Fleeing From a Winter Wonderland - A First-Timer's Disney Christmas-Completed 12/9/09

Vexorg

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
And to keep this thing moving...

Part 9: Merry Enough For You? (Back to the MK for MVMCP, where I try to figure out just a bit too late what's for dinner...)

When I last left off on my trip report, I had just taken the Friendship boat across the World Showcase Lagoon from Morocco back to the World Showcase entrance, and was headed back toward the gate to hop a monorail back to Magic Kingdom for the remainder of the afternoon and the evening's MVMCP. I wasn't exactly rushing to get there, and a I made a couple of stops: The first was at one of the two gift shops at the front of World Showcase, currently full of Christmas stuff.



Apparently there was no shortage of Mickey-themed ornaments all at 40% off. I thought about picking up a couple, but decided that getting them home in one piece might prove tricky, and decided to pass.



If for some reason you needed Mickey-themed ornaments for other holidays, they've even got those.



I also made a pitstop at Club Cool on the way out, which I had apparently missed when I had passed by there the first time around. In reading trip reports beforehand, I had heard of Beverly by its reputation, but I had not seen the true extent of the horror that the stuff seems to inspire among some posters here, where it seems to be regarded mostly as a concoction drawn straight from the depths of the gall of bitterness to torment the living upon the face of the Earth. I tried it, and although the stuff is definitely a bit bitter for my liking (I'd describe it as being like a grapefruit soda that just keeps gettinr more bitter as you go) I didn't think it was quite as evil as some people seem to believe. Not that I ever intend to drink the stuff anytime soon, but if I needed to dupe - er, convince someone else to try it, I could probably handle another sip. As for the other flavors, I think I liked the Costa Rican Fanta the best. Oh yeah, and is it just me, or is the floor in this place always that sticky?



Anyway, after my attempts at refreshment by questionable means, I made my way out of Epcot, but not before pausing to take this photo with Spaceship Earth, which came after about three or four previous attempts that look even sillier than this one. And if anyone is wondering, yes I am wearing the same shirt as yesterday, as a result of the clean laundry shortage I had encountered the night before. Finally, I left Epcot for the day, and hopped the Monorail (is it just me, or do those ramps up to the platform seem a lot longer than they actually are?) and made my way to the Magic Kingdom. The first order of business was redeeming my MVMCP voucher.



When I got there, the sold out sign was already out. This was around 3 or so in the afternoon, so I don't know if they still had tickets earlier or if they had sold out days in advance. Anyway, after getting my ticket (no line at Guest Services) I headed into the park. Of course, being 3pm, as soon as I walked through the tunnel, I ran right smack into...



...The afternoon parade. With a lot less crowds than I had to deal with at yesterday's parade, no less. If I had known this yesterday when I was standing behind fifty people at the hub for yesterday's parade I probably would have just skipped it yesterday and waited for today, but now that I not only found myself with much less crowds to deal with but also with a much better vantage point, the first thing that came to mind was to try to find some way to get around it. Ultimately, I got into the que for the train station, but as it would turn out, the next train didn't even arrive until the end of the parade. Although it's neat to watch the parade go by, I have to say if I ever hear that Disney Dreams Come True theme again I might just lose it. Besides, if you've already been to Disneyland, and you're at Disney World now, what other Disney dreams do you need to come true at the moment? Magic Fastpasses? A night in the castle? To be at Tokyo Disneyland instead? But I digress.



Anyway, once I finally got on the train (and saw parade floats waiting at the crossing as we passed by) I got off at the Frontierland stop, where I saw this poster on the way out of the station. You can't really see it at this resolution, but if you ever take the time to stop and read this (or do what I did and take a picture to read later) it's actually interesting to read. The whole story of how Splash Mountain came to be, Brer Rabbit, and even how the place came to be invaded by thrill-seeking humans, is found here.



Along the way, these performers were playing Christmas carols, and were actually doing a pretty good job of it, if I recall.



Egrets... I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention.



