"Keeping up with Jones" -- Saturday, January 27th -- Disneyland and IndyIndyIndy!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Rajah, Feb 8, 2001.

  1. Rajah

    Rajah DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 1999
    Trip report: "Keeping up with Jones" -- Disneyland January 26, 27, and 28

    -Rajah/Tammi, Disneyland fanatic, trip photographer, and report writer
    -VonDrake/Michael, Rajah's DH, becoming a Disneyland fanatic
    -DM or "my mom", Rajah's mom who just wants to do Indy over and over and over...
    -DF or "my dad", Rajah's dad who wants to see Indy for the first time.

    Trip dates:
    January 26, 27, and 28

    Stayed at:
    Best Western Park Place, right across the street from the walk-in entrance to Disneyland on Harbor

    Keeping up with Jones -- named because the primary reason for this trip was to introduce my dad and reintroduce Michael to the Indiana Jones Adventure. Michael had been on it once, but only remembered the queue. My dad had heard my mom and me raving about this attraction and so really wanted to see it. So this quick whirlwind trip was specifically for Indy. And whatever we could fit in around Indy ;)

    I don't know how much sleep I got last night, but it wasn't much at all. I kept waking up every 20-30 minutes and of course had to sit up and stare at the clock until I could read the time. All I know is I was sleeping restlessly and one time dreamt about difficulty getting the dessert buffet tickets (in my dream they were limiting it so that only people who hadn't ever seen it could get the tickets), and another time about spiders getting all over me ::shudder:: :eek: !! Lemme tell you, I didn't fall asleep after *that* one again for quite a while. Only thing I can figure is I had Indy on the brain this time (last trip it was Tiki Room) and there's that spider room in Indy and somehow my brain decided to snatch *that* into my dreams :eek:

    Whatever the case, when the clock hit 5:40, I was awake. 5:50 and I was sitting up staring at the phone across the way. 5:55 and I was up, moving around, and hovering near the phone so I could catch the wake up call while doing what I could to get ready over in that corner. When 6:10 rolled around and still no wake up call, I completely gave up and just finished getting ready then checked on my dad. Or, rather, he checked on me a minute before I was about to do the same. Turns out, he didn't get *his* wake up call either.

    By the time we left, my mom was up and about and Michael was close to it. My dad and I turned on Michael's and my mom's radios so *we* could be their wake-up call if necessary. Then he and I took off. On our way over to the park we stopped at the car to get my water bottle, then we were off. The sky was heavy with clouds, but felt more like the end of a storm rather than like it was about to rain, so we decided to definitely try for Fantasmic Dessert Buffet tickets. When we got to the park, there were only 3 people in front of us in line. It looked like the threat of bad weather was really working for us, because I've been there that early before and had 6+ people in front of me.

    We'd only been standing there a few minutes when my dad realized that he didn't have the liner to my mom's jacket -- he was going to bring it to put it in the locker. So he left me with the stuff and backtracked looking for the liner. About 20 minutes later, he finally returned -- no luck. So I left him this time while I went to search. I asked the CMs cleaning the trams if they'd seen a blue liner to a jacket in the hopes that they'd found one and set it aside already, but they said no.

    By the time I reached the hotel rooms, Michael and my mom were almost ready so I just hung out with them and then all 3 of us walked back over -- still no sign of the jacket liner. When we caught up with my dad, he was already at the window and was just finishing his transaction: we got seats 1-4 for the second show! :D

    Then we were off, through the gates and into the park. Michael once again commented on how small Main Street was. For me, it still feels normal and the Magic Kingdom is the one that's off just a bit. It did feel like it needed a fresh coat of paint, though. I suspect part of that is just the California air and sun, because I know it hasn't been *that* long since Main Street had had a fresh coat of paint.

    Down Main Street to the lockers, Michael trying to lead us under the train station and me correcting him ;) There was a CM standing just inside the door to the lockers who told us how to use the new locker system. So while my mom filled out a "lost item" report for her liner (which we figure we'll never see again), my dad, Michael, and I tried out the new locker system. At the time I thought it was pretty neat, but by the end of the day I wasn't as happy with the new system as I was before -- whereas before you could have several people in their locker at once or checking out a new one, with this new system you can only have one person unlocking or renting a new locker at a time in any one area. So if you had 3 people who wanted to get into their lockers and all are somewhere along the same wall, you had to stand in line to get to the machine to unlock your locker. I can see that becoming a nightmare in the busier times.

