You’re writing a TR? Really? (Christmas at POR, 2010)

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes, May 9, 2011.

  1. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Bonus Feature - 1: Cranium Command

    Hay! I found the script for the Cranium Command preshow
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    The audience stands for the preshow. We see an animated film. The opening scene shows a large group of military recruits seated in an auditorium.

    Trousdale: I hear this new C.O. they sent over from HQ is a real featherweight.

    Sicto: Ah, he's probably some desk jockey. Never been up in a brain in his life.

    Bugle call sounds, and the recruits jump up and salute as General Knowledge enters.

    Soldier: Ten-Hut! At ease!

    General Knowledge: <blustery and LOUD> All right, you pitiful, soft-bellied sad sacks, eyes front and listen up! I'm your commanding officer, General Knowledge. And it's my job to turn you mealy-mouthed meatheads into a crack squadron of Cranium Commandos. Your job - if you can cut it - will be to run the most sophisticated information system ever devised: the human brain. You! There in the back! Suck in that gut and wipe that smile off your face! The brain is serious business. Now, listen up, you miserable toads! This is your brain.

    <we see an illustration of a brain>

    You will eat with it, sleep with it, you will never leave it! Without you, the brain is nothing. Without your brain, you are nothing! It took three million years of research and development to make this lean, mean thinkin' machine what it is today. In those years, we had some successes

    <we see a photo of Albert Einstein>

    and some failures,

    <we see a photo of Jim Varney as Ernest>

    and if you meatballs can't fly right, you'll wind up piloting one of these.

    <we see a chicken>

    Do I make myself clear!?

    Recruits: Yes sir!

    General Knowledge: I can't heeeear you!

    Recruits: YES SIR!!

    General Knowledge: That's better. A brain is divided into two halves, the right and the left.


    <a small, bespectacled recruit, comes in late and tries to find a seat>
    Buzzy: Excuse me, uh ... heheh ... sorry. Heheheh.

    General Knowledge: You!

    Buzzy: Me, sir?

    General Knowledge: No, your mama! Yes, you! Get up here on the double! Move it, Move it, move it! What's your name, recruit?

    Buzzy: Buzzy, sir!

    General Knowledge: You think you're ready to pilot a brain, Fuzzy?

    Buzzy: That's Buzzy, sir. Oh yes! You just let me in the control pa -

    General Knowledge: Quiet! Do you know that the brain can process up to three million bytes of information per second?

    Buzzy: Uh ... why yes, sir -

    General Knowledge: I don't think you've got the ability to care. I don't think you understand the amount of concentration and commitment it takes to run this lovely unit. Just look at you! You're a disgrace! Does your mother still dress you, boy?

    Buzzy: Well, yes sir.

    General Knowledge: Don't talk when I'm shouting!! Drop and give me twenty!

    Buzzy: Sir! Yes sir! <does as instructed>

    General Knowledge: Where was I? Oh ... yes. Your brain is divided into two halves. The left brain handles the linear thinking: analysis, logic. The right brain is the creative center, home of the emotions and imagination. From the command seat, here in the cortex, you'll run the whole shebang. Any questions?

    <Every hand in the auditorium goes up.>

    No? Good!

    <Warning beepers sound.>

    All right, you chickens, this is it. Let's scramble. On the double! Move it, move it, move it!

    <All the recruits step on Buzzy in their haste to follow the General's orders.>

    What now, Scuzzy? Takin' a nap? Get your fanny in gear and hustle!

    Buzzy: Sir! Yes ... sir!

    <A military-type chant is heard, like something the Marines would sing on a long march.>

    Chant:

    Little women, little men,
    Tucked inside your cra-ni-um!
    We're the ones that make you go.
    Cranium Comma-andos!


    We see many different human heads. Each head opens up at the top, and a Cranium Commando will step in to pilot that brain.

    Buzzy: <singing> Little women and little men -

    General Knowledge: Blinky, you leadfoot, if you moved any slower you'd be going backwards! Putting you in a chicken is cruelty to animals! I'm gonna stick you in a squid, a lumpfish, a talk show host! Now get in line. Move it, move it, move it!

    Soldier: Ten-Hut!

    General Knowledge: Here's your assignments, so listen up! Sicto!

    Sicto: Sir!

    General Knowledge: You drew a rocket scientist. Ha! Sicto, if your brains were dynamite, you couldn't blow your nose! Take off!

    Sicto: Sir, thank you, sir!

    General Knowledge: Trousdale! Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

    Trousdale: Never tried, sir!

    General Knowledge: I'd like to know how HQ picked you for this job, Trousdale. With a dart board?! That's your NFL All Pro runnin' back over there! Now get outta my sight!

