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Keane and PiC's December 2009 Florida Trip Report, Part 3


I didn't even have to say it...
Who: Me (Keane). PiC (Partner In Crime). And a cast of thousands.
What: 2009 Winter Vacation.
Where: Florida. Kidani Village, Disney World; and Inn at the Beach, Venice Island.
When: Dec 2 through Dec 13.
Why: Because we *like* you. Em. Oh. You. Ess. Eee.

All disclaimers in Part 1 still applies...

Dec 5. Skooled.

Open my eyes, and it's 5:00am. There's a sale at World of Disney for Annual Pass holders. And DVC'rs, it turns out. Do I want to go to the AP sale at DD? I'm told it's mobbed, and it'd be stupid to go. Sure, I'll be stupid. I was born to be stupid. Get dressed, and out the door.

Look at all the cars for this time of the morning. There's a line of cars a block long to get into Entrance 1, so I use Entrance 2. Yikes, look at all the people. They go from the entrance to WoD (from the Basin side) all the way past T-Rex, and further into Pleasure Island. Okay, lesson learned. Turned around, came back to Jambo House and took some Christmas tree lobby pics. Then went to the Mara, and had breakfast. I was going to drive to Jambo for breakfast anyway. I just took the long way through Downtown Disney...

Early morning, Downtown Disney, Jambo House
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Went back to my room, informed housekeeping I didn't need service today, and tried to get some sleep...And failed miserably. So I posted to Usenet, instead. Whattalife. Or not, depending on your point of view.

I am happy to report that the Pur Water Filter I took with me worked. It took the smell out of the water, and made it more neutral tasting. We refilled water bottles, and I made coffee with it. It fit within the fridge in the Studio just fine. However, it seems other's reports are correct, and Orlando's water has improved. Maybe it's just the cooler weather. I think it's still going to be standard equipment at WDW...

At about 12:15pm, I vacate my room for the Big Meet and Greet at the International Gateway. I find my way to the bus stop, and the first bus there is to the Studios. Just where I wanted to go.

As we arrive at the Studios, I can see a boat leaving, and there's a boat at the dock. By the time I get to the dock, the boat has left. I have to wait about 20 minutes for the next one.

On the way to Disney's Hollywood Studios
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It finally comes, and I take the slow boat to Epcot. It's a roundabout way to get there, but at least I didn't have to walk the mile across Epcot.

Get to the IG at 1:30 exactly (how's that for timing), and the first person I recognize is Steve Russo, from the photo on his book. He's a lot taller in person.

He introduces me to the couple sitting next to him, Bashful and Rocky. Well, how about that. The first thing I have to do is take a picture, proof, in case they slink away. For as much fun as I've made of Bashful, she doesn't slug me, so I guess I'm safe.

Also there was 12-year lurker Dreslaine, who has since come out of the closet, as it were...

Jack then appears, with a warning to everyone on just who I am. Thanks, Jack. I don't think anyone believed you. I can fake 'em out with the best of 'em. Good to see you, though.

Meerkat is also there, another familiar poster matched up to a face. The Queen and King of Adventureland show up. No fanfare. Wrong park, I guess.

Anyway, it's another whirlwind of faces and names, and the brain cells that are supposed to associate the two fails their mission. Again. I end up calling Dreslaine "A long time lurker", and Rocky "Mr. Kitty", and probably forget more names than I remember.

RADP 14, Big meet and Greet, International Gateway, Epcot
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After the meet, Bashful, Rocky, Paragon and I go to Morocco. Paragon uses her silver pass, and we all get to gawk at it. She wouldn't let me touch it, though. It's not like I'm going to steal it. I don't have the ID to use it. HAhahahah... Disney still recognizes my AP and finger, and I'm allowed entrance to Epcot. I have to get something to eat, everyone else get's something to drink and/or a snack.

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We wander over to the AA, and the Drum and Fife core comes out and does their show. We stop in the gift shop, and there's a book I want to read, and I wrote the name down on a receipt, and I can't find it among the hundreds of receipts you collect at WDW. I have it someplace...

We make our way under the dome for VoL, and I sit on the floor. I realize that this may be a mistake. The Voices of Liberty are amazing as always, doing their Holiday show. I took a picture, but it came out scary. I stopped taking pictures. When it's over, I don't have a right foot. I can see it, but it doesn't obey any commands, and I feel nothing below the ankle. Ugh. I need a walker...

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We make our way up to American Adventure, and we take over the second and third rows. It's still a moving show, and it's interesting to see the animatronics up close.

Paragon wants to buy some stuff for Christmas over at Test Track, so I take a walk with her that way. I'm going back to Kidani, and get the video camera and tripod for the night at MK. We part our ways at Test Track, and I walk to the bus stops.

The lighting on Spaceship Earth is perfect, so I stop to take some pictures of the Christmas topiaries at the entrance.

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AKL is the closest bus stop! What a difference from Port Orleans, last year.

Okay, time to complain about the buses. It's not really the service I'm complaining about, which is generally pretty good. At least that's what I've found. I have been pretty much convinced that wheelchairs and ecv's are the main cause of slowdowns. They either need a better way of doing a load or unload, or they should have separate busses that are called on-demand. I think it would drastically improve the service for all parties involved.

That said, here's my favorite story of the trip.

I make my way to Magic Kingdom. It's below 50 degrees, somewhat cold. Iiii'mmm disappointed!