Anyway, my main goal for the afternoon was to ride Big Thunder Mountain, which I promptly grabbed a Fastpass for with a fairly short return time. I was then getting hungry, so I ended up grabbing some popcorn, then settled down to watch the boats come down Splash Mountain for a few. I then briefly thought about taking a ride on the Liberty Belle, but I got impatient while waiting for the boat to unload, so once I finished off the popcorn, I instead headed for another trip on the Haunted Mansion (which never had a long line on any of the times I rode it on this trip.)


This time around, the ride paused for a bit near the end, at the mirror room. I really wish this picture had come out. After getting off the Haunted Mansion the Fastpass return time for BTMRR had arrived, so I went to use that. I found the lift hills on this to be rather noisy as well.



After BTMRR, I headed back toward Adventureland, and rode Pirates another time (seeing a pattern here?) I thought about going for another run on the Jungle Cruise at this point, but the line seemed rather long, and for some reason I didn't think to grab a Fastpass. Instead, I decided to grab a Dole Whip and hit the Tiki Room. I got stuck behind some people who took roughly forever and a day to decide what to get, and then had two people carrying a big load of stuff when everything was finally served up. My order was a little bit simpler. I have to say that I didn't care much for the New Management version of the Tiki Room, but at least DLR still has the original.



It was starting to get near dusk by this time, so I headed over to grab my MVMCP wristband next, then went back toward Fantasyland, looking for a place to sit down.



Say, this one looks like a nice quiet place for a little rest, maybe have a spot of tea or something.



Wait a minute, what's with this? It's mad, MAD I tell you, mad!



More goofing off with the camera. Believe me, you DON'T want to see the outtakes from this one.






I next headed back toward Tomorrowland, where I planned to hit the Laugh Floor to find a place to sit down for a bit. The wait was short, but as worn out as I was getting at that point I wasn't exactly thrilled about having to spend ten minutes waiting in the pre-show area before getting in after you get through the queue. Even after sitting down for a bit at the show, I still wasn't all that enthusiastic about standing up at this point. I gave some brief thought to waiting in line for the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" show, but ultimately decided didn't feel like waiting (or more accurately, didn't feel like standing for that long.)


By the time I got off here the decorations were beginning to show up, and it was getting just about to the point where they were about to start clearing out the park for MVMCP. This was also just about the time when I realized I should probably give some thought to dinner, unless I wanted to be stuck with chicken nuggets for dinner. I eventually managed to follow the crowds all the way out the park gate before I realized that the monorail line was a mile long at this point, and there wasn't going to be much in the way of dining options that wouldn't involve wading through that crowd (I suppose I could have walked to the Contemporary and grabbed something from the CS place there, but I didn't feel like walking there at the moment. Ultimately, I quickly returned to the park (I needed to use my MVMCP ticket this time since my regular ticket wouldn't get me in anymore.) Finding food options to be scarce, I decided I was going to bite the bullet and just head back toward Cosmic Ray's again for the Chicken Nuggets I had tried to hard to avoid. No pictures here, because I don't think anyone would really care to see it anyway.



By the time I finished off dinner, they had begun serving the cookies and hot cocoa. There was basically no line at this point, so I grabbed some and headed over to check out the entertainment.



I think I ended up staying here for about twenty seconds total. I ended up fleeing the place just about the time I heard the words "High School Musical" from the direction of the stage.



I ended up heading for the TTA next, since that seemed to be a good place to not stand for a few minutes. I attempted to take some photos, but only a couple came out anything but unrecognizably blurry.



At least this was one of them.

I decided to head back toward Adventureland at this point, hoping to catch the pirate band that was on the schedule. Passing by Main Street, I saw that I was already about 45 minutes late to catch anything resembling a good spot on Main Street for the parade, but the parade was still a good hour away.



I saw that another of the cookies and cocoa stations was relatively empty at this point, so for some reason I grabbed more of it. It was about halfway through the second cup that I realized that no matter how merry the Christmas party might have been, hot chocolate and 75-degree weather just don't mix.



