Solo Trip Report 9/3-9/10

I had one of .my better meals at Momma Melrose. I had the catch of the day which was grouper and served on a shrimp risotto.

After the fireworks, we went back into the Launch Bay and got to meet with Chewbacca without having to wait for more than one family.

You are doing a great job on your trip report.

3 Likes

Love your trip report. Can’t wait until the next installment!

2 Likes

Thanks for the report! Look forward to hearing more!

1 Like

Thanks! I haven’t forgotten about this, just life has been nuts these past two weeks and my job has had the audacity to expect me to put in effort (the nerve, right?)

Regarding MM’s experience, it’s cool. While lackluster, it wasn’t terrible, which is probably far more important. An average meal at Disney is better than almost any meal at home! Just not what I was hoping for.

More to come when I can get a moment!

4 Likes

Would love to read more. These past couple of days have been bleak for me and I could use some tales of Disney magic to lighten my mood.

6 Likes

Well then… LET’S FIX THAT!!

Day 4 - " Zippidy Do Dah! Zippidy Ay! My oh my what a wonderful day!"

So last night I had gone to bed at a fairly reasonable hour, for Disney, 12AM. This morning, I awake at… 4AM! What the….? I mean, I know I’m excited for Boma and all that, but this is nuts!

OK! So it’s 4AM at Disney World, though nothing is open, and my breakfast reservation isn’t for 5 hours yet… what does one do? Well, not much really. Still, since sleep wasn’t in the cards for some reason (and, no surprise, I wasn’t tired because I’m working off of Disney energy) I start the morning ritual and take this opportunity to partake in a nice long hot shower. Which my body was enormously grateful for.

Now, to give some perspective, for the past several months, I’ve run or walked no less than 7 miles a day preparing for this trip. If my daily step counter dropped below 12,000 steps, it was a real off day. When I got to Disney, I noticed those numbers were amateur hour and my body was starting to feel it. The tail end of last night, my legs had started to grow sore and though no blisters, it was hard to move this morning. So the hot shower was a welcome relief.

After all that was done, it was onto the balcony to drink in that glorious view again with a piping hot cup of coffee. As I sip the hot beverage in the early morning light, I notice the air has changed. If the first morning was warm, the second morning was cool, but this morning was a perfect spot between the two.

I smile. I’m in my happy place.

There’s not much that happens for these few hours. I just enjoy my coffee, with the hotel TV playing it’s instrumental Disney music in the background, and I watch traffic build as cast members report for work or depart for home, or guests arrive or leave. It might not be coffee in the shadow of the Castle, but it’s a real good substitute.

Closing in on the time to leave for my reservation at Boma, I gear up and head down to the Kingdom’s bus lot. Originally, I had a reservation for Boma at 7:40AM, but after the awesome advice from the folks here (special thanks to @Lens_number_1_Fan, @OBNurseNH, and & @PrincipalTinker on this one) I had pushed it back to closer to 9AM to make sure I could take a Disney bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge without a hassle.

Getting down to the bus lot, the sun is starting to crest over the horizon and it’s just a perfect morning for weather. It’s hard to explain but there’s this energy that is there that wasn’t there the previous mornings. I got “Zippidy Do Da” playing in my head (HEY! I warned you at the beginning of this that this was gonna get hokey! Don’t blame me! You knew what this was!).

I start to head to the collection of buses when the traffic controller (not sure what else he would be called) notices me and asks where I’m heading.
“Boma? Uh, I guess Animal Kingdom Lodge?” I say, not entirely sure what the lingo is for describing a destination for anywhere that wasn’t a park. I figure he’s just going to direct me to the proper bus.
“Sounds good, let me get you a bus.” He said and flips a switch on his mic “I need a bus for a guest to Animal Kingdom Lodge?”

This completely catches me by surprise. I had anticipated needing to wait for others to board a bus before it was allowed to go or to catch it during a scheduled leave, so I had allowed a nice cushion of time to get to the bus and then to Boma. But he is telling me a bus is going to specifically take me, and just me, to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’m not used to this level of customer service, which is why it’s surprising. …sniff…’scuze me, I got somethin’ in my eye…. talk amongst yourselves…

After thanking him, I climb aboard my bus and I’m chauffeured off to AKL. On the way, the bus driver makes small talk with me and we end up discussing everything from weather, to cars, to the new Avatar Land to be opening up in Animal Kingdom. Based on what he’s said, the park sounds like it’s going to be a lot better than I had expected.

After the bus ride, and because it was pretty much just a cab ride for me, I’m WAY early for my reservation so I take this time to check out AKL. Holy cow what an awesome hotel! When I speak about theming, THIS is what I’m talking about! Sure, it might not be “Disney” exactly, but it still works, and works well.

Heading to the back of the hotel’s lobby, I head outside and come to see the fire pit. I don’t know why it is so impressive, as my apartment complex has one and I couldn’t care less about it, but this one I just want to return later tonight and sit around it as someone tells a ghost story or two. I’m in the animal area and see a couple of birds that I can’t remember the name of and off in the distance, I see a couple feeding giraffes. This hotel is amazeballs. There’s just no better way to say it.

After my exploring, my stomach reminded me why I’m here and it’s Boma-Time! I head down and check in, but it’s still a few minute wait to be seated. As I waited, a group of women were setting up for a group selfie capturing the restaurant behind them, at the last moment, one of the hostesses photobombed the picture with a big smile and a peace sign. Having an older camera, the ladies didn’t realize the event had happened until after they looked at the picture after the fact. As they looked at the photo, they laughed in surprise at the unexpected face in the photo, and started quickly looking around to see where the mystery face came from. The hostess had slipped back a few feet like a ninja, awaiting their reaction and I suspect ready to duck out quickly in case they didn’t find it amusing.

Once they left, I was seated and it was off to the buffet! First round: cinnamon toast bread pudding with walnut sauce, chocolate chip pancakes, a mickey waffle and a Simba waffle, and finally scrambled eggs with goat cheese and chive.

I’ve never had eggs like this before, and I believe I need to make sure all my eggs are like this for the rest of my life. Absolutely delicious. In fact, all the food was. It would take three or four plates of food, with about a gallon of coffee and jamba juice, before I finally had to wave the white flag of defeat.

