Planning Day: January 1, 2012: WDW arrival - 120 days (May 1, 2012)
The maps are out, the campground guides are searched and the planning has begun. Dinner reservations have been made and are:
May 2 - Whispering Canyon - Wilderness Lodge -9:35 a.m.
May 4 - Ohana - Polynesian - 6:55p.m.
May 8 - LeCellier - EPCOT (Canada) - 1:15 p.m.
May 12 - Garden Grill - EPCOT - 6:00 p.m.
May 16 - Sci-Fi - Studio - 12:50 p.m.
May 21 - Plaza Resturant - Magic Kingdom - 12:15 p.m.
May 25 - Paridiso 37 - Pleasure Island - 1:00 p.m.
May 29 - Whispering Canyon - Wilderness Lodge -1:05 p.m.
Wehave to make dinner reservations as early as possible to guarentee that we get to eat where we want. Some of the resturants are booked up to 150 days in advance.
Now we just need to figure out where we will be stopping on the way down. we are going to make each leg a little shorter than previous trips - nothing more than 400 miles per day! We will see how that works.
Planning Day: January 11, 2012: WDW arrival - 112 days (May 1, 2012)
Campground reservations are made and confirmed!
Schedule looks like this:
April 26 - Leave Blue springs, first stop at Duck Creek RV park in Paducah Ky (403 miles)
April 27 - Birmingham South RVpark in Pelham, Al (345 miles
April 28 & 29 - Emeral Beach RV park in Navarre, FL (260 miles)
April 30 - Cedar Key RV Park in Cedar Key, Fl (335 miles)
May 1 - Walt Disney Fort Wilderness (136 miles)
The Destination - The FORT!!
Thursday, April 26:
And here we go, again. Got off to an early start, 7:20 a.m. I don't think any of us slept very well last night, thinking of things we might have forgotten, and the upcoming Mavericks game 7 of the CHL division championship with the Fort Wayne Komets. Tonight is a must win game if the boys want to keep playing hockey rather than start their summer jobs. We made our traditional first stop at Panera's for coffee and pastry. This morning we gave Nico a 5mg dose of valium to settle him down, he gets a little antsy on the first day of long trips. Well he was good all the way to Warrenton where we got Missouri gas (it is cheaper than Illinois gas). Then we braved the St. Louis traffic and roads and headed out to Mt Vernon, Illinois where we turn south and head to Paducah, KY. Weather is great, sunny, clear and calm winds (a first crossing Missouri). Temps in the 70's. Stopped for gas in Paducah and arrived at Duck Creek RV park at about 2:45. Paducah hosts a huge quilt show every year and it is this week. Even the RV park is packed! It is a good thing that Nico & Smudge have an"in" here. This is where Max lives, Max is the park's mascot and Nico and Smudge always leave Max a bag or two of Elizabeth cookies. On our reservation it says "Max'es secret Santa". Since we couldn't come back here last winter, Nico and Smudge sent Max a few bags of Elizabeth cookies. The boys went out and ran in the dog park at Duck Creek, had their dinner and are ready for bed. Jane and I on the other hand got the TV's working, took the boys to the dog park and had a cool brew. I am in the process of getting the computer and TV hooked together to watch the hockey game - dinner can wait! Well, the hockey game hard to watch for several reasons. One, without a high speed Internet connection the game broadcast spent allot of time "buffering" and two, the Mavs spent too much time in the penalty box and eventually lost the game. Now we just have to wait to see who comes back next year!
Time for bed, the boys have been out one last time and everyone is headed to bed. Tomorrow we are off to Birmingham, Alabama
Friday, April 27:
Up early again and on the road by 7:10. Nico had his Valium with breakfast so he should be good for 6 hours or so. After breakfast I took the boys out and it was COLD! Temps in the 50's. Weather promises to be good, slightly overcast, light wind and temps in the 70's. Should be a good driving day. Just after leaving Paducah we past a Cracker Barrel and commented that in order to be proper RV'ers we needed to stop at one for breakfast one time.
Roads are good so far, pretty highway. Tree lined interstate and light traffic. Made it through Nashville without Glenda yelling at us "re-calculating". Arrived in Birmingham - and what has to be the world's roughest roads. These folks are definately not getting their monies worth in road taxes! Just south of Birmingham we turned off at Pelham and Birmingham South RV Park. Nice places, gravel roads and sites. Some sites are heavily wooded and some are out in the open and some are in between. Arrived here about 2:30. I like getting in early and having time to relax for a few hours. Took the boys for a walk around the park and fed them. I tried to get as many bugs off the windshield as I could. Some real pretty ones stuck in various places. Also have seen 5 road kill armadillos. At home we see road kill raccoons, possums, and an occasional deer. Tomorrow is a real short day - about 4hours on the road and the rest of the day at the beach!
Saturday, April 28
Since it is a relatively short day, only 4 1/2 hours, we slept in a little and didn't hit the road until a little after 8:00. Again the weather is great, slightly overcast but warm and dry. Roads were very good compared to the roads in Birmingham yesterday. Nico is settled in and riding nicely - ah the wonders of modern medicine! We decided to overrule Glenda on our routing today and we stuck with multi-lane divided highways. After we turned off I-65 onto US-29 we came upon a large group of motorcycles (100 plus) that were stopping traffic at intersections and generally taking up most of the road. We followed them through a little town and when to road opened up out of town we decided it was okay to try to pass them. It was only then that we discovered that this was a group of Patriot Guard riders. We thought that they may be on their way to Pensecola for a veteran's funeral. It was a pretty inspiring sight. Route 29 took us through Pensecola's less affluent part of town. We were glad when we eventually saw the Gulf! Not so glad when I saw the sign that read "Check fuel level, long bridge ahead". I am not a fan of long, high bridges. Once across the bridge (it wasn't that long) we were on the road to Navarre, where we were spending the next two nights. Finally, after driving for what seemed too long, we arrived at Emerald Beach RV Resort. It is a beautiful place on the beach. Our site is next to the beach. Jane and I decided to go down to the beach for a little while. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the beach, so the boys had to wait in Alf. We tore ourselves away after about an hour and returned to feed the boys. Decided to get a bite ourselves. there is a shrimp place across the road that has a great looking menu, however, they didn't recommend trying to cross the road - it is a very busy 4 lane highway. So we stayed in the RV and made sandwiches. We told the boys they could sleep in tomorrow - please, since we aren't going anywhere until Monday. We all tuned in and were asleep in short time.
Dog Park at Duck Creek, about 100'X150'.
Duck Creek, FULL, Gravel roads and LEVEL gravel sites
Birmingham South - Nice Park and very nice office people
Nice sites, good electric supply. some sites heavily wooded, some wide open and some in between.
Emerald Beach RV Park - Site 65. We have to move to site 71 on Sunday because of reservations
THE BEACH! Unfortunately no pets on the beach
Sunday, April 29:
Another beautiful day here. We didn't do much more than sit on the beach and in the Gulf. Watched a guy in an ultra-lite with floats do touch and go's on the water, pretty cool. We like this place enough that we made reservations for tow nights here on the way home - June 2 & 3. We watched a little hockey, Flyers vs New Jersey Devils, to get our hockey fix. Today was the last day for hockey events at home. Mavericks had a meet & greet with all the players and adopted families got their players jerseys so we asked a friend, Zack, to pick ours up and get a couple of pictures taken with our guys. We spent too much time in the sun, both of us are a little sun burned so we turned in early. Tomorrow we are on the road to Cedar Key.
