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December 2008 Trip Report, Part 3 - Days 5 & 6


Christmas on Main Street, 2008
Main Street dressed up for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16. Day 5

We're up sorta late, and we're going to head into DHS and do Toy Story. We get to the Bus Stop at 8:15 for the 9:00 opening, and wait for about a half-hour. In that time, multiples of other buses, including three MK busses go by. The transportation CM has no answer for us, so we grab my car and drive into the park. We're there in 10 minutes, and we're betting that the guests in PO are still waiting, PO'd. Of course, they make me park my car at the far end of the row from the tram.

Walk over to TSMM, and there's already a 30 minute stand-by queue time. We get fastpasses, and go and wait in the standby queue. It's a very well themed queue of Andy's room. Even the giant View-Master disks are correct. I can't quite figure out Mr. Potato Head, though. I know there's someone watching every once in a while, but most of his moves are pre-recorded.

I'm almost at the end of the queue, and I'm disappointed they're going to make me climb some stairs. From the top of the stairs, you can see how they handle the handicap riders, by having a special car on a siding that can be switched into the main ride loop. Inventive. I'll bet they get switched out automatically, too. How did we ever live without computers?

Now this is a great ride. Any ride that can make me laugh while I'm on it is a good ride. It's one of those insanely frantic, interactive rides that moves so quickly, you don't have time to figure out how they do it. As a matter of fact, your toy story buddies countdown how long you have left in any particular game, and you're shooting so fast, you wonder how they keep the strings from being pulled out of your gun.

It's 3-D, and your ammo does follow a parabolic arc. The computers also keep track of your hit rate. Generally, the more accurate you are, the better your score. I win this game with something like 130,000.

We take a walk up New York Street, and look at the Osborne Lights not lit. It's somehow not as impressive as it is at night...

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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In another moment of weakness, I stop in at the ABC commissary for breakfast. I needed food. There are only two places to get breakfast in DHS, and the commissary was on the way. DON'T EAT THERE!!! The food *SUCKS*, period, no matter what time of the day or night. End-of-story. You've been warned.

We hop on the Great Movie Ride. My main objective here was to tape the ending movie. I plan on riding GMR twice, the first time taking one side of the movie, the second time taking the other, then splice both sides together. We get the gangster scene, and I tape the right side of the movie this time.

We walk across the park to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. I've never been on it, and have wanted to try it for the past couple of trips. Hey, if I can tolerate ExE, RRC should be no problem, right? Problem was, PiC, my usual travelling companion, won't go on a ride that inverts you. And she's the one who talked me onto ExE the first time.

Lots of Streetmosphere...er...Citizens of Hollywood characters around Sunset Boulevard. Nice to see them back.

We don't bother to fastpass RRC, so we get in the standby line. I want to get tape of a train taking off, but the line is moving too fast. Soon, we're waiting for takeoff, and a little voice inside of me says, "What the hell are you doing?" Before I can answer the question, we're off. I could count one half-loop and the corkscrew, but no other inversions, plus the number of helixes. It's a fast ride, over before you know it. I tell myself that I actually have to see how big this building is on Google.

But I still won't do Tower of Terror. :-)

Our Toy Story fastpasses become active, so back to Toy Story, and we find that it's broken. People are waiting in line, but it's not moving. So, to kill time, we go into Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian. The Price Caspian version is much like the old LWW version, just updated for the new movie. I guess I'll have to see it.

We walk back over to Toy Story to find it...still broken. No one even in line. All the doors are closed, and there isn't even a time up for the stand-by line. I get myself a picture with a Green Army Man, and we continue on to the Backstage Tours. They pretty much ruined the ride when they re-themed the start to Pearl Harbor, and gutted it for the new stunt show. The ride is still pretty much ruined, but Bruce hadn't seen it yet.

From there, we went over to the Lights, Motors, Action! stunt show, where I still want to drive one of the cars. Not in the show, just to do some doughnuts in the open areas. They've reworked and streamlined the show a bit, probably for the better, but it's going to make it difficult to cut all the shows together for my web video...

Once last chance for Toy Story and it's open! And I lose miserably. I won't know the reason until Thursday...

