Day 4 - Epcot/MGM - When I woke up that morning, the amount of alcohol I'd consumed had taken it's toll on my body. My feet were still killing me (my feet are always the first casualties of my drinking it seems).
We headed over to Epcot bright and early for our Segway tour. We were directed to guest services where we were met by Bob, who would be one of our trainers. We were there met by Brad (who, though we appreciate that he was primarily concerned with our safety, was kind of surly and I ended up thinking of him as "Nazi guy"), Kimmy (who reminded me of Joey from FYE) and Valentina (who hailed originally from Italy).
We walked over with another couple from Canada and were soon joined by two other couples (the one couple probably in their late 50s had a wife who was very hesitant throughout the journey through the park and created a log jam when too many of us were behind her). We trained for about forty minutes and quickly got the hang of our machines.
We followed them from Future World (in Innoventions) to China (bypassing Mexico 'cause it's all indoors and upstairs and Norway 'cause there would be live guests there and possibly children ready to jump in front of us). As we first entered the World Showcase area, I looked down and saw a woman who looked familiar. She looked a lot like someone I knew. I hate to admit that I don't remember the woman's name off the top of my head, but she was one of the regulars at Fat Jack's and her son, Chad, was one of our singers at the karaoke. She looked up and said "Bryan?!" and I could just reply "yup" and chuckle at what a small world it really was as I passed on my Segway (not wanting to be left behind and still being new enough to be afraid to leave the single line we'd formed).
We went through each of the countries up to France and then headed back to the Innoventions plaza (England and Canada were starting to see guests entering from the International Gateway). Once we'd completed our tour, we were each given a free pin with a segway on it to commemorate our day.
I broke off from the others at that point to head into the Land pavillion to ride the boat ride into the greenhouse and then to do some exploring/shopping on my own (including picking up a pair of stuffed animals of Mickey and Minnie as topiaries (exclusive to the Flower and Garden festival)) and see a show of Kristos, the acrobats/contortionists who appear at the "spirograph" next to the fountains in back of Spaceship Earth...
By that point, it was time to meet the others for lunch. While I enjoyed my petit fillet, I think I would have probably liked the NY strip better (I still LOVED the bread service and the cheese soup). Our waitress this time was a bit quiet and a little bit of a low talker (but friendly).
From there, we shopped in Canada (I bought the CDs from Off Kilter I'd been wanting) and England and then headed out to the International Gateway to take the pontoon over to MGM. We walked over to the boardwalk and took the pontoon over to MGM (taking roughly half an hour). We discovered that Chicken Little would not be there that day so we would have to try again tomorrow sometime after noon to see if he was in the rotation if Kim was ever going to be able to assure herself of getting that picture!
We decided to take in the stunt show at this time. Most of it was pretty awesome including an appearance by HERBIE!! However, there was one very troubling moment. One of the stunt men crashed. He was doing a jump on a motorcycle and flipped over onto his head when he landed wrong on the other ramp. At first, we thought his flip was part of the show, but the other stunt ment quickly stopped what they were doing to see their friend's condition. The director called for an "emergency procedure evacuation" and the cast members cleared out the stadium. We've asked cast members on property and they said that the driver was fine but they didn't want to take any precautions and took him to the hospital for X-rays. I do find it odd that there was no mention of it on the newsgroups that I could see (though one of the discussion groups has a thread about it...I'm watching it to find out for sure that the guy was alright).
We rode the Tower and Coaster again then headed back out, this time taking a bus, since I still wanted to go to Innoventions and Shawn wanted to rent another locker. We explored a bit in Innoventions East and then went into Innoventions West where we went into the House of the Future. I love this exhibit, 'cause it's where you can see all the latest gadgets.
Because it was so late in the evening, it was only the four of us on the tour. Because of that, the cast member allowed us to actually step into the different rooms and sit down on the furniture and stuff...I got the list of the stuff that was in there (as per usual) and will be certainly doing the tour again in October, 'cause we'll want some of that stuff for the new house.
We then had just enough time to hop on to the boat at the Land before they were going to start shutting it off.
Now it was going to be time to start finding something to eat. We said we'd want to finally do the Rose and Crown pub, but Kim was now vetoing fish and chips and she said there was nothing else there she would eat. "Well, what do you want to eat?" we asked. She had no answer. We continued around the lagoon to Morocco. Same story there. Nothing for Kim meant nothing for the rest of us...and she balked at the idea of a sit-down, too. We ended up in Italy and looked at the sit down menu there. That's when *I* had to balk at the menu. There was nothing there but Fettucine Alfredo (yuck) or stuff served with rosemary (double yuck!) or it was something fairly plain that you could get at an Olive Garden 'cept really overpriced. I'll probably never eat there, even on the dining plan.
We decided at that point to just cut our losses and head out of the parks, but continue around the lagoon since we'd passed the halfway mark. We grabbed margaritas in Mexico (this time finding the flavored Margaritas stand which had a much shorter line than the one at the Cantina). For me it was strawberry. For Kim it was "Fiesta" (swirl of Strawberry, Kiwi, Lime and Mango). I had tons of salt along the rim.
