Friends Reunited - TRIP REPORT!! - COMPLETE

irongirlof12

<font color=blue><marquee>Am I the only one who lo
Joined
Nov 3, 2006
Fab day at sea world ,I must admit to feeling emotional too at sea world.

Shame on those workmen, very bad incident for Jo.
 

strawberry blonde

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Thanks for your kind comments :blush: I love the hot weather of the summer! May was a bit of a shock for us I am used to June/July/August! Was not expecting to feel a chill in the mornings and evenings! I can't believe how quick your trip has come around Lesley - you must be so excited!!!! Are you going to do a TR or something?
Sorry it's taken so long to reply but work seems to keep getting in the way.
May do a highs and lows as my lot refuse to have their photos posted online. Probably don't want their mates knowing what they get up to :rolleyes2

Off to catch up on the rest of your report :goodvibes
 

pinkcardigan

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 7, 2012
Book ordered thanks :)

Have you a link to your college program report please? Our cousin is applying and I thought she may like to read yours. Thanks xx
 
  • clareyfairymouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2010
    They have American Eagle at the Premium Outlets!!!!
    I say this as a past IP cast member (a long time ago mind you!) I was there when Premium Outlets was much smaller! However I would have spent soooo much more money had it been there while I was working there.

    It took 4 years before I went back after working there, 8 girlies went on a reunion trip which was incredible! We went back to all our old places too and met up with our old managers and friends. You guys look like you had a fabulous time!!

    I'm really enjoying reading your TR!
     

    strawberry blonde

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 9, 2009
    Finally caught up. Wow you lot had a ball. Really makes me want to do a girlie trip :goodvibes Have to keep doing the weekends in London for now.

    Can understand why Jo hit the roof with the workers but I bet being a good old Wiganer ( down the road from me originally) she gave 'em what for :eek:


    Loving the photos, keep 'em coming :)
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    When I first heard about tankini-gate it sounded funny but on hearing the full story I say shame on Disney.

    I love Raglan Road as well will def be back there on our next trip as the food is so good. Cocktails aren't bad either.

    I know what you mean about Shamu bringing tears to your eyes.

    Any luck with your ring?
    We definitely laughed about it afterwards but still can't believe it happened :lmao:

    Glad to see another Raglan Road and Shamu fan! Maybe we should combine the two... :lmao:

    I filled in the contact form but have heard nothing back. However, when I was clearing through some stuff this weekend, I stumbled across the business card of the lady in the store that sold me the ring; it has her direct email address on it so I'm going to try that!

    Fab day at sea world ,I must admit to feeling emotional too at sea world.

    Shame on those workmen, very bad incident for Jo.
    Glad it's not just me - looks like we could get a club going here! Shamu bawlers :rotfl:

    Book ordered thanks :)

    Have you a link to your college program report please? Our cousin is applying and I thought she may like to read yours. Thanks xx
    There are links to my (sort of) trip report and my blog in my 'signature' just underneath this post. If you click on them, it should take you straight there. You might notice that I never got round to finishing them... never say never though :rotfl: It's just that you are so insanely busy and tired on the Program that it seemed that there was never enough time to update it! There's lots of information about applying and the start though! Also, if your cousin has any specific questions then please feel free to direct them this way! I'll also message you my email address :)

    They have American Eagle at the Premium Outlets!!!!
    I say this as a past IP cast member (a long time ago mind you!) I was there when Premium Outlets was much smaller! However I would have spent soooo much more money had it been there while I was working there.

    It took 4 years before I went back after working there, 8 girlies went on a reunion trip which was incredible! We went back to all our old places too and met up with our old managers and friends. You guys look like you had a fabulous time!!

    I'm really enjoying reading your TR!
    They do indeed! Class shop isn't it?! :goodvibes Loved the Premium Outlets and how close they were to Chatham and the Commons :) I kept forgetting how huge it was now!

    I have no idea if we'll manage to do another reunion trip in the future, so glad we made this one. Do you ever have plans for another?

    Thanks for your kind comment!

    Finally caught up. Wow you lot had a ball. Really makes me want to do a girlie trip :goodvibes Have to keep doing the weekends in London for now.

    Can understand why Jo hit the roof with the workers but I bet being a good old Wiganer ( down the road from me originally) she gave 'em what for :eek:

    Loving the photos, keep 'em coming :)
    Girlie trips are epic :rotfl: for many different reasons :rotfl: I have no idea if we'll manage to do one again... 2015 would be when I'd like to go next, and that time I'd like to take my parents. No idea if it's possible as of yet, but that's the plan! I'm never going to write off another girlie trip in the future though!

    You're right! They did get an earful! You could see the rage in her eyes haha :rotfl:


    Sorry I've been delayed with the next instalment - as I mentioned, its the KTTK tour day and there's been lots to right up. That and the fact that I've spent too much time sitting out in our recent good weather and without access to a computer :goodvibes Coming soon I promise!
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    09/05/2013: WE HAVE THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM!

    I wasn’t sure what to write about today, namely the tour. It was all so interesting, and I managed to make lots of notes, partly for my own memory but so that I could share them with you guys too. However, people might perceive this as a bit of a ‘spoiler’ despite lots of the facts that we learned being already published on the net and in various WDW books. So, this is just a warning – if you don't want to know about the Keys To The Kingdom Tour, for example if you’ll be doing it yourself and want it to be a ‘surprise’, then please scroll onto the next post where I’ll talk about the rest of the day. However, if you do want to learn about the tour, then please feel free to read on :)

    I don’t have many photos from the tour because I was so engrossed in what the guide was telling us! Plus the fact that photos weren’t allowed in the backstage areas! I have included photos from the internet where they help though!


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    You still want to read on?

    Today we were up bright and early as we had the Keys To The Kingdom tour booked for 8.30am at the Magic Kingdom. This cost us around $75 each and before I go on, I’d just like to say that this was definitely worth it as it proved to be a big highlight of the holiday for all of us! When we booked, we were offered a choice of one of three tour start times: 8:30, 9:00 and 9:30. You can find more information on Disney’s website here.

