OK, I have a few moments before we have to leave the hotel and so I thought I would start this thread!!
OK, I have a few moments before we have to leave the hotel and so I thought I would start this thread!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
30th September, ~ Travelling Day
We awoke bright and early, but totally refreshed after staying at the Radisson Airport Hotel over night in Manchester. Around 7am, we checked in with no problems and then went back to the hotel for Full English Breakfast – yummy!!
After freshening up, we made our way to Passport Control. It was 8am by this time and, what with the new security measures in place, it took us over 40 minutes to get through – but, hey, it was well worth the wait!!
After getting through, we found our gate and a superb looking Boeing 747-400 Virgin Atlantic plane sat there. They are all named: ours being called “English Rose”. With flying Premium Economy (Like business class) we were able to board early and took up our seats. They are superb people to fly with and upon boarding we were greeted with friendly smiles and a glass of Champagne!! The service during the flight was second to none and gets a huge ‘thumbs up’!! Every seat also has a TV screen to watch movies, listen to music or see exactly where you are during the flight. (At the best, we were flying at an altitude of 39,000ft, at speeds up to 620mph and temperatures down to –74F!!).
With it being a clear day, it was a superb take off. We only had one spell of rough turbulence for around half an hour; funnily enough, just after Bermuda!! It was also quite a rough landing even though it was clear skies and 90F here in Orlando!!
After collecting our luggage, we found our transfer shuttle bus and were shortly on our way after another family turned up who were sharing the same shuttle.
So, what can we say about the Buena Vista Palace?… It is a beautiful hotel right on the edge of DTD. We are so lucky that we have a room on the 14th floor with a balcony that overlooks DTD!! Whilst we were unpacking around 5pm, we received a call from Melissa – an hour early!! Apparently, she couldn’t wait any longer to call– LOL!!
After sorting all our stuff out, we walked across the road to DTD and had a look round. For something to eat, we ate at the ‘Earl of Sandwich’. What a superb place for a snack. I had the All American Sarnie whilst Ann had one made up!!
Once fed and watered, we browsed the shops for a while and I am pleased to announce that I have 3 more baseballs for my ever-growing collection. They all came from Team Mickey. But, we saw another two in the World of Disney store!!
Well that was it for one very long day and we are both very tired and so had and early night!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
01st October, DAY 1
After a good night’s rest, we were up bright and early around 8am to a gorgeous clear blue-sky Florida morning!! Shortly after, we had a call from Melissa asking how we were getting along and our plans for the day…
The day started with a light breakfast in the hotel, followed by a trip over to DTD to meet our Virgin Holiday Rep. This was to collect some shuttle bus vouchers to travel to/from Universal, Sea World and Busch Gardens. We also have a free meal at the Hard Rock Café and collected these vouchers too!!
Once done it was straight over to TTC where we exchanged our voucher for our 21 Day WDW passes. We then took the Monorail over to MK arriving a little after 11am. Knowing that we were going to meet up with fellow DWT members, we took the opportunity to take our time looking at the shops down Main Street USA. But, before doing this, we had our photo taken with Pluto looking down Main Street towards the castle and collected our Photo Pass.
Having reached Partner’s Statue and being in possession of the photo pass, we had more pictures taken in front of the castle: I can see this is going to be a sound investment over 3 weeks!! Also, what a great day to be in MK: The 35th Anniversary of MK and the start of the 16-month ‘Year of a Million Dreams’ celebrations!! After spending some money and arranging for our things to be sent back to our hotel, we headed to ‘Lou’s Spot’ to meet the other DWT members.
Ann recognised Lou from the back of his head!! This was a great moment – actually speaking to people in the flesh that previously you had only ‘typed to’!! Form the first moment we met, we all got along famously – it was as though we had known each other a long time!! After a group photo in Lou’s Spot, we took the opportunity of using our Photo Pass to have another group shot taken in front of the Castle and took the opportunity to watch ‘Main Street Family Fun Parade’.
After this we headed up through the Castle to just behind it on the right where we watched a new entertainment show: ‘Let’s Have A Ball’. It was a kind of interactive 15 minute show where the kids – and adults a like - could sing and dance and generally have a good time!! Mandy and Don certainly did: dancing, singing and playing ‘Simon Says’!!
Since it was a very, very hot day, it was time to cool off on an old favourite: HM!! This is still a classic ride and we were all singing along as we went round!! This was followed by a go on Splash Mt. But, as we walked down from Liberty Square to Frontierland we stumbled on a show by Woody, Jess & Co. It was another kind of singing and dancing show. This was great as guests could once again get involved – something that Mandy took full advantage off and became an ‘Honouree Cow Girl’!! Splash Mountain was certainly great to ride – I’ve only ever ridden it a couple f times before today. Even though we had Fast Passes, there was still quite a queue!! Ann and Paul never rode with us and were entrusted to look after bags!!
We then retraced our steps, as the parade was about to start. We ended up watching it from just outside the Ye Olde Crimbo Shoppe!! I have to admit, we loved it and loved the new song that accompanies it!! Time was ticking on and we all wanted a light snack. We quickly decided, as a group, to head over to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. After eating, we said our fond farewells to Lou, as he had to leave and catch a flight back home – work always gets in the way!!
Replenished and ready to go, we went over to Buzz and collected Fast Passes before wandering over to the front of the Castle to watch the 4.35pm showing of ‘Dream-Along with Mickey’. Again, we loved this new show and adored the blue costumes they wore and the music they sang too: Very ‘Disney’ and very entertaining. This is certainly a must if you are in MK. Now, it was back over to Buzz and time to put our shooting abilities to the test: Something Don was very good at as he got maximum points!!
From exiting Buzz, we spotted him near the entrance to CoP and so we wandered over and had a group photo taken with him – not before having to say our good byes to Pat and John as they had dinner reservations over at Coral Reef in Epcot later that evening. Since we were next to CoP, it would have been rude not to watch it – and so we did – with us all having a good sing as we went round!! From here it was time for another classic and a ride on TTA which, again, is always fun!!