Practically rolling out of AKL, it was time to hit up EPCOT.

After a quick bus ride over, I’m in line and through bag check and thus beginning my “randomly selected for a screening” streak. From here on in, EVERY time I enter a park, I’m “randomly selected.” And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind specifically, but my setup with my DSLR clipped to my belt makes it awkward as I have to completely take off the apparatus each time I’m “randomly selected.” If I ever have the great fortune to go back, I will have a better, more accommodating, setup so bag checks aren’t as annoying when carrying my good camera.

Anyway, through bag check and then through the mickey posts, turning them that ever satisfying green, I enter into EPCOT: Future World. Leading up to the trip, everyone was excited for me to go to EPCOT more than anywhere else, as this was to be more for adults than the rest of the parks, and for that I was excited to. Mainly because I love the idea of a harmonious future with all the nations of the world together. I know it’s in a bubble where reality isn’t totally there, but the fact that it COULD be a reality gives me hope, and in today’s world I’ll take hope anywhere I can get it.

Ok, enough of that, so once into the park I head straight for the big sphere to figure out where the entrance to the ride is. Big shocker, it’s right in front. I have a fastpass for Spaceship Earth, but I’ve got a few minutes before the window opens up so I take the time to explore around. As I head up the path on the right, I notice the “Art of Disney” store, with the “mickey” design I saw on the shirts from the “dance party” parade.

Still hoping to snag a shirt with the design on it, I head inside and plead my case to the cast members inside. Unfortunately, they don’t know of any shirt, and suspect it’s a shirt for just that show, but they spend more than enough time I would consider necessary to help me find something on the app or in another store. Seriously, the customer service is getting to me in such a good way. Sadly, we all came away with nothing but the suggestion to maybe try the the Mouse Gear store or the custom T-Shirt shop in Disney Springs.

Thanking them for their generous help, I bid them a good day and headed out and straight to the suggested Mouse Gear store. Unfortunately I struck out there as well. So it looks like Disney Springs was my last hope to hope, as I might not be able to buy an official one, but maybe I can create one that’s a good substitute.

Leaving Mouse Gear, my window has opened so I head back to Spaceship Earth. On the way, I pass by the fountain and notice that the water jets are not static like they were the first time I passed by, they’re now spurting and jumping and syncing up with the music. And it’s not just ANY music, it’s the theme from The Rocketeer, one of my favorite movies! So I stop and film the last few minutes of the show.

Once that was done, NOW it was time for Spaceship Earth, for realsies this time. I head back down the path and find the fastpass area and go in. When I was on this ride the first time in 1990, I remember it being one of my favorite rides and I was so ready to experience it through adult eyes.

Climbing onto my “time capsule”, was gleefully impressed that there was now a touch console asking for my information. I had the sense that there was going to be some serious changes from what I remember, and since this is a ride showing humans through the ages, I couldn’t wait to see what they had came up with.

I was sorta unimpressed. The ride is still great, but am I nuts or did they cut a lot of things out? I remember passing by a “family of the future” as they cook their dinner with computers and what not (no, I’m no thinking Carousel of Progress), but here it’s all now in that touch console with a cartoon depicting what I remember. Same message, just a bit customized, but not animatronics anymore. Which is cool and all, but I was hoping for maybe something a bit more… tangible than a cartoon? The ride also felt much shorter than I remember as a kid.

Either way, once that’s done, I head over to Soarin’ to see if I can jump onto the ride. But after I get closer, I see it’s a 120 minute wait. bwahahahah yeah fat chance I’m waiting 2 hours for ANY ride on this trip. I have a fastpass for it tomorrow, so I can just wait until then. So with that, it’s off to accomplish my main goal for today, which is to dive deep into the World Showcase and really get to know the pavilions. I had set aside the whole day for this endeavor and I did not want to waste a second more.

I walk onto the ring of World Showcase and I’m hearing ALL the languages. Hebrew, German, Spanish, English, French, Arabic, you name it, I’m pretty sure someone was speaking it here. I don’t know what it was, but it seemed to be expected that you speak your native tongue here than anywhere else in the parks. It makes me smile as I realize Walt’s vision worked. We’re all here, in harmony, enjoying the day. Again, sure, it might only work HERE, but you can’t blame Walt for the rest of the world screwing it up.

As I make my way around the ring, I first stop at Mexico and check that out. After inspecting the display cases of what they would wear in ancient times (capes for everyone!) I hopped aboard the Gran Fiesta Tour. I don’t remember much of this ride as a kid, but it’s a fun little ride. I really loved the fiber optic fireworks toward the end.

Once done, it was off to Norway where I would quickly check out what they had going on there. I found it really odd that a country, so known for its cold climate, so much so that they were selling ski gear in their gift shop, to be here in super-warm Florida. Still, seeing the area where they analyze Frozen’s inspirations from Norwegian history was really cool (ha, pun!). I also noticed that Norway had their own Free Range Stormtroopers in the guise of warriors walking around and interacting with the guests. Very entertaining as they try to pick fights with all the males and steal their wives or mothers.

From there it was off to China where I was unaware Shanghai Disneyland had a HUGE display going in there. Stupid of me, right? I spent probably the most time in here as I looked over everything, finding everything really fascinating. One of the things from Shanghai I absolutely want to see here in the States is the Tron roller coaster. So seeing an area devoted to the ride made me really happy. Once, I was done with oogling all the new Shanghai Disneyland stuff (I now really want to go!) I found myself in a theater lobby with Mulan doing a meet and greet. While she was doing that, doors on my left suddenly opened up and a girl gestured for the few of us who were in the pavilion to enter.

We did and I had my first taste of Circle Vision 360° in “Reflections of China.” I know it’s not a ride really, but when you’re completely engrossed in the movie and you start flying over things you really get the feeling of movement. I felt myself, more than once, banking and swaying with the camera. I REALLY enjoyed that.

After China, it was off to Germany, but I just snapped a few photos and passed by, as I could see there was just a restaurant. Did I miss something there? I looked on the Disney site and saw there was nothing like what I just experienced in China.

