englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)! - Page 4
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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster

    Don't forget that some of our members prefer a little more privacy for their nearest and dearest.
    Thought it'd be OK to ask as I have seen Englanddgs' videos! By the way Englanddg they were cool to watch! 8:0) XXX


      

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  3. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rawlybabe View Post
    Thought it'd be OK to ask as I have seen Englanddgs' videos! By the way Englanddg they were cool to watch! 8:0) XXX
    It's ok. I took your post as a harmless query.

    Her name is Kaylee, and she goes by KK, though now that she's turning into a "young lady" instead of a "little girl", she prefers not to be called that...sometimes. :P

    Day 4 (Part 1)
    Parkhopping, Animals aren't the only "wild" things at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lost and not yet Found

    Magic Moments - 0
    Pics Taken - I don't know
    Vid for Projects Taken - I don't know
    Discomforts (bug bites/etc) - 1 (lost camera)
    Unexpected Surprises - 0
    Peeves - 1 (scooters)

    Breakfast - Way to much to get into, so we'll just say Mickey Waffles (Tusker House)
    Lunch - Lettuce Wraps, Miso Salmon, Mango Pie (me), Vegetable lo mein, chocolate pudding (kid)
    Dinner - Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin, Seared Barbarie Duck Breast, Espresso Cheesecake (me), Fruit Salad, Flat Iron Steak and Mac and Cheese, Deconstructed Smores
    Snacks - 1 mickey ice cream, 1 OJ, 1 soda, 1 lemonade

    Dinner Credits left - Not sure, will check tomorrow
    Snack Credits left - 40
    ____________________________________

    Ok, first, today was fantastic, but I'm still in a mood. I lost my new Sony camera today on Space Mountain. It had to be on that ride, and I guess it fell out of my pocket. I knew I didn't have it immedietly after the ride because I do a "bag check" and "pocket check" after every ride to be sure I have all major items.

    I'm hoping an honest guest, or a cast member finds it. I'll go more into this story later, but it left my night on a low note, after a wonderful second day in the world. As we all know, the camera isn't irreplaceable, but the pictures are. Thankfully, I back up the SD card nightly, so I can retake most of the pictures / videos we did today. But...I'm still hoping it will find its way back to me.

    So, on to today's report.

    We woke up this morning around 7:30, and caught the bus to head over to Tusker House for a character breakfast. I love the breakfast here. It's lots of fun, the food is great, and you get to hit major characters without having to wait in a line like at the character spot at EPCOT (though, we end up doing that each year too).

    I had pictures of the buffet, etc...but no camera. So, I'll end this part of the post by saying, if you are doing an AK day, check out the breakfast there. It's a great way to start the day, and at AK you are going to want a substantial breakfast to keep your energy up!

    We did the Safari (wonderful as always, another tip for those who don't know, the animals are more active in the mornings, so it's a great thing to do at rope drop, or at least before things heat up). Then off to Everest, where we grabbed fast passes for a later ride, then waited for our first ride (about 30 minutes).

    The whole day today was rather overcast and gray, and there were a few showers, but no major downpours. For me, the perfect day to do AK! My primary gripe about this park is the heat. This is because there are not a lot of open areas in the park, and the whole place feels very claustrophobic to me. I'm sure on paper it seemed very unique, but in practice, I am truly not fond of the parks design. The threat of inclement weather also meant a lot of people seemed to stay away from the park, and we found it was not crowded at all.

    We went off and spent some time in Boneyard (a playground / giant gravel box...it's not really a sandbox...but more like fine gravel). This is one of my kid's favorite things to do, and we spent about a half hour here before moving on to Dinosaur (which had a surprisingly short wait under 20 minutes), and then wandered off and saw Flik (if you go to this, be sure to take in the parody movie posters in the queuing area).

    Now, Flik is a hit or miss for my kid (like Stitch). She really wants to do it every time, and halfway through the show freaks out. This year wasn't as bad as previous years. Her freak outs have never been "leave the show" worthy, in fact I take a dark silent amusement to them, as I'd gladly skip them, and she's the one who insists we go every time. This year it wasn't so bad. She didn't grab onto me until the hornets came out.

    Then it was off to Everest for our Fast Pass, and then lunch at Yak and Yeti. The food was, as usual, fantastic. We did the lettuce wraps, which I still think are better then PF Changs, and Winkster is correct for being fanatical about them (I expect a freak out comment re: this post from him!). I had the Miso Salmon, which was fantastic, and to my suprise, the kid got the Veggie Lo Mein, which she let me sample, and it was really good too. The sauce was tangy, but not spicy.

    After lunch, I offered her a choice. Explore parts of AK that we havn't yet seen (like the petting zoo), or go to another park. She came up with a third option...the hotel pool! So, back to Pop, and we suited up.

