Day 5, Tuesday 3/20/01
This was a day that we spent some time at the Magic Kingdom, followed by a little time at Epcot, and capped off by a trip to Downtown Disney and DisneyQuest.
We started the day a little late. We still decided to have breakfast at the Kona Kafe. Nick, Patti, and I had the Tonga Toast. Debbie opted for something else, and Jan was still in the room. Strangely enough, Nick won't eat the bananas, but still likes the Tonga Toast for it's sweetness. Patti and I love the whole thing.
The plans for today was to spend the early part of the day at Typhoon Lagoon. But, the somewhat dreary weather, and Nick's bout of illness yesterday convinced us that this wasn't a good idea. So, Debbie, Nick, and I decided to make up some of the time that was lost at the MK because of him being under the weather. Patti, meanwhile, set off for Typhoon Lagoon. She later reported that she had a great time, having never been to a Disney water park before.
From what Patti told us later, she did have a pretty good time at Typhoon Lagoon. She was able to get in some time at Castaway Creek and at the wave pool. But, she barely beat the weather, as it was starting to drizzle and turn pretty cold as she was leaving.
Shortly after getting to the MK, we pulled a Fast Pass for Splash Mountain, and stood in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Nick asked a CM while we were standing in line what the construction was near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The CM said that it was for a Fast Pass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But, it seemed like a little much for just that. We also did poke our heads in near Adventureland to see how the Aladdin ride was progressing. Looks interesting.
I again enjoyed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with Debbie and Nick. Got some good air, and had a nice, fast ride. I think I got more air riding in that last car with Patti, though.
By the time we were off of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, it was time
to cash the Fast Pass on Splash Mountain. We didn't get very wet, but had
just a fun ride. I really like Fast Pass for this one. The queue is nice,
but Fast Pass saves you so much time here.
|Nick got autographs of Briar Fox and Briar Bear while standing in the
courtyard on the way out of Splash Mountain. There was a nasty little business
with some couple and their kid trying to cut in front of him in line, but
it was quickly resolved. Everything turned out OK, and we got nice pictures
of he and I, and a couple of autographs.
We headed from Splash Mountain towards Tomorrowland, cutting across the hub. I just happened to glance to the left as we were passing through Liberty Square, and we caught sight of Balloo waiving at us from around the corner behind the buildings. It turns out there was a meet and greet going on in the little courtyard behind those shops just as you exit Liberty Square. It was kind of fun and impromptu, and we got pictures and autographs from Balloo, Prince John, and Friar Tuck. There was no line, people were just milling around. It was nice and relaxed, kind of tucked away. Of course, it's understandable that most of the meet and greets are in a very public and announced place, but this was a bit of unexpected and relaxing fun.
Exiting the little courtyard on the side near the castle, Debbie noticed
the painted parasols that they were selling on the sidewalk. While she
was browsing, I tried to get a picture of Nick by the castle. It was a
great shot of the castle, but Nick ended up in the shadows. Debbie decided
to buy a parasol for our niece, and Nick and I went off to wait in the
Autotopia line (clear over in Tomorrowland) while she was waiting for it
to be finished.
While we were waiting in line for Autotopia, I realized we really should
have a Fast Pass for something else, so that we could be waiting in two
lines at once. Believe it or not, I called Debbie on the cell phone (she
was in the Autotopia stands by now), and she came and got our cards so
that she could get a Space Mountain Fast Pass for the three of us. It's
funny how the cell phone and Fast Pass turned out to be such good ideas.
|Nick and I got in a nice ride with him driving. Well, as nice as it
could be with him driving. But, we had a pleasant ride and then BOOM! The
rain started as we were stepping out of the car, and we ran to the stands.
It came down in buckets, as we watched from the grandstands. People were
scurrying under the grandstands to get out of the rain, and bemoaning the
fact that they didn't have rain gear with them.
We waited for it to settle a little bit, then tucked into our ponchos and headed over for a ride on TTA while we waited for the Fast Pass to come up. After a nice relaxing ride here, it was Fast Pass time, and we went for a fast, fun and furious ride on Space Mountain. Once again, Fast Pass let us do other fun things while we were waiting for Space Mountain. We then relaxed and had drinks at the Tomorrowland Terrace, watching the crowd in the distance on Main Street. The rain had pretty well subsided by this point.
