Thursday, July 22, 2010

WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 7: Back to Life…Back to Reality

Here's Day 6, just in case.

We're up at well before the butt-crack of dawn…since our flight leaves at 8:45, that means we're to be on the Magical Express at around 5:45. Luckily, we already are checked in and have the tags for the bags. All I have to do is make sure that we have the bags down to the check-in before 5:45, and we should be okay.


The boys are still sleeping (duh…went to bed just 5 hours before). Sheri finishes the rest of the packing, and I take the bags down…no problem! I make sure to let them know how awesome the check-in process is. They were still on their first cup of coffee, though, I think. The food court isn't open, so we'll have to fend for ourselves at the airport. As we make our way out to the bus stop for the Bad Bus (a name Sheri has given the M.E. that takes everyone back to the airport…she has been calling it that since back on our first trip). I figure we'd be one of the only ones out there, but there are 4-5 other families there, mostly catatonic. Sheri and I are relatively awake as the bus pulls up. A former NYC cabbie pops out of the bus with far too much energy and throws everyone on the bus. For those of us who were awake, this guy was flippin' hilarious…for those trying to sleep, he was flippin' annoying as hell. He talked about the snow and ice across the nation and how he had to get out of the Northeast to warmer weather and that he hasn't had to shovel snow for 7 years and how he's still a Yankees fan (which drew boos from just about everybody).


We leave ASMO after saying one final goodbye to it and stop over at ASMU to pick up someone. Then we run over to Coronado Springs for a pick up, and before, we know it, we're jetting to MCO.


After arriving at the airport, we breeze past the check-in line for AirTran, which is flippin' long! No problems at all at the security checkpoint, as there seem to be very few people traveling (they're all stuck at the ticket counter at AirTran apparently). We have a good hour and 45 minutes before the flight, so we do our last ritual of every WDW trip…eat at Burger King! The tooth was still driving me up a wall, but, luckily, croissanwiches are not too tough.


The boys are waking up and are in a really good mood, despite leaving our favorite spot to visit. As we make our way to the gate, I snag a paper that a previous patron had left and start to get acclimated back to the real world (damn it). Sheri sneaks away and buys the boys two small plushes (a Pluto for Eric and a Goofy for Aaron). The boys were rambunctious but not destructive, and they kept several people in the gate entertained. Despite all the ice back home over the past several days, our flight is on-time (damn it). Before we know it, we're back on the ground at BMI. As we land, the entire plane groans as we get our first glimpse of the ice mess. We deplane and head over to the baggage claim. Most were still struggling to stay awake because 95% of the people went to the wrong baggage claim. The 3 or 4 families that kind of knew where to go camped out by the non-moving belt and waited.


Ten minutes later, we have our stuff, and I head out to see the disaster that's waiting for me at the van, while Sheri and the boys stayed warm in the terminal. I ice-skate out to the van.




Ohhhhhh crap (though I didn't say "crap" then).


There was a good inch of ice on the Mickey antenna topper, which was weighing it down tremendously. Some of the ice had actually broken off of the antenna from the bending and waving in the wind. Three-fourths of the van is covered in well over an inch of ice. I drop kick the tires, and the ice cracks…4 minutes later, the wheel sides are clear. Where the wheels touch the pavement, well…that's a different story. I start pounding on all parts of the van in an effort to get a place to start working. Ultimately, I think it was a drop-kick on the tailgate that finally worked. Finally, I'm able to open up a sliding door and get the van started, though the ice is just too thick for the defrost to do much of anything. At least I now have a scraper. Nearby, I see the AirTran 717 we were just on taxiing to runway 20. I flipped it off as it departed (lucky @#%&%^#$% travelers). I spend the next 20 minutes punching and scraping the van to the point where I think I can actually drive it.


I put it in reverse and burn rubber!



…in the exact same place as I'm still iced to the road. I rock it a few times (though "don't bother knockin'" didn't apply) and am finally able to move a few feet…not enough to make it over the hump of ice behind the van (where they plowed and it froze). 15 additional minutes to go, and I FINALLY am free. Sheri is about to call 911 in fears that I either A) suffered a heart attack out there; B) am frozen to the pavement; or C) took someone up on a triple dog dare to stick my tongue to the antenna. She had just about given up hope and was about to start looking for a new spouse when I pull the van up.


I almost thought I saw a look of disappointment pass across her face for a moment.


We hop in and do a grocery run and then head over to a regional favorite…Monical's pizza…for lunch. While we eat, we start the reminiscing and listening to the boys' pleas to live in Florida or Georgia.


We make it home…


The pic doesn't do it justice as you can't see how many limbs are down and just how thick the ice is. 6 hours ago, it was in the 60s in the dark.


(damn it)


The cats are still mad at us for leaving and barf all over the place for retribution. We unpack and look at the damage from the receipts. The boys make quick work of the new Mr. Potato Head parts:



Funny…it seemed like a lot more as we were putting it in the gigantaur container :lol:




…And then back to real-life we went.

WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 6, Part 4: Fun With Friends

Part III here!

We continue on to Japan, where I want to FINALLY look around and see if I can find the gardens. Too @#%)@#$^!#$ bad it's dark outside and we can't see a thing. We look around a little and head out to continue our speed-of-light tour. Morocco is up next, and nothing to see there. We looked for Nickladdin (a CM friend of Mare's crew that we've come to know) but didn't see him and continue on to France. We do a requisite stop for a Slushie thingy and continue on to Canada. The crowds are starting to build for Illuminations, and it's getting a little busier in the walkways. We pass Canada, and I resist the urge to buy a half-yard of Bass Ale over at the U.K. I text DD to tell her we're heading back their way. I then stop for a second and realize that we STILL haven't given the kids a chance to really see the countries much (we still haven't seen a ton of it, for that matter). We'll try again…especially as Aaron starts to know the countries a little more and as Eric can do the Funstop items more. DD tells us that they're on SSE now, so we turn out of WS and start heading back to FW (damn acronyms). We stop for a family pic by the tree, but the music is so loud there that it's really bothering Eric.



Great pic of the other 3, though.


We save Eric from the decibels and head to the golf ball. Before we enter the exit, we hit the bathroom. Aaron and I get out first, so I text them to see if they're still there:


"B room bx SSE"


(crap…just realized I misspelled 'by' in the text)


One minute later, DD replies with "English, please"


I nearly died laughing at that text.


I translate and let them know that sounds like TT might be back open. Another reply from DD saying that Mare is playing games at the bottom of SSE. Not Renee…Mare (lol) We head in just as Illuminations starts (much to Eric's appreciation) and find them in no time. Aaron joins Renee in a game…


I LOVE that pic of the two of them. We catch up with Mare while we wait for the rest of the crew to return from the top of the golf ball. We talk a bit more and then head out towards TT. around 9:45...



