Well, we didn't get to the Magic Kingdom at rope drop, but we got there by 9:45AM. After getting through the annoying bag check we made our way to Guest Relations.
You see, Walt Disney World has gotten rid of the Birthday Buttons that were unique for each location. They have gone the way of Disneyland where they write your name on the button. Well, it is so freakin' humid here and I kept rubbing the name off the button. My wife had replaced my name a few times and we just got tired of it. So,we went to Guest Relations to see if they could reapply my name and then put some clear tape over it.
Not only were they willing to rewrite my name on the button, but they gave me a brand new button because they noticed the pin on the back was all bent to heck.
Now that I'm freshly armed with my birthday button, we were off to tackle the parks.
We immediately headed toward Tomorrowland and Space Mountain. The board had a 10 minute wait posted. I guess they consider it a 10 minute walk to your ride vehicle because we didn't stop at all during the entire queue. Enchanted isn't as thrilled with this version of the ride as she is with Disneyland's. I think she made the comment after the ride that there was no soundtrack like at Disneyland. In fact, it was so quiet that you almost felt obligated to make some noise (aka screaming) just so you aren't sitting there in silence.
After Space Mountain, it was time to battle the forces of the evil Emperor Zurg on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Once again, we just walked onto the ride vehicle. We both equally hate this ride when we are forced to compare it to the same attraction at Disneyland. The Buzz Lightyear at Disneyland has a "ray gun" that can be detached fro the ride vehicle. This make it a lot easier to aim and rack up big points. But if the ride is rated based on itself alone and not compared to any of it's other versions, it is a pretty fun ride. One could easily be entertained if they rode it a few times. It's always nice to see your score get better with each round. I did try to take some pictures, but I didn't change lenses before hand so everything was blurry like my vision after one too many shots of Beverly at Ice Station Cool in Epcot.
After battling the forces of Emperor Zurg, we headed over to Monstropolis to help Mike Wazowski fill fuel cells to power the city with our human laughter in the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. The person that was picked as "that guy" didn't seem to enthused for being picked to play "that guy". I have to admit a few of the people who were randomly picked from the audience were good at coming up with funny things to say on the spot. Overall, I thought the technology (which is the same as Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot's Living Seas) is cool and makes me wondering how they do it. But, from an entertainment standpoint, it falls flat. I can easily see how the humor is really geared toward the little ones. But as an adult with no kids, it was just kind of lame. But, as with a few of the attractions in Tommorrowland, it's a good respite from the heat.
After getting out of Monstropolis, we decided it was time to go to Adventureland. The heat and humidity were going strong at this point and we were sweating bullets as we power walked from Tomorrowland to Adventureland. The first thing we came upon was the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. This is something both my wife and I wanted to do and was missed last year. So we trekked through the tree house. I was able to pop off a couple shots from good vantage points in the tree.
After we climbed down from the Tree House, it suddenly dawned on us that we were a bit hungry. I wasn't ready to do lunch quite yet, so it was decided that it was Snack Credit Time! You know what that means? Ice Cream!
I remembered that there was a place selling Edy's Ice Cream on Main Street so we basically turned around and went back the way we came after just getting to Adventureland.
My wife, got 2 scoops of Ice Cream (Mint Chocolate Chip & Chocolate Chip Swirl), while I got a Root Beer Float. Both qualified as snack credit expenditures. I quickly regretted getting the float because as soon as I stuck my straw into it, the sucker started foaming over the edges of the cup. A mess was everywhere. For those of you who have been reading this trip report from day 1 know that this is the second ice cream snack explosion I have had. I think I may just need to take after my wife and get scoops of ice cream.
We decided to sit at the tables outside. Well, actually, there were no tables to sit at inside so we had no choice. The funniest thing happened while we were sitting there enjoying our snacks (well I was slurping mine down so that it didn't foam all it's contents onto the table). Three ducks came up to us and started begging. They just kept looking at us in the same way our two little Chihuahuas, Belle & Coco. I was totally taken aback when one of the ducks tapped me on the leg and when I looked down I got the "Please Sir, drop some ice cream. I'm hungry" look. It was very humorous because the ducks at both Disneyland and Disneyworld are not afraid of humans. I swear if some animal activist tried to release these ducks into the wild, they'd just sit there waiting for french fries to fall from heaven or they'd just fly to the closest McDonald's. They have no idea how to get food for themselves. I guess that is one of the perks of being the "cute animal" family.