Monday, April 30:
We slept in a little this morning and planned onspending time on the beach, however, since Jane was a litltle too burned to need any more sun. So we emptied our grey and black tanks (one of the more glamorous parts of traveling in a motorhome) and headed out about 9:30. We drove down the highway to go through Destin. Destin is a very popular tourist destination. It has alot of fancy hotels, charter boats, resturants and shopping. Very touristy. We decided that Navarre was the place to stay. Another day of sun and clear skies, good driving weather. All was good until Glenda decided to take us to Cedar Key the "direct" route which was a narrow county road, not the quicker and wider, state highway. finally got to Cedar Key RV Resort at 5:20. They close at 5:00 (it seems that most RV parks closeat 5:00 - what is up with that?). So Tuesday morning - Disney day - we have to wait til 9:00 to "check in" and pay. We just took a spot that looked good and settled in for the night. Then the next surprise, Cedar Key is an electronic dead spot. No Wi-Fi reception and no over the air TV reception. Jane wanted to try to make reservations for dinner Tuesday night, guess we will try once we get on the road and closer to civilization. We have looked at the maps and decided we will give Glenda another try in the morning, but if she decides to stray from our planned route...................
Emerald Beach - Site 71 with a private deck
Cedar Key - nice place but an electronic black hole!!!
Utility tower at Cedar Key, first one like this we have seen
Tuesday, May 1:
Up a little late this morning, different time zone now. Tried sending emails, using cell phone, etc. still nothing. Cedar Key is a virtual electronic twilight zone. Nice place to go if you want to get away from everything. glenda tried to fool us again, but we over-rode her decisions - she wasn't happy. We got to THE FORT about 12:30 and checked in. We asked for site 705 but the closest we could get was site 712 - until Wednesday, so we will move again in the morning. Site 705 is right across from the dog walk path and has some extra space between the neighboring sites. They are so nice here, all you have to do is ask and it happens. One of the disadvantages of traveling in Florida in May is that it is Lovebug season. Lovebugs are not pleasant insects! If left on vehicles, they can really eat into the paint. You can tell who has just arrived at the campgrounds since they are the ones frantically washing the front of their RV. We had lunch at Trails End, a little snacky place by the lake in the campgrounds. From there we went to the Disney Marketplace to get park passes and meal plan tickets. While we were there we were right around the corner from Ghiradelli's. We had to have some sundaes - it was only right to do that. Did some minor shopping, it is early in the trip so there is lots of time to do serious shopping.
Lovebugs on the front of Alf
The neat thing about Lovebugs is that you always kill two at a time. They are perpetually matting!!!! With an 8'-6" wide, 12'-6" high motor home moving down the road at 65 mph you can kill alot of them
Wednesday, May 2:
We got up about 8:00 and got ready to go to breakfast. Took dogs out, checked to see if the folks in 705 were still there (they were) then went to catch boat to Wilderness Lodge for breakfast at Whispering Canyon. Caught the counter-clockwise boat (it goes counter-clockwise between the campgrounds, the Contemporary and Wilderness Lodge) and had a new "captain", Janet. It was a windy day and the boat was kind of small so Janet had a little trouble getting into the dock at Contemporary but she did fine at the Wilderness Lodge dock. went to check in at Whispering Canyon and asked for our favorite server, Chad. Another couple asked for Chad while we were waiting. The prime jobs at Disney are servers at popular sit down restaurants - they make the top dollars from tips. This trip we also got the "Tables in Wonderland" meal package, it gives you 20% off in most restaurants on property. Had another great breakfast and chatted with Chad a bit. After breakfast we had to do some shopping at the gift shop, but didn't buy anything. Caught clock-wise boat back to the campground, checked site 705 (they were gone) and went back to RV and got ready to relocate. We quickly got moved and hooked up electricity and water. Once all were settled, I went off to pickup our rental car. Now, that may sound like a simple matter, but here we are several miles from the Dolphin Hotel where the rental car place is. So, I took the Orange internal bus to the Outpost and transferred to a Hollywood Studio bus, from the Studio I took a boat to the Dolphin Hotel to get the car. It sure is handy knowing how the Disney transportation system works. Got the car, a new Dodge Charger (no, not a Hemi Charger) and went back to the campgrounds. It was starting to get hot so I took a little break until going out and finishing our set up. Put up X-pen for the boys, got the grill out and set up and got the Mickey light post out and plugged in. Within 30 minutes someone pulled up and asked where we got the light post, told them a friend (Gary from Canada) made it and if they would give me their email address I would send them plans. I have 3 more at home (kind of went crazy making them - thanks Gary). Starting to get dark so we fired up the grill and fixed Brats and beans for dinner. Tried to get Stanley Cup game on the TV, but couldn't find it so watched old reruns on MeTV and went to bed.
We are here!!!! A little cloudy here, but a cloudy day in WDW is better than a sunny day anywhere else
Trail's End, a nice place to eat at the campground
Thursday, May 3:
Boys slept in a little this morning, they are getting better at this. they do remember the dog path and where the coach is now. We decided to go to Magic Kingdom and ride Snow White's ride before it closes at the end of the month. sounds like it is closing forever. When we arrived at MK our passes didn't work so we were told to go to City Hall and get new ones that worked. That done we were on our way to Fantasyland to get some rides in. At the old firehouse they had signs out looking for volunteers for a new "game", "Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom", a sort of scavenger hunt. We got a 'magic key" and a map of the park with different locations marked on it. We went around to the marked locations, used our "magic key" and got clues as to which loocation to go to next. It is fun, but it detracts from doing other things, we kind of got caught up in the game. Had lunch at the Plaza resturant. Our Tables in Wonderland meal plan is saving us 20% on each meal and I think it will pay for itself in one visit - and it is good for 13 months!!!! After lunch we did some shopping and finished up the Main Street portion of the game.
Caught the boat back to the campgrounds with the intention of resting for a little bit and going tothe grocery store. Resting a little bite turned into watching a replay of the Rangers/Capitals hockey game (the game went into 3 overtime periods - almost 1 whole additional game). After the game we decided to stay in and do the grocery store tomorrow, after going back to MK to do more of the game - we have to save the Kingdom! Fired up the grill and had brats and beans again - we have to go to the grocery store tomorrow!!
Site 705 - Charger and Mickey Light
The water level in the canals is very low so this might be the extent of the wildlife this trip.
Off to save the Kingdom!!
Window appears normal before the portal key is used. Note portal key hole on left
Same window after portal is "opened"
Friday, May 4:
Well, we didn't get to the grocery store yesterday so we HAVE to go today - sometime. Took the boat back to MK to finish up trying to save the Kingdom. We started in Frontierland and the crowds had not made it back there yet. I took some pictures of the prettier scenes as we went from portal to portal.
When we finished the Sorcerrer's game in Frontierland it sent us to Adventureland, but we were told earlierin the day that the Adventureland section wasn't working. So we went around the corner to Adventureland anyway and went to ride Pirates of the Carribean, then to Jungle Cruise. It was starting to get hot so we stopped and got a Dole Whip soft serve. These are awesone on a hot day, citrus flavor soft serve. After we were refreshed we went back to Fantasyland to take a couple of pictures of the construction of the big addition that is being buillt. Not sure when this is supposed to be finishedbut thought we could record progress throughout the year.
