I wouldn’t say that we hit the hay early the previous evening, but it wasn’t my usual 3AM that comes with trips to “The World”. Enchanted Rose made it clear there wouldn’t be any burning the midnight oil to produce trip reports or process pictures this trip.
We had talked to Tim Devine and few of our other friends the previous evening and were told that we were to meet up at 9:30AM at the Magic Kingdom so we got up at 7AM to make sure we were not late.
I cooked up a big bowl of oatmeal (1 cup uncooked) and downed 2 scoops of whey protein and a banana. Despite being on vacation, I’m still going to try and stick to as much of my “off-season” bodybuilding diet as I can. Let’s see how long this lasts.
We hopped on the bus from Old Key West to the Magic Kingdom. We got there at 9AM and decided to try and hit a couple attractions before meeting up with Tim and his family and our other friends.
As we were walking in, we ran into the Main Street Trolley performance that happens every morning on none other than Main Street. We stopped to enjoy this a bit while I attempted to take a couple pictures. If I didn’t know any better, I could’ve sworn one of those dapper gentlemen were flirting with my wife…haha.
After we got our fill of this song and dance number, we high tailed it to Adventureland to take a spin on Pirates of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, Pirates was 101 when we walked by and decided to go to Haunted Mansion instead.
When we got to the Haunted Mansion there was no wait and we walked right onto our Doom Buggy.
While on Haunted Mansion, Tim attempted to call me. In order to avoid being rude, I didn’t answer, but I texted him back to inform him that I was on the Haunted Mansion. I’m starting to see the usefulness of texting. I have a feeling my cell phone bill is going to be outrageous this month since we don’t have texting on our cellphone plan.
After Haunted Mansion, I gave Tim a call and found out that they were getting close. I told him to call me when he got to the parking lot.
At this point we decided to head to Splash Mountain. Once we got there, we decided to have a Photo Pass photographer snap a couple of pics of Enchanted and myself in front of this very wet attraction. I had them take pictures with my camera…of course.
It was at this point, that I turned to my wife and told her I was in no mood to get wet at 9AM. It was way to humid and hot to walk around in the parks with wet underwear all day. So, we kept on walking (sorry George and Andy).
We decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain instead. I didn’t get any pictures of Big Thunder because I was going to try out my video camera instead. But, as I was warned, the sensor in the camera that is meant to detect it being dropped falsely was triggered and shut the camera down.
After getting off Big Thunder Mountain, both my wife and I were getting a bit hungry. Enchanted Rose whipped out a couple breakfast bars, while I decided to make another protein shake. Unbeknownst to me, as I was shaking up my drink, it was splattering all over my shirt, shorts and camera. I was wearing my white The Magic in Pixels shirt and a pair of khaki shorts so having a bunch of chocolate flavored protein shake all over it wouldn’t blend in too well. For some reason, me and chocolate stuff always seems to get on my clothes at Disney.
Needless to say, this upset me and I said we needed to find a bathroom. So I ducked into the restroom at Splash Mountain and tried to clean myself up the best I could. I must say, this is not the best bathroom in the park to do a “Clean up”. Everywhere in the bathroom is wet. The floor, the counters, the sinks, and even the baby changing tables. There is nowhere to put your stuff and keep it dry.
I managed to at least get my camera cleaned up a bit before rejoining my wife outside. This event should've been taken as an omen for the days events but it wasn’t.
After downing what was left of my protein shake we headed back toward Pirates to see if it was up and running.
Sure enough, Pirates was no longer 101 and we got into line. We decided to take the line the veers to the right and we weren’t standing around for long before we were on our boat and coasting through the various scenes of doomed pirates who pillage and destroy while looking for that elusive Captain Jack Sparrow.
While on Pirates, I once again got a call from Tim and once again I texted him back while on the attraction.
As soon as we were off the attraction, I called Tim and was told to wait for him near the Roy and Minnie statue on Main Street.
We immediately made our way to Main Street crossing in front of the Crystal Palace on our way. We stopped briefly in front of the Crystal Palace to get another Photo Pass photographer to take a couple quick pics with my camera.
We decided to cut through the stores to get to the flag pole so we ducked into first shop near Casey’s Hot Dog Stand. It was in there that we saw some ducks wandering inside the store. I guess they were looking for Donald.
While waiting in front of the flag pole we heard some commotion over at the Emporium. We decided to check it out and found that The Dream Squad just awarded a family a 30 minute shopping spree. We were so close but so far away.
At this point, my phone rings and Tim is asking where we were. I told him and apparently they were in front of the train station. It was so crowded at this point, that it was impossible to find him, but fortunately for me, he was wearing a bright orange Donald T-shirt and much like myself a wonderfully floppy full-brim hat.
In addition to getting to see my friend Tim again, I was able to see his wife, Karen, and son, Billy. It had been almost exactly 1 year to the day that I last say Billy and Karen. Billy definitely had grown up a lot in 12 months. In addition to Tim and his family we also go to meet up with our mutual friend Skippy. We also had the great privilege of finally meeting Skippy’s girlfriend, “M”.
