Friday, December 7, 2007

MouseFest 2007 (Day 02): Hoopla

Well, morning came very quickly for your friendly neighborhood grump.  I finished downloading the pictures off my SD Flash cards around 3AM.  I we even had a hope of making the Kilimanjaro Safari Meet, we had to get up at 7AM in order to be at the Animal Kingdom by 9:15AM.

Well, I normally can leap out of bed, even after a few hours of sleep, but that wasn't the case.  My wife, who had a couple more hours of sleep than I did went to the showers first.  When she was done, I got up and showered.

We were both grumps as we got ready to head out the door.  We stopped downstairs at the Lobby Court Lounge so that my wife could pick up something to munch on for breakfast.  She was able to score a cinnamon bun and a cup of ice for her very warm Dr. Pepper she purchased at the grocery store.

Enchanted Rose waiting for bus to Animal Kingdom At this point, I'd like to point out that there is some renovations going on at the Dolphin and because of that, their signage to the busses are just temporary pop-up signs.  Well, they aren't the best signs and we went around the lobby a couple times before finding our way to the busses again.

The bus to Animal Kingdom didn't take long to get to us.  But it was quickly apparent that we were not getting on that bus.  As soon as someone approached the bus to embarked they were shooed away and told there was no room.  We are the last stop on the route before heading to the park and apparently, Animal Kingdom is popular today.Signage in Asia at Animal Kingdom

About 30 minutes later, another bus came and it was almost equally as full, but we were able to get onto the bus.  But, in order to do so, we had to be very pushy because people who had arrived after the other bus denied us access were trying to jump in front of all of us.

I need to say that the hand rails are not made for people of diminutive stature.  My shoulders were sore by the time we got to the park.  People who were sitting down were not making it easy for me to grab the handles on the back of the seats.  So, I was forced to use the rails near the ceiling.  This wasn't easy to do.  It just so happened that Gary and Karen (from The Magic in Pixels) were on the same bus as us and were going to the same place.

As soon as we got into the parks, I tried to contact Tim and found that he was waiting near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safari.  Apparently, they had trouble getting started this morning too and got to the Safari too late to be able to attend that meet and still make it to Expedition Everest in time for Nathan Rose's scheduled meet.

Biblioadonis (aka George Taylor) sizing up Lou Mongello and Grumpwurst (aka Ray)We sort of loafed around and took some pictures as we slowly made our way to Expedition Everest with Tim Devine, Nathan Rose, Jackie O, my wife and one of Tim's friends.

It was outside Expedition Everest that I was fin ally able to meet Lou Mongello and Jeff Pepper in real life.  Pictures were taken of the group.  One of those pictures was the mandatory shot to prove that Lou was indeed taller than another member of the adult male human Lou Mongello, Jeff Pepper, Biblioadonis (aka George Taylor), Andy Taylor, Grumpwurst (aka Ray)species. 

Now Lou can sleep well at night knowing there is another community member who is male and shorter than him.  My wife and his wife share the privilege of being married to guys who are shorter than themselves.

I was also able to say a few more word with Andy and George Taylor of  But, they didn't stick  around long after the picture taking session because they had a date with Dinoland U.S.A.

Does this ride go upside down? There was a fairly sizeable group hopping onto Expedition Everest and I think that really made it far more enjoyable.  The amazing thing was that quite a few of us were too late to get fast passes but the Cast Hamming it up on Expedition EverestMembers let on anyone who was wearing a MouseFest yellow lanyard.  I was fortunate enough to be in the same train car as Lou, his wife, Tim and my wife.

Tim, as usual, decided to give the Cast Member a bit of gentle  heckling and asked them if this ride "went upside down".  As you can see from this picture, it indeed does [ed note:  smoke and mirrors my friends, smoke and mirrors.  Otherwise known as shooting a picture over one's shoulder].

Much laughter and screaming was had by all and after safely returning back, we had to go and look at the pictures that were taken on the ride.  As expected all hammed it up for the Disney camera.

Tim Devine in front of Yak & Yeti At this point it was time to go to the Yak & Yeti Restaurant.  This is the newest addition to the restaurant listings at Animal Kingdom and it's a sit-down establishment (about time!).  Nathan had a reservation for his MDP crew and added Carving inside Yak & Yeti Restaurantmy wife and I onto the billing (Thanks Nathan). 

The food was great.  I'm not the biggest fan of Asian cuisine but I partook on the  Pork Potstickers and the Wonton Soup while my wife shared my Potstickers and had the Chicken Fried Rice.  She was still being very cautious with her stomach and not wanting to tempt fate even though she was starting to feel better.

In addition to great food, there were tons of photographic opportunities within the restaurant.  It was a good thing we got there at opening otherwise it would've been hard to get pictures without intruding on people's meals.  The average person isn't used to paparazzi and wouldn't take kindly to guys with large lenses shooting over their meals to capture a shot of some old picture hanging on the wall behind them.

