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Magic Kingdom and MVMCP

MGM Studios

Epcot

Magic Kingdom

Downtown Disney and Chef Mickey's

Wednesday morning dawns bright and sunny once again. Looks like it is going to be a good day, until Daddy wakes up and finds that the ear that had been bothering him the last two days is now completely plugged and silent. Our original plan was to have put us at Epcot today, but Daddy's ear was just too bad to let go, so...off to the Florida CentraCare clinic just across the road from the Crossroads. Unfortunately, when I arrived, there appeared to be a rash of sick people on this day utilizing the clinic. What a bummer!! I knew I was going to be here a while, so I called back to the room and alerted the rest of the crew about the situation. I hated to have this happen and ruin everyone's day, but I just had to get it taken care of. Some three hours later I was released with stereo hearing once again and a perscription. A heckuva way to spend your morning in the land of magic. When I got back to the room it was nearing lunch time, so we decided to eat, and modify our plans accordingly.

Being it was now early afternoon, I figured both Test Track and Mission: Space would be overly crowded, so we decided to hit "The Studios" this afternoon instead. It actually turned for the best because we were able to catch a couple of the shows that Elisabeth and Michael wanted to see without much of a hassle. More on this later.

We were trying to decide whether or not to drive, boat, or walk over to MGM. We finally decided to take a chance on a short wait at the docks and boat our way over. Our good fortune continued, for as we were coming up on the dock outside the Yacht Club, the boat to MGM was just coming across Crescent Lake to the dock. We hopped aboard and had a leisurely cruise to the gate via the waterway that runs between the Boardwalk and Swan/Dolphin. We did have to make a stop at the Swan/Dolphin dock, but it was a short stop.

As we approached the dock at MGM, the first landmark that caught our eye was the huge Christmas Tree displayed outside the main entrance to the park. The picture doesn't do the height of the tree much justice, but if you look closely you can see parkgoers heads at the bottom of the picture. After marveling at the size of the tree for a couple of minutes, we admired a couple of the topiaries and trimmed clusters of bushes that sat outside the entrance. This is one of those minor details that really make Walt Disney World stand out in my mind.

 

Seeing that there wasn't a great deal of activity at the turnstiles, I wasn't prepared for the scene that we encounter once we made it past the pin station at the very front of the park. All we could see was people streaming up and down Hollywood Boulevard, but then I remembered this view can be somewhat deceiving as the street is very narrow here. As we came closer and closer to the "Sorcerer's Hat" the crowds began to thin out a bit.

This was the first time that my wife and I had been back to MGM since the Hat was erected for the 100 Years celebration. We're not so sure that we really like the view now that the Chinese Theater building is blocked from view. I guess they wanted to have a "Disneyfied" icon like the other three parks have at the end of their main drag. It's not all that bad once you get used to it.

Since we were getting a rather late start, it was off to do something fun for the kids. We took a look at the showtimes for both Beauty and the Beast, and Playhouse Disney. We really hit the jackpot here as Beauty and the Beast was about 10 minutes from starting, and then we would have quite a wait before the next Playhouse Disney show, so we would then be able to go right to find a spot for the parade.

Elisabeth is a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast. I would say that she averages two showings of this movie a week back home. Getting to the theater just before showtime, however, netted us some rather far away seats. Oh well, it was still easy enough for us to see the show, or so we thought. This wonderful couple in front of us were letting their kids climb all over the seats, and thus blocking our view from time to time. I don't know what it is, but it seems as though there are always those families who think they are the only ones in the park. Time to calm down though...it is our vacation after all, and the kids were really enjoying themselves, which is really all that counts.

It's now going to be a mad dash back over to Hollywood Boulevard to find a good spot for the "Stars and Motorcars" parade. To our amazement we were able to find a spot near the main entrance end of Hollywood Boulevard. It was about 30 minutes before the parade began, so I thought for certain that these spots would be filled up. There must have been a couple of the other shows let out right after ours because once we settled in, both sides of the street filled up quickly.

The name of the parade's host escapes me, but he did one heckuva job in keeping the crowd entertained while we were waiting. It was finally parade time, and I don't know who was more excited...the kids or Daddy. Being that I'm a certified Chevy nut, and the parade was sponsored by Chevrolet, I couldn't wait to see some of that old iron cruising down the street.