We headed back to the campground to rest and walk the dogs. We finally said we have to go to the grocery store so got up and headed out to Winn-Dixie. Had a light lunch at McD's since we are having dinner at Ohana tonight. It is an "all you care to eat" dinner at the Polynesian Resort. Got our groceries and returned to the RV for a while. At about 6:00 we headed out to catch a boat to MK and then the Monorail to the Polynesian resort for dinner. It was very good and an interesting experience. You don't order off a menu, the servers just keep bringing different courses. First the salad, then some chicken wings, then skewers of chicken, sweet and sour pork, steak and finally shrimp. They will keep bringing it until you tell them to stop. This is all followed by a huge bread pudding with ice cream. After dinner we waddled out to the monorail to head back to MK and our boat back to the campground. We were happy campers - but tired so we hit the sack shortly after taking the dogs out. Tomorrow is a day of rest!
"River" around Frontierland - beautiful day
Future Fantasyland addition
Note new Castle in the background
Saturday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo):
This is our designated day of rest. Weekends are crowded in the parks and it is going to be hot so we decided to stay in with the dogs today. I started cleaning the windshield good, I think I am going to have to do it again, there is something on it that is goingto need more than window cleaner. We finished putting up lights and arranging extension cords. We needed some things from Wal-Mart so I went over and picked that stuff up and came back to try and watch the NY Rangers vs Washington Capitals hockey game. No luck, we couldn't find the local NBC channel. Local TV reception here is awful. I think Disney sabatoges it so people want to spend more time in the parks. I got a new over the air antenna before we came down here, it is working better than the old one, but not perfect. game was later replayed at 5:30, so we watched it then (Capitals won). Had tacos at home then settled in to try and watch the Ft Wayne Komets vs the Wichita Thunder (CHL hockey) on the computer. I only have a 3G internet connection so it kept buffering so we decided to just listen to it. This could be the final game of the championship- if Ft Wayne wins. One of our "adopted" Mavericks is Gerry Festa, he was eventually traded to Ft Wayne so we keep up with and root for Ft Wayne. In the end - Wichita won this game.
then it was take the dogs out and hit the sack. Tomorrow promises to be just as busy. Another day at home finishing things up and maybe some pool time.
Sunday, May 6:
Another lazy day here, plan to spend the day with the dogs. We finished putting up lights and just relaxed. Weekends are busy at the parks - the locals go to the parks on the weekends. It is hot, but clear. It is supposed to rain later so we are sort of planning around that. Getting most of our stuff done early in the day. We went down to the pool around noon, it was crowded so we didn't stay more than an hour. We got back to the RV, had lunch, walked the dogs and retreated to the air conditioning.. Tomorrow it is also supposed to rain later in the day so we are planning on going to Downtown Disney Marketplace and do some shopping. This might be serious shopping.
Monday, May 7:
First thing in the morning, I made reservations for the Richard Petty Exotic Driving Experience to drive a Ferrarri 458 Italia (a $400,000 plus car) on the 15th. Well, we decided to go to the Marketplace and ended up doing some very serious shopping. We started at the World of Disney, the self proclaimed "Largest Disney Store in the World". I think we depleted alot of their stock. Gifts for some of our friends in Missouri and some for us. they have a new line of kitchen ware so we had to get some of that to go with our new kitchen. Also, some shirts and novelties (license plates, mouse pads, etc.). After taking 3 LARGE bags to the car, we were hungary so went to The Earl of Sandwich for lunch. This is a great place with the best sandwiches in the world (the actual world not just the Disney World). After getting recharged we were off to the Art of Animation to see if artist Larry Dotson was still there. We were in luck (?) he was still there with a bunch of new paintings. He does beautiful paintings of various scenes around the parks. Ended up getting 5 new paintings (framed - he does framing very inexpensively). with our credit card sufficiently melted it was time to head back to the RV. Now, where to put all this stuff. I had my doubts, but Jane managed to rearrange and get everything in. Took the dogs out and crashed a for a while and decided where to go for dinner. We had seen that the resturant at the new Art of Animation Resort was open so we drove over to check it out. No luck - not open yet. Hmmmm, now where? We were just around the corner from the Carribean Beach Resort so we decided to check out their nice resturant - Shutters. Carribean Beach is our favorite moderate resort. We stayed here for 4 or 5 trips and love it. Very open and I think the best food court of any of the resorts of any level. We were in luck - no wait at Shutters! Had a great dinner and desert. A family came in after we did and had a table behind us. after a short while the "Dad" asked to be moved because "the wood smelled funny". Yes, there are all sorts of folks at WDW. It started raining during dinner so we just came home after eating. On the way home we decided that we can't do two large meals a day. Well, we can, but we shouldn't. Got home just in time to take dogs out before the heavy rain started. We logged into the Ft Wayne Komets web site and listened as the Komets WON over the Wichita Thunder. We sent a text message to Gerry Festa congratulating him on a championship. After the game, I took the dogs out one more time and headed to bed. Tomorrow is EPCOT day and lunch at LeCellier. Jane has brought Tupperware containers to take home left overs. It is supposed to rain again in the late afternoon so we are going over in the morning and trying to do Soarin' (our favorite ride in EPCOT.)
Typical Earl's sandwich on homemade bread
Tuesday, May 8:
We got up this morning and decided to go to EPCOT and try to do Soarin', our favorite ride. We rode the boat to MK, took the Monorail to Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and transferred to the EPCOT Monorail. Got off the Monorail in the front of the park to see some of the topiaries. The first ones were pretty good. It is a Mickey Sorcerer with the brooms around him. Up around the back of Spaceship Earth was a magnificent Peacock topiary. We went to Soarin' to get a FastPass, no luck, FastPass is good from 12:30 to 1:30 - but we have lunch reservations at Le Cellier for 1:15 so we went to see Captain EO in 3D instead. From there we went over to the butterfly house, some really beautiful flowers and butterflys. It was getting hot so we sought refuge in MouseGear , another huge Disney store and did more significant damage to the Visa card (boy are we going to have alot of Disney points for next trip). By now it was abouttime for lunch so we headed to Le Cellier. They normally don't sell extra menu items, speciffically their Cheese Soup, so Jane took in some tupperware containers to put extra servings of soup and their Mac & Cheese. Our waiter is Josh and he said he could sell us soup in cups, so we ordered 4 servings of Cheese Soup and 4 orders of Mac & Cheese. Lunch tomorrow! After lunch we went back to the RV taking to Monorail to the TTC and decided to take the big ferry boat across the lake to MK and then the boat to the campground. Again we beat the rain, just had time to take the dogs out and get in. Rained hard during the evening and into the night so we decided to do some laundry before going to bed.
