Laura and Lee's 2003 Spring Break

March 29 - April 5, 2003
Part 2

The Shows

We did more shows than rides on this trip, though still no where near *all* the shows! We saw Little Mermaid (it was in rehab the last time I was here). The mist effect works a little TOO well...we got raindrops as well as mist. And for us, the effect at the end of the show where Mermaid Ariel turns into Human Ariel did NOT work...and Mermaid Ariel was left sitting on her rock. Too bad, because I'd heard that they had improved the effect.

We saw Beauty and the Beast, which better than I remembered, but still, the best part of that show is the pre-show with Four for a Dollar. :-)

At Animal Kingdom, we saw Festival of the Lion King on two different days - the first day we saw it was *very* disappointing, because the singers were pretty bad. I can understand that they want to put their own individual stamp on the songs, but some of them were barely recognizable. One amusing thing...the firedancer actually set his loincloth on fire and had to spend a few seconds beating it out with one hand while he twirled his flaming baton with the other. :-) At this show we arrived late and were seated waaaay in the back (third from the last row) of the Lion section. We felt very isolated back there, and not part of the show at all...when we came back several days later we were in the 4th row of the Lion section, and that was SO much better!!! We also had a much better set of singers for that show, though the duet on "Can you Feel the Love Tonight" was a little ragged. I still like the tumble monkeys the best, though. :-)

We saw "Tarzan Rocks" as well - we always seem to see the same lead singer (Billy) though it's never the same female singers. We'd both enjoy the show a lot more if they'd get rid of Terk and the audience "clap-along" part. I guess it appeals to the kids, but we really dislike it. The rest of the show is so high-energy and visually interesting, but that part just drags it down.

During "Flights of Wonder" I was able to see my favorite bird again - Sluggo the Sereiama. :-) I just love watching him bash the little rubber alligator - he does it with such enthusiasm! :-) We actually saw a *female* "Guano Jane", instead of the usual "Guano Joe", and she was pretty good. Before we saw the show we talked to one of the bird trainers outside who had brought out a barn owl, and asked her if Sluggo was still in the show (since I hadn't seen him in over a year and a half). She said yes, but they alternate him with Webby the Buzzard - I guess I'd just been unlucky in my show selection since I'd been seeing Webby instead of Sluggo lately. We found out that the bald eagle weighs 9-10 pounds, and the barn owl only weighs about 3 - he's all feathers and fluff! :-)

We saw one Pocahontas Training Session - I still prefer that to the regular show. They brought out one raccoon, who did his behavior quite well..he runs across the log, picks up a pine cone, stands, then as soon as he hears that little click, he drops the cone and is off like a shot. :-) They also were training some rats to run across the log as a group - they were a bit less polished. And then there were the doves...they are supposed to come to feed out of Pocahontas' hands, and they used to do that, but they had a layoff in their training and shows, and now they just fly up and perch on top of the stage. Which is what they did this time. (In talking to a CM later in the week, we discovered that they had stopped flying the doves because they had had some opportunistic hawks in the area that were taking advantage of the easy prey, and the audience didn't really like seeing the "circle of life" quite so up close and personal.)

At Epcot we saw at least a little bit of most of the live entertainment over the course of the week. We saw two complete sets of Off Kilter one evening - and both sets were 30-35 minutes! They were really "on" that night and it was a lot of fun to watch them. We had seen them Sunday evening but Jamie (the bagpiper player) wasn't with them...they had a violinist instead. Who did just fine, but it just wasn't the same without the bagpipes. We saw them perform several songs that were new to us. (Which are on their new CD, but that wasn't yet available when we were there.)

Mime Roland
Le Mime Roland
We also saw British Invasion, and Si Xian (pronounced Suh Zhahn, as best I could tell) - the Chinese Silk Music. Since Wonders of China is closed for its conversion to Reflections of China, there wasn't much of an audience for her, though. I always find it very restful and relaxing in there - the music is quite peaceful.

We saw a new (to us) act...Lou E.G. in Italy. I guess he's a mime...he did some pretty funny stuff. One of his gags was to take a piece of masking tape and lay it sticky side up on the pavement, then watch to see if anyone would step on it. Then it was fun to watch his reactions as people just missed it. And we saw Le Mime Roland in France - he kept getting upstaged by the kids from the audience he was working with. :-) Lee normally thinks mimes are a terrible waste, but he though these two were ok.

