Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Note: in this Sunday's NY Times there should be an article on Knox Martin. See blogs after this one. Also note that the trip report for my visit to Epcot of January 22 was too big to post here and a PDF may be requested by writing me at eJud2001 @ (remove spaces.)
see photos at
others at

Left at 2 arrived Kiss at 4, scanned 192 for motel prices, all at least $25 so went to my old favorite, the Monte Carlo, with tax, 28 and change, booked one night.

Headed to UNI/IOA, arrived about 5, closing at 6, went directly to Spiderman- great ride/great experience. Back seat was really good for effects other than the actual players on the car, which is weaker in back, seat, but motion, physical action of ride vehicle and backgrounds more effective.

Headed over to Seuss Landing- noticed very few people in n the park: it was cold. I was dressed warm, jacket and gloves, most weren’t.

Rode Seuss trolley, rode again, was leaving and they waved me over to ride again. No one there! There were two new soundtracks. Only one side was running, the side that runs through Circus McGirkus.

Stopped in candy shop, talked to CM there about Mardi Gras, and was told the Temptations were coming! Talked about Motown... she was too young to know, but she knew.

Bought some candy straws, headed over and did Cat in the Hat, headed out and over to Royal Pacific Resort, passing by Margaritaville’s Porch of Indecision and stopped to listen to the live guitarist doing “Sweet Caroline”.

Continued on to RPR, entered front door, did photo shoot, but it was dark, stairwell not so good, but big fish came out good.

Back to CityWalk, guitar man still playing, good, decided to go in and get a cheeseburger. Found my way in on ramp through a back door in the store, and got menu, had “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Requested the same song- it was on his song list on each table. He had a good voice, was a good player and good audience interaction- John Stevens.

Ate, guitar man finished, a couple from NH came over and talked to me having heard I was from Boston in response to John’s question when I made my request. We chatted a bit, I left, headed back to motel.

Room was cold, couldn’t get heater to work, finally figured out control was backwards and got the heat on. Set alarm went to sleep.

Up at 7:15, shower, out stop at Publix for ice roast beef and chocolate milk, then direct to MK parking lot, paid extortion fee of $10 to park, put together my ECV and headed in. As I was buzzing over, saw a girl walking in alone, and with a top and shorts on told her it was way too cold for that, then she saw my sign and asked if I was with the Disney group, I told her no, just a guest, she said she meant MFL, and it was Tracy who was there to also join the Barb group today.

We traveled in together via ferry, she had cell phone and called Barb, as we were a bit late- it was now 830 and we were supposed to be at the gate at 830. She got Barb, so all set, pulled in and over to in front of inspection table area at the waterfront and there was Barb and Pam and Tammy and DD12 Britinee.

Greeted and hugged and headed in, crowd still waiting in front of main street station for rope drop. I noticed some interesting decorations on the flower bed below the station and started to shoot, then a man appeared and started talking, Fire Chief, the show was beginning for the day’s opening and then the train pulled in with Mickey and friends and a short skit, music, blasts of confetti and the ropes dropped and we headed in.

So our group and day started at opening with 6 of us, me and what was quickly dubbed, my “harem” entering with the first crowd at opening, something I have not seen since the 90’s. Barb asked what would be the first ride and after a very brief discussion, we quickly decided on POTC and I led the group through the deserted stores on the left of Main Street thereby getting some warmth and avoiding the crowds making their way down the middle of Main Street.

We arrived in AdventureLand with few people there and headed right onto Pirates of the Caribbean, walk-on, and into a boat. We all sang and yapped and were thrilled with the new waterfall and I even got a workable shot of it! Of course, the girls were all looking for Johnny.

When we exited, with talk of a life-size blowup Johnny doll, Barb noted that in about 1 hour we had to be there for the new Pirate Tutorial. Someone suggested Jungle Cruise, but that was quickly vetoed by all, and we headed instead to Splash.

Splash was vetoed because of the cold, but I assured them the water levels were turned down on the cold days. But instead we headed to BTMRR using the back door cause of my ECV. We all rode except Barb who had not yet received medical clearance. Rode back row, then for second run rode front row cause Tracy wanted to. Got picture, jumped in and off we go, excellent ride! Pam had back row by herself this run and I told her to hang on or she would be slammed side to side.

Got off and spotted Barb sitting under a tree- got shot. Then I suggested Splash again and we went ahead, walk-on, Britinee and I in front seat, others in back two. Front row got a good hit of water on the big drop much to my surprise!

Then we headed back to POTC for the tutorial which no one else knew about so Barb had us stand in what appeared to be the middle of the side street and turned out we were right where we needed to be! Very handy having Barb with us!