Butterfly in Butterfly House
Interior of LeCellier - our favorite eatery in EPCOT
Wednesday, May 9:
No big plans today, have to go find a Hallmark card store sometime, to get a sympathy card for a friend that had to put her dog down a few days ago. First thing I got up and went down to get a paper then back to RV for a cup of coffee. Then it was off to the boat dock to catch a cruiser to MK to get more Sorcerer cards. Then back on the boat to get back to the campground. Found a Hallmark store, loaded the address into Glenda and off we went. Nice Hallmark store and lucky for us (?) there was a scrapbook store a couple of doors down. On the way back we decided to go by the Marketplace and see David Doss, another of our favorite Disney artists. He was at The Art of Disney store and had a couple of new pieces. We bought one to put up in the RV to replace the picture that came with it. Since we were at the Marketplace and it was lunch time, we decided to have lunch at Earl's - again. It was mobbed - I did mention it was lunch time didn't I? It looked like rain again so we headed back to the RV after lunch. We didn't make it to the car before it started raining! Before we were out of the parking lot it was pouring - it rains hard here when it rains. We waited until it had stopped raining and took the dogs out, just in case it started raining again. It seemed to be clearing up so we decided to go over to Property Control and nose around. Property Control is a place where overstocked, or discontinued merchandise goes. It is always a gamble as to whether or not there will be anything there that you really NEED, today there was some stuff we NEEDED. After leaving Property Control we went over to check out Shades of Green for a friend in KC. Shades of Green is a Disney resort only for members of our military. It is about the caliber of a delux resort, very nice place. Then it was time to get home and feed and walk the dogs before the next round of rain. Another good night for laundry.
This Falcon was "guarding" the parking lot at the Hallmark store
THIS is The Earl of Sandwich
This is PART of Earl's menu
This is the Ferry that runs between TTC and MK
Thursday, May 10:
It was a plan-as-you-go day. We started out with a trip to Walgreen's to fill some prescriptions. from there we returned to the RV to let the dogs out and then to catch a boat to MK. from MK we took the Express Monorail to the TTC and crossed to another Monorail to go to EPCOT. We had lunch reservations at the Coral Reef resturant. It is an out of the way place that is really good if you like fish. Jane isn't much of a fish eater so she ordered a Lobster/pasta dish. She wasn't especially fond of it, her comment was that lobster should have melted butter over it not cheese sauce. After lunch we had time to make it over to the Canadian pavilion to watch Off Kilter, a Celtic rock band. They are very good, but only play about 20 minute sets (4-5 times a day). When Off Kilter was done we decided to walk off lunch by walking around the World Showcase. Great plan, but when we got to the walkway to the Beachclub Resort, we decided that maybe there was room for some desert. World Showcase tour was put off until another day and we headed to Beaches & Cream (an classic soda foountain) for a couple of ice cream sundaes. Now we were satisfied and tired. So it was off to the RV to feed and walk the dogs. We took a bus from Beachclub to MK. While at MK I ran into the Kingdom to get a couple more Sorcerer Cards. Then we caught the boat (with minutes to spare) back to the campground and the dogs. Did the dog chores and crashed for the night. No laundry tonight. We decided that we would plan Friday in the morning and just go to bed.
One of our dining partners
Off Kilter band and stage
Friday, May 11:
Today we had nothing planned until this evening. We are going to go over to EPCOT to see Herman's Hermits (most of you probably don't remember them, they were part of the "British Invasion" in the 60's). We couldn't decide what to do for breakfast so Jane suggested going to Panera's for coffee and pastry. a quick look-up on the computer showed one just a little way from us so off we went. It was a real nice, big Panera's. We got a pastry for Saturday morning to take with us. On the way back we did a little exploring down a little side street that had a sign saying that there was a grocery store on it. It turned out that not only was there a grocery store, but lots of little restaurants, a pizza place and a Fuddruckers. Keep them in mind for future reference. One the way home, we almost went by the Marketplace, but Jane would not have that, so we did a little side trip to do "just a little shopping". Just can't pass up a chance to shop. We finally made it home to take the dogs on a long walk and back to the RV. sat out on the patio for a while until it got too hot. Decided to have an early dinner (hamburgers and corn on the Cobb on the grill) then take the bus to EPCOT for the evening. It looked like it might rain later so we took the car down to the bus stop so we wouldn't have to walk far in the rain. It wasn't very crowded at first, everyone was eating I guess. We avoided MouseGear (a huge Disney store) and walked around the World Showcase and got to the concert pavilion a little early for the Herman's Hermits concert so Jane waited in line and I went ahead to take pictures of the topiaries around the lake. I got back to the line after they had started letting people in so I had to find Jane in the crowd. Cell phones are great!! Concert was great, brought back memories of the mid 60's and cruisin on Friday nights. Peter Noone looked about the same considering it was almost 50 years ago. The band was mostly original original guys and they sounded pretty good for a bunch of 60+ year olds. After the concert we had some time to kill before the Illuminations fireworks/laser show, but most of the good viewing sites were taken so we settled for a not so great spot. The secret is to be in a wheel chair so you get to sit in one of the premium viewing sites. After the show we joined the mob heading to the exit and buses. We were in luck, there was a Fort Wilderness bus just about to leave. It was full, but we decided we could stand for the short ride home. We got back to the RV just before 10:00 and ALMOST could have made it up to the beach to see the Electric Parade on the lake. We played with the dogs for a while until it was time to call it a day.
Lady & Tramp topiary in front of the Italian pavilion
'Mater (from Cars) topiary on the lakeside
Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits
Greeting topiary at EPCOT
Saturday, May 12:
The boys let me sleep in until 7:00 this morning, we will have to keep them up late more often. The plan for today was - no plan. Had some breakfast and thought about schedule for the rest of the year so we can get in the Halloween party, the Christmas party and the Osborn lights and miss the least number of hockey games. Jane says we have too much on our plate - just have to set priorities. Trouble is everything is a priority. Jane wanted to clean up RV a little bit so she sent me to MK for more Sorcerer cards. I can take a hint so off the MK I went. the lake was very crowded with the little water mice boats. I guess all the guest that were staying in resorts on the lake decided to stay away from the parks today and instead hit the lakes. When I got back Jane was giving Nico a major haircut - she had found a tick on him. First tick in 1-1/2 years.
Sat out on the patio for a while, then it started getting hot so we went in to the AC. At dinner we decided to go over to a little pizza place we had discovered the previous day. Good pizza! We will definitely be going back. After eating we went to a little grocery store that was next door - Goodings. It was cold inside, floors were carpeted(and stained), the fruit didn't look real good so we decided to stick with Winn-Dixie. Came home, put leftover pizza away and got calendars out again to try and plan future trips this year so we can get everything in. Watched some TV, took the dogs out and went to bed.
Sunday, May 13- Mother's Day:
Woke up this morning and discovered that sometime yesterday I had gotten into some poison ivy- don't have a clue as to where though. Just a little patch on my ankle. We had reservations at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary for Mother's day brunch. On the way to the boat to go to Contemporary we met a couple that had decorated their golf cart in true Disney fashion. It is a character breakfast so most of the Disney crew were there. Lots of good food and Jane had her picture taken with a couple of them. After breakfast we did some shopping at the Contemporary resort and the Grand Floridian. We did manage to do some spending also. After shopping we stopped at MK to get some more Sorcerer cards and to ride the train around Kingdom to see if we could see any of the new construction - no dice - Disney has hidden the new construction very well. It looked alot like rain so we decided to head back and get the dogs out before it rained too hard. When we got back and encore showing of the Arizona Coyotes vs Nashville Predators hockey game was on so we watched that (Arizona won). After the game we just kicked back,ate some left over pizza and just relaxed and thought about our next trips.
