Friday, December 4th, 2009

I was awake too early on Friday morning, considering how restless my initial few hours of sleep were. I had brought a pack of chocolate donuts for breakfast, so I ate a few of those while Kevin got ready for the day and called the Budget rental car customer service line. The recording he'd gotten the night before said to call back after 8:00am the next day, which is exactly what Kevin did, but he was still getting the same recording. So he called another line...only to be told that that was 8:00am CENTRAL, and not eastern. Frustrated, we both went on about our morning since there wasn't much else we could do.

After 9:00am (8:00am central!), Kevin got to speak to someone who managed to straighten out his reservation. It was shortened from 10 days down to 7, had me as the only driver, and was to be picked up at the Doubletree Downtown Disney and dropped off at MCO on the day I was leaving. There was a $50 charge to change the ressies, but that was a small price to pay instead of having to take a loss on the whole reservation and rebook something else. I thought it was nice of them to work with him since when I worked in hotels, if you prepaid your stay and you missed the first night, you forfeited your entire stay! With that settled, we headed out for the day.

On the way out, Kevin stopped in the little shop in the lobby for a cup of coffee and a pastry. He ended up spilling some coffee on the counter, which I ended up having to clean up since he refused to! He also got a nasty look from the man who was also standing at the counter fixing his coffee! haha Once that was done, we went outside to the bus stop and grabbed the first bus we saw. Two stops down the line was the Doubletree, which is where we disembarked.

Once we were at the Budget counter, the lady there was very helpful about getting us a car. Right as she handed us the keys, she said "This is a sporty little car!" which I knew wasn't going to work since we were going to have 5 people in the car on the day we were planning to spend at Sea World! So I said no, it had to be able to seat 5 people, and after a moment or two, she reassigned us to another, larger car. The car ended up being a Malibu, which had power windows, locks, seats, volume controls on the steering wheel and even Sirius radio! It was a very nice car...she certainly gave us a nice upgrade when she didn't have to.

With the rental car finally straightened out, we headed off for Animal Kingdom. We'd already missed the Safari meet, but were hoping to be there in time for the Finding Nemo the Musical meet.

After parking and taking the tram to the gate, Kevin headed off for the Guest Relations line while I went ahead to meet up with everyone. Apparently when he lost his camera in October, he lost is Disney annual pass and his driver's license at the same time!

I called Tracy, and she said that everyone was on the safari right then, so I went over to the safari exit to intercept everyone. I only had to wait a few minutes before I saw everyone coming out. Some of the first people I saw come out were Sean and Pam, then Jack M...

...then Shawna and her fiancÚ David, who had proposed to her the day before! A bunch of other people were there, and it was wonderful to see everyone all in one place again.

Since some people still needed to pick up Expedition Everest Fastpasses, I walked in that direction with Sean, Pam, Shawna, David and Kevin, who had already caught back up with the group. Only a few of us still needed Fastpasses, so we only paused briefly so we could run over and grab our Fastpasses. It was a really damp and dreary day so far, but I didn't care at all since I was hanging out with my RADP friends! When we were done, we all went over to the Theater in the Wild, where the rest of the group had already assembled. There was some discussion about what show we were supposed to be meeting for...we'd set up the schedule in anticipation of a 12:00 show I believe, but the only show anywhere near our time frame was an 11:30 showing. We all decided to go ahead and go inside since most of the group was there, and hoped that no one would be upset since the plan had to change at the last minute.

For the show, I sat next to Jack M., and got a chance to catch up with him for a few minutes before the show. The show was great, as always, which I still think is funny since I like the show so much more than the movie! Afterwards, we all dumped back outside, where it was beginning to rain a little harder.

Pam, having an epic struggle with her new poncho

A few people decided to go over to Asia and watch Flights of Wonder, while the rest of us just sort of stood there chatting. After a while, the rest of us decided that Flights of Wonder was a pretty good idea to fill up the time before our Tree of Life photo meet, so we all went over there and found the rest of the group easily.