    Anyway, back to the report. Upon dropping everything we needed to in the locker, we struck out for Fantasyland. I asked for a list of those attractions open... and was handed one from the last week of *December*. :eek: Wasn't very accurate <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> So we stowed the list and decided to just wing it.

    Alice came first, by way of a brief stop to show Michael and my parents all that remains of the Montsano (sp??) House of the Future. The turquoise concrete base is still visible if you know where to look :D That was pointed out to me on my last trip, and it's a bit of useless trivia I had to pass on ;) Then we made it to Alice. Unfortunately, I was too concerned this time with trying to get pictures of the attraction, so I hardly paid any attention to the ride. I figured we'd make it back. My parents did, but Michael and I didn't :( Oh well, it's not like I haven't seen the attraction before, and I did need the practice with the camera again as I'd forgotten what settings I needed to use while in a dark ride.

    After Alice, we worked our way around the outer rim of Fantasyland: Toad, Peter Pan, Snow White, then Pinocchio. And after each, my mom remarked on how she never remembers just how cute they are. When we're away from the park, she tends to feel Peter Pan is the only one of those four worth going on again, but when we're there she always enjoys the others just as much ;) Selective memory, I guess ;) Again, I had to show some trivia -- this time it was the apple in front of Snow White, and the witch that peeks out of the window also above the ride. Naturally, when my mom and Michael tried to get the apple to talk, it did nothing ;) It took them three tries each to get their fingers on the right point to activate the sound ;)

    After Pinocchio, Michael and I wanted to ride the Matterhorn, so we went around to the Tomorrowland side while my parents repeated their path. While we rode the Matterhorn (talk about a hard one to get pictures on ;) I got a few blurs, couple of shots of the ceiling, and maybe one or two useful shots ;) ) and then took a swing around on Dumbo, they did Alice, Toad, Peter Pan, and Snow White once more. They may even have gotten on Pinocchio before we got off Dumbo, I'm not sure.

    We met up again after that and decided to go see if Thunder Mountain was open yet. After all, it was on the list -- but as I said earlier, the list was for the holiday time, not for today. We checked both entrances to Frontierland and saw everything was shut off, so instead cut over to the only attraction to in Tomorrowland that we were interested in since Space Mountain was still down for refurb: the new Autopia.

    I must say, I was rather impressed with the queue to this. No, there's not much to it, but the videos with the talking Chevron cars were really cute. Much more than I expected. ;) And the ride itself was cute. I really wanted in one of those purple-blue-turquoise-shimmering cars, but we got a plain old brown thing instead. The people in front of us had the neat shimmering car, though, so we got to see it all the way around the track ;) I think they did a very good job with the redo of this attraction, and I thought the touch of the car park was really cute. Did anyone else catch route 55 -- Disneyland's opening year? ;)

    By the time we finished with the Autopia, the rope was dropping back in Adventureland so we returned to our goal. We split up and the guys rushed ahead to get lunch PS for the Blue Bayou while I introduced my mom to the Fast Pass system on Indiana Jones. This was the most important ride to us this trip, as if it weren't for my dad's longing to be able to ride Indy the trip likely wouldn't have come about. (Hence the name of this trip report: Keeping up with Jones)

    We met back up with the guys at the River Belle Terrace, where we were to get breakfast. Michael and I stood in line while my mom found a table and my dad went back and forth between. He got the Mark Twain (eggs, hash browns, bacon, muffin, and orange slices), Michael got the Steamboat with bacon, and my mom and I split a Steamboat (3 **delicious** pancakes, even better than IHOP IMHO, eggs, bacon, and orange) and a side of potatoes. We looked at the fruit plate but didn't see much on there we wanted -- we were both in the mood for strawberries.

    After everyone stuffed themselves silly on breakfast (did I mention these plates were huge, and about right when split?), we went across the street to Pirates. My mom really wanted to do Indy right away, but I strongly recommended we wait until our food had settled -- *I* remembered how rough Indy could be ;) Pirates (in which my parents both admired the changes done in the recent renovation(s)), then another stop by the Blue Bayou for dinner reservations (I only mentioned to the guys that we wanted both lunch and dinner about 10 times before we arrived, but I failed to repeat myself again as they took off to get breakfast PS :rolleyes: ).