    Trousdale: Sir! Thank you, sir!

    Buzzy: Uh, General Knowledge, sir? You didn't give me an assignment yet, sir.

    General Knowledge: Oh no! This has gotta be a sick joke! So, goldbrick, you wanna pilot a brain, huh?

    Buzzy: Yes sir!

    General Knowledge: Well, some gen-i-us at HQ has picked you to pilot the most unstable craft in the fleet!

    Buzzy: You - you don't mean -

    General Knowledge: You guessed it, Stinky. An adolescent boy. This particular model is twelve years old. Very unpredictable.

    Buzzy: Don't worry, sir! I can haaa-aaaa <falls> Don't worry, sir. <chuckles> I can - I can handle it.

    General Knowledge: You couldn't find your head with both hands and a flashlight! Sweet blue yonder, where do they get these knuckleheads? And why do they always wind up in my outfit?

    Flight Control: Roger, twelve-year-old, all clear for takeoff on delta one niner tango. All clear. Over.

    General Knowledge: <to the audience> Hey, you goldbricks, this ain't a spectator sport! Where do you think you are, Disney World??!! Get your strollers in line and hustle! On the double! Move it, move it, move it!


    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    And I found a Youtube Vid that includes the preshow
    (it starts a couple of minutes in)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMFJKjGBgOs

    And the second part that has most of the actual presentation.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfwHMQHimlQ
     
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  3. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 5 – Day 2

    - Part-8: “Let there be Lights”


    We may have missed out on the “Motors… Action” part of the day, but we were just in time for the “Lights” part of the trip. I’m sure that you’re aware of lengths to which the Imagineers go to in order to decorate the parks for the holidays. Generally, the bulk of the trimming takes place in the shops and around the main entrance areas of the parks (and is just as fabulous as you might expect). But if you’ve never actually been down to Disney during the Christmas season, then you may not be aware that they also go to rather extraordinary lengths to decorate the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios. Here’s the back story…

    Once upon a time, there was a Dr. Osborn who lived in Arkansas and had a lovely little daughter that loved Christmas lights. As this fellow had both the desire to make his little girl smile and the where-with-all to pull it off in grand style, he would just cover their house in lights each year. It got to be a tradition and folks started coming from around the area to see what all else he’d be adding to the collection each season. The display got so large that he actually bought the house next-door to have more room for the display. The problem was that this luminary extravaganza began to draw so much traffic and such a large crowd each evening, that the rest of his neighbors couldn’t even get in or out of their houses. Needless to say, litigation soon became the inevitable result and the whole thing came to an end. This story caught the “ears” of one of the wheels at Disney, and they approached the Osborn family and asked if it would be possible to recreate the entire display onto the grounds of what was at the time called “MGM Studios”. All were in agreement and boxes and boxes of lights and other related paraphernalia were transferred from the Ozarks to Orlando.

    Initially the Disney folks set up all the lights in the “Neighborhood Street” area where they originally did some of the filming for their sit-coms In the 80s & early 90s (as they were trying to have MGM be both a theme park and a working studio at the time). This section has since been town down to make room for the Auto Stunt show (which was originally pioneered across the pond at “Euro-Disney”). The lights then moved onto all the building facades that make up the rest of the Streets of America and from that point Disney kept adding to the size of the display. The CMs will tell you that the stopped counting just how many lights actually make up the complete show after they crossed over the 5,000,000 bulb mark. They’ve also been progressively replacing the older incandescent bulbs with LEDs and are just about done with that transition as well. Another way they go about “plussing” the experience (as Walt would have said), is that several times each evening, they’ll have a “Dancing Lights Show” where they will play a piece of holiday music and coordinate the lights to coincide with the rhythm. Here’s a video of one of those performances:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hNqYtMzXB0


    And here are a few photos of some of the vignettes that we encountered while walking around the “Light Show”

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    Hay a Hidden Mickey!
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  4. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

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    I knew most of that story, but I had never heard the part where he bought the house next door!

    Great pictures! I've seen the display several times, and it just more magical each time. There is just so much stuff to see there that every time I look at someone else's pictures, I see things I missed. For example: the tire swing! That's so cool.:thumbsup2
     
  5. nat1234

    nat1234 Mouseketeer

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    Awesome pictures. I really liked the light show when I went there back in 2009. We also like 50"s Prime Time and eat there our first night. It's such a fun start to our vacation. Great TR.
     
  6. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Ah, I love watching youtube videos and reliving old attractions. I miss the Wonders of Life pavillion. :sad2: Not as much as I miss Horizons though.

