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Old 10-15-2009, 06:22 PM   #16
clearskies
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Missus Toad,
Thank you. The photo of the boat headed to the GF with the yellow flag and the picture of the beach with the Poly in the background are 2 of my favorites.

I was a little concerned about my nephew at first but I saw him smiling so it was all good.

Lizziejean and vettegirl,
Thank you so much for your comments and joining in!!!
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Old 10-15-2009, 06:29 PM   #17
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Day 3 – Sat 8/29 - Rope Drop Til We Drop (part 1)

We are not a Rope drop family. We may aspire to be a rope drop family (ok perhaps I aspire not we) but we can't seem to get up and going quite early enough to be there before opening. Just once I wanted to see what this phenomenon was all about. Today was the day. Today we join this special breed of individuals. We will attempt to join the elite class of rope drop members. I was not quite sure we were going to be allowed in the club but we were going to try. I picked this day because it was a Saturday at Magic Kingdom and a Spectro Day so I figured the crowds could be a little higher. We were going to get that extra edge that others in our newly joined club experienced as they laugh at the people in their long lines later in the day. Little did we know that we were also going to be tired and cranky by the late afternoon but I am getting ahead of ourselves.

I got the family up early. There would be no breakfast at the food court today. The kids would eat in the room some cereal and milk and some fruit I bought the day before. I kept the milk in a cooler bag with ice in case you were wondering. Through some minor miracle we were somehow leaving the room at about 8AM. We were actually on the move earlier than I ever imagined. Shortly after 8AM we were walking out the doors of the Pop lobby to the bus stops and we saw a bus already sitting at the stop. Our good fortune was starting already. We turned up an extra gear and sprinted to the bus. We walked on and I had to do a double take. The bus was packed and we barely fit. Who the heck are all these people? This is insane. Don't they realize how early it is?

When we got to the park we made it past the security checks and ticketing area I went to go get a locker for my tripod while the rest of the family lined up. The crowd was actually not actually that large. Where did everyone on the bus go? There had to be busloads of people from other resorts as well. It occurred to me that they were probably getting in early for breakfast reservations. Boy that seemed like a lot of people that must have had breakfast reservations. While we were waiting for the opening, I took a couple of pics but I noticed something bizarre in the sky today. It had a strange color that I was not familiar with so far this trip. The sky was actually blue instead of the gray cloudy skies we were getting accustomed to.










While waiting for the ceremony to start I struck up a conversation with the Photopass photographer who was waiting to capture the event. What a great job to have and she truly seemed to enjoy working there. We watched the ceremony and the lucky family that opened the park.





Though the ceremony was nice it certainly did not instill in me the desire to get up early in the future just to see this. It is really the empty park that is the draw. This ceremony is just an added perk to entertain us before we get to business. We joined the flow of people streaming in and I am pleased to say that we did not experience the mad rush of people that I was half dreading. No pushing, shoving or fear of trampling like the day after Thanksgiving at Walmart on this day. We were not rushing to be one of the first out of the starting gate either though. Perhaps at the head of the field there is more action going on. Once we got in, we were not going to stop for pictures. We rope drop people have an agenda and it doesn't involve stopping for pictures. It's in the charter of our club that we don't attend to such foolishness when you can get a picture any time of the day. I told the family to head over to Dumbo and I would catch up after I got Fast Passes for Splash. I can walk a lot quicker than they do. Along the way I saw Frontier Donald all alone. Fellow members of the club will have to excuse me. I had to stop for a few seconds and take a picture of him. He needed some love.





I got our FPs and made my way over and joined my family just as they were getting on line for Dumbo.



After Dumbo, we had to hit Peter Pan while the line was still small. Little did I realize this was soon to be my nemesis. I was truly not ready for what was awaiting me. It is very dark and you are moving quickly so you need a fast shutter speed to get a decent photo. I foolishly thought I would try my zoom lens on the ride. Bad idea. After a nice collection of blurry pictures the ride spit me out at the end laughing at me and told me to come back when I know what I am doing. I realize I will have to improve my game the next time I attempt this. I'll be back again later in the week and I'll be ready for it with a more suitable lens and then we'll see who's laughing (or perhaps crying).

I was ready for some Pooh next (the ride that is, not, well never mind) but my wife asked to ride Snow White first. Um, you sure, well ok if you really want to we can. Could you tell that Snow white is not a ride that excites me? There was not much of a line so I succumbed. After this we made our way over to see the Silly Old Bear in the Hundred Acre Woods.










