2001: Disney

Installment 7

Mickey phoned just as I closed my eyes, or so it seems. We were a bit slow getting out and it took us ages to find the parking lot at the Grand Floridian but we made it to our 8am ps just in time.
Mary Poppins and Goofy greeted us, and Alice, the Mad Hatter and Geppetto worked the room. We also saw Pluto (He swapped with Goofy).
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The food was good and after causing some confusion we used 2 of our flex options and paid for one child, so $10 was an excellent deal! (NB: If you don’t want to use all of your flex options for a meal, you have to be very explicit about this, my dh assumed that because he only gave the waitress one of the cards that we would only be using one option, but she actually took all 3 off – we didn’t want to ‘waste’ one on a child’s meal, so we managed to get it recredited so that we could pay for Katie and use the other flex later in the week.)

We had a look around the Grand Floridian and then headed for Epcot. We parked close by, and I am now losing interest in buses – it seems just as easy to drive.

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As soon as we entered Epcot, the Spaceship Earth was empty, so we walked on after quizzing the CM about scary bits. Katie had her light-up Pooh Bear to keep her safe and was quite happy. We headed through to the World Showcase, but got distracted by a character bus, where we saw Minnie, Mickey, Teka, Chip & Dale.

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So, eventually, we headed into the World Showcase, about 11:20am. I stopped to buy Katie a passport, and my notes get very sketchy after this…

Mexico – just wandered through and got the passport stamped.

Norway – we did Maelstrom which has a bit scary, but Katie was very brave. Initially we were going to Babyswap, but she changed her mind so mum & Katie did it alone. I was quite nervous myself. We also got our passport stamped by a lovely Norwegian guy on his first day who explained all about friendly trolls, and rubbing their noses 3 times for luck, so by the time we left Norway Katie was converted from a troll hater to a troll lover.
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China. We saw the Movie which was ok, but my feet hurt. I don’t like standing up for things like this, and eventually gave up and sat on the floor. We did have quite a long wait for the movie, so we sat in the cool air-conditioning on some benches and Katie put some of the stickers in her passport. As we left China we started to get hungry.

Germany – we just really looked for food here, and didn’t feel that it would be suitable for Katie, so we had her passport stamped and moved on.

Italy. The food here looked expensive, so again passport and moved on.

USA – we ate in the Liberty Inn. I was a bit disappointed to eat in the American area, but it was a good price and the food was ok for Katie. While we were eating a fife and drum band marched through the restaurant which was cool.
After the meal we found that the Kidcot stations had opened, so Katie got a mask to color, and things to attach to it – beads in the USA.

Japan – the food here looked good, but it was too late, we had already eaten. I had a browse around the department store, but everything was quite pricey. Katie got an origami butterfly for her mask and had her passport stamped.

Morocco – We caught the end of a superb show, people doing acrobatics in the street. We had a wander around the bazaar area, and found the kidcot station where we did more coloring and more beads. We found a set of bongo drums exactly like the one’s my sister in law bought for us in Morocco – wonder if she really got them at Epcot?

France – we browsed the shops again, the boulangire looked very good, but unfortunately we had just eaten L, Katie did her mask, here they had paints to use.

UK. This doesn’t look like the UK at all. We chatted with a few CM’s and Katie put some butterflies on her mask. I had a browse around the shops.

Canada – we had a beavertail on everyone’s recommendation. Which was very nice, but not as amazing as I had expected – I think given the high reviews it get’s I was just expecting something really really amazing. Katie got a Maple Leaf for her mask.

That;s the world showcase, and it doesn’t look like we did much writing it down, but it was 5pm when we finished. It is really far, and takes a long time just to walk around. We really didn’t go into many of the shows and things. We think about leaving now, as we are tired but we manage to revive ourselves with some Mickey Bars and decide to look in The Land.

