Friday, December 12th, 2008

Today was the first day of official RADP meets, so both Kevin and I were up and around early. We went off to the food court for breakfast, where I had a breakfast wrap without the bacon. When we were done, we drove over to Animal Kingdom, and made our way inside easily.

Kevin, having a wonderful time on the parking tram

As we walked, we ran into Big Brian, who accompanied us the rest of the way. Just past Discovery Island, Kevin made a stop for some coffee at a coffee cart. I had to stave myself off from buying one of their slices of coffee cake, despite how yummy they looked.

When we arrived at Triceratops Spin for our first meet, the turnout was disappointingly low. Fortunately, the longer we stood there, the more people showed up, so the turnout was decent after all (but this was still by far the smallest RADP meet of the year, most likely thanks to the Allearsnet meet and greet in Harambe). The music in the area was really funny, which eventually inspired all of us to dance around and do-si-do all over the place. It was too funny!

Kevin and Pam, having fun at the Dinoland meet

Everyone, assembled at the Dinoland meet

After a while, we decided that we should go ahead and start the meet, so we all headed into the Primeval Whirl queue. We probably waited for the better part of 20 minutes, but the time passed quickly since we were all joking around with each other.

I ended up riding in a car with Kevin and Jan, and the ride spun like a teacup for the entire second half of the ride! This is such a fun ride, and is way better than the clones I have ridden of it since they run it so much wilder.

After Primeval Whirl, we all went over to Triceratops Spin, and were the first people in line for our ride.

The music came back on, and we all started dancing in the queue again, which was so much fun. I rode next to Charlotte, who had never ridden this ride before, and Brian was in the back of our dinosaur. It's not a terrible thrilling ride, but when you ride it with a group of your goofy friends, suddenly it becomes a lot more fun!

After Triceratops Spin, we milled around for a while, then decided to go to the nearby "Whack-a-Pacycephalosaurus" game and play. It was $2 for each player, and we had 8 people, so we were eligible for a large prize. The game was neck and neck between Kevin and I, with him ultimately pulling out a very slight win (150 points to 140!).

He ended up winning some kind of leopard print dinosaur, which he promptly named Leonard the Leopardosaurus. Little did we all know how much we would be seeing of Leonard later in the week!

We had a little bit of time to kill before our Dinosaur meet, so me, Kevin, Carol, Tracy and Jack somehow decided to wander around inside Restaurantosaurus for a bit. I think it began as a bathroom break in the Restauroomasaurus, which then morphed into wandering around inside the closed restaurant.

I'd never explored most of it though, since the only time I'd ever eaten there was for the character breakfast they used to have (which was lame). It was actually really interesting inside once you get a chance to stop and look at all of the theming. I even climbed up on a chair to see if a tackle box was glued shut, which it was. I guess they anticipated people like me wanting to know if the drawers opened or not hehe

Carol warms her hands over the topping bar

After our time in Restaurantosaurus, we all headed over to Dinosaur for our second meet. We found everyone in a little alcove off to the left of the main path, so we stopped there first. After a while, we decided that since our listing said that we'd be meeting in front of Aladar, we should move up there, so we all moved en masse. When we did, we found a bunch of new people hanging around. I don't remember everyone's names, but I do remember Allison, who was a travel agent with a booth at Mousefest. She was a lot of fun, and seemed very friendly and eager to meet everyone. She ended up in line next to me, so we did a lot of chatting while we waited.

We only ended up waiting about 10 minutes or so, which was passed quickly by chatting with our new friends. During the ride, we all had decided to do the "Home Alone" screaming face, which came out looking really funny, though a lot of people forgot to do it! After the ride, the visitors to the group dispersed and the rest of us decided on Flame Tree barbecue for lunch. I don't do barbecue restaurants, so I said that I would pick up some lunch at Restaurantosaurus and carry it over to Flame Tree's seating area. With that, we split ways.

