DAY FIVE: Animal Kingdom & Disney Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekend!
We met in the lobby at 8:15. Well, actually, Jeff and Nicole checked out and went to McDonald’s about 8. Connie and I planned to meet them at the park but we ended up next to one another driving into the park and parked next to one another in the parking lot.
Wes Palm was out and Connie and I played our favorite game, which is guess where the guy is with the microphone. He was very well hidden and we never did find him. We got through the turnstiles and it was incredibly crowded. We walked slowly to the Safaris in the midst of a double and triple stroller convention and got on with about a 15 minute wait. Our driver, Cathy, was the best I’ve ever had. She was friendly, knowledgeable, and well-spoke. She stayed on script enough to keep Disney happy but also altered her wording just enough that it fresh and enjoyable to hear. She was amazing.
Not a whole lot of animals were out but it was already in the high 80s at 9:30 am and most of them were hiding in the shade. We did get to see the lioness jump from one rock to another, which was a rare treat. We walked from the Safari over to Everest and I sat out while they rode it. Their wait time was posted at 20 minutes and like clockwork 20 minutes later, Connie called looking for me.
I was waiting on a bench right between the Theater in the Wild and Dinoland USA, where I sat my lanyard down because it was so hot I was tired of wearing it. We walked to Dinosaur and I realized we got in line that I forgot the lanyard there. I rushed back but it was already gone. Neither of the three cast members in the area had been given it, so I’m sure it’s gone forever. It had my room key and my annual pass on it; no major loss but it was still a hassle to stop at Guest Relations and the front desk of the hotel for new stuff.
Nicole was hunched down during the Dinosaur picture so I imagine it was a bit scary for her. I know the first time I road it, I was terrified. My heart pounded and I sweat badly. And I loved it. I hope she had the same experience.
Next we went to see “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.” I LOVE watching this with people who’ve never seen it before and Jeff had a smile on his face from ear to ear when it was over so I hope he liked it. We grabbed a bite to eat from the Flame Tree BBQ. I really miss the smoked chicken sandwich but it’s been gone for a long time now and the torch I’ve been carrying for it went out with the corn on the cob that also used to be on the menu. The beef was very fatty and I was disappointed in the meal. I do enjoy the baked beans, though. The worst part about eating here is the ducks and the seagulls that have no fear of people and are becoming more aggressive. I have an irrational and unhealthy fear of birds as it is (well, any wild creature that shows no fear, I guess) and I was very anxious during the meal as the ducks kept walking under our table and even nudged Nicole at one point. I wish Disney could do something about the bird infestation but I guess they got in some trouble for that over at the original Discovery Island already, eh? J
After lunch, we started towards Festival of the Lion King but Connie and Nicole hatched a better plan. Nicole and Jeff would go on home before work tomorrow and Nicole will return to Star Wars Weekends on Friday after work next week. Connie and I would head out, too, and I would drop her off at DHS before retiring to the hotel for a nice nap. We stopped at Guest Relations first; Jeff lost his sunglasses on Dinosaur (he left them in the cargo pouch) and the cast member brought out several pair but none of them were his. A cast member went looking for my lanyard, as well, but no luck as I expected. He issued me a new pass and I was good to go.
There was a woman in line along side of us who was being very aggressive towards the cast member. From what we gathered from eavesdropping, her son had gone into anaphylactic shock and she was demanding free passes as a result. She was leaning over the counter in the cast member’s face and I was very proud to watch as Samantha held her ground, remained professional, but was also assertive in explaining what she was allowed to do for the woman and her party. Our thoughts were pretty simple; if Disney was to blame for your son being sick then why would you want to stay even longer? Alas, people never fail to amaze us even working with them all day long.
We took the tram back to our cars and said our goodbyes. Connie and I drove to the studios and the nice parking people showed us where to go to drop her off. I went back to the hotel for a nice nap and met up with Connie about 5PM by the new Cars meet and greet.
While we were waiting to meet up with the folks of MouseFan Travel who organized the special SWW dinner buffet, Connie told me that she talked her
way into meeting Daniel Logan without a fastpass. She chatted with the cast member handling the line and he let Connie go first out of the standbys. Connie told Daniel that she had seen him recently at the Cincinnati Pops performance where he read passages from Star Wars and he told her he was very nervous doing that. Connie was very impressed by his personality and warmth and was very glad she was able to meet him.
We checked in with the folks for the dinner and walked backstage to the Prop Shop, which was our private dining room. Some stormtroopers came in and hassled us for a few minutes and then we got to eat. The food was wonderful; the chicken was scrumptious and the beef was cooked perfectly. They had some very good tomato demi that I liked with the beef and the mashed potatoes were also very good.
We were seated with a nice family and a single woman, who had been in line every morning this weekend since 3 and 4 am so she could get autographs with the stars. She had lots of pins and a whole book of autographed photos with her. Connie and I ended up leaving before the trivia game started as we were a little bored and had hoped for a little more excitement. However, the food was delicious and we were glad we did this exclusive event.
We rushed over to catch most of the Star Wars Hoopla show and then decided that since tomorrow is our Four Park Challenge Day that we should call it a night early.
TOMORROW: FOUR PARK CHALLENGE!