After we get our Pooh out of the way I checked my watch and it was about 9:45. Ugh, my daughter is going to want be part of this mad craze to see the fairies and the extra time at Snow White threw us off. We better hightail it over to Toontown pronto. As we are walking over, we can see that they already started to let people in. That is bad news we are going to be in for a wait. We got on the line and the CM told us it would be about an hour. Tell me it's not so, an hour of my precious non-crowded park time! The line is not going to get any better later in the day so we settle in. As it turns out it took only about 45 minutes before we were being shrunken down to a tiny size to see the fairies. The process was quite painless I assure you. The CM who let us in told us who we were seeing. The only fairy I know is Tinkerbell. She said the names of the others but it went in one ear and out the other. They were all very nice though and they interacted well with the kids and had great smiles. The CMs there were good about taking pictures with my camera of the entire family as well. Overall, I think it was almost worth the wait but hopefully it is an item we can scratch off the list and not need on future trips unless the hysteria dies down around this.

Here is who we saw













After we were done I asked the CM if we could keep the kids small. They would be much easier to bring around the park if they were fairy size and we could get an extra ride on FP attractions since they could ride in our pockets. Alas, the CM said we all had to go back to our rightful size. Again it was remarkably painless.

Since we were in the area we took a quick tour of Minnie and Mickey’s digs. I love the attention to detail in these houses.









I love the book titles


After getting out we saw the train at the station and hightailed it over and got on. We rode it around to Frontierland to get to the best ride in the Park...

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Old 10-15-2009, 07:29 PM   #18
Missus Toad
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Hilarious update-- love the rope drop narration! I also got acquainted with the time vampire that is the fairy meet and greet the last time we made rope drop.

I never noticed what the lettering on the train station window said-- thanks for the closeup! The pics of the clock were cool. Also loved the detail shots in Toontown. The keys and the checker board were especially nice.

Can't wait to see what comes of your second go at Peter Pan! I can almost hear Hook in your "voice" as you vow comeuppance for the ride.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:59 AM   #19
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Thank you again Missus Toad,

Quote:
I also got acquainted with the time vampire that is the fairy meet and greet the last time we made rope drop.
LOL "time vampire" I love that description. What an apt description.

Oh that Peter Pan ride is evil incarnate.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:03 PM   #20
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Day 3 - Sat 8/29 - Rope Drop Til We Drop (Part 2)

We left off on our way to Frontierland. Taking a load off and taking the train from Toontown to Frontierland was a great idea. Our feet were thanking us profusely.

When we got off we were ready for..


Before getting on the Fast Pass return line though, I went to get Fast Passes for the "Wildest Ride in the Wilderness". When I got back I found that our daughter decided she was not going on Splash. I know she will like it but the drop has her scared and I can certainly understand the fear. I'm a big chicken myself and I was scared of big drops when I was younger. Ok, perhaps even a bit now as well but the Splash Drop does not seem that bad to me now. I will never force my kids to go on to a ride though and I just don't understand parents who bring miserable or crying kids on rides. Can either of them really enjoy the experience when this happens? We do try to convince her to give it a shot but she wants no part of this so we decided to take turns. At least my son got to ride twice. I got some good pictures during my turn.















When my son and I got off my wife said my daughter was getting hungry. I had already formulated a plan so I was ready to spring into action. Off my daughter and I went while my wife and son hit Splash. There is really nothing in Frontierland that excites me for food so we walked to Columbia Harbor House. I picked up a tuna sandwich and some chicken and fish lunches to go. Perhaps my plan should have been thought out better though. I should have at least had the foresight to tell my wife to bring her backpack with her on the ride because carrying my camera backpack, her backpack, a bunch of lunches with desserts and drinks across the park made Frontierland become Adventureland for me because it was an adventure in itself to make it back without depositing some of the food on the ground. My daughter helped but it was still not easy. We somehow made it back without losing our lunch and my wife and son were already waiting for us. I said "let’s go we are going to have a picnic" and I told them to follow me. Well, first I lightened my load and then I said follow me. This will give you a clue where we went.



Tom Sawyer's Island is a place we had never made our way to in past trips. I just didn't think this was worth my precious park time in the past. After we rafted over we found a nice spot with some seats near the water and ate. I sat in a rocking chair and my wife and kids sat in some seats at a table with a checkerboard. It was a great, quiet spot away from the fray. I must say, I had heard good things about the Tuna from CHH and was skeptical but this was one darned good sandwich especially considering the fact that I am not a big tuna fan. The food not the football coach but come to think of it I am not a fan of that Big Tuna either after he left the Jets. After eating we explored the island and the kids really enjoyed this area. I am sorry we waited until this trip to make it over there because I think that soon my kids will be too old to be interested. They are still adventurous enough now though to really enjoy exploring the island. The kids especially loved the mines and caves.





