The NASTEE (Nate And Spencer Trip ExtraordinairE) Trip Report--Day 6 (Part 4): How Many More Chairs Is He Going To Use? Cast: Nate ("Aerobics"): 24, 4th trip to WDW, 1st trip in 12 years, 1st time staying on property Spencer (Anti-aerobic): 29, 8th trip to WDW, hasn't stayed on property since 1992 Dates: September 16-23, 2000 Lodging: Wilderness Lodge--September 16-21, 2000 All Star Music--September 22, 2000 Realizing that this would be the last time that we would be in our room until probably after midnight, we had to pack up our things ( ) so that we wouldn't be in a mad panic the next morning. After Spencer saw how I packed my clothes for our first vacation 3 years ago, he forbade me from ever packing again. (I'm not that bad--I'm just not as, um, structured (that's a polite way of saying anal-retentive, BTW) as Spencer.) So, since I was able to get out of packing, I hit the shower while Spencer packed the bags. When I got out of the shower, I realized (well, Spencer realized it, actually) that we had a slight conundrum on our hands. We had bought WAY too much stuff, and there was absolutely no way that we were going to be able to fit it all into our luggage, so we decided that we would ship home some of the bulkier and/or oblong items the next morning. Once we figured out how to leap over this slight hurdle, Spencer hit the shower while I got dressed and perused my PassPorter for any noteworthy items. We still had a lot to accomplish that night, and I just hoped that we'd have the energy to make it through the night. I laid down on the bed for a minute to just rest my eyes ("check my eyelids for light leaks", as I like to say), and before I knew it, Spencer was shaking me, encouraging me to wake up or else we'd miss Tapestry of Nations. Oh, I so wish that nap could've lasted longer, but, in retrospect, I suppose it was just long enough, huh? Just before we left, we decided to check out The Weather Channel to see if our 3rd attempt at viewing ToN would somehow befall to bad weather. Fortunately, the forecast was fair and warm (they forgot to mention that "muggy" thing, but I guess in September in Florida, muggy is assumed, eh?). It was a little after 5:00 p.m. when we left, and it was now starting to dawn on me that our time at the Wilderness Lodge was quickly coming to a close. I tried not to think about it as we headed out to the bus transportation area, but now that it was almost time to leave, I desperately tried to "drink in" all of the splendor and beauty of the WL. (All I can say is thank Goddess for cameras! And, speaking of cameras, I've got most of my pics scanned and am in the process of setting up a webpage. I'll keep y'all posted on when the site is operational.) An Epcot bus soon arrived and within 10 minutes, we were back inside Epcot's gate and on our way to the World Showcase. We had originally made PS ressies for San Angel Inn (Mexico pavilion) at 5:30 p.m., but I knew that there was no way that we could comfortable and leisurely enjoy a sit-down dinner knowing that we would need to be finished within an hour in order to see Tapestry of Nations. (Actually, I had figured this out while we were getting ready to leave the WL earlier, so I had called up WDW-DINE to cancel.) As I think I might've said before in an earlier installment of the NASTEE, I was a bit disappointed that we had to cancel quite a few of our PS ressies, but at least it gives me something to which I can look forward on my next trip, right? We decided that we would eat something counter-service-y after viewing, ToN, so we tried to place ourselves at a spot near the "bottom" of the World Showcase where we could just jet out right after ToN. We ended up settling between Mexico and Norway. Ideally, I would've preferred to change two things about our viewing: our location and the time at which we saw the parade. Our location was decent, but rather congested. Also, I really wished that we could've seen it at one of those "entry-exit" points where you really get to see 2 parades. (And I can only imagine how amazing this parade is once the sky has darkened.) However, putting all of that aside, I cannot sing enough the praises of this parade. If there's one thing that Disney does exceptionally better than any other entity, it's their ability to use music to touch elements of your psyche that just aren't reached by other means. The music for ToN is absolutely spine-tingling: it's primal, powerful, melodic, mysterious,...I could go on and on (kinda like the song does on the Millennium Celebration CD ). I've spoken to 2 co-workers now who've seen this parade, and all they could say was, "It was the same song over and