…in December…



…during Illuminations…



…when it has the Christmas finale tag…



…where they can feel and hear the fireworks from as far away as Sandusky, OH.




Sufficed to say…Eric hated us.



We make it to TT, and Mare and Renee head off to do something else as Renee's not a big fan of this attraction. We all have a good time talking in the queue line and waiting for the ride. We watch the movie and head in. We split up so that Mark, Dan, and Austin get in a car, and Sheri, Me, Aaron, Eric, Debbie, and Lexie try to commandeer a car to ourselves. We get sequenced in so we can ride together, though we hurl insults at Mark, Dan, and Austin for being behind us in line but in a car ahead of us.

We get going and just enjoy the ride. As we get into the heat/cold/corrosion test, I very nearly make a comment to Debbie about the cold and its effect on certain female body parts, but I'm still not 100% sure how Lexie will take that, so I keep quiet. For some reason, Lexie keeps me in check with my innuendo and remarks (again, refer to the 2005 trip report…next to last day). Debbie and I know each other well enough to let anything fly, so I think she was disappointed that I DIDN'T comment. Everything is going great until we get to the crash test. DD and Lexie quit talking for a second and do this weird motion with their arms. I turn to look at them right before I figured out what they were doing.


THIS is what they were doing.




We hop off and head out to meet back up with Mare and Renee, who were playing at Mission Space. It's about 10:20, and the boys are still going strong, so we all decide to head over to Soarin to see what the wait time is. I got to catch up a little with Mark and Dan on the walk over, since we hadn't seen each other for a while. We walk in, and it's jammed…the board says about a 45 minute wait. Debbie says there's no way in Hell this is going to be only 45 minutes…she bets that it's going to be well over an hour…possibly an hour and a half. I think the wait is actually going to be pretty close to the posted time. Neither of us backing down to a challenge, we both check the time and start the waiting.


I tell you what…touring a Disney park is amazing. Touring a Disney park with a group of friends, however, is exponentially more fun! We had the best time talking with each other about everything. While we were in line waiting, Mare started texting Ed (a common friend) about our escapades. After a couple of minutes, I start texting him instead of relaying my answers to Mare. Finally, DD, Mare, and I all decide to see if we can crash Ed's phone by sending him 3 texts simultaneously…we actually counted down to press "send". I don't think Ed ever did reply to us.


Aaron is still going strong with Renee there (and Austin and Lexie helping out), but Eric's starting to wind down. Luckily we are past the CM that tells us which side to go to and are about ready to get queued in. I look at the watch to see how long we have been in line, and, well…I'll let Debbie tell you how long we waited (heheheheh). There are 11 of us, and a row is exactly 11 seats wide. We let Mark be our spokesperson to lobby for the middle-top row, and we get it! I mention that this is a great way to end it. Mare asks what the perfect way to end a Disney vacation would be. I, of course, reply, "Sex." This, of course, leads Sheri into the discussion, and we get into another one of our sarcastic conversations that leaves Mare staring dumbfounded at us, laughing with every insult hurled at each other.


Kronk comes on and gives us the briefing, and we're in. The lineup was somehow set up so that I was towards the middle, next to Mare and Mark, and I think Aaron was over near the other edge nestled somewhere with Lexie, Austin, and Renee. Eric had fallen asleep just before we gotten into the final queue, so he's kind of out of it, but he agrees to stay awake for the ride.


"Soarin to Tower…we are ready for take-off."


That just sends chills up me every time I hear it.


We rise up over the screen, and I am simply…relaxed. I look over, and Sheri almost has a tear trickling down, though with a smile on her face. I look to my right, and I can see the kids pointing out things to each other. Right next to me, I see Mark and Mare holding hands as they watch the scenes. Sheri and I make eye contact and just smile.


I didn't want the attraction to end. I really didn't.


The last volley of fireworks explodes, and we are back on the ground all too soon.
















We all are starting to get a little tired as we exit The Land pavilion, and we have to get the boys to bed because we have a very early bus to catch tomorrow. We tell each other goodbye with hugs and kisses, and we head our separate ways. The bus ride to ASMO is quiet, as we're leaving before EP closes. The boys both are fast asleep before we leave the parking lot, and I am just content to reflect on how things are going. As an added bonus, when we get to the room, there's a new item on the handle. Odd…we already have our Magical Express stuff from this morning. The resort-area check-in checked us in already and printed our boarding passes AND printed baggage tags.



The boys walk into the room and fall asleep, though they both grinned when we ask if they had fun.


Sheri does a bit more packing as I prepare the bags for the check-in at way before the ass-crack of dawn.

Click HERE for the last day.

WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 6, Part 3: Fun With Friends


I run back to SSE (another acronym) to grab the stroller (sorry…no acronym for that) which we brought it in case Eric got tired later on this night, and I meet them at the Land. Soarin is jammed, as expected, but we're staying top-level to eat at the Garden Grill.


We've read conflicting reports about the quality of this place over on Deb Wills' site, but we figure we'd give it a try, because we don't know how much longer the boys will still agree to character meals. We get there about 20 minutes before our actual reservation time, but we are seated within a couple of minutes. We were looking forward to seeing the boys' reactions at the revolving floor. Too bad it was down again tonight. I ask the hostess if I can arrange for all the tables to get up and move one table to the left every 3 minutes. The hostess looked over at Sheri, and Sheri gave her this "you should try living with him" look. Anyways, we get seated pretty much next to the entrance, where the 35,922 people per hour who come in to ride Soarin can gawk at you eating and tell you that you have some gunk in the corner of your mouth.


Let's just say that this dining experience ranks right up there with Mama Melrose's in our eyes (Just search for Mama Melrose here on the blog) Hey, this one's almost done, so you might as well go re-read an older one, right?! I wrote that one better than this one, anyways. Here are a couple of pics while we waited for the food.




…and another one while we were still waiting for our food…



We get salads and rolls, and I dive in, completely forgetting about my tooth.


Hard roll + painful tooth = @#%)^@%$!@#$!#@$!#%%$&)%$%#$!#@%$!#%!!!!!!!!!!

A few minutes later, a mailman stops by and asks if I am Chris. Puzzled, I say, "yes." He hands me this envelope and leaves. I open it up, and it's empty. I then look at the return address, and all it says is "Fred"


Bastard! He made one final call on me…and awaaaaayayayayayay I head to the bathroom. I had to hit it 3 times that meal. Apparently Dyshitzula was not pleased with something I did and sent her minion Fred to do her bidding again. One time I went, Aaron had to go, too, and, he finished up before I was done. He headed out of the bathroom BY HIMSELF (against my pleadings), so I had to run out to find him…He made his way back to the restaurant and booth with no wrong turns. Not bad for a 6 year old who has never been to this restaurant or that bathroom before. He definitely gets that from me.


