Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey, southern
|Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 7:45 pm Post subject: My "I Can't Wipe This Grin Off My Face!" Splurge T
|Day 4: Saturday, December 3, 2005
I woke up to a 7:00 am Stitch shout-out. Today was the focal point of MouseFest 2005 and
the day I (co)hosted a meet for the first time ever. I prepared the usual way: brushed
teeth, shaved, showered, dressed, read Bible. Then I went to Roaring Forks for a donut and
juice. Finishing, I went to the bus stop to catch a bus to Epcot for the Soarin' Meet, but
didn't get to the front entrance until 9:15 am. Once I got inside, I got turned around and
couldn't find The Land. I admit that here I said some very unChristian words and phrases,
because I sure didn't want to miss this meet and was quite furious when I realized that I
wouldn't be among all those Taginators on Soarin'. So I walked around and probably rode
Spaceship Earth to kill time before meeting Carol (zakerdog) and Gary to set up for the
Brunch at the Ball meet at the Electric Umbrella.
This meet was the largest Taginator meet of MouseFest, attracting about a hundred people
including a couple of DISers. I don't know why the Tagrel people decided to keep our meets
out of the Pocket Guide; and while I didn't mix a great deal with people from other Disney
communities, I'm glad that I did mix a little bit. Though each community tends to isolation
ism, all the communities share a love of Disney and would be enriched by intermingling.
At any rate, I helped Carol set up chairs (or watched her and Gary set them up) and we had a
picture of Carol and me holding the excellent Tagrel.com MouseFest banner created by Frogman
and MissB. Ten-thirty ante meridian (10:30 in the morning) came and there was already a
sizeable group of us at the restaurant. We had a drawing in which Carol picked names from a
bag and handed them to me, and I read them aloud. Then we had lunch. I sat at a table with
WillCAD and ate my roast beef sandwich. I think there's a picture of me eating it, hunched
over my food. I believe that I look dorky in most pictures of this MouseFest in which I
appear; though I don't think I'm photogenic, I've been told that I have a good smile. Other
pictures were taken of the whole group and of only those of us who will attend the marathon
and half-marathon in a couple weeks.
The meet ended at about 12:00 pm (post meridian) and it was time to make our way to the Swan
for the MouseFest Megameet at 1:00. I walked into Mouse Gear in Future World and bought a
tie-dye t-shirt featuring the seven dwarfs (Dopey, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy, Grumpy
and Doc--had to search this!) before (front) and after (back) Walt Disney World. It's one
of those wild shirts that simply "hit" me--a glancing blow, for I am still conscious--and it
cost $24.00 plus $1.56 sales tax. I then made my way to the Megameet, first walking under
the World Showcase arches and then turning right and heading toward the Friendship boats to
the Epcot resorts and Disney-MGM Studios.
If a Disney Resort has boat or monorail service to a particular theme park, its bus service
to that park is limited. The monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand
Floridian) have few buses to the Magic Kingdom and to the Transportation and Ticket Center;
after all, would you rather ride a monorail or boat rather than a bus? (You can walk to the
Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary Resort in about ten minutes.) While you can take a bus
to the Magic Kingdom or Transportation and Ticket Center from Wilderness Lodge, it's much
cooler to go to the dock behind the resort and hop on a boat. The Epcot resorts (Boardwalk
Inn and Villas, Beach Club and Beach Club Villas, Yacht Club, and the Swan and Dolphin
hotels), don't have transportation to Epcot's front entrance. The only ways to get to that
park are either by boat or on foot, through the International Gateway.
After a ten-minute wait, Friendship Boat 8 appeared and I boarded and sat down quietly for
the seven-minute ride to the Swan. When we got there after stops at the Boardwalk and at
the Yacht and Beach Club, I got off and eventually found the Swan Hemisphere Ballroom E
after asking at the hotel's concierge desk, and I was finally at the Megameet. Carol
(zakerdog) and Gary were among the greeters and set me up with a nametag and a large yellow
MouseFest shopping bag, and I got a bottle of water.
Held on the last day or next-to-last day of the land portion of Mousefest (the cruise
portion, a four-day, three night cruise on the Disney Wonder, started on December 4), the
Megameet is the focal point of the entire event. Disney fans, webmasters and Disney
guidebook authors gather for a couple hours or so (today from 1-3 pm) and talk Disney. The
brainchild of the incomparable Deb Wills of AllEarsNet, MouseFest--an unofficial event not
organized or endorsed by Disney (whose cast members [employees] do not publicly acknowledge
it)--grew from the weekend gatherings of members of the Usenet group
recreation.arts.disney.parks (RADP) who were conducting their own 10th annual five-day
gathering. Deb's idea was to unite the various Disney fan communities in a celebration of
all things Disney. With help from Dave Card of my "home" community, Tagrel.com (on which my
screen name is Jimbolini1963), and from Dave and Jennifer Marx of Passporter.com, Deb Wills
organized the first annual MouseFest in 2003. I'm proud to say that I have attended all
three gatherings, am now a veteran MF'er (gee, thanks for corrupting us, WDWDennis!