    She practiced her doggy paddle for about 30 minutes, and we ran through some drills for her legs using the pool rim. She still flops too much at the knee, which leads to sinking, rather then a loose float and forward movement. She got much better at it after another hour of practice (broken up with pool activities). We were working on how to float on her back so I could start teaching her the backstroke (which I find is the easiest stroke to start off with for a new swimmer), when the pool closed due to inclement weather.

    We still had a few hours to burn before our dinner reservation at Jikos, and we headed off to Hollywood Studios to see if she was tall enough for Rockin' Roller Coaster.

    She WAS! And, she was so excited. I have 2 years of pictures under that bar, and finally she was tall enough (by 2 inches!)

    As you probably suspect, we did the ride several times after that. The wait was short (20 mins on the sign, but we were in under 10 every time), and I'm not sure what it is, but I've noticed all the parks seem a lot less crowded this year. I hope the trend continues!

    She now has a new favorite. We did it once with random seating, and twice requesting the front seat. I've never done it in the front seat before, so it was new to me, and wow. If you go, it's certainly worth it! A quick note here, when you get to a ride, if you want you can request the front seat. The CM will move you to a "waiting area" off to the side, and seat the rest of the current ride, and then you will get your request. We do this all the time on Splash and Space Mountain, and after having done it on RnR, we will do it again!

    After RnR, we grabbed some snacks on Sunset Blvd, and headed off to her next ride (she had complete control of our day, and frankly, her choices suprised me)...So, Great Movie Ride it was! After walking the handprints and measuring her hand to Kermits (we do this every year...when she was 5, her hand was exactly Kermit's size), we did a quick dancing video for my project, and did the ride.

    I hate to say it, but this ride seems to get worse every year. It's not the ride itself that is bad, in fact I found myself soaking in details as I do every time, and noticing all sorts of new or forgotten things. However, the CMs and the "show" portion of the ride seems to get more rehearsed and less interactive each year.

    We sat in the front row, and the driver barely joked with us, and the villian didn't at all. The jokes are all rushed, and there is no connection made with the "audiance". At the big scene where our driver comes back, I heard several people who were obviously first riders saying comments to the effect of "that's a person up there, this is lame". I think this is a mutual decline, as the audience is far less jovial then in the past, and the CMs don't know how to get people involved and are just going through the motions. It shows. I hope this ride gets some Imagineering TLC in the next few years, as it's getting stale now in my opinion.

    Then we went off to Muppets, after stopping by the Dine-In Theater to take a picture on the car. She asked if we could eat there, and I told her not tonight, but we have reservations for tomorrow, which excited her immensely. "It's like we have our own private movie theater!"

    We did a quick Dancing vid in front of the Muppet fountain, and entered the ride. As we headed to the ride, the munchkin had started up a conversation with a similarly aged child that was with a family who saw us film the vid, and was also going on the ride. As we mutually entered the ride, she took great pleasure in showing the family who entered with us where the hidden key is. As I said yesterday, she's a fellow Disneyphile!

    The show was fun as always. I was glad to see they fixed the Swedish Chef animitronics, as they were broken through my visit last year, and I love doing the "turn around in the chair" to see him interacting with Kermit and the screen. This was also the first year she actually called Sweetums by his true name, instead of calling him "Beast", as she has in previous visits. I know the character is old, and very rare, but it warmed my heart that she remembered.

    We were about an hour and a half out from our Jiko reservation, so even though she wanted to do Star Tours next, I used a parental veto, and after grabbing a Mickey Ice Cream for her to munch on, we exited the park. We did stroll out pleasurably, and took in a bit of the show that was going on near the hat...and an odd thought crossed my mind. Here we have 20 somethings trying to act like 13 year olds...and the "cool lingo" they wrote into the script makes them sound like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the late 80s. I had flashbacks of the "Coming Out of Our Shells" tour.

    The bus ride was comfortable, and the kid napped on my lap the whole way over and through the first stop. At Jambo House, I woke her up, and on the way she noticed the advertisements for the "giraffes"...so, of course, the first thing we did was go check out the Savannah View.

    This was my first time at AKL, and I must say I was impressed. We stopped by Jiko, and they confirmed our reservation and gave us a Pager. The pager, thankfully, is good for a rather wide range, and didn't require that we stay near Jiko for it, though they did comment that it wouldn't work in most of the rooms. Not a concern, we wouldn't be wandering far from the lobby.

    I don't think I'd ever stay there, but I can see why people rave about it. We wandered through the exquisite lobby and went and checked out the savannah walk. The animals were animals. We saw a longhorn cow (some exotic African breed), several giraffe (including one who's background fur was white instead of yellow, and that was striking), some Zebra, antelope, several rabbits including a baby one, and ducks, including a whole batch of baby ducks.

    They also have a "campfire" activity where you can roast a marshmallow. My kid roasted 3 of them (1 with help, two on her own). That was a very unique experience.

