Day 4 – Monday – Is that princess and her family stalking us?
The night was getting chilly and I was glad I had my jacket. We walked through Frontierland and into Liberty Square. I stopped to dance with one of the Country Bears and also asked someone where the free hot chocolate was. It was inside the dance hall, where they used to have this show. We stood in line for some free hot cocoa and a cookie. The cocoa was yummy, but I was still too full from dinner to eat the cookie, so, Kaitlin and I each wrapped ours in a napkin and stuck it in the backpack.
Right outside, we saw Jessie – from Toy Story 2! We ran over and got in line, and the CM told us we would be last, as Jessie had to get ready for the parade. While waiting for the family in front of us, this couple and their kid walked over to Jessie right in front of us and totally ignored us and the CM that said we were next, and Jessie had to leave. Lucky for us, we were able to still get a quick autograph and picture.
We decided not to watch this early parade, and we headed over to the Haunted Mansion – walking right into the stretch room. When the lights went out, I gave a blood curdling scream that made everyone jump – it was so much fun. Kaitlin and I rode together and looked for Hidden Mickeys along the whole way.
Since the parade was still going on at this time, we decided to hit Fantasyland, starting with It’s a Small World. Kaitlin and the parents had not seen it since the rehab, and they really liked all the changed. Between the 4 of us taking pictures, I think we got a shot of just about everything in there. Next up – Peter Pan’s Flight, if I missed this ride, Nicole might shoot me! The line was about 10 minutes, not too bad, but guess what?! Yup, they handed me the lanyard to mark the time of the wait! Mom and Kaitlin got into a flying boat in front of me and Dad. I was able to get a shot of them flying through the ride as we went around one of the corners – thanks Jerrame for pointing this out to me!!!
After Peter Pan’s flight, we went to see Mickey’s Philharmagic. I do think this is my favorite 3d show in all of Walt Disney World (sorry Muppets!). We had a good time watching this show, and sitting down.
Once we left the theatre, we walked over to the Winnie the Pooh ride, where we saw Winnie and Eeyore posing for pictures over in Pooh’s Playful Spot. Even though we saw them at dinner, we still had to stop and get our pictures taken, they had their Christmas clothing on, well, scarves and a hat on one of Winnie’s ears. We had a family shot taken, right as Piglet and Tigger walked up and Pooh and Eeyore walked away – thank goodness, since I knew Mom really wanted to have her picture with Eeyore. We got in line to ride the honeypots as the fireworks started. Dad decided to skip the ride and took some pictures of the fireworks instead. He said we missed a great show as they were going off all around!
I really wanted to go to Toontown and check out the Barnstormer. My goal for this trip was to have my picture taken with Santa Goofy – I thought he might be back there. But we decided not to make the trek and went over to Tomorrowland instead. We had to ride Buzz Lightyear.
Once we got there, the wait was not bad at all. I rode with my mom, while Kaitlin and Dad shared a vehicle. I had to promise not to spin the vehicle around in circles. We had fun shooting the aliens and trying to get Zurg. Unfortunately, the ride stopped – yes, right in between rooms again. So not only could I not increase my score, but my dad could! That and it stopped us right where a fog machine was. I started coughing and choking, it was bad. Mom turned the vehicle so that I was turned away from the smoke and I put my head in my jacket, but we were soon moving again. Dad won, of course!
We thought about riding the TTA, but decided to try to find a spot for the parade instead. We made a lot of discussions about it while walking towards the Hub. We stopped for another photopass opportunity in front of a Christmas tree with the castle in the background. By the time we reached the hub, the castle forefront show had started, so we just decided to cop a squat there and check it out. That and this put us right on the side of the road for the parade.
The only bad part about this was that I had to sit down on the ground with Kaitlin for over 30 minutes waiting for the show to end and the parade to start. We loved this parade!!! It was so cute. I can’t believe it was even a “smellovision” parade, as one float went by and we both could swear you could smell gingerbread and cinnamon – yummy!
After the parade, it took me a minute to stand up. I may feel young at heart at Disney, but my body sure wasn’t feeling it at this time.
We took our time strolling down Main Street, looking for a place to grab some coffee for mom. I decided to stop at Casey’s Corner, and yes, they have coffee here. Man, the hotdogs smelled good. I really wanted to try one, as they are highly recommended, but I was still overly full from dinner about 6 hours earlier!
