March 1999 - Boardwalk Studio Villa
Words of Hope - What we had to go through to get to WDW
Exactly one week earlier the idea hit me that it would be fun to go to WDW the following weekend because our 16th anniversary is March 5 and my 40th birthday is March 7. It seemed like a pipe dream at first, but the more we talked about it, the more possible it seemed. We even searched the net for airfare. Gene finally called Delta and US Air on Sunday. Everything was so booked that we could only get 1st class at $1000 each, round trip. That was just too much so we gave up.
Monday morning I figured that it couldn't hurt to check with a travel agent. I called Gene and he said to go ahead and try because it looked like he wouldn't have to work on Saturday. I called the travel agent and told her that I would be willing to drive to a different airport and lay over if we could get to WDW as early as possible on Saturday morning and not leave until Monday evening. She checked all the airports around and could get out of Newark, NJ for $400+, round trip, but we would have to come back Monday morning. Not acceptable. It was time to give up again.
Well, I just couldn't do that. As I sat on the couch, pouting, a tiny thought slithered into my devious mind. I threw on my clothes and went to talk to the travel agent in person. After spending an hour and a half with her, I left the office with plane tickets and ressies for a studio villa at the Boardwalk - all paid for and clenched tightly in my fist. Oh, the thought: To drive at the end of the flight instead of the beginning. We flew from Phila to Atlanta, changed planes, flew to Jacksonville and rented a car to drive the rest of the way.
So when you think you won't make it to Disney World...DON'T GIVE UP!!!
Our E-Ticket Weekend...Part 1: The Yucky Stuff
Let's get this over with first. We left Phila airport at 8:30, headed for Atlanta. There, we switched planes and left for Jacksonville. I haven't flown in 16 years. You know what? I HATE IT!!! Things have changed a lot in 16 years. It wasn't an airplane, it was a flying cruise ship! It's unnatural for anything that big to get off the ground. Seven seats across - GOOD GRIEF!
We rented a new Dodge Intrepid (nice car!) at Jacksonville and were on our way just before 2:00 a.m. Gene was able to nap for about an hour. Then we switched and I was able to nap for about 1/2 hour. We pulled into the Boardwalk at 4:30 a.m.
Well, guess what? The Disney computers were down. He said that they should be up around 5:30 - 6:00. There were rooms available. He said he could give me one if I wanted to pay for an extra night. I said, "For an hour and a half? I don't think so!" I'm used to being a little more spoiled by Cast Members.
I thought that Roaring Forks at the Wilderness Lodge was open all night, so we headed over for a cup of coffee. The guard at the gate said that it wasn't open, but we could go to the Contemporary. So we did. I got my cup of coffee and we went back to the Boardwalk.
We stopped and talked to the security guard at the Boardwalk, Tia. She started telling us how the Tower of Terror had just been changed. I rolled my eyes, broke out in a cold sweat, and started to hyperventilate. We told her how I promised to finally try it this time. She said that it wasn't as bad as it sounded and if I didn't like it, I could write a letter and get her fired. I felt so bad for her - she seemed like such a nice girl to be out of a job. LOL.
Well, guess what? Yup, computers still down. They said maybe for another hour. We went to Kissimee and had breakfast at a Waffle House. Back to the Boardwalk at 6:30. Guess what? Uh huh. Maybe at 7:00. At 7:30 - just 5 more minutes. They checked us in at 8:00. Room 5087 was ready. We didn't even go to the room. We grabbed Gene's Length-of-stay pass and headed for the Animal Kingdom.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 2: Let the Fun Begin or Sleepless in Disney World
Okay gang, hop on the bus for the Animal Kingdom. Come on, let's go! We're just in time to walk right in. All of the Annual Pass holders are running over to Asia for their preview. I have an Annual Pass, but Gene doesn't. Do you think they'll let him in with me? Let's head that way.
Hey, look, no one is going toward Countdown to Extinction. I bet we can get right on. Let's go that way! As we walk over, this is where I find your souvenir. I offer you this gift; a feast for the senses. Close your eyes and imagine...