No trip is complete without seeing the World Showcase Players - I think this time Lee sabotaged his chances of playing King Arthur because at the beginning when the CM asked "What do you think of the show so far?" he shouted "Rubbish" before we were instructed to do so. :-) The guy they did get was very good, though.

American Vybe
American Vybe performs "Fever"
And no trip is complete without Voices of Liberty and American Vybe! :-) Though we didn't see them as many times as I would've liked. On the days that both groups perform, they are sometimes scheduled as little as 15 minutes apart - one day we saw the 12:40 Vybe, 1:00 Voices, and 1:15 Vybe. There were several new (to us) singers in Vybe...I don't think we heard any new music from them, but still enjoyed them anyways!

We also caught little bits of Spelmans Gledje in Norway, Masquerade in Italy (which we don't get at all, but it's been around for several years now, so *someone* must like it), Miyuki the candy artist in Japan (I'm still amazed at what she can do with just a couple of snips and pinches!), Matsuriza, also in Japan (another one that I don't see the appeal of), and MoRockin' in, appropriately enough, Morocco.

At Magic Kingdom the only show we saw was "Cinderella's Surprise Celebration". Which we had not seen before, and it was actually pretty cute. Though at the end they had a little bit of a technical problem...the banners are all supposed to turn back to the usual "Cinderella" banners rather than the "Villains" banners...but the one on the front of the castle didn't go up all the way, so it was half and half. :-)

At the Studios we saw the Streetmosphere characters playing an improv game show..."99 went into a bar, and the bartender says 'We don't serve here', and the say ''. They were taking suggestions from the audience for the , and Lee got to suggest an item used for gardening - he chose gloves. (Gotta hand it to him for that one...a perfect fit, don't you think? ;-) ) I think it was rigged, because I don't think the funniest person actually won. It was fun to watch, though.

The Parades

I *finally* saw the "Stars and Motorcars" parade at the Studios - Lee had seen it. It was cute for what it was, but not something I'd wait very long for. The Lilo and Stitch car was fun, because Stitch was messing with the driver's hat. The Meg in this parade didn't make eyes at Lee the way the one in the Disneyland parade used to. :-)

We saw the entire Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade one day. This was fun, because we were standing on the Harambe bridge without too many people around us, and Lee had his stuffed Stitch with him. One thing we discovered on this trip is that the Disney Cast Members just LOVE Stitch - and during the parade they pointed at him, came over to see him, and Chip actually took him and showed him to one of the puppeteers. (Stitch does have a lot of Chip and Dale qualities - do you suppose he's really a genetically engineered chipmunk?)

I miss the Tapestry of Dreams parade at's just not the same wandering around there in the evening without hearing the music.

The Parks

I think we actually spent more time at Animal Kingdom than any other park this time. Which I guess is not too surprising since it's our second favorite park! We went back late one afternoon just to see the tigers and do the safari - it's very nice being there late in the long as you don't want food, because everything starts shutting down when the parade starts at 4:00. We went out to Conservation Station...uh...Rafiki's Planet afternoon and spent probably 40 minutes or so talking to one of the Animal Care Specialists - her name is A.J. and she works with the animals (mostly birds) at Conservation Station. She told us lots of interesting things - she'd also worked at the Pocahontas show for a while. We discovered that the Flights of Wonder show isn't actually done by Disney - it's contracted out to another company, so the birds and trainers actually work for them and not Disney. I wonder if that was true of the original AK bird show, which was SO bad...if that was Disney or a contractor.

I think I've said this before, but Animal Kingdom has a definite problem with crowds...even when there aren't that many people IN the park, it still seems like there's lots of people....the walkways are always so crowded. I don't know...maybe that's part of the "theming" to simulate the crowding in Africa and Asia...but I don't really think so. That's one reason we typically go to AK early or late...when there aren't quite so many people there.