    There were plenty of early buses running to MK today as it was morning EMH. We arrived at the park just before 8 and watched the opening ceremony.




    We checked in at the Chamber of Commerce and were given our name badges.


    As we were instructed to check in at least 15 minutes before our tour we were offered compliementary tea, coffee and bottled water whilst we waited. Lunch was also included in the tour and would be at the Columbia Harbor House. We were asked to make our choices now so that our lunch would be ready and waiting for us when we reached that part of the tour. We were also given our headsets – very FBI haha! They would allow us to hear our tourguide clearly, saving him having to shout over everyone.

    We all took a bottle of water and waited on a bench outside in the sunshine for the tour to start. It was certainly going to be a hot one today!


    Our view whilst we waited

    We also met Snow White whilst we waited! She was out next to City Hall with no one waiting to see her! Usually, Jo’s not really into meeting characters but she was particularly excited about this one – as we approached Snow White she realised that Snow White was ‘friends with’ somebody she worked with at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique! Jo remembered her auditioning at the time, and was chuffed to find that it was all working out!


    At just after 8:30 our tour guide arrived and gathered our group. Today, we were hosted by Matt, and he was great. Very enthusuastic! I wish we’d had a photo with him! He instructed us on how to use our headsets and then to test them out we went around the group introducing ourselves, stating where we were from and what our favourite attraction in WDW was. There were around 15 of us in the group and we were the only ones from the UK.

    The tour started in the Main St area. Some things we learnt about WDW in this area were:

    *** How many American flags do you think there are in Magic Kingdom? (He asked us this as we were standing next to one… or so we thought!) There’s actually just one! This is the one they use at the flag ceremony; all the others are slight variations with smaller numbers of stars/stripes and so aren’t technically the real flag. Matt went into the many rules in place about displaying the American flag such as that it can only be displayed between sunrise and sunset, and not for 24 hours a day. Having these ‘fake’ flags in place along Main St etc. avoids the need for having to take them down each evening.


    (Not my photo)

    *** The entrance to the park and Main St USA is based on a theatre. As you walk under the arches of the train station you see lots of posters on the walls. These represent the movie/theatre posters you would see at a theatre. Then the different names that are displayed on the windows of the facades on Main St are names of people that were involved in the WDW project and are akin to the credits of a production. It ends with the director’s credit i.e. Walt E. Disney’s name on the window of the Ice Cream Parlour. One name that I found quite interesting was on a window of the Emporium about 2/3 down Main St. It stated: “Dr Card Walker. Doctor of Psychiatry, Justice of the Peace”. Card Walker was apparently the gentleman that used to act to calm down arguments between Walt and his brother Roy!


    (Not my photo)

    *** The buildings on Main St make use of the technique of ‘forced perspective’ to make them look taller than they are. But that’s common knowledge! For example, Casey’s looks three stories tall from Main St, but in reality, it is only a two story building which we witnessed when we went around to the back side. The second floors of these buildings alongside Main St are mostly used as managerial offices. The windows are not real however, and so no one has a view of Main St. No work would get done otherwise! Interestingly, the theatre at the bottom of Main St is the only full-sized building in this area – it was built this way to block the view of the Contemporary resort!


    (Not my photo)

    *** Another thing that is common knowledge: the hub and spoke layout of MK. However, what I didn’t know is that the bridge to Tomorrowland is twice as wide of the bridge heading to Adventureland due to the tendency for most people to turn right as they reach the end of Main St.!

    *** The Crystal Palace restaurant is actually located so that it sits across two lands: Adventureland and Main St USA. To fit in with both themes, the right side, with the awnings, is more overgrown to fit in with the Adventureland theming. This is not the best example, but hopefully you can begin to see what I mean with the awnings on the right side in Adventureland etc!


    (Not my photo)

    As we wandered down Main St, Matt also talked about the strategies that were in place to acquire land for WDW when they decided to start the Florida project. I will never tire of hearing this story! Because of the popularity of Disneyland in California, land prices in Florida would have shot through the roof if they knew that the Disney Company was buying it for their Florida project. To avoid this, they set up a number of ‘fake’ companies, if you like, to buy the land so people were none the wiser! They managed to buy 90% of their land like this before people twigged due to an article in a newspaper. Of course, land prices in this area then shot up, and the final 10% was purchased at something ridiculous, like 100 times what they had paid for the entire first 90% (may be a slight exaggeration there...)! Also interesting to note was that only a third of the land has been built on at present! Another third is being protected as a nature reserve, which leaves another third empty and for new developments. Technically, WDW could double in size in the future!!!!

    As we crossed the bridge into Adventureland, Matt spoke to us about Walt’s idea of 'plussing', meaning that everything is built with the notion that any attraction can be changed at any time if its popularity decreases. For example, we spoke about the Plaza Swan Boats that travelled around the hub moat. Apparently it became unpopular as guests realised there was nothing more that they could see on the boat than they could walking around! The bridge to Adventureland used to accommodate them by going up and over. Now it has been redone and is just flat.

    We also talked about how Adventureland and Walt’s True Life Adventure documentary series were inspired by his good will government trip to South America way back when. Who knows what would have been in this area if Walt hadn’t made that trip?

    We then rode our first ride of the tour – Jungle Cruise! It was a little different to usual though. We would have a Jungle Cruise Skipper driving our boat, but Matt would be doing the talking. There would be no jokes on this ride, just JC facts! We were taken right to the front of the queue and were warned not to make eye contact with all the guests that were waiting lol! I learnt so much on this ride:

    *** All of the plants on the ride are now real tropical plants! In the winter, it can get a bit cold for them so they are taken care of with blast heaters!