over again," and all I could think was how awful it must be not to be able to hear the multi-layered musical overtones of all of the different nations. This track is a true conglomeration, a "world sound", if you will. I truly feel badly for those who don't "feel" this parade because it's quite honestly one of the most moving experiences I've ever had. (Sorry, am I rambling too much? I'll stop now... ) As one of the beautiful, towering puppets bowed down to "touch" a little girl to my right, I noticed a few tears coming out of her mother's eyes, and I was just filled w/such magic (yes, I'm aware it was vicarious, but it was magic nonetheless). It is memories like these on which I will reflect when I'm sad, depressed, or lonely, because, as those of you who've experienced it can attest, nothing brings you out of a "funk" better than a nice, little dose of pixie dust. As the final puppets passed and we headed out towards Future World, the Hey-las filled every fiber of my being and I sang along as I realized that it really doesn't get any better than this, does it? We decided that, in the interest of time, we'd just grab a quick bite from Pasta Piazza in Future World. (Just a note here: We walked by this restaurant twice before during the week and were absolutely bowled over by the powerful aromas which seemed to emanate from this place. So, it seems their tactics eventually worked, because we were magnetically drawn to this restaurant after all.) My first instinct was to go w/the Mickey-shaped pepperoni pizza--however, once I realized that Spencer was already getting a Mickey pizza, I opted for the sausage pasta. In retrospect, I should've gone for the Mickey pizza (shoulda, coulda, woulda..you've heard it all before... ). It's not that my meal was terrible or anything like that; it's just that I really need to listen to my gut instinct more often. Overall, we though our dinner was pretty good, and we practically had the entire restaurant to ourselves, which was a nice break from some of the noisier places at which we'd eaten earlier in the week. After dinner, it was time to head down to Downtown Disney to see Cirque du Soleil, but first make a pit stop at World of Disney. After studying the transportation schedule, we realized that our choices for getting to Downtown Disney were: a) take the monorail to the TTC and transfer to the Downtown Disney bus, or b) walk back through World Showcase, exit Epcot via the International Gateway, ride the boat to the Boardwalk, and then catch a Downtown Disney bus. Option a) certainly sounded like the way to go, so we exited out of Future World and hopped on the monorail. As was to be expected at this hour, there was a huge line waiting for the Downtown Disney bus. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze on (actually, I think we were the last 2 people allowed on the bus). Having been forced to stand every day for 1.5 years as I rode the bus to the Pentagon, this was not an unfamiliar experience; however, it was funny to see how many people routinely ignored the bus driver's request to "move all the way to the back of the bus"--as if getting off the bus 17.6 seconds earlier could make that much of a difference! Oh, well--I guess even at WDW, you just can't escape the "Me-First"s, huh? Once we had arrived at Downtown Disney, we hightailed it to World of Disney. As Spencer went off in search of the T-shirt that he didn't buy the night before, but then decided that he actually wanted it (sure, like that's never happened to you before! ), I idly browsed the different rooms, seeing if there were any items which I had somehow missed the night before (yet, I sincerely doubted that, ha ha! ). As I turned this one corner, my heart jumped clear into my throat, because, coming straight at me at a speed much higher than the posted speed limit on most Interstate highways was a wild man w/a stroller (complete with squealing child). We nearly collided as I literally dove out of the way and into a small aisle which was (fortunately) unoccupied. After I regained my composure, I turned around to see if the man had stopped (he had, after all, just about rammed his young one head-on into a 200 lb. adult--you'd think he realized it, no?). Well, he was already off and running somewhere else through the store, probably causing other harmless passersby to dive into their own respective (hopefully) unoccupied aisles. I didn't really know how to react--should I have been angry, surprised, casually amused? I could've probably sued him for at least $6 (i.e., the cost of 2 Mickey bars), but I decided to shake it off and headed off to locate Spencer, who was just about finished