Next up Italy…which… mimicked Germany. Ok, WTF? The architecture was certainly amazing, and probably one of the best views of the lake, but beyond restaurants, it looked as if there was nothing here. I have a lunch scheduled here later today (Via Napoli) so I decided I would breeze past this and then take a closer look after lunch.

I also breezed past American Adventure for now as I know my American History, I didn’t really feel like catching up on things I already knew.

So then we land in Japan and they at least have bit of a museum, which was showcasing… “cute.” I’m not sure why this choice was made, but I will say it was probably the first time I’ve ever seen an iPhone in a museum showcase. It was, nonetheless, kinda interesting to check out and see how ancient Shinto shrines and modern anime are connected to the roots of “cute”.

After Japan, it was Morocco which, had a small information area on the decorative wear of the people which I found pretty cool. Tile. Tile everywhere! Unfortunately, aside from the small room on this, there didn’t see to be much aside from, again, restaraunts and shops. I’m starting to wonder why everyone was so jazzed for this if you don’t have a bottomless stomach?

Speaking of stomach, it’s time for lunch! I head back to Via Napoli and I’m ALL sorts of excited. I had read reviews on this place, watched a video on the Magical Express bus about how they do this, and I loves me some pizza. Let’s do this!

I walk in and it’s a short wait and I am seated next to a boisterous group who, unlike the group at Mama’s, are enjoying each others company with laughter and smiles. A nice change. My waitress arrives… no, not my waitress…my WATERess? Wha?

She explains that there’ll be 3 people serving me today. Her, who is strictly there for water, my Waitress and a waiter in training. I nod in understanding and thank her for the water and my wait-duo arrives soon after and fills me in on the choices I have awaiting me, but alas… Touring Plans made this effort pointless as I know exactly what I’m after. I wanted to try all the pizzas, but at $20 a pie, it was going to be hard to justify, so I settled on 2. The White Pizza and my go to: margherita. Upon ordering both, and seeing I was alone, my Waitress double checks with me to makes sure I know what I’m doing. I smile and assure her I do, and thank her for double checking. Hi, I’m Randall and I’ll be your stereotypical 'murican fatty, today.

The pizzas come out and they are thinner than I was expecting, but absolutely delicious. So much so that I completely polished off the White Pizza and started into the second before I remembered I wanted to take a picture! Dang it!

As I eat, I learn, thanks to the group next to me, that this is the Waitress’s last day. Ok, so when you eat alone, you do a LOT of eavesdropping. Can’t be helped, sue me. Besides, they were entertaining. Anyway, the group next to me is asking for continous recommendations of food from the Waitress and apparently everything she’s suggested has been a huge hit with them, so they had spent a lot of time talking to her. I’m a bit envious because what she is suggesting does sound delicious, but I’ve got pizza to work through!

Once all is done, I congratulated her on her last day and I made my way out. I took this time to inspect the Italian pavilion, but my initial assessment remained unchanged: there was nothing here but shops and a restaurant.

So it was off to France. Tomorrow I have a reservation for Chef De France, so I don’t spend much time here but do check out the shops a bit. I started to leave france when suddenly a street performer show began, I stopped to watch an amazing gymnast climb up several chairs stacked on top each other. Really cool.

After the show had ended, England was the next stop. Sigh, and again, nothing but shops and restaurants. Am I asking too much to want to “experience” these countries without having to eat or drink there?

Moving on, it’s Canada with another, very entertaining, Circle Vision show. Once again, I find myself banking and swaying with the camera and I really love it. Canada’s movie was probably the most entertaining thanks to the efforts of Martin Short.

And then I was done. Wha? This can’t be right. I know I move fast, but c’mon. I open my map on MDE and sure enough, I visited everything already. Apparently World Showcase’s experience diminishes when you don’t drink, and even more so if you don’t eat at every pavillion. I still have about two hours before my FEA fastpass so I decide to go back to the countries I glossed over and see if there wasn’t more to them. I do this at a bit of a slower pace now, making an effort to take photos.

After meandering and discovering I didn’t miss anything obvious from those countries, I arrived at Norway to wait out the remaining time for my window for FEA (only a few minutes).

Once the Frozen window opens up, I stroll in. I’m not a huge fan of Frozen. I thought the movie was one of Disney’s weaker stories, and Olaf flat out annoys the bejesus out of me. But I had seen this ride via youtube and was blown away by the animatronics. I NEEDED to see this in person. I ended up sitting solo in the first seat in the boat, and I’m sure a grown man alone on a Frozen ride gave off a rrrreal good image :).

The animatronics did not disappoint, and it was totally worth it. Of all the rides at Disney, I would have to say this one was my favorite for several reasons. 1) The technology employed (obviously). I mean, you feel like you’re in the cartoon! The animatronics are just astounding to look at and the face-projection idea is genius. In videos the faces stand out, but in person it blends right in and look like it belongs and it is glorious. 2) It’s an original story. Unlike most of the rides at Disney which rehash the movie, or are random scenes, this is a continuation of the Frozen story. As a kid, I remember wondering why they made the rides rehash movies because if I wanted to see the story of the movie, the actual film does a much better job than this ride ever could. So with it being a continuation, it won huge points for me because it was something all new and never seen before. It’s the same reason I love Star Tours. But unlike star tours, which is basically a movie, this was more tangible. 3) The effects. A perfect use of sound, light, video, and carbon dioxide.

After Frozen, I still had the problem where I had seen almost everything I could in World Showcase, and I still had to come back tomorrow as I had a Fastpass for Soarin’ and Lunch to do in France. I started back toward Future World, unsure what to do.

While in the midsts of indecision, I came upon Universe of Energy, and was intrigued. Something in my head was throwing flags and saying “Don’t do it!” but I ignored it. There was no wait and I needed some time to figure out what to do, so I went in. Taking a seat in the giant semicircle theater, I ran some options over in my head while I waited for the …whatever this was… to start.

I should’ve listened to my head! It wasn’t until the movie begins, and that I see a SUPER dated film starring Ellen and Bill Nye, that I remember why I didn’t want to check this out. It’s too dated. After the 5-10 minute film where Ellen and Bill explain something about energy, the cast members open the doors and warn that a 70 minute ride was next, but if you wanted to leave, now was the time. I chose to abort and I exited.