We're walking through the mist, thick and heavy, yet at the same time cool and refreshing. Our path is a fossil trail, see the imprints of the different leaves? Hey, look, there are bird tracks, too. And speaking of leaves, aren't all the different palm fronds beautiful? Which ones do you prefer, the long, thin leaves or the ones that spread out like a fan? Whoa... WHAT WAS THAT?!?! Did you hear that dinosaur call? It sounded like it was right behind you! I hope it's friendly. Just take a deep breath; you're back in time, and the atmosphere surrounds you like a big hug. You're welcome to stay as long as you like, and when you're ready let's go to Countdown to Extinction. Happy Disney thoughts:)
I was right, there's no wait. Look, our car isn't even full. I already know that we're going to go right on it again. Doesn't it seem scarier this time? And a lot more fun? It seems darker and there are more meteors than there used to be. That Carnotaurus at the end always gets to me. DUCK!! And weren't we lucky to bring back the Iguanodon?
Well, you guys can't go to Asia yet because you don't have an Annual Pass. But you can go in at 11:00, so we'll just head over to Africa for a while.
Don't you just love the Tree of Life? It's the most beautiful thing Disney has ever done. It always takes my breath away. Look up at the rearing horse, can't you just see his nostrils flare and smell that sweet horsey sweat? And doesn't that lion look like he's just going to jump out of the tree and run down the path? There's a whole zoo that you can almost reach out and touch. Let's walk down the path and stare in wonder.
Here we are. Let's go see It's Tough To Be A Bug. I know we've seen it before, but that just means that we know when to lean forward so we don't get stung. Gene tries to push me back in my seat. Don't let him get you, that sting hurts! Do you hear that group of girls back there, screaming? This has to be their first time. They're almost as much fun as the movie.
We still have time before we go to Asia. Gorillas, anyone?
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 3: Gorillas in the Mist
Come on, folks. We have plenty of time, let's head for Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. And this is where I find your souvenir, Kelsie. I offer you this gift: the love of family to raise you up when you're feeling down. Close your eyes and imagine...
You see him on the hill and two thoughts strike you at the same time. First, he's huge. He's the most gigantic monster of a gorilla you've ever seen. He looks strong enough to crush a rock in the palm of his hand. And second, he's beautiful! He's the most gorgeous, perfect gorilla you could imagine. Look at his silver back as he turns away. See his muscles ripple as he moves?
Oh, look at the little ones. There's a 4 year old. Next to him is his 15 month old brother. And over there is little seven week old sister. They're so cute. Wouldn't you just love to pick her up for a cuddle?
Look! Father gorilla is turning around to the youngsters. I think he's charging. Oh, no, he's... He's doing a summersault. He's rolling around and the little ones are jumping on him! Now he's up again. He and the 15 month old are chasing each other around a tree. Time for another roll and then sit up and rest. As he sits, the 4 year old picks up a handful of straw... and throws it in his father's face! Off they roll down the hill. It's such a precious sight to see this gigantic animal, as gentle as a kitten, playing with his children.
It's time to tear ourselves away, even though we really don't want to. Let's go check out the safari. Oh, oh, there's an hour wait. We've seen it before and we'll see it again, but I guess not this time. How about a little shopping and a Coke at the Flame Tree Bar-B-Q? Oh, what a good smell is coming from there!
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 4: A journey into Asia and a gift for Cathy Canada
Okay, gang, it's 10:45. Let's go wait to get into Asia. Let's not wait, we can go right in! And this is where I find your souvenir, Cathy Canada. Cover your ears, I offer you this gift to share with your son; the childlike wonder of discovering new lands. Close your eyes and imagine...
We're walking down the path to the Kali River Rapids. Look to the right, see the ruins through the trees, they're falling down. There's a building up ahead, let's go in. See the statue in the center of the room? What a neat cat! It must be 15 feet tall! I wonder if it's some sort of guardian. And the statues outside, do they represent Gods? Look how ancient and eroded they are. The one on the left has fallen down. There is a sense of power and dignity about them.
Can you feel the ground rumble? Hey, it's the river, looks like we're here. Hop on the raft with me. There's plenty of room, it holds twelve. Off we go. Oh, here comes a little dip. Ahhhh... water came in the side. My right side is soaked from my waist down. IT'S COLD!!! We're all getting wet. Look at everyone laughing.
The rain forest is lovely, but something doesn't smell quite right. Oh, no, look up ahead. The trees! They've all been destroyed! They're on fire, they're all burnt! There's fire everywhere! It's getting hot! How will we get out?!?! We're turning to the right. Oh, no, it's a big hill, here we gooooo... Oh I'm wet again. Not wet enough, I guess, we're going under a waterfall. We're coming up to the end. Look at the elephants, aren't they cute? Wait a minute, they're squirting water out of their trunks! DUCK! Oops, too late, there got you! We're here. We made it.
