Laura and Lee's Mad Magical
Millennium March Merriment

March 22-28, 2000
Part 1

It's spring, and time for another trip to Walt Disney World! :-) Because Easter is so late this year, we decided to try going at the end of March instead, to hopefully avoid most of the Spring Break crowds, and to avoid the heat we had on our April trip last year...did I mention that it was too darn hot??? :-)

We'll be joined by various friends and family members on this trip. Lee's mom and stepdad are touring the country in their motorhome, and plan to be at Walt Disney World the same time we are - though they arrive *before* we do, and leave a week *after* we do...I wanna be retired, too! :-)

And our good friends Walt and Barb will be joining us Saturday morning, and we're all leaving Tuesday afternoon. Walt and Barb have only been to WDW one other time - when they joined us for our 10th anniversary trip three years ago.

And we'll be meeting some of our internet friends in the parks, too.

The logistics...we're flying from San Diego to Orlando and back, and will have a rental car to get around in. We're staying in two studios at Old Key West, using our DVC points.

We didn't try to do a semi-live trip report this time - it takes a lot of time, and we wanted to (try to) relax a little more. Yeah, right. :-)

So here we go...

Wednesday, March 22 - Fly, Epcot, Shop

We flew on Continental this time (normally we fly Delta, but we couldn't get a low fare) - and even though one of our flights was on an MD-80 (which have had quite a few "incidents" lately), we arrived in Orlando safely. Though *hungry* - even though the Houston->Orlando flight was listed as a "snack" flight, all we got was a bag of pretzels.

We waited for our bags to come out - Lee's showed up first (typical), and then we saw a woman take off with a bag similar to mine...I started to chase her down, but saw it had a pink tag, plus she was really moving, so even I could hardly keep up with her...but I should have persisted, because, sure enough, my bag did not show up. Did the "Lost Luggage" thing with the airline, and they gave me the "Incident" number and a phone number to call. Sigh.

We went to the Dollar rental car counter - no wait, yay! - where I had a free upgrade coupon that I'd printed from their web site. They asked if we wanted a minivan for our upgrade...I said no way, but Lee said yes - and since he was going to be the one driving, that's what we got. But we're DINKs...we're not supposed to be driving minivans! :-) (But in all fairness, it was very comfortable for the 4 of us, even though Walt and Barb also had to give Lee a bad time about driving a mini-van...and we had to tell that unruly pair in the back seat to be quiet a time or two. :-) )

We checked in at Old Key West, discovered that Walt and Barb would be in the same building once they arrived, and dropped our bags in the room. Or at least Lee dropped HIS bag. I had the clothes I was wearing, and my carry-on with sweatshirt, books, Tigger, cameras, etc. (at least Tigger wasn't in my luggage!), and that was it.

I called Carol (Lee's mom) to see if we could get together with them the next day. The cell phone she was using kept cutting out, and it was a pretty frustrating conversation, but we finally came up with the idea of meeting for dinner - we'd choose the place and let them know the time.

(Doesn't it look like Lee is standing on a transporter pad? :-) )

We went to Epcot and had our first Beaver Tail of the trip (mmmm), followed by a small dinner at the Millennium Village. (There's more detailed information on the Millennium Village in our December trip report.) We walked partway around the lagoon and scoped out a good spot for the Tapestry of Nations parade (we were able to sit down on the planter next to the Japanese temple), and watched the procession. Lee had forgotten how good it was - I'd forgotten how insidious the music is. Two weeks later and it's STILL going through my head! :-) But we really enjoy watching the performers and their interaction with the crowd - they put a lot of heart into it, and it's obvious that many of them are thoroughly enjoying themselves. And that's a lot of fun to see.

We never managed to make it around the entire World Showcase on our December trip, so this time we walked all around the lagoon, and back to the area in front of the American pavilion, and watched Illuminations from there. It's still a great show.

Since I had no clothes other than what I was wearing (and I knew I wouldn't want to wear dark blue pants during a Florida day!), we went to the big World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney to try to find something I could wear the next day in case my suitcase didn't show up for a while. Lee found a pair of shorts for me (on sale, even!), and we figured I could just wear one of his shirts. Oh, and I bought a couple of pins. Just a few. Really. But they weren't all for me! :-)

We were still a little hungry, so we went to Wolfgang Puck's Express and each got a bowl of their Butternut Squash soup. Mmm, mmm, good!

When we got back to the room I called the airline and discovered that yes, they had located my bag - that woman had taken it. They told me they were picking it up and I would have it first thing in the morning. Uh huh.

With the time difference and all, we didn't get to bed until about 12:30.

