Julie, a 19 year old Cast Member from Nashville, Tennessee, college sophomore, total Disney addict and writer of the trip report!
Debbie, Julie's mom, a 44 year old Disneyholic, Sunday School teacher, craft nut and lover of all things Piglet!
When?: February 3rd-February 7th, 1999!
Where?: Disney World and Magic Castle Inn and Suites!
How did they do it?: Drove their van for 12 hours!
How long is it?: 3310 words!
Saturday, February 6, 1999
Since we had postponed it earlier in the week, this was the day that we had to go to Animal Kingdom. We got up at 7:15, had breakfast and mom had a shower. Again, I had a spinach bagel with cream cheese and fruit punch, and mom had two donuts and two cups of coffee.
We got to Animal Kingdom at about 8:30 and went straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Eventhough Animal Kingdom isn't my favorite of the parks, I must say that I absolutely love the way they have done Harambe. Any time I go over that bridge, I feel like I have stepped into a completely different world. I know that's what the Imagineers were hoping for, and I think they have achieved it very well. It doesn't feel like Disney World at all.
Since it was still early, the safari didn't have much of a line, so we got on within about five minutes. Our guide was very good, but he didn't go as fast as the last guide we had. In the last part of the ride, she was speeding through the mud puddles like a mad woman, whereas this guy took it pretty slow through the whole ride. It was still great though. The highlight of the safari was when you come around the corner to where the lions are. On the opposite side from the lions, they have lots of antelope or gazelle (don't remember exactly what they are). Well, during the safari, they were running back and forth across the road and all around the vehicle. I was hoping that they would stop right in front of us, but they didn't. It was really interesting seeing all the animals running around and playing right in front of us.
We chose not to walk the Pangani Forest Trail, so we went straight over to DinoLand USA to ride Countdown to Extinction. Not much of a line the first time through, so we decided to do it again. After we were done, we went over to Chester and Hester's in hopes of finding miniature Time Rover vehicles. Since I found out about them, mom said that she had to have one. We found them pretty quickly, as well as a new batch of the dinosaur beanies. I figured that they might be worth something some day, so I bought a set, which was the only time I used my credit card for the entire trip.
After we were done there, we were going to go over to Asia and check out the Jungle Trek they have, but instead we got sidetracked by a sign saying that we could meet Bug's Life characters somewhere else. I absolutely loved Bug's Life, so I really wanted to meet some of the characters. Once we got over to the area, the only character there was Flik. No Heimlich :-( I'm totally obsessed with Heimlich. He's by far my favorite Disney character, after my main Mouse of course. I had a pen with a Heimlich on top of it for him to sign with, so Flik acknowledged that Heimlich was one of his friends. Then I told him that I let Heimlich believe that he's my favorite, when actually it was Flik. He acted really happy, then gave me a big hug.
By now it was about 10:30 I guess and we were already hot and sweaty. Good grief...Animal Kingdom'll do that to ya, even in February. So we called off visiting Asia in favor of going over to MGM Studios. The walk to the tram stop was excruciating because the entire way is in full sun and it was approaching mid-day.
We got over to MGM Studios quickly, and our first stop was the 50's Prime Time Cafe to see if we could get in for lunch in a reasonable amount of time. The guy said there would be about a 30 minute wait, but that was ok. We love 50's Prime Time, so we were willing to wait. We also asked if Brother Lerroy was working. The guy looked kind of puzzled, but then he said that he was there and that he would try to put us at one his tables. YIPPEEE!!!!! We love Brother Lerroy!!!
While we were waiting, I decided to go see my friend Amy (Goofy3102) in the Animation Courtyard. I'd met her in November, and since then, we had chatted online some. When I got over to where she should have been, I didn't see her. Someone asked if they could help me, and I asked if they knew where she was. He said that he could page her, and I kept saying no, that I didn't want to bother her, but he kept insisting, so finally I told him to go ahead. A few seconds later she showed up and we chatted and exchanged pleasantries. I told her about not getting to ride Test Track and as well as about my massive Heimlich collection. After a few minutes, I decided that I needed to go back over to 50's Prime Time so I could be there when they called our names. I told her bye and headed back off in that direction.
When I got back over there, we hadn't been seated yet. So we sat down and in just a few minutes, a guy came into the waiting area screaming "Williams children! Williams children!" Then once we told him that we were the Williams children, he kept saying, "That's great, but I'm looking for the Williams children right now...Williams children!" Finally he looked at us and said "Oh there you are! Where are the other two of you?" We told him that there were only two of us, but the card had said that there were four. Oh well, doesn't matter.