Wow, that was fun! I hope Patrick liked it. Now, let's go see the tigers. They are magnificent! It seems like they are roaming around free and we're the ones who are fenced in. Let's walk through the ruins. The paintings on the wall are lovely. This is such a nice addition to the Animal Kingdom. I'm so glad we were able to come here! Hey, I'm getting hungry. How about lunch?
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 5: Lunch and a souvenir for Nicki
Well, it's time to leave the Animal Kingdom. Let's get on that bus. Where does it go? I can't tell you. This is your souvenir, Nicki, and it's a surprise. Close your eyes and imagine...
We're driving through the woods, where can we be? There's a sign up ahead; Bear Crossing. You guessed it, we're at the Wilderness Lodge. How about lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe? In a minute. First, let's just stop and look around. How wonderful it is! Did you ever see such big logs? And in the lobby I just love the fireplace. I'm mesmerized. I'm hungry, too. Let's eat.
Frank will be our waiter and he seems ready to play a little. I call him a different name each time he comes to the table. He's a good sport.
Yummy, yummy food. The chicken on the nachos is sweet. As soon as we taste it, our hunger kicks in. You're welcome to share my steak, there's plenty. I'm too full for dessert. And too tired, too. We need to find our way back to the Boardwalk, but first I need to get some pictures and check out the pool for when we stay here with the kids in September. Let's just start with the bubbling pool in the lobby and follow it outside. Oh, the boat to the Contemporary is at the dock. Just let me get a couple pictures of the Lodge. Wait a minute, just a couple of the pool, too. Okay, RUN! Here we come!
Oh, good, we made it. Just a quick boat ride across the lake. Oh, look! Someone is parasailing! I want to do that RIGHT NOW! But Gene is too tired and starting to get cranky. We've been up since yesterday morning and we are really dragging. Hey, maybe I should change my name to Brer Draggin'! LOL! Let's take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and catch a bus to the Boardwalk.
We paid $169 per night for a studio overlooking the parking lot (Annual Pass discount), but were upgraded to a view overlooking the quiet pool. And what's that in the distance? Oh, no, IT'S THE TOWER OF TERRORrrrr...
We're going to nap from 2:00 - 4:30 and then head for MGM.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 6: MGM, the Moment of Truth or Does She or Doesn't She?
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! Hurry and get ready, it's time to go to MGM! Let's walk down to the dock and catch the boat. It shouldn't take long. We'll make a quick stop at the Yacht and Beach Club, and another at the Swan and Dolphin. Okay, here we are. Everybody out.
Uh, oh, there's a problem. A terrible dilemma. You see, my favorite ride is Star Tours. It always has been. But I made that foolish promise to finally go on the Tower of Terror. Well, we only have time for one ride if we want to get a seat for Fantasmic. I know Gene will let me do Star Tours now, but that means I'll have to come back tomorrow and ruin my Birthday on Tower of Terror. Oh, give me strength, it's decision time. And I turn.... right. Gene says that Star Tours is the other way. I know. Let's just get this over with. Do you think they could have made it any taller? My palms are sweating. SWAN, would you do me the honor? I could use a brave hand to hold.
I've made it to the elevator before, the special "normal" elevator. I'm familiar with the Lobby and movie, no problem there. Just repeat after me, "It will all be over in 10 minutes." Repeat this over and over, it's our chant. We walk through the boiler room like zombies and take our seat. This must be a dream! It will be over in 10 minutes. The door shuts. I think I'd like to wake up now, please. Oh, we're going up, this can't be good. The doors open, it's just spirits. They're not scary. And the stars really look cool. Look at the door at the end of the hall, we are in the Twilight Zone! The doors close again and we go up again. I hope I don't break Gene's arm!
The doors open again and we start to move forward. Look, there's the clock spinning backwards. This part is pretty cool. I wish Rod Serling would shut up. He's saying mean things about us being in the Twilight Zone. And it's very dark. And then there's a snap... Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I'm not screaming - because I CAN'T BREATHE! Up and down and up and down. I'm in a state of shock and lose count of the drops. I think there were 27! LOL! And then the doors open and we're done... YES! I DID IT! I SURVIVED THE TOWER OF TERROR! I'M ALIVE! Of course, I'm weak in the knees and my hands are shaking, but who cares? I DID IT! I send Gene off to buy the picture. I have to get my Tower of Terror t-shirt. In my mind, I pound on my chest like Tarzan. Ahhhhhhhh. LIFE IS GOOD! Hey, I can breathe again. How are you doing, SWAN? Did you have fun? Did I squeeze your hand too hard?