    Our pager went off, and we reported for meal time! I must say, Jiko is everything I expected after reading others reports and more. I am a raving fan. However, have you ever eaten out at a restaurant and gotten a bum waiter, and watched other tables have a better experience?

    This was my night. We sat near the back of the restaurant, and obviously inbetween sections, as well as above the lower tier of tables. I still left him a tip, but I watched enviously as tables next to me and below me got vastly superior service. I still left him a tip, and the experience was great, but he really needs to understand that while this is a rather posh restaurant, it's still Disney. He was very polite, mind you, but he wasn't interactive at all.

    I'll give you an example. They do this thing with rose water washclothes. It's neat, and it makes your hands smell very nice. However, I was obviously here with a kid, and it was my first visit to the restaurant and I made no secret of it. He brought , out the washclothes and said "here are some rosewater washclothes for you"...er...ok...

    What am I supposed to do with them? Bus the table? Wash the silverware? He also seemed genuinely off-put that I had a kid in tow, even though pretty much every other table, with a few exceptions, did as well.

    Meanwhile, I listened to a neighboring waiter engage his table with wonderful stories about other park restaurants his table should visit (including a rave review about Yachtsman), and the two tables below me had a wonderful waiter who engaged the children in the exotic food and got them to try new things (I would think it was a one off, but I watched him do it for two tables, so it's definitely a tip tactic).

    That being said, the food...was amazing.

    I'm not sure I can even put it into words. I do wish I had ordered something other then the duck, as there was too much duck and not enough potato. But, it was still really good, and duck is very hard to cook right, and they nailed it.

    I wanted some wine with my meal, and told the waiter to suprise me. He came back with a decent 2009 red (I would tell you the name, but it's on my missing phone)...not the best wine I've had, but it turned out to be a good compliment to my dishes. Kudos to him.

    So, in summary, check out Jiko. I'm glad I did, and I will be doing it again. I would include pictures of our food...but, as I mentioned before, I lost my camera today.

    Bellies full, we caught a bus to MK for 1a Extra Magic Hours. We arrived just as Wishes was starting, and the kid wanted to do Monsters Inc. We've done this show a lot, and I love it (I even want to make a shirt that says "That Guy" and wear it to a show to see if they notice)...so that's where we headed first. It was the last show of the evening, and I must say one of the best I've seen. The comics were in rare style, and they had the whole audience (seemed to be 1/4 from New Jersey) group in stitches, including myself. Best joke of the show was "Do you know why New Jersey is called the Garden State? Cause you are always guardin' your car, guardin' your house, guardin' your wallet! The audience and I roared laughter!

    After that we wandered towards Buzz Lightyear, and I tried to enter (wrongly) through the Express Pass entrance (I'd just see a family go there, and I was mentally checked out). The CM asked me...where is your Guest Assistance Card, and I responded "Oh, this is GAC? So sorry..."

    After finding the correct queue, we were quickly on the ride, and doing our thing. My kid was bummed moving into the final scene, as she only had 100 points, and then she found the 10k bonus (by sheer accident), and that repaired her mood.

    We took a video of her dancing behind the bars with Zurg, and then headed off to Space Mountain. Somewhere between this and the end of Space Mountain, I lost that camera.

    Space mountain was Space Mountain. She loved it, I loved it, and this was the first year that I didn't put my hands on either side of her head to keep her from overextending her neck.

    Without having to look over another's neck, the ride is even better, and we walked out to the exit, and as we were on the moving sidewalk, I was checking my bags and found that I didn't have my camera.

    This didn't ruin our night, but we did spend 30 minutes or so talking to CMs who checked with CMs, and backtracking our walk from Buzz to Space Mountain. I hope they find it.

    My mood was busted, but the kid was understanding, and said "Look, I need to go potty, and you are upset, so lets go potty, and then you can do your favorite ride"...this is a paraphrase, but, after a quick break, we did the TTC next. It was a welcome mood reset for me, and I am glad my kid was so in tune with my mood to suggest it (and she brought it up again and again on the ride to make sure I was "ok").

    After that, we did Stitch, which she also didn't freak out on as much as previous years (the first year was so bad I was afraid we'd have to leave prematurely)...

    After that I had a peeve...some lady who I'm sure needed her scooter, tried to scoot past us, and nearly ran us both over. I don't mind people on scooters, and I understand they have physical issues that might not be apparent. However, having a scooter doesn't grant you right of way any more then me lighting a cigarette grants me smoking privileges. I saw this attitiude at two parks today, and it really irritated me. If you can't drive the scooter, maybe you should opt for a wheelchair?

    But, the kid trudged on, and after checking at guest services to see if my camera had turned up, we went home. She slept on my chest, and I had to carry her to the room. And, while not a perfect day, the day closed and I'm still excited for tomorrow (I will be going by TTC to see if my camera has shown up though!)

    See you all tomorrow!


