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February 2008 Archives

February 4, 2008

Animal Kingdom Turns 10 in April! Part 3

This is the 3rd in a series of Blogs celebrating Animal Kingdom's 10th Anniversary in April.
Part 1 shared my original trip report from the Cast Previews.

Part 2 talked about A Wild Decade celebration by the wdwcelebrations.com team.

This blog shares Anita Answer's initial thoughts about Animal Kingdom, from 1998. She was able to visit Animal Kingdom as part of the WDW Resort Guest Special Previews.


March 23, 1998 -- Animal Kingdom at last!

I had originally planned to go to Animal Kingdom (AK) at opening (7 am!) but decided to sleep in for a little while instead. At last I'm on my way zipping down World Drive and then Buena Vista with the windows down and the radio going.

I pulled into the AK parking booth, and the CM asked to see my ticket. Apparently they're enforcing the "you must buy your ticket at your resort" rule. Once in the lot, the road circumvents the entire lot to the south and you pull into the rows from the opposite side of the lot. (Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?) None of the rows had been numbered yet, but the section signs were up. I knew I was in Unicorn, but didn't know the row--which is very dangerous in a rental car! I fished around in my backpack for a bandanna to tie on my antenna, but all I could come up with was a clothes pin. I was off to the tram. The tram lets you off about 50 feet from the entrance.

To the left is the Rainforest Cafe, complete with man-made waterfall. The entrance itself is reminiscent of Typhoon Lagoon. Once inside, I was trying to keep one eye on the map and one eye on all the wonderful scenery, and eventually, I had to give up on the map.

You enter into an area called "the Oasis" which is full of little paths, small animals, trickling brooks, etc. This opens up to Safari Village, sort of the Hub of AK. Safari Village is brightly painted and just gorgeous, but consists mostly of souvenir shops from what I could tell. Directly in front of me was the incredible Tree of Life. You can stand and look at that tree all day, and still see something new each time. Whoever designed it is a genius.

Off to the right is the path to DinoLand and Asia, which isn't open yet. I saw some of the construction of Asia from the boat ride and from the bridge leading to it--it's going to be breathtaking.

I took a right turn into DinoLand. The first thing you see is the Boneyard--this is going to be a fun place for kids! Lots of tubes, chutes, rope ladders, and hidey-holes. A seven year-old's dream playground. The Restaurantosaurus is off to the right (serves McDonald's foods.) The theming is really nifty--it looks just like a thrown-together basecamp for Paleontologists; right down to the Airstream trailer.

Countdown to Extinction (CTX) is directly ahead on the path. You enter through what looks like a museum. Some of the displays were not yet working, though. From there, you go into a room with a replica of a (whatever-saurus.) There's a preshow here, but the lines were so short, I never did catch it on any of my three rides on CTX. From there, you go down into the next pre-show area, where you are shown a short film which ostensibly explains about your time-travelling vehicle and where you're going. From there, you go to the loading area.

The vehicles are the same as the Indy ride at DL. In several spots, the ride is in pitch black, so I assume that some of the effects aren't running yet. The ride is mechanically better than Indy, but Indy's theming is MUCH better. Maybe CTX's theming will be better once it's 100% on line, but for now it's not as good.

From there, I went on the Safari Village-to-Africa portion of the River boat ride, which oddly loads from the edge of DinoLand. There are some very cool rock formations; my favorite of which was Crocodile Falls; followed by Dragon Rocks. I'm not sure why they put the two so close together as there isn't much else to see on the boat ride.

As you near Harambe, the African village, there are some geysers like those at Big Thunder Mountain RailRoad at the Magic Kingdom. Harambe's theming looks just like a backwater African village. Most of the village is, you guessed it, souvenir shops, but there's a wonderful restaurant called Tusker House. It's kind of hidden, so you have to look for the entrance. Tusker's has a great bakery that you can access from an outside queue as well. Try the chocolate chip cookies..mmmm.

In Harambe, you enter the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris (KS). The queue winds through the KS offices, complete with ringing phone, travel brochures, etc. The latter part of the queue sets up the lame-o poachers story via video. The safari is taken on large vehicles, which are free driving, not on a track. The "roads" are really cool--the truck tracks in the cement "mud" and even some rock paintings.

The landscaping is so incredible, it's hard to believe that two years ago this was just Florida swampland. They added hills, rocks and African foliage, and it all looks like it's been there for hundreds of years. I saw lots of animals, including giraffes, ostriches, elephants, vultures (!) and hippos on my first trip.

