Walt Disney World 9.9.01 - 9.15.01
I am using the same format as I used on the Passporter board .
Day one 9/9:
The alarm goes off at 0400. Now I know why they say "oh" as in OH MY WORD, that's early. My flight from Knoxville TYS to Charlotte is on-time. My flight from Charlotte to MCO is five minutes late landing. The first thing I have to do is gather my baggage. Holy mackrel! Can they take any longer getting my bags? Finally I get my bags and a "luggage cart" for $2 <this came in very handy>. And procede to the Mears counter. I board the Mears bus and off I go. All Star Sports is the fourth stop on our trek. I arrive at noon to find, in my surprise, that my room is ready. 6354 in the "Surf's up" building. This room has an outstanding view of the pool and the football field. I was pleased. I drop off my luggage and head to a park. The first ride? Are you ready? Test Track! I had to make this first. The stand by queue had a time of 30 minutes, no fast pass for me, I just headed to the single rider line and waited all of 2 minutes. Then off to the Magic Kindom for my obligitory ride of Space Mountain. To quote Rick Flair, "It's the oldest ride in the park, but still has the longest lines." After that off to Animal Kingdom and the Kali River Rapids and Animal Safari. Then to MGM for Rockin Roller Coaster and Who Wants to be a Millionaire <three times in a row>. I didn't make the hotseat on any try. I wasn't even in the top ten. I would miss a question and that put me out of the running. No giving up for me though! A grand slam in my first afternoon and I'm just getting started. Two Mickey bars down this day! And, yes, they are as good as you hear.
Off to my Character Dinner at 1900 Park Fare. And let me tell you, if I could afford it, I'll stay there next time. The meal was wonderful especially the Pork Loin in Root Beer sauce. I felt as stuffed as Pooh Bear. Besides Pooh, there was Piglet <who stayed in the hallway>, Tigger <my fav> and Eeyore. The characters are great with the kids, especially this one. After a filling meal, and the early start, I was beat. I headed back to my hotel, unpacked and set my wakeup call for Monday and the Keys to the Kingdom tour.
Day Two Monday 9/10:
Mickey wakes me up at 7:03 am. Since today was the MK early entry day, I figured I'd get a head start. After a shower and bowl of cereal, I head to the MK. I arrived around 8am and go straight to the Haunted Mansion for my first of four rides that day. I grab a snack to hold me off for lunch. At 9:30, I head to City Hall for the Keys to the Kingdom tour. They have coffee, juice, and water available. Our tour guide David arrives and goes over the rules of the tour.
The tour: I can't tell you folks everything about the tour, because you promise not to. Let me say this, I now have a new appreciation for all the Disney Cast members. On the tour, we road Tommorow Land Transit and found the hidden mickey, Pirates, and the Haunted Mansion. You are given a lot of information about the Magic Kingdom. I am, hereby, recommending this tour for anyone that has been to WDW more than six times. The tour lasted almost five hours with a stop at Columbia Harbor House for lunch. I had the fish and chicken strips. YUM. After lunch we learned more secret stuff. The $49 price is well worth it. The tour ended right before the 3pm parade. I had a good seat until the afternoon rain storm. They canceled the parade, oh well!
Off to MGM and to Rockin Roller coaster again the Backlot tour and Backstage pass.
Here's some info: On Mickey Ave., right past Who Want's to be a Millionaire, there's a marque that says "Meet Mickey Mouse." Everytime I went past that room, there was never a line. This would be a perfect place to have you or your kids picture taken with the mouse.
Another trip to Epcot, another Test Track ride, another Mickey Bar. I had dinner and went to see Illuminations.
Day Three Tuesday 9/11/01:
How do I begin? Well, let me start by saying, I had no clue what was going on in New York City until after 1pm. With that said, here's how my day went:
My day started with a 7:03 wake up call from Mickey <do I smell a trend here?>. This was an Epcot early morning. Off to Test Track I go. I had a golf excursion scheduled for 3pm so I figured I could hit a few parks, ride some rides, then head back to my resort for a shower and food around 11am. I ride test track, then go to the MK for another Haunted Mansion ride and PotC. Since Millionaire didn't open until 10, I walked around MK taking in some of the sites. Around 9:30 or so, I head to MGM for the first Millionaire show. Still no hot seat, but I finally make it to the top ten <number 8!>. At 11 am, as I had planned, I head back to the resort, grab a shower and a sub from the Market <$5.60 and huge!> for lunch. I had brought my refillable mug from the last trip <25th aniversary> and no one said anything to me about refills.
