Walt Disney World Trip
Day 9 (Friday, Dec. 10)(Click on any image to see a larger version of the photo. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
A lazy day at AKL Cruisin' to Illuminations Adventurers Club
The long day on Thursday (I was on the go from late morning until after 1:00 a.m.) really wiped me out, so I slept in late and spent the day relaxing around Animal Kingdom Lodge.
I had a late breakfast at The Mara (AKL's very good counter service restaurant), stopped by the Zawadi Marketplace gift shop to buy an AKL t-shirt I'd been wanting, read email, watched the animals, etc.
About 6:00 p.m., I headed out for Epcot to meet my friends for an Illuminations cruise. I took a bus from AKL to MGM, then caught a boat to the Yacht & Beach Clubs dock, which was right near the starting point for the cruises. (Have you noticed that I take boats whenever possible? :-) They're much more interesting than buses.) None of my friends were there yet, so I sat on a porch at the Yacht Club and looked over the Mousefest event schedule for a while until I noticed that Ginny was sitting down near the dock. Shortly after I joined her, one of the cruise captains (I think his name was Ron) came over and chatted with us for a while.
Other people soon started arriving, including our boatmates and our captain, Jeff. Ginny brought snacks and hot drinks, and another of our group, Linda, brought a banner made from Lion King "goody bags." We had decided call our boat "Hakuna Matata" because the parents of the only child in our group said that "The Lion King" was his favorite Disney movie, hence the LK decorations. The parents brought a CD of the movie's soundtrack, which Jeff put in the boat's CD player for us.
An Illuminations cruise actually begins about an hour before the show with a pleasant trip down the canal to Disney-MGM Studios. We had good views of the BoardWalk and the Swan and Dolphin hotels during this part of the voyage. Jeff kept us entertained with Disney trivia questions and bad Disney jokes. (By "bad," I mean "good." :-) He had some funny puns.) The CMs had been given red-and-white striped scarves for Christmas, so Jeff was wearing his and looked very jaunty.
After returning to Crescent Lake, we continued on to the International Gateway at Epcot, where we and the other three boats tied up under the France/UK bridge. The people in the boat next to us were adorned with glow-stick necklaces and bracelets, and were drinking champagne from glowing plastic glasses. Barb and Brenna were in that boat, and Brenna started dancing to our Lion King music.
I had never seen Illuminations before, so it was a treat. The extra holiday "Let There Be Peace on Earth" segment at the end (narrated by Walter Cronkite) was beautiful. I was especially impressed with how the white lights outlining the pavilions of World Showcase were turned on and off at various times to emphasize parts of the show.
I was little disappointed that from our location, I had some trouble making out the images being projected on the big model Earth. Next time I'm either going to take binoculars or find a closer viewing point. But the cruise is a lot of fun and well worth the cost. (We spent $15 a person, which covered the boat rental and a tip to the captain.) Many, many thanks to Shawna for organizing a bunch of Illuminations cruises during Mousefest.
It was only about 10:00 p.m. when we got back to the Y&BC dock, so I decided to head over to the Adventurers Club for a while. Have you gotten the impression that I like the AC? :-) It's the only truly unique club on Pleasure Island, and always great fun.
I mentioned to Ginny that I'd heard that Premium Annual Pass owners could take a friend into Pleasure Island free on Friday nights. She was interested in checking out that rumor, so we took her car (which she had valet parked at the Yacht Club) over to Downtown Disney. We walked up to a PI ticket booth and discovered that the information was true, so she soon had a free PI ticket in her hand. A nice benefit for PAP holders!
We headed off to the Adventurers Club and stayed all the way through Hoopla ("Hoopla!"). I'd never gone to Hoopla ("Hoopla!") before, so it was fun to see it. Just before Hoopla ("Hoopla!"), we went outside to see the nightly PI New Year's Eve festivities. As one of the adventurers had warned us, it was basically a couple of guys with sparklers, but it was fun to finally see it. (Actually, it's more than a couple of guys with sparklers. It's a couple of guys with Roman candles. :-))
After New Year's had been appropriately greeted, we went back into the AC for Hoopla ("Hoopla!"), leaving the club shortly before 1:00 a.m. After a quick stop at The Missing Link for a hot dog, Ginny very kindly drove me back to AKL so that I wouldn't have to wait for the bus.
Pre-planning | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 |
Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Days 11-12 and Tips for Solo Visitors
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Last updated 2/5/06