Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

We were both up and around very early on our first morning in Disney World since Kevin wanted to go to the Main Street Barber Shop and get his hair cut, which most definitely required arriving at park opening. I had a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, along with a bottle of grape juice and some water.

Me with Martin!

When we were done, we decided to take the bus to the park so we could avoid the hassle of parking at the TTC. When we got on the bus, Scott was already on the bus!

The ride to the Magic Kingdom was quick, and when we got off the bus, we both said hi to Scott. We were still about half an hour early for park opening...something completely unheard of for me just two years ago! hahaha So we milled around and chatted, and soon it was time for the opening show, which I had never seen before. It was cute enough, and the train full of characters was a cute touch. As soon as the rope was dropped, we walked straight to the Main Street Barber Shop, and were the third group in line.

Time to get those mutton chops shaved off!

The two little boys in front of us were so cute, and so well behaved when they got their hair cut. Soon it was Kevin's turn, and the lady who was cutting his hair was a riot! She was joking with him and having fun, all the while cutting off his Roy Orbison mutton chops.

Kevin is very excited to be getting his hair cut!!

When she was done, she put some green gel in his hair, and gave him a liberal sprinkle of pirate dust or whatever they called it.

Also, at one point, she put some Mickey stickers on his shoes, and Kevin joked that she should label them "right" and "left" hahaha. While I was taking pictures, the lady snuck some pirate dust into my hair too! Ugh! But it was cute, I guess. You could tell that both Kevin and the lady cutting his hair had had a good time, and she said that we had really started her day off right!

When we were done, I said that I wanted to pick up a pair of Mickey ears, so I went across the street to the Chapeau. I ended up picking a solid black hat with two solid black ears...quite tame considering some of the fur and feather covered choices they had for hats and ears! I also paid for the personalization on them, opting to have "Columbia" written on them so I can wear them as part of a costume when I go to Rocky Horror showings. I stepped outside for a bit to chat with Kevin and Scott who were waiting on a nearby bench, and when I went back inside the Chapeau, I overheard a conversation about my name request. One person was like "We can't write 'Columbia' on it, that's the name of a country!" then someone else said "No, that's 'Colombia' with an O, this is 'Columbia' with a U." haha It *is* a strange name, so I was hoping that I wouldn't have to lie and tell them it was a family member or something. Luckily after a few more minutes, they called for me, and I picked them up with no further issue.

When we were done, we all paused and Kevin said "So what do we want to do?" After a second, I piped up with "TTA!" so we went over to Tomorrowland. On the way, we decided to grab some Buzz Lightyear Fastpasses since the return time was within an hour. Afterward, we jumped on the TTA with no wait, and enjoyed the ride. I still love the TTA, and I hope that they never decide to do a Rocket Rods type redo on this's such a welcome little respite of a ride.

While on the TTA, we noticed that Space Mountain was a walk on, so after the ride, Kevin and I went to catch a ride. Scott doesn't do coasters, so he waited outside while we went in. Rumor has it that this building will be gutted and a new coaster will be completely rebuilt, so I decided to give a ride on the left side just in case I didn't get to ride it again. We walked all the way up to the loading area, and didn't even have a 5 train wait before we were on the ride. It's interesting that any time I've ridden Space Mountain in the last three or four years, we always choose to ride the right side. So it was strange to be on a ride that I knew so well, yet have it be opposite of what I am used to riding. It was a nice ride...I remember the left side being rougher than the right in the past, but it seemed to be much smoother this time around.

When we were done, we found Scott and went over to Buzz since our Fastpasses were valid. I rode with Scott and kicked his butt four times over! Afterward, we were all hungry so we decided on lunch on Cosmic Rays. I'd seen a veggie burger on the menu there and had been meaning to try it for a couple of years, so I decided that today was the day! There were very few people there when we arrived, so I didn't have any wait at all to get my food. When the girl rang me up, I clearly said that I wanted a cup of ice water (which is free), but she charged me for a bottle of water, so she had to do some kind of refund, and I had to sign a paper saying that it was being refunded to me.