    *** Of course the Jungle Cruise CMs don’t actually steer the boats ;) despite them turning the wheel during their performances. They do control the speed and starting and stopping though! The boats actually run in troughs that are underneath the water. To disguise these troughs some coloured dye is added to the water – and the waterfall that plays such a big part in the ride is actually used to mix it all through!

    *** The animals on the attraction run off pneumatics rather than the more complex hydraulics of what we know as animatronics. This is due to the more simple movements that they make, making the pneumatics ample enough. The original idea for this attraction was to actually have live animals!

    *** Some of the same faces sculpted for the ‘animatronics’ for the WDW attractions have been used multiple times in different attractions. Apologies because again this isn’t my photo, but apparently the face of the gentleman on this pole is also used for the caretaker on Haunted Mansion.




    *** This particular fact took an ear of faith lol! When you pass these guys (the natives) on the cruise they all shout some stuff. The first two shout gibberish, but the third one apparently shouts “I LOVE DISCO!”. I wasn’t sure myself… listen out for it the next time you ride!


    (Not my photo)

    *** Before the Jungle Cruise opened, they didn’t have enough time to plant lots of tropical greenery around the cruise route. Instead, they took orange trees that were already there and planted them upside down with the roots up so that they looked all strange and tropical!

    *** And finally (and this is my favourite), most scenes on this ride are run off sensors detecting when the boats approach. It has been known on a number of occasions for the sensors to be slightly off, thus spraying the boat and guests with water for example when passing the elephants! I would love to see that!

    After finishing up on the Jungle Cruise, we headed to stand outside the Tiki Room. Did you know that this attraction was the first to use animatronics? The roof of this attraction looks thatched doesn’t it?! Well it isn’t – it is in fact made entirely of strips of recycled aluminium. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant ‘aloominum’! That means that it is still going strong 41 years later! Matt even stood on the fence and banged it with his stick to prove it to us! The thatched rooves in Animal Kingdom are much more authentic and craftsmen from Africa have been hired to make them. This means that they are replaced much more frequently!


    It was now getting rather hot, and we settled for a five-minute restroom break near to POTC.




    I swear Jo was having a good time!

    After gathering the troops again, we sat in the sheltered seating area of Tortuga Tavern to talk a bit more about the Walt Disney Company. Amongst other things, we talked about the making of Snow White – the first feature film animation in 1937. People at the time had no faith in it, and said it would never work! Doctors even advised people NOT to see it – they reckoned that watching ‘cartoons’ for that length of time would make you go blind!

    Walt became a bit sick and tired of the people in the theatres having so much say over the screenings and makings of his films. For example, only 15 theatres in the entire country installed Walt’s Fantasound surround sound system that the company had created to accompany the film Fantasia. Not one installed the incense and smells and sprinklers that he wanted alongside it too! The Philharmagic attraction is now most alike to Walt’s original idea for Fantasia with all the effects, and smells and sound! (You can find an interesting Wikipedia article about Fantasound here).

    Moving on, one thing many Disney fans read about is all the mishaps that occurred during the opening of Disneyland in California in 1955. This is another story that I never get bored of! We spoke about how everything ran out and how every ride broke down during that day! The park was way over capacity as some silly soul had printed a picture of their ticket in a newspaper – many people who weren’t invited to the opening proceeded to just cut the picture out of the paper, and were let in! It had been a major rush to complete as much of the park as possible for this opening day. However, the asphalt hadn’t been laid long and in the heat was still quite soft. Lots of the ladies came wearing stilletos, only for their heels to get stuck in the asphalt. Apparently, the heel marks are still in the floor to this day! I haven’t watched this myself yet, but Matt reccomended that we find the live broadcast that Walt made from the park that day. Live broadcasts were rare back then and no one really knew how to act or what was going on – apparently the whole thing is funny to watch and quite awkward! When I find it, I’ll post back here! The whole opening day has been termed 'Black Sunday' in the Company!

    Despite all of this though, Disneyland became a huge succes and Walt wanted to build another park – however, the Company wasn’t sure if the East Coast audience would take to it the same as the West Coast audience had. To test drive it, they trialled some attractions in New York at the World’s Fair in 1964; It was a huge hit, and the rest as they say, is history!

    We also went onto talk about the conception of Mickey Mouse (intended originally to have been called Mortimer Mouse of course – phew!), the creation of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Universal, and the reacquisition of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit quite recently! Effectively, NBC Universal traded back Oswald to Disney for the services of Al Michaels who was a sports announcer on ABC/ESPN.

    Before leaving, we had a quick discussion about POTC seeing as we were in the area. Did you know that this attraction was never meant to have had a place in the Magic Kingdom here in Florida? However, many people complained since it was so popular in Disneyland. Therefore, they had to literally squeeze it in, hence why it is smaller and shorter than its Disneyland counterpart. Blaine Gibson, one of Walt Disney’s main sculptors, only had enough time to sculpt 30 different faces for the attraction, but there are 60 pirates. Therefore… there are a lot of twins! A lot of the same faces are again also used in the Haunted Mansion!

    We now walked on a bit and turned left just before Splash Mountain to head backstage. We went through the gate but technically we were still on stage as guests could see us. There was a huge diagonal yellow line on the floor and Matt informed us that this was the parade ‘sight line’. As soon as the performers crossed this line, they would either start or stop full performance depending on the parade direction even though they were “back stage”.

    We then went back stage ‘proper’. First we were shown the trash building lol! All the trash from the park travelled in tubes to this one compactor and there was a hell of a stink around it! Matt showed us where disinfectant was sprayed into the air to hide the smell from the park but it was as fresh as anything back here! We were also shown the famous 'Go Away Green' colour of all the show buildings back here!

    Next was the exciting bit; we went into the Production Center!!! This is where all the parade stuff was kept – I thought I was going to pee myself! We saw all of the parade floats from the day and night shows – they were so big and shiny! It was absolutely amazing, and I thought how awesome it would be to be a performer on these floats! We were also shown where the drivers sit in each float and about how the floats are categorised in order of difficulty to drive. It’s surprising how limited the driver’s views are – it must be a tense job, and I can now see why the parade control CMs are so keen to keep you back when a parade is coming through. There are lots of emergency stop buttons located on the floats so that any CM can press one if something comes into the road that the driver can’t see.

