Kiwi's July TR 2 - My magical Birthday!

Thanks for stopping by to read my trip report! If you've been keeping up so far, jump down to the wavy line to pick up where you left off.

Staring!:

Julie - That's me. I'm 20 (spending my 20th birthday in Disney World) and am a Cast Member at the Disney Store. I'm a total Off Kilter nut, and have planned meticulously for this trip in hopes that everything goes well. This is my eighth trip in three years.

Mom - Debbie, my mom. She's in her 40's and is also quite the Off Kilter nut. She's the one that was really excited about showing our newbie around, so she did lots of the meal planning and pep talking to Patsy. She also drove most of the way. This is also her eighth trip in three years.

Patsy - The newbie! She's 55 (I think...if not, she's close) and is mom's first cousin. She's been to Disney World once before, but didn't get to spend much time seeing everything. She also hadn't taken a vacation in many, many years, so she was excited at the chance to get away for a while. Her excitement and willingness to be dragged around and talked into things she normally wouldn't do was a good asset to her.

When did we go?: July 10th-15th, 1999
Where did we stay?: Magic Castle Inn and Suites (in a suite)
How did we get there?: Drove our van from Nashville
How long is this section?: 5386 words

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I was already pretty well awake when the alarm went off at 6:15, so I got up and showered. This was my birthday. It was gonna be perfect in every detail if I had anything to do with it. I'd planned out everything...breakfast at Chef Mickey's, then over to the Studios to ride Rock 'N' Roller Coaster and watch Doug Live! and have lunch at 50's Prime Time, then go to Epcot, where Off Kilter would sing to me and I would watch Lord of the Dance. The plan was set into action when we arrived at the Contemporary for our 8:15 Priority Seating at 7:45. I think that's the first time we've been early for anything in the morning.

We were seated immediately, and I requested chocolate milk with breakfast instead of orange juice. It was really good...it was thick and chocolatey with a big cap of whipped cream, but it got warm really quickly, so I didn't finish it. As we got there, my mom pulled our waiter aside and mentioned to him that it was my birthday, but nothing came of it. I thought the people at Chef Mickey's did special stuff for your birthday, but they didn't for me :-(

As for the rest of breakfast...eh. I guess I'm just not a breakfast person. I don't eat pork, so that eliminates a huge portion of the breakfast bar right there. I also don't like sweets for breakfast (in May, I tried to eat beignets for breakfast and my stomach started cramping), so that knocked out another big chunk of the bar. Of what was left, all I really had was scrambled eggs, hash browns, half of a biscuit and some sort of cheese pizza. I didn't feel like I got my money's worth at all. I still had a nice time with the characters (which all came around *very* frequently and spent a lot of time at the table), but I could have eaten at IHOP and gotten the same thing for much less. I had a nice time, but not being a breakfast person, coupled with not being a morning person makes me think I probably won't be going back. I may try it for dinner sometime though.

We left the Contemporary a bit after 9:00 (after stopping for pressed pennies and to explore a bit) and went to the Studios. We got there at about 9:20 and had a bit of dispute about where to go first. Mom wanted to go over to 50's Prime Time and check in, but I said that it was ridiculous to check in so early. Besides, the tip board said that Rock 'N' Roller coaster only had a *ten minute wait* and I *really* wanted to ride it! I finally convinced her to wait for a while on checking in at 50's Prime Time and we headed off towards the new coaster.

Mom and Patsy had decided quite firmly that they weren't going to ride it. Mom doesn't like rides that have dips in them, so no matter what I told her, she wouldn't ride it until I rode it first. Patsy kept saying that she was "too old"...yeah, right. We went through the waiting area (taking note of the really, really cool door with all the marbles in it) and found ourselves with about a five minute wait. While I was in line, I started talking to a guy in front of me. Turned out that his name was Eddie and he was a bartender at Pleasure Island. Since we were both riding alone, I agreed that I would ride with him, on the condition that I promise not to dig my nails into him if I didn't like the ride hehehe (he said that he'd ridden with a girl earlier in the week, and she got scared and hurt him by digging her nails into him). I promised that I wouldn't, and we decided to ride in the back car.

Once we were seated and pulled around to the launch area, my heart started to race. The tension of sitting in front of the tunnel, not knowing when you were going to launch, was tangible. The ride was over way too fast, and I really enjoyed it. The main thing I noticed about it was that the back car was very, very rough. When I got off, my ears hurt because my head was banged around so much. I told mom and Patsy that I thought they could ride it since there were no dips and just lots of fun, fast turns and inversions. Patsy also greeted me with my birthday present, which was a Rock 'N' Roller Coaster "Backstage pass" with my name on it.