We had seen most of the island except a fort that was there. I decided to let the rest of the family go explore while made it back to civilization to get FP for the Jungle Cruise. Yes, I can't get enough of walking from one area of the park to another. I made it back before their raft came in so while waiting I struck up a conversation with one of the CMs there. Once again I found myself talking to someone who was very happy working at Disney. I must say I have seen people write about CMs that are not happy and how it comes across with their service but all the CMs I came across seemed to be happy and I can't say I experienced any unfriendly service during my trip. Slow service in some cases yes but never any poor attitudes.

After their raft came in we used our FPs for the BTMRR



My kids loved it. It has no big drops to scare my daughter. It is a great ride for people who like moderate thrills. It only has small hills and fast paced turns. My daughter actually insisted we ride again. We were happy to oblige since the wait was only 10 min. I tried to capture the moment but I did not quite get what I was hoping for.



My son wanted to take a ride on the Doom Buggies next. This is another tough ride to photograph but I got much better results than that other cruel ride. The pictures I took later in the week came out better though so I will hold off from showing pictures now except for one of the bride which I think came out great. She's a doll isn't she?




After HM I asked if they wanted to check out Hall of Presidents. This is yet another attraction we were breaking new ground with. While waiting, I once again demonstrated my ability to perform acts of stupidity. First let me explain that I wear contacts. My eye was itching a bit so I found myself somewhat reflexively rubbing my eye which is not a bright thing to do when you wear contacts. In the process I happened to shift one of my contacts to the far reaches of my eye and it was so excited to travel to new places that it wanted no part in coming back to its rightful place. I've done this brilliant move before and usually I will take the other contact out and wear glasses until I can get the escaped runaway back out. That was not going to happen here though unless we left the park and headed back to the resort. Instead, I resigned to having half sight for the rest of the day. I had a feeling this was going to give me a headache later though. It's not fun seeing clearly out of one eye and complete blur on the other. To make things worse the bad eye happened to be the eye that I use to look through the camera with when taking pictures. I tried switching that around but you can't teach this old dog new tricks. Thus, I also resigned to the fact that I was not going to be able to tell if any of my subjects were in focus for the rest of the day.

Here are a couple of pics I have from the show.








There was one audience member hooting and hollering for the presidents. All except George Bush that is. He did not get a warm reception at all from this person. Um, you do realize they are not real right and they can't really hear you. I actually don't mind a little enthusiasm from the audience but this was a little extreme and became distracting after a while. I was probably bothered by the eye thing so I was not in the best frame of mind either. I'd have to say that this attraction did not get classified as a must do. We scratched it off of our list of attractions we had never done and moved on. For inquiring minds that want to know there are only now only 3 attractions left that we have never experienced: 1. Country Bear Jamboree 2. Liberty Belle 3. Astro Orbiter. We never really had the desire to see the Country Bears. The Liberty Belle does not seem like anything special and my kids have not too afraid of the Astro Orbiter which is fine by me since the line moves slowly.

Next we decided to use our FP for the Jungle Cruise. It was about 3PM at this time. I had read somewhere that Adventureland empties out during the parade time and boy this seemed to have some truth to it. We did not need our fast Passes at all for this attraction. The ride was ok but I have had better skippers and this ride is all about the skipper. I must say the poor guy was not helped by the fact that the people on the boat were almost as dead as what we saw at the haunted mansion. My wife and I tried to assist by laughing at his jokes but more help was needed. My contact was still on holiday so I did not take many photos but I did like this picture.





After we were done with JC we started to make our way to Pirates when we saw my SIL's family sitting on a bench. We sat down with them and caught up. They arrived around noon time (boy I am glad we did not wait for them) and had hit Tomorrowland first. They were now sitting waiting for their FP return time for JC. We told them there was no wait on standby but they still wanted to relax for a bit and wait. We were going to opposite areas of the park so we decided we would keep going our separate ways and meet at Dinner.

The wait was only about 10 min for Pirates. Note that this ride is difficult enough to photograph when you can actually see.







