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  1. #1

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    Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    I’m sitting in dreary England wishing to be in sunny Orlando, and taking my cue from longislandguy (as I am a Long Island girl), I shall set about writing a much delayed trip report for my July 2009 trip to the World.

    Dramatis Personae:
    Myself (Nicole)
    Heather
    Olivia
    And in minor roles, my twin sister, Michelle, her friends, Izzy and Valerie, Ben Franklin, and my parents.

    Day One

    We flew in from MacArthur to Orlando on the Fourth of July and used Magical Express to get to Saratoga Springs where we were checking in for our stay in the awesome Treehouses! We were totally psyched because we don’t generally get our first choice DVC and we called at the crack of dawn when the booking window opened, and we got it! This is the twenty-something trip for my family, but the most of the others had never been.


    (Izzy, Heather, Michelle, Valerie)

    As I went to check in with my parents, the kiddies took over the little television area to watch some Disney cartoons. They golf carted us over to the treehouses, which I, uh, didn’t take any pictures of but Heather did:





    This is what you get when you have six seventeen and eighteen year-olds in a hotel room: hair straighteners on the kitchen counter. You can see in the background a banner as we were celebrating our high school graduation, my sister and I’s birthday as well as my parents twentieth wedding anniversary.

    The treehouses were just awesome. The master bathroom is so awesome that it’s worth noting. I showered every time there. It’s sooooo cool.

    It was about mid-afternoon and we were off, as I was insistent that we go to the American Adventure on Independence Day. And we are huge Voices of Liberty fans; so the special concert was a must-do.

    We hopped on the bus from the treehouses, then on to Saratoga, where we didn’t wait long for an Epcot bus. We got through security and then sat for a bit while my mother went to deal with annual pass renewals.


    (Valerie, Michelle, Izzy)

    We noticed some strange activity a few feet away, what looked like a bowling bag was in a bush. There were a few security guards blocking anyone from getting too near it. Along come the police with a bomb sniffing dog! Rather exciting start to the day.



    ‘First Visit’ and ‘Celebrating’ pins in place, I took the obligatory first shot in front of Spaceship Earth, then we were off and running, not taking in much of anything for fear that we’d miss the final concert of the day. But we got there in time to take a photo with a certain favourite founding father of mine.


    (Me and ol’ Benny, wearing my tri-corn hat in honour of the day)

    Then the event we’d been waiting for:



    The three of us are all choir students and as such were slightly disappointed that they used piped in music for the concert whereas the Voices usually sing a cappella. But we didn't mind much, they put on a lovely show. Then some Spirit of America, a viewing of the American Adventure, then heading off around the rest of the lagoon, stopping to meet Mulan and Belle and Mexican Donald on our way out to the monorail to make our way to the Magic Kingdom to see some Fantasy in the Sky.



    At the station I asked for us to be seated in the front of the monorail as I thought it would make a lovely first monorail ride for my friends. We were pointed to a gate where there was already a couple waiting, but when the monorail pulled up, there was some dispute as the couple had not asked first, and we were allowed on first.

    Our driver, Austin, was soft-spoken, but enthusiastic, and we mooned over him a bit, as teenage girls will do. He told us about how he used to work Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, but he much preferred driving the monorail. (More about this later)



    We took the boat from the TTC and then it was time for those awe-inspiring fireworks; and the awe-inspiring Fantasyland crowds. Somehow we got it into our heads that we'd be able to walk around half an hour before the fireworks were scheduled to begin. Let it be known that you cannot. I have never seen such a mob mentality than when I was stuck in the worst Disney crowd I've ever been in between Dumbo and Ariel's Grotto. People were screaming, ramming eachother with strollers, yelling at people in wheelchairs. The three of us literally could not move for minutes at a time. Finally the fireworks begin to go off and everyone just settled down where they were, we found a place where we could breath and:



    We wandered a bit after park closing, took advantage of a fairly empty Toontown and Pooh's Playful Spot for some photo-taking, and then it was back to our tree abode for the night.