Tim Devine at Pangani Forest Exploration Trail We had to eat fairly quickly because Tim had a Photo Safari Meet at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. 

As was the trend that was starting to develop, we made it there late.  There were quite a few people at them meet sporting some serious investments in glass.  Whenever you see the off-white lenses you know someone mortgaged a house to purchase it.  It's a flashing beacon to lens thieves everywhere telling them to,"Steal Me". 

As was feared, this moved slowly so we had to drop off the planned trip to the Maharaja Jungle Trek so that people could make it to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the second half of the day.  Hidden Jafar in Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

I think I got some good pictures on the Pangani Trail and even got a picture of the "hidden Jafar" that is near the suspension bridge at the highland Gorilla exhibit.

We hightailed it to Disney's Hollywood Studios because the Podfest Meet was at 3PM.  We got there with some time to kill so we did some shopping looking for some Christmas stuff.  As was becoming frustratingly apparent, the things both Tim and my wife were looking for was nowhere to be found.

Tim decided to go to the PodFest thing early because he needed to setup.  So, the rest of us went to ride Rock N Roller Coaster.  We didn't get to ride this in September since it was down for refurbishment.  So, we had to make sure we got it in this time.

Rock N Rollercoaster Rock N Rollercoaster is a Grumpaliciously grumptastic roller coaster.  I think the best part is getting launched up the first hill off of an aircraft carrier catapult [ed note:  Disney Geek George points out to me that it's really magnets that launch the ride vehicle not a device like we use on Aircraft Carriers].  It's a real shame that Tim won't step foot on this ride nor will he do Tower of Terror.  We have decided that we need to start a Rock N Terror Fun Raising Drive to get everyone's favorite photographer onto these two fantastic attractions.

After getting off the rollercoaster we headed toward Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular since that is where the PodFest meet was being held.

What we hadn't counted on was the afternoon Parade.  It cut us off right as we got to the location of the meet.  We had to sit there for about 15 minutes waiting for the parade to pass before we could cross the "street" to get to the meet location.  While we were standing there waiting we got to do a bit of chatting with Patrick Hurd of Window To the Magic.

Apparently, the PodFest planners were a bit taken aback by the parade too.  Maybe next time it should be in the Counter Service establishment near the Backstage Tour.  No one goes back there.

PodFest 2007 I was expecting a larger venue for the Podfest meet.  It was kind of small and packed with all the fans that congregated there to meet their favorite podcasters.  I get a bit claustrophobic in tight crowds where I cannot see above people's heads.  So, my wife and I split away from Tim for awhile  and milled around a bit.  We got a chance to talk to Jeff Pepper, Lou Mongello and his wife Deanna again. 

We also got some more quality time with Andy and George Taylor (Imaginerding).  Halfway through Andy got tired of being around George because he was so boring that he went off to ride some attractions without him [ed note:  You guys do know I'm picking on you].

Enhanted Rose, Biblioadonis (aka George), Jessica George was also able to introduce my wife and I to Jessica from the If we can Dream It blog.  It was nice to put a face to the name.  A lot of the bloggers seem to be camera shy when the lens is pointed in their direction.  So we don't know what they look like.  Hopefully after this MouseFest, some more bloggers identities will be revealed

After a bit of standing around we convinced several people to go get some ice cream from Gertie's.  I only took a small bite of my wife's waffle cone but Tim seemed to be hungry enough for 2 cones.  It was at this mini-meet that the guy who founded Owner's Locker found Tim and started talking to him about his service.  It really sounds like a great deal for those of us who call Walt Disney World our second home.  We are seriously thinking about getting the service but we'd like to see what a container looks like first and get some more info.

When all of our ice cream cravings seemed to be satisfied we parted ways and Tim and his entourage (me, Enchanted Rose, and Will) went off to EPCOT Center.

We decided to go to see if the rumors of a soft opening of Space Ship Earth were true.

We talked to some cast members who were manning the construction entrance but they played dumb on any Space Ship Earth information.  We knew it had happened the night before because one of Tim had another friend who was actually vacationing at Disney at the time (not participating in MouseFest) who had photographic proof.

We went into the Art of Disney to do some window shopping because frankly we love that darn stuff.  We didn't stick around long in here because the store is very painful on the wallet and if you stick around too long it leaps out of your pocket and throws up it's contents into Disney Cash Register.  It took everything ounce of strength I had to keep my wallet from committing hari kari.

We decided it was time to get back to the room to get ready for dinner at Raglan Road. 

So we were heading out of the park when we saw Adam Roth (Celebration 25) coming out of the construction entrance to Space Ship Earth.  I guess those connections he made planning his successful 25th Birthday Celebration for EPCOT have come to pay off.