Time was marching on and Ann & I said our farewells to Don, Mandy & Paul and we made our way back to TTC. We decided not to stay any longer as we were both fairly tired and figured we had enough time to stay later some other day!! With staying at the Buena Vista Palace, we are lucky to have a half hourly bus service all day to all the parks and so we caught this back to our hotel.
Once back at the hotel, we had a swim for a while to cool down followed by showers and bites to eat!! All in all it was a fantastic day and I just can’t tell you how much we enjoyed meeting the others – something I hope can happen in the future!!
Tomorrow it is over to AK, but for the night it is time to sign off and get some sleep!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
02nd October, DAY 2
Today, it was a trip to Animal Kingdom. Having spoke to Melissa, we caught the bus direct from our hotel to AK and, again, took advantage of the Photo Pass entering the park. We also had our picture taken with the Tree of Life in the background.
From the on set, we knew that it was going to be a busy day. It was also another hot Floridian day and so we headed straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris. There was already an hour’s wait and so we got FPs for the Safari and headed straight over to Expedition Everest. Along the way, we spotted De Vine in the trees and stopped to take a few photos. Once at EE, it was showing a 40-minute wait. We decide to queue. In the end, we did the right thing as we only queued for around 15 minutes! The ride itself is ‘Awesome’ and we both loved it to bits!! I am sure we will be back on it the next time we visit AK!!
From here it was back over to Africa and on to the Safari using our FP. The Safaris is always a good ride – but it does help if your tour guide remembers his lines!! Time was now marching on towards lunchtime and since we were in Africa, we decided to eat in Tusker House. We soon changed our minds when we couldn’t get in the doors, as the queues were that long!!
Our plans quickly changed and we headed over to the Oasis and ITTBAB. I love this show as it always makes me laugh!! Burgers were chosen for lunch and it was off to ResaturantOsaurus. Here, too it was busy but we persevered!!
Now, not the sort of thing to do after lunch, but, we headed over to Dinoland USA and rode Dinosaur!! Primevil Whirl followed this!! Knowing that we could visit the park again, we found a great spot to watch the parade and parked our bums on the wall!!
We both love Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade and we were both singing along to the song!! AK closed at 5pm and so after the parade, we headed back to our luxury hotel to freshen up for Chef Mickey’s. Our ADR wasn’t until 9pm. We arrived at the Cotemporary around 8pm but ‘fell’ into the shops and spent a few dollars before heading over to Chef Mickey’s. We were still 30 minutes early and we decided to have a beer. By 8.45pm, we were seated.
Many off you have probably been before and know what a great place to eat it is. The buffet food is fantastic and so is the amount you can eat – if you have the room to spare!! What made the evening even better for us was the actual time of day we were there, as it was getting fairly quiet. This meant we got a lot of attention from the characters and some great photos. One of the Photo Pass photographers was really nice and took pictures of Ann & I with Mickey, Goofy and Donald with in minutes of each other!!
Now that we were both well and truly stuffed, it was time to wander back down stairs to the bus stop and wait for a bus back to DTD. From here it was a work across the road back to our hotel. All I know is that I used the bathroom, climbed into bed, my head hit the pillow and that was it: We were both out like a light!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
03rd October, DAY 3
Now today was our first day away from Disney as we went to Sea World. If you are offended, I’m sorry but it is our vacation – You’ll have to wait a few days for the next Disney report!!
Sea World is always a relaxing day and the park doesn’t get too busy. For us, it is always a great place to go to sea the Sting Rays, Dolphins, Sharks and Killer Whales. In fact we saw the latest addition to the Shamu family, which was born only two weeks ago!! The Journey to Atlantis and Kraken rides are also worth doing too.
In fact, people who haven’t been for a few years should, if time permits, pay the park a visit, as it has got better since we were last there in 2003. The dolphin show has had a makeover and the Shamu show is always impressive.
The park closed a six and by 7pm, we were back at our hotel. After a shower, we hit the bar and had a couple of cocktails – well I did, Ann had white wine – before going to the café within the hotel for a bite to eat.
I have kept it very short for today with it being ‘Non Disney’. Tomorrow will be the same as we are going to Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
04th October, DAY 4
Plans are subject to change and today was no exception: We were going to go to Tampa and Busch Gardens today, but Ann wasn’t feeling too good. Due to this, we decided it wouldn’t be fair for her to endure the hour coach journey – or the roller coaster rides!! We had to find an alternative, which wouldn’t upset our plans too much and wouldn’t be too much for Ann…
After looking through our plans, Epcot and World Showcase was chosen as this would give us a late start and allow Ann some time to get better since WSC doesn’t open until 11am.
We took the bus direct from our hotel at 10.30am to TTC, as we wanted to ride the monorail to Epcot. Once at TTC, we asked if we could ride ‘Up Front’ – to which the answer was ‘Yes’!! Our silver monorail arrived and we boarded for our journey to Epcot. It sure was great to ride up front – not the same as going 125mph and tilting round corners – but still fun all the same!! Upon leaving the monorail, the driver gave us our ‘Co-Pilot’ Licenses!!
We entered Epcot and found the ‘Photo-Pass person and duly had our picture taken to add to the growing collection already on the card!! Once done, we decided that since we had been several times, we would ‘Leave a Legacy’. It only cost us $45 for two squares, which we thought was very reasonable. (The first will have our picture on it and the second a few words!!).
Once completed and some 30 minutes later – Wow, it took longer than we thought with all the paper work!! – We headed towards SSE. This is an attraction we both love and so, for keeps sake, I filmed the whole thing from beginning to end – something I hadn’t done before!!