After getting our sweet tooth satisfied and filling in some of the cracks in our stomachs, we headed back to Adventureland.
We originally tried to go on the Jungle Cruise. The sign out front said that it was a 10 minute wait, but the line was huge so we didn't trust the sign and moved on. The next place we went was Pirates of the Carribbean. We faced the same problem as with the Jungle Cruise. The sign said it was a 10 minute wait, but the line of people reached out to the "street" and it was 4 or 5 people wide. I was starting to detect a trend of not being able to trust the signs.
So we decided that maybe we were just too close to the front of the park and headed to the back of Adventureland. As we passed some of the construction near Pirates, I noticed a bunch of what appeared to be "Imagineers" looking over blue-prints and chatting. I stood up on a bench and snapped a quick shot just in case a big shot was there. I'm pretty sure George from The Disney Geeks, would recognize someone if they were there. I only got one picture and it wasn't the best because as soon as I took it, all the guys just looked at me from the other side of the wall with a not-so-happy look on their face. I jumped down from the little wall I was standing on and hightailed it out of there in case I was being followed by the Imagineer Enforcement Squad.
We decided that it was too early in the day to get soaked so we just kept on walking by Splash Mountain. It was decided that Big Thunder Mountain was the ride of choice. I tried to take some pictures as were in the queue. The sign had said 10 minutes, but it also turned out to be more. But we found out much later it was because they were only running one train at the time. We were near the end of the queue when we found this out because they opened the second train and sent us down that queue line. Things moved quicker now. This was a fun ride. But, it really does a number on a full bladder since it only has a lap bar and very, very hard seats. Despite all the jerkiness, this ride has great scenery and is fun. This isn't a kiddie ride.
After getting off the runaway mine train on Big Thunder, we decided to try and get the Winnie the Pooh ride out of the way. We cut through Liberty Square to get to Fantasyland. While doing this we noticed that all the tarps and scaffolding was removed from the Haunted Mansion.
Winnie the Pooh was almost exactly the same as the one at Disneyland. But, it's still a nice ride and is a real throwback to the old dark rides that are still the staple of Fantasyland.
After getting out of the Thousand Acre Woods, we decided we needed to get Toontown Fair tackled. We completely missed this somehow last year and didn't even realize it until after we were on the plane home. By now, my little pinky toes were starting to scream a little bit. I think I'm wearing blisters into them.
Toontown Fair IS NOT the place to be if you get claustrophobic in crowds. We tried to go into Mickey and Minnie's houses to take pictures but there were people everywhere. Every time we tried to take a picture, some kid just got in between the camera and the subject and prevented us from taking a picture. I know kids of this age aren't deliberately being rude but it can still be annoying.
My wife can not walk by a store without walking in so we popped into the store in Toontown. I did find that there were a lot of things worthy of having their picture taken. There was also the nice statue of Cornelius Coot that needed to be documented in pixels. Jeff Pepper did a good blog post about this statue on his 2719 Hyperion blog.
After getting done with shopping we decided to take a tour of Mickey's house. The visual eye candy in these attractions are awesome. Outside his house on your way to the Judge's tent there were some great items growing in the vegetable garden. I took some great shots for posterity sake.
After this my wife asked me if I wanted to ride Goofy's Barnstormer. At first, I thought I'd pass since it's a kids coaster. But, since we really didn't have anything else pressing to do we hopped in line. What a treasure trove of picture possibilities inside this ride queue. There are sight gags everywhere. The queue alone makes it worth getting in line. The ride itself is very short but my wife spotted some great gags inside the barn when your ride vehicle zooms through. I don't know how I missed it but I was looking elsewhere at the time and you move through quick.
