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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Weekend trip report: 11/26 to 11/27 2005 in the Vacation Planning forums; 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 ...
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    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
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    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!
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  2. #2
    dzney4lyf's Avatar
    dzney4lyf is offline i come with a warning
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    more please!!!

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    SnwhtNdwrfs's Avatar
    SnwhtNdwrfs is offline Dancing with the dwarfs!
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    Sounds great so far!


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    JEDIPRINCESS's Avatar
    JEDIPRINCESS is offline I'm going back to the World YAHOO
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    As always Don very interesting read. Keep it coming.




    YES I"M GOING BACK AGAIN FOR HALLOWEEN

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    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Last we left out hero... (that's me, of course), I had just FPed Soarin' and was having my first of several "magic moments" of my weekend.

    Seeing as I'd done the rest of the attractions in the Land on my last trip to EPCOT, I decided to skip that this time and get to the lesser explored items. Just after emerging from the Land, I heard a distinctive slow and steady electric drum beat and electro-synthesized voice. It was Cyber Groove, and I was just in time to catch the start of a performance. The last time I had seen them, their show was cut short by an unexplained loss of power. This show was somewhat unique though, as it was done with a touch of holiday flair. The performers costumes were red and white, and their usual songs were mixed and mingled with a few traditional holiday favorites.

    Once the show had concluded, I proceeded into Innoventions West. I usually only hit up the Innos once every couple of trips to try and keep up with what is going on in there. For the most part everything looked about the same as my last trip, although I was kind of fascinated by the Rockin' Robots. I don't know if those are new or not, but I do know that I didn't see them last time. And considering how much room they take up and how much noise they make, that's a pretty hard thing to do. Basically it's a bunch of large robotic arms and miscellaneous "things" inside a large clear (plexiglass?) contained area. There are a few touch screens around it that enable a couple users at a time to select the robot of choice and make it "drum" on one of several items nearby, ranging frm chains to steel beams to car doors. It is all timed quite nicely so it has a neat sound no matter what you command your robots to bang on.

    From Innos West I headed to the new Club Cool, which is the latest attraction from Coca-Cola and the former location of Ice Station Cool, the popular "free drinks" location. The bad news is that the neat igloo/ice/snow theme is gone, as is the crawler type vehicle with the coke bottle-shaped treads (as mentioned in Lou's book). The good news is, the drinks are still free, the size of the store is seemingly reduced (or at least it appears that way because now there are two counters, one on either side of the room, and one small merchandise area), and the Italian soft drink Beverly (you know... the one we all love to hate?) is still the #1 drink of choice amongst Cool-goers. The whole place looks a bit more like a soda shop out of the TV show Happy Days or something with the small standing tables and such. At least, that's my opinion. There are also a series of bubbles on each of the sliding glass doors, as well as the portions of the door that remain stationary, leading me to believe that if someone had the time and energy to sit staring at the doors as they opened and closed, one could probably find a Hidden Mickey or two in there.

    I found a Cast Member, Melanie I think her name was (assuming I wrote down the correct name... I did get kind of turned around at one point), who was nice enough to take a moment or two to answer a few of my questions. She didn't have exact numbers for me when I asked about how often they have to change out the drink mixes, or about how much of it they go through, but she was able to assure me that it was in fact "a lot", even with some of the more bizarre flavors. In fact, she said that Beverly is the one that has to be changed the most often, being that everyone loves to tell their friends to try it. She also gave me a bit of a warning, which I will now pass on to you. If ever you ask a CM (especially one named Melanie) at Club Cool which drink was their favorite, they will respond honestly, but may be crafty about it. So be careful how you word your question. According to Melanie, (and this is paraphrased, so it's probably not exactly how she worded it, but you get the idea) "People ask me all the time what my favorite drink here is, and I always tell them it's the Beverly. Then they try it and make this disgusted face at me and I say to them 'Well, you didn't ask what my favorite was to drink! That's just my favorite to watch people try!'"

    Another neat thing Club Cool has is the "Build A Cup", where you can select from any of their several bases and tops, and they will fill up a cup for you, place it between your top and your base, and ta-daa... you've got your own hand-selected coke cup, complete with Mickey ears and big yellow shoes if you so desire. So check out the new Club Cool, especially if you're craving a little something bubbly.

    As I left Club Cool, I stumbled upon a performance by the Kristos, which I have the hardest time trying to describe to people who have not seen them before. To quote the EPCOT guidemap, the Kristos show is described as "Unique trio performs feats of strength and balance". It's kind of like how many different ways can we stack up 3 or 4 people on a little tiny pedastal of a stage and bend, twist, and distort ourselves to make these incredible little people towers and formations. It was really pretty neat to watch, but I was a little confused why the guidemap called them a trio and I was very plainly looking at them and counting four. At least... I think I can count past three! So after the performance, the trio of four (you know what I mean) came down off their pedastal to greet their crowd, and i was able to shake a few hands, say a few hellos and a give a few compliments, ask a question or two, and also pick up some little bits of conversation other guests were curious about.