As is tradition with the Devine Family, we immediately headed to Tomorrowland to take a spin on the TTA (Tomorrowland Transit Authority). Some still call it the WEDWay People Mover, but we just call it “Woo”. That is Billy’s name for it. Apparently, to help him not get scared when he was younger, everyone would go “Woo” during the parts where the car would veer one way or another to make the ride seem more fun to such a small child.
After disembarking off of the TTA, we another one of Billy’s favorite attractions, Buzz Lightyear. Once again, Tim scored a perfect 999,999. I have no idea how he does it so consistently.
On our way out of the attraction, Billy needed to say hello to Zurg and then it was out into Tomorrowland we went. Billy spotted Stitch and we went over there to get his picture taken with the much maligned character of Tomorrowland.
At this point, Enchanted Rose was pretty hungry and fortunately so were a few other people. So, it was decided that Cosmic Ray’s was where we were stopping next.
To say that Cosmic Ray’s was crowded would be an understatement. It was decided that the ladies would hold down the tables we found while the rest of us went and got the food. Since I had two hamburgers the day before, I wasn’t to eager to get another one. So my wife and I got a couple grilled chicken sandwiches. I must say that I enjoyed these much more than the slightly overcooked (aka well-done) burgers you get at the QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants). I noticed that Skippy and “M” were sporting a couple wraps and went and asked where they had gotten them. Apparently, in addition to Burger and Chicken section, there is a Wraps section of the restaurant. I was embarrassed to not know that considering we eat at Cosmic Ray's a few times each trip.
At this point, I have realized that any hopes of sticking to my bodybuilding diet is going to be near impossible. So, I decided to eat smart but eat well.
After finishing up at Cosmic Ray’s someone suggested we should check and see if our room was ready at Old Key West. Fortunately, Tim is always prepared and had the phone number for Old Key West in his iPhone and quickly called and found out that our room is ready.
So, it was decided that we’ll take the room key for Enchanted Rose’s Mom’s room and head back to the resort so that we could move our stuff from one room to the next.
It was decided that my wife would go with Tim and his family in their rental car while I would go in Skippy’s car with him and “M”.
As luck would have it, the sky opened up on our way back to our vehicles. By the time we got to our car and got to Old Key West, Tim and crew made it to Old Key West and got us checked in. Apparently, there was some difficulties since the person at the DVC told us to not pool our points, but to do back-to-back reservations and they’d be linked in their system.
As soon as Tim got the room unlocked, Karen put Billy down for a nap. That meant that we had to be very, very quiet as we moved stuff from Tim’s car and from the other room we were staying in.
It didn’t take long to get all the stuff in the room and “M” managed to have all the groceries put away as the last bag was getting hauled in.
I should probably mention that today is Enchanted Rose’s birthday. As is tradition, we do a character meal when we are in the parks during one of our birthdays. It was decided that we’d do a dinner character meal this time and give Liberty Tree Tavern a go.
We didn’t get much time to rest before we realized that it was getting close to our ADR time of 4:15PM for Liberty Tree. Tim attempted to call Disney Dining to see if we could get the ADR bumped a few minutes since we had a strong chance of getting their late. That proved fruitless since it was in the high season.
Next, Enchanted Rose called her mom and told her that we were running a bit late and asked if she’d let them know at the restaurant that we were on our way.
As luck would have it, the bus to the Magic Kingdom took at least 30 minutes to show up then once we got there we had to go through the “bag check” which is always a fun exercise of unzipping many pockets of my camera bag.
We made it to Liberty Tree Tavern at 4:25PM and found out that our reservation was actually for 4:30PM all along. We also found out that they wouldn’t seat a party unless everyone was there. So, Enchanted Rose’s mom and her husband were sitting patiently in the foyer.
While Enchanted Rose was distracted talking to her mom, I spoke to the people at the podium about getting a cake brought to the table for my wife’s birthday.
The Liberty Tree Tavern was unable to sit our entire part of 9 at one table. So, we were at 2 separate tables on opposite sides of the room from each other. We were close enough to be able to talk to each other though.
We got our fill of the food, took some pictures with the characters and had a few laughs. Then at the end of the meal, they brought the cake which was a nice surprise for my wife.
After the meal, we decided to pop on over to It’s a Small World for Billy. After getting off that ride, it was on over to Dumbo. None of us were really in the mood to be spun around after such a filling meal, but Billy really likes this attraction. So Skippy and “M” decided to hop on with him.
Tim took this opportunity to whip out the new large zoom lens he purchased before the trip to see how well it worked. I should probably point out that at this point, it was slightly drizzling out and was making things a bit humid.
After Dumbo we took a spin around the Seven Acre Woods with Winnie the Pooh and after that, it was a trip on Peter Pan. We’ve pretty much gotten Billy’s circuit taken care of at this point.
