Friday, December 11th, 2009

It was my last morning in Florida, and in what seems to have become a trend, I was wanting a nice breakfast. While both of us were still more than halfway asleep, I asked Kevin if he would like to go to Wolfgang Puck's Express for some breakfast before heading off to the parks. He said yes since he'd had other breakfasts there and really enjoyed it. So after showering and finishing up my final bits of packing, I bid farewell to our lovely Hilton room.

On the way out of the hotel, I settled the bill for our parking, then made my way out of the parking lot for the last time. We drove over to the Marketplace instead of walking so we would already have the car with us and not need to stop back by the hotel later. Everything was deserted, so we got a primo spot directly behind Once Upon a Toy, and made our way over to Pucks. We arrived a few minutes before opening, but that gave us a chance to peruse the menu.

When they opened the doors, just like at Sea World, Kevin was the first person admitted for the day, so I got another cheesy photo of him walking through the door!

I decided on the Corn flake crusted French toast since that sounded really really good, and Kevin ended up with a breakfast pizza with some kind of fancy bacon. We sat down for a minute, and pretty soon a server made his way over to the table with our breakfast.

My French toast was was three halves of three really large bagels, each covered in probably a half cup of Corn Flakes! It had some strawberries and bananas on top, as well as some yummy syrup to dunk it all in. I managed to finish off everything, but I did have to scrape away some of the Corn flakes since there were just so many of them!

After breakfast was down the hatch, we went over to Once Upon a Toy and waited a few minutes for them to open.

Me with Mr. Potato Head

Once they opened, I scanned the store to see if I could find a Mashter Yoda, and once again asked a CM if they had any in the back, but I came up dry. Oh well. We didn't really have much else that we needed to look for, so we decided to head on out and drive to Epcot for the last time of my trip.

Once we were back at the car, we drove to Epcot, and made our way into Innoventions since it was still relatively close to park opening.

We were hoping to catch a ride on Sum of All Thrills, but when we arrived, the line was already really long. We got in line, but after a few minutes of debating, we decided to go ahead and leave, and see if we could get on a few other rides instead since the line we were in was going nowhere fast. So we left, and I suggested a ride on Test Track as our next stop.

When we arrived, the standby line was a little longer than we wanted to wait in, so we opted for the single rider line. While we waited, we noticed a family in front of us that was a mom with 4 younger girls. At some point, I heard the youngest girl ask something about if they were going to be able to ride together or not, and heard the mom answer with something like "Well, I think if we ask, they'll let us ride together." Yeah, right! So, we got all the way through the line and up to the loading area, and the mom and one of the older girls were seated in one car before the rest of the girls. Then, predictably, the youngest girl got upset that they weren't riding together and started to cry. The CM who was loading came over and tried to explain that they had to ride separately, but the more she explained, the more the girl cried, until eventually she just said that she would let the remaining three all ride together. Yeah, that mom should get the mom of the year award. Doofus.

Anyway, Kevin and I got seated in the same vehicle for the ride, and when we were done, we decided to go over to the Seas and catch the ride there since I hadn't done it yet on this trip. When we arrived, the queue was completely full and backed up all the way outside! But we waited anyway since even when the queue is completely full, it's only about a 15 minute wait. Soon enough, we were on the ride, and I still love this ride every bit as much as I loved it the first time I rode it.

In an attempt to clean up a few other things that we hadn't done, Kevin and I went into the Land and watched Circle of Life.

Hooray for Circle of Life!

We'd heard rumors that Circle of Life was nearing the end of its run, so we wanted to be sure to see it one last time.

Surprisingly, the theater was more than halfway full when we were seated, which is far and away the most people I have ever seen in that show! When Circle of Life does close, I hope it gets replaced by something that's more repeatable, since I bet I hadn't watched Circle of Life in at least the previous 4 or 5 years.

Kevin suggested watching Honey I Shrunk the Audience next, so we hoofed it over there, and arrived with just a few minutes left in the preshow. The main show was the same as it ever was...which at this point is just too old and outdated. I really hope that this gets replaced or at least upgraded in the next few years since they can really do so much better with 4 D technology these days. While we were there, we also decided to catch a ride on Figment's Journey into Imagination, where we again found the entire queue full! The only time I have ever waited any significant amount for this ride was immediately after it opened, so it was kind of strange to be waiting for it! We did get to hear a lot of the queue audio that you normally walk right by though!