We left the property and headed back to the hotel and ate at the Smokehouse Grill there. All the food was good there but we pretty much all had eyes bigger than our stomachs by this time. We went home and collapsed for our final full night (after packing so we could leave in the morning and go to the airport direct from the parks).
Day 5 - Magic Kingdom/MGM - We got up the next day, quickly packed up the car, did a final walk-through the hotel and headed out to the parks.
Good riddance to the place with leaky faucets, dryer that took forever to run our towels (they only gave us about two per person), coffee machine that overflowed...twice (!), and other malfunctions. It was called Westgate Lakes if you ever want to consider a timeshare down there that's not the Disney Vacation Club!
We headed this time to MGM and took the bus from there to the TTC to go to the Magic Kingdom. It was early and Chicken Little would not be at MGM until noon (for Kim). We could also return to MGM for the start of Star Wars Weekend (next time I'll go over an entire weekend when there is Star Wars days so I can go in the morning when the park opens and have less crowd to climb over). We transferred at the TTC and headed to the Kingdom.
Arriving there, we shopped through Main Street, first stopping at the bakery for breakfast. I had a ham and cheese croissant and a cherry danish with some apple juice. We then continued to shop, then headed out to the castle for the 10:40 performance of "Cinderellabration". It was cute, but went on just a little long. I can't imagine how those poor people do it. It was HOT already by that point and they were in such heavy looking costumes.
We went quickly back to shopping and found something for Tracy that we all pitched in for, since she was so kind to bring us back souvenirs from her Italy trip last year (a pair of Disney wine toppers...one silver Mickey silhouette, one gold Cinderella's castle). We hope she likes them.
From there, we got back on the monorail/bus and back to the Studios.
After stalking the Chicken, we went to find the Star Wars merchandise area. This is where I'm going to rant again! There should have been two lines. One for the regular merchandise and one for the EXCLUSIVE merchandise (some were so limited they were only selling one or two per person...and may likely be sold out before the end of the day or at least that first weekend). We didn't know this and ended up in the longer line for the exclusive stuff. Of course, after about a half-hour, we finally make it to the store entrance and break off from the main line. What was even worse was that you couldn't even really SEE the merchandise if you weren't in that line. WTF? I gather the trick is just to get there as soon as the place opens and haul ass there (just like one would at Wizard World Conventions for the Kevin Smith tickets). There were also celebrities appearing that day, but the only way to get autographs was to obtain a fastpass.
We jumped into "Walt Disney's One Man's Dream" and the air conditioning was very welcome. I'd seen the exhibit before, but it was still very nice.
By this point, we were all hungry. Shawn and Dawn were talking about the turkey leg and I wasn't sure about it, but knew there was other stuff over by where that was. I ended up getting a foot long dog with chili and cheese and it seemed like a different brand than the awful Casey's corner one (but maybe it was just better with all the crap on it). Kim grumbled at first that there wasn't anything for her, but got a foot long as well. I'm glad I chose the dog instead of the leg, 'cause they both said it was pretty greasy. Also, the meat was very red once they got into it.
We hopped onto the tower and coaster again for one last time. While in line at the coaster, we ended up standing in line next to Joey Fatone of N'Sync. I snapped a photo of him, but otherwise didn't want to bother him. I appreciated that since he was a hometown boy he didn't feel that he had to push his celebrity around and be escorted to the front of the line and just used a fastpass like everyone else.
We ended up on the train just ahead of his, but I waited a moment for his to arrive to see his picture...it was funny. He'd made a funny face and did the devil horns just like we do to make a funny picture!
We then headed out of the park and took the long walk back to the car and headed out to the airport. Kim said she would navigate and a few times panicked that we were going the wrong way.
We got to the airport, dropped off the car and started heading in. Kim immediately sat down just outside the building to smoke, again causing Shawn and I to have to stop, wrecking our forward momentum. When we got up to the baggage claim, the girls made us wait 'cause they wanted to shop first. I had my own boarding pass so I headed on without them (Shawn had to ask Kim for his, 'cause for some reason theirs were all stapled together and mine was handed to me separately).
When I arrived at the gate, it was already crowded.
The others soon got there and soon we were boarding. I ended up sitting next to this woman who was a lush. She had THREE bloody marys (and I gather from what I could make out what she was saying to Kim through my iPod headphones that she had packed extra vodka in those little bottles before making the trip). We made good time and I was so happy to see Paul. We made it over to baggage claim and I stood next to the conveyor. Just as our bags were coming out, some dried up old cunt stepped in front of me. I yelled at her to get out of my way as I grabbed both mine and Kim's bags. I hate rude people.
I gave Dawn her picture frame that was packed into my suitcase and we bid the trio farewell.
I told Paul that it was likely that we'd just go with Shawn and Dawn next time in May and leave Kim home, since she was the one who was most disagreeable this time. It would have helped if Dawn wasn't her enabler and they weren't so codependent. Of course, when we are the ones providing the accomodations AND we are staying on property which makes it easier to split up, she may be different. I'm not sure I want to take the chance on ruining another Disney trip. I'd also like to return the favor of the LAST time we went and bring Jim and Linette and I know that Linette no longer wants to travel with Kim for much the same reason(s), so perhaps the three couples would have fun together?