We had a wake-up call set up for 7:10, and, damnit, Aaron had better answer this one!
Aaron's awake at 7:05. Fingers are crossed
NO MORE SLEEPY!!!
We get dressed and prepare for MGM today with the possibility of meeting up with DaisyDebbie and the Badelves clan for EMH at the Magic Kingdom. I notice the Magical Express tag on our door...no problem...I'm starting to be ready to get home.
While we're getting ready, Aaron just chills out on the bed:
We head over to the Movies food court, and I take particular pleasure in eviscerating Mickey in the form of a waffle with strawberries acting as blood.
Time for the all-important timing check with the busses. We head out and get on a bus within 5 minutes (luckily, it was going to MGM). We arrive and do the finger squeeze thingy and then pile in to wait for whatever opening ceremony they have here.
About ten minutes later some characters start walking towards us from the big hat along with some CMs. The rope is dropped, and the masses take an immediate right to head for the Tower of Terror and the Rockin' Roller Coaster.
We head for the hat. Nice and peaceful...no mob scene.
And who do we run into?!
We were second in line :-D.
After the autograph and pics, we head over to Mickey Avenue, and it's completely deserted. We are a bit early for the first showing of the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, so Sheri snoops out a pressed penny machine. While destroying some Government property, we talk to Ahmed, one of the CMs working nearby. He looks like he's near hypothermia.
We still have around 20 minutes before the show starts, so we head down Mickey Avenue to see if any characters are out. We stroll by WWTBAM (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), and, though I know Aaron won't enjoy it, I decide that I'm going to try to make one of the games today. I need my revenge on the game. This thought was short-lived, because Jo-Jo and Goliath were right across the street. Aaron's really excited while in line, but I think his excitement was split between seeing Jo-Jo or seeing an ad for Little Einsteins.
We head back to see my hottie, Ariel (refer to day 2 for more information), and I'm not disappointed. Aaron watched with a lot of interest and asked a ton of questions throughout the show (my apologies to all around us). Still, I think I liked the show better than him.
We exit the show, and Sheri heads over to get the stroll...
What, honey? The stroller's not there? Sheri is trying to hide what she's dreading, but she's nearing the panic stage. I drop Aaron off with her and have them get in line for Playhouse Disney (due to start in ten minutes). I look around for a couple minutes...TADAAA...the CMs had moved it to another place. I move it to yet another place (where a couple hundred other strollers were parked) and join them for the show.
It was definitely a cute show, and we thought Aaron would love this one. For some reason, he was just kind of eeehhhh with it. I don't know if he was starting to get tired or not feeling well or what, but he just wasn't into it. This gets us to thinking that perhaps we should cut this day short a little and let him unwind at the hotel. This pretty much axes seeing Beauty and the Beast and jeopardizes Millionaire.
We leave Mickey Avenue and make our way over towards where Muppetvision 3-D is. On the way we see Stitch! . Of course the line for him is about 40 deep, so we decide to try to catch him before we leave.
Suuuurreee, Chris...that plan really worked at Animal Kingdom on Day 4, didn't it?! Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice...
We keep on walking past the ABC Commissary and Sheri asks me where Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc hung out. Mare (Badelves) provided some great directions last night when we met up with her group at Epcot on where Mike and Sully were, but I'll be danged if I could remember what she said. I knew we were in the general vicinity, but I didn't know exactly where.
At that exact moment, we pass an opening to our left and see a CM and a line forming. A couple of seconds later, a garage door opens, and there they are! Good God, Sully is friggin HUGE:
Heck, I'm even a little scared going up to him, but Aaron runs right up. Considering this is one of his favorite movies, I shouldn't have been surprised.
We finally get to Muppetvision (after a detour for Aaron to play in the car in front of the 50's Prime Time Cafe). The Muppets have always been one of my favorites. I remember watching the Muppet Show all the time growing up, and I think my sense of humor falls right in line with them. Plus, I used to do a lot of their voices for my sisters when they were growing up (I can do a mean Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo as well as a decent Kermit and Swedish Chef, PLUS I have this hilarious perverted Grover routine, but I digress). Needless to say, I'm excited to be here...much more so than Sheri is. I'm busting up at the pre-show show on the screens, while Sheri considers disowning me. We experience the show, and Aaron enjoys his second 3-D movie, though not as much as Philharmagic. While I love the Muppets, I have to agree that the technology is better at Philharmagic.