After we got off, my wife suggested we go a second time around. I was all for it. I could sit on the other side of the boat and take some blurry pictures from that side as well. On the second go around I ran into yet another problem. My memory card reached its limit and I had to fumble in the dark to dig into my camera bag and get a new card. A lesson learned here is to check before you get on a ride or a show if you are reaching capacity and keep an extra card in your pocket that you can access easily. I don't expect me to learn this but perhaps you may learn from my mistakes. I eventually got my camera operational again and then something good finally happened. My wandering contact lens decided it wanted to see Johnny Depp and it came back down to its home to see what was going on. Finally I could see what I was shooting. Here are some more pics:












My kids got the bug in them to go to Tomorrowland after talking with their cousins which was fine since that was the last land we had not reached. I'll tell you my son absolutely loves Buzz. I think it is his favorite ride in the park. So, after POC they wanted no part of the Tiki Room or the Aladdin ride and no, the Treehouse wasn't even on the table. It was off to Tomorrowland for us.

Last edited by clearskies; 10-17-2009 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:46 PM   #21
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Day 3 - Sat 8/29 - Rope Drop Til We Drop (part 3)

We were on our way to see our favorite Galactic Hero but my wife asked if we could stop for some laughs with Mike Wazowski first. She loves the Monsters Inc characters. We did our part to help fill up the container during the show. Hmm. that sentence sounds kinda strange. I guess you have to have experienced the show to understand. Mike needs to fill a container based on the audience laughter.

For some reason I had put a my photography on hiatus so I don't have anything to show here.

We got off and we headed to Infinity and Beyond. I had grabbed FPs earlier but it was not really needed. The ride was basically a walk on. This meant we had to take at least 3 spins around. My competition on this ride is my wife. She will not admit it but she is the competitive one. On Buzz, I am no expert but I am the leader of the pack in our family. One again I outscored the rest of the field this day. Oh, she'll make up for it later in the trip and teach me who's really boss when we get to TSM but the Space Ranger Spin didn't let me down.





After Buzz I wanted to make it back to finish up Fantasyland before we stopped for Dinner. You can't spend an entire day at Magic Kingdom and not see the best 3D experience in all of Disney. I don't think our family will ever tire of Philharmagic.

We were going to hit Small World next but something was not right. The wait was 30 minutes. They may claim it is the "happiest cruise that ever sailed" but if I am waiting more than 10 or 15 min for this ride there will be a lot of grumbling.

It soon became evident that we were getting tired and cranky. It was hot, my kids were fighting with each other and I was getting irritated after getting asked for the 5th time where we were eating dinner that night. It was about 5:30 PM and even though it was not that late we had a long tiring day. This was not going to work. I decided we needed to find a cool place to go sit down, get some drinks and relax for a bit. We needed to put the brakes on running around from one attraction to the next. So, we stopped at Columbia Harbor House and just sat to unwind. We had 6:30 reservations at Crystal Palace and I figured we were done for the day with attractions until possibly after dinner and we were just going to take it slow until then. We sat with some beverages in the AC and it certainly did me some good. After sitting for a while my son wanted to look at a gift shop so we headed over and browsed for a bit as we slowly made our way over to Crystal Palace. We ended up checking in 15 min early at CP and sat on the porch waiting. Luckily we got some seats on the bench. I decided to head to the locker to get my tripod out since after Dinner I wanted to get shots of the castle and wishes. I took a couple of photos on the way back on Main St.






I got back and my son was sitting with my wife and he was crying. On no, now what's going on. He had a headache and was not feeling well. This brought back a flood of bad memories from our last trip when he had a meltdown on our day at MK and spent dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern crying and miserable. I think he just gets over stimulated at MK and we pushed too much at him for one day. I decided then and there that we need to take it slower for the rest of the trip otherwise we are all going to be miserable. Sadly, as it turns out, I don't think we were cut out to be members of the elite rope drop club after all. It was a valiant effort on our part and I am proud of the family forgiving it the old college try but it does not seem right for us.

We got called in to the restaurant and my son was still not well. He sat wit his head down on the chair with me until a Chef came by to run me through the buffet to tell me what I can and can't eat. When I got back to the table I found that I missed Piglet. I had left my camera at the table and all you had to do was press the shutter button but no one tried to take any pictures so I was a bit disappointed. I sat with my son a while longer as my wife went to get some food for him and herself. My wife came back and he started to eat so I finally had a chance to get some food. However, while waiting on line my wife came by to tell me that Pooh was coming. Throwing around the word Pooh at a buffet doesn't sound quite right but at the Crystal Palace you can get away with it. Once again my food would wait as I headed back to the table and got some pictures. By now my son was starting to at least be in a better state of mind. I think eating helped. Now if I could only get some myself. Finally I was able to make my way through the buffet line and sit down to eat. Tigger came around and saw my son was wearing a Tigger shirt. Tigger made a big deal of it and I was so grateful to see my son smiling again. Thank you Tigger!