After about 10 minutes, Mac, pirate #1 came out with a big cart and laid a rope out on the ground as a perimeter, and people started to gather. As he rambled on as the great expert, unknown to him, Captain Jack Sparrow quietly appeared behind him. He looked just like the captain. Entertaining show, lots of audience interaction, pulled the kids up for lessons in swordplay and escaping- “Look! The Governor’s Daughter!”

Then they brought all the kids up for the oath of a pirate, and someone said what about Macs girlfriend and Pam was pulled up with the kids. Pam had been bantering with Mac and a new part of the show was invented as he had pulled her out and they played around a bit, much to the clear delight of both.

Pam and Brittany got scrolls as pirates and Captain Jack slipped away and Mac wrapped up the show. Good time.

Call for what’s next, and as nothing immediately came up I suggested the camels (Aladdin’s magic carpet), nearby and Britinee seemed delighted by this and we all quickly agreed, headed over, pretty much walk on. Off, and Barb suggested TomorrowLand.

We headed over and I noted as we passed it that the Dole Whip place was not open! Crossed the circle in front of the castle, into TomorrowLand, I inquired of the girls re the TTC and all were agreed, some excitedly so, so we hit it.

Pam and I were in one car and put our feet up. Off that, and into Buzz Lightyear, Tracy wanted to learn the secrets to beat her husband, so I told her what I could, but we both did very poorly. Then the girls wanted to eat, so we headed to Cosmic Rays, I waited outside a bit to smoke and shoot. Then went in, Tammy was just at the order register when I rejoined them so I asked her to see if they had any chocolate pudding- she looked and said they had sugar-free Jell-O. Huh??? Chocolate pudding... sugar free Jell-O??? Am I missing something here??? But no, no pudding. Then I though a bag of chips. No, no chips! Healthy food choices for the kids! Is this the future???? EEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

I followed Barb and Pam over to the fixin’s bar while Tammy and Britinee were still waiting at the counter, and waited there for her while Barb and Tammy went to find a table. Saw Tammy when she finally emerged and pointed out where the table was. Headed over. They had forgotten Tammy’s order and were up to #87- she was #80 and she finally called them on it so that was the delay.

At the tables, Terrie, our 7th member joined us, and was sporting an awesome Donald T-shirt, so I got a shot of that, and my “harem” was now 6!

Heading out, I called for another group shot as we passed the castle and Jan a PhotoPass photographer took it for us. We were now heading over to see the new Family Fun parade that runs down Main Street to a grand finale at the square in front of City Hall.

This is a great parade made up mainly of guests! I love it!!! And it is really neat, great chance for lots of guests to participate.

We had stopped in to get credit for some on-line gaming points for Tammy and Britinee, so we missed being part of it, but we did get a good viewing spot. As we were waiting, I decided to ask what would be our nest ride, and suddenly got a flash of Haunted Mansion, not a particular favorite of mine, so that was surprising, but when I asked out loud, both Barb and Pam immediately said HM! Then Pam added that she had to do Small World cause her mother would be upset if she didn’t do it. I naturally ragged on her for that statement- told her there were plenty of things to blame ones mother for but that was really low!

She called her mother and put me on the phone with her! LOL! I couldn’t hear what she said, but it was a fun moment.

The parade was a lot of fun, then we headed back to TomorrowLand- one particularly good thing throughout the entire day was that we all very easily came to agreement on our next move. Rides were called for and we all agreed and moved efficiently to them (some more efficiently than others! Hehehhehee...)

In TomorrowLand, all except Barb and Terrie decided for Space Mountain and after first refusing my ECV, I told the CM I had taken it in before and he let me, so we all zoomed down the FastPass lane (no stairs) and again walk-on, as it was pretty much for everyone- low attendance day: learned later that actual numbers for the day were 29,000) Rode twice- it seems faster and is defiantly much darker! You can no longer make out the track as you ride.

Britinee had front seat first ride trip and loved it, Tracy had it second ride, Ride was a bit strenuous on my neck but not sure if it was the ride or me just tensing up cause it is a rather violent ride.

Exited, rejoined Barb and Terrie, and as we had a couple of things on the agenda, planned our next moves to go through FantasyLand and then to FrontierLand. As we headed out someone spotted PUSH, the talking walking trashcan, and we watched that for a minute as a little girl was hugging it and kissing it and wouldn’t let go!

A quick check and nobody had anything in Toon Town they wanted to do, so we headed straight on to FantasyLand and as we passed the Teacups, Britinee said she wanted to do them, but no one else did, so I said I would do it with her.