People were lining up along Main Street for the midday parade, but we
just made our way through the crowd. Nick was not really still 100% recovered,
and it was time for him to take a little rest. So, Debbie and Nick headed
back for the Poly, and I went to Epcot.
We really loved being able to take the monorail into the hotel while staying at the Poly. And I love riding the monorail into Epcot. There are such neat views of all of Future World as you make the loop into Epcot, and a great view out over the lagoon at World Showcase as well.
When I got to the gate of Epcot, I gave Jan a call, as she had gone to Epcot this day. She told me she had been to Spaceship Earth and the Norwegian Pavilion at World Showcase, both of which we had talked quite a bit about before leaving on the trip. She was deciding whether to try out Test Track. We arranged to meet, and do see some of the attractions together. I can't say enough about how convenient and useful the cell phones were on this trip.
Jan and I sent a postcard from IBM, did Ellen's Energy Adventure, and did Honey, I Shrunk The Audience. I also showed her the discovery ring in the sidewalk between Innoventions and the Living Seas. I think this is one of those little Disney touches that a lot of people miss. Quiet and unassuming, but very cool when you stop to look at it.
Since she said she had already done SE, we didn't do it, and so I only ended up with one ride on SE this trip :^(. We didn't end up doing Test Track either.
Jan really enjoyed Honey, I Shrunk The Audience. She thought it was creative and surprising. It's always fun to see someone's first reaction to this show.
We boarded the monorail together, and she headed back to the Poly, while I got off at the Transportation Center to board a bus to Downtown Disney. I was meeting Nick, Debbie, and Patti for supper at Fulton's Crab House.
So, by the process of trial and error, I have a bit of advice. If you are going to Fulton's, don't get off at Marketplace, but rather at the Pleasure Island stop. Unless you are in the mood for quite a walk, of course.
I joined up with everyone at the Lego store. There is a log of good stuff here for the Legomaniac, at surprisingly good prices. Nick had been saving his money for several months for this spree. We had agreed that he would spend his own money at the Lego store this trip.
I had an odd experience with the guy working the counter at the Lego store. Another shopper made some comment about the magical experience of this place, and the guy at the counter felt compelled for some reason to tell me how he gets tired of hearing this, how he felt this was just a job. I only said "uh-huh", when I really wanted to tell him that I'd certainly consider trading my job for his.
Nick really enjoyed the Lego racing track. Patti got a big kick out of the huge models around the outside of the Lego store--the huge sear serpent, the UFO, the Dinosaur Family, the life-size man with the camcorder.
After shopping at the Lego store, we had the purchase shipped directly to our house. We just didn't want to deal with boxes full of Legos boarding and leaving the ship. I'm happy to report that this worked out beautifully. Everything arrived about a week after we got home, in perfect shape, and Nick is very happy with his purchases.
We headed over to Fulton's at 6:50. Although we had genuine reservations, not PS, for 7:00, that didn't seem to help much. There was a long line at an outside stand where they were taking names. No sign was there to indicate that we should have gone in if we already had reservations, but we learned this when we finally reached the podium. Then, we went inside. Somehow, they had our reservation set for a party of 8, not four. There was still an interminable wait following turning our name in at the inside desk. We were finally seated about 7:30, and didn't make it out of the restaurant until 9:00. The food here is good, but it certainly takes a commitment.
Overall, I have to say that Debbie and Patti liked Fulton's more than I. Debbie and I had the crab and lobster experience for two. The food is fresh and well prepared, but it is a lot of money for what you get. We ended up paying about the same as we did for the Polynesian Luau, and there was no show here ;^). Overall, it was a good experience, but pricey and time consuming. I have to give it a mixed review.
By the way, the wine glasses which you can get as a Disney Club member are a really nice touch. Don't pass these up if you do dine here, and they are still offering it (you need to pull a coupon from the web page, so plan ahead).
Nick insisted on going to Disney Quest, although it was pretty late. That had been part of our original plan for today, but everything was out of whack because of his illness. He swore he was feeling up to it, so I agreed to go with him, while Debbie and Patti, both starting to feel a little under the weather, headed back to the room.