After Goofy's Barnstormer, we decided we were done with Toontown and took the footpath back to Tomorrowland. We have concluded that we have been sweating enough for now and it was time for some good contiguous minutes of air conditioning. That meant we were going to take a spin in the Carousel of Progress.
My wife and I both enjoy this attraction. Not only did Walt actively participate in it's creation but it has a great message. Plus, the talking about the next century as if it hasn't gotten here yet always gives me a chuckle. We also like to sing along with the theme song each time we move between scenes. This go around, we decided it was time to look for Hidden Mickeys. We even had Steve Barrett's guidebook with us this time to try and help us. We actually spotted every one of them that was in his book for this attraction. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my camera to photograph them all. So, you have to take my word for it that we saw them.
After taking a spin backwards and forwards in time to hear about progress, we decided it was time to take a trip on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I haven't ridden on this attraction since 1985 and my wife had never ridden on it. So, this was another great way to rest one's feet and to get out of the direct sunlight. If you need a rest and can crawl your way back to Tomorrowland, this attraction never seems to have a wait. You could probably just sit in your car for a few laps and not get any grief from a cast member. One lap was good enough for us.
After our feet got some much needed rest and the sweat had a chance to dry a bit, we decided it was time for lunch. We sat down and looked at a guide map and determined that Pecos Bills was the place for us. We headed quickly to Frontierland. On our way to Pecos Bills we passed the Country Bear Jamboree. The sign said 2 minutes till the next show so we decided to hop in and take a viewing.
I really don't remember much about this attraction from my childhood. The only memory I had engrained was that of the talking heads on the wall. This ride is a classic and very cute. Once again, this ride is good if you need a rest. What annoyed me was those people who thought they were being funny by hooting and hollering like they were rednecks during the performance. I can say, at least to me, I don't find it funny. Rather, I find it annoying and I'm sure there are a few people from the South who will find it belittling.
The Country Bears pretty much dumps into Pecos Bills. We got in line to order when a kid jumped in front of us. Then her dad jumped in front of her and we realized that he was ordering for like 10 people. At this point, I told my wife that we were going to try the automated kiosk.
For those of you who are a bit leery of using these machines, they are very intuitive and easy. I'm sure you can get your order in faster than the human you normally use.
Now when it comes to the quality of the food I have to say that I definitely have had better and I have definitely had worse. The burgers were really lacking taste, but they give you a very nice toppings bar to put things on your food.
After we were satisfied that our hunger pains were responded to, we decided it was once again time to try and tackle Pirates of the Caribbean. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm. Sure enough, there was no line and we just walked onto the ride vehicle. Unfortunately, the older couple behind us decided they didn't like the Disney provided soundtrack and provided their own. It was very annoying and loud and took the enjoyment out of the ride for us. So, after getting disembarking we decided to loop back around and ride again. This time, we were in the back of the boat and no annoying passengers distracted us. This is another ride that Disneyland has seemed to have done better. But, I have to give the Imagineers some credit since this version of Pirates was built as an after thought. They did really good with the limited amount of space they were provided. Also, any Pirates of the Caribbean is better than no Pirates of the Caribbean.
After dodging pillaging pirates...twice, we decided a Jungle Cruise was in order. We were ecstatic to see that this had no wait as well. We just walked right onto our waiting boat. This trip was a bit unusual for me. It was the first time I had a Jungle Cruise Skipper where English was not their first language. I must commend our Skipper because I know from experience that the kind of cheesy humor that this ride is famous for isn't easily understood by those who aren't born speaking English. Out Skipper got a lot of blank stares at their dead-pan delivery of the jokes.
This ride annoys me a lot because it's hard to take pictures of anything while in the ride vehicle. Unless the boat is sparsely populated, you are just crammed in there and it's hard to turn around to get a lens pointed behind you where all the action is.
After surviving the most dangerous part of the journey, docking the boat, we moved on to check out the new management in the Tiki Room. Despite being under new management, I must say that they really didn't do anything to bring more appeal to this classic Disney attraction. We found ourselves rather disappointment on leaving. Despite the original having very dated songs that lacked any pep, they were classics and most loyal Disneyland/Disneyworld fan knew the lyrics and liked to sing along.
