|03-01-2002, 04:29 AM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Spennymoor Co. Durham
Mike- Two & Two Kids, please Day 11..ILLUMINATIONS 2000 ..
Two & Two Kids, please Day 11..ILLUMINATIONS 2000 ..
Tuesday was down as a lazy day , due in the main to the fact that we were going to meet up with some Americans we'd found in the US Dis groups. Steve ( our new US friend ) had replied to my begging e-mail asking if anybody had a pontoon they'd be prepared to share during our stay...we were pleasantly surprised when he responded to say he , his sister and her 3 kids would be delighted to share their pontoon!!! More of that later!!
We shook ourselves out of bed about 9 a.m. , except for Callum who was stuck in front of the T.V. watching Nickleodeon...no major surprise there ! After a family discussion the concensus was to hit Sizzlers on I-Drive then play some fun golf.That's decided then , so we arrived at Sizzlers about 10 a.m. for our 3rd. breakfast there, some sort of recommendation , I suppose. Again we were offered discount coupons since we'd forgotten them (again)...and lo and behold our favourite server Paula (the aspiring actress ) was in charge of us. She remembered us immediately....why , I wondered???......and immediately started ruffling Callum's hair, not the best way to get into an 8-year old's good books! As usual DW hit the fruit bar, while we elected to go down the route of crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for 3. DD tried some concoction of deep-fried bread covered in what looked like icing sugar, but gave that up after one small bite...a wise decision,methinks! We manfully ploughed through the ENORMOUS menu pausing only occasionally to let our belts out from time to time.
After ensuring that we were in profit on our breakfast, we moved on to Crossroads at Lake Buena Vista to see what delights the Pirate's Cove mini-golf
held in store for us!! We'd noticed Pirate's Cove during our visit to Jungle Jim's, and proceeded to spend a very happy one and a half hours playing through waterfalls , caves and zig-zagging little rope bridges. We split into 2 teams , kids vs. adults ...Yes!! we let the kids win , what sort of parents do you think we are......The choice was to play again or go to the Premium Outlets mall ( about 1 mile from Crossroads)....the promise of a toy each persuaded the kids in their choice..
We'd seen the P.O.Mall from the 192 and it looked smart. We were not disappointed, this is a fairly new mall , I'd guess, and is immaculate(most malls are, I know , but this is top-notch). Our first call was to the Nike shop , not least because it's near the car-park. The main shop visited was Character Premiere , which was exclusively Disney products from toys to clothing to souvenirs. This is a treasure trove!!! We picked up virtually every present for kids back home , and everything was half-price, but better still everything was current stock. Take my word on this , visit this place for your Disney pressies , you will not be disappointed!! I didn't take any persuading to spend money here, the old chestnut of " Guess how much I saved " definitely applies here. We ambled
round a few more shops and had a drink outside of the Food Court...no need for food !
We were back in the villa for 3 p.m. and flopped around the pool for a while, before forcing a pizza down our necks for early dinner.
We'd arranged to meet Steve and co. at 8.30 p.m. by the booking office in the Yacht & Beach Club....we thought it appropriate to see our respective families before jumping on our pontoon for Illuminations 2000. I expected to have problems getting into the Y&B Club , but on arriving there at 8 p.m. we were waved straight in . Parking proved easy , surprisingly enough , and we were only 25 yards from the entrance! Once we entered the Yacht Club my jaw dropped , this is some serious hotel!!!!!! There were Christmas trees in the foyer , a guy reading stories to a group of kids , the whole 10 yards!! If you've stayed there , I envy you....most impressive. I almost wish I'd worn a collar and tie.....
We passed straight through to the Boardwalk, and by now my jaw was hurting, it kept hitting the ground so often......the pool areas are done out like little beaches and coves along with a shipwreck, bridges ...you name it , it's there!!! Everybody decided there and then this is the place to stop when we win the lottery , and I think I'd need to win the lottery to afford to stay there!
By now we ( well, me ) were beginning to wonder what our new friends would look like , we hadn't swapped photos.....and I was getting visions of the TYPICAL AMERICAN TOURIST......you know what I mean, don't you!
