Walt Disney World Trip
Day 5 (Tuesday, Jan. 9)
A Day of Entertainment(Click on any photo to see a larger version. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
Trekking to Africa High-speed cars and high-flying rockets A visit to the Pacific Northwest Adventures at Pleasure Island
Today was my transfer day from Port Orleans to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I had a lovely breakfast sitting near the river outside my room, munching on a muffin and some yogurt. A breeze was ruffling the water (yay, it was cooler today!), making hundreds of twinkling stars as the sunlight caught the tiny waves. Well, given that this is Disney World, I guess I should say that the breeze made hundreds of twinkling Tinker Bells. :-)
A little after 10:30 a.m., I called bell services to pick up my bags. I got a ride with the bellhop back to the Sassagoula Steamboat Company (the main Riverside building), and checked out. Then I took a bus to Animal Kingdom. (Disney doesn't run buses between resorts, so you have to go to a park or Downtown Disney and transfer. Of course, I also could have just taken a cab...)
Upon our arrival at Animal Kingdom, my bus from Port Orleans pulled up adjacent to the stop for Animal Kingdom Lodge, giving me an excellent view of that bus just pulling away. :-) Luckily, another AKL bus showed up a few minutes later.
I got to AKL shortly after noon and found out that my room was ready. It was on the second floor of the Zebra Trail, and as I walked to it, I suddenly realized that it was almost exactly opposite the room I'd had last April! This time, I had 2436; in April, I was in 2437. Strange coincidence in a hotel with almost 1,300 rooms!
Unlike the pool view I had at AKL on my first visit in 2004, the view this time wasn't anything to write home about. For some reason, the corner rooms on the second floor have high concrete walls on their balconies instead of low open railings. So I couldn't see anything while sitting at the balcony table. When I stood up, I had a view of a bunch of trees and the children's wading pool; no sight of the main pool at all.
However...the location of this room was excellent, as I had learned last April. The stairs were right next door, with an elevator just around the corner, and both led right down to the restaurants and the pool. Very convenient, especially considering the layout of AKL and the possibility of being a 10-minute walk from those services.
Also, there was a public viewing balcony for Arusha Savanna just across the hall. So despite the poor view, I was very happy with the room. Anyway, I didn't expect to be spending much time there on this trip.
After settling in, I left AKL just after 12:30 and headed to Epcot. As I mentioned yesterday, Nick and Lloyd and I had made plans to eat dinner at Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge, but I suspected that I might be able to find Nick at a Voices of Liberty performance at Epcot before that. He had mentioned last night that their shows were always a good place to look for him.
I didn't head straight for World Showcase when I got to Epcot, though. I had two rides on my to-do list for this trip that I had never done. I hadn't put Mission: Space on the list until a few months ago, when Disney began running a wimp version of the ride in which they don't spin the centrifuges. So now I wanted to try it. And for some reason or other (probably long lines), I'd never gotten around to going on Test Track.
Mission: Space had a fairly long wait and no single-rider line, so I picked up a FastPass for that and headed next door to Test Track. That one has a permanent single-rider line, so I was in a car within 10 minutes. I suspect that the single-rider option is always efficient here, because the cars hold three people in each row, and many WDW visitors are traveling in pairs. (I didn't notice how the CMs loaded groups of four, whether it was two people plus a single rider in each of two rows, or three in the front and one in the back with another pair of people.)
I've had sports cars myself most of my life, so I enjoyed all the twists and turns and speed of Test Track. In fact, I immediately got back in the single-rider line and did it again.
After buying a Test Track souvenir pin, I finally returned to Mission: Space, using my FastPass to get on the ride within a few minutes. (The wimp side, known as the Green team, seemed to have shorter lines than the full-experience Orange side.)
The ride was pretty fun, although I would have liked it better if it moved around more, like Star Tours. But of course, that's impossible with the type of simulator used in this ride, because it's a centrifuge, not a hydraulic motion platform. Either the centrifuge spins, in which case you get the full effect the designers intended (and risk motion sickness!); or it doesn't, in which case the ride is unavoidably tame.
After more or less successfully landing my spaceship on Mars, I walked over to the U.S.A. pavilion. The Voices of Liberty were in the middle of a performance, and sure enough, Nick was there listening to them. I caught his attention at the end of the show, and we went off to enjoy some other Epcot entertainment.
Being a Shakespeare fan, one show I particularly wanted to see was "Romeo and Edna" at the Italy pavilion. (Although it's held at Italy, it's performed by the British World Showcase Players.) The play turned out to be a lot of fun, with the two audience participants playing their roles well, and some good ad libs from the cast members.
We then caught Sergio's juggling act at Italy, while I got in the Italian mood with some vanilla gelato and a biscotti. About 4:30, we left Epcot for Wilderness Lodge. Our dinner wasn't until 5:30, so we had about half an hour to explore the hotel's creek, geyser, and beach. We got there in time to get some pretty photos of the 5:00 p.m. geyser eruption, which created its own rainbow.
Geeks that we are, Nick and I spent some time figuring out how many separate water systems there are between the beginning of the creek inside the hotel's lobby and its eventual disappearance into Bay Lake. The way it's designed makes it look like one continuous stream of water, but of course it isn't. We eventually decided that there were probably four water systems. Note that Animal Kingdom Lodge, which was designed by the same architect (Peter Dominick), has a similar trompe l'oeil with its creek.
Just before 5:30, Nick and I went inside the hotel to Artist Point. We met up with Lloyd and were given an excellent corner table with views toward Bay Lake and the Wilderness Lodge creek. All three of us chose the Chef's Selection, although Nick and Lloyd got the buffalo entrée while I got the salmon. (I had the buffalo last April; it was delicious.) Because I had enjoyed it so much last time I ate here, I ordered some Kiona ice wine to go with my berry cobbler for dessert. All in all, a very fine meal.
We decided to go to Downtown Disney for the evening--specifically, to the Adventurers Club on Pleasure Island. The weather had finally cooled down, and Nick needed to go back to his hotel to get a jacket, so we arranged to meet him at the club in a little while. Lloyd and I took a bus directly to Downtown Disney.
Upon arriving at Pleasure Island, we were disappointed to discover that a private party was being held at the AC, and it wouldn't open to the public until 9:00. So when Nick arrived, we all spent about an hour wandering through the shops at Downtown Disney before returning to the AC.
The first event after 9:00 p.m. was in the Treasure Room, where maid Kiki was interrupted in her explanations of the artifacts by headless genie Beezel. I don't know how the Disney folks do that illusion, but it's very clever. After the New Member Induction Ceremony (kungaloosh!), we moved into the Library for the Balderdash Cup. Amazingly, upcoming adventurer Emil Bleehall beat the more experienced members to win the cup!
I left the AC after the Balderdash Cup and caught a bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge. After doing a bit of yoga (courtesy of a DVD that my friend Jordan gave me at Christmas especially for my upcoming trip), I went to bed about 12:30 a.m.
Steps today: 24,375, or about 7.4 miles.
Planning | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Day 4 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8
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Last updated 2/10/07