After a few minutes of waiting, the pirate band arrived, and performed several appropriately piratey Christmas selections. After listening for a bit, I then went for another ride on PotC to pass the time. It was here that the ride stopped running just after they finished loading us up on the boat. I was in the back row of the boat, and while we waited I struck up a conversation with a kid in the row in front. As I am inclined to do on occasion, I used the occasion to fill the kid's head with stores, explaining that all the treasure on the ride was real (after all, do you think that Jack Sparrow would waste his time pillaging and plundering all that loot if it only LOOKED like treasure?) Unfortunately, I have to admit that the kid probably knew more about the PotC movies than I did (I've seen about half of the first one, that's it.) Finally after about 10-15 minutes or so, the ride started moving, and I went through for my fourth ride of the trip.

It was after this that it was getting to just about be time for the parade. I've hit the image limit once again, so I will proceed from there in the next post. If you're lurking, feel free to reply, otherwise this trip report is going to end up with about 300 images per page, and it's going to start melting some people's Internet connections. That would be a bad thing now, wouldn't it?

Coming soon: Part 10. How to Get the Christmas Spirit Without the Need for Ghostly Visitors (How NOT to find a proper spot for the parade, blurry Paparazzi photos of Cinderella, and even more fireworks.)
 

heaven2dc

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 26, 2003
I absolutely am having the best time reading your report - what a great writer and photographer you are!

Love your castle pics - I loved that one especially with the reflection in the water! I got a couple pics close to what you took but not nearly as clear. :thumbsup2

I miss the Northwest (grew up in Portland, moved in 1994 out East). I forgot how cold it can get in Redmond and that you guys actually get snow in the winter (Portlanders get mostly ice but I heard this year from my cousin that they got hit with snow too).

I wonder if you were in WDW when I was (I was there 12/13-20th). The weather was fantastic!
 

All7OfUs

<font color=darkorchid>We too are so very NOT into
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
I'm no lurker! I love your TR, and so love your pics.! Hey, if it's the blue line of the TTA, why does it have a very RED row of neon lights directly underneath. never noticed that before!

I never thought to take pics. of a little of the merchanidise to fill in a photo album or to just have memories - good idea. :thumbsup2

I htink one of my favorite memories of growing up going to DLR, was the street bands and live performances. I was especially fond of the jazz group in NOS, and the piano guy on Main Street, but my alltime fav. was the barbershop on Main Street.

See you next time,
 
  • GreatBiscuit

    Golden but never flaky
    Joined
    Aug 20, 1999
    Thanks. I'm afraid I might have to skip the Alice photos though, just to be on the safe side.
    That just made me snort involuntarily. :rolleyes1

    I tried it, and although the stuff is definitely a bit bitter for my liking (I'd describe it as being like a grapefruit soda that just keeps gettinr more bitter as you go) I didn't think it was quite as evil as some people seem to believe.
    Way to take one for the team. This particular phenomenon was not available during our last trip so I have not yet soiled my lips with carbonated Italian bitterness.


    I got stuck behind some people who took roughly forever and a day to decide what to get, and then had two people carrying a big load of stuff when everything was finally served up.
    That's always fun.

    I ended up fleeing the place just about the time I heard the words "High School Musical" from the direction of the stage.
    Good call my friend.

    I ended up heading for the TTA next, since that seemed to be a good place to not stand for a few minutes.
    TTA - the tired man's friend. I love this attraction for that very reason.


    After a few minutes of waiting, the pirate band arrived, and performed several appropriately piratey Christmas selections.
    Where else but a Disney TR can you use the words "Pirate Band" and "Christmas Selections" in the same sentence without anyone batting an eye?
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    I absolutely am having the best time reading your report - what a great writer and photographer you are!

    Love your castle pics - I loved that one especially with the reflection in the water! I got a couple pics close to what you took but not nearly as clear. :thumbsup2

    I miss the Northwest (grew up in Portland, moved in 1994 out East). I forgot how cold it can get in Redmond and that you guys actually get snow in the winter (Portlanders get mostly ice but I heard this year from my cousin that they got hit with snow too).

    I wonder if you were in WDW when I was (I was there 12/13-20th). The weather was fantastic!
    You might be getting Redmond WA and Redmond OR mixed up, but up here in the Seattle area the winters are usually fairly mild, and aside from a rather horrendous December and early January, the Winter weather here hasn't been all that bad this year, just the typical scattered snowshowers a couple of times. Of course, last year we ended up with snow up here in mid-April and ski areas open the first week of June, so who knows what will happen?