LOL),and--I'm stating this for the first time--I aim to attend both the cruise and land
portions of MouseFest 2006, the Lord willing.
The special guest today was Margaret Kerry, the original model for Tinker Bell (two words,
not one). I was blessed to chat with her for a minute and to have my picture taken with her
by Carol (zakerdog). I circulated through the room, greeting the ubiquitous Mike Scopa, Jim
Hill, Cara Goldsbury, Dave and Jennifer Marx (who autographed my 2005 Passporter; yes, it's
wonderful to MouseFest with you, too, Dave. With everyone in fact), Anne Easterling (whose
EZFun Guide to Walt Disney World, 2006 edition I ordered on the spot. It should be shipped
to me by next week (week ending December 31)), WillCAD, Ddoll, the dulcet-voiced Amymouse,
and too many more to list. To say that I had a ball on this trip is a gross understatement.
The Megameet ended at about 3:30 pm after all the door prizes had been given out. I didn't
win any. Originally I had been part of an ADR (again, Advanced Dining Reservation) at this
time at Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki (Japan) with JustJan and her son, but that conflicted with a
Chicago Cubs event that they wanted to attend at Disney's Wide World of Sports, so I was
left on my own. (Jan had, before MouseFest, offered me the ADR but I'd pm'ed [private
messaged] her to cancel it.) Asking directions to the hotel exit, I took a Friendship boat
(number eight again) back to the International Gateway where I had to make a decision about
lunch. I didn't want to use up another table service point on the dining plan when I had
all my counter service points remaining. But where to eat? It was about 4:15 pm, closer to
dinnertime. So call it linner. I didn't feel like eating Mexican food or fish and chips.
Or hotdogs. Somehow I got the idea of going to Yakitori House, the counter service eatery
in Japan, and started walking toward that pavilion, going clockwise. When I passed the
entrance to World Showcase from the Gateway, I looked at a map of World Showcase and saw
that Japan's Pavilion was 'way on the other side of World Showcase Lagoon. I knew that
there was a launch to Germany's or Morocco's pavilions near Mexico's, but it took me about a
half hour to find it. When I found the dock, a boat had just left and I waited for what
seemed to be fifteen or twenty minutes before it returned. When it did I hopped on, sat and
relaxed for the four-minute ride.
The boat docked at Germany's pavilion, so I turned right and walked past it and the American
Adventure before arriving at the 83-foot (25-meter)-tall pagoda that landmarks Japan's
pavilion. I walked up steps to my left and into the store and out again before finding
Yakitori House, which was fairly crowded and noisy. I got in line and when my turn came
ordered the Shogun meal, asking the girl at the register what I got for the meal plan; she
replied that I get an entree, a drink and dessert. The Shogun meal consists of teriyaki
beef, teriyaki chicken and white rice. I also got a 20-oz (591 ml) bottle of Dasani water
(which I had trouble opening and of which I spilled half on myself) and a chestnut cake for
dessert. (The dining plan can be murder on diets, but because I'm not on one I didn't
care.) I think that counter service meals in World Showcase are better than those in the
other WDW parks, with the possible exception of Animal Kingdom's Flame Tree Barbecue and
Tusker House, which are excellent; and the Yakitori House is no exception, the beef and
chicken in my Shogun meal being tasty. When I finished the meal with my shirt slightly wet,
I left the restaurant and Japan and headed back to Germany, passing the line for the
evening's performance of Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theater, and
getting in line for the boat back to Mexico.
When it showed up and I got on, I looked and saw some activity on the other side, and the
time being 6:00 pm sharp, the tree at the entrance to World Showcase lit up all at once.
I'm sorry, Ray, for missing your meet, but believe it or not it was the first time I'd seen
the tree at that moment. It was quite a sight. The boat returned to the Mexico pavilion
and I got off and started walking counterclockwise toward and then under the arches. I had
originally planned to chill out in my room and maybe take a nap, but that all changed when I
saw Tracy, her son Zach (who had won the first prize at Brunch At The Ball that morning) and
her friend Tami. I really wasn't that tired, and had some time to kill before the Kimono's
meet, so I asked Tracy if I could hang out with them awhile. They live in southeastern
Wisconsin, about 90 minutes from Chicago's Midway airport. Tracy said yes I could. I think
we went into MouseGear first and looked around, then went on Spaceship Earth. This
slow-moving ride within the sphere, which traces the evolution of communication from
prehistoric times to the present, opens and closes by taking riders up and later backwards
down an incline longer and steeper than the one at Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom. For me
the ride doesn't get old. This made Tracy nervous. But it was ok--it's Disney! While she
and Zach are Disney nuts, I think Tami would prefer to be lying on a beach in Cancun.