He seated us in a table near another family right in the center of the building. Pretty soon, Brother Lerroy made his entrance...with a fall. Fake I hope. Then he promptly blamed a young girl that was sitting at the next table, calling her a brat and making fun of her. When he came over to us, he asked us how we were doing, then paused and took a good look at me. Then he exclaimed "Hey! I know you!" then looked at my mom and said "Yeah, you too!" Then I plopped Tourist Mickey up on the table, and he started talking about how he remembered us taking Tourist Mickey all over Disney World last November. That was cool. With all the people he meets, he remembered us. I was happy.
Then he grabbed Mickey and took him over to the next table and started telling them what I was doing with him. He's such a hoot. I love Brother Lerroy. Mom and I both ordered buffalo strips, a basket of chili cheese fries to share and two glasses of water. The food was really good in comparison to our other meals there. I mean, they hadn't been bad, but had been mediocre at best. But this meal was really good and we felt like we definitely got a good deal.
Later, Brother Lerroy came back to the area and started talking about his dog and showing us a picture of it. He told us that his dog could speak spanish since it looked like the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" dog. Then he came over to our table to show the picture and said "That's my perro. Perro means dog in spanish." I told him that I spoke some spanish, so we talked for a bit. At one point, he even made a comment in spanish to the effect of "She's not understanding a word of what we're saying, does she?" I could see mom getting agitated, because she hates it when I speak in spanish with someone in front of her, because she can't understand a word of spanish.
After we were done with the main course, we decided to splurge and get dessert. Brother Lerroy brought over the ViewMaster of the dessert menu, and I had to grill him about what the different shakes and sundaes were. I finally decided on a Works sundae, which had chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and ice cream in it with M&Ms on top. It was so yummy! Mom got an order of Smores and said it was really good as well.
We said goodbye to Brother Lerroy after dessert, and set out for the Beauty and the Beast stage show. On our way out, I discovered that they sell miniature yard tall glasses (I guess you'd call them half-foot glasses) in the 50's Prime Time lobby, and I had to get one. I think they were only two dollars. I think I see a collection starting...
At this point, I realized that I really had to be careful with my money for the rest of the trip. I had around $40 left. I needed at least about $12 for the return trip, plus money for dinner, which meant that I only had a little over $20 worth of spending money left. Since my last trip, I had intended on buying the Fantasmic! soundtrack, but now I was thinking otherwise. For the whole trip, I had been thinking about getting the Off Kilter CD. Since I had seen them, all I wanted to do was go back and watch them again. So now that I was faced with only getting one CD, I decided that I'd rather have the Off Kilter CD than the Fantasmic CD I had wanted for four months.
We made it over to the Beauty and the Beast show and were seated about 10 rows back in the section a little to the left of the stage. The Voiceovers were the opening act and they were pretty good. After Beauty and the Beast, we went to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid. After we were done there, we decided to go catch the Great Movie Ride before the end of the Mulan parade. Right as we were walking by, the last float went by with Mulan and Li Shang on the top of it. I reached for my camera to take a picture of them...but it wasn't there. I took off my backpack and looked through the rest of the pockets, but it still wasn't there. Great. I told mom that I didn't know where the camera was, but she said to go ahead and ride the ride, then we would look for it.
So we rode, going through the gangster section again, and when we got out, we went back over to 50's Prime Time to look for the camera. When we got over there, it wasn't there, so we went to the guest services window to see if anyone had turned it in. They hadn't. Double great.
So now mom was really mad at me. We went back to the Beauty and the Beast theater, but it wasn't there either. Trying not to get in too bad of a mood, we went to see the Hunchback of Notre Dame stage show. This is one of our favorite shows in Disney World, and we try to see it at least once per trip. This time was the first time I had seen Randy the Juggler. On all of our other trips we'd seen Matt, but Randy was performing this time. Even the couple in front of us was surprised that Matt wasn't there. The guy said that he was a friend of Matt's and he'd seen him practicing before the show. Oh well...Randy was really good too.
Afterwards, we were thinking that it was probably just about time to head over to Fantasmic!, but since we still had a little bit of time left before we had to be there, we decided to catch one of the last showings of Muppet*Vision 4D of the day. Afterwards, we stopped in Pizza Planet for pizza to take with us to Fantasmic!. We figured that we wouldn't have time to sit down and eat them, and we also wouldn't be able to grab dinner after the show. I got a cheese pizza and mom got a pepperoni. We looked in the claw machines, but didn't find anything that we thought we could win, so we boxed up our pizzas and headed over to Fantasmic!.
Well, all day we had been discussing trying to go over to Epcot after Fantasmic! so I could get my Off Kilter CD and we could try one last pass at Test Track. Since we wanted to get out fairly quickly, we were going to try to find a seat in the section closest to the exit, but alas, it wasn't to happen. They herded us into the Beast section, which was at the extreme other end of the theater from the entrance. No quick getaway tonight.