    I'm no lurker! I love your TR, and so love your pics.! Hey, if it's the blue line of the TTA, why does it have a very RED row of neon lights directly underneath. never noticed that before!

    I never thought to take pics. of a little of the merchanidise to fill in a photo album or to just have memories - good idea. :thumbsup2

    I htink one of my favorite memories of growing up going to DLR, was the street bands and live performances. I was especially fond of the jazz group in NOS, and the piano guy on Main Street, but my alltime fav. was the barbershop on Main Street.

    See you next time,
    The merchandise is getting it's own post at the end of the trip, in order to keep it from cluttering up the TR too much. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to hang around Main Street this time around (at least not while there wasn't some parade going by) so I didn't get to see the performers there. Maybe on the next trip when I actually know enough about the place to realize that four days is nowhere near enough time to see the place, but that's another story...

    Where else but a Disney TR can you use the words "Pirate Band" and "Christmas Selections" in the same sentence without anyone batting an eye?
    Perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean? Just because you happen to be a scurvy dog with a mean temper and a proclivity to pillage and plunder random passersby doesn't mean you can't celebrate the Holidays in style, right?

    Anyway, the next part of the TR should be coming soon. It'll probably be a bit lighter on photos than the last couple of parts since I didn't get a lot of good shots of the parade in the dark of the Holiday Wishes.
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    Time to finish up the second day:

    Part 10: How to Get the Christmas Spirit Without the Need for Ghostly Visitors (or, How Not to Find a Spot for the Parade)

    After I finally managed to get off Pirates of the Caribbean following the previously mentioned delay at the loading dock, it was just about time for the parade to start. I took one of the shortcuts from Adventureland to Frontierland to get across, but found that the streets were already jammed with people, and the parade was going to be showing up any minute. Since the street was roped off and it was no longer possible to get across, I settled into the one spot I could find for the parade:



    Here. Standing on the fence at the Frontierland sign, presumably in a decidedly non OSHA-approved manner. All things considered, it probably wasn't a Disney crime on the order of, say, Alice Hugging or anything sinister like that, but if any CMs had shown up there during the parade I probably would have earned a good stern lecture or two. Somehow I got away with it (and somehow managed to not fall to an untimely demise in the bushes behind the fence) and watched the parade from here. Unfortunately, I didn't get a whole lot of good photos of the parade since my camera didn't handle the low-light conditions well, but here are a few of the ones I did get.



    As is the tradition in these parts, the nighttime parade always begins with the ever-popular child placating blinkenlight-encrusted objects cart...



    ...And the Once Upon a Blurry Christmastime Parade is now underway.



    As with most parades, this one includes the usual characters, but I found it more interesting than most because there seemed to be a lot more obscure and uncommon characters here than in the regular parades.



    Of course, you can't do a parade without these two, right?



    On the other hand, you don't seem to see a lot of Scrooge McDuck (who happens to be one of my favorites after watching way too much DuckTales back in the Disney Afternoon days.)



    I know that Christmas Parades are supposed to be all cold and stuff, but I felt just a bit sorry for all the performers wearing all these heavy jackets and things like that, while the weather was well into the 70s even at night during this trip. Not that I was complaining mind you (after all, I could have been at home where things were below freezing and the roads were a big mess) but I can barely stand to wear a jacket when it breaks 55 here, there's no way I'd want to wear one down there.



    For as popular as these two are, you don't actually seem to see a lot of them for some reason...



    Ever notice that Snow White's float doesn't seem to include anything particularly snowy?



    And here it is, my blurry Paparazzi photo of Cinderella. Prince Charming's looking a bit like he's been hitting the pixie dust before the parade too. If any tabloid editors are reading, I would like payment to be made in small unmarked bills please.



    There was more of the parade, but eventually I had to remind myself to stop spending my whole trip staring at a camera screen, and put it away for the rest of the parade. Once the last float went by, there was a significant crowd filtering back into the rest of the park, and I ended up having little option but to go with the flow that led toward Fantasyland. After a brief pause to find a restroom, I ended up heading for the Haunted Mansion one more time to wait for the crowds to disperse a bit more (thus bringing the total number of hitchhiking ghosts following me home to 5, give or take a couple) After that, I went back in the direction of Fantasyland, but the fireworks were getting a bit too close to wait in any lines. I ended up just wandering through the area, then back around toward the Hub to settle down in a spot to watch the fireworks. I managed to find a spot that wasn't too crowded, but was partially obscured by trees.