    I love the light pictures. Always amazes me, and I can't wait to see them in person!

    Same here... I'd never heard that part.
     
  7. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    This is one of only two things that Tamara in particular wanted to spend some time getting into during this trip. She was completely open to any plan so long as we got to see the lights again. As usual, she did good. We last saw this display in its 2003 incarnation and it is very, very different now. The Imagineers just took the concept and ran with it. I will now consider a little time among the lights as an absolute necessity if you’re spending any holiday time at Disney.

    Thanks and I’m glad your following along.

    (But of course you realize that encouraging me will only result in my posting even more of my mindless drivel. Just so you’ve been warned)

    The last time I got to see Horizons was 1992. Needless to say, that is a long distant hazy memory. It was also a first anniversary trip and as you might expect I was paying far more attention to my “Baby Girl” then I was to what all was going on around me. Before that I’d have to travel back to 1985 to even attempt to pull up a mental image of any type. I’ll have to rummage through the YouTube offerings when I get home and try to refresh my memory of that grand old veteran.
     
  8. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 5 – Day 2

    - Part-9: “A Partridge and a Yarn Tree”


    After spending a good long while among the “Osborn Lights” we started back across the park and decided to duck into “One Man’s Dream” (another one of those traditions of ours that is both a great place to take in the little details and includes a theater where you can rest your soles for a bit). After that we took stock of the situation. Star-Tours was closed for renovation, most of the live theater shows were done for the day and the line for ToT was still r-e-a-l-l-y… l-o-n-g… We could stay for Fantasmic which is a great show, but it was starting to get really cold (for Florida) and we’ve seen it before, so this time around, we decided to call it a day and head back to POR.

    Now the casual Disney traveler would read this chapter and say something along the line of: “Y’all only got on 2.5 rides? Seriously… Are you nuts?” Well, if you’re only counting TSM, RRC and then (begrudgingly) including GMR as rides then I can see your point, but once you add in the live action and animatronics shows along with meal, the light show and just the general atmosphere of the park itself, we felt like we’d certainly gotten our “money’s worth”. As Disney veterans, there is very little that we have not already done in the parks, and (as I’ve said before) “I’ll be back”.

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    Decision made, it was time to catch the bus back to the resort. Once back on the grounds at Riverside, we decided to hop off at the South Depot right by the Dinning Hall and go ahead and get a little bit of dinner. There are a good number of choices available from the counter service areas at the various resorts, and POR in no exception. We all spread out and started looking around for something that would hit the spot for the evening. Tamara and I settled for something from the “Build your own Pasta Dish” counter. She ended up with something “Alfrado-ish” and I had something more along the “Pesto-ish” line. The pasta and various veggies were quite good for counter service and our general opinion of the food at the POR Dinning Hall is pretty much very positive.

    Satisfied and tired, we strolled back to our room to settle in for the evening. As it was Christmas time, we wanted to have some type of Christmas Tree in our room, so we brought along one of the small “trees” that my momma had crocheted for all the members of our family way back when. These are really charming and I’ve had a number of folks ask about them, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you how they’re made (as I never learned to crochet). Anyway… When we got back to the room, we found that our “Mouse-Keeper” had left us the little towel-animal for the day. A small bird. We had a “partridge” to go with our “pair-tree”. Perfect.

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    Day two has come to a calm end. Fun was had, and lessons were learned. First: It’s is generally better to be over prepared then the other way around, so when in doubt, bring a coat (and you’d-a thunk that I’d already have known that one). Second: starting about four days out form Christmas Day, the crowds at WDW, can be challenging (something that would rear its head again tomorrow). If you’re only planning on coming down to WDW once or maybe twice in your entire life, I’d recommend that you get here during an off peek time frame and skip the idea of being on site during the last two weeks of the year (early December would likely be a better choice if you can swing it). But if you can moderate you’re expectations and are willing to be patient and flexible during this particular time of the year, you’ll have a magical time.
     
  9. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

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    We feel the same about that show. It's a really good show, but unlike Wishes or Illuminations, you can't just wander over at the last minute and get a pretty good viewing spot. Going to Fantasmic is an ordeal that involves planning and usually a lot of waiting.

    I'm trying to figure out how to mix an Austrian and South Carolina-ian accent. It's harder than it seems...

    Speaking of Port Orleans dining, have you ever had the beignets at Port Orleans? My DD is a big Princess & the Frog fan and wanted to make some of Tiana's beignets. I said we should probably try them first so we know how bad we did baking our own. I've heard you can get them somewhere at POFQ...:confused3

    That's pretty cool! :thumbsup2
     
  10. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Well, the lights look terrific, and I hope I get to see them someday. Did you make it for the actual lighting ceremony? I'm sure that's a lot of fun.

