The Cast: Me - Geoff_M, age 36, 7th trip Mrs. M - Diane, age 35, 4th trip Daughter - Kristina, age 9, 2nd trip Son #1 - Charles, age before 6, age after 7, 2nd trip Son #2 - Steven, age 19 months, 2nd trip Cameos by: My Sister - Sally, age 28 Her Boyfriend - Tom, age ?? Duration: 6 days (1/1/01 to 1/6/01) Stayed On-Site at Wilderness Lodge 01/05/2001 - MK & Hook-up with Sis Mickey woke us up on the phone at 7:30 AM. We make pretty good time getting ready and eating breakfast in the room. As I entered the lobby I was amazed. ALL the Christmas decorations were GONE! The five story tree too! One night, BOOM! I can't imagine the manpower needed to strip WL bare in one fell swoop. Later that day we found that ALL of Disney World had been picked clean of Yuletide dressings. I now guess it all goes up overnight in November too! Today's agenda called for going to MK where we would, at some point, meet my little sister Sally and her boyfriend Tom (who we had not met). She lives near Miami and wanted to pay us a visit like last year. This time Sally did a day trip to come met us and brought Tom along to meet her only siblings, niece, and nephews. They said they wouldn't get there until mid-morning, so we concentrated on the "kiddie" rides first. Arrived at MK within 15 minutes of its opening and bee-lined straight to Dumbo. We were on in a matter of minutes. Next was The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. That was probably Steven's favorite ride. When it was over he tried to hang onto the safety bar and didn't want to exit the "honey pot". Next was Peter Pan's Flight... Another hit. Then back to Small World for more stand-up-in-seat dancing by Steven. Next was Cinderella's Golden Carrousel. Kristina got to ride Cinderella's horse last year (the one with the golden bow on its tail) and wanted to do it again. It was taken the first time, so she asked if we could ride it again. After three tries she finally got the right horse. We have another photo one year later of her smiling and pointing to the golden bow. Kristina and Charles wanted to ride the Mad Tea Party. I love roller coasters and simulator rides, but rides that spin make my violently (and I DO mean violently) ill. So Diane and the three kids spun their little hearts out while I sat on a nearby bench and happily watched. It was around 11 AM and we were starting to get hungry. We ordered fast food at The Pinocchio Village Haus and found an open table that overlooked the boarding area of Small World. All three kids spent most of their lunchtime waving at all the people in the boats that passed below us. About half of them waved back. Sally then called on my cell phone and said she overslept and they were running late. Their ETA was now around 1 PM. It was the Friday of the WDW Marathon weekend, and it showed. MK was starting to get very busy. We noticed lots of people in jogging shorts (the weather was starting to get warmer) and expensive running shoes walking around. It made sense that a lot of the participants would come a day or two early and hit MK before the big run. As a result we saw our first really long lines of the trip. Tomorrowland Speedway was packed, as was Space Mountain. I realize "packed" is a relative term. Here I mean over a 45 minute wait, which would be a dream during Spring Break! So we opted for a less crowded option: Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I don't know why I like this ride so much. It must be a hold over from the days when it was one of the free rides in the era when WDW rides were ticketed (Man, I really miss "If You Had Wings!"). The enthusiasm has rubbed off on the kids, they like TTA too! Time was approaching then Sally and Tom were supposed to meet us in front of the castle, so we headed in that direction. We got there just as the "Every Day's A Holiday" stage show was about to start. We stayed and watched it. Steven loved it. Clapped, sang, the whole works. Characters were OK now with him at a distance. As the show was winding down Sally called and said they were coming down Main Street. After a couple of minutes we had visual contact. Sally introduced us all to Tom and vice versa. Tom seemed like a perfectly nice guy. The Carrousel of Progress is probably my last remaining nostalgic ride at WDW and we went there next. Kristina and Charles very much wanted to see it too. It was another chance to sing a song they'd memorized off of the WDW CD. So minutes later we were all singing "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!" together. I now read that CoP may finally have its plug pulled soon. I'm really glad we saw it. We then grabbed FastPasses for Space Mountain and headed to Splash Mountain to see what the wait was like. On the way there we stopped in Liberty Square for some snacks and so Sally and Tom could grab some hot dogs. We made it to Splash Mountain only to find the lines were too long and the FastPass time didn't work with our PS dinner reservations at Chief Mickey's. As we started to leave the area the Magical Moments parade started. We started to watch the parade from several row back, but decided to bag it after about 5 minutes. It was time for another lower popularity attraction. We took advantage of the crowd's distraction of the parade and went over to Tom Sawyer's Island. Charles and Kristina really liked it last year and enjoyed another helping. It was also Diane's first time over on the island. Last year she went shopping with a sleeping Steven while I took the kids. We killed some time on the island and then left to go ride on Space Mountain with the FastPasses. This was one of Sally's favorite rides. Even though she lives in Florida, she hasn't really had the opportunity to spend much time at WDW. The last time she rode Space Mountain it was a number of years ago when Sally was still in college. She rode it with our Grandmother (who passed away in 1997) who loved roller coasters. Kristina and Charles had been warned in advance to keep their noses out of Sally and Tom's relationship. Questions like "Are you going to marry Aunt Sally?" would be met with deferred punishments. But they couldn't resist and skirted the prohibitions. Kristina and Charles took a strong liking to Tom. Charles proclaimed out loud, much his Aunt's amusement, "Tom, I think you'd make a great Uncle!" Kristina asked him "Don't you think Aunt Sally is VERY beautiful???" Etc., etc. They finally bestowed him with an unofficial "Unclehood" and each took a turn riding on his shoulders. Sally and Tom had planned to depart WDW and drive back to Miami when it was time for us to head to Chief Mickey's. But we invited them to join us and they accepted. (I guess Tom liked us too.) The buffet was very tasty and we all had our fill. Steven's fear of the Disney characters had lessened, but he still wanted to keep a 5-foot comfort zone between him and the "furry things". We had an idea on how to get Steven over the hump. He LOVES watching the squirrels through our house's back porch glass door. We decided to reposition Chip and Dale as "squirrels", but he wasn't buying it. Oh well, maybe next trip. After dinner, we said "good-bye" to Sally and Tom and did some shopping at the Contemporary. Charles had been looking to buy trading pins and a lanyard with his spending money, so he spent it on a lanyard and six pins. Kristina found a nice Minnie hairbrush she liked. We had talked about trying to go to MGM and see the Osborne Christmas lights (they were up until Jan 7th) after Chief Mickey's. This was one of the "must-dos" that Diane wanted to accomplish. But we all agreed that we were ready to have a low-key evening, instead. I couldn't believe my ears when Diane said "Never mind the lights". She's the ultimate Christmas decoration freak. So we took the boat from the Contemporary to WL. Diane and Steven stayed in the room and relaxed while I took the kids for one more swim. Update 8 years later: I've just edited these reports to clean up some formatting errors that made them pretty unreadable... I also can happily report that Sally and Tom got married, live in Hollywood, FL and have three kids (two girls and a boy).