    While waiting for the fireworks to begin, I had someone else take this picture, which might be the only not entirely silly-looking picture of myself that I have from this trip (yeah yeah, next time use Photopass, I know...) A few minutes later the fireworks began, and a young child nearby spent most of the show apparently frightened by the firework booms and screaming loudly. Other than that it was good, but I didn't get a whole lot of good photos. Here are a few that did turn out though:







    I thought this one in particular turned out interesting, although it was somewhat accidental. You can see the netting from the castle lights pretty clearly in the full size version.





    When the fireworks came to an end, even though I could have stayed for a couple of hours more I was really starting to get worn out at this point, and decided to call it a night, but not before doing a bit more browsing in the shops on Main Street, where I grabbed a couple of t-shirts to stave off my clean laundry shortage.



    Sure enough, the snow had come to Main Street, and it seemed a bit more friendly than the stuff we were getting back home at this point.



    As I left the park I made a call home to let my parents know what I was up to,and since it was quieter than the monorail station I opted to take the ferry back to the TTC instead. I managed to catch this shot of the castle and train station as I rode across the Seven Seas Lagoon (it took several tries, but I like the way it turned out.)



    Once the ferry arrived, I made the long walk to the bus stop, and a bus back to the hotel arrived in short order. Fortunately it wasn't too crowded, and since the Hilton was the first stop it didn't take too long to get back. Following a nice hot bath, I went to bed, not really having much in the way of plans for the next day.

    Coming up in day 3: Park Hopping for Dummies, a Wandering Bag, and More Parades Than You can Stand to Watch!
     

    GreatBiscuit

    Golden but never flaky
    Joined
    Aug 20, 1999
    All things considered, it probably wasn't a Disney crime on the order of, say, Alice Hugging or anything sinister like that,
    They take that sort of thing seriously you know.

    I know that Christmas Parades are supposed to be all cold and stuff, but I felt just a bit sorry for all the performers wearing all these heavy jackets and things like that, while the weather was well into the 70s even at night during this trip.
    I always feel bad for them in the summer too. I don't know how they make it all the way through the parade.

    but not before doing a bit more browsing in the shops on Main Street, where I grabbed a couple of t-shirts to stave off my clean laundry shortage.
    I remember those bachelor days when "doing laundry" often meant buying new clothes.

    I managed to catch this shot of the castle and train station as I rode across the Seven Seas Lagoon (it took several tries, but I like the way it turned out.
    A nifty final shot.
     
  • Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    I always feel bad for them in the summer too. I don't know how they make it all the way through the parade.
    From what I understand, the full costume character suits are going to be hot no matter what the conditions are like outside (short of performing in Antarctica or something like that, of course.) They actually have ventilation built into the suits these days though, so it may not be as bad as it used to be. Still, my jacket never left the hanger the whole time I was there. For that matter, I never even needed to wear jeans.


    I remember those bachelor days when "doing laundry" often meant buying new clothes.
    Usually I'm OK as far as doing laundry goes, but when I'm on vacation (especially one as short as this one ended up being) all bets are off.
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    Also, for those who are interested, the next part of the trip report has now been posted on my Blog. It only covers part 8 as posted here (I'll be making another post with parts 9 and 10 soon) but I've added a number of additional comments and some more detailed thoughts on some of the Future World rides along the way. You can find the post here:

    Disney Word Trip Report, Part 4: It's the Future! (Sort of.)
     

    All7OfUs

    <font color=darkorchid>We too are so very NOT into
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2007
    Hey Vexorg! Nice to see you again! I'm headed off to your blog, but do'nt know if I'll get all the way through it tonight. Love the shot of snow on Main Street! Something I'd love to see someday.
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    Hey Vexorg! Nice to see you again! I'm headed off to your blog, but do'nt know if I'll get all the way through it tonight. Love the shot of snow on Main Street! Something I'd love to see someday.
    Just be warned, half the stuff on my Blog is mind-numbingly boring unless you happen to live in Redmond or Bellevue (I seem to spend a lot of time talking about local interest stuff these days for some reason.) The other half is mind-numbingly boring period.
     