    And there's nothing wrong with avoiding crowds and taking it easy. Have to agree that the dining hall at POR is definitely above average.
     
  11. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Never been there... really need to make it a point to see that.

    Wish my wife felt that way about it. She HAS to see it. Great show, but with the hassle that it takes to go through the line to get there, I don't need to see it too often.:confused3

    Nobody's asking if you're nuts. We already know the answer. :thumbsup2

    Do you sit in a car? Yes
    Does it go somewhere? Yes
    I guess it is a ride. Don't shortchange yourself, it is 3.0 not 2.5.:lmao::rotfl2:

    I'll keep that in mind if I'm ever around there and hungry!

    How about 11/28 - 12/3???
    :woohoo::banana::cool1::yay:
     
  12. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    It defies imagination. :lmao:



    Actually we moved rather frequently when I was little. I’ve lived in two towns in WV, four in PA, and two more in FL. We didn’t actual settle down into SC until I was 14. As such, my accent is not as strong as you’d expect. My diction however…
    Now, that be ’bout as South’n as kudzu :rotfl2:

    POFQ is exactly where you’ll find them. In the “Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory” and they’re quite good. They’re somewhere in-between a doughnut and a sopapilla in flavor and texture. If they just came out of the oil, let ‘em cool a might before biting into one. They hold onto a little bit of that oil and you can scald your tongue mighty if you ain’t careful.


    Yep. Very cool… But, I was just so thunder-struck by the vastness of the colors that I didn’t even think to pull the camera out until they’d already started into the first song. If you get the chance, see it.

    As a Dis-Vet, I’ve earned the right. And I now choose to exercise it regularly. :rolleyes:
     
  13. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    There is a lot of “Disneyana” and interesting artifacts in there. It’s a good place to take break and a must for any true fan of Walt himself.

    The only one I hate to miss is IllumiNations (and that’s mostly because the music just blows me away), but I’ve even walked away from that one on occasion. I’ve seen ‘em all numerous times, but sometimes, you just need to get off your feet. Or…Better yet, onto a ride with a shorter line (but just not during Christmas week :sad2:)

    Guilty as charged, you can slap the cuffs on me. :rotfl:

    “Touche Pussycat!” :lmao:

    Excelent!

    We were in “The World” during the week of Thanksgiving in 2003. It was busy, but nothing like the Christmas deluge that we encountered. Your first couple of days may be a little bit more crowded, but I think you’ll be doing pretty well by mid-week as far as crowds go.
     
  14. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Well folks… It’s going to be a couple of days before I get to post any more updates. Once I get back to the house, we heading off for a few days on the coast.
    :beach:

    If we get into anything interesting, I might have to post another “Micro-Mini-TR” within this one. I suspect, that won’t be happening though, as my plan is to plant my rump in the sand and spend a lot of time watching “My Ocean” (which won’t make for very good copy). But our son is coming along and he’s bringing a friend a well, so plans could change.

    So let me leave this little teaser of thing to come (actually, it’s a copy of the current “trailer” section back on Page-1, but I suspect, that most of y’all don’t necessarily go all the way back there and check it regularly)

    Teasers for "Day 3" :rolleyes1
    Reality Rears its Ugly Head
    Ain’t it Perrty
    You Got Passes For "What"?
    The House that Jack Rebuilt
    The Down Side of Freebees
    Mountains Receding in the Distance
    Room at the Inn
    A Parade!!! (at least I think it was a parade)
    The Journey Eastward
    Toon Town we Hardly Knew Ya’
    Westward Ho…
    Light a Candle (I mean a castle)
    The Eastern Block
    Occidental Meltdown
    Two from the Grill Please
    A “Wish” for a Mountain Passage
    Disney’s Underwear (Safe-D Begins With Me)



    TTFN
     
  15. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 6 – Day-3

    - Part-1: Reality rears its ugly head


    The sun rose this morning, and I got to see it. Really. I could actually see the sun. Quite amazing really… It’s this great big round bright shiny thingie that hangs in the sky and hurts your eyes if you stare into it. For the first time in days, humans in this part of the world were actually able to lay eyes on this bizarre apparition. The sensation was much like that of an alien creature experiencing some new and unexpected facet of the planet that had never been encountered before. Imagine… There would be warmth today... There would be light today... There would be joy today… There would be unimaginable crowds today…

    Whoa, wait… What was that last one? Crowds? You said crowds, right? You mean even bigger, badder, more ferocious crowds then we experienced yesterday? That type of crowd?

