Larry Wilmot -- October 2001 -- Walt Disney World (ASSR)
Larry's Totally Unexpected Trip Report.
In my last WDW report in July 2000. I remember telling everyone that I would have to wait until December 19th 2001 before my next trip to Florida to see the big Mouse. Being a man of my word, I had booked a trip to Pop Century, for that very day, but of course Pop Century is now the Mythical Beast from Beastly Kingdom at AK. So that got changed to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, for the princely sum of $118 per night, a sort of compensation rate from the very nice people at CRO. And that was that, I was counting down just like everyone else. I arranged a short trip to Disneyland Paris, just to keep my hand in matters Disney for July. This was a great trip, but with out being rude to my Gaelic chums across the channel. It doesn't really count. Though we had such a good time on Big Thunder Mountain, it should count.
However December 19th was not to be the next trip. The hot seat at Who Wants to be a Millionaire was calling. (More of this later, be patient, because believe me you are going to be so sick of me going on about it by the end of the trip report.) Did I tell you in my last trip report that I was a BEET in Doug Live, oh I did? sorry I wasn't sure.
Anyway to make a short story long, we have this school holiday in Scotland in October, which in Elgin is called the "Tattie Holidays". It is called that because the kids used to get two weeks off to help their parents bring in the Harvest, which presumably was mainly Potatoes, hence the name of the holiday. We as Social Work and Nurse Managers, the Wilmot's don't go in for too much Tattie Growing, though I do have quite a lot of Christmas Trees, which grow on the old Coal Siding, We live in an old Railway Station. Haven't had to buy one for years. Though Jill has bought a 10 inch one, with built in lights to take to Disney for Christmas. Ok MGM you can cancel the Osborne Light's the Wilmot's are bringing their own.
With the events in New York on September 11th, the world seemed to change. I hope this seems genuine because it is, I have felt quite close to America, thanks to Disney and the Internet, I spend time everyday in Virtual America, speaking to friends, and somehow, it felt like an attack on us as well as them. This was partly due to lots of Brits being killed and because we had visited New York in 1997, so I could picture the scene more vividly than if it had been somewhere I had never visited.
Anyway, one way to tell terrorists that they cannot win, is to go about your own business and not be frightened by them. So after a little bit of persuasion, Jill agreed to go to Florida for a week. She only had a weeks holiday, and I had an appointment in Butlin's Skegness for the second week of the Tatties with my mother, which you will be thankful to hear is not going to form part of the Trip Report, though some people on R.A.D.P. thought a comparison would be fun. Well OK I will say this. I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn't any where near as bad as I thought it would be. The food was quite good, and they have a very good indoor water park. (Not quite Typhoon Lagoon, but you wouldn't expect that now would you?)
Normally I write my Trip Reports in a Day to Day Fashion, I abandoned this for the Disneyland Paris Report, and did it summary style. I had intended to return to the day to day type, however, I gave up writing my notes about half way through the week. I was a bit jet lagged and I couldn't be bothered, and when I got some energy, I couldn't for the life in me remember what I had done on the Wednesday afternoon, some people think it was spent at Epcot, others that it was at the hotel. The truth is unless Disney releases the CCTV video recordings we are never going to know. So at that point, I decided that accuracy was vital to the day to day style. (Your right, Like you don't make it all up anyway !) so that as I could not fake it, I would have to abandon the day to day version and go for Summary. So Summary it is... With a smattering of day to day for good measure in a summary fashion of course.
You may recall from previous reports that we live in the North of Scotland, not the very North, not middle of nowhere territory, but 400 miles north of Yorkshire my home, and 200 miles from Glasgow or Edinburgh. Moray, is a nice part of Scotland on the shores of the Moray Firth, and its main industry is the distilling of the Water of Life, or Whisky as it is better known. Being almost teetotal, I don't drink too much of it myself, but the odd glass of Cardu has been known, the last one being at Disney with my friend Kathy, I drink Pina Colada actually, but don't tell anyone up here that.