    The "trio", as the guidemap states, refers to the family, which made up three of the four performers and consisted of a mother and her two sons. I think I overheard the mom telling someone else that they had been doing this kind of thing for something like 14 years or thereabouts. Talk about your family hobby. The mother then mentioned that the fourth performer, a young lady a good deal smaller and seemingly a great deal younger was added to the group because they were beginning to have a need for "someone else to get up top" in the formations.

    I then went and spoke with this young lady... and guys, if you see this show for nothing else, let me assure you, this one's a looker! ) She told me she's from Bulgaria, which she assured me was in Eastern Europe. Now, I already knew where Bulgaria was, so I found that kind of funny at first, but I guess a lot of us Americans don't know that, so I guess I can understand her saying it. I'm not sure if the rest of the group is from Bulgaria too, but I know that at least this one was. She also said that although she is not really related to the other performers in the group, that the group mom acts as a sort of mom to all of them, making her feel very much like she is just as much a part of the family as the rest of them. According to her, the other three have been doing this for quite some time (I believe she said more than 10 years, which kind of goes along with what I'd heard the mom say earlier about 14 years), but that this is only her first year performing with them.

    After I was done chit-chatting with (and drooling over) this performer (would you believe I forgot to ask her name??? Dang it... now I need to go back and watch them again! Oh darn ) , I watched the Fountain of Nations do a song and a dance, and then decided to take a stroll on down to the World Showcase. There were a lot of holiday decorations up at the foot of the WS, including a huge X-Mas tree surrounded by oversized gift boxes (some of which doubled as camoflauged speakers for the EPCOT Vybe performances) and a large canopy-type thingamabob all strung up with lights. I contemplated hanging around for a show that was about to start in about 5 minutes, but then decided I'd rather see some other things, and headed off "to Inifnity (or Canada) and beyond."

    Now I'd already seen O' Canada a couple times, so I wasn't really planning on stopping in there at all, but the gardens outside Le Cellier were particularly pretty this day, and so my little camera asked me if we could go take some pictures, to which I happily agreed. So after spending a few moments walking through the gardens and the back ways of Canda, I stopped to watch part of one of the Holidays Around the World storytellings that was taking place there. It was kind of funny to see this guy who more or less looked like Santa Claus, wearing a plaid flannel and walking around with a big ax thrown over his shoulder like Paul Bunyan or something.

    Anyway, my next stop was at the Rose & Crown Pub in the UK pavilion, to see if any ivories were in the process of being ticked, but that doesn't happen until later in the afternoon, so I decided instead to take a wander out back through the hedge maze and then wander out through the back entrance, which is a way I realized I'd never taken before. Along this path was a neat little Chrysalis Box I'd also never noticed before, which is used to pin a number of butterfly Chrysalides for observation as they develop and eventually emerge as adult butterflies.

    I proceeded to France, which I finally convinced myself to go take a closer look at. Normally I just walk by France, maybe stop for a few pictures, or take in a performance by Serveur Amusant. But thinking back as far as I could, I don't remember ever having stopped to watch Impressions de France, although I'm sure I had to have at least once many years ago, even if I don't remember it. Anyway, I stepped in to go see it.

    Our hostess was a lovely young lady named Cecile, which I, in my non-French pronunciation, thought was pronounced "si-seel". As it turns out, she pronounces it more like the name of the island off the tip of Italy, something kind of like "see-si-lee". Anywho, she seemed to be having a good time speaking to us in French and mocking our poor attempts to keep up and respond. After moving into the theater, she introduced the film to us, and then reminded us "Madames and Monsieurs, (I don't know French, so if I'm making a massacre of the spelling and proper usage of terms, forive me), I would just like to remind you that only French Kisses are permitted in a French theater." That got a general chuckle out of the crowd, and then whoosh, off I went into a fantastic scenic tour of the French countryside. I was particularly impressed with the mountains. I do love mountains.

    After perusing the shops in France (where I happened upon a store selling handbags featuring Van Gogh's Starry Night, the painting in which Lou has recently discovered the world's first Hidden Mickey), I proceeded to skip Morocco and head on down to Japan, catch a performance of Matsuriza (one of my favorite shows in EPCOT), take a few pictures over at the American Adventure, and then wander over to Italy. It was here that I ran into a family staring into the bottom of the fountain, asking each other "do you think it's one of them?". Curious, I wandered over to see what "it" was, only to see a piece of "pixie dust" (that mickey-shaped glitter they put in your hair upon request at the Harmony Barber shop at the Magic Kingdom), sitting on the bottom of the fountain. They thought it was a Hidden Mickey until the father reached down to see if it was embedded in the structure of the fountain only to find it floated away as he touched it. I then took a moment to tell them all about Steve Barrett's book, which I was conveniently carrying along in my bag. They told me they were impressed because they had really only begun hearing about the HMs recently and had only found a few other people who had even heard of them, and then suddenly here I am holding the book. They said they'd keep an eye out for it and probably buy a copy when they found one, and so I hinted to them that I found my copy in a Barnes and Noble.

    I then caught a performance of "Romeo and Edna" by the World Showcase Players, which was a nice change because I'd already seen them do the Holy Grail one over in UK twice.

