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.
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?: 4386 words
Wednesday, May 12th, 1999
The phone rang at 7:02, and Mickey welcomed me to my day. Today was Animal Kingdom day, with probably a trip to Epcot at the end of the day. I didn't know whether to dread going to Animal Kingdom in May again or not. Last May, we had a horrible time in Animal Kingdom. It was so hot and had so little to do that we really didn't like the park at all. I was hoping that we would have a better time this year since there were quite a few new things to do, and since we had had a nice time there in February.
Once again, we had breakfast in the food court, which consisted of a bagel with cream cheese for me, bacon and two biscuits for mom and the breakfast platter for dad. Finally, by the fourth morning of our trip, my dad had caught on to the fact that I didn't like sitting on the side of the food court with the giant masks. Every morning he would sit right underneath one of them and I would tell him that I wanted to move. So finally this morning, he sat on the other side of the drink bar where the masks were out of view. Breakfast was back to its normal good self, and afterwards we took our mugs back to the room and headed for the bus stop.
While at the bus stop...my dad started it again. "Oh, that's gotta be an Animal Kingdom bus...nope! MGM Studios! How come when you want an MGM bus you can't get one, and when you don't want one, they have them?" This continued for 25 minutes until the Animal Kingdom bus finally showed up. These long waits really made dad mad, which in turn made him less easy to deal with. *grumble*
Once we made it to Animal Kingdom, the first stop was for a ride on Countdown to Extinction. This helped get dad into a bit better mood. We've never had to wait much for this ride, so we went directly into the preshow movie room. Before this trip, I had gotten smart and bought a hair tie to wear during this ride. I'd never seen the lunging Carnotaurus head at the end of the ride because the air always blew my hair in my face. So about a week before hand I bought a hair tie (and I really hate wearing them, but oh well, this was out of necessity) that had a little frog on the front that croaks. It was cute and only a dollar. The hair tie worked great and I was able to see everything. And I specifically looked at the compys and they are definitely not holograms!
After we were done there, we decided that while the day was still young, we should go over to Asia and check it out. We hadn't gotten over there in February, so everything was still brand new to us. First walking in, it really struck me that the whole place was very nice. I really got the impression that I was supposed to be in India, which I assume is what they were going for. In other words, it didn't feel like China, Japan, Korea or any other east Asian country.
Kali River Rapids was closed, so we walked through Maharaja Jungle Trek, which I thought was tres cool! The maps they had made it look bigger than it is, but it's still a fairly good sized attraction. Lots of the animals were out, including the tigers, though most of them were asleep. The bats were interesting though not particularly creepy, and the architecture of the whole place was really interesting. The ruined murals really put the finishing touches on the buildings. By the end of the walk, we were still fairly comfortable since a lot of it is in the shade, so we headed off in the direction of Harambe.
On the way to Africa, I was very vigilant in my search for the "secret path." Every time I came to an overgrown place, I made sure to look and see if it went anywhere, but none of them did. Finally I found what I thought was the secret path. This *had* to be it! So I headed for it, only to find that there was a sign pointing to it saying that additional seating for a snack stand. So I ruled out that option (only later did I find out that I shouldn't have ruled it out so quickly, but oh well...).
Once we made it to Harambe, we saw that the line for the safari was at 30 minutes. Ehh...a bit long, but mom insisted on waiting, so we did. Well, it ended up being almost exactly a half hour, so it wasn't that bad. Lots of animals were out, so it turned out to be a pretty good safari. Our driver must have known exactly how to hit the bumps because I left my seat on quite a few occasions. Once we were done with the safari, we were getting pretty hungry, so we stopped in Tusker House for lunch. We'd been looking over the menu online for a while and had decided that most of their offerings sounded pretty good. I ordered the chicken salad in a bread bowl, mom got chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans, and dad got a chicken, ham and swiss sandwich.
I thought that my salad didn't have any dressing on it, so I asked an attendant at the condiment stand if they had salad dressing. Well, it was obviously not the first time she had been asked that. She gave me what was almost a script about how the salad already had the house dressing on it, which was sort of like Italian dressing. I found it so amusing that they had put her there simply to answer that question that I chatted with her for a minute or two. She said that she gets that question dozens of times a day, and she also gets asked where the straws are (Tusker House doesn't have straws because they say they want to preserve the wildlife in the area, and disposable straws could harm animals if they found them and ate them. I had seen that on a sign somewhere else, so at least I didn't have to ask her that too).