Anyway. After September 11th there seemed to be cheap flights available. So I got on to the internet, and found a flight reasonably cheap at £209 about three hundred bucks, but sadly from Manchester which is four hundred miles away. Still for that kind of money who can complain? So Friday was a full day at work and then setting off at about a quarter to seven a seven hour drive to Manchester airport arriving about two in the morning when we could check in and then wait for eight hours for the flight. We got on the plane and found out it was flying to Glasgow in Scotland. which we had driven past a few hours before, the airline did not offer this flight from Scotland. I met a guy on the plane when we were waiting for an hour and a half on the tarmac at Scotland who lived two miles from Glasgow Airport, and he had driven to Manchester that morning only to fly straight back home again. I suppose if you pay cheap you get cheap... Anyway Jill asked for a comments form, and wrote an essay to send to them, about this very issue.
We flew on an Airbus A330. I had never been on an airbus before, it was a sparkly new plane. Had the video camera in the nose so you could watch the takeoff and a GPS display, with a big screen. I watched Bridget Jones Diary, and another film I was too sleepy to remember, I think...
The other thing about this flight was that it was to Sanford Airport, to Quote Tom my Floridian Chum, "Do they do international flights at Sanford?? Well yes, Tom they do, but it just seems to be British Charter Flights. - Actually I preferred it to Orlando International, at least you only have to pick up your luggage once. Immigration was quick and friendly and we were out of the airport in about 45 minutes. I don't think we have done MCO in less than an hour. There were armoured cars outside the airport. Check in was very slow on the way back, but I suspect that would have been the same at MCO or any American Airport at that moment in time.
We were picked up by Willy from American Town Car, he was recommended by my Friend Kevin from Huddersfield, who used him in the summer from Sanford, he charged $145 which was $45 cheaper than Tiffany, who we are using in December. I would recommend him, he was friendly. Pleasant, helpful and very punctual. He rang me up the day before the return and confirmed the times. Very Professional, well done Willy. If anyone wants to know more info, e-mail me and I will give you the contact details.
The Admission Media... (Passes)
I guess in a way the admission to the parks was totally free, well I suppose given we handed over $2K for the passes, it didn't exactly feel free. But the logic being, we bought four Premium Annual Passes for the Christmas and New Year Trip and the July Trip next year. So we would have to pay exactly the same even if we hadn't had this week, so the passes were free, even if the cost five hundred bucks each. Actually it may seem strange, but we bought the passes at the Magic Kingdom and the man seemed almost embarrassed to take that kind of money off us, he gave me a sort of "that's a lot of money look", or maybe he just had a squint or something.
He didn't give me a Lanyard though, we got them at Animal Kingdom Guest Services after my ticket got soggy on Kali River Rapids. I was to get a better lanyard later in the trip... One you don't have ha ha ha.
We stayed at the All Star Sports. You know I have to confess but having stayed for four weeks at the All Star Movies, I kind of, gently you understand, sort of looked down at the folks in the All Star Sports. Now I know I shouldn't - I should defend the Brotherhood of the All Stars, against the dark forces of despair and evil. (DVC members!) But being British, we're a bit class conscious you know and we sorta, kinda in a gentle way like to make comparisons just to see where we are in society. My Citroen Xantia beats my next door neighbour's Ford Escort. You know the sort of the thing...
Anyway, apart from the Food Court I think I liked the Sports better, It's biggest attraction being first one off the bus at night when you are cream crackered. The themeing is OK too. I might be slightly biased, because I rang and asked for "surf's up" and I could tell that getting a phone call from Scotland impressed her, and it turned out to be true, because We were put in the second closest room to the Food Court. It was exactly 100 paces, I counted them, to the room from the food court door. This included the steps. I later ran it and it was only 87 paces that time, but I was a bit breathless so I later didn't try to break my record. Also I nearly knocked over a small boy... woops. Now I can hear you saying that - "If she was so impressed she would have given you the closest room!" That is true, but I think the President's Grandmother was staying in that one... And I didn't have the heart to have her moved... She could have been quieter though the Reggae at Four in the Morning was getting a bit tiresome, those secret service guys know how to party.
