Day 8: Magic Kingdom or Bust

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yesterday I tried to get everyone together at the bus stop at the same early time. Today, I'll save myself some frustration and send the group in tiers. Our meeting place is Carousel of Progress between noon and 1pm.

At 8am the group had all awaken. I won't let that fool me though. Awake is not dressed and out the door. Instead I get myself together, get my drink refill (GM has appointed himself in charge of all future coffee runs), have my own breakfast, and remind them of our meeting time as I head out the door to catch my first bus. It's 9:30am by the time I leave. I arrive at MK by 10am. Plenty of time to take pictures from the train station...

Followed by a ride around the park on the train, hop off in Tomorrowland and take a ride on Buzz Lightyear. By 11:30am I'm getting hungry again. I take a tour around the area debating the offerings when my phone finally rings.

It's GM telling me they've gotten to the bus stop. As he talks to me he says a bus has pulled up but he doesn't think they can go on it. Cuz left them to refill his mug. I can hear the frustration in his voice. Yes, ladies and gents, trying to get a group to the same bus stop at the same time is one of the most frustrating things you'll ever do in Disney.

No big, I tell him. I've decided on my snack so will just find a shady spot to eat and wait. Call when you arrive.

The call comes in about 40 minutes later. I'm just finishing my popcorn in the shade beside the Carousel of Progress sign. I tell GM to look for me there. 10 minutes later, I see my cuz drive up in his scooter looking every which way, including mine. There are two ramp entrances to CoP. Cuz goes to the one I'm not at. meanwhile, his dad and mine are chasing after him shouting "She's over there! She's over there!" I wonder if I have suddenly turned invisible for my cousin. He did just look right at me and not see me.

In his defense, he is a bit frazzled. He had some trouble getting the boarding passes for tomorrow's return flight home on Southwest. He spent the last hour fighting with them over the phone back at the room. Poor guy.

He settles down once we're all together and getting seated for CoP. This is a show he loves and hopes his folks will too. They do. They are all antique-lovers so can appreciate the nostalgia of the piece.

Upon exit, GM informs me Uncle C really wants to ride the Peoplemover (sorry TTA - Tomorrowland Transit Authority). That's one of those things I can't board, but it doesn't bother me. I'm getting thirsty and could use an ice cold drink to wash down my popcorn. Besides the Ravens game is on and I want to check the score. We split up and I tell him to call me when he's done.

I head over to the Enchanted Grove for a bathroom break. Then get an ice cold raspberry smoothie. I discover a little nook behind the shop where I can get out of the sun, enjoy a bit of AC and check the game via my cell phone. Ravens are winning against the Bengals. Cool!

GM calls. They are stopping for a rest break too and suggest we meet at It's A Small World for our next attraction. Fine with me. I head over to wait. While I sit there, in the sun, I see the wait time go from a relaxing 10 minutes to 30 with the standby queue all the way out into the sun. Eeek! I check the time. 2:00pm. Hmm, the parade starts at 3pm? I look around FantasyLand. It's filled with families of little kids with the standby queues jumping in time. I figure they all must be trying to get in one last ride before the parade. Time for some pro-active tourguiding.

When GM and the others arrive, I tell them we have a change in plans. Lines are too long for IASW right now. Instead we will (a) grab some FastPasses for Peter Pan then (b) head over to catch the Country Bears Show. GM and cuz are good with that. Uncle C is not so sure. He looks wistfully at IASW as we walk by.

We pass by Haunted Mansion. Uncle C asks, "Aren't we going to ride that too?"

"Yes, later when it's dark. That's an indoor attraction. Come along now."

We pass by the Liberty Belle. Uncle C stops dead in his tracks. "But I want to ride the riverboat!"

"We will!" I assure him. "When it's not so hot. Come along, the bears start in 10 minutes."

I honestly thought my uncle had turned into a petulant 8 year old in that moment. The crestfallen look he gave me as I ushered him past one of his favorite rides was priceless.

But we made it to Country Bears with time to spare. He loved that show. And right after we skipped under the bridge and went right to Tiki Birds.

Meanwhile the parade crowd formed. By the time we finished both shows, the parade was in full force in Frontier Town.

We had time to go on Jungle Cruise. (The only sad part being I checked the football score. As I watched in agony, Bengals went ahead and stole the game right out from under us in the last minute.)

Then we rode Pirates of the Caribbean. This time I warned my aunt of a "little surprise" coming just before the waterfall. I didn't want a repeat of yesterday's thrill ride experience for her. Turns out she loved every minute of it.

So 2 shows and 2 rides later, the parade had finished and we were ready for some FantasyLand. We rode IASW when it was down to a 5 minute wait (just after the afternoon parade crowd left). We rode Liberty Bell around 5:30pm when the sun was low enough in the sky we didn't bake. And they boarded with me which meant they each had a seat on the bow of the ship.

And when Uncle C said he wanted to ride the train, I sent them on ahead to catch the last ride of the daylight.

Perhaps the funniest moment for us came just after lunch at Columbia Harbor House. It was mid-day and we went inside for some food and escape from the heat. The sun was shining bright outside when the heavens opened up and it started raining. Uncle C took one look out the window and asked "Is that real rain or Disney rain?"

He kept looking for the automatic sprinklers even when he went outside and saw it was raining all over the park. I think the idea that it could be sunny and rain, given all the magic he'd seen in Disney, had him fooled.

We took them on Haunted Mansion after dark where Aunt and Uncle C met up with church friends in the stretching room. Then I sent them on Peter Pan while I toom a turn on Pooh.

We met for fireworks in FantasyLand. Something I've always wanted to try but never managed. I parked myself right by the rope line next to Snow White, GM beside me and Aunt C in front of us. There we watched fireworks over the castle and a herd of flying Dumbos. It was a spectacular sight and a great way to end the trip for our newbies.

And for good measure, a few last haunting glimpses of the Castle. Perfect lighting for a warm Autumn night, don't ya think?