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Keane's September/October 2011, "Now, For Something Completely Different" Trip Report (Part 7)


Me, Mom, Jenny
Me, Miss Marie, Jenny in Epcot.
General Info:
Who: Me, Keane. Author, planner, survivor...
     Mom, aka "Miss Marie". Mobility impaired. First time WDW guest. Sorta.
     Jenny. No BYPT this time. 5K participant and fellow survivor.
     Karen. My GPS. (A Garmin nuvi 1390)
What: A trip to Disney World with Mom
Where: Walt Disney World, Saratoga Springs Resort
Why: Because all the stars aligned, and it's something I thought would be nice to do before the world ends on December 21, 2012
When: September 27 to October 3, 2011

All Disclaimers from Part 1 still apply.
Thank you.

Day 6. October 2. Epcot, MNSSHP, Our last day here.

It's our last day at Walt Disney World.

We go out to catch a bus to Epcot, and one doesn't come. It takes about 15-20 minutes for one to arrive. We are in the park, and are by Guest Services by 10:20, getting Jenny's Boarding Pass for tomorrow morning's flight out.

Epcot, Spaceship Earth
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We're going to do the parts of Future World we haven't done yet. The first stop is Universe of Energy. We have to transfer Miss Marie from the scooter to a wheelchair, and once again go watch Stupid Ellen beat up Stupid Judy.

Miss Marie has to use a bathroom, so we head on over to the Convenient Event Space Pavilion (nee the Wonders of Life), and use the bathrooms there. While I'm there, I pick up a 2011 F&W shot glass, and a gift card for Laura.

I want to do a stupid Photoshop trick outside Universe of Energy, but some kind guest volunteers to take our picture, and Jenny gives him the camera. Kind guest has no clue about framing the picture, so I'm throwing kind guest's pic out and using my stupid Photoshop trick.

Epcot, Wonders of Life / Universe of Energy
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By this time, we're hungry. We get into World Showcase about noon, and it's become apparent the concept of Food and Wine is lost on Miss Marie. So instead, we have the fish and chips in the UK. It is excellent. The fish is different that what they used to serve, and if anything, it is better. Jenny also gets some artisanal cheese and the scallop and lobster pie from Ireland. I won't touch the cheese, but the pie is excellent. Healthy, too, I'm sure.

We see Marie in France again. Miss Marie doesn't want a picture with Marie. Oh well.

Jenny suggests we stop in American Adventure, only this time the store. Maybe they'll have some patriotic pins. Jenny is feeding Miss Marie's newly acquired habit. Inside the store, they have a t-shirt with the ingredients of an official Chicago Hot Dog. Correct! The guys down at Casey's should see this t-shirt. Jenny and Miss Marie also stop at the pin wagon outside. sigh.

Epcot, World Showcase / Food and Wine
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Mom has heard about the caramel shop in Germany and wants to visit. So we do. She buys a few things to take home, but has no desire to get any of the gooey treats they make onsite.

World Showcase is no less crowded than it was a couple of days ago, and we still haven't done the West side of Future World, and the boat coming to dock at Germany makes up my mind. We get in the queue for the boat. By the time we're ready to load, other guests have already started to block the back of the boat. I am finally able to navigate Mom into the cabin.

The boat takes us to Mexico, and we cut across the plaza by the lagoon. It's deserted here, so I take a couple of stupid Photoshop tricks. Who needs a photopass photographer? I was hoping to get Mom here one night so I could tape Illuminations from the handicap area directly across from American Adventure, but it looks like that won't happen. Bummer.

Epcot, World Showcase / Stupid Photoshop Tricks
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We go to imagination, and transfer Mom to a vehicle. I made some comment about seeing Journey Into Imagination before they shut it down in last August's Trip Report, so I've seen this attraction twice in a row. Enough. The heck with Avatarland, replace Imagination... No, I don't take Mom into Captain EO...

