The NASTEE (Nate And Spencer Trip ExtraordinairE) Trip Report--Day 6 (Part 3): Finally, A Magical WDW Bus Driver! Cast: Nate ("Aerobics"): 24, 4th trip to WDW, 1st trip in 12 years, 1st time staying on property Spencer (Anti-aerobic): 29, 8th trip to WDW, hasn't stayed on property since 1992 Dates: September 16-23, 2000 Lodging: Wilderness Lodge--September 16-21, 2000 All Star Music--September 22, 2000 FYI--Due to popular demand, I have finally purchased a scanner (YAY!), and am looking forward to building a (small) webpage to showcase the pics that we took while on vacation at WDW. However, I won't be able to set it up until after I finish the NASTEE (which, going at this rate, will be sometime in 2006). I will let you guys know when it's up and running. When I last left you, we had just boarded the water launch at the International Gateway. I enjoyed this boat ride much better than the one that we had had the previous night. Since it wasn't dark and stormy out, we were able to see much better the other Epcot resorts. I longingly gazed at the Yacht & Beach Club resorts, thinking about just how cool it would be to stay there sometime. (I had originally thought from the resorts' represenation in the WDW Planning Video and Birnbaum's Guide that those resorts would be a little too "stuffy" for my tastes, but now I think I sincerely doubt that.) Even the Swan and Dolphin are really wondrous (in their own semi-garish way). Once we arrived at the BWI, we took a few minutes to look around and reconfirm that this resort was definitely #1 on our list for our return trip to WDW. We then headed out to the bus transportation area, where we boarded a bus headed to Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon. Unfortunately, we had to go to all 3 Downtown Disney stops before we got to Typhoon Lagoon, but it really wasn't as bad as I'm making it sound (Hey, anytime you can sit in air-conditioned comfort in Florida, it's a good time, eh? ). Eventually, we arrived at TL, Viking helmet and all. I was really looking forward to visiting this water park because I was sure that nothing could "beat" Blizzard Beach. Spencer, even more so, was anticipating this part of the trip because he absolutely fell in love w/TL when he was at WDW with his family. (He loved it so much that he fell asleep on the lazy river and woke up to a very sunburned belly--oucheroo!! Poor guy!) Although we didn't have too much stuff this time, we still decided it would be best to rent a locker (i.e., to store my ever-so-expensive-and-fragile Viking helmet). Also, this is cool--when you return your locker key, you either get (I believe) a $2 refund, or a neat-o TL plastic mug. (Over the course of this week, we amassed 5 of those guys...whoa!) So, after we had stored all of our stuff, we headed over to stake out a spot. I was a little afraid that there wouldn't be any seats available, but we quickly found 2 "low-rider" beach chairs right along the edge of a little alcove which afforded us a front-row view of the wave pool and Miss Tilly. Our first stop was (surprise?) the lazy river, which, I have to admit, is probably the best lazy river I've ever been on. The theming of this park is phenomenal--I think the difference between Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon is that BB seems to be geared towards the adrenaline junkies (i.e., Summit Plummet survivors), but TL is truly like jetting away to a tropical paradise island for the afternoon. I loved them both, but I know you guys are going to expect me to choose one as the "better" park, so I'll have to say TL. We had apparently easily shifted gears into "relax" mode (something I normally don't do very well), because we were quite content to just stay on our inner tubes for 1.5 circuits around the lazy river. However, eventually, the thrill-seeker in each of us forced us out of the lazy river and onto the slides. First stop: Humunga Kowabunga. Boy, did this seem tame after doing the Plummet! Don't get me wrong--it was still loads of fun, but I just don't think that anything can compare to that ultra-rush you get from Summit Plummet. Our next set of slides was the Mayday and Keelhaul Falls. Now, I don't remember which one is which, but one of them (I believe it was Keelhaul) is pretty aggressive with some pretty rough drops, bumps, and turns--definitely tons of fun! The thing that makes these slides so fun, though, is the scenery and atmosphere. They really make the slides feel as though you're sliding down a tropical waterfall--way cool! After riding both of these, and deciding to pass on the Gangplank Falls (family raft ride) since we had ridden the Teamboat Springs at BB just the day before, we headed over to the wave pool. Just a quick note here about the terrain of Typhoon Lagoon. This place is an explorer's paradise! There are all sorts of stairs that