Dave and Jill's 2000 Trip Report Repost - All in one thread!


DIS Veteran
May 4, 2000
Since the old boards will be going away soon, I thought I'd take the time to repost our trip report from May/June 2000. Since then, I have read many posts asking that all days of a trip report be posted in the same thread. I'm correcting that too!
I hope you find some useful information. Enjoy
The Cast of Characters (and boy, are we a bunch of characters):
The Principles:
Dave -(me) 37 year old high school Theatre teacher. Lover of all things theatrical, especially Disney! 1 trip to Disneyland when I was 9 and 3 previous trips to WDW with Jill (including our honeymoon).
Jill - My beautiful younger wife. Very funny first grade teacher and Official Taker of the Trip Report Notes. Loves Disney maybe more than me. 4 previous trips to WDW.
The Supporting Characters:
Janet - My older sister. One trip to Disneyland when she was 12.
Glenn - My brother-in-law. First Disney trip.
Sam - My 13 year old nephew. First Disney trip.
Andy - My 10 year old nephew. First Disney trip.
Ruth/Mom/Granny - My 72 year old, try just about anything, unbelievably energetic mother. One trip to Disneyland.
Our adventure started on Saturday, May 27 the day before we actually left Dallas. I had to be at graduation at 8:30 in the morning so I was glad to have something to do to keep me from bouncing off the walls. Graduation is always nice and gave me a chance to give last minute instructions to the two kids who were watching our dogs and house. Feeling relieved about ending another good school year, I headed for home to pick up Jill. We had some lunch and drove to the airport to pick up our rental car. We didn't want to leave the our car uncovered at the airport for a week (Dallas/Ft. Worth gets a lot of hail this time of year) and covered parking or shuttle/taxi rides were very expensive so I rented a car from National for $19 using a coupon from the Entertainment book. We picked a new Malibu and Jill followed me home. We tried to keep ourselves busy until bed time with last minute packing and a trip to WalMart. We finally fell asleep about 1:00 am but were wide awake when the alarm clock went off at 3:30.
We quickly got dressed and loaded up the rental for the trip to the airport. The drive usually takes about an hour from where we live but I had never done it at 4:30 in the morning. We pulled into the rental car center at about 5:15 and within 3 minutes had a receipt and were waiting for the shuttle (LOVE that hand-held computer check-in). We checked in at the Delta gate about 5:45 and waited for the plane to board. Our flight left on time at 7:35 and was fine except for some minor turbulence and a wobbly landing. We arrived at MCO about 10:40, de-boarded and headed for the Mears desk (we travel with only carry ons). We traded our vouchers for tickets, went to the loading area and walked right onto a waiting van! The other passengers on the van were all going to SOG so we were dropped first. Check in at the Swan was great. We weren't sure what kind of room we were getting as our room class was 'run of house' and they could stick us anywhere they had room. We were helped by a gentleman named Mikel who said he didn't like the room the controller had given us. We mentioned that we wanted an Epcot view and he said he only had a tenth floor room but it didn't have a balcony (we really wanted this). He recommended a room on the sixth floor with two queen sized beds. We said fine and checked our baggage until our room was ready at 3:00.
After weeks of anticipation, we were finally heading for some Magic! It was now about 12:00 and we weren't meeting the family until 2:00 so we took the boat to the YC/BC and walked the rest of the way to the International Gateway. We love the whole Boardwalk/Epcot area and within minutes were completely spoiled and can't imagine ever staying anywhere else (it's a good thing too, as you'll find out in a later installment). We were getting hot and tired from the lack of sleep so we stopped at the Rose & Crown and got a table outside. Our waiter was a very nice young man named Nick and we learned some things about the College Program during our conversation. We split a fruit/cheese plate and fish & chips. The Stilton is a little stinky for my taste but the thick slice of five different cheeses together is great and there are plenty of grapes and strawberries! As usual, the fish & chips are tasty and filling. After about a gallon of iced tea we were cool and perky again so we headed toward the fountain to meet the family. They were there waiting for us. They had driven from Houston and checked in at a Ft. Wilderness home that morning. Their home was ready so they were able to unpack and wander around before catching a bus/monorail to Epcot. I had heard that the busses from FW were a little convoluted so I was worried but they managed to meet us all week within 15 minutes of pre-arranged times with little trouble. We walked onto Spaceship Earth then headed for Test Track and got FastPasses for 8:20-9:20. I cannot stress enough the importance of using FastPass. We were able to see and do so much more because we didn't have to stand in line. I can't understand why more people don't use it. We headed toward Universe of Energy but were sidetracked by the butterfly garden. The CM there teased the boys about an alligator in the small pond and they bought it for a minute. We continued on to see Ellen's Energy Adventure. This is a much better show than the old U of E show IMHO. The boys loved the dinosaurs and the moving theatre. By this time, it was close to 4:00 so we split up. The family went to ride Body Wars while Jill and I went back to the Swan to settle into our room. Mikel had apparently done some more searching because we were now on the fifth floor with a king sized bed and a balcony overlooking the courtyard fountain and the back of the Dolphin. It was a beautiful room and a great view! Thank you, Mikel!