Once I got my veggie burger, I piled it high with tomatoes, pickles and sauteed mushrooms, but even through all of that, it had pretty much no flavor at all. What I could taste tasted like green bell peppers, but really most of what I tasted was the pickles and mushrooms. The bread was kinda dry too. So was an interesting experiment, and if I was a vegitarian I guess it would be a nice alternative to salads, but it's not something I will get again, considering that I can get a burger and it would taste better. During lunch, we watched the Sonny Eclipse show, then headed out when we were done.

The next person to pipe up about a ride they wanted to ride was Kevin, who said he wanted to ride Haunted Mansion. Along the way over there, we noticed the extensive stroller parking in the old skyway station...I wonder what Disney will do with all those strollers once the fondue restaurant opens there?? haha We also made a quick pass through Yankee Trader, but none of us bought anything. The ride had almost no wait, and was a great ride, like always.

Afterwards, we decided to ride Pirates of the Carribean, but made a stop in the Agrabathrooms first (y'know, those bathrooms that are in the tunnel in between Adventureland and Frontierland). When I was done, I went into the store next door and started browsing. When Kevin was done, he came in and noticed a hopscotch board on the floor. He jumped down the board, which caught the attention of a group of high school or college age girls nearby. One of them freaked out like "OMG I didn't see the hopscotch board!" and quickly ran over to hop down it.

When she did that, all the other girls ended up lining up behind her so they could video tape themselves, including one who had never seen it and had no idea how to play hopscotch! Thinking it was hilarious, Kevin ran to the back of the line and got into their video as well! It was too funny!

When we were done, we went ahead and rode Pirates, then decided to head out of the park and go to Epcot for a bit. We said goodbye to Scott for the moment, then took the monorail back to the TTC, then another monorail on to Epcot.

On the way, we managed to have an entire section of the monorail to ourselves! Of course, this meant a lot of walking over the seats, hanging from the poles and whatnot haha!

After arriving at Epcot, the first thing we decided to do was take a ride on Spaceship Earth since it didn't have any wait. The ending was better this time since I chose completely random answers.

My choices ended up giving us a video of me and Kevin skiing, then Kevin wiping out, falling on top of me and breaking his arm. Then he is rescued and his arm is fixed by a doctor who he only sees via computer. It was much better than the ending I get when I answer truthfully to everything. When we left Spaceship Earth, Kevin said he wanted to see Stormstruck as well, so we went over there next. We were the last two people let into the theater, and like me, he seemed to think it was a decent show to be in Innoventions.

Leaving Stormstruck, Kevin suggested that we play "Don't Waste It!" which is a little game about recycling and waste management. The first part of the game is to answer some questions about how much waste we generate.

Kevin navigates our trash truck to the first stop

The next step is to sort out our recycleables by using touch screens that have recycleables floating by on them. I was metal, so anytime I saw a can or a piece of scrap metal come across my screen, I would grab it with my finger and throw it into my recycle bin. Also, since Kevin was paper, any time I would see paper on my screen, I'd grab it and throw it over to his screen so he could recycle it. It was fun, and we did somewhat well with it.

Next up, we were paired with another team, and used computers to pick up "burnable" waste and feed it into incinerators. The other team would scoop the garbage onto our playing field, then we would use joysticks to pick up the garbage and incinerate it. We always ended up with more dry garbage than wet, so our game repeatedly said "The temperature is burning too hot! Add some wet garbage to cool it down!" or something like that!

The last game we had to play was a landfill game where you had to scoop dirt and trash into a landfill and try to make the most layers in the alloted time so you could create the most methane gas. We got three layers, which I'm pretty sure is the best you can do with it since we moved absolutely as fast as it could go. When we went to the finale station to see how we'd done, we did almost perfect, lacking just a little bit on the recycling sorting game. It was really cute though, and we had a great time. I really doubt I would have ever stopped to play this on my own, but I'm so glad I did!

