who cares, I am on vacation. They make a really good cheeseburger. (Plaza Restaurant take note!!) But as usual I was way too full to even think about eating any dessert let alone a No Way Jose. In an hour I would be ready but not at that moment. Darn!!! I was soooooooo wanting ice cream and hot fudge sauce and peanut butter sauce served with whipped cream and a cherry. And to make matters worse, I forgot to take any pictures!!! I must have been so distracted by the anticipation of ice cream and then the disappointment of not having any that I just plum forgot to share my cheeseburger moment with Flat Brody.

Pleasantly full of fries and cheeseburger - at least I was, Mom was full of hamburger and fruit - we needed to get to Animal Kingdom. But should we catch a bus from the Yacht Club or the Beach Club? This trip is just full of decisions.

We chose the Yacht Club bus. But before we found our way to the bus stop - which is no easy task because there are no signs saying "this way to the bus stop dummies!!" - we took a bathroom break since . . . well, you know my saying by now.

Flat Brody in the Ladies Room at the Yacht Club. Very scandalous indeed!!!!


I like the bathrooms in the Yacht Club lobby because they have real towels to dry your hands with - just like a real yacht club or country club have. It is a nice touch.

Once we found the buses - we finally had to ask someone where to go - we waited about 10 minutes for the Animal Kingdom bus which was just enough time for Mom and me to decide what we wanted to do once we got there. As it turns out all we really wanted to do was the Festival of the Lion King show, the Maharajah Jungle Trek, Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl and to see if there was any 10th Anniversary merchandise left over. (The Animal Kingdom 10th Anniversary celebration was on Tuesday earlier in the week and we missed it by one and a half days. I also missed the 25th Anniversary celebration at Epcot last year by a week. I need to plan these trips better. Iím missing out on all the fun!!!)

Next Installment - Mom cries "No, No, No, No, No!!!!"
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My blog: The Life and Times of Tonya2426 . . . Flat Brody takes a Pick-A-Number DIS Unplugged Podcast Trip Report!!!


DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 12/12/10 ~WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2010 ~ABD Backstage Magic w/DIS Unplugged - 4/13/10 ~ WDW - Pop/Dolphin - Dec 2009- DAP ~ - WDW -Oct 2009 -F&W- SSR ~ DIS Unplugged Cruise - DCL Wonder 4 day - 5/10/09 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2008- Mousefest ~ WDW- DTD Hilton - Sept 18, 2008 -MNSSHP ~ WDW- Grand Floridian - July 2008 ~ WDW- ASSports/Swan- April 2008 ~ WDW - Pop - Dec 2007- MVMCP - WDW - Oct 2007 -MNSSHP- ASMusic ~ Surprise WDW Birthday Trip - August 2007 - PPP - SSR ~ DCL Wonder - 4 day - 5/27/07 ~ WDW - SOG - March 2007 ~ WDW - Marriott World Ctr- January 2007 ~ WDW - SOG - October 2005 ~ WDW - Grandma's House - April 2005 ~ Contemporary Resort Merchandise CM - 1989 ~ Lost count of WDW visits since Grandma lived in Orlando since before the park was opened and I was there the year the MK opened - they had a chance to purchase the original WDW stock but thought it was too risky so they turned it down - darn, I could have been an heiress
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