Around 1, I head to the front of AS Sports to grab a cab to Eagle Pines. Mind you, I still had no clue that Disney had closed everything at 11:30.
I ask the porter for a cab to the golf course. He walkes into a small room and comes out to tell me that the golf course is closed. I look at the sky which is blue and clear and state, "it's not because of the weather." The porter begins to tell me about what happened in New York. I am shocked. I can't believe that an airplane can bring down the twin towers. He points me to a television, and I see the first of many replays of the distruction. I am flabergasted. I can't describe my feelings any better than that.
Since I had left the parks before they were offically closed, I was directed to the front desk to get a ticket that would make up for the lost day. I head back to my room to return my golf clubs, get my swimsuit and head to the pool.
Even with all the devistation and dispair, the folks at Disney came through. They brought characters to the resort for the kids. I have no idea who's idea this was, but I'd like to personally commend them. We had Donald, Chip, Dale, Jafar, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody. They brought in a magician and had other special activities. I had little appitite <sp?> for dinner, so I just grabed some fruit.
Around 8 or 9 pm, the folks at Disney had decided to open the parks the next day, so I got prepared for another day. Around 11 pm, I went to sleep after setting another 7:03 wake up.
The day after. The security at all Disney Parks is at an all time high according to the message on my voice mail. I checked it after Mickey woke me up. I am really enjoying these calls from Mickey.
I want to rent a Water Mouse at the Grand Floridian, so I inquire about this at the AS Sp front desk. They don't start renting them until 10 am. Off to a park I go. I start at MK and ride, can you guess? The Haunted Mansion. I then go to the Country Bears. Around 10:20ish, I head to the Grand Floridian to rent a water mouse. Let me tell you, those boats flat out fly. I was speeding around the seven seas lagoon racing the boat that shuttles customers back and forth to the MK. It was a fun 30 minute ride. Afterwards, I head back to MGM for another try at Millionaire.
After two more Millionaire shows and still no hot seat, I'm really wondering if the keypads are working. I end up in the top ten on both shows <fourth and third respectively>. After that, I head to Fantasmic. This is a wonderful show. I had never seen it, and I really enjoyed it. I video taped the whole thing and I hope it shows up.
After Fantasmic, I head to Pleasure Island to the Comedy Warehouse for two shows. If you folks have never been here, I think you should go. The act is just like "Who's line is it anyway?"
I arrive back at my room around midnight and set my Mickey call for.... 7:03 am.
9/13/01 - Thursday
9/14/01 Friday the last full day at WDW
9/15/01 Saturday AKA the trip home.
Other things I may have forgotten and reviews: Comments? Questions? Please refer them to me Bob
I wake up to Mickey again at 7:03, shower and eat breakfast. I made a reservation, yesterday, for a Mears shuttle to pick me up at 8:10 for the ride to Universal. There is a phone in the AS Sp lobby for this purpose.
The bus arrives at 8:15 and I get on board after paying the driver $12 for the round trip ticket.
I am glad I have my poncho with me, as the rain starts as soon as we leave the parking lot. The weather is saying that a tropical storm <Gabrella?> is heading our way and Friday will be worse.
We arrive at US about 9ish. I head straight for the Terminator 2 in 3d ride. It doesn't open until 9:30? Oh well, time for some breakfast.
Around 9:25, I head back to T2 and get in line. US has a "fastpass" system, but the terminals don't start running until 11am. This park was EMPTY! Around 11, I have ridden all the rides in the main park so I head to Ialands of Adventure. I ride all the rides there except Hulk
Now, I know what you folks are thinking. Why go to US? There are some rides over there that I like <especially T2>, plus I had a two day ticket and had planned on going. With that said, comparing the two parks, it took me about 2 and 1/2 days to ride everything I wanted to at WDW and 4 hours for the same at US.
I didn't think much of IOA, and I remember them having a backstage tour also, but that's gone or I couldn't find it.
Anyway, I leave US around 5:30 after a full day and head back to AS Sp for dinner and some RnR in the pool. Even with the rain and cooler temperatures, the pool feels great and it's nice just to relax for a couple hours.