Friend sent this to us - very true
Monday, May 14:
Another overcast day that promises rain. Funny thing, since we put our rain gauge out it hasn't rained at all. The day before we put it out it rained almost an inch. Went down to get the morning "USA Today" and walking along the sidewalk was an armadillo. This is the first day I went out without either my phone or camera - so no pictures of the armadillo. It was a real lazy morning, but finally got going to run some errands. first stop, Wal-Mart for some tools and Velcro for holding the new picture to the RV entrance. Then it was off to explore a new to us grocery store. Hope it is better than Goodings was. We thought we had missed it and as we were turning around, there it was hiding behind some trees - Publix! Very nice store, bigger than Winn-Dixie, just a nicer appearance. I think we are Publix converts. Also, on the way to Publix you have to go past Panera's (Jane's favorite coffee house), so we stopped on the way home to get some lunch to take with us. It was still too cloudy to go to the pool, so we took the boys for a long walk. Saw our first alligator! It was only about 2 feet long, but a gator none the less. Wow, two critters in one day! When we got back to the RV we just crashed for the rest of the afternoon. About 5:00 we realized that we hadn't been to MK for sorcerer cards so I was sent. Looked like rain so I hoped I could make it over and back without getting rained on - didn't make it! when the boat docked at MK it was just starting to sprinkle, by the time I got the cards and got back to the boat it was full fledged rain - good thing we have that drier to put wet clothes in. We had dinner, did some D.O.G. work and called it a day
Tuesday, May 15 - RACE DAY:
This is Exotic Drive Day - I get to drive the Ferrari at 1:00 today. I am supposed to be there at 12:30 to check in. When we got up I went down to get a paper and came back to the RV and Jane and I took dogs for a long walk. We did see the gator again, she is getting closer to our end of the canal! While getting ready to go over to the race track I dropped a lens of my glasses into the dogs water bowl. Panic, It is 11:30 and I have to get my glasses fixed and to the track by 12:30. So off to Walgreens to get an eye glass repair kit with a little screw driver and a little screw. Found it, fixed them and got to the track just in time. Jane and I went out to look at the cars and one of the drivers convinced Jane to go on a ride along in the Lamborgini. This is a professional driver that does this all day - Jane got a real thrill ride, 120mph + on a short straight and 55 through the road course that they told us to do at 30. Then it was my turn, the Ferrari is a little intimidating. Bright red, low slung and 570 hp. Got in and had some instruction from Bob, my ride along instructor. He would show me the line, give me advice about how to do it quicker and show me the race line. It was over all too soon. When the drive was over they show you into lobby and show you the pictures they took earlier and let you view a video that was taken on your ride or drive- and in true Disney fashion - all for sale. Naturally we bought the photo plaques and videos!. After the drive we needed something to eat (and drink) so we decided to try Olivia's at Old Key West resort. After lunch we went back to the RV to walk and feed the dogs. the plan was to go over to MK about 8:00 to get a spot to watch the fireworks and the castle. Watched the weather and there was a tornado watch/warning issued so we decided to stay home and do the MK tomorrow night. Since we ate lunch late (3:00) we weren't very hungry and just scrounged for something to eat. Watched a little more TV and went to bed.
Yep that is me driving - I've got to get one of these!
Jane figuring out how to get into the Lamborgini
Olivia's - great little place at Old Key West
Finally a 'gator (Isabella) although a small one
Wednesday, May 16:
Compared to yesterday, this was a fairly uneventful day. Still overcast and rainy, but we decided that we should try to get to the Hollywood Studio between drops. I did go and make my daily run to the Meadow Outpost for newspapers (and a TV guide). Yesterday we hooked up cable TV (we now have cable, satalite and over-the-air TV in the RV) so we might be able to catch a hockey game. Now we just have to figure out what channels are network channels. Anyway, when I got back Jane (and the boys) was just getting up. So I did my other daily routine - MK for sorcerer cards. When the boat left MK to return to the campground we could see dark smoke coming from the area of the campground. Everyone on the boat was a little anxious about where the fire might actually be. It was time to head over to the Studio for lunch at the Sce-Fi Drive-in and it was showing great rain potential so we drove down to the bus stop so the car would be there when we got back. On the way we drove by the cabin loops and saw alot of Disney Security cars, Orange County sherriffs cars and fire vehicles. Located the fire! It was out so we proceeded to the bus stop. Didn't feel like doing the Tower of Terror, wait for Toy Story was 65 minutes, Lights, Camera, Action was closed so we went over to Art of Animation for some quick shopping and to get out of the rain. It wastime to get lunch so we headed over to Sci-Fi and had a good lunch. The booths in this resturant are styled after 50's cars and while eating you watch 50's horror movies on a "drive-in" movie screen. Just a fun place to eat. After lunch we did a little more shopping and didn't spend too much. Caught bus back to campground and asked front desk about all the activity when we left. turns out it was a fire in an UNOCCUPIED cabin. they were in the process of relocating guests in that loop to other quarters so that the Disney magic could be done without disturbing guests. When we got back to the RV we hurried the dogs out before the rain got heavy. Then it was time for the boys to eat and for us to just collapse. Watched a little TV and went to bed.
Sci-Fi Drive-in (taken with phone)
Lady & the Tramp billboard (I had to take this).
Thursday, May 17:
This was supposed to be a nice relaxing morning and it was until we realized that Nico's GPS wasn't locating him. I called the TAGG folks and after a while on the phone with them "re-syncronizing" the unit. the TAGG tech mentioned that the unit that we thought was Nico's was actually Smudge's so I went to switch them and the unit that was supposed to be on Smudge's collar wasn't there. We thought that it had come off somehow so we searched the coach, the tech zoomed in on it (located it on his computer - electronics are great). He said it was within 25' of the RV so we kept searching. this went on for about 45 minutes. We decided to take the boys for a walk to look on the dog path. We found it, it was on Nico's collar! Apparently, in my morning drowsiness, I mistakenly took what I thought was Nico's unit off Smudge. Mystery solved! Now we can get back on track. first we went to Walgreen's to get some prescriptions filled, then to Panera's for a bite to eat, then a stop at the Disney outlet store, and finally to a baseball card store in a rather seedy part of town to get a book to put all the collected Sorcerer cards in. On the way back to the RV a stop at Downtown Disney was in order - more shopping. We didn't buy much, big Mickey Peanut Butter Cups was about it. When we got back we took the boys for a walk, saw the 'gator again and went back to RV for some lunch and a little relaxation. We were going to go over to MK to watch the Electric Light Parade and fireworks so we had dinner about 6:00 and headed over to MK at 7:00. We were going to meet Gary & Carol (from Canada) on Main Street to watch parade. Well, there had to be hundreds (really) on the same corner we were supposed to meet them. We didn't find them so we headed for the next best spot for watching - the train station. At 9:00 the parade started.
After the Electric Light Parade they have a light projection show on the Castle. This is awesome. Only the Magicians at Disney could do this:
The Castle before dark.........during the light show............ this is all done with projected light
Finally it was time for fireworks, Disney does the most awesome fireworks displays at 3 parks (MK, EPCOT and
Hollywood Studio) every night, everyday of the year. Here is a sample:
Fireworks over the Castle
After the fireworks show we joined the throngs of people heading to the exits and managed to catch the first boat back to the campground. Got back to RV, hooked the dogs up to take them out one last time before bedtime. On the path we met up with the local armadillo. So, not wanting to upset the local habitat we went another way and back home to bed.
