Background: Our first trip to Disney World The Cast: Me, the Mom and compulsive trip planner whose plans often went awry. Tom, my husband, who is not a compulsive trip planner. Thomas, my eight-year-old son. Patricia, my five-year-old daughter. Wednesday, November 22nd Thomas answered the phone when Mickey called at 6:15am to wake us up. After the kids were dressed in warm clothes (the temperature was in the thirties), Tom took them over to the Food Court with our refillable mugs. They returned with a healthy breakfast of sprinkled donuts and hot chocolate. Oh well, it is vacation. My "plan" was for us to arrive at Animal Kingdom in time for the "park awakening" at 7:45am, which I had read about on this site. (I was determined not to miss anything on this trip). Somehow, we didn't make it to the bus stop until 7:50, so we missed the park opening, but arrived well ahead of the crowds. There were several characters at the park entrance, so we stopped for a few autographs and pictures. My plan was to head straight for Kilimajaro Safari. Tom became distracted by a lovely pathway, and wanted to go for a leisurely stroll, but I convinced him we had to head straight for the Safari before the crowds arrived. We walked right on the Safari, and sat on the first row of our jeep. I think we saw nearly all of the animals-black rhinos, giraffes, zebras, a lioness and many more. Our driver was entertaining and really became involved in his role as the Safari guide. As we stepped out of our jeep, we noticed there was now a long standby line. I headed for the fastpass machine (our first time to use fastpass) and our return time was 9:50-10:50. A CM was standing at the entrance to the gorilla trail and advising everyone that the mother gorillas were out with the babies, and so we should walk down the trail. Tom was able to take his leisurely stroll! Tom and I enjoyed the trail, but the kids were cold and anxious to see more attratctions. My son was dying to ride the Dinosaur ride, so off we headed to Dinoland. There was no wait to ride Dinasour. In fact, the CMs were encouraging us to move faster through the turnstiles. I never dreamed my five-year-old daughter would want to ride this ride, and I tried to warn her as we hurried through the turnstiles that it would be very scary. (My plan had been that we would do baby swap on this ride). However, Patricia insisted she wanted to ride, and there was really no time to talk her out of it, as the CMs kept encouraging us to move faster. I should have worried more about myself than my five-year-old on this ride! I was scared silly. It would have been a fun type of fright, but I was so worried about Patricia being frightened, I didn't really enjoy the ride. She was sitting next to me, but it was so dark I couldn't see her reactions and I was scared she would be frightened half-to-death. However, when the ride was over, and we emerged from the darkness, she was grinning from ear-to-ear and begging to ride again! When we viewed the picture they take during the ride, I realized she was a little more frightened than she let on. By now, it was time to use our fastpass for the Safari. Before we left Dinosaur, I obtained four fastpasses for Dinasour (return time 10:35am to 11:35am). Sadly, they were not to be used as will be explained below. When we returned to Safari, the standby line was really long, and Hambre Village was mobbed. With our fastpasses in hand, we walked right past the long stand-by line. We saw even more animals on the second Safari than the first. Our driver was a knowledgable young woman from South Africa and her accent was charming. I really felt as if I was on Safari in Africa. By now, it was 10:45 and we were starting to get hungry. We stopped at Tusker House, thinking we could grab a quick bite to eat and make it back to Dinasour in time to use our fastpass which expired at 11:35. No such luck. I lined up at the first register at 10:50 (the restaurant opened at 11:00) so that I could be one of the first persons to order. There was only one other person ahead of me in this particular line. While we were standing in this line, lines at other registers began to form. At 11:00, a cast member came by and annouced the register I was lined up at would not be opened for lunch traffic. I jumped in another line, thinking there was still time to order, eat and make our 11:35 return time. No such luck! I finally ordered, but my order was "lost" for several minutes. I stood by helplessly as several people who ordered after me were served. As I waited, a frazzled, but helpful cast member searched frantically for my order, which was finally "found." We didn't sit down to eat until 11:30, much too late to use our Dinasour fastpass. Much to my surprise, I just said "Oh well," and proceeded to enjoy lunch. (Maybe it was the bad experience in line, but we all felt the food was pretty so-so, although my daughter did enjoy her peanut butter sandwhich on the