I wanted to purchase at least one of the special pins for the Christmas Party, so as I strolled through the shops, the rest of the family found a nice bench near the Roy and Minnie statue to have a seat. After MUCH waiting around in line (long story, but a manager had to be called for the guy in front of me), I made my purchases, and went out to meet the family.
As we left for the night, Kaitlin and I waved the 4-finger wave to the guys in the railroad landing – well, Mickey only has 4 fingers as it is.
We took the monorail and the parking lot tram back to the car. We were all tired, and so ready to crash for the night. Sadly, we still had no towel animals for us in our room. Mom and Dad did though, and brought theirs over for Kaitlin. She was still upset that none had been left for us – especially since I left a tip everyday and it was obvious there was a kid in the room. Oh well, how can I complain, I was at Walt Disney World.
Animal Kingdom was the next day’s park. But keeping to our low key schedule, we set a wakeup call for about 7 and we crashed for the night!
Day 5 – Tuesday – Is that tree moving? Do I really need that many straws?
Another wake up call from Stitch and I jump in the shower. Keeping our morning ritual, we moved slowly, ate some breakfast in the food court, and headed out to the Animal Kingdom. Where we parked was not that far from the front gate, but again, to save as many steps as possible, we jumped on the tram.
Dad had some trouble with his ticket in the machine, but the CM on duty was able to save the day. I grabbed a schedule for the day, and we started our walk towards Africa. We took our time, and I tried to figure out how we could fit in all that we wanted to see here today. Kaitlin and I made it to the main bridge before Mom and Dad, but we thought they were right behind us. We wanted to get our photopass opportunity! We waited, and waited and waited. I knew they were moving slow, but this was crazy. They finally caught up to us and we took our picture in front of the big tree.
Looked at the schedule and decided we should head straight to the Flights of Wonder show. We definitely wanted to see this, and thought Kaitlin would love it. We actually had plenty of time to get there, so we stopped to see Its Tough to be a Bug first. On the long walk there, we walked, but not at a brisk pace. We looked around and took in the animals and stuff. We kept being passed in line by people obviously in a hurry. I was afraid one of these people were going to run into my mom – by this time she was walking with her cane, her hip was hurting pretty bad. Thank goodness they didn’t, and I didn’t have to cause a scene. We made it to the theatre in plenty of time, we even had to wait – so all those people in a hurry, we just hurrying to wait. After the cute show, we headed over to the Flights of Wonder Theatre.
We got there in plenty of time, so Kaitlin and I walked briskly over to the safari to get us all fast passes. They were for a perfect time, starting right about the time the bird show ended.
On our way there, we saw Devine. I have seen her before, but Kaitlin had not. So she took a few pictures and we made it back to the show in plenty of time. Kaitlin really did like the show, and Mom and Dad had gotten some pretty good seats, as birds flew over our heads! We also had an empty bench in front of us, so a perfect place to put up our already tired feet.
Once the show was over, we started back to Africa to get onto the safari. Mom was walking a bit slower, so Dad tried to use this time to try to get me to not want to see The Festival of the Lion King. Well, he was barking up the wrong tree. The last 2 times I had visited The Animal Kingdom, I had not gotten to see this show, and I love this show. So, his attempt did not work.
We walked through the fast pass line at the safari and were loaded onto the back seat of the jeep in record time. We had a great ride, but did not see as many animals as we have in the past. Dad complained he couldn’t really get any good pictures, as we did bump around quite a bit. But that was part of the fun!
After we got off the 2-week safari, Dad started to head to the trek. Nope, not on my agenda. We did stop to see a couple of gorillas pondering life. One was staring at a waterfall and the other was on his back with his legs propped against the wall. It was like they were at the spa and meditating.
It was now lunchtime, and the ‘rents wanted some corn chowder, so we stopped at The Tusker House. I was not interested in eating anything here, so I went outside to grab a churro, and then came back to grab a table for them as they were waiting in line. You cannot just get the corn chowder without the chicken wrap sandwich. So they got 2 of those, and everyone shared - well, Mom, Dad and Kaitlin shared. I decided to head out while they were still eating and stop in the Pizzafari to see what food choices they had there. I almost wish I hadn’t. I was able to use my Dining card for a discount, but the menu was not as varied as I thought it would be, and I just got a pepperoni pizza.
I walked towards Camp Minnie Mickey and sat down on a bench to eat my pizza and waited for the rest of the family to catch up with me. The soon did and we walked on to where the Festival of the Lion King line started. Dad stopped for a break, but caught up with us inside, as we saved a seat for him.