Everyone, assembling for the Flights of Wonder show

Well, about one act into the show, the rain really started to come down. The hostess eventually said that the show was going to have to be cut short since the birds can't perform when it is raining that hard. We hung around inside the theater hoping that the rain would slack up, but when it didn't appear to be getting any lighter, we all decided to move along and go over to the drums at the entrance to Harambe.

Our Flights of Wonder group was the first group to arrive, so we took shelter in a nearby seating area in an attempt to stay dry. After a few more minutes, we wrangled a Photopass photographer (why a Photopass photographer was roaming around out in the rain, I have no idea, but we found him!) and assembled for the photo.

It wasn't that great of a photo since everyone was in ponchos or holding umbrellas, but it's certainly a great memory of just how wet and dreary but fun the day was!

The next meet on the agenda was the picnic lunch meet, but since it was still raining so hard, we knew that no one was going to be sitting in the outdoor seating area of Pizzafari to eat! So a few people who ordered the picnic lunch went to pick up theirs, while everyone else just headed inside and got in line to grab the munchies of their choice. I decided on a pepperoni pizza since really it is quite rare that I order pizza in Disney World since there are so many other options.

I found the rest of the group in the room just past the registers to the left. I sat with John, Charlotte, Sean, Pam, Carol, Rick, John H. and a few others. My pizza was really tasty...much better than I remembered my last Disney pizza to be. It also came with a nice Caesar side salad, which was included in the price. After a few minutes, Kevin arrived, and was flustered because of a mix-up with the family in line beside him. Something had gone wrong with their meal plan, and once it was finished, the cashier checked out the person behind them instead of switching to the other side and checking out Kevin.

Poor guy...he was really having an "It's Tough to be a Kevin" day!

After a long time of just hanging around and chatting, we all decided to move along. The Expedition Everest meet time was fast approaching, and despite the rain, everyone wanted to be on time. I donned my poncho as we left...something I don't normally do, but I didn't want to get wet while we were riding! When we arrived, we didn't see anyone else milling around the area, so we all ducked inside the gift shop so we could stay dry. While we waited for the official start of the meet, of course we took the liberty of being goofy and posing for numerous silly photo ops inside the gift shop!

Pam laments the fact that this shirt doesn't come in adult sizes

When the meet time arrived, a few more people had wandered in, so we all went ahead and got in line. Because of the rain, there was no wait, so we all got in the regular standby line instead of the Fastpass line.

"And here's a photo of last year's RADP meet!"

I decided to ride with my poncho on since it was still kind of misty, and it was so funny to feel so whipped around! When the ride was over, we all reassembled in the gift shop, and decided as a group to go over to Dinoland for a few rides.

When we approached Primeval Whirl, a big bunch of us got in line, and separated ourselves into groups of 3.

Catherine and Kevin, waiting for Primeval Whirl

We didn't plan it out very well though since my car was me, Catherine and Carrie, and I ended up in the seat with Carrie! I think we'd have both been more comfortable had Catherine and Carrie ridden together! haha

If you can't ride with an umbrella, I guess this is the next best option!

After the ride, we all headed over to Dinosaur.

Catherine and Kevin give it their best shot!

On the way in, everyone's shoes were squeaking really loudly, which of course made us twist our feet on the floor and be even MORE loud about it! It sounded so funny. We had basically no wait, and all ended up in the same Time Rover for the ride. After the ride, we all played around in the gift shop...

...particularly with some little boys shoes with big eyeballs on the sides of them.

It was nearing time for the parade and Dawa Bar meet, so I tried (in vain!) to hustle everyone out of the shop and over to Harambe. On the way, a couple of people decided to take a break in Restauroomosaurus. I could have sworn that I saw Carol go into the bathroom with Catherine, but after a few minutes of waiting for her, she didn't come out. So we sent Pam in to look for her, waited a few more minutes, then Pam didn't come out! Catherine and I had the giggles by this point, so we both went in to look for them, hoping not to be sucked into the Restauroomosaurus vortex that was swallowing RADPers that day! When we got inside, neither of them were in there! But thankfully, when we got back outside, Pam was there waiting for us. Ultimately we decided that Carol must not have gone in in the first place, and we went on over to Harambe.

