Tuesday, September 30, 2008
We headed out of the parks last night but we can't leave until we do our shopping in Downtown Disney. We visited our favorite stores, picked some mementos and gifts. One of the cooler things was running into some 501st members from the Dutch Outpost from the Netherlands in the World of Disney. It was hard to miss the neon orange Imperial Cog.
By 2:30. we were ready to hit the road for a long 8 hour drive.
See ya'll next year!!
Day 7 is a sad day. It is check-out day. We are checked-out and have the luggage loaded in the car before noon. Today was also Halloween pod shirt day since we were going to MNSSHP tonight.
We started today at Epcot. It was the first day of the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot and it was packed. Our first mission was to get a fast pass for Soarin'. Accomplished.
Next, back to Spaceship Earth for a final ride. Then over to Nemo & Friends and Journey to the Imagination. That pretty much finished up Future World. Liz wanted to pick up something in England and boy was I glad. We found Darrell a great Welsh t-shirt. Our next stop was Mexico, then on to China and Norway. We were going to ride the Maelstrom but it was shut-down. We grabbed fast-passes in hopes it would be open later. We wanted to make it to America before 5pm because Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy was giving a concert - BONUS! When we got to the amphitheater, Darrell and I decided to grab some seats in the shade since it was filling up fast. The show was great. As soon as I get some of Darrell's pictures, I'll post them.
After Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, we went straight to Tokyo Dining for dinner. It was our first time at this restaurant and it was fabulous.
After dinner, it was time for our last visit to the Magic Kingdom. We were attending our 2nd MNSSHP party. Tonight was all about soaking up the Halloween atmosphere.
As before, we arrived just as the parade was starting. We couldn't believe how few people were there - we walked right up to the rope. I got some great video of the Grave Diggers. After the parade, of course, we headed to the Haunted Mansion.
We headed over toward Adventureland to watch Hallowishes - the fireworks. The soundtrack is infectious. I love it! It was a windy night and the fireworks were spectacular but the smoke patterns left behind were equally as interesting. Since we were close, we run over to Pirates of the Caribbean for our finally ride of the visit. Darrell and I looped back for another ride on the Mansion. Are you noticing a pattern here?
On our way to the front of the park to make my special Halloween pin purchase, we stopped to watch the second parade. I grabbed my special edition Halloween pin and we decided to get an ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street. It was a nice break. It was getting close to midnight, so we all reconvened at The Haunted mansion for our final midnight ride.
As the park closed, we made our way to the front and reluctantly took our bus back to the Pop to our car.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today was Hollywood Studios Day. Top priority was to get fast passes to the new ride, Toy Story Mania. They have redone that side of the park and it is all about Pixar. It was full of great photo-op's.
Next it was off to the Back lot Tour. What I really wanted to see was the props at the end of the tour. They have Davy Jones Organ and other original POTC props.
We stopped by the Muppet Theatre and took the time to walk around the entire queue line (something I had not done before) and found all kinds of wacky stuff.
The boys headed on to Star Tours while Liz and I grabbed a table near the Jedi Academy Stage. For the past two years, we have timed it perfectly to watch the entire Jedi Academy show. They choose 10-15 children from the audience, give each of them a robe and a Hasbro Light saber and place onto a pre-determined 'spot' on the stage. The new apprentices are shown some basic moves with their Light sabers. All was going well until a couple of Stormtroopers showed up and you know where there are Stormtroopers there is Darth Vader. It's really amazing. As soon as people heard the Imperial March, they started flocking to the stage. Everyone loves the bad guy. Once Vader shows up, he tries to convince the apprentices to join the dark side and her fights each one. The Cast Members are so patience and funny with all the kids. They make it a great show to watch. At the end of the training, all the apprentices get a certificate.
Next we walked over to 'One Man's Dream - The Story of Waly Disney'. It is a walk through of Walt's life and Disney memorabilia and a short film about Walt's live. It's definitely worth the visit.
At that point, Darrell and I decided to try a run on the Rockin' Roller Coaster. On the way, we made a stop at our favorite gift shop 'Villains in Vogue'. I got a great Captain Hook t-shirt. I was so excited - Darrell rode Rockin' Roller Coaster with me and he did great! We walked over to the Tower of Terror gift shop and met back up with everyone else.