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

We drive back to Port Orleans, and rest up a couple of hours for the Christmas Party. We go to the food court, and I get a Chicken Quesadilla, which is nothing more than a Disney pizza on a flour tortilla folded in half. It was tasty though. Better than MK food.

We get to Magic Kingdom by bus at 5pm, and for the third time, Port Orleans' bus stop is the furthest from the gate. I'm beginning to get PO'd, and I don't mean Port Orleans.

Bruce hasn't seen Pirates or the Haunted Mansion updates or Monsters, Inc., so those are first on the list.

We head to the hub down Main Street, then left into Adventureland to PoC. It's a walk on. I really like the Davy Jones intro, you still expect to get wet or something, but he's just vapor. It's pitch black just before the drop. The talking skull and crossbones isn't there. I'm not sure if he's just broken, or removed. But Pirates is Pirates, always a good time. Arrrrr...

We wander back to Liberty Square and get on Haunted Mansion. Bruce has never noticed that Leota's gravestone blinks and moves. The opening speech in the stretching room now circles the room. I've never noticed that before, and I'm not sure if it's new. We hit the Escher room right as the footsteps are fading out, so the effect isn't as good, but we'll probably be on it again tonight.

We cross Fantasyland, and stop in at Philharmagic, still my favorite 3-D movie at WDW. It too, is a walk on. There are a lot of people at the party, but none of them seem to be riding anything.

We get to Tomorrowland, and I point out the acronym for Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. He thinks it's intentional, I still think someone screwed up. We get into the preshow without a wait, but it's a little while before we're admitted into the main theater. Once we get in, I inspect the lights, where the cameras were suspected to be, but I don't see anything. I still suspect they're between the screens onstage, or up in the lights above. At least I'm not a victim this time.

From there, it's the required trip to Buzz. Which I win, since I got 100,000 points somehow, and I wish I knew how. :-) I ended up with only 140,000 points, but it's my highest point total I've ever gotten on that ride.

By this time, the party's started, and I stop in at Merchant of Venus (or was it Star-Traders) for a MVMCP t-shirt. I think I got the last large. It was, however, insane. It was like they were selling Elvis tickets or sumthin'...

From there, it was back across Fantasyland, where Pooh and Snow White were both walk-ons, but Peter Pan was a half-hour wait. I pointed out that iasw was a walk-on, but Bruce refused. (And I can't blame him...)

It was already too late for the parade, guests were lined up 4 deep for it already, so we went back to Pirates. Out of Pirates, and the parade had started. We decided on Food, but we were trapped in Frontierland for the duration of the parade. The only place open during the party in Frontierland is Pecos Bills. I mean, they can't screw up a cheeseburger, right? Right? (No need to answer. It was a rhetorical question.)

It's almost time for the fireworks, so we wander down to Main Street. I should have brought the tripod, but didn't. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I take a few dozen pictures, hoping at least a couple will turn out as we wait for the fireworks to begin. I pick a place I hope the garland that's stretched across Main Street won't interfere with the fireworks. The place I pick has the garland right above the castle. Safe, yes? Safe, no. Many of the fireworks explode right behind the decorations.

Who decided to put these things across Main Street and block the view of the Castle and Fireworks anyway? Have that man keel- hauled, matey.

Bruce wants a rematch at Buzz, and off to Tomorrowland we go. He wins this round, and we decide to find a place for the parade. But all the good spots are already taken. We find a place in Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents, behind some baby carriages, and park our butts down. How do you know the parade's getting close? By the number of flashes you see from all the cameras going off.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
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While waiting for the parade, I call PiC in Chicago, and find out it's taken her 3.5 hours to get home due to a snowstorm. It normally takes between 20-30 minutes. She declares I can't whine about the weather when I get home, and she'll hang up on me if I tell her how nice the weather is in Orlando. Apparently, almost the entire country is having bad weather except for Florida. It's snowed in something like 31 of the lower 48 states.

I feel guilty. (not) I also feel it's not the right time to point out that she could have been enjoying this weather too...

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Pary
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Parade over, and we're in Liberty Square anyway, so we go do Haunted Mansion one last time (again), and from there make our way back to the resort.

Another long day. But at least the weather's nice.
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Wednesday, December 17. Day 6

I get up late, since we were out late, and actually decide to pay for internet access to check my e-mail and post a message to radp.