Okay…Fred's paying a visit, and my tooth is exploding in my mouth with every chew. At least we got our food. I'll just stop there about the food. Now, some of my fellow Disney freaks might be concerned about this portion of the trip report. We're 97% positive on what Disney does, and we cheer right along with most people. It is a business, however, and, occasionally, things do go wrong. I'm not going to sugar-coat everything. When Disney does well, we make sure to mention it. When things don't go well (avoidable things…not "it rained" or "I didn't get the exact room I wanted" stuff), we're going to mention it, too.


Eventually we got to dessert, where the boys got to make their own sundaes.  They also bring out a cupcake for Aaron. Ten minutes later, they bring out ANOTHER cupcake for Aaron's birthday as he's eating the first one. I think this was the server's way of trying to make up for forgetting to bring Sheri's tea for 20 minutes and 3 requests. Sheri was about to jump over the balcony nearby and drink from Living with the Land…she had already downed her tea, her water, and my water.


Aaron was happy…



…until he realized that we weren't going to let him have 2.5 cupcakes (he connived Eric into letting him have some of his cupcake, too).


We pay and run away as fast as we can, nearly leveling Pluto in the process (we were there over an hour and a half). I text DD and Mare to get a 10-20 on them. Debbie texts back that they are in the park and working on finding a place to eat (Japan or Italy were in their sights). We decide to head sub-level to ride Living With the Land again (I suggested it to the boys when Sheri was contemplating the swan dive in, and they both wanted to ride it). We hop on and look up at where the Garden Grill overlooks the attraction. I noticed 2 other parched patrons climbing over the wall to jump as we passed by underneath. Aaron was asking questions left and right about how they do stuff, and Sheri and I both agree that we see a "Behind the Seeds" tour in our future in a few years for the boys.


We hop off and start to make our way out in search of our favorite attractions in Epcot…DaisyDebbie and Badelves! We get a call from Illinois to talk to Aaron, and he does his best to try to hear her as we go by the Fountain. DD and I trade texts as we head into WS. They're heading over to Mexico for a margarita fix, so we make a beeline left by the tree and find them in about 4 minutes. We exchange hugs/handshakes with Dan, Debbie, Lexie, Austin, Mark, Mare, and Renee. The Delswife crew was hoping to make it that night too, but things didn't work out, and they couldn't make it.


Dan and Mark head over to the Cantina for a beer. I pass on their offer to get one for me, and I immediately regret is as IT'S EPCOT, IT'S MY LAST NIGHT HERE, AND I'M WITH FRIENDS!!! Screw it! France is a ways away to get my Gray Goose Slushie fix, so, when I got Sheri her margarita, I ordered one myself, even though I'm not a huge fan of them.



Now, what do you think the next topic of conversation would be among friends who are fellow Disney Freaks?




We hang out for a bit and enjoy watching the boys talk to Renee. We joke about the water bottle still floating in the lagoon (yet another trip report…the first one I did…you'll have to search for it as I don't think there's a 2005 list of reports…just search the Trophy Room until you get to a date around the end of July 2006 as that's where the last replies are). They just came from WS and haven't been to FW yet. We just came from FW and are heading to FW. They want to do TT, but we tell them that it's down…haven't heard that familiar WHOOOSH as the cars go by overhead. We decide to part ways while we do a quick tour of WS and will meet back up with them. We head towards Norway, completely forgetting that the boys haven't done the Gran Fiesta Tour. I crane my neck to see the female CMs in Norway as we pass by but only see one through the windows at Kringola. That was enough….(sigh) .


We bypass China and head over to Germany to see if the model trains are running. The boys are like me in that they can just spend hours there. I get a text from one of my sisters to see if it's okay to call for Aaron. I reply, and a couple of minutes later, Aaron's talking to Aunt Emily. We continue our tour past Italy and by the American Adventure. The Candlelight Processional is going, with Abigail Breslin as the narrator. I can't help but chuckle as I watch for a couple of minutes…when we were over by Mexico, we talked a bit about the CP and Breslin. Lexie quips something about her needing ridiculously-high heels for anyone to see her. We show the boys Ms. Breslin and tell them who she is (and what movies she's from). They're not interested…if this were a few years from now, however, we wouldn't be able to pull Aaron away.

Part IV can be found HERE.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 6, Part 2: Fun With Friends

Part 1 is located HERE.

After a few minutes of just standing and watching the silverback, we exit the queue and start walking around. King Louie is out, and Eric wants to see him. Aaron decides he's too cool to do that and heads over to the drums. Sheri stays with Eric while I go across the path to watch Aaron.








Aaron, meanwhile…





Eric gets done and…





It was so quiet that they could have played the drums for a half hour and not gotten in anyone's way. We get done with that, and I do everything I can to steer them to either FOTLK or Nemo, but I got 2 "nos" from the ones that aren't old enough to vote yet. We then decide to shoot for something else we haven't done yet…Rafiki's Planet Watch. We head over to the train station and have about ten minutes before the train arrives. We have a good chat with a CM there who wasn't afraid to tell it like he saw it. The train arrives, and we're on our way. It was neat seeing some of the behind-the-scenes stuff from Safaris, but, at the same time, it kind of takes away from the effect of the attraction (kind of like seeing the parks from Google Earth or something, where you see the service entries and bays and stuff).



We arrive at Planet Watch and stop at the Kids Discovery Club there for the boys to have a little fun. They get their stamp, and we head into Conservation Station. As we walk in, we see a couple of Dream Team members talking by the entrance. We extend pleasantries and walk by them into the building. We look around a little and see Jiminy Cricket posing for pics. We know he's a rarity (we stumbled across him once at AK during the Moose Meet), so we get a couple of pics:





After this, we headed into the viewing room where we can see surgeries going on. Today, they are giving birds physicals. As we get there, we hear a lot of people in the building start a commotion…apparently, the Dream Team was passing out Dream Fastpasses to everyone. I felt bad because there was a Q/A going on with the vets one moment, and a ghost town the next. We stayed and watched for a couple more minutes as we had already done Safaris, we weren't going to do Dinosaur, and only one (likely) or two (possibly) of us would do EE. While it would be a cool souvenir to have, we decided to pass on getting in line for the Dream Fastpasses so someone else who could use them more could get better use out of them.



We walk out to Affection Section…eeeehhhh…skipped it. We decide to head back to the station to make our way back to the rest of the park. It's around 11 now, and we have ressies at noon at Rainforest CafĂ©, so we have a few minutes to waste. We head over to Camp Minnie-Mickey for the character trails but notice that most of them are pretty full, except for Chip and Dale, who were not on the trails but on a pavilion near FOTLK. We hop in line for them. A couple of minutes later we see Donald walking up his trail in tears (it's amazing how he can be in tears when he can't cry…props to the character CMs!!) because nobody is in line for him. He successfully stole a few away from the line we were in. Chip and Dale go in for a quick break and come back out…we see them a couple of minutes later, despite Aaron's protests:





We still have a little bit of time before our ressies, so we meander around a little (my apologies to Jeff Falvo aka "Jeff from Houston", who calls himself the Meandering Mouse on a popular Disney podcast, but "meandering" is the best way to describe what we did). As we meander, DD texts me, and we start to plan our rendezvous for that night at Epcot.