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 7: The Best Meal We EVER Had
Well, we have plenty of time before dinner. Let's get all dressed up for a change. Are you ready? We don't have far to go, just down the Boardwalk. There it is, The Flying Fish Cafe. I like the neon lights and the flying fish in the window. We're a little early. Don't worry, they'll page us. Oh, there's today's menu posted outside. Oh, boy, did I tell you that I'm a picky eater? I'm really doing this for Gene. He's the one who likes to try new things. This menu doesn't thrill me. Maybe Gene would go to the Cape May Cafe. Oops, too late, they're paging us. Oh, well, here goes...
The decor is very nice, tasteful and elegant. I really like the flying fish on the parachute ride. Didi will be our waiter tonight. He is a very pleasant, attractive man from Morocco. He's very helpful. Well, let me find something sort of familiar. Okay, I've decided. Here goes... My appetizer: "Peeky-toe" Crab Cakes with "Flying Fish" slaw and Ancho Chili Remoulade (whatever that is). And my entree will be Char Crusted New York Strip Steak with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Sugar Snap Peas and Sauce Foyot. Gene's appetizer is Smoked Moo Shu Duck Pancake with Scallion Brush and Blood Orange - Soy Syrup. His entree is Oak Grilled Maine Diver Scallops with Spring Garlic - Asparagus Risotto and Coconut Curry Stew. We're going to share the steak and scallops.
There is no way to describe the food. Every taste is new and different and every taste is exquisite! This is the best meal I've ever had - anywhere! Gene agrees. It's expensive, but we can't wait to go back. It's all over too soon.
Boy, we really pigged out. We're going for a stroll around the lake. Care to join us? Our ultimate goal is Jellyrolls. We've been wanting to go there for quite awhile. Come on in for a few minutes. We'll listen to the pianos and maybe sing along if they play a song we know.
This place is packed! And everybody's singing. Me, too, I can't help myself. How can I not sing YMCA and Hotel California and Piano Man? And don't forget to dance the Chicken Dance! What a fast hour and a half. I would like to do this all night, but I'm running out of steam. We are going back to the villa to collapse. Last one asleep is a rotten egg!
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 8: I'm 40 and I'm Happy!
Sunday, March 7, 1999. It's my Birthday!! Happy Birthday to meeeee... Get up, Lazy Bones, it's time to celebrate! You can sleep when you get home. Hurry! I want to be at MGM for Early Entry. Hop on the boat, let's go.
We're here. She's taking down the rope. Race you to Star Tours! There's no line, we can go right on. Buckle up and hold on tight. Whoooweee... it's just as good as ever. But we're not staying here too long, we're going to the Magic Kingdom.
But I have this thought I haven't been able to get out of my mind since last night. I bet you can't guess. Well, maybe you can, SWAN. I bet Pooh Boo knows. Care to join me again? I'm not holding hands or arms this time. I just think that maybe I had fun and I have to know for sure. Follow me, here we go again... Ahhhhh... I SURVIVED TOWER OF TERROR AGAIN! It was great! I LOVE IT! I think I may have a new favorite ride! I'm almost positive I have a new favorite ride! I held onto the bar with all my might, but no holding hands or clinging to Hubby's arm! You never told me how much FUN it is! I must be getting brave in my old age! LOL!
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 9: It's My Birthday, Spoil Me or She gets older, but she won't grow up!
Well, wasn't that a hoot? Who'd a thunk it, me on the Tower of Terror of my own free will? It's time to move on. I just need to make a quick stop at the villa to drop off my son's t-shirt. You don't have to come up if you don't want, you can wait in the lobby with Gene. Here I am. That didn't take too long. Have a nice rest? Let's go get the bus to the Magic Kingdom.
This has always been my favorite park. Come on in. I have to make one more quick stop... at City Hall. There's a Cast Member over there. Hey, it's my Birthday! May I have a Birthday button? Thanks. It's so cute, look at the castle. And it says, "Today is my Birthday." Let's pin it on so everyone can see; is this blatant, or what? I love it.