lead to walkways through caves and across suspension bridges. Getting to the wave pool was an attraction in and of itself--we give two HUGE thumbs to the detailing at this park. How on earth do they get those waves to be so big? This totally rocked!! However, poor Spencer got cremated by the first wave (he just didn't time it right) and quickly U-turned and headed toward our chairs. I followed him out of the pool to ask him what was the matter, but I didn't even need to open my mouth. It was written all over his face that this sort of physical clobbering just wasn't his cup of tea. Oh, well, no real harm done--he headed to the chairs to chill for awhile, and I went back into the wave pool. I decided to bypass the bodysurfing contingency for fear that I'd end up on top of someone (or worse, underneath 18 other people)--so I was simply content to just float near the boundary rope and bob up and down on the waves that came along every 90 seconds. After about 10 minutes, I decided I'd had enough, so I headed back to the chairs where Spencer was, as planned, just chillin'. We made two more rounds on the lazy river before calling it a day. By this time, it was about 4:00 and we still had quite a bit to accomplish before attending the 9:00 performance of Cirque du Soleil. So, we returned our locker key, picked up our TL plastic mug, and headed out to the bus transportation area. NOTE: It wasn't until we had gotten on the bus that I realized that I had completely forgotten that TL has a Shark Reef. I couldn't believe that I had forgotten this fact because I had really been looking forward to this experience. Oh, well--next time, right? Now, here's a note for all you Wilderness Lodge guests--beware of the schedule change that occurs at 4:00 p.m. Before 4:00 p.m., if you want to get to Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon from the WL, you need to take the Crockett bus to the TTC and then board a DD/TL bus. Likewise, if you're attempting to return from DD/TL to the WL before 4:00 p.m., you need to board a TTC-bound bus, and then transfer to the Boone's Farm bus. Well, since it was 4:00 p.m. (exactly), we didn't know which option to take, but, fortunately, a TTC-bound bus arrived within a few minutes and we were off. When we were on the bus, we knew that we had made the right decision. We had the funniest bus driver (and I finally understood what everyone meant when they said, "Finally, a magical WDW bus driver!") Our kooky chauffeur pointed out all sorts of interesting things, like the small right turn up ahead and other silly little elements that would generally go unnoticed. What made the bus trip so magical (for me, at least) was that I finally got to see someone who truly loved his job. Sure, he was a bus driver, and he could've just gotten us to where we needed to go and that would've been that. But, he went that extra step to make the bus ride an "attraction within itself", and for that, this WDW bus driver deserves some serious snaps! (Unfortunately, I never did get his name, or I would've certainly written a comment card praising him for his efforts.) As we arrived at the TTC, we spied a Boone's Farm bus which was almost done loading its passengers, so we bolted out to catch it (this is probably why I forgot to get our 1st bus driver's name). Luckily, we caught the connector bus and within minutes, we were back at the WL. We paused at the Mercantile Trading Shop to pick up our previously purchased and shipped items. It was then that I started making mental notes of the things that I wanted to purchase at this store before we left tomorrow ( ). Among those items was a 2000 WDW throw blanket, which is probably the best purchase that we made, since I now sleep w/it nightly. I also eyed this adorable WL mug which looks like a tree trunk, but the handle is actually a totem pole of Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and some bear dude--too cool!!! We headed upstairs to shower, change, and pack (since we would be checking out in the a.m.). This time, I spotted our newest family member--a bunny rabbit (complete with pointy ears, eyes, a pink nose, and a mouth) was sitting between our two sinks. How do these housekeepers do it? We made a note to thank Irma for yet another cute creation. Before we showered, we ran over the rest of the things that we wanted to accomplish this evening. They included: Tapestry of Nations (6:30 parade), dinner (originally at San Angel Inn, but it didn't seem too promising), World of Disney (Spencer wanted to pick up a shirt that he had been eyeing the previous night), Cirque du Soleil, and DisneyQuest. We still had a lot to do, but we were eagerly anticipating all of the activities, so we hit the showers... And, still to come: The NASTEE Trip Report--Day 6 (Part 4): How Many More Chairs Is He Going To Use? Somebody call I-X-I-I!!!