We have the typical meal at Rainforest…when you're not in Disney World, Rainforest is a neat place to visit. When you go to a RFC in WDW, however, you can't help but compare, and it's apples to oranges. Still, it's got decent food, and the boys like it. We splurge and get a volcano to help celebrate Aaron's birthday. Usually, the volcanoes have sparklers in them, but Disney won't allow any form of pyrotechnics indoors at their place. Aaron was still happy:



Daddy…don't bother me during dessert!




We head out and head back to the hotel for a rest. We opened the door to find that Mickey had stopped by to wish Aaron a Happy Birthday, and he gave him a card and a balloon:



This is the first time we've had this happen to us…really nice touch, and you could tell Aaron enjoyed it in the picture. We did too.



We all rested for an hour or so, but, being the last day, we decide to head back to Epcot a little earlier than planned. We get there, and somehow we all agree on SSE. Sheri runs into the car as fast as possible (and gave Aaron a good hip check in the process…2 minutes for roughing!) to make sure that "English" is the language selected. We all get pictures taken (all 4 of us looked up) and make our way up the golf ball. I'm a quick learner because, this time, I had the camera ready for the story pics:






I wanted to have a skiing accident like Aaron did last time, but apparently you have to be Deutch to do that.



We hop out and look around a bit to see if we can find our faces on the huge map…2 of us made it (Sheri and Aaron). The powers that be must have deemed mug too disgusting for display (they didn't want protein spills all around the area). We leave, and I pray to the Dyshitzula, the Goddess of colons, for granting me the freedom to tour the parks for more than 2 hours without needing to offer a sacrifice in one of her porcelain alters.



We head over to the Seas and have another shouting contest with the gulls.



I still want to see Mr. Badelves in a shouting contest with these guys some day to see who wins.




It's amazing how quiet it is at this time of the day, on a PM EMH at EP. As I write this, I realize that the Disney freaks have just about as many acronyms as the military (IHTFP, so, after LMD, we'll head to the BOR with an ONP and try not to get a DUI which will make you FUBAR and require the UCMJ to make you DOA). ANYWAYS….. we find Nemo again and say goodbye to Barbara Manatee.


  Part III Here!


WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 6, Part 1: Fun With Friends

Day 5 is over HERE

One of the things I forgot to mention from the previous day was really ironic, and proof that I am falling apart. I only get sick every couple of years, but, for some reason everything seemed to happen on this trip. During the parade, I turned to talk to someone (either Sheri, Mel, or E.B.) and commented that I'm finally up to feeling better. About 10 seconds after that, I had a sharp pain run through one of my molars, like the thing just wanted to fall out.


I dismissed it as maybe having a seed or something stuck and dealt with the now-dull throb.


And then I woke up this morning.






Still throbbing.




I can't flippin' win this trip. Still, it's much better than Fred. The boys are still sleeping, and we have 7:40 reservations at Boma for breakfast (another one we haven't done…we did Boma for dinner at the Moose Meet, where we saw Tricia, Susan, Rawley, Jen (Jedi), and Kylara and her significant other). We set this up more as a chance to see AKL and to change things up a bit, but it wasn't one of those "WE REALLY WANT TO EAT THERE!" restaurants. Sheri agrees that, with the late night before and the potential for a late night tonight at Epcot, we would be better off to let the boys sleep. Besides, it's Aaron's birthday, and we don't want him to be cranky today. I call WDW-DINE and cancel the ressie.



We eat (as anal as I am about writing crap down, we got in really late this night, and I didn't get around to writing a recap, and I can't @#$%@#^@#$ remember if we ate at the food court or got donuts/milk) and head to the front desk to get a birthday pin for Aaron. We put it on and head to the busses.



We could be in trouble…they got quite a bit of sleep.








4 minutes later, here comes the bus. FINALLY, we'll be able to see the opening of Animal Kingdom (it's our 4th try!). We hop off the bus and notice that absolutely nobody is here.











We make our way to the turnstiles, and I notice Aaron scratching his chest. I wonder if the button is bothering him. We get in and head through the oasis. There are probably only a couple hundred people here for the opening, so we get a decent view of the opening ceremony. The majority turn right to head to EE, but we head to Harambe for the Safari. As we walk, I notice that Aaron is tapping his chest every time a CM walks by.




Hmmmm….wwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiit a miinnnuuuuuuuuuuuutttteee…




The little bugger is trying to point out his birthday button!




Okay, time out! I talk to Aaron about that for a minute and tell him in no uncertain terms how not-good that is.




We get to the gate to Harambe and get a pic like we got last year:







Man, this is the best day weather-wise. We're in shorts now and soaking up the sun. The crowds are low…we're having fun as a family just as Walt had intended the parks to be used for…life is good.



We get in the queue for Safaris and, as we walk in, I notice Aaron tap his button again. He gets the ultimatum from me not to do it again. Half-way through the line, we pass another CM by the stroller drop-off, and Aaron does it again. I'm going to get nominated for Worst Parent of the Year, but I stopped all of us and went to the side, where I made Aaron take off the button. Yes, I know I would have done the same thing he's doing at that age, but still….




He got the button back a few minutes later, and we didn't have a problem the rest of the day.




We walk on to the vehicles and are off in no time. We figured with the sun and the morning, the animals would be really active…no so much early on. It reminded me a little of the first trial run from Jurassic Park. So far, it's the most boring safari we've had.



Then we got over into the second part (I think it was the second part…SyracuseWolvrine, a friend and former driver, can correct me on that one). Over a ledge, we see a couple of giraffes running right toward the vehicle!







He went right in front of our truck and then walked around less than 10 feet away.



Like I said…best safari we've been on!



That's one of the things I love about the attraction. It is a little different every time. Still, they keep in Hapa Duniani…the song that is tuned in when they scan for radio stations. I absolutely love that song and genre or music (yeah, it's on my iPod)!



We hop off and make our way through the exit queue when, out of nowhere, we see this:






At least 5 times on this attraction, and I've never seen them, let alone see them that close!

Part 2 HERE

Friday, July 9, 2010

Disney Podcast Updates, May 1-15, 2010

Another round of updates is here! Lots of interviews in this set of show updates, including Davy Jones (the Monkee, not the captain of the Flying Dutchman), Stacy Aswad (Must Do's at WDW), Bob Gurr, Jim Korkis, Kelsey Grammer (yes, THE Kelsey Grammer), and more! Lots of Summer Nightastic info, as well as Toy Story 3 news, can be found in here. Finding Nemo is analyzed by the Disney Indiana crew, and, as always, they do an amazing job with it. Some of the DPN shows also start giving reviews from their recent Westfest event in this set, while the DisneyBrit crew does the same for their Mousemeets 2010 extravaganza. Also, we get the next installment of one of the best countdowns I've heard on a podcast (last entry on here). There's something for every Disney fan in the 55-60 shows listed below…ENJOY!