After all the oohing and ahhing, we headed back to meet the family at the entrance to World Showcase. We started in Mexico and worked our way around. We saw the Chinese acrobats, a group of tiny, fearless young girls. They are incredible, especially the four smallest girls who manage to squeeze themselves through some metal tubes in all sorts of different positions. We saw Rafiki and Timon in Africa and the boys got their first autographs of the trip. We stopped in America for dinner, which we all enjoyed. After dinner we stopped to see the drummers in Japan. Very loud. Sam had his picture taken with a living statue in Italy who held him by the back of the shirt and made 'rabbit ears' behind his head. She was great! Not a hint of expression on her face but she had the crowd rolling! We worked our way back to Future World but were still too early to use our FP and killed some time at Innoventions. The boys played the tag video game and had a lot of fun. It was time for our FP so we headed for Test Track. This was our first experience with FP and as soon as we entered the building we knew this was a great thing! We would have had about a 10 min. wait, but the ride broke down and we ended up in line for about 1/2 hour. The ride was great and everyone marveled at how 65 mph. seemed so fast. Test Track makes you think twice about all those times you've done 80 on the freeway...
When we exited TT, Illuminations 2000 was starting so we went toward World Showcase. We got as far as the bridge and were stopped by the size of the crowd. We watched the fireworks from there and vowed to stake out a good place later that week. We said goodnight to the family and left through the International Gateway. We felt very special to be walking in the opposite direction of almost everyone else and again mentioned how spoiled we were to be staying at an Epcot resort. We strolled around the Boardwalk to the Swan and decided to buy our E-Ride tickets. The Disney desk at the Swan was closed so we went back to the Boardwalk and bought 4 tickets at the front desk from a CM who was originally from Corpus Christi. We knew there were two E-Ride nights during our stay (thank you DIS!) so the first one was planned as a 'grown-up' night with Granny watching the kids at the FW campfire. More on this later...
By this time, the lack of sleep was catching up with us and we fell into bed. Next stop, early entry to the Magic Kingdom!
We were worried about missing the Mickey wake-up call but got the next best thing at 6:00 am. "Good morning Mrs. Kersh, this is your 6 am wake-up call. Would you like me to call back in 15 minutes?" We didn't need any extra sleep; we were pumped! We quickly showered and dressed and headed for the bus stop in front of the Swan. There were only two other people waiting so we were hopeful about the bus transportation. After stops at the Dolphin and YC/BC, we were on our way. We met the family on time at the front gate and proceeded to the empty turnstiles on the left side of the gate. After the opening ceremony, Jill was the first person through our turnstile! We decided to start in Tomorrowland and work our way across the park. Buzz Lightyear was closed so we headed for Space Mountain. It was now 7:30 am. We rode, in order, with no wait: Space Mountain (without Granny), Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh (a VERY fun ride), Snow White, and Small World. We emerged from SW just in time to join the small group already waiting for rope drop into Frontier Land. We rode Big Thunder Mountain (without Granny, 10 min. wait) and Splash Mountain (without Granny, 20 min. wait - I LOVE this ride) then stopped for bagels at the Diamond Horseshoe. We got a FastPass for Jungle Cruise then took in the show at the Enchanted Tiki Room. I like this show much better than the old one. It's shorter and much livelier. We had some time so we rode Pirates of the Caribbean after watching the dancers/acrobats outside (their music was so loud and distorted we couldn't stay for very long). After POTC, we used our FP on Jungle Cruise. We (at least me) again had a problem with the volume of the Guide's microphone. It was very distorted (but maybe that's just the theatre techie in me). In spite of this, we all enjoyed the ride. We went from there to the Haunted Mansion and rode with no wait. When we emerged from HM, it was 11:45 am. Early Entry worked like a charm.
Since we had done so much already, we decided to return to our respective resorts and lunch/nap/swim. This is always an important part of our days at WDW and I highly recommend it. The family caught a boat to Ft. Wilderness and Jill and I took a monorail to the Grand Floridian for lunch. We had always wanted to wander around there and this seemed like a good time. The first thing that struck us was the noise level in the lobby. There were tons of people checking in and kids playing tag among the furniture. It just didn't feel like a "deluxe" resort. (Please don't flame me; that's just my first impression.) We wandered around for awhile and then went to Gasparilla's Grill for lunch. Jill had a baked potato and I had chicken strips (the same ones that can be found in many places around WDW). Standard counter food at standard WDW prices. We took our food outside and had a quiet lunch beside the harbor. After lunch, we took the monorail back to MK and a bus to the Swan (the closest stop at MK and the first stop at the resorts! We're getting REALLY spoiled...). We napped until 4:15 then hopped a boat to MGM to meet the family at 5:00.

We bought new Mickey sunglasses and shared a frozen Coke while waiting for the family. They arrived at 5:15 and we headed for Rock-n-Rollercoaster. We got a FastPass for 7:45-8:45 so we had time for some other attractions. We hit Star Tours first. Janet skipped this because she had gotten woozy on Body Wars the day before. Mom stayed with her. We got front row seats and the boys were very impressed! We then saw the Muppet movie which we all loved. We were hungry so we had some good pizza at Pizza Planet and spent some time playing in the arcade. While everyone was occupied, I ran over to a shop and bought Jill a pin with her name on it. She loved it (uh oh... I think I've started something here...). We had enough time before our FP so we rode The Great Movie Ride. We got the side with the Gangster and both the guide and the actor were great!
