Day 1 - 12/14/96 Post Script
I forgot to mention that we had forgotten to bring the kid's autograph books and pens so we picked up replacements at the Meadow Trading Post. Don't forget those autograph books!
I also forgot to mention that after the Candlelight Processional, we did walk over to the Journey Into Imagination pavillion and did both Honey I Shrunk the Audience and Journey Into Imagination with no waits. Katie didn't like HISTA at all! She thought it was too loud and the snake and lion 3-D effects were too scary. We all enjoyed JIA and it ended up being one of our most frequented rides/attractions of all.
Day 2 - 12/15/96
We didn't set our alarm this morning as Susan and I had been up for almost two days. We awoke at about 7:30am and after a refreshing shower, coffee and some breakfast in the camper, we caught an internal bus to the FW Marina. The weather was super. The sky was clear and the morning temp was in the upper 50's. We caught the boat to the MK at the marina. Brian insisted on sitting out front in the open while the rest of us decided to stay inside. The ride over to the MK took about 15 minutes and we arrived right around 10:00. The crowds were light to moderate. We strolled down Main Street, taking in all of the wonderful Christmas decorations and then caught our first glimpse of the Castlecake. The consensus was that it really wasn't that bad! I must admit that I wasn't impressed by the pictures I had seen on the 'net but in real life it looked pretty good.
Upon reaching the end of Main Street, we checked out the wait board and saw, to our surprise, that waits for BTMRR and Splash Mountain were only 10 minutes so we made our way over to Frontierland. The kids had been saying since our trip in March that their favorite MK ride was BTMRR so we went there first. I was surprised that as we moved up in the queue, Katie began to get cold feet. She rode anyway but said she didn't like it much. Brian loved it and wanted immediately to get back on. Instead, we made our way over to Splash Mtn. and rode it with a minimal wait. This time, it was the the other way around. Katie, who sat in front with me, loved the ride and Brian, who sat behind with Susan, got scared on the big drop. Go figure. We then decided to make our way over to Fantasyland via Liberty Square. On the way over we noticed that the Country Bear Jamboree was just about to start so we detoured into the show. This was the first time we had seen the Christmas version and we really enjoyed it. In our opinion, this is a must see for the holidays. We then proceeded through Liberty Square and, noticing no line for the Haunted Mansion, decided to go on in. Brian decided to show everyone how brave he was, so he told one of the lady CMs as he went by that she wasn't scary. She pretended not to notice him and let him walk on by then snuck up on him and scared the wits out of him! We loved it!
We proceeded into Fantasyland. There were moderate waits for Peter Pan, Dumbo, and most of the other rides so we decided rather than wait in line, we would just do Fantasyland tomorrow during Early Entry. We did ride Snow White with no wait and took the opportunity to do the right side of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride with no wait. There is definitely a difference between the right and left side and we liked the right side more. We then had our first exposure to the Fantasyland Character Festival, located at the old queue area for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Let me say this is wonderful! One of the things I have hated most at WDW is the experience of getting autographs in the parks. There has been quite a bit of discussion in RADP in the past concerning "stroller terrorists"; however, we've found that some parents with video cameras and kids seeking autographs are far more "terrorizing". Anyway, the Character Festival usually had 5 or so characters available for autographs and pictures. Access to the characters is controlled by a CM located at a gate. They let in about 25-30 guests at a time and as those guests finish and exit the queue area they let in another batch. This setup made getting autographs and photos soooo much more enjoyable!
We exited the CF and rode Mad Tea Party with no wait then proceeded to Mickey's Toontown Fair. This area had been closed off during our trip in March, so we were anxious to see what had changed. We toured Mickey's and Minnie's house which are nicely done and queued to see Mickey in the Toontown Hall of Fame. The wait was about 15 minutes but well worth it. Again, access to Mickey was very well controlled and the kids had an opportunity to spend a little time with him and we got some nice pictures. It was getting close to 1:00pm and we were getting hungry so we went back to Fantasyland to Lumiere's Kitchen. Susan and I shared a footlong chili dog meal and the kids each had the corn dog nuggets kid's meals. Cost $11.63. We planned to go the RADP meet at the Fountainview Cafe at 2:30pm so we decided we would start making our way to the gate via Tomorrowland. As we passed by the Character Festival we noticed that they had rotated the characters and there were very few people waiting for autographs, so we detoured. I think we got more autographs in this one day than we did during our entire weeklong trip in March!