Okay, on with the fun. And here is you souvenir, Karen B. I know it's morning and there are no lights, but would you like to stroll with me down Main Street? Close your eyes and imagine...
First of all, there's the horse and trolly. Oh, isn't he beautiful? And huge!!! I'm so in love with horses, I see him even before the Castle. He's looking at us. I know he can see me holding up my camera. Look, he's posing, see his head raise up and his neck arch? This will be a great picture!
Let's walk. Do you need anything at the Emporium? Let's window shop anyway, just a quick look. Here comes a side road. There they are, the flower carts. Aren't the flowers lovely, I can smell them from here. Go ahead and get one, it's YOUR souvenir. I like the flower pots hanging from the street lamps.
And in the distance it's getting bigger and bigger. YES! The Castle! I know I was meant to live there I must have been switched at birth! LOL!
Oh, that smell. We're at the Confectioner's Shop. Take a deep breath...exhale...take a deep breath...exhale...start to drool and pant... I can feel myself gaining weight from the smell. Be strong! Keep going. A wonderful walk, a beautiful day, I think we must be covered in pixie dust. Ummmmmm...
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 10: My Birthday race through the Magic Kingdom or How many E-Ticket Rides can we do in 2 hours?
Do you feel refreshed? Me, too. Good, because now it's time to hurry. Turn left, can you see it? See the waterfall? We're going to check up on a relative of yours, Baloo. A brother, or rather a Brer. Hey, there's no line! We have a log boat all to ourselves! How do you do?... and welcome to my Laffin' Place. And there's my favorite scene. Look at Brer Bear, all tied up, hanging from a tree, with his paws over his head and his big old rear end hanging down. I finally figured out why I like him so much, he's built like me! LOL! Up the hill and over the top, don't forget to wave. Wheeee.... Argh, I'm all wet. Guess what, you are, too! Zip-i-Dee-Doo-Dah. Now we can go on Big Thunder Mountain and get a chill. Oh, wow, there's no line here, either. Boy, this is the fastest I've ever gotten through here! Shall we try our luck at the Haunted Mansion? Yes! No crowds! Please move away from the walls and step to the dead center of the room...
There's no way I'm leaving this park without going on Space Mt. Race ya! Well, there's a short line at the top, but this shouldn't take too long. See, here we are. And we got the very back seat. Do you want to have some fun? See that big guy in front of us? That's Gene. Wanna know a secret? He's very ticklish under his arms and along his sides. Shhh... wait a minute. Hey, Gene, are you going to keep your hands up the whole ride? There he goes, just as we take off. Now reach forward very carefully...and...GRAB AND TICKLE!!! Don't forget to scream in his ear at the same time. Isn't this the most fun ever ?!?! Hi, Honey, did you have a nice ride? ROTFLMAO!
It's time to move on. No, wait. I forgot, Buzz Lightyear is open. Let's go! Oh, the Cast Member said Happy Birthday. Isn't she nice? She's following me. What? It's Laura. Why is she climbing on the railing? She's making everyone sing Happy Birthday! I smack her on the rear end and she turns around and laughs. Me, too. This is a fun ride, us old folks are having a blast. I get to control the car. Let's spin back and forth and all around. Now the other way. This is cool, my kids are gonna love it! Well, we have to be on the move again.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 11: A Quest for rest with a detour in EPCOT
Gene doesn't know that we're going out on a pontoon boat to watch the fireworks. I told him that we have ressies at the Grand Floridian at 6:45. He thinks it's for dinner, and he keeps saying that we have to eat an early lunch or we won't be hungry for dinner. Little does he know that dinner is at 8:15. I have to stall him from eating lunch too early.
So, as long as we're heading back to the Boardwalk anyway, how about a quick stop at EPCOT? We can catch a monorail to EPCOT and walk to the Boardwalk from there. The ride on the monorail is soooo relaxing. I really could fall asleep.
Okay Eva, are you ready? Close your eyes...no peeking...it's just around the bend...and...open your eyes. There it is, Spaceship Earth! Has man ever built a structure more amazing? You know, I love the Castle, I want to live there, but it's Spaceship Earth that represents Disney World to me. It's the first landmark I look for and I don't feel like I'm really in WDW until I see it. It takes my breath away. And even though we don't have enough time to do very much at EPCOT this trip, this is one ride I don't want to miss. Come on, let's go on it. Ahhhh, talk about relaxing. I'd like to close my eyes, but I can't stand the thought of missing something. Not the Egyptians creating writing, or the Greeks creating theatre, or the Monks, or the printing press, and certainly not the Sistine Chapel. But most of all, I love to get to the very top and see the beautiful Earth in the distance, among the stars. I keep watching until it's out of sight. I can see it right now in my mind.