    Yes Grasshopper… (But I’m getting ahead of myself).

    Our morning was going as most Disney morning go. Rather well. I’d already made the trip to the dinning hall to retrieve coffee and hot chocolate. We’d already had some croissants, fruit and granola for breakfast. The trek to the North Depot was behind us and we were already on the bus with the Magic Kingdom ahead of us. MK was the destination of choice for today. As we were not hopping from park to park this trip, we chose to hit the Kingdom on one of its EMH days (in hopes of being able to catch up on some of the better attractions later in the evening). Instead I would learn a lesson about how differently EMH will affect a park during very high traffic days as opposed to the more generic peek times of the year.

    I’ve heard that this week was “busy”, but I felt that I’d worked with good sized crowds before, so I really wasn’t that concerned. We all learn in different ways and some quicker then others. It’s like the lesson of the electric fence. Some can be told that it’s dangerous and believe it. Some have to read the sign on the fence before they’ll believe it, and a few have to actually grab hold of the thing before they’re convinced. Then there’s minority that are so stubborn that they just have to tempt fate and piss on the electric fence before they’ll believe you. Today, I was in that last group. My advice… Use my experience as the proverbial sign on the fence, and learn quickly (but I know that there are still those that need to take the next two steps along the path to enlightenment.)



    - Part 2: Ain’t it perrty

    Now first off, don’t be thinking that we had a terrible time. That just ain’t so. There were challenges and there where things that could not be accomplished given the decisions made and existing circumstances. But, I’ve yet to undertake a trip to Disney where I was not very satisfied by the end result. Upon arrival the first thing you will notice it just how stunningly the folks down there dress up their premier park for the holidays. From the main entrance to the train station to the walk down Main Street, there is just so much color and visual ambrosia that it’s down right intoxicating. I mean just look at it!

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    As with every other park on this trip, we arrived with a slightly different slant on our normal plan and a bit after rope drop. The first stop today is not what you’d expect for a family with a teenager. We headed into Fantasy Land, and grabbed Fastpasses for… Wait for it… Peter Pan!

    Peter Pan?

    Yep, that one. “Why on Earth did you get passes for that one?” Well… Everyone in my house is a Disney geek. We’re all hopelessly addicted to the place, and one of the few attractions the my boy had never ridden (despite numerous trips to the land of the Mouse) was one of Walt’s own original designs and the only dark ride that uses cars suspended form the ceiling rather then following tracks on the ground. As such, Max wanted to hit it at least one to say that he’d done it. Being a classic, it’s also popular with the general public and they had come out in force today. Needless to say, the return time on those passes was fairly off into the future, but they came with a bonus freebee: extra passes to see the PhilharMagic show. This is a good thing, as we like that one anyway, and were planning to see it at some point in the day.

    Now we had two sets of passes in hand and some time to kill, so the discussion was what do we hit first? Easy choice given our location: Hunted Mansion. It’s a crime to go to Disney and not see this one. Not wanting to be accused of committing a crime, we jumped into the queue, drug our bodies into the dead center of the stretching room, and climbed aboard our Doom-buggies to meet our destiny along side the other 999 Grim Grinning Ghosts. Disney has since opened up a new queue area and updated some of the haunting effects, but during this trip, it was the classic that we’ve all seen before and love (although I looking forward to seeing the updates the next time we’re in the park).

    So far so good. We’d had an excellent start to the day, undertaken the day’s first attraction and were starting to get in the rhythm of the day. I tried to take a few images from the Haunted Mansion (without flash obviously), but my gear/skills just were not up to the task, so none of those really came out. Such is life. I’ll just have to go back and try it again. I actually enjoy the moment as one has just finished the first ride of the day. That’s the point when you (well, when I at least) really feel like your there, and are now a part of the day. You’re not traveling any more. You’re experiencing. And… There’s more to come. Much more.
     
  16. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 6 – Day-3

    - Part 3: The House that Jack Rebuilt


    Next stop: Adventure land. Now getting there sent us through Frontier Land as well, and it was here that I started to get an inkling of the sheer scale of the crowd that had showed up this morning. The body count was surprisingly large even for a peek time, but there was nothing that could be done about it at this point. We were right in front of a couple of the more famous attraction, but we could not get any more passes for a while yet (and the stand-by times for both were already rather fierce), so we waked by the two mountains in the west and headed on around to POTC. It is generally true that if you start on the left side of the park, you’ll get on the rides a bit quicker because most folks instinctively move to their right (east toward Tomorrow Land in this instance) and it will take a while for the better part of them to catch up with you. Even still, there was a surprising twenty-ish minute wait posted out in front of the Castillo Del Morro. Not so bad, but if I had to wait a bit, then I might as well get a few pictures of another of the more entertaining queues.

