We leave POTC and make a beeline for the tiki birds.
Remember…this was the summer of 2010…before Iago blew up. This baby was sorely in need of a refurb. Around 75% of the drummers up on top had some sort of malfunction, several lights were inoperable, one or more of the wooden tiki heads in the columns had their mouth stuck open, etc.
Of all the days…I really need some magic here, and the magic seems to have flown out the window.
I feel like we’re nearing rock bottom, so I’m willing to try anything right now. I haven’t done the Jungle Cruise since the very first time I was at WDW back in 2001 when I was clueless. The boys haven’t experienced it yet, so, what the heck…let’s try it! It was only a 5 minute wait, and we’re off:
Much better than I remember – I needed the low-level humor. This attraction helped a little, due entirely to the exuberance of the CM we had – if any Disney Execs are reading this, please watch the video and give our driver, Tammy, a raise or an “attagirl” in her performance file.
The Tree house is next – another one those that Sheri likes and I tolerate. We head up, look around, and head down.
Okay…it’s still pretty neat, and Aaron is at the age where he’s trying to figure out how everything works, so we’ll put this in the “win” column.
Okay…things are no longer at rock-bottom stage. Let’s head over to Tomorrowland and see what’s going on over there. We cut across Main Street, which is getting crowded because the Main Street Electrical Parade is slated to start in about 35 minutes. We decide to forego it to see it a little later on in the trip. Upon arriving in Tomorrowland, we head over towards Space Mountain to see what the wait time was (50 minutes) (crap!). Space is jammed, so we look at each other and come with another plan when I see MILF…I haven’t done MILF for a couple of years, so I start heading that way. Now, before I get a phone call and angry comments from my parents and members from our congregation, let me mention that MILF is what the Disney Freaks call the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. Get your minds out of the gutters! Sheri’s not looking forward to this one. We get seated in the nice air-conditioned room, and the show starts.
They boys nearly fell on the floor laughing at the jokes!!!
This was a huge help…though Sheri is now concerned that the boys have my sense of humor.
Both Sheri and I love Wishes, as does Aaron; Eric, however, is not a fan of fireworks, so we make the tough decision to forego Wishes. I was looking forward to seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade, but (I think) we put it to the boys, who said “nah”. Well, then, my vote is to head out before the throngs overwhelm the bus stops.
You know, it always seems like the other three are always teaming up against me. I got outvoted, and we stay in the park.
We head over to the TTA and hop aboard – it’s our first time doing the attraction with the new spiel. While I’m a traditionalist (is it possible to be a traditionalist when I’ve only been going to the parks since 2005?), the new spiel isn’t bad. As we loop around over Tomorrowland, I’m able to catch a glimpse of MSEP for a few seconds. We look over at the wait time for Space Mountain and see that it’s not going down at all, so we enjoy the rest of the Peoplemover (for you non-Disney freaks, the TTA was originally called the Peoplemover, and they’ve actually added that back to the name of the attraction after a significant length of time). As we hop off, we notice that the wait for Buzz is fairly low, so we hop in line. I get Aaron as my riding partner, and I’m feeling a little competitive, mostly because Sheri and I are fairly evenly-matched, and she rubs it in on the occasional event when she beats me. Too bad Aaron was interested in spinning around and around and around and….”WAIT THERE’S A 100,000 point target….STOP SPINNING!!!!!!”
Yeah…Sheri was gloating again after this one.
After Buzz, we decide it’s now or never with regard to beating the crowd out of the park. We’re on the correct side of the park so we can avoid the traffic jam of people on Main Street by sneaking through the shops and making it out of Town Square (if there’s a parade going on, you can’t get out on the Emporium side because of the parade start/end gate). The Tomorrowland Bridge and hub area is getting packed with people staking out viewing locations for Wishes, so we cut through the Terrace area and are past the hub. As we near the ice cream store, a CM with a wand asks us if we’re heading out. We say “Yep!”, and she directs us to a path to the left. I never knew there was a path here, but I’m going with it, mainly because the rest of the family has already taken it. I’m assuming that it takes us into the shops.