It was finally time! Rock-n-Rollercoaster here we come! We had a short, 15 minute wait and then blasted off. This is an INCREDIBLE ride. It is so fast and so smooth and so intense that it's over before you know it. All you know is you want to do it again! Unfortunately we didn't have time right then (but we'll be back). Glenn, Sam and Andy wanted to ride Tower of Terror so the rest of us waited for them. I hate the feeling of falling so I haven't yet worked up the nerve. Maybe next time... We then got in line for the 10:30 showing of Fantasmic. They seated half the crowd first and held the rest of us back so I was worried that we may not get a seat but after about 15 minutes they let us go and we entered the half-empty theatre and found seats with no problem. This show is a theatre technician's dream/nightmare! There are so many technical effects going on at the same time it's almost dizzying! It's difficult to explain exactly what this show is, but YOU MUST SEE IT! My best memory of the show is the look on Andy's face during the dragon sequence (eyes wide, mouth open; we'll see this look again later in the week...).
After we exited the theatre (not too bad getting out) we said our goodnights and Jill and I took a boat back to the Swan. We were kind of hungry so we decided to go to Tubbi's at the Dolphin, a 24 hr. restaurant/convenience store. BIG MISTAKE! We bought 1 beer, 1 soda, 1 large bag of chips, 1 bag of pretzels, 1 order of fries and 1 pharmaceutical item. We checked out with the clerk whose register wasn't working. He added it all up and the grand total was: $29.00! We laughed about getting mugged by Tubbi on the way back to our room. When we added up the total on our own, it actually came to $39.00!!!! Do I feel like I cheated Tubbi? Not on your life...
We snacked and watched TV until we fell asleep. No wake-up call tomorrow; we're sleeping in!
We slept in until about 9:00 and it felt great. Jill was getting some nasty blisters on her feet from the new shoes she had bought before we left. She had bought similar shoes the year before and had no problems; not so this year. The Cruel Shoes were white and went with anything so we had a slight delay while she applied moleskin and adjusted her outfit so as not to clash with the pink shoes she had to wear. We will search for a comfy pair of white shoes while we are out today. On a side note: we had forgotten scissors with which to cut moleskin and called downstairs. Within two minutes, there was a bellman with a pair of scissors at our door. Once again, we're feeling spoiled. Cool!
We had a 10:00 PS for breakfast at The Garden Grill so we met the family there at 9:30 and checked in. We were seated at 9:40 and soon after, Chip and Dale came by for autographs and pictures. Then the food arrived. This is a "family style" restaraunt and the food comes in big skillets. They brought two skillets but we were little piggies and made it halfway through a third... The skillets contain scrambled cheddar eggs, hash browns, link sausage, and center-cut pork chops. On the side are cheese grits, biscuits, sausage gravy, cinnamon rolls, fresh butter, coffee, milk, soda, and the most wonderful orange juice I've ever tasted. This is the second time Jill and I have done this breakfast and will gladly do it again. Mickey came by about halfway through and I got a wonderful picture of him kissing Granny! Jill and I had a problem using our flex feature because we didn't read all the paperwork we were given when we checked into the Swan. It's a different system than we were used to from staying in Disney owned resorts. They give you a card, which you must sign and hand over at the place in which you want to use it. Oh well, it's a great breakfast. Even at full price!
We waddled out of The Land, skipping the boat ride because of the 45 minute line (never seen it that long!). We thought we would be back but never got to it. Too bad, Mom would have liked that... We headed toward HISTA and got a FastPass for about 30 min. later. I had had some problems with my camera at Fantasmic the night before, so the boys played in the fountains outside while I finished an experimental roll and had it developed at ImageWorks inside the Imagination Institute. $13.00 for 24 exposures in 2 hrs. After I dropped off the film, it was time for our FP at HISTA. This is a great attraction and we gave the family no clue as to what to expect. There was much screaming and laughing... After the movie, we worked our way over to the Living Seas and I watched a manatee eat lettuce while the rest of the family explored.
It was about 2:00 and Jill's feet were still hurting pretty badly, so she and I headed for the Boardwalk area to see if we could find some comfortable shoes and the family went to Typhoon Lagoon. Several stores and too much walking later we had still found no shoes so we went back to the room for a rest. We rested for awhile then Jill decided to go to the salon at the Dolphin and have a pedicure while I wandered around the resort.
We both had a relaxing time and by 5:00 were ready to go to Ft. Wilderness to pick up Janet and Glenn for our "grown-ups only" E-Ride night (don't worry, we're taking the kids and Granny to the E-Ride night later this week). We took a bus to MK, ducked inside just long enough to grab a Mickey Premium bar and caught the boat to Ft. Wilderness.
The home that the family stayed in was one of the older, Fleetwood homes but had been very well maintained and was clean and comfortable. Janet and Glenn slept on the Murphy bed (they like to fall asleep with the TV on - like me!) with Granny in the queen-sized and the boys in the bunks. Mom had cooked several meals and frozen them before they left so they ate breakfast and some lunches at their home. I made a pig of myself on some of Mom's smoked pork loin (anybody else miss their mother's cooking?) while we waited for Janet and Glenn to get ready.