Since I had gone through the line and ride in less than ten minutes, Eddie and I decided to go again. The second time, we chose to sit in the very front car, which was much smoother than the back. But I still don't see how everyone says that this coaster is so smooth. I thought it was extremely rough, eventhough the front was smoother than the back. I definitely think that Space Mountain is smoother. After the second ride, I couldn't convince mom or Patsy to go on it, but they both said that they would think about it. I said goodbye to Eddie and we all headed for 50's Prime Time.

Once we got there, we checked in with the lady at the counter. When we said that we wanted one of Brother Lerroy's tables, a lady next to us told us about how much she liked Brother Lerroy too! We started talking about him, and she said that she had eaten at one of his tables in 1996 and on every trip since then, she'd asked to sit with him. So it's not just us that love Brother Lerroy! The lady working there said that she would do her best to put us at one of Lerroy's tables.

Once we were done at 50's Prime Time, we went to see how much time was left before the next Doug Live! show. It was still about thirty minutes away, so since we were in the area, we decided to take in a Soundsations sound booth outside of Sounds Dangerous. Patsy really got a kick out of it and laughed almost the entire time. When we were done, we played with a few other sound machines since there was no one around, then went back and got in line for Doug Live!.

I'd originally decided that I was going to try to get myself chosen to be a Beet in the show, but when I got in line, I decided that I was too tired and that I was gonna sit this one out. Well, once we got inside the theater and the guy started asking for volunteers, I changed my mind. When he asked for the four adults, I jumped up and started screaming, "I can be a Beet!! *I* can *be* a *Beet*!!!" I was the last one picked (which kinda scared me...I thought I wasn't gonna get picked and had just made a fool of myself for nothing! :-) So I went onstage and had to dance a little bit, then we went backstage to get ready for our performance. (If you don't know, the Beets are Doug and Skeeter's favorite band, and they have won tickets to their final concert.)

Wow! Cool cool cool! I was gonna be a Beet! They had cast me as Wendy Nespah, the lead singer of the Beets. The first thing that happened when I went backstage was to get on my costume. I put on a white shirt and blue dress (both of which went on from the front, not over your head. The backs were open and got tied up to fit you. I guess that's so they could accommodate a large size range of people). Next came a shiny belt and shiny pink arm cuffs. Once I was done, I sat down and waited while the other three guys got dressed. I chatted with one of the girls working there and at one point casually mentioned that it was my birthday, and everyone wished me a happy birthday.

Once everyone was dressed, we had to watch a short video about how to be a good Beet. It was kinda funny. I was told to always stand with my feet at least shoulder length apart, to pretend like I was singing and to make sure to pretend to play my guitar. It also said to just move the neck of the guitar up and down and not to the front, back or sides since people would be standing on either side of me. I think my favorite part of the video was the part for the drummer. It told the guy to beat on the drums as hard as he wanted, and reminded him two or three times that there was soundproof padding on the drums so no one would hear if he was off beat. It was kinda funny.

Next we had to go to the cosmetologist and get our hair done. I had to wear a bald cap and a shiny headband, so those went on first. Next came my fake jewel necklace. In the meantime of all this, Quail Kid has been having a problem keeping her quail feather hat on. Her pigtails were directly where the hat needed to sit, but she finally got it to stay on. At one point, Doug even ran into the room and gave a quick pep talk to Quail Kid.

After we were all dressed, prepped, pepped and ready to go, we lined up near the entrance to the stage and got our instruments. Mine was this huge guitar, and it was really heavy. When we were ready, we walked to the immediate backstage area and watched them slide the Evil Dr. Rubbersuit lab set away and push the Beet set onto the turntable. That was pretty neat too. Once it was in place, we took our positions on the stage and waited for the stage to revolve.

Once it did, we all started playing and having a great time. It was so cool, and since I knew some of the words to the song they sing, I was actually singing along. The whole thing only lasted 37 seconds, so now I guess I only have 14 minutes and 23 seconds worth of fame left (actually, last year I was in the water effects show on the backlot tour so it would be even less than that...oh no! hehe:-) When the girl first said it would only last 37 seconds, one of the other guys jokingly said, "37 seconds? Ugh...I can't do it unless it's at *least* 40 seconds...where's my agent!? I can't work like this!" hehe

When we were done, we went backstage again and took off our costumes. The instruments went first, then the hair and accessories, then the costumes. After we were all back to normal, the girl that had been working with us so much came up to me and said that she had something for me. It was a birthday card signed by the whole cast! It was so nice! It had all the characters signatures as well as the signatures of all the CMs that had been working with us! I couldn't get over it! I had totally not excepted to get a birthday card from them.