    We also saw this float in all it’s glory and were told that it was the only float that had been used in every single parade for the past 10-20 years! A while back, I was looking at some old holiday photos from our first trip to WDW in 2000 and thought I recognised it!


    For a change, one of my own photos! From June 2011

    However, it was announced this week that there is a completely brand new parade coming to WDW in Spring of next year: The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade! So exciting! I wonder if that float will have a place again?? Although Matt seemed to think it wont. We were also shown the seasonal parade float storage from a distance, but didn't have a chance to go in.

    Next up was the Splash Mountain water reservoir. The water on the attraction is cleaned with bromine and that’s what gives it its distinctive smell! There’s even a Facebook group for fans of the Splash Mountain Smell! The Bromine also gives it the green colour. They are unable to use chlorine to clean the water as when they tried this, they noticed that it was staining guests’ clothes!

    Before leaving this backstage area we sat in what looked like a big sheltered smoking area with mirrors! I guess this is where the parade dancers wait around before show time! This was our chance to discuss all things characters! Matt mentioned about seeing parade rehearsals, and how strange it was seeing the performers dancing around a speaker in just their heads! Apparently they also do full runs of the parade to rehearse over night! Ever wondered how they get onto those high parade floats? By fork lift of course! We talked about the requirements to become a character, costuming, the princesses doing their own make up and so on, and so on! Any questions we had about ‘entertainment’ we just asked, and Matt answered them as truthfully as he could!

    As we walked back out I noticed lots of bits of old signage and old rides lying around outside… I would have given them a good home! I also noticed a really pointless basketball hoop wedged in between two temporary buildings… it had obviously been there a long time from when there was a lot more room backstage! We also talked about the three levels of Disney evacuation procedures that they have in place and it brought all my old CM training back to me! They have only used the highest level of evacuation procedure once in the entire 40 odd years of Magic Kingdom, and that was after the events of 9/11.

    Now back onstage we walked through Frontierland. Did you know that the Country Bear Jamboree and the Hall of Presidents were originally E-Ticket attractions?! Who would have thought it?! We stopped outside the Hall of Presidents and spoke some more about the attraction. Talking about the same faces being used on multiple attractions, apparently they have used the faces of some presidents that were no longer needed on the Spaceship Earth attraction in Epcot. Matt did tell us which presidents and what part of Spaceship Earth they were on but I can’t quite remember now! I’m sure the guy painting the church ceiling is one though! Also, did you know that all of the presidents in the attraction are actual size apart from President William H. Taft? Apparently he was so big in real life that he would have looked ‘cartoon-like’ next to all of the others and so they had to scale him down a bit! They also have some real props on stage such as Bill Clinton’s watch, which he donated to the attraction.

    Matt also spoke to us about Nixon’s long history with the Disney Company. He took a ride on the very first Monorail journey at WDW – coincidentally, it was the very first time that the Monorail managed to make a full journey, all the way around without breaking down! After he boarded and the monorail pulled off, his entourage soon realised that none of them were on there with him! Apparently one of them jumped onto the monorail track and started chasing after it! I bet that was scary!

    We then walked over to Columbia Harbor House ready for lunch. As we waited to go in we had the opportunity to ask Matt some more questions. Somebody asked something about Space Mountain and Matt mentioned that Space Mountain only goes at 27mph which is the same speed as Goofy’s Barnstormer! What a difference the darkness makes – I struggled to believe that!

    Before we knew it we were called into the restaurant and led to a cordoned off seating area upstairs. All our tables were already set with name tags and our lunches waiting for us – all very efficient. We ended up having around 30-40 minutes for lunch. I had the tuna sandwich, which is my CHH staple! Tanya and Emma had the chicken strips with fires whilst Jo had the Chicken Broccoli Peppercorn salad. However, it was missing one important thing… chicken! Poor Jo had to wait a while whilst they fetched a new salad. Lunch was good, but then again, I’ve never had any complaints about CHH.


    The Anchors Aweigh tuna sandwich

    A little surprise we had at lunch was to find a special KTTK tour pin folded in our place name – I loved it! Definitely something to keep!


    After lunch we were now in a perfect location to visit the Haunted Mansion. The attraction was actually completed before the Magic Kingdom park was finished! They were building it for Disneyland at the time and so just built two of everything with the anticipation of putting it in MK when open! HM is in every Magic Kingdom park around the world but in a different land in each.

    As we wandered through the line of HM, Matt spoke to us about the Disney Imagineer Leota Toombs Thomas who was an Imagineer involved in costuming and cosmetology. Her face is actually used for Madame Leota in the crystal ball in the séance scene of the ride, but here her voice is not used. The voice of Madame Leota in the crystal ball is actually that of Eleanor Audley who was the voice of Lady Tremaine and Maleficent. A tombstone commemorating Madame Leota was introduced to the HM in 2002. Leota Toombs Thomas also plays the Ghost Hostess at the end of the ride… “hurry baaack”. This time the voice is actually that of Ms. Toombs Thomas! It is unknown whether the Ghost Hostess and Madame Leota are meant to be the same character.

    We also spoke about the stretching room! In Disneyland, you actually step into an elevator, which takes you down a level in the stretching room. However, in Florida this was not possible as due to the high water table, they were unable to dig below ground. Therefore, they reversed it here and made the ceiling go up rather than the guests go down! We also chatted about some of the effects they use in the ride such as an old magicians trick of 'pepper’s ghost' and Matt recommended that if we were interested in seeing more of the workings of the Haunted Mansion then we should definitely check out the ‘Marceline to Magic Kingdom’ Tour!