making his purchase. Once we exited the World of Disney, we walked over to the West Side (via the sidewalk outside of Pleasure Island), and headed all the way over to the huge, breathtakingly beautiful Cirque du Soleil tent. Throngs of ticketholders had coagulated on the stairs, and the last thing I wanted to do was join them, so we took a brief respite in the Cirque store. We didn't spent too much time in the store, though, because it, also, was rather crowded. I did have to take a pee break, though, and I was so very glad that I did because I found my first (and only) official Hidden Mickey for the entire trip. Yahoo!!! (it was about freakin' time, too! ) I'm so proud of this one that I'm actually going to tell you point blank where it is--The Hidden Mickey is located on the floor directly next to the door of the men's bathroom which can be accessed outside of the Cirque tent. Can someone who's going soon please verify this so that I know I'm not hallucinating? (I suppose I could also check http://www.hiddenmickeys.org , but I'm kinda lazy like that. ) Eventually, we were allowed to enter and we quickly made our way to our seats (Section 203 Row FF Seats 5 and 6). I don't think that we could've asked for better seats (but I knew when I ordered them 6 months before that they were awesome seats thanks to the bombin' seating chart in the PassPorter ). As we eagerly awaited the beginning of this show with mounting anticipation, I noticed that quite a few people had in their possession a plastic La Nouba mug. Well, if you've read all of the preceding NASTEE installments, you can easily guess what happened next. That's right--I ordered Spencer to "get me that mug!" (I'm just kidding--it wasn't like that at all. It was more like, "Go get me that mug or I'll make you ride the Tea Cups 5 times in a row!" (J/K again! )) So, Spencer left to go off in search of a mug while I just sat there and waited for this most fabulous of shows to commence. Right before Spencer returned (with not only a plastic La Nouba mug, but also a big La Nouba tub o' popcorn--bonus!), two members of the La Nouba cast came out and started interacting w/the people who were still trying to find their seats. They were absolutely hilarious! (I know, telling about them isn't that funny, but you'll just have to take my word on this one.) There are only 3 words that I can say about this show: OH MY GODDESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I took in a deep breath during the entire performance. Every single act in this show had us absolutely mesmerized (well, everybody except the farty-headed codger seated to my right who had obviously been dragged to the show against his own volition, but I wasn't about to let him ruin my night! <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> ). If you've been contemplating seeing this show, contemplate no more. Go, GO, GO! You will thank yourself over and over again. I don't want to give away any of the acts so that when you go see the show, you can experience it the same way we did it--with "fresh" eyes. I will, however, give a slight teaser. There was this one act during which I could only continuously ask myself "How many more chairs is he going to use?" (and that's all I'm gonna say) I couldn't believe the finale had come as quickly as it did, but the show is like, 90 minutes long. So I think it goes without saying that, if you allow yourself to do so, you can be completely transported to the most magical of worlds--the world where you marvel at the seemingly supernatural ability of the human body, and contact something primal (and, at times, almost even erotic). Whew! What a rush! We boisterously hooted and hollered at the end while giving the most gracious cast an enormous standing O (thatÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂovationÃ¢ÂÂ, for those of you not in the know). Would I see this show again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat. I truly think it was one of the most powerful experiences of my entire life. (It's a shame that I had to experience Tapestry of Nations and Cirque du Soleil back-to-back--I was emotionally exhausted by the end of the night! ) Seeing as how it was only 10:30 p.m., and we still had some energy, we headed over to DisneyQuest, where we had our own personal elevator to the 3rd floor w/the Genie (from Aladdin). Once we got our bearings (actually, in a place like DisneyQuest, I'm not sure that that's truly possible), we made a beeline for the Replay Zone, where we had our pick of such classics as Ms. Pac-Man, Q-Bert, Frogger (my personal favorite), Discs of TRON (Spencer's favorite), and many other "old