We check out the Circle of Life movie, which was ok – I would have liked a bit more of Pumba and Timba (Is that his name?), and a bit less of the ‘message’ but I guess that was it’s purpose.
We then got a fast pass for ‘The Land’ ride – which I have always wanted to go on. When I came to Epcot as a kid we always seemed to skip this pavilion because it looked ‘boring’, so I was keen to do this. Plus, I had heard as a kid that they grew square tomatoes.
While we were waiting for our fp time, we went in Food Rocks, which is good fun, and then had a coffee in the food court, and then we were whisked to the front of the line for our trip. I love that – you feel like royalty as you go to the front. I really enjoyed The Land, but no square tomatoes ! I don’t know where I had heard that one.
All of the Land was fine for Katie, so that was a nice relief!

And that’s the end of notebook one – I guess I have gone on a bit, because I am now having to ‘borrow’ Katie’s notebook to continue my report.

By this time is was 6:30, and we had a PS at Spoodles for 7:30, so we headed to the car and straight to the boardwalk.

Spoodles was great – I really enjoyed this meal. We had 3 starters and a kids pasta and desserts all round and it was $50, which I thought was very reasonable. I foolishly didn’t write down what we ate, but I remember the flat bread pizza’s were amazing.
Katie had a fantastic pudding, which was a do it yourself sundae. A bowl of ice-cream, and toppings arranged in an artist’s palatte, for you to add whatever you wanted, I wouldn’t like to say that she ate much ice-cream, but she had a superb time playing with it!

After dinner we walked on the boardwalk, and I looked at some more pins. We are resisting the temptation to buy anymore, having traded our 3 free pins for ‘Sorcerer Mickey’ ‘Cinderalla’s castle’ and ‘Minnie and Mickey in a car’. There are so many lovely pins that I could very easily get addicted if I start paying for them!

While we are on the boardwalk, we can see the fireworks from Epcot, which is a lovely finish to the evening. We head home about 10pm, after a long day, to find our beanies watching the tv. Shamu is in charge of the remote control.

Tuesday, 15th May. 6.26pm
Yesterday, we had a lie-in and decided to go to MGM when we woke up (it had been a water park day, but since we didn’t go to AK on Saturday we need to rejig the plan a little. I didn’t think AK was a good idea for a late start, so MGM it is)

I phoned and juggled some PS’s around, and we got to MGM for about 10am – this is not ideal but I think we needed the sleep.
We drove to MGM, and parked quite close – the tram was coming so we hopped on – this was our first tram experience, and when the guy say’s ‘Hold on tight’ he means it – just as we flew around a bend, Phil’s backpack went flying off the tram and flew quite a distance. If this had been a small child, I shudder to think what would have happened. They stopped the tram to retrieve the bag, but it made me a bit nervous of trams after that.

We started with Muppets 3-D, and while I was worried about Katie, she was just fine. After that, we ran over to Bear in the Big Blue house for Katie favorite tv show – Bear. This was great, although no character greeting afterwards, which was a shame, it would have just made a great show – perfect. Katie managed this show without tears at the end, this was super after the Barney incident last week.

We were starting to get a bit peckish as no breakfast this morning, so we went to the 50’s Prime Time Café for lunch with ‘Mom’. This was ok, the food was really good, but the scenario was a little hokey. Maybe you have to be American to really get in to it?
After dinner, we headed to the ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’ playground, and on the way we noticed Star Tours, so Phil nipped in there, while Katie & I went to the Playground. Katie liked this a lot. I really enjoyed the music, which is by Ray Lynch and was an favorite tape when I was at university (so, it really it is quite old…)
It was very very hot in this playground, it just felt like we were baking in an oven, and I didn’t notice any water areas, even though I had read you could get wet in here, so I don’t know if they switched it off due to the drought. When Phil arrived, we headed out and ran into the Green Army Men (from Toy Story). We really like Toy Story, so we were thrilled to get a photo and autograph (it says ‘GREEN ARMY MAN’)
As we headed around to the Arial, Mermaid show, I decided to do the Great Movie Ride. This was a very deceptive queue – it looks like a walk on, when actually there was a massive line hidden inside the building. Once inside the building I must have queued for 30 minutes or more, which considering we hadn’t queued at all, all week, was a bit of a shock to the system. I did enjoy the ride, but I don’t think it was worth the lengthy wait. While I was riding, Phil got us some fast passes for Ariel’s little mermaid show. So we walked straight in there.