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-jiko-dessert.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-kids-dessert.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-entree.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-app.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-bread.jpg  

    Last edited by englanddg; 08-16-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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  4. #48
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    I love that your daughter goes by KK, that's my nickname too. Ive been curious about the Tusker House breakfast, thanks for filling us in. Sorry about your camera, hopefully it will turn up!!


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    Wow, another amazing day and I'm even more looking forward to our trip in november
    Thanks for the daily updates, love reading them.

    Hope you find your camera soon


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    Nightmare losing your camera. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it turns up soon.


    EDIT:
    Oooops - nearly forgot...

    Mmmmm - lettuce cups!


    Last edited by Winkster; 08-13-2012 at 09:43 AM.
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    Hope your camera turns up! We've always found that AK is quieter than the other parks! Can't wait to hear about your Sci-Fi Diner experience. It is one of our favourite restaurants! The food is nice but not the best! However, the atmosphere is AWESOME! It's worth waiting for a car in the centre of the theatre! 8:0) XXX



  8. #52
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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    So sorry about your camera! I hope it shows up. Also check with the general lost-and-found at the TTC. My friend lost something once and a couple days later it wound up there.

    Lettuce cups and Jiko...what a yummy day! And that's wonderful that you're teaching "the kid" to swim. She sounds like a very well-behaved, fun-loving little girl.

    I find the Great Movie Ride to be hit-and-miss depending on the CMs. I think the problem is the same as Jungle Cruise. Disney needs to take better care to place the right people in those guide positions: outgoing people with the natural ability to ad lib funny lines.

    I didn't know about the marshmallow roast. Do grownups do it, too, or is it a kid thing?


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    I left my camera in in AK years ago in a stroller and got it back. WDW is very good with lost items. Good luck!


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  10. #54
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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    That makes me sad you had a bad experience on GMR. I always try to do my best on my tours

    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice View Post
    I find the Great Movie Ride to be hit-and-miss depending on the CMs. I think the problem is the same as Jungle Cruise. Disney needs to take better care to place the right people in those guide positions: outgoing people with the natural ability to ad lib funny lines.
    But there's no way to do that, unfortunately.


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  11. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by joanna71985
    But there's no way to do that, unfortunately.
    Interesting. So they don't audition CMs for those kinds of performance jobs? What about performance reviews?


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  12. #56
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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice View Post
    I've dealt with the same type of group at Epcot. Was it teenagers?
    Young adults, yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice View Post
    But how was Royal Table? No details?
    Don't ask me how I left that out! Royal Table was fantastic. We didn't get our normal seat though, some other Daddy / Daughter had it (so sad). Royal Table has updated their menu, and I don't know if it's due to the new food or what, but I found both her food and mine a step up from previous visits.

    I also noticed new pastry items going out to some guests that I had never seen before. One was a birthday cake that was an amazing copy of Belle (not a plastic figurine on the cake, they actually sculpted and decorated her). It was a top quality cake, close to something you'd see at a professional cake shop. The other was the table next to us, who had twins who were also celebrating their birthdays.

    They each got what I can describe best as custom chocolate samplers plates. The girl had a sculpted chocolate slipper, on a cake, with ice cream on the side and decorated with a red sauce that I assume was strawberry (or cherry, I didn't taste it), and huge shavings of chocolate around the plate. The boy had something similar, but a more masculine chocolate sculpture (I forget what). I would have taken a picture but I didn't want to be all up in their business.

    The Princesses were fun as always, but I really enjoyed Snow White this year. She was funny and completely pulls off the character. Arial was my least favorite, mostly because she decided to adopt a nasely voice and it was difficult to understand what she was saying. My kid kept looking at me when they were doing the meet and greet, and after she had sat back down at the table she said "Wow, she speaks fast. She really needs to lay off the coffee" (or something to that effect, I don't remember the exact quote)

    Meet and greets are made far easier with my new Sony camera (the one I lost), as I can take 1080 video and 16.3 megapixel photographs at the same time. I think it threw some of the princesses though when I gave them the thumbs up that I'd taken the picture...I'm sure they are used to camera shuffling or people fiddling to switch between modes.


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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    Quote Originally Posted by joanna71985 View Post
    But there's no way to do that, unfortunately.
    I don't get that. Why not?

    Surely there's some kind of "casting" process?

    I have to admit, we've had some dire CMs on the Great Movie Ride and on the Jungle Cruise - but have had some great ones too.

    I'd really hope that Disney do actively look for the most suited people for these rides and also monitor them on the job too. Isn't that part of a performance review?


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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice View Post
    I didn't know about the marshmallow roast. Do grownups do it, too, or is it a kid thing?
    It's open to grownups and kids. They provide the fire, the marshmallows (all you care to enjoy) and the roasting stick. If you want to make smores, they said you can go to the hotel gift shop and they sell chocolate bars and graham crackers there. You still get marshmallows from them for free though!

    Day 5
    Sadistic Waffles, Singin' in the (Water Park) Rain, and I see a little silhouetto of a man. Scaramouch!