The Premium bit of the Pap.
In Britain the word Pap means Rubbish, so spending $2K on four pieces of Pap is a bit worrying. However we needn't worry too much, because the Premium Bits were quite good. The weather was better for us than it was in the July Trips, I guess most days it was between 75 and 85 which was just nice. So we went to Blizzard Beach and before that Typhoon Lagoon. We also used Disney Quest as a Cyber Baby Sitter again for several nights, though the adults spent some time in there too.
We had visited Typhoon Lagoon once before but we just had a fight with a guy from New Jersey over a float, and then it started lightening so we had to retire to safer territory. So I kind of felt that it was new to us.
We liked it, The boys loved the big waves, I was far too chicken to try them out. Actually that is so powerful it does worry me that the boys might not be safe. They are both strong swimmers, we put them through the Elgin Leisure Centre Swimming Programme, which takes at least two years to complete, so I am not normally worried. Gregory told me that the place is swarming with life guards, so I guess they would quickly fish someone out who is struggling or in trouble.
We were all keen to try the Shark Pool. Jill was a bit apprehensive, she is totally unable to put her head under the water, even with a mask and snorkel, so she swam across the pool without seeing any of the fish at all. Which with out being rude to my dear one, is rather defeating the object of the exercise, but she was being bold and daring in trying, so 10 points for effort if none for results.
We were kitted out with Masks and Snorkels and a sort of vest come floatation device made from wet suit stuff. I had never snorkeled before, so it was a bit of an adventure. I am quite big and I float quite well. The water was freezing and very salty. My mask leaked a bit, I was also surprised by how deep the tank is, so on the first run I was a bit nervous. I didn't see any sharks. Mainly as I was looking for 30 foot ones, not four foot ones. A tictchy bit stupid I guess. I did see some rays though. Oh and some fish. I'm terrified of Moths, and for some rather weird reason, I regard fish as underwater moths, so I don't like them coming up close, which these ugly brown things seemed to want to do. But I kept my nerves in check and carried on regardless. I think the fish like me because I am a big fan of Ariel and I have a kind of crush on her...
Anyway after tightening my mask and getting used to the cold and ringing my psychiatrist who told me that under no circumstances have any scientists found a direct link between moths and fish, I went for another two trips across the salty sea. I was a bit calmer without the leak in the mask and I enjoyed the next two trips, taking them a bit slower. Saw all the treasure and lots of Leopard Sharks and rays. One of the rays came up from the bottom and touched Gregory with it's Wing. (I would have freaked and drowned, if it had been me, they even look like big moths.) Anyway I think all being all, that must be the highlight of the trip... (Even beating the Hot Seat at WWTBAM... )
If you want to look at the fish and sharks without risking drowning or some phobia... You can do it from the safety of an upturned ship, which forms part of the set, and has convenient port holes to observe from. There are two tanks, but only one was in use, the other tank had few fish but lots of sharks and rays. There were some Hammerhead Sharks in that one, but not in the one in use. They are cool little critters. If Jill had realized what she now knew to be the case, that the pool is seriously deep, she wouldn't have gotten in, and she would have missed all the fun of not seeing any of the fish and sharks.
The slides at Typhoon Lagoon are quite good, maybe not so meaty as at Blizzard Beach, but there is not a great deal in it. Greg Ed and I did the three body slides. All four of us did the raft slides, including the family raft ride which was fun, but you have to carry this massive raft up the hill yourselves, cheap Disney, get a machine to do it you tight wads, I paid a fortune for that Pap. Actually it was no big deal, almost fun rolling it up the hill. It is certainly fun, coming down the hill when you are in it.
The two single people raft rides are fun and one of them is quite wild, it dumped me head first into the collecting pool at the bottom of the hill. Nothing like the sexy taste of chlorine water to make you look forward to lunch.