Steve and Liz wanted to try for the Great Movie Ride so Darrell, D-Tag and I decided to check out The Little Mermaid. None of us had seen it before. It was cute with a great singer playing Ariel.
It was time to go so we caught the bus to Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Whispering Canyons. The service was slow but the food was good. After dinner, we toured around the hotel and strolled through the gift shops. The main mascot for the Wilderness Lodge is Humphrey "pick up the rag, put it in the bag. bump. bump."
We took a boat back to the Magic Kingdom at the wrong time. Don't get me wrong, it was the best of a bad situation. The boat was empty except for us - that was great. Then we realized we were heading to the Magic Kingdom at closing time. Luckily the boat had a significant delay in the lagoon. When we docked, we found a nice space in front of the gate and watched the mass exodus.
Today was another Animal Kingdom (AK) and Epcot day. At Animal Kingdom, we headed straight for 'It's Tough to be a Bug' to see Stuart.
We all headed to Kilimanjaro Safari to get a fast pass. Next, we split up. Darrell, D-Tag and I walked down to Expedition Everest. Darrell and I rode and D-Tag hung out in the gift shop. After that, we slowly walked back to the safari to met up with Steve and Liz. After the safari, Darrel, D-Tag and I headed to Epcot. Steve and Liz stayed behind to take in a little more in the Animal Kingdom.
Epcot was fantastic! There were minimal lines and good strong breeze. We walked on to Spaceship Earth, Nemo and Friends, and Journey into the Imagination. It was perfect considering Monday at Epcot was such a washout. We were able to stroll through Mexico, ride the Maelstrom and peruse the store at Japan. We met up with everyone and headed to the Polynesian for dinner at O'Hana's. D-Tag ate a quick dinner and headed out to Hollywood Studios to catch Fantasmic. We left O'Hana's about the same time the Magic Kingdom was closing so we decided to hang around the Poly and let the bus crowd clear out before going that way. We checked out all the gift shops and spent some time on the beach. It was almost chilly out. It was perfect night. When we decided to head back to the Pop, it could not have been timed better. The monorail was waiting for us when we got there and so was the bus.
We slept in this morning. No parks today. We lay low and take it easy. Tonight is our dress-up MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party). I went and grabbed breakfast for Darrell and I to eat in the room. We relaxed for awhile and then Liz, Steve and I headed downstairs to do some laundry. You really can meet some great people and pick up some great information in the laundry room. We learned that Dryer 5 didn’t require money. Just load it and press the ‘Start’ button. I was lucky enough to catch it empty and dried my clothes for free. Steve and Liz loaded up Dryer 9 and started it before realizing there was an 'Out of Order Sign' on the change slot. It seemed to dry fine and guess what – it was free too!! We made sure to share the knowledge with some of the other fun people doing laundry and headed back to our rooms.
It was time for lunch. We knew we wouldn’t get dinner so we made sure to have breakfast and lunch. While at lunch, we decided to grab a snack for our return tonight.
We got into makeup and dressed for our night out. We were in the parks by 8:30pm.
When we walked in the park, the parade was just starting. We were able to get a spot by the rope right off the front square - the last place before the parade disappears behind the gate. First and foremost, we could not believe how many Cast Members in the parade acknowledged us by either telling us how good we looked or reacting and interacting with us. It was great. When the Haunted Mansion float came by with Sawyer as Ezra, we gave us a nod as well. After the Mansion section of the parade, we made our way to the Haunted Mansion ride. We arrived just as Carlotta was leaving. We had a great (and highly covert) conversation with her and took some fun pictures. We tried to tell her as best we could how to find us. The Mansion was closed until after the fireworks, as was everything in Fantasyland. We headed to Tomorrowland to ride the TTA. Once the fireworks were over, we hopped on 'It's a Small World' and then headed straight to the Mansion. We we exited the Mansion, there was Cast Member waiting for us. She said she had seen our pictures and wanted to get a picture with us. It was like having celebrity status. After the photo-op, it was off to Pirates of the Caribbean. At Pirates we ran into Stuart - a former Mansion Butler. We rode Pirates with him. In the Pirates gift shop, Stuart pointed out some props that were used in the movie! We would have never known,they were tucked away up high in the decor. Stuart walked back over to the Mansion with us for another ride. On the way, we ran into the Cadaver Dan's - the dead version of the Dapper Dan's - we had to get a picture. We hung around close to the Mansion until Midnight so we could get our traditional 'last ride' on costume night. After closing down the Mansion, we took our traditional plaque pictures and started our slow walk out of the park.