Billy was needing to go back to the room so we decided to split up and join back in time for Wishes! Tim and his family along with Skippy and “M” were going back to the room. Nancy’s mom and her husband split off awhile back and we were going to attempt to locate a shirt and tie for me since I forgot mine at home.
The first place we looked was along the shops lining Main Street U.S.A. and quickly discovered that was a bust. So, it was decided that we’ll go to Downtown Disney. We still had some time but I was really worried if we’d make it back in time for Wishes!
This is when I made my first big mistake of the evening. I told my wife that she should go back to the Magic Kingdom and watch Wishes! while I go look for a shirt and tie. Since it was my mistake she shouldn’t miss Wishes! on her birthday.
Even though that sounded like a great idea in my head it was not well received and it got me in hot water for suggesting that she watch Wishes! alone on her birthday.
We quickly found out that you cannot get to Downtown Disney from the Magic Kingdom bus station. So, we decided to hop the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Well, as luck would have it, you cannot grab a bus to Downtown Disney from their either. At this point, our only option to get to Downtown Disney was to hop a ride to a resort and then bus from the resort to Downtown Disney.
With all this complaining about there not being enough shopping, Disney sure makes it cumbersome for you to get to Downtown Disney.
Since we needed to go to a resort in order to get to Downtown Disney, I suggested we hop the monorail to the Grand Floridian. That resort is so fancy and I remember they had a couple high-end stores catering to women, so they MUST have a store selling dress shirts and ties. If they didn’t we could go out and catch a bus to Downtown Disney.
As luck would have it, there is indeed a small store selling men’s fancier attire on the second floor of the Grand Floridian. So, we were able to pick out a shirt, tie and socks (she wasn’t going to let me wear my white socks). I can tell you one thing, if you need to purchase such clothing on property be prepared for the sticker shock. I cannot wait until the final nail is put in the coffin of neckties. That sucker was heinously expensive.
Now that this expedition was over we had plenty of time to get to the Magic Kingdom for Wishes!
On the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom, I called Tim to find out where was the best place to stand to take pictures and if I was to expect him back.
As it turns out, when they got back to the room, the room key was not working. So this entire time they have been waiting outside the room waiting for someone from maintenance to come with new keys. I told Tim to just go to the front desk and be done with it, but he was worried that as soon as he left, the guy would show up. Plus, they had Billy with them and needed to keep him comfortable.
Well, I was told to stake out some space near the flagpole on Main Street to get a good shot of the fireworks.
A cast member approached us and Enchanted Rose just flat out asked her how we got into that roped off area and we were told to just duck under the rope. I thought that was a rather funny response, but, oh well, we did it anyway.
We decided to stand next to the Minnie and Roy statue and that is where I put up my tripod. While we were waiting, Enchanted Rose decided to run to the Main Street Confectionary to pick up some sweets.
I called Tim again and found out that they were STILL waiting for the guy to show up. I once again insisted that he go to the front desk and personally deal with someone. I was told that at this point, he will not be joining me for Wishes!
Standing near us was a fellow from New York (I think) who had a Nikon D60 and started asking me a bunch of questions about taking pictures of the fireworks. Fortunately for him, he had the 18-200mm zoom with Vibration Reduction because he was not armed with a tripod. Since staying perfectly still while shooting in low light is highly important, he was going to need as much help as he could get.
SpectroMagic started and I spent most of the time trying to get my settings right for the fireworks. I didn’t get many pictures of the parade. I must admit I wasn’t close to the street and when the tripod is fully extended it places the camera about a foot above my head so I can not even look through the view finder and barely can make out the images on the LCD screen.
Once the fireworks started, I really started to get myself into hot water. There were some kids standing near my tripod and they kept kicking the legs out from under my tripod and that was frustrating me. After my dropping my camera off my tripod last year because I didn’t have it properly affixed, I have been paranoid about it happening again.
On top of that, I couldn’t get my shots lined up properly and my wireless remote for the shutter wasn’t firing properly. So, I kept mumbling and grumbling and griping. To top it off, my wife gave me the evil eye and I shot back, “I can get frustrated if I want to”. And that as they say is all she wrote. The door slammed on the doghouse and I was there for the night.
It was on the bus back to the room that I found out what I had done wrong. Well, after 6 years of marriage, I guess I was way overdue to do something stupid on her birthday. I just wish I hadn’t done it on her birthday.
When we got back to the room, Tim was still awake and surfing the Internet.
We found out that Tim and his family had been stuck outside for almost 2 hours. They finally drove up to the Guest Relations building and spoke to someone to try and get the problem resolved. The person at the desk never looked up nor acknowledged their existence. He communicated with them, but never looked at them. The problem eventually got resolved but needless to say they were very upset after waiting that long to get back into the room. We never found out why we were locked out.
As my wife and I do when things go wrong between the two of us, we talked it out before going to sleep and everything was good between us before the lids slammed shut. That is definitely one thing I can say about our relationship, we have excellent communication and don’t let things fester before we talk about them.
To see the entire collection of pictures taken on Day 01, click the link below: