Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey, southern
|Posted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:24 pm Post subject: My "I Can't Wipe This Grin Off My Face!" Splurge T
|Day 2: Thursday, December 1, 2005
I woke up a little before 6:00 am on my first full day in the World. I read my Bible in the books of Second Kings (chapters 18 and 19) and Acts (chapter 21); then brushed my teeth; shaved; and showered, where I got briefly scalded. The shower handle turns clockwise from cold water to hot and controls temperature, not volume. In turning it off I turned it clockwise, not counterclockwise, and for an instant the water got REALLY hot; then I peeled off a tiny bit of skin. Ouch! I grabbed a towel and dried off, then got dressed. Turning on the local TV news, I caught the weather forecast--a nippy 49°F (9.5°C) with a high of 67°F (19.5°C). Now I understand that for those living in New England or the upper Midwest, 49°F on the first day of December is practically tropical, and even for Philly it's unusually warm for that date. But this is FLORIDA, so it was a little cool.
After dressing, I got the brightly dumb notion to sort the money from the charge slips in my wallet, and to put the papers in a pile. Of course, I had my room key out, ready to use it, but mistakenly put it on the table under a lot of junk while I flopped on the bed with a pen and notebook and wrote notes for this report. Naturally when I walked out the door I didn't have my room key on me, but I didn't realize that until later.
By now it was a little before 8:00 AM. I hadn't set up an ADR for breakfast, even though I'm a breakfast type person. I figured I'd just wing it, maybe do counter service at Roaring Fork or even at Port Orleans French Quarter's Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (beignets, anyone?). I knew I had an ADR for Whispering Canyon Cafe (WCC) on December 5 so decided to find the place. Didn't take long; I just followed the overhead sign in the lobby for Canyon Cafe. Once there, I took a chance. Went up to the podium and asked if they had room for one walk-up. Answer: yup. I was seated near the back and watched and listened as general mayhem ensued. My server was Albert, and I ordered the Canyon Skillet, consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, a waffle, a biscuit, orange juice and hot cocoa. For a guy used to a bowl of cereal and orange juice in the mornings, this is a comfort-food feast, so I loaded up, getting seconds on eggs, OJ and cocoa. When the bill came I looked in my wallet and realized to my dismay that my room card wasn't there. Albert suggested that I go to the registration desk and get a new one. I charged the $16.56 bill to my Visa, but forgot to tip him in my haste to get a new card.
I went to the registration desk and told the lady that I thought I lost my room key; and she made me a new one on the spot. I apologized for losing my key but she said it was okay; people lose their room keys all the time. The last two digits of my room keycard indicated the keycard number (mine was 02, indicating that this is the second card I used).
New keycard in hand, I went back to Whispering Canyon Cafe, got five ones change for a five, and asked for "the guy who served me at about 8:30". "Albert!" she called. He came and I gave him $3, saying, "I forgot to tip you, man!" I usually tip 15% of the total bill unless service is exceptional, in which case I go up to 20% or 25%. But I couldn't not tip Albert; he did nothing wrong.
I went then to Magic Kindom "the back way": past Wilderness Lodge Mercantile; second left; left, right, left, down to the first floor, right, then out the door by the pool. I took the launch, after which I rode the Walt Disney World Railroad all the way around and then did Pirates of the Caribbean. Because I'm a party of one, I always get a seat to myself. After getting off POC I simply walked around and watched people on Splash Mountain plunge down the 52-foot waterfall in the log boats. Heading back toward Adventureland at about 12:15 pm, I decided to take in the Country Bear Christmas show, waiting about 15 minutes in the holding area before being allowed into the theater. It was a good, corny show--but I love corny; how else would I come up with dumb jokes?
After Country Bears I sat and people-watched until 1:00 pm, when I thought the MousePlanet Dole Whip Meet was scheduled. I missed it by an hour, but I still saw Deb Wills who gave me the hug that she'd promised me on the boards. I'm not sure that anyone besides us "Disney-Loving Internet Weirdos" know who she is; but she's a very sweet, approachable person, as are all the Disney guidebook authors and website gurus. I wonder if she still has (or even found) the black and red rain jacket that I'd misteakenly (misspelling intentional) left at Fresh Mediterranean Market on Monday, December 13, 2003? Probably not. The pineapple Dole Whip ($2.89; paid for with a twenty; returning a ten, a five, two ones, a dime and a penny) was delicious. I can understand why Mike Scopa likes them so much, but not why many people don't. I managed to pose for a picture with Mike and two ladies from Passporter, which I believe WillCAD, photographer extraordinaire, has in his photo gallery.
After a few minutes the gathering broke up but I saw Dave Marx of the Passporter WDW (of which the 2005 edition is dear to me as I'm on the cover, on the right side, right above him). When I mentioned the BATB meet that I was cohosting with zakerdog (Carol and Gary from Ontario), he gave me a few PocketGuides and Mousefest pins to give out, before leaving in search of his wife Jennifer and son Alex, who I also saw and greeted.
After they left, I met Jack from MousePlanet. We walked over to the Tomorrowland Noodle Station while getting acquainted. Lou Mongello from DisneyTrivia.com held a trivia contest there whose contestants were drawn by raffle. I hung out with Carol and Gary while waiting to see if my ticket (892) would be called. It was, I got my multiple-choice binder with laminated letter choices, and managed to get right only half the questions in the first round. I watched the rest of the game from a seat near Gary as his wife distinguished herself in a later round. Finally at about 3:35 I had to leave MK because I had left my Minnie MVMCP ticket in my room. Returning to WL #1132 via boat, I retrieved the letter and ticket from my travel documents folder and pocketed it, returning to MK the same way and using the MVMCP ticket to re-enter the park and get my wristband.
It was now 4:45 pm and time for me to check in for my ADR at Tony's Town Square Restaurant, inspired by Lady and the Tramp, of which memorabilia abounds in this place. I had switched to Tony's at 5:00 from Liberty Tree Tavern (LTT) at 7:10 because I wanted to tackle the Mountains of Magic Kingdom without singing rainbows. I was seated within ten minutes of check in with Ricardo as my server. He was outstanding, which is to say he wasn't insitting. I put this meal on the dining plan and got an appetizer of minestrone soup with a side of bread and male (with nuts) pesto sauce; an entree of seafood pasta (whose mussels included the shells, which I did not eat--the shells, I mean); and dessert of pumpkin creme brulee. I also got seven iced teas (what? Am I crazy? Uh-huh) in which Ricardo served me each successive tea before I'd finished the previous one, a sign of great service; just ask WillCAD. I tipped Ricardo $2.50 extra and stepped out into that limbo between pleasantly full and stuffed-until movement-is-possible-but-not-a-good-idea.
I wandered around for about two hours until the Wishes meet began about a quarter till nine at the rose garden near the castle. There I met so many people it boggles to list them. Ddoll and Geri. MissB. Bernard (Mr.B). Mike Scopa. Sheryl. FLSharon. Jelly Rolls Karen. BA. Zakerdog and Gary. Tagrel (who gave me my lanyard and nametag). So many others. We didn't ride any attractions; just huddled around and talked. Amazing, as were the holiday Wishes fireworks. I tried to take pictures but my camera wouldn't let me because it was on the wrong setting.
By 9:45 I had hit the wall. I mean, slammed full-bore into it. I was shuffling around like an old man. I had to get some rest, so I said my goodbyes and left the park. I passed Mike Scopa who remarked that I wasn't as "sparkly" as usual, and I replied that I was exhausted. Taking the launch to WL, I went to my room, undressed and went to sleep around 10:35 pm.
If you wish to pick someone's brain, you first need a jackhammer.