Coming out of the theater, I went over my dilemma: I have set aside two whole days to visit EPCOT, and if I was able to see World Showcase in only a few hours, I can’t see Future World taking more time as it is smaller. I could see EVERYTHING today, but then what would I do tomorrow? I have to come back because I have reservations. I also wanted to check out Illuminations tonight, but it’s only 5PM and Illuminations isn’t for another 4 hours.

After going back and forth with the Pros and Cons, I decided I have a park hopper option on my ticket, time to make use of it. I would leave EPCOT and just revisit tomorrow and see what I had missed, and I would just see Illuminations tomorrow. Tonight, we go to Hollywood Studios.

This, my friends, would end up being one of the best decisions I made the whole trip.

I leave EPCOT and get on the Bus for HS (I didn’t realize they were in walking distance), and while on the bus, I pull up fastpass to see what’s available. By luck, Fantasmic is available and I click that quickly. I didn’t think I was going to be able to see it as the the FPP for yesterday was gobbled up quick.

The bus drops me off and it’s through bag check, “randomly selected” security, turning that mickey-post green, and then off to the Great Movie Ride. I absolutely loved this ride as a kid (though the Alien scene did scare the snot out of me!), and I think it spurred my love of classic movies (well, with a little help from my dad). The queue to this ride is so cool, as you progress down a classic movie theater. Once at the ride, I’m seated next to a family with a son who couldn’t have been more than 8.

This ride is so corny, I totally love it. It completely reminds me, somehow, of why I love the classic movies. As we progress through, I notice the boy reacting the same as I did all those year ago. Excited to see Indiana Jones, scared from the Alien, relaxed at Wizard of Oz, and then delighted and amazed as our tour guide returns from the dead.

The ride ends and I’m off to Star Tours. Got a different ending this time, and it’s still such a fun ride. I could easily ride that all day. Once Star Tours is done I caught Galaxy Far Far Away in full this time. My original opinion hasn’t changed. It feels like filler or a prelude to something that never arrives.

After the show, I stop at the Starbucks and grab myself a frappuccino and people watch for a bit, then go around taking pictures. It’s almost time for Fantasmic so I make my way toward it and I get close to the Tower of Terror, but I never get on. I want to ride it, but I am really bad with heights and even though I’ve gotten better over the years, I don’t think I can do ToT yet. I’m a huge fan of the Twilight Zone and theming (which should be obvious at this point) and both of these boxes are checked for this ride, but I just can’t bring myself to step on. I’m such a pansy. I do, however, check out the gift shop as I wait for Fantasmic.

Once Fantasmic opens up, I file into the area and take a seat a little off the left of the stage. I had hoped that FPP people were treated like they were for the Festival of Fantasy parade in MK and given special seating, but that would not be the case. You just sit wherever you want and I think only dinner party people got special seating. Upon this realization, and the fact that the area wasn’t filled by the time the show started, that I felt I wasted this fastpass. Not that I really care, given that nearly everything was walk on, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Once the show starts though, I completely forget my annoyance as it is completely amazing. Wizard Mickey “splashing” the crowd, the effects, the whole thing was just awesome. And it was far more elaborate than what I would have thought.

Unfortunately, upon the last fifteen minutes, and the finale, the Star Wars fireworks had started up and the light was encroaching on the show. Where once shadow was able to hide an effect, now you could see actors in black suits running around. It also became a distraction to several people around me, as they literally got entranced by something shiny and left the show to go check it out. I do not understand why Disney set this up like this and I feel bad for the actors putting in the work down on the stage.

Once the show ends, there is massive gridlock getting out of arena. I wasn’t really understanding why until I realized that the park was full on closing, and so EVERYTHING shut down all at once. And because I had already seen the stores for the most part, I didn’t really see a point in stopping in again to check out the same things that I wasn’t going to buy from yesterday.
Still, the walk to the busses had their own highlights and I was anything but bored. Mostly because a group near me were quizzing each other on various Disney movies and songs, and I silently played along.

Once at the bus, I decided I didn’t want to go back to the hotel yet, so I figured now was a good a time as any to revisit Disney Springs. Unfortunately, I had just missed the bus and so it was going to be a 20-30 minute wait for another bus. After spending about 10 minutes in a line that was going nowhere, I bailed on it as I heard a rumor that one could walk to the Boardwalk from here.

The Boardwalk was sorta Disney Springs-esque, so I figured that would certainly do as I wanted to visit there anyway. Locating a cast member to confirm the walk was possible, she pointed me in the right direction and a walking I did go.

13 Likes

This is one of those weird parts of a vacation that stick with you even though absolutely nothing happens but it’s still wonderful. I remember many of them from the trip in 1990. Just seemingly meaningless things like climbing the ramp to the monorail, or walking through a hotel hallway. As I make my way down the path, I set out my plan for the rest of the night: With HS now closed, I figure I’ll head to Boardwalk and look around and maybe close it out(12AM), and then Bus back to MK and close that out (I think they changed the hours last minute to stay open until 12AM or 1AM?). I don’t really do much else but look back on the day and how much fun I’ve been having, even with little setbacks like me finishing up World Showcase before I expected.

As I came up to the Boardwalk area, I noticed a sign saying something roughly to “this way to EPCOT” and I laughed. I had no idea you could walk from here to EPCOT, that’s awesome! I made it to the Boardwalk and come upon a very entertaining little sideshow of a magician doing a bit for kids. The Boardwalk is interesting, but it’s completely familiar territory for me as I’ve grown up near the Jersey Shore all my life, so there’s not much novelty here. Regardless I visit various stores and also use this time to visit the hotel. It’s a cool hotel, but I have to say I was rather disappointed with its cleanliness. This clearly wasn’t up to the standard that AKL or the Contemporary had set.

Oh well, not like I’m staying there, so I head out again and finish up the Boardwalk. There wasn’t much else to see beyond partaking in some very overpriced milkshake (which I totally did). With Milkshake acquired, I headed back to the sign that said “To EPCOT.” As I headed back, I figured this would be a perfect time to ride the monorail as I hadn’t fully ridden it yet. I also figured it’d be the fastest way back to MK as, so far except for this morning, no bus I’ve ridden has had only one stop.