I'm waiting for Wishes, and some guy come up to me and asks me if I'm taking pictures. Let's see. I have my camera on my tripod, and I'm taking pictures of the castle, a couple at each exposure, my camera happily beeping away. I look at him odd, and reply yes. He then tries to hand me a card. I take a look at it, and it's a photopass card. I have to explain to him I'm not a Disney photographer. I'm in my floppy green hat, a zip up Coronado Springs sweatshirt, sweat pants (hey, it was cold, and they're thick and warm) and New Balance walking shoes. I couldn't possibly have looked like a CM. Unless 'Slob' is a costume at one of the nearby Disney venues. But I think I was successful at not laughing at the guy.

Not 10 minutes later, another guy comes up and wants to know how to use his camera. What am I, an answer man? He wants to know how to take pictures of the fireworks. I lose him at the phrase 'aperture priority'. I just tell him to just take pictures, and he'd be surprised how good some of them look during the bright shells.

You know, if I look that much like a Disney CM, they should hire me...

Magic Kingdom
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Video of Wishes can be found here.

Dec 6. PiC Arrives.

I get to do an attraction today that I've only done once before. It's called the Cell Phone lot at MCO. (Well, no, I don't get to do it, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

PiC's flight doesn't come in until 11:20. Waste time on internet until 10:50, and leave for the airport.

I'm still a couple miles from the airport, and I get a call from PiC. She's here, 20 minutes early. That's not supposed to happen. She's already through the A-Ticket tram ride, and at Arrivals. I don't even have to stop, go right to arrivals, and she gets in the car. *That's* the way I like to pick people up from the airport.

Had lunch at the Mara, and went back to the room. I proudly show off my Christmas decorations. She knows I don't even decorate at home, and asks "Why?". I can hardly wait until she uses the bathroom. HAHahahahaha... PiC settles in for a bit, then we decide to go into the parks. It's the studios tonight for the Lights. We have to stop at Guest Relations to see how many nights she still has on her MYW ticket. Five days! I didn't even have to get her a new MYW ticket! Oh well, it's a hedge against inflation, right? Right?

Enter the park, and start to make our way over to Toy Story for laughs, just in case a miracle happens like a short wait time. It doesn't happen. On the way, PiC get's sidetracked to American Idol, and we're 10 minutes away from Show Time, so we stop in. I'm surprise at how high the level of talent is, and wonder if it's that way all the time. We're one show short of the day's finale. They put the words up in the back of the theater for the contestants, so if you want to sing along, just turn around...

One of the contestants is a ringer. You can tell she's been on stage before. She's the obvious winner.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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There's two Fantasmic!'s tonight, so we go to the first one. We walk right into the Amphitheater, and it's crowded, and getting more crowded. It's full by the time the show starts, and unfortunately there's some wind that somewhat spoils the movies, and Mickey's obscured by the fireworks smoke at the end.

The late Fantasmic! show's line has already formed, and it backs up from where we're herded off (behind Tower of Terror) to Sunset Blvd.

We make our way over to Osborne, and it's wall-to-wall people. I shoot a couple of sets, but don't even try to get down New York Street... We vacate, and take some pics of the hat and Christmas tree at night...

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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(More pictures of The Osborne Family Spectacle Of Dancing Lights can be found here. Video of the Lights can be found here.)

Once again, much to my surprise, AKL's bus stop is close. Back to Kidani. We get a bus driver that wants to sing Christmas Carols, and stops at Jambo first instead of Kidani. I wonder if she had had any Christmas Cheer that night...
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Dec 7. Toy Story Midway Mania, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Toy Story Midway Mania.

It's a DHS morning. Well, a Toy Story morning, anyway. Rain forecasted, but 65 at 6:45am with a high of 78 forecasted.

Third time of four that a bus I want pulls up right as I get to the bus area.

Arrived at DHS at 9:30am. Went straight to TSMM, got fastpasses with a return time of 12:20pm. Got in standby line. I still like this queue, though it's getting longer every time I'm in it. Potato Head is missing his ear, and before we get to him, a CM comes out and puts it in. PiC is going to take a picture of me and Potato Head, but instead turns the camera off instead of taking a picture. She gets grief about it for a few minutes... Beat PiC 137,200 to 103,900. Nothing to do with her not ever being on the ride, could it? It might be my imagination, but I don't think the cars spin you around as hard as they used to. I also notice there are two distinct tracks you can take through the ride.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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Went to Starring Rolls for food. None of that ABC Commissary crap. Had a ham sandwich, PiC had a bagel and a strawberry parfait.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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Went back to Pixar Place, went though the character meet. First time I was intentionally on my knees at WDW. Well, that I can remember, anyway. The sets they've set up for pictures are inventive, but they reflect the camera flash, and it's too dark inside to do natural light. I take a picture with my pal the anti-bacterial gel dispenser. (No, I never used one.)

Pixar Place, Disney's Hollywood Studios
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Still had an hour, so we got back in the standby line, and did TSMM again. I once again win 151,200 to 105,200. PiC needed something to drink, so we walk down to the Coke Station in front of Backlot Tours, and play with the giant Christmas Carol card. I am disappointed Luxo, Jr. hasn't come out, but I see no mention of him in any of the DHS stuff I have. Maybe it's the lawsuit. 10 minutes until FP time, and I point out to PiC that the FastPasses are already sold out for the day. And we did TSMM again. I much prefer the FastPass line... And once again, I win 146,500 to 129,500.

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney's Hollywood Studios
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Enough interactive video games. We vacated DHS, and caught a bus back to the hotel.
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End December 2009 Trip Report - Part 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 3a Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

  • 08/24/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2