Pinky & Dot Have a Wacky Xmas Romp - Day 4 MGM, Brown Derby, AKL, Jiko


<font color=blue>Hmpphh! Who needs that boy in gre
Oct 26, 1999
"Pinky" AKA PrincessAurora - Computer geek, web designer, and Disney Princess Fiend. Always planning her next trip to The World.
Dot – Tech Contractor, 40’s Swing Dancer & Hep Kitten, first timer at WDW – veteran Disneyland Nut.
(Please note all detailed food reviews are featured as separate reports after Day 8)

11-27-01 (Tuesday) – MGM, Brown Derby, Jiko
We decided to do MGM/Disney Studios today. While there are not many rides, this is a nice 1 day park. It is not my favorite but it does have two of the best rides in Disneyland or DisneyWorld.

Rock N Roller Coaster – We got a fast pass and did this ride second but I’ll review it first. OK, Aerosmith are not actors but they are great rock musicians and the music (combined with the ride) is the big draw. The pre-show is a bit cheesy but the line is entertaining. Watching the cars rocket into the darkness just adds to the thrill while you wait your turn.

The ride was wonderful. You rocket launch from 0-60 in 4 seconds and pull more G’s than the shuttle astronauts as you go into the first turn. Ladies: We luck out with biology. Due to our lower center of gravity, our bodies handle G forces better than males. The cars were molded and comfortable so you are not shaken and jolted around. No stomach dropping lurches either. I know some of you sickos like those but you’ll just have to content yourself with the speed, corkscrews and the loop. A really fun ride. Just don’t eat too much before going on it.

Tower of Terror – I had never gone on this ride before. Previously I went with people that didn’t like being dropped so I was comfortable going along with them and being a chicken. Then I thought am I a Princess or a Mouse?! Well, I guess here being a mouse isn’t a bad thing….

Anyway, Dot wanted to go (either on the ride or to the ladies room – she kept bouncing around) so I decided I would go. I mean, how bad could it be? Honestly if 8 year old kids and little old ladies are going on this, why should I be scared?

This ride is first rate. The line is gorgeous in presentation and scope. I’m jealous that there is nothing like this in California (although I heard they are planning this for DCA to help lift the sagging gate. If Eisner skimps on this, as the rumors say, I’m going to infest his arm pits with a million fleas. This is too stellar a ride to do on the cheap. LISTEN UP MICHAEL!!! You can afford it. Just kick in 1 years bonus.)

You are taken through an elegant but decaying hotel from the height of Hollywood’s heyday. The Hollywood Towers Hotel, which catered to the most glamorous of the Silver Screens icons was struck by lightning one fateful night and some guests disappeared in the elevator.

We are now the first guests to this hotel and are taken through the lobby, past the inoperative elevators, through the basement and loaded into the service elevator. We have entered The Twilight Zone.

Disney has digitally remastered the deceased Rod Serling to remove his infamous and ever present tobacco products but other than that small omission, the Twilight Zone focus is incredible.

The car consists of benches with lap bars in four rows, 2 columns per car with a center aisle. There is one single seat in the last row right in the middle. It has no seats in front of it and only an “old-fashioned” car lap belt (seat belt) instead of the large metal lap bar.

The doors close and the space in front of you becomes a movie. You are entering the twilight Zone and are about to see what happened to the people that disappeared all those years ago. It is part ride, with the front and sides of the car seeming to dissolve as you see ghostly images of former hotel residents.

When the car starts to move forward, you are almost there….. Your car is being moved over the elevator shaft. The doors in front of you open and in a split second you see the Park and the Everglades and Jesus and Elvis and then you drop.

The drops (5 of them) seem to be random and while VERY scary are not jerky. It is more like a bungee cord. You drop, bounce back, doors open, see Elvis, drop, scream, bounce, repeat. Remember that single seat in the back? Either pity or envy this person. Remember I said an unobstructed view and what appears to be an old fashioned car seat belt (lap variety) as opposed to your secure compatriots with their large metal lap bars. THAT is scary, the clear view of your doom right before you drop.

I got off that ride and was sooooo high on endorphins that I was buzzing. Disney-fashion, they dump you into a gift shop and photo place where you can see yourself screaming, praying, wetting yourself – whatever. This is also the COOLEST gift shop on property! I wanted most of this. I wanted to re-do my bathroom with Hollywood Towers Hotel towels, bath sheets and washcloths. I did get the nice, high-quality terrycloth bathrobe and Hollywood Towers Do Not Disturb sign for me door. There are highball glasses and shot glasses and the list goes on. Can I order this stuff on line? Does anyone know?

Well after that right, everything else pales – PALES.

We had lunch at Brown Derby, which was very pleasant and then bummed around. We shopped, saw the Muppet 3D show (very entertaining and great for all ages). We went on the Movie Ride (there are some slightly scary bits for very small children, like the Alien spaceship for example) but most kids should do OK on this. We also went on the backlot tour, which was nice. Not as “impressive” as the Universal backlot in Hollywood but if seeing the house exterior where they shot Golden Girls floats your boat, then jump right in! It’s very entertaining. I got to see some of the Osborn lights. I had planned to see these this year but since the park closed so early, there was no way we could eat dinner at resorts and then get back to MGM (which closed at 6) to see the lights. Maybe next time.

