ImKiwi10's TR 4/8: Richard Petty Driving Experience

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.

Starring:

Julie: That's me! I'm 19, a Disney Store Cast Member, lover of Mickey and the Seven Dwarves, an Off Kilter fanatic, and the writer of the trip report.

Mom: Also known as Debbie. She's 44, active in our church and at craft fairs, a thrill ride chicken for the most part, lover of Piglet and Mickey, and also an Off Kilter fanatic.

Dad: Also known as Ray. He's 47, a warehouse manager, the one that has to be dragged everywhere, a big car racing fan, and as of late, a bigger Off Kilter fanatic than we had realized.

When did we go?: May 8th-15th, 1999
Where did we stay?: Port Orleans, room 7130
How did we get there?: Drove from Nashville
How long is this section?: 2155 words

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Tuesday, May 11th, 1999

The phone rang at 6:02, and Mickey welcomed me to my day. Today was dad's day. For the last year, he had been talking about wanting to do the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and today was the day. He'd been saving money all year, and his choice of how to spend it was on the eight lap Rookie Experience. He wanted to get to the Disney World Speedway fairly early to make sure that he was able to get into one of the classes, so rising at 6:02 was inevitable.

We went to the food court for breakfast again, and this time I decided to try an egg and cheese English muffin. Hmm...what can I say...I was very disappointed. I mean, the egg and cheese croissants at All Stars were *huge*...this was one was about half that size. The egg and cheese were mixed together and baked into a very McDonald-esque patty that was the same size as the English muffin. At All Stars, the eggs were fluffy and the cheese was a full slice that was melted and gooey. This one was just dry and flat. Mom got the same thing plus bacon, and in hers the bacon was crumbled up and mixed in with the egg and cheese. Good grief...at All Stars, they put a few big slices of bacon on the top of the eggs and cheese. We were both totally unsatisfied with this meal since not only did we think they could have done better, we'd had better. And we were at a nicer hotel too...*grumble* Dad had the breakfast platter and once again had no complaints.

We got to the speed way at about 7:30, anticipating that there may be problems getting him enrolled in the class, but there were none at all. I'd called a few weeks in advance to book a reservation for him but had run into a snag. Since I'm a Cast Member, I was going to get my discount on it for him ($380 regular versus $211 for Cast Members), but I was going to need to fax them a copy of my ID. So I get my dad to copy it and fax it to them on a Friday afternoon. I didn't have time to call until the following Monday afternoon, when I talked to an extremely rude man about making the reservations. He seemed mad that I didn't call right after I had faxed it. "Ma'am...you can't just fax us your ID then not call for two days! You fax it, then you call. Next time, fax it, then call right away so we don't throw it away again!" I was so taken aback by how rudely the man talked to me that I told him that I wasn't going to make a reservation.

Once we showed up, there was no problem with getting him registered for the 8:00 class. He got into his red, white and blue racing suit, and pretty soon it was time for the class to begin. They showed a couple of videos about racing, then told us that all the spectators had to leave. So mom and I as well as the 20 or so other people with the drivers went out to a set of tents they had set up next to the track. I knew it was going to be a while (a little less than an hour) so I went to the van and laid down in the front seat. After a while, we saw everyone coming back down into the tents, so I went back down to the track. I don't honestly recall much about the whole event because frankly I thought it was a bit boring, but I'll tell you what I remember. Dad was chosen to drive about halfway through the class of 13 people. Mom taped the whole thing as well as volunteered to tape all of two other mens 30 lap sessions. We took quite a few pictures, and pretty soon, he was done and had his diploma and all. He bought the pictures they took, which are one of him standing next to the Richard Petty Car (the same type they have in front of the Tomorrowland Speedway), one of him inside the car, and another one of Richard Petty standing next to the car.

Well, once we were done there, it was about 10:45, so instead of using the extra day on my pass and going to a park, we went to Downtown Disney for some shopping and lunch. We had decided quite a while ago that we were going to get dad one of the racing Mickey plushes for Father's Day, so we needed to pick one up. We'd pretty well decided on Rainforest Cafe before we even got there, so we parked next to the World of Disney and walked over to it. By the time we got there, it was 11:15 and they said that they could seat us immediately. Since we had been up since 6:00, lunch at 11:15 was no problem. Once again, we didn't even have to look at the menus to know what we wanted. I got the Pastalaya Shrimp, which is spicy pasta with chicken, shrimp, green onions, green peppers and tomatoes with lots of spices on it. Ahhh...heaven...I could eat Pastalaya Shrimp every day. Mom and dad both got the Mojo Bones, mom the half rack and dad the whole, with waffle fries and fried onions. This is, I do believe, my favorite meal in the world. I could eat this every time I go to a restaurant. It's just sooooooooo good!!!!!