If you are interested in listening to any of these episodes, I have links to subscribe for most of these shows in my post HERE. Also, if you're willing, you can help these shows out by posting a review over on iTunes. The more they get, the higher up they appear on searches. If you do start listening to a podcast as a result of what you've seen on here, please let the podcasters know!

As always, please note that this again is not a comprehensive list of the Disney Podcasts that are out there. Mike Hamilton has created, which he periodically updates with new podcasts and removes dead casts. He also has the automated RSS (historical) feeds of the podcasts. This is more of a cross-section of what is currently being talked about…perhaps something may sound interesting, and you'll subscribe to listen to that topic. Also, Shawn Rees does a similar set of posts over on and covers some shows that I don't list here…check out his stuff…he does a great job and provides the type of reviews I would like to get back to doing someday.

Any and all comments are welcomed! Also, if you know of another podcast that fits here, let me know.



    • 05/14/10 – Episode 161, This week Jonathan is going to give us all a little more schooling on Disney artwork and this time we're going to talk about Disney statuary. He'll explain what the Disney Collector's Society was and why you just might be interested in some of the pieces that they have released over the years. He'll also tell you how to tell the difference between an official Disney statuary piece and one that isn't an official Disney collection piece. In the news this week: Disney officially announces the addition of a new Value Resort to Walt Disney World, Disneyland tests a new talking Mickey meet and greet character, Disney finally announces a release date for The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios, and much more. We'll also get to some more of your listener feedback including advice on how to train for your first half-marathon and more suggestions on Disney related iPhone and iPad apps. Time: 1:25:23

    • 05/02/10 – Episode 225, Today we are lucky to have Deb Chambers joining us to talk about her recent Adventures by Disney vacation!  She visited Central America, escorted by the great Adventures by Disney hosts.  We discuss what it would be like to travel with Adventures by Disney as well as talk about who we think these vacations are really targeted towards. Time: 32:03
    • 05/06/10 – Episode 226, Welcome to our Disney family where we love talking Disney!  Today the panel discusses the return of "Free Dining" for the fall.  Pam discusses the differences between the different Disney Dining Plans and gives opinions on which might be best for certain situations.  We also then have a nice discussion on what restaurants at Walt Disney World give you the best "Disney experience", not just the best food.  Some of our choices you may or may not agree with!  We want to hear what you think about this topic! Time: 55:25
    • 05/09/10 – Episode 227, Happy Monday! Today the entire panel is with us to discuss our "Disney Obsessions" both at Walt Disney World and back home.  We got this thread straight from the message boards at We hope you will come over to share what things you are obsessed with when it comes to Disney and why! Time: 38:38
    • 05/13/10 – Episode 228, You made it again!  Today the panel gets together to discuss a topic brought up by listener Coleen!  Could you spend a whole day at Downtown Disney?  Also, what are your "Best of the Best" things to do at Downtown Disney?  We discuss things like the Characters in Flight balloon, Cirque, and unique shopping and dining! Time: 41:10

    • 05/06/10 – Episode 14, This week the Betamouse crew takes a look at the last scene of the Carousel of Progress and talks about tech that Disney could add and update. (Mush: LOVE the topic…good show!) Time: 36:49
    • 05/13/10 – Episode 15, This week the Betamouse team discusses the how to's of asking Disney trip planning questions. Where do you go for this source? Message boards? Twitter? Email: with ideas! Time: 43:17

    • 05/09/10 – BMS Show 85, Day 1 footage from Disneyland and DPN Westfest, April 2010. Time: 29:33
    • 05/11/10 – IYEE 60, Join me in this IYEE that covers a great attraction at Disneyland, California during the DPN Westfest events. Hope you enjoy. Time: 32:00

    • 05/08/10 – Episode 91, The World In News - Disney World News, I AM - New segment, Monorail Station - Animal Kingdom Eats (Mush: FLAME TREE!!!!), Disney Dance Floor - Disney Studios - Top Threes, Disney Music Review – Jessica, Email Time - Listener Emails. Time: 1:07:58

    • 05/01/10 – Episode 18, After a month long hiatus DisFanReview SHORTS! is back... No, I know I have said that before, but it really is. We still have all the Disney headlines you need to stay up to date and the finest selection of rocking Disney tunes you are likely to hear anywhere! This week we are talking Captain EO's return to WDW, TONS of Toy Story 3 news and much much more. Including new music from Alanis Morissette, and Scot Bruce & his Pink Cadillacs.

    • 05/10/10 – Episode 44, Are you ready to rumble? Trace is! A few things that happened at The DPN's Westfest, talking Mickeys, fart blankets, secret audio from Trace's bedroom, Rivers of America, Airtran hate email, voice mails and more fun than a clown on fire! (Mush: Oh…My…Gawd!!!! There were simply too many things to comment on in here. Trust me…you'll never be the same after hearing this show all the way through) Time: 1:08:44

    • 05/02/10 – Episode 109, Welcome to another edition of The Disney Pincast. Join hosts Tom Corless and John Rick for Disney Pin Trading news, upcoming pin trading opportunities around the world, John Rick's Ten Lanyard Medal List, Tom Corless' Pin Trading Time Machine, a profile of I.P.L.S. member number #88 (Mush: Marshal Knight), and much more!!! Time: 1:44:01
    • 05/09/10 – Episode 110, Welcome to another edition of The Disney Pincast. Join host John Rick (Mush: No Tom this time…stay tuned for an update to this later on) for Disney Pin Trading news, upcoming pin trading opportunities around the world, a profile of I.P.L.S. member number #89 (Tracey Hargrove), and much more!!! Time: 56:24

    • 05/09/10 – Episode 72, The true secret to having the Disney magic in your heart is knowing that wherever you are, the magic can and usually does follow. (Mush: While the description may be obscure, you will absolutely love how this one turns out…I almost had tears welling up when I figured out what was going on. Paul's a keeper, Tairy!). Time: 22:56

    • 05/02/10 – Episode 47, Things around Disney, Indiana are turning upside down this week. Tracey and Scott are currently packing up Spooner Studios and the rest of their belongings as they are moving to a new house. During all this packing, they seemed to have misplaced a small little clown fish with a lucky fin. Our hosts dive deep into the world of Finding Nemo in the "Perspective on Pixar" segment for May by looking at the 2003 film along with how the tank gang and friends have taken over in the theme parks. Included in the show is some underwater themed music on WWED and some listener feedback. (Mush: wait…Mr. Incredible? Buzz? Luigi? Mike W? I need to go back and check that movie out again!!! Oh, and some fantastic audio…loved the steel drums and the Finding Nemo: the Musical bits. Another great, detailed show, guys!) Time: 1:17:21