The last thing on the agenda was to attend Masayo's kaki gori meet in the Japan pavilion. So we walked that way, and when we arrived, there was a HUGE group already assembled! Unfortunately it was pretty cold, so almost no one got kaki goris...and of the people who did get them, you could tell that they were all from up north! haha I didn't know most of the people at the meet, but I did get a chance to chat with Deb for a bit, as well as Laura, Lee and Lori, who hadn't been able to make it to the RADP festivities earlier in the week.

Jack and Kevin put the squeeze on Lori

We all had a lot of fun hanging around and chatting, which included a lot of chatting about theater since a few of the people I'd just met were involved in theater the way Kevin is.

After quite a while of hanging around and chatting with new friends, Kevin and I decided to part ways and go for lunch since I was going to need to leave soon. We decided to eat at the Yakitori House since it was nearby and I've had lots of good meals there in the past. Laura and Lee decided to come with us, and ultimately Jack M. decided to join as well, despite already having eaten lunch.

When we arrived, the line was quite long, but it moved continuously so it wasn't too bad. Kevin and I both got the shrimp tempura udon, and ate it with chopsticks much like we did in "real Japan" :-) Lunch was a lot of fun...a great way to end my great vacation. It was also really great to catch up with Laura and Lee since they are usually so busy during the meets, and we don't normally get a lot of time to hang out.

Jack shoots Lee the evil eye. Man, I wish I remembered what Lee said to deserve it!

When we were done with lunch, we all decided to go toward the front of the park, so we all walked out in the direction of Italy and Germany.

When we arrived in Germany, Laura asked us if we had seen the zombie villagers in the train setup, so of course we all said no. So we went over and watched for a minute, and when one of the people doing the Kim Possible challenges comes to the area, there are people in the village who raise their hands and their eyes blink red! Too funny! At that point, Laura and Lee said that they were going to go do their own thing, so we said good bye until next time, and parted ways. Kevin, Jack M. and I continued on toward the front, even pausing for a while to watch the end of a Chinese acrobat performance.

As we passed Norway, I said that I wanted to grab a sweet pretzel for the road, so we joined the line there. This was another really long line, but a chocolate and icing covered pretzel was waiting at the end of it, so I was willing to wait haha. Jack M. said that in all of his visits to Disney World, he had never been in the Kringla Bakeri, so it was a first for him. Jack M. and I got the chocolate pretzels (I got two to eat then and one to take home), and Kevin got a pretzel with almonds. We all pulled up a seat outside and polished off our treats, and had a few final belly laughs before heading off for the front gate.

As we approached, I pondered jumping on for one final ride on Spaceship Earth, but ultimately decided that I'd be be better safe than sorry, so I just used the restroom and decided to leave for the airport. The guys walked me all the way out to the turnstiles, where they each got a big hug, and a sad "See you later."

Then as I walked away, I kept looking back, and they were both still standing there waving at me!

Every time I turned around, they were still sweet :-)

I actually made it all the way out to the parking lot and around a corner before I couldn't see them any more. Man, I love those guys. What a great way to end such a great trip.

When I got to the rental car, the drive to the airport was uneventful. Well, uneventful until I got off at the airport exit and realized that the tank needed to be filled before I dropped it off! So I quickly drove back in the opposite direction, and ended up paying an extra toll in both directions because there wasn't a gas station between the airport and the toll gate! Grrr! But it was my own dumb fault...I should have thought about it beforehand.

I dropped off the rental car with relative ease, but thanks to the extra gas station trip, I was a little later than I was hoping, having left only about an hour to between the rental car drop off and my plane's take off time! Luckily the line at the security checkpoint wasn't too bad, and I was able to make it onto the tram and out to my gate with time to spare.

The flight home, like most, was uneventful as well. When I arrived, I called my dad and he came to pick me up. I underestimated how long it would take him to get there, so I ended up sitting outside on a bench, freezing my butt off (almost literally!), before he arrived. But soon enough, I was back at my house, and on my way back to reality. *sigh* I never can say enough about how much I enjoy my trips with my RADP friends. Sometimes I wonder just what I did to deserve such a great group of friends in my life.

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