    I took more than a thousand pictures, so much more is forthcoming.
    someday, when we are wiser,
    when the world's older,
    when we have learned


    http://nicoleloveswalt.tumblr.com/

    "It's kind of fun to do the i m p o s s i b l e ."
    - Walt Disney

  2. #2

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    It's so easy to take so many pics in Disneyworld. When we were there in Sept. I took about a 1,000 pictures. There is so much to see. Now I have to start scrapbooking it.

  3. #3

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    Smile Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by nicoleloveswalt View Post
    I’m sitting in dreary England wishing to be in sunny Orlando, and taking my cue from longislandguy (as I am a Long Island girl), I shall set about writing a much delayed trip report for my July 2009 trip to the World.
    Haha Awesome! glad i inspired you to post your pictures.

  4. #4

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Love the hat! Great report, I look forward to reading you next post.

  5. #5

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Wow, i didn't know you could meet "Ben" at the World Showcase! What kind of conversation did you have with him?

  6. #6

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    As far as I know, you can only meet him on Independence Day. But he was really into character and hilarious. He commented on my hat ('oh, I see you've joined our fine colonial militia') and on the approaching thunder ('I do believe those minutemen are practicing entirely too close') I was ridiculously excited, I wonder has anyone encountered any other illustrious men on Independence Day?

    Thanks for the comments everyone, part two is coming shortly =]
    someday, when we are wiser,
    when the world's older,
    when we have learned


    http://nicoleloveswalt.tumblr.com/

    "It's kind of fun to do the i m p o s s i b l e ."
    - Walt Disney

  7. #7

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Day Two

    Our first full day at the World was set aside for Magic Kingdom. We arrived just as the park opened and set off straight down Main Street, stopping for the obligatory castle shot, and then hoping to walk through the Castle for the first time and onward to Fantasyland. Fail in that respect. The ramps were blocked for Dream Along With Mickey so we went 'round the Wishing Well side pausing to meet



    My dad texted me while we were waiting in line: 'the news said there's a monorail crash, you guys are alright, right?' I thought little of it. I thought 'oh, just a minor fender bender'

    We made our way into Fantasyland, doing Dumbo and Snow White and the Carousel (which all three of us love) then we again tried to walk through the Castle. Alas, blocked again. So we cut through to Main Street, stopping to watch the trolley performance, and on to Adventureland. And did some of Frontierland than time for a parade! With the same lovely step-family, who came to our side, they remembered us. (They kept calling me London, as we had told them where I was going in the fall.) My friends both loved them, although Olivia loved meeting the characters, Heather felt it was a bit silly. Quite a struggle to keep them both happy. =P



    They we hopped aboard the Roy O. Disney and made our way over to Tomorrowland for some alien-blasting fun. Buzz Lightyear is quite the crowd pleaser.

    We stopped for one of these:



    When Olivia informed us that you look thinner with your hand on your hip. This became a recurring theme.

    Then onto the Tomorrowland Speedway, where, despite our newly-won real licenses, we still had a blast. Speaking of blasting...



    The Astro-Orbitor is also the perfect spot to get a very different Castle shot. You know, if you're really good at holding still and not getting blurry pictures. But it'll work perfectly in the daytime.



    Then we backtracked a bit to the teacups. And after three tries, with my eyes closed, mind you, I was able to capture this:



    We picked a spot in Frontierland to enjoy Spectromagic from and then went to Main Street for Wishes (Don't let anyone tell you differently, it is the *only* place to watch the fireworks) My dad texted me around this time, 'Someone died in the monorail crash.' I brushed it off, what were the chances.



    Than we jetted back to Tomorrowland. I love to lean on the slanted railing to get a steady picture of the lights changing on the Castle.



    Then off for some more Buzz Lightyear. Let me tell you, I am usually pretty terrible at Buzz. I'm the person who never gets higher than Ranger 1st Class. But something clicked this time around anddddd



    And I could definitely never, ever repeat that.