There is one more thing I'd like to do while we're here. Let's check out Test Track. Oops, let's not, it's not running. Oh, bummer. Well, like Scarlett O'Hara said - Tomorrow is another day.
Gene's worrying about lunch. We're going to walk over to ESPN. But we're not going to stay, it's packed. I didn't really want to eat there anyway. Let's go back to the villa.
The bar by the pool has sandwiches, nudge, nudge. We haven't gone swimming yet, hint, hint. Last one in is a rotten egg! And I'm going down the slide first. Ahhh, nice warm water, a strawberry daiquiri, a sandwich to top it all off. I'm going to sleep now. Wake me up at 4:00.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 12: A disappointment for me, a surprise for Gene, and unplanned Birthday presents. Yippeeee!
I'm up. I'm refreshed. I want to go on Tower of Terror! We can go to MGM for one ride. After all, it IS my Birthday. Well, we're here for one ride, but it won't be Tower of Terror, the line is too long. Aw, shucks. But all is not lost, the Great Movie Ride is just around the corner. Do you want to go do that while we're here? We have just enough time before we have to catch the bus to the Grand Floridian.
We've never been to the Grand before. It's very elegant, isn't it. I feel a little out of place. I'm more of a commoner. We have some time to explore. Let's just amble outside nonchalantly so I can locate the marina. There it is, no problem. Except... when we left the Boardwalk it was nice and hot out, perfect shorts and t-shirt weather. But now it's really getting chilly and the wine is picking up. Look at all the ripples out on the lake! I'm not about to miss the boat ride, so there's only one option. Gene, I'm freezing, I need to get a sweatshirt. He's on to me. He's asking if he needs a sweatshirt, too. Do I spill the beans of let him freeze? Just wait a minute, I'm thinking. Oh, okay, we're going for a boat ride. But I'm still not telling where dinner is!!
Good thing I saw the gift shop up by the monorail. My favorite character sweatshirt is on sale, Eeyore. And it goes with my shorts. Gene's is a little dressier. I wonder what else I might find in here. Let's see... some scrapbooking materials; a video, Around the World with Mickey and Friends; a book, WDW Resort - A Magical Year-by-Year Journey; and another book, Cooking with Mickey and the Chefs of WDW Resort. I guess I better quit while I'm ahead. Boat ride, anybody? Dress warmly.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 13: You're Hot Stuff, Baby, but I still need a blanket!
We put on our sweatshirts right away. Yes, I remember to take the button off my shirt and put it on my sweatshirt. We sit out on a bench by the marina. A Cast Member comes by and says that he's going to get our driver. He suggests that we might want to change into long pants. I don't think we can get to the Boardwalk and back in five minutes, but the sweatshirts really help. Boy, it's cold out. Have we been transported back to Penna.?
Oh, good, the driver is here. Time to go. I'll carry the bag. Oh, guess what? He brought us a blanket. Jason, thank you so much! What a life saver! I guess Gene and I have to cuddle up so we can share the blanket. Oh, yeah, that's so much better.
First we get to cruise to the different resorts; the Poly, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and we go around Discovery Island. Jason is so nice. He's on the college program from Penn State. He tells us this bit of trivia; if you look at the Wilderness Lodge at night from out on the lake, there are two triangular shaped windows lit up. Below them is another with a rounder shape. They're supposed to look like the head of a bear. We can make it out.
After our tour, we go out in the middle of the lake, right in front of the castle. There is a small island next to us with a hidden speaker so we can hear what's going on in the Magic Kingdom. And then the fireworks start and they are wonderful! It's as if they're just for us. I'm so glad we did this!
Hungry yet? It's time for dinner, at Citricos. It's another lovely, elegant restaurant with a menu that changes daily because they only use fresh ingredients. For appetizers; I choose Prosciutto Carpaccio with Baby Spinach Salad, Parmesan and Grilled Pecan Bread, and Gene picks Wild Mushroom Risotto with Marinated Squab. For our entree: I have Black Pepper Linguini with Sauteed Bay Scallops and Creamy Clam Sauce; and Gene has Six Hour Braised Veal Shank with Orzo Pasta, Toasted Sesame Seeds and a Soy Sauce Glaze. The food is delicious, but we're so full we have to turn down dessert.