    By that time, we were in our Indy window. I don't know why we didn't just get more Indy passes before even going in, but we didn't. I led the way and I must say it's rather interesting how they combined the standby and fastpass lines for this attraction. I was really wondering how they'd hold everyone in the queue, and I still wonder how what used to be a 40 minute wait would fill every inch of queue space and spill out into Adventureland but now a 60 minute wait didn't even fill everything in the dig (outside queue area). Whatever the case, I liked the way the Fastpass worked, other than the fact that you move too fast to really appreciate the quality of that queue. I also got my dad with the dropping ceiling ;)

    Indy was a big hit, and we emerged only to get another fastpass right away. We still had about 30 minutes before we could use it, so we pulled out our complimentary "any ride" fast passes that came with our package deal and used them to go immediately again. Another hit and we got a different entrance chamber :D

    Tarzan's Treehouse came next, and I got my mom with Sabor's roar. She tried to get it to work again and didn't succeed -- apparently there's too much of a recycle time to get him to roar twice in a row. Unfortunately, a little girl behind us was being lifted up to see the cat just as the recycle time finished, so he roared at her and scared her half to death. Poor thing.

    My parents seemed to enjoy Tarzan's, and I still had fun with it. I'm so glad they replaced the Swiss Family treehouse with something comparable :D

    By the time we came off of Tarzan, it was back in our window for Indy so we returned to the ride a third time. Amazingly, in three rides we actually got to see all three passageways. Naturally, my dad being as curious as I was, kept trying to get me to tell him how they did it ;) I refused until we were away from others who could hear, because just because my parents and husband wanted to know how the tricks are done doesn't mean everyone else around did.

    When we came off of Indy, we had a few minutes left before lunch so decided to check out the Disney Gallery. My dad ran to the locker to get his jacket while we looked around upstairs. I tried to show Michael the miniature Space Mountain track, but it was gone :( I did find a couple of things we got, though: a really, really neat Pirates post card that's 3-D, and a hard-back book on the 45th Anniversary. Neither Michael nor I remembered getting it in May so we somehow or for some reason missed it then. We had those sent back to the front to pick up later.

    By the time my dad caught back up it was almost time for lunch. So we sent my parents on ahead to check in while Michael and I went to see if the fastpass return time for Indy was late enough for us to be able to make it after lunch. The window was still too iffy so we returned to see my parents waving us to hurry -- apparently they wouldn't let you check in unless the entire group was present. We still had several minutes to spare, so no harm done.

    We were seated right along the water, directly across from the lazy cabin with the alligator next to it. My mom and I split our must-have: a monte cristo sandwich. Michael had one all his own, and my dad had a blackened chicken salad -- it wasn't the chicken ceaser, but another one. Michael, my mom, and I all had a mint julep to drink. My dad's allergic to mint or would have tried one as well. My mom also started with a bowl of gumbo, which she said was really good but too spicy for her to finish. Even split, the Monte Cristo was too big for either my mom or me to completely finish -- I had to "shell" the second half of my half -- that is, eat the meat out and leave the breading, there was just too much to eat!

    While we were eating, we noticed that the belt-loop on the case for the digital camera was torn almost completely off, so right after lunch we rushed out to find a new one. Michael and my dad went to the locker first while my mom made another stop, and I checked in the camera shop. They had what I wanted, but unfortunately not in the right size :( The smaller of the two camera cases was too small to completely fit around the camera, and the larger one was big enough to be too cumbersome. So we looked at straps. Unfortunately we struck out there, too -- the only extra straps they had were too wide.

    We decided at that point that it wasn't worth it -- I'd just carry the camera without the case and end up with a very raw neck since that strap is less than friendly. So my dad ran back to the locker once more to put the camera case inside while Michael and I hunted down my mom just outside the Tiki Room. We sat there until my dad caught up, then all decided now would be a good time to try the Tiki Room. We missed most of the pre-show in the garden, though :( But at least Maui was back this time so Michael got to see the water-"clock".

    I do have to say that while the Tiki Room is still in need of a major refurb, there was evidence that they're slowly getting things cleaned up. Last trip, almost half the flowers in the baskets didn't work and ditto the chanting totems. This time, there were only one or two in the two baskets we could see that did nothing (and were obviously supposed to sing along). And some of the birds looked like they had at least been cleaned up, if not had an entire new set of "clothes" in the first place. I'm very happy to see that it's in better shape now than it was last May, because that means it's at least getting some clean-up attention. It still needs fresh paint in a lot of places and some cleaning up and some of the animatronics need a little tweaking, but it was noticeably in better repair than it was in last May.