My quick review of Crystal Palace is that I would rank it as #2 of the 4 buffets that we ate at this trip. Most of the food was good. Not outstanding but good. There were a couple things I did really enjoy though.

After Dinner my wife said that she was going to take the kids back to Pop to rest and I should stay to take pics. I am very lucky since she is very good that way. I think she was pretty much done for the day herself so she was not sorry about leaving. In my grand plans I was going to have my son help photograph wishes with me but after all that has occurred it seemed best to get the kids back to the resort to rest. So, we went our separate ways and I headed over to Main street while the rest of the family headed back. I had a great spot next to a garbage can and I was going to get ready to set up my tripod for some castle pics when a came to a terrible realization. There is a
connector plate that I need in order to attach my camera to the tripod and it has gone AWOL. It should have been either on my camera or in my pocket. I had left it on the camera but earlier in the day I took it off so that I could use a monopod. Now it was nowhere to be found. I checked through all my pockets about 5 times. One would think after 2 times it is not going to show up but I kept checking as if it was going to magically appear. Ok, if it is not there it must be in my camera bag. I went though every compartment in the bag at least 5 times as well. Nothing. Now, I do have another device called a gorrillapod which I can use propped up on the top of the garbage can but my camera is a little too heavy for it and it is painful to adjust. Since you may not know what I am talking about here is a picture of the gorillapod.



I have used this in the past but when I did it was with my tripod head so that I could adjust it easier. This was not going to happen without my escaped plate. I figured I would try without the tripod head and I played around with the gorillapad for a bit while waiting for Spectro and took some pics. I was hoping for nicer late day skies. Last trip I was lucky to catch some beautiful skies at dusk with the castle but it was not to be this trip. Here are a couple pics I took.





While taking pictures I decided this gorillapod setup was just not going to work for me once Wishes started. It was too frustrating trying to make adjustments without a tripod head. so I decided I would stay and take pictures of Spectro and then move on. One would not typically use a tripod for Spectro so I was at least good to go for that.

Spectro is one awesome parade. I think it is the best parade they have in WDW with the possible exception of their special ticketed event parades which I had never seen before. I was going to catch the MNSSHP parade later in the week though so we'll see what that was like later in the trip.

I took this just before the parade started.


Now for the parade. Sorry if this is too many pictures for you but I do love this parade.


























I am going to hit my limit for posting pics so I will finish the post-Spectro portion of the night in the next post...

Last edited by clearskies; 10-23-2009 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:48 PM   #22
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Day 3 - Sat 8/29 - Rope Drop Til We Drop (part 4)

After Spectro I decided to head to the camera shop on main street to see if they sell any tripod heads. Talk about wishful thinking. When I got in I realized this was going to be fruitless but I asked a CM there anyway. No sir, we don't sell anything like that. I got out of the store and since I didn't already check my pockets and camera bag enough already I went through everything a couple more times. It was a goner. I can deal with missing wishes pictures tonight since I figure I will be back in the week but not being able to use my tripod for the trip was just not going to fly. I figure I am going to have to go out shopping over the next couple of days.

Since I was not going to attempt to photograph wishes from Main Street I decided to get away from the crowds and head to other lands. I stopped in tomorrow land first and took a picture




Then I made my way over to Fantasyland. I have a picture of this later in the trip that I think I like better but here is the teacups.




By the time I was in Fantasyland Wishes had started and I decided to just sit there and enjoy watching. This is an awesome place to watch the show if you want to get away from the crowds. It was quite empty. It is still not the same to me without the castle in front but it was still a great show. I eventually decided I may as well take out the gorillapod and take some pictures. Since I did not have to keep adjusting to avoid people's heads I could be more patient with it. I propped it up on a garbage can and took these.










After wishes was done I was done also. I decided to head back to Pop. On the way out I took a couple more pictures.






I got back to the Pop and was too tired to do much besides download my photos and charge my batteries. Then I went to sleep to charge my own batteries. I was excited about our next day at AK. We had a special event planned.

Last edited by clearskies; 10-17-2009 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:24 PM   #23
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Subscribed! Beautiful pictures! I'm loving your trip report!!
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:42 PM   #24
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I'm loving your pictures!!!! Makes me want to go back NOW!
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:08 PM   #25
Missus Toad
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Whoa, that was some update!