FRIDAY, MAY 18:
The boys actually slept in this morning. We finally got up and got moving about 9:00. We took the boys out for a long walk and spotted yet another 'gator. This one is very small, about half the size of the first one. We decided to name him "Skeeter", Isabella's little brother. We then went to take a package to The UPS Store to send to a friend of ours at St Jude Children's Hospital. she is a big Disney fan and we met her and her folks down here last May. the UPS Store is right next to Publix so we did some quick shopping and back to the RV. It was finally a nice day, warm and sunny, so we went down to the pool before the kids came back from the parks. It was very nice until a woman slipped on the edge of the pool and cut her leg - the pool was immediately closed - blood borne pathogen. After that we left, not knowing how long the pool would be closed. We had just about had enough sun anyway. We decided to go over to MK to get Sorcerer cards and by the time we left it was time for lunch. Casey's sounded good so we each had a Chicago dog. Not too bad but not a true Chicago dog. It was just beginning the evening rain so e hurried to the boat. By the time we got to the boat it was pouring! Haven't seen it rain this hard for a long time. We were hoping it would stop by the time we got back to the campground - it didn't! fortunately, Jane had brought an umbrella with her. That helped keep us dry on the walk back to the RV. We were wet anyway so we changed clothes, put the wet ones in the drier and fed the dogs. We waited as long as we could to take the dogs out and it finally let up enough to get them out. We watched some TV and did some D.O.G. work and went to bed.
View from the boat looking towards Grand FloridianGrand Floridian on the right Looking back to the ContemporaryRainbow near campground
Saturday, May 19:
We got up to a bright, sunny day and had some breakfast, took the dogs out and decided to take the "Exercise Path" over to the Wilderness Lodge (about a mile). It was a nice day for this walk, not too hot or humid. Along the way we spotted a couple of deer.
Deer on the "Exercise trail"Can you spot the TWO deer in this photo?
Once we were at the Lodge we checked to see if Chad was working, he was not, so we just got a couple of drinks to cool us off and then hit the boat to MK for more Sorcerer cards. Talked to the cast member working there about the 60 series of cards. They were released by accident the first week of the game back in January or February and won't be available for a while, maybe only in the gift shops. As long as we were in the MK we went back to see what the wait was at Monsters, Inc. Along the way we saw how Disney does it's refurbishing of buildings so as not to disturb the look of Main street. They have a fancy tarp made that looks exactly like the building they are working on. The wait at Monsters, Inc was only 10 minutes so we went in for the show. This is a fun show and I think it has changed a little. We stopped by a Kodak photo spot and had our photo taken in front of the Castle and from there went back to the boat to go home. We thought it would be fun to take pictures from almost the same spots that we did last night on a clear day - just for comparison.
Main Street refurbishingHidden door on Main StreetUs in front of Castle Clear view looking towards Grand FloridianGrand Floridian on left Looking back at the Contemporary
When we got back to RV we decided that the boys would enjoy a walk, their morning walk was not as long as normal. Just in case, I grabbed the camera. We hadn't gone too far when we spotted "Skeeter" the smaller of the two 'gators. A little farther down the path we saw Isabella. So we now know for sure there are at least two 'gators in the canal.
"Isabella" (nice tail)Little brother "Skeeter"
we both felt like having barbeque for dinner so we went down to Trail's end, here at the campground. They have a good buffet at night, good variety and the food is pretty good. We went back to RV and crashed.
Sunday, May 20:
The boys slept in again, by the time we leave they will be sleeping until 9:00. We made our reservations for the October trip. We have decided to only make two trips this year, trying to work around weddings, D.O.G. events and hockey. We can manage to do the Halloween, Christmas and Osborn lights events in one trip. It will be a busy trip, but we can do it! It was a beautiful day, so we took the boys for a long walk, said good morning to "Skeeter" and "Isabella". When we got back to RV we went down to the pool for a while. We figured that since it was early and nice,most folks would beat the parks - wrong! It was very crowded. We stayed for a couple of hours and went back to the RV. A few days ago we realized that we had reached that dreaded part of any vacation in the sun - peeling! We both started peeling a couple of days ago. I made the daily run to MK for Sorcerer cards (The boat was just pulling in on my way over AND returning - didn't have to wait more than 2 minutes in either direction) Anyway, we went over to the ESPN Club for lunch and to watch the L.A. Kings vs Phoenix Coyotes hockey game. They showed it on the BIG screen! We stayed for the whole game and ate too much (Phoenix won, 2-0 avoiding a Kings sweep of the series). During dinner Andrew Dvorak's mom called and asked if we could meet to make our annual "exchange" at Downtown Disney. We bring things from Andrew (Mavericks equipment manager in Independence) for his mom (lives in Orlando) and take things back for him.. She was returning from Tampa and would be in the "Disney area at 7:45. So we met, made the exchange and visited for a little while. We then went our separate ways and we returned home. It was a long day so we just watched some TV and played with the boys.
Monday, May 21:
Another easy day. Took the boys for a walk and said good morning to Skeeter and Isabella. We had lunch reservations at Tony's on Main Street in the MK. We decided to go early and get some more sorcerer cards. When we got the cards we decided to finish the game, so we went off to Adventureland to restart. It was very hot today and humid. As we started we got more involved and ended up going to Frontierland and then to Fantasyland. and to Adventureland. We ended up going through Adventureland about 3 times. We finally asked a couple of cast members how much more we had to do. They replied we only had to do one more series and we would be done. So, instead of going back to the RV we continued with the game. Before our last series we had to get back to Tony's for lunch. Tony's is loosely based on the tony's in the Lady and the Tramp movie. They have a big Lady and Tramp statue in the center of the dining room. After lunch we went back to finish the Sorcerer game and save the Kingdom. At the last Sorcerer station we finally saw the much sought "THE END"! What a great feeling that was. We went back to the two cast members that had advised us earlier to confirm the completion. It was confirmed!! We thought some sort of pin or something for completing the game, but all the guys said was "Where do you want to start the next phase?" After that we decided to head back to the RV and walk/feed the dogs. Just crashed the rest of the evening and watched someTV.
Tony's Italian ResturantThe two of us with Lady andtheTramp Lady and the TrampJane and the two cast members that confirmed the win
Tuesday, May 22:
Today we drove over to Typhoon Lagoon (a huge waterpark here) and spent about 4 hours there. They have a long "lazy river" that you just float around in tubes. Jane andI got seperated and while she was floating she met a lady from Pekin, Illinois that knows Cole Ruwe (our adopted Maverick player). Apparently her husband referee's hockey games in Pekin.
When we got done on the :lazy river" we went over to the wave pool (it generates 6 foot waves) for a little while. It was then lunch time so we tooka short break for some lunch. After lunch we went over to the "Keelhaul Falls" a sort of rapids ride in a tube. By that time it was getting late so we decided to head back to the RV to walk the dogs. After a few hours of relaxing we had to go to Publix for some groceries. On the way out we stopped at Hilda's (the local travel agent) and made our reservations for the October trip. We talked for a while and she told us the smoke I saw last week was one of the cabins in loop 2800 - it had burned to the ground!. In the true Disney fashion, you can't tell there was ever a cabin there. The site is completely landscaped, with some grass and bushes plated. We drove by it and even the site number post is gone. When we got back to theRV it was time for dinner so we fixed hamburgers, brats and beans on the grill. Watched an "encore presentation" of one of the hockey games and wished we could get NBC Sports Network here in the RV. after the game we took dogs out and went to bed.