After about 20 feet, I realize that they took us off-stage…OFF-STAGE!!!!!
We’re in a roped-off area behind the shops on East Main Street…the music is gone…there are cars…backs of buildings...etc.
You have absolutely got to be kidding me! If any Disney-employed folks read this, I beg of you to quit doing this! The magic is completely gone, and I mean completely. It’s all too real-world, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people would agree with me that they would prefer a packed Main Street to going off-stage in order to exit the park. With everything else that has gone on today, I was honestly near tears. Those who know me know that I speak very highly of Walt Disney World at least 95% of the time. Pecos Bills today? It happens...no biggie. Pirates…things break down occasionally (and the park can’t control all the visitors who ignore the “no flash photography” recordings). Aloha Isle…after dealing with the people in front of me, most anyone would be flustered. Tiki Birds…more than just a single event…this one needed a refurb (yes, a lot of capital is going toward the Fantasyland expansion, so I’m a little lenient on this one). Crystal Palace…this one hurt as there was a significant change with multiple issues. This last item where we are directed by CMs backstage, however…this is a huge mistake.
If there are any readers who are thinking of going down to WDW for their first trips (as many questions as I have been fielding over the past few months, I’m guessing there are quite a few of you out there reading this), if you are near Main Street by the ice cream parlor at night and trying to leave, just go down Main Street unless there is an emergency that requires you to get out of the park as quickly as possible.
The rope barrier directs to the gate near Tony’s Town Square – the only possible saving point of this is that I get to see a bit of the half-marathon route. We go back on stage, under the train station, and out to the AKL/Kidani bus line (I look over at the Pop Century line – wow, that’s quite a bit farther away). The line doesn’t seem too terribly bad and, wouldn’t you know it, our adopted family ends up getting in line about 15 people behind us (meaning we can talk to them on the switchbacks). The bus arrives, and we’re at the sit/stand division point. Sheri and Eric sit (in the back of the bus), and Aaron and I stand next to them. As the bus continues to load, wifey nudges me and points to the person standing in front of me. I look and, not noticing anything, I ignore her. She then kicks me and mouths “his hat”. As I rub my calf from her kick, I look up and see this:
(image Copyright of the Normal Pro Baseball Organization)
WOW!!!! That’s the logo for the Normal Cornbelters, and they’ve only been in existence for about 2 months! This guy has to be from around us. I holler out “CORNBELTERS”, and the guy immediately turns around. We strike up a conversation with him (he also teaches at Heartland). The Belters just started playing their first year of baseball a few weeks earlier, and he was trying to get the first picture of Mickey with the Cornbelters hat. As we talk, we discover that the entire back of the bus was from the mid-west. The people sitting next to where we were standing were from Kankakee. The other side of the bus had Minnesota, Indiana, and southern Illinois. This made the trip back to Kidani much nicer…at least for Aaron and me. Sheri got to enjoy the experience of a balloon in her face the whole bus ride, thanks to a sleeping girl curled up next to her. When we get to Kidani, sleeping beauty also gets off the bus (cutting in front of Sheri and Eric in the process…obviously they were more important than us). Very quietly, Sheri says to me in a higher-pitched voice, “Daddy’s Little Princess is going to love it when they put her balloon in storage.”
I nearly fall on the floor laughing. That had to be the quote of the entire trip!!
For those who don’t get it, AKL and Kidani don’t allow balloons at the resort for the safety of the animals on the savanna.
Our legs are now getting accustomed to the distance, so the walk back to our room didn’t seem as bad (we talked with our adopted family for a brief moment during the walk). We throw the boys in the showers, toss them in bed (they crash in no time), grab showers ourselves, and crawl in bed to bring this day mercifully to an end.