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    I enjoy “Pirates”. It ain’t no rollercoaster, but it’s always entertaining. And at least the updates added since the creation of the films don’t detract form the experience in the same way that they could have given that the attraction was now “Under New Management”. At some point in time I hope to get out to DL to see the original version of this one. Our friendly neighborhood DIS experts tell me that there is more to it and I’d love to see the additional details and try to relate them back to the version that I know and love. Actually this seems to be fairly true of many of the attractions at Disneyland. They may bare the same monikers and be similarly themed, but they are not the same. This is something I need to find a way to experience in the future.

    OK… Back to the park that we actually were in that day. Once off POTC and through the gift shop, the clock was indicating that we could go ahead and cash in our “free” passes to the PhilharMagic. I’ve seen this 3D attraction many times and really enjoy the show. There are few characters, live or fictitious, that overreact to a situation better then Donald (except maybe you’re average domestic cat), so this one is a must on our trips to MK. However, the way that fast passes work for this attraction does not always translate into a gain. The pass does “guarantee” that you’ll see the next showing, but that’s all it guarantees. The CMs will always try to fill up the entire waiting area (as is their charge) and with a capacity crowd in the park; they were doing their magical best to pack ‘em in tight. Needless to say, the room was rather full when the automatic doors finally swung open. From where we were standing we were going to be toward the back of the theater (which is fine by us as there are no bad seats in a 3D theater), but people being people, not everyone will do the right thing or consider anyone else beyond themselves. The CMs would call out: “Please choose a row and move all the way down to the end, you can see the show well from any seat.”, but even blindingly apparent logic will not ensure that everyone will listen. We hopped onto the back row and found that there were several groups ahead of us that thought they knew better and had already camped out in the middle of the row. There was hesitation and confusion as other groups were deciding whether the go around or back up, a couple of groups were arguing as to how to arrange the seating, and before we knew what was happening, we’d been hemmed into having only one chair available for the three of us. Externally, I was calm and resolved to the situation.

    Internally…
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    Well that kind of outburst never works out well for Donald either, so I just locked those thoughts away in that dark place where we all hide that verity of emotional release. Choices were limited at this point, the doors were closing and the lights were going down, Max and I just stepped to the back of the theater and watched the show from there. It was still good, but it’s just indicative of the kind of trying moments that you’ll encounter during mega-crowd days at Disney. Remember to bring you patience with you, because not everyone else will do so (and a fair number will forget to bring along their common sense as well).
     
  17. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,181
    Chapter 6 – Day-3

    - Part 4: Mountains Receding in the Distance


    According to our watch, in fifteen more minutes, we could finally get more fast passes, and as we were planning to stay on into to the EMH time frame, a late return time would not really bother us all that much. So at this point anyway, we weren’t concerned. We just needed to knock off about fifteen more minutes.

    Piece of cake...
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    We were just around the corner from the Hall of Presidents and that attraction is usually (and some may say: sadly) far short of being filled to capacity. True to our expectations, we breezed right into the lobby, caught the tail end of the “Voices of Freedom” preshow and headed off into the main auditorium. Disney’s grasp of animatronics is truly amazing, and this is one of those places where they use it to the greatest effect. Being as Mr. Lincoln is Walt’s original animatronic masterpiece; I do love to watch that part of the show in particular (and I need to catch the version that is dedicated solely to Old Abe out at DL sometime).

    After being reintroduced to those forty-four fellows, our window for acquiring additional fast-passes was finally open. For the sake of expediency, Tamara decided to browse for a little bit in one of the shops, while Max and I made the dash over to Space Mountain. And dash we did. While not running per say, we still got there in jig time, headed directly for the pass machines and were greeted by the amazing site of… Absolutely no line at all. Why? Because all the machines were covered up. Every pass for SM had been distributed for the day. We’d not anticipated this possibility at all. The Stand-by was hovering at about 100 minutes. Dumfounded, I asked: “Now what”? Well, maybe we could still get “evening-ish” passes for “Big Thunder”. Across the park we head and considering the crowded walkways and passages, we made good time (we’ve been there enough to know our way around). But upon arrival, we encountered a similar sad site of forlorn shrouds covering the pass stations. No passes, and the wait here was 2 hours. Now we were going to have to drop down to Plan-C and wait for either the EMH or one of the Parades to pull enough folks out of the queues to make the waits more tolerable. Mission not accomplished, we headed back to where Tamara was to explain the predicament.

