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Keane's September/October 2012 "This Is Too Good To Pass Up" Trip Report - Part 5


The text of this trip report was posted to the Usenet group rec.arts.disney.parks on October 21, 2012. This is an expanded version with pictures. If you are reading this someplace else than rec.arts.disney.parks, or on my site keanespics.com, it was copied without my permission.

Storybook Circus
Storybook Circus...
Who: Me, Keane. Disney Junkie and obviously a glutton for punishment...
     Mom, aka "Miss Marie". Mobility impaired. Memory impaired, too.
     Jenny. Fellow Disney Junkie, and du...kind enough to help.
     Karen. My GPS. (A Garmin nuvi 1390)
What: An opportunistic trip to Walt Disney World.
Where: Walt Disney World, Art of Animation Resort, Little Mermaid Room.
Why: D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, D23's 2012 Sip & Scream, and a dinner in Great Movie Ride.
When: September 29 thru October 6, 2012

All Disclaimers from Part 1 still apply.
Thank you.

Day 4, Monday, Oct. 1
Magic Kingdom

Jenny has to run this morning. I offer to follow on the scooter but am rejected. After she gets back, she hoses off and we go out to breakfast. From there we will leave directly for Magic Kingdom.

There is an ambulance outside, which comes and leaves quickly. I never saw the reason it was there, but it's certainly a crappy way to start the day...

It's going to be another hot sticky day here in central Florida, well above the temperatures I was promised a week ago. Last October, we went into DHS to avoid the crowds at MK's 40th, this year we will go into MK to avoid the crowds at Epcot's 30th. Besides, Jenny and I were there yesterday, and will be there again in a couple of days...

I once again get the World of Flavors platter, mostly because the line for the normal breakfast bounty platter is too long. Upon inspection, if you take a bounty platter, remove the pork sausage, breakfast potatoes and pancakes, and replace it with Portuguese sausage, boiled red potatoes and naan bread, you have the same thing. Only the Pancake bounty platter is $8.79, and the World of Flavor platter is $7.59. There are other oddities, like drinks being more expensive here than in the parks. A $20+ bill for breakfast after TIW was common. If I start adding things up, free/package dining begins to make sense. That's a frightening thought.

After breakfast, we head on out to the bus stops. There's a crowd waiting for the bus, and one pulls up almost immediately. And we, being a scooter, are allowed on first, even though we pretty much arrived last. sigh. There is an inequity here that sometimes works in our favor.

Morning at AoA
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Magic Kingdom is pretty busy. Jenny goes through bag check, and I take Mom into Magic Kingdom. We fail to address where we're going to meet up, and I have to chase her down. We start a photopass in front of the train station, then head into Town Square. I take some pictures, one series as an experiment. We'll see if it works.

There is a crane behind the castle. It is hoisting a gondola with some guy in it. Interestingly enough, I complained about the very same thing last year, only on October 2, 2011 instead of October 1, 2012. It must have to do with the castle lights. The Ice Light netting is already up on the Castle. Almost that time of year.

Main Street U.S.A.
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We turn into Adventureland, ignoring the Corn Dog cart because we have early reservations at Boma tonight. There are construction walls up around Aladdin, but it isn't enough to close the ride. We do the Tiki room, mainly because it's Jenny's favorite, and we always do the Tiki Room. There is a family there, and the kid starts crying even before they wake up the birds. Does parent with crying child leave? No, they go to the back of the room, where you can still hear said child cry through the show. I think I'm right. Common courtesy is dead.

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We make our way out and over to Frontierland, where I find that the Country Bears are down. I'm not sure it's a scheduled refurbishment, but it's sad to see Grizzly Hall dark.

We pass Haunted Mansion, and there are construction walls around The Yankee Trader, and is taking a much larger footprint than it did before. On the other side of the Columbia Harbour House underpass are construction walls as well, and whatever they're replacing the Fantasyland Skyway Terminal with is moving along well.

Frontierland / Fantasyland
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New Fanasyland (Storybook Circus)

It still looks like Fantasyland until you get close to the Carousel. Then you notice the construction walls around what was Snow White are up, and there's a new gateway to Fantasyland 2, which abruptly angles off toward Tomorrowland because of even more construction walls. They are actively working on the area. May as well, the bare skeleton of the Mine Train ride is a very un-Disney-like and is clearly visible, and it does make one wonder what the new landscape will look like. Yes, I have seen the concept art, but the concept art for Art of Animation didn't do the real thing justice, ether.

I turn into the new Fantasyland for the first time, with construction walls on the left and the speedway on the right. You then come upon a grand entrance to Storybook Circus, with the twin Dumbos on the right, and construction walls on the left.