We decide to go to Epcot this morning, since Bruce hadn't seen the Seas remake and wants to do Soarin'. I want to see Spaceship Earth rehab. I'm going to complain if we're at the furthest bus stop again, but we aren't. It's one of the close ones. Imagine that.

We don't get to Epcot until 11:00am. There's a 30 minute wait to see Spaceship Earth. Who are they trying to kid? By 11:30, we have Fastpasses to Soarin', and I need something to eat. I haven't tried the food court in the Land since they did the refurb, so we try it out.

I had the Roasted Pork Chops, with spanish rice and mashed potatoes, which was *very* tasty. I'd have it again.

Then, it's to the Seas. Bruce has seen Crush there, but not the new intro. We climb aboard the Clamobile, and I'm still fascinated how they did the attraction. The part where it looks like Nemo, Marlin and Dory are *in* the tanks is still magic to me. We get off, and Crush's theater's been moved. No wait, so we go in. Crush isn't as interactive with the guests as he used to be, but it's still pretty good. There are still routines they do that I haven't seen.

We wander into Innoventions West, to do the Velcro show. We have a 10 minute wait, so we wander around the rest of the area, and Bruce wants to ride a Segway. But it's not open yet.

We get back to the Velcro show. It starts sort of dumb until you get into it and figure out what they're trying to accomplish, and sure enough Bruce is picked for the baby contest. He loses by one baby, but still gets his sticker.

We wander by the Segway exhibit again, and there's a long line. He still wants to ride one.

We cross over to Innoventions East, and do the Weather exhibit. Yet another 3-D attraction, on how to improve building techniques for a tornado/hurricane. There's a new exhibit going in that takes up most of Innoventions East, no hint of what it is.

Time for Soarin'. It's still a popular attraction, and even with Fastpasses, it takes a while. We're in row C (or was it 3), and even though we're not that far off the ground, the attraction still gives me the willies. Don't like heights, and it's compounded by the fact you're flying around.

We decide to do Spaceship Earth, then go back to the resort to rest a couple of hours. Most of the first half of SE is still intact, and the paperboy *is* facing the wall. The second half is completely new, and it isn't until then that you figure out why they took your picture at the start of the attraction.

It'd probably make me want to try it a few times, but not today. We play around for a while in the aftershow, but soon leave for the resort.

We rest up for a couple of hours at Port Orleans, then head back to Epcot with the tripod for Illuminations. First thing Bruce wants to do is see the Seas again, so we head on over, do the show and walk right out.

Time for Dinner. Walk to the World Showcase, and a boat to Morocco is coming. Who am I to argue? Take the boat to Morocco, and the Lamb at the Tangerine Cafe. This is one of the dishes I don't miss when I'm at the World. The portions are smaller and the bread is different, but it's still tasty stuff.

After dinner we walk to Norway for desert, and am disappointed that all the extremely rich, fattening deserts aren't there any longer. We check Germany, then finally find a cart outside of Italy that serves this chocolate hazelnut cake. Mmmmm... Bruce has the Tiramisu and is not impressed. Me? I want an entire cake to OD on.

We scout a location for Illuminations, and find a spot just south of Mexico, right across from the frozen margarita stand. After about 15 minutes, we can stand it no longer, and Bruce gets me a frozen margarita. I call PiC at home, to see if it took her 4 hours to get home today, only to find that the weather that was supposed to get really nasty, won't until later that evening. I don't win points when I tell her we're waiting for Illuminations drinking a frozen margarita. Can't win...

I miss the torches. They don't light them off until the 15 minute announcement. Illuminations kicks off and it still spectacular. The Earth Globe is even better now, with a much finer resolution and a higher frame rate. We're right in front of one of the launchers, and it's different to see how they arc when they take off right in front of you. The Christmas tag at the end is also spectacular. We're definitely going to do this again tomorrow.

The walk out of Epcot is long, and there are kids sitting up on the legacy monuments, and it's pretty apparent why some of the plaques have had their images worn off. I don't think anyone cares anymore, and I'm not even sure where I am in that maze of granite. Time for them to go, I think.

We take the walk to the bus stop. At least POFQ has its own bus. It's a pain when you have to wait as they drive through Riverside...

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End December 2008 Trip Report - Part 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

  • 08/22/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2