Monday at MGM

Despite my initial desire to stick to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, enough people urged us to go to other parts of Disney that we reconsidered. Part of that decision was influenced by 2 things; no, not The Tower of Terror and the (Aerosmith) Roller Coaster - Playhouse Disney and High School Musical!

Other than The Weather Channel, "Bear in the Big Blue House" is one of the only things that holds Kat's attention for any span of time. And "High School Musical" has been a hit in our house ever since Joan and Laura told us about it! So those things had us excited about visiting MGM Studios at Disney.

We all had breakfast together at our hotel and then drove to MGM. We went right over to the Playhouse Disney Show and stood in line for about ½ an hour. Here's Kat staring at the Bear mural on the wall during our wait.
After the show we caught the tail end of the High School Musical Pep Rally, and found out when the next one would be held and planned to get good seats for it.

We headed over to a Hollywood movie show, which one of the employees said would be ok for Kat. As we were standing in line, though, we read a sign that said it might be too loud or startling for small children. I also had Nature calling, so I let Erika and Doug go while Kat and I searched out the Baby Center. This one was much smaller and didn't have its own adult bathrooms, just changing tables and one small toddler bathroom. I fed Kat in 1 of the 2 cubicles provided for nursing moms. It was more private than the Epcot and MK nursing rooms, but only had room for 2 rather than 4 moms. It was also way noisier, not good if your child is easily distracted.

Erika and I carried through with the movie show.  As we stood in line, we got to see clips from many famous movies, and then we went on a ride through parts of each of these movies.  We the audience got to participate in the ongoing action and the characters (some robot, some people) interacted with us, talking to us, shooting at us, or whatever was appropriate for the movie they were in.  Erika had a good time and I enjoyed seeing the awesome animatronics, just one of the things that Disney does so well.

Kat enjoying her carrier while we waited for the Pep Rally.
I headed back to meet Erika and Doug. They had started standing in line for an animation show, so we agreed via cell phone to meet up after that.

Erika and the Incredibles

Doug and the Incredibles

The animation was OK, but he best part was seeing Mr and Mrs Incredible afterwards, Erika and I both availed ourselves of a phto op, but Erika was way more boring than her Dad.

It was an extremely hot day, and as I wandered around the park, I found FOOD (and drink). I was just about to indulge in a pre-late-lunch snack when Doug called. We met up, had lunch, and Doug was still feeding Kat when I took Erika to the Restrooms... and a bird POOPED on Kat's head while we were gone! Luckily Kat had her hood on, so the impact was minimal - she didn't even realize it happened!

Kat with Mickey's magical hat; maybe that will keep the birds away!

After eating we headed to the HSM Pep Rally site. We were early enough to stake out a GREAT spot, front and center.

High School Musical Pep Rally

Click on pic for videoof Erika performing with the High School Musical Pep Rally! She's in the middle with the blue shirt.

After this we headed back to our hotel. There was much we didn't see, but we were hot, hungry, and eager to get to the MK that night.

We had a great dinner at our hotel. We originally had planned to sign up for the Disney Dining Plan, which sounded like a great deal, but a lack of information and perhaps a gross misunderstanding on our part led to us paying for all our own meals. Basically, if you want the meal plan, you have to arrange for it ahead of time through a travel agent while at the same time making your hotel reservations at a Disney hotel. I'm not sure if a travel agent *can* reserve a room at Shades of Green, the Disney property where we stayed that is only available to military personnel and their families, but I digress. As a result, we wound up eating at the hotel more than we thought we would and the money we saved probably made up for the fact that we didn't get the Meal Plan.

Anyway, each night there was a different kind of buffet, like seafood, or barbeque, with a "Kid's Table" consisting of pasta and mac n cheese. The food was very good, the service was great. Most nights we had the same waitress, Van, from Vietnam. We became friendly enough by the time we left that we told her we were leaving, and she said she hoped we'd come again soon.