At this point, it was decided that the time has come to try and tackle Splash Mountain again. Will the mountain once again beat us?
There was really no wait and we got right onto our log boat. I had my camera safely stowed in it's water-resistant bag and I used my feet to keep it from resting on the floor of the boat. Just as happened the first time we tried to ride it, we pretty much got soaked right after the ride started. But, this time I can say that being soaked while the sun was out made it a bit easier to tolerate. The mountain didn't beat us this time and we got to take the 50' foot plunge into Brer Rabbit's briar patch. Who knows, we may try to tackle this one again. Especially if on subsequent trips to the Magic Kingdom results in us being overly heated again.
This brought us to the end of our journey at the Magic Kingdom today. My wife wanted to do some last minute shopping on the way out, but the skies were looking very ominous so I persuasively convinced her that we needed to get to the bus before the rains started coming down. Also, by this time, my little pinky toes were really screaming at me. The pain was a bit too much to take and I was ready to get my socks and shoes off.
It's a good ting we left when we did because by the time we got about 10 feet away from our bus stop, it started raining. We didn't have to wait long for our bus and then we were off back to Saratoga Springs.
We had a 7:30PM ADR at Fulton's Crab House and at this time we really only have enough time to shower and get ready to go. No naps would be had today. It also meant that I didn't really get to give my feet a break before showering, changing socks and underwear and heading out again.
We were going to take the water taxi because both of us were working blisters, but, once again, they weren't running due to the impressive lightening storm that was going on. So, that meant we were hoofing it again.
We got to Fulton's with no time to spare, but they sat us as soon as we checked in.
My wife and I decided that we were going to share our meal tonight. The prices were high but more importantly, the portions were huge. We got the Lobster Narragansett for our entree. It is a New England original. Whole two-pound Maine lobster, oven roasted, shrimp, scallops stuffed, with red skin potatoes and baby vegetables. IT can be yours for only $49.95. We also shared a shrimp cocktail for our appetizer and a piece of chocolate cake for dessert. We both got sodas to drink (no alcoholic beverages tonight). All told, we got out of there for around $103 (including tip). It turns out they gave us the 10% DVC discount. I was pretty sure we were only supposed to get that for lunch, but I wasn't going to complain. I tipped on the pre-discount price.
Mind you my feet are really hurting and so were my wife's but she is dead set on getting to the Christmas store in Downtown Disney. I feel real bad because normally this is a store my wife and I both love to shop in. But considering that I'm a bit uncomfortable and we are in a financial situation where we are about to close on a new house, I just couldn't get into the idea of dropping another $300 on Christmas ornaments (that's our average expense in this store). Well, it turned out my wife really only found 4 ornaments that she wanted so I got out of there for about $40. I was more than thrilled.
We also spent some money in the Pin Trading Station. I was able to pick up one of the new Haunted Mansion pins that displays one of the rumored changes (the new staircases). My wife picked out some others that interested her. We aren't pin traders. We just buy pins that have some kind of relation to our trips. We make memory boards with our pins.
We took a quick spin through the scrapbook store on our way to the bus stop. With our feet feeling the way they do, we were not walking back. It didn't take long for the bus to show up, but the bus seemed to run into some technical difficulties when trying to get the gate to open when we got back to Saratoga Springs. So, we ended up sitting outside the resort for a bit until the gate decided to cooperate.
As soon as I got into the room, I ripped off my shoes and socks and found that I had two nice blisters. One on each pinky toe. It looks like I'll be wearing some moleskin and nuskin tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow. The rumor is that the Haunted Mansion will be opening tomorrow. This came from the cast member standing out front of the Haunted Mansion today. We are planning on making a valiant attempt to get to the Magic Kingdom for Early Magic Hours and heading straight to the Haunted Mansion. If Haunted isn't really open or once we get it done, we'll most likely head to another park.
Keep it Grumptastic folks! Grumpy signing out!