Tim decided to once again talk to the cast members and found out that it has been running as a soft opening but it had just broken down.  They didn't know if and when it would be back up (of course).

So we headed back to the car and my wife and I were dropped off at the room to shower and get ready.  My lovely wife decided to try and take a 15-20 minute nap.

Even though I was the walking dead, I just couldn't see any benefit of laying down for such a short time.  By the time I hit REM, I have to wake back up.  So I decided to dump what pictures I could off my flash cards so that I wouldn't be up as late when we got back from what was sure to be a long night.  Apparently, the Adventurer's Club is penciled into the agenda for the evening.

Tim and Will picked up the wife and I outside the Dolphin and we headed to Downtown Disney.  We finally got to meet Will's girlfriend, Jacklyn. 

When we got to Pleasure Island, we thought we would have enough time to run to The 25 Days of Christmas, but that just wasn't the case because it isn't a short walk from Pleasure Island (where we were parked) and the far end of Downtown Disney.

So, we just went straight to Raglan Road and met up with Nathan Rose and the rest of the people who RSVP'd for his meet.

The first thing that was apparent was that the menu had changed.  I kept hearing about these fantastic Tim Devine at Raglan Roadhamburgers you could get at Raglan Road and there weren't any on the menu.  We asked our waiter and he informed us that the menu had just been changed and quite a bit was removed.  But, we could still get a burger because it was on their "late night" menu.  So, those of us on our end of the table all got the burger.  My wife, who is still babying a bad stomach, got a side order of mashed potatoes and ate a few bites of my burger.

Dinner went relatively quickly and we got to enjoy a bit of the Celtic music before we felt like we got our fill of Raglan Road.  Afterwards we headed over to The Adventurers Club.

I must preface the rest of this post by saying I have never been to The Adventurer's Club and had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Tim, on the hand, has been quite a bit.  If you are going for the first time, it really helps if you go with someone who has been a time or two.

Butler Graves at Adventurer's Club I found the experience to be quite overwhelming.  The space can get very crowded and the cast of characters mingle amongst the non-cast members and entertain while you wait for the next "show" to open in one of the many rooms (mask room, trophy room, or library).  The lounge also is a pivotal part of the show at times.  People are constantly joining the crowd and other people leave and they just slide into the who process. 

You also need to know that everyone in the audience is fair game to become "that guy" (Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor Reference).  Except at The Adventurer's Club, the penalty for being "that guy" can be quite embarrassing and not necessarily 100% Disney-friendly.  It's not obscene but it's also can be a bit risque with double entendres and the such.  I personally found it hilarious, but I also didn't get targeted.

I must say that my lovely wife wasn't so lucky.  She got picked for the big number at the end of the Hoopla [ed. note:  HOOPLA!!!!!!] and she seemed to have a blast even though her face turned the same shade of crimson of her sweater.

Of course the ever present paparazzo Tim Devine was there to snap a few shots of my wife making her The Enchanted Rose part of the Hoopla at Adventurer's Club Adventurer's Club debut.  I have some shots as well, but mine were less than stellar.  The lighting conditions in this joint are challenging at the least.

We were at The Adventurer's Club from 9PM till closing around midnight and I had a freakin' blast.  So much fun that I cannot just say it was grumptastic.  I had so much fun that I must go with calling it Grumpaliciously grumptastic!

After getting in our last Hoopla (HOOPLA!!!!), we headed back to the hotel where our Heavenly Bed was awaiting us.  I finished this post, dumped the contents of my flash cards and went to bed.

If you want to view all 327 pictures taken on the 2nd day of MouseFest go here:

MouseFest 2007 (Day 02)

Kungaloosh everyone!

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Tim said...


Greg said...

I am enjoying your trip reports. I have got to go to MouseFest 2008! I am look forward to Days 3 and 4. Thanks.

Unknown said...

That day truly was amazing! The first big meet at Expedition was great. I need to get a copy of the Fab Five for my desk.

Ryan P. Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan P. Wilson said...

The more I read from you and George, the more I wish I could have sold a kidney to be there! Can't wait for more MouseFest goodness!

Lou Mongello - said...

Ray, Thanks for giving me that step stool for our photo together. Our wives should be canonized, BTW.

Lou Mongello - said...

P.S. I already found a new venue for PodFest next year! ;)

Unknown said...


No problem. It got rather exhausting carrying that stool around everywhere. I just never knew when our paths would cross.

Any hints on where your new venue is going to be for PodFest. Can Grumpy's Hollow have the exclusive....haha?

Presley family said...

Looks like LOTS of Fun! We can't wait to see y'all~!

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I just ran across your blog and your kind words about Owner's Locker. Tim has been a skeptic so far, but I'll get him converted sooner or later. And I hope we make sense for you at some point.
Great blog by the way,

Unknown said...


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

The Owner's Locker is a fabulously fantastic idea (to use my own's Grumptastic!).