I'm back, and I brought a Trip Report with me.
Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:10 PM
Day One: My experience on the train was a slow, yet smooth one. I had no problem getting my tickets nor checking my luggage. The only problem I had was getting to Penn Station too early and having to wait... and wait... and wait... and wait some more before I could sit in the ticketed passenger's sitting area. 2 hour limit? Bah! I'd rather stand in the main concourse. But it was my fault for getting there too early. It seemed like an eternity was passing before they announced the boarding time of my train to Miami I mean Kissimmee.
The main stations I stopped at along the way were Newark, Trenton (both NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Wilmington (DE), Baltimore (MD), Washington DC, Alexandria, Richmond, Petersburg (all VA, in which the train stalled), Rocky Mount, Raleigh (both NC), Columbia (SC), but I stopped keeping track when I got tired and half-slept all the way through Georgia and woke up in Florida. I told you it was a long journey. Luckily for me, I had my laptop to keep me occupied with movies and music that I have saved to my hard drive as well as DVD movies that occupied two DVD wallets completely (unfortunately, the homemade DVDs seem to be not-functioning, thus proving them right that you can't burn a video as a DVD, no matter how hard you try).
The only issue I have is that they sometimes don't announce the stops right away. Unless you're familiar with the train route, you'd pretty much have to guess where you're going. And there's no wi-fi on the train either. I guess that's pretty much impossible when you're moving, but I figured that there'd be some open wireless signals while waiting in the station. Even the "Free Public Wi-Fi" that I pick up at some places is neither free, nor public and is hardly even wi-fi. I don't understand how something could be free and public is inaccessable. The least they could do is have some kind of internet setup where you could just plug in your computer directly into a data port where the electrical outlets are and access the Internet that way, but that would probably make the ticket prices just a little bit more expensive.
Day Two: It took me all night to go through Georgia, and I just couldn't sleep upright on the train. I kept tossing and turning trying to get comfortable in that coach seating chair that they gave me. Now I know why sometimes they let people off the train to stretch their legs and take a smoke break (not that they really need it, as cigarette smoke kills people). Not to mention that it gets boring going through Florida once we arrive at the first stop in Jacksonville, then Palatka, Deland, Winter Park, Orlando, and finally my stop in Kissimmee. One of the baggage handlers didn't seem too happy to see anybody as he just yanked the claim ticket right off the stubs, separating them from the ticket. Fortunately, that happens more often than not, and a bit of tape fixes everything. Now, on board the taxi!
According to my cab driver, Guy, the Kissimmee Amtrak Station is 14 miles away from the WDW property, going along the stretch of Highway 192. Guy was a swell driver, and he was well versed in the Central Florida attractions, like Old Town, where each night is a carnival and you only pay for the rides you go on, and a restaurant that has an all-you-can-eat Breakfast Buffet for $3.99 (which beats a $10 cheeseburger meal at Disney). I already beat the breakfast by continuing to have peanut butter on bread for breakfast, but I do expect to pay that much for a meal at the Mouse. We even joked about the Mickey placard on the front of the gates where his hand is stretched out awaiting your money.
That's the only thing I don't like about Disney is how they nickel-and-dime you for every single service they provide. You want High-speed Internet? Be prepared to pay for it, and there is no wi-fi signals anywhere in the hotel room. So guess who's updating their blog when he comes home?
I am tired. I need a nap.
Day Three: If there's one thing I've learned about Pop Century is that it's particular bus route is fair at best. For instance, I was waiting an hour for a bus to take me to Animal Kingdom, and that's when I asked another bus driver if one is coming. I was not alone either as there was a gentleman waiting for an Animal Kingdom bus for a private tour. His great-grandfather whom he knew as a boy taught him about tracking animals and how their spirits influence our behaviors. Unfortunately, I was not the animal person in my family. I went to Animal Kingdom for the sole purpose of catching Finding Nemo the Musical.
Actually, I was also there to meet Blixzit, a local resident and fellow Disney fan. It was he who spoke very highly of Finding Nemo the Musical, so I just had to check it out for myself. After battling the Yeti at Expedition Everest, I headed to the appointed meeting place to find Blixzit who was to arrive by LYNX bus. I waited until 9:30. He didn't show. 9:45. He still didn't show. At 10:00 the show had started and it was too late to find him, but Don the CM did me a favor and got me in for VIP seating. Unfortunately, it was also my personal VIP seating as Blixzit never showed up for this second show, and I really wanted to see it. So did Blixzit, I thought, as it's his favorite thing in Animal Kingdom. He even got the opportunity to meet the cast. Giving up hope in meeting him, I went in anyway. I'm kinda sorry I did though, as the show itself was nothing really special. It was "cute", but that was it. The only dramatic parts were when the performers ran through the row that separated the "mezzanine" and the "orchestra" areas of the auditorium.
After ordering a costly box of Sweet & Sour Pork, complete with sticky rice, from the Yak & Yeti counter service, I dashed out of Animal Kingdom and park-hopped over to Epcot. I managed to meet all the World Showcase Characters, do my "Japanese grocery shopping", film the World Showcase Players of England, and caught a showing of Off-Kilter in Canada (because it's not a trip to Epcot without a performance of Off-Kilter). Before the show, I had dinner, and this squirrel came up to me looking for a handout. I didn't want to have anything to do with this rodent, but he just kept on looking at me saying, "I know you have food somewhere. Gimmie." Finally, I ended my day with a ride on Soarin' and a viewing of Illuminations.
Clever observations (coincidentally about characters):
> Mulan put me on the spot when I asked her to autograph the labels of her movies. I guess i have to watch both of them on the train ride back.
> I think Aladdin & Jasmine know who I am. Like they've seen me before on a previous trip. When I told them I lived in "The Big Apple", Aladdin wanted to know if I had a piece for Abu. I may just send him an apple-shaped snowglobe in the mail just as a joke.
> I did not like Alice's voice. At all. It was like nails on a chalk board. Very shrill and very screechy. I hope she improves at the Magic Kingdom, even though I didn't ask if she was going to be there when I am.
> I did ask Snow White if she will be at the Magic Kingdom.
> Belle called me a handsome beast. I was like, "I'm a beast?" Then I remembered she threw in the adjective "handsome", just like her Beast.
> Princess Aurora is french. At least, I found her in France tucked away without a line going around her.
I can't imagine what happened to Blixzit though. I may have to actually buckle down and use the Internet cable to find out where he was today.
To Be Continued: Don't want to jam all my info in a single post.
Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:49 PM
Random historical note about the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. In Disney's version of the story, Aurora is English. Phillip was named after English royalty and Disney animators talked about how if British actress Vivian Leigh could play a Southern Belle in Gone With the Wind, then Mary Costa (from Tennessee) could play English royalty in Sleeping Beauty. I believe that WDW has Aurora in the France pavilion because Charles Perrault (a Frenchman) wrote one version of the story. Disney's version also takes from the Brothers Grimm (Germany) Little Briar Rose, and even elements from Tchaikovsky's (Russia) ballet, including the music and the name Aurora. Other elements of the story, such as Phillip battling Maleficent are original to the Disney version.
Posted 10 June 2009 - 04:40 PM
Posted 10 June 2009 - 07:11 PM
That latter element was kept in tact in the Broadway musical "Into The Woods," which would have made sense since that show didn't just deal with Disney versions of the fairy tales.
Posted 21 June 2009 - 07:27 PM
Finding Nemo - I love the show and I'm sorry that you were not impressed.
Princess Aurora - we found her too, with no line. She's tucked away and maybe nobody knows she back there.
Mad, Mad, Mad about Disney!
May 21-28, 2013