Thursday, September 13, 2007

Walt Disney World Day 05.....Ghosts, Pins, and Blisters, Oh My!

After successfully escaping the clutches of 999 Grim Grinning Ghosts, my wife and I started on our quest to locate and purchase the limited edition trading pins that dropped today. There is a box set of 4 pins representing the new portraits and two regular limited edition pins. One of Mickey and another with Madame Leota. I just happened to see someone showing off his box set to his friends while we were walking out of the Haunted Mansion.

I asked him where he got it and he told me that they were selling them in the Yankee Trader which was a few feet away. We rounded the corner and saw that the line coming out of the store was huge. My wife and I got into line and started looking around at people. It just so happened a cast member was coming by making sure everyone in line was there to purchase the pins. I asked him if this was the only location and he told me that the Pin store on Main Street, USA and the Trading Post in Frontierland was also selling them.

It was decided that I would go to Frontierland while my wife held my place in line at the Yankee Trader. I ran over to Frontierland and found that there were only about 5 people in line. I called my wife and told her the situation and she said she's going to stay put until I call and say I got the pins. I just so happened that she ended up calling me back as I was talking to the people at the counter. She decided that we should pick up a second set since these were going to sell out by lunch and we couldn't change our mind later to get more.

It just so happens that if you spend $30 or more you get a limited edition Magic Kingdom themed Pin Trading pin. I picked up a couple of those too.

DSC_5740 At this point, my wife decided that she'll join me at the store I was at. We regrouped and decided to take in the Hall of Presidents. Unfortunately, it was quite a while till the next showing, so we DSC_5750decided to go to Mickey's PhilharMagic instead. But, on the way there we took a few pictures of me and my wife in the stocks in the center of Liberty Square.

I must say that I personally think Mickey's PhilharMagic is the BEST 3D movie in the Disney Theme Parks. I have trouble seeing the 3D effects. It has something to do with my eyes. But, with PhilharMagic, I can see most of the 3-D effects. Plus, I love how Donald Duck is introduced into many of the Disney animated movies of the New Golden Age. Sadly, I was very tired from staying up writing these blog post into the wee hours of the morning and I think I nodded off for a second in the nice, cool dark room.

DSC_5752 After leaving the comforts of the well air conditioned space of PhilharMagic, my wife asked if I'd like to take some pictures of Ariel's Grotto. We walked over there and I was able to get a couple pictures of the Ariel statue, but I didn't want to take a picture of anything else because I was afraid some leery parents would think I was shooting pictures of their kids.DSC_5759

At this point it was decided it was time to burn up a snack credit. My wife didn't want to do ice cream again because she ended up having an upset stomach last night after several helpings of ice cream through the day. Unfortunately, a combination of hunger and not knowing where we could get snacks we'd like, we ended up getting ice cream anyway at Mrs. Potts Ice Cream stand next to Winnie the Pooh.

DSC_5766 After getting our ice cream fix, we decided to mark Snow White's Scary Adventure off our mental list of rides. This is a cute, classic Disney dark ride, but it is almost guaranteed to spook little kids. But, it's very quick and the ride is over almost as quickly as it begins.

After escaping the Wicked Witch we saw that it was close to the time for the next showing of the Hall of Presidents. We sped on back to Liberty Square and dove into the hall. They were almost done loading DSC_5802the theater so I wasn't able to get any pictures of the pre-show area. Maybe I can get some pictures when we come back for Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party on Friday.

This is another room that is well air conditioned and they provide us with comfortable seats. So, just as with Mickey's PhilharMagic, I nodded off briefly. As a show, this is heavy in United States Patriotic Propaganda. To use a term from the Disney web community, it's a very "Pollyanna" show. I often wonder what runs through the minds of our foreign visitors when they watch this show.

DSC_5808 After being forced to leave another great air conditioned space, we decided if we hopped on the Liberty Belle we would be able to check off all the items in Liberty Square that we wanted to get accomplished. Man, it was hot on that paddle steamboat. We were on the top deck in the back and there was no one there so I could go back and forth to take pictures. This meant that I was DSC_5824standing in direct sun and the sweat was quite pronounced. It was at times like this that I wondered why I was subjecting myself to this kind of weather when I could've come in February and experienced even smaller crowds.