The last official attraction we're going to see is The Seas. What a mistake. Trying to get through the queue is a nightmare. For all Disney does right for the mobility impaired, this is the antithesis of an intelligently designed queue. It's a narrow queue, 180 degree turns in the dark with dark railings that disappear into the darkness. Unlike say, Philharmagic or GMR, where Disney can reconfigure the queues to be pretty much straight lines to the attraction when the crowds are low, The Seas' two rooms of queues have you needlessly doing switchbacks.

Had I known, we would have bypassed the entrance, and gone into The Seas through the exit. We stop in Crush, and I have to transfer Mom to a wheelchair. You don't understand why, until you get out of the theater, and are put through an exit corridor just as un-navigable as the entrance queue. Jenny and I are both amazed and appalled Disney would have an entrance designed that way. Considering the space used to be a theater and hydrolators, the queue was designed post-nemo. There is no excuse.

Epcot, The Seas with Nemo and Friends
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We stop in at Art of Disney, where Miss Marie buys Jenny and me one of the medallions as souvenirs of the trip. The small dioramas are pretty cool. Not a child's toy, lol. If you haven't seen them yet, stop in an Art of Disney...

We are going to leave, but think about food. We decide to go back to Sunshine Seasons for dinner, so we go back to the Land before we depart. The food is not quite up to normal standards for Sunshine Seasons, but to be fair, turnover isn't very good, and the place is almost empty. Why would you eat at Sunshine Seasons when all of World Showcase is Food & Wine?

We actually depart about 4pm, we have to return the scooter by 6pm, and Jenny and I have a MNSSHP tonight. I did have the option of buying Mom a full price ticket to the event tonight, but she doesn't want to go, and will probably be asleep in a couple of hours.

We're by the Fountain of Nations, and stop to see if a sequence will start. Mom doesn't realize she's still holding the movement lever a little (she's looking at the fountain), and slowly runs over my foot. Again. Only I find it hurts more when you run over it slowly. sigh.

Our last act in Epcot is to get a picture out in front. We go back to SSR, and at least for Mom, this Disney World trip is over.

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But not for Jenny and me. Not yet, anyway.

We do some preliminary packing, doing the major things that we won't want to do tomorrow morning, freeze some water bottles for the trip home, etc. The trip is winding down, but we have a last shot of doing Magic Kingdom, with the added bonus of a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party thrown in.

It's really Jenny and my celebration that we survived the week. :-)

We leave about 5:30pm, and I drive the scooter back to where we got it, right outside The Carriage House. Shut it off for the last time and take the key to bell services, who will hold it until Apple comes to pick it up. It's actually fun to drive, if you know how to drive. I could see renting two of these and having parking lot races...

I find Jenny is a closet pressed penny junkie (we all have our vices, it seems) and go into the lobby. While she's getting her pennies squished, she requests pictures of all the Disney horses in the TV area. Max is still missing. Get on it, Disney! :-)

This is one of the newer pressed penny machines, so instead of being completely mechanical with a handle, this one has electronics in it, with an electric motor that replaces arm power. Of course, Jenny breaks it. I finally get it to work, and have to go and get change for a dollar so she can get the other two. Sheesh.

Saratoga Springs Resort
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We go back to the bus stop, taking the stairs and walking through the pool area. We catch a bus to Magic Kingdom.

This is my third Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and it's probably my favorite hard ticket event at Magic Kingdom. It's Jenny's first. It's going to be cool (temp wise), and hopefully, not crowded. The last Halloween party I was at was one of those sweat sitting still hot parties.

We enter the park and get our wristband and our Lion King/Spooky Buddies branded trick or treat bag. We grab a couple of maps and head into the park. Jenny wants to absorb the ambience of Magic Kingdom in Halloween duds, so we walk around Town Square and look at the Halloween caricatures.

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party / Town Square
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We take a walk up Main Street, which has been in operation for 40 years and 1 day today. It doesn't look a day over 110. It's funny I only now notice all the pumpkins that line the second stories. They're on the pictures from our trip here two days ago. It's obvious with Mom here, the focus of your attention isn't on the detail in the park. We walk around the hub to look at the Halloween statues of Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, where Disney is setting up for the Villains show, and we come across two rather lovely zombies. IMHO, they were the best in show.