From the Safari, I went on the gorilla walk, which was very disappointing. Although the landscaping is breathtaking, I only saw one baby gorilla from the back and only for a fleeting second. Doh!

Next, I took the train to Conservation Station (CS) . The ride is very very boring, and Conservation Station is pretty boring as well. CS is like a very small Epcot pavilion with interactive kiosks. There is a small petting zoo with the obligatory baby goats, as well. I don't think I spent more than 5 minutes here before walking back to the train station for the return ride. I sure hope they plan on putting more attractions here, because if this is it, they're going to have a slew of cranky guests once the crowds and long lines descend!

I left Harambe, and followed the path from Africa to Asia. I stopped (yet again) to take a look at the Tree of Life from this side, and took some pictures. I had planned to hop the river boat Africa-to-Safari Village leg, but the ride was down, and no explanation was given.

Instead, I peeked at the construction going on in Asia, keeping one eye on the river boat queue house, which can be seen from the Asian bridge. I overheard two managers saying one of the boats was caught on something, and they were going to use another boat to get it free, so I figured that might take awhile and I gave up waiting around.

I decided to continue my loop of the park and headed back toward Dinoland, intending to ride Countdown to Extinction again. On the way, I spotted a beautifully painted restaurant on the banks of the river, which had carved stone animals and small ponds, waterfalls, etc. There were lots of outdoor tables so I strolled down by the water to sit and rest for a while. There, right in front of me was the stuck boat, and sure enough, another boat was ramming it over and over to get it unstuck. I watched until the boat was free at last, but they still didn't open the ride. I had just enough time to grab some popcorn and diet coke before I had to meet friends at the Tree of Life entrance.

I sat on a bench with my snack and a manager with a clipboard and a Newton asked if he could ask me some questions about the park. After he asked me the requisite questions, we chatted a bit about the park, and how wonderful this opportunity was to see it before it gets crowded. There is so much detail here--I was especially impressed with the mosaics inlaid in the sidewalks all over the park. The mosaic was the best part, IMO, of Conservation Station. The manager and I agreed that once this park filled up, no one would notice these little touches, and we were lucky to get to see them now.

I decided to see if I could get into the 1:00 Lion King show, and I almost did it...they closed the queue with only 3 people in front of me! Doh!

So, I investigated Camp Minnie-Mickey, which is very cute. It's themed like a national park a la the Wilderness Lodge. There are several character greeting areas and lots of colorful character statuettes around the area. I walked back over to Dinoland, and looked at the theming a bit more closely--still very cool! I rode CTX again, and then poked around in the shops. I played with some Dino Beanies in a giftshop, and then went to meet my friend.

My friend was waiting at the appointed place and after big hugs, we took the Safari, where we saw even more animals than I had seen earlier. We skipped the Gorilla Walk and strolled around Harambe. We took a few pictures and a passing cast member was kind enough to take our picture together.

After that, we took the now-open boat ride from Africa around to Safari Village/Dinoland. From the boat, you can get a really good look at the Asia construction going on. The boat Cast Member told us that they were going to start bringing small animals on board each boat for a bit of wildlife lore, since there really isn't much to see on the boat rides yet. The Africa-Safari Village leg had even less to see than the Safari Village - Africa side.

We debarked at Dinoland and rode CTX again. Afterwards, it was about 4:20, so we decided to see if we could get into the 4:30 show of Festival of the Lion King; the last show before the park closed at 5:00 pm. We got in with no trouble at all. The show was cute, but, hey--it's no Hunchback, ya know? ;-) all the costumes were there with the exception of 3 missing headdresses on various folks.

After the Festival of the Lion King show, the park was closing and they ushered us out of the park. We reluctantly walked back to the tram (especially me, because I knew I was headed for the airport. ;-( ) The tram took us back to our be-clothespinned vehicle, and away we went.


February 5, 2008

Spaceship Earth - Epcot

Tomorrow's child (Tomorrow's Child)
Gathering gifts from our past.
Tomorrow's child (Tomorrow's Child)
Shaping a world that will last...

Ah, that song brings back fond memories of Epcot's early days. I still vividly remember my first trip to Epcot in 1991.

It seemed that every attraction I entered included a song with a catchy tune that stayed with me.

I recall walking around Epcot singing tunes like:

One little spark, imagination...

The Universe of Energy.....

Tomorrow's Child......

When I returned home and one of those tunes popped into my head, it always brought a smile to my face.

It was with great anticipation that I rode the recently reopened Spaceship Earth, signature Icon of Epcot.