    When we left the Tiki Room, we were all starting to feel the drain of the already-long day so decided to do something where we could sit down. Animazement came to mind right away for Michael and me so we checked the times and found one was about to start in about 30 minutes. My parents agreed to give it a try. I led the way over to the theater and we found seats almost right on the bar but still up in the bleachers. Only then did I realize that I'd intended to videotape the show -- that was one of the main things we brought the video camera for in the first place :rolleyes: So I checked my watch and saw we had a little over 15 minutes before the show was to start, so I left all my stuff except the locker combination with Michael and my parents (we sat opposite each other on the aisle) and I dashed back to the locker. I'd told Michael it would only take me about 10 minutes to get to the locker and back... and if I hadn't gotten behind a family who was trying to figure out how to use the new locker machines then had to hunt for exact change, it *would* have only taken 10 minutes <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> As it was, I still got back with about 3 minutes to spare before the scheduled time, and then the show started about 5 minutes late so I even had enough time to catch my breath ;)

    This is *such* a cute show! Such talent! I know I said that last time, but I was still amazed. My favorite parts are the Aladdin segment, the Pocahontas/Hercules/Hunchback segment (what harmony!!), and the Lion King segment at the end. I could tell my parents enjoyed it as well :D

    After that good long sit-down, we were up to wandering around Toon Town, which my dad also hadn't ever seen. We were sorry to see that Roger Rabbit was still down, but not surprised. That'll just have to be something we do next trip :D My dad really enjoyed Toon Town :D We all did, for that matter (other than the again-fading paint). I took them on the "grand tour", starting over by Roger where all the interactive elements are, then around past the shops and eateries (where Pluto and Donald were out), into the residential area where Minnie and Goofy were greeting people out front. We wanted to see Minnie's house, but didn't want to stand in line for Minnie so skipped it this time. Mickey's house had no line, though, so we went through that. HOW CUTE!! I'd only been through here once and for some reason thought the WDW version was essentially the same. Not so!! We had a lot of fun going through Mickey's House, even if we did cut out the back door instead of going to see Mickey (I kinda would have liked to, but we didn't have much time and the line was a little longer than we liked, and it's not as though I don't have any pictures with Mickey)

    After that, we circled around to show my dad the rest of Toon Town, then left. My mom, Michael, and I all stopped at the gift shop that had pins not far from Toon Town's entrance while my dad returned to the locker yet again, this time to return the video camera. My mom visited with the CM at the pin stand while Michael and I dug through the pins. He made me limit it down to just over 10, but that still cost a *lot* more than we were expecting. We sorta didn't look at the prices on the pins before buying them, and some that we thought were $6-8 ended up costing $10-15 :eek: Michael still let me get all of them, but I felt bad about it. I'm glad I got them, but at the same time I'm not glad I spent so much money :/

    With that sale completed, we walked over to Frontierland by way of the Trail (the walkway that leads from the back of Fantasyland around Thunder Mountain and past the fry cart). On the way around, we saw Jessie and Woody, but didn't stop. Poor things were crowded so much by guests that I don't see how anyone got a picture with them. Almost made me want to put on my pseudo-CM "had" and try to form a line for them instead of the chaotic crowding. Then we made it back to the front of Thunder. My, have they changed this! I got a little confused trying to find where they'd hidden the fastpass machines, but we finally found them and my dad as well. We debated what to do, and decided we really needed to sit down for a while again. So I proposed that we get Thunder Mountain fastpasses then watch the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show in the Golden Horseshoe until time to ride. This was a hit for everyone, so Michael and I hunted down the *entrance* to the fastpass machines ("I can see them, but where do you go in") while my parents went into the Golden Horseshoe and found a table.

    We ended up with a table near the back on the ground floor, but still had a great seat. There were two tables right next to each other, so we took both so all of us could be facing the stage. Then I decided I had to have *something* to eat even though dinner was in two hours (or maybe *because* we still had 2 hours until dinner). So I looked at the menu and thought some chili cheese fries sounded good. Michael agreed to split those and we all got something to drink, then we only had about 5 minutes before the show started (they were good).

    What have I been missing?? :D This was HILLARIOUS!! "Crisco"... Country Rap... how funny. And what TALENT! I can't BELIEVE how well Billy played (yes, that's done on purpose. For those who don't get the joke, *all* the performers are named Billy) I won't go into details on the show beyond what I've already said, but I will HIGHLY recommend this show to anyone else!! And it's going to be a must-see next trip! We laughed ourselves silly, and the combination of sitting down and laughing so hard resulted in rejuvenating everyone for Thunder.