We all had a great time watching all the characters parade by. Elisabeth was busy devouring a huge sucker that Mommy bought her just before the parade started, while Michael studied the occupants of each car rather intently, pointing to his favorites.
As the parade wound down we waited for the crowds on Hollywood Boulevard to thin out a bit before heading on over to the Playhouse Disney stage. Getting to The Studios at the time we did is now working to our advantage. Many of the people that were here early now seem to be leaving the park after seeing the parade. OOPS!!! At least I thought this until I saw the queue line to get into the Playhouse Disney Live show. I was somewhat concerned that we weren't going to be able to make it in with this next group, but as has been the case for the majority of this trip, our luck was still holding out.

As we entered the building I discovered something that Mommy had already known about this show...THERE ARE NO SEATS!!! Oh my aching knees. This was another of the had to see shows for both Michael and Elisabeth. They both are big watchers of Bear, Stanley, and Rollie Polie Olie. I was a little concerned that we were so far back from the stage that the kids wouldn't be able to see too well, but it really didn't come into play.

It seemed as though the Playhouse Disney show finally brought Elisabeth out of her shell. She was dancing up a storm during the Bear in the Big Blue House portion of the show. After our experience at Crystal Palace when she wouldn't parade around with Pooh and his friends, I thought for sure that she would probably sit out this show as well. I'm glad she didn't though because I could really see that she was having fun, and that was the whole point of this trip, to make certain the kids had fun just being kids.

As we left the Playhouse Disney Stage we took a look at the showtimes for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, but the next showing was not for quite some time, so we decided to walk around a bit to see if we could find any characters out and about. Looking down at my watch I noticed that it was getting close to dinner time, and right around the corner was The Hollywood Brown Derby. Deborah (my wife) loves the Cobb Salad at the Brown Derby, but we weren't really expecting to even be at MGM today let alone have a Priority Seating for this popular eatery. It really didn't look that awful crowded, so we decided to take a chance and see how long of a wait we'd actually have. I almost fell over when the Maitre D' told us that it would be about "...five minutes". I guess we now had our dinner plans. This was an unexpected treat. Elisabeth and Michael had a hot dog, I had a steak, and yes, Mommy had her Cobb Salad. The food was a bit pricey, but hey it's the Brown Derby. Unbeknownst to us, it had started to rain while we were eating. Our strollers were under the canopy covering the entrance, but the wind was blowing and the strollers got soaked. Good thing we had some spare towels to throw down on the seats.

We thought the rain might end our day prematurely, but knowing Florida, the rain cand end as quickly as it started, so we decided to do a little more souvenir hunting, and wait out the storm. Sure enough, after about a half hour the rain let up, and we were able to leave the cover of the shops. This turned into another lucky break as the rain had ushered out quite a few people to an early exit from the park that night. We were still debating on whether or not to go to Fantasmic. We thought that some of the portions of the show might be a bit scary for the little ones. Since it's right in the same area, Deborah decided that she wanted to take a ride on her favorite attration, Tower of Terror. There was absolutely no wait, so I stayed below with the kids while Mommy went off on another adventure with Mr. Serling. After Mommy was done, the kids were starting to get a bit grumpy, so we decided that Fantasmic would have to wait for another time.

As we were walking down towards Hollywood Boulevard, it dawned on me that I hadn't heard much from Elisabeth. This was strange as she is usually a big chatterbox. I looked down into the stroller, and what do you know...she's sound asleep. I decided that it was finally time for me to get into a picture, so Mommy snapped this shot that captures the end of a fairly long day with no naps. I thought that Elisabeth would probably sleep all the way back to the room, and that Michael would probably fall asleep as well, but...shortly after this photo was taken, Elisabeth sprang back to life, and Michael never did fall asleep until later.

It was time to head back out to the boat for our trip back to the Yacht Club marina. By this time the streets were becoming deserted as many of the people who were left were heading over to see Fantasmic. As we headed down Hollywood Boulevard towards the exit, we turned around to take one final look at the Sorcerer's Hat all lit up. It was a sight to see.

On our way out we stopped to look at the Christmas Tree all lit up. The larger, brighter-looking lights are actually Santa Claus faces. We didn't have long to wait for our boat, and as we were making our way back towards the Swan/Dolphin stop, the fireworks from Fantasmic started. You obviously couldn't see as much of the fireworks as you would if you were inside the theater, but it was enough to keep the kids occupied for a while longer.

Our walk back to the room gave us another beautiful site with the Boardwalk all lit up on the other side of Crescent Lake.

By the time we made it back to the room I can't tell you how exhausted we were. Wait, yes I can. You know how they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words"? Well look to the right, and Michael can give you a couple of thousand words as to how tired he was. Poor little fella, we ran him out of juice today.