Sunday, December 13 - Epcot, Studios
After our late night last night, we all took our time getting up and had a nice leisurely morning, and didn't get out to go anywhere until 11:00.
Wayne's back was really bothering him, so he thought he'd stay back at OKW and rest it and watch football, and Lee decided to stay with him - that male bonding thing. They went out and got the football-watching essentials (chips, dip, and beer), and settled in.
Meanwhile, Mom, Dad, Gary, Sia and I went to Epcot. We did Horizons (which I suppose will be closing soon, assuming Test Track ever *really* opens), and then Mom, Dad and Gary tried out the smoked turkey legs. Show off your legs, guys. ;-)
From there we went up to World Showcase - though on the way we found one of the other talking fountains in Future World - those are fun.
We went to Norway and Dad, Gary and Sia rode Maelstrom (no line, which is quite unusual) while Mom and I watched Norway's "Holidays Around the World" character, Julenissen. After the others got off the ride they posed with one of the friendly trolls, and Dad went up to the bakery to get *another* sweet pretzel (that's three of them they've gotten on this trip) and he also got some lefsa for us to try - it's kind of like a flour tortilla spread with a mixture of butter, cinnamon and sugar, then rolled up. It was not bad.
We walked back down to Mexico and rode El Rio del Tiempo - we lost the narration partway through, so it wasn't nearly as annoying as it usually is. The fireworks at the end are pretty neat, though. When we went to exit the building we discovered that it had started to rain (rain was forecast for the day), but after a few minutes it stopped.
Gary and Sia were leaving in the evening, and needed to be back and packed and ready to go by 5:00, so their time was getting short, and they still wanted to see a couple of things in Future World. So they headed back there and Mom, Dad and I wandered back into World Showcase. We arrived at the American Adventure just in time to see the Voices of Liberty perform - that's always one of my favorites. At this time of year they perform Christmas/Holiday music, and we heard a couple songs I had not heard before.
Since we had already seen the American Adventure we left after the Voices of Liberty were done, and went up to Morocco where we saw the Holiday drummer, the Taarji, (and got our hands sprinkled with rosewater as we made a wish), and then took the "Treasures of Morocco" guided tour of the pavilion. It was ok, but it was a bit hard to hear the guide.
We watched a mime have some fun with the people in France (including imitating Mom's walk), and by then I needed to leave to get over to the Studios for the RADP Tower of Terror meet. I went out the International Gate and caught the boat, and Mom and Dad headed back to Future World.
It was starting to rain not too long after I arrived at the Studios, and I still had some time, so I went into a couple of the shops - and it started to POUR. It rained pretty hard for about 20 minutes, then let up some, and I hoped that people would show up for the meet. I sought shelter just outside the last shop on Sunset Boulevard, and snagged a few people as they went by - including Lee, who had brought my jacket. :-) A little before 5:00 we went down to the front of the Tower, and discovered quite a yellow poncho-clad group. :-) Though by then (fortunately) the rain had mostly let up. We discovered that RADPers are pretty die-hard when it comes to the Tower of Terror! :-)
Here's some photos of the group, featuring lots of yellow poncho people:
Kneeling, left to right: Brian Schacht, Nikki Bratton, Brian and Katie Spencer,
Debbie Wills, Lee Zimmerman, Laura Gilbreath
Second row, left to right, starting with the person in the green poncho: Pat Mancuso, Jack Marshall, Jane Hollon, Eureka Freeman, Jan Bordelon, Debbie Koma, Susan Spencer, Charlotte Johnson, Binnie Betten, Dixie Mitchell, ?, ? Shepherd
Back row, left to right: Steve Bratton, Marilyn and Josh Schacht, Jim Freeman, Gil, Bill Hamilton, John Johnson, Jeff Spencer, Don Jennings, Tyler Kumka?, Scott Kumka, Carol Kelley, Fuxi, Lisa Shepherd, Chuck Shepherd
Our elevator had 18 RADPers, plus 4 poor unfortunate souls. The CM loaded the four people, and then told us to load 18 of our group "however we wanted". :-) There wasn't even (much) pushing and shoving. :-)
We were whooping and hollering and screaming "We're all gonna die", and generally having a wonderful time, and the people with us really got into it, too. The picture came out great - though one guy violated the "no arms in the air if you aren't sitting in the last row" rule. Sigh...what do you do with some people??? :-)
Front row, left to right:
(the four on the left were the poor unfortunates who rode with us), the three on the right are ???