The boys were tired after a wonderful afternoon at TL and Granny had taken a long nap in the shade there. I think they welcomed a night of rest. We all got off at the Ft. Wilderness campfire and Janet bought a s'mores kit. I realized that I had forgotten my camera at the home, so I had to take a Chip bus, grab the camera, and take a Chip bus back. By the time I got back, I had made friends with the bus driver! The sing-a-long was over and the movie had started so we headed to the Magic Kingdom. We later found out that Granny and the boys didn't really care for Mary Poppins (don't flame me, I like Mary Poppins...) and went back to the home not long after the s'mores ran out. Oh well...
While we were on our way to MK, we had to pull over and wait for the Electrical Water Pageant to pass. It came within 50 ft. of our boat! I was a little concerned about time but it was a great way to see the floats.
We waited in line about 5 min. to exchange the E-Ride passes for wristbands then stopped at Cosmic Ray's for some pizza and chicken strips (I know, I just had a pork sandwich... this place makes me hungry!). Glenn had the Italian Stack (it's as big as Andy's head) and said it was good.
Glenn wanted to do Alien Encounter so we stopped there first. This attraction comes up just short of being really good. A few more brief glimpses of parts of the alien in various places around the theatre would keep the audience more tense. But, that would probably scare the children too much...
We left AE and rode Space Mountain with no line. We skipped Astro Orbiter and walked across the park to Splash Mountain. We love this ride. The theme is so well done, we laugh all the way through. We rode twice and then rode Big Thunder Mountain. This ride is different at night. You notice all the things that are on fire... We headed back to Main Street to do some shopping and found it pretty much deserted.
While we were shopping, we heard the "Kiss Goodnight" starting (I knew about this from these boards) so I walked outside to see. Jill was waiting to pay and missed it. She'll get to see it someday... I must have gotten some soot or something in my eyes; they kind of misted up...
We said goodnight to Janet and Glenn at the monorail station. This was the only real complaint they had about the transportation to Ft. Wilderness. After both E-Ride nights, they had to take a monorail to the TTC and catch a FW bus. Seems a little out of the way to me...
We caught the bus at the Boardwalk stop. They had consolidated the route with Swan/Dolphin and YC/BC so we had to stand. This was the only crowded bus we were on all week. Jill's feet felt better but she didn't have the right clothes to wear pink shoes all week. We'll either have to get some new shoes or new clothes.
The Swan was the first stop and as we walked we talked about how much we loved WDW, how we especially enjoyed being able to walk to Epcot and The Boardwalk, and how much we looked forward to coming every year or every other year. Hmmm, I wonder how we could guarantee ourselves a room in the Boardwalk area every time we come back? Stay tuned...
After wrestling The Cruel Shoes away from Jill and convincing her that there was a better way of getting rid of them than throwing them off the balcony, we settled in for some much needed sleep. No wake-up call for us... We have a leisurely morning of shopping tomorrow.

We woke up about 9:00 and met the family at Downtown Disney at 10:00. They were getting off a bus at exactly the same time we were! Glenn was having problems with allergies and had decided to sleep in for the first part of the day. Our first stop was the book store (we're teachers; where else?). Jill saw some book-ends that she has to have but we'll have to wait for the next trip. We can take them on a bus much easier than the plane (we're coming back June 17-21; it's a long story; I'll explain it at the end of the trip report). Next stop, the home store. We could get into some serious trouble here... We restrained ourselves and went to an open-air kiosk where Jill found the Guest of Honor badges. She had been talking about them since she read on these boards that the CMs would call you by name. She had to have one. Janet decided that they all needed one and bought 4. Jill bought two for herself, one that says Jill and the other says Mrs. Kersh (for the first day of school). After some convincing, I agreed to wear one and she bought two more, one for me and one for Ruth. These turned out to be a fun conversation piece for the rest of the week! CMs did indeed call us by name and several actually didn't know what they were! If you've been to WDW several times, this is a good way to get a new experience, and they're only $5.00.
We were hungry and just passing the Lego / McDonald's area so we stopped for some lunch and Lego. Here's a tip: Super Sized at this McDonald's doesn't mean the same thing as it does in Texas. We got our burgers and they were dwarfed by the backpack-sized containers of fries! No wonder the birds are so fat!
We split up and Jill went to find some new shoes. I wandered around World of Disney trying to put off the inevitable. I looked at T-shirts, note pads, coffee cups and hats but somehow they just didn't satisfy. I finally gave up and went into the jewelry area. I pretended to look at the watches and the charms but I knew deep down what I was there for. I gave myself over to the dark side and was led by a mysterious power to the rack by the window. There they were, glistening in the sunlight... PINS! I had only allowed myself to look at them before because I knew once I bought one, there was no going back. Disney actually hooks you when you buy a package by giving you a pin (go ahead, try it man... the first one's free...). I decided to start small and just buy one pin. I was wearing a Dallas Stars hat that week (game 5 is tomorrow night as I write this; I don't want to talk about it) so I decided that Mickey playing hockey would be a good start and placed him to the right of the emblem on my hat. I then had the problem of an unbalanced hat so I bought an ESPN pin to put on the other side. I got out quickly with no further damage but I knew this little monster was going to grow...
I met up with Jill and she was happily sporting a new pair of white Nikes. It was an unplanned expense but worth it to make her vacation comfortable. She also had a surprise for me! A Mickey hockey pin! Just like the one on my hat! Does she know me or what? I took the pin back to the sports store and used the credit for a Mickey hockey shirt (very cool!).