We were seated next to the door to the kitchen, which wasn't a very good location, but did serve for quite a few laughs. A few minutes after we were seated, I started thinking about how totally hilarious it would be if Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter, and the man I have proclaimed to be my hero:-) were to do a show inside a Rainforest Cafe. I could see him hanging from the ceiling and trying to attack the animatronics, then start talking about a renewal in the life cycle when it starts to storm and rain. So for the entire rest of the meal we were talking in Australian accents, saying "Oh look...there's a gorilla! You feelin' grumpy today sweetheart? My, she's *glorious*!" and other assorted Irwinisms. Occasionally, we would be sitting there dying laughing and our server would come by and look puzzled at why we were laughing so hard. It was so funny!

After lunch, we decided to stop at Gourmet Pantry and see if they sold bagels for fairly cheap. Well, they sold them, but it would have been about the same price as buying them day by day in the food court, so I decided not to get them. It would have been too much trouble trying to keep the cream cheese cold, and even at that, they bagels would be day-old by the time I got around to eating them.

The next stop was the Christmas shop. I had bought the boxed set of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ornaments last May, and I decided that I should get another set on this trip. So I looked at them, but had a hard time deciding between the Mickey set, the Beauty and the Beast set and the Little Mermaid set. I eliminated the Beauty and the Beast set first because a couple of the ornaments were really big, and all I have is one of those little three foot Christmas trees. I really liked the Little Mermaid set...but I decided on the Mickey set instead. It was $28, but I kept thinking about how much I loved my Snow White set, so I justified it. Now if I can just work on justifying that $30 stuffed otter from the Living Seas...

While we were there, I noticed that they had quite a few Scrooge McDuck Christmas items for sale. I immediately thought of my friend Melissa from the Disney Store. She's totally obsessed with Scrooge McDuck, so I was wondering if she would want me to pick up anything for her (I had already promised her that I'd get her a Scrooge McDuck PVC from the Germany pavilion). So I went outside and called the Disney Store and got her phone number. Well, she wasn't home when I called, so I didn't get anything big. I did however pick her up a Scrooge McDuck magnet of his face saying "Bah! Humbug!"

Heading back around towards the car, we decided to make a stop in the World of Disney to see if there was anything there we wanted to pick up. The only things I found were a bunch of post cards (I decided that I was going to wallpaper a wall of my room in post cards, so I was buying almost all of them I could find) and two more dwarf porcelain figurines. I'd been hoping to get Happy and Sneezy, but the only ones any of the stores I'd been in had that I didn't were Sneezy and Sleepy, so those were the ones I went with.

Once we were done there, I slipped over to Team Mickey, bought the racing Mickey plush for dad and had it sent back to the room, so he never suspected a thing. We headed back to the hotel after I was done, and planned on going swimming and spending a relaxing night at the hotel. But the best laid plans of mice and men...

When we got back to the hotel, we hadn't been there more than fifteen minutes when mom started complaining that her stomach was hurting. So mom lays down and takes a nap. Actually, I did too, and when I work up at around 4:00, she and dad were both asleep. So I decided that it would be a good time to check my e-mail. After a while, dad woke up and we decided to go to the food court for dinner. I got a chicken fajita wrap, which turned out to be very, very good. It was served cold, and only had chicken, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and I think ranch dressing in it. It was big too. Dad had a ham and cheese sub, and we both filled out mugs.

After dinner, we went back to the room, but mom was still feeling bad. I was thinking that I would go back over to Downtown Disney and take in a movie at the big movie theater, but mom didn't like that idea (*grumble* I swear that woman can guilt me into anything!). So then I suggested that I was going to go swimming, to which her response was, "Well, I wanted to go swimming..." So there I was sitting in the room with nothing to do. And so it went until the end of the evening. Dad ended up going to sleep at about 7:00. I refused to go to bed that early, so I watched TV, arranged all my stuff into my bags and eventually ended up going to be at about 10:00.

Boy, what a sucky night. This was actually the worst time I've had in Disney World to date. I was in a huge resort with tons of things to do, and I couldn't do any of them for various reasons. Mom's making me feel guilty when I suggested that I wanted to go swimming really made me mad. She kept thinking that she was going to feel good enough to go swimming later, but she never did, so I never got to swim either. And I didn't get to watch a movie because mom kept telling me that she wanted to go swimming later. So I went to bed frustrated and a bit upset. Surely, the next day would have to be better.

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