Cast of characters Garrett, age 27- Your humble Narrator. Dedicated Disney nut who obsessively plans every single detail of his vacation, driving seemingly everyone else in the free world completely nuts with his constant talk about WDW. Is known for being the person you'd better not mention WDW too, as he'll never shut up... and heaven forbid if you say you're GOING to WDW... he'll try to plan your trip for you, too! He is in management at a major mall-based book chain and has singlehandedly sold enough copies of the Unofficial Guide and the Passporter to lay waste to a small forest. Has been to Disney only twice before (1984 and 2003), but is planning on making an annual trip if finances allow (fingers crossed...) Nikkie, age 29- Music teacher extraordinaire who really needs the annual break from her students (what a great idea... going from a classroom full of screaming kids to a theme park full of screaming kids). Also a devoted Disney fan, especially of Winnie the Pooh. Not quite the rabid WDW aficionado I am, but she's getting there! Made her first trip last year with me after years of planning, and I think she was more sad to leave than I was... so we immediately planned the next trip! Day 7- Monday, June 7 Plan: Animal Kingdom EE morning, Disney-MGM evening (Fantasmic again), E-ride night at Magic Kingdom Actual: Boy, this is going to be a long day. An EE day at the Animal Kingdom, combined with a 2:00 am finishing time for E-ride will make for two very tired WDW aficionados-- that is, if we make it all the way to the end of the day. Thing is, I would love to have the problem of having more long days at WDW. We woke up at 6:00 and got ready to go. Nikkie made a mug run to Everything Pop while I got ready. We enjoyed our usual in-room breakfast and organized our provisions. We left the room right at 7:00 and quickly caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom, arriving close to 7:30. I took plenty of pictures and video of the entrance, then we entered the park at 7:45, blitzed through the Oasis again, and saw the Awakening again. It was slightly different this time-- Goofy was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Mickey was on the safari truck with Minnie and Pluto instead of being on a platform by the tree. I can't figure out why they decide to run one version over the other. Anyway, we enjoyed the opening ceremonies once again, and, in almost a mirror image of our day on Friday, we headed with the crowd up the path toward Africa, Harambe, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Being at the front of the crowd has its advantages-- for the second time, we walked straight through the queue and right on to our safari truck. This was another great safari-- possibly better than the first. We got a very good look at the cheetahs this time, and the lions were both active and moving about instead of lying on thier rocks-- a nice surprise. Overall, both of our safaris on this trip were better than the last trip-- we had better guides, saw more animals, and the animals were more active. This is such a fantastic and unique attraction, and there's nothing like it at any other Disney park. We left the safari and decided to go ahead and wakl the Pangani Forest trail. Much like the Safari, this year we saw many more animals, and they were much more active. We spent quite a while looking at the colony of meerkats, with all the kids saying "Look! Timon!" We spent quite a while admiring the gorillas, especially the large male silverback. I took a lot of video of him and the rest of the colony. This is a great trail-- just as good as the Maharaja Jungle Trek, in my opinion. I think we enjoyed it more this year also because we took our time looking and didn't just rush on through. We lefr Africa and walked all the way across the park to Dinoland USA to ride Dinosaur. We thought about using Fastpass, but the standby line was listed at 15 minutes, so we decided to brave the line. The wait turned out to be pretty inaccurate-- it was close to 25 minutes. We waited and enjoyed the preshow stuff, then rode and narrowly escaped the jaws of the Carnotaurus. I know this ride recently returned from rehab, and it shows-- it didn't seen quite as jerky this year, and the visual effects were more intense. We considered a second ride, but the line had gotten pretty long by now, so we decided to move on. We checked out Primeval Whirl but the wait was 25 minutes-- way too long. We walked around the newly opened path and got a great view of the Expedition: Everest construction. Man, is this going to be a great ride. We continued our walk around and towards Asia, where we checked out Kali River Rapids, which we skipped due