We headed for DisneyQuest and spent the next few hours playing games and riding the virtual roller coaster. Since we had UMPs, I'm glad we got to take the boys (Jill and I had been before). I'm not sure I would pay the admission price separately though... We did get to check up on the DIS board but for some reason, it wouldn't let us login. It also blocked some domains, including our email. We'll check it when we get home... We also may have talked Granny into getting email. I built her a computer a couple of years ago and she's pretty savvy so we'll see... After a big slice of marble pound cake from the Cheesecake Factory, Jill and I caught a bus to the Swan for some napping and time on the balcony. It began to rain as we boarded the bus and continued for a couple of hours. We thought it might help with the smoke problem but it didn't last long enough...
As we left the hotel about 5:30 it was still raining lightly so we returned and bought panchos at the gift store in the lobby. As we crossed the bridge to the Boardwalk it stopped raining and the sun came out. Oh well, we'll use the panchos in June...
We stowed the panchos in a locker at the International Gateway and staked out a place for Tapestry of Nations in the UK across the street from the Rose & Crown. The CMs were having a hard time keeping people from stopping on the sidewalks and other non-marked areas but I never heard one lose their temper. I had heard a lot about this parade from the boards and enjoyed it very much. The puppets are fun and I like the way they interact with the crowd.
We were supposed to meet the family at the fountain at 7:00 and then stake out a place for Illuminations 2000. About 7:15, Jill started to get antsy so she left for the Cantina in Mexico. I waited until 7:50 and bought two more pins. I was just about to leave when Sam and Andy ran up and we all trouped down to Mexico together. Jill had saved a table but when we got there she was sharing it with a very nice older couple who had retired to Orlando. She makes friends wherever she goes... They left right after we got there and we settled in. While I bought some of the most forgettable "Mexican" food I've ever tasted, Sam, Jill and Andy went out to watch the 8:10 TON parade. It ended up being cancelled because of wind so we all crowded around the table to watch Illuminations. TIP FOR PEOPLE FROM TEXAS: Eat before you come. My wife actually met a nacho she didn't like! TIP FOR EVERYONE: If you watch Illuminations from the Cantina, make sure you have a table against the rail. The CMs there will not allow you to lower the umbrellas and the view of the fireworks is considerably obstructed. Fortunately, the boys are skinny and were able to sit between tables and watch from the railing. This is a fantastic display even with an obstructed view and Jill and I vow to return yet a third time and find the perfect place. We sat for about 15 min. after the show and waited for the crowd to thin our. We set our meeting time for 7:30 the following day at Animal Kingdom and went our separate ways. Jill and I took the long way home by walking all the way around the World Showcase. If you have never done this at night, after the crowd has emptied into Future World, I highly recommend it.
We strolled along the Boardwalk and stopped for beers at Big River (2 for $8.00). The menu looks interesting but expensive. The beer is their own brew and very good!
It was getting late, so we walked to the Swan and got a wakeup call for 5:30 (for Jill; I'm sleeping until 6:30!). As I lay in bed, it became apparent to me that there was only one way to make sure we got to come to WDW often and stay where we liked. I would have to seek counseling soon...
Our "next best thing to Mickey" wake up call came at 5:30 (see day 2) and yes, we did want them to call back in 15 minutes. The second call got us moving and we caught a bus to Animal Kingdom with a 15 min. wait. We met the family and were close to the front of the line once again! The opening ceremony is fun and the puppets remind me of the ones in TON. Just inside the turnstiles, there was a CM holding a display case with a giant millipede inside. It was interesting but caused a small bottleneck. Maybe they should put her further up the path. We headed in the same direction as everyone else; toward Killamanjaro Safari.
We walked on to a waiting truck with no wait and I cranked up the camera. The number and variety of animals we saw was amazing! We saw most if not all of the animals on chart in the truck. Our guide was a pretty good actor and didn???t sound like he was working on Jungle Cruise. Cool! Animals and a show. I got about 3/4 of the way through and realized that I had only brought one roll of film! Oh well... we still have Jill's point and shoot. I did manage to get a picture of our favorite animal of the ride; a baby rhino who was standing in a mud pit, shoving his face into the mud. He looked like a four year old eating a Mickey Premium bar! The bridge effect worked well and surprised (almost) everyone. This was one of the highlights of our trip and everyone had a great time.
We had a delicious breakfast at Tuskar House (it was almost empty when we walked in) and headed for It's Tough To Be A Bug. Each time I get close to the Tree of Life, I marvel at the magnitude of this piece of scenery. I have built scenery and am familiar with the process used to create the Tree but my poor brain just can't comprehend the hours of effort it took to achieve this amazing combination of massive size and intricate detail! I'm getting goosebumps! We were admitted to the lobby with no wait. Again, amazing attention to detail! I love the songs and posters! We didn't clue the family about the movie, but after HISTA, they caught on pretty quick! I love these movies but this one feels like it's over just when it's getting ready to start.
We headed for Dinoland and rode Dinosaur no wait. Jill and I had ridden CTX several times last year so we were prepared for some changes. I didn't notice many changes at all. Some have said that the ride has been "toned down" but I thought it was just as fast and jerky as before. The only change we noticed was the Carnotaur at the end was not as close to the car. I had been in the seat closest to him the year before and he was so close, I could feel his breath! Still a great ride though. The boys spent some time in the Boneyard while Jill and I took everyone's passes and went to Asia for Kali River Rapids FPs.