Which was foot long hot dogs, and a shared Typhoon Lagoon Mug, re-fillable for the day. Which is OK, except that the All Star Movies Mugs, have now put in 38 days service. They have changed the design now, but no one seemed to be bothered. Jill heard a cast member say at All Star Sports, "look she is using a Movies Mug", and the other cast member said, "Oh they are allowed", and that was that. I wonder what the math is, 38 times four drinks per day... 152 drinks divided by about eight bucks, I think the price was in 1999, which makes it around... 5 cents per drink, which is probably about four cents more than it costs Disney... But I digress as usual. Jill got an extra hot dog for free at the Lagoon, because whilst she was getting some coke in the mug, the CM on the hot dog stall pushed her tongs into the skin of the hot dog, so she couldn't sell such a damaged dog, so she gave it to Jill for free. Who says Disney has lost the desire for perfection?
Blizzard Beach was an enjoyable visit, we didn't enjoy it quite so much as Typhoon Lagoon. This surprised me as I was expecting to like BB more. I think the main reason was that it wasn't as clean, and some areas were seriously in need of a lick of paint. It was the only place at WDW where I would have agreed that Disney standards have slipped. I guess it gets quite a lot of wear and tear and it is due for it's winter rehab, and boy does it need it this year.
I think the concept is more fun than TL, and I was brave enough to go on the second fastest slide, which is called Slusher Gusher, I actually took off and flew in the air for about a second, and I landed on my bottom with quite a bang I can still feel, but it was big time fun. I was however, too chicken to go on Summit Plummet, but I think that, it is not totally beyond the bounds of possibility in future trips, if it was a choice of that or visiting a butterfly garden, then you know which I would pick...
There are similar raft and body slides to Typhoon Lagoon, and Greg, Ed and I did most of them. I won the eight person race down one of the body slides, this is the one advantage of being quite big, you get speed and momentum. Though you seriously lack grace. I had a terrible time getting on and off the ski lift to the top of the mountain. How I didn't fall on my head, is a total mystery to me.
No shark pool... Shame, I guess it doesn't fit with the theme.
Disney Quest is fun for short visits for adults and great fun for all day visits, if you let them, for Ten Year Olds and Teens. We have to confess also that it is a fantastic place to leave your older kids, I think 10 is the age limit, whilst you explore Downtown Disney or visit Pleasure Island.
We are far too mean to let our kids waste money in normal arcades, so they overdose on the arcade stuff at DQ, the normal "Midway" machines are free, or should that say, included in the admission price. (Inc in a PAP) Even I had a bit of a thing for the Skeeball Machines and the Harley Davidson, riding it down the runway at Los Angeles Airport was my idea of fun. I used to be a biker with long hair. My favourite biking tale, is that I went camping with my mate Steven Close once on our bikes. I had a tent, and slept in that, he didn't and didn't want to share mine, so he took his sisters "Wendy House" tent with him, and slept in that with his legs sticking out of the door, which if I remember right had flower pots printed on it.
We enjoy doing most of the "Big Stuff" at DQ, my favourite being the Pirates of the Caribbean. Now this has slipped in the top ten though, mainly because Gregory has told me the secret on how to hang on to all the gold and get a really good score. I debated if I should put the reason here, so you would all know as well so I decided should I be nice and not spoil it, or should I be bad and spoil it. Hmmmmmmm I had to think about that one for a while. In the end I decided to be nice and not tell you. If you want to know though you can ask and I might tell you if I am in a good mood and have had an easy day at work that day.
Also to make it even easier, a Cast Member told us where the Secret Stash of Gold is... Disney can be just too nice sometimes, don't they know anything about the moral value of suffering???