    Next stop, Thunder Mountain, where we all agreed that we felt this was the better of the two Thunders. Michael and I also think Disneyland's Thunder Mountain seems a little longer than WDW's. I also liked the updates they did. Knowing what to look for, I could tell it had been refurbished. The goat's new coat looked good, and I really liked the fiber-optic effect in the earthquake room. I wish we'd been able to ride this more, as well. But that's always the case ;)

    After we got off Thunder Mountain, we decided to go on the Haunted Mansion. It's a surprise to me that we waited this long to ride our old favorite, but we didn't forget it in favor of Indy ;) There was only a 5 minute wait, so we were right on in a flash. We ended up getting separated at the Buggies because my parents got on the last working one in a set and Michael and I had to let 4 or 5 go by before we were allowed to go, but by the time my parents were off their buggy at the end and looking around to figure out where we'd disappeared, we were coming off as well.

    I asked Michael in May which Haunted Mansion he liked better. Back then, he answered Disneyworld. This time, I asked him again, and this time he changed his tune. Disneyland's seems to have more depth and detail than WDW's, and it was easier to make that comparison when only a month and a half had passed since our last trip to WDW rather than 4 months. Both are wonderful rides, but Disneyland's is still the best :D

    Once we got off Haunted Mansion, my parents decided to do a little looking in New Orleans Square before our dinner time, so Michael and I took off to see if Indy was back up yet -- it had gone down earlier about the time we got out of the Tiki Room. Whether it was down *still* or down *again* we don't know, but Indy was down when Michael and I checked it out and they could only hope it would be back up again by the end of the evening. Finding that, we were *really* glad we'd gotten our 3 rides in earlier this morning.

    Michael and I returned to my parents with the bad news, but at least we'd been on it three times already and seen all three entrance chambers. We only had a moment or two to look around New Orleans Square before it was time to check into Blue Bayou for dinner. So we dragged my mom kicking and screaming (okay, not really) past all the shops and to food ;)

    This time, we were seated in the back corner, over to the right and up against the wall. We had a nice view of the restaurant itself. My mom, Michael, and I all had the Beef Diane, which was very good. Nice and tender, and I think one of the best meals I've had there. I'm still not that fond of their famous potatoes though. I also had asked for a ceasar salad or skip it since I can't handle most of the greens they like to put in a mixed green salad (I seem to be able to eat only green leaf or romaine lettuce). What the guy brought me was a mixed-green salad with ceasar dressing :rolleyes: So I munched on the carrots and ignored the rest. My dad had the salmon, which he liked, with the clam chowder. None of us could completely finish our plate, but we sure came close. Michael and I had more mint juleps, and my mom and dad both had tea.

    When we were done with dinner, Michael and I -- more I than Michael -- pulled the others out rushing to get to the locker. I really wanted to try for the parade again and Michael said he'd be in it, too, so we needed to find a spot to drop my parents and our stuff with the cameras while we hunted down the Omnibus. On our way to the locker, we saw that Rod and Alan were at the piano, and not only that, the piano was indoors where it was relatively warm. So we left my mom there to warm up (she was recovering from a cold) while my dad, Michael, and I continued on to the locker.

    When we returned, we'd decided that my parents would stay right there at Coke Corner and set up the camera right on the curb at that point. That way, my mom could stay inside and watch Rod until the parade came by. So we left them there and Michael and I hurried down the parade route until we spotted the Omnibus. There I asked one more time if Michael was sure he wanted to do this -- he's much less outgoing than I am and had been hesitant about the idea since we arrived. Once I assured him I wouldn't be mad if he backed out, he decided not to participate after all. He'd operate the digital camera instead since of the two remaining hands (mom and him), he knew the digital the best. My dad was instructed to operate the video.

    So I checked in and was told they'd gotten everyone for that stop but we could follow to the next stop. I also checked about asking for a specific group. I was told no, you can't really ask, but when I indicated I wasn't sure I was up to the first two groups but knew I would be able to keep up with the last two, they said okay. Next stop, they somewhat grudgingly assigned me to the third group -- which was exactly what I wanted in the first place :D (And it's true about not being able to keep up with the first two groups... I barely could keep up with the third but had had no trouble keeping up with the least-strenuous fourth group in May)

    I waved goodbye to Michael and took my place on the bus, and all of us excited guests had fun visiting. Michael returned to my parents, and then when the bus stopped past them, he followed the bus from there. I decided at that point to send my coat with Michael -- I figured that despite the cold, between my long-sleeved shirt and sweatshirt and the activity and lights, I'd be plenty warm enough. So I handed him my coat, completely unaware until it was too late that my nametag was on the coat :eek: Turned out the tag was only so people would know your name, and since I had my WDW Guest of Honor badge with my name on it, I just moved that out to the sweatshirt and that worked just fine :D

    We gathered in a little corner of Main Street just before going backstage (we actually went backstage in May, but that was on the Small World end, too) and were given our instructions then handed our capes. One thing I like about being near the end of the parade is you get to see almost the entire parade before you're called to go. I ended up at the very end of the line and was paired with one of the Country Bears. This was great to me because Country Bears was one of my favorite attractions growing up and I still get excited actually seeing the Bears as walk-arounds.