It was getting hot and crowded by this time. By the time we got to Asia, our tempers were wearing a little thin and we agreed that after KRR, we would go back to the hotel. We got our FPs and they began in 30 min. Just enough time to collect everyone and get back. Jill decided that she didn't want to get wet and found a frozen pink lemonade and a bench. The rest of us got a boat with about a 10 min. wait. This is a fun ride as far as the rapids goes, but the theme is very weak. It looks as though it was opened before it was ready. Hopefully they'll fix this because right now it looks like a Six Flags ride. We all got wet but none wetter than Granny! I had heard that the side of the boat with the most weight got wettest. I thought Mom and I were safe because we had Sam and Andy on our side and the other side was all adults. WRONG! I don't think there's any way to predict who will get the wettest. If you ride, just assume you will get soaked.
We found Jill and headed for the exit at about 12:15, planning to meet the family tomorrow at MGM. TIP: I cannot stress enough the importance of getting to AK when it opens. The park has a great deal of vegetation, the pathways are very narrow and there are not enough attractions to keep the traffic levels spread out. By noon, AK is very crowded and very hot! Some of this will change as AK grows but right now, you will enjoy it much more between the hours of 7:30 and 12:00.
We napped for about an hour at the Swan and then made our way to Epcot for our PS at Le Cellier. The cheese soup is everything everyone says it is! Jill had a 5 oz. steak and Dave the piggy had the 22 oz. Porterhouse. I told you this place makes me hungry! Our waitress got so involved in her conversation that someone else brought our steaks and our glasses sat empty for some time. When she realized how long she had left us, she was very apologetic and when the check came, our soups were not on it! That's customer service... But what else would you expect at WDW? We left stuffed and happy and sat on a bench for awhile to catch up on TR notes, watch the crowd go by and digest.
Since we were close we toured the Millennium Village. I wish I could say we enjoyed it but it was another example of an attraction with a good idea that wasn't fully executed. There were some interesting exhibits but it felt like the auto show somehow...
We decided to take the plunge and do Journey Into Your Imagination. I had heard so many negative things about this ride and we had both loved the old one so I was hesitant, but I decided to be open minded and give it a chance. I'm not sure what the problem was, but the queue didn't move for about 10 min. right after we entered the building. We thought the ride was down because people were leaving from further ahead in the line. We eventually started moving and the video with Eric Idle and Figment was entertaining and promising. I soon found out that the video would be the most entertaining thing in this attraction. The main thing I noticed was the large amount of empty space within the ride. The exhibits seemed to be too small for the space they were in and the posters on easels used to separate the four areas struck me as a cheap way out. I handled the lack of Figment and imagination in this attraction very well until the end. After 10 min. in a darkened attraction, our attention was focused on a screen in front of us supposedly to show how our imagination had grown during the ride. Then in a very un-Disney like fashion, a bright strobe light was flashed in our eyes and the ride was over. It felt like we had been tricked. Kind of like the guy who taps you on the opposite shoulder so when you look he isn't there... only much more irritating. At this point, Dave became angry. I was seeing blue dots and Jill was complaining that her eyes itched as we walked to Guest Services. I filled out a complaint about the ride and never mentioned Figment once!
Still feeling a little grouchy, we decided to indulge ourselves and feed the Pin Monster. We wandered from store to stand and finally found the starter set that Jill wanted. This is a pretty good deal but they only offer it at the pin stand outside the front gate at Epcot. You get a lanyard, 4 pins of your choice (this stand only has $6.00 pins) and a special "My First Mickey" pin for $32.00. The only way to get the MFM pin is to buy the starter set. It's a neat pin and many people wanted to trade for it. I bought a few more pins as well and we soon felt our Disney Spirit returning.
We walked around World Showcase for awhile and about 7:15 decided to stake out a place for Illuminations on a bench near America. We were directly across the lagoon from Spaceship Earth and had a good overhead view as well. We had found our perfect spot. We sat for about 1/2 hr. and decided to share our bench with a family from Long Island. They had a 5 year old girl, looked tired, and Dad was wearing a Dallas Cowboys shirt so we thought they looked interesting... I left to look at CM lanyards and get some snacks while Jill and the others held down the fort. When I got back with drinks and popcorn, Jill and the little girl were excitedly going over all the autographs in the girl's book. See, I told you Jill makes friends everywhere!
Illuminations was more than I had imagined. Words cannot do justice to the spectacle that is Illuminations 2000. You simply have to see it. Go early, stake out a seat, do whatever you have to do but SEE THIS SHOW!
After the show, we said goodbye to our new friends and walked through World Showcase with our Disney Magic completely restored! Ahhhhhh... that's better.
We watched the second period of the Stars/Devils game 2 at the ESPN club, then Jill bought a Crepe-on-a-stick (she said it was so so) and we headed toward the Swan. As we passed the Disney Vacation Club representative at the Boardwalk, I thought "now is as good a time as any" and we went in. I knew this was the best way to insure that we got to come back as often as we wanted and stay where we liked. I just didn't know if it was affordable for us. We talked briefly with the CM and made an appointment for the following day. I knew from these boards that there is no hard-sell pitch and they give you a free lunch so what did we have to lose?