    Magic Moments - 1
    Pics Taken - 96
    Vid for Projects Taken - 12
    Discomforts (bug bites/etc) - 0
    Unexpected Surprises - 1 (Winter Summerland)
    Peeves - 3 (Rude Bus Drivers, Disney Wifi, Vending Machines)

    Breakfast - A Mickey Waffle, OJ, Milk and Coffee (Pop)
    Lunch - Cobb Salad, Pan-seared Coriander-dusted Grouper, Haricot Verts, Goat Cheese and Watermelon Salad with a Balsamic Reduction and Fennel Oil, Grapefruit Cake (me) Salad, Fish and Chips, Make-your-own Ice Cream (her) (Brown Derby)
    Dinner - BLT Soup, Reuban, Chocolate Milkshake (me) Fruit Salad, Chicken Nuggets and Fries, Vanilla Ice Cream (her)
    Snacks - 1 OJ, 4 sodas, 1 popcorn, 1 frozen lemonade

    Dinner Credits left - 50
    Snack Credits left - 35
    ____________________________________

    After a late night last night, we both slept in today. I didn't wake until nearly 10a, and it was certainly a coffee morning. My body was sore, and I had the beginnings of a sunburn on my upper back. Certainly not painful, but noticeable, and I would need to be sure to use sunscreen today as my skin healed, or it could easily get worse. It seems years of computer work has taken it's toll on my sun tolorance!

    I went down to the Pop food court and picked up a kids Mickey Waffles with bacon, and a Bounty Platter. I filled my mug and my kid's mug with coffee (both for me!), and headed back to the room. When I got back, the kid was already awake and had found some cartoons to watch.

    I cleared off the small table, and moved it over to her bed so we could eat together. We shared everything, and it was mediocre, as anyone who has had a hotel breakfast at Disney would expect. Not bad, but not good...very cafeteria.

    My kid tucked into her waffle first, and she has a peculiar and habit of how to eat them that goes back to an early breakfast on our first trip in 2010. We had woken early that day after doing 1am EM, and she was just grumping around. Nothing would get her out of the funk, so I was trying to get her excited about her waffles. So, I decided...to mutilate Mickey. I cut off one of his waffle ears and did my best Mickey impression of him screaming "noooo, not my ears, my beautiful ears", or something like that. Then I munched an ear. This got her giggling, and she ate the other ear. His chin and nose later, she was fully into the gag and her mood restored.

    Fast forward to 2012, and she STILL eats her waffles this way, doing the voice herself. Who says you shouldn't play with your food, even if it is a bit sadistic?

    We ate leisurely and around 11:30 we decided to head off to to Hollywood Studios, and were there by noon. Listening to the bus announcements, I found out that Extra Magic hours at Hollywood Studios were going to be until 1a, instead of the 12a that I had programmed into my calendar. Neat!

    We grabbed a fast pass for Star Tours, and headed off to the Backstage Tour, stopping for about a half hour for her to play on the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground (note to parents, unless you WANT to do this, steer your kids around it. When they see it, they will not stop talking about it). It was ok. I remember loving it as a kid, and it is really well done, but after playing at the playgrounds at Universal, I felt underwhelmed. The kid, obviously, does not share this feeling.

    The Backstage Tour was ok. I've seen Disaster Canyon so many times that it doesn't impress me anymore, and I miss the extensive pre-show (I rode the bee twice as a kid, and was also picked for the "rainy boat" scene once). In fact, the only highlight of the trip for me is Walt Disney's plane that he used to survey the "Florida Project". The kid thought it was ok. She had a front row seat this time for Disaster Canyon, and was right in front of the Tanker when it blew up. She shrieked with pleasure at the heat, and talked about it the rest of the ride.

    We went off for our reservation at Brown Derby, and showed up a bit early. They were not busy at all, and quickly had us seated. Oddly, we sat in the same booth we had in 2010 and 2011. They had a walkaround "Chef" character with a french accent that was hilarious, and great at ad-lib. I've never seen this character before, and it makes me wonder if they are trying to drum up business, because as a regular visitor with no dining plan, there really is no reason to see the Brown Derby.

    He had a pie with pi on it, and that was his opening joke. The kid didn't get it, and I made the comment that she would understand it later, and he worked off me and asked her how old she was. "7, nearly 8", she said, and he quipped, "Oh, well, you will get this joke in about 3.14 years!" I nearly choked on the bread I was nibbling! As I'll be eating at Brown Derby again on Friday, I decided to skip my normal choices and try new things this time.

    Our server was fantastic! He was obviously enjoying his day, and formed a great relationship with my kid. I had the Cobb Salad, which was my first time trying it, but as it's a signature dish, I felt it was time to give it a try. The reason it's a signature dish is that the Cobb Salad was invented at the real Brown Derby in the late 30's. The story is that the owner, Mr. Cobb, hadn't eaten all day and near closing threw together a salad using leftovers from the days cooking along with some fresh bacon. He liked the salad so much, that he put it on the menu, and the rest is history! You can get the recipe for the Cobb Salad as you exit the restaurant. It's in a wall pocket near the exit, and is printed on cards shaped like a little brown derby.