By the time we all arrived in Harambe, the meet time had long passed, but it was no concern since the parade had been canceled because of the day long rainstorm. We did find a few people in the bar, including Kim, who I was very excited to see! A few people grabbed drinks or snacks, but most people just sat around chatting and laughing. A Japanese lady CM came over to us at one point, and we started chatting with her about who we were and how we knew each other. Eventually, we started talking about Japan since I noticed that her name tag said she was from one of the cities we visited (it was either Tokyo or Osaka, but I forget which one). After a while, people started to peel away from the group and go back to their respective hotels to freshen up and dry off before Jan and Charlotte's party that night. Since so few of us were left by that point, we all decided to go ahead and leave as well.

Kevin and I walked out with Catherine and Kim since Kim had stuff in her car for both Catherine and I. She'd picked up some bottled water and a tub of cream cheese for me, and some sodas for Catherine, all of which was stuff we couldn't really bring on the airplanes. After stowing our stuff, we all piled into the car, and headed back toward Downtown Disney. Since Catherine was staying at the Downtown Disney end of Saratoga Springs, we ended up driving her home a lot over the course of the trip since it would get her there so much faster than a bus, and it was really only like 2 blocks out of the way for us. Of course this time, we missed the unmarked turn in for Saratoga, and ended up driving all the way out to the cast baseball diamonds before realizing that we had missed the turn! Once we came back, we found it easily since we were on the right side of the street!

Once Catherine was dropped off, Kevin and I went back up to our hotel room. I changed out of my soggy pants and into nice, dry ones. Since we still had a little bit of time to kill before we needed to leave for the party, Kevin suggested looking at his photos on the big LCD TV in our room since it had a camera plug on the side. It was really cool to be able to see all of our photos so big, and they all looked great so far! I also put my memory card into Kevin's camera so we could look at my photos.

After a while, Kevin discovered the joy of using the TV to frame up photos of himself, so we spent a good long while just taking goofy photos of each other! I didn't think I was ever going to stop laughing, we were laughing so hard!

Finally it was time to head off to the party, so we went back over to Saratoga Springs and picked up Catherine and her mom. When we arrived at Old Key West, I told the security guard that we were going to the party in room ****, and the security guard replied "Wow, this must be some party!" hahaha When we arrived, the party was already in full swing.

Shawna and David chatting with Sam and Mariah

Yeah! Tracy and Jack know how to party!

Laurie, Don, Rob and Catherine catch up at the party

We sampled some of the goodies, which were delicious as always, and of course I had another big helping of the garlic dip! It was great to see everyone, especially Sam and Mariah, who had made a special trip down just to attend the party and a few of the events on Saturday. That's some real commitment to RADP, I'd say! My main goal of the night was to see about getting people to sign my big photo book that I had made back in the summer. I'd brought it in September and had shown it to a bunch of people then, so I was eager to try and collect up as many more signatures as I could.

As the night went on, more and more people came and went, and more and more people got to look at my book. The only bad part is that the book is so long that it takes a long time to look through, which meant that a lot of people didn't get a chance to look at it or sign it. I guess that just means that I have to bring it back next year!

Lisa, Kevin and Donna, having a good time at the party

Masayo even gave origami lessons at the party!

Finally, after quite a few hours, the crowd was dwindling, so the ones of us who were left decided to call it a night. Kevin and Donna wanted to go back to Epcot for Extra Magic Hours, but I was too wiped out and wanted to go back to the room for some shut eye. So Kevin and Donna headed off to Epcot while the rest of us scattered in our respective directions. I drove back to the hotel, and it didn't take much time for me to hit the sack.

Go to RADP 14 - DAY 3
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