The last thing we had to do was go back out onstage for the curtain call. We went to the side of the stage and lined up next to the Thicket of Solitude set. When the lights dropped, we linked arms, ran out onstage and took a bow. When everything was over, I caught up with mom and Patsy and told them all about getting to be a Beet and about the birthday card I had gotten. It was so much fun, and definitely helped make my birthday very special.

As we left, I asked my mom what she had done with my Rock 'N' Roller Coaster backstage pass (I had taken it off and handed it to her when I got picked). She acted dumb, like I hadn't given it to her, but I knew I had. So we had to ask a guy who was working there if she could go back in and look for it. He let her in, and about five minutes later she emerged with my necklace. She said that all the CMs inside the theater were helping her look for it and that she was kind of embarrassed, and I told her that she should have kept track of it in the first place since I couldn't.

At this point, mom wanted to go wait on the next Hunchback show, which was about an hour away. I said no way since we didn't have much time before we had to leave. I would rather Patsy see something else and get a less than wonderful seat for Hunchback than wait for an hour and get a good seat, but miss something else. Patsy agreed, so we stopped to see the Great Movie Ride. We had to wait about 20 minutes, but it wasn't that bad since I took trip notes the whole time. We got the western side, and Patsy loved the whole ride. She's really into movies, so she was transfixed with, eh, rapture through the whole ride.

Afterwards, we went to grab a seat for Hunchback. We sat in the front row of the back section, so we had pretty good seats. We came in about halfway through Matt's routine (Geez, of all the times we've seen this show, we've only seen Randy once...they must work poor Matt to death! :-) The show was excellent as always, with a particularly good Quasimodo. He's the best Quasimodo I've seen since the one that performed in '97 and early '98. Esmeralda was good in this show too...they seem to have a problem with keeping good Esmeraldas though.

After the show was over, it was time for lunch. Yay! Brother Lerroy time!!! First let me give you a little bit of background about why I had to have lunch at 50's Prime Time on my birthday. When we were there in May, we'd eaten at one of Brother Lerroy's tables. At the end of the meal, he asked me when the next time was that I was coming back, and I said that it would be for my birthday. So I tore a sheet out of my notepad and wrote "Tourist Mickey comes for a visit, July 11th, 1999 (Julie's Birthday!)" on it and gave it to him. He put it in the folder where he writes down orders and said that he would keep it with him until I came back on my birthday. I asked him if he worked on Sundays, and he said that he did, so I told him to make sure to work on my birthday so I could have lunch with him.

So there I was, back on my birthday. I'd promised Brother Lerroy I'd go see him. When we walked in, we checked back in at the desk and they said they would seat us as soon as they could. I guess it was about fifteen minutes before we were seated, which was one of the longest waits we've had, but we *had* requested a certain server, so we were willing to wait. We were seated in a room off to the right of the main room, which was where we sat the very first time we ate there.

Brother Lerroy was already there, and when we walked in, we snuck up on him, then yelled his name. He turned around and started yelling, "Julie! I knew you'd be here! I knew you'd come back!" and he gave me a big hug. I sat Tourist Mickey on his shoulder, and he started loudly and quickly telling everyone else in the room about how he knew I would be back. Before we even got into our seats, he pulled out the piece of paper I had given him and showed me that he still had it. I thought that was so cool of him. Of all the people that come through that restaurant, he actually carried a piece of paper that I gave him around for two months! Man, I love Brother Lerroy!

Once we finally got seated, we chatted with him for a while. It was just like we were old friends. We introduced him to cousin Patsy and joked with him that we had brought a *real* cousin with us this time. He wanted to know how Tourist Mickey was doing, and I said that he was ok. Then he grabbed Tourist Mickey and took him to the other two tables and told them about how I take Tourist Mickey all over and take pictures of him. When we finally got around to ordering, we all ordered the loaded nachos and cokes, and mom and Patsy got theirs without jalapenos. Of course, Brother Lerroy had to make fun of them for not getting the jalapenos, but I told him that I was a real woman and that I could handle jalapenos. I think he gave me extra of them because I said that.