This was excellent, the puppets were great, although it does get a little scary at times, but Katie is getting very brave now and coped just fine. As we were leaving here, we picked up FP for Millionaire, and we went on the Backstage Pass tour. I quite fancied doing the other one as well, but I wasn’t sure if Katie would like the ‘Catastrophe Canyon’ so we stuck with BP.

Backstage Pass is quite good, we toured some sets and saw some animatronic dalmations used in 101 dalmations, saw the set of Home Improvement and 1 guy was chosen to act in a scene and he was merged with a scene from the show. It was quite effective, and the bloke that was chosen was very good.
After these we went backstage of Who want’s to be a Millionaire – we got to watch for a while, and hoped that they would ring for ‘Call a complete stranger’ but no call came through. The final sets are from 101 dalmations again. The thing that strikes me every time I see movie sets is just how small they are, and also they are all jumbled up together, but the camera is so close in that you don’t realise.

After the tour, it was time for WWTBAM. We were absolutely rubbish, but the lad sitting right behind us went straight into the hot seat with a question about the NFL. We just heard this little voice saw ‘That’s me’. He was only young, about 12 maybe, and he was very nervous. He did make it to 1000 by asking the audience and phoning a complete stranger. He won some pins and a baseball hat.
The next guy got to 32,000 when the buzzer went, so we don’t know how well he did in the end.

After WWTBAM we headed out of the park, but we got a bit lost and stumbled upon Princess’s Jasmine, Esmeralda and Pocohanta’s, and also a Japanese Warrior dude who we didn’t recognise (of course we still got an autograph). They were all just standing very quietly in a corner with no queues etc, and if we hadn’t gotten lost we wouldn’t have found them. After our pictures, we eventually found the exit and came back to Caribbean Beach Resort. All the beanies were gathered on the bed, ordering a pizza – again Shamu appeared to be in charge.
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We had a lovely swim and missed our dinner at the Wilderness Lodge. So, we had dinner at the food court instead, which was mediocre (I can’t remember any details – that’s all I’ve written in my notebook ‘mediocre’ I don’t actually think it was that bad. – I do remember Katie was really tired and in her buggy, and I ended up getting my food in a take-away bag so that I could carry it to a table, as there was no way I could manage a tray and pushing a stroller )

Tuesday –
We set the alarm early for Animal Kingdom and arrived about 8:10am. It was lovely and cool and very very quiet. We should have done the safari, but we wanted to see Donald so we headed into Restaurantasaurus. We had no PS, but we were seated very quickly, after having our photo taken. (We had loads of photo’s taken here – one before we entered the park, more once we were inside the park, and this one before we could be seated at the restaurant)
We saw Donald Duck (the only place we saw him all week), Mickey, Goofy & Pluto.
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After a super breakfast, we headed into the park. It was noticeably busier and hotter, so if riding is your thing then I would skip the breakfast. (But it’s not our thing, so we were quite happy).
We got a FP for the safari, and then walked the Paganini Forest Trail. This was very good, and we saw some gorilla’s in the distance, and some hippo’s underwater. The enclosures are excellent and it doesn’t feel like a zoo at all, which is a real plus.
After this our FP time had arrived, so we boarded the bus (again walking past a massive queue) and we saw Elephants, Giraffe, Rhino, Lions and Emu (or was it Ostrich) also Crocodiles. This safari is excellent, there is no apparent boundary between us and the animals although I am sure they are there. Only once did I notice a barrier in the lake so that the animals could only use ½ the lake. I didn’t think the poacher story was particularly necessary, but Katie was so busy looking at the animals I don’t think she even heard it, and certainly wasn’t worried about it (as I had been concerned about).
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After the safari, we saw Pocahonta’s and her animal friends. Katie was particularly impressed with Grandmother Willow(the talking tree) and they sang one of her favorite songs (Once around the river bend). She has never actually seen Pocahonta’s – but there is a small trailer for it on one of her other videos, so she thinks she has seen it.
We went from this, straight into the Lion King show. This is excellent, fantastic, superb – wow. I don’t think I can do it justice. All the hit’s from the Lion King, gymnasts, fire-eaters, stilt walkers , All hosted by Timon.
We really enjoyed this, and Katie got up to dance in the aisles. (We were giraffe’s, so no ROARING for us, I’m afraid)
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After this we had seen everything we wanted to see, so we headed out – via the Photo Spot where we bought 3 photo’s! A bit extravangant – but they were such lovely photo’s and we don’t get many of the 3 of us together.
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By this time, Katie was asleep, so we decided to head to the car.