    We then had the chance to ride HM. Again we were taken straight to the front and through a CM entrance – it felt good :) Before we got on, Matt told us about the three hidden Mickey’s on the ride. We all spotted the first two, but all struggled to spot the last.

    We next wandered over to Liberty Square. Did you know that there are no toilets in Liberty Square? This is to fit in with how it was back in Colonial America, with no toilets and just chamber pots whose contents were then thrown out. This brown river paved on the floor (that I have somehow never noticed before) represents the river of well… poop… that used to flow through the streets at the time.


    Another expertly composed photo of mine haha!

    We also spoke about the window shutters on the facades in this area – if you look at them, they seem to sag outwards at the top. During the revolutionary war, metal for weapons was in short supply and so the hinges of the windows were melted down and used. They substituted the metal hinges for leather ones but over time, the weight of the shutters stretched the leather causing the shutters to sag and look a bit wonky. Every tiny detail – amazing!


    (Not my photo)

    We now walked back towards the hub and spoke a bit about the castle. As many people know, it was built at 189 ft, falling just shy of the 190 ft that would have required a red beacon to have been placed on top. This however was the old law – the current law requires a red beacon at 200 ft resulting in the Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest being built slightly higher at 199 ft. The castle is also built out of fibreglass. However, Osceola and Orange counties’ rules, where the castle is (or was) technically located, wouldn’t have allowed this. Therefore, the Company created the ‘Reedy Creek Improvement District’ so that it could become it’s own municipality, separating it from Osceola and Orange, meaning that they could make their own rules and fibreglass could be used to build the castle. The only thing that RCID doesn’t have that any other municipality/county has is an education system and a police force – everything else is present! Sherrifs are borrowed from Osceola and Orange.

    Somebody in our group also asked about the Cinderella suite. Matt promised he would show us some photos when we got down into the Utilidors. It was built in 2007, and back in the Year of a Million Dreams promotion it was used every night as a prize a guest could win at the park. However it is only used a couple of times a month now and can only be won. Money can’t buy you a stay here! Again this is not my photo, but you can just see three vertical windows which I have labelled in red here. To get an idea of where the suite is, Matt told us that these windows were those of the sitting room.


    Next stop was another bathroom break in the area between Casey’s and the Crystal Palace. This is where we also headed backstage once everyone was ready.

    The first thing I noticed was that the parade floats were out and rehearsing, ready for Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It. Mickey and Minnie were rehearsing on the float but only in half costume. They had no heads or gloves on, and the heads were just sitting on their sides on the floor next to the performers! It was very strange! I would have loved to have experienced what it was like to have been a character performer!

    We then went down into the Utilidors. As we made our way in Matt pointed out a big tentacle that was just lying faded on the ground. It was from the squid from the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea attraction and had pretty much been lying there for years since it was dismantled. No CM knew why! It was everyone else’s first time down here, but the four of us had been down here for our Cast Member training and sometimes when we were just visiting the parks with friends who worked here. As we walked through, we talked about all the old construction photos that lined the walls. They should definitely sell these as prints! Matt also showed us a photo from the opening day where ALL the MK Cast Members at the time were gathered in front of the castle. They would never be able to do this now and fit every CM into one shot – there’s just too many of them! Matt pointed out one of the Haunted Mansion CMs in the photo – he has worked his way up through the company and is now Vice President of the park!

    We also watched a video about costuming – it was all a bit tongue in cheek and was quite funny! It basically talked through how CMs check out costumes, how they are made, and what the costuming warehouses look like. Again, it brought back lots of memories of the ICP where I used to trawl through the Honey I Shrunk The Kids racks looking for shorts that weren’t ten sizes too big or small, or shirts that didn’t have a button missing around the bra area!

    As we walked under the Main Street Confectionary building Matt pointed out a pipe to us. It was labelled 'Cookie Air' and is the sweet smell that they pump out of the shop and onto Main St, enticing you inside. Wish we could buy it! We also huddled around a big overhead photo of MK and talked some more about the park and about what Disney was planning next i.e. Disney’s Shanghai Resort, Disney Springs replacing DTD etc. etc. As we spoke about Shanghai, one of the members of the group asked Matt where it was based. Matt answered “Shanghai”. “But where?” the lady asked. “Uhhh… Shanghai” Matt answered again along with a couple of members from our group. The lady was still confused: “no, but where in this park?”. Someone then had to explain to this lady that Shanghai was in China, which was a different country. Oh my! This same lady was also caught taking photos on her phone in the Utilidors on more than one occasion – you could sense Matt getting annoyed slightly, especially when he asked her to delete the photos in front of him and she claimed she didn’t know how to. There’s always one isn’t there?!

    Before we knew it, it was time to head back up out of the Utilidors as we neared the end of the tour. Before we headed back onstage to Main St USA Matt showed us Tinkerbell’s landing area when she flies down from the castle in Wishes. Can you guess where it is? It’s actually on top of the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor building! We then headed back to the Chamber of Commerce, returned our headsets and thanked Matt for the tour. As I mentioned, this was certainly a highlight of the holiday and I now can’t wait to do another one!! If you ever have a spare morning and want to do something a bit different then I can highly recommend this. I know we all read books about Disney and we all class ourselves as fans but I still learnt so many new things on this tour. And now I have written this trip report, I can remember them for future use :)

    I’ll now continue this in the next post for those that didn’t want the spoilers…
     
  • BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    We had finished the tour, and it was now around 1pm. We had a quick look around Confectionary, looking to use up snack credits for gifts. I bought some Goofy candy and some decorated character cookies which just looked too pretty to eat! Emma and Tanya then decided to spend another hour or two in the park whilst Jo and I headed back to the room, stopping off at the Polynesian on the way so I could finally buy my ring. I got to the Wyland Galleries shop and they offered me to try a size 7 on, it fitted well and so I bought it. We then headed back to MK and caught a bus back to OKW.


    Not the best picture, but here’s the ring!