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party / Main Street, Hub
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Also with Mom not here, we can think about other attractions we haven't done. Hmmm... What should be first... We're at a Halloween Party... How about... Haunted Mansion! That was a difficult choice...

We go through the cemetery, and just about get to the doors when we're stopped, so I finally get video of Leona's headstone. (Video is 3MB.) Interesting to note, I videoed a couple of segments in the attraction, the ballroom and the final ghost that follows you home scenes. The ballroom turned out okay. The ghost scene had the ghost and the effects much brighter than you and the doom buggy. So I still suspect the new effects are from a video screen of some sort. In any event, we both have our heads blown off this time. We exit Haunted Mansion, and find Jenny has never seen the Pet Cemetery. Doesn't anyone pay attention to the post show? :-)

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party / Haunted Mansion
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From Haunted Mansion, we move on over to Pirates. There is a line 50 feet long for some reason, and I never see the reason. Pirates is a walk on. I Disney wave to the CM in the control booth above and she waves back. I think the fog projection screen has been changed from Davy Jones to Blackbeard, but an empty boat in front of us is a slow moving boat, and we aren't far enough back for the effect to reset. We catch up to the slow moving boat, and are brought to a jerking stop at the falls, when the system deems the boats are too close together. Then, we sit back and watch some pirates pillage a town. I'm surprised Jenny isn't tired of me parroting the dialog on all the attractions, I'm sure she gets tired of it. "We want the redhead!" Sorry, there I go again... Outside, is a Trick or Treat station, and the party officially started when we went into Pirates. So we get in line, which moves quickly, and get some treats. As we exit, we notice that long line with no reason was for a Jack Sparrow meet 'n greet. Poor Hook... He's no longer the favored pirate...

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
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Big Thunder? Sure! We're off to the wildest mine car ride in the West, and we're sidetracked by The Candy Patch by Splash. We get in a line, and we hear 40 minutes. It turns out we're in a line to meet Snow and the Dwarfs. Wrong line. And we're going to go on Big Thunder, so as long as we're by the bathrooms...

After preparing our bladders for Big Thunder Mountain, we find the candy line. They are using the Splash Mountain queue as a trick or treat queue, so you take a circuitous route. At one point, you can turn left or right at a "T", doesn't matter which way you turn, you pass through 3 trick or treat stations. Payment for this? You're funneled through the Splash Mountain Gift Shop. We turn right.

Big Thunder is better at night. It just is. We thread through the queue, which would be a nightmare if the scooter was along, and the CM at the load platform sez "Anywhere you want!" We choose the last car. There are so few guests here right now we probably could have ridden again, but we get off.

On the way out, we decide to go though the candy patch again, only turn left this time. So we hit all six trick or treat stations in Splash.

It's 8pm, and the parade starts at 8:15. Okay, so it's 15 minutes before the parade. If this was one of the past couple of Christmas Parties, the only spots we'd get are the ones that you can only see the tops of the floats.

We find a family that's going to sit on a step and not stand up, so we get behind them. The father (maybe an uncle?) remarks on the trick or treat bag and didn't know you could get goodies, even though he was given a bag...

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party / Boo To You Halloween Parade
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What is probably my favorite parade dances (and slithers) past, and we head over to the other side of the park. We cut through the bathroom connector between Frontierland and Adventureland, and come across a woman with child asking where the trick-or-treat places are. She has a map in her hand. I try not to judge. I tell her how to find them, and just go to Jungle Cruise and Pirates, you can't miss 'em.

We're stopped at Main Street because of the parade, still making its way to Town Square. Here, I come across a remarkable sight. An SG has a big 10" tablet, and is either recording or sending the parade, and has a DSLR strapped around her neck and once in a while takes stills of the parade. I have to say, that's a first. I'll bet she's real popular on dark rides.

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
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We have 40 minutes until the fireworks, so we head over to Buzz. Now, every time we've gone on Buzz, I've beaten her (and have always mentioned it in a trip report,) so I'm handicapped, and can only use my left hand. A gentleman as always, I let her in the space vehicle first. I win. I neglected to take down the score. I didn't think it was important.