This is the type of attraction that I believe allowed the Disney theme parks to rise above the rest of the "amusement parks". It is storytelling and imagineering at its best.

As I've gotten older, I'm less than thrilled when attractions such as Mission Space open, but I realize not everyone is like me. For the parks to remain alive and vibrant, attractions must reach all ages. But, if I have my druthers, I'd rather see 2008 era enhancements like the Haunted Mansion just went through.. and yes, Spaceship Earth!

I had read that Emmy®-award winning composer Bruce Broughton conducted a 63-piece orchestra and 24-voice choir for a new musical score for Spaceship Earth. I was hoping that it would include a catchy tune that I could hum when I returned home... to remind me of my magical adventure in WDW.

I also read about Dame Judi Dench doing the new narration. And while I wasn't going to miss Jeremy Irons so much, I can still hear Walter Cronkite's words in my head. Yes, this is one of those attractions that has always held great memories and meaning for me.

The signage around the attraction is new, simple, futuristic, silver and blue.

Spaceship Earth Wait Time Sign

The entrance mural is the same. I wouldn't have minded a new mural but I enjoyed seeing the space shuttle and space walker once again.

The vehicles have not been changed, but each row has had a new flat screen added to it. This screen makes up the entire last half of the ride. It's still a little tough getting in and out of them. Not so much due to the moving platform, but the small width that the "door" opens to allow you to enter and exit the actual vehicle.


Spaceship Earth vehicle

Ah... as our time machine started up the incline, I began to immediately noticed changes. The scenery was cleaned up, repainted and oh my.... new things have been added. Right away I noticed subtle and not so subtle enhancements and they kept coming.... it seemed as though each scene had something new added. The new audio-animatronics are amazing, very realistic and really brought each area to life.

I must admit it was hard for me to focus on the narration because I was so involved in looking at all the new additions. Periodically I heard Dame Judi's voice, but my head was filled with thoughts of "WOW", "That's new", "How cool!", etc. Because of that, I can't really comment on the new narration.

As the time vehicle slowly ascended into the Spaceship Earth buildingI remembered thinking, I need to get right back on this so I could see everything again!!!! I was even more excited than when I saw all the wonderful enhancements at the Haunted Mansion.

Here are a few of the new scenes. (Please note these photos were taken with a Digital SLR camera and NO flash was used.)

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Can you see now why I was so excited about the changes and the new scenes? Even the ones that didn't change a bit, were touched up to become more, hmm... life like!

Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. At the height of the ride we did spend a fair amount of time looking at the star studded galaxy and the earth (always one of my favorite scenes). But the impact still isn't what it was with the powerful musical score of the Walter Cronkite narration days.

And then, our vehicles slowly rotated for the backwards descent. I had heard from many readers that the entire last portion of the ride focused around the video screen.

Indeed, the screen came on and we were asked questions about where we wanted to live, vacation preferences, etc. The photo that was taken of us near the beginning of the ride then became part of the cartoon. Our vehicle's photo was only of me, not the person riding with me, so the 2nd individual in my cartoon was just that, a cartoon face. I could see the vehicle in front of ours had 2 faces, so I guess our photo didn't turn out right.

After answering the questions, a short cartoon video plays. It was pretty funny, at least initially. I heard giggles from others around us, especially the kids.

But the more I watched the video screen, the more I started not feeling so good - I was getting queasy. I do suffer from motion sensitivity, but the slow ride backwards in Spaceship Earth never bothered me before. But now, concentrating on the screen in the vehicle, I quickly became nauseous. I tried looking up, but the row of lights tunnel we were passing through didn't help much. I just closed my eyes. Bummer, I thought to myself.

Wow, what a let down. I wasn't interested in jumping right back on. As outstanding as the first half of the ride was, the last half was equally disappointing.

I will return to enjoy all the new scenes and additions on a future trip, but I'll not be playing the computer quiz and watching the cartoon on the way down. If you have motion sensitivity issues, beware of this section of the ride. A friend who has epilepsy told me that the strands of lights in the descent tunnel were very bothersome to him.

To the imagineers who designed the first half of the ride, you did an incredible job! One I am sure Walt would be VERY proud of. In fact, you outdid yourselves. It reminded me of the first time I entered Epcot. I could see it over and over again.... and I left with the feeling of wanting to return immediately.

But whether it was a lack of money, or time, or this 50something baby boomer is just not "hip" anymore, I was disappointed in the ending. And that combined with the motion issues, will sadly remove Spaceship Earth from my "Must See Every Trip List".