to a 25 minute wait (besides, we didn't feel like getting wet.) We decided to make a quick trip through the Maharaja Jungle Trek to see if the tigers were any more active than last time. Unfortunately, they weren't. Oh well. We were hot and thirsty, so we bought a frozen lemonade from a vendor. Boy, are these things good, and they really hit the spot on a hot day. We checked our entertainment schedule and saw that the African drummers were set to perform in Harambe shortly, so we decided to head to Africa. On the way over, the walking vine, "DeVine", was out creeping up the walls. It was fun to see everyone's reaction to this. We walked over to the Dawa Bar and got a seat while we waited for the performace to start. These guys were pretty amazing, and we got a great videotape of their whole show. When they brought out audience members to dance, most of them were too shy to dance. Come on guys! Live a little! Anyway, as musicians, we both love seeing as many of the musical performers at WDW-- most of them are wonderfully talented, and these men were no exception. (Note to Disney: if you ever decide to start up a WDW Clarinet Choir, Nikkie and I will be your charter members.) Anyway, after the performance was over, we decided to leave the park. On our way out, we spent quite a bit of time in the Oasis taking pictures of the animals. Satisfied, we made our way out of the gates and said goodbye to the Animal Kingdom for this trip. Overall, we enjoyed the Animal Kingdom MUCH more than we did last year. We got back to our room at Pop Century about 11:00, hungry for lunch. We grabbed our mugs and headed to the food court. We decided to order a pizza, which turned out to be pretty good, and much too big for just the two of us. We relaxed and enjoyed the relative uncrowdedness of the food court, then went back to our rooms for a nap right at 12:00. I worked on the trip reprt a bit, then we settled in. We awoke and left the room at 3:00 to head to Disney-MGM. Our naps are getting longer every day-- I think fatigue is starting to catch us. Anyway, we mafe it to Disney-MGM about 3:15. Did I mention how much I love being this close to Disney-MGM? Nikkie decided that she was finally up to braving the Tower of Terror, so we made our way down Sunset Boulevard and greabbed Fastpasses since the wait was 45 minutes. We decided to check out the situation at Rock n' Roller Coaster, but it wasn't working for some reason. Instead, we walked over to Star Tours and rode it again-- the wait was posted at 20 minutes, but we were on in about 5 or 10 minutes. We enjoyed the ride again. When we got out of Star Tours, we noticed that our Fastpass time had arrived. Boy, was that quick-- the return time was only about 40 minutes after we got it. We headed back to use our Fastpasses. Now, Nikkie is absolutely terrified of this ride (I still don't know how I got her on it last year), and she continues to insist that I make fun of her for being so scared. Do I make fun of her? Well... of course not. I would NEVER do that. Anyway, we were through the Fastpass line quiclky and into the library for the preshow, which I taped. Then I put the camera away to prepare for our trip into the Twilight Zone. I really enjoy the ride-- I enjoyed the detail more this time since I wasn't as tensed up to expect the drops. Nikkie even admitted to enjoying the ride this time, but I think once per trip is enough for her. Anyway, the picture turned out great, and since we were in the front row we had to buy it. We had it shipped to Everything Pop and left the Tower. We checked out Rock n' Roller Coaster, which had just reopened, and had a 15 minute wait posted. I couldn't resist another ride, so we grabbed Fastpasses for 7:15 and hopped in the standby line. Before we knew it we were taking off from 0-60 once again. Now having done the two "biggies" back-to-back, we decided it was time for something a little calmer, like some dinner. I saw that the next showing of Beauty & the Beast was at 6:15, so we decided to chill out and grab some burgers from Rosie's right on Sunset Boulevard. The burgers hit the spot-- just like all other WDW burgers-- and we finished up just as they started letting in for Beauty & the Beast. We scored good seats liek last time, and I was glad to see that Four for a Dollar performed at this show-- they are our favorite live performers at WDW. I also got most of their show on tape. After they finished, I briefly considered leaving, since we had seen the show yesterday, but we decided to stay. The Belle at this show was a different performer, and although she wasn't as good as yesterday's Belle, she was still good, and the show still good also. After the show was over, we