Around 7pm, I head back to Pleasure Island for some more of the Comedy Warehouse. Around 11, I am back at my room, setting my Mickey wakeup and getting ready for my last full day at WDW.
Since today is my last full day I decide that I'm going to get in as much as I can. Epcot early day, Great! After the Mickey wakeup call, I shower, but don't eat breakfast. I decide, with the help of my trusty passporter, that I'm going to head to the Garden Grill for the Character Breakfast.
I arrive at Epcot at 7:22, rope drop is 7:30, only an 8 minute wait. Tropical storm Gabrella is really hitting hard 30 - 40 mph winds and the rain hurts as it hits. By the time the open the turnstiles <I'm the first one in the park that day> I'm soaked. I head straight to the Land pavilion and find a rope blocking my path. The CM asks me if I have a Priority Seating reservation, I say "mope, but I'd like to eat breakfast anyway." They let me in after telling me to just go straight.
I enter the land pavilion, and besides the CMs, I'm the only one there.
The CMs working at the Garden Grill give me a flashy pager and ask me to give them a few minutes to set things up. After about five minutes, my flashy pager goes off and I get a table. About two minutes later, all the characters, Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale are at my table messing with me.
I had all four characters to myself for 35 minutes until someone else showed up. One of the CMs told me I was nuts for comeing out in that weather just for breakfast <he must really know me :) >.
The food is wonderful and I eat a bunch of it. It's eggs, potatoes, a sausage link, bacon, melon sections, rolls, biscuits, gravy, and all you can eat. Believe me, after that, I didn't eat anything until around 3pm. That's how stuffed I was. After breakfast, since test track was closed, I head to Spaceship Earth. This is an interesting ride. I also go over to Ice Station Cool and try the ever infamous Beverly. All I've got to say about that drink is ummmm.... it's different. I think everyone needs to check this attraction out. It's actually snowing as you walk through. Around 11am, I head to world showcase to see all the pavilions and ride all the rides there. The only thing not working that morning was the American Adventure. I figure I can hit that later in the day. Around 12ish, I head over to MGM and my last try at Millionaire.
At MGM, I'm walking down Mickey Blvd. to take the backstage pass tour again. While going past Millionaire, the phone rings. A CM, says "it's for you." It's the "phone a complete stranger." A person playing the game was using their last lifeline and I was it. The question? Well, luckly they had narrowed it down to two possible answers, s o here was was they asked me:
Which of these is a pain reliever?
B) Analgesic D) Expectorant
Wow! I actually knew the answer was B Analgesic, so I told them that. When they asked me how sure I was I said, "99.9% sure."
Of course, they got the question right. I'm just glad it was that easy. I receive a button from the CM that says "I was a complete stranger."
I take the backstage pass tour and see some of the sites again. I then figure it's time to take my last chance at getting into the hotseat.
I enter the preshow, and afterwards head inside. I sit in seat 24. The game is going on and they ask a fastest finger question, I just am not quick enough on these, even though I know this one, I'm not even in the top ten. The person gets to 32k, and misses. I had previously missed a question, so I knew I had no chance. Once again, no top ten for me. They start a new game, and this contestant misses the 300 point question. I think I must have been the only one in the studio to get it right. They show the top nine, when they get to number 1, my seat number shows up! I just about jump the rail I'm so excited. I actually have made it to the hotseat. They tell you, you'll probably be nervous in that seat, but I was not. I was freezing. Every possible airconditioning duct points directly at you. I make it to the 1000 point level after having to use my "ask the audience" lifeline on a Pokemon question. Being single and not having children, what do I know about Pokemon? Nothing! Luckely, 64% of the audience knew the answer. I reach the 16000 point and this one's about cat food. Now having two cats, I should know this one, but it has a long drawn out ad that I've never heard before. I use the 50/50 and then guess Meow Mix when the answer was Nine Lives. Oh, well. Back to 1k I go.
I'm sent off stage to the "winners" room. They make you sign a release <I can't be in the hot seat again until October 14th.>. I get my 1000 point hat, pins and lanyard. I will treasure these always.
I head back to the MK for my last HM ride. All totalled, I have ridden the HM about 15 more times. <my total is now close to 110 rides>. I go to Country Bears again, PotC, and eat at the Wildhorse salon. What a silly, but good show. I have missed the 3pm parade all week. Opps! I'll have to save that for the next trip.