Unfortunately, you can’t get to the monorail without going through EPCOT’s gates, as I am informed by a cast member. Thankfully, they were doing their Extra Magic Hour and this was the tail end of it, so I was able to pass through and, even though I was literally the only one in the line, be “randomly selected for a metal detector screening.” I laugh out loud when they tell me it’s random. Like who else was an option here? Apparently the security guy didn’t get the joke, and remained stone faced throughout the screening. From leaving Boardwalk to here, my energy has started to bottom out and so I do what is asked without question to just get moving on with it.

After I was through that, I moved quickly toward the monorail, but first, I make sure this isn’t a total waste of my time. As I said, my energy felt like it was bottoming out so I stopped by a coffee stand and grabbed myself a delicious cup of coffee. Then it was off to the monorail, which…SURPRISE! Wasn’t working. This kinda annoyed me a bit as I had asked the cast member at the gate before I entered about the monorail and she had made no indication that it was down. Sure she probably didn’t know, but I feel that’s something that should be communicated to all gate personnel. Had I know it was, I would’ve just bussed out of the Boardwalk back to MK.

Still, no big, onto the bus… Sadly, as I had arrived about the time the park closed, the bus area was mobbed with people. I was originally going to get on the MK bus, but that line was insanely long, so I decided to hop onto the Contemporary bus line which was far shorter. But even though it was shorter, the busses were seemingly taking forever to make their rounds. I ended up waiting next to a family of 4 who reminded me very much of my family and how they reacted to the situation of the monorail being down back in 1990. At the time, my parents had dragged us to a luau at the polynesian and the show had ran beyond the timeframe of the monorail to be operational. When I pointed that out (that’s right, the kid was keeping track of the time), my mom became extremely worried that we would have no way to get back to the hotel. Given the very vague bus system back then, I see why she would be worried as I remember she had seen a notice saying the buses were ending at 11PM that night. In reality, this probably wasn’t the case and there probably would have been buses galore once the show was done, but there was no way she was going to know that.

We had ended up leaving the show before it ended and my parents were furious for that and that the monorail was not working even though there were things happening along the monorail circuits. This family in 2016 was a near carbon copy of that reaction. Extremely annoyed that the monorail wasn’t working and irritated that they had to wait for a bus (that they were a bit concerned may not come back) with two little kids fighting sleep and, at any moment, needing to use the bathroom.

I couldn’t help but interject and help calm their fears a little bit. Assuring them that the buses will continue to pick people up until there is absolutely no one left. I felt this was an exceptionally true statement given how my morning started. As we’re dealing with Park closing, another will be along very shortly (this part I silently hoped was true as it had already been longer than I was comfortable with waiting). Sure enough the bus soon arrived and we all climbed on board and headed back to the contemporary.

Once back at the hotel, my energy level was at zero and I ended up bailing on my plan to close out MK and just headed up to my room to go to bed. After all, I had another BOG breakfast tomorrow at 8AM so I needed to be up by 6.

Entering into my room, I discovered my first towel sculpture!! It wasn’t a Disney character, but hey, I’ll take it! Anything to liven up this room. After taking a quick photo, I hit the sack.

I cannot express how great this day was, it was probably my favorite day of the week as I was able to fully utilize my Park Hopper option and be able to really take advantage of being a solo traveler. To change my plans on the fly like that was so incredibly freeing and I had to answer to no one for my decision. While I certainly was disappointed that EPCOT didn’t turn out like I had hoped, the shoot-from-the-hip Plan that I ended up going with was far more enjoyable than just “hanging out” in EPCOT until Illuminations had happened. And because of this plan, I was able to see Fantasmic, something I now would consider a tragedy if I had missed it.

–Side Note–

Even though I was dead tired by the time I got to the hotel and fell asleep, something would wake me up in the middle of the night. Not sure what, but because of this, I noticed that an animation was playing on castle. This wasn’t the wishes animation though, it was something else, I think. Though I can’t remember what it was exactly, I’m wondering if I got a “calibrating” version of the new Once Upon A Time show? That’s a nice little thought.

Either way, whether it was an alternative to wishes or something new, it was rather cool to get my own “private” show (though no sound). As soon as the the animation ends, though, I fall back asleep.

To Be Continued….

20 Likes

Enjoying this very much!

Best part so far: Calling yourself Dingus.
2nd best: the moment of realization at Tony’s being from Lady & the Tramp.

I also had a moment somewhat like that a few years ago when I realized that “Auntie Gravity’s” is pronounced “Anty Gravity’s”. I’m from the Northeast where “aunt” rhymes with “want”… I still say it wrong in my head.

2 Likes

Did you read where he “walked with purpose” :wink:
I thought of you and a thread on Chats a few weeks ago!

4 Likes

Love that you baled on Ellen! I’ve never heard of anyone having the guts to stand up and walk out! Awesome.

1 Like

heh Well to be fair, I was given an option. It was that “lull” between the movie and the ride. It wasn’t like I stood up and shouted “FOR THE GLORY OF THE HORDE!” and walked out while people were shocked and horrified.

but thanks all the same! :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Heh. I love this. I also love that you used the right spelling of horde. So many people get that wrong. :wink:

2 Likes

By the way, if anyone was wondering what this “design” I keep mentioning is, it’s seen on this guy’s red shirt (from a photo I totally stole from the Internet).

That’s pretty much the shirt I wanted. A single stylized Mickey in, what I would wager is, the Disney Font style

5 Likes

LOL

that thread went so awry it was absurd.

Did that OP ever re-surface??

2 Likes

OMG! I can just picture the scene! LOL!!!

I just remembered, no joke, I fell asleep on Ellen’s the last time we rode it. Just ridiculous!

2 Likes

Not that I know of. I don’t lurk much on chats since you can’t just “like” comments and stuff.

I will not be able to walk around the parks in January without thinking about that at least once a day!

1 Like

Well thank you for taking me with you. I know we will have fun!