After a trip back to the Lodge, a change of clothes and a bus transfer we were off to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Jiko.

A few things about Animal Kingdom Lodge:
One of the reasons (aside from the great food) that I have for eating at the various resorts is that I get to check them out for a possible stay later. Last year I saw Port Orleans (where we stayed), Dixie Landings, Grand Floridian, the Poly, and the Boardwalk. This year I saw Wilderness Lodge (where we stayed), Grand Floridian, Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

While the Grand Floridian is very lovely and I certainly would not turn down a stay if someone gave it to me, the only resort so far that can even tempt me away from Wilderness Lodge is the other Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was a bit surprised. I had expected Yacht Club to tempt me far more. I’m more a yachting kind of gal but AKL is so amazing in so many different ways.

Since we arrived after dark, we were not treated to the full impact of approaching the resort. The walkway, valet parking, etc seemed fairly commonplace. However once we stepped through the front door, common departed.

Now I had heard that AKL was a “closed resort” and that you need to be a registered guest of have PS’s to get in. Well, we had no trouble. Maybe this is if you are driving in and parking there but if you take Disney transportation – no problems at all.

The lobby is reminiscent of Wilderness Lodge except it isn’t as tall and the ceiling is more rounded. There are tribal accents and décor. They have large hanging light fixtures but instead of teepees they are tribal shields. The lobby is similar to WL with a fireplace, comfy chairs to lounge in and a HUGE picture window that overlooks the savannah viewing area. This must be spectacular during the day!

There is a suspension bridge that runs across the lobby at one end a floor up. There are lots of cubby holes and open areas with wide staircases descending into the restaurant areas. Boma is most noticeable first. Not only can you see it easily from above but also it is also the nosiest. That the stairs down towards Boma and when you hit the bottom turn to the right and there is Jiko. . ( - This site is Carlson’s Disney Photo Site and has lots of great pics of Resorts, Parks, etc. The Lobby 2 shot is especially good as are Lobby 10 & 12, which show the suspension bridge and the view of the lobby window.)

After a fabulous dinner at Jiko (came in 3rd overall and I will defiantly be returning).
A few things about Jiko that we did find out:
1) They do not serve Sea Bass anymore because it is now endangered.
2) The bread is served slightly cold but it’s soft, sweet and tasty. There is pepper on it but don’t let that put you off, it’s not spicy.

After dinner we decided to explore the resort a bit. The savannah area outside was just wonderful. So quiet and peaceful. There were wildebeests and zebras. There were exotic birds. Everyone was so quiet and relaxing. We spoke with a guide from South Africa. He said that he was pretty amazed by what Disney did. He said the designs for the resort wings and the lobby were pieces of actual resorts in Africa that he has seen. He said that it really does remind him of home.

So if there was a resort that I would try, this is it. I will be booking “The Lodge” again but will also be giving AKL a try as well.

After the Lodge we boarded a bus to Downtown Disney to seek adventure at the Adventures Club on Pleasure Island. This is one of my favourite places. For anyone that was there either Tuesday (11/27) or Thursday (11/29), we were the “He’s so dreamy” girls.

The Adventurer’s Club is like improv dinner theatre. It’s an interactive environment where you can watch the show, be part of the show or be dragged into the show. It’s great fun. The “leading man” of the club is Hathaway Brown, the daring and dashing aviator. I would go into more detail but this is too long as it is. I will deal with both Adventures Club night when I write about our return visit on Day Six.

Next: Day 5 – Epcot, Chefs de France, Citricos
Great report...I never knew that about sea bass..:o How sad, considering I see it on so many menus...:(
Oh how funny! I was always too scared to go on the Tower of Terror!!! Then finally on our last vacation I decided to go (much like you, if little kids are doing it, it can't be that bad!) so off I went! To say the least it is now one of my favorite rides in the park!!! :D

My DH does not like thrill rides, and particlarly dislikes roller coasters and drops. Last year I had to go on RnRC and ToT alone. In October, I did convince DH to go on ToT, and as luck would have it, he ended up in the middle seat! What an experience! Luck for me he actually liked it!

Now for next trip, I must get him on RnRC!

Thanks for sharing!

to be the slightly over the hill gang.......I haven't done the RnR coaster.......I guess the word chicken applies here......BUT after Tower of terror ......WE bought the picture ........and the Hollywood Tower Of Terror Bath Towels......of course they only come out of the closet when we are entertaining........also have a Tshirt for each year we go into the Hotel.......thanks so much for your great report.......I can hardly wait for April........
I just love your sense of humor. I happen to be one of those little old ladies who love Tower of Terror! I rode 8 times in a row during our DISCON event. Unlike you, however, MGM is my <b>favorite</b> park.

Thanks for sharing this day with us.



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