After exiting Spaceship Earth, we went to the tip board and, seeing that Soarin', the
simulated hang-glider ride in The Land pavilion, had an eighty-minute wait, we walked over
to Test Track and got into the stand-by line.
Test Track, a computerized car-testing attraction sponsored by General Motors (GM), is the
longest (nearly a mile) and fastest (with speeds of up to 65 miles per hour or 104
kilometers per hour) ride in all of Walt Disney World. It takes riders through actual
steerage, environmental, and speed tests used by auto manufacturers. This ride is one of my
favorites; the speed, and the air rushing in my face and through my hair creates a real
rush. After exiting the ride and waiting for Zach to finish the simulated game inside the
showroom area, we went outside and said our goodbyes. (I tried to get her cell phone number
but couldn't figure out how to input it to my phone, but I corrected that the next morning
at Kona.) Tracy, Tami and Zach headed to their room, and I headed to the Swan and Kimono's.
I walked to the International Gateway and hopped a Friendship boat after about a
twenty-minute wait. The boat stopped at Boardwalk and Beach/Yacht Clubs before docking at
the Swolphin (Swan and Dolphin hotels, which are almost always mentioned together because
they're nearly identical in theme and decor. If you look closely, though--Carol (zakerdog)
explained this to me on the way to the Megameet--the Dolphin hotel is supposed to be painted
with waves and the Swan with bulrushes and weeds, but the designers reversed the schemes by
mistake). I got off the boat and walked into the Swan lobby, asking the concierge for
directions to Kimono's. (Note that I'm a guy with a bad internal compass who asks
directions. Wandering around lost does not a fun vacation make.) I went upstairs using the
escalator and turned right into a hallway. Hearing noise from ahead, I turned right again
and entered Kimono's Karaoke and Sushi Bar.
I sat down in an empty chair next to Mike Scopa and waited for the karaoke to begin,
ordering a bottle of Republic Darjeeling tea when the waitress came around. I don't drink
alcohol because I don't like the taste. I drink tea, making like an electric guitar and
getting amped on caffeine. I would need the restroom (or washroom) before too long. I wore
the seven dwarfs tee shirt that I'd bought that morning at Mouse Gear and Mike asked about
it. Then it was on to the show.
One of the early singers was Dotti's son singing about big butts while Deb Koma (dcdeb)
shook hers on stage. It's not that big; I wouldn't kick Deb out of bed, at least not on
purpose. She's an attractive woman. It was one of those moments that are supposed to stay
in Disney but of course got photographed and posted on the Tagrel boards as soon as most
people got home. Later came Ddoll, Moley and Amymouse. Amymouse is a pretty, auburn-haired
woman who occasionally writes a guest column for the AllEarsNet newsletter. If she wanted
to sing professionally, she could quit her day job; but given an American CD-buying public
that sometimes wouldn't know talent if it bit them in the privates, she may be better off
keeping the day job. Ddoll, always a marvelous hostess for this meet, is a terrific singer
who really doesn't need a microphone. Moley's rendition of the Beatles' "When I'm
Sixty-Four", with an exaggerated British accent and jumping up and down, was wickedly funny.
I'm sure she was nervous on that little stage but also knew that she was among friends.
Then it came time for "Mike Scopa and The Pips".
Backing up Mike were Timon, Belle, possibly GloriaK and myself. We sang "Lyin Eyes" by the
Eagles. Kimono's version of the song is thirteen seconds longer than the original found on
the band's 1975 album *One Of These Nights*, track number five. Though I know the song
well, I think the slower pace threw us off; I was watching the monitor to cue my entries.
Altogether, we were pretty good, but after it ended I misstepped and stumbled off the front
of the stage. There are pictures of this performance, too.
After consuming that bottle of tea, I excused myself, went to the bathroom, returned, and
watched the singers for another hour. I paid for my tea with a five, got 78 cents change,
and left at around 12:15 am. Gloria did the same, and we rode the same Downtown Disney bus.
When we got to Pleasure Island, we got off that bus. She walked to stop 8 for Pop Century
while I went to stop 4 for Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge (separate buses). After a
Fort Wilderness bus came within five minutes, a Wilderness Lodge bus came within fifteen
more. I hopped on, rode twenty minutes to the resort, went to my room, undressed, and went
to sleep at 1:13 am.
If you wish to pick someone's brain, you first need a jackhammer.