rainbow-colored bread. As we were eating lunch, I heard my son casually say "Hi Steven." I looked up and there stood a boy on Thomas' soccer team (Tom's the coach). We had no idea Steven's family was going to Disney World too. We had a nice visit with them. After lunch, the kids still wanted to ride Dinosaur, so we headed back to Dinoland. The time posted for the standby line was 60 minutes, but we were really only in line for about 30 minutes. Again, I was terrified by the ride, and our family picture was so funny this time,we were happy to fork over the $10.95 to buy a copy. We caught the 12:15 performance of Lion King and the theatre was packed. The show was outstanding!The audience participation was too much fun. It was now almost 1:00pm and I had planned for us to leave Animal Kingdom about this time so that we could rest before our evening at the Magic Kingdom. However, we decided we just couldn't leave Animal Kingdom without seeing Its a Bug's Life. The line for the show wrapped all the way around the Tree of Life, but this is one attraction where the line is not long enough! The carvings on the tree were beautiful and we had fun while standing in line searching for animals on the tree. (The cool weather made the wait more enjoyable also). We loved the show and came out smiling, as did everyone else. We reluctantly decided it was time to leave Animal Kingdom, although we had missed Tarzan Rocks (not enough time) and Kali River Rapids (too chilly). Oh well, next trip . . . After a rest at our resort, we headed out to Magic Kingdom. We arrived about 6:30 (later than planned) and the parade route through Main Street was already packed with people waiting for the 7:30 Main Street Electrical Parade. People were sitting on every inch of curb space along Main Street. I began to despair we'd never find a place to view the parade. However, when we crossed the bridge into Liberty Square, there was hardly anyone waiting for the parade. We plopped down behind the rope in front of Sleepy Hollow and staked out our position. I ran to Pecos Bill's to pick up dinner. (I didn't think about how I was going to carry four drinks and four hotdogs back to our parade spot, but luckily a CM told me I could borrow one of their trays to carry the drinks and food). By the time I returned, the area around Sleepy Hollow was packed. We enjoyed our delicious hot dogs while waiting for the parade to start. For desert, Tom bought some carmel corn at Sleepy Hollow, which turned out to be our favorite Magic Kingdom snack. The parade was worth the wait, it was incredible. For us the highlight of the parade came when Cinderella's float happened to stop in front of us. Patricia was wearing a Cinderella sweatshirt, and Cinderella (who was wearing a microphone) looked down at Patricia, smiled, put her hands to her heart and said, "Oh thank you for wearing that shirt." Patricia was in heaven! It truly was a "magical moment" for us. After the parade, I found a wonderful spot for viewing Tinkerbell's flight and the fireworks. Of course, watching the fireworks was part of my carefully made plans. Patricia and Tom annouced they were tired and wanted to go back to the resort! Thomas begged me to skip the fireworks and go ride Buzz Lightyear with him. I couldn't believe it! Miss the fireworks and Tinkerbell's flight! Things were not going as planned. Once again, I took a deep breathe, and told Tom and Patricia to feel free to go back to the resort, Thomas and I would come later. As it worked out, Thomas and I had a wonderful time together. We walked right on Buzz, even though the sign said the standby line was 30 minutes long. Thomas controlled the "spin lever" on our car and he scored 2100 points and I scored 13,000 points. When we got off, we immediately walked back on, and this time Thomas insisted that I control the "spin lever." I scored 9,000 points and he scored 207,000! Thomas annouced it would be my job from now on to control the "spin lever." As we got off Buzz the second time, I spotted the Tommorowland Transit Authority and decided we just had to ride it then and there. (I know it probably wasn't a wise choice to ride it during a time when there was no wait on the major attractions, but I just had to do it ). It was a beautiful, crisp autumn night and the crowds were thinning out. We had a beautiful view of the park from the TTA and riding this peaceful ride at the end of a wonderful day with my sweet son was one of those special moments you know you'll always remember. Thomas thought it was "way cool" riding through Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain. I told him that we'd be hearing a page for Mr. Tom Morrow and we both laughed when the page came. When the ride ended, we hopped a bus for our resort and found Tom and Patricia sound asleep. Tomorrow was Thanksgiving, and we were headed to Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center. For now, I just wanted to crawl into bed!