We had lots of fun watching the tigers (as usual)...though the best time to see the tigers continues to be around 4:00 or later. That's when they are prowling around ready to go *off* exhibit for the day. So they are active - walking around, and chasing each other around. Though sometimes they just sit and look pretty. :-)

We went on the safari five times this trip...three times in one day! :-) Our quest is to go on a "poacher-free" safari. We went on two end-of-day safaris this trip...and on the last one we thought we'd succeeded and would be poacher free...there were only seven people on our jeep. But no...two of the people had NOT done the safari before. Sigh. What idiots wait until 4:50 p.m. to do their very first safari???? Our driver (Beth) was really cool, though...she did the whole poacher thing, but she also made an effort to try to point things out to us and tell us things that we *didn't* know. So we discovered that giraffes have 16" tongues and can clean their ears out with them (ewww!), and that male and female kudu actually really dislike each other, and are only together during mating season. And we also learned that some elephants have five legs. We saw a male that was rather...umm...*excited* shall we say? And he definitely appeared to have more appendages than usual. :-) On a couple of earlier safaris we learned that okapis can lick their eyeballs with their tongues (yuck!), and that wildebeest are called "gnu" because that's the noise that they make..."gnu, gnu". I'm sorry that I don't remember her name, because we had another notable driver...she told us that she was from the jungle...the jungle of Massachussetts. :-)

As usual, we spent very *little* time at the Magic Kingdom. We would have gone one evening to see SpectroMagic, but the only night it was running was the night we arrived...and we didn't realize that. Even if we had I doubt we would have gone...Going to the MK first thing after we arrive is not my idea of a fun evening after travelling all day. We did go to the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday morning for a couple of hours - we did Pooh twice, Buzz Lightyear twice (I beat Lee both times even though he drove the second time), a couple other Fantasyland rides and the castle show, then wandered around and decided that was enough. It was a really pretty day - the castle surrounded by blue sky is really lovely.

The Studios...I don't know about this one. For as big as it is, there's not that much to *do*. Or not that much that merits frequent repeat visits. Hunchback is gone, Great Movie Ride is closed for rehab, Doug is gone, the Backlot Tour and Sounds Dangerous are complete wastes of time, Indy is a once-every-couple-of-years event, and things like Millionaire, Beauty and the Beast, the Animation Tour, and Little Mermaid are on show schedules, so it makes it hard to plan efficiently. We went over in the morning, saw Mermaid and the Animation Tour, were NOT able to get in to Millionaire via the standby line, the lines for Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Roller Coaster were 45 minutes, so we decided that was enough. We did go back later in the day and saw the parade, Beauty and the Beast, and rode Tower of Terror. Never did do the roller coaster this trip, since the standby line was always too long, and we were using FastPass for other things (Mermaid or Tower of Terror). This may now be my least favorite park...Tower of Terror may not be enough to keep it above Magic Kingdom since it has Pooh and Buzz *and* the castle.

The new drop sequences on Tower of Terror are cool - I think I've experienced three of them now. One of them I don't like very much because it has more short drops rather than long ones, and I like more air time! I also don't care for the seat belt seats...I don't get nearly as much air time with those as with the lap bar. :-) We did get one ride this time with the lap bar rather than the seatbelts.

Epcot remains our favorite park...we were there at some point on five of our 7 days. :-) Even though we spent a lot of time just wandering around and not actually DOING a whole lot. I think Imagination, Circle of Life, and Test Track were the only Future World attractions we did - we never even went in the other pavilions. We saw Illuminations three times, though the first two times the globe was NOT spinning - Kenny told us that it had been broken the previous weekend, too. It doesn't have the same impact when you just see the same continents all the time...and from some places you probably don't see much of anything but dark ocean! Fortunately by Friday night it was fixed. We found a new favorite viewing spot between Germany and the African outpost - it has an unobstructed view of the globe and the fireworks, and you can see the lights on most of the pavilions.

I was sorry to miss Epcot's Flower and Garden show this year, but it started late due to Easter being late, and I was trying to avoid the hot weather - quite successfully! It ended up being the right decision - I have a friend who went to Flower and Garden at about the time we would have gone (Hi Ilene!), and she told me that it was HOT - in the 90s every day. I'm glad we missed that.

In Conclusion

It was a really nice vacation - much more relaxing and restful than our usual Disney vacations. And that's all I have to say about that. :-)

Back to Laura and Lee's Vacation Page
Tigger and Stitch's Disney Invasion
Stitch Was Here

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Text and photographs copyright © 2003 by Laura Gilbreath. All rights reserved.

Laura Gilbreath
Last updated 5/26/03