I found the walk across PI to Disney Quest to be extremely cold. I think I was beginning to develop a fever, which knocked me down later in the week. Once we got inside Disney Quest, though, I was fine. I couldn't enjoy the walk across PI, though, but I observed there was a lot going on. I did see the outside of the Adventurer's Club for the first time, but *STILL* haven't made it inside. Maybe next trip.
Nick and I had a wonderful, magical time at Disney Quest. I am very glad he talked me into it, regardless of the walk across PI to get there.
The first thing we did when we came in the door, however, was the Virtual Jungle Tour, where you paddle an inflatable raft through a virtual reality jungle. I was still cold and exhausted from the walk over, and we should have waited, as this experience didn't turn out to be very pleasant.
Believe it or not, and I barely believe it myself, I rode on Cyberspace Mountain, and I have the $12 video to prove it! I might try to snag a shot from the video and put it on a web page. Maybe at the point where Nick's hair is standing straight up in the air.
As most of you know, on Cyberspace Mountain, you design a roller coaster through asteroid fields, black holes, and other cosmic features, then board a simulator to ride your creation. Nick designed the coaster, and we still managed to survive the ride.
A note that when Debbie tried to ride this with Nick about a year and a half ago, she had trouble because the restraints wouldn't fit her. But, from here description, it sounds like they may have been changed to accommodate a larger person, because I didn't have much trouble. On the CM's advice, I did stick my legs straight out while lowering the restraints, because of my rather long limbs. Once fastened in, though, I was able to seat comfortably. And the ride was worthwhile, albeit a little intense.
We really enjoyed the Pirate's of the Caribbean Buccaneer's Gold. This is now in the place where Hercules in the Underworld used to be. There is a screen here which wraps the room, so you have over 200 degrees of visual field. You where a special visor which provides the same polarized 3D that is used in Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, Bug, and so fourth. The 3D here is moderately good, but the overall graphics are really outstanding. There is the opportunity for several people to participate in this game at once. One captain holds a large wheel which steers the ship, and everyone else mans small cannons around the deck. The deck, wheel, and cannons are props, and the projected screen is the seaside and other ships at sea. The quality of the props is also quite good, adding to the experience. Naturally, the point of the game is that you are a Buccaneer, and you are blowing other ships out of the water.
Nick and I were put in with three other guys, who had obviously played before, and were a barrel of laughs. I did like Hercules in the Underworld, but this is far better. Hercules used a very similar technology, and I imagine they will be rotating different stories through this venue. They should keep this one for a while, though, it was a lot of fun.
I really like the idea of "Treasure of the Incas", where you drive a radio controlled car under the transparent floor, mounted with a video camera. The screen which you view comes back from the camera, and has a perspective like you are really driving through deserted tunnels of a lost civilization. My only complaint is that it is difficult to follow the rules, and how drivers are changed.
I had major trouble on "Ride the Comix" this time. Now, I have done this attraction before, and did not have much trouble. But, I am convinced that the headsets really do come in different sizes. No matter what I did, I couldn't get this one to fit, and I don't think at my age that my head is still getting bigger. If the headset doesn't fit properly, you may as well not participate.
On the other hand, Nick loved it this time, and didn't care for it before.
Nick and I tried Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster. We did better than the last time we tried, but we still got creamed. I drove this time, which worked better. But, I've decided that both driving and shooting on this ride are pretty challenging.
As you probably know, you drive around in a very fancy "bumper cars" type of vehicle, but it is enclosed. You drive over asteroids, which are vacuumed up into your car, and the gunner loads them into the gun and tries to fire them at other cars.
We did the Alien Invasion on the top floor, and did very well. We saved 15 colonists, and got back safely. Nick was a sharp shooter and I drove. There was another couple with us (it's a four person simulator), who seemed very confused. But, Nick and I had fun.
If you haven't been there, this ride is a huge simulator, with a 360 degree domed projection screen, and you ride with three other people (3 gunners, one driver), with a mission to save colonists, based loosely on the same future as Alien Encounter over in the Magic Kingdom. It's very immersive, and a lot of fun.
We had a very pleasant bus ride back to the Poly, though it was cold waiting at the bus stop. I felt a tiny bit of sadness passing by the Port Orleans, because I was thinking we wouldn't stay here again, and I always like that place. But, it sounds like we have one more trip to the PO left in our future.