Time was marching on and Ann was now feeling hungry. With swapping the days around, we cancelled our reservation for Alfredo’s but couldn’t rebook for the same day and so we decided to have a burger in the Electric Umbrella. Afterwards, Ann called home and we had a look around the ‘Mouse Gear’ store… We duly paid for our goods and arranged for them to be sent back to our hotel and finally headed towards WSC. I can honestly say that may ball collection is growing by the day!!
The time was now 2pm and we set off around the Lagoon in a Clockwise direction. It took us a little over 5 hours to work our way round stopping off at each pavilion and taking in the attractions and rides. By the time we got round to the UK pavilion, we ‘fell’ into the Rose & Crown and had a ‘Well Deserved’ pint of Boddies!! (Boddingtons Beer to you!!).
At the Canadian Pavilion, we gave the ‘O’Canada’ presentation a miss in favour of watching ‘Off Kilter’ as we have seen it before. Anyone who hasn’t stopped by on this group should do, as they are very good – even with the bagpipes!! From here, it was time to find a spot to watch Illuminations. The best place we have found is just over the bridge towards ‘Mexico’ where there are two benches against the fence. This means you can sit down and relax before the fireworks start!! It also means that during Illuminations, you over-look the Lagoon towards the pavilions making for better photography.
We got to ‘our spot’ around 90 minutes before it started. And, we are glad we did as if we left it any longer, we would have had to find somewhere else!! Whilst waiting, we got talking to a wonderful family from Dallas. Just before Illuminations was about to start, we had a nightmare, as the Handycam wouldn’t work!! All it kept saying on the screen was: “Re-Insert Cassette”. We tried and tried but to no avail and so it was down to photography only!!
We both love Illuminations and could watch it again and again. After it had finished, we made our way out of the park – but not before we took some night shots of SSE and various neon signs! Once back at the hotel, I had a play with the Handycam: trying different cassettes and poking my fingers in, it decided to start working again!! I was now able to rest and we went to sleep!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
05th October, DAY 5
It was a slightly later start today as we were off to a Water Park. I had forgotten to tell Melissa of this and so you could say we had a ‘Wake up call’ today!! Thanks go to Melis though, as she called and re-arranged our ADR for Italy to a different day!! Now on our plans, we had us going to Blizzard Beach. But, once over at DTD, there was a Disney Bus in for Typhoon Lagoon and so you can guess where we ended up!!
Ann is not a great fan of the water parks, but she takes advantage of the ‘down time’ - She came in the Lagoon with me for a while and also on the ‘Lazy River’ around the park!! After this, she settled down on her lounger in the shade with her Ipod!! I on the other hand set off with the Handycam and camera and did some filming and took some pictures!! Talking of pictures, here too we managed to get a couple of Photo Pass shots done!!
Once this was done, I headed straight back into the Lagoon and spent some time swimming in the waves!! I later dried off by lounging in the sun for half an hour!! We left the park and headed straight back to DTD (The quickest way via Saratoga Springs) and back across the road to our hotel. Here, we showered and freshened up before using the hotel bus to get to MGM Studios.
Little did we know when we got on this bus that it would be going via AK and so 45 minutes later and a little after 4pm – later than planned – we arrived at MGM Studios!! Once in the Studios, we headed straight towards the Sorcerer’s Hat to have yet another Photo Pass shot taken!! Tonight, we had planned to see Fantasmic, which is my favourite nighttime show. This didn’t leave us much time and so we looked at the show times and picked the new Lights, Motors, Action! Show.
We both thoroughly enjoyed it and were glad we had seen it even though it is basically what it says in the title!! We had no ADRs planned for today and so we got a bite to eat down Sunset Boulevard close to the entrance to Fantasmic. Having just eaten, we thought it wise not to ride ToT or RnRC – but we did have a couple more photos done down in that area before heading into the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre.
We got seated – in the central Mickey section 80 minutes before Fantasmic started. As per usual, the theatre filled up very quickly. With the Handycam up and running and operating faultlessly all day, I recorded the whole show and since I was on the end of a bench, I got some excellent footage of it!!
We could have rushed out of MGM and caught a bus within minutes, but since they run every half hour, we decided to work our way back through the shops. Bobby will be proud as I bought yet another baseball – number 5 of our holiday!! The reason he will be proud is because it is a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ one!! We also got some Mickey Ears – but more about those for a different day!! While we were paying for the goods, a woman spoke to us from behind. When we turned, it was the same people from Dallas we were talking to at Illuminations – What a small world!!
Having spent a few dollars, we worked our way out of the park and over to where our bus would pick us up to bring us back to our hotel. And there you have it: Another day over!! Time to sign off and get some sleep!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
06th October, DAY 6
The day started off as usual with Melissa calling us so that she could report in with her ‘BritCast’!! Today we headed off to Universal Studios. Now, I know that a lot of you will be swearing and shouting, but it is our holiday and it is what we decided to do – so this report will be short and sweet!!!!!
Our taxi arrived right on time at 8.45am and we were on our way. It only took 15 minutes and we were there. Upon entering CityWalk, we made dinner reservations for Hard Rock Café for when we next visit. We wandered over and entered the park and to cut a long story short, we had a wonderful day doing all the rides, eating, shopping and seeing the attractions!! I am proud to say that my baseball collection has grown by another 4 balls – AND – I could have bought more!! We’ll leave them for when we go to Islands of Adventures (IoA).
Universal has their own ‘Horror Nights’. I don’t know if anyone has been to one, but they are not for the faint hearted. I can speak from experience after going to the ones in 1999 and 2000!! They are a fun night if you love being scared! – and the ‘Bill & Ted Show’ is excellent!! We would have been going this year if we’d not joined DWT and learned about MNSSHP!!