Once our food was at the table, we decided that it was time to give him one of the gifts we had brought to him. My mom makes fake spills, which look like spilled drinks, nail polish, ice cream, coffee and all sorts of stuff, but they're hard and moveable. Mom had made him a spilled coke and we needed a good way to give it to him. So I hid my drink under the table and put the spill where my glass was. The glasses looked similar, but the ice was different.

When he came back, he looked at it for a second, then I could tell that he realized it was fake. He looked at me and scolded me for being so messy and told me that I needed to be more careful next time. When we told him that we had made it for him, he was really happy and hugged us all. Then he took it to another table and tried to trick people with it.

After a while, I asked Brother Lerroy if he had baked a cake for my birthday. He said, "Of course! I made you one thiiiiis big!" and made a motion with his hand that started out about three feet wide, but ended up being cupcake sized. Then he said that instead of a cake, he would give me any sundae that I wanted. I told him that I wanted a Works with no nuts, which is what I always get. I also had to jokingly give him a hard time about not remembering what my usual dessert was hehe.

A few minutes later, he comes back into the room wielding my huge Works sundae with a pink candle on top. By now, one family has left and a new family has been seated, so he gets everyone's attention and tells the story about how I gave him the piece of paper and he carried it around for two months. Then he lit the candle and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me. When he was singing, he said "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday my beautiful, my best friend in the whole big wide world Julie, happy birthday to you!" I thought it was so sweet!!! Then he had me make a wish and blow out my candle, then made everyone clap for me.

Right as we were finishing up, Brother Lerroy came back into the room with a big mass of tin foil and sat it in front of me. I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to be, but he said that it was my birthday present. I honestly thought that it was just a tin foil sculpture (knowing Brother Lerroy, that's what I was expecting! hehe) because it had straws sticking out of it and it was roughly in the shape of a spaceship. But he insisted that there was something inside and he wanted me to open it, so I did. It was a little rubber ducky keychain!!! It was so cute! I thanked him profusely for it since I was totally not expecting him to actually give me anything for my birthday. I hung him on my backpack and assured Brother Lerroy that it would still be there the next time I came back.

By the time we were ready to leave, we had been there about an hour and a half. We got up to leave, and he gave each of us a big hug goodbye. I said that I wanted a picture of just me and him, so mom took one (and it came out soooo well!), then I took a picture of just him and mom. As we were leaving, I thanked him for everything again, and told him that I wanted to adopt him as my real brother. He said that was a good idea, so since then, I've been telling everyone that I have an adopted brother that lives in Florida :-)

We said our good-byes, then left and headed over to Epcot to finish up the rest of the day. We drove over, and got there fairly quickly. The first thing on the agenda was to watch the 4:00 hour Off Kilter show. We hurried over to the Canada pavilion, bypassing everything in our path, so we could make it there in time. When we got there, no one was around, eventhough the show was starting in about ten minutes. So we grabbed some seats to the left of the stage. The people sitting on the right had a good idea and dragged the front bench into the shade near the stage, so we did the same.

Randy was the first one to come onstage. Because of the construction of the Millenium pavilion, they have to walk around to front of the stage instead of coming out from behind it. When he came out, mom asked him when they would be playing Fields of Athenry, and he said that they could play it for her during that show if she wanted. She said that that would be great, so he agreed. After a few minutes, everyone else showed up and they started. The first song they sang was Fields of Athenry, followed by my mom's second favorite, Farewell Nova Scotia and Scotland the Brave.

After the show was over, we went to talk to them. Patsy had totally fallen in love with them by this point, so she was excited to get to talk to them. The first thing mom wanted to do was give them the things we had brought for them. About a month before the trip, she decided that she wanted to make them a little something since we liked them so much. She finally decided on Mickey keychains wearing tiny kilts! They looked *so* cute! We'd made four in red and one in blue, plus three more in red for me, mom and my friend Melissa (who is almost as bad about kilts as I am!) They really liked them when we gave them to them. Jamie clipped his on his bagpipes, and Tony hung his on his keyboard. Before we let them get away, mom had me take her picture with them and their keychains.

Afterwards, I pulled Jamie aside to talk to him. When I was there in May, I had been talking to him and after the last show of our trip, he said to stop by and say hello the next time we were there. I told him that the next time would be on my birthday, and he told me to bring it to his attention that it was my birthday and he would play Happy Birthday for me. So when I brought it to his attention that it was my birthday, he seemed more than happy to want to sing for me. I told him that I would be around for the 6:00 show too and he said he'd sing it then! *bliss!* I was so happy. I thought the 6:00 show would never get there!