    I got ready and just lazed about checking emails and catching up on some uni stuff until the girls came back. I put my ring on to show them, but now it was too big? :confused3 My fingers must have been swollen at the time, but now on my ring finger it felt too loose and it didn’t feel safe. I decided I’d go back and try and exchange it for a smaller size. Seeing as I was ready I thought may as well have tried to do it now, so I headed off to the Poly planning to meet the girls at Jiko where we had our ADR this evening.

    A MK bus didn’t turn up for ages. Thinking back, I should have just caught the first bus to a park that turned up, but I decided to wait for an MK one. When it finally did arrive, a huge family arrived at the bus stop at the same time wanting to get on it. They had two wheelchairs and three strollers. There was already an elderly woman strapped into a wheelchair on the bus and so the driver told the family that she only had room for one more. The family were not happy however, and asked the lady’s family who was already in the wheelchair on the bus if she’d mind transferring to a seat and folding her wheelchair down so that they could both get on with their ECVs. The poor lady really struggled to get up and get to a seat – I would have just told them to wait until the next one! I finally got to the MK monorail but was now extremely late. I caught it over, and headed straight to the shop and was greeted by Tanja, the German lady who I had got chatting to the first time I was here. She recognised me and we had a nice chat about what we had all been up to. I explained to her about the predicament with my ring but they literally only had one more ring left and it was in a much bigger size. She also checked with their other store but we were out of luck. I liked the ring so much that I decided to keep it – I’ve been wearing it on my index finger, but I suppose I can also buy some sort of ring guard if I want to wear it on my ring finger again.

    Whilst I was chatting to Tanja, she noticed my huge silver ring with a red stone that I was wearing. She grabbed my hand and said “I love that ring, who is it?”. I blushed a bit and confessed “Supermarket, five dollars” lol! Good ol’ Sainsbury’s. She didn’t know what to say at first but then we both laughed. She was really nice however, and gave me a hug and shook my hand and we said goodbye.

    I legged it back over to MK and jumped on a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I got to Jambo house at 6pm, so around 30 minutes late. Not ideal, but it could have been worse I suppose. As I walked into the lobby, the beauty of this place hit me! I can see why people love to stay here so much.


    I rushed down the stairs to Jiko and found the guys waiting. Luckily it wasn’t a problem that I was late. We were taken to our table and were given a little tour of the restaurant. We were seated next to the sunset wall, which changed colour throughout our meal here. Our server for this evening was Angel and he was great. He did however mention to me how much he loved my IRISH accent pahaha!


    I’m not a huge wine drinker and so didn’t go for it even though I felt I should have here as it has been named as one of the nation’s best wine restaurants. Instead I went for a cocktail – I think it was called something like a “Bamhattan” (I may have just made that name up :goodvibes) but I can’t find anything about it online :( I remember that it was very, very strong though. Oooooph!


    Jo and Emma did go for wine however. Emma had a glass of their sweet shiraz. Even I liked this – it was like drinking an alcoholic Ribena! I noted the name from the server and since I’ve arrived back home in the UK I have proceeded to buy half a case! The wine is called Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz. I contacted their UK agents about purchasing it in the UK and was informed that they currently have stock in the UK but no distribution as of yet as they are just introducing it. I managed to buy it direct from the agency though!

    A nice surprise was starting with an ‘amuse-bouche’! My first ever one, and it was lovely! It was a scallop with something… I really wish I’d made a note of what it was at it was delish!!! We also had the African bread with tandoori butter which was also amazing!


    I ordered the crispy beef “bobotie” roll to start, which was like a lovely spicy crispy beef spring roll served with a nice salady/cucumber/hummussy accompaniment.


    I followed this with the spicy Botswana-style beef short rib. Oh my, oh my, oh my – easily the best beef I have ever tasted in my life!! It took “melt in the mouth” to a whole other level! The sauces that accompanied it were quite spicy, but complimented the beef very well. It was also accompanied with a few root type vegitables I think.


    Apologies, my photos are not great this evening!

    I was pretty stuffed by now but seeing as we were on the dining plan, we still decided to go for dessert. Nothing really appealed to me however and so it wasn’t an easy decision. In the end, I went for the milk tart. The milk tart was OK, it was quite fruity but was very pastry laden and was rather stodgy. Definitely not a light dessert. The tart was also accompanied by a goat’s milk balsamic ice cream. Sounds interesting I thought, I’ll give that a try. I like balsamic vinegar and I sort of like goat’s cheese sometimes, so what could go wrong?! Oh man… I thought it was nasty! It actually tasted like a goat. Do you know what I mean? Like when you have goat's cheese, it has that distinct smell about it that kind of tastes like a goat. Or a farm. No? Anyhow, I didn’t like it! Although it looked lovely...


    It really was a lovely evening overall though and I would certainly visit again. I was glad that Cali Grill was closed otherwise we would have headed there and not tried this place.

    We finished at around 8pm although we could have stayed much longer if we hadn’t planned on seeing Illuminations this evening. We headed to the bus stop and an Epcot bus was already there as we arrived. I had booked preferred viewing for Illuminations this evening however in the book of vouchers that comes wih your ‘Mickey Mail’, the Illuminations voucher was blank. However, I only received my package the day I was leaving for the airport due to it being delivererd to my home in South Wales whilst I was on placement in North Wales which finished the day before our flight to Orlando. There was not much I could do now so I thought nothing more of it for the time being – I assumed they would have a list of names :confused3

    We had a job finding the preferred viewing area for UK guests. First I asked a CM at the turnstyles – they had no idea and told me to ask someone in the World Showcase.