1 Like

I never realized the “anti” until just now. How funny! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Day 5 - 9/7/16 - "I’ve got a dream! I’ve got a dream! I just want to watch the [fireworks] gleam!’

ok, YOU try thinking up lyrics for each day! Let’s see how successful YOU are!

These trip reports are getting tougher to write. Not because of being unable to recall anything (though the details are fading), but the urge to go back hits like a ton of bricks. Oh to have unlimited funds and free time…

Anyway, enough whining… on with the report:
Ok, so this morning was a bit rough. After the 4AM wakeup yesterday, and the 12AM-1AM collapse onto the bed last night (with waking up to see that show on the castle), the 6:30AM wakeup call I had wisely scheduled did it’s job.

Baymax prescribes some fun for today. Heh, I’ll do my best. But as I’m listening to the wakeup call, it strikes me as a bit odd. If this were any other hotel, it would make total sense, but in the Contemporary, where finding anything themed beyond “elegant beige” is a feat, this “themed wakeup call” seems weirdly out of place. I would expect someone from the front desk to actually call me over a Disney character. Is this a step in the right direction? You bet! Do I think contemporary will move forward with it? Fat chance. I remember Donald waking us up back in 1990 and we see the progress that has been made since then.

Anywho, since I have an 8AM BOG reservation this morning I’m up and moving and out the door on time, around 7AM. Sleepiness dissolves as I look forward to today. I leave all my gear ,short of my iPhone and DSLR, in the room as I just didn’t feel like going through bag check this morning. The walk to MK reveals the humidity is returning today and the warm air is fogging up my camera lense something fierce. So that eliminated taking DSLR photos until the fog cleared off (I didn’t think to bring my lens wipe. GO ME! hah!)

Not a huge deal though, for I intended to do something a tad different today. Being so impressed with an empty the park these past few days, I had the idea to video my entire walk from the gate to BOG in a mostly-empty park. But my DSLR is old and doesn’t have video abilities so it’d be up to my iPhone to do the job.

As I arrive at the bag check area, I can’t seem to find the “no bag line”, so I’m stuck sorta slipping through a normal bag check where the cast member kinda looks at me like “you’re a special one, aren’t you?” But I’m through and just about to pass onto the Mickey posts when… you guessed it! “Sir, you have been randomly selected for a security screening.”

Sigh.

So it’s off with my DSLR apparatice (regretting taking it more and more this morning) and through the meta detector. But then it’s off to turn that Mickey post that green I like so much and then I check in with the nice cast member directing people where to go for Pre-rope-drop activities.

Unlike Sunday, today I’m pretty early and so I’m almost at the beginning of the line. As I stand there waiting for them to let us in, I prep my phone and take some notes.

After a bit, they let us in and I start filming. Looking back on the video, I have to say, the iPhone did a pretty nice job. The video is pretty smooth and well… here, see for yourself: https://youtu.be/a99IGSKNjG8

Once at BOG, none of the registration banter that happened on Sunday happened again. This time there wasn’t much interaction at all. I checked in, waited in line, and soon the opening presentation began and we were let in. I really think Disney hit it out of the park on this restaurant. It’s exactly what you would want in a “theme park” eatery.

Since I had already sat in the West Wing, I decided the Grand Ball Room was where I was going to breakfast in this morning. I still think the West Wing is more impressive, but the Grand Ball Room comes in at a close second. That “snow scene” on the window is very cool.

I had ordered the same thing as before simply because I enjoyed what I had so much the first time, and the other entrees didn’t appeal to me as much. I picked out my beverages again and again it was only a few minute before my breakfast arrived. This time though, I knew better than to ask how they found me.

I thanked my server and dug in. And once again, it was luke warm. In full disclosure though, I’m not sure how much of this is “their fault” vs just the nature of the food. Since I got back, one of the fun things I’ve tried to do is recreate various dishes I’ve had on the trip and this sandwich was at the top of the list. I’m a fair cook, and even when I’m creating it for just one, it’s certainly not “hot” when I finally put it all together and eat. I’m thinking my original assessment was wrong and it was about as hot as it can possibly be when traveling from a kitchen to my table.

But at the time, it’s still a bit disappointing, but again, as I said, I really enjoyed it the first time, and the 2nd time was just as good. Once I was finished with everything but the Master’s Cupcake, I decided to refill my coffee cup and come back to the table to go over my --now changed-- touring plan for today. Not wanting my table cleared off, I purposefully leave the cupcake untouched so they wouldn’t think someone just “up and left.”

So much for that plan. Once I returned with my a full coffee, I notice my table is cleaned off. Now full on annoyed, I find the nearest server and make eye contact. My face must’ve been all the information he needed because before I even had a chance to speak, his eyes grew wide.

“Oh no! You weren’t done were you? I am so sorry!” he blurts out. “We thought you left. Sorry! We’ll get you another cupcake.”

Kinda thrown back on my heels a bit, I stammered out a weak “thanks” and he vanishes. In a few moments, he’s back with a new cupcake. He hands it to me and smiles. “Really sorry about that. We were even wondering ”Who would leave the cupcake untouched?”

While the snarky side of my mind started screaming “YEAH, GENIUS! WHO WOULD DO THAT??” the vacation side of my mind took over and I said casually “No problem! Thanks!” Because really… it wasn’t a problem. I had my cupcake, the guy knew there was a mistake, so no harm done.

So I set to work eating my cupcake, being careful not to completely devour it like a pig. I had a feeling I was being watched as I’m sure the Server was going to whomever cleared my table and point me out that I was clearly not gone. I played the “‘murican fatty” yesterday, I didn’t really want to do a encore performance.

Once the cupcake was safely tucked away in my stomach, I was off with my coffee (which I refreshed once more before heading out) back into the park, and headed to the gates with a bit of gusto to hopefully catch the Welcome Show.

I didn’t make it. I had made it about to the back of the castle when the fireworks went off. Nuts.

Oh well, if I can’t catch the show, I can at least catch the horde coming down mainstreet. So in a haphazard fashion, I got to the court and was able to film the crowd heading toward me. Of course, as they head toward me I realize I’m about to let people line up ahead of me for rides… so I quickly pocket the phone and about face toward Pan.