The place is pretty darned crowded. Jenny stays with Mom and I take a quick tour to take some pictures of what's open now.

There is a 50 minute standby time to Dumbo, so I can't actually get inside the tent to take pictures. There should be a "I promise not to ride, I just want to get some pictures" line.

The Barnstormer has been moved and lies about where Donald's boat used to be. Beyond that are the rest rooms, and the train station. On the other side of Dumbo and the Barnstormer is the "Big Top Souvenirs" gift shop, about the size of DHS. As you go further back into Storybook Circus, a water play area splits the traffic into two corridors between the Barnstormer and Big Top Souvenirs. At the very back is Pete's Silly Sideshow, where the new Meet 'n Greet will be. It was fenced off with mobile bush planters. Man, I thought those only existed in things like Roller Coaster Tycoon... And who's Pete? He was mentioned in the old Toontown, too.

To that point, I don't think I realized the size of the expansion. Pretty much all that is open now, is larger than the size of the old Toontown. That's not including the Dwarves' Mine Train, Ariel's ride or Beast's Castle. And all that area is in the fallout zone for Wishes. Could a new fireworks show be in the making? But I digress...

If you will note in the pictures, all the outdoor pics were sunny, or at least had blue skies. Not 12 minutes after entering Storybook Circus, it starts to rain. Not just any rain, but one of those August afternoon thunderstorms that you measure in gallons per square foot. (Yes, I know it was October.)

So where do the hundreds of guests go (even the ones playing in the water play area) when it rains? Three places. The first is a waiting area for the meet 'n greet, the second is the gift shop (mission accomplished, that's where we went) and the bathrooms. Don't go to the bathrooms, folks. They serve another unique purpose for which if you aren't participating in the unique purpose, you shouldn't be there.

Well, my work may not be done here, but neither is Fantasyland, and if we leave soon, a shower before Boma would be good. The rain lightens up a little, and a light bulb goes off in my head. The train! We could avoid walking though Tommorowland in the rain! Too bad light bulbs are generally dim during daylight.

We head toward the train station, it is lightly raining, and there's several dozen people trying to crowd under the bathroom awning. See above. I'm leading, as usual, and get to the train station... and... scooters riders have to transfer to a wheelchair. Huh?

Fantasyland / Storybook Circus
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Halfway through Tomorrowland, the monsoons start again, and any thought of staying in MK disappears. We stop in Merchants of Venus to avoid the rain, and park there for about 10 minutes. It slows again, and we walk through the rest of Tomorrowland and cut through the Terrace since it's covered.

Of course, the sun is out by the time we're halfway down Main Street, and the Dapper Dans are out. Catch their version of small world and Main Street Electric Parade if you can. It was... moving.

It is now more hot and humid than before, and we catch the bus back to AoA. On the way, I take pictures of a mini-van by a family that could be just a little over the edge. They missed putting Mickey's on the tires. If it is a permanent paint-job, at least they did a good job.

Exiting Magic Kingdom
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Dinner at Boma

Clean the ooze from this morning's adventures off and grab an hour of sleep. At 4pm, we load Mom and her walker into the car, and we're off to Animal Kingdom Lodge. Get to the guard house, he looks at my AoA key card, and says, "Dinner?"

Yes. And we pass. I drop them off at the entrance to Jambo house and go park the car. It is so humid, that my glasses fog up when I get out of the car. Nice. They were supposed to wait for me in the Lobby, and... they're not there. Okay, maybe they mis-understood and went downstairs. So I go downstairs. Nope. Go back upstairs. Nope. Maybe aliens kidnapped them. I go over to Victoria Falls, and look down the stairs, and there they are. Jenny makes some sort of excuse, but we finally check-in at 4:45 (right on time) and our buzzy-lightly thing soon goes lighty-buzzy.

Boma was... Boma. I even eat something green. And visit the desserts twice. I take food porn. Thoroughly stuffed, I get the car. I am going to take a picture of Jambo House, and I find the lens of the G1X is fogged over as well from the cold surface hitting the humid air. Okay, not this time. We are back to AoA by 6:30, and Mom calls it a night.

Animal Kingdom Lodge / Boma
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We wants the redhead! We wants the redhead!
The only semi-successful shot I got in Pirates...

Magic Kingdom. Again.

What to do? Should we go into Epcot and see the 30th anniversary of Illuminations? But we will be in Epcot in two days for the dessert party/Illuminations. Since tonight will be the only free night we have, we decide to go into Magic Kingdom instead. Besides, we have another mission in mind.

