Chapter 3: Magic doesnt work on Buses As is traditional, I slept extremely badly and was awake at the usual stupid oclock. It was really nice to have the lounge, where I could take my book and curl up on the sofa to read. Shortly after 5.30, I was joined by Sian and around 6 oclock, we decided to take an early morning walk and have a good nosey round the resort. First, we ventured down to the ground floor to the restaurant, Sanaa. It looked lovely and I noted a nice bar area which I was sure we would be able to make use of. We also found the library, which was very cosy; probably more so than the Iron Spike Room at VWL, simply because it was smaller and more intimate. We wandered out through the lobby and exited the main entrance, heading towards the pool area. It is worth noting that, although there was a sign on the gate to the pool area, saying you should use your room key to enter, the gate was never actually locked the whole time we were there. We had a good look at the pool, which did seem slightly small but the kids play area and the slide looked great. As we were coming down past the entrance to the childrens water play area, there were a couple of totem poles that sprayed water at us, completely unexpectedly, and we both screamed our heads off. There was something quite eerie about being in the pool area so early that morning; there was no-one around at all and it almost felt like we shouldnt be there. Coupled with the sound effects which appear to be played constantly throughout the day and night, it made for quite a spooky atmosphere. We arrived back at the room around 7 am and woke Rea. Daniel and Gary were still sleeping soundly so we decided to leave them for a while. I got showered and dressed, then woke Daniel. By this time Gary was awake but showing no signs of actually getting up. Knowing that he was well aware we had made arrangements to meet at 7.30, I decided to leave him for a while but when, at 7.20, he casually strolled into the bathroom to have a shave, I felt the need to ask why he wasnt being a little more hurried. Apparently, he didnt realise at all that we were leaving at 7.30 since nobody had told him. At this point, I felt it was sensible to leave him to just get on with it so I decided to pop down the corridor and tell Nat that we were running a little late. To his credit, when I returned to the room, Gary was showered and dressed. I took one look at him and realised he was wearing the exact same shorts as John. Nat and I obviously had discussed the wardrobe arrangements the previous evening, however it was fairly obvious the guys had not! I did consider briefly not telling him, as punishment for his tardiness, but decided against it so settled for Youre not planning on wearing those shorts, are you? He picked up on the hint pretty quickly and, realising his fashion faux-pas, sensibly decided to change. Finally, at 7.45, we were ready to leave. We hurried down to the bus stop and, as there is now a delay of at least 30 minutes before the next Magic Kingdom bus arrives, I have plenty of time to tell you my feelings on the transport arrangements at Kidani Village. I really feel that the bus stop area at Kidani is very poorly designed. There is only one very small waiting area and only room for one bus to pull up at a time. Not only does this mean masses of people waiting around in a small area but also complete chaos when a bus does eventually arrive. There was some building work going on to the side of the entrance at Kidani whilst we were there so I do hope that they are building a larger, more efficient, bus area. Two Epcot buses came and went, followed by Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney (Downtown Disney at 7.45 in the morning???) and two buses bound for Animal Kingdom. Finally, when we were losing all hope, at just after 8.10, a Magic Kingdom bus arrived. We waited a few minutes while they loaded an ECV, then tried to avoid the crush as all the other people who hadnt wanted the Epcot, Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios buses piled on, and eventually we were on our way. I have to give myself credit here for remaining remarkably calm while my best-laid plans crumbled around my ears. Still, there wasnt much we could do so remain calm I did. We arrived at Magic Kingdom around 8.35 and managed to get through the turnstiles relatively quickly. Daniel and I went on ahead to check in at Crystal Palace. No time this morning to stop and savour the beauty of the castle, to enjoy that early-morning Magic Kingdom smell, to skip down Main Street. I checked in and apologised profusely, then went to join the others and took the opportunity to get a group picture. The bus system was very frustrating that morning and although we felt we had left in plenty of time we were inevitably late for our ADR. It was a shame that we missed the photo ops on main street though. We were called in quite quickly, considering how late we were, and led to two tables at the left side of the restaurant. As a large party, you are warned, when making ADRs, that you may be split up but this was the one and only time this happened to us. It wasnt a major problem, though. We put the children at one table, together with Sian, and the rest of us sat at the other. Gary was beginning to look a little pale by now poor thing hadnt had his early morning fix so, when our server came round, we quickly ordered plenty of hot tea. He must have been suffering, though, as the rest of us were all on our second plates of food before Gary even managed to leave the table to visit the buffet. The characters visited our table, one by one, although we must have missed Winnie the Pooh as we never did see him. Tigger was particularly happy to see that Nat was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of him on the front. We paid the check and left the restaurant shortly after 9.30. Already behind the curve, we decided on a clockwise approach, starting in Adventureland. The boys couldnt resist the opportunity to get wet, courtesy of the spitting camel at Magic Carpets of Aladdin. First ride of the day was Pirates of the Caribbean. I did feel sorry for the couple sat in the back of our boat having to listen to nine rowdy Brits shouting Dead men tell no tales at the top of our voices. I blame John for winding us all up, he loves this ride! After Pirates, some of us took a restroom break while the others rode the Magic Carpets. Smart move Joh, its all high speed thrills on that ride lol Then it was off to Jungle Cruise you cant beat a few corny jokes and a well-rehearsed script Next, it was time to conquer two of the mountains! Splash was first on the list but not before we got some fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain. Some of you may recall that Daniel had not been keen on our last trip so it was hit and miss whether we would get him on it. However, we agreed that he would join the line with us and, if he got to the front and didnt want to ride, I would wait with him. Well, not only did he go on