I decided to grab a burger since burgers are something that I don't tend to eat all that often nowadays. I loaded it up with pickles and whatnot, then headed over to Flame Tree. It was chilly, so my burger was room temperature by the time I got there, but that's my own fault. I spotted John headed for the seating area, so I followed him...good thing, as I would have been wandering around for a while had I not seen him! My burger was ok, though would have been better had I been able to eat it as soon as I got it.

Leonard loves lemonade

Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals, and soon it was time to go over to Camp Minnie Mickey for our "Say Cheese with the Big Cheese" meet.

When we all arrived in Camp Minnie Mickey, we were early, so we all took turns having bathroom breaks before the meet started. Kim arrived pretty soon, and it was great to see her! I really hate that she and I don't get many chances to hang out throughout the year anymore like we used to. A couple from also arrived, which was cool since I had taken a really cute photo of them at last year's meet, but had no clue who they were so I could pass the photo along to them! By the time the meet was starting, Allison had shown up, so I got in line next to her and two other ladies that were from other communities. I had a great time chatting with them all...they were so much fun, and I really hope that they can make it out to other RADP events in the future! Allison and I spent a considerable amount of time exchanging College Program stories as well, which is always fun!

When it was time for our photo, we handed over a mountain of cameras to the CMs in the bungalow thingy, and we got a really great photo! It was Kevin's idea to have a photo taken with Mickey Mouse in every park, and I liked the idea from the get go.

But once I saw the first one, I knew that these were going to be amazing photos that I would treasure forever! I love my RADP friends, I love Mickey was a logical merger of the two :-)

When we were done, all the newbies scattered, and the old-timers hung around and waited for the Festival of the Lion King show to start. I spent the whole time chatting with Kim about this and that, and soon it was time for the meet to start. Beforehand, I had planned on leaving and helping Charlotte and John set up for their party that night, but they didn't end up having any room in their car for me to ride with them, and I didn't want to strand Kevin at Animal Kingdom without our rental car. So grudgingly, I decided to go ahead and watch the show. The only other time I had seen this show was on my first visit, in May of '98, within about a month of the park's opening. I hated the show then, so I was really hoping that I wouldn't hate it quite so badly this time.

The Festival of the Lion King meet

I ended up chatting with Kim and Carol the entire time while we waited, while we loaded into the theater, and right up until the show started. I still think this show is uber-lame, and I truly do not understand ANY of the accolades this show gets. The individual acts like the fire juggler and the tumble monkeys are fine, but it's that in between part with the dancing animals and audience interaction that just makes me want to poke my eyes out. But I sat there and sucked it up, making sure not to ruin it for everyone else. I was very glad when the show was over, and I really, really hope that I can go another 10 years before having to watch this horrible show again!

We had some extra time before the party at Jan and Charlotte's was supposed to start, so we all decided to go ride Kilimanjaro Safari in the meantime. When we arrived, we happened upon a CM who had some extra Fastpasses and said we could have the rest of them. So luckily, we were able to get enough for each person in our group who didn't already have one from earlier in the day.

When it was time to hand over the Kilimanjaro Safari Fastpasses, Leonard did the honors.

The wait was minimal, and when we boarded, I ended up sitting next to Jack M. This definitely wasn't one of the more interesting safaris I'd been on since so many of the animals weren't visible at all. We did catch some good airtime on the trip back to the station when the guide hits the gas and runs over the little ditches so quickly. Fun.

After the ride, a group of us went over to Expedition Everest and we all caught a ride through the single rider line. By this time, it was just about time for us to all go over to Jan and Charlotte's, so we all made the walk out to the parking lot.

Leonard hitches a ride in Tracy's hood

Leonard terrorizes Pam on the way to the car

Hippy Dippy Poo? Oh my!

Tracy and Jack rode with us, and we made a quick stop by Pop Century before we left for the party. With everything done there, we drove over to Old Key West and found the unit easily since it was the only one that was extensively decorated for Christmas.