Suddenly we are on Buzz again, only now, not only do I have to use my left hand, but can't use my thumb to fire the blaster. I also have to get in first, and Jenny controls the vehicle. Midway through the ride (in the red spinning light room), I am winning, and Jenny says something's unfair. Eventually, I lose 90,500 to 152,700.

Back to Main Street for the Fireworks. There's a photopass photographer (a real one), and I have a picture taken with my camera, and one through the photopass system. I have to say, photopass photographers leave a little to be desired. Between the photopass pics and the pics from my G12, half the time I'm choosing the pics from my G12. In this instance, the photopass camera moved, so the castle is smeared. Jenny and I are okay, since we're caught by the flash, but how does a DSLR on a tripod move, while a handheld point and shoot get the shot sharp? (Although with a little exposure problem due to the built in flash. I should have changed the setting to a slow sync...)

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
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I was rained out of the fireworks all last trip, and this was the only night we'd actually be in the parks to see a display, so we're going to get a good spot. We're up between Casey's and Partners, in the middle of main street, so we can see the perimeter fireworks. There's literally 15 feet of empty space in front of us. How different from the Christmas Party last December when was ultra-crowded and we couldn't even make it to Main Street from Frontierland for Holiday Wishes. It's getting cool. How about that. The wind isn't blowing very hard, but it is from left to right, a rarity. (Though it did the same in May when I was here.)

Instead of Jiminy Cricket presenting Wishes, it is your Ghost Host, and instead of your favorite Disney Characters, the 999 happy haunts and the Disney Villains all show up for the show. Same movies, different music. :-)

Though I don't tape the show, I'm forced to turn the camera on and take some pictures of the finale. Ah, no one does fireworks like Disney...

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party / Hallowishes
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The fireworks done, we go back into Tomorrowland, and I offer to make it best two of three, and we're in the line for Buzz again.

Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
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With the fireworks over, the almost walk- on becomes a walk as they open up more lines in the queues, and for some reason the line isn't moving. Not a good sign for a continuous load ride.

Just as I suspect Jenny has broken Buzz, we start moving. Complaining my left hand is tired, I am allowed to use my right hand, but cannot use my thumb to fire the weapon. I also have to get in first (I'm not sure why that would be a disadvantage, but there you are), and Jenny controls the vehicle.

I win 45,600 to 40,700. I escape with my male ego intact. I'm glad we haven't gone on Toy Story yet, I can see a time when I have to tie the rope to my floppy green hat and have to move my head back and forth to fire the gun, and I can only aim with my knees...

As we pass by the Teacups, I mention that's probably a ride I'll never be on, since everyone I know has an inner ear problem. Suddenly, I'm on the teacups, and find it doesn't take much to get those things up to high-G speeds. Just as I'm about to reverse the direction of spin, the ride slows and locks the vehicle. It's a good thing the path around the teacups curves to the right, because that's how I was walking...

Pooh is almost a walk-on, so we take a bounce around the 100-acre woods in our honeypot. (Where else can you say that without getting arrested?) And while it's not really late, we're both very tired (you know us old guys) and decide to find one more trick-or-treat station and leave. Back by Pinocchio's, there was a Werther's Trick-or-Treat station, and am given a handful of Werther's hard caramels. Just like the ones I bought in Epcot earlier today... sigh.

I remember going around the Castle's moat, but I don't even remember going down Main Street. I'm tired, and lost in thought.

It's been a good trip. Mom did a whole lot better than I thought she would, and what kid doesn't feel good doing something special for Mom or Dad? The weather might have been a little warm, but otherwise it was perfect.

I saw a lot of Magic this week. It wasn't the kind I usually think of as Magic. It was the attention and politeness shown to an old lady who probably didn't think such things existed anymore. You can say service has slacked off at the World, but they still have it where it counts. And then, there's something about sharing the magic that is Disney World with someone else.

Things just worked out this trip. What more could I ask for?

We leave Magic Kingdom, something tells me to turn around. There's a lit Mickey Pumpkin winking at me, the train station is bathed in blue, and there's a sign:

"Let the Memories Begin!"

They already have.

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End September 2011 Trip Report - Part 7.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

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