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Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 411
Location: New Jersey, southern

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: My "I Can't Wipe This Grin Off My Face!" Splurge T Reply with quote

Day 3: Friday, December 2, 2005

I had a wake up call at 7:00 this morning from Stitch, who isn't so bad once you get past

the flatulence and bad manners. I first want to correct a slight error in Day 2. The

breakfast at Wilderness Canyon Cafe cost $16.80 with tax, not $16.56. Anyway, I got up,

flipped on the TV; read 2 Kings Chapters 20 and 21 and Acts Chapter 22 in my Bible; brushed

my teeth, shaved and showered, only this time didn't scald myself. Then I got dressed. Not

sure if I wore the red and white Canada Olympic Team pullover or a tee shirt, but I know

that I wore the blue and gray New Balance shoes with the pink "N" on each side. A few

months back I bought a pair of Hunter's Bay brown leather casual shoes at Payless (for

$24.99); and also two pairs of New Balance shoes (for $89.99) and a bag of socks at

Footlocker. Wore all three pairs of shoes on alternating days to break them in for WDW. (I

also have 1,250 compact discs in my collection, all in alphabetical order by artist and

title, so you may have the impression that I'm just SLIGHTLY anal-retentive. But there's

both a method to my madness and a madness to my method.)

I think the weather forecast called for 75F (24C) and at least partly sunny, but at that

time (around 8:15 am) it was in the low 60s F (mid-to-upper teens C). I didn't eat because

today was the Stop, Drop and Roll Meet at 9:15, and I didn't need to get sick.

I'd gotten lanyards from Deb Wills, Lou Mongello and Dave Card (Tagrel) the previous day so

had somewhere to hold both my MYW ticket and my Tagrel nametag.

This time I remembered to put my keycard into the pocket for my lanyard and left the room

headed for Disney-MGM Studios. Stepping on the marker for the Disney Studios bus, I waited

for no more than ten minutes for it to arrive, then hopped on. The Studios is about a

20-minute ride from Wilderness Lodge, and after an uneventful ride we pulled into the bus

stop at the park, Disney's second-smallest at 154 acres.

If you love movies, Disney-MGM Studios is your place. Most of the buildings are in the

Art-Deco style of the late 1930s to early '40s, and Hollywood is greatly celebrated here.

After I got in, though, I went up Hollywood Boulevard and met some friends at the corner

about a block away from the Sorcerer's Hat, right before rope drop. One of our group called

twinks, our friend Nancy in Utah who has leukemia and was at that time enjoying a bubble

bath. When I finally got the phone, rope had just dropped, the music was getting loud, and

I don't think either of us could hear each other. After saying hello, I told Nancy that

it's getting too loud here and we'll talk again soon.

Then as a group, about thirty of us walked to the Rock n Roller Coaster FastPass dispenser

and got our FastPasses for Disney's first coaster on American soil to take riders

upside-down. (The first Disney coaster in the world to do so is Disneyland Paris Resort's

Space Mountain, which like RnRC has three inversions. European amusement parks, however,

feature more turbulent rides than do those here.) Then twenty-one of us, leaving nine

"wall-holders", went into Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Until Expedition Everest opens next April in Animal Kingdom, ToT is Disney's tallest

attraction at 199 feet. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require buildings 200

feet or taller to have a radio antenna to guide flying aircraft. I think one would

seriously detract from the Disney magic, however.

Elevators in ToT hold 21 people. They used to hold 22, but Disney took out a seat in the

next-to-back row to heighten the thrill factor. That leaves one seat in the back row--the

"death" seat--without a seat in front of it. I got the death seat. ToT takes you up, then

right, then forward, then up again, then forward. Then it drops you four, five, or six

times--the sequence is random--the first drop about 13 floors, at a speed faster than

gravity. The first three times I rode this thing (on October 17, 2000; December 7, 2003;

and December 10, 2004), I got off feeling like a James Bond martini--shaken, not stirred.