Thursday, March 23 - Epcot

We got up about 8:30...guess what, no message from Bell Services saying that they have my luggage. Called the airline, and this time was told that they were still waiting for this woman to RETURN my suitcase, rather than picking it up like they told me last night. Grrr. *She's* probably at home so it's no big deal for her not to have HER suitcase. But they'll get it out to me as soon as they get it. Sigh.

So I got to wear my new shorts and one of Lee's XL polo shirts, which was huge on me, but didn't look too bad, actually.

On our way to Epcot we stopped at the Front Desk to make dining arrangements - we'd decided to try to do the Fantasmic! Dinner package with Carol and Donn since they hadn't seen the show yet (and we don't like to wait in line for it). There was nothing available for that night, but we were able to reserve it for the next night, and make a dinner reservation at Le Cellier in Epcot's Canada pavilion for that evening. We called Carol from the pay phone (her cell phone service was still lousy), and arranged to meet them later for dinner.

At Epcot we had breakfast at the Fountainview - Cinnamon Pecan Croissant...mmmm. Disney's "Magic Music Days" are going on (that seems to be going on for most of the spring), and we heard part of the performance of a high school steel drum band - they were REALLY good. Great rendition of "Under the Sea". We saw a little bit of the JAMMitors (three guys dressed as Disney Custodial staff who do a percussion act with trash cans, pails, trash can lids, etc.) and rode Journey into Your Imagination.

(The nefarious Swan is STILL watching Lee's every move...see it just to the left of his hat? :-) )

Epcot is hands down our favorite park, but on our last trip we hadn't had time to see much of the entertainment that makes World Showcase so interesting and unique, so we'd decided to concentrate on that today. We saw:

In between all that we had lunch at the San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion. While we were waiting for our table we looked around to see if we could find *anything* chocolate (I had not been able to during our "Chocolate Around the World" tour in February), but still didn't find anything. Now, we all know that chocolate originally came from why is there no chocolate for sale in the Mexico pavilion???

But I digress...We enjoy the San Angel Inn - it's dark, cool, and relatively quiet, the food is good, and we've always had excellent service. It makes for a refreshing break.

After Epcot had entertained us for a while we headed back to Old Key West for our (late) afternoon break, and also to see if my suitcase had arrived. Woo hoo! There was a message from Bell Services, and we walked over there to pick it up (Old Key West is VERY spread out, but we were in Building 18, pretty close to the main area). Everything seemed to be there, fortunately.

After a nap and a shower (clean clothes...yay!!!) we went back to Epcot and met Carol and Donn outside Le Cellier, the restaurant in the Canada pavilion. They gave us a pager and told us it would be about 20 minutes, but we passed the time chatting and hearing about where they'd been in their motorhome. I don't think it was actually the full 20 minutes before the pager went off, though.

We had a terrific server - I wish I could remember her name. I had the salmon - everyone else had steak of some kind (Le Cellier is essentially a steakhouse). The salmon was quite good, but not as good as Artist Point's salmon - the standard by which all other salmon is judged. :-) The bread sticks were really good - I'd read how good the pretzel bread is, but we'd never tried it before. Lee had their signature cheddar cheese soup as an appetizer.

For dessert I had the Millennium dessert - butterfinger mousse inside a chocolate spaceship earth. It was pretty good, but Lee's creme brulee with maple sugar on top was better. I had intended to take the chocolate spaceship earth with me, but when I broke off a piece to taste it, it was pretty inferior chocolate, so I didn't bother. (Ok, so I'm a chocolate snob! Life is too short to eat inferior chocolate! :-) )

The evening had turned a little chilly, and Carol and Donn were only wearing t-shirts and shorts, so they called it a night - but we set up a time to meet them at the Studios the next day. Lee and I went towards the front of Epcot and poked around Innoventions West for a while. It's newly remodeled, and better than before, but still not real interesting when you work in a high tech industry. But we sent an internet postcard (the picture at the top of this page), and crawled through the bug house, and learned about alternate pest control methods and radiology techniques. By then Innoventions was closing.

We watched the fountain dance - it's still one of our favorite things to see and is very pretty at night with all the various colored lights. Illuminations was going on - it was interesting to see it from the Plaza side - we usually watch it from somewhere around the American pavilion. But from the Plaza you can see more of the lasers and the lights on the various pavilions. We saw the finale from Canada as we made our way out to the back gate. We rarely come in at the front of Epcot any more, since we usually park either at the Boardwalk or the Beach Club.

Back to Old Key West...I think we made it to bed by 11:00! :-)

Part 2
Part 3
Tigger's Exquisite Escapades
Back to Laura and Lee's Vacation page

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Text and photographs copyright © 2000 by Laura Gilbreath. All rights reserved.

Laura Gilbreath
Last updated 7/31/00