There’s no actual reason I’m riding the ride again other than “the line will be insane later, so why not?” After that was done, it was off to Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

Now, the Mine Train ride, I actually had a fastpass for, because standby time for it had been crazy throughout my trip. During all the hub-bub yesterday, I ended up texting Disney asking to redeem that FPP from the first day for 7DMT around 9AM (wanted to make sure the ride was open) and it was no problem.

I’ve never been much of a coaster guy, or… really a coaster guy at all, and many will argue this ride barely qualifies as one, but that’s fine by me cause I enjoyed it. The technology that Frozen uses is also here and it’s really cool to see. Obviously Frozen took it to another level, but it’s still cool.

What wasn’t cool was I didn’t know you get your picture taken on this ride. I feel they should give ya a heads up on that. While I’m absolutely having a great time… my face would say otherwise in the photos and because I was seated next to people, I feel I ended up ruining their photos. So if that’s you in the photo… sorry bout that.

After mine train, I started moseying back to the hotel to grab my gear and head back to EPCOT to dive into Future World and all it had to offer. But on the way, I caught some more main street performer fun as well as did a quick circuit of the park, just to hear/see those transitions.

One of the things I saw as I’m heading toward the gate, I see a family really hauling toward somewhere in the park, with the father and the two young kids struggling to keep up with the mother. As they race past, I hear the father exclaim “Come on guys! Your mother has a plan of attack! You guys gotta keep up!” Instantly I smile as I consider that I just watched a Liner Family in their natural habitat.

Once at EPCOT I make a direct line for Soarin’. I had been looking quite forward to this ride from all the reviews here and across the web. I’m not so good with heights, but I’m ok with flying so as long as this isn’t from the perspective of me basically hanging out of a helicopter, I should be good.

I had the forethought to scout out where Soarin’ was yesterday, and it’s a good thing I did. Unlike most rides at the Disney parks, this one is tucked away in what felt like a food court. I found it easily enough and to the ride I go and I’m given my seat: Row C, farthest on the left.

The ride begins and the seats are hoisted 15-20 feet into the air. Which was a bit unnerving for me. Additionally, my position would end up giving me a horrible viewing experience of this ride. Because of the way IMAX projectors work, this would cause the images to be extremely distorted and warped. This can probably be rectified if you look in the correct area of the screen, but my mind won’t let me ignore the distortions so I end up focusing on them the most. While I did enjoy the smells (but uh…I’ve smelled elephants before, they don’t smell like that! haha), I wasn’t impressed with the video itself. Some of the distortions were the opening scene of the Switzerland’s Matterhorn was bending before we even reached the peak, the Eiffel Tower would bend around the edges of the screen, and the Taj Mahal would also bend as if you were looking at it through a fishbowl

Even though everything was distorted, it still triggered my acrophobia, so once the ride was done, I was relieved. I’m happy I went on it, but from further research here, if you’re going to go on this ride, demand to be in center of “B”, even if you have to wait. With the ride over, and being confident that I didn’t want to ride it again, I deleted my future fast passes that I scheduled for it later in the week. I love the fact that I can just do this.

Once out of Soarin, I had a few hours before my lunch at Les Chefs De France, so I set out to see what else Future World had to offer. The first stop would be something that completely captivated me as a kid: the jumping water pods. While not as mystifying as it was when I was a kid, it was still mesmerizing to watch.

From there, it was off to the The Seas with Nemo ride, but I wasn’t interested in the ride but rather just the animals, so after checking with a cast member that it was ok, I went in through the gift shop and spent a good deal of time checking out all the sea wildlife. What was great about this area was everything was active and even had divers in various tanks do their jobs (which I always find interesting).

After that, I walked around a bit and saw “Journey into Imagination with Figment!” Unlike the “Universe of Energy”, my Spider-sense didn’t go off and, with the heat of the day starting to be noticeable, starting heading toward it. However, I didn’t want a repeat of “Energy” so when I saw a cast member outside I resigned to simply ask what it was.

…Which would lead to one of the strangest conversations I would have with anyone over the entire trip. As I asked the girl what the ride was about, she felt compelled to keep reassuring me that it’s not scary and how it’s a fun ride. But not scary. When I tried to convince her I wasn’t worried about it being scary, but rather curious to the the subject of the ride, I was informed that it’s about a little dragon…that’s not scary.

I’m not sure what prompted all this, as I didn’t think I looked like I was terrified of fictional reptiles, and given my fascination with the Maleficent Dragon, I figured a dragon would be right up my alley. After the exchange, I almost felt it’d be stupid NOT to go on the ride, so, now extra confident it wasn’t a scary ride, I went inside.

The ride starts and instantly I recognize the ride from my first trip. I remember it being like an acid trip when I was kid. Guess what? It hasn’t changed. Though I don’t remember Eric Idle being part of the ride. Either way, it’s a cute ride, but not something I would recommend for anyone without little ones in tow.

Once I was out of there, I headed off to world showcase as we were getting closer to lunch. But before that, it was first to hit up the American Adventure. Easily the most technologically impressive showcase of the nations. Though what I found the most interesting was, unlike all the others, America isn’t proud of what it is NOW. The message of the show is that it’s proud of where it came from. When you consider when this show was written/programmed, that’s a helluva statement. Canada, France, China, and all the others are proud of their nations currently. America? It’s proud of its history. Mark Twain summed it up perfectly in his line “The golden era is never the current one.” Sitting here in November 2016, I confess that I can’t stop thinking about that line.

After American Adventure, it was lunch time, so off to Chefs De France to enjoy some quality French Cuisine!

Once I reached the restaurant, I checked in and was immediately seated at a wonderful table with a marvelous view of the walk way. My waiter showed up to take my order and I ordered the Poulet fermier à la Layonnaise, pomme puree. Prior to the trip, I had practiced how to say this decided to gave it whirl, much to the cringe of my waiter, who looked at me like I just ordered rotten fish with used egg shells on the side.

“You want the beef?” He asked. Oh come on, there’s no way I screwed it up THAT much. But I just resigned that now is not the time I will be dazzling anyone with my impromptu French skills and informed him, in my primitive English language, that I was after the Chicken with vinegar sauce.