    • 05/11/10 – Episode 41, Join us for our first ever Disneybrit Podcast live in front of a studio audience. This special episode of the show comes from Mousemeets 2010 where enjoy 90 minutes of fun and discussion. In this very special episode of the show we bring you: Some irrelevant banter from the three of us and some members of the audience; A new game entitled "Play Your Disney Cards Right"; Some questions from members of our studio audience; A segment just for Craig called "France vs The World"; And finally we bring back a special edition of the Disneybrit Trivia Quiz. Hang around right to the very end to hear a special musical surprise!!! Time: 1:29:00

    • 05/05/10 – WDW EAC Episode 3, "The River of Cherry Dole Whip" Time: 1:13:53
    • 05/06/10 – Episode 213, Brian Sommer returns from a mountain expedition to the Matterhorn and has a secret guest. Time: 1:12:13 (Mush's Note: for some reason, episodes 214-217 did not download into the iTunes feed. I'm guessing at least one of these shows would be included here. I've tried a couple times, but I can't get them into the feed. Sorry!)

    • 05/02/10 – Episode 265, This week was filled with big Disney news including Captain EO's return to Epcot and beyond, a new game for Toy Story Mania, and much more. Beyond the news, we review DisneyNature's film Oceans and then take you to Epcot to float through The Seas with Nemo and Friends and take a Journey Into Your Imagination. Plus your listener questions are asked and answered. Time: 1:34:55
    • 05/02/10 – Video Extra, Formerly The Living Seas, The Seas with Nemo and Friends offers guests a chance to explore one of the world's largest aquariums filled with sea life. (Mush: GREAT video…thanks!) Time:2:54
    • 05/09/10 – Video Extra, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Lotso) from Toy Story 3 made his theme park debut in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on May 9, 2010. He also dances in the Block Party Bash parade, seen here. This was his first performance. Time: 2:11
    • 05/09/10 – Video Extra, The Toy Story 3 character Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Lotso for short) started meeting and greeting with theme park guests in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World on May 9, 2010. The large pink bear is quite soft and huggable, naturally. The queue to see Lotso is themed as a room in the film's Sunnyside Daycare. Time: 2:04
    • 05/09/10 – Episode 266, Beyond this week's exciting Disney and theme park news, BOOM Studios writer Ian Brill and artist Jake Myler join us to discuss the upcoming Darkwing Duck comic book series. Plus we dive into some more listener questions and comments. Time: 1:13:28

    • 05/11/10 – Episode 133, Dining at the Resorts and Free Dining. Find out what dining options are available to you at the WDW Resorts. Which places are good for the dining plan and which ones to avoid. A special break down of the free dining plan is discussed. Latest Disney News and promotions also covered on this episode. Time: 1:23:11

    • 05/03/10 – Flower and Garden Adventure, Part 1, Some topiaries in a different light. Enjoy! (Mush: Donald, Watch out…snort!) Time: 4:06

    • 05/02/10 – On this week's show Nathan Rose and Jim Hill discuss the extreme makeovers that theme parks around the country are having -- including Disneyland's World of Color, Universal's Harry Potter, and much more. Time: 46:22

    • 05/09/10 – Episode "99.5", **PG-13** **Headphones HIGHLY suggested** Join myself and fellow DPN'ers as we take in some attractions at Disneyland one morning just after Westfest 2010 (Toast, Ryan, The Party Girls, Spenceman). Highlights include: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage; Small World; Colorful commentary by my dirty minded friends (Mush: those type of friends are always the best). I had a great time re-connecting with old friends and making new ones during Westfest 2010. I had a ton of fun out at The Disneyland Resort after having not been there in 2 years. Have fun and Enjoy! Meander On! Time: 1:07:31

    • 05/14/10 – Episode 163, After a quick (for us) rundown of Greg and Shaft's recent trip to Las Vegas for NAB, your hosts endeavor to answer this listener question: what do you think Disneyland will look like in 10 years. While we never quite get there, we do have some fun in trying. 1 hour 46 minutes. Time: 1:46:41

    • 05/03/10 – Episode 75, This week is all about California and the things that Jonathan does not have. Talk about "Pig-Headed". AND Jonathan's solution to the missing Adventurers Club. (Mush: Game on! Loved the "Rough draft/ version to be turned in" line in the skit!!!) Time: 1:06:39

    • 05/01/10 – Episode 249, This week we discuss the news for Toy Story Mania and the new character appearing at the Animation Attraction at the Studios, as well as the spread of the Return of Captain EO to the rest of the world's Disney Parks. Finally, we give some ideas for what a WDW veteran should see, do and keep in mind when heading to Disneyland for the first time! Time: 1:03:38
    • 05/08/10 – Episode 250, It's another entry in our Ride-Along series, this week, featuring a ride-through on the Magic Kingdom's "it's a small world." Just don't blame us when you get that song stuck in your head. (Mush: AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh……) Time: 13:46
    • 05/15/10 – Episode 251, It's a pretty long show this week, since we've got lots to discuss.  First, a little feedback regarding nostalgia and corrections, then on to the latest news!  Disney's opening a new Value resort, and we're wondering about its place in the resort variety.  Over at Disneyland, Mickey speaks for the first time.  And Disney charts an end to the deep discounts we've all come to enjoy.  Plus, your Facebook feedback and a quick review of the version of "Beauty and the Beast: A Broadway Musical" Eric and Cathy saw over the weekend. Time: 1:19:24

    • 05/09/10 – Episode 404, Once again, as with all multiple-101 MouseStation shows, things go off the rails. Time: 27:24
    • 05/12/10 – Episode 405, Chad Emerson talks with Mark about his new book about what it took to buy the land and create the government entities for Walt Disney World. Time: 51:06

    • 05/07/10 – Episode 59, Gordon organizes a "Running to Disney Mancation Caravan" from Alabama to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. Here is audio he took from before the race, and during the race. He also has a VM from a dear friend about his recent news that the doctor has cleared him to stop taking his BP meds. (Mush: Some of the banter among these guys is absolutely hilarious…and I would have loved to have seen Gordon's expression when he opened his "gift" near the beginning). Time: 58:19
    • 05/13/10 – Episode 60, Gordon takes a break from editing his mancation audio to go for a bike ride and discuss his movement away from Blood Pressure meds, his training, upcoming races, and has special words for a fellow runner. (Mush: we also get permission to beat Gordon with a stick if we ever catch him running without a shirt on. On a more serious note, I remember seeing your Tweets about going off the BP meds – that is simply amazing and fantastic news). Time: 1:11:48