USF closed at 5pm – a little early we thought - and so we headed back over to the parking lot where we caught our shuttle bus back to the hotel. Once back, we headed for the pool and swam for just under an hour. Hunger growing, we headed back to our room, showered and freshened up. Just before going to see what we wanted, we checked on-line at our WDW Photo Pass Pictures. We are very pleased with how they are turning out – although the one of just Ann & I in front of Cinderella Castle will need redoing!!
Ann briefly logged on to DWT and did one post, from what she tells me, whilst I went to get a bite to eat. For dinner, we ended up getting Club Sandwiches from the on site Café. These we took back to our room.
I don’t know how you guys can do it over hear – watch TV that is!! I mean, every 5 minutes, there are adverts – commercial breaks!! At least we only get them every 20 minutes. Also, if we are on the film channels, there are no breaks in the movies at all!!
I ended the day by transferring loads of photos to my laptop and writing my report!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
07th October, DAY 7
It was yet another beautiful day in Sunny Florida with not a cloud in the sky. After having something to eat and our daily morning chat with Melissa, it was over to MK. Boy oh boy, was MK busy!! We first guessed it was going to be when to queue for the monorail stretched out beyond the end of the ramp. Now, us being quick thinkers, headed straight to the ‘Resort Monorail’ and as we approached the top of the ramp, one came in and we were on our way!!
Having reached MK itself, we had our bags checked and entered the park. The first thing on our plans was to change some ADRs for later in the week – which we were able to do. Our plan of attack was to head straight for Adventureland and work our way clockwise around the park. Whilst heading towards the castle, we spotted a photographer and had our picture taken again on our Photo Pass!! We know it wasn’t the best picture taken – but hey, they’ll be other chances!! Once there we saw that there was no queue for PoTC and so we obtained FPs for Jungle Cruise and then headed straight back over to PoTC.
We both enjoyed the ride and, at last, we can say we are no longer ‘PoTC Virgins’!! Upon exiting the ride we saw Peter Pan & Wendy, but they were going ‘Back to Nederland’ for a break and would be returning later!! Whilst heading over to the Tiki Rooms, we caught a glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow and the end of the impromptu show – something we’ll look out for next time we are there.
The Tiki Rooms were as good as ever – an attraction we both like!! After here, we headed back over to see Peter Pan, as I wanted my picture taken with him, as I too will never grow up!! From here it was on to the Jungle Cruise to use our FPs: Christ, the jokes do not improve at all – do they? It was still enjoyable though!!
Time was ticking on towards midday and we thought we would eat real soon before the rush began – but not before having a ‘fly’ on Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. I am quite surprised I got Ann on, actual, as she hates rides that go round, and round and round!! Once done, now it was time to eat.
We decided to eat at Peco Bill’s. While Ann found us a table, I was off getting FPs for BTMR. For lunch, Ann had a burger whilst I had the chicken wrap which was really tasty. Before going straight on to BTMR, we had a break and went to see The Country Bear Jamboree. This was a nice relaxing why to spend 20 minutes and let your food settle!! Now it was of to BTMR. I ride we both love and enjoy and could ride again and again!!
Having completed Adventureland and Frontierland – for what we wanted to do – we headed in the direction of Liberty Square. We arrived just in time to see the next showing in the Hall of Presidents and went straight in. When we came out it was an hour to go until the parade. Time for an ice cream – or more to the point – Dole Whips!! We picked a spot to watch the parade – right on the bridge towards Cinderella Castle in Liberty Square – and one a time we bought our whips!! Before getting mine, I wandered into Fantasyland and obtained FPs for Mickey’s PhilarMagic.
The parade was very good and we both agreed that we liked it – even without the ‘bubbles’. We also like the new parade music!! Having rested in the shade of the trees, we decided a ride on HM was in order – another classic ride!! Ann doesn’t like boats and since we have done it on previous trips, we gave the River Boat a miss and headed into Fantasyland.
Wow!! If any land was really, really busy – this was it: You could hardly move!! Having our FPs in hand, we entered the building to watch Mickey’s Phil. We both haven’t seen this before and thoroughly enjoyed it – How can you not: It stars Donald Duck!! We were going to get FPs for either Peter Pan or Winnie the Pooh, but the return times were getting quite late. Instead, we decided to have a gentle stroll back down Main Street and pick our spot for Spectro Magic & Wishes.
Once up on Main Street Station, we moved a couple of chairs and took up our position - just of centre looking down Main Street itself. The time was a little before 6pm but we were both glad for the rest – especially me as my back was aching. We took it in turns to go and stretch our legs. After doing some shopping, Ann came back with hot Dogs and coffee from Casey’s Corner. Boy, are those Hot Dogs good!!
Once fed and watered, we settled down and waited for Spectro Magic to start. As always, it never disappoints – even when ‘Ursula’s’ float wasn’t working right and they had to send a tractor unit out to rescue her half way up Main Street!! Parade over; we kept our seats for Wishes as we had a great view of the Castle.
What another nighttime spectacular Wishes is!! We both loved it and loved the way they used the castle by projecting images on it. Wishes over, it was back to the Monorail and TTC for our bus transfer back to our hotel. Like going in, the queue for the normal monorail was very, very busy and so we headed for the Resort one again. We knew by doing this that it went via the Contemporary and we would miss the Water Pageant – but we thought we’d catch it on our next visit!!
Back in the hotel room, we sorted a few bits and bobs out and it was straight to bed, as we were both knackered from a very busy day!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
08th October, DAY 8
Today we went to Busch Gardens, Tampa. This was our rearranged trip from when Ann wasn’t too good. Having caught a cab from our hotel to the Orlando Premium Outlets, we met up with the coach that was to take us there. It took a little longer getting there than we thought as the driver decided to stop of at a ‘Wendy’s’ as a refreshment stop!!
Once at the park and in, we both had a great day riding roller coasters and looking at the different animals!! The new ‘coaster – Sheik – is awesome and anyone into their rides has to go over and try it out!!