Aaron donates a few pennies to the Muppet fountain, and we seek out lunch at the Pizza Planet. Aaron was hungry...he ate about half of his pizza by himself. After eating, we head down to play a bit and find an air hockey table. As I fish out a couple of quarters to play, a girl hands Aaron a little Pooh toy she got from one of those machines that you put a quarter in and turn the handle...you know guys...like the ones we used when we bought the engagement rings...they come in that plastic bubble thing. Her Mom said she already had that toy and wanted to share.
All together now....aaaawwwwwwwwwwwww.
Aaron has tried playing air hockey before, and I think he likes hearing the sound of the puck being scored against him. I nearly pulled a muscle trying to miss the puck to keep the score even.
Aaron's definitely getting tired, so we head out after one game and seek out another elusive character...Buzz Lightyear. We find him nearby and snap a picture. We then make our way to Millionaire. Of course Aaron crashes as we get there. We have about a half-hour before the next show, so I grab some bench and keep Aaron company while Sheri looked around a little in a shop or two.
Then I got to thinking...am I actually eligible to play this? I ask a CM if contestants on the actual TV show could play. The best way I could describe his reaction is a combination of , , and . He asks another CM, and I see them pointing my way.
Why the Hell did I even bring it up?
We kind of agree that I can play, so we go in (me holding a snoring kid) and watch some of the highlights from the show. I'm starting to get a little excited now. We get into the studio, and immediately I start comparing it to the actual ABC studio in New York. First off, there are a LOT more seats at MGM than in the actual studio. Second, the keypads are different. Even though I was in the "ring of fire" for the actual show, we did get to try out the keypads in New York. Third...there was no boom camera (a very annoying camera mounted on a long hydraulic arm that moved all over the place while you try to answer a question worth a lot of money) here at MGM. There were other differences, but, in its defense, the studio DID look a lot like the real one. It was much brighter in the MGM one, and the New York studio used some "smoke" to diffuse the lights to create a neat look.
A couple of minutes before it is supposed to start, Aaron wakes up. I try to hand him off to Sheri, but he wants Daddy. He finally goes to Sheri before the fastest finger question. It's up, and it's a geography question (one of my stronger areas!). I go against Zurg's (Bennet's) recommendations on how to do this and think it out. I get the first two with no problem...pause a second, then put the third and fourth one in...DAMN...the third one didn't go in, so I enter it last and search for the "submit" button. Then I realize that there is no submit button (like on the real show).
Ummm...I didn't make it in the hot seat. Some really cute nursing student makes it in there instead. Sheri comments on how her pants were so tight they had to have been painted on her. I agreed a little too quickly for her liking. As the contestant talked, I started thinking that, despite her looks, I don't think I would want this girl as my nurse (unless we're talking naughty nurses). The game starts, and she burns a lifeline on the 100 point question.
UGH!!! At this rate, there won't even be time for a second person to get in the seat. She burns her second lifeline at the 300 point one (the host accidentally helped her out on the 200 pointer). Finally she gets to the 1000 point level, and I get to see how I'm doing.
3rd from the top
She blows the 2000 point question, and I know I answered it really fast...I've got a chance....
Still 3rd from the top.
Damn close, but someone else heads down to the seat. This guy is a restaurant manager and seems to know his stuff. I pause for just an instant on the 100 point question and never could get back on the leader board. He blows it on the 4000 point question, but the horn honks and we're out of time. I actually cringed a bit when I heard that horn. The last time I heard it was in New York, and six of the folks I was playing against realized that they weren't going to have their chance when that horn sounded. Some of the stories of these folks were really touching too...one guy was hoping to win at least $64,000 so he could go to China and adopt the sister of the child he had already adopted.
I gave it my best shot, and it was fun. Hey...third from the top ain't too bad, and I guess I have the actual show as a substitute to the MGM version .
We leave Millionaire and make our way back to see Stitch. YES...HE'S STILL THERE!!! We get in line and have a CM tell us that the line is closed.
