Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WDW 10-Year Anniversary Trip, Day 3, Part 2: Multiple Fantasms

Part 1 is HERE.

*Mush's note:
This is interesting…I make a play on words here in the title referring to a little sexual innuendo, and, when the blog entry is posted, half of Facebook notices it and checks out the blog!!! What does that tell you about the friends I have?!

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled trip report…

Since we're at MK, let's ride some more before we take the nap take the nap take the nap.

We headed towards POTC again and caught a glimpse of Peter Pan and Wendy posing for pics. The Wendy looked remarkably similar to one of Sheri's good friends from high school (Hi Kristi!). We rode POTC and then doubled back to finally do another attraction that we've never done before, the Hall of Presidents. This one was good…better than I had expected. The animatronics are really good here. As I write this, it's currently under refurb, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new changes the next time (added speaking role for Washington, added Obama, etc). As we left, I had to chuckle a little bit as I recollected something I read about this attraction. Somebody commented that this was the first time they had ever heard George W. Bush utter a complete, coherent sentence.

Sheri has a thing about wanting to walk through the castle, so we did from the back side as we made our way to Main Street USA and out to the buses.

I didn't even have to (SNAP) this time…it was already waiting for us.

We got back to Pop to rest...after about an hour and a half of trying to sleep and failing (just watched TV), we headed out to the busses back to MGM. On the ride there, we talked with a couple of nice families. One was from a town around Scranton, PA. (Moscow). Another family heard Moscow, assumed Russia, and was amazed at how well they could speak English.

We had time before our 6 pm ressies at Mama Melrose's, so we hit the Great Movie Nap. Sheri wasn't too keen on this last time, but I thought it was good. She tolerated it for me this time, and it wasn't like I remembered it.

We stumbled out of that ride and made our way over towards Mama Melrose's. We probably would have had time to hit Muppets, but we decided to try to get in a little early.

In a not-so-nice way, we were told by the staff that they could not check us in until we were within 5-10 minutes of our ADR time.

Oooookkkaaaayyyyyy....? This is the first restaurant we've come across at Walt Disney World that can't check us in early, but…Oooookkkaaaayyyyyy?

We could have definitely done Muppets before, but not now. We walked around towards Al's Toy Barn, and the Green Army Men were out having some fun with the folks.

We call this pic: Army Man With Random Child

I half-way contemplated having some fun with them and digging into my past when I did a lot of drill for the basic cadets at the Academy, but decided against it. I was the Logistics NCO for our squadron during the first part of Basic Cadet Training…tough job for a bit, but it got easy once the basics were there. I helped out with drilling a lot since I had the free time, so I got the cadence and the commands down. With my luck, they'd probably freeze into their molded positions if they didn't know what to do and would ultimately cause a pile of green army men on the ground.

I finally found the Singin' in the Rain umbrella as we toured the Streets of America a bit. Sheri had me sit down in front of one of the prop buildings and took this…she really liked this pic:

We were about 7 minutes before our ADRs, so I risked life and limb and tried to check into Mama Melrose's, and, Great God Almighty, THEY LET US IN!

Too bad they didn't tell anyone else that we were seated.

Okay, in all honesty, the server really took the time to talk to his tables; however, he spent so much time at each table that all the other tables with which he was not currently speaking to felt like they were being ignored (that was a mouthful to say). We both got a drink to numb the experience of what we anticipated to be an interesting meal. We got our drinks and ordered our food. The appetizers came out relatively quickly. I had the tomatoes with mozzarella and tomatoes, and Sheri got the breads and spreads. The apps weren't too bad. I put some roasted garlic on some bread and felt like I was going to have garlic oozing out of my pores for the next week.

Then we waited.

And waited.

As the time passed, we got to talking about the ambience of the place. About 5 minutes later, we ran out of things to say about it and started talking about whatever. I started commenting on how interesting it is being in an Italian restaurant and seeing about 20 sets of Mickey ears twinkling in the shop across the street through the window. We then started talking about this restaurant and how it compared to Nemo's Italian Restaurant from Everybody Loves Raymond (I started looking for Angelina and/or Stefania). Then we got to talking about sambuca and, somehow, the discussion found its way to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I got fixated on Joey Fatone's character saying "We're gonna kill ya! OPA!"