Like I said, we both had a wonderful day. Once back at the hotel, around 7pm, Ann decided she wanted to do the laundry. While Ann was looking after that, I was sat typing yesterday’s and today’s reports!! Once done (in a minute), I will be off to meet up with her and say what she wants to eat. We also have postcards to write and send.
Talking of cards, one arrived for me today – I don’t know whom it is from – you’ll have to wait until the 10th October as I have been good and not opened it!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
09th October, DAY 9
The day started off as usual with our ‘BritCast’ to you all via Melissa. The large clouds which were in the sky soon cleared to reveal another sunny Floridian day!! For such a little park, MGM has the ability to keep you going all day!! The park was very busy - I wonder if this is because it was Columbus Day? We over heard a few conversations about people having their last day in WDW ‘today’ and so, my be the parks will quieten down from Wednesday.
Like we said, MGM was busy and upon entering the park and walking up Hollywood Boulevard, we did a right down Sunset to get our FPs for RnRC. On the way, we had our photo taken in front of the hat again. FPs collected, we checked out the wait time for ToT. This was 50 minutes and so we decided to come back later.
With MGM not being a large park, it doesn’t take long to get anywhere. We were soon outside the GMR – where we saw Mickey Mouse coming out not in his Fantasia Costume but the one they use for the show in front of the castle in MK. Donald was under the hat and the queue to see him was very, very long too!!
With hardly a queue, we entered the GMR and waited in line in the main area watching the big screen as we shuffled along to the front. Yet again, this is a ride we both like and this time, I decided to film it. As we exited GMR, we noticed there was no queue for Voyage of the Little Mermaid and so we went straight in. The day was going well!!
Little Mermaid seen, it was back to RnRC, collecting FPs for ToT on the way. ToT is one of Ann’s favourite roller coasters and we just had to get the photo when we ‘got to the concert’!! This we had shipped to our room at the hotel to avoid getting it damaged.
It was now back along Sunset and down Mickey Avenue to have a look in Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. I just love walking through here and viewing the footage at the end – I always find something different to read each time I go through.
Stomachs rumbling and time ticking on, it was time for our ADR. It was for the Sci-Fi Dine-In at 1.20pm. We arrived a few minutes before time and were lucky to be seated pretty quickly – even though it was very busy. This was our first time in here and we both loved the atmosphere and the food!! We skipped the starters to leave room for desserts!! For entrees, Ann had the BBQ Chicken whilst I had the Smoked Turkey. For desserts, Ann had the Chocolate Tart whilst I had the Hot Fudge Sundae!! To drink, we treat ourselves and had a Bud Light each!! Both meals were yummy to say the least and we didn’t leave much – in fact we left nothing – apart from a tip!!
To allow time for our meals to settle and with it being after 2pm, we found a spot on Hollywood Boulevard to watch the parade. The Stars and Motor Cars Parade is my personal favourite and I love the music, which accompanies it – especially the CD version!! While I was sat waiting for the parade to start, Ann went to buy the stamps for the postcards we were sending and we managed to get them all stamped up and posted later in the day. (To anyone who never got one, I’m sorry – but I did do a post some time back asking people to PM me if they wanted one!!). Parade over; we just had enough time to make it over to Indiana Jones. This show, to me is getting a little tired now – even though we still aim to see it each trip!!
Indiana over, we slowly made our way out of the theatre and across to Star Tours. I was surprised when Ann agreed to ride it, as she hates motion rides!! Our timing was perfect again as we walked straight in and straight on!! It was to no surprise when we got off that Ann felt ill!! Some paracetamol and water were administered and shortly after, she was fine!!
Refreshed and ready to go, we headed over to Muppets Vision 3D and only had a little wait again until we went in and were seated. I love the Muppets and this show always makes me laugh – it is so much fun!!
When we came out, we studied the map and decided to give the Backlot Tour a miss and do it on our next visit (especially with Ann’s headache). We instead headed over to the final showing BaTB for the day. We weren’t the last ones in, nor one of the first and so we didn’t get brilliant seats: I just hate it when you get settled in a good spot to film/take pictures and they ask you to move up and then you end up behind someone tall!! This happened to us and so we’ll have to see it again!!
Now if any of you have been keeping up, you’ll realise that we still had two FPs for ToT!! Now Ann doesn’t like vertical drops and it was left for me to go on it – twice!! The first time I went on, I took the Handycam and filmed it all!! The second time, I took some photos!! I just love the whole ride and now with each ride being different, it is so much fun!! I tend to relax my body and so when the elevator drops, you lift off your seat!!
At this point, we were both getting hungry and it was going dark and so decided to call it quits for the day. Before leaving the park, we had our picture taken again in front of the hat, as it looked pretty cool all lit up with a little blue left in the sky!!
We left the park and walked over to our stop and waited for our bus to arrive. Once back in our room, we had a message saying that I had some post to collect from the business centre… Me, post? Here on holiday? It’ll have to wait until tomorrow when they are re-open!! And so, there you have it - another fun filled packed day!! The 10th was a late start – Ann’s wish – as we are at MK all day and night for MNSSHP!! Oh, it was also my birthday!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
10th October, DAY 10
“Happy Birthday to me…” Firstly, guys, thanks for all the cards I received – A very pleasant surprise and much appreciated – Thank You!! Well, as you will be aware, we hit MK and stayed into the night for MNSSHP Due to this, we had a late start. Now, I know a lot of you would have ‘gasped’ at that, but I am always considerate and have to think of Ann – who needs her sleep!!
After our normal morning BritCast and showers, we headed on out to MK arriving around noon. First port of call was Guest Services to make another ADR for later in the week over at MGM and I also let them know it was my Birthday – yep, 21 (again)!! Once done and after picking up my Birthday Badge and a map for MNSSHP, we headed up through the Main Street shops towards Crystal Palace. We checked in and had to wait a little as firstly, our ADR was not until 1pm (it was only 12.50pm) and secondly they were very busy. I also let them know it was my Birthday – thanks for the tip Melis!! We finally got in around 10 minutes after 1pm and were shown to our table that was all decorated up for me – what a great touch!!
