Tuesday, February 13, 2007
THREE DAYS IN ORLANDO
2007 02 08-10: unplanned, unexpected, spur of the moment, and not fully recovered from Tuesday's visit to the Magic Kingdom with MFL member Barb and the harem, so was half out of it, and it was a very activity-packed three days.
Brief overview: headed down Thursday afternoon, arrived about 4; headed to Universal's Royal Pacific Resort to once again try to get good photos of some carvings there I am doing an article on- the sun and lighting is very difficult- this is 6th attempt; then met my old high school roommate whom I hadn't seen in 36 years at Country Inn on Universal Blvd about a mile off UNI two blocks east of I-Drive; convinced his non-theme-park-interested-butt to get out of the room and at least do dinner at City Walk; ate at Bubba Gump, neither of us had shrimp and can't really reccommend the food as very good; then Margaritaville for drinks and music, and a bit of walk-about; bed about 2, up at 7, him to the Builders' Convention, me to WDW; hit AK at opening for Nemo, but as the frist show wasn't until 11:30, I did EE- 6 times- single rider line was empty; met a couple of coaster freaks and they are going to send me DVDs of their runs all over the USA; as I moved out, suddenly noticed a lot of people with Dream Fast Passes and apparently the line to EE had jsut been "hit"; did Nemo, good show, but I think Tarzan Rocks was better, though the costumes were fantastic: no pics allowed, period; over to MGM, RNR, and intercepted by a CM, who for the first time took me in the back door handicapped loading; did a second run; looked at Tower of Terror, thought of Bobbie, so skipped it -actually the timing required me to head over to... Lights Motors Action Stunt show- handicapped seating is via elevator to about the half way up in the stands, good view, good shots, good show; then Star Tours, and this time they let me ride my (small) ECV in, but had me ride it around to the back and load from the exit side: rode top row center- best seat- in a surprisingly partially filled ride vehicle; hung out outside the store for a bit and ate an orange brought along from the breakfast at the fancy hotel; headed over to the Animation "Studio" for the tour as I had heard it had changed again: pretty much the same, but in the film portion, an animator is doing a bit of patter, introduced only as "Chris" and upon checking, I found out that it is indeed Chris Sanders, the creative genius behind Lilo & Stitch: also found out that Chris has another movie, but it has been shelved pending the release of another Disney computer animated movie; posed for a picture with Cars and Mr. Incredible- one came out good; looked in on the drawing class and much to my surprise saw that they had live instructors back; sat in on two sessions and it is not the same: the instructors were trying to be cute, entertaining, and didn't bother instructing very well: in fact, one told the kids if they had trouble doing the character to just draw a flower: I was disgusted; visited the gallery and got some shots of some original sketches and notes from Lilo & Stitch, and another upcoming movie; shot pics of a couple of neat items in the store; headed out; drove over to Epcot, parked, napped in van and then went in; Mission:Space (orange); Test Trak, where I was first in the single riders line but for some reason the gate keeper ignored me for twenty minutes; waited for Illuminations, got some good shots using my tripod; and out. Headed back to room after a search for and stop at Taco Bell for 6 hard Taco Supremes, but when I got back roommate was also just pulling in from a big dinner, so I ate all 6; bed at 3, roommate packing, up at 7, roommate off to airport; me to RPR for another attempted shoot (successful); over to UNI, Nicktoons ride; Mummy x 2; Woody's Coaster; ET- back door so managed to avoid my one thousandth viewing of the preshow; oldies band in front of Mel's Drive-in with young and old dancing in the lot; Shrek; Terminator 3-D; Nicktoons again and out; exited through the Nickolodean lot and the side of the Hard Rock Cafe and discovered a piece of the Berlin Wall on display; headed down Sand Lake Road to a hotel near the Florida Mall for the NFFC meet, arrived early, parked, looked for place to eat, Arby's; people started filling up the room for the meet; I took front row seat and chatted with the evenings guest speaker while we waited; then MFLer HyperMommy, Denise Dugan, came up and asked if I was me and I told her to join me: she had a friend Susan with her, so I stood and waved her up to join us, and Denise shared with me a new project she is working on that I found brilliant and exciting; after a bit of a business meeting, Disney Legend Charles Ridgeway was introduced and spoke accompanied by a slide show of some fascinating shots from his insider's view of Disney history, fascinating; selling advance copies of his new book; bought a copy and had it signed, posed for picture; had a cup of tea at the very nice snack spread they put on; left during memorabilia auction; home: midnight, bed.