    It...was ok. It was extremely well produced by the kitchen, so I can't really complain about that, but the combination of flavours wasn't something that I really liked. I will not be doing it again. I want to stress that this shouldn't turn anyone else off to it, as it was prepared very well, and I did enjoy it, but not enough to finish it. The portion is pretty large too. If I could have shared it with someone, it would have been perfect.

    I love fish, and we were planning the waterpark later, so I wanted a "light" lunch. I make coriander crusted fish at home a lot. I grind up the seeds in my mortar and pestle. I generally use flounder, as it's my favorite fish. I'm not fond of grouper, as I find it generally flavorless, and so I wanted to try it to see if I could get some seasoning tips. I wasted my time. The fish was bland. The balsamic / watermelon base was fantastic though, and I ate all of that, but still left pieces of fish on the plate. As with many dishes, if you combine all the elements in one bite, you get a proper taste, but this dish wasn't like that. The salad dramatically overpowered the fish, and frankly they could have just served me the salad alone, and I would have been happy. They could have left the grouper in the pan for all I cared. :P

    The grapefruit cake is another Brown Derby signature dish, so I decided to give it a shot. One word. Don't. I love grapefruit (and drink it daily at home). But this cake was no good at all, even though the presentation was fantastic.

    During our meal, nature called for me, and I left the kid for a few minutes while I handled my business. When I came back, she and the waiter had an inside joke. He had served what I assume was some brandy or a wine test to another table, and had used a "tiny glass". It was about a 3 oz wine glass, and my kid loved it.

    When I came back, she was joking with him about it, and I was completely outside of the loop. A few minutes later, he came back with coke in that same glass, and she pretended she was a "grown lady", while taking dainty sips from her glass. How fun!

    Tummies full, and Fantasmic Dinner Pass acquired, we moved on. I must say, I wasn't satisfied, but I was not disappointed either. Lunch was just meh, outside of the service. It started to rain, and ponchos in hand, I checked my phone for a weather map, and saw a storm was going to blow through for about an hour. We had planned to go to the water park, but we still had our fast passes for Star Tours, so we ran over and did that. It's great. I love the new version. We happened into the Star Tours Celebration V shutdown event in 2010, and it's a lasting memory for both of us (video of the event here - An overview of Disney's Last Tour to Endor for Star Wars Celebration V - YouTube). We saw several celebs that night, including George Lucas and Anthony Daniels, and we even rode Star Tours next to Jon Stewart (whom I didn't recognize at all in person, and he's quite short).

    I love what they've done with the ride, and I was really happy that we got Hoth as one of our options, as I hadn't seen that version when we rode last year, and Hoth is hands down my favorite part of all the movies.

    We went and watched Muppets again, and the rain started to subside, so we went to catch a bus for the water park. She wanted to go to Typhoon, but to get to Typhoon, you have to hotel hop. I wanted to go straight, so we flipped a coin, and Blizzard it was.

    So, gripe #1 of the day...we saw a driver change at HS (which I think this is where they do them, as I see it all the time here, and I know they alternate routes throughout the shift), and the new driver obviously wasn't happy to be at work. It wasn't anything she said, but you could tell with her body language and her tone of voice. She overheard me talking to the kid about how cool Blizzard was, and I was reminding her about it ("remember the water park where we rode on the ski lift really high in the air and you could see all the people as small as ants?") She snapped out of nowhere "Well, it's raining now, so that park is closed. I'll still drop you off, but they won't let you in!"

    This was very off-putting. I knew the park was closed, I am quite aware of the rain schedules, and I'd been checking my phone for weather maps, and knew that they'd be open in 30 mins to a half hour. The kid really wanted to do a water park, and if we had to wait for a bit and wander the grounds or even be turned away and head off to a hotel to explore for a bit before coming back, it was my choice, and I really didn't appreciate her uninvited intrusion into my conversation with my child.

    However, my kid seemed not to notice, and once on the bus, she took a nap on my lap as we headed on. By the time we got there, the rain had mostly stopped, and we trundled over to Winter Summerland to check it out before trying park entry. At drop off, the bus driver didn't even open the back door for us to exit, even though she knew this was our destination and the bus was mostly empty (3 families), and when we stood up to leave, she exclaimed for all to hear that "I told you the park was closed, and you won't even be able to get in. You can get off, but you won't be able to swim. You still want to get off?" I indicated I did, and we left. I hope she got over whatever had put her in such a bad mood later, because I found her attitude extremely uncomfortable.