    After the show, I wandered as far around as China before I realized that it was going on about 2pm and I hadnt yet had lunch (intentionally... I eat one meal in the parks as a late lunch/early dinner in order to save money), so I pulled out a map and decided to survey my options. I knew I wanted somthing other than the "usual", the usual being a burger, fries, and a coke for $11 or something like that. I'd tried a burrito at Mexico last time and was pretty impressed with it, so I decided I wanted to try something else on the WS. I decided I'd backtrack to Morocco and try out the Tangierine Cafe. I watched another storyteller from the Holidays Around the World series, took a quick walkthrough the shops, and found my way into the cafe. I bought a lamb sandwich, which was actually pretty good (I was kind of nervous trying something a bit more foreign to me, as I only wanted to buy lunch once). I sat outside listening to Mo'Rockin jam away across the street as I chowed down. Lunch only cost me like 7 or 8 dollars, which was good because I knew i still had to buy another meal the next day. Of course, to compensate for not buying a drink, I had to run to find a water fountain as soon as I was done with my sandwich and drowned myself in it for about two whole minutes. Hey, at least it was free.

    By now it was 3 o'clock, and time for me to transition to the Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to stay and watch the Holiday-expanded version of Illuminations, but there was also a few things over at MK in the evening I wanted to catch, so I decided that I'd have to come back another day for Illuminations. I took a Friendship Boat across the Lagoon to save some wear and tear on my feet (which I would need by the end of the weekend). Our skipper, Curtis, was a moderately funny man who kept us entertained with a couple of bad jokes, and some tips for making our days in the park a little easier. He assured us that Fast Passes can be used after the last time stamped on them, and that he felt they could be used more effectively this way. I tend to disagree with that statement, but then again, that's my opinion. He also then mentioned that the majority of folks tend to watch Illuminations between Canada and Mexico, and that all the prime real estate was between Germany and Italy. That one I can't form an opinion on, as I haven't seen Illuminations from enough different locations yet. I'll have to do some research.

    On my way back out through Future World, I made a brief stopover in Innoventions East, watched a little boy earn a badge of some sort for answering some questions about fire safety, read up a bit on Tom Morrow 2.0, and then headed back outside to go catch a monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center.

    Aaaaaaaaand... this concludes part one. Part two (and the rest) will have to come another day(s). I've got some studying to do, and this is taking entirely too much time! Ahhhh!

    See ya folks!
    Last edited by MainStreet, USA; 11-30-2005 at 10:29 AM.
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  6. #6
    iwannabeminnie's Avatar
    iwannabeminnie is offline I'm old! I'm like the cryptkeeper!
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    Delightful reading! I hope you don't need to study too long!

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    trickster's Avatar
    trickster is offline Hakuna Matata!!... It means no worries!!
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    Suprerb Reading!!! - I printed it off to read!!!
    Rich

    "Most of my life I have done what I wanted to do. I have had fun on the job.
    I have never been able to confine that fun to office hours." ~ Walt Disney

  8. #8
    GaRain's Avatar
    GaRain is offline I love a guy who can make me laugh!
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    This is great! Can't wait for the next installment!
    Nothing to countdown to, so just smile and be happy everyday!




  9. #9
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Sorry guys, I'm real busy juggling classes, my flight schedule, two tests, a paper, and preparing for ANOTHER upcoming day or two in Disney this weekend. I don't expect to have the time to write another installment until probably Friday. If I don't have one ready by then, I'll get back to it probably Monday. These things take a while to write out in this kind of detail. I take a lot of pics on my trips, and a page or two of notes sometimes, and writing my reports involves going back through everything and recreating the day to the best of my ability. That one last night took me over 2 hours to compose!
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  10. #10
    dzney4lyf's Avatar
    dzney4lyf is offline i come with a warning
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    Don.. just type faster!!!

  11. #11
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    I just think Lou needs to commission me as a seasonal DWT reporter. That way I can claim my time down here as a work/study program. Then I can justify my needing large blocks of time each week for Disney trips, research, and related compiling and writing. Otherwise, as it stands now, it's just a "hobby". Bah!
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  12. #12
    dzney4lyf's Avatar
    dzney4lyf is offline i come with a warning
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    I agree... Lou?? are you hearing this??

  13. #13
    SnwhtNdwrfs's Avatar
    SnwhtNdwrfs is offline Dancing with the dwarfs!
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    It is so sad when work gets in the way of fun! But a necessary evil to pay for trips to WDW.


  14. #14
    MainStreet, USA's Avatar
    MainStreet, USA is offline I'm walking right down the middle of Main Street, USA!
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    Test 1: Check
    Paper: Check
    Test 2: Going to take it in about an hour.

    Hey guess what guys? I just might have time to write some more of this later this afternoon/evening! Stay tuned.
    -Don-
    Your heart can just take wing,
    You can live out all your dreams...
    ...it's time to Remember the Magic!
    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pilot's Life for Me...

  15. #15
    dzney4lyf's Avatar
    dzney4lyf is offline i come with a warning
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    stop teasing!!!

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