He nodded and vanished and came back out in only a few minutes with a leg of chicken, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. As I looked upon my plate, I suddenly became very thankful that I have learned to properly carve a fowl. The downside is I needed a knife that was up to the task, and this butter knife was not going to …cut…it. (sigh, sorry). I asked for a sharper knife, and was brought me a big bread knife. Realizing this was the best I was going to get, I set to work carving my bird. After about 5 minutes of carving, and I’m sure being a subject of snickering by the waitstaff in the background, I finished and proceeded to eat.

The chicken wasn’t bad but it was super dry. The sauce was absolutely delicious though. But while the protein was novel and enjoyable, the mashed potatoes and broccoli were not. Very bland; edible but that’s about all the praise I could give to either of the sides.

Once I finally was able to track down my waiter to get a check so that I could leave, it was off to Impressions De France and wow was that hilariously overserious. But while serious, it was entertaining. Though I would love to see them update that movie.

After I was done with the French, the heat of the day was starting to weigh on me and I was still pretty beat from yesterday. Having seen everything left from EPCOT that I wanted to see during the day, I decided to head back to the hotel and fit in a power nap and then come back to EPCOT take it all in during the night.

Turns out though, the second half of the monorail was down, so the only ways back to the hotel was the ferry. Having not ridden the ferry yet, I was all about that. I climbed aboard and enjoyed a delightful float, that was surprisingly short, over the lake. As we crossed the middle of the lake, I just can’t get over at how pretty everything is.

I get back to my room and pretty much crash. Around 7PM, I awake and am refreshed and ready to go. But before I do, my mom gives me a call to see how my trip is going. I fill her in quickly on everything that’s happened so far. She’s thrilled and relieved I’m having a good a time as I am. We say our good-byes and I’m nearly out the door when I notice the cloud formation in the sky.

Do you see what I see? That. Is. Awesome!

With a huge smile, I out the door and onto a bus and back to EPCOT. However, the phone call ended up costing me a lot of time, so now I’m not sure I’m going to make it to Illuminations on time. I’m also worried I would need to fight the crowds in order to get a good spot as they will have surely began gathering by now. I remember back in 1990, we sat in the same spot for a whole hour to make sure we had a decent view (that ended up being a bit futile).

I’m back at EPCOT, “randomly” selected by security, and on my way to World Showcase. But it looks like my fears are unfounded as Illuminations is at 9PM and I’m in World Showcase by 8:40PM. The whole area is also sparsely populated, and there’s no crowds to fight at all. I relax with relief. This is gonna be good.

I burn up the last of the time by zipping through the various nations and taking pictures of the buildings lit up for night. My favorite view would be France with the moon gleaming overhead. Unfortunately, my cameras are terrible at night photography, so the best I can do is a blurry shot with the iPhone. I also notice that the weather is absolutely perfect tonight. Not hot, not cold, not even humid, but that perfect temperature with a slight breeze that does nothing but move the smoke of fireworks out of the way so you can see everything.

As I am going through the nations, I’m also looking for that perfect spot to be in so I can watch the show. Even though we waited an hour, in 1990 it was so crowded that the most I saw was whatever was directly overhead as all I mostly saw was the tops of adults’ shoulders. So whatever I see now will be all new and I’m excited for it. I finally picked out a place somewhere between France and England but really, I could have set up anywhere. The crowds were so low that there was no need to fight for anything.

The show starts and it’s everything I hoped for. Unfortunately, my viewing angle wasn’t the best and the globe was hidden through most of the show. To add some hilarity, the wind would change a bit and all the smoke and ash from the fireworks would blast the area I’m in. Some people bailed, others endured it. I endured, I didn’t really mind it.

The show ends and as I walk toward the exit, I make it about 50 feet when I realize HERE…would have been a much better spot. Full view of everything. Ah well. But if you really want the truly best spot, set up along Mexico. Wish I would’ve remembered that earlier. But it doesn’t matter. The show was fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere.

As I head toward the exit, I’m again taking pictures of everything at night. EPCOT looks awesome at night, and rivals MK. Once I get to Future World, I remember there’s hidden gems that appear now that it’s dark and I go seek them out. I find them easily enough and apparently no one else notices them as I am alone and able to take several pictures and photos…but someone eventually notices me and it’s not long before my fascination with what’s on the ground draws a crowd.

Taking that as my queue to leave, I bid farewell to EPCOT and am content with how everything played out
I hope aboard the monorail and at the TTC, I decide I want to take the Ferry again. It was pretty cool earlier and faster than I would’ve thought, so why not? Well apparently, it’s only taking traffic FROM MK. Oooookay, never mind then.

Back onto the monorail and toward MK and I lay out my plan for the rest of the night: close down MK (closes at 11PM), then back to Disney Springs (closes at 12AM), then to the Board Walk(Closes at 2AM). As you can see, I apparently think I can simply teleport wherever I want to go. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I reach MK and a dole whip is calling my name so after security and mickey posts, I head off to grab one. Dang these things are good. I’m fairly sure I devoted a whole gift card to these things alone.

I don’t do much at MK other than walk around. I’m not riding rides, I’m just taking in atmosphere and enjoying every second. After the dolewhip was done, I’m apparently not fat enough, so I grab an ice cream from the sundae shop on Main Street and dig in. And not just a small one either, oh no… we’re going two big scoops with a waffle cone, thankyouverymuch. …Could I be more of a child?

As I finish my ice cream and the Kiss Goodnight plays, it’s past 11 and I come to the realization that my earlier plan is not actually feasible. The bus ride to DS is probably at least an 30-40 minutes, so by the time I get there, it’ll be closed or close to. I could go straight to the boardwalk, but that didn’t make whole lot of sense because I did see pretty much all of it last night, and I don’t think there’s really anything left to see that would warrant a two-hour visit. And neither of these destinations currently justified an uber trip in my mind.

Since it was so late, I decided to just bail on both for tonight, and instead go back to the hotel. Aaaaaafter yet another circuit of the park…

To be continued…

14 Likes

Yay! Thanks for writing more for us!

1 Like