Center row, left to right:
Jeff and Susan Spencer, Laura Gilbreath, Lee Zimmerman, Lisa Shepherd, Lisa's son, Chuck Shepherd
Back row, left to right: Debbie Koma, Debbie Wills, Jack Marshall, Fuxi, Steve and Nikki Bratton, Scott and Tyler Kumka
The people in the other elevator looked like they had fun, too. :-)
Front row, left to right:
Unknown, unknown, unknown, Josh Schacht, and his parents Marilyn and Brian
Center row, left to right:
Charlotte and John Johnson, not our group, not our group, unknown, Jim and Eureka Freeman
Back row, left to right:
Bill Hamilton, Gil, Dixie Mitchell, Carol Kelley, Binnie Betten, Pat Mancuso, Jan Bordelon, Jane Hollon
(Carol, thanks for the photos!)
After saying goodbye to folks we went to see the Osborne Lights with the Spencer family. This year they are giving out "3-D glasses" that make you see angels when you look at bright white lights. It was a pretty neat effect. Hard to imagine how they could have even *more* lights than they did last year, but they did. We enjoyed wandering through them, and thought that Disney should donate one of their many Santa's sleigh and reindeer displays for us to use at our house. :-)
We all had dinner at the Studio Catering Company and then went back to Sunset Boulevard to get in line for the 8:00 showing of Fantasmic. We got there about 45-50 minutes early, and there was already a line. Once they started letting us in it was even more congested than it was at Magic Kingdom after Spectromagic last night, but at least we were all going the same direction! :-) But we got *great* seats - right in the middle of the Mickey section (which is right in the middle of the theater) in about the 6th row. (The theater was NOT full, though - not even close, and there were still people coming in until the show started.) While we were waiting, Katie tried her Tigger ears out on Lee - they look cuter on her. :-) Just before the show was about to start it began to drizzle a bit, but fortunately it let up.
The show was pretty good - we've seen the Disneyland version of Fantasmic several times, so it was interesting to see how they have modified and improved it. Just the idea of having it in its own venue where you can actually sit down is a GREAT improvement. :-) It didn't seem to me like they had as much use of fireworks and lasers as the Disneyland version, but they had animation that had been customized for Fantasmic, plus they had added all the newest Disney villains like Jafar and Scar and Frollo.
I thought it was a lot more intense and potentially scary than the Disneyland version, and there were some small kids around us that didn't seem to enjoy it too much. Katie and Brian really liked it, though. :-)
The barge carrying Belle and the Beast either lost its steering or had a really incompetent driver, because it bumped up against the side several time (fortunately once it had gone most of the way around), and it looked like they had to have a boat come and drag it away. Belle and the Beast never missed a step in their dance, though! :-)
We let the crowds clear out a little before leaving - but then one of the Brazilian tour groups started to sing, and that got us to leave. Getting out was pretty easy, and since things were closing, we didn't have to fight people coming the other direction.
The Spencers stayed to do some shopping, and we said goodbye after arranging to meet them at Animal Kingdom on Tuesday.
When we arrived back at OKW Mom and Dad were there - they had intended to go to the Studios and see the lights and watch Fantasmic, but thought the rain would probably have cancelled things. Oh well...they still have two more nights to try and see it!
Wayne seems to be feeling better, so we hope he'll be up to touring with us tomorrow.
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Text and photographs copyright © 1998, 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, email: lgil at lgil dot net
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