    Some photos as we walked through the park…








    We headed to the front of the World Showcase where the boat docking was for the Friendships. There was a CM there who was in charge of a different viewing area. I asked him but he also had no idea and said he thought it was in the UK pavillion and we should head there. I thanked him but knew that wasn’t right as that was for the Rose & Crown I assumed. I racked my brain and remembered reading something about Morocco. It was nearing 9pm now and I was afraid we’d miss our spot. We worked up quite a sweat nipping between places! We reached Morocco and spied what looked like a viewing area – we enquired with the CM and it was the right one! Yayyyy! She asked for our voucher and I explained that it was blank. She looked a bit reluctant. I told her that I had a reservation number so she took that along with my name and let us in. it was around 8:50 and there were only two families in the area – this meant we had a great spot against the wall.


    This is my favourite firework show! The soundtrack especially. We go ooooooonnn… always brings a tear to my eye! Are you even surprised lol?












    After the show we just sat against the wall, looking out at the lake and at all the other pavillions, just listening to the music and savouring the moment! I’d give anything to be back there now, watching that show tonight. We took our time walking out of the park – because we had hung back it wasn’t very busy. On our way out, as we walked past the UK pavillion we bumped into Emily – she was one of our friends from the ICP in 2011 but was now working in Epcot for a year on the Cultural Representative Program. She was just finishing her shift and was closing up the fish and chip shop but she had some time to speak to us! She’s having a great time and it was lovely to catch up. She’s been here for four months but assured us that she was already thinking of more ways of how she could work for the company when her program comes to an end next year.

    Before we exited we had a photopass picture taken at the front of the park – seeing as we hadn’t really had a night time one yet! One of the managers who was hanging around that area came up to us to chat. He complemented our dresses, and asked if we’d been to “Chico’s” tonight. We got really weirded out as we thought he had said 'Jiko’s' haha! Nope, Chico’s. Apparently it’s a womens clothing brand and 300 managers were currently here on a customer training course. He said that they had all been very glamourous so assumed we were with them! Why thank you kind sir, but you may need your eyes tested :rotfl:! I wish my employer would send me to WDW for staff training! We ended up chatting for a while, all about our college programs and also about his work. He informed us that he used to work in Hollywood as a runner in the film industry and was now a manager at Walt Disney World. Oh how the other half live! I always find it so interesting speaking to CMs here and always get a huge pang of jealousy! I wish I was American haha! We bid farewell before catching the bus back to OKW.


    Tomorrow was going to be our last full day. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! Absolutely gutted! When we got back to the room we thought it might be wise to pack up some stuff. However, I was so spread out that by the time I gathered all of my things together, I was heading to bed over an hour after the girls. We had aother early start tomorrow – the plan was to spend the entire day at MK! It’s the only option for a last day!
     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    Hope you get better luck with the e-mail to sort out your ring.

    I loved the KTTK tour when I did it. You did the main things and learnt the same things in general that I did but a few differences, I don't remember the flag one and found that interesting.
     

    Tinkerbell1989

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 17, 2010
    Bethan, thankyou for posting the spoiler-filled KTTK tour! We did this in October but you remembered so much more than I did! Reading through it I was remembering things! Tom was picked to 'test' the Tiki roof! So glad you enjoyed it! Xx
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    Hope you get better luck with the e-mail to sort out your ring.

    I loved the KTTK tour when I did it. You did the main things and learnt the same things in general that I did but a few differences, I don't remember the flag one and found that interesting.
    It's a really good tour - it's the only one I've done but now I want to try another :) I bet it's slightly different for each tour guide, and obviously depends on what questions your group asks too!

    Bethan, thankyou for posting the spoiler-filled KTTK tour! We did this in October but you remembered so much more than I did! Reading through it I was remembering things! Tom was picked to 'test' the Tiki roof! So glad you enjoyed it! Xx
    Haha, no problem :goodvibes I hope no one's annoyed by it! Hopefully I gave enough warning :)
     
  • darnheather

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2013
    09/05/2013: WE HAVE THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM!

    We also talked about the three levels of Disney evacuation procedures that they have in place and it brought all my old CM training back to me! They have only used the highest level of evacuation procedure once in the entire 40 odd years of Magic Kingdom, and that was after the events of 9/11.
    I'd really like to know more about the levels of evacuation and what happened on 9/11 in the parks.
     

    clareyfairymouse

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 7, 2010
    They do indeed! Class shop isn't it?! :goodvibes Loved the Premium Outlets and how close they were to Chatham and the Commons :) I kept forgetting how huge it was now!

    I have no idea if we'll manage to do another reunion trip in the future, so glad we made this one. Do you ever have plans for another?

    Thanks for your kind comment!
    I could/do spend a small fortune in there! :rotfl2:

    Well, we worked for the mouse in 2004 (cant believe it's nearly 10 years ago!!) Since then, 2008 was out first proper reunion, then in 2010 I got married out there and 7 of the girls I worked with out there came to our wedding which was perfect!
    Then one of the other girls got married in 2011 but unfortunately I couldn't make it so soon after our wedding.
    And in 2013 we are going out for wedding number 3 (so excited :cheer2: ) in Key West followed by a trip "home"
    We are all so excited!
    We all try to see each other regularly even though we live all over the country and when we get together it's like we've never been apart! :grouphug:
    You will find a time to go back I can assure you :)
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    day to remember fab times, I love the photo of you all at epcot:thumbsup2
    Thanks Andrea :) We have some lovely photos from the Photopass. I'll post a load when I've finished the report :goodvibes

    I'd really like to know more about the levels of evacuation and what happened on 9/11 in the parks.
    I'll try and dig out some of my training stuff later but on brief recollection, there's three levels of evacuation there. They are Plans A, B and C.

    What our guide told us about the evacuation after 9/11 seems to be a bit off; either that or I remembered/made notes about what he said wrong :confused3 Maybe it was the first time they had to evacuate the WDW parks in general, but that doesn't sound right... There are a number of articles online of what happened at Disney that day which you will find if you do a quick Google search. A good one is here, by Jim Hill: http://jimhillmedia.com/editor_in_chief1/b/jim_hill/archive/2006/03/08/9-11-at-walt-disney-world-first-person-accounts.aspx#.UbmaXBYVhUQ

    In the events of 9/11, it seems that they used procedure 'A' which is basically just an accelerated close of the park. CMs just direct guests to the front of the park, and they exit through the turnstiles i.e. the normal exit routes.