We walk to the bus stop and a bus comes in a few minutes. I have to admit, the bus service this trip has been pretty good. On the other hand, there's been at least once where we got on a bus because of the scooter, otherwise we would have been waiting for the next bus. I only remember that happening once. At other times, we may have gotten on the bus first, but arrived at such a time that we would have gotten on the first bus anyway. If it's really crowded, I'll go sit on the scooter to free up another seat. So we'd only take up 5 seats instead of 6... :-)

However this time, we're only taking up two, and we're inside the park in a half-hour. We go up Main Street, and head for the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square. I didn't get together with Lisa and Andy on the way down, but will definitely do it on the way home. It will be their mumbly-fourth anniversary. For laughs I looked it up in the room, and the gift for their year is "Groceries". My suggestion for a gift card at Kroger's is met with a stare from Jenny. I have a couple bags of potato chips and some cookies for Lisa, it will have to do...

Jenny sez Lisa likes Christmas stuff. A personalized ornament. Who am I to argue? The Kroger thing was shot down. Publix? I mean, I always give Christmas ornaments to people for their anniversary in October. I suppose you can make the argument that since Disney is getting ready for Christmas that it's okay... (Just a vain attempt to get back on-topic...)

We find a decent one with space for lettering, and take it to the personalization counter/cashier. It's the only one. There are two personalization counters during Christmas. The lady at the head of the line is buying a half-dozen ornaments, and has to have a public discussion with her friend about every decision one has to make. What do you want it to say, and how do you want it placed, the color of the ink, do you want little hearts or snowflakes... Then after the order is placed, the cashier has to run the order out to the personalizers, who are outside.

We are third in line. After Christmas by Committee is done, the next woman in line has two ornaments, but at least she has her act together.

We are next, and before she says anything I tell her yes, you have to run that out, we'll be here. And start the paperwork on the order form to save some time. She gets back, and does her thing, where the script should be placed, colors, etc. Jenny supplies all the details. I supply the credit card. There's some sort of inequity here, but if something goes wrong, I can always blame it on Jenny.

We are asked to double check everything, and we do. Being really smart people, we just have the ornament delivered to AoA. It will be there in two days. Hey, we won't have to come back and get it, right?

Even though we were third in line, we get out of the store in about 30 minutes. I can only imagine the madness during Christmas. I have mentioned in my previous trip reports about Days of Christmas during the Christmas season, having lines outside of the place just to get inside. Lines that wrapped around the building...

What to do. Big Thunder! They are setting up for the parade as we head toward Big Thunder. First time I've been on it since the refurb. There isn't really a line, it's just that long queue you have to walk through.

It does seem a little more lively, but there's so much detail and it goes by so quickly that you can never remember what's working and what wasn't. We get on the left side, and exit the right. And we do it again, only this time we get on the right and exit on the left. It was like a whole different ride! (No it wasn't.)

We decide twice is enough, and head toward Liberty Square, and the Parade has started. There is a clear path all the way along the Rivers of America, and instead of watching the parade, we walk onto Haunted Mansion. Hinges creaked in doorless chambers, candlelights flickered and ghosts practiced their terror with ghoulish delight. Sorta. I took video, and was surprised at the result. (See the Video Index for this trip report for the video.)

When we got out, we already couldn't get out to Main Street. We found a good place at the Liberty Square bridge where the CM didn't shoo us away, but it was a total bust, since the far fireworks were obscured by the tree. So if anyone tells you anyplace is okay for the fireworks, they're wrong...

We go back to Pirates, which was blocked by the parade before, and find the new camera cannot overcome the darkness and constant movement of the boat. Shucks...

I'm tired, we have a long day tomorrow, but of course we can't leave until we do Buzz. We do, and I'm not allowed to shoot through about 25% of the ride. This is unfair... :-)

We exit, and since the PeopleMover is right there, we get on. The parts inside space mountain is much more interesting at night, since you can actually see stuff. Like the lift hill. We are almost back at the load platform, and the ride is reset. Twice. The first was probably some idiot standing up. The second time was not so clear...

We have to do Buzz once again, just to even the score, but I once again lose. This is a first. I am sad. sniff.

As we leave the park, the water pageant is in front of MK, and I point out that the pageant was the inspiration for the Electrical Parade at Disneyland, so the MSEP essentially got started here in WDW. She is unimpressed, as she was at the same seminar I got the trivia from.

I need sleep.

Well, that's my excuse, and I'm stickin' to it.

Magic Kingdom at night
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End Sept 2012 Trip Report - Part 5.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

  • 11/08/2012 - Page Added
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2