I don’t like the idea of Mom walking up a bunch of stairs, so we were able to grab a seat in the section right behind the handicapped seats. We had never sat this close, so it was a good view. We were in the elephant section, I still have never been in the giraffe section. During the show, the main guy came down our row and shook all of our hands – we never had that happen before, so that was kinda cool.
After the show, we went to the character meeting trails. First up – Santa Goofy of course. This was my one goal this trip, I had to have my picture with Santa Goofy. We stood in line awhile and I was nice, I let my niece go first. Goofy really liked her princess pen, even though the feathers on it made him sneeze. Then he noticed if you pressed down it lit up. So, along with his autograph in her book, she has a lot of little dots, as he had to show everyone around how her pen lit up! She thought that was so funny. Then she told him how much I wanted to see him, that he is my favorite! So he gave me a big hug and we got our Goofy goofy picture together!!! Yes, every picture with Goofy is goofy, but I always end up doing something silly, so I posed with my leg in the air like he did – I actually had to hold my leg up as Dad and the photopass guy kept taking pictures.
We all, except Dad, wanted our picture with Mickey, so we stood in that line next. Then headed over to see Minnie Mouse. Mom and Dad didn’t want to wait in line anymore, so they headed back to the mainland from Camp Minnie-Mickey to grab a prime viewing location for the parade. Minnie’s line was longer than Mickey’s!!! While in line, we saw these 3 teenage girls that were dressed so inappropriately for a family themepark – let’s just say that we saw their cheeks….not the ones on their faces! What mom would let her daughter out of the house dressed like that? Much less to Disney World!?
Oh well, we had our pictures taken with Minnie and she was very sweet to us. We then stood in Donald’s line, which wasn’t very long, I almost felt bad for the guy!
We then hurried our way over to the area in front of the tree. Mom and Dad were saving us some spots at the front of the parade. We were right on the curve in front of a store. Some of the CMs were trying to entertain people during the wait by singing happy birthday – it wasn’t really working.
The parade was coming around the corner and here comes this little girl, plop! She sat herself down right in front of Kaitlin. I said something aloud about being rude and obviously her parents didn’t teach her manners – she ignored me completely. After the parade, we saw her mom, pushing another one of her kids around (not in a stroller) and yelling loud in Spanish.
We enjoyed the parade and got plenty of pictures, even with the sun right in my eyes. The parade was cute with the Christmas theme to it. This was the first time Kaitlin saw the parade at the Animal Kingdom.
It was about 30 minutes until the park closed. Dad decided we were going to go ride Everest! Mom walked slowly to the front of the park to sit and wait for us. Kaitlin, Dad and I hiked it back to Asia. I took a wrong turn and we ended up at the River Raft ride. We turned around, and Dad took a break, while Kaitlin and I continued. However, we stopped, I saw someone I recognized – it was LOU!!! The guy who wrote the Trivia Book (disneyworldtrivia.com) was walking towards us with pretzel in hand. I stopped him by yelling his name, to which he responded “Gae?” Nope “Caroline?” Nope. So he resorted to reading my name badge on my DWT lanyard! We spoke for a moment and then told him that we were heading to ride Everest. He had ridden it for the day, and mentioned the single rider line was pretty short.
Dad caught up with us and we walked over to the entrance. The single rider line had closed, no more fastpasses, so we just got into the regular line. It really didn’t take us long, and we had the chance to look at all the interesting stuff in the queue.
By the time we made it to the front of the line, the CM sent Dad and Kaitlin to the front seat and me to the second - I made it clear that I didn’t want to ride with anyone, so please don’t put a stranger with me. Kaitlin made us switch, so I rode in the very front seat of the front car. To me, this is the best seat as you come right up on the end of the tracks – oh, don’t read that if you haven’t ridden it yet!!!
We went tearing through the mountains and the tracks stopped – Kaitlin was screaming her head off by this time. We started going backwards, and believe it or not, I think she got louder. Now, this is the girl that was begging to ride this at the start of the day.
When we got off the ride, the photo system was having issues, so we never got to see our ride photo. I called mom to let her know we were heading back out, but I never got her on the phone.
I had reached Caroline earlier, and they were at the Animal Kingdom that day too. But we never saw them. I told them I would call on our way out, and I did, but Caroline doesn’t have voicemail, and I never got ahold of them.
We reached the front of the park and saw Mom sitting there. She actually had a good time waiting for us. She had lots of entertainment and music playing with a live Caribbean type band. She said an older couple even got out in the middle of it all and began dancing.