In the meantime, we watched O Canada. I was a bit tired by this point, so standing through the show was even more tiring, but hey, this movie's got guys in kilts...so I'm there! I love the song Canada (You're a Lifetime Journey). I'd only seen the movie one other time and remembered that I liked something about it, but I didn't know what. Now I remember that it was the song I liked so much. O Canada really is a beautiful film. I'll probably start watching it on every trip now.

Finally 6:00 rolled around and it was time for my birthday greetings from Off Kilter. As I sat down, I felt a tap on the shoulder and someone say my name. It was Kimfudge! I'd told her that Off Kilter would hopefully be singing Happy Birthday to me at the 6:00 show, so she said she'd be there. When all the guys started appearing, Jamie spotted me, pointed to me and made some kind of motion to tell me that they would be singing it. Yay!

They first sang some Spice Girls, then some hard core alternative (because that's what's "in" in western Canada hehe) then something else, then came time for my birthday song!!! Jamie said that he had a dedication to make to his friend Julie. "She and I are the same age...20." That got a chuckle from the audience, then he said "But her name *is* Julie and today *is* her birthday, so here's a birthday greeting from Off Kilter." And they sang to me!!!! Happy Birthday sounds so nice on the bagpipes and when being sung by five kilted men! I was in heaven. Total bliss. I made lots of profuse "thank you" motions as they finished and everyone clapped for me. Ahhh!!! What a happy birthday this is turning out to be!!!!!!

The show continued as normal, while I sat dumbfounded and smiling from ear to ear. When we were done, it was just about time to head over to the American Gardens amphitheater to watch Lord of the Dance. Kim said she had something else to do, but eventually we convinced her to go with us and watch it. As we passed Japan, we all stopped for Kaki Goris. I had strawberry and I'm pretty sure everyone else had rainbow ones. We waited in line for about half an hour while one show ended and the show we were there for began to load. Once we were inside, it was a few more minutes before the show was going to start, and we got great seats about four rows back on the right side of the stage.

The show was great. Actually much better than I was expecting. The girls playing the violins looked really fake to me, but that's probably because they weren't really playing (I'm not *positive* if they were or not...I assume they weren't since they weren't that convincing). The dancing was great and I don't think there was one time that I saw anyone miss a beat.

My only other comment about the show is about the lead guy, the lord of the dance. The guy that was the lead in this show looked really young. He couldn't have been more than 21 or 22 if that. He was a really great dancer, don't get me wrong...I'm saying nothing bad about his dancing, but he just didn't reek of...raw sexual energy...the way the lead guy is supposed to. The guy was cute, but didn't strike me as sexy enough to play the main part. Most of the lead male dancers I've seen have very sexual motions and are always giving the audience sexy looks. But this guy was just cute. Like you'd say your little brother was cute. And he kinda looked goofy in the vinyl pants. He was a great dancer, but I think the lead bad guy would have been a better choice for Michael Flatley's replacement.

After the show, it was approaching closing time, so we all headed towards the front of the park. We walked in the direction of Germany and Norway, and found ourselves in Innoventions Plaza in no time. Kim said that she was going to make a stop in Ice Station Cool before she left, so we said goodbye and parted ways.

Since we hadn't ridden Spaceship Earth yet, that was our final stop of the day. Patsy totally love the whole thing. Through the whole ride, she kept ohhing and ahhing at everything. I think it ended up being one of her favorite rides of the trip.

The night before at Pleasure Island, I'd found out that Steve Preskitt was going to be working at the Magic Kingdom monorail station, so I told him that if Off Kilter sang to me, I'd stop by and show him my video. So since they had sang to me, we hopped on a monorail to the TTC. Mom and Patsy didn't want to walk all the way up to the station to the Magic Kingdom, so I left them there and hopped on the next monorail that came my way.

Once there, I found him fairly easily amid the throngs of people (it was right after Main Street Electrical Parade finished). He was pretty busy, but between trains, he was able to catch a few bars of it. Since it was getting late and I was sure mom and Patsy were getting impatient for me to get back, I bid him farewell and caught a train to the TTC again. When I got back, we all went back to the Epcot parking lot and then back to the hotel.

The last thing on the agenda for the night was to check my e-mail then go to bed. What a fantastic day my twentieth birthday turned out to be!!! It was certainly a day I'll never forget. It was full of lots of firsts and many special surprises. From my first ride on Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, to adopting a brother, to having Off Kilter sing Happy Birthday to me, to seeing Lord of the Dance, it was definitely the most fun I've ever had in Disney World.

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