The waitress comes back a few minutes later and says, "Since you wouldn't pick one, I had to pick for you." She sets down a large, white plate. Across the top is written, "Happy Birthday, Laura," in chocolate. There is a chocolate balloon on either side of the writing. One balloon is filled with a vanilla sauce and the other is filled with a raspberry compote. There is more raspberry compute on the bottom of the plate, and on that sits a key line cheesecake, covered with blueberries. Wonderful! I didn't know it was coming, but I did tell them it was my Birthday when I called for Priority Seating.
To top off the evening, Gene saved us from traveling around on busses for an hour by having the valet call a taxi for us. We pull up to the Boardwalk ten minutes later.
Alas, even the best of days has to end. I fall asleep with a smile on my face as soon as my head hits the pillow.
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 14: Our Last Day or I Don't Want To Go!
Gene thinks he's going to sleep in a bit, but I wake up at 6:30. As long as we're awake we might as well go out and play. I pack up all of our things (thank goodness we brought an extra suitcase) and we take them down to the bell stand to be stored until we're ready to leave.
What a perfect time for breakfast. Off we go to Spoodles. And what a breakfast! It's a buffet, but there are some unusual dishes. Another good meal, this was a good choice. And the waitress is from a town near where we live. We have run into a lot of people from Penna.
You know, EPCOT is about to open and it is nice and close. We have time for a short walk first, let's go over to the Yacht and Beach Club. We'll get the boat from there. Oh, look, they have a duck food machine on the dock. It's only a quarter. Here, hold out your hand, there you go. Aren't they greedy? Look at them dive under the water to get the food. They sure are loud!
Oh, a little female duck flew up on the dock. Gene puts down a little bit of food for her. I want to do that, too. Look how close she gets! Here comes a couple of male ducks, too. Okay, don't crowd me. Wait a minute, there's enough for all of you! Now mind your manners! Great, there's the boat. Throw the duck food behind them and RUN!! Well, wasn't that a bright idea?!?!
It's back to Test Track... which will be closed until later this afternoon. Well, we'll have something new to try out in September. As long as we're here, how about a visit to the Wonders of Life? There's no wait for Body Wars. This seems pretty tame compared to Star Tours. We're going to wait until next time for Cranium Command, but let's take a few minutes to play with a couple of the hands-on exhibits. What a fun way to learn about science! We even have a few minutes to play video games on our way out of EPCOT. Don't stay too long, I have an idea...
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 15: Reminiscing or Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
We stayed at Dixie Landings in '96 and really liked it. One of the things we enjoyed doing was taking the boat ride to Downtown Disney. We have a few short hours left so why don't we go relive the past? Just hop on the DL bus. Don't forget to wave good-bye to EPCOT. Good-bye, Spaceship Earth, we'll see you in September.
We don't get off until the last stop, so we get to ride by Port Orleans and all around Dixie Landings. Oh look, there's Oak Manor, where we stayed in '96. Our bus stop is right in front of the main building. You know, we could take a shortcut to the boat by going through the gift shop. I'm not buying anything, but I never get tired of looking.
It would be nice to look around outside for awhile, but there's the boat. Time's a-wastin'... RUN! We made it, they were nice enough to wait. Off we go. First stop, Port Orleans, then on to Downtown Disney.
I could spend all day here looking around, but with our limited time it looks like we have to do E-Ticket shopping. I'm sure you can guess what that means; I make a beeline for the World of Disney. Is this the most wonderful store you've ever seen?!?! I feel like a kid in a candy store. Ummmmm, surrounded by Disney items everywhere I turn. And in the next room - surprise, there's more. This is like a sweet dream. Why, this is almost as good as chocolate!
Well, we have souvenirs for everyone and Gene found something cool for our family. And I mean COOL. We bought four little portable fans that we can each hang around our necks. When we get hot, we just turn them on and hold them up to our faces. We figure we can take them on our walks this summer and back to the World in September. And talk about Disney Magic, they even came with batteries!
Uh, oh, there's another thought sneaking into my mind. Hurry up, Gene, I want to go get on a bus. There is one that goes to the All Stars. We've never been there, let's check it out. Then we can catch another but to...