This time I fared better, though I held on for dear life on that first drop and raised one

arm on the subsequent, smaller drops. When the doors opened and the CM appeared, we all let

out a loud scream. He must've thought we were completely bonkers. Exiting the ride, we

then went to RocknRollerCoaster Featuring Aerosmith. Our Fastpasses were all for around

10:25 am. I took my glasses off and gave them to Stinkerbelle (Terri) for safekeeping. On

my first three rides here, I rode the seat alone; this time I had BetsyAnn for company. On

this thing, linear induction launches you from zero to sixty mph (0-96 km/hr) in 2.8 seconds

down a straightaway into first a batwing; a corkscrew; and finally a cobra roll; this last

inversion can make you feel like you had gastric bypass surgery, for a fraction of the cost

of the real thing. The launch, at which photos are snapped, subjects you to an

instantaneous 4.5 gravities of force (hence the name of the fictional record company for

which Aerosmith is in the studio in the preshow, G-Force Records). After staggering out of

the gift shop into which the exit leads (where, natch, you can purchase Aerosmith CDs at a

price of about three or four dollars higher than you can at home), we rejoined our group,

which included JellyRolls Karen from the DIS, an honorary Taginator. I answered the third

question of our little trivia contest for door prizes--about the 22 seats in the

elevator--and got mouse ears. MINNIE mouse ears. I wore them proudly during the photo

session that followed RnRC where we convinced a CM to take several pictures with several

different cameras.

The meet was over after about ten pictures were taken. I got my glasses back from Terri and

asked her if I could hang with her and her friend (Pam?). Terri said yes and we first went

to a stand where we got orange juice. Then we went into a store ("You're with women now,

Jim. We shop") and looked around. It was nearly 11:15 when we got out of the store, and we

decided to hit The Great Movie Ride, located in the replica of Graumann's Chinese Theater

off Mickey Avenue. Various scenes from famous movies are shown or reenacted by the host of

this slow-moving boat trip through the history of Hollywood from about 1928 to 2005. After

we got off the ride it was about 11:50. We parted ways because I had to get to Sci-Fi

Dine-In Theater for a 12:05 pm Advanced Dining Reservation (Priority Seating under a new


The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is a neat concept with a reputation for bad food. Located at the

back of the Studios on Commissary Lane next to a bookstore and near the enormous ABC

Commissary (you don't know just how big that place is until you've walked next to it), it

shows cartoons, commercials for drive-in concessions, and clips from bad science-fiction

movies in a large darkened room while people sit in cars eating lunch and dinner. I put

this, my only meal for the day, on the dining plan. I didn't mind being called "No-Parking

Mr. Townsend". I really enjoyed my onion rings (appetizer), BBQ Chicken Breast Sandwich

with Midnight BBQ Sauce and smoked Gouda cheese on a Kaiser roll (entree), and hot fudge

Sundae (dessert) (food descriptions courtesy of, updated October 2005),

served by a woman on roller skates. It took about an hour for lunch (some movies are so bad

that you can't stop watching them) which cost about $35 with tax and tip but was absorbed by

the dining plan.

I was on my own for awhile so after I left the restaurant I wandered, finally meeting with

Kaycee and Jellyrolls Karen. We went to "One Man's Dream", the story of Walt and Roy O.

Disney (the latter was born in 1893, the same year in which my maternal grandfather was

born). Kaycee was eager to point out the place in the movie at which her stage name

appears. After walking around and seeing the exhibits of Walt and his accomplishments and

effects, Karen and Kaycee said they wanted to relax at their rooms. We parted and I headed

to Who Wants To Be a Millionaire Play It! and watched the show. Sitting in seat number 82,

I held my own during the first five questions or so--breaking into the top ten at number 8--

but missed six of the last seven questions to finish out of the running. After the show

ended I was pretty much at loose ends and wanting ice cream. I think I either went into

Backlot Express or Studio Catering Company--I think it was the latter--getting lost and

turning around, and finally reaching Echo Lake and Min and Bill's Dockside Diner about 3:00

pm. I got a chocolate milkshake for $3.08 and sat at a picnic table savoring it while

behind me the Stars Bars and Motorcars(?) parade was being announced over the public address

system and was beginning.