This is one of the FantasyLand rides that does have special handicapped loading so we got right on, there was only a ten-minute line but today that was a lot. I asked Britinee if she wanted to spin-to-death or just sit there, and she was a spinner! (Some people don’t like to spin, thus the question) We both spun, but the spinning wheel is small, so I sat back and let her at it, and she got us going very fast. Near the end she tired, so I took over and got us going fast enough that she gasped a bit! But then it was over.

Out of that, headed across FantasyLand, Pooh was closed. We stopped at Pooh’s playground where Barb showed us a hidden tribute to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!
Then we hit Dumbo, long line, but again, handicapped entrance, so right on. And we all seemed more interested in shooting pictures of each other than the ride! LOL!
Leaving that, I called for PhilharMagic and we headed for that, being sidetracked by a bit of a show going on, Cinderella’s wicked step mother and sisters, in back of the castle, shot pictures, and headed to PhilharMagic.

Entered right away, that was great as always! Out and right across the street to Small World, handicapped entrance after the regular queue, but it was quick. There is a lot more to this ride than I remember- might have to do it again! Saw a lot more than I ever noticed before, and Barb pointed out a couple of things, like a 20,000-dollar dress on one of the characters and the only two North American figures in the whole thing!

Out of that, over to Peter Pan, lost Barb on the way, rode after waiting for her, deciding when she showed up we would ride again. Got a couple of shots of the others riding. Good ride- I particularly like the scene where we fly over London and noticed the cars running on the streets this time. Also noticed a small version of Hook’s ship I had never seen before!

As we got off, I spotted Barb and waved her up and 6 of us went again- Terrie sat out. Then out and we headed over to HM. Handicapped entrance, direct to the ride, skipped the preshow. I rode with Pam. Spotted a shadow of the non-existent piano player! And Pam pointed out the bride that I had never noticed before! We talked about the movie that I had just seen thanks to a recommendation on list- Deb I think. Not great, but bearable- casting was all wrong, but a lot of the movie had great potential and it did put a story behind the whole ride, which made the ride better.

Oh! The handicapped line was actually quite full so we were waiting outside for a while and someone pointed out Mr. Toad in the graveyard, a side grave yard I hadn’t seen at all before but way up in the back left was Mr. Toad!

Upon leaving this ride, we headed back over to the castle to see a show at Barb’s suggestion- Mickey’s Dream show or something- we were half an hour early and saw the beginnings of another run of the Family Fun parade, and I went off for a ciggie and some photos.

Ran into Jan, the PhotoPass photographer who had shot us earlier, now at the other side of the castle. We chatted a bit and I picked up a couple of photo hints.
Then back to he group in front of the castle. While waiting Barb spotted a Dream Squad CM and went over to talk to her, and I mimed over for her to get me a dream ears hat. She didn’t.

The show was on and it was a good one, basically the fab four overcoming evil through the power of dreams.

Time for next ride- I remembered someone had wanted to do Carousel of Progress earlier so we headed for that after a moments discussion and walk-on and I napped a bit during it, which helped. Tammy spotted a Mickey nutcracker during the show and surprisingly I got a good shot of it!

After, Tracy said it was time for her to go, and we decided to hit POTC again, so we walked Tracy back to the circle and she departed down Main Street, and we went to POTC, having to actually wait in line for five minutes! I got a good shot of Johnny in the barrel, but missed him in the treasure room. The boats actually didn’t back up today!

From there we headed over to the Splash Mountain store, Barb wanted to say hi to her CM son and was trying to track him down, and in the store I noticed a vignette high on the wall I hadn’t seen before. Then we checked another place but he wasn’t there further.

I suggested another run on Splash and though Britinee was game, her mother vetoed it and no one else wanted to! It was cold! Then we staked out a place in FrontierLand for the SpectroMagic parade, which I decided not to even try to shoot after doing some test shots and seeing it wasn’t going to work, so just enjoyed the show and it is marvelous! I especially love the Fantasia floats! But the three Good Fairies from Cinderella are great too!

After, we headed over to Main Street for Wishes and ended up parking in front of the Crystal Palace, a bit off to the side for the show, but a good clear view, un-crowded and it was great!

Then out with the rest of the maddening throng. On the way out, Barb called attention to the Dream Squad waving good night from the train station and bemoaned not being able to get a shot of it with her camera, so I stopped to try, and did manage to a couple of acceptable shots.

Then out: Pam split off to a bus, the rest of us to the ferry and to the TTC, one last parting shot, and then I split off to the handicapped parking and the remaining three girls to the other side and home at 11. Good day! Except for that whole cold thing! Was frozen by the time I was in my van, heater not working, wrapped myself in a quilt and also was very dry- lips dried and chapped- that surprised me...



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