school" games which brought back many memories of days spent in front of the Atari 2600 (does anybody still own that thing? ). Ooh, we were in arcade heaven, but after about 45 minutes, we decided to split up and reconvene around 11:45 p.m. I headed upstairs to play Skeeball (I have this obsession w/Skeeball--I can't not play it whenever I'm near an "alley"). Unfortunately, Skeeball at DisneyQuest does cost extra dough, but I didn't really care. The guy who sells point card thingies tried to dissuade me from buying a card, seeing as how they were closing soon, but I told him I'd be real quick about it. So, I purchased a $5 point card (10 rounds of Skeeball) and bolted upstairs to quickly earn about 463 tickets (give or take a few). When I came back downstairs w/my "tickets" receipt (there's this machine that "eats" your tickets and then issues you a receipt which you can then redeem for cheesy prizes like Pez, erasers, etc. (and, unfortunately, they had no mechanical pencils. What is wrong w/Disney? Don't they realize how big a market there is for mechanical pencils? )), I saw a young boy in tears because he was about 300 tickets short of some amount (I think it was like 40,000 or something insane like that) that he needed in order to "buy" some gadget thingy. So, I offered to him my tickets--the look on his face was definitely worth more than both the $5 I spent on the Skeeball to win the tickets or the 59 erasers I could've bought with said tickets. If you haven't been paying attention, you'll see that I'm a big fan of karma, and quite honestly, I was just "paying forward" some of the good karma that had come my way. I then went on a search for Spencer and ended up finding him (well, not exactly). I was in the middle of the 3rd floor and caught a glimpse of him on the 4th floor, so I yelled and screamed and did big cheerleader-like jumps to get his attention (and, as it turned out, the attention of about 90 other people, too ). He had just "Ridden The Comix" and was gushing about how cool it had been. (Looking back at our short visit to DisneyQuest, I really wish we could've had more time to play around in here because all of the different activities sound like so much fun!) Our last attraction of the night was Cyber Space Mountain. We were slightly leery of this ride because, a few years ago while we were on vacation in Ft. Lauderdale, we tried one of those virtual coaster things and both of us absolutely hated it. But, we figured we'd give this one a try. We had no wait, and instantly we had been placed at our own touch screen designing our dream coaster. We ended up naming it something like "Nate and Spencer's Super-Duper O-Matic" (I'm sure about the "O-Matic" part; I'm not too sure, though, about the "Super-Duper". You're supposed to choose a "1st part" and "2nd part" from a list of about 20 little terms). When we ran the "scariness" test, we were awarded 4 loops out of 5 (was it loops? or hills? or screams? Oh, whatever...). We were quite pleased w/our creation which included such great elements as the Double Loop, Mobius Strip, Space Needle, and the good ol' Corkscrew. When we were finally situated in our little pod thing, I started to get a little nervous, remembering the way I felt the last time we did something like this. However, this was a most enjoyable experience, and we both screamed, hollered, and yelled ourselves hoarse just as if we were on a real roller coaster. So, two enthusiastic thumbs up from us on Cyber Space Mountain. Once we had regathered all of our belongings, we headed out of DisneyQuest and back to the bus transportation area, where we had our longest wait for a bus for the entire week--15 minutes, which still isn't really that bad. We made it back to the WL around 12:45 a.m. and quickly crashed. I made sure to set up one final Mickey wake-up call for 6:30 a.m. since we had 8:30 a.m. PS ressies for 1900 Park Fare (at the Grand Floridian). Also, of course, in the morning, it would be time to check out of the WL ( )--fortunately, we were assured that Bell Services would be able to deliver our luggage to All Star Music so that, when we arrived there that night after our dinner at O'hana, we'd be able to pick up quickly our luggage and head to our room. As we drifted off to sleep, I tried not to remind myself that this was our last night at the WL, because I didn't want to start getting depressed until after we left WDW. Eventually, I did fall asleep, but not before I peeked out the window at the beautifully illuminated Cinderella Castle just one last time... Please stay tuned for the NASTEE Trip Report--Day 7 (Part 1): Umm, We Don't Do Shipping... Somebody call I-X-I-I!!!