    At the time, I wasn't positive who my walk-around Bear was, but he was most reminiscent of Liver Lips McGrowl. I found out when we returned that of the options, Liver Lips was the only Bear who had a walk-around character who came close to fitting the description of the bear I walked with. Anyway, back to the parade.

    This was a completely different experience than being one of the rope carriers. As a rope carrier, *we* were the focus at that point. Plus, we had those nifty animal hats (which I miss). As someone paired with the character, the character was the focus of attention and you were barely noticed. It took a little to get used to the change in rolls from May, but I had a ball! Liver Lips was great about directing me with just hand gestures and a tug here or tug there. It's amazing how much you can be led by just the motion of one hand. "Turn this way" "bow" "skip" "join hands" "high five"...

    The cycle, for those interested, went something like this: Skuff-step (skuff foot forward, again, then three quick steps forward to the music. Repeat) for a bit, then turn facing each other and take hands. Side-skip a few paces forward, turn and face the audience, wave, some more combinations of dance (swinging arm in arm in a circle, skipping, just walking) then split. Performing guests run/skip up to the front adjacent to the big Noah's Ark balloon and do a little dance step determined by the leading CMs (those in the cloud-themed overalls). Then we ran in an arc around the Ark balloon and hooked up with our characters again. Some more walking, then we just stand there and wave to the guests while those who are supposed to be at the front go past, then begin the skuff-step again. Somewhere around here, we turn and face the characters opposite, approach and high-five, then grab hands so that a circle of 8 does a complete turn. High-five again, then resume. More skipping with the character, then the guests take off again and this time go line up behind Donald and Daisy who lead the guests in some step -- usually some sort of clapping to the beat. Then Donald and Daisy take off with the characters again and one of the two lead-CMs starts the guests in a dance step: three steps left, arms up and go "woo!!", three steps right, arms up and go "woo!!", one left, arms up and go "woo!!", one right, arms up and go "woo!!", three left, arms up and go "woo!!", three right, arms up and go "woo!!", three left, arms up and go "woo!!", three right, arms up and go "woo!!", hands on knees, then arms up in the air and yell "Superstar!". Then start walking slowly and wave to the guests while waiting for the characters to return to you. Then repeat the entire process.

    It was a lot of fun and I'd definitely enjoy doing it again :D One funny thing did happen, though. Mid-way through, I was briefly handed off to Wendel, the Country Bear on the opposite side of the walkway. Liver Lips and I were walking right behind Robin Hood, and Robin's tail fell off!! :eek: Liver Lips saw that and ran over to Wendel gesturing madly for Wendel to take me. Wendel did but with a confused look, so I whispered to him what had happened and he snickered. I don't know what Liver Lips did with Robin's tail, whether he just got another CM or what, but he wasn't gone long before he returned to reclaim me.

    We broke off from our characters with hugs all around just before the gate to backstage at Small World. There weren't really many guests around at that point between the cold, nearness of the first showing of Fantasmic (it was going to start in about 15 minutes I think by this point) and the construction walls up around Small World.

    There was water waiting for us, and we were told what our surprise gift would be. In May, it was the hats we wore. This time, you traded your cape (or tutu depending on your group) for a pin of the Blue Fairy float. On the back where it will announce the "limited edition" stuff are the words "guest performer".

    By the time I'd gotten my glass of water and pin, Michael had caught up with us and told me that the rope carriers no longer had those neat confetti bags, and furthermore the parade finale float no longer shot confetti!! I don't know if that was just for that performance or if they've removed the confetti entirely, but I was sorry to hear it was gone. Instead, the rope carriers wore penguin-colored capes and would just jump and throw their hand in the air as though they *were* throwing confetti when it came time for the confetti-toss. Hearing that, I was all the happier that I was able to participate as a rope carrier in May and that this time I was paired with a character :D

