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