Lo and behold, early this past June, she pipes up and says, "Hey, let's go to Disney World!" Uh, what? "Yeah! We need to go see Summer Nightastic, with the Electrical Light Parade and the new fireworks show!" I looked online, saw that the Summer Nightastic events would only be through August 14th (which, coincidentally, is the last day for high summer rates--on the 15th, it goes to value rates), and after an invite to The Lovely Steph Leann's parents, Big Daddy Ron and Mama Ruthless, we orchestrated the trip around mid-July, spending a necessary night in Pensacola first (as documented here).
Leaving the Pensacola Marriott early, we managed to arrive at Walt Disney World around mid-afternoon, check into our resort (Port Orleans French Quarter), got our luggage and had agreed to be ready to head to Epcot around 5ish. It was open late, so we figured after our dinner at Rose & Crown, we could catch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, then maybe hit the Magic Kingdom later on that night, as it was open until 3am.
Slight drama on I-10 worth mentioning--Mama Ruthless, from the passenger seat, turned around and looked at me at The Lovely Steph Leann in the backseat, realizing her Annual Pass voucher, that which she'd turn in for her Annual Pass, was sitting on a table back home in Birmingham. Not good times.
THE FRENCH QUARTER
|The hotel I probably wanted to stay at the least became the hotel I think I'd|
like to stay at every time. Course, Pop Century, which I also love, is fairly
cheaper, especially since I'm paying real folk prices.
Riverside is absolutely huge, we discovered, with over 2,000 rooms in twenty buildings and four bus stops, while French Quarter contains "only" about 1,000 rooms in 7 buildings, all fairly close to the main building and bus stops. The rooms were, well, roomy, with double sinks, comfy beds and a nice showerhead. I told The Lovely Steph Leann that I want to come back to this hotel again. Love Pop Century, but I do love some double sinks.
It was also good to check tickets at the concierge desk too... not only did I have some extra day passes from working at The Happiest Place in the Mall, I had managed to procure a few from another Cast Member who needed a little cash. However, we had used a couple of them, and we didn't toss 'em because The Lovely Steph Leann wanted to keep them. I had ten in my hand, I knew at least two were not good, so I had several of them checked at the resort, putting the bad ones in the side pocket of my messenger bag, putting the good ones in another pocket (this is important, by the way, for later).
|Mama Ruthless (white shirt), The Lovely Steph Leann (blue |
shirt) and Big Daddy Ron (passed out) await Illuminations
to begin, while we chat it up with fellow Disneyphiles
Dinner at Rose & Crown was wonderful, and while The Lovely Steph Leann, Mama Ruthless and Big Daddy Ron all settled for the Sunday Roast, I elected to go with the Surf N Turf, which was grilled steak and fried fish with Yorkshire pudding, Irish potato gratin, seasonal vegetables, and Shallot gravy , with sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Yum.
We slowly ambled our way over to the front of the Seven Seas Lagoon and found a great spot to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and it was our first experience with a new species...
THE INTERNATIONALIS GROUPUS
They travel in flocks, from all over the world. They are brightly colored, in red, yellow or green, sometimes in white with colored markings. Never less than five, ten, fifteen banding together, they move in a huge blob of figures. They chant, because they know no better, never being told what is good and what is not good in our culture. They chant during shows and performances, and sometimes for no reason at all. They stand in the middle and cheer...
The huge international tour groups were all the talk around the parks, with nearly every guest we talked to saying something about them, getting caught in the middle as they swarmed by, or behind them in a Fast Pass line (I did see one Uruguayan hold up a Fast Pass line at Soarin' with a stack of, oh, about 50 tickets to get passes for, while the guest behind him were coming up with creative ways to kill themselves), or trying to avoid them in a flow of traffic. There must have been at least 20 or more groups there. Were I better person, I'm sure it would have been a prime ministry opportunity.
Talking with a Cast Member later on, I discovered that there were plenty of these groups to go around. He said that alot of times they come from other countries and not only are the kids not told our cultural norms, but the leaders aren't either, so as far as they are concerned, its perfectly wonderful to go into the Argentine Warble Dance, drowning out what ever show you are trying to follow. Don't chant for me, Argentina, indeed.
THE MAIN STREET ELECTRICAL PARADE
The plan was to dash from Epcot over to MK to see The Main Street Electrical Parade, one of the main reasons we were going, and though it was close, we made it. We managed to make nice with another family visiting from... Portland?... and we ended up watching the parade with them at MK. Big Daddy Ron had another guy his age to banter with, and The Lovely Steph Leann and I kept the others entertained by answering all sorts of pin trading questions and Walt Disney inquiries.
|This is one of the few new floats in the Electrical Light Parade. Its a great way to start off the show, as I love me|
|This was Cinderella's section of the parade, with a dancing party and all. I would hate to be those guys in the|
|One of my favorite floats, here's Dopey riding a mine train of lighted jewels|
|Not our Fastpasses, but you get the drift|