Another Brit in Orlando Part 2

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by UK~STU, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. UK~STU

    UK~STU Mouseketeer

    Jan 3, 2001
    October 2001
    Monday Part 3 Disney MGM Studios

    Me – 37, using Disney to combat a mid life crisis!!
    DW – Theresa, someone has to put up with me
    DD1 – Emma 12, not quite a teenager but may as well be
    DD2 – Lisa 8, Butter wouldn’t melt.

    This morning I was awake at around 6:30am, showered and dressed by 7am. By this time Lisa was also awake so I waited for her to get ready whilst trying not to disturb the sleeping dead then we headed off to the food court to get the much needed drinks.
    Back to the room and Theresa was now awake and getting ready and trying her hardest to wake Emma without having her head bitten off. We send in our secret weapon, Lisa, if you have experience of a little brother or sister you know just how annoying they can be. Lisa lives up to this roll with great enthusiasm.
    Eventually Emma is beaten into submission as she comes to terms with the reality that she isn’t going to win the ‘can’t I just stay in bed a bit longer‘ argument especially as Lisa’s annoyance factor increases 10 fold with every “go away Lisa” that Emma shouts.

    The phone starts to ring at 7:30am, I wonder who that could be? Theresa, Emma and Lisa all make like Linford Christie trying to be the first to the phone. Emma still half asleep has no chance as Lisa dives over the bed but Theresa using all her motherly skills and a few maneuvers that would be more at home on a rugby pitch manages to win the race. The prize, a very happy Mickey wishing us all a great day. Emma goes off into the bathroom murmuring “I didn’t want to answer it anyway” meanwhile Lisa is giving Theresa the stare that says ‘your going to regret that’ :)

    At Walmart yesterday Theresa bought some sandals and was putting them on for today. Are you sure you want to wear new shoes for the park? She assures me that they are very comfortable and she’ll be alright. OK you know best dear!! (ok reader, you know what’s coming, don’t you).

    We eventually get out of the room and are halfway to the car when Theresa realises she has forgotten something. Take the car keys and I’ll go back, it’ll be quicker, I’m sure she does this on purpose, as you’ll find out this is almost a daily occurrence!

    All in the car with retrieved items. 10 minutes later we are at the entrance to Disney Studios it’s now 9am.
    Car parked in a suitable spot we walk to the tram, here we see a glimpse of the new giant mickey’s hat just peeking over the top of the trees. Soon we are heading for the first attraction of the day, Security and Turnstiles, unfortunately there is no fasstpass. We are soon through and we head down Hollywood Boulevard. We see the Giant hat for the first time in all its glory. I was a bit sceptical about the positioning of the hat as it obscures the Chinese theatre but now that I have seen it, it looks wonderful and brings a big smile to my face.

    Anyway enough of that, we have to get to the attractions. At the end of Hollywood Boulevard we make a sharp right turn into Sunset Boulevard. The sight of the Tower of Terror looms in the sky, I can hear it calling “come and try me – if you dare!!”
    Before the holiday Lisa had decided she would like to try some of the bigger rides and ToT was going to be one of them, or that was until she saw how high it was. She then did a complete about turn and no amount of persuasion from us was going to convince her that she’d enjoy it.
    As Theresa had chickened (sorry missed) this attraction last year, I said I’d stay with Lisa whilst she and Emma ride. The wait was only 10 minutes so Lisa and I left them in the queue whilst we went to get FastPasses for Rock n Rollercoaster. Lisa said she still wanted to try this but insisted on testing herself against the height restriction board. She was proud as punch to see that she was above the line and had a grin on her face from ear to ear. I wonder if that grin would still be there after the ride? The fastpass return time was 10:30 to 11:30. The wait time for RnR at the moment was already at 30mins.

    We went back to ToT and waited for the others at the photo screens. They decided they didn’t want the photo, I don’t know why, Lisa and I found it very amusing, umm maybe that’s why!