Oh, and that musical score I was so anxious to hear....well sitting here a few days later, I can't remember one note of it. Quite honestly, it may have been because I was so focused on the new scenes. So to be fair, I'll pay more attention to both the music and narration on my next visit.

In the old A-E attraction ticket days, I would have rated the first half of Spaceship Earth a huge EEEEEEEE (the best). But the last half gets a generous B ticket.

Many thanks to AllEars blogger Lisa Berton for the inside photos of Spaceship Earth which appear in this blog.

Note: The Tomorrow's Child verse I started the blog with, used to be played during the ending of Spaceship Earth, as you were traveling backwards in the descent. It was several rehabs ago, so some of you may not recognize it.

To read other comments about the reopened Spaceship Earth, visit:

February 7, 2008

February WDW Trip Report Part 1, Friday 2/1/08

I just returned from a 4 night stay at Disney's Yacht Club and thought I'd blog about my trip.

I flew into Orlando late on Thursday evening. Friday was meeting day with two All Ears® advertisers. This is as good a time as any to talk about one of the questions I am often asked: "How do you choose your advertisers?"

Those of you, who have been with me since the good ole days, know that I didn't have any ads for the first 3 years. It was only when my ISP came to me and said... your traffic is slowing down the server you're on. You need your own server. Oh and by the way, what you are paying per year, you now will be paying per month. OUCH!

Since the beginning it has been VERY important to me to provide quality products and services to my readers. In fact, probably 90% of the folks that approach us to advertise never make it to the pages of the website or the newsletter.

For some advertisers, it's a long arduous process to be "approved". I want to make sure the businesses who advertise to my readers have the same standards of quality and customer service that I have. There are certain things I look for on their website and in their customer policies.

Depending on the service/product and whether it is an established company or not, determines how involved the approval process is. In fact, John of Owner's Locker wrote a blog about becoming an All Ears advertiser.

And after the deal is done, so to speak, our review of advertisers doesn't end. We "shop" our advertisers periodically. By "shop" I mean that someone I know will utilize the product or service and report back to me on the experience.

We all know that things can go wrong, that's part of life. But the important part is Customer Service. How is the problem or issue resolved?

It is very important to hear from All Ears readers about the advertisers on the website and in the All Ears newsletter. I want to hear the positive and the negative. Sometimes a company manager has no idea there are issues unless it is brought to their attention. They also, like to praise and possibly reward employees who do an outstanding job. Please use our contact form to let me know about any advertiser you have used!

Ok, back to the trip. On Friday, I met with 2 relatively new All Ears advertisers: Owners Locker and Buena Vista Scooters.

Owner's Locker - I have met owners Brian and John several times. What I like about these men is that they are always looking for new and creative ways to partner. And, most importantly, they offer a very unique product with superb customer service.

Deb and Owner's Locker

I began using my Owners Locker last fall and I now wonder how I managed with it out all this time!!! It is SO nice to not have to schlep items back and forth to Florida. In fact, I loved my first locker so much, I ordered a 2nd one.

So what's in my locker? One locker is filled with all types of All Ears items, from hats to buttons to lanyards to copies of PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line book I co-authored with Debra Martin Koma. I call this my "business" locker.

My other locker, the personal one, has all the things I use to pack each and every trip in either my carryon or suitcase...that now I don't have to! Some of the items include: ponchos, umbrella, sweatshirt, electric toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, multi-plug extension cord, phone charger, camera batteries and charger, coffee, Brita Water Filter and a lot of my non-perishable diabetic supplies. And that's just some of the items that fill my locker!

This was a follow-up meeting with John and Brian to see how things were going...provide feedback, them to me and me to them, and explore options for the future.

After my breakfast with John and Brian, I returned to my room at the Yacht Club to check email and get ready for my next meeting.


Next up was lunch with Bob and Chris from Buena Vista Scooters. If you've ever strolled down the Boardwalk (or stayed there) you have probably seen some of Buena Vista Scooters' products. They not only rent Surrey Bikes at the Boardwalk but also electric scooters and strollers as well.

I enjoyed talking with Bob and Chris and our discussions just solidified the positive feedback I have received about Buena Vista Scooters. It was great to meet them both in person.

Deb, Chris and Bob

After our meeting I went back to the room and caught up on email and voice mail messages.

Soon it was time to head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and dinner at Jiko with friends. It was a wonderful dinner with great conversation, wine and food. Nassar, our server, was outstanding as always and made excellent wine suggestions.