I know what you mean about the happy CMs-- I've only encountered one who was not happy with his job and he came out and said so. It was the strangest conversation ever, and it was with a monorail driver! During our May trip, we rode up front just about every chance we got, and uniformly, every driver was thrilled with his work. They just raved about it and you could see that they meant it. Then we met Grumpy. An older guy who was a straight up crank without an ounce of pixie dust in him. And it wasn't just a bad day because later in the week we got him again and he was still sour. We still laugh about him because he was such an odd duck.

So many great ride photos this go round, I don't know where to begin. Top three: the elephant, the Injun Joe sign, and teacups (can't wait for the other photo you like better).

The Spectro pics were awesome and the Wishes shots were great, especially for not having a fully functional tripod. I found that Fantasyland was a fun place to watch the show, but after a while I got tired of looking back and forth from the castle to behind Pinocchio's. I think the hub, crowded as it is does have its advantages as far as that goes.

Oh, and loved the saga of the contact lens-- too funny!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:06 PM   #26
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jjzmgailey,
Thank you. I am thrilled to have more people interested. I have some great picture still to show. I hope you hang in with me.

SingLikeAriel,
I appreciate your comments as well. I know what you mean. I am ready to go back again and it has only been a month for me

and My Friend MissusToad
You and I have similar tastes when you point our your favorite pictures.
I totally agree on watching Wishes from Main Street. It is not the same without the castle in front. I have some more Spectro pictures coming up that I really like because I had a better vantage point. I hope you like them as well.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:12 PM   #27
clearskies
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Day 4 - Sun 8/30 - Less that 5 minutes??? (part1)

Day 4 was going to be an exciting day. We have plans for something that many people aren't lucky enough to experience. We have a Grand Gathering Safari Dinner planned. We are going to get a slower and more informative tour of the Animal Kingdom safari. This is going to be so much better than the fly by shooting we are used to. Instead of being jerked around in my seat as I try fruitlessly to get pictures of animals as we bounce along the safari road I am going to have the opportunity to get some stellar pictures. The ride usually involves me putting one of my big white lenses on my camera to get it nice and heavy so that it hurts more when I bounce it into my face and we bump along our way. My eye socket will be so much more grateful after the Grand Gathering Safari event. It's also going to be late in the day so more animals are going to be out strutting their stuff. Well, these were at least all my thoughts when I woke up that day. We'll see what the reality was as we get into the day.

I was not going to rush to get anyone up early today. No need for a repeat performance of yesterday's show. I let everyone get up on their own terms. By the time we are up and ready to go it was a little after 9AM. Not too bad. We checked on our next door neighbors. My SIL and BIL were not ready to rumble yet but their kids were raring to go so we took them ahead with us and my SIL and BIL will catch up later. We make it to the park at about 9:45AM.



Since we were not rushing I stopped to take some pictures of the Tree of Life.





I wanted to hit the safari first. We'll be able to compare the experience that most people are constrained to endure to our special safari later. I tell my Wife to take the kids and I will meet them at the KS entrance while I go get FP for Expedition Everest. This central Fast Pass system near the tree of life is the best. I was able to get the FPs and make it over to the Safari in no time flat. Then I waited, and waited, and waited. I called my wife's cell phone but no answer there. She is just horrible with her cell phone but I have become accustomed to this. Her cell phone seems to only be a means for her to contact me not the other way around. I finally got a call but it was my SIL. They were in the park now. Wow much quicker that I thought. I told them to head on over to the safari and we'll wait for them (whenever the rest of our crew comes). Eventually I see my stragglers walking up. They have some drinks in hand. Apparently there was need of bathroom breaks and a refreshment stop. That's all good we are not rushing today. Then we see my BIL and SIL and we are all accounted for so we head in.

Here are some pics from this standard safari.













Unfortunately the lion is sleeping. I am hoping he is going to be putting on a better show later in the evening