After dinner we headed for the Magic Kingdom, and a wonderful reunion of sorts! Turns out some friends from high school were also at Disney with their kids. I've only seen Dawn and Rich a few times since graduating, but they're great people that I always feel instantly at ease with, and it seems like we last saw each other yesterday. I'm also very good friends with the rest of Rich's family - I was calling his sister Joan to talk a few days earlier and that's how I found out Rich and Dawn were there.

Anyway, in true form Rich and Dawn had made some new friends and the whole group of us tramped all over the park and just generally had a great time.
Erika and I and Dawn and her two kids all rode Big Thunder Mountain, and Erika said it was the best roller coaster she has ever been on.  I told her to wait for Space Mountain.  After the parade and fireworks the park cleared out significantly, but their kids, Bryan (9), Kaitlyn (7) and our Erika (8) and all us adults were going strong and stuck around. We walked up to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride and the sign said there was a 10 minute wait! 10 minutes? I can do that standing on my head!! We laughed as we quickly walked the queue labyrinth that we'd all stood in, seemingly for hours, in past visits. And we kept walking. And kept walking... right onto the ride!! It was amazing and we felt so lucky. The only drawback was Kat, who didn't like the darkest parts of the ride. This spelled out a pattern, and from then on we didn't take her on any more rides that involved darkness in anyway.

The park was open until midnight, but around 11 many of the rides had closed down. We worked our way toward Main Street and came across the SpectroMagic parade again! The kids were all excited, as they had been on a ride the first time it came through and had only caught part of it from far away. So we settled down and watched the parade.

Erika with 2 Cast Members, telling jokes before the parade.

These two cast memebrs were doiing a joke show where they called out kids and had them tell jokes which the cast members repeated to the audience.  Erika got a rousing cheer for both of her jokes.

Our view of the castle one day while waiting for the parade.

Same float, slightly different angle.

A fish from the "Little Mermaid" part of the Spectomagic Parade.

Fairy Godmother float.

Cinderella's Coach
Rich, Dawn, Doug Kaz and kids
Our 2 families and the MK Castle.
After THIS parade was over, we headed out. Everyone was tired, though the kids protested, but we all knew we had days of fun ahead of us and we'd all need some sleep.

We got to the turnstiles, and I did my customary check to make sure I had my hotel room key, park tickets, camera, etc. As it turned out, I had set down my backpack during the parade and forgotten to pick it up! Unfortunately, Erika had already walked through the turnstiles, trying to keep up with Bryan and Kaitlyn. Doug and I frantically called to her and got her to come back and stand near the turnstile. I turned back and headed 'upstream' against the rush of people leaving the park. Doug stayed with Erika and a nice Security Host (are there any other kind at Disney?) let Erika come back through to stand with Doug and wait for me.

As I rushed back I had visions of a bomb squad being called in for a 'suspicious bag left on the sidewalk', and also watched for the ever-efficient Disney employees to go walking by carrying it. Luckily neither of those scenarios was played out and it was where I left it, with all items intact. PHEW!!

Back to the Gate I went.

We then hopped on the Resort Monorail, which we had decided to use instead of taking our car. Although staying On Property gave us free parking at all the parks, the rigamarole you had to go through to get to the MK from our hotel (the MK parking lot and MK itself are practically walking distance, but to drive there you have to leave the area and come back through the 'toll plaza' out front, and go out even further to go back to our hotel...) we took the advice we read on numerous reviews (thanks Chris and!) and walked to the Polynesian and used the monorails for both parks the rest of the time. Much easier, though Erika was usually VERY tired by the time we got to the Polynesian and didn't love the 15 minute or so walk. She was a trooper, though, and did great each time. Little 'secret'? The Resort Monorails also go to the TTC/parking lots, and always have smaller lines because the signs make it seem like only Resort Guests can use them. I don't think my readership is big enough that telling you that will make the lines any longer at the Resort Monorails. ;)

Well, a long day and a long entry. Take a break and don't forget to find out about our

Tuesday trip to Blizzard Beach!