Well, this lunch turned out to be one of my favorites! My salad was so great. It had lots of chicken in it, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, some type of peppers and, of all things, white beans. The dressing was really really good, and the bread it was served in was huge! I tried to eat it all but couldn't. Also, seeing as how I'm a very picky eater, I really liked that the salad didn't have much extraneous stuff in it, like carrots, red lettuce, cucumbers and stuff like that. It had a little, but they were big and I was able to easily avoid them. Mom and dad both really enjoyed their meals too. As far as I'm concerned, Tusker House will be a definite repeat for future trips!
Since it was only just after lunch, we didn't want to leave yet (a first! believe me!) so I suggested that we hop on the train and go to Conservation Station. They both approved the idea, so we hopped on board. The train ride was nice, and I liked seeing the backstage areas of the safari. It's deceivingly complex. Once we got to Conservation Station (could the walk to the building *be* any longer?) we wandered around and looked at all they had to offer. Once I saw that they had incubators and baby animal nurseries, I started hoping that they would have egg incubators where guests could watch eggs hatch. I'd visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago three years ago and had been captivated by their hatching eggs for two hours. I was hoping that Conservation Station would have the same sort of thing, but they didn't :-( All I can say is that they should. I think a big incubator would fit in perfectly in Conservation Station.
We had a nice time there, but there was not as much to do as we had hoped so we left after about 20 minutes. We did manage to sit through one of the sounds of the rainforest booths and it was really neat. I love those things. We even got dad to sit through this one. I also got Pocahontas' autograph and a picture of her with Tourist Mickey. It seemed like everywhere we went, Pocahontas followed us. It was kinda scary because we ran into her on five or six separate occasions (and Conservation Stations isn't *that* big!). We made the trek back out to the train, which didn't seem nearly as long as on the way in, and went back to Harambe.
When we got back, I told my parents that I wanted to make one last pass at trying to get on Kali River Rapids before we left, but they both said that they didn't want to get wet, so they opted not to ride. On our way back to where we would split up, we saw an ice cream stand, and we all agreed that ice cream was in order. All I can say is that my ice cream cone thoroughly hit the spot. It was cool, refreshing and just what I needed since it was getting pretty warm. I made the mental note that I was going to have to eat more soft serve ice cream from now on.
We decided that we would meet back up at Countdown to Extinction, since they wanted to ride it a few more times. I said that was fine with me, so they headed off toward DinoLand USA and I went towards Asia. When I got there, the ride was open again, so I got in line. As I waited, I unabashedly slurped down my ice cream and enjoyed every drop of it. I also think this queue has taken over for my favorite waiting line in Disney World. I don't know what the old one was, but this is my new favorite. There is so much to look at that I almost wished that the line had gone a bit slower. I loved the giant cat god (or whatever it was) and thought that the shops you went through were very nicely done. No expense was spared in making that queue, I think I can safely say. I fell in love with a few of the birdcages, as well as thought the broken English on the signs in the shops was very ingenious (not something I would have thought of). The detail in the queue made the 45 minute wait go by very quickly.
As for the ride itself...one word. LAME! The beginning was cool, what with the huge lift and all, but as for the rest of the ride, it just totally didn't impress me. The loggers and stuff was nice, but the story was not developed nearly enough for it to be effective. Plus, I was going backwards for almost the whole ride. I climbed the hill backwards, I passed the logging stuff backwards, I went down the hill backwards, and I went through most of the rapids backwards. Definitely not enough spinning. Plus I didn't get wet. Not at all. There was a man and little boy on the opposite side of the boat who got one hefty splash, but as for my side, we were left high and dry. I got a bit of a shower as we passed the elephants at the end, but still didn't get *that* wet. I won't wait 45 minutes for it again. They'll be lucky if I'm even willing to wait 15.
Now let me talk to the people who had ever been to Opryland for a second. If you remember the Grizzly River Rampage, please don't go into Kali River Rapids thinking it's gonna be the same thing like I did because it's not. Grizzly River Rampage threw you all around the river, spinning you and getting you totally soaked. Kali River Rapids is a far cry from that. Maybe if I had never ridden a rapids ride before it would have been ok, but compared to Grizzly River Rampage, it was totally unimpressive.
Leaving Kali River Rapids, I started back over to Countdown to Extinction. Once I got there, I started looking around for my parents but couldn't find them. I wandered around outside for a few minutes then decided to go in the exit and wait for them in the room where you look at the picture the ride took. So I waited and waited and waited, but they didn't come out. About 15 minutes had passed, so I knew that they couldn't still be on the ride. I went back outside to look for them, and eventually wandered around inside the waiting area, but they still weren't there.