Wednesday, May 23:
Dogs got me up at 6:00 this morning, wish they could learn to sleep in. I went to get a paper and pick up a package at the Meadows trading post. Had some breakfast and we took boys for a long walk and said good morning to Isabella (didn't see Skeeter). We took boat over to MK to get some more Sorcerer cards and ended up with10 duplicates of what we have. Went back to boat dock and caught a little boat over to the Polynesian for lunch at the Kona Cafe. This is a real nice little place that wasn't crowded and was very quiet. Food was great. One the boat back to MK I took some photos of the Grand Floridian cranes. They are building some Vacation Club Villas and have two big cranes on site. Can't wait to see what this looks like in the fall.
On the boat ride back to MK the boat "Captain" gave us a brief history
of the original Bay Lake (the lake that Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness
Lodge and the Contemporary are on). It was originally owned by a family
named Raz. They used it for a hunting lodge until it was purchased by a
Nicholson family that owned it until Walt came to town and the rest is history. When Walt built the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon they discovered beautiful white sand under the lake bottom's muck. That white sand is now on all the beaches in Walt Disney World. This young man had done his homework about his workplace. We asked him about the big white balloons we have seen around the park and he said that Disney is catching mosquitos to find the areas with the highest populations or something. When we finally arrived home we went back to RV to some A/C (it was VERY hot today) The path from the road to the Settlement trading post was deserted and kind of pretty so a photo was in order.
When we got back we tried to watch another encore hockey game and for some reason I got on the NBC web site and discovered that NBC Sports Network used to be Versus, which we were ableto get. We tried the former Versus channel and what did we discover - NBC Sports Networkand LIVE NHL hockey!!! So we grabbed a good nurishing dinner (shrimp and deviled eggs) We watched the New York Rangers get beat by the New Jersey Devils. Why didn;t we try that earlier. After the game, I took the dogs out and it was time for bed.
The walkway from the Settlement to the road
Thursday, May 24:
Got up early today. there is a new pin being released today and Jane wants to get at least one. It is a "dog days of Summer" pin. We headed over to the Market Place and the Pin Trader so we could be there at 9:00 when they opened. We couldn't figure out why no one was there, we thought there would be a big crowd. Hmmmm, turns out nothing opens until 9:30, so we went over to Earl's for a cup of coffee while we waited. It is kind of erie when no one is there. They finally opened and we found out that they were also releasing a "Tangled" pin. This pin has a little piece of film in it and everyone was examing the film to see if it was the one they wanted. This took a long time and held up the line for those of us that only wanted the "Dog Daze" pin. We finally got to the register and got 4 pins - two for us and 2 spares.
Downtown Marketplace - early
After getting our pins we went to find Petco to get some dog food - we didn't bring enough. while there we also got the boys some new toys - which they are ignoring. While at Petco,Janes Panera homing instinct homed in on a Panera across the parking lot so we went over to get her a drink. After taking care of things at Paners's we decided to go to Camping World (I needed some light bulbs and we NEED a day clock so we can keep track of what day it is). Got the light bulbs and the clock and Jane got a big reclining chair (might be too big for the RV). On the way back to the campground we stopped at one of the Disney outlets to see if they had anything we needed - they didn't. Itwas starting to cloud up alot so we thought we should head over to Property Control to see if they had anything. On the way we got an email stating that the rules have changed effective imediately. There are two areas at "Property Control", an area for Vendors (Property Control - us) and and area for Cast Members Only. Now we can only shop at Property Control where they have the big stuff (furniture, big electronics, etc.). Previously we could also shop for tee shirts, souveneers, etc in what is now Cast Members Only. Bummer! Just starting to rain when we left and by the time we got back to the RV it was pouring! We decided that we were in for the night and it was time to feed the dogs anyway. So we ate, read the paper and watched TV with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof.
Friday, May 25 (Memorial day weekend):
Boys let me sleep in a little this morning. We have a few errands torun that didn't get done yesterday. We went and walked on the other "exercise path" up by the lake. It follows the lake around behind loops 100 and 300 and leads to a little old cabin that is abandoned now. It is one of the original cabins at Fort Wilderness. When we got there, a family was fishing in the canal and had snagged a big turtle and they were trying to release it. They finally caught it and cut it free. On the way back we heard a truck coming up behind us on the walking path - it was a Reddy Creek Fire Department ambulance! Just out for a drive familiarizing himself with the area. The plan was to rent a pntoon boat when we got back to the dock. It was 10:30 and the rental place didn't open until 11:00. So,while we were waiting I went over to MK to get Sorcerer cards. When I gor back we rented a pontoon boat and went on a cruise around the lakes for about an hour. When we returned to the boat dock we went back to the RV to cool off for a while (temps in the mid 90's). At about 3:00 we had to go to Walgreens to pickup a couple of prescriptions and take a package to UPS to ship to Canada (Gerry Festa). On the way we saw a huge cloud of smoke - it looked like a huge building fire. When we were done with UPS and Walgreens we went to Saratoga Springs Resort for lunch at the Turf Club. Had a great Rueban sandwich. They had a TV on to local news and the smoke was a big (15-20 acres) brush fire. The smoke was so thick that the Interstate was closed! When we got back to the RV we turned on local news and watched for a bit and fed the dogs. After they ate we took them for a walk and noticed that ALL the loops were filling up - holiday traffic I guess. We decided that we probably would stay away from the parks this weekend (except for a quick run to get Sorcerer cards) Since we ate lunch late, we are going to just snack and watch the hockey game (Rangers vs Devils).
The cloud of smoke, it was huge with airplanes and helicopters flying around. It brought back visions of last May when there was a big brush fire here in the campground. Then we werea little concerned we would have to evacuate. The cabin from the lake The cabin
Saturday, May 26:
Slept in til 7:00 this morning, thank you boys. we went to Panera's for a little breakfast, then, since it is a holiday and the parks are going to be mobbed we went to Disney Quest to see what it is all about. Well, disney Quest is 5 stories of video games! Everything from Pac-Man and Space Invaders (who remembers those two?) to high tech interactive games for 6 or more. We played and stayed longer than we had planned on and had a ball. If you go, we highly recommend Pirates of the Carribean. After we were done there, we went to check out Corronado Springs Resort. We had been over there about 10 years ago and it has changed a little. We had lunch there (we just made it at 1:55, they close at 2:00). We met a couple that had Beach Club tee shirts on. since the Beach Club is our favorite Deluxe resort and we stayed there many times naturally we went over and got a couple of shirts. After leaving the Beach Club we came home to walk and feed the dogs and get out of the heat. About 6:00 we went over to MK to get more Sorcerer cards - more duplicates! The boats and monorail going to MK were packed! It is eather because it is a 4 day holiday for some folks or they have waited until the temps cooled off a little to go to the parks (or both).. We stopped at the Trails End bar for a Rum Runner on the way from the boat dock to the RV. We noticed that it appears that all the loops are full. We just might stay at the campground tomorrow and watch racing (F1 at 8:00, Indy at 11:00). Lazy evening, watched TV and thought about going down to the lake to watch the Electric Light Parade.