Afterward, Kevin said he wanted to see about finding Tony, since he was working at the DVC booth near the Canada pavilion that day. So we walked that way, and found him easily just where he said he would be. After saying our hellos, we hung around for quite a while just chatting and catching up with him. After a while, a couple came up who seemed to be genuinely interested in buying DVC, so we gave them some room and walked over to the Canada pavlion to watch their Santa storyteller. It was cute, and when it was over, Tony was still occupied with the couple. Since it was nearing time for us to leave, we decided to go ahead and go, and we waved goodbye to him as we left. I hate when people do that to me, but we definitely didn't want to interrupt him and risk his losing a DVC sale!

We caught a bus back to the hotel (luckily it was waiting right there for us, so we didn't have to wait at all) and quickly went back to the room. I changed from my tennis shoes into my flip flops since it was a beautiful day outside, and since Kevin and I had decided to ride Kali River Rapids that night since that's a ride we never get to ride in December since it's too cool! After a few minutes, we loaded up and drove on over to Animal Kingdom so we could meet the group for dinner.

When we arrived, we went straight over to Tusker House to meet our group for dinner. Charlotte had called when we were on our way in, so we knew to go over to the Kilimanjaro Safari Fastpass area to find her.

John and Charlotte

Kevin and Pam both thought my picture was so cute that they needed their own!

Sure enough, she was one of the first people we saw, along with John, Tracy and Jack and their friend Laura. After all the requisite hugs and exclamations of "My babies are home!!" from Charlotte, we all walked back over to the main pathway near the restaurant. Little by little others started to arrive...eventually Sean, Pam, Lou, Amanda and Brian had all trickled in. We sat there for the better part of an hour just chatting and was SO great to see everyone again. Sometimes the meets feel like they sneak up on you and are there before you know it, but times like these really show me just how long a year actually is. I hate that I don't see my friends more often, but then, it's nice that our little reunion is so special since it's so infrequent.

After a while it was time for our seating, so we all went back to the podium and waited to be seated. The original reservation was only for 10, but we were hoping to squeeze in 12 people if it wasn't too much hassle. The restaurant turned out to have a lot of empty space, so accomodating two more was no issue at all. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this buffet, and I am pretty sure that it has taken over Boma's place atop my list of favorite restaurants in Disney World. It's so good, and I was very pleased to see that the menu had no been dumbed down since last year. They still had the delicious chicken curry, and the fabulous pearl couscous. I had a little bit of a lot of stuff, including baked chicken, seafood stew, rice, hummus, tandoori veggies, samosas and salmon. And of course, I had to have some of the baklava since, y'know, how often do you find baklava on a buffet??

Dinner was a blast, and since I was sitting next to Superhero Lou Mongello, it was nice to get to know someone new for a change. It was interesting to see his persepctive on the whole Mousefest phenomenon from someone on the inside who really has a financial stake in it.

Kevin has a real "between the Cherrys" moment

Kevin and I also had a great time talking about our trip to Japan. When we were almost done, we noticed that it was already almost 7:30, and the park was closing at 8:00! We were all done with settling our bills anyway, so we all headed out en masse toward Expedition Everest.

We quickly divided up into riders and non-riders, then handed over bags to the non-riders before entering the queue. I forgot my room key, so had to quickly run back to John, who was holding my bag, and grab my key then run back up with the rest of the group. There was no wait (as expected) and the ride was great (also as expected). The yeti was in B mode, and honestly I think it would have been tough to spot him if you didn't know just where to look. The strobes on him were few and far between, and really didn't illuminate him that well.