I decided that as long as I wasn't able to find them, I might as well go ahead and ride it again. So I did, utilizing the hair tie again, and when I came out they still weren't around. On top of that, it had started to rain. Heh. I thought about the fact that wherever they were right now, they were getting wet since I had mom's poncho and umbrella. So I started singing to myself..."I've got your poncho...now you're getting wet...that should teach you to make me carry all your stuff around..." At least I had my poncho too, so I put it on. I also got to, for the first time this trip, make use of one of the greatest miracles of our time...the umbrella hat! I'd bought it a few months back for the express purpose of wearing on top of my poncho so my face wouldn't get wet. As I pulled it out and put it on, I could hear people around me saying "Now that's smart" and "I want one of those."
Donning my bright yellow poncho and rainbow umbrella hat, I headed over to Chester and Hesters to see if by an off chance they were there. Well, I looked around, getting more than a few curious stares at my hat, but didn't find them. I finally decided to check Restaurantasaurus for them. I had no idea why they would be there, but knowing them, they could find a reason. On the way over there, I passed two couples and one of the men pointed at the other man and yelled at me "He'll give you two hundred bucks for that hat!" I thought it was kind of funny, and it was also the highest bid yet (a kid in Chester and Hesters had offered me five dollars for it. Not for sale son, not for sale).
As I approached Restaurantasaurus, who should I see standing in the netted patio but mom. I wanted to be mad at her for being there instead of at Countdown to Extinction, but people just can't take a person in an umbrella hat seriously, so my anger soon turned to laughter. The people at the table we were standing next to were laughing too. Mom pointed to dad, who was outside stranded with a young Indian CM under an umbrella at an ice cream stand, handed me five dollars and told me to go ask him if he wanted a poncho. He did, so I went back to Countdown to Extinction (whose exit had suddenly sprouted a push cart full of Animal Kingdom ponchos) and got him one.
When I went back to give it to him, he was still talking the guy's ear off. Dad has a great way of doing that in Disney World. He is totally oblivious to everything at home, but put him in Disney World and he can have a 30 minute long conversation about his first ride on Space Mountain with anyone. Once he has his poncho, we bid the guy farewell and decide to leave for the day and head to Epcot. By the time we got to the bus stop the rain had ended and I took off my poncho (but I kept the hat on just so I could watch people watch me. Next time I need to wear sunglasses too...) We hopped on the next bus for Epcot and arrived there uneventfully.
Once we got to Epcot, dad said that he wanted to ride Test Track again, so we headed that way. The wait was at 45 minutes, and since we didn't have the advantage of a front of the line pass, we had to wait the entire time. From the time we got in line to the time we got off the ride was almost exactly 45 minutes, so it wasn't all that bad.
When we were done, we wandered over into World Showcase, still undecided as to what we were going to do next. As we passed the United Kingdom pavilion, we decided that they would go watch Paul Revere and the Raiders while I took in the rest of World Showcase. That was fine with me since I didn't particularly want to sit through a concert, so they headed off for the Friendships boats while I stayed where I was. Once they had left, I perused the shops in the United Kingdom. Inadvertently, the first shop I stumbled into was the Pooh shop, so I made a quick getaway. I looked over the tartan scarves and material, but I didn't find any of my family name. I also pondered having a family crest made, but concluded that I didn't want to spend my money on it. The yard tall glasses were tempting too, but once again, I couldn't justify $30-$60 just for a glass. I caught a little bit of a British Invasion show, but didn't hang around too long.
As I approached the France pavilion, I caught sight of Esmeralda in a courtyard off to the side of the pavilion and ran over to get an autograph and picture of her with Tourist Mickey. Once I was done visiting with her, I decided to treat myself to a pastry from the bakery and sit down and relax for a while. As I approached the bakery, there was a mime performing in front of it and he was taunting everyone that walked through his performance space. I paused and watched him for a while and enjoyed the show very much. He was really funny and even hammed it up with Tourist Mickey for a bit. When his show was over, wouldn't you know that everyone headed into the bakery, so I decided to pass on waiting for a pastry.
Continuing around World Showcase, I sped past the American Adventure since I didn't want my parents to see me (don't know why...maybe I thought they would convince me to watch the show with them or something) and stopped in the Italy pavilion for a while. Italy really is a lovely pavilion, but there just isn't much there to make me want to spend much time there. I got a picture of Tourist Mickey in front of the big fountain with the man and fish (I'm sure it has a name but it escapes me) and walked through a few shops then went on my way.