  • wonderlanne

    NO TEA FOR YOU!
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2008
    non-bottle opener:

    i guess i'd take the heel of my shoe and the sharpest object around (either something on your swiss card or a letter opener or something) and hammer two holes into the top of the cap. then pour it out into a cup, usually found next to the ice bucket.
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    OK, I've been seriously slacking off on this Trip Report now. Time to put up another installment. I think I'm going to change gears here just a bit though, and make one post with the actual Trip report content, and another post (to follow in the next day or so) with the photos to accompany this post. Part of this is because I didn't take a lot of photos to accompany this part, and part of it is that I suspect you've probably seen most of the photos fifty times already. It occurs to me that the Internet provides a great new and exciting way to accomplish what used to require a slide projector, a dark room and a handful of bored relatives.

    In light of this, I'd like to focus on the photos I thought were most interesting rather than to just toss up every single photo I can find. Depending on how this works, I might stick with it, or just go back to the usual method. That said, here's the next installment...

    Part 11: Aw Man, You Mean I Have to Go to Disney World Again? (A Walk on the not-so-wild West Side, Folly on the Ferry, and the backside of not water...)

    Sure enough, just like the past couple of days, the alarm went off at 7:30 this morning. As is my regular accustomed manner, I once again decided to ignore it for another hour or so. By this time, the previous two days worth of walking had really begun to catch up with me, and getting up and out of bed wasn't particularly high on my to-do list at that point, even at Disney World. For about ten seconds or so, I found myself trying to consolidate this with the fact that I was, in fact, currently at the Happiest Place on Earth(TM), I had two days left of my vacation, and that I better get up, get out there and have some fun, or I was probably going to start regretting the whole thing a lot sooner than I had initially planned to. Thus being properly motivated for the day, I got up and out of bed, got dressed and prepared to face another day of the trip (all the deathmarch fun of a carefully planned commando excursion, with none of the meticulous planning you're supposed to do in order to make it actually work!)

    Nominally, my plan for the day was to head over to DHS, spend the morning there, and then figure out what to do later on. About the one "must do" item on the agenda for the day was the Spectromagic parade at MK in the evening, since I had gotten back there too late on Monday to see it, and this was the only other chance I was going to have. Besides that, things were pretty much up in the air. After spending basically all day in the parks yesterday without taking any significant breaks, I ultimately decided that I was going to try to take it a bit easier today, and not to rush everywhere.

    After I finished my preparations for the day and prepared to depart the hotel, I decided once again to skip the hotel buses and headed to Downtown Disney to catch a bus from there. This particular plan went out the window in short order, and I ended up spending a couple of hours wandering around the DTD area. Even though my hotel was close to this area, I thought that this would probably be my only chance to explore the area during the daylight hours (Note the word "Thought" there, for future reference.) I didn't take a whole lot of photos because I was trying to take it easy to some extent, to try to recover from the previous day's hectic pace.

    After wandering around the Marketplace area for a bit, I ended up taking the water taxi across to the West Side, where I found that most things had not yet opened when I got there. To be honest, I didn't find the area to be all that interesting. There were a few things at the Virgin Megastore that looked interesting, but one of my cardinal rules of vacationing is to not spend time on things I can do at home, and video games definitely fall into that category (I did bring a PSP with me on this trip, but only used it on the plane rides in and out of Orlando. I find that Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness makes for an excellent semi-mindless time killer.) Since I was here, I have found out that the Virgin Megastore at DTD will be closing soon, along with the rest of them as Virgin has decided to exit the US market. Elsewhere on the West Side, I found it a little bit odd that they needed a whole store that sells nothing but Planet Hollywood merchandise (and, incidentally, even more odd that they needed one in DHS where there isn't even a Planet Hollywood, but I'm getting ahead of myself again.