    We have breakfast booked for 10am so don’t have any time to wait for RnR so we head back to Hollywood Boulevard to find ‘Celebrity 5 & 10’ here we get our Guest of Honor (GOH) Badges, $5 each. Mine had to be made twice as the first one came out as STY. Badges attached, great, now everyone will know we’re important :)

    It’s 9:55 and time for breakfast. We move across the road to the Hollywood & Vine for our character breakfast. After checking in a quick search of the bags revealed Autograph books but no pens. I was quickly dispatched to the nearest shop, I found some suitable pens and took them to the counter. The CM was interested in the GOH badge I was wearing, she’d never seen them before and wondered what they were, and I thought about winding her up but then thought better of it. She was really surprised when I told her I’d had them made next door, well would love to stop and chat but I’ve got some new friends to meet.

    I just got back to H&V when we were called to our table. We were served drinks and then went to see what the buffet had to offer. There was a wonderful choice, eggs, bacon, potatoes, waffles, pancakes, cereals and much more. Plates suitably filled with an array of goodies we make it back to our table just in time for Chip and Dale to make a guest appearance at our table, they look great in their movie costumes. No sooner have Chip and Dale gone we get a visit from Pluto. He’s on all fours putting his head on Lisa’s lap waiting for a fuss, which he duly gets. As Pluto scampers off Goofy appears, a few photos and I now get to eat some breakfast, or so I thought. In the distance there is some music and clapping which is getting louder, the waitress is now encouraging everyone to go to the center of the restaurant and clap and cheer. What’s going on? It’s Goofy he’s dancing with Minnie and all the kids are being asked to dance with them. Lisa is soon in the middle being swept off her feet as she is twirled and turned by Goofy. It’s worth the whole holiday just to see this, fantastic.
    The music eventually dies away and the characters wave goodbye to everyone.

    My tummy thinks my throat has been cut now and is desperately pleading for some food. During the rest of breakfast the characters return a couple of more times, some spending time to colour with the kids.
    This is our first time to this particular character meal and I really like this place, it’s been so much fun.
    As we exit Minnie is there for photos, she’s all dressed up in a white ball gown.

    Photo 1
    Photo 2
    Photo 3
    Photo 4

    Well Fun and Fed we now head back to RnR to use our FastPass, I’m not sure it is wise to ride this straight after breakfast but the wait time is now posted as 40 minutes and our fastpasses run out in 15 mins. A quick vote and everyone including Lisa is in agreement so off we go.

    RnR Photo 1

    Through the Fastpass entrance and straight past all the people in the standby line, I always have mixed feelings about short cutting everyone. In one way I feel as though I’m pushing my way to the front of the queue and in another way I feel as though I’m getting special treatment. I’ll go with the latter, especially as I’m wearing a GoH badge:)
    As we head to the preshow we pass those doors with the Marbles inset, I don’t know why but I seem to have an un-resistible urge to run my hands over them, maybe it’s the noise they make, I don’t know, but I’m not the only one!!
    We are into the preshow, issued our backstage passes and soon through the door into the car park waiting for our Super Stretch Limo.
    As we go through the door, we hear the squeal of tyres and I just see a blur of something silver heading into the darkness. Lisa sees this and her face changes from one of excitement to one of fear. We ask her if she’s OK, yep she’s fine as long as mummy holds her hand – what a brave little girl!
    Just before we take our positions for the next car we make sure Lisa is OK with this. She’s has half a smile on her face and says she really wants to do it.
    I’d like to point out that Lisa has never been on a rollercoaster any bigger than the magic kingdom BarnStormer. So she hasn’t worked her way up, she’s jumping straight in at the top!!

    Our car screeches to a halt in front of us and the gates open. We are seated and secure ourselves in the seats. I manage to turn around to look at Lisa and she looks Sooooo small. A couple of seconds later we are starring into the abyss, the music is getting louder and the countdown has begun, 4, 3, 2 ,1 Arrrgggghhhhhhh !! or words to that effect, we’re catapulted at lightning speed into the darkness, for a split second I realise I’ve just had probably the most embarrassing photo in my life taken. The next split second I don’t care about the photo, all I want to do now, is Live, as I realise I’m upside down going at breakneck speed through loops and turns. Having had a few near misses with road signs the brakes are applied and we are coming to a halt at the station. What a Buzz, What a ride.
    Oh no, I’ve just remembered that Lisa’s just gone through that also, I turn around half expecting a face full of tears and we are never doing that again. Instead she had the biggest smile I think I’d ever seen on her face. Was it a smile or was her face distorted by the sheer speed of the ride? No, it’s definitely a smile. This was Theresa’s first experience of this ride also and the smile that was on Lisa’s face was echoed on Theresa’s and there were shouts all around ‘let’s do it again’
    We exit the ride and go to view that embarrassing photo. Lisa is holding her breath with her checks puffed up and her eyes closed, from this point on Emma has great delight in pronouncing a new nick name for Lisa – Fish Face. This becomes a standing joke for the rest of the holiday every time we are on a ride.
    As this was Lisa’s big moment I decide that I have to buy the Photo even though it is $17, I have this sent to our hotel room so that I don’t have to carry it around all day.