    For interest, as mentioned, the other evacuation plans are Plans B and C. Plan B involves escorting guests out of the park in the safest and quickest route possible. This involves opening the huge vehicle gates to backstage areas and herding guests out that way. This would be used to get the guests out as quick as possible, quicker than what Plan A would allow.

    And finally, Plan C. This might be used in whatever circumstances would cause the routes of Plan A and B to be blocked and where guests need to take shelter. The shelters vary, but in MK, guests could be escorted to and kept in the Utilidors.

    This was all drilled into me whilst I spent a summer working there two years ago, and I'm shocked as to how quick I forgot the little details! I knew it like the back of my hand whilst there, and we were audited and quizzed regularly by managers to ensure we were safe in our knowledge.

    I hope that answers your question, but please do check out the Jim Hill article for more details on what happened on 9/11 :goodvibes

    Well, we worked for the mouse in 2004 (cant believe it's nearly 10 years ago!!) Since then, 2008 was out first proper reunion, then in 2010 I got married out there and 7 of the girls I worked with out there came to our wedding which was perfect!
    Then one of the other girls got married in 2011 but unfortunately I couldn't make it so soon after our wedding.
    And in 2013 we are going out for wedding number 3 (so excited :cheer2: ) in Key West followed by a trip "home"
    We are all so excited!
    We all try to see each other regularly even though we live all over the country and when we get together it's like we've never been apart! :grouphug:
    You will find a time to go back I can assure you :)
    I always said I'd get married out there, and after the ICP that just confirmed it for me. Just the small matter of finding a boyfriend now... :lmao:

    Have a great time at wedding number 3 this year! That sounds ace! :goodvibes

    And it's the same with us! I've now seen so many places in the UK as I visit various ICP friends :goodvibes I love having friends everywhere and it's exactly as you say, when you catch up it feels like no time at all has passed and you pick up exactly where you left off. True friendships :goodvibes
     

    Laurafoster

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2005
    Just caught up! Love your report on the tour, sounds like you had a great day. The first time we did it we had a Matt do our tour too (Blonde and a bit camp) and he was great. We wondered whether it would be as good second time round and it was - the other tour guide had his own stories to tell and it was totally different to the first tour. We saw woody and Jessie "headless" on ours. Was a bit strange.

    Love the sound of Jiko. I love my wine so sounds like a great place for me to visit (this is why my parents come - babysitters lol)
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    Just caught up! Love your report on the tour, sounds like you had a great day. The first time we did it we had a Matt do our tour too (Blonde and a bit camp) and he was great. We wondered whether it would be as good second time round and it was - the other tour guide had his own stories to tell and it was totally different to the first tour. We saw woody and Jessie "headless" on ours. Was a bit strange.

    Love the sound of Jiko. I love my wine so sounds like a great place for me to visit (this is why my parents come - babysitters lol)
    'Our' Matt had dark curly hair but was also a bit camp :rotfl:! Maybe he's dyed his hair haha! I would love to do the KTTK tour again with a different guide :)

    You would definitely love Jiko - I'm so glad we tried it! You'd probably faint as you walked past the wall of wine :rotfl:

    A good DisneyFoodBlog post about Jiko: http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2011/01/31/review-jiko-a-cooking-place/
     

    BethEJo

    <font color=blue>I left the house at 5.45am - that
    Joined
    May 27, 2008
    10/05/2013: UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN MAGIC KINGDOM!​

    It was another early morning today, and we literally couldn’t believe that it was our last full day here at Walt Disney World! Where had the last two weeks gone?

    We got ready and made our way to the bus stop to catch our last bus to a park *sniff sniff*. Today we had an early ADR for breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table – this was the first reservation that we had all decided on before making our ADRs for this holiday and we wanted to keep it until our last day!

    We made our way into the park and it was great walking around a relatively empty Main Street! The lighting at this time in the morning was lovely and everything was so serene! We took plenty of photos as we walked towards the Castle, and had a couple of Photopass pictures too.
















    I love this picture of the bird on Walt’s hand!


    I also had to have the obligatory statues shot:


    We then made our way into the castle and checked in for our breakfast at CRT. We joined the queue and waited in line to have our picture taken with Cinderella! We had great fun watching the children in the line in front of us, particularly one little boy who refused to hold Cindy’s hand! He was standing around 6 foot away from her in the photo haha!


    After our picture, we headed up stairs and were seated right away. The restaurant was beautiful, and I bet that those sitting next to the window had a beautiful view. We were seated directly in front of where the princesses make their entrances - also a great spot.






    First we brought a plate of pastries, cakes and strawberries – these were lovely and it was nice to start the breakfast this way.


    After we had finished, our server arrived and gave us each a magic wand and a star! I didn’t see any other adults with these haha… :rotfl:


    We then made our choices from the menu. We could choose from a Traditional Breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon and roast potatoes), Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast, Baked Quiche (goat’s cheese, spinach and mushroom quiche with roast potatoes), Healthy Choice (scrambled egg whites, hot cereal, greek yoghurt topped with granola, walnut-sunflower bread and fresh fruit), Steak and Eggs (grilled filet mignon on a chipotle-onion frittata with roast potatoes) or Lobster and Crab Crepes. Jo and I opted for the steak and eggs whilst Tanya and Emma went for the tradition breakfast.


    Easily one of the best ever breakfasts I have ever had!

    As we enjoyed our breakfasts, we were able to meet Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel an Snow White. All of them were amazing – some of the best princesses I’ve seen, and both Jasmine and Ariel made comments about my pearl earrings that morning!








    We settled the bill and were told that gratuity was included for this meal – we were not expecting that, and it was nice to hear. We split the remaining money that we had put in for tips for the holiday between the four of us.

    Continued in the next post...
     



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