    Determined not to repeat the food-related debacles of the previous two days, I decided that I would make an early lunch at DTD before heading for DHS. I suspected there wasn't a good chance of getting in any of the places at DHS I was interested in (I had originally looked at doing the Lunch with an Imagineer at the Brown Derby but it was booked for both times it was offered where I was there,) and there seemed to be more choices here anyway. Ultimately I decided on the House of Blues, mostly because they had steak on the menu and that sounded good at the moment. They didn't open until 11, so I ended up waiting for a while in order to get in. Only a handful of people were there while I ate.

    The place has an interesting atmosphere, but I have to say that the steak wasn't all that exciting. The sauce it was covered in didn't seem to contribute anything in the way of flavor besides a somewhat out-of-place sweetness. On the other hand, the meal also met the far more important criteria of not containing any chicken nuggets whatsoever, so I left satisfied after eating, and boarded the water taxi back across to the Marketplace, where I had intended to hop a bus somewhere to get to DHS. About halfway across the lagoon, I realized that I was missing something: My pack, which I had left under the table at the restaurant. I ended up taking the ferry back across (there was no way in heck I was going to do that much walking if I didn't have to at this point,) I grabbed my bag (right where I left it) and realized at this point I might as well just grab a bus from the PI stop at this point, since I had no way of telling how long it would take to get back across again. Arriving at the bus stop, I determined that the Dolphin/Swan bus was the one most likely to get me there the quickest. The bus arrived after about 10 minutes. I got off, and ended up taking the ferry to DHS, where I finally arrived around 12:30 or so.

    This being my first time in the park, I mostly wandered around checking out the place, but around the time I reached the giant hat, the approach of the High School Musical 3 Pep Rally of Doom suggested strongly that I should probably be looking to flee in whatever direction appeared most convenient. This was roughly in the direction of toy Story Mania, where I figured that I was probably already way too late to get a FP, and sure enough, there was a 70 minute wait with no FPs remaining. Proceeding on, I opted for the Backlot Tour instead, which was pretty much a walk-on (which is a good thing if your feet are threatening to go on strike, not such a great thing if you realize you'll have to wait through the whole water tank scene before you reach anywhere to sit down.) I ended up sharing a row on the tram thingy with a couple of, er, colorful characters (I'll just leave it at that) so I just minded my business along the way. There were a few props I recognized (sort of, not so much after they'd been sitting outside for twenty years.) I think I'd agree with the general consensus that this ride has definitely seen better days, although it still interesting enough to do once.

    After being deposited into the display of assorted villainy, I wandered back into the park, where I ended up at Muppetvision next. The good news is that I got there right before the next show started, the bad news is that this meant there wasn't much time to look around the queue area. I've always been something of an old-school Muppet fan, so I liked the show, but as I mentioned earlier in the TR I can't see the 3D effects so some of the stuff is lost on me. I actually thought that the Muppet gift shop was well themed too, although I didn't buy anything here. At this point, I couldn't think of a whole lot else I wanted to do at DHS at the moment (I was planning to come back the next day anyway,) so I decided to head for the exit. Unfortunately, right around the time I got back to Hollywood Boulevard I ran right into the Block Party Bash. Since I didn't figure there was going to be much chance of getting around the thing, I decided to just wait it out and grab a few pictures. As I was fiddling with the camera and not paying attention, it reached the part where they throw the balls at the end. One of them happened to land right on my arm, which was rather unexpected really. A quick check of the immediate proximity seemed to suggest that the children in the area were well supplied with balls already, so I kept the one I "caught," and as the festivities moved further into the park, I headed for the exit. Initially, I considered taking the boat over to the Epcot International Gateway. but ultimately I decided a bus would probably be quicker than waiting for the boat, so that is what I did. It is from here that I will pick up the next installment (after the photos, of course.)

    Coming up next: Part 12: Park Hopping for Dummies (Soarin', Spectromagic and Illuminations in one night? No problem...I think.)
     

    GreatBiscuit

    Golden but never flaky
    Joined
    Aug 20, 1999
    Just saw your update butI don't have time to read it tonight. I'll catch you tomorrow and in the meantime, enjoy this bump.
     

