Monday 7th 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! Well, we've obviously adjusted to the time difference now, as we don't wake up until 5am! We put the TV on, and the big news is that the rain that was forecast to be with us till at least Tuesday has all blown out over the Atlantic, and it is looking like it is going to be a very nice day! The kids don't surface till 6am - I wish I knew how they do it! We drag our heels around the Villa for 3/4 hour, as we've decided to have breakfast at Sizzler, and it doesn't open till 7. Sure enough, bang on 7 o'clock, we're practically banging on the door for them to open (we're not alone, there are another couple waiting, too, but at least they are sat in their car waiting for the guy to come and unlock the door. No such restraint here!) Once in, we pay the "cashier" (I think he's also the restaurant manager!) up front, as is the way with these buffet-type places. I feel a bit tight handing over a coupon for $1 off per adult, but they provide them, so why not use them? It all comes to $25. Now then, I have no idea what time the chefs come in and prepare the food, but it must be a bit of a time before opening because, although the cooked stuff is very tasty and well-cooked, it's also not overly hot, as though it's been stood a while. The fresh fruit, pastries and such like more than make up for this, though, and we leave having had a decent enough breakfast (not a patch on Perkins, mind). We also leave a few dollar bills on the table as a tip, though I'm not sure why, or even if it's the done thing at these buffets. The waitress did bring out the drinks we'd ordered, but that was the only interaction we've had with the staff. It's MGM (sorry, Hollywood Studios!) this morning, heading straight for Rock'n'Roller Coaster (which we missed last time round) and Tower of Terror (which we loved last time). We decide to grab FPs for R&RC as well as queuing for it, with the intention of queuing for ToT in between. We join the queue, which turns out to be about 15 minutes, and we're in. Well, what can I say? This has to be quite simply the best ride Disney has. I (and the kids) absolutely love it, and cannot wait for FP time to come round. DW, on the other hand, appears to have turned a funny shade of green, and it's with a certain trepidation that she joins us in the queue for ToT. By the time this is done (did they only have seatbelts two years ago? We remember it being a lap bar) DW is adamant that there is no way she is getting back on R&RC, and the kids are coming out in sympathy, so we decide to forego our FPs, handing them to a very grateful couple who are about to join the queue for the machines. Having done the "big two", we head back down Hollywood Boulevard, in and out of the shops (I buy a tee-shirt - see, I told you!), before heading for the boat outside the park exit. We take a leisurely cruise past the Swan & Dolphin (still as ugly as ever), Yacht & Beach Club (more on that in a later report), Boardwalk, and finally to Epcot. Our intention here is also to ride our "big two" again, being Test Track and Mission:Space. Bearing in mind that it is still before lunch at this point, the FP time on TT is already showing as 5:40-6:40, and the standby queue time is 90 minutes. We decide to go and check out the timings for M:S, and the standby time here is only 30 minutes, so we join the queue. After 30 minutes of hardly moving anywhere, a CM appears and apologises for the delays, but one of the "pods" has apparently broken down so the wait time is a lot longer. Because we're here for a fortnight, and have a 14-day pass for Disney, we give up at this point, and go out for a drive instead. We go and cover some old ground, coming out past DTD to Crossroads, and left onto the 535, up past the hotel we stayed in last time (Staybridge Suites, but then you knew that from our signature, right?!). As it's now around 1-ish, we decide to have lunch, and there is a Chili's near here which DW had really wanted to try last time, so in we go. Aaron is our server and we order our food: Me: Bacon Cheeseburger DW: Chicken Fajitas DS11: Cheese Pizza DS9: Cheeseburger DW's chicken stuff comes out on a sizzling skillet, much like chicken tikka in an Indian restaurant and, although I don't go in for that sort of thing, I can quite see that it is right up her street. My burger is very tasty, too, and I don't see much left on the kids plates (even the extra side of fries Aaron brought out by mistake and left with us anyway are all eaten up). With tip and drinks, it all comes to $40, which is very nice indeed. We now head back to DTD for a wander round, and discover our first unexpected MAJOR low. Ghirardelli's is closed. AAAAAAAAGGHHHH!!!! It'a all boarded up with signs apologising for their appearance during refurb. We'd seen somewhere that Ghirardelli Soda Fountain was closed, but we hadn't realised that this meant the whole ice cream parlour. BOO HOO HOO!!! This was one of the things we had been really looking forward to. I mean, REALLY looking forward to. I manage to console myself by buying a tee-shirt, and the kids are happy because the Virgin Megastore has just about all of the games they had hoped to buy, so all is not lost. Back to the Villa now for a swim, and to try out the masks and snorkels the kids bought yesterday. DS11 picks up snorkelling very quickly, but DS9 seems to have breathed in half the contents of the pool! He gets the hang of it in the end, though! By about 6 o'clock, we decide that, despite having had two cooked meals today, we're going to go out for a bite to eat at IHOP. I don't manage to catch our server's name, though she is very good, especially with the kids, and the food is very nice, but we can't help but think that the place is a bit of a let-down. It looks somehow tired, if that makes sense. Very drab, and just a big open room with no character. Food is as follows: Me: Strawberry Banana French Toast DW: Strawberry Banana Pancakes DS11: Pancakes w/egg & bacon DS9: Make-a-Face Pancakes It comes to $30 with the tip, so I suppose we shouldn't grumble too much! That's about it for today - nothing more except unwinding in front of the TV and off to bed to prepare for another day, and the coming of Nanny!