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Keane's September/October 2012 "This Is Too Good To Pass Up" Trip Report - Part 8


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.

S&S Badge
D23's 2012 Sip & Scream Badge
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 6, Wednesday, Oct. 3
D23's 2012 Sip and Scream Event

Wake up about 7, and realize when I'm at Disney World I'd like 28 hour days. Just while I'm there.

Sip and Scream doesn't start until 10am, but it does start at 10am. A week ago weather.com said it'd be about 7 degrees cooler than it really is. And it's not a dry heat. In the afternoons it's not dry, period. But I digress.

We don't have time for the walk right now. We load Mom and her walker into the car and drive to Animation Hall. There is a Ford Expedition in one of the premo handicap spots in front of Animation Hall that's been there for at least three days. They could have moved the vehicle to another spot... I am sometimes astounded that all the handicap spots are taken, and mostly with some huge SUV. There were times I've had to stop and unload Jenny and Mom and go park the car, which is more of a pain and blocks traffic. But it's still waaaaay faster than doing the walk/scooter thing.

We're at the food court at 8:30, and the and I have the custom omelet with ham, swiss and mushrooms. It is actually very good, probably the best hot breakfast in the place. Of course I would find this out a couple of days before I leave.

We drive Mom back to her room, and will pick her up later for dinner. Jenny and I are going into Epcot. I move the phone off the table, which is behind the scooter, and move it onto the bed in easy reach for her, and copy the phone and room number down.

We're in a hurry, and we don't want to do the walk to the bus stops, so we drive to Epcot. Being in a hurry, I somehow miss a turn and end up in Animal Kingdom. Good if we were playing bus roulette, but we're not even in a bus. Serves me right for not having Karen on. We finally get to Epcot, and we park relatively close to the tram in Journey 8, but there is no tram, and walk to the entrance. It's a shorter walk than to the bus stops at AoA. (Yes, forever more I will compare distances to the walk to and from the bus stops at AoA.) Go through bag check, enter the park and do the walk to World Showplace, which I admit is waaaaay longer than walking to the bus stops at AoA. We get to World Showplace, and look. A line. But we're pre-registered, so we don't have to stand in it. Wishes really do come true here. We are settled in our seats by about 9:45.

We are in the East wing of World Showplace, and there are seats for maybe 250 people. Since the doors open directly to the outside, it's humid and stuffy in here. There's an enormous dehumidifier in the back to try to solve the problem. They're offering chilled water, coffee and tea in the back. The Main Hall is blocked off with a large curtain.

The agenda looks like this:

Opening with Steve Clark and Debbie Carlos
2012 Food And Wine Overview
Florida Beer Company
Florida Orange Grove Winery
Cat Cora
A Haunted Mansion overview

The event opens with Steve Clark and Debbie Carlos, welcoming the guests, describing the swag for S&S, and presenting an old Goofy cartoon, "Tomorrow We Diet". Perfect for Food and Wine, donchaknow.

D23's 2012 Sip & Scream Event, Opening
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2012 Food and Wine Overview

The first seminars by Chef Jens, Epcot Executive Chef; and Marianne Hunnel and Michael Jenner, creators of the Food & Wine.

They presented a new booth for 2012, a place called Terra, with a completely vegan offerings with fake chicken and beef. Jenny shudders. (See Jenny's Farm here.)

Another new marketplace is Florida Local, which has sustainable local Florida meat and produce, with beers and wines from the Florida Beer Company and the Florida Orange Grove Winery.

Some of the kiosks have been replaced and redesigned, growing from 10'x10' to 10'x16', which provides more room inside, and is able to throughput guests more rapidly.

Other new things were introduced, like From Bean to Bar, an exhibit from Ghirardelli about Chocolate, the wine shop and the merchandising in the Festival Center.

2012 Food and Wine Overview
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Florida Beer Company

Eulan Middlebrook and Tom Barris from the Florida Beer Company were next. They're really a number of small beer companies that were purchased and consolidated under the umbrella name Florida Beer Company.

They went through a beer school, appearance, aroma, taste, paring, etc. I don't know. You can try to take beer a far upscale as you'd like, but it's still beer. While I like craft brewers waaaay more than the commercial brews, beer is best ice cold on a hot, sweaty day. Then, there are brews like Arrogant Bastard Ale, one of the best brews I've had...

Florida Beer Company
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Florida Orange Grove Winery

The next seminar was Vincent Shook and his presentation on the Florida Orange Groves Winery, which is a coop between 35 different wineries across Florida. They don't make wines from grapes, but from fruits. Mango, cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, pineapple, and others.

He also related a tale about leaving a couple of wine bottles in his car during the heat of summer and they exploded. So, no, I'm not going to buy some for the trip home, but the cranberry intrigued me...

Florida Orange Grove Winery
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Cat Cora

The next session was a short session with Chef Cat Cora and Marianne Hunnel. She plugged her restaurant, her book, took questions about Iron Chef, what it was like to work with the Muppets. Celebrity Chefs. Sheesh.

Cat Cora
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Haunted Mansion Overview

The last seminar, was supposed to be by Jason Surrell, but he was called out of town and was replaced by Alex Wright and Jason Grandt. It started with a Donald Duck (and his nephews) cartoon from 1952 called "Trick or Treat".

Haunted Mansion was a departure from other Disney attractions in that HM is a invented attraction from start to finish. It is different from things like the Teacups or Dumbo, which is a standard ride with an overlay on it, or a dark ride like Peter Pan which is a "Book report" ride of an animated movie.

Pirates and small world fit into the category, but take cues from the real world. On the other hand, everything in Haunted Mansion is invented from start to finish.

They discussed the insertion of such things as the stairway room, where you'd be hard pressed to remember what was there. (A bunch of rubber spiders.) It was tested in a warehouse in Downtown Orlando, and Alex laughed everyday he'd pass the building, if people only knew what was going on inside...

They're trying to add more show value to the queue, whether it's something interactive, or adds another layer to the storyline.

The busts out front, is sort of a whodunit mystery. If you study the epitaphs and study the designs of the busts (sometimes 360 degrees), you can piece together what happened to all these unsavory characters and who did them in and why. Hmmm. Next time...

The Haunted Mansion
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Once the seminars were done, the curtain separating the East Hall from the Main Hall was moved back to reveal tables and two serving stations with some of the samples of the new dishes around the World Showcase.

I had the Trick'n Chick'n Curry with Basmati Rice, which was a completely vegan dish. Jenny refused to try it on principle, and called me a traitor when I got a dish of it. Note to Kitty: I have to admit, not all vegan stuff sucks. The Gardein Chick'n Breast (made from soy) was pretty darn good.

There was also a Florida Local Shrimp Ceviche, a Australian lamb rib chop topped with a basil sauce and potato chips, and Canadian beef tenderloin with mushroom gravy. I went back for seconds on the lamb, and by that time they were out of the shrimp ceviche, which with a little vodka, would make a pretty darn good Bloody Mary. Heh.

Also tried the Key Lime and Sangria wines from the Florida Orange Grove Winery. Both were sweet, and the Sangria won in our opinion.

Oh, and we were at a table so wobbly, that we almost had to coordinate cutting out food with a knife with the couple on the other side. Note to self, test table before putting your water bottle on it to reserve it.

Food Tasting
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We left the event, getting our swag bag on the way out, and started heading over toward the American Adventure. The World Showcase Players were starting up a King Arthur show. Jenny had never seen this show, so we stopped to watch. It was all rubbish, and after the show we spy a cup in Twinnings Tea that would be perfect for PiC for watching the cats. Better than perfect, since it was paid for with Disney Reward Dollars.

We made our way to the AA hospitality suite, which we have access to as part of Sip & Scream. As we leave the UK, I idly wonder what would happen if Julie Andrews showed up one day in a Poppins outfit and started signing autographs...

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American Adventure Presidential Suite

We get to the American Adventure and an AA CM in his new uniform is holding a red flashlight. You know, it's like a video game. Look for red flashlights, and it leads you to treasure.

While waiting for the elevator (which was outside to the right of the entrance, which leads me to believe it's the same elevator that takes scooters up to the second floor) we talk with the CM, and he tells us that the hospitality suite is frequently rented out for weddings because... wait for it... it actually has bathrooms. (Rather nice bathrooms, too, but I digress.) Thinking back on the Norway suite, I don't remember any. There might have been. He radios up to the hospitality suite that she has two live ones coming her way.

We push the button for the third floor, and are greeted by a CM at the Elevator. We ask how she got the Air Conditioned duty while the guy downstairs sweats, and she tells us they trade places every once in a while...

The AA suite is a very nice suite, and while I thought Norway's suite didn't match the pavilion at all, the AA suite could be right at home downstairs. A look out the window shows this might be a very nice place to watch Illuminations from, though the American Gardens Theater might block the view of the Earth Globe.

There are no refreshments to note, except for some chilled water and hard candies, so I take a tour around and photograph the place and we leave.

American Adventure Presidential Suite
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Took pictures of all of World Showcase Exteriors as we stroll toward the Festival Center (nee Wonders of Life), and Jenny stops in for some Tylenol at the First Aid station. Uh oh. She says it's nothing. We continue through Future World and find Test Track still has construction walls around it, we cannot use the area as a shortcut. The familiar sound of cars roaring past is missing. If I remember right, Test Track was supposed to reopen in September. It's now supposed to open in December. Shades of its original debut...

More Epcot
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Festival Center / Chase Hospitality Suite

We pass Mission:Spew, and arrive at the Festival Center. If you haven't heard, there's been a permit applied for that will do "selective" destruction at Wonders of Life. I wonder what they're going to do with the place. It seems to me they should renovate Odyssey as the Festival Center, since it's much closer to World Showcase, and replace Wonders of Life altogether.

I considered picking up some Cranberry or Sangria wines from the Florida Orange Grove Winery, but don't want exploding wine bottles in the car. We walk around to Bean to Bar, and got a milk chocolate caramel square for our troubles. Mmmmmm.... Walking around, I find the Chase Suite is in the back of the room, and since I haven't used my Disney card since I checked in, it's like the 6th card I pull out of the wallet I use while at WDW. There's my room card, my AP, Mom's MYW ticket, Triton's room card, my D23 card... I know it's in here someplace...

The suite is pretty small compared to the other two hospitality suites I've been in. However, this one has a real soda dispenser, and dispenses real Coke products. There is also water, coffee and tea available. It may not be as big at the AA suite we were just in, but it has more comfy seats.

Jenny is drinking a real coke. The one with calories. That should have been a tip off... She normally doesn't drink caloried drinks.

On the way out, we check the Chocolate Sculptures that various divisions in the World have put together. Freaking Amazing. There are obvious entries, like from Yacht and Beach Club and The Grand Floridian, but even Park Event Operations and Hollywood Studios did magnificent jobs. (The other two were from The Contemporary and The Boardwalk.)

On our way back to the parking lot, I see an Apple Scooter van. Truck. Anyway, it's big enough to hold about 6 (Maybe 12) scooters, and was in the Epcot parking lot. The Apple guy was showing some lady how to use the scooter. Maybe this is how they handle those day rentals...

There's actually a tram waiting, so we get on it and moments later boarding is stopped. We take it to the Journey/Amaze stop, and actually have to walk back a few rows to get to the car. It's 700 degrees in the car, I should have put up the sunshield. The machine gun in the back seat is stiff and straight. Hmmm... Maybe I should have put more air in it last night.

Festival Center (nee Wonders of Life)
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We drive back to resort, and the housekeeper has done my room, but not Mom's. The housekeeper who's done my room is down the corridor, and I find out it's not her room. Well, that's would explain things. She's calls the mousekeeper who does Mom's room, and she'll be right there. Three CM's show up, two are in training. Busy, busy, busy...

We rest an hour as I download and back up the pictures, then drive to the food court with mom for dinner. While we're eating, the weather rapidly deteriorates. Gorsh, I think I've seen this before. We finish up and I cleverly remember to pick up the ornament in Ink and Paint (the gift shop), and drive back to the room. I don't even think I used a handicap space. :-)

And it does start to rain. Hard. And Jenny admits she's not feeling well. I look at the radar on weather.com, and one frame there's nothing there, and the next frame there's a red spot right over us. Close Encounters type stuff.

Jenny is feeling bad enough that if it's raining she doesn't want to go, she won't be able to handle it. Even if we drive, the distance from the tram to France is a pretty long. In the end, I probably do the right thing and pack a little, then get some sleep. I still have to get up early and get Jenny to the airport, and I haven't gotten my beauty sleep in a while. Like in about 30 years. But I've had some long and fatiguing days in the past week. [Post-note: I will later find the dessert party is a bust because of the rain. It was held indoors in American Adventure, then everyone was rushed out to Italy for Illuminations.]

I think to check the ornament, and it's wrong. Instead of a 4, there's a 9. We checked the form when we ordered it, it was right. The personalizers screwed up. We do note, however, that any of the paperwork pertaining to the personalization is missing. I'm not sure I can get into Magic Kingdom to get it fixed, and even then I have no proof they were the ones that screwed it up.

sigh. I'll still give it to Lisa and tell her not to open it for 5 years. This stuff isn't supposed to happen at the happiest place on earth.
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End Sept 2012 Trip Report - Part 8.

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