    GreatBiscuit

    Golden but never flaky
    Joined
    Aug 20, 1999
    It occurs to me that the Internet provides a great new and exciting way to accomplish what used to require a slide projector, a dark room and a handful of bored relatives.
    I remember being amused in the Emporium once at the discovery that they actually sold 35mm slides of various park attractions.

    About the one "must do" item on the agenda for the day was the Spectromagic parade at MK in the evening, since I had gotten back there too late on Monday to see it, and this was the only other chance I was going to have.
    Hey, if a fellow has to have a must do, that's a good one to have.

    On the other hand, the meal also met the far more important criteria of not containing any chicken nuggets whatsoever,...
    Mark of a good meal right there.

    I think I'd agree with the general consensus that this ride has definitely seen better days, although it still interesting enough to do once.
    It's been twelve years since I was on it, but the last time I rode, it seemed exactly the same as it was the the first time I rode 7 years before that. Sad really. So much space wasted now that they are no longer doing produtions / actual animation.

    Looking forward to the photos.
     

    All7OfUs

    <font color=darkorchid>We too are so very NOT into
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2007
    You must have posted just as I did! Funny how that happens once in a while!

    THe backlot tour is a good one- once! There was absolutely NOTHING going on there when we rode it, although my kids got a kick out of Herbie. Yes, I subject my children to all old school Disney flicks, because that's what floats my boat. Who can go wrong with The Apple Dumpling Gang and Herbie?

    Yeah, nothing more frustrating being stuck in a parade mass that you don't want to see! Happened twice at MK and once at DHS for us. You'd think we'd have learned the first time. :rotfl2:

    Great update, looking forward to the pics!
     

    Vexorg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 8, 2006
    OK, now I guess I'm REALLY getting lazy with this stuff, because I went and uploaded the latest batch of photos a few days ago and haven't bothered actually posting them here. Here's some photos to go with the last installment...



    The Downtown Disney Christmas tree. And yes, I actually made it to Earl of Sandwich, which is pretty much right where the DTD entrance that leads to my hotel is located.



    More Legos than I'd have the patience to do anything with. A few weeks after I got back, I actually ended up heading for the local Lego store (there's one at Bellevue Square) and picking up a container off their pick-a-brick wall, since I don't have any of the things around anymore.



    The view from the water taxi. I ended up riding across three times (the third one was, as noted above, unplanned, but there was no way in heck I was walking back to House of Blues.)



    A little bird that was hanging out on the boat. The birds around Disney World seem to be surprisingly bold compared to most of the ones around here. People probably feed them often, even though they're not supposed to.



    Here was the day's "Breakfast," which consisted of a Ribeye Steak from the House of Blues. Not bad, but to be honest, I think I prefer the ones I grill up at home, especially when the store has 'em on sale.



    There were a fair number of lizards sunning themselves out on the sidewalks (as long as the kids weren't chasing them anyway.)



    The Christmas tree out in front of DHS.



    Say there mister, you're looking a little thin, maybe you need to eat more.



    I've always been a fan of the Art Deco style, and DHS pulls it off pretty well. It's not South Beach, but it'll do.



    The Disney version of a sunny day.



    For some reason, I thought these looked cool, although I don't know why they'd want to throw out perfectly good flowers...



    As I mentioned, this is what I saw when I arrived at Toy Story Mania.



    Wet enough for you? It's a little bit hard to believe that they used to actually have someone from the line do this...



    Surely I can't be the only person who enjoyed Flight of the Navigator (although as far as Disney movies go, it definitely tends toward the more obscure end of the spectrum.) The thing definitely needs a coat of paint or two though...



    It occurs to me that in order to view the Golden Gate Bridge's towers from the angle depicted here, it would require one to be well below sea level.



    The MuppetVision Queue. I kind of wish I had more time to look around here, but I arrived right when the next show was starting.



    I think I've worked in places like this.



    In the Pizza Planet arcade, I saw this in one of the machines. I find it a little bit odd that a Cheap Chinese iPod knockoff could somehow make it into Disney World in the first place, much less be offered as a prize... I guess someone was asleep at the switch that day.



    It followed me home... Can I keep it? Given the fact that it's sitting here on my desk as I'm typing this, I'd say the answer is probably yes.
     



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