    We found her right where she said she’d be and related the sad turn of events. Not being fond of “wild mouse” type coasters, missing out on Space Mountain wasn’t an issue to her. But as we’re all fans of “mine train” rides, the lack of passes to Big Thunder Mountain was considerably more disappointing. Even still, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of things to do in the Magic Kingdom. Things like cashing in our original passes to Peter Pan. Which we did... If nothing else, we’d see the “mountains” of Neverland as we flew over them in our enchanted sailing ships. As the gondolas that fly through this classic old dark ride are a rather tight for three adults, we split up and I let Momma ride along with her Baby Boy to finally introduce him to one of her favorite memories. It was a lot of fun to make that little journey, and a treat to be aboard one of Walt’s original designs. I think he understood the power of the “dark ride” better then most folks, and especially in the way that they could be used to include an entire family in on a single shared experience regardless of age. Afterward, we asked Max what he thought. He said that it wasn’t Space Mountain by a long shot, but now he’d seen it and was glad of it. When I said, “Well, just don’t tell your friends, that you spent your time ridding this one.” He responded, “Actually, all my friends are pretty much geeks anyway, so they’d think it was pretty cool”. Every once in a while your young’ens will surprise you (and those surprises are starting to show up more often by the day).
     
  18. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,181
    Chapter 6 – Day-3

    - Part 5: Room at the Inn


    After returning form Neverland, we only had a short wait before our lunch time ressies at the Liberty Tree Tavern. Not wanting to go too far afield, we walked over to the Cindi’s Castle to look around a bit, take in the details and snap a couple of pictures of the general area. The more interesting ones ended up looking a whole lot like this:

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    In no time at all, our “priority seating” time had arrived, so we headed back to Liberty square…

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    …walked up to the tavern…
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    …and checked in.

    Shortly there after we were seated in the left dinning room and perusing the menu. Now, I’m sure that the majority of y’all that have kids have also encountered their propensity to be ridiculously picky eaters. I love my boy, but he certainly fits into that category. As such, I’ve been limited on the types of restaurants that I can patronize for years. We’ve been to the Liberty Tree before (back when it was both “Family Style” and a Character Meal”), and I knew that the food would be excellent and that there would be “young’en friendly” choices on the menu. This time however, our son surprised both his parents. The CM brought our drinks around and started taking our orders. Pot Roast and Veggies for the adults, and fish for the boy.

    Fish! Baked fish! Not grocery store fish sticks… Not a fried filet-o-fish sandwich special ordered to be completely devoid of condiments… We’re talking about an actual “Season’s Fresh Catch” fish dinner. His mother and I were “God Smacked”. Max looked at us incredulously and said, “What? I like fish.” Maybe so, I pointed out, but you do realize that this won’t be covered in bread crumbs and dowsed in ketchup? You just ordered a plate of actual food you know. He gave us a perfect rendition of the teen-eye-roll as if to say “don’t you guys know me at all?” Obviously not. Who was this stranger sitting across from me? After a bit, the meals hit the table, and we proceeded to inhale the goodness. As expected, it was one of the better meals I would have on the property this trip. As for my boy’s experimentation with adult cuisine… I should have trusted him in the first place. He devoured the entire meal and promptly declared it the second best thing he’d ever eaten at Disney (right after the ribs at the Flame Tree). I was floored. There are moments when you’re raising you kids that they will make a dramatic change in their behavior as if it were no more then just merely flipping a switch. He’d graduated away from kiddie food. I’ll now be choosing far more adventurous dinning locations from this point on.

    One surprise out of the way, we had another little one coming (not near as stunning, but a surprise none the less). Being on the dinning plan, most dinners automatically came with desert. We looked over the menu and ordered up a few. Moments later our server retuned with one desert in hand and asked who had ordered the Toffee Cake? “Toffee Cake?” The answer to that question was no one. It must have been for one of the other tables. He apologized and headed off to find the actual owner of that particular dish. A minute or two later he comes back and says that no one else had ordered it either so he must have grabbed that one by mistake and… As they would simply toss it out were he to take it back to the kitchen, we might as well split it (at no charge). OK… I guess so… Sure. Basically this is a slice of very good vanilla cake that has a toffee filling, and is then covered in caramel sauce and served with ice cream. We all took a bite and immediately fell in love (so to speak). Our actual order showed up moments later and each of those dishes was excellent as well, but the best thing on the table was the accidental Toffee Cake. If you have the chance to try this little sundry, I highly recommend doing so. We’ll certainly be ordering “tres of those babies” the next time we’re down that way.