We made our way back to the Swan. Jill fell asleep immediately while I watched the Stars win. Go Stars! (game 5 is tonight as I write this; Stars are down 3 games to 1; I don't want to talk about it). I fell asleep soon after, dreaming of CMs greeting us with a warm "Welcome Home". What could be better than that?
We woke up about 7:15 and we on a boat by 8:45. We were supposed to meet the family at 9:00 but they didn't arrive until 9:40. They had waited about 40 min. for a bus at FW and when one finally arrived they let everybody at the stop on except Janet and Glenn. Janet informed the driver that they had waited long enough, her children were on his bus and that she and her husband WERE going to ride. The driver mumbled something about "pushy Texans" and allowed them to board.
We worked our way back to RnR and got a FastPass for 11:30-12:30. We walked toward the Backlot Tour and along the way found Pooh, Tigger, Eyeor, and Piglet in front of their trailers (they must have been between scenes...). I got a great picture of Granny hugging Tigger! As we left, I wondered why Pooh had the smallest trailer... He needs to renegotiate his contract!
We passed Voyage of the Little Mermaid and they were just admitting for a show. We walked in with no wait and everybody enjoyed the show. I love the special effects in this show. Lots of mist and lasers to really give the illusion of being underwater.
We left Voyage... and walked right onto the Backlot Tour. They were just bringing on the volunteers for the water effects part of the show when we took our places in the group. This is a fun tour and I am always amazed at the scale of this operation. The number of costumes, props and set pieces being built every year is staggering. And more amazing to me is that they have the facilities to store it all for future use! Very cool...
After the tour, we had a snack and the boys explored the Bug's Life (formerly Honey I Shrunk the Kids) playground. After about 30 min. we headed for RnR to use our FastPasses. Once again, we had an incredible ride. Sam and Andy were chosen to be the "hood ornaments" again and rode in front with Jill and me right behind them. The seat behind us was empty and the picture came out great (Jill with eyes tightly shut and mouth wide open) so we bought it.
Jill and I had to keep our 1:00 DVC appointment so we split with the family and headed back to the Swan. I called Mears and made arrangements for a 3:50 pick up the following day. I'm always sad to have to make that call... We walked across the bridge and along the Boardwalk to the DVC office and went inside. We checked in with the CM at the desk and helped ourselves to iced tea and cookies. Our guide, Tom Jenkins arrived in just a few minutes and we were off on the tour. We saw all of the units except the Grand Villa. Apparently there aren't many and they are always full. No problem, we would rarely need anything larger than a Studio. These are beautiful rooms. Bright and airy with high-end touches like a hall tree and solid surface counters. The bathroom is larger than in a typical hotel room and there is a kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. The bed is queen sized and there is a fold out couch that sleeps two more people. This is as large and well appointed as any deluxe WDW room I have seen. I'm very impressed! We got all the information about using points at places other than WDW (this is not very economical so if you're not going to use your points mainly at WDW, don't buy) and sat down to talk price. They have a program called "Magical Beginnings" where they will rent back half of your first year's points for $10.00 per point and allow you to use that money as part of your down payment. This brings the initial cost of buying in down to a very attractive level. We talk financing, run the numbers and decide that it is easily affordable for us. We were very excited and ready to sign but the cynic in me suggested we wait and think about it until we came back the week of 6/17-6/23. I thought Jill was going to kill me with her mind (she can do that) but we got a 30 day guarantee on the rate we were quoted and told Tom we would call him soon. By the next day, I was mad at myself for not going ahead with it but knew that it would be a done deal in a couple of weeks. (I have since called Tom and made an appointment to do all the paperwork on 6/18. Only 8 more days until we're Members!) We got a free lunch voucher but were too late for Spoodles. We decided to try the ESPN club and were not disappointed. We both had seafood pasta and for desert, shared a "Hockey Puck" which is basically a large chunk of fudge covered in vanilla sauce with ice cream on the side. Yumm!
We napped at the hotel and met the family at the Magic Kingdom at 6:00. We got our wristbands for E-Ride night at City Hall and hopped the train for ToonTown. We rode Goofy's Barnstormer with about a 15 min. wait and Granny got dizzy so we rested with some water and fruit salad. The Pin Monster was complaining that nobody ever listened to him and that he needed $20.00 and a ride to the mall so we indulged him by buying more pins in the Judge's Tent. My hat's getting kind of heavy... Jill bought postcards to send to her students and we headed to Exhibition Hall on Main Street. We were told that the pin collector starter sets could be had here and both Sam and I wanted one. We found out that the only place to get them is the pin cart outside the front gate at Epcot so I bought another pin (Boardwalk Villas!) and we worked our way over to Frontier Land to get a spot for MSEP.
We staked out a good spot near a churro stand about 8:00 and bought snacks and glowing string things for the boys. I went into the shop across from our spot and made my first pin trade! I traded a Mickey pin for a cast member "2000 Dancer" pin and was very happy about it. We all enjoyed the parade and once again, my favorite part was the "wide eyed, mouth open" look on Andy's face. This place is even more fun with kids!