As usual, we were quite popular and it was a challenge to make other guests understand that we did not work for Disney and keep photo sessions down and avoid traffic congestion.
One of the most memorable pictures was the Hitchhiking Ghosts with a lady near the front gate. She took several pictures with them and raved over the costumes - then she tried to pay us. We aren't sure why but we would have none of that.
We were hot and tired. We got a seat on the bus and headed back to our rooms.
Today, Steve & Liz met some friends over at the Animal Kingdom (AK). Darrell, D-Tag and me decided to sleep in a little and meet up with everyone for lunch in the AK at the Flametree BBQ. We arrived a few minutes early and walked down to the Expedition Everest Gift Shop to look around. I took my “must” yeti pictures of Darrell.
Lunch at the Flametree was great. The food was good. The company was good. The seating was exceptional. To look at it from the front, you think it was going to be a hunt to find anywhere to sit much less getting 8 people to sit together. Looking closer, you notice there is a pathway that leads behind the Flametree into a maze of paths and sitting areas. We found plenty of sitting with the most amazing view of Expedition Everest in the background.
After lunch, it was off to Epcot. We all went for a fast pass for Soarin’ and then went our separate ways. Darrell, D-Tag and me cruised around the Land. After that, we noticed the clouds were getting dark. I wanted to try the free Disney Visa Character Meet & Greet at Innovations West, and headed in that direction. The bad news was line was long and took awhile to get through. The good news was it was poring outside. At least we were in out of the rain.
The Meet & Greet was pretty awesome. Your party gets a private audience with 2 Disney characters. What they won’t tell you in advance is which characters are behind the blue curtain. When our turn came, we were pleasantly surprised to see Mickey, Minnie and Goofy waiting for us. There were hugs all around. We took individual shots and group shots. It was great to be able to pose and play without the pressure of someone giving you the “get a move on it” look. D-Tag picked-out a great shot of him with all three characters and Darrell and I did the same. A free 5X7 is a great souvenir. I think we are going to check it out on Friday too!
The rain wasn’t stopping so we darted across to Innovations East to the Mouse Gears gift shop. We looked around and played with the potato heads.
After that time killer, it was time to ride Soarin’. Soarin’ is wonderfully relaxing ride. As we were leaving, we saw Steve, Liz and there party boarding the ride. We waited for everyone at the exit to re-group.
Since it was raining and D-Tag and I needed to pick-up our free photos, we decided to take the bus to the Boardwalk resort rather than walking back to France. Well, unbeknown to us, there is no bus to Boardwalk. We re-entered Epcot and walked over to Boardwalk. We arrived at Spoodles 40 minutes late and wet! The dinner was good but the noise level was crazy. It was louder than Chef Mickey’s. We couldn’t believe it.
After dinner, we Quickly scampered through Epcot hoping to get to the bus back to the Pop before Illuminations was over. I think we barely made it. Luckily our bus was not packed and it was a fun ride home singing ‘YMCA’ complete with arm letters!
Since we were back to the resort at a decent hour, Liz, Steve, Darrell and me decided to go for a swim. All I can say is that we laughed and laughed and laughed! It was a great way to end the night.
Some random Day 3 photos. There is always time for funny hats and Baloo!
Today was our first full day in the Magic Kingdom. It was also Yellow Pod Shirt day. A Pod Shirt is one of many identical t-shirts a group of people wear. We have a twisted version of the pod shirt. This is the one pod shirt I actually contributed to – I came up with the concept!