No, I didn't actually swear out loud. I do however recall a discussion from the previous night while talking with the Lodge folks. I modify the punch line for the current situation, and Sheri nearly slaps me. Oh well...at least the Photopass pictures had Stitch in one of them (he's popping out of the street).
We make our way out to the busses for the nap that likely wouldn't happen. As we leave, Sheri and I both agree that MGM was probably our least favorite park this trip. We can tell that Aaron is nearing his limit, so we modify our plans. Originally, we were going to eat at Cape May, tour the Yacht/Beach Club, walk over to the Boardwalk and tour there, take the boat to MGM to see the Osbourne Lights, take the boat to Epcot to see if we could get on anything, then possibly take the monorail to MK for extra magic hours. We decide that we'll just eat at Cape May, look around the Yacht/Beach Club, and then decide on whether to do MK or not.
As if it were planned, Aaron bounces around the room and falls asleep a mere twenty minutes before we planned on leaving for dinner at Cape May. For some reason, he's a grouch on the bus over to MGM. He falls asleep when we get off the bus. We head over to the boat launch and watch the ducks. He wakes up long enough to see a few of the ducks and hopes that they follow the boat that we are about to get on. We make our way over to the Swan and Dolphin (though I still think it looks NOTHING like dolphin) and then over to the Yacht/Beach Club.
We enter the Yacht Club and WOW...Thurston Howell III area again (I think I actually saw him there). We wind our way around and around and around until we find the entrance to Cape May. We park the stroller and are seating immediately (about 5 minutes before our ADR time). We're seated, and our server immediately comes and introduces himself. He asks where we're from.
"Central Illinois" I reply.
Now I'm interested. "Right in the middle...Bloomington/Normal."
"Really?!" He says. "I got kicked out of a college in Bloomington/Normal."
This conversation just took a turn south. "Illinois State?" (he nods) "I teach economics there."
He fires back with "I had some Chinese guy trying to teach me economics there...he showed me graphs that I had no clue about and no use for."
"I've got two strikes against me, don't I?" I say, trying to smile.
He promises not to spit in our drinks, and we make our way to the buffet line. Considering the fantastic array of fresh seafood we get in central Illinois, I was really looking forward to eating mussels, clams, etc...but the lines were pretty long. Aaron didn't really want to be there either, so that didn't help out much. Yep, we'll be heading home at just the right time I think. Most every table service meal was, for lack of a better term, "orgasmic" down here, and I'll give the climax award tonight to the desserts at Cape May. They had some cheesecake that was absolutely awesome!
While drinking some coffee, both Sheri and I agree that Aaron has had enough. Then Sheri says something that I would never have expected in a million years.
"Why don't you go out on your own tonight?"
"No...I'm not going to do that...this is a family vacation!"
"It's fine...Aaron and I have had enough, and I know you still want to see some things and meet up with Debbie and Mare. We'll watch movies and pack. Go ahead...it's fine."
"It's fine...otherwise I wouldn't have brought it up" (as she smiles).
Even the slightest breeze would have had me . Some of me still resisted, but more of me realized that this is win-win for everyone involved, and I probably won't get a chance like this anytime soon. I agree, but I continue to ask her if she's sure about this.
After eating, we walk around a bit and appreciate the decorations/ambience of these hotels. We love the chocolate carousel (looks just like the one Samantha Brown helped build on the Travel Channel special we saw last week!) As we walk back to the Yacht Club to watch the model train set, Aaron has...well...how do I put it tactfully...the runs (so much for tact). Nope, he's definitely done for the night. I change him, and we start to make our way out to the water.
We hop on the boat to MGM to catch the bus to Movies. We hoped to get on the bus at MGM before Fantasmic ended, but it finished right after the boat docked. The line for Movies was easily 100 deep. In my mind, I had been processing several itineraries for what to do that night. I really wanted to try Mission Space, but the timing would have to be really good. With the lines waiting for a bus, chances are I wouldn't be able to make it to Epcot in time. Just as I was about to nix Epcot from the plans, two more busses arrive for Movies, and we're on our way!
I'm starting to feel like a little kid...bouncing with anticipation. We get off the bus at Movies, and I jokingly head right in line for another bus. We head to the room and drop things off. I tell Sheri my possible plans and give her a long kiss and then ask her one last time if she was okay with this. She kicks me out of the room, and I begin my first solo journey in the World…