We grabbed a tram and it dropped us off right at our car – YEAH!!! Then we were off to the Wilderness Lodge.
Day 5 – Tuesday – Do I really need that many straws? Man, this water is cold!
We arrived at The Lodge a little early for our reservation, but I went ahead and checked us in. They called our name just a few minutes later. They sat us down at a table right in the middle of the dining area.
I was the only one who had eaten here before, but the ‘rents knew what the restaurant was like. Little Mama was our server, and she was great! I am not sure what Mom and Dad had to drink, but I asked for a cherry coke, this seemed to put her out, as she had to add the cherry flavoring, big hassle, it seems. Kaitlin ordered a strawberry shake – they are bottomless, but she could only drink one. She was also going to order the strip steak – yeah, too old for the kids menu at age 11! But when she saw the whole ketchup thing going on, she decided to change her order to the meatloaf; she wanted something to put ketchup on. I ordered the roasted chicken, while both Mom and Dad had the all you care to eat skillet. Our drinks arrived just in time for Lil’ Mama to sneeze and throw a bunch of straws at us – Kaitlin tried this trick a few times herself. Mom started to stack up the straws, “we really don’t need this many straws.” So I proceeded to put 3 in my drink and Kaitlin put 3 in her milkshake!
The cornbread here is very good, but I knew not to fill up on that. They called all kids under the age of 12 (so she is a kid now?) to the front of the restaurant, it was time for the Horse Races!!! Kaitlin couldn’t believe we were making her do this, and better yet, I was filming it!! Yes, we know have it recorded for posterity, Kaitlin riding a wooden horse around the Whispering Canyon Café. She wouldn’t admit it, but I think she actually had fun, as all the adults cheered them on, and waved napkins in the air!
Our food arrived, and everything was so good. Of course, we needed “KEEEETTTTTCCCCHHHHUUUPPPP!!!!!” And soon we had about 14 bottles on our table. It took awhile for the next person to need it, but they were right around the corner and we didn’t have far to go to deliver it all.
Mom and Dad really enjoyed parts of the skillet. The pulled pork and the chicken and the cole slaw were the parts they asked for more of. I ate most of my chicken, but Kaitlin was only able to finish half of her meatloaf. I was determined to get desert. I love the tortilla bowl!!! It is a cinnamon sugar dusted tortilla bowl filled with ice cream, bananas and caramel syrup – YUMMY! Dad got an apple pie and Kaitlin got some sort of cheesecake. Mom tried a bite of each of our deserts and said that was plenty!
We made sure to get a picture of Lil’ Mama before we left, and said goodbye. We were all so full, but wanted to walk around the Lodge to see the decorations and the atmosphere. I really want to stay here one of these days.
We meandered outside, and Kaitlin noticed their slide – pretty cool. They have a great pool, and you could tell it was heated, as the steam was rising, the night had gotten pretty cool with the sun going down. We went to the area to check out the geyser, but didn’t feel like waiting another 20-30 minutes for it to go off again, so Dad went and got the car, pulled around and picked us up.
Back at our VALUE resort, we all, except Dad, changed into our swimsuits to go take a swim in our own pool. While it wasn’t crowded like it had been earlier in the week, there were still quite a few kids out there swimming. We hurried into the water and it was COLD! Man, we all made sure we got down into the water up to our necks and started looking for hot spots. We found a spot where the warm water was cycling into the pool and hung around there a bit and let our muscles relax. Some kids were playing the middle of the pool and this one boy was rough housing quite a bit. In fact, he would get his “friend” into a choke hold, throw him under water and hold him there. This really began to worry us as he did it over and over again. We asked the lifeguard if he noticed what was going on. The guy did not even act like he heard us, but a few minutes later he walked over to that side of the pool and spoke to the kid.
We didn’t stay in much longer than that, and we ran back up to our room – freezing along the way. Kaitlin and I took showers and got dressed. I wanted some hot chocolate and to check out the store. Mom and Dad decided to come with us, and grab themselves some coffee in their refill mugs.
In the store they had tons of things I wanted, but I restricted myself and only spent about $100 or so. Kaitlin reported this to my mom. But I actually bought stuff for Kaitlin while I was there, so she shouldn’t complain. We then grabbed some hot chocolate, and Kaitlin burned her tongue right away. Back in the room, she put it on ice, hee hee.
I spent the next 30 minutes or so packing up everything. I left out only what we needed for the next morning. We called for a 7am wakeup call and went to sleep.