    Fish Face Photo

    We exit through the shop and back to the RnR entrance we find there is still a 40 min wait so we get another set of fastpasses and head for the Indiana Jones show.

    Indiana Jones is a fist for us as this attraction was closed last year. We took our seats and watched the preshow volunteer selection process, very funny.
    I’m a little disappointed at the size of the stage, I’d seen clips from this show and it seemed bigger, maybe that was DisneyLand, little did I know at this time that the stage opens out into a large arena, dohh!
    This is a great show, Indiana manages not to get impaled on the spikes or crushed by the giant boulder. He saves the girl and stops the baddies all in a storm of action and stunts.

    Indy Photo 1

    After Indiana we go to Star Tours, this ride seems much bumpier than I remember it, but still we have a great time battling the evil empire.
    Next we head for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, this is a beautiful show and we all enjoy it, even Emma who thought it would be too young for her, although she’s trying hard not to show it.

    This is the point that Theresa starts complaining that her shoes are hurting, I’m trying really really hard to not say ‘I told you so’ , we sit down to asses the damage, there are signs of a couple of blisters beginning.
    I go and try to find some plasters to stop the situation getting worse. At the park entrance is the first aid room. I enter this deserted room and am greeted by a very friendly nurse that just seems so pleased that someone has broke up her boredom and paid her a visit. I explained the problem, obviously this would have been the very first time she would have encountered such a problem. To her credit she didn’t flap, she didn’t call for assistance and handled the situation with the utmost professionalism. She gave me a couple of complimentary plasters and some spare ones also. What a lovely woman.

    I rush the first aid supplies to Theresa who duly applies the plasters and is now ok to continue our quest. I’m still resisting the urge to claim the smug prize but Theresa can see it in my eyes and says “I know, I Know”

    We now go to the One Man’s Dream attraction, this was virtually empty. It was quite an education seeing some of the plans. Especially the blueprint for the Magic Kingdom on the wall of Walts office. The attraction is basically a timeline depicting key points within Walt’s life and career. There are lots of memorabilia items, like models of the Magic Kingdom. The film at the end is really thought provoking and showed just what made Walt who he was, I hadn’t realised he’d gone through so much.

    After One Mans Dream we go to the Muppets, this has a 40 min wait posted so we wander off to do the Backlot Tour. The next tour starts in 10 minutes, the queue depicts pictures and models from the film Pearl Harbor. We enter the pre-show area and the relevant volunteers are chosen. We go into the water arena where there is a film backdrop from the Pearl Harbor film. The volunteers are brought onto the stage, one of the women is given a waterproof jacket and hat and is then seated in this box made to represent part of a ship. When the CM points out the tank of water containing a few thousand gallons to her left the look on her face suddenly changes from ‘look at me I made it on stage’ to ‘please let there be a technical problem and cancel the show’. This is heightened even further when she realises that the chair she is sat in has seat belts and the CM is currently securing her into a chair.
    We are then told of the water effect that she is going to experience. Basically a tidal wave blasting through the side of the boat and that she may get slightly damp. :) A few seconds later the tank of water is now on it’s side and it’s contents are now heading at a speed of a train towards the victim, sorry, volunteer!