    • 05/04/10 – Episode 102, Toy Story Midway Mania has some changes coming, and we're cranky! Can't we just have a working Yeti instead? The Watchamacallit joins us, and all three of us have something to say. (Mush: the yeti in TSMM…interrrrrressstttttiiinnggggggg). Time: 29:51
    • 05/11/10 – Episode 103,On this week's show, the Whatchamacallit joins us as we chat with Super Agent and Mayor of Kraftland, Richard Kraft, filmmaker/musician Adam Shell, and Stacey J. Aswad, Hostess Extraordinaire/Actress/Muse. Time: 45:57

    • 05/01/10 – Episode 128, Good morning! Yes, morning...  I just edited a podcast in the morning drinking coffee instead of beer...  Weird! Since it's the First of May, and I'm not at Disneyland for DPN Westfest '10 I just had to upload something! This week we head back into the archives to 2006 and the first time that Jonathan Coulton's "First of May" made an appearance on TOV....  I take you along with myself, Jeff from Houston, and Patrick as we explore the Land Pavilion at Epcot. After that I hit IOA and mess with some Dino DNA! (Mush: Episode 36 is the destination of the wayback machine…I remember this episode when it came out. I loved the Willy Wonka comment about Living With the Land…I still have episode 63 stored in iTunes with that ride-thru audio from Mousefest…one of the funniest pieces of audio I've ever heard! Warning: make sure kids aren't around for the song at the end of the show!). Time: 45:32

    • 05/03/10 – Episode 41, Davy Jones of The Monkees joins us this week to discuss his upcoming concerts at EPCOT this weekend. Lou Mongello also sits in to discuss his May Meet of the Month. Show is out early because Shawn is at a baseball game on release day and we figured with both guests plugging things that are coming up rather soon, an extra day wouldn't hurt. (Mush: Thanks for the shout-out, guys…it's appreciated!!! I'm working on getting caught up and hope to get a better product out here soon.) Time: 46:32
    • 05/11/10 – Episode 42, Kelsey Grammer joins us this week to talk about his career with Disney. We'll also discuss some "Cheers" and "Frasier" as well. How could we not? (Mush: Great Job lining up these interviews!) Time: 52:06

    • 05/05/10 – Episode 141, On this week's show, we have the third edition of our newest segment we will be featuring only throughout 2010, it's called The Top "10". It's an interactive and fun segment where the WDWNT Podcast Team and our listeners come together to create ten top ten lists for Walt Disney World in ten important categories. We continue this week with the top ten stores and shops at the Walt Disney World Resort. (Mush: this was a relatively tame Top Ten, after attractions and CS restaurants…I LOVE this segment!) Time: 1:53:48
    • 05/10/10 – Episode 142, To kick off this week's show, we have your Walt Disney World Resort News and Rumor Report. In this week's report, we'll be discussing the return of Captain EO to Epcot, some big Toy Story 3 inspired changes happening at Disney's Hollywood Studios this month, and yet another update on the Fantasyland Expansion at the Magic Kingdom. Following that, we'll present another edition of one of our signature segments, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". This time around, we'll be dissecting the Epcot E-ticket attraction known as Test Track. Finally, to wrap up this week's show, Brandon Struve takes us on another audio adventure. This time around, we'll take a trip to Liberty Square to hear some new audio and experience The Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty's Leaders. Time: 2:03:12

    • 05/02/10 – Episode 168, We'll take a look at some Walt Disney World news and a few rumors this week, including some old favorites getting ready to return to the parks, and Imagineers continue to test new ways to pass the time in the queue, this time at a classic attraction in the Magic Kingdom. I'll ask you to comment in the show notes and weigh in on some possible changes that may be coming. I often kid about how attractions and shows in Walt Disney World are just things to occupy our time in between meals, but the parks and resorts do offer a wide variety of wonderful dining options - and not all of them require you to make dining reservations in advance. In fact, some of Walt Disney World's best food can be found at the numerous counter service locations. So this week, we'll count down our Top Ten list of Walt Disney World Counter Service Restaurants. If you weren't hungry when you started listening, you just might be by the time you're through. And hopefully we'll introduce you to some options that you might not have considered before. Time: 1:22:43
    • 05/09/10 – Episode 169, With the recent closing of Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios for an unspecified update, it's a great time to take a look back at the relationship between Disney and the Muppets, including the story of how the Muppets came to Walt Disney World in a variety of ways. We'll tour the park and explore some of the secrets, stories and history of MuppetVision 3D, Muppet-based shows that are no longer here, the Disney-Henson marriage, as well as "The Muppets That Never Were," as Jim Korkis and I wander the Studios and discuss some of the proposed concepts that never made it both in and out of the parks. It's a fascinating live tour of the Muppets in the present, as well as a look back in time, and possibly even into the future of the Muppets in Walt Disney World. (Mush: being a Muppets fan, I really enjoyed this segment!) Time: 1:28:17
    • 05/13/10 – Video Extra, There's more to explore in Walt Disney World, as guests of all ages can enjoy catch-and-release fishing led by expert guides in the waters in front of the Magic Kingdom. Join Lou Mongello from WDW Radio as he spends a day on the water for some magic outside the theme parks. Time: 3:55
    • 05/14/10 – Video Extra, Fantasyland Construction Progress in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Time: 4:12

    • 05/03/10 – Episode 715, Today, we help a listener decide if a visit in November or December would be better for the holiday experience. Time: 19:18
    • 05/05/10 – Episode 716, Listener Questions. (Mush: Crazy Larry???? LMAO! Questions include AP renewal dates, Magical Express, Photopass CDs, fitting in a Segway Tour on departure day, Disney Apps, and more). Time: 32:35
    • 05/07/10 – Episode 717, Today, The panel revisits this topic from previously aired episode 99. (No AJ? :P) Time: 21:29
    • 05/10/10 – Episode 718, Today, we help listener and KDND-FM morning co-host Gavin Ferguson help plan his Honeymoon in July. ("If it's not in the book, I'm not doing it" AWESOME quote!!!) Time: 24:10
    • 05/12/10 – Episode 719, Listener Questions (more Magical Express, running a marathon with WDW Today, Romantic Dinners without Victoria or Albert hanging around, not so great CM experiences, Grad Night, and more!). Time: 29:34
    • 05/14/10 – Episode 720, Today, the panel answers those burning questions about a touring plan that you may have always wanted to know about (Mush: Mike and Mary…so sorry to hear about your loss. I apologize for not saying this until now, too). Time: 21:50

    • 05/13/10 – Episode 42, WEDway Radio is very excited to bring you this interview with Disney Legend and original Imagineer Bob Gurr.  Bob is said to have crafted nearly every attraction at Disneyland that has wheels and a motor.  He started working in the machine shop at Disney helping to create the Autopia in 1954 and from there worked on nearly every advanced attraction or vehicle at Disneyland and also at Walt Disney World including the Monorail and Submarines just to name a few.  In the news this week we discuss Monsters Inc 2, cheap Sea World tickets, Free Dining, A new Toy Story Midway Mania game and more.  (Any show with Bob Gurr is a good show…well-done on the interview, guys!) Time: 1:13:38