From the vantage point of the Liberty Belle I was able to get good views of the lines that were still jutting out of The Haunted Mansion.

DSC_5871 After disembarking we decided to head to Disney's MGM-Studios (soon to be namedDSC_5874 Disney's Hollywood Studios). On the way out of the Magic Kingdom we got a Photopass photographer to take some pictures of my wife and I in front of the castle. I also took some pictures of the castle myself and of the Partner Statue.

Also, on the way out of the park, my wife decided that she'd like to look in the watch store on Main Street, USA. Why my wife needs another watch I don't know but we look at every location that has Disney watches. Fortunately for my wallet, she hasn't found one that she likes yet.

After seeing that there wasn't a bus to go from the Magic Kingdom to the Studios, I asked a cast member. We were told to take the Express Monorail to the TTC (Ticketing and Transportation Center) and then hop on a bus from there. Well, we accidentally got on the regular monorail. We didn't see the other ramp to get on the Express. It wasn't until we pulled out of the station that we saw that the ramp for the Express is on the other side of the security checkpoint. So we would've had to go through the bag check again if we wanted to get on the Express Monorail.

Well, to continue our huge streak of being on broken down rides, the monorail came to a complete stop somewhere after pulling out of the Contemporary Resort. This made it really hard to stay away. We were in a comfy seat in an air conditioned space and we weren't moving. After about 15-20 minutes the Monorail started again and we got to the TTC. We walked to the bus area and waited for our bus to the Studios.

DSC_5901 The bus eventually showed up and we were on our way to the Studios. Once we got to the park we decided get a times guide and map. We saw that the Beauty and the Beast stage show was going to start soon, so we booked it to the amphitheater but it had already started when we got there.

Since we were standing right next to the Tower of Terror, we decided to get that one accomplished. We literally just walked right into the pre-show area and then walked right onto our "elevator of doom".

This is one of my favorite rides. You never know how many times you are going to drop, when or how far. I like to not hold onto anything while doing this ride because your butt will come of the seat and you feel like you are free falling. This go around, I had an added handicap factor since I was trying to hold onto my hat, my sunglasses and my bag of camera equipment. Plus, I was on the end of the row near the aisle which meant that there wasn't anything to keep my stuff from spilling out of the row.

We ended up surviving the multiple free falls and decided that after a good scream we needed a good meal. So we consulted our handy dandy guide map and decided that the place we wanted to eat was right near by. We ended up deciding it was time to get some chicken strips. Up to this point we've been avoiding them because they have been known to be addictive. At this time, we also discovered that you can get the large drink with your quick service meal plan ticket. DSC_5926

After getting a full belly we decided a good laugh was in order. And when I think of a good laugh in the Studios I think of MuppetVision 3D.

I was excited because I kept hearing how different the queue was from Disneyland. But, it seemed exactly the same to me. Maybe there was more queue that I didn't see because they didn't have a crowd large enough to route us through it. For example, I didn't see where the key was under the mat.

Despite my disappointment, I still love this ride. There are tons of sight gags around you. Plus, who could turn down another nice cool room when it is blazing hot outside.

After surviving the finale of the Swedish Chef with a cannon attacking a living 3D effect, we needed to get back to the Beauty and the Beast show. The theater was packed and it was hot, hot, hot, hot (did I say it was hot).

DSC_5992 DSC_6069 I was challenged because there were heads blocking almost everywhere I wanted to take a picture. I did my best and at this point I haven't had a chance to see how my pictures turned out. My wife loves this stage show and she was singing throughout despite the fact that sweat was running down her face.

We were disappointed though because the a cappella group didn't perform. Last year, that was as good as the main event.

After the show was over, it was decided that we were done. It was nap time for my wife and I needed to get my shoes off. I think my blisters are now developing blisters. The moleskin did it's job most of the day but in the past couple hours my feet have started hurting again.

Plus, I must have slightly altered my gait because my calves and the sides of my calves were really starting to burn like they were getting a workout.