Around 3:30, I head back to AK to see Bug. The 3d is really good in this show and there's some extra surprises. That's all I rode at AK, since it was just trying to clear up. I figure I'll head back to Epcot and finish my day there. Epcot and the American Adventure. I head straight there and see the show. IMHO this show is better that the HoP. Afterwards, the sky has cleared up and the humidity is around 800%.
I go over to the Canadian pavilion and there's an act outside called "Off Kilter." They are really good. My scottish blood is given some rise. I end the day at Epcot and go back to my room to pack.
I had a fun filled week. With all that happened, I still managed to enjoy myself. I know that sounds weird, but that's what vacations are for.
I called Mears from MGM and they tell me that they have a bus at 7:45am.
When I get to my room, I set my last Mickey wakeup.
I have packed the night before, so all I've got to do after Mickey wakes me up is shower. After that, I head to the front of AS Sp to wait on Mears. Around 7:20, a van shows up and it has an extra seat, so I figure instead of waiting until 7:45, I'll just catch that one.
I board the van and we head to the airport passing the new Pop Century resort. This looks like a fun place to stay. I may have to try it once they finish it.
We get to the airport and I grab another one of the carts for $2. I head inside to see the longest line of my trip. There's a queue for US Airways just about going around the airport. Now, I didn't eat breakfast because I figured that I could grab something once I got done in line. I get in line real close to 8am and do not reach a representative until 9:45. Where's the fastpass system when you need it? :)
There's heavy security. I notice several signs saying "all toy weapons must be checked at counter" and "no knives of any kind past this point." After getting my seat assignment, I grab some breakfast around 10am and head to the metal detectors. I go thru and procede to the gate after taking the tram ride. I was scheduled to fly out at 12:50 on flight 57. After stopping in Charlotte, this flight is scheduled to go to San Fransisco. The gate attendants make an announcement saying that there are seats available on the flight leaving immediately before mine and it's only destination is Charlotte. I take the earlier flight. During this flight, after reaching altitude, a big burly man with a GI haircut got up and stood outside the pilot's door. He never moved from that position until the captain made the "we are now decending" announcement. He then sat down right were he came from. I never asked who he was.
My flight landed and I proceded to the gate for my last leg. This is a prop plane and we head back to Knoxville. Landing on runway 5 left, the plane heads to the terminal and I exit. Baggage claim here is faster than at MCO, but that's probably because there's fewer people on this plane. I grab another cart and head towards my car. $42 dollars for parking and I'm headed home. As I am going home, I already miss Mickey. I really miss the Mickey wakeups. I arrive home safe and sound after about an hour drive.
I did the "leave a legacy" in Epcot. I'm at East 4-A-10-9-7. Come by and "see" me! There is a $5 discount if you're a AAA member.
I found this an invaluable tool. I really used mine throughout the entire trip. The passpockets came in handy to keep all my receipts throughout my trip. I could then compare them to my bill before I left.
The AS Sp Resort:
I really like this resort. This is the longest period of time that I've spent at WDW. I will definately stay on-site from now on. This was my second stay at AS Sp, the first was for three days April '95.
What else can I say about WDW that I haven't already covered? I didn't realize how long it had been <6 years!> since I was there. I have to go more often.
Oh, I did answer my own question about hand stamps. I really didn't need one. Even though there are signs that say so. I got stamped the first day, and never had to show it. I just came and went as I pleased the rest of the week.
The only time I couldn't video was on the Keys to the Kingdom tour. I never was asked to turn my camera off anywhere else except the Universe of Energy during Ellen's dream sequence.
I had mine from an earlier trip and I am glad I brought it. Around 3pm everyday it rained for around 30 mins and Friday was a deluge.
I didn't have any problems with my mug that I brought.
I had purchased a multipak of cereal before leaving, this saved me over $2 every day.
Finally, I want to thank AAA again for making the reservations and all the folks on the Passporter board for answering my questions.
Other sites that helped were, in no particular order:
The Rec.arts.disney.parks news group
Pete Werner's website
Marc's Disney Golf site
Deb's unofficial WDW site
Back to Bob's Page O' Stuff
9/14/01 Friday the last full day at WDW
9/15/01 Saturday AKA the trip home.
Other things I may have forgotten and reviews:
Comments? Questions? Please refer them to me Bob