    • 05/15/10 – Episode 237, This week, Paul is at Westfest...but first... 7 minutes & 58 seconds of brutal honesty. (Mush: I know you caught some heck for what was said, but I wish you the best of luck in the fundraising. You do a unique show very well, and I always look forward to the downloads!) Time: 1:35:05

    • 05/15/10 – Episode 53, ZADDP's countdown of the Top 100 Disney Songs continues with the third set of 25! Starting at #50, we move into the top half and make it all the way down to #26. More than one Disney property makes its countdown debut here. (Mush: If you haven't been following this countdown, do yourself a favor and start listening. I was screaming at the iPod on a number of occasions, but I still absolutely LOVE this show…and, no, I'm not just saying that because of his shout-out at the end of the show for the blog (Thanks!)). Time: 1:45:55

Thursday, July 1, 2010

WDW Family Trip, December 2008, Day 5, Part 4: Finally…Vacation


After the Carrousel, we head over to ride Peter Pan. The family behind us was fun…I can't remember exactly what it was, but we had a running joke that had us cracking each other up the entire wait. Maybe when Sheri reads this, she'll remember. We hop off the pirate ship, and I suggest we head over to Ariel's Brothel to see if Mel's over there.


I'm not one to toot my own horn (quit snickering!), but MAN, I'm good! There they are dancing the night away. Well, Amelia is, anyways. Aaron's not in a dancing mood (too cool complex, I think), but Eric is.





Ernie got in the action too:


Sheri took Aaron to the bathroom and to grab some cookies & hot chocolate. I talk with EB and Mel for a bit about their trip so far (including the laptop fiasco..ugh!). Sheri comes back, and Mel and I pose for a pic. Sheri gets ready to take it, and, unbeknownst to us, EB is holding Ernie up in the background for the pic. Here's what follows:



Sheri's laughing at EB and Ernie, but she doesn't realize the camera is on video instead of picture. If you pause the video right at the beginning, you'll see Ernie crashing the picture. Now, this is not the first time this has happened….I take you to yesterday:


Anyways, after all that, we finally get the camera figured out:



We all talk for a bit more and agree on a place to watch the parade (Mel and I were both on the same page…stay as far away from Main Street as possible and watch it over by Liberty Square/Frontierland). Mel's crew wanted to wait for the Fugly Stepsisters to show up at the dance so the kids could see it. We decide to head over to grab a spot for all of us. As we walk out of Fantasyland and over to Liberty Square, we notice that it's really not that crowded at all. Either the entire park is jammed on Main Street or we picked the most awesomest night to go to the party! We go a little past Liberty Tree (where Mel said was a good place and where we often watch too) and find an open spot…not 10 minutes before the parade is to start.


A few minutes later, we see Mel & EB strolling around looking for us. They see us and grab some ground. A few minutes later, the best parade we've seen at WDW starts:















It was around this time that a couple of elves or something come running up to us and pointing at Amelia. They're squealing that they've found Tinkerbelle, which elicited a huge grin and giggle from her.









Yeah…the reports about this parade are true…almost worth the price of admission alone! The gingerbread house shot out a gingerbread smell. Eric's arm nearly fell off from waving so much!


Mel and EB are going to call it a night so as not to overdo it with the kids. Ours are still going strong and not showing signs of wear and tear yet, so we are going to stick around for a bit longer. We say our goodbyes and go our separate ways. We know that the parade is still going on and that several thousand folks are trapped on Main Street. Following the "go where they ain't" philosophy, we head over to BTMRR and walk on. They aren't even queuing us…just go where you want. We make a beeline for the very back, where, surprisingly, nobody is, and we're on the next train. This attraction is probably the one that changes most from a daytime ride to a nighttime ride. Sheri and I both love this one at night, and so do the boys! We contemplate Splash again, especially as we see empty logs coming down the drop, but we decide against it as this would likely be the time we get soaked. We work our way back past HM and through Fantasyland over towards Tomorrowland so Sheri and Aaron can ride Space Mountain. Eric and I head back to the teacups for one last spin. I know it's going to be close, because Christmas Wishes is close to starting, and we all know how much Eric loves fireworks. We get the "In just Ten Minutes…." as we walk up to the teacups. We just miss getting in the next run, so we have to wait…we get in our cup about a minute after the "In just FIVE Minutes…"


Maybe if I spin him enough, he'll be so disoriented that he'll actually like the fireworks, especially since we're about as close as we can be to them. We get off the ride (Eric is all giggles and walking like a drunk), and we head to the stroller to grab the earplugs that we found. The only problem is that these aren't the earplugs I've used before…they're the ones people use for swimming. How in the Hell do you put these in? Let's see, the directions that that you first need to take the thing out of theBOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM


Oh well…I had good intentions.


Eric just covers his ears…so long as he can't see them, he doesn't seem to think that they are going to get him. We make our way over towards the Lunching Pad to meet up with Sheri and Aaron, who mention that the line was so short that they rode Space Mountain TWICE (the brats)! On the way, the peripheral fireworks start going off, which, under any other circumstance, would be wicked cool.


It's easy maneuvering around everyone because they're all stopped and looking up. I catch a couple glimpses of the fireworks before we head for cover in Buzz. We walk on (there are probably 2 or 3 empty buggies in between each group). We shoot the aliens and, when we get to the end, I ask Sheri if she's okay going again. She says "Sure!" and I ask the CM if we can just stay on. Fully expecting a "no", he happily chimes "ONE time around!"




We stay on (and notice nobody getting on the attraction at all) for another round. Unfortunately, I notice that my score is getting progressively worse with each time. I need to ride this with Debbie to find those 100,000 point targets!


We hop out and decide what to do next…it's really nice and quiet…hmmm…TTA! We hop on for one final round and notice that Stitch is out in full Christmas garb over by the Carousel of Progress. We just sit back and enjoy the ride. As we head off, we see the line for Stitch starting to grow, and people heading for the Night Before Christmas show that was starting soon. We decide to start making our way back. We short-cut through the Noodle Station and grab another cookie and drink for the road. We make our way down Main Street for the first time during the party and enjoy the snow and the overall environment.



Finally, I'm in vacation mode. The crowds are really small. We could stick around and enjoy it for a while more, but we don't want to push our luck. We grab a final pic of the MK…our first pic of the Mickey floral:





See ya.


It's unanimous that we're glad we did the Party. We didn't get to do everything (the castle show, Twas the Night Before Christmas, etc), but I think that's part of the reason people give the party a bad rap. It may have been a fluke, but the crowds were definitely manageable. We experienced the atmosphere, saw an amazing parade (and we're not huge parade people), got to spend some time with friends, and just enjoyed being a family.


We take a fairly quiet bus ride back to the resort, and we're in bed and dreaming of sugar plums before we know it.

Head on over to HERE for Day 6.