We hopped on a bus and headed back to Saratoga Springs Resort. It's times like this that I'm glad that I'm staying in the Grandstand section of SSR. We didn't have far to walk from the bus stop. I must look real funny walking at this point. But we decided to take a slight detour at the Artiste Point and check on some Saratoga Springs related merchandise. My wife has started collecting Disney beach towels so we picked up one for the DVC. We also bought a 15 Year pin for DVC members and a Saratoga Springs Resort collectors pin.

While my wife napped, I put out my Haunted Mansion mini-post. Then we all showered and headed to the Yacht & Beach club for dinner at the Yachtman's Steakhouse.

Just as has been the trend on this trip. We didn't get out of the room until 7PM for a 7:30 reservation. It was decided that we would take a bus to Epcot and then a bus from Epcot to the Yacht and Beach Club resort. Well, after waiting a good while and no Epcot bus, we decided we'd take the first bus that came. Well, that bus was one back to MGM-Studios.

Once we got to the Studios I ran ahead to find out which bus stop we needed to be at. It turns out that the only way to get from the Studios to the Yacht & Beach Club Resort was to take the water taxi. We got to the water taxi as they were getting ready to push off.

We happened to be standing next to the coolest Disney cast member. He happened to be what the hourly jockies call "a suit". We had a nice chat about life, the universe, and everything that has to do with Disney technology. Some of the latest rumors were discussed but I'm a gentleman and don't kiss and tell....haha

We got off the water taxi at the Yacht club stop and made our way to Yachtman's Steakhouse. We were 30 minutes late for our reservation, but apparently they were severely understaffed and way behind on their seatings.

What is my opinion of Yachtmans?

DSC_6098First, it should be noted that this restauarant is a signature dining location which means it cost me 2 table service credits per person. As far as the food is concerned it was awesome as usual and the service was great considering all the staff was spread out really, really thin.

But you should also note that this restaurant is named a steakhouse, so I always order red meat. I cannot speak on anything that falls into some other kind of food group.

Somehow my wife's and my steak orders got mixed up. She ordered a filet cooked medium and I got the 24 oz Porterhouse cooked medium rare. We got the right cuts of meat, but the wrong temps, so we had to send them back. I could stomach a 6oz filet overcooked but not 24oz. The manager brought our food back out and informed me that the chef himself cooked my steak. It was juicy and delicious.DSC_6101

Because of the staffing nightmare it was a really long meal. We didn't get out of there until around 10:30PM. So, I was unable to participate in a radio program installment that Michael from Explore the Magic was trying to get off the ground since I was in town. He probably thinks I blew him off, but I was stuck in the restaurant the whole time.

Well, we went quickly to the boat dock and I took a quick set of pictures of the panorama of the Boardwalk on the other side of the lake. Then we headed to the Yacht Club bus stop to catch a bus to Downtown Disney. That is the only way to get home after Epcot is closed.

DSC_6123 Apparently, the bus only dropped off at Pleasure Island, so we got off there and waited for our bus back to Saratoga Springs. It was a bit chaotic at the bus stop. There were tons of people everywhere and busses were flooding in dropping people off which prevented the busses arriving to pick people up to get into their proper berths. We started walking to where we saw the Saratoga Springs resort bus, but he made us turn around and head back to our "proper place" before he'd pick us up.

That is where I am now. We got home, my wife climbed into bed after watching Leno and I'm writing another blog post as I'm dumping pictures off my SD flash cards.....I just cannot let you guys down, my readers. What would you do with your morning coffee and Danish if you didn't have my little daily novels to read...haha

Tomorrow seems to be a sleep-in-day and we are going to go back to The Studios to see Lights, Motor, Action and wander around taking pictures. There are a lot of little nuances to be seen. And later tomorrow night is Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party. So, it's going to be a late night and hopefully a lot of fun stuff to report.

Remember folks, to keep it Grumptastic! A day lacking the grump is not a day worth remembering. Grumpy signing out! zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Jennifer said...

Thanks for continuing to post your trip reports!

The more I read about your misadventures with Disney transportation, the more convinced I am that I'll rent a car next time I stay on site.

Unknown said...

I am totally diggin' the grumptastic trip reports!