When our ride was over, we only had about five minutes to hightail it over to Kali if we intended on riding. The only other taker that we had was Jack, so the three of us quickly made our way over to Kali. I had only ever ridden this ride once before, and that was in 1998 or 1999, on my first trip after the ride opened. I remembered not getting terribly wet on my first ride, so I was holding out hope that I wouldn't get terribly soaked. As we wound through the extremely long and winding queue, I remembered that I thought this queue was among the better ones at Disney World...too bad I don't get to see it very often. I could say the same thing for the Everest queue, since I am generally either using a Fastpass or going as a single rider.

When we got up to the loading area, the ride op loaded us into a raft with some other people already in it, then sent us out on what would be the last raft of the night. It started out peacefully enough, with some scenery bits here and there. It also felt kinda strange to be in a place that I had been so many times, yet be experiencing something almost entirely new! Well sure enough, right as the ride started to get a little more violent, I got splashed a few times a little worse. Then came the drop...and as we splashed down, an absolute wall of water came up over the back of the raft and completely drenched me! It felt like someone had just taken a bathtub full of water and dumped it straight on my head! Then of course, as we neared the end of the ride, what do we see but Charlotte standing there at one of the water sprayers, waiting to douse us! We were already soaked so her little bit of water didn't matter at all, but we still decided to give her a big group hug when we were done.

We sloshed our way out of the exit, then all of us ran up to Charlotte and gave her big bear hugs! hahaha Somehow, even with as soaked as I was from the ankles up, my feet didn't get a drop of water on them! Lucky though, since I hate walking around in slippery, wet flip flops. The park was closed, so we all went off towards the exit together. The night was still very pleasant, so at least the long walk back to the car wasn't making us freeze to death! When got to the tram stop, we all gave each other hugs again (making sure Charlotte's hug was nice and tight since we were still wet haha) then headed off to our separate cars. We offered Tracy and Jack a ride back to Pop Century, with the only caveat being that we'd have to squeeze into the back seat of the Yaris.

When we got to the car, luckily we discovered that although the Yaris looks miniscule, the backseat is actually quite large and comfortable. Tracy and I fit easily into the back seat. I got in first, then decided to scoot over to make room for Tracy...and in the process left the seat wet behind me! Oops! haha On the way back, we decided to take a stab at catching a Yeehaw Bob show at the River Roost lounge at Riverside. Once I got inside, I peeled my sticky wet clothes off and changed into a decent looking brown outfit and jacket. I also put some curl cream into my hair so it wouldn't look quite so far gone. We didn't linger for very long, and soon we were meeting Tracy and Jack back at the car.

When we got to River Roost, I was pretty surprised to see the turnout that I found! Yeehaw Bob was an older guy who wore a funny hat and sang funny songs on a piano that rocked back and forth. We grabbed a sofa and two chairs in a nearby seating area with a fireplace and settled in to overhear the show. We all got drinks as well, with Jack and I both deciding on a strawberry lychee margarita. After a little while, when we had all finished our drinks, Kevin offered to pick up the tab, which was awfully nice of him. Only then did we discover that those relatively small, relatively weak strawberry lychee margaritas had set Kevin back $11 each!! I felt awful that it cost so much, but none of us knew just how expensive those drinks were before we bought them! Well, lesson learned...don't order the froofy drinks at River Roost any more.

When Yeehaw Bob was done with one of his sets, a bunch of people cleared out and we moved forward into a table about three rows back from the stage. My tiredness was really hitting me by this point, and despite the show it was tough for me to keep my eyes open. The show was cute enough, though I doubt I will go out of my way to come back for another show of his. He sang a song about "Sarah sittin' on a shed house door" which was basically a series of tongue twisters that almost made you say dirty words haha He also sang My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, where the women had to stand up and sit down when they heard certain words or something, but really I wasn't paying attention by that point since I was just too tired.

Jack and Tracy, having a good time in the River Roost

Eventually, the show was over and we all decided to head back to the hotel and catch some shut eye. I was exhausted but WHO CARES because I'd had an awesome day with my friends. By the time we got back, I had absolutely no trouble at all falling right to sleep.

Go to RADP 13, Day 3
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