    The only bad part about the parade was that we discovered just how much the camera likes me and doesn't like Michael. <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> He apparently went through *three* sets of batteries during the parade!! It seems the batteries we'd brought with us and tried accessing at that point were all bad, despite the expiration date being in several years :eek: Naturally, the batteries died just as I got there <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> So I have two pictures of me dancing in the group, but none of me with Liver Lips :( :( :( And my dad was on the video camera and was able to get me doing the step dance with the other guests (boy we looked silly), but didn't turn the camera quick enough to get me walking with my Bear :( :( :( I at least have pictures of me participating this time, which is more than I had from May, but I still wanted a picture with the Bear <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> Please please, if anyone was watching that parade (8pm parade, Saturday January 27th) and has a picture of the guest with Liver Lips (Grey bear wearing a blue cape with a guest wearing a WDW sweatshirt and red cape), that was me. And if you don't know who Liver Lips is -- he was the last bear, grey with extended "puckering" lips, on the left-hand side of the street. If you have one, pleaseplease can I have a copy??

    After the parade, we found my parents (who weren't far behind us) and all of us lamented the fact that not one of us thought to ask the group to start on Main Street then hurry around through Fantasyland to catch the parade again up by Small World :( :( :( I wasn't too disappointed that we didn't get many pictures, though -- I had SO MUCH fun in the parade that it was worth it :D

    We were walking past the Storybookland Canal Boats at this point, and Michael wanted to see that one, so we parted ways with my parents to ride. They went on into Fantasyland to see what shops were open while Michael and I waited one whole boat to get on. My, what a magical ride at night. Too fast for pictures at night, but a great ride all the same.

    Once we got off, we found my parents in Tinkerbell's Treasures. They had intended to shop in Gepetto's, but that was unfortunately closed. My mom was hoping to see if they'd have any miniature coo-coo clocks like they had on the walls of the Pinocchio ride. I don't think we ever did make it into that shop, though.

    Once we found my parents, we decided to give Indy another try, and if it wasn't open we'd go see Country Bears. This has always been a family favorite, even if this show isn't quite as good as the original, and I *especially* wanted to see this again after dancing with one of the Bears :D I wanted to try to figure out who I'd danced with ;)

    Then we realized that we were in the middle of the first Fantasmic showing! So rather than going around through Frontierland, we went back through the hub to Adventureland and decided to take our chances. Indy was, unfortunately, down. Still, apparently, rather than again. Once more, we were glad we'd gone on it 3 times this morning (was it only this morning?). So we went to check on Country Bears, only to find it had also closed and wouldn't open again until tomorrow morning at 11am :eek:

    On our way to check on the Country Bears, we paused almost at the Haunted Mansion so my dad and Michael could watch how the dragon is operated since our timing was perfect for that. We couldn't see as well as my mom and I could two years ago because we were downwind at that point, but they got a good look anyway. And on our way back out from checking on the Bears, the Mark Twain was coming by. I decided to stop before what used to be Harbor Galley to watch -- I was curious what the characters would do when they were seemingly "off stage" -- did they stop dancing once they got past where the Columbia docks? Nope, they were still going!! Good show!! :D :D Apparently they'd keep dancing until they were where no other guests could see them.

    We'd decided to try for Pirates since we couldn't make either Indy or Country Bears, but when Fantasmic let out as we were approaching the Haunted Mansion, we decided this would work just as well. So we hopped in line once again just before the wave of people hit.

    By the time we got out of the Haunted Mansion, we only had a few minutes before we wanted to check in for our buffet. I wanted to try Pirates again, but I think the wait was too long and we didn't quite have enough time before our 30-minute window for the buffet started. So we instead spent a few minutes in New Orleans Square at the shops that we had to pull my mom away from earlier, then went on up. We were still about 10 minutes early for our check-in time, so we looked around the gallery a bit more then my mom found a chair and we all clustered around it.

    Once I saw the food heading onto the balcony, I hopped up and right up to the door. First chance I got, I asked if I could get a picture. The CMs were more than happy to let me through for a few pictures, as long as I didn't stay out there until our names were called ;) Just before they started calling names, I waved the rest of the party over so we were right up front and ready to go when our name (the first group) was called.

    Upon seeing the buffet fresh and new, we figured out why I had such a poor experience with it last May. When Tracy and I arrived, we only had a few minutes before the show and so everyone had already taken their first run through the buffet and there was very little left. This time (and my first time), we were first in line and so had our choice of chocolate cake (pretty good), raspberry cheesecake (quite good, though I liked the Kiwi better from May), fresh fruit, and all sorts of little cakes and pastries. I only got one strawberry thingamajigger but it was really good. We also had our choice of water, mint julep, tea, or coffee, and maybe one other drink (lemonade?).

    There was enough time before the show for us to finish most if not all of our dessert -- or as much as we could eat, anyway. I was only able to take a few bites of the chocolate one and ate less than half of the raspberry cheesecake, but I shared what I didn't eat with Michael and my dad, who had both missed the cheesecake.