    As she had said, the park was closed, though they would allow us entry, we just couldn't get on any rides. I asked the chiddler if she wanted to go in now, or check out the mini-golf. She chose the latter, so off to Winter Summerland. We've never explored this course, and it looked amazingly cool! 18 holes, 9 themed wintery, and 9 themed summary. I love the "twin castles" too. After walking the outside (they were closed too), we settled down near the entrance, and I must say that they handle rain downage very well! They had crayons and coloring pages for the kids, and my kid asked for Eeyore, and one of the cast members went back and looked up one for her to color. How fun! They also gave out free mini-candy canes, and while here we purchased a few snacks and decided to hang out until it reopened.

    About 30 minutes later, we were off on the course! My kid loves mini-golf, and it's a regular thing that both her mom and I do with her. I've been doing putt putts with her since she was 3 years old. She even has a real kid sized putter at home that she normally uses, and she is scary good. I don't know why it never occurred to me to do the courses at Disney, but after reading various trip reports to get ready for this trip, I decided to remedy that.

    So, my little Tigress Woods and I hit the links, and she decided to do the Winter side. The theme is a lot of fun, and by far our favorite hole was the castle (for the theme, not the complexity of the hole). She beat me by 4 strokes, though I may have thrown a few holes, no one could prove it. She did, however, give me a run for my money, and after a satisfying round, we headed off to Blizzard. She was excited to test out her new "swimming skills", and the first place she wanted to visit was the wave pool. This was a first, as on previous visits, she mostly wanted to do the lazy river.

    I love doing the water parks right after rain. First, most of the guests have departed, so the parks are not crowded at all. Second, while the water is less enjoyable, as it doesn't relieve your heat, the park is more enjoyable, as you don't have to wait in the heat!

    I must plug my other camera now. I got a Pentax Optio waterproof digital camera for this trip, and while I miss the Sony still (it's gonna turn up I hope), the Pentax was made for this sort of experience. We took all sorts of underwater shots (her and me making funny faces) as well as videos. I didn't have to worry about water or splashes, and at I'm very glad I got this camera.

    After renting a locker and depositing my day pack, our shoes, and her overclothes, we headed off to the pool! She adored the wave pool, and I regret teaching her how to wave surf, because it's all she wanted to do the rest of the day! Eventually, I was able to talk her into going on a few slides. Not all of the rides had completely opened yet, so we went on Double Dipper. She was just barely tall enough (funny how the extra half inch shoes add at the parks makes all the difference), and she was measured 4 times total. Once at the base, twice while in line, and then once again at the top. Disney lifeguards seemed to be on the lookout for short ones!

    But, she qualified by about a half inch, and wanted me to go first so I'd be there to help her out of the landing pool. I'm always a bit nervous about going first on these sorts of things with her, as I'm not sure if she will freak out and refuse to do the ride, and I don't want to inconvenience the other people waiting or the cast member with her emotional expression, but she's never freaked out, and so I did as she requested, and went first.

    The ride is awesome, with quite a few jumps. I am a contact wearer, and on the second jump, I got a splatter of water in my eye that sent the contact roaming, so I really can't tell you much about the last drop outside of that it was fast! Struggling with my eye, I followed the lifeguards instructions, and stumbled over to the exit and deposited my tube on the tube return.

    I hastened to listen for my kids distinctive scream...and didn't hear it. I began to worry that she had chickened out, but a few moments later that mix of thrill and joy hit my ears, and she popped out the bottom of the tube. She fared much better then I, and managed to stay on the tube all the way to the stairs, where I helped her out, and she deposited it for return.

    Deciding not to brave another trip on the now open Toboggan runs (I'm not sure if they upped the height on them, but those were her first intense slides in 2010...and now they require 48 inches)...

    We had seen a double tube ride while waiting for the Double Dipper, and she really wanted to do it, so we walked to the back of the park and got on board!

    Now, I really wanted some water slide footage for the videos I plan to make after our trip, so I filmed the whole trip down the slide. I must say this took away some of the enjoyment, but the footage turned out fantastic. One thing that will keep me from doing it all the way through again was the landing. We landed hard! And since I didn't have my weight balanced since I was holding the camera, the tube flipped. Totally my fault, but this sent the kid into 4 foot water quickly, and she freaked out. After grabbing her trying to tread water (we've talked about it, but I haven't taught her the arm/leg movements), I moved us off to the side and she did a jellyfish float while I collected my camera.

    I will collect more footage like this, but I will shut the camera off and connect it well before the end of the ride. I was embarrassed, and the kid was upset that water got up her nose.

    After this, she really wanted to do a tube on the wave pool to see how far we could get, so we grabbed the Lazy River and rode off into blissful relaxation. She and I both assumed the "tanning positions", and as usual, I kept her raft near using my foot tied to the curve.

