Sunday, September 9, 2007

Walt Disney World Day 01.....The Mountain that Didn't Splash

Well, 4 AM comes real early when you went to bed at midnight. It took a bit of prying to get both of us out of our bed.

We didn't really have anything to eat since we didn't want to stock a refrigerator with food when we were going to be gone for 10 days. I wolfed down a box of raisins and a Protein Shake while Nancy went without.

Unlike our Disneyland trip, we got out of the Oklahoma airport without issue. In fact, we ended up getting to Houston (our layover) early. Unfortunately, I calculated badly and chose the longer layover in Houston because of the propensity for trips to Houston from Oklahoma City to run late. To top things off, the earlier flight to Orlando was right next to our arrival gate in Houston. So, we could've taken the earlier flight and not had to worry. But, knowing my luck, if I had chosen the earlier flight, everything would've gone badly and we would've missed our connect.

Well, the flight from Houston to Orlando went off without a hitch. Well, unless you count the fact that yours truly was sat next to a nervous flyer.

To top off the success of our trip to Orlando, our bags were the very first 2 bags off the conveyor belt at the Orlando Airport. We met with our Quicksilver driver threw our bags in the back of the Cadillac Escalade that was transporting us to Saratoga Springs Resort (I should note that we booked a town car. They chose to send the Escalade). Before we got to Saratoga Springs we took advantage of the free 30 minute stop that Quicksilver offers and purchased some water and breakfast items.

When checking into Saratoga Springs Resort (Welcome Home!), cast member Ray, from Puerto Rico, noticed that we didn't have a car and they had us reserved in a building that would be quite a hike from the center of all things Saratoga. So, he looked in the computer and we could pretty much pick a building and get a room.

So, after reading the post on Broke Hoedown's blog about Saratoga Springs Resort Tips for the carless, we asked to be put in the Grandstand section of Saratoga Springs. Thank you Kitty-Chan! We are lovin' this locale.

So, after getting settled and calling Disney Geek George to rub it in, I called Michael from Explore The Magic to let him know I was in town.

Enchanted Rose and I needed to get our annual passes so we told Michael that we were going to get them at Downtown Disney and then go to the Boardwalk for our 7:30PM Advanced Dining Reservation at The Flying Fish. We decided that we were going to walk from our room to Downtown Disney. If you are NOT in shape, I do not suggest this endeavor. Especially, in the heat of summer. But, being that we are in shape, it wasn't that bad. It just took some time.

We got to the Guest Relations desk at Downtown Disney and I turned to my wife and asked, "You have your ID, right?". This promptly got me the you-didn't-tell-me-to-bring-my-ID look. So, back to the resort we go. For you see, you need an government issued picture ID for every annual pass holder. Especially if you are getting the DVC discount.

So, we decided to take the Boat back to the resort. The time to get back was the same as walking, but much nicer on the feet.

At this point, Michael called me and wanted to know how we planned on getting to the Boardwalk for our dinner reservations. I told him what happened with the Annual passes and he offered to drive us back. So, we got the necessary ID's and met Michael in the Saratoga Springs parking lot. He dropped us off outside the Guest Relations area while he waited in the parking lot. It took no time to get the annual passes. While we were there, we picked me up a birthday button.

After this, we drove over to the Boardwalk and since I am a DVC member we were able to utilize the DVC member parking lot.

At this point, we were over an hour early for our ADR. We decided to walk around for awhile but got bored. So, Michael suggested we see if we could be sat early. They had no problem with that, but I was promptly reminded of their dress code and asked to remove my baseball cap.

At this point, I'd like to point out that the people at the Flying Fish didn't complain about my attire of a t-shirt and shorts nor my wife's dressy tank top and jean shorts, but we felt really under dressed.

The Flying Fish The food was good, but not really my cup of tea. I'll probably not go back again. The service was OUTSTANDING though. Our waiter, Chris, we phenomenal. He was spot on when it came to suggesting food ideas and keeping the glasses topped off.

Before dinner was over, Michael informed us (he had been walking around taking pictures), that he was exhausted and was going to head back home. But before he left, he suggested that we head over the EPCOT and catch Illuminations.

After a nice dessert, we took Michael's suggestion and walked over to EPCOT via Illuminationsthe International Gateway and inaugurated our Annual Passes.

I must say, this time of year is really slow because we really could've had our pick of where to stand to watch Illuminations. We decided to stand in one of the lower decks after the bridge from United Kingdom to France. The giant globe was slightly obscured by the island, but the view was otherwise spectacular.

We didn't have a great vantage point for this last year since we did the Illuminations Cruise and the park the boats under that bridge.