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 16: You created the monster, now deal with it, and I play with the other kids.
Hurry up, Gene. I want to go to MGM. We have time. We'll take the bus over, catch the boat back to the Boardwalk when we're done, get our stuff and leave. Come on, I want to ride the Tower of Terror. It's your fault, anyway. You created the monster. If you don't like the monster you created, maybe you should just leave well enough alone. Just get on the bus.
See, we're here already. We might as well have all the fun we can. Come on, slow pokes! There's no line this time. We went to the left both times I rode this. Let's go to the right this time YES! We get to sit in the front again. I'll give Gene the corner this time.
Off we go. Hi, little ghosties. Nope, I'm not going back. Onward and upward. Actually it's more like upward and onward. Forward we go. We slide into place and... SNAP! Whoosh! Down and up and up and down. My chubby little body comes right off the seat. I'm floating! This is so COOL! In September I'm going to do this without holding on. Maybe not the first time, but the second. Hey, Pooh Boo, wasn't that an uplifting experience?!?! Boy, I sure have changed my tune. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! LOL!
We got through that pretty fast. We have a little time left, and right here on the corner is Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I think I like this show more than the movie. Look at the surface of the water overhead. Reach out with me and touch the bubbles. Don't you feel like you're underwater? You can sing along if you want to, I am... Up where they walk... up where they run... up where they stall all day in the sun... wandering free... wish I could be... part of their world. It gives me goosebumps.
Wasn't that a fun attraction to end our vacation? Don't you feel all warm and bubbly inside? It's time to walk out and get the boat back to the Boardwalk.
Whoa, wait a minute. Look at that stand over there. See all the puppets? You just put your hand up the back. Control the arm with that little stick. The bottom legs have velcro so you can hook them around your waist. There's the genie from Aladdin, and a dog, and there's a fluffy, white cat. Oh, wouldn't Rachel love that one?! It's probably too expensive. No, it's not. I'll take it.
I better try it out. I'll just slip my right hand up here, my fingers reach up into his head. I'll hold this little stick and move his hand... and wave to that little girl over there. Look, she's smiling. Let's have kitty blow her a kiss. Oh, this is fun. I'll just turn my hand a little bit so kitty can look around... at that man over there. He's smiling, too.
Let's practice on Gene on the way to the boat so I can get the hang of this. Come on, Gene, where is your sense of humor? Don't hit kitty! I have to kick you in the can. That guy is laughing at us.
Boat's here. Let's sit in the back. I want to play with those kids. That little boy wants to act cool, but he likes kitty. He's looking at us again. What a quick boat ride, we're at the Boardwalk already. I'm not ready to stop playing yet. While Gene goes to the rest room, let's sit out here on this bench. Here comes a bunch of people, let's play. They're playing back, even a Cast Member.
We can't put it off any longer, it's time to leave. We'll let Gene handle the bags and car. Kitty wants to play with these valet parking Cast Members. And they want to play with him, too. I've had more people open up for kitty than on the rest of the trip. What a great ice breaker!
No more stalling. Get in the car and...
E-Ticket Weekend...Part 17: The Icing on the Cake or This one's for you, We Love Our Bodies (WLOB) Club!
Gene's going to drive, so let's just take a little snooze. Oh, that's much better. We probably won't get home until 1:30 in the morning, so we better eat before we get to the airport. Gene's sorry he passed the Outback Steakhouse, but there's an Olive Garden at the next exit. We like that, let's eat there.
There is the most wonderful looking dessert here, but I've always gotten too full to try it. There's a picture of it on that card table. This is still my vacation, right? It's still my Birthday celebration, right? Here comes the waitress. Okay, for my appetizer I want... that cake. And then I'll have pasta for dinner. But bring the cake first in case I fill up.
Oh, look at that thing! It's cut in half, but if you posh it back together I bet it's six inches across. Chocolate cake with cappuccino icing between the layers. A chocolate glaze on top and covered with chocolate shavings. And it's sitting in a puddle of chocolate syrup! This is the best appetizer I ever had in my life! It should be illegal. I'm thinking of you and sharing this with you in my mind, but I have to confess, if you actually tried to take some I'd stab you with my fork!LOL! Yes, I finish it, but I'm too full for dinner.
Well, this ends our E-Ticket weekend. All that's left is a couple of plane rides and the drive home.
Thank you for coming with us. This trip has been just as much fun the second time around.
My tale is done.