Talking of which, on the Buzz Lightyear Ball Shooting Thingymygig we had a iffy car which kept stopping and telling me that my seat belt wasn't fastened which it was. I was a bit miffed with this as the ride was ruined for Jill and I. So I said to the cm the car was iffy, and she said, oh I know it is a computer fault. So I said, don't you think you should take it out of service then. And she said "oh about four of them are like that". And that was that and she didn't seem to think that this was a problem. So I asked to see the manager, who was very very nice, and I'm sure did absolutely nothing about it. We saw the CM later in the day and she said she was glad I had complained as the Managers don't listen to the staff much and people should complain more. She turned out to be quite nice in the end, and I was glad that I hadn't moaned to the manager about her, which I must say had crossed my mind at the time.
We also did the Aladdin Virtual Reality Game, but I think that is a bit of a con, I'm far from convinced that you have any input into the outcome of the game. It seems to me that events unfold in the same way no matter what you do. I may be wrong, but I couldn't be bothered to try it again to see if I made any different choices whether the result would be different. I could have done it again, but there was a Harley with my name on it upstairs.
Ed and I developed a little ritual when I picked him up to take him back to the Sports. I had to beat him at Air Hockey... Shame but someone had to do it. On the last night he beat, me, I think he thought I had played bad on purpose so he could win, but I hadn't. He beat me fair and square. I thrashed him at Butlin's though just to make up for it. 7-2 or something.
Anyway DQ is quite good, but I'm getting a little bored with it, if I am being honest. Which is something I like to occasionally be. Well almost all the time. I made the President's Granny bit up... Oh you guessed that... cool. That's what I like educated readers.
World Wide Sports - NFL Experience.
This is a nightmare to get to. We decided to go, when we were at the Magic Kingdom. (Oh you won't believe this, I have now remembered what we did on the Wednesday afternoon... Drat.) Anyway, I thought that it would be take a monorail to the TTC and get a bus from there. But oh no that is far too simple. You take the monorail from the MK to the TCC, then get a bus to MGM then wait for a very long time, and get another bus to the WWS complex. Then you get into what can only be described as a Ghost Town. It looks like a University Complex which has sent the students home for the week, giving them free beer vouchers only usable in their home towns, to make sure they actually leave. Anyway after walking quite a long way through the Marie Celeste Way, down Quiteville Avenue, past the Vista de la Silence, you eventually get to the NFL experience. Now you have probably noticed that I haven't made any of my usual Europeans are much better than Americans Jokes, it's just not the time. Even there I couldn't be bothered to say that NFL is just Rugby for softies, or say that Baseball is just Rounders in disguise. I'm looking forward to normality so I can start being rude again.
Anyway, I don't think that the NFL experience was that profound, it was fun for 45 minutes. Then both of my boys got injured, Greg was hit in the chest with a Rugby Ball, thrown out of a machine so he could try to catch it, and he was winded and quite upset. And so he didn't feel he was missing out, Ed was hit in the head in the same way and was left with a nice bruise under his cheek. Great, you travel for hours just to get your kids battered. On the way out I had a little disagreement about the exiting arrangements with the cast member, but I sharn't bore you with all the details. (How kind of me.)
If you are some kind of NFL freak, you might want to go. If you are determined to visit everywhere, that the Pap allows you to visit you might want to go. (I think that was my excuse!) Anyone else, I wouldn't bother and If you do bother, go in your car.
Jill and I went to Pleasure Island. We only went to two clubs, the Adventurers Club and the Comedy Warehouse. We saw glimpses of bands on the big stage. On our final night at PI it was Rebel Pride, which were a sort of Heavy Metal Country Band, in long hair and Cowboy gear. I'm sure if you are into Heavy Country they must be brilliant but if you are not, good grief what a din. Personally I prefer Blink 182. (Joke for the selected few!) On the Friday night we went with Sue and Leesa, we hadn't met Leesa before and it was really nice meeting her, she is a dedicated CW fan and we had an interesting chat about digital cameras. It was also really nice to get the chance to meet with Nancy, Leesa and Sue's friend who works at the Jazz Club as a chef. I bet you didn't know that the Jungle Book is her favourite Disney Film... If you go to the Jazz Club ask them to play the Bare Necessities, and she might pop out from the kitchen to listen...
