Day 5: Hooray for Hollywood

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The morning begins with a walk around Saratoga Springs and the only day I can say I was truly annoyed.

GM and I woke up early. By 8am we were out the door with Uncle C. He wanted to take pictures of Downtown Disney. Unfortunately the sun was getting hot already. I'm getting tired of saying "it's never this hot in October", but my uncle is handling the heat just fine. I think excitement has overpowered any feelings of discomfort.

My annoyance comes when we walk by the Preview Center. One of the CMs on duty at the kiosk asks us if we want to go on a tour. Dad and I quickly explain we are taking my uncle out for an exploration of the resort. We're already members, so no thanks. But the CM insists on pestering my uncle with an invite. Wouldn't he like to be a member too. My uncle is not keen on sales presentations. He went to one years ago for another timeshare and it left a very bad taste in his mouth. I hustle my uncle away, giving an evil glare to the CM in hopes he gets the message. (Later I'll learn how Disney restructured the pay for these frontline greeters and inadvertantly encouraged high pressure salesmanship. Big mistake IMHO.)

Our walked continued along the lake all the way up to that "nature walk" area on the far end. The sun turned hot, so GM and I stayed back in the shade just watching Uncle C hop around from place to place taking pictures. He's like a big kid.

By the time we get back to the room, Aunt C and Cuz are awake and getting breakfast on the table. After we eat, we headed over to Hollywood Studios for the day. Time to show them a little bit of showbiz.

First stop is the Backlot Tour. Then Walt's One Man's Dream exhibit. Next came Little Mermaid, my favorite of the princess stories.

Then the Animation Studios tour. We see clips of the latest movie in production... a hand-drawn Princess and the Frog. Judging by the character mock-ups and screen prints on exhibit, this looks to be a fantastic movie.

GM's in a hurry to move us along to Indiana Jones. I opt to stay behind. The UP! characters are here signing autographs. How can I resist meeting the only Disney character who reminds me most of my dad? Curmudgeon-turned-travel-gypsy Mr. Frederickson even has his quad cane with tennis ball feet.

After Indy, our groups meet up again and we head to Muppets 3D. Then a walk along the Streets of America where we point out all the lights already lining the buildings. In another month, we tell them, this place will be alive with Christmas. My cuz tells his parents he hasn't seen anything till they've seen that.

Our last stop of the day is a ride on Toy Story Mania. This time I have GM ride with his brother, cuz with his mom and me solo facing off against them all. Cuz still beats me by 20k points but I blame it on my gun. The stick was too close to my knee. (Yeah right.)

Dinner is on the Boardwalk that night. Kouzzina's, the new greek place. My first mistake of the trip too. Turns out my aunt hates Greek food. I don't discover that until we sit down to eat. Oops!

Still the food is good. We start with some spanakopita and fried calamari. Both delicious but the spanakopita is on the small side. Then we have dinners of Greek lasagna, roast lamb and cinnamon stewed chicken. Aunt C has a salad. She does enjoy her dessert though, a large helping of Greek cookies and espresso. GM and my cuz try the baklava, but I think I come up with the winner: loukamathes. That's hot deep fried donuts with a selection of dipping sauces - chocolate, vanilla and raspberry. Yum!

We end our evening with a stroll around the Boardwalk soaking up more of the "Disney mis more than just kiddie rides and characters" sights. The heat of the day has given way to a comfortable balmy evening. We catch a bit of the fireworks from EPCOT then make our trek home by van. (Cuz takes the bus to DTD and beats us there, don't ask me how.)