The food and ambience in the Crystal Palace is excellent and we both thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere; the meal and meeting all the characters. We certainly ate very, very well!! Just to top of the meal, I received a birthday cake and a card from the characters, which I thought, was a lovely touch. I saved the cake and asked for a little box to take it away in to eat later!!
Meal over and now 2.30pm gone, we headed back down Main Street and had some retail therapy – having the goods we bought sent directly to our hotel like we always do!! Ann bought some scrap-booking stuff along with other bits and bats!! She is very keen to give the scrap booking a whirl having never done it before!!
We now decided to head on up to Main Street station and catch the train round to Toontown Fair. As we entered the station we were greeted by a CM and upon seeing my birthday badge, gave us both special Mickey Ears – free!! They are light blue in colour with a cloud effect on them and it says on the front: “The Year of a Million Dreams“ along with a picture of Cinderella Castle. They are apart of the Million Dreams give away. We were dead chuffed at receiving these as we had seen other people with them on!! There was a slight delay in the train leaving – not because I was driving – but because the parade had just started over at Frontierland. Once on our way, we had a pleasant journey round.
We couldn’t believe how quiet Toontown was – we could actually see quite a way in front of us!! First of all, we went into Mickey’s Country House and then round to Judges Tent – but he wasn’t there and the CM couldn’t tell us how long he would be? Moving on, we went next door into the Toontown Hall of Fame Tent. Here we waited in line to have our photo taken with Donald, Chip & Dale and Mary Poppins. We then re-queued to have our photos taken with Minnie, Pluto and Goofy. For Minnie, we had taken off our ears, but she noticed them and noticed it was my birthday and so I got lots of hugs and kisses from here!! We also had to put our new ears back on for the photos!! Most of these you may have seen courtesy of Melissa and our Photo Pass.
Once done, we headed next door into Minnie’s Country Home followed by Donald’s boat – working our way out of Toontown as we went. The time was just after 4pm and we were now able to collect our wristbands for MNSSHP. The nearest place we could do this was at the Rose Garden in front of the Castle. Along the way, we picked up some FPs for Winnie the Pooh. These had a return time from 5pm – 6pm. Wristbands sorted (a bright blue colour – a very Halloween colour?!!!) we took a break and had a drink in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café and awaited our time to go and ride Winnie the Pooh. At this point, I also ate my Birthday Cake I received earlier.
5pm soon came round and we headed back into Fantasyland and straight on to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Like I said earlier, the park was fairly quiet and we worked our way along to Liberty Square. First stop was Mickey’s PhilarMagic (I just love this 3D show – poor Donald!) followed by “it’s a small world” and finally Peter Pan’s Flight. We also checked out the shops too and asked a CM about Halloween T-shirts: We were told that they would be out after 7pm in the Emporium when the park closes to the ‘day’ guests.
Since it was 6.45pm, we headed back up Main Street and hung around for 7pm. This came and went and so we asked another CM who told us they wouldn’t be out until 7.30pm! Arrrgggghhhhh!! 7.30pm fast approached and we asked yet another CM who looked to be a Manager of some sorts. She informed us that they were having problems clearing the park from the day guests but they were just putting them out in the shop towards Casey’s. We moved fast through the store and found them on the racks.
Having purchased our T-shirts and put them on, we were off to enjoy the Halloween Party!! We headed towards Adventureland having our photo taken on the way out side Crystal Palace looking towards the Castle. We were going to ride PoTC but there was a 50 minutes wait! We did however have our picture taken under the PoTC sign. Our plans changed and we headed over to BTMR instead which had no line at all. This was fun to ride in the dark and everyone was screaming with ‘Ghoulish Delight’ as we went round!!
BTMR ridden, we wondered back into Adventureland to have our photos taken with some of the characters. These were Timon, Tarzan & Terk. It was great because after each photo was taken, there were CMs with large barrels full of Goofy’s Candy and to get some we had to answer to “Trick or Treat”! The candy was then put into our ‘Trick or Treat bag we were given when we got our wristbands.
All this candy was making us hungry and so it was of to Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip Float. Ann wasn’t hungry and so didn’t have one – besides she doesn’t like pineapples!! The float was absolutely yummy to say the least!! We then headed towards the front of Cinderella Castle for “Villain’s Mix & Mingle’ – Disney Villains dancing to some remixed favourite Villain songs. It was a really fun show that lasted around 10 minutes.
Ann was now hungry and we headed towards Casey’s Corner so that she could get a Hot Dog. Once bought, we hung around this area for “Happy HalloWishes” – a Halloween firework spectacular – starting at 9.30pm. WOW!! What a display it was!! If you have seen Wishes, multiply it by 10!! I have seen fire works behind the Castle before but not a display, which lit the whole sky up from beyond Casey’s Corner to beyond Plaza Ice Cream Palor.
The whole of Main Street – and the rest of the park for that matter were decked out in different colours that made the whole place look superb. One added extra for Main Street was they had MickeyBats, Witches and Ghosts flying along the walls of the buildings using various lighting effects which worked ‘a treat’!!
We now decided it was time to find Mickey and friends: He was, as we found out, in his house. Toontown was very, very busy. We had a Photo Pass picture taken against the Toontown sign and changed our minds. Instead, we went to find a spot to watch the parade. We found a spot in Liberty Square half way between Sleepy Hollow and The Hall of Presidents but on the opposite side of the street.
The ‘Mickey’s “Boo-to-you” Halloween Parade’ started with a ‘Headless Horseman on a black horse which looked superb!! The parade was brilliant too: We got loads of candy during it too!! It was now closing in on 11pm and so we headed back to Mickey’s House. He was in the garden at the rear of his house with quite a queue to see him.