After the safari, we decide to walk through the Pangani Forest trail. First I wanted to get a picture of the waterfall. This is where the scariest part of our trip occurred. Actually, make that the second scariest. We'll get to the scariest later in the trip. I took out that gorillapod (we talked about that contraption in Day3) and I attached it to my camera and proceeded to wrap it around a fence post. I was trying to get it stable when my son came by with my other camera which I gave to him to use on the safari. He didn't want to carry it around anymore and wanted to give it back. I told him to please hold it and I will get it later but he was done carrying it around and wanted to get rid of it. So I stupidly turned from what I was doing to get the camera from him when I heard a thud. My heart dropped because I knew what it was. My precious 5DMarkII camera that I was trying to set up using the gorillapod fell from the fence post down to the path. To make it worse, it had my favorite lens on it which also happens to be one my most expensive lenses. I got angry and told my son to go to his mom and move ahead and I'll catch up with him later. Then I thought better and walked over and told him it was not his fault and that I should have know better and I was not angry with him but at myself. This was so reminiscent of earlier in the summer. We were fortunate to be able to take a trip to Utah at the end of June. My son had one of my old camera bodies and at the time I had given him this same lens. On one of the trails in Arches National Park he was not wearing the camera strap around his neck (which is my number one rule for him) and he dropped the camera on the trail. The lens was shot for the rest of the trip. The glass was Ok but it had a filter on it that smashed and the filter threads were damaged on the main lens so it was done for the trip. The canon service center and I are going to be on a first name basis. I am in disbelief that this is happening again. I proceeded to pick up the camera and looked it over. The body did get some scratched up a fair amount up in one corner. The lens seemed to be ok. I played around with it for a while and it seemed to be working ok. I took a couple of pictures and everything seemed functional. Wow, it looked like there was no serious damage this time. I was extremely fortunate.

By the way, I highly recommend Utah or that area of the country if you want to be treated with breathtaking scenery. It is a photographers dream. The skies are also amazing unlike the August skies in Florida. Ok, this portion of the trip report was brought to you by the Utah Board of Tourism. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

So, here is the pic I was trying to get before my near tragedy.




We then proceeded through the rest of the trail.













This guy did not want to be social today



After this, the crew is starting to get hungry already. It was not quite 11:30 but if they wanted to stop to eat I was ok with it. There is really only one CS choice for us at AK and that of course is the Flame Tree. My plan was to head to Flame Tree, get the food to go and bring it to Pizzafari were we can sit in the AC to eat. I tell the others I will go ahead and get FP for Kali and then meet them at the Flame Tree.

BIL: "Ok but how are we going to get food when you have all our tickets."
Me: "Don't worry, I'll be there before you get there"
Wife: "He speaks the truth"
and off I go.

I got the FP and was waiting at Flame Tree well before anyone else. I took a couple pics while waiting until my wife and SIL walked up. My BIL and the kids had already stopped at Pizzafari to sit and wait for the grub. We check out the menu but I already knew that I was getting. There is no other option, it has to be the ribs. There is no sauce on them so I can eat them and they are tasty. It is also a requirement that I get the onion rings. My cholesterol will probably double from this meal but hey it's vacation I am allowed to abuse my body. Last time we went I could get the rings as a snack credit but I was denied this time. No matter, they are still a must. The others get their orders in and we made our way over to the rest of our party.

It was nice to cool off and eat in Pizzafari. I had never been in there but I was impressed with the themeing.





After eating we were going to head to the Lion King but the next show was not playing for some time so instead it was time to get wet. One slight problem though, my SIL and BIL are not signing up for that. Getting wet was not on their agenda. Their kids were all for it though. So, on the way over I checked the schedule and saw that Flights of Wonder is starting in 30 min. Ok good, we'll take their kids and meet them in 30 min at the FOW show. I am not about to bring my camera out for this adventure. So sorry, I don't have anything to show you. We all had a great time on the ride and I stayed remarkably dry. The kids wanted another go at it but we had to get to the show so I told them I would grab more FP and we'll come back after the FOW show. We made it to the show just as it was starting. My SIL and BIL were in the back section so we joined them. I would have rather have been up closer to the stage but I guess I could not expect them to save seats for all of us so I understand why they are there. It is not really at an optimal place for pics though. I still enjoyed the show though. After the show you can make your way down for a closer look. Here are some of the stars of the show.












Next we are ready to Ride Kali again. Since SIL and BIL still want no part of it I directed them to Expedition Everest and we'll catch up after. This time we sat in the boat with another family all decked out in ponchos. You know how this story goes. The water gods keep them unscathed and they dumped all the water on us. Fortunately we had a change of clothes.