    Wet Volunteer Photo

    After the ceremonial drowning the show continues with the other volunteers acting out the part of a ships crew whilst being in a simulated bombing. Afterwards the TV monitors show what the action looks like when all the computer special effects are added. A few Oscars to be given out here I think!!
    Next we head for the tram that takes us around the backlot. Having viewed several familiar props and houses we are at the entrance to catastrophe canyon. There is a technical problem so we have to wait for about 15 minutes before we can continue. Well not that I’d planned much but this had now ruined the plan to see the parade :( time was ticking away and that 15 mins seemed like hours.
    Eventually we went in to the canyon, I won’t spoil it for the ones that haven’t done this but we survived, Just and only got slightly wet. This part of the tour is a great effect, it seems more intense as everything is so close. We exit the canyon and make our way back to the start. As we exit the tram we go through the Women of Film area, Theresa is well impressed with some of the wonderful dresses, I was wishing the models were real! The kids were wishing they were watching the parade.

    Due to the extra time on backlot we’d missed the start of the parade, we didn’t fancy trying to see it now that it had started. We’ll try and see it another day.
    It was almost time for our fastpasses on RnR again so we take a slow stroll, taking in the atmosphere of the park.
    At RnR we have 5 mins to wait to use fastpass, we are soon through the entrance and waiting to be let into the preshow. Another backstage pass and a stretch Limo and we are down in the garage waiting for our car. A couple of cars disappear into the darkness then it’s our turn. No matter how ready I think I am for the start of this ride I never am and for me they could get rid of the rest of the ride and just keep the start, it’s fantastic. At the end of the ride a check of the photos reveals Lisa and that lovely ‘Fish Face’ again.

    After RnR we have a quick snack , hotdogs, and then head back to the Hat as there is lots of character greetings going on, photos and autographs obtained we toyed with the idea of going to Millionaire but decided to do this next time.
    So we did some shopping then made our way to the Fantasmic amphitheater. We took our seats right in the middle and waited for the excitement to begin.

    It started to rain slightly but we thought we’d brave it out. When it started to rain heavier I spotted some people returning with new ponchos. Lisa decided it was time for dad to buy some ponchos or she wasn’t going to be happy, who was I to spoil her happiness, 4 ponchos acquired, and happy kids again. Now that I’d spent $20 the rain decided to stop, typical, never mind we would need to buy some at some time anyway.

    After a few Mexican waves had traversed the crowd the loudspeakers suddenly burst into life and information is given out in several different languages. Then the lights start to dim and the crowd goes silent, in this moment of silence you can literary feel the excitement of the crowd.
    “Welcome to Fantasmic”
    The silence is broken by faint musical note that is getting louder and louder until the crescendo climaxes with beams of light and the voice sings “Imagination”
    Flashing lights and musical notes, then….
    Mickey appears as the Sorcerers Apprentice to the rapture of the engrossed audience as a wild fanfare starts the show. The light and Sound fills the whole theatre, every hair on my neck is standing up and I feel a shiver down my back.
    Mickey conducts his orchestra of light and music. Tall curtains of water colorfully lit dance to his every command. Classic movie clips are projected on to arcs of sprayed water and the sound system portrays every emotion of those classics.
    The story of Pocahontas is played out on the rock. Radcliffe and his men being out thawted by John Smith. Indians come to the rock on flaming canoes and the whole scene is full of effects and stunts.
    The wicked witch cackles into her mirror and conjures up evil to defeat Mickey. Evil comes as a Snake that has bright piercing eyes that ominously stare at the audience scanning trying to find Mickey.
    More movie clips, but this time it’s the Disney villains. Then we see the dragon and Mickey is fighting for his life. The baddies are everywhere, the witch has risen to the top of the rock and oh no could this be the end of Mickey.
    Then Mickey shows his magic and evil is destroyed. Some more film clips then the characters from the film clips are coming by on water based floats.
    The music plays as the floats go past and there cant be a dry eye in the place.
    Mickey appears at the top of the rock and the audience rises to it’s feet. I feel drained and I’m only watching.
    Mickey conducts the curtains of water and light again and then as if my magic he disappears from the top of the rock and reappears 50foot below at the waters edge.
    Mickey’s final words … ‘Some imagination, Huh’
    Disney sure knows how to put on a show.

    Fantasmic Photo 1
    Fantasmic Photo 2
    Fantasmic Photo 3
    Fantasmic Photo 4
    Fantasmic Photo 5
    Fantasmic Photo 6

    The lights are now back on and we all comment on how good this show is and that we’ll be seeing it again before we leave.
    We exit the park and make it back to ASMo by about 9pm. Feeling a little hungry we have a snack in the food court then a well deserved bed.

    Tomorrow Epcot

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