Day 3 - Wednesday, November 8, 2000 Once more, letÃ¢ÂÂs review the cast: Me Ã¢ÂÂ 42, Single mom and Disney fanatic. The first question my co-workers ask when I return from vacation is, Ã¢ÂÂSo, when are you going back?Ã¢ÂÂ I live in Central Missouri and typically depart from St. Louis Lambert Airport, which is about a 1.5 hour drive from home. DD Ã¢ÂÂ 4-year-old diva. IÃ¢ÂÂm serious; this girl has a future on the stage or screen. She loves to sing and dance and loves all things Disney, too. We awoke this morning to the election fiasco. When I had gone to bed last night, I was certain that Bush would be elected. It looks he will beÃ¢ÂÂ¦.eventually. I was most interested in Missouri results. We had an interesting and unique situation. Our governor was running in a tight race for the US Senate against the incumbent. Governor Carnahan was killed in a plane crash about 3 weeks ago, along with his oldest son and a campaign aide. His name remained on the ballot because he was killed after the legal time names could be removed from the ballot. His wife agreed to fill the position until the next general election in 2002 if he was elected. Turns out, he did win the election, so Jean Carnahan will fill the seat. We checked out of the Courtyard. It seems to me that this hotel is in need of some sprucing up. The carpet is worn and our room, although part of a suite, was not that impressive. Our bed was not very comfortable, and after really looking at it, I think I know why. It appeared to me to be some sort of a Murphy bed. It was very low to the ground and very hard. The hotel was also somewhat dirty, although not disgustingly so. However, after using 4 gift certificates from FreeRide, it only cost me $1.58 for two nights. I was ready, though, to check into the Contemporary. I donÃ¢ÂÂt mind spending a few nights offsiteÃ¢ÂÂ¦those nights at the Courtyard allowed me to extend my visit, but there is nothing like being onsite. We stayed in the Tower last year, but this year went cheaper and booked a room in the garden wing. Let me just say, these rooms are just fine. Perhaps not as handy as the Tower, and certainly the view is not as good, but the room suits us just fine. As a matter of fact, there are some advantages. I never had to wait on an elevator in the garden wings. We frequently had to wait for elevators when we stayed in the Tower. Also, we were in the North Tower, so we were closer to the footpath to the Magic Kingdom. We could also see the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks from our window. I would not hesitate to stay in the Garden Wings again. After a speedy check in at the Contemporary, we waited (and waited) for a bus to the Animal Kingdom. When we arrived, there were huge lines to get in. I donÃ¢ÂÂt know what the problem was, but we had to wait several minutes to get into the park. The lines looked like the park was just opening, but it was after 9:00. There was a small parade or show or something going on just inside the gates. It looked like the artimals that sometimes wander the park. My goodness, this park is much warmer than the others. It was tropical feeling in on this day. We immediately headed to the Festival of the Lion King. We waited about 15 minutes to get in and the sweat was literally dripping off usÃ¢ÂÂ¦and we were standing still! We entered the theater and got good seats. They were really packing people in that theater. I think that FOTLK is the best live production on property. I have seen it three times, and it never ceases to impress me. I also happen to think the music from the Lion King is some of the best from any Disney movieÃ¢ÂÂ¦with the possible exception of Beauty and the Beast. The show is just riveting. DDÃ¢ÂÂs eyes were huge as she watched the show. She was trying to wave to Simba. We sat in the Lion section. At any rate, I will never get tired of this production. This is a must do on each trip. It was only about 10:30 when the show was over, but since we hadnÃ¢ÂÂt eaten supper last night and hadnÃ¢ÂÂt had breakfast, we decided to have an early lunch. We went to the Pizzafari and DD had a cheese pizza and I had the hot Italian deli sandwich. Both were excellent and the restaurant was so refreshingly cool. We thoroughly enjoyed the break. Since DD had to be at the Grand Floridian by 1:30 for the Neverland Tea Party, we didnÃ¢ÂÂt have time to do much else. However, it was sort of nice to just stroll through the park and look in the shops, etc. We did take some time for DD to play in the Boneyard. She enjoyed stomping on the dinosaur footprints and hearing the roars of the dinosaurs. She played there for 15 Ã¢ÂÂ 20 minutes. Then it was time to leave. Since I wasnÃ¢ÂÂt sure how long it would take us to get to the Grand Floridian, I allowed 1.5 hours, and it was a good thing I did. First, we waited a long time for a bus to finally show up at the Animal Kingdom. When one finally did, it also stopped at Wilderness Lodge, the Polynesian and finally the Grand Floridian. IÃ¢ÂÂm glad I allowed extra time. I had never been in the Grand Floridian before. It is gorgeous! They are doing quite a bit of renovation, but it so elegant. IÃ¢ÂÂm not sure IÃ¢ÂÂd stay there with very young children. But some day I would love