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August 21, 2008

Fay, Fay Go Away by Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Fay, Fay, Go Away!
By Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Tropical Storm Fay arrived in Orlando on Tuesday and must have liked it".because she decided to stall off the coast and stay for a while.

On Monday night guests received a phone call stating that, because of the storm, which was predicted to hit midday, all parks would be open at 8 a.m. the next day. We're staying at the Boardwalk Villas so I was able to get up early on Tuesday and walk to Hollywood Studios for the park opening.

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The front gates had the typical bottle-neck of guests trying to enter, but after an hour or so, the park really seemed to thin out. I was able to ride Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster, and Toy Story Mania - each twice - before I left and made my way to EPCOT.

Because we were within walking distance, we felt that if the storm intensified, we'd be able to make our way back to the Boardwalk area quickly. Also, we had hoped that the storm might afford a chance to ride some of the longer-wait time attraction - but it seems like a lot of other people had the same idea! Despite the storm, EPCOT was hopping with activity. When we arrived at about 11, the stand-by wait time for Soarin' was up to 70 minutes and Spaceship Earth was about 20 minutes. Because park of the attraction is outside, Test Track closes during inclement weather - with the bands of rain coming intermittently, we found the ride to be down several times during the day.

We used the opportunity to spend time exploring Innoventions (something we don't typically make much time to do, but found it very fun and entertaining). We went to a cute show called What's Your Problem which highlighted the uses of Velcro (okay, I know that doesn't sound entertaining, but it really was cute).

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Throughout the day we were met with downpours and then periods of no rain at all, huge wind gusts and then calm.

This was the case on Wednesday, too, as we made our way to the Magic Kingdom. Crowds had picked up again, and, although the park was definitely a lot less crowded than last week, waits for Splash Mountain and Space Mountain were about 30 minutes.

A cast member took our photo in front of Cinderella's Castle at 2 p.m. It is easy to see that the number of people in the park is a lot fewer than usual.

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I have to say that I've been very impressed by Disney on many levels during this storm. First, they were very proactive in keeping guests appraised of what they were going to do if the storm was severe, as well as what recreational options were available (the message was, "Safety first, we know you're on vacation and we want you to have fun.").

Second, every cast member I've approached with my "What if"" questions has been able to answer to my satisfaction. "What if the storm turns into a hurricane?" The answer was that parks would close, guests would stay at the resort, and food would be distributed to guests in the lobby." "What if the weather is so bad that we can't go to the parks?" A cast member told us that activities would be planned in the lobby and the community center all day - and, in fact, my kids took advantage of this by going to see a movie and playing Guitar Hero in the Beach Club Solarium.

Finally, I've been impressed that, each cast member we've encountered, clad in heavy-duty rain gear, has been cheery and helpful and unfazed by the weather. From the resort cast members, to those on attractions, to the custodial staff, around here they are working very hard to ensure it's business as usual.

So".Thursday is here".Day 3 of this storm and they are predicting two inches of rain today".and the Weather Channel predicts rain for the next several days. There is little of the typical hustle and bustle of the Boardwalk and with the heavy rains on the way for this morning.

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As for us, we've trading in attraction-hopping for some book reading (and some Disney Quest later on). We are very ready to Fay to go away!!

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About August 2008

This page contains all entries posted to AllEars® Team Blog in August 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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