We had burgers at Pecos Bill's and I recalled a post on these boards about somebody wanting to live at WDW. They suggested sleeping in the bushes by the AllStars and eating off the fixins bar at Pecos Bill's. I believe you could do it! There are mushrooms, grilled onions, standard burger stuff and all the free cheese you can eat! While we were eating the fireworks started so the boys ran out to watch. We were content to sit and listen.
We headed straight to BTM and rode with a 10 min. wait. We then rode Splash Mountain twice with no lines and bought the picture. We all managed to keep our hands up and eyes open! We stopped for Country Bears and worked our way over to Tomorrowland. Janet, Glenn and the boys did Alien Encounter while we sat with frozen Cokes and talked to Mom. She was having a wonderful time and was very glad she came. We were too...
Glenn, the boys, Jill and I rode Space Mountain then the boys and their parents went up the elevator to ride Astro Orbiter. Janet and Glenn came down after the first ride but the boys stayed and rode again. In fact, they rode four times and would have ridden again if Glenn hadn't gone up gotten them.
We wandered down a deserted Main Street and said our good-byes outside the front gate. This had been a great trip and I was so happy to be able to share my favorite place with the people I love. After much hugging, Jill and I boarded our bus and headed back to the Swan happy and exhausted.

Jill woke up at 8:30 and packed. She's a saint and let me sleep until 9:30. I dressed and took the luggage downstairs and checked out. It was painless and took all of 5 minutes. Mikel, the CM who had put us in such a nice room checked me out and I was able to thank him personally. I was not charged the $5.00 per day service charge and I was given a newspaper and coffee every day. This may be because I booked a package and this charge was included in the price. Overall, I would say our experience at the Swan was first class and as deluxe as any Disney owned deluxe resort. The only differences between us and other Disney resort guests were: 1.)No charge privileges. 2.)No room delivery of packages. 3.) Two separate cards for resort ID/room key and park pass. The best compliment I can give the Swan is to say that I would not hesitate to stay there again (If I weren't buying into DVC). We had a wonderful time.
We left our luggage with bell services and caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom. Several CMs had told us that Buzz would be open so we decided to see... MK was packed! There were so many people that we couldn't even fight our way down Main Street. We gave up on Buzz (we'll be back) and caught a monorail to Epcot.
It was about time for the Pin Monster to fend for himself. As a going away present, I bought a starter set at the cart outside the front gate. I moved all the pins on my hat over to my lanyard. Ahhh, my head feels so much lighter! I said farewell to the Pin Monster knowing full well that he and I would meet again. Soon.
It was about lunch time so we ate at Pasta Plaza. I had a sandwich that was OK and Jill had chicken parmesan that turned out to be microwaved chicken in some sauce. Not a great experience but they do have Mickey shaped pizzas so I'm sure we'll be back. How much damage can they do to a pizza?
We stopped by the pin trading station and talked to some traders. I can't believe how many pins some of these people have (my Monster doesn't seem so big in comparison). Jill went over to the Fountainview to write her postcards. I wandered around Innoventions for a little while and went back to the pin trading station where a seminar led by 2 CMs was in progress. It was very informative.
I went and found Jill and we crossed the plaza to the mail cart. The postmark is a special Millennium postmark. Very cool.
We rode Spaceship Earth one last time and exited through the International Gateway. We wandered slowly around Crescent lake stopping at the YC/BC, Dolphin and for one more look at the DVC studio unit. We used one of our Flex Feature cards to get a Millennium CD at the Swan gift shop and the clerk there told us we could save the other one to use on a later trip. The only expiration date on the card is Dec. 2000 so we'll see...
Mears was right on time at 3:50 and we made one stop at MOWC before arriving at the airport at 4:30. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:00, but about 5:45 we were told that our plane had hydraulic problems and would be delayed. We finally boarded the plane at 8:00 and were back in our house by 10:45 Dallas time.
We had a wonderful time on this trip and I am so blessed to have been able to share WDW with my family. But it doesn't end here...
Last fall, Jill's father announced that he was taking everybody (children, grandchildren, children-in-law, 14 of us in all) to Disneyworld! We were very excited until April, when one of the grandchildren took ill. It looked as if he were going to have surgery at about the same time as the scheduled trip. The trip was cancelled. Jill and I booked our Swan trip for an earlier time so we could go to WDW and be back in time for the surgery. My family made reservations to join us. Several days later, Jill's mother called to say that the grandchild was fine and the trip was back on! There was nothing else for Jill and I to do except go twice! So, not only did we get to enjoy WDW with my family, we get to do the same thing with Jill's family in the same summer! We'll check into Dixie Landings on 6/17 and be there through 6/23.
Thanks to everyone who read this and commented. It was nice to be encouraged. I really enjoyed writing this and I think it will be a nice addition to all the pictures we took but I think I'll be the Taker of the Notes on the next trip and let Jill do the reporting. Thanks also to everyone who posts on DIS. We wouldn't have been able to do half as much as we did if not for the information we found on these boards. We have found more here than information though... We have found very nice people who share our love of WDW. I'll try to get some green ribbon for this next trip and maybe I'll see some of you there!
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! It brought back so many good memories and has me pumped for our trip in 28 days!


Dreams Unlimited Travel is committed to providing you with the very best vacation planning experience possible. Our Vacation Planners are experts and will share their honest advice to help you have a magical vacation.

Let us help you with your next Disney Vacation!

Latest posts

facebook twitter