    At the wave pool, it took us a few minutes to secure a tube, but once we did, she braved it all the way to the back where the big waves are. I hung off the side of the tube, and we floated wherever the waves took us (I did guide us out of the flux where the two wave producing areas meet, and you can easily get stuck). After reaching the 1 foot spot, we headed back out to float in again, and then gave our tube to a family who seemed to just be arriving, and went back to the lockers and a quick bathroom break. While she was finishing, I bought us a towel with the seagulls from Nemo on it, as a running joke for both of us is "mine, mine, mine"!

    On our way out, we passed the "lost children" section, where the kid hula hooped for a few minutes with the attendant who seemed thoroughly bored before we showed up, and they did a contest to see who could hula longest. This went on far longer then I expected, nearly 3 minutes, and my kid won (I'm sure the attendant made sure of that).

    Once on the bus, I covered her in our new towel, and we headed back to Hollywood Studios for our dinner reservation, and to see Fantasmic using our earlier obtained pass.

    Dinner was what I expected. The Dine-In TheatAttachment 6508Attachment 6506Attachment 6507 fantastic, but the Reuban was disappointing (too dry), I wish I'd done the burger instead, which has always been fantastic. For dessert I had a chocolate milkshake, which was good. I'd prefer the PBJ Milkshake from 50's, but I don't like the experience. Maybe one day they'll get it here.

    We watched the film all the way through the loop (about an hour), and then headed over to Fantasmic. We've only seen this once, and they've made a few changes since 2010. It's still a fantastic show. Not much to say here outside of...go see it!

    After Fantasmic, we went off to do other things as there were EM hours till 1am (which I confirmed with a CM upon exit, as I've never seen them do EM hours until 1am, it's always 12a...) But, the bus was right. Oh, one tip for those of you looking for a bathroom break after the show...don't use the first ones you see, the lines will be horrendous. Rather, wander towards the back of the park and use one of those bathrooms. We used the bathrooms to the right of American Idol, and found them desolate. Disney will card you for EM if you want to ride a ride, but they won't if you need to have some relief.

    For EM, we rode Star Wars, then walked New York and San Fran. You might think those doors are fake, but they are not. They are cast only, and some Cast Member had left one in San Fran open...and it happened to be the first one my kid had me try. While there was nothing to look at outside of the Muppet queue, she insisted that I try every door along the street, which was fun in it's own way.

    After this, we headed to Toy Story, which for some reason was closed, but according to CM's was "expected to open for EM hours"...the line was back to the Coke Spot, so, we skipped it. We did Tower of Terror, and Rockin' Roller Coaster, and then I again used a parental veto to say the night was over.

    At this point, the day hit me hard, and I wanted to go back to the hotel. On the bus ride home came a truly magical moment.

    As we pulled out of Hollywood Studios, they play music, and this time it was Bohemian Rhapsody. I started singing along (it's one of my favorite songs), and the guy next to me joined in, and before we were at Pop, about half the bus was singing "will not let you go!"

    This is what I love about Disney.

    Ok, to explain my two peeves that I didnt't touch on so far.

    Disney Wifi is hit or miss. It times out and wants you to agree to legal conditions that only work in IE, and I don't use IE, I use Chrome, so I have to log out, and log in again, and sometimes even that doesn't work, and the only thing I've found that will get me back online is an IP renewal. This is exactly what I experienced at CBR in 2010 when they had Wifi only, and I hate it.

    The vending machine on my floor doesn't like dollar bills...so I went to the third floor...That vending machine also doesn't like dollar bills...I just want a coke! So, I went to the second floor. THAT vending machine LOVES my dollar bills, but tells me that it's out of every product, then freezes up for a few minutes, then teases me by letting me input my choice, and then saying again it's sold out, even though I am staring at the product through the window. I just want a coke!

    So, 3 bucks lost to the third vending machine, I just go to the laundry area, where it finally works.

    Further updates tomorrow!


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-dsc00266.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-dsc00267.jpg   englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!-dsc00268.jpg  
    Last edited by englanddg; 09-08-2012 at 01:05 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  15. #59
    joanna71985's Avatar
    joanna71985 is offline TalkDisney Team

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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!

    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice View Post
    Interesting. So they don't audition CMs for those kinds of performance jobs? What about performance reviews?
    No. There are no auditions for GMR, JC, or Safari. But they do have CMs at the ride that review their show (at GMR, at least).

    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    I don't get that. Why not?

    Surely there's some kind of "casting" process?

    I have to admit, we've had some dire CMs on the Great Movie Ride and on the Jungle Cruise - but have had some great ones too.

    I'd really hope that Disney do actively look for the most suited people for these rides and also monitor them on the job too. Isn't that part of a performance review?

    No, not really. Casting just places people at the attractions that need people (there is no audition process or anything).


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    Re: englanddg's Magical Mystery Tour (and Trip Report)!



    Eeek! No wonder some CMs are so rubbish!

    I'm amazed that, with Disney's legendary attention to detail, they'd overlook this and allow, let's be honest, some VERY lacklustre performances on these attractions.

    I'll ask for you next time Joanna - at least then we'll be guaranteed a good experience!


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