I did my best to try and snag some shots, but like an idiot, I thought I could get away without my tripod.

Epcot Shirt @ Mouse Gear After Illuminations we popped into the Art of Disney and Mouse Gear to kill some time before hopping the Monorail to The Magic Kingdom (tonight was Extra Magic Hours).

The Monorail ride was seamless. We got to the Magic Kingdom, got our bags checks and got our magic bracelets without any hiccups.

We decided that our first stop was going to the crowd pleaser, the Pirates of the Caribbean. Well, the sign out front said 10 minutes, but we quickly found out that it was longer than that since the ride had been broken down for awhile. After waiting 10-15 minutes we decided to break out of the line and leave. Heck, it's our first night and we can come back anytime.

Since, I picked Pirates, I let Enchanted pick the next one. She picked Splash Mountain. Those who follow the Disney Geeks blog, know this is Andy and George's favorite ride. Splash Mountain

Once again, the sign said 10 minutes wait so we jumped on it. It took no time for us to get on our log flume. I had already stowed my camera because I knew I WAS GOING TO GET WET and my camera isn't waterproof not cheap in price. Sure enough we got soaked coming around the first corner. I swear they have it timed so a log gets soaked every time another log makes the "plunge".

I'm not a big fan of getting wet when not wearing swimming trunks. So, I was leaning toward the center of the seat with every drop after that trying to keep the water rushing in the sides from getting me wet.

Well, as we got to point where you meet the vultures and are going to climb the hill for the big plunge we were met with a log jam. Apparently, the belt that carries you to the top had stopped running.

We were here for about 10 minutes before the shut off the soundtrack and turned on the lights. The female cast member speaking over the loudspeaker kept telling us to stay in our boats, but people just kept getting up and leaving. Each time her voice got louder and more irritated. At one point she was yelling over the speakers.

I leaned over to my wife and told her at least we didn't break down at the top and chuckled.

The ride started back up and you know what happened......

We broke down at the top. My wife counted and we were 9 steps away from the crest of the hill (there were stairs to the left of the hill).

We were there for 15 minutes sitting on a steep incline where it took energy just to keep your head from flying backwards. I must say, I was a bit nervous because if the boat broke loose and slid down the hill, there wasn't anything to stop us until we got to the bottom where the next boat was waiting.

My wife was white-knuckling the hand grips. I was pretty confident once I saw that we weren't just being held there by a conveyor belt.

Eventually all the lights came on and the soundtrack ended and a voice said the ride was being permanently shut down and for everyone in the queue to turn around and leave and for us in the boats to get out. As soon as we got out of our boats. A nice guy who was very tall got out first and helped the rest of us out. We practically had to crawl out of the boats because the incline was so steep and everything was wet and slippery.

Well, as soon as we got out, the same female cast member came over the loudspeaker again shouting at us to get back in our boat and wait for someone to help us out of the boat. Please! Get out or stay in! Make up your mind. They could've just asked us to stay put until someone came to escort us out.

Needless to say, we followed the pack out of a door. We had a mutiny on our hands and none of the guests cared who they ticked off. Well, we ended up backstage. My wife and I knew the area because you get taken here as part of the Keys to the Kingdom tour. Just as I was afraid. As soon as people saw this, the cameras came out and video was getting shot and pictures were being taken. Cast members came out of the woodwork yelling at these people to stop and many of then did but a couple teenage and early-twenty-something guys refused and laughed at the cast members.

Well, we ended up escaping from Splash Mountain but minus the Splash.

At this point, we just wanted to get something accomplished. It was 11:30PM and we wasted 2 hours on two rides which both broke down

It's a Small World So we were going to jump on It's a Small World. At least if it decides to break down you are only subjected to the torture of that song.

Before getting on the ride, my wife called her mom to tell her what happened and I called George and caught him before he went to sleep.

I got my camera back out and we hopped on It's a Small World. Hopefully, I got some good shots.

After It's a Small World, we hopped on Peter Pan's Flight. I didn't get a single picture on this ride. It's just too dark and I'm too inexperienced.

At this point, we were wet, tired and ready to head back to the room. So we slowly walked back out of the park Sword in the Stone and took a few pictures on the way out. We headed to the bus stop and waited for about 10 minutes for our bus back to Saratoga Springs. It took about 20 minutes from the time we got on the bus to the time we walked into our room to get back.

We showered and I started writing this post. It is now 2:13 AM. I figured this would be a good way to kill time while I dump my pictures off my flash cards.

Let's hope we don't have such excitement in the coming days.

Keep it grumptastic folks!

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