Chef Brian spent time talking with us. He has begun to make small changes to the menu at Jiko. Right now the changes are with similar foods but with a different twist. For instance, his new tuna appetizer was quite delicious. Tuna has been an appetizer since the restaurant opened but now, it is seared tuna. One of the flatbreads has changed as well.

Chef Brian also told us he is involved with the new restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani VIllage, which will be Indian cuisine.

As we neared the end of our evening, Jiko manager Jeremy came by and poured us a sample of MR; a superb red wine from South Africa. It is a blend of several wines and 2 wineries. It was outstanding! All too soon, our evening at Jiko came to an end.

Once back in my Yacht Club room, I went out on the balcony and took a photo of the view as I looked to the left.

View of the Boardwalk from my Yacht Club Room

Tomorrow, a special day with a special family.

February 9, 2008

February WDW Trip Report Part 2, Saturday 2/2/08

Saturday was spent with a family who I've known for several years. Bonny and Andrew have a special daughter named MJ who is featured (page 246) in the PassPorters Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line book I co-authored.

MJ is a 7 year old girl with multiple disabities including Right Cerebral Cortex Polymicrogyria, autism, epilepsy, fetal alcohol syndrome disorder; to name a few. Her language is limited to single words and some sign language, but spending a day with her is a special treat beyond words. It's been amazing over the years to see what her many many trips to Disney parks has done to help her become more alive, more verbal.

Our day began with breakfast at Cape May Cafe. MJ is fed only by a feeding tube and therefore does not eat or drink. She does enjoy Character Meals. She also enjoys cutting food while the rest of us eat.

Today was a celebration of MJ's birthday (which is later this week). Minnie was the first to wish her a Happy Birthday.

MJ and Minnie

Dale stopped by for some chair dancing with MJ.
MJ and Dale

After breakfast we headed to Animal Kingdom. We were still in the Oasis when we realized it was time for White Spoonbill eggs. In the photo below, one Spoonbill had just moved away from sitting on the eggs and another came over and turned them around. About this time, All Ears team member Linda Mac joined us!

Spoonbill and Eggs

Being in a park with MJ is not your typical day in a park. It's a slow stroll with her pointing to various parts of the park that she wants to visit. Her mom will ask, Do you want to go to Planet Watch? and she will either motion or speak, yes or no. And believe me, she knows the names of everything in the park!

Along the way, we encountered Terk. MJ just LOVES to rub Terk's belly!
MJ and Terk

Next was the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch.

Deb and MJ on the Wildlife Express Train


MJ loves all the hands on items and especially being able to pet the animals. "Touch, touch", is what she says about the rabbit below.

MJ and the rabbit

She was also quite fascinated with the cage the rabbit traveled in.

MJ looking at the rabbit cage

Soon Jiminy Cricket appeared..... It was amazing that he had no line of folks waiting to see him. He took the opportunity to spend extra time with MJ. She was showing him the bird's nest that had 3 babies in it.

MJ and Jiminy


And I couldn't resist the chance for a photo-op with Jiminy!

Deb and Jiminy

Next up was lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. I had a Turkey Sandwich on a multi-grain roll. And while the roll was on the dry side, it must be low on the glycemic index as just a low dose of insulin took care of it!

After lunch, we planned to see Finding Nemo the Musical. However, MJ had about had enough of the crowds so we headed back to her house.

One of MJ's friends gave her a Belle dress for her birthday! Here she is modeling for us.

MJ dressed as Belle

Here is MJ with LindaMac, whom she called "Mac" and her dog Coco.

MJ, Linda Mac and Coco


MJ and Deb just hanging out.

MJ and Deb

A wonderful day had come to an end and it was time to head back to the resort. Originally I was going to call it a night, but then realized I was very hungry. LindaMac said she could eat also and we managed to get a resservation for Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian for 6:15pm. We could just make it.... A great dinner and server and company......Saturday came to an end.

Tomorrow...my day with NO plans at all! WOW!

February 11, 2008

February WDW Trip Report Part 3a, Sunday 2/3/08

Wow! I can't tell you the last time I had a full day at WDW (it's been several years) with absolutely NOTHING on the agenda. No dining plans, no meetings, no research, no meets... just a day for me to spend doing whatever I wanted.

The first order of business was to NOT have a wake up call for Sunday morning. That usually doesn't matter and I'm up early. However, on this Sunday I was awoken when the phone rang a little after 8am!

It was a beautiful day outside and so I got ready for a day of exploring.