Finishing my shake, I decided to head out of there (like a baby) and relax in my room.

Believe it or not, riding Tower of Terror and RocknRollerCoaster in succession and then

wandering around the park all day took a lot out of me, and I still had to be at the Holiday

Gift Game and Jellyrolls. Leaving the Studios, I took the bus from stop 8 to Wilderness

Lodge, entered my room, closed the door and flopped onto the bed on my back. I fell asleep

for two or three hours.

I forgot to mention that I usually tipped Mousekeeping two dollars a day, leaving the money

in an envelope marked with the current date and the words "Thank You Mousekeeping!" There

were often towel animals on my bed when I returned. A nice touch, as I had never before had

this little perk. I thought the room was great and the bed extremely comfortable. Debi

(Ddoll) had posted on the Tagrel and Webclubhouse (kathi and brian's) boards about the

wooden sideframe about shin high on which you can easily bruise your leg. I never had any

problems with it, though, because I was never moving around it at a high rate of speed. I

have noticed that hotel beds in general are harder and higher off the floor than my late

mother's queen-size bed in which I sleep at home. I have also noticed that king beds are

huge. The only other time I slept in a king bed was in the Mirage in Las Vegas, NV, suite

C24 (28th floor of 30, the highest floor on which I have ever stayed in a hotel), February

25-27, 2004.

I woke up at a little before 7:40 pm. It was time to get ready for the gift exchange in the

lobby. I believe it began at 9:00, so I had time to get cleaned up and dressed before

grabbing my gift (the first Tarzan animated DVD, which I bought at Target on November 26,

2005). When I got there the kids gift exchange was still on. I waited patiently for it to

end and for the adults to have their turn. Meanwhile I greeted several people, including

Ursulinda (LindaBabe on the DIS), Mike Scopa and Bill (Rhinodad) from California. I was the

sixth or seventh person called. Grabbing my gift and opening it to find both a Disneyland

50th Anniversary refrigerator magnet and a matching memopad set with pens, I said my

goodbyes quickly and went to my room, putting my new gifts into the green Great Escapes

Travel bag. I then left my room and went to the boat launch, going first to the Magic

Kingdom and from there catching a bus bound for Boardwalk.

I really like the ambiance of this resort and would like to stay here on a future trip. It

evokes the NJ shore boardwalks as they are in the memories of people who love the Shore.

JellyRolls, named for jazz pianist and pioneer Jelly Roll Morton, is a dueling piano bar

located next to Atlantic Dance Company. It normally charges an $8 cover, but as a DISer

(Disneyfan63 is my handle on those forums) I was able to get in for half price. I saw an

empty seat at a table at which JellyRolls Karen and Kaycee sat. Karen later apologized for

not being able to get me into JellyRolls for half price, but it was her buddy Kaycee

(another Karen) who swung the discount by getting my name on the invitation list.

JellyRolls, one of the few places in WDW in which smoking is permitted inside, is a fun

place. The pianists are all good and encourage sing-alongs and audience participation. One

man sitting at a table near us (named Phil or Bill) was encouraged to solo a few lines by

the pianists, as we egged him on. I met other DISers such as two webmasters, Webmaster Doc

(Pete Werner's(?) right-hand man) and Webmaster Kathy (kathytx from Dallas, an attractive,

"older" blonde who was somewhat amazed that I knew the words to all of the songs played that

night, all by written request). After about ninety minutes of loud singing and pretending

that the table was a hand drum, I said my goodbyes and left, for I had an early start the

next morning. I got to the bus stop just as a Downtown Disney pulled up, hopped on, and

transferred to a Fort Wilderness bus at Stop 4. I went to sleep at 1:15 am.
If you wish to pick someone's brain, you first need a jackhammer.
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