Walt Disney World Trip
Day 2 (Saturday, Jan. 6)
Off to the Parks(Click on any photo to see a larger version. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
"Vous sortirez aujourd'hui?" "Non..." The ancient and the modern together in Epcot Benchmarking at Disney-MGM Studios Rockin' with the TSO
Because I had adjusted my schedule to Eastern time before I left California, I woke up at a reasonable time today, about 7:30 a.m. I know that doesn't sound very early, but remember, it's only 4:30 a.m. Pacific time!
As I mentioned yesterday, my room is right on the upper end of the Sassagoula River. Here's a panorama of the view.
I was concerned that Port Orleans might be noisy compared to Animal Kingdom Lodge, where I've stayed on most of my WDW trips. But it wasn't bad at all. I couldn't hear people walking around the room above me, and even though I was right on one of the main walkways around Alligator Bayou, I hardly heard anyone passing by my room.
For reasons I won't bore you with, I actually had one reservation for Friday night, and another for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. Last night, I had a phone message saying that someone could bring my new room key/charge card to me this morning so that I wouldn't have to go down to the main building to get it. So when there was a knock on the door a little before 8:30, I assumed that's who it was.
Turned out it was the housekeeper, asking whether I was checking out today. When I tried to explain about my split reservation, she said she didn't speak English. Her accent gave me a hunch, so I said, "Parlez-vous français?" She replied, "Oui," so I plunged forward with my minimal French. I don't think she ever quite understood why I had "deux reservations," but I did manage to convey that I would be "dans cette chambre jusqu'a mardi," so that answered her question about whether I was leaving today.
About 20 minutes later, a man showed up with my new room key. After downloading yesterday's photos to my MacBook (I feel much safer backing up the camera frequently) and munching on some crackers, cheese, and part of an apple, I got ready to leave for the day. But first, I took a minute to personalize the greeting on the message machine. "Hi, this is Patty speaking from my bayou residence..." :-)
I finally left about 9:20. It was nominally only a three or four minute walk to the nearest bus stop (Riverside has four stops), but I dawdled to take photos of the azaleas and other flowers. I really enjoy the landscaping throughout Walt Disney World, at the resorts and the parks.
My plan for the day was to go to Epcot, but since my main interest is World Showcase, I decided to catch a bus to Disney-MGM Studios and then take the boat from there to the International Gateway. It isn't the fastest way to get to World Showcase, but I think it's the most fun! I really enjoy the Epcot/MGM FriendShips and the other boats that ply the waters of Walt Disney World.
Before the MGM bus arrived, a special charter bus came by bringing folks back from today's half marathon. I asked the driver what the schedule would be tomorrow, and he said that they'd be starting at 3:00 a.m. and going until early afternoon, but they wouldn't run from 5:00-7:00 a.m. Eeeps! That's just when I was thinking of heading out to find a spot to see Lloyd. Oh well, nothing for it but to get up early tomorrow and catch the bus about 4:30...
The MGM bus showed up shortly thereafter, and as soon as I got there, I walked to the dock and caught a FriendShip. We arrived at the International Gateway just before 11:00. People were already being allowed to enter the park and continue to Future World (which was already open), or to wait at the ropes for World Showcase. I chose the latter option, lining up at the bridge between the UK and French pavilions. While waiting, I perused the entertainment schedule for today, because I wanted to catch some of the singers, comedians, etc. that I had never seen at World Showcase.
As soon as the CMs removed the rope, I walked toward the Morocco pavilion, planning to get some lunch at Tangierine Café and then catch an 11:30 performance of the World Showcase Players back at the UK pavilion. But when I got to the café, I discovered that it didn't open until 11:30. Oh well, I can rearrange my entertainment schedule. To pass the time until 11:30, I wandered around the Morocco pavilion, peeking into the shops and taking photos.
I especially enjoyed watching the Segway tour group as they went through the Morocco pavilion. It was fun getting photos of them in the archway of the pavilion: the very ancient and the very modern in one image.
As soon as the Tangierine Café opened, I went in. Several items on the menu looked appealing to me, but I finally settled on the lamb wrap, which came with tabbouleh and lentil salads. I'm not much of a tabbouleh person, but the lamb wrap was very good, and I ate most of the lentil salad.
Then it was off to the U.S.A. pavilion. I got there in time to hear an entire set by the fife and drum musicians.
Then it was into the pavilion to hear the Voices of Liberty a capella group perform under the dome. They did five songs: "This Land Is Your Land," "Oh Susannah," "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Down By the Old Mill Stream" (I remembered that one from when I was little, including the alternate lyrics!), and "America the Beautiful." All very nicely done.
When the Voices of Liberty finished, we were invited to go upstairs to the theater to see "The American Adventure," a film and Audio-Animatronic presentation. I was pleased to see nods to lesser-known aspects of American history, such as Teddy Roosevelt's visit to Yosemite in the company of John Muir. I assumed that the portrayal of TR standing on that overhang at Glacier Point--with a 3,200-foot drop to the valley floor--was a bit of artistic license, but judging by the photo on this NPS web page, it wasn't. Yikes! Everyone would have a heart attack if a president did that today!