Obviously it was great seeing Sue again, especially in her natural habitat. Bye Bye Blues Mug in tow. It was only a short meet but we get to go to see her again at New Year to go to the Hoop to hunt down the rare species "Laydonus Sixbitus"
We took in four shows at the CW during the week. We enjoyed all the performances. I think the high spot was a game of Up Your Alley -- Up Yours Reader... This was discussing Vegetables... And it was funny because of the characters being played by the cast.
We went to the Adventurers Club a few times. I like the atmosphere there. We saw a show in the mask room that was a bit dull, we saw the Radiothon, which I hadn't seen before that was quite funny. The most embarrassing moment was when Miss Perkins said I had the "hots" for her, and then started taking the Mickey out of my Typhoon Lagoon mug, which I still had with me, saying 'he has brought his "Sippy Cup" with him', which got a laugh. I think I enjoy the character interaction more than the actual shows at the AC, the shows get a little samey after a while. Still it is a fun place to hang out, and as Arnie would say, I'll be back. Kongaloosh.
Well that is the end of the P bits of the Pap, now on to the AP bits. The four major parks. Well I'm not going to write up all the attractions that there are there, you should buy a guide book if you want that. Actually I've been thinking of writing one - a sort of Irreverent Wilmot's Guide to the World... Place your advance orders now...
I will tell you something of the essence of our visits to the four parks though. And I might be tempted to mention that I was in the hot seat of WWTBAM... As if I could be stopped!! Actually I think Tom and Leanne, are thinking of taking a Court Injunction out against me, because they are fed up about me going on about it!
Piece of advice, don't go on a Saturday Night to try to see Spectromagic when you have had 90 minutes sleep in the past 48 hours. We went to MK as soon as we had arrived mainly to get the Paps and also to try to see Spectromagic. We got the passes OK but Spectro had started - The park was absolutely mobbed. The parks were generally quiet, but everyone was in the MK that night because Spectro and the Fireworks were only being shown that night. I think one has to question Disney's logic on that one. The MK is the primary park and the benchmark for all the other three, so why they have this policy of just one night, is hard to understand when Illuminations and Fantasmic are shown every night. I know it must be expensive but one night is silly. Not only do people who go for say five nights potentially miss out the experience for those there is diminished as the park is so packed. That night we managed a trip on TTL and that was it, but tiredness was the major problems, the packed park was an irritation rather than anything else.
We visited the MK a couple of times after that initial visit. We didn't do a great deal in the park if we are being honest, I think we have now succumbed to the "We are Annual Passholders and we don't have to rush." I think we did most of the big rides once. One of the trips was with Tom and Leanne and we did Splash Mountain and got quite wet. We missed Big Thunder Mountain, mainly because we did it 10 times in July and gave it a miss this time, gota do it at Christmas though.
One of the high spots was the Diamond Horseshoe Review, which is a big family favourite. We often go and get lunch about 30 minutes before the showtime, it is a café as well. Then you get good seats for the show. Things were going well, through the Singing Cowboy and the Magician. But then the Dancing Girls came on and I was picked by the leader of the troop to be the Yodelling Cowboy, That is quite an experience as she hides her microphone in her assets and then leans over whilst you yodel so they can pick up the sound. So you end up being a Yodelling Eyes Shut Cowboy, well you do if you are happily married and want to keep it that way. Anyway, I got a Cowboy hat for free for that fine effort, which was hard to pack so I ended up wearing it on the plane home, looking a right idiot. (Free Hat No.1 from Disney!)
Tried to find the wedding ring at Haunted Mansion again with no luck again, will someone please tell me where this thing is. I give up otherwise. Quite liked the ride, it broke down for a while whilst we were on it at the dining room, so it was quite good watching the ghosts for about five minutes dancing. I had never noticed the spooky duel in the paintings before, so that was cool. The Hidden Mickey in the plates, doesn't seem to be in the Paris Version.
