Laura and Lee's Mostly Live Trip Report

(aka Laura and Lee's April Adventure)

April 22-28, 1999
Part 3

Just a little review...this trip is just the three of us (Laura, Lee, and Tigger) and we're taking advantage of our DVC membership, and will be staying 5 nights in a studio at Boardwalk Villas, though our first night was at Port Orleans.

Sunday, April 25, Studios, Fantasmic

The daily Swan's still there! :-)

Weather report: high - 94. Blech.

Our agenda for the day was to spend time at the Studios - getting there early enough to be able to reserve a Fantasmic Dinner Package, which gets us dinner at one of two restaurants, and then seating in a reserved section for Fantasmic, rather than having to wait in line for 60-90 minutes.

We had just missed the boat to the Studios, so we had a quick breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery - and noticed that the Swan was *still* keeping its eye on Lee. Hmmm.

After arriving at the Studios, we were able to get 6:00 seating for the Brown Derby restaurant as part of the Fantasmic package. Woo hoo! We then headed to the Animation Tour, which has changed since I last saw it (I never had time to see it in December, although Lee did). They've updated it a little bit to reflect the use of computers for coloring and filming the images (no more hand-painted cels, though the characters are still hand-drawn). We saw artwork for the upcoming releases of Tarzan and Fantasia 2000, as well as John Henry and Dinosaurs, though it wasn't clear if the last two are full-length features.

We went to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Ariel filled out her shells nicely, according to Lee), and then had a snack before going to see Hunchback of Notre Dame. Matt the Juggler was still there doing the pre-show, though he was having kind of a hard time with the 5 and 7 ball juggling. Most of the Hunchback cast seemed totally different - I don't think any of the principal roles were played by actors we had seen before. It was still a great production, though.

It was another VERY hot day - it got up to 94. Next year we're going to come the end of March instead...which probably means they'll have a blizzard or something. :-) The Studios is actually a pretty good park to visit on a warm day, since most of the shows/attractions are either inside or under cover, and are long enough to really give you a chance to cool off. Still, we'd decided to go back to the hotel for a few hours, then come back in the late afternoon.

After taking the boat back and making the LONG trek down the seemingly endless hallway back to our room, we both took a nap and read and relaxed and cooled, we're actually NOT being park commandos on this trip! What a concept!

I had posted to the RADP newsgroup about meeting at the Tower of Terror at 5:00, so we headed there to see if anyone else could make it. It ended up being the smallest RADP meet I've ever been to...just me and Lee. :-) But I forlornly sat on the curb waiting to see if anyone else would show up...sigh. (There, don't you all feel guilty now? :-) ) We waited until 5:15, but then went ahead and went on the ride because we had our Brown Derby seating at 6:00. So if anyone showed up late...sorry we missed you. BUT YOU WERE LATE!!!! :-) We still took a meet photo, though.

The Tower ride was great - I noticed some of the new effects this time. Or at least they were things I hadn't noticed when you go forward through the halls, you see ghostly figures of the man, woman and bellhop...and as you're dropping there's some patterns projected on the walls in front of you.

When we got to the Brown Derby it was MOBBED - everyone was trying to check in at the same time. There was a mix-up and they tried to seat us at a table that was already occupied, but they got that straightened out. We got to sit in a booth instead, which was much nicer. The wait staff and kitchen must have been just swamped trying to deal with having the entire restaurant filled over the course of about half an hour, but they did a great job - we didn't have any long delays or lack of attention. Our waiter was Carlos from Colombia. Lee had the sugarcane skewered scallop appetizer which he REALLY enjoyed, and the pan-seared spicy tuna entree. I had the sauteed grouper - it was ok, but a little dry and didn't have a lot of flavor. We split the Warm Chocolate Genoise (chocolate cake with caramel and chocolate sauce and ice cream). It was a very nice dinner, and it was good to be inside in the air conditioning again! It was still awfully warm.

We were finished with dinner by 7:20, and still had plenty of time before we needed to be at Fantasmic (the show was at 8:30 - we were supposed to show up by 8:00), so we went to the Great Movie Ride. There was almost no line, so we had a very short wait, and got the Western side - only the second time I've ever gotten to sit there. We were in the 3rd row, too - I've never been up that close, either. It was interesting to watch the driver "steer" and do some of the other things that she had to do.

We walked down past the Tower of Terror to a door just past the Espresso Cart outside the Tower's gift shop, and that's where we showed our tickets and they let us through. It was still a very long walk back to the ampitheater, which already appeared to be totally packed, except for our section. They put us in the Witch section, which is all the way over on the right hand side. We sat probably 2/3 of the way back, but the viewing was just fine. And it was awfully nice to just walk up 30 minutes before showtime instead of standing in line for over an hour. They held the seats until about 10 minutes before the show before opening them up to the general public.

The pre-show is a couple of "bellhops" from the Tower Hotel who get the crowd competing against each other and do some acrobatics, pratfalls, tell bad jokes, etc. We really couldn't see them very well from where we were, though.

The show was good, but the animation sequences are still too long, and the whole Pocahontas thing doesn't make a lot of sense. One disadvantage of sitting where we were is that the barges with the three princesses on them aren't spot lighted until they get closer to center stage, so the viewing/photo ops weren't too good. Here's a photo of the dragon.

After the show we caught the boat back to the Boardwalk, which was of course packed. The captain tried to tell us that the seats had been designed to hold 4 adults - we had three smaller than average adults and one teenager on ours - and the woman on the end didn't quite fit, so I'm not sure where they came up with that figure.

Tomorrow we're planning to go to Animal Kingdom and do the Safari and a couple other things we missed the other day, then spend the late afternoon/evening at Epcot - we still haven't had any beavertails, or seen Off Kilter or Voices of Liberty or World Showcase Players, or a bunch of other things that we enjoy.

Go to Part 1
Go to Part 2
Go to Part 4
Go to Part 5

Text and photographs copyright © 1999, by Laura Gilbreath and Lee Zimmerman. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

Laura Gilbreath,
Last updated 4/27/99

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