They are bright yellow and say…
“We are not together. It is just a coincidence that we are all wearing the same shirt. Really.” We had many, many comments on it and the CM’s around Disney seemed to love them!
We accomplished a lot at our leisurely pace. By the end of the day we had:
Sailed down the major rivers in the World on the Jungle Cruise
Braved the Pirates of The Caribbean twice
Visited with the family over at the Haunted Mansion four times.
Listened to the music of Mickey’s Philharmagic twice.
Flew from London the Never - Never Land with Peter Pan twice.
Watched small children dance on It’s a Small World
Cheered on Big Al in the Country Bear Jamboree
Toured Tomorrowland on the TTA
Screamed and laughed on Space Mountain
Took a carefree ride on the Carousel
Shot Aliens with Buzz Lightyear
Watched Dwarves battle the evil Queen on Snow Whites Scary Adventures
…and somewhere in the middle of that activity, we snuck over to Aloha Island for an infamous pineapple float and relaxed in our favorite hidden nook. The nook is a lovely place not far down from Aloha Island. It is obscured by trees and foliage, so it seems to always to be empty. It is a great place, complete with fans, to relax, eat and watch all the insanity passing you by in Adventureland.
That evening, we hoped on the Monorail to Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort for our only character meal. We had prepared ourselves for screaming child hell but were excited about the potential photo-op’s with some of the primary Disney icons.
To our delight, the children were reasonably well behaved. The children at the table next tours was a true delight and absolutely adorable to boot. I had to take her picture before we left. She was just too cute!
After dinner, it was back to the Magic Kingdom for the remainder of the Extra Magic Hours. It was a pleasant walk through the parks and we accrued a couple of more rides at the Haunted Mansion.
It was late. We were tired. It was back to the resort to re-charge for another day.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
We arrived at Disney today. We headed out last night around 7pm. We drove to Lake City, FLA and stayed the night there. By 9am, we were back on the road. We arrived at the Pop Century not long after noon. The boys got us all checked in. The Pop is our favorite value resort. It focuses on Pop Culture from the 1950’s through the 1990’s. The lobby is full of memorabilia and tends to be crowded. They have CM’s in the lobby playing music, keeping the kids occupied with things like hula-hoop to make the check-in process easier for the parents.
We lucked out. Even though we were early to arrive, they had all 3 of our rooms ready. Last year, we stayed in the 70’s building and really liked it. We tried to get that building again but it just didn’t happen. This year, we are in the 50’s building. So far, so good.
Once the vehicle was unloaded and all of the luggage put away, we reconvened and headed for the Animal Kingdom. Normally, we head to the Magic Kingdom first. Since we had a dinner reservation at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we decided Animal Kingdom was the most logical starting point.
On our way in to the park, we noticed Chip & Dale off to the side with a crowd of CM’s and no one else. We ran over to get a picture. The CM’s were super and took pictures for us.
We were able to walk right in to ‘It’s a Bugs Life’. Then we went and grabbed a fast pass for ‘Dinosaur’ and headed to see ‘The Festival of the Lion King’. Steve and Liz had seen it before but it was a first for me, Darrell and D-Tag. It was a great performance. After the show, we rode Dinosaur and then headed over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Lodge is beautiful and Boma was terrific. We tried so many different and new foods. The waiter brought me and Liz a small form to request recipes for some of our favorite dishes. I think we request 18 recipes once we finished.
Then we headed outside to see if there were any animals.
Then it was off for a short visit to the Magic Kingdom. We jumped on the train first for a loop around the park and then went on to Frontier land to disembark. We headed straight for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This ride was closed for refurbish last year and it was a great ride in the dark. From there it was a short walk to our beloved mansion. We HAD to ride that day one.
For some reason, WISHES was delayed. We headed out of the park as quickly as possible to avoid the insane after fireworks rush. I think we made it just in time. There were two bus lines for the Pop and D-Tag pegged the good one. We were on a bus and sitting down (a very important fact) in no time flat.
Back at the Pop, it was time to cool down, shower off and start jotting down the Blog notes.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Even though Dragon Con ended a mere 2 weeks ago, it is time to look ahead to Dragon Con 2009. The 2009 dates are Sept 4 - 7, 2009.