    In the shop afterwards we, uh, sorted the nametags. Originally I had been looking for a Galactic Hero one because I was so unbelievably pleased with myself. There weren't any. But we fixed up the rack. And we did the same thing twice more throughout our week.



    Then we were done for the evening, we strolled up Main Street, stopping first to take some photos in Exposition Hall.

    By this time I was texting back and forth with my dad

    'Oh, that's terrible.'
    'Yeah, it was a young guy, a college student'

    By the time I got this one, the three of us were terrified.
    I sent it, almost not wanting to know, 'What was his name?'




    'Austin'

    The three of us were grateful for the dark bus ride home that night. We cried the whole way. I couldn't stop thinking about how, as we walked down the ramp away from the monorail we had caught his attention 'Austin!' and then Olivia added, 'We love you!' we had giggled and turned red about it at the time.

    We went straight to bed, feeling terrible and heartbroken. I can honestly say it was the first time in my life that I truly noticed how much a part coincidence plays in life. We were so close to not meeting him. And then a few hours after we did, he was dead. God bless him.

    I'm sure some of you have had something terrible happen while at Disney. And it seems almost wrong to continue having fun, but we were there, and tried our best to.

    More to come...
    someday, when we are wiser,
    when the world's older,
    when we have learned


    http://nicoleloveswalt.tumblr.com/

    "It's kind of fun to do the i m p o s s i b l e ."
    - Walt Disney

  8. #8

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Austin stories always, every time, make me sad.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  9. #9

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    We were also in WDW over the 4th of July, this time deciding if we should move there. We wound up moving to Orlando, but I have a monorail story too.

    We rode in the cockpit of Monorail Pink from the TTC to MK. The driver's name was Al. This was 2 days before the accident. I'm pretty sure Al was the one who was driving when Pink hit Purple. From what I've read, he is really screwed up over it. He was the nicest man too. I hope everything is ok.

  10. #10

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Even with the tragedy you encountered, I'm still enjoying reading your trip report.

    I hope you find time to continue it.

  11. #11

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    Re: Monorails and American Idols :: July 2009

    Day Three

    Day Three belonged to Animal Kingdom, and honestly we sleepwalked through it. I took less than a hundred pictures, because we were all in a daze. We aren't smiling in any of the photos from that day.

    The day was cooler and we tried to enjoy ourselves. The animals were out in full force:



    Unfortunately, we were not.

    We turned in early, went back to our Treehouse and went straight to bed. We didn't talk much, it was just easier not to.


    Day Four

    Off to Epcot for the first full day there. Again, we didn't feel much like anything, but we forged onwards. We were there at opening (I was very surprised at how good my friends were with getting up early, most mornings, they were up before me). First ride of the day was Soarin'. I hate to say it, but my friends were not impressed for whatever reason. They enjoyed even Living with the Land more. I'm a big Soarin' fan and have been since first riding it at DCA, but the ride does need a refurb, maybe they don't need to replace the film, but the film has really gotten grainy and dirty in the last few years and it really needs to be cleaned up. Perhaps that'll better impress my friends.

    Then we were off to Test Track for only my second ride ever on it (I've only recently been getting on the rougher rides) Again, this day is a blur, we didn't talk much, and were generally very irritable. We got in a bit of a fight in the afternoon as we were all feeling very lost. But we stayed into the evening to watch Illuminations, which seemed to cheer us a bit and we were buoyed into making our leisurely way out of the park, taking photographs around World Showcase.





    The resident marching band geeks go at it with the deserted drums


    Morocco is my favorite World Showcase pavilion, especially at night when it's empty, love wandering the little alleys and shops.


    And there's just something about France...


    Will we be able to get out of this terrible funk and enjoy our vacation? Or has this put a heavy damper on our celebration vacation? Come back next time to find out!
    someday, when we are wiser,
    when the world's older,
    when we have learned


    http://nicoleloveswalt.tumblr.com/

    "It's kind of fun to do the i m p o s s i b l e ."
    - Walt Disney

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