    Oh, by the way… Here’s a couple of holiday pictures form the lobby of the tavern:

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  19. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,181
    Chapter 6 – Day-3

    - Part 6: The Journey Eastward


    After dinner, we headed back out to the front of the castle to catch the official Disney Christmas Parade. Being a special holiday event we expected it would be really crowded (and we were really right), but just like all the rest of the folks that filled the circle and lined all the pathways, it was an event we wanted to be part of. I would like to have found a better viewing spot, but it just wasn’t going to happen this time around. Most of the floats were purposely built fairly tall so that everyone could get a decent view, but if you weren’t right near the curb, there were still a number of details that are just going to be obscured (see what I mean).

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    It was still a great parade and I’m glad I took the time to stop and enjoy it. However, now that Saint Nick had made his way around the central plaza and headed off down Main Street, we had business to attend to. Under normal circumstances (meaning when the crowd size is something a little more rational), the best time to hit Tomorrow land is in the afternoon. This has to do with that whole “people heading to the right” thing I was talking about earlier. Most folks start over there and then tend to spread out as the day wears on. But this week did not fit the general mold. Even still, we really didn’t have a better plan, so off we headed toward the giant Astro-Orbiter in the sky.

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    I suspect that y’all already know specifically where we were heading. The mountain in the east: Space Mountain. After a bit of working our way through the throngs, we had arrived at the main entrance. The wait: 95 minutes. At this point, I was prepared to actually do the line. Moreover, Tamara said that she’d be quite happy to grab a drink and have a seat in the sunshine and wait on us. The ball was in Max’s court. I’d ridden this ride far more times then he had, so I let him call it. His decision was that this was just a whole lot longer line then he really wanted to stand in. We’d wait for EMH.

    Now let me take just a moment to talk about “Extra Magic Hours”. If you’re staying on property, these can be very useful, but they come with a down side as well. The park that has the EMH on any given day will also generally be the most crowded park on that day. The folks who are coming from off site will be there regardless, but the guests staying at the resorts, will generally try to maximize their experience by making use of the “Extra Magic’. The rule of thumb is that crowds and waits usually start to even out considerably as the day trippers start to leave in the evening. This rule breaks down however, if the entirety of WDW is pretty much sold out (as is the case around Christmas). Under those conditions, even kicking the off-site rabble out of the park, won’t necessarily result in greatly reduced wait times. The one definite exception to this is “Morning EMH”, but you still have to get your fanny up and over to the specified park by rope drop or even that won’t buy you squat. I have had the pleasure of being in the parks in mid May (back before the Congress of the great state of South Carolina started legislating the beginning and end points of the school year for purely monetary and self-serving reasons), and found Extra Magic hours to be an absolute joy. Imagine a 5 minute wait for Space Mountain (yah, you heard me right). However, at this time of year, the final verdict was that “EMH bites.”

    Now what? Well, how about something with virtually no wait where we can also take a moment or two to make a new plan. One thing obviously fits that bill: the TTA. Tomorrowland Transit Authority (also known as “The People Mover”) is not a thrill ride by any stretch of a mad man’s imagination, but for us it is a great family tradition. A couple of minutes latter, we’re aboard and riding the loop around Tomorrowland. From this high vantage point we could see that all the stand-by lines in the area were really congested and it was probably time to head off to a different shire within the kingdom.

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    That mass of folks down there are the poor soles at the end of the line for Space Mountain. Seriously! That’s where the stand-by line began at the time.
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    Disney’s Latest attraction: Stroller-Land!
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    Once “landing” safely back at the station, we made a quick stop at the “Carousel of Progress” (because the line was nonexistent, it’s a classic and it’s one of Tamara’s fondest memories of childhood and she asks for so very few things in this world specifically), and then we headed north.
     
  20. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,181
    Rob - You've really got me worrying about my June/July trip. We were dumb enough to schedule it over the 4th of July weekend and if crowds are anything like you're describing for Christmas, well, :eek::eek:
    But no matter - we bought APs back in December, so between that trip, our "surprise" April trip and this trip I'll feel that we got our moneys worth. Even if we only get on one or two attractions!
     
  21. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    8,559
    Ok, too much to multi-quote here as I catch up. But a few things...

    First: the crowds! :eek: Even when we went in September, with low overall crowds, we felt that EMH made the parks more crowded.

    I love your comment about doing the first ride, and how that makes you feel like you're officially at Disney World on vacation. That's exactly right.

    Sounds like you guys were making the best of the day even with the crowds. Sorry the big attractions weren't so available. I don't blame you for not waiting in the stand-by lines, though.

    Mmmm...Accidental Toffee Cake...

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    Love Liberty Tree Tavern. And it's cool to see these glimpses of your son growing up.
     

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