to stay thereÃ¢ÂÂ¦.when I hit the lottery, of course! I had booked the Neverland Tea Party as a treat for my DD. I asked her if she preferred to go to the Tea Party or on the Pirate CruiseÃ¢ÂÂ¦and she chose the Tea Party. I booked as soon as I could and had no trouble getting her in. The party was held in 1900 Park FareÃ¢ÂÂ¦and there were about 20-25 kids there, both boys and girls. The tables were adorable. We (the parents) were allowed to escort our children in and take some picturesÃ¢ÂÂ¦and then we were dismissed. The host of the party was actually Chef Ben. Alice and the Mad Hatter only make a short appearance, apparently. I used the time to stroll around the resort, grab a drink and sit by the marina, just enjoying the silence. When I returned to pick DD up, I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt see the kids. Then they came crawling back into the dining room. There were several parents there looking through the glass doors. The kids stood up and shouted at the parents, Ã¢ÂÂNo peeking!Ã¢ÂÂ It was cute. Finally, when I picked up DD, she handed me a bouquet of flowers and had a picture of herself taken with the Mad Hatter and Alice. It was well worth the money I spent for this event. DD had a wonderful time and I enjoyed the small break from her. We have a girl from our hometown who is working at the Magic Kingdom as a part of the WDW College Program and on our way back to the Contemporary; I thought we might stop at the MK to see if we could meet up with her. She is working as a Main Street Greeter. We didnÃ¢ÂÂt see her, but we arrived at around 3:00. I remembered reading somewhere that an excellent spot for viewing the Remember the Magic Parade was right by the Car BarnÃ¢ÂÂwhere the parade finishes. There was no one there and it was in the shade, so we sat down on the curb. About 3:25, the parade came around Town Square and then the Magic happened. The first float, the one with Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella, Goofy, etc, stopped right in front of us. Minnie came and got DD by the hand and took her out to dance. I could hardly see through the tears. DD was in awe but did manage to dance. She hasnÃ¢ÂÂt stopped talking about it since then. She got lots of special waves and winks from the characters as they went by us. It was a great spot to view the parade. Naturally, I didnÃ¢ÂÂt have the video camera with me, so we plan to see the parade again and hopefully, Mommy will be better prepared this time. We left the Magic Kingdom and strolled over to the Contemporary to get our room. Bell services delivered our luggage and we got settled. I called my father to see how things were at home. We decided to hop over to Epcot, since I had originally planned to do that last night but bagged it because we were too tired. We took the monorail over and had to wait a long time at the Ticket and transportation Center for a monorail. We arrived at Epcot at around 5:30. I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt believe the lines of people going in. We even had to wait 10 minutes to ride Spaceship Earth. Again, DD was a little intimidated by the ride, even though we have ridden it numerous times before. After SE, we went to the Living Seas. We bypassed the briefing room and went immediately to the hydrolators. DD enjoyed seeing all the fish and I really enjoyed the Manatees. IÃ¢ÂÂve never seen oneÃ¢ÂÂ¦they are huge. They were initially up at the surface of the water, but then they sunk to the bottom and appeared to be sleeping. We also saw dolphins and lots of other fish. We also saw several sea horses. After the Living Seas, we went to the Land. We had just entered the Living with the Land show when DD said she needed to go to the bathroom. Now, mind you, I had asked her several times if she needed to go and she said no. I was not a happy camper. We decided to get some supper at the Sunshine Food Fair. DD and I split a barbecue chicken combo. DD ate mostly the French fries and I ate the sandwich. By this time, the line for Living with the Land was 20 minutes! IÃ¢ÂÂve never seen a line that long for that ride at Epcot at night. WeÃ¢ÂÂd had about enough of lines for the day, so we headed back to the room. People were still pouring into Epcot for the TON and Illuminations. I simply canÃ¢ÂÂt believe the crowds so far. We made a quick stop in Mousegear to look around. If they donÃ¢ÂÂt have what you are looking for in this store, you donÃ¢ÂÂt need it! DD picked out a Donald Duck wind up toy. I should mention that she is allowed one thing per day. So far, from MGM, she got Treelo and today, she got the Donald Duck. She isnÃ¢ÂÂt a greedy child and is usually content with something small. IÃ¢ÂÂve never seen her throw a fit because I refused to buy her something. We got back to the room and DD went to bed immediately. I checked email and got prepared for tomorrow. It is Early Entry at the Magic Kingdom. I should mention that we always do EE at the Magic Kingdom, but only at the Magic Kingdom. ItÃ¢ÂÂs not worth doing the EE at any other park, since the rides that are open are not for my DD (or me either). However, at the MK, we are always able to get all of Fantasyland finished by the time the park opens to other visitors.