The next year memberships have gone up, up, up but it is still worth it to buy early. A Dragon*Con membership covers all four days, all panels, events, demonstrations, concerts, performances, contests, snacks and munchies in our Consuite (as available) and a host of other activities. For more details, see the Dragon Con website…
The current Membership price for Dragon*Con 2009 is $60 until 11/14/2008.
I estimate the door price for 2009 will be $100 / 4 Days. As always, I will be purchasing multiple memberships as a club during the first purchasing phase. Doing this gives us an additional $5 off the lowest membership price, which makes each club membership $55. The due date is November 14th. So if you’re interested, I need all payments and membership forms by Monday, November 13th. Club memberships must be submitted at the same time with a single payment source. The confirmation postcards are then sent separately to each member. We need at least 10 memberships to constitute a 'club' and get the discount. Just send me a message if you interested.
If you think you are going but are not sure or only plan on attending one day, I still encourage you to purchase your memberships now. Yes, the line for pre-reg will be long but for D*C 2008, just a Saturday badge was $50.
Just a note to the die-hards out there, Dragon Con has opened Eternal Memberships again.
Codes for hotels have not been officially posted. Although, the Hyatt is taking reservations for D*C 2009 weekend; you just have to let them know you are with DragonCon. The number for Hyatt is 404-577-1234
I attempted making reservations at the Marriott but they have not released the rooms yet. I will be monitoring the Dragon Con website for Marriott codes and will post when they become available.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go ahead and reserve a room if you THINK you might want one. It takes a credit card to reserve the room but, unless the Hyatt policy has changed, nothing is charged to your card prior to your arrival and you have until 3pm on the day before your arrival to cancel!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's hard to believe that we leave for Disney in 5 days! This past Saturday, the FBO+1 got together at DTag's for a pre-trip costume check and to nail down last minute trip details. As usual a good time was had by all. Below are some photos from the costume check.
And poor Jesse, Pickwick will not be accompanying us this year. He will be very missed!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I swiped these from Indigo LaRue's MySpace Post!
For you guys that missed the con I have some links for you and for those of you that were there...watch them again! funny moments and cool costumes!
Tank Boy Transforms
Battlefield 2142 does the Supa'man!
Yip! Yip! Sesame Street Alien
The D*C Parade Video. Check out 26 minutes in...BLACK BUNNY!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I have added a new slide show for 'Pirates at Play'. I tried to combine all the old pictures and new pictures into one but failed miserably. It's late and I'm too tired to fix it now. So I just put both up for your viewing pleasure!
Things are sort of crazy around here. I got back from D*C a little over a week ago. I head to Disney in a little over a week. When I get back from Disney, I have 12 days before I head to the Pirate Festival at Tybee Island!!
Luckily, it has been minimal prep for Disney - it was all about D*C this year. However, this will the first time The Black Bunny has been to the Tybee Island Pirate Festival. While it will be a laid back event, we ARE walking the parade.... and you know what that means - BEADS!!!!
I just received my bead shipment from New Orleans (where else!!). This should get us through Tybee and still have some left over for D*C 2009.
There are approximately 2200 plain beads and 720 medallion beads (they will become Bunny Beads) here!!! With the leftovers from this years D*C, I have well over 3,000 strands of beads!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Thi checked out early. He was by my room by 9:30am. Jesse and I had arranged a late check-out of 2pm. Once Jesse had all his things together, he came by our room. Darrell and he decided to do one last loop around the Dealer’s Room while I finished packing. I was able to call for the Bell for both rooms and we actually got downstairs by 2pm. Darrell stayed with the luggage while Jesse and I went for vehicles.
A quick side note, ALL parking went up this year. Everyone I have talked to has remarked about the price of parking!
We loaded the cars and headed home without incident.
No matter how many conventions you attend, you always learn new lessons. This years lessons:
(1) If you are handling for beautiful girls, they cannot start drinking until
they have been out ½ the allotted time.
(2) Don’t try to handle too many people at once.
(3) Make sure you have time to costume yourself.
Now to start planning D*C 2009!!