We decided to go to Downtown Disney for lunch as it was 1.30pm, and we ate at Wolfgang Puck Express. I had a lovely pizza, and Phil had tortellini, Katie slept through lunch and had an apple when she woke up. We had a nice wander around the shops and bought some Mickey Ears soap for the Granny’s, and I bought a lovely t-shirt with the Castle on it, and another scrapbook…

By now it was 4 o’clock (and we hardly saw any of Downtown Disney – where does the day go), as we were getting very very hot we decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon to cool off. We had about 1 ½ hours in here, and we did a circle of the lazy river, and had a swim in the lagoon. It was very refreshing and a lovely way to cool down. I liked the fact that with UMP we could do this without feeling we had wasted anything.

We are just getting ready to go to the Whispering Lodge for dinner. Our beanies were playing noughts & crosses when we came home tonight.
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Tuesday – late.
Wilderness Lodge/Whispering Canyon.
The hotel is very impressive but the restaurant is not. The food was ok but not superb and the ‘fun’ was a bit disappointing. All in all we did not feel it was worth $66.

Wednesday, 16th May. 9pm (This section is written by Phil as Bev is flaked out).

Breakfast: Mini Muffins and coffee in the room. After an early morning call we actually left the room at 9.15 and got there for 10am (Magic Kingdom)
Went by car and crossed the lake by boat (which is a bit slow)
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Katie got a mickey bar on Main Street and ate it as we went to Tomorrowland. Got FP for Buzz straight away and went on the TTA while we waited. Very good and was representative of the way they thought things would be. We then went onto the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Not very long queues and Katie really enjoyed it.
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(Bev aside: Tweedledum and Tweedledee were on the tea Party too)
We saw a moving trash can that followed people around in the crowd – bizarre.
Buzz Lightyear was good and Katie came too! My score was respectable, first officer but was was just a rookie score (I think it was 1200!)
Went through Adventureland and saw treehouse of Swiss Family Robinson. (pretty good)
Got fass pass tickets for the jungle cruise and went to Enchanted Tiki Room while we waited, and saw Captain Hook and Mr Smee. Jungle Cruise was ok (the boat’s captain was v. fat! )
Went to frontierland and got fp tickets for the Splash Mountain. We went to Huck Finns playground and had lunch (choice of menu was poor at the restaurant) (Bev aside: I think there was only turkey sandwiches, and PB&J for kids)
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Did Katie swap of splash mountain as I did it Bev saw the gay couple who have twins. (Good playarea for Katie while waiting for babyswap).
FP tickets were excellent and worth their weight in gold. While parade was on (3pm) we went to Fantasyland and went on ‘It’s a small world’. Then got a FP ticket for Peter Pan. While we waited we went in Lion King – good show. Katie was very good in the dark bits.
Peter Pan. Katie came in too and was very good and liked the ride. She liked it when Captain Hook was balancing on the croc’s nose.
We came out and Katie wanted to go on the carousel. There was no queue, so on we went, and Katie went on a horse of her own (with a safety strap and daddy standing next to her). She enjoyed it.
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Left the park after 4pm and got the monorail to the car – surprised that it had individual compartments for passengers.
Katie slept as we got petrol and went to Walmart. Digital Camera needed for Chris (my brother). So Bev phoned home to discuss prices.
Bought some groceries.
Katie suggested that we eat at Red Lobster for tea, and we got a very good 4 course meal for $49 (bargain) got back at 9pm and Bev went to sleep.

(Bev note – we did have a ps for Ohana’s, but we were off-site shopping, and had a poor experience the previous night, so we didn’t go – I kind of wish we had.)

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