it this time but he absolutely loved it! We were very proud of him. Next, it was time for the wildest ride in the wilderness. Excellent! By now, it was almost 11 oclock and we had a date with a DISer. I have been chatting to Kathy (TigerKat) on the DIS now for a couple of years and, having realised we were both going to be in the World at the same time, we were finally getting the chance to meet. We hotfooted it over to Sleepy Hollow refreshments, where Kathy and her husband, Johnny, were there waiting. It was lovely to meet in person after all this time and we took the opportunity to get a couple of pictures together. Kathy and Johnny soon had to leave for lunch at The Wave so we said our goodbyes. Next stop for us was Haunted Mansion and another photo opportunity. On MNSSHP nights, the magic of Disney superimposes a picture of a ghost in the driving seat of this carriage personally, I dont think it could be much scarier than these three! To be honest, the Magic Kingdom really didnt seem to be very busy and so far we hadnt waited much longer than about 15 minutes for any ride. We decided to press on and next up was Daniels favourite ride (and, truth be told, Natalies too at least I assume thats why she has the tune as her ring tone) yes, it was time for Its a Small World. Unfortunately, there was no wait for this ride and we were straight on. Yes! Despite constantly being told that Daniel and I would be on our own everyone else decided to ride. After that harrowing experience, we all needed cheering up so it was off to Mickeys Philharmagic. By then we were in desperate need of liquid refreshment. Daniel had a hankering for a raspberry lemonade slushie so me, Nat and the girls went in search of slushies while the kids went on the Carousel. When we returned, there was still no line for the Carousel (surely unheard of at nearly 1 in the afternoon) so me, Nat and Rea decided to have a go. Ready to move on now, the boys decided to give Indie Speedway a go. On the way over, we met Alice so had to stop and make polite conversation. Since she was so nice, we agreed to pose for a picture with her. While the boys were on the Speedway, the girls sat and chilled out. And sat. And chilled. And sat some more. Eventually, the boys returned with Gary declaring that he was NOT going to be teaching Daniel to drive in a few years. John was lagging behind, having stopped at a stand to see if they had a Tuscan Raider Disney Racer for the son of a friend (hi Nicky). Unfortunately, they didnt have it but suggested somewhere else he might try. Little did we know, at this point, that this would be the start of the epic search for the Tuscan Raider. Although we had been sat down for a while, I desperately wanted to go on the TTA so off we went. I was extremely sad, though, to discover that the narration has changed and, in my opinion, it is not a change for the better. Mr Tom Morrow is no more; he is not being paged and he will no longer be giving his party from Saturn a ring We missed Tom a lot There was only one way to get over my disappointment and that was to give Gary a whooping at Buzz Lightyear. However, Gary was running scared by now and so I had to go on with Daniel. It was now getting on for 3 oclock and we really wanted to get back to the resort to investigate the pool area so, after a quick visit to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, we left the Magic Kingdom and caught the bus back to Animal Kingdom Villas. Back at the resort, we only had a short time before we would need to leave for our ADR at T-Rex, something which we were all very excited about. But first we were determined to try out the pool. We practically ran back to the rooms to get changed and met by the pool a few minutes later. Although we didnt have very long, the boys managed to have some fun in the water play area. The girls swam. And the Bad Mothers relaxed and left the men and the kids to it! My two were very impressed with the pool at AKL, The computer pool at Pop will never be the same again now! All too soon, it was time to leave and get ready for our dinner reservation. After quick showers, we were all ready to go by 5. Gary had decided to drive this evening so we picked up the Mystery Machine and were parking up at Downtown Disney just before 5.30. We were seated straight away at T-Rex Cafe, in a comfy booth right next to the Kitchen of Fire. Although there will be more info in the food reviews, I have to say we were pleasantly surprised with it; the food, service and atmosphere were great. Yes, its loud but, if youve got any sense you should expect that. We all really enjoyed it and, when we were asked to fill in a comment card after our meal, the kids suggested that we describe the food as smashing. To be honest, I think that pretty much summed up the whole experience for us. During dinner, we were discussing the plans for the next day and agreed that we would need to leave at 8 am since we were off to Busch Gardens. Ellie turned to Gary and said Did you get that, Gary? Gary replied Im driving so well leave when I say. She's a cheeky monkey - no idea where she gets it from Afterwards, we had promised the boys they could do Build-a-Dino so, while the girls headed off to the shops, the adults stayed with the boys. We told them they could have one dinosaur and one outfit each and, to their credit, they were pretty sensible about it. Matthew chose a Stegosaurus with a t-shirt and shorts ensemble while Daniel opted for a T-Rex (imaginatively named Rex) with a baseball cap and shades! Matthews Stegosaurus, which he later christened Spike, also had some cool sunglasses. The boys had great fun and, as our first experience with that kind of thing, we were very impressed with the whole routine they do with the kids. And, despite warnings from fellow DISers regarding cost, I thought it was very reasonably priced too (Daniels dinosaur, hat and glasses came to $27.69 with tax). Matthew's dino wasn't too expensive either and we were very impressed with the whole experience; took up a lot of room in the case on the way back though!! After the dinosaurs had been christened and certificates issued, it was off to Ghirardellis for ice-cream. We had purposely declined dessert at T-Rex so I could get my Ghirardellis fix, having been denied it last April as the ice cream parlour was closed for refurbishment. We had never tried Ghirardelli's before and suffice to say we all loved it, even me and im not a huge ice-cream fan. I agreed to share a sundae with Daniel on the basis that he had to promise not to drop ice-cream down my white linen trousers. Unfortunately, I managed to achieve that myself doh! Honestly mate, can't take you anywhere! It was time to call it a night, after an incredibly long and busy day, so we drove back to the resort tired but in good spirits. Up on the fourth floor, it wasnt difficult to spot Nats room So, it was off to bed at the end of our first full day - and what a great one it was Coming soon (I promise) Chapter 4: Lions and Tigers and Scares, Oh My!