After Kali we meet up with SIL and BIL and asked how EE went. I have never been on this and I am determined to give it a try this trip. Remember, I am a big chicken. SIL says it was too intense for her and she threw up afterwards. Yikes, did you just say what I think you said!! Now, I am starting to get worried about this ride. She says she is not subjecting her kids to this and since her daughter is more of a thrill seeker than my kids I decide it is a no go for my kids as well. I am still going to brave it though with my wife. We send the crew off to the Boneyard while my wife and I head to find the Yeti. Sorry, there will be no photos on this either. This is my first time and I want the full experience. The ride was done in a flash. It was not actually as bad as I feared. It was pretty darned fast but I expected worse and the drops were not bad either. I actually did not mind going backwards either and I think it is easier than forward drops. I didn't think my kids would have fared well on this though so I am glad we did not take them.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:26 AM   #28
Missus Toad
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Oooh-- AK Day! We skipped AK on our May trip, so I'm especially enjoying your photos, and wow they are nice! Top 3 this round? The giraffes and big-horned things, the elephant (I just love the light on his fuzzy head), and the fish. There are some amazing bird shots though, and I love the texture of them. Oh, and that sweet rhino! The waterfall shot was also great, although I can imagine the panic that ensued with the dropped camera!

What is the central FP thing you referred to? Is this something new? I feel so out of it. I ask mainly because I am our family's designated FP runner too, and any info that saves a few hurried steps is gold. Glad you enjoyed EE!
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:04 PM   #29
clearskies
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Thank you again for your comments Missus Toad.

I love AK. Some people don't consider it full day park which is true if you are only interested in rides but if you take some time to explore the trails and attend the shows there is a lot to see. I only wish it did not close so early. It would also be great if they added some type of nighttime entertainment.

Of course I love taking pictures of the animals. BTW I believe the animals with the big horns on the safari are Watusi.

The central FP machine are a set of FP machines by the tree of life. Each machine will dispense FP tickets for one of the FP attractions in the park. Depending on where you happen to be at the moment it can save you a lot of time running around. The should put a set in every park.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:23 PM   #30
clearskies
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Day 4 - Sun 8/30 - Less that 5 minutes??? (part2)

After catching up with by BIL and SIL at the boneyard I tried to convince them to go to Dinosaur while we watched the kids. Actually our kids were off playing and we were just sitting by the entrance so we were really just watching other people's kids playing nearby not ours. Anyway, Dinosaur is one of my favorite rides in Disney World. Try as I might to convince BIL and SIL to go, they wanted to just sit and relax and watch other people's kids. I think the EE ride did them in and they were still recouperating. No need for all of us to sit and watch other people's kids so my wife and I headed over ourselves to catch an iguanodon. I figured it would be too scary for the kids so we left them playing in the Boneyard (Our kids as well as the ones we were watching). Now, I will whine like a ninny about Peter Pan being a tough Ride to photograph but that is somewhat because even though it is very difficult conditions I think that I should be able to achieve something decent. The problem there is that I am just too inept to capture it. When is comes to Dinosaur I have no pretense that I stand a chance. This ride is too dark, too fast and too jerky for me to think that I can come away with anything worthwhile. So, my Dinosaur pictures are limited to the outside of the ride.




After the ride it is time to see our favorite clownfish and friends. The Nemo show is top notch in my book. The way they incorporate the puppets is similar to the Lion King on Broadway. The Lion king is much more elaborate but for Theme Park entertainment I think Nemo is outstanding. As we were about to go in, my son asked for a snack. I asked the CM by the entrance if food was allowed and he said no. Then to my surprise he said if I go get something and put it in my backpack then no one will be the wiser. Huh, is he trying to trick me? This was an older CM also and not a young kid. I must say after talking to him more he was an extremely nice man. I sent the family ahead and went on my stealth mission to Dinoland in search of contraband. I looked around but there wasn't anything good for me to smuggle in. There was popcorn but I was not about to take that in. I was running out of time so I headed back empty handed and unsuccessful. I found my crew seated in the very last row of the main seating section. I related to my family that I am an utter failure but they forgave me. Now on to the show. I was a little bummed to be so far back but you can still see well and as it turned out I put on my 300mm gem of a lens and got some great shots.



















This is one of my favorites






As the show was ending we didn't waste any time to get out since we had to make it across the park to our favorite live show in WDW, the Lion King. We headed to Discovery Island and ran into a snag. The parade was going through. We started to navigate through the crowds but the kids wanted to get a better view of the parade. I checked my watch and we had some time to spare so we stopped to watch the parade go by. We were a little bit back in the crowd but I managed to get some good shots by balancing myself on the base of a light post. We had never seen this parade and I was glad that we stopped. I never really put this parade on my agenda but I came away thinking it was better than I expected it to be. I loved the colors in the parade. While tettering on the lightpost in between periods of falling off I fired off some good shots.






















We are off to the Lion King next...

Last edited by clearskies; 10-20-2009 at 11:00 PM.
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