View of Boardwalk

On my way to the Yacht Club bus stop I made the decision to begin at Animal Kingdom. Even thought I had spent Saturday there, I didn't walk any of the animal trails or see any shows.

As I walked from the Animal Kingdom bus top toward the entrance to Animal Kingdom, I was reminded about a great photo op that I rarely see folks use...

Animal Kingdom Sign

I love photography, especially in Animal Kingdom. There are so many things to take photos of, some easy and some challenging. I just love images with a bright blue sky behind them.

Animal Kingdom Sign

The West African Crowned Cranes were all out and about in Discovery Island.

West African Crowned Cranes

No trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without spending time finding creatures in the Tree of Life. I wonder if I found the Moss growing like a Hidden Mickey next to the buffalo?

Hidden Mickey Tree of Life

I just love the animal walking trails so I headed past the Kilimanjaro Safari (about a 20 minute standby line) and entered the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

At the beginning of the trail are the Colobus Monkeys. They were just lazing around and it was hard to take photos of them.

Two Okapis as well as the yellow backed diker were out foraging. Here is a photo of one Okapi and the diker is in the back right of the photo

Okapi and Yellow Back Diker

The Aviary in the Pangani is small and because many of the birds and ducks keep moving, it's hard to get good photos.

Around the bend to the Nile Hippopotamus viewing area. I was quite surprised to find one sleeping on the ground soaking up the sun. Usually they are all in the water.

Nile Hippopotamus

As you enter the Meerkat village you can also see Gernuks. I don't often see them out, but today I was excited to find both the male and female posing for photographs.

Gernuk

Soon I entered the Gorilla Research Camp. Wow, I was in luck as I saw at least 6 different gorillas along the trail. This one, in the first viewing area that is floor to ceiling windows, was posing for us.

Gorilla

All too soon, the Pangani animal viewing trail had ended.

I took a break and headed to Flame Tree BBQ for lunch. I had the same Turkey Sandwich on Multi-grain roll that I had the day before.

Next stop, the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia.

Many of the animals and birds were out and about. It was great animal viewing and photo ops!

Tiger

Here is a bird from the aviary, I can't recall it's name. It was making a nest up in the tree and so walked on the ground gathering small twigs and branches.

Tiger

After completing the trail I wanted to see a live show, either Lion King or Finding Nemo, but I would have had to wait around longer than I wanted. I took the opportunity to head back to the room and enjoy the balcony.

All photos taken with a Canon S5 IS digital camera. Other than cropping, no alterations to the photos were done.

To be continued.

February 13, 2008

February WDW Trip Report Part 3b, Sunday 2/3/08

When I returned to the hotel I called WDW Dining and was able to get a reservation at the Brown Derby for dinner at 6:15pm. I lucked out since there was only one show of Fantasmic so anyone on the Fantasmic Dinner Package would be finishing by that time.

As I walked toward the Hat I noticed people lining up. I knew the parade had been earlier so I inquired as to what was going on. Turns out, High School Musical was about to begin. Sure enough, the music started and a float headed down the street.

High School Musical

I then wandered to the Brown Derby to get a peak at the dinner menu. I noticed folks were sitting outside and thought that would be wonderful to do.

Mickey and the Brooms

It has been a long time since I saw the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, one of my favorite attractions at the Studios. My timing was good, so I got into the inside waiting area. I hadn't had a chance to really look around in here before.. there are lots of neat objects to check out.

Ariel

Ursula

Time for dinner. I had my usual, the Cobb Salad. I really like the mixture of very cut up greens, vegis and meat. A wonderful dinner!!! I did get a table outside and enjoyed people watching as everyone headed over to Fantasmic!

Soon it was dark, dinner was over, and time to leave the Studios before Fantasmic ended!

The Hat

As I walked to the boat I thought about heading into Epcot and watch IllumiNations. As the boat slowly made it's way along the canal I decided to pass on Epcot. Yet, I wasn't ready to call it a night. I got off at the Boardwalk and wandered around. It was pretty crowded.

A large group of folks were at the ESPN club watching the Super Bowl.

ESPN Superbowl

Several entertainment acts were performing. This card trick magician was quite good.

ESPN Superbowl

After a while it was time to head back to the Yacht Club. Here's one last shot of the Boardwalk from the Yacht Club.


Boardwalk at Night

Early the next morning I got up and headed to the airport. Another trip had come to an end.

Deb

All photos taken with a Canon S5 IS digital camera. Other than cropping, no alterations to the photos were done.

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About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.