I slept late and felt like hell. Not that it matter, it was Dragon Con and the show must go on. Once we were awake, I headed to pick up some lunch – breakfast was a distant memory.
After lunch, it was off to a much less crowded Exhibition Hall and Dealer's Room. We wandered through and I have to admit I was a complete Corset Nazi. I checked them all out and was not happy with any of them. I'm such a snob!
At some point, Darrell got caught up with some 501st stuff, so Kindra and I headed for the Pulse Loft. I really do like that place. We chilled, had a little ice cream and relaxed. Kindra went to grab some pork product (those are her words, not mine) and came back with Jesse in his TK and Bob in the Royal Guard in tow. At least Jesse got to troop a little.
After a short break, they were off to troop some more and we were off to prep the room for the night’s festivities. It has become a tradition to pile into one room (mine usually), drink heavily, and watch the Costume Contest. I think there were 13-15 people in the room. It was crowded but fun. Kindra and K were in rare form and had us laughing so hard we cried!!
After the Costume Contest, most of the Crew decided to head down stairs to the Pirate Party. I helped them dress, took pictures and sent them on their way! They didn’t stay at the Pirate Party very long but I think they had a good time.
Of all people, Darrell was the one up at the crack of dawn. Steve V. was coming by the room to suit up in his Biker Scout and Darrell had to get all his R*C armor on by 8:30am. They had to be at the parade line up @ 9am. I guess that's why the 501st always seems to be the most organized (and largest) group in the parade.
The pirates, on the other hand, slowly got it together and made the line up around 9:45am. Luckily, Holly was able to grab her badge and walk with us! Deneen was fully decked out as a pirate for the first time and was a very popular pirate. I know a good thing when I see it – please notice the placement of the Bunny Beads. Jesse, Thi, DTag and Josh carried the bead bags and kept us supplied with beads for… most of the parade – they just go so fast! And of course our trusty flag bearer Bob. I don't know what I would do without Bob and the Bead Boys.
It was a huge parade this year. Here are some of the other highlights.
Maybe it was just me (or the many pauses in this year’s parade) but it was hot. It seemed to take a lot more out of me this year than last (that could be age – but I don't want to think about it!) So after the parade, it was off to change clothes and relax a little. Jesse's Mafia had arrived but was having room issues so they made a pit stop by our room. Luckily, Jesse & Bob came and grabbed them so we could change. I had me, Kindra, Darrell, DTag, Steve V. and Steve P. all changing in my room and trust me, that took some space! After Kindra and Steve were kind enough to grab us some lunch, DTag & Steve went to hit some panels, Holly & I set off for the Dealer's Room and the rest of the guys took a beak. Darrell was supposed to start Bob's makeup at 2:30 but at 3:45pm, they were still sitting around the room. I shooed them off to Jesse's for makeup.
Kindra and I decided to walk around some while all the rest of the crew was getting in costume. We knew it would take a while for Bob's makeup. While we were relaxing on the big red sofas in the Marriott, we hooked up with Kristen and a giddy Josh. Josh had gotten Michael Rosenbaum's (Lex Luther in Smallville) autograph. Around 6:30, we headed back to the room; D was heading down to my room so I could finish putting her in the Padme costume. Poor Jesse, I think he had 15 people in his room getting ready but they all looked great! In addition to Friday nights RC, Padme, Anakin & Vader, we had Mystique, Emma Frost, an Elf, the Baroness, a Biker Scout and the Emperor. The only bummer was that Jesse didn't get into his TK. So that was 10 people in costume with four handlers. It was interesting. Most of the time we were in the Marriott (the costume friendly hotel) and soon realized we just couldn't really stay all together. The Stars Wars kept together and the others went strolling.
At one time, Darrell, Steve V. and DTag recreated there three hitchhiking ghosts pose in the Star Wars garb. It was great!
The rest of the evening was just one photo op after another.
The one thing I truly enjoyed (of course it's all about me) was some of the wonderfully kind compliments I had on the Padme corset.
I hated to leave the party early but I was starting to come down with Con Crud, so I headed back to the room and turned in somewhere around midnight.