Photo Pass done, we were going to go and see Minnie and find Donald but time was against us. Instead, we headed back to Main Street Station to where we had our final MNSHHP shot done with a ‘Ghostly Mickey’.
After photographing the front of the park which was suitably lit up too, it was time to take the Monorail back to the Contemporary for a bus transfer back to DTD followed by the short walk across the road to our hotel.
Well, what else can I say? I had the best birthday ever: The Cards; Crystal Palace with the card & cake; MNSSHP and generally being in WDW!! MNSSHP comes ‘Highly Recommended’ and if anyone gets the chance to do it, they should!! I think I have written enough here – time to sign off for another day!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
11th October, DAY 11
Again we had a late start due to our very late finish with been at MNSSHP the night before. Now I know, again, a lot of you will be saying ‘what?’ – but this is our holiday and with having three weeks, it’s what we decided to do!!
Having showered and freshened up, we crossed over to DTD and caught the Disney bus to Wilderness Lodge for our 1pm ADR. We arrived half an hour early but could be seated straight away, as it was quiet. We enjoyed the meal very much and both of us were quite happy to watch the shenanigans from the sidelines: The children riding round like Cowboys, the people doing animal impressions, the guy whose birthday it was doing his best ‘tea-pot’ impression etc!!! It was all very entertaining and the food was good too!!
Having seen many pictures of the larger-than-life icons at the various resorts, I wanted to see them for myself. So it was off first to the All-Stars Resort and then the Pop Century Resort. The icons are superb and at least now I have photos of them all!!
Once done, we decided to have some more retail therapy at DTD. Once spent up, it was back to the hotel for a swim in the hotel pools and a dip in the hot tub – which was really, really hot!! Showers followed this and while I wrote up some reports, Ann watched TV (Lost and CSI: NY)!!
Some of you may think that today was a day wasted – we don’t. We thoroughly enjoyed our relaxing day and ate somewhere we’d never eaten before and saw some Resorts previously unseen – most of you have probably stayed at them and have no need to visit them like we did!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
12th October, DAY 12
Normal service resumed today in that we headed straight into a Disney Park!! Not before I went down and collected some mail and our Disney goodies we bought the day before!! Melis called, too, for the daily BritCast and we filled her in on the latest – she was so pleased that her card for me had finally arrived – even with a post mark for the 4th October on it!!
Ann wanted to ride the Monorail and so we caught the hotel bus to TTC followed by the Monorail to Epcot. Today we did Future World – which was very busy. We started as we always like to start Epcot with a ride on SSE, which had a 5-minute wait – we just love this ride!! The sunny morning that we were enjoying at this point was slowly disappearing behind black clouds.
After this we headed over to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, via Innoventions East, which is another cool ride and a great way to chill out for half an hour!! The wonders of life Pavilion was closed as it is only open seasonally now – not that we were bothered as it is not my favourite – nor Ann’s!!
The skies were darkening still – the rain was coming!! Next on our list was Mission: SPACE. Ann didn’t feel comfortable riding either ride and so waited for me in the shop. While approaching the Pavilion, the Handycam decided not to work again and so I left this too with Ann to see if she could fix it: It was the same problem as before – “Reload Cassette”. I went for the ‘Orange-Team – More Intense Training’!! Even though the park was busy, there was only a 20-minute wait and I was soon ‘on board’ and ready to blast off!! (I was the Engineer). What another superb new ride – I loved every minute of it!!
Once out, I met up with Ann and we went next door to the next pavilion: Test Track. Here, there was a 60-minute wait and so we collected our first FPs, which had a return time for over 2 hours from the time we got them… Lunch was in order instead!!
We grabbed a bite to eat in the Electric Umbrella. Whilst we were eating, the heavens opened and it started to rain heavy. This was the first rain we’d had since arriving nearly two weeks ago!! After eating, we decided to stay dry and head into Mouse Gear, as I wanted a new watch – a Mickey Mouse watch. I eventually found one I liked and had to wait whilst the metal strap was adjusted, as I wanted to wear it.
Since Ann’s birthday is coming up, I bought her a Tinker bell watch. When we came to pay, panic set in: We’d, or I to be more precise, had miss-placed/lost our Amex Card. It wasn’t in the bag and it wasn’t in the wallet from the last time we used it which was in the ‘World of Disney’ the previous night. Luckily we had enough cash on us – just – to pay for the watches and a couple of Antenna Toppers we wanted too. To make things worse (besides the rain and the Handycam) we didn’t have the contact number on us for Amex to call them!!
It was from here, we thought hard and changed our plans: because we were in Epcot, we weren’t going to waste the rest of the day and so made the hard decision to cancel 1900 Park Fare and use that time to head back to the hotel and look for/sort the Amex card out. We couldn’t have gone at this point anyway as we had no money!!
Now penny-less, we headed over to The Living Seas Pavilion. We went via Innoventions West where, yet again, the Handycam decided to throw a tantrum - We certainly weren’t having a successful day at all!! I actually like the new look to the outside of the Pavilion (I’ll have to look back at old pictures to recall how it used to look!!) – I don’t know if everyone is going to like it, but I did!! This was the busiest of all the Future World Pavilions – the queue inside for Turtle Talk was nearly out the doors and so we gave this a miss. We did however go upstairs, via the escalators to have a look at the various fishes, rays and dolphins in the large tanks.
On the way out, we saw the entrance to the left for the ‘Soft Opening’ of ‘The Seas With Nemo and Friends’. After a tip from Melis in the morning, I asked if there was any chance of seeing the new ride as “We only come over every three years”. After a little hesitation, she said, “Yes” – she actually said, “Yes”!! We couldn’t believe it – we were going to do a Soft Opening!!