Whilst we are talking about rides breaking down we had an interesting experience on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. That broke down, at first we got the chat, telling us to stay in our seats. Then after three or four minutes the ride completely lost it, and all the scores re started, as I was on about 600,000 at the time I was a bit miffed, but then these secret handrails, popped up on springs to make sure that if you had to walk out of the ride you couldn't fall into the shooting areas. This was cool, I never knew they were there at all, and when we had another go a few minutes later using our Fastpasses, they had gone away again. See it's amazing what you learn reading Larry's informative TRs.
And on the topic of Fastpasses, they were not always needed, the parks were fairly quite, but there always seemed to be lots of people about in the streets. We walked on to Tower of Terror at MGM once, where you could pick your own seat... Now that doesn't happen in July. I developed a theory that the park looked more busy than the rides would suggest because in the busy times lots of people are actually hidden in the queues. I guess Fastpass must put people on the streets more than previously though. Despite Fastpass being two years old, my experience in Paris is that a great deal of people still don't get the concept yet and are still using the standby line un-necessarily.
I don't understand this weird phenomenon , but I really like Animal Kingdom, The rides are fun if sparse, the Animals are Great, the themeing is second to non. The shows are good, though Legend of the Lion King has got a bit samey for me, and could do with a replacement in my humble opinion. Yet we never seem to visit the park. Last July we did it twice in two weeks, and this time we only went once. Maybe there is just too little of it, and unlike Epcot, where there always seem to be bits we haven't done each trip, you can cover the ground so much quicker in AK and it leaves you little reason to go again.
Whilst we were queuing up to get into the park, Jill made a liaison with a talking tree, who suggested that she leave me and run off into the sunset with him. Unfortunately for the tree, she decided to stay with me. I think she was tempted though, after all it is not every suitor who can offer free unlimited coconuts.
We had a nice lunch at the Tusker House, which is our favourite fast food joint. We shared all the bits from each others meals and sat at those big tables, to eat our garlic potatoes with gravy and spicy chicken et al. Jill is looking forward to the African food at the AKL at Christmas. Though we have booked Christmas Dinner at the 50s Prime Time Café at MGM, after all you have to visit you Mom and Cousins at Christmas - don't you. (I hope my real mum isn't reading this, seeing as I will be 4,500 miles from her at the time.)
We did the Tarzan Show, Jill I think prefers the DLP version of this with Phil Collins singing on tape in French, I prefer the live music I think. I notice that the skaters are now back skating on the walkway between the two theatre tiers. I had criticized the lack of that in the TR last year, so It must be my stinging criticism that made them change it... Yer right, Larry!! I do know that Disney Read the TRs though, because I got an e-mail and phone call from a guy in the Fastpass department after I had boasted about all my Fastpass scams, he wanted to see if I had any they hadn't thought about and to tell me how they were going to correct them, which they have done.
We seemed to go to Epcot quite a lot, we went with Tom and Leanne and did Test Track with Tom. We also met with some friends from Forres. Fiona and Carlo and their family. We were supposed to meet with them at Morocco but they were waiting for us in Mexico, and then realized and came over. But hey, they both begin with M, We watched the children acrobats in china. Fiona is a Health Visitor and so is Jill, so they spent the time discussing if being a child acrobat was good for their health, I was worried they were going to ring for some social workers to take them into care, so I was keeping a low profile.
We persuaded Leanne to go on Test Track, Tom is a kinda speed demon so he is easy to persuade, but Leanne is more of a challenge. I think she was missing the electric buggy from last year, (She had hurt her foot in a Scottish Dancing accident, it's the last time the Royals invite her to the summer ball at Balmoral.) so she was prepared to give TT a go. We even went in the standby line which only took about 10 minutes, so the parks must be quiet. Test Track was as fun as usual, and it is a ride I don't tend to get bored with and so I can enjoy repeat rides.
