Walt Disney World
I was just lazing around in the room with my coffee when Todd called, at around 8:40 am. He accused me of being a commando! Well, how could I possibly be a commando, when it is 8:40 am and I am not out of my pajamas yet? Harumph! Anyhow, we made arrangements to meet in France at 5:30 PM for our big culinary adventure at the Bistro.
It was feeling like an Animal Kingdom day to me. I ate breakfast and all that, and packed a banana for later. I’m trying to like bananas, really I am. I normally do not like bananas unless they are soaked in ice cream and chocolate syrup… I think I was stalling some in the room, in case the package from Fed-X showed up, but finally I made for the bus stop.
Owning a digital camera has changed my touring experience. I become a hunter, and the pursuit is often much more satisfying than actually owning the prize. I’m tending more and more on each trip to pay closer attention to the theming and scenery than to the rides.
My quest as the hunter on this day brought me languorously through the Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie Mickey, The Maharaja Jungle Trek, and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. In Camp Minnie Mickey, I captured the “beastly” shaped rock formations that were the subject of some discussion last week on the internet. Out back of Tusker House in Africa, I found the “bridge to nowhere”, which was also discussed. There was some speculation that there still might be another land added to Animal Kingdom in the future, called “The Beastly Kingdom” – after all, they’ve kept the dragon in the AK logo!
Everywhere I went, I photographed the flowers. I think that in the quest for thrills and entertainment, people forget to stop and drink in the awesome beauty that is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney has created something truly remarkable, almost sacred, with this park.
In general, everywhere on property where there are either gardenias or Arabian jasmine blooming, I have to stop for a good, long, satisfying sniff session!
I sat out back of Tusker House for a while, near the “Pwani View Guest House Nyumba y a Wageni” and listened to the sounds of pots and pans rattling in the “kitchen”. Birds were singing, and it was very shady and peaceful back there.
Eventually, it was time to head back to the resort for a shower and change of clothing. I didn’t want to be late for my meet with Todd and Alan! However, leaving the resort, I became embroiled in a Disney Transport Drama. The CM driving the bus took 15 minutes to unload an ECV – the rider was very embarrassed by the whole thing, and I am not really clear on what the problem was. Because the bus had been waiting so long, quite a crowd got on when she finally opened the doors, and it was obvious that no more people would fit on this bus. But she still had to do the blasted Riverside loop, just to annoy the people waiting there with her motioning and waving that she had no more room, as she passed them by without stopping. Grrrrrr!
The upshot is that it took over an hour from the time I arrived at the POFQ bus stop, until the time the bus dropped me off at Bus Stop No. 8 at Epcot – and I still had to speed-walk it all the way up to France! Why did I bother to take a shower? I finally met up with Da Boyz about 20 minutes late. As it turned out, it was ok, because Alan was mistaken about the time for our Priority Seating – it was for 6:30 PM, not 6, as he had stated in the morning when I spoke to Todd. So we had a bit of time to visit before the Bistro ushered us up the stairs to our table, during which we all signed a birthday card for our friend Mary. Da Boyz also gifted me with a special pin that had just been released that morning – “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” – and a beautiful picture frame, too!
The food at the Bistro was divine! The chef seemed to have an obsession with frying things that are a bit unusual to be fried – a slice of lemon, a shaving of carrot, and other unidentifiable bits and pieces. It was all delicious, though. The bread was yummy, but I refrained from asking for another piece, for fear that I would not have room for my entrée. For starters, Alan had the consume, which arrived in a pastry-covered bowl. Todd’s starter was scallops served in real scallop shells that were also covered in pastry – they kidded me about slipping them into my bag and adding them to my collection. I had the crab claw salad on a bed of fresh greens, with the cutest little baby crab claws you ever saw. I think that was the dish that had the fried lemon slice on it. I forget what Da Boyz had for entrees, but I had the scallops, which were heavenly. We also consumed a bottle of pinot gris with our meal. No one wanted dessert.
The whole night, I picked their brains about living in southwest Florida. They live on the Gulf coast, in a town right over the bridge from my favorite place on earth, Sanibel Island. It would be awesome to live there the whole year round, instead of just visiting once a year.
After dinner was over, we did the country walk. I pit stopped in America to get an iced coffee concoction, and they pit stopped nearby for some beer. We proceeded to the smoking section just past Mexico at the foot of World Showcase, across the lagoon from Odyssey. We stood on the wall to watch Illuminations. I’d never seen it from anywhere but World Showcase before – the Earth video comes really close when you watch from here! Alan had correctly predicted the direction in which the smoke from the fireworks would drift, and we didn’t get hit with it until we were exiting the park, and then only just a bit.
We stopped on the way out so I could get the Flower & Garden Festival Pass Holder pin, and then cruised over to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, which is just down the river a piece from the French Quarter. I got the grand tour of the villa, and we hung out a while, drinking wine (Alan always with his beer!), talking about management motivation techniques! I think this is going to be the subject of my independent study at school this summer.
Suddenly, we heard rain POUNDING outside on their balcony. We finished the bottle of Santa Margherita, the rain stopped, and Todd drove me back to the Quarter.
I had picked up my Fed X package from the desk earlier, and swapped out both batteries, leaving the Li-Ion to charge while I was out for the night. Now, things were fine, except if I dared to move the machine while it was running, it would go “beep-beep” and shut down! It seemed to be somehow connected to the position of the monitor, but then again, not really. I could not imagine what was wrong with it. Also, I did not have a screwdriver, but if this ever happens to you during a trip, please know that the edge of a hair barrette makes a fine substitute during such times of dire need!
Finally, it was 2:00 am and the laptop was working – hooray! However, for the remainder of the trip, I refused to move it. I was afraid to upset the delicate balance of the universe, or something. I left it in the exact same position on the table in the room the whole time, with a huge note on it to Mousekeeping that said, “PLEASE! DO NOT MOVE OR TOUCH THIS COMPUTER! THANK YOU!” I figured, I had a very recent full backup at home, backup of this trip’s pictures in the safe, and the worst that could happen is that someone with a key would steal it and Disney would owe me a new laptop. Since I am typing on the very same laptop this minute, I guess we all know how that story turned out!
Back to Spring Break 2005