December 1-4, 2000 Ã¢ÂÂ Dixie Landings Cast of characters: Gina (Me), 34, second trip to the World this year, going for Single Mom of the Year title. Tyler Dean (DS), 4 ÃÂ½, train fanatic, nominated me for above-mentioned title. My dad, 58, love for WDW from way back when, also a train fanatic. Debbie (DadÃ¢ÂÂs sister), 46, more like my sister than my aunt, both of us prone to giggling fits. Day 2 Ã¢ÂÂ Saturday, December 2nd Mickey called us at 7am, and we got ready and headed over to the food court for a quick bite and some coffee. We were on the bus to Epcot by about 8:15. We were really lucky with the bus service this whole trip. We would walk up, and a bus to wherever we were going would pull up within 5 minutes. But why on earth is the DxL stop at every park the very farthest away??? Especially after a long day at the parks, those bus stops were faaaaarrrr away. We got to Epcot and made a beeline for Test Track. The standby line was something like 15 or 20 minutes, so we grabbed a Fastpass. Our time was for about 25 minutes later. Tyler Dean really loves Ice Station Cool, so we wandered over to that. We are 100% Italian, so it was easy to convince my dad to try the Italian one, Beverly. The look on his face was, of course, priceless. My favorite is still the apple one, and my dad and aunt both liked the vege-something one. I keep wanting to call it vegemite, but I know thatÃ¢ÂÂs not right. They said it was surprisingly good. I took their word for it. Time for Test Track! We waltzed right on in. Fastpass ROCKS. TD and my dad sat in the front, and Deb and I were behind them. Have they sped up this ride?? I swear it didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem that fast in February. It was even better than I remembered. I love this ride! After TT, we all wanted to go to the Living Seas. I know a lot of people think this ride is lame, but TD and I really like it. Dad and Debbie liked it, too. We saw lots of rays, a few sharks, and the biggest turtle I have ever seen in my entire life. I was amazed! We went to see the manatee exhibit, which was being redone back in February, but the big guy was just asleep in the water. Next, we wanted to ride Living With the Land. My aunt liked this ride from her last trip way back when she was a teenager, and TD and I didnÃ¢ÂÂt get to ride it last time. We all really, really enjoyed this. I was fascinated with all the amazing experimental ways theyÃ¢ÂÂre trying to grow plants! Very innovative and interesting stuff. After that, Tyler Dean wanted to play in the Imagination pavilion. He had a ball there last time. We spent about 30 minutes there letting him burn off some energy. We all got a kick out of the Ã¢ÂÂAudio AnticsÃ¢ÂÂ listening station. By now it was nearing lunch time, and time to head back to our home-away-from-home, DxL. We grabbed our mugs and headed back to the food court. We could no longer resist the aroma of the pizza, so we each got that (except for my son, the Hotdog Man.) We all thought it was really, really YUM!! The crust was terrific, and we later saw that the reason was because they handtoss the crusts right there. Fun to watch. Tired and starting to really feel the effects of the colds we now all had, we lugged ourselves back upstairs for a nap. We had requested early housekeeping every day, and sure enough our room had been cleaned. I had printed some of the adorable Ã¢ÂÂFor the MousekeeperÃ¢ÂÂ envelopes that someone on the DIS had made up, and left one for the housekeeper that morning. When we got back to our room, we had a cute surprise. She had folded washcloths into fans and perched my stuffed Mickey and Minnie dolls on top of them, staring out the window. She had rolled some other towels into a snowman shape and put my Santa Mickey hat on top. She had even folded a handtowel into some sort of flower on the vanity, and stuck our toothbrushes into it. It was a wonderful surprise, and made us all smile. Nowhere but Disney, my friends! We set the alarm for an hour, but couldnÃ¢ÂÂt get out of bed for a half hour after that. Needing more caffeine, we filled our mugs with Coke (man, I am missing my Dr. Pepper by this point!!!) and sat on a bench by the river for a few minutes. Energy coming back to us, we headed out again. One of the main places I wanted to visit was Wilderness Lodge, because the theming just appeals to me so very much, in the same way the DxL theming does. We took a bus to the Magic Kingdom, and then took the water launch to the WL. My jaw just dropped as soon as it came into view. To say itÃ¢ÂÂs beautiful just doesnÃ¢ÂÂt even come close. It puts a lump in your throat, itÃ¢ÂÂs so majestic and breathtaking. I knew from that moment that I will have to stay there at some point, even for just one night. We walked all through the lobby, and around the pool. The Christmas decorations there were just gorgeous. Sadly, we needed to leave if we were going to make it to MGM, so we slowly made our way out to the bus stop. Even that area was beautiful! We caught the bus to MGM and got there at about 6:00. We were feeling kinda hungry, so I dug some snacks out of my backpack and we sat down and just enjoyed the surroundings. But Star Tours was calling the 3 Star Wars freaks in our party (my aunt has amazingly never even seen it!) so we headed that way. The sign said 10 minutes, but it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt even 5. I am LOVING this. Star Tours was just as awesome as last time, and we all had a good time on it. I canÃ¢ÂÂt wait for them to update it to Episode One. I wanna fly a podracer!! My father had to physically pull me from the gift shop after this ride. We slowly made our way over to where the Osborne Lights were. We really didnÃ¢ÂÂt know what to expect with this Ã¢ÂÂ just some Christmas lights. WOW, were we underestimating this. None of us have been able so far to describe it with justice to anyone else. We were just blown away. And the funniest part was, you could pick us Southerners out of the crowdÃ¢ÂÂ¦ we were the ones jumping up and down, and standing in the middle of the street, staring up dumbfounded at the sky and yelling, Ã¢ÂÂSnow!! Ohmigod, SNOW!!!Ã¢ÂÂ Meanwhile, the Northerners were probably thinking, Ã¢ÂÂJeez, we were hoping to get away from this stuff!Ã¢ÂÂ LOL! Then they were handing out the special viewing glasses, which we put on. Just when I thought this couldnÃ¢ÂÂt get any cooler. Wrong!! I thought we were all going to go into sensory overload at that point. We must have sounded like we were on drugsÃ¢ÂÂ¦ Ã¢ÂÂWoooowwwwwÃ¢ÂÂ¦. Look at all the lights and colorsÃ¢ÂÂ¦.Ã¢ÂÂ The glasses this year make you see sorta holographic snowflakes around each light, and the effect is breathtaking. Deb and I spent the rest of the trip with those glasses, whipping them out to look at every light we came to. It was pretty darn crowded going through here Ã¢ÂÂ probably the biggest crowds we encountered Ã¢ÂÂ but still manageable. We did wait until about 7 before going to see the lights, and they opened at 6. We hightailed it out of MGM before the park closed, so as not to get caught in the post-Fantasmic crush. Today had started out fairly warm, reaching the mid 70Ã¢ÂÂs, but a cold front had blown in late in the day. It was starting to get pretty cool, to my absolute delight. We filled our mugs up with that yummy hot chocolate, and went and sat by the river. The lights reflecting on the water and the sound of the ducks and crickets was so peaceful, I think I could have fallen asleep right there. But our coughs were getting worse from being out in the wind, so we headed back upstairs to get ready for bed. We really slept bad this night, as all our cough medicines kept wearing off at the same time and we sounded like we were all going to cough to death. But hey, weÃ¢ÂÂre at WDW, and nothingÃ¢ÂÂs going to stop us! Next up: Day Three Ã¢ÂÂ Mid-stream plan change, MSEP, brrrrrr!!!! -gina- ASMu, 2/2000 DxL 12/1/00-12/4/00 Next stop, ASMo 2/3/01-2/10/01!