So we sat there and ate our pizza (yum...) while we waited for Fantasmic! to start. The opening act was horrible!!! It was this woman with the most annoying voice on the face of the earth (imagine a high pitched Gilbert Gotfried), screaming about random stuff. At one point she screamed "if you can see me, raise your hand" at least ten times in a row into the microphone. Bad thing was that we couldn't see her, but she could see us, so she kept yelling...and yelling...and yelling...it was so bad! I would rather just sit there for the 45 minutes in peace than have someone screaming at me the whole time. I thought last time was bad (a guy yelling, "If you're from England, lemme hear ya...if you're from India, lemme hear ya...if you're from Mexico, lemme hear ya...") but this beat everything I've ever seen in terms of annoying. It was probably my least pleasant Disney World experience to date. If I hadn't wanted to see the show so badly, I would have left.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah...we watched Fantasmic!, and aside from the horrible preshow, it was as great as I remembered it. We bolted up from our seats as soon as the show was over, but so did everyone else. All in all the trip out wasn't that bad. We met two nice ladies and chatted on the way out. I also saw the lights in the windows of the Tower of Terror that someone had mentioned. We were out in our car about ten minutes after the show, so we made pretty good time. Next it was on to Epcot.
The trip to Epcot was about the easiest trip we'd made thus far, so we got their fairly quickly. It was about quarter after eight by this time, and we headed straight for the Canada pavilion for my CD. On the way, we passed the tip board and it said that the wait for Test Track was 45 minutes. Hmm...was Test Track actually running? Would there be any chance of God's green earth that I would get to ride it?
When we got to the Canada pavilion, lo and behold, who should be playing but Off Kilter! So we stopped and watched about ten minutes of their show. "Wait...that board said that Test Track had a 45 minute wait...does that mean that it is *really* working?" We walked up right during a guitar solo, and not many people were milling around, so we got a really good view of them playing again. "Yeah, it *DID* say 45 minute wait...it would say 'delays' if it wasn't running" Then Jamie the bagpiper came out from the side of the stage and began playing. Once again, I was in bagpipe heaven. "YES! Test Track is running!!! It's up and running and I'm not in line for it! Off Kilter...Test Track...Off Kilter...Test Track...TEST TRACK!" By the time his song was done I had decided that I would rather ride Test Track than watch Off Kilter again. Mom said that was ok with her, so I ran over and bought my CD then booked it back into Future World.
When we got up to the front of the building, it looked like it had been roped off, but that wasn't about to stop us from getting in. The doors were open and people were still in line outside, so mom and I, along with 20 or so other people, ducked under the ropes and joined the line. Soon after we were inside, they closed the doors, so we were probably two of the last hundred or so people that rode it that night. We had a nice chat with the people in line in front of us about annual passes, and pretty soon we were getting really close to the preshow area. I also amused myself by saying "jounce and squirm" in as many different ways as possible. We also spotted the couple that was sitting in front of us during the Hunchback of Notre Dame show. It's a small world after all...
We finally got up to the preshow...then through the preshow...then into the loading area...and finally into a car!!!! AHHH!!!!! I was completely freaking out at this point because we had been waiting for almost two years to ride it and we were finally there! I even made the remark to mom that we would either get to ride it or be involved in our first full-scale breakdown. Either way, it would have been cool, but I was leaning towards wanting to ride it at the moment. There were three guys in the back seat and mom and I in the front seat. I was the driver, so they kept making jokes about women drivers and all, and we would tell them that they weren't allowed to be backseat drivers.
Then we were off. I don't remember too much about the ride itself except that I thought it was totally wonderful. I was laughing my head off the entire time. I loved the part where you have just come off one speed loop and are about to go into the one along the outside of the building. You see the track coming and are fully aware that it is at a much steeper angle than you are travelling. Mom and I both yelled, but once it hit that angle, we were laughing and screaming really loudly. It was so fun!
When we left, it was about 9:30, almost exactly 45 minutes after we had gotten in line. I'd been telling mom all week that if I got to ride it, I was going to buy something from the gift shop that had a road cone on it. My roommate and I have started a road cone collection (we currently have four cones and a barrel) and I thought that something conical from Epcot was in order. I was originally going to get a flat rubber keychain shaped like a cone, but then I saw these water bottles with a detachable cone on the top and had to have one. For $6, it was the perfect souvenir, and it took up all the rest of my spending money. Wow. What a way to cap off a wonderful trip to Disney World!
From there, we bid a farewell to Epcot and headed back to our hotel for one last night's sleep before heading home the next day.Go to day 5