Sunday 6th April 2008 The Cast: Me (Matt) 42, though young at heart! DW (Claire) 41, and ditto DS11 (Samuel), already a teenager! DS9 (Tommy), daredevil coaster rider! Oh well, so much for the attempt at a reasonable wake-up time. DW and I are awake at 4am, and spend an hour in the company of Central Florida News 13. Its all rather repetitive, and the Weather on the 1s every 10 minutes gets a bit depressing, what with all the rain forecast till at least Tuesday, but it keeps us occupied until the kids stir some time around 5am. Friday had been my birthday but, because it was a work and school day for all the family, wed decided to celebrate it today, so the kids give me a couple of badges to wear and we put up my cards that wed brought with us in the lounge. We have coffee and fruit juice, and more Weather on the 1s until we can take it no more and head out for breakfast at 6:30. Wed already decided yesterday that our first mornings breakfast would be Perkins, partly because we enjoyed our evening meal there last trip, but also because its pretty much right there at the top of Old Lake Wilson on the 192. Caroline is our server, and we have her undivided attention as were more or less the only ones there! Memories of our last trip are proved correct, and we all enjoy a lovely breakfast, as follows: Me: Meatlovers Scrambler DW: Egg Classic w/bacon DS11: Buttermilk Five DS9: Dollar Pancakes With drinks and tip, it all came to about $40. A very nice start to the day! Ive read numerous debates about where to go on the first morning but, for us, it just has to be MK so, fully breakfasted, off we head. Were there in plenty of time for park opening, and we head up to the counter at the Transportation & Ticket Centre to trade in our Virgin voucher for our tickets. The lady serving us doesnt mention my birthday, but she does ask me my first name and, when I tell her, she produces a Disney birthday badge with my name on it. A nice touch! The monorail takes us to MK entrance, where there is already a fair crowd gathering, but we find a nice spot ready to watch the opening. Just like last time, the kids are absolutely transfixed as the train arrives and Mickey & the gang welcome us to The Most Magical Place On Earth. It brings a lump to our throats watching them So, were in, and we head straight for Tomorrowland, pausing only for photos in Main Street with the Castle as a backdrop. Again, just like last time, Buzz Lightyear is first up, and I win (sometimes I just cant stop Competitive Dad from surfacing!), though DS9 runs me close. After grabbing Fastpasses for Space Mountain, Indy Speedway is next, and the kids want to drive their own cars, but DS9 needs help with the accelerator so I come to the rescue. DW is happy to sit out and take pics (the cough is no fun at all). Two new experiences for us are next, as a leisurely trip around the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority is followed by Stitchs Great Escape. The latter is great fun, though I think the kids are a little scared of the dark! By now, its Fastpass time, so we head for Space Mountain and walk straight on. Weve ridden this before, but I swear the ride is a lot longer this time (I know its not, but it certainly seems it). We all agree that its fantastic, and worth another visit later in the holiday. We walk through Mickeys Toon Town Fair to the train station and take a ride round to Adventureland, where we grab FPs for Splash Mountain and join the queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. My memories of BTMR are that it was all over a little too quickly but, just like Space Mountain, this time it seems to last a lot longer. I have the Camcorder in hand, but how it will come out is anyones guess! It's now FP time for Splash Mountain, and we recognise several people from BTMR so obviously a lot of others had the same idea as us. I get drenched in the back row as we go round by the boat ahead of us doing the big drop, but it's nothing compared to the two girls in the front row when we do the drop ourselves. When they turn to their parents in row 2 behind them, we can see the water literally running off of their noses! By now its lunchtime, and DWs feet are quite badly blistered from the Birkenstocks she had worn quite happily throughout last summer, but has put on for the first time this year today. We visit a First Aid station, where she is given some plasters, and then we find a stall selling the dreaded Crocs! I have always hated these things, but DW is finding them a Godsend, so they cant be all bad. We decide that lunch at the Plaza is needed, so we ask at the kiosk if they can fit us in. We are given a time of 1:45 (its now 12:40) so we wander off and browse the shops up and down Main Street for an hour. I buy a tee-shirt (I may well use these words a few more times throughout these reports). Our time slot approaches, and so we head for the Plaza, where we are quickly seated. The girls at the kiosk had made no mention of my birthday badge when we booked the table, but they had obviously clocked it, as our table has been sprinkled with pixie dust, which is a lovely touch. Our server is Gerald, and we order our food as follows: Me: Grilled Chicken Sandwich DW: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich Kids: Hamburger (one with cheese, one not) I then have the Plaza Sundae while the kids have ice cream and, whilst I am working my way through the Sundae, Gerald comes out with a cake with a candle on it, and he gets the whole restaurant to sing Happy Birthday to me. I have a very warm, glowy feeling, despite the ice cream, and the $60 including the tip that it all costs seems like a bargain. Its now raining again, so we head back down Main Street and into a couple more shops. In one, the Main Street Barber Shop Quartet (Dapper Dans?) are busy entertaining people and, when they spot my birthday badge, I get another rendition of that song. This feels like a nice way to end our first day in the parks, so we make our way back to the monorail and on to the TTC before setting off. The kids have money, and have come here determined to buy games for their Nintendo DSs, as they are considerably cheaper than back home. I also have birthday money to spend, and I have my eye on a razor that is £79.99 back home and $74 over here. Wal-mart out on the US27 doesnt let me down, though the kids come away gameless. We assure them that there will be plenty more opportunities for shopping, and they console themselves with masks and snorkels to use in the pool back at the Villa. We also buy a couple of extra inflatable toys for the pool, including a huge Shamu-like thing, before heading back to the Villa and unwinding for the rest of the day in front of Weather on the 1s before turning in, still faced with rain until Tuesday. Please can we sleep in a bit longer tomorrow!