Then the food came.

I had the diavolo spaghetti with the calamari eighty-sixed. They got that part right…no calamari. I think they added sand in the mussels to make up for the calamari. There just wasn't much taste to it. I tried attributing it to me fighting a cold and my taste being off, but Sheri agreed that the meal was just "there."

I got the tiramisu, hoping that this dessert would have the meal end on a high note.

It didn't.

The best notes were the piped in background music. We should know as we went through THREE LOOPS OF IT. I've got Tony Bennett's I left my heart in San Francisco almost memorized. Fly Me To the Moon by ole Blue Eyes is always a treat to listen to…even three times. The first time we heard Dean Martin's That's Amore, it was great. The second time we heard it, I started adding Jerry Lewis's parts to it (LLAADDDIIEEE??????) The third time, I contemplated humming the theme to M*A*S*H* over it.

I can't help but laugh when I read what Sheri put in her journal notes for the day about this:

"Supper @ Mama Melrose – Boo Hiss…Diet Coke was the highlight."

If Mama cooked like that at home, I would have left home sooner. After re-reading this part, I feel like a DIS snob where I pick apart everything about a place. Sheri and I both agree that we would recommend any restaurant that we've eaten at on WDW property, with the exception of this one. Perhaps they had a bad night, but both of us have worked at restaurants in the past and are really tolerant of the minor issues that occasionally pop up (they biggie). It wasn't just one or two minor things…it was the all-around experience. I reminded wifey that I wanted to eat at Hollywood and Vine (yeah, dumb move on my part).

We ran out of the restaurant as fast as we could. Since I love my wife so much, I sacrificed Muppets for her.

Wait…no, I didn't actually "sacrifice" muppets for her.

She's not a huge fan of the attraction, and I got to see it in Anaheim a few months earlier. Besides, we still had those Fastpasses to use. Sheri thought I was going to try to drag her on TOT again, but I wanted to do RNR one more time. We gave our FPs to the CM and were in the sound studio in 3 minutes. As we got to the final queue, the people behind us mentioned that this was their first ride on it. We prepped them a bit and talked to them about rides that are kind of similar.

Then we found out were in the front row.


Our car comes in, and Sheri's in the "driver's seat". The CM starts joking with her about not getting any scratches on it. I suppress a woman driver's joke, but Sheri has the uncanny knack of reading my mind and still punches my leg really hard. I told the CM that he had better be worried about cleaning the interior in case she barfs since we just ate.

The newbies sitting right behind us hear that and quit smiling.

We get to the tunnel and sit there for about 45 seconds…the anticipation is awesome! Now, on normal coasters that use gravity to get the speed up, I like being in the back of the coaster. Since this is a high-speed launch, the front is DEFINITELY the place to be! Holy cow that it a different ride up front! Even more awesomer!!!!!

We got to the exit and asked the RNR virgins behind us how they liked it.

Their faces were stuck in a smile.

We exited and saw the ride pic (we were like teenagers again). The adrenaline was going after that ride!!! We found a photopasser and got a few photos taken. In one of the pics, I pay homage to Del with the tongue-hanging-out and "rock on" sign on my hands. Sheri's got this "I'm actually married to this lunatic" look on her face in that photo. We should have bought that one!

We then headed towards the front near Oscar's station, where the entrance to Fantasmic is for the dinner package guests. We get there, and the CM is messing with another couple. He looks at us and says, "do you know this guy?"


"Well you should! This is Kevin."

We do the introductions and the CM tells us kids to go play and to make sure that Kevin is my new best friend by the time we made it to the auditorium.

This is our first time in this theater…IT'S FLIPPIN HUGE!!! The crowds are rather small when we get in there, so I can't imagine it getting full. Yeah, famous last words, there.

We sat about half-way down (half-way up?). After a few minutes, Sheri tells me that the folks next to us have bags that say Wyndham Bonnet Creek on it. I think about it for a second and decide to ask them how they like it as it's part of the timeshare company we own and have contemplated staying there. They LOVED it and wanted to talk about it quite a bit, especially as they themselves aren't owners. They said they were using one of their parents' points to stay there.