Here I am, concentrating on Pac-Man. Boy does that bring back memories. It is amazing that this was the beginning of computer games.
Former cabin site 2844 - yes there was a cabin there 6 days ago.
Sunday, May 27:
This morning we got up and watched the Formula 1 race from Monaco and then switched to the Indy 500 for a while. It wasn't raining yet so we went over to MK to get more Sorcerer cards - more duplicates!! we got on the train and rode around to Fantasyland to see what they have done so far. It looks like it is going to be big and fun. A new castle and a circus theme. We had a little lunch at Cosmic Rays (shared a hamburger and fries). We worked our way back to the front of the park and stopped in the Emporium and got a couple of CD's (parade and party songs).
We took the boat back to the RV and sat down to watch the end of the Indy 500 and then took the boys out for a quick grooming. They are getting kind of shaggy. After that we took the boys on a long walk and met a couple with their dogs and they were staring into the canal at something. Turns out they were watching an otter. We continued and watched for it, Jane saw it but I never did. More wildlife to watch for. We met our friends Gary and Carol (from the Great White North) at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Wilderness Lodge. Gary and Carol are great folks, is is their fault that we bought a motor home. It was just a chance comment that we made with them while waiting for Soarin' two years ago that got us thinking about getting a motor home. It was with their guidance that we bought a motor home (for the dogs). Now they are getting Jane hooked on pin trading. Carol has 3100+ pins and goes to allot of Disney pin trading events. We had a great (although noisy) dinner and then went up to their room for some heavy pin trading training. they showed us a couple of pin web sites and some software that they use to keep Carol's pins organized. After we left Gary and Carol we went over to Beach Club to trade a couple of Sorcerer cards with one of the cast members. Then we returned to the RV and took the boys out. Then we watched some TV and turned in.
Al, Gary, Carol & Jane at Whispering Canyon
Castle in the New Fantasyland
Rendering of New Fantasyland
Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day):
We were supposed to get up and get to EPCOT early today, it wasn't so early though. We did manage to get to EPCOT around 10:00 so it was kind of early. We decided to drive to the Beach Club resort since it was supposed to rain all day and we wouldn't have to wait for boats or buses in the rain. We got into EPCOT via the "back way" and headed to Soarin' the sign said 60 minutes wait so we ran over to get a FastPass for another ride. We did wait in line for 60 minutes for the first ride of the day and would come back to the FastPass line at 12:30. After Soarin' we took a boat across the lagoon to the American pavilion (after all it is Memorial Day). Just as we arrived at the American pavilion it decided to rain. Now this is not just rain, this is the back side of Beryl, a tropical storm! It was a downpour, heavy rain and lots of lightning and thunder. Since it was storming so much the boats across the lagoon were shut down, so we had to walk back to the front of EPCOT to shop and kill time until the FastPass time for Soarin'. We checked our FastPasses and our time wasn't 12:30 like we thought, it was 2:30. Bummer,. We had time to get the Monorail to the TTC, take the Ferry to MK, run in and get Sorcerer cards, get the Ferry back to TTC and then take the Monorail back to EPCOT. Great plan, until the storm picked up as we were getting off the ferry back at the TTC. Again it was torrential rain. We got up to the EPCOT Monorail station and waited for thetrain. It finally arrived and we waited about6 minutes for them to open the doors. they finally opened the doors for the people to get off it, but the doors never opened to let us on. Attendant finally came and told us to go to the EPCOT buses (these buses only run when the Monorail is shut down). We don't know if it was shut down because of the storms or it was just broke. We finally made it back to EPCOT and the 2:30 Soarin'. After the flight we stopped and got a bit to eat and then headed back to the Beach Club to get the car and go back to the RV. We have been watching the weather and Beryl has been hitting the northeast coast pretty hard and they are having a lot of rain (8-10 inches) so we are thinking about not stopping in St Augustine this time. Gary told us last night that the St Augustine campground has sand sites and may be pretty messy when they get wet. So we watched the evening news/weather and made the call - skip St Augustine this time and extend Disney 2 days. Went to the front desk and got that taken care of and returned to the RV to take the the dogs out one more time before it rained again.
Tuesday, May 29:
We woke up to another cloudy, overcast day. We fixed some breakfast and hung up our day clock then pondered what we needed to do and then what we wanted to do today. We needed to take a chair back to Camping World, it was too big to fit in Alf's basement. We returned to the RV to take the boys out again, just in case it poured again. It was then almost time to have lunch at Whispering Canyon with Chad. It was very nice, not too many people and quiet! After lunch we went over to Property Control to look at some coral decorations they had listed. We were thinking about putting it in our pond. It was too big, so we just went over to the Art of Animation in Downtown Disney (DTD) to pick up some Larry Dotson paintings that we bought earlier and had them framed. It still looked like rain so there were very few people there. We found a place to park close to the Art of Animation and, best of all, the rain held off until we got paintings to the car. Since we were at DTD, Jane had some shopping to do and some pins to try and get (thanks, Carol). she bought a couple of "mystery packs" and the second one she opened she found the Mickey hockey player she was looking for. We took a quick tour through the Toy store and since our lunch had settled it was time for desert. Ghiradelli sounded good, so we each had a sundae. We left DTD and returned to the RV to take boys out (it was just starting to rain again so we decided to wait for another lull to go for Sorcerer cards at MK. Finally it let up so I thought I would make a run for it and off to MK I went. A short boat ride and I was at the entrance to MK. I got to the Sorcerer window and was told they were going by the rules more strictly and I could only get one pack per person. So back to the RV I went with only one package of Sorcerer cards. Before they let passengers on the boat, I experienced something I have never seen, but is a sign of the times we live in. A Disney Security bomb dog got on the boat and checked it out. after the all clear we were let on. The Mate said that everyday every boat is checked at least once. A sad commentary to our times. The Mate on the return trip was full of trivia. the Castle is 189 feet tall (190 feet and they would have had to put aviation lights on the top - Walt didn't want flashing lights), there is a Bald Eagle nest on Discovery Island, and there were 12 Pelican chicks born and grew to maturity this year on Discovery Island. And, yes Virginia, there are alligators in Bay Lake! One other interesting thing, on the boats you pass a tree that has a bunch of tennis shoes hanging in the branches. The Mate explained that the tradition is that when a person retires from Watercraft they take their shoes and toss them into the tree. When got back to the RV, Jane opened her package of Sorcerer cards and had one new one, so it wasn't a completely wasted trip. We settled in to watch the hockey game, oops it is only Tuesday, hockey is Wednesday. So we just watched some TV and went to bed.
When you are retired AND on vacation you really need one of these.
Wednesday, May 30:
Woke up toa rainy day again, we just lazed around RV for a while hoping it would clear up. Went to MK for Sorcerer cards and did a little bit of the Sorcerer game, Main street edition. The weather started to clear and the crowds started building so we left and returned to RV. Tried to get better pictures of the "shoe tree", but it was raining so hard we could hardly see the tree. About 5:00 we decided to try UNO Pizza, which is just a short drive from the campground. Pizza was just okay here. Returned to RV and crashed. Pretty lazy day.