Timorously, we approached the booking office and immediately heard a voice yell " Hey, is that you, Mike??"...and there was Steve!!! Relief flooded through my veins like beer on an all-inclusive holiday.....he was NORMAL !!! Straight over he came , shaking hands , hugging DW like a long lost friend and ruffling Callum's hair...poor Callum , it's hair -ruffling day! Then Christie appeared along with her 3 kids, Miriam, Gabe and Colin.......all 100% normal. At this point it hit me that they didn't know what to expect either...all parties seemed happy enough. As we'd agreed during our many discussions ( and with advice from this board ) we went to Beaches & Cream for hot chocolates for our trip....it was quite cool by now.
We hooked up with our pilot( his title ! )and after putting life-jackets on the kids,and wrapping ourselves in warm blankets we set off. It was just after 8.30 so Dave , our pilot, took us on a tour of the lagoon giving us info. on various bits 'n' pieces..I was too excited to listen!and DW and Christie were chattering away to one another as were all the kids.
Eventually , we arrived under the bridge in France and were subjected to jealous looks from the people on the bridge and surrounding area, you knew they were wondering who on earth we were!!! and how come we were in boats! There were 4 boats and we tethered ourselves together while Dave pointed out to us where the action would begin. He mentioned the wind was perfect for us , apparently if it's in the wrong direction you finish up in a smoke storm!! but not tonight!!! I was sat there , camcorder at the ready...then at exactly 9 p.m. it started, the thud of drums which quickened and built to a roar then BANG!!!! up went the first firework!!! followed by enough fireworks to make the sky as bright as daylight....you heard a collective gasp from everyone followed by Oohs and Aahs.....Some 5 minutes later it stopped , everyone started to clap then Dave said " hang on , the show 's just starting " He was right , the huge globe started to appear from the right hand side and work its way around while the music soared and the reflected pictures of the different continents played on the globe/world. Absolutely spell-binding, and just unbelievable to witness. Once the globe had finished its journey the fireworks kicked in again, even more spectacular than the first set if that was possible!!! To give you an idea of scale there were some trees in the foreground , which I estimated at 80 feet high...the fireworks dwarfed them , and must have gone 250 feet in the air!! The air was absolutely crackling and echoing to the sound of the display, the sound reverbrated throughout the park. Eventually the display stopped after a breath-taking finale, and applause rang out along with generous dollops of whooping and hollering!!! We were in the forefront of the whooping!!!! including all the kids.....
the whole event had lasted nearly 18 minutes from beginning to end....and it was all on tape.....BTW , I play the tape about 3 times a week even now and each time I get a lump in my throat!
Poor Dave tried to give us some more info on the way back to our mooring , but we were all far too hyper to listen to him ....all the superlatives were being thrown about to try and describe what we'd seen . Back at our mooring we jumped ashore and gave Dave a well-deserved tip for his valiant efforts!
The group of new found friends decided that another round of hot chocolate was in order to stave off the cool evening air, so off we went to Beaches & Cream again. The kids were hungry.....at 10 p.m.!!!...so we managed to grab a table for 9, and had supper. We further cemented our new relationship and admitted our worries to each other as to what we might have let ourselves into!!! Steve pointed out that he felt really privileged to have seen the Illuminations 2000, it was certainly the most spectacular fireworks display Disney had thrown ...and with the new changes about the pontoon bookings starting in 2001, it was something we wouldn't experience again....we all felt the same way!!!!
By the time we'd eaten and chatted about everything under the sun it was past midnight and the kids were all feeling the pace i.e. falling asleep! Reluctantly, we gathered our belongings and made our way to the foyer where we said our good-byes, promising to keep in touch, hugs and cuddles all round and then off we went . It had been a fantastic evening , and also very emotional...both with the Illuminations 2000 display and meeting Steve and his crew who had proved to be a really wonderful family.
The kids were exhausted and within 2 minutes of setting off home , they fell asleep...a perfect end to a perfect day..........
Tomorrow, IOA Part 2......Spiderman's revenge!!!!
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