I know, blahblahblah. I'll forego the Fairfield/Wyndham stuff.

About 10 minutes before she show starts, the crowd (completely filled to capacity) begins the wave. After about 2 minutes of it, it becomes the wave from Hell. Another minute of the wave, and I've decided that, when I get home, I'm going to look up who created the idea of doing the wave, drive over to his house, and slap him.

The show started, and everyone seemingly had multiple fantasms during it. I knew the basic premise of the storyline, but I LOVED how it all came together with the effects! "Absolutely awesome" is probably the best way to describe the show. While MGM is the least favorite park (sorry Eric), Fantasmic might be the best production they do there (right up there with Wishes…might be better, depending on my mood). We're kind of up in the air on whether it's too intense for the kids or not. The kids around us that were about Aaron's age were kind of in shock a few times…especially when the villains appeared. Any feedback from your experiences with kids?

After the fantasms, we were in no mood to sleep (can't wait to read the responses on that statement), so we decided to hop on the boat to waaiiiiiiiiiiiiittttaminute!!! Umm, we didn't leave the same place we came in. We're on Sunset…not on Hollywood. It takes me a minute to get my bearings and realize that we aren't going to be able to stay ahead of the crowds at the exit. Oh well, the crowds aren't too crazy, and we still got on the first boat that arrived over to the Boardwalk area. We stopped at the Swolphin (the Swan part) for a bathroom break. It was our first time in there, and it looked pretty nice in there. We hit the bathrooms over by Kimono's. Having been to a number of conferences over the years, I'm used to the environment; Sheri, however, wasn't quite ready for the off-key karaoke and the mass amounts of alcohol being consumed by people in suits. I contemplated joining them, but Sheri mentioned something about this being the last anniversary we'll have if I take her in there (she's not one to be in the center of attention and isn't a huge singer, so this would have been like the 5th level of Hell for her).

We decided to just make the walk over to the Boardwalk from the Swolphin and looked over where the villas are. There are a LOT of them over there! We hit the Boardwalk a little after 10 at night, and the alcohol was definitely taking effect on the folks partaking there.

Speaking of that…I've heard some stories about Lodgers at this place:

(though I'm not sure they remember the stories).

We looked for some salt water taffy on the boardwalk and couldn't find any. Weird, considering this was the place I thought they'd be throwing it at us. We then headed inside the Boardwalk resort as we've never seen the interior of there. We both had the same thought about it: STARK. There's a lot of white in there – at least that's our first impression of the resort. I want to take the time to look at that resort again sometime, more in-depth.

We were starting to get a little tired around this time. We had 2 options…boat back to MGM and hope for a bus back to Pop or just grab a cab to go about a mile. The cab won out unanimously. Had we known we may have been arrested on that ride, we may have just walked. The driver talked a bit to us until his cell phone rang. He groaned about people calling him, and he sent them to voice mail. The phone rang again a minute later, and he answered it. It started out as "who the hell is this?" The next breath had "Oh baby, you know I love you honey." He gets behind someone who's not turning right on red and hits the horn. The cop in the next lane over gets on the PA and hollers at him to lay off his horn. He kind of waved (hope he didn't flip them off). A second later, the PA yells at him to "get off the cell phone and drive!" He hung up on the unknown love of his life. He "waved" again, and we both fully expected to get pulled over. With our luck, his marijuana would have been stashed in the ashtray in the back seat and that we would be booked for possession of a controlled substance, prostitution, possession of a firearm (probably in the trunk), and murder 1 (the body was also in the trunk next to the rifle).

Luckily we got to Pop without incident. We threw our fare to the driver and ran out as fast as humanly possible! We did that a lot today.

We walked into the food court and grabbed some donuts for breakfast the next morning. Of course we started eating them tonight instead of tomorrow morning. After a bit, we hit the sack knowing we were going to try to really get into World Showcase tomorrow.

1 comment:

Timberline said...

Your experience at Mama Melrose mirrors most of mine there as well--how can a restaurant have such consistently BAD service?? Decent food usually, but...yeah...that music loop gets old.