did some shopping around in some of the stores, then we decided to rest on a bench close to the Tip Board. Everything had pretty long waits and we had seen most of what we wanted to see, so I took some video while we waited out our Fastpass time. We then returned to Rock n' Roller Coaster for the last ride of the trip. It was great, as always. By my calculation, we racked up 7 trips on the RnRC this trip. Not bad, but not even close to the record, I'm sure. It was about 7:30 now, so after a quick restroom break, we decided to go on over to Fantasmic and get a good seat, and try- TRY- again to see the show. Our seats were actually much better than before. We waited out the show, my fingers crossed the entire time. The the clouds started moving in. Oh great-- here we go again. Yes-- you guessed it. At 8:30, it started to rain-- lightly. OK-- maybe it will let up. No such luck. At 8:50 it started raining REALLY hard, with pretty bad lightning strikes every few seconds. We decided to give up and left before the crowd really started to move. We walked out of Fantasmic, around the corner and out of the park, the rain absolutely pouring by now. It was about 3 minutes before 9:00, and the announcement came on-- Fantasmic was cancelled. The curse strikes again. Rain 3, Nikkie & Garrett 0. Anyway, by now it was raining so hard that we could barely see where we were going, and I couldn't figure out where the bus stop was to get us over to the Magic Kingdom for E-ride night. Just then we saw a Pop Century bus pulling up, so we decided to head back there instead and catch the bus to the Magic Kindgdom there. We waited for a short time, dripping wet, for a bus to take us to the Magic Kingdom. By now, it was still raining pretty hard. We got to the Magic Kingdom, where the rain had cut back to a light drizzle. We grabbed our E-ride wristbands at City Hall and decided to hang out for Wishes. At 10:00, they made the announcement that Wishes would still go on, but was delayed due to the rain. We decided to stick it out since E-ride didn't start until 11:00. Finally, at 10:15 Wishes started. What a great show. I'll never tire of the Disney fireworks shows. It was now about 10:30, still raining, so we decided to ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority since the lines for Space Mountain and Buzz were still pretty long. It was nice to get this perspective of Tomorrowland at night. When we got off, Buzz Lightyear was a walk-on so we went ahead and did that. We were going to hop on again, but for some reason the line was really long now, so we decided to go ahead over to Space Mountain, which we rode for the first (and last) time this trip. I like this ride, but I think it pales compared to Rock 'n Roller Coaster-- it just throws you around SO much. It's still fun, but one trip was enough for us. When we left Space Mountain, it had stopped raining! Hurrah! We walked through Fantasyland toward Frontierland, stopping at Peter Pan and riding it twice without getting off. We continued on through to Frontierland and rode Splash Mountain (as if we really needed to get any wetter.) We then rode Big Thunder right next door. Isn't E-ride great? We walked back to Fantasyland to see Mickey's Philharmagic again. I'll repeat myself again-- this is my favorite 3D movie at WDW. We then rode Winnie the Pooh again, with a short wait. It was now time for us to go back over to Tomorrowland and ride Buzz Lightyear again, which we did 3 times in a row. However, the technical difficulties reared their ugly head again. On our first ride, my gun was jammed and wouldn't move around, so I lost pretty badly. The second time, the ride stopped in the very first room for about 10 minutes, so I was able to max out my score before the ride started back up. Overall, I really enjoy this ride, but it really could use a nice long rehab. I noticed a lot of nonfuctioning consoles. After our three Buzz Lightyear trips, it was about 1:30 and we were really hitting the wall, so we decided it was time to leave. We bought some bottled Cokes from a vendor since it was late and Everything Pop would be closed when we got back. We made our way out of the gates to a waiting bus and got back to Pop Century shortly after 2:00. We were so tired from our day, we fell asleep almost immediately. Another fun day, but I don't know if we're ever going to get to see Fantasmic. Oh well. There's always another trip to WDW. I hope. Best Moments: The Safari, Dinosaur, the African Drummers, Rock n' Roller Coaster (7 times total this trip), Four for a Dollar, Wishes, E-ride. (Lots of good today!) Worst Moments: Rained out of Fantasmic. For the 3rd time now. We are cursed. That's all there is to it.