Inside, we found a bunch of our friends already there, with more on their way in every minute. The food spread, like always, was huge and smelled delicious. For months before the trip, I'd been asking Charlotte to make her artichoke dip for me, which I swear is the most pungeantly garlicky thing I have ever eaten! She made it last year and I think I ate half the bowl, I loved it so much. So of course that was the first thing I went for and again, it was heavenly!

Just a part of the spread, with the famed white dip in the center!

I ate a bunch of the other stuff too, including pasta, corn casserole, cheesy squash something that was really good, and tons of chips, dips, crackers and such. There were also sweets of every kind you could imagine! These ladies go all out for this party, and it shows! Everything I had was delicious!

Everyone watching Kevin's DVD

We all took our time and had a great time just chatting and sharing stories with each other. I spent a lot of time with Kevin and Laura looking through Japan photos, then with Rob and Kim chatting about a little bit of everything. Toward the end of the night, Kevin stuck in his Urinetown DVD in and we got to watch a little of his performance. After a while, the crowd started to thin out and people started to go their separate ways. A good part of the group had decided to Epcot for the evening, so we all started to separate into different cars. After saying our goodbyes to Jan, Charlotte and everyone else, all the Epcot people decided to ride with Sean and Pam, and I could take our rental back to Pop and not worry about making a drop off at Epcot.

When I left, I went back to Pop Century, and quickly changed since I was planning on going to Universal Cineplex for the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. I had purchased a set of mens pajamas a couple of weeks in advance to wear as a Rocky costume, but I still needed to cut off the legs to make them capri length. So I cut them...and they were still too I did it again, and they were fine that time. I put on my little black slip on shoes, grabbed my new Columbia Mickey ears, and I was ready to go. I called to reconfirm that the show was still happening at midnight, then hurried out the door at about 11:35.

The drive over to Universal was very quick, with almost no traffic at all on I-4. Eventhough it was almost midnight, I still ended up having to park in Jaws, which is the far end of one of the parking structures. You'd think that by the end of the night, they would be parking people in the closest lot, but I guess not! I arrived with about five minutes to spare, so I went to an automated kiosk to buy my ticket, then went inside and found the theater. It was pretty obvious which one was the Rocky theater just by the crowd that was milling around outside the door.

Once I found my seat, the show started within just a few minutes. The guy who was playing Eddie (Bart) was giving his last performance on the night I was there, so to start the show, they did a slideshow of a lot of his photos from previous performances. It was a nice little tribute to him. He actually ended up standing almost right next to me during the first half of the show, which was cool since I got to hear all of the callbacks really clearly as he called them out.

This show was very different from the one performed in Nashville, though similar enough that I knew what to expect. The cast in Nashville is small, with some people playing multiple parts, and minimal use of props. But in Orlando, their cast is very big, and they have elaborate scenery and props that really reflect what's going on in the movie on the screen. It was very well done, and the leaders in the audience who yell the callbacks were great too. Rest assured that if Nashville had a performance like this every week, I'd be there every week.

At the end of the show, everyone left, and everyone swarmed Bart to give him well wishes and have photos taken with him. Ahead of time, I had thought that I wanted to take a picture of myself with whoever played Eddie (since I was dressed as Columbia), but once I saw the crowd around him, I abandonned that idea very quickly! Instead, I went ahead and left, and drove back to Pop Century. I'm not sure how I did it, but I managed to make the entire drive in less than 10 minutes. The show let out at 2:00am, and I was in my Pop Century room at 2:30...and that included hiking out to the parking garage, and coming in from the Pop lot.

Eventhough it was late, I wasn't particularly tired, so I had a crumb cake donut, looked at my photos and watched more of the "7 Must Sees in Walt Disney World" until about 3:00am, when I laid down to go to sleep.

Go to RADP 13, Day 5
Return to the RADP 13 index