Of course, I’m not going to spoil the new ride for anyone!! Oh, OK then – close your eyes now if you don’t want to know!! Closed? OK, I’ll begin…
The queue line is excellent, for a start, as the closer you get to the boarding point, the deeper under the sea you feel with the various paint effects on the walls and special lighting effects. You board your ‘Oyster Shell, Clam-Mobile’ style ‘Doom-Buggy’ from a moving platform – similar to HM. The difference here is they don’t rotate fully during the ride and the ride is on one side and one level throughout. Once on your way, you pass coral reefs, which surround black TV-style screens where you follow the adventures of Nemo, his Dad and his Friends. Not giving every-thing away, but the end of the ride is well cool - The end of the ride passes the large tanks containing the other fish, to which they somehow project Nemo, Dory, Ray and the rest of the characters so that it actually looks like they are in the tank!! It is so good and very well done!! The ride isn’t overly long, but it will be a firm favourite with children – and adults alike!! I am so pleased we got the change to preview it – the best thing that happened all day!! We both loved it and I’m sure everyone else will too!!
From the Living Seas, we moved onto The Land Pavilion. The rain had stopped by now but it was still very humid and wet under foot. First port of call was ‘The Circle of Life’. A cute show and a relaxing way to spend 15 minutes. We came out, down the stairs and straight onto ‘Living with the Land’ that had only a 5-minute wait time. (The FP wasn’t working anyway!). We both liked the new ‘narrated’ version and though that it didn’t detracted from the ride at all. Once off, we collected FPs for Soarin’. It was only a little after 4pm and the return time was not until after 7pm – but we got them anyway!!
We now moved onto the Imagination! Pavilion where we first rode ‘Journey into Imagination with Figment’ followed by ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Audience’. We were both not overly impressed with Figment – we both preferred it as it was back in 2003 when we were last at WDW!! As for ‘Honey…’, we both love this show but it is a shame they have replaced the ‘pre show’, which used to be Cyndi Lauper singing ‘True Colors’. We still enjoyed it though – like all the 3D shows there are to see in Disney World!!
After refreshment drink stop, we headed back over to Test Track, used our FPs and headed straight to the front of the queue, which was showing a 65-minute wait!! What a great ride this is and as many of you may know, you can add the photo to your Photo Pass – which is what we did. You just wait for your photo to come up on the screen and then insert your Photo Pass card into a slot below it. When the light turns green, you have your photo. We too love this ride – especially the end when you can walk through the ‘Show Room’ where they have various vehicles parked up – Ann was very impressed with ‘The Yellow Hummer’!!
The Amex card was now playing on our minds even more and so, with it coming up to 6pm, we thought we better go back to the hotel and sort it out. I know we still had Soarin’ to do – but there is always another week for us. Once in the hotel room, there was a voice mail message for us letting us know that our Amex Card was at Guest Relations, DTD. (We had a second message to say that we have more mail – but I can’t collect it until tomorrow!!). Apparently, when we weren’t given it back/left it behind last night, the CM who served us handed it in and they took the details from our receipt of the goods we bought – As many of you will be aware, the green receipts have your name hotel and room number on them.
So, it was off to DTD and Guest Relations. We collected the card and thanked them for their great service and headed back across the road to our hotel. We needed to ‘re-activate’ the card as they had took the step to call Amex themselves who put a block on the account to protect us in case we never went back. Again, what great service!! Card now back and ready for use (after a call to Amex), we could relax a little more. I finished the evening writing more reports (this one and Wednesday’s) and downloading photos whilst Ann watched ‘Run Away Bride’. I am just so glad that when we watch a film at home there are no adverts (commercial breaks) in the film!! That’s all for another day – on with the next!!
ORLANDO, FLORIDA 2006.
13th October, DAY 13
Today was Friday 13th – so, I wonder what could go wrong today? Nothing, I hope, as I am not superstitious!! Well, it didn’t start too good as our transport to Wet ‘n’ Wild was 30 minutes late!!
Once there though, we had a great time in the pool and lazy river catching the sunrays along the way. It was a really hot day with a little breeze. We left around 2.30pm heading back to our hotel for showers and to freshen up before heading on over to MGM Studios where we had a dinner ADR for Mama Melrose’s at 6pm.
Once in MGM, we had our photo taken in front of the hat again – you can never have too many pictures taken on a Photo Pass! – Before heading straight over to Mama Melrose’s. We couldn’t believe how quiet and empty the park was – we managed to take several of our own photos with nobody in them around the Muppets 3D area.
Ann went inside Mama Melrose’s while I took some more pictures where she met up with Mandy. We checked in and invited Mandy to join us for dinner. Mandy and I had the Four Cheese Pizza whilst Ann had her own made up. For dessert, Ann and I had fudge cake whilst Mandy had ice cream. It was a great meal and the atmosphere – and company - in Mama Melrose’s is superb!! It was certainly great catching up with Mandy again!!
After dinner, we had an hour until the park closed and since Mandy wasn’t in a rush to leave (she would only be going back home to doing laundry!!) we decide to have a group Photo Pass done in front of the hat before heading over to RnRC. The photo guy also took a picture using our camera and showed me a better way of gaining ‘night shots’ when using it – this I used to full advantage in taking pictures of the Hat, ToT and RnRC!!
Once down at RnRC, we had another Photo Pass picture done in front of the large guitar and we again asked for one to be done using our camera!! RnRC was showing a 40-minute wait – but it didn’t take that long to get on the ride. Ann and Mandy sat together me behind. The ride photo was excellent and so we decided to buy the two 5”x7” prints and asked for them to be separated in order that we could give Mandy one of them.
RnRC ridden, it was after 8pm and the park had closed. We exited the park by going through most of the shops and did a little more retail therapy with Ann buying a few more scrap booking things!
It was now time to leave the park and go our different ways: Mandy back to her car and home to her laundry and us onto our bus and back to our hotel room!! We had a lovely evening with Mandy and wished it could have lasted longer – but, hey, all good things have to end!!