Weekend trip report: 11/26 to 11/27 2005
I always tell myself I'm going to write up trip reports, I just always either forget to do it, or I start off with so much detail that it becomes a novel in length and is just so long that interest dwindles and it gets abandoned. So, I'm going to attempt this again, and hopefully by my putting it up here in parts instead of trying to write it entirely on my own first and then post it, I will be more motivated to finish it this time.
My trip was 2 days, and for ease of reading (and writing), I'm going to break it down even further into 5 parts. Saturday morning, Saturday evening, Overnight, Sunday, and Sunday evening. But first, let me just explain some background to this kind of spur-of-the-moment mini-vacation. I had been planning for a couple of weeks beforehand to go to WDW on Saturday the 26th assuming nothing came up to interfere. However, remembering that my roommate would be flying back into Orlando from his Turkey Day break on Sunday, I decided that rather than drive down on Saturday and go back again on Sunday to pick him up, maybe I should just go Sunday and do it all in one day. But then I realized I wouldn't even have a full day at the parks, and that didn't sit well with me either. So then the idea hit that maybe I could stay the full weekend if I could find a cheap enough way to do it. I did a little research and found some bargain hotels, discussed my plan for a couple of hours with my roommate and girlfriend, checked with my mom the next day (even though I'm a big kid now, my mom is still the final authority on almost all purhcases I make), and booked a $34/night hotel in Kissimmee, 4 miles from WDW. Ta-daa! My mini-vacation was born.
Part 1: Saturday Morning:
With bags pretty much all packed the night before, I jumped out of bed as my alarm sounds at 6am. I'm out of the house by about 7:15, a little behind schedule from my normal day trip departure time of 7, but I'm not in too big a hurry because I know I have 2 days instead of just one, and because I'm starting off my weekend at EPCOT, where I had already seen the park opening just a couple weeks prior. I drive directly to EPCOT and park (a decision I will later regret), and make my way to the entrance. It is about 8:50, and people are being allowed in the gates, but are being held just short of the Fountain of Nations. I noticed the Characters on Holiday bus was missing, and I couldn't see the Test Track car that welcomed me last time either. but then again, I was pretty far back in the crowd this time, whereas last time I was right up front for rope drop.
Anyway, 9 rolls around, the characters come out to wave hello, the rope drops and people attempt to stampede to their favorite attractions, primarily Soarin' and Test Track from what I could tell from the chit chat amongst the crowd. I was originally planning on beating the crowd by going to the newly re-opened (but still under refurb) Living Seas first while everyone else bumrushed Soarin', but I quicky decided that if I wanted a Fast Pass time that wasn't like 4:15pm-5:15pm, that I'd better get it now. So I follow the people train into the Land, squeeze in through the doors yelling "SARDINES!" and cracking some smiles on the folks around me. We proceeded down the stairs, where I then added "EVERYONE... SWIM DOWN TOGETHER!". Not as many people caught the Nemo reference, but it was still funny... at least for me it was. Anywho, I got a FP for I think about 10:15 or so, and then proceeded back up to Future World and headed over toward the Living Seas.
The Living Seas have been under refurb for quite some time now... pretty much the entire fall I believe, assuming my timelines aren't as crossed as my eyes are from staring at this screen right now. LS and its accompanying Nemo-Theme-o (that's like my new phrase, so I needed to find a way to work it into this report) opened up for the Thanksgiving weekend, and I was eager to check it out, hoping to confirm or debunk some of the rumors circulating in other threads. Well, as it turns out, much of it is still walled off, and I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with what I've seen so far. A big blue wall still blocked the front of the pavilion, and you currently enter through the former exit (which I personally believe will once again become the exit exclusively once the rest of the work is completed. As you enter, you pass a small Nemo and friends gift shop on your right, and then proceed directly past where the exit hydrolators used to exist, and directly into what was formerly SeaBase Alpha. In fact, you can stand in the middle of the Seabase and see outside through the blue stained doors, so it's kind of funny considering you used to almost feel like you were underwater. Anyway, the two most noticeable things that changed were the new decor (or lack thereof), and the Turtle Talk queue. The decor is very toned down now, pretty much all dark blue hues. Almost everything is blue it seems. The TT queue now extends from the entrance to the TT theater, all the way back between the two staircases leading up to the observation level, taking up much (most?) of the floor space on the lower level of the seabase. And to top it off, it's not even like a real queue either... it's those plastic poles and the seat-belt style straps linking them. It looks as though it was put together in a hurry, as not even all of the straps matched. Anyway, I hung around and took some pictures and some notes until Turtle talk started up at 10. Once inside the theater, it was even more packed than usual (the theater is still the same size), and so I ended up giving up my seat to an elderly lady who just didn't look all too comfy sitting on the floor. The show was great as usual, and even Dory and a whale came to join in the antics this time. Just about everyone was busting a gut laughing. I left LS right after the show got out, seeing that everything else within the seasbase seemed pretty much unchanged, and the rest of the pavilion was still blocked off (except for the Coral Reef Restaurant, which was open around the back of the pavilion).
I then meandered back on over to the Land to make good on my FP. There was suprisingly nobody in the FP line, which I hate, because I feel positively evil as I just waltz right by everyone standing in the 70 minute standby line and get all those creepy stares and hisses of disgust. C'mon... at least make me wait a couple of minutes! I got on the ride within about 10 minutes of entering the building, and was fortunate enough to get front row center for the 3rd time in a row. Next to me on one side was middle-aged couple, the wife of which was REALLY psyched about this ride, saying it was her absolute favorite at DCA or wherever it is over on the West Coast (never been there myself). On my other side was an oriental-looking couple who apparently didn't speak a word of English, and behind me was a family concerned about getting motion sick or panicky because of heights. Quite the variety. But when all was said and done, and the ride was over, it was the same old result... shrieks of approval and delight by all, and a thunderous applause from the majority, making me look back and reflect on the whole hour and a half I'd been at the park so far and grin. Disney really does work magic. (Don't worry... I do this stop and reflect thing a lot. I'm a big sap. You'll see.)
Anyway, I've got to run to class now, I'll try to get another portion of this hammered out this evening. Stay tuned! :yes: