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Topic: Tues. 4/22/03: If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Epcot, Pt. 6: 3 Parks In 1 Day, Then On Our Way< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

RichKoster Offline


Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Posts: 5119
Joined: Aug. 2001
Posted: May 04, 2003 9:06 am/pm Quote

Tuesday, 4/22/03: 3 Parks In One Day, Then We're On Our Way!

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Disney's Animal Kingdom... and Epcot's Future World... and Epcot's World Showcase... and the Magic Kingdom... and, oh no! We've got to go!

It must have been that we got a bit crazy from having one last day at WDW before heading to nearby Ocala that night for a short beginning to our long drive home, but today we all decided to do one ride at DAK, more attractions at Future World and World Showcase at Epcot, as well as ending the day with a picture on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom and some rides there. As King Louie would say, "Crazy, man!"

Happy birthday, Disney's Animal Kingdom!

We were at Disney's Animal Kingdom bright and early on Tuesday, April 22nd for Earth Day and that park's 5th anniversary. Right after we had our bags inspected we each picked up free Earth Day buttons that were left out for all of us on a table nearby. Everyone who entered the park that day got commemorative Earth Day Environmentality buttons with Jiminy Cricket on them. Carol & Michael wore theirs all day, even when we went to the other parks.

After a quick bathroom break before going through the turnstyles, who should appear but Rafiki, "monkey"ing around with Michael! I grabbed my camcorder and got a lot of his antics on tape and then we all headed over to line up nearby and take pictures with Rafiki, Baloo, and Pluto while getting their autographs. Just as we finished, the camcorder informed me that its cassette had reached its end. Oh, no! I had tried to travel a bit too light that morning, leaving the other blank tapes back in the van. So, I jogged quickly back to our Minnie-van in the DAK parking lot to change tapes.

On my way back I heard Mickey Mouse - - but it was Pal Mickey clipped to the shoulder strap of a Guest heading towards the entrance of the park. Cool! Someone got their own Pal Mickey already. Perhaps this was a media person who got one before regular Guests were able to get them, because there was a big media event going on that day at WDW, starting at DAK in the morning.

I trudged back to the entrance and found Carol and Michael waiting for me to return, and then we finally headed through the turnstyles. Far from being like the "rope drop" at Magic Kingdom, this certainly wasn't turning out to be a very quick start to our day at Disney's Animal Kingdom!

New Things For The Press To See,
Meanwhile We Are In A Tree!

As we walked along the path to the right of the entrance we stopped for a bit and gawked at a caged spider on display at a Kids' Discovery area. Heading towards Discovery Island, we saw a makeshift stage with a great view of the Tree of Life behind it. Reporters and photographers were in place there for that day's media event, but we kept walking and didn't stop. Instead, we explored inside the Tree of Life ( first time for us! ) and saw It's Tough To Be A Bug while that day's announcements to the press were going on. We had not gone into ITTBAB on previous trips because Michael would have been too scared of the great effects in that attraction when he was younger. We all think ITTBAB is Disney's best 3D movie show.

After ITTBAB we headed back towards the entrance to the park and had a CM take a picture of the 3 of us in front of the Tree of Life. We saw a reporter just finishing a cell phone call nearby, and heard her reporting back to the newsroom about the media presentation that had just ended there. She filled us in about the announcements of the Expedition EVEREST/Abominable Snowman-themed $100 million roller coaster for that park set to open in 2006, the new Mission Space attraction for EPCOT and the announced opening of half of WDW's Pop Century Resort for December 2003.

"Hello, I must be going" or "Let's bug out of here!"

All we had wanted to see at Disney's Animal Kingdom that day was It's Tough To Be A Bug and we still wanted to pack in two more parks before leaving for home. So now that we had seen and enjoyed ITTBAB we were ready to leave DAK and head to Epcot. But as we started walking towards the exit, we were surprised to be told by a CM that we couldn't go out that way, due to the large crowd of media people blocking the normal entrance/exit area. Instead, we were directed to walk through Dinoland to exit.

So, we turned around and headed towards Dinoland, then took just a quick bathroom break and picked up a Sprite from a just-opened Flame Tree Barbecue, where the aroma of Memphis-style barbecue smelled very appetizing. As we walked past Dinoland USA we saw a few temporary signs directing us to the park exit but never found the way out, instead we came to a dead end at the Dinosaur attraction. We didn't want to end up like the dinosaurs, so we checked with some CMs outside the attraction and explained how we were told to walk this way to exit the park. They called for someone else to help us and after about five minutes a CM manager arrived to escort us out.

Here's something you don't see every day... the backside of DAK!

He brought us to a very large gate (which is seen just before arriving at the Dinosaur attraction) and then asked us to stay there just for a minute while he checked backstage. After he made sure there wasn't anything that might spoil the Magic for our son and warning us not to take any pictures, he let us through the gate to backstage. We only saw a "cartoonasaur" dinosaur walk-around going into one of the trailers that are back there and no other characters. Backstage was arranged very nicely, clean as can be, with potted plants forming the boundary line along the road from the gate at Dinoland to the other gate he brought us to. We thanked the CM, went through that gate, and found ourselves very near the park entrance.

Doctor Doolittle talked with the animals, but we talked with a tree!

Once outside when we were in the entry plaza, a tree talked to us. His name is Wes Palm and he is able to move about and approach you, because his roots are planted in a wheeled box which he's somehow able to control. I wonder how much sap he gets to the gallon?
We had a lot of fun talking with him and taking pictures. It was quite funny when Wes called a girl's dad her "grandfather," then when told he wasn't her grandfather he apologized and called him great-grandfather, explaining he sometimes gets generations wrong. I guess he has trouble with family trees.

Huh? You mean this is our last day?!?!? We want to see more!

So while other people are walking into Disney's Animal Kingdom, we're walking back to our van in the parking lot. Here it was, the last day of our trip and we hadn't been able to fit in Epcot yet the whole time we were at WDW - - plus we needed to get a photo of us in the Magic Kingdom on Main Street USA with the castle behind us. It had taken longer than we expected to leave DAK because of the problems we had getting escorted out, but it was an unexpected bit of Disney Magic to see some of DAK's backstage area. Now we were back in our Minnie-van driving over to Epcot.

Epcot, or "Around the (Future) World (and World Showcase) in a Half-Day"

We found that Epcot's parking lot wasn't very full and we happy to get a rather close spot to park so we didn't have very far to walk. After another bag check by security, we got out our trusty Annual Passes once again and this time headed through the Epcot turnstyles.

First stop: Spaceship Earth. We were racing time to see three parks in one day before we left, but we wanted to see Spaceship Earth again before it got turned into a time racers attraction. The line took only about 10 minutes and then we were in refreshing air conditioning again. Michael was unsure about riding, but we comforted him by telling him what we remembered about it from years ago when we last rode it. He was still apprehensive, though, and it didn't help things when the attraction stopped twice while we were on it. The first time the ride halted and the narration came to a stop, Carol and I took the opportunity to calm Michael's fears by telling him all about early paper-making techniques while we watched the Egyptian man pounding papyrus into paper over and over again. The second time the ride stopped we were heading back down, leaned back at a steep angle watching the endless loop of the virtual classroom of the future so we chatted for a while, asking Michael if he'd rather go to school at a place like that rather than in his own school at home.

When we exited Spaceship Earth, we played for a while in the communications area. We enjoyed the Alice in Wonderland booth, complete with the cast of the still-remembed (and missed) Disney Channel cast. We had a bit of trouble with the programming in trying to tell it which direction the story should take. Sometimes it thought we had said something other than we had answered. Outside the booth, Michael tried to add a digital picture of his face to the tree, but it never appeared so we left.

Mission Space and Test Track: Couldn't ride either of them

Heading over towards Test Track, we saw Mission Space and were very impressed with its exterior. It was still roped off, however, so we couldn't get to close much less ride on it. We did see media folks being let inside to look around, though.

We had wanted to ride Test Track, but no Fastpasses were left for the whole day and the standby line was too long, so we gave up on that idea.

That's life!

Next we all enjoyed the Wonders of Life, which Michael had never seen before. He wasn't up for Body Wars so none of us did it. But we all saw Cranium Command, played around with the Audio Antics (where one set of headphones was busted), and introduced Michael to the wonders of life found in the Making of Me film. He was very interested in this!


Our stomachs were growling, so we ate lunch in the Electric Umbrella. Michael wanted cheese pizza, I wanted a burger, and Carol wanted pasta salad. I bought a kids meal cheeseburger - which I ate, an adult-sized individual pizza - which Michael ate most of but Carol and I finished, and Carol's sald.

How about a drink?

We passed by the fountain while it was dancing to the music of its water show and entered Ice Station Cool - a first for all of us. Yes, that Beverly drink is amazingly bad. Maybe if it had a shot of liquor or something...

We found Disney Magic in World Showcase

On our "must-sees" was American Adventure, so we started heading that way going counter-clockwise, with Canada first. We got out the very old passport we had been given many years ago (how long ago? Well, it said "Epcot Center" on it...) and Michael enjoyed entering each country as we walked along and getting it stamped by the Cast Members, as well as putting the printed stamps it came with on each page.

In the shop in Canada, Michael got his first taste of the kids activities at Epcot, and started making a mask and having it stamped as well as his passport. A very friendly CM saw my red "Guest of Honor" pin on my hat and thought it looked like the "today's my birthday" pin some people get, so he wished me a happy birthday. I didn't know how he knew we were there at WDW celebrating my birthday a few weeks early, and he explained about mistaking the GoH badge for a birthday badge. But he said it must have been a bit of Disney Magic that it turned out we were celebrating my birthday after all.
He then got on the phone and surprise, surprise, but Goofy wanted to talk to me - - and the Goofster wished me a happy birthday, too.

We wound up stopping in each country to get the passport and mask stamped.

In Great Britain, Michael didn't want to meet Mary Poppins, but we did!

In Morocco we even paid a visit to see Genie from Aladdin.

Michael wondered how long it would take him to do book reports on all the books that were in there.

We enjoyed seeing Miyuki make candy animals in Japan. "Free candy!" "Alligator! Alligator!" "Scary teeth! Scary teeth!"

But wait! There's more (magic)...

When we got to the American Adventure, there was more unexpected Disney Magic to come...

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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RichKoster Offline


Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Posts: 5119
Joined: Aug. 2001
Posted: July 05, 2003 2:59 am/pm Quote

It certainly was an American Adventure!

As we entered the American Adventure attraction, the American Vybe singers had already started their performance in the rotunda. Michael found a spot no one had taken right up in the front, sitting on the floor. We sat on the floor a little bit behind him and to the left. And then more Disney Magic started as they began to sing "Honeysuckle Rose"...

Michael was noticed by the singers...

and crooned to. Later he was picked to dance! The audience applauded when he got picked because they remembered how cute he looked when the blonde singer waved at him as she sang and because the previous two men that had been asked to dance were too shy and didn't want to get up.

Michael happily danced when asked, though!

We were lucky to get it all on tape. I have always liked this group and was recording as soon as we sat down.

Just look at the smile on Michael's face as they finished their dance. But that wasn't the end...

Michael got more attention from her as she continued to sing.

And then they were joined by the other women singers, too!

They even put his hat back on for him...

...and continued to give him extra attention as they sang.

He got so much attention from them that his hat slipped off...

So they helped him put it back on once again.

By the time the song ended...

...Michael was feeling embarrassed,

...and ready to return to his seat!

Or better yet...

...sit next to Mama for protection from those wild women!

Michael said it was kind of embarrassing...

...but fun, too!

American Vybe was joined by Voices of Liberty standing around the second level of the rotunda for the rousing finale.

When their act was over and the audience was applauding, one of the singers came over to Michael again...

...and thanked him for "saving the show!"

That was the highlight of our trip for me. It truly was a large helping of Disney Magic.

The magic continued when we got our seats for the American Adventure show itself. The theater was about one-half to two-thirds full, with the middle of the theater packed. Michael's guardian angel was looking out for him that day not only for having been picked to participate in the pre-show but also because the two seats directly in front of him were empty - - so he had a great, unobstructed view of the show.

Since this would be Michael's first time seeing the American Adventure, we had made sure to see the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents first before coming to Epcot on this trip so that Michael would see both shows, but see the American Adventure last, because it is better. I broke my own record for when I started to cry during the show: this time it was right at the beginning show when Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were talking about freedom and liberty. Those are two things we all cherish even more these days.

Michael is a big fan of "Liberty's Kids" on PBS and the Davy Crockett movie and TV episodes. He loved his first viewing of the American Adventure and Carol & I loved it as we always do.

When we left the building, we needed to get over to the Magic Kingdom. Instead of backtracking through the World Showcase countries we had already seen, we decided to walk past the other ones, finishing up all the countries there. Well, Michael had never been old enough to appreciate World Showcase before, so we didn't want to hurry him too much, even though we didn't stop to see any more of the shows and exhibits. We all decided to just stay in each country long enough to complete the stamping of his Epcot passport at the rest of the countries.

So Italy didn't take very long, but Germany had that great model train exhibit outdoors, which all of us wanted to see. And we spent some time pushing the buttons to make the miniatures work, and watched the train go around, over bridges, and through tunnels.

China was still in the process of getting its updated movie, so we weren't tempted to linger there after Michael got his passport and mask stamped.

But then we came to Norway. And the viking ship play area. You can guess what happened! Michael took his first look at the ship and wanted to spend some time playing there. Eventually after he had quite a lot of fun and got a bit overheated we were able to convince him that it was time to move on.

At Mexico, Carol and I would have loved to have gotten a margarita or cold beers at its outdoor food area, but we wanted to get to the Magic Kingdom that day before we started our journey home, and Michael needed one last stamp on his world passport. So we listened to the mariachi band as we made our way around them and into the pavillion, down the ramp to the eternally-nighttime marketplace where we found the Kid Stop for getting the mask and passport stamped. There were a lot of kids at the tables there and only one CM, so it took a while. Michael added more artwork to his mask while waiting for her to be able to get to him with the stamp. At last he had both his passport and mask stamped, completing our world tour! So out we went, heading to the main Epcot exit gate.

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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RichKoster Offline


Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Posts: 5119
Joined: Aug. 2001
Posted: July 05, 2003 3:25 am/pm Quote

Each of us made sure to get our hand stamp before exiting Epcot, even though that's not really needed with our Annual Passes. Some traditions are hard to break, and we didn't want to break that tradition anyway!

Our Minnie-van was parked close to the exit, but the monorail station was even closer and tempted us with the lure of another ride before we left for home. Although we could have driven our van to the Magic Kingdom's parking lot and then entered the park after taking a monorail or ferry, this nearby monorail won out.

So, off we went speeding along the monorail track to the TTC, leaving our van behind to wait for us to return to Epcot's parking lot. At the TTC we realized we hadn't taken a ride on the ferry yet this trip, so instead of taking another monorail to the Magic Kingdom, down we went to the ferry.

There was construction going on at the ferry landing and at first we thought the ferry wasn't running at all. We waited there a bit and almost left to head back to the monorail, but I saw a Cast Member and asked them about it. She explained that the normal ferry landing was under construction, but we should wait there and then the next ferry would dock right next to that area. We'd then be let across a pier to board the boat after the passengers on the ferry exited. With that straightened out, the ferry soon appeared and we were able to board it and be on our way.

The setting sun was casting long shadows as Cinderella Castle's spires lured us closer and closer to our favorite park.

Michael had the bright idea for us to get a better view from the upper deck of the ferry, and we found a great spot near the bridge where we could see the captain at the helm.

Everybody waved as the other ferryboat passed us...

...and Michael serenaded us with a song he made up on the spot about the Polynesian Resort. We weren't gone from WDW yet and already we missed our stay there and the great room we had!

The ferry continued on and the castle got closer and closer.

Space Mountain looked especially handsome as the sun got lower and lower in the sky.

Turning to our right, we saw the Contemporary Resort and remembered the great views we had in its tower when we stayed there on other trips. We all wanted to stay there again, too.

A monorail crossed our path as we got closer to the ferryboat dock.

And then we heard the bell clang on the steam engine as the train pulled into the station.

All forms of transportation appearing at once as we got ready to disembark the ferryboat.

The boat docked smoothly and we made our way down the stairs and then stepped off, heading to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.

It was too late in the afternoon for the Disney photographers to be on Main Street USA, so we got a fellow Guest to take our picture in front of the castle. We walked around a bit, not wanting to leave even though we needed to be at the hotel we reserved for us that night in Ocala.

Michael wanted to ride Splash Mountain so we mosied on over to Frontierland. When we got there, the Fastpass tickets being given out would come due way too late in the night for us, and the standby line had too long a wait as well so we opted not to ride. It had been quite a while since we had lunch and we all were hungry, so we headed into the Pecos Bill Cafe. It took a very long time to order our food there and we were starved when we got it. The place was packed as usual, but Michael and Carol had found us a table while I was getting the food for us.

After eating, we headed through Fantasyland and made our penny wishes in Cinderella's fountain behind the castle, then took one last walk through the castle, heading out of the park.

There sure were a lot of Guests at the hub and along Main Street... Oh, no! We had stayed so late it was almost time for SpectroMagic. Moving along the crowded sidewalk on the right side of the hub, approaching Casey's Corner, we were told by a crowd control Cast Member that we couldn't go any further on that side of the street - - it was one-way only towards the castle. We turned around, since we couldn't cross the street there, and walked around until we were on the other side of the hub, still on the sidewalk.

Now the parade was starting to go by, and the crowd was really thick! We slowly squeezed past people, going single-file and holding each other's hands as we went so we'd stay together, trying to get to Main Street USA. But it was too crowded to keep going that way, so I led us across the bridge to Tomorrowland. I figured we'd take the back way, through the The Plaza Pavilion and past the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, then make our way through the shops on that side of Main Street USA.

But as we got near the ice cream parlor, the parade was ending. So, we had to join the crowd and walked towards the exit, right down the middle of Main Street USA. At the exit we got our hands stamped again, of course, and sadly made our way out. Instead of the ferryboat, we chose the monorail this time. It took us to the TTC where we walked to the other part of the station and took another monorail back to Epcot where our van was parked. We got one last look at Epcot, beautifully lit up at night, as the monorail took us through Future World on its way to the Epcot monorail station.

Getting back into our Minnie-van, we were sad to have to leave, but it was very late. We drove out of WDW and made it to Ocala around 11 pm, getting into our room very tired. The next morning we were far enough away from Disney World to not turn back for more playtime ;) but instead left in the morning and arrived home later that day.

It was such a fun trip, that it didn't take us long to want to make plans to go back. And so, that's why we returned in April - - and that will be another trip report I'll post here on the Disney Echo.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our trip.

Back to Part Five.

On to our June 2003 WDW trip in which we stay in a Fort Wilderness cabin and go to 3 days of D-MGM's Star Wars Weekends.

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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RichKoster Offline


Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Posts: 5119
Joined: Aug. 2001
Posted: July 05, 2003 8:27 am/pm Quote

On my way back I heard Mickey Mouse - - but it was Pal Mickey clipped to the shoulder strap of a Guest heading towards the entrance of the park. Cool! Someone got their own Pal Mickey already.

I saw and heard Pal Mickey in people's hands a few times when we were at Disney's Animal Kingdom. He had just become available that day for WDW Resort guests at Old Key West Resort and Wilderness Lodge. We were very lucky to have some time with Mickey on our trip, choosing to share the Magic Kingdom with him. I wrote a review of that experience which you can read here on the Disney Echo.

The first thing I did when we returned to WDW in June after getting situated in our Wilderness Cabin was to find Pal Mickey and buy him immediately. I remember it well... It was in the Disney-MGM Studios' Celebrity 5 & 10 on Hollywood Boulevard. I couldn't get Pal Mickey out of his box fast enough, I was so eager to hold him again... But that's a story for my next trip report!

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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3 replies since May 04, 2003 9:06 am/pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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