Well, here I'd been at Disney World since yesterday, and I hadn't yet looked for any Disney survey marks. Shame on me! I walked around World Showcase Lagoon to find the one near The Outpost. It was hiding behind a bench, but I found it with little problem.
As I was leaving the Outpost area, a FriendShip went by on its way to the dock near the Italian pavilion. I realized that it would be passing in front of Spaceship Earth on its return trip, so I decided to wait for it to come back. And wait, and wait...It finally finished loading and left the dock, allowing me to get the photo I wanted.
I then walked back to the Italy pavilion to try a delicious-sounding combination my net-friend Linda had recommended: a sparkling red wine called Rosa Regale with a piece of chocolate. The bar right at the edge of the Italy area had the wine, and it came with two dark (but not bitter) "Black Pernigotti" candies for $6.00. Yummmm!
By now it was time to head for MGM to meet Lloyd. I caught a FriendShip and arrived at the Studios at 2:45 p.m. I didn't need to be at the Sorcerer's Hat until 3:30, so I asked directions to the Prop Shop to pick up a free gift for annual passholders that had been mentioned in the passholder magazine. It's a very sweet lithograph of Dumbo putting the top light on the Osborne Lights Christmas tree.
Preparations for the afternoon parade meant that I had to take the long way around to avoid the crowds, but I finally found the shop and got the delightful Dumbo Christmas lithograph. I also found a shop that had the latest MGM passholder exclusive pin, which turned out to be Tinker Bell with the Osborne Lights.
I then worked my way back to the Sorcerer's Hat, catching the last few minutes of the Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade before sitting on a bench to wait for Lloyd. He showed up about 10 minutes later, and we walked over to the entrance of the Fantasmic theater to ask a CM (cast member; Disneyspeak for an employee) when we should line up for the 6:30 p.m. show. She suggested that we come back about 5:00 p.m.
Now, you are probably thinking that we were making these plans because we wanted to see Fantasmic. But you would be wrong. :-) Our actual goal was to hunt down a Disney survey mark in the theater--one that neither Lloyd nor I had ever seen because of the difficulty in getting to it. So our plan was to enter the theater, find the benchmark, get photos and GPS readings for it, and then leave. Quite frankly, neither of us are big fans of the WDW version of Fantasmic, considering the Disneyland version far superior.
After getting the timing information from the CM, we went off to do other things until 5:00. We got some sodas, then went over to Echo Lake and found a few benchmarks there. I also went and found the well near the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular that has the "DO NOT PULL ROPE" sign. (The "NOT" is crossed out--as if WDW visitors needed the hint!) What happens when you do? I'm not telling! You'll have to try it for yourself sometime!
We went back to Sunset Boulevard and got in line just a few minutes before the gates were opened to the Fantasmic theater. We quickly found the mark (it's right by the river, to the right of center) and documented the heck out of it. While I stayed there and enjoyed the pre-show music, Lloyd walked around the rest of the theater looking for any other survey marks, but he didn't find any.
With that task finished, we headed over to Streets of America to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Although I was at Disney World in December, 2004, I never made it to the Studios at the right time to see the Osborne Lights. As of this year, they've been choreographed to create various displays in time to Christmas songs. Lloyd and I got there just before their 6:00 p.m. start time.
Although it wasn't quite dark yet, the effect was stunning when they all came on. It was even better when they started "dancing" to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's excerpts from the "Nutcracker Suite." After a pause during which the lights were static, they danced again to "Feliz Navidad." Another pause, then a medley of "Good King Wenceslas" and "Carol of the Bells."
Lloyd and I stayed through one more performance of Nutcracker because we wanted to get some photos after the sky got completely dark. Then we walked down the rest of New York Street and off to some of the side streets; the scope of the lights was truly amazing! Every time I thought we'd seen them all, we'd turn a corner and there would be more. I especially liked the lighted Golden Gate Bridge with the little Mickey Mouse head. I wonder whether we could convince the bridge district to implement that for real. :-) It sure would be pretty!
Lloyd and I were getting hungry by now, so he recommended the ABC Commissary, which he said had some alternatives to the usual counter-service burgers and sandwiches. Indeed, it did. Lloyd got a Cuban sandwich, and I got chicken curry. We then went into One Man's Dream, wandering through the exhibits before watching the film about Walt Disney.
By now it was 7:30--still early evening, but nearly time for both of us to get some shuteye. At least I wouldn't have to run 26 miles tomorrow! But I would need to be up much earlier than usual. So after we finished dinner at Disney-MGM Studios, I caught a bus to Port Orleans, stopped by Riverside Mill to pick up some stuff for breakfast (banana, yogurt, muffin), and downloaded the day's photos to my MacBook. Bedtime was early by my standards, but 3:45 a.m. will come all too soon!
Steps today: 23,500, or about seven miles.
Planning | Day 1 | Day 3 | Day 4
Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8
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Last updated 2/9/07