I had over the three or four visits, food from China, Britain - (Fish and Chips, from Harry Ramsden's. - Which they have at Butlin's, just about the only thing WDW and Butlin's have in common.) The nicest meal I had was in Germany, Chicken Schnitzel with Potato Salad and Apple Strudel to finish... Yummy. I once went to Austria and I really like Schnitzel which is normally veal, but that just makes you feel too guilty to eat and enjoy at the same time so the chicken version is better. Having said that I hope they were free range chickens... I was a veggie for seven years, and you know I think I should think about being one again.
Jill did Illuminations twice once with Leanne and once with Me, I think that it is impressive, but has some slow patches in it, I enjoyed it much more this year though because I have the Millennium CD and knowing the music adds to the enjoyment. The Promise at the end is quite moving, and I know one of my friends really enjoys that song so to her I say Hi...
One thing though we went one evening into the Land and there was virtually nothing open, Food Rocks was closed as was the Lion King Environmental Film. The only ride open was It's a small lettuce and that had a 60 minute wait time for the standby with all Fastpasses gone for the evening. Now much as I like salads there is no way I would wait an hour for a boat ride through some greenhouses. I quite fancy the character meal there though, I must do that sometime.
Epcot is very good for wandering around without doing much... And the fact that the temperature was pleasant enhances that park, normally it is the hottest, I guess because there is little shade, so I think October is very Epcot Friendly in a way July isn't.
I thought I was going to be unhappy at MGM, they closed one of my favourite attractions Doug Live, - You probably remember that I was a Beet last year. I was determined to become a Beet and so it had to happen. Well Doug was largely forgotten, except when I walked past the empty theatre, which never failed to make me feel just a little sad.
Still it was replaced by my obsession to get in the hot seat at Who Wants to be a Millionaire. At my first show, I was second on the leader board. I knew I would do well, because I had learnt from Radp the secret of getting high on the leader board, if you know the answers. But to be Second what use is that. That is the worst position, except for being first when they run out of time, and they don't take the leader from the audience because the hot seat contestant gets a question wrong at that point. You can ask my family and Tom and Leanne, I went around going, "Second, what use is Second." I tried another couple of shows and got nowhere, Edward got on the leader board, and Leanne gets on the leaderboard every show. She is really good at all questions, except for cooking... I was also struggling because I don't know the answer to so many American Questions, hey, no one watches baseball and American Soaps except for you guys.
But on my last morning, we were at MGM early, and I asked for tickets to the Fastest Finger Seats, and I knew from Radp the only way to win fastest finger is to guess because if you think, with 600 people in the audience, someone will have guessed the answer quicker. So I chose D,B,C,A as a reasonably order, and being the brainbox that I am, I was right. So I was picked for the hot seat, four got it right, and I was the quickest.
Then life starts to get a bit harder, I made if through the first five questions to the 1000, and with the help of my lifelines made it to $16K. Leanne and Tom and Edward who were in the audience were urging me on. However, I blew the $32K question... I really must get a subscription to People Magazine, and who the hell is Harry Hamblin, Is he the lead singer of Blink 182??
Anyway, I didn't make a total idiot of my self, I hope!!. I cracked a few jokes and was rewarded with a 1000 point hat and five exclusive pins to put on my exclusive WWTBAM Lanyard...
After you leave the show, everyone in the audience says, "Hey good Job, Man" and nice things like that. I am now banned from the Hot Seat for 30 days, but I will be back, and you are going to have to be good to keep me out of the hot seat I want a Polo Shirt... Bad.
We did lots of other things at MGM too, like the back stage tours, and the new 100 Years of Mr Disney, that was quite enjoyable, I think they should have given Ub Iwerks more Credit for designing Mickey though, there is a tiny indirect mention of his name. But I enjoyed the displays and the film. And without Walt I wouldn't have a 1000 point hat now would I.
Thanks for reading my Trip Report. I will be back again at Christmas, so you will have to suffer another one in January. Until then bye for now. Cheers Larry from Scotland.