Our day started at 3am...we left the house at around 4:10am or so and headed to Philly International. It's a good thing we gave ourselves plenty of time to travel, because the new lack of signage made the location of the long term parking hard to find. We circled the plaza at least three times before finding the place!
We parked, took the tram (after what felt like an eternity of watching a few trams going by our waiting spot) and got crammed in like sardines on the way to the terminal.
When we got in the terminal, baggage check and getting our passes was pain free but the security line was ridiculous. I almost think this whole thing is a conspiracy from the food vendors at the airport to make security throw people's water bottles from home out so they have to buy the overpriced bottles at the in-house Burger King and places like that. I saw so many half-used tubes of toothpaste, assorted make-up, even someone's sealed YOGURT that were confiscated by security. Whatever.
When we got to our gate, we practically just sat down when they started announcing that they were going to begin seating.
Upon arrival at Orlando Airport, it was a simple procedure to just head downstairs and go to the Magical Express desk. We barely had to wait five minutes and we were shown to our bus and another five minutes or so after climbing aboard we were on our way to our hotel (with one other stop before ours at Caribbean Beach Resort which was on the way).
Check-in at the hotel was also simple...we arrived with NO ONE in line. Our room, however, was not ready, so we'd have to check our online luggage before going into the parks. No biggie.
We went over to Epcot and I'd made an error in mathematics or reading somewhere along the line from Deb Wills' website and thought there was only a $30 dollar difference between the tickets we have (which are non-expiring anyway) and the annual pass per person so we went to the Guest Services at the entrance (International Gateway) to upgrade and found out that the difference was going to be more like $110.00 per person and said forget it, but the tickets were already stripped from our room key. We can still use our hard credit card room key as our room key and make charges to the room with it, but we have a separate ticket to worry about (and to worry about losing before returning in October 2007...you can bet that I'm going to treat these two tickets like they are bars of gold-pressed latinum!).
After that minor set-back, we headed into the park and went straight to Spaceship Earth (after taking a ride on the "potty ride"). We then headed over to the Land pavillion to obtain fastpasses for Soarin' since the wait-time listed on the big board you see upon exiting Spaceship Earth was 30 minutes. Our tickets were going to be a little over an hour of wait time, but that wasn't bad, 'cause we were going to have enough to occupy our time in the meanwhile.
We headed into the new revamped Seas with Nemo and Friends (formally the Living Seas) and rode the new ride. It was cute and I'm sure I'll do it at least one more time this trip simply because it was new (probably Monday since I'd earmarked that morning to start the NON-fastpass rides there). I don't want to spoil the ride for anyone...so I'll simply say there is a nicely themed queue area and I was impressed with the way the ride vehicles can continue to move while still acommodating people in wheelchairs (certain vehicles have spaces that slide out for the chairs).
After the Seas (we skipped the rest of the aquarium until Monday), we hopped onto the Figment ride, figuring on riding the Land boat just before our time was ready for Soarin'...while we were on the ride, they experienced some kind of technical difficulties and I'd hazard a guess at saying we were stuck in there approximately ten minutes with no sound (thankfully not in the section with the skunk smell), well, no sound the persistant cast member on the overhead speaker continually telling us that we were not moving but would be momentarily.
After getting out of that ride, we headed back to the Land pavillion and onto the boat ride (which is like the healthy version of the Wonkatania). The nine-pound lemon tree currently has more fruit growing on it (though they look more like limes to me).
After that, we rode Soarin' and I think that I was spoiled by my first ride on this attraction, 'cause we were in the front row the first time back in May...no feet above you to spoil some of the view...
After exiting the Land, we headed into Club Cool (which used to be Ice Station Cool). There were finally ALL the flavors running (and SMART WATERMELON IS BACK!!!!). They've replaced a couple of them (an apple soda from Mexico and there was a fruity variety of Fanta...I think from Mozambique)...both were very good. I still avoid the Beverly (from) since my first taste.
In World Showcase, we ate at a couple of the food booths: a lamb "slider" sandwich from New Zealand which was out of this world and really delicious Polish keilbasa sausage and potato pierogies.
We headed back to the hotel, got our bags, went to our room to find that our checked bag had gotten there before we did and that the housekeeping staff had left us a towel animal (an elephant).
After a couple of hours rest and just decompressing, we headed back into France where we got to see Servant Amusee (sp?) who were a pair of comedic acrobats (well one was a comic and the other was an acrobat) who do an act involving balancing on an increasingly mounting stack of chairs. We then watched the travelogue movie of France, since we'd not seen it since at least 1998.
We window shopped through Japan, Germany, Italy (where we saw juggler Sergio and even "helped" with his act by catching balls and hula hoops to be thrown back at him to juggle). Finally, it was time for our dinner and we stuffed ourselves at Restaurant Marrakesh (in Morocco, duh!)...I had chicken couscous with vegetables, Paul had beef kabobs, we both had the appetizer of beef brewat rolls and both had the desert of Marrakesh Delight: mint chocolate chip ice cream served over fruit salad in orange water! We were sat next to a lovely family we chit-chatted with. They were unsure about what to order and we helped steer them towards what we have liked in the past (the grandmother started the conversation by asking what my entree was) and they settled on the Sultan's feast to split between all of them so they could try a variety of the things the restaurant had to offer. I was happy to see they were all pleased with their choice!
After dinner, I split from Paul to head to Mission:Space and got into the ride in about five minutes and he went to shop in the UK pavillion. He bought a biography of King Henry VIII. We met back up at a spot on the bridge between France and England and parked ourselves there until the fireworks.
Now we are back in the room and exhausted. Tomorrow will be a whirlwind three park day: Animal Kingdom in the early morning, MGM for dinner and Fantasmic and Epcot during extra magic hours night (it will be open til Midnight)....I expect to do late-night snacking (and drinking) at the food festival tomorrow night.
I'll hopefully post some tomorrow afternoon, 'cause I likely won't be back on the computer until at least Sunday! Have a good weekend everyone!