We exited the MK and hopped the monorail to the TTC where we switched to the Epcot monorail. I had forgotten how cool it is to ride the monorail to Epcot. The view of the park as you swoop in overhead is just too good to miss! We entered the park through the AP gate and had no problem with the finger scanners. As we made our way to the Fountainview Cafe, it hit me that I didn't know if we were going to meet inside or outside or how I would even know who was who. Too late for that now! We went into the Cafe and walked around looking at the various people hoping to catch a glimpse of RADP somewhere but to no avail. Well, I thought, maybe everyone's outside since it is such a pretty day. We walked around the outside tables, again looking for a sign, balloons, anything, but we saw nothing. Oh well, I thought, maybe their just a little late. About this time, Brian and Katie, who don't know RADP from Goofy wanted to "ride something". I relented and off we went to Ellen's Energy Adventure. Sorry we missed everyone! We walked right into EEA and caught the last half of the preshow. I couldn't figure out why they had the Einstein character in Ellen's Jeopardy Dream/Nightmare. He did nothing! This attraction is much better than the old version. Ellen, whether you like her or not, does a good job and Bill Nye the Science Guy is great. The kids were a little wary of the dinosaurs but not scared by any means. I got dinosaur "snot" on me as we passed under the "long-necks".
We bypassed the Wonders of Life pavillion because Katie wanted to pick our next ride and she wanted Horizons, so off we went. We all like Horizons and will be sad to see it go. We then backtracked to the Wonders of Life pavillion and walked on Body Wars. I don't believe we even had a full ship the crowds were so light. We then proceeded to one of our favorites at WDW - Cranium Command. A quick check of the clock in the queue area told us we had plenty of time to fool around with the hands-on activites prior to the show. For those of you that haven't experienced this attraction be forewarned, it is quite loud! My kids have perfected the fingers in the ears technique and it always makes me chuckle when I look over before the show even starts and they've got their ears plugged.
We exited WoL and proceeded to the Land pavillion. We walked right in to the Circle of Life movie. I know some think Disney has worn the Circle of Life song out but I still enjoy it, especially the final drum beat--BOOM! We then went to the Sunshine Season Food Fair for dinner. Katie had the Mickeroni kid's meal (Mickey-shaped macaroni and cheese) and Brian had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich kid's meal. Susan had tortellini and I had the Mickey special, which was a salad, breadstick, spaghetti with Contadina meat sauce and drink. Susan and the kids had ice cream for dessert but I was too stuffed. Total cost for dinner was $26.52. We then walked right on the Living With the Land boat ride. We always enjoy this ride, but maybe that's because we are interested in gardening. When we walked outside it was dark and I swear the temperature had dropped 15 degrees. We all had on short sleeved shirts and hadn't brought jackets, so we trudged off to the Centorium to buy sweatshirts. Susan and I got the 25th Anniversary versions which looked quite nice.
Katie had been begging all afternoon to do "Figment" again so off we went. I think Figment rules in our family. As usual, there was no wait and I think we rode twice. Brian really wanted to do HISTA again but Katie said no. We then went upstairs in the JIA pavillion to the Image Works play area. We had missed this the last two trips and the kids enjoyed most everything in there. We finished up our day by attempting to catch Holiday Illuminations. We staked out what appeared to be a good spot on the left side of the Plaza Towers but we soon were engulfed in clouds of cigarette smoke from four chain smokers upwind. Attempts to find a better spot were fruitless so we decided to pack it in and catch the show later in the week.
Tomorrow, back to the Magic Kingdom for Early Entry and then on to MGM for lunch at Mama Melrose's and some touring.
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