I arrived at the Germany Pavilion with a goal in mind...I needed PVCs. I'd found out that some of the PVCs they sell there are considered valuble by some people, so I wanted to grab a few of them. First I had to peruse the shops, in which I could spend thousands of dollars at the drop of a hat (nutcrackers, clocks, glass ornaments...). I'm gonna get one of those cool glass pickle ornaments one of these days, but since I'd already spent too much money on my Mickey ornament set, it wasn't to be on this trip. When I finally found the PVC fixtures, I picked out, I think, a total of seven, including a Jiminy Cricket, a Tinkerbell, a Goofy with a broken leg, an Elliot from Pete's Dragon and a Scrooge McDuck for Melissa back home. I'd promised her I'd bring her back a Scrooge McDuck PVC. I pondered getting the Donald playing bagpipes, but decided to pass on him.
After my shopping spree in Germany was done, my next stop was in the Mexico pavilion for a ride on El Rio del Tiempo. My running boy was still running during this trip, so I was happy. I kept my eye out for Paragon and more tiny hats, but didn't find either, so I decided to move on.
Since my parents were still nowhere to be found, I stopped in Ice Station Cool for a few drinks. There's never been much snow in the entranceway when I've gone in, so I've never gotten the opportunity to throw snowballs at anyone. Oh well. Once I got inside, I drank a little bit of all of them, including the Beverly (though it was just a tiny sip. I make myself do it every time to keep myself humble:-) I also decided that my new favorite of the drinks is Lift Pineapple from the UK. It burns my mouth a bit, but it tastes really good. VegitaBeta is still second though.
I even tricked a kid into drinking Beverly. I was standing at one of the taps and he saw me put a little bit of Beverly in my cup and start to drink it. As I did, he said something like "Man, that stuff's nasty!" So once I drank it, I tried my hardest to keep from making a face and said back to him "Which tap did you drink it out of?" and he pointed to the single one near the wall. Then I said "Oh, I think something's wrong with that one. That one tasted really bad, but this one tastes pretty good." So being his dumb twelve year old self, he quickly grabs another glass, puts a fair amount of Beverly in it and gulps it down. Of course, his gulp was followed by his gagging and my laughing and walking away. Moral of the story: Never drink Beverly from strangers.
I decided that since it was nearing 9:00, I would go ahead and go back to the hotel. As I was walking out toward Spaceship Earth, I heard someone yell, "Hey you! In the red shirt!" So I walk in the general direction of the voice, which just happened to be straight into a large group of young people. So again, a guy yells at me, "Hey you! Would you take our picture?" Of course, I happily obliged and took his camera. Pretty soon more and more people started handing cameras to me, so I lined them all up on the ground so I wouldn't miss one of them. I ended up with eight cameras lined up in front of me. I took all the pictures and asked the group where they were from, and it turned out that they were on their senior class trip (which made me feel totally slighted since we went to Universal Studios, Wet N Wild, and a crappy day cruise to the Bahamas on my senior trip). I wished them a happy rest of their trip and went on my way.
It was almost exactly 9:00 now, and I saw that Spaceship Earth was still open, so I ran to get in line. Turns out I was the third to last person they let on that night (one couple had gotten in line after me.) I enjoyed my trip on Spaceship Earth, although admittedly it was a bit creepy knowing that I was one of the only people on the ride. When I left, there was no one in the Global Neighborhood, so I quickly left and made my way out to my bus.
The trip back to the hotel was uneventful, and once there, I decided to get my mug and fill it in the food court. Once I got down there I saw the hot chocolate spout. Mmmm....I love hot chocolate! I filled my mug with steaming hot chocolate and took the long way back around to the room. When I got back to the room, I sat on the bed and debaucharized in my hot chocolate while I checked my e-mail. My friend Ashley was online and we chatted about her wedding, which was going to be in three days. When I was done with e-mail, I watched the Spanish DVC channel (one of the channels my dad would not tolerate my watching while he was in the room) and found it quite interesting and funny.
By the time my parents got back, I had already showered and was watching more Spanish DVC channel. They told me about getting to meet Paul Revere and all but one of the Raiders and about how funny the show was. I was in bed pretty quickly, but I forgot to set the Mickey wake up call.
Go to Day 6
Return to being Fyabulous!