    Fantasmic itself was, as usual, wonderful. The only thing that was missing that I could tell was the elusive Ursula float -- I don't know if they've removed it entirely or if they've just been having a lot of trouble with it, but if you didn't know it was supposed to be there then it didn't look at all like anything was missing :D The only strange thing that happened was with the camera -- apparently, we'd gotten below the ideal operating temperature of the digital or batteries or something messed it up because when I told it to zoom in, it *wouldn't stop* at *all* until it got to the absolute maximum *digital* zoom! :eek: :eek: Then I could zoom back *down* to what I wanted. Everything else seemed to be working just fine, but the zoom was driving me crazy :eek: This is where I wonder if we erred majorly by sending the camera through the x-ray when we left home yesterday.

    After Fantasmic, we returned through the "crowds" (almost non-existent, I couldn't believe it) past Indy (which I think was operating again but had a 45 minute wait) back to Main Street. Rod and Alan were standing around visiting with guests and about to start playing again, so the others took pity on me and said we could stay for a bit since I'd really wanted to watch them and had missed them because of participating in the parade. We pulled in some chairs and sat around watching for about 30 minutes before I realized I was about to fall asleep on the chair and we'd better go. My mom, who had earlier insisted that she'd need to go *straight* from Fantasmic back to the room, was even more reluctant to leave than I was ;)

    I still can't believe how fast they can move their fingers! :eek: And I still love their version of Small World :D

    When we got up to leave, Rod pouted and visited for a few more minutes, insisting that we come back and see them again soon as he shook our hands (we shook Rod's hand! Le-sigh ;) ). I told him we hoped to, but we were too far away -- in Texas. He countered with "Welcome to America" which got everyone laughing ;) We'll be back, Rod, don't worry. It'll just be a few months to a year ;)

    That was a wonderful end to a wonderful day. From there, we cleaned out our locker then picked up our bag from the package pickup before returning to our rooms and crashing for the night. Not trusting the non-existent wake-up call, I asked Michael to set the radio alarm for 8 -- we wanted to be across the street around 9 tomorrow morning and still needed to pack.




    (Links will return when I find a new place to host the sites)
  2. benolathe

    benolathe Mouseketeer

    Oct 11, 1999
    My lands...what a long and detailed report!! You certainly have a wonderful memory.

    I've been debating eating at the Blue Bayou on our trip next month. It will just be me and my two kids, ages 8 and 10. Do you think they would enjoy the restaurant or is it too "grown-up" for them?

    BTW, my dh will be with us for the first few days of the trip, but I'm sure he would probably "pout" at the prices, so we probably wouldn't go until he heads home. We get to stay an extra five days after he leaves! :)

    Wilderness Lodge; Dec 1999
    Disneyland March 2001!
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  4. Rajah

    Rajah DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 1999
    I think they'll enjoy it if you aim for priority seating right when the restaurant opens -- that way, you're likely to be seated on the water and can watch the boats from Pirates go by. I know I used to love the place when I was a kid :D

    The tip to getting those first reservations is to go to the Blue Bayou as soon as the rope drops and put your name on the list. Otherwise, it's not likely you'll get on the much-coveted water :D




    (Links will return when I find a new place to host the sites)
  5. benolathe

    benolathe Mouseketeer

    Oct 11, 1999
    Okay, now another question I just thought of.

    I've heard that Pirates is closed right now due to an accident. If the attraction is still closed while we are there, should we even bother trying to eat at the Blue Bayou? I would think that if the ride wasn't functioning, that would take some of the "atmosphere" away from the restaurant??

    Wilderness Lodge; Dec 1999
    Disneyland March 2001!
  6. SimonV

    SimonV Proud to have called Bob Varley 'friend'

    Aug 18, 1999
    Sheila, I ate at the BB on my recent trip and, to be honest, with the lighting in there being so low anyway, I couldn't notice if the ride was going or not (It was - did it twice!). I just love the ambience in there, and that's enough for me.

  7. minniecarousel

    minniecarousel Chris Isaak fan

    Jul 13, 2000
    Sounds like you had a GREAT time! (it's always so fun to share with folks who haven't been there in a while, isn't it?!)

    <img src="http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Lair/9541/tcarousel.gif" width=114 height=87 border=0>
  8. Marla Hellwig

    Marla Hellwig I'm not lost, it's called creative exploring

    Mar 25, 2000
    A great time was had by all. Thanks for posting!

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