Notes on D-World 9-18-08 Thursday

My plans for a constant walkabout in the mornings truly were waylaid by the intrusion of this ankle injury. While the swelling was only minor, and has mostly gone away, on the inside of my leg, there is pain to the touch, and every time I take a step to the left, I feel anywhere from minor discomfort to shooting pains up my leg. I decide to relax this morning and watch the first disc of the Zappa Plays Zappa concert, which runs nearly two full hours and is still playing when the girls get up for the day. I, of course, am as happy as can be with my headphones on listening to Zappa, and pretty much block myself out for the morning.

We catch a larger boat over to the Magic Kingdom, and spend the opening hour wandering through the stores, as Sande is looking for a couple of lighter shirts to wear and I have a need to look at books on Disney's history and design. There are five Imagineering books available, but I decide to look them up on Amazon later, though the savings when matched with Jen's discount would probably be comparable. I just don't want to lug them.

As usual, food is on the immediate agenda, so the girls want to return to the Burger bar place in Tomorrowland, but I have a need to get a hot dog at Casey's Corner, a baseball-themed walk-up that has some small replica grandstands inside where one can eat their dog and watch Mickey, Donald and Goofy sports cartoons. I collect a new first name for my invisible list when the girl that waits on me is named Comfort. She and another girl working the counter, Louisa, are both from Kumasi, Ghana, where there is apparently a dearth of cash registers, as they both seem to be completely lost on the machine. They add my total of just over six dollars to the previous total on the register, and then Comfort asks me for $12.79. She then goes "oh..." and attempt to clear the total and start anew but both of them stare at the machine for a bit before calling in another clerk. This is perhaps not the first time this has happened today, and a manager strolls over while they are still ringing up my purchase properly, and openly starts chiding them in front of me. Comfort apologizes to me, but I tell them not to worry, that there wasn't a problem at all, and that I was not in a hurry in the least. I don't think this comforts Comfort. I grab some condiments and go to meet the ladies at the burger bar.

Post-meal, we board the People Mover, an ancient "futuristic" mass transportation system that I think is awfully swell. It's slow and rickety, but it does get you small glimpses into a couple of hidden things, like a model of Walt's future city plans. Even more archaic is the Carousel of Progress, slightly updated from the version that appeared in the '64 World's Fair, but not updated enough to keep the Virtual Reality-playing grandmother to dress like she stepped out of 1898. A truly surreal experience, but of course, I jumped at the chance to see it again, mostly out of my love of animatronics.

Before the Carousel, though, we rode the Magic Kingdom version of the Buzz Lightyear attraction, which has a very different layout, but is lessened by the guns that are 1) mounted directly on the car, limited a player's shooting abilities and 2) unable to be aimed at anything definitely, so all of a player's points come completely by surprise. I have no idea what I hit with my "single laser beam of light" at any point in the ride, and neither did Jen. Sande, however, got a massive score way above either one of us, but I tried desperately to make her admit she had no idea what she hit to get it. Which she wouldn't...

On the way into Tomorrowland, I pretended that there was no way I going to drive a car on the Tomorrowland Speedway -- the Disney World version of Autopia, where Jen likes to make me chauffeur her around for once. Naturally, I can't wimp out like that, and so Jen drops into the passenger seat to mock me endlessly for a circuit. After four tries at this over a 14-year period, I might finally be getting the hang of it, as I do my least bumpy ride ever. Jen seems impressed, but there is no way I will ever really drive.

We give Mickey's PhilharMagic, possibly my favorite thing in this park, another go, and hopefully sans babies or toddlers. We pull this off by careful targeting of our area and row, and finally have a pleasant time of it. The shirt I wanted to get last year for the attraction is no longer in the shop, however, so I am disappointed, but I do get a brand new keychain representing it (I decided to retire my Lego Batman quartet once I got here). We take in the Haunted Mansion again, but there are difficulties. On the Speedway, having to press the pedal with my right ankle and the climbing in and out of the tight environs of the tiny vehicle caused more strain than I thought. Departing the Mansion, stepping out of the Doom Buggy onto the moving walkway to my left sent me spiraling out of control and I almost crash fully into the railing. We decide to head back to the cabin so I can ice up before the evening. This also affords the girls the chance to go swimming and do some laundry, which we all need to do. Before we head back, though, we do some quick shopping, and then catch another big boat back to the dock at Fort Wilderness.

The boat is packed full to standing -- which we have to do as well -- because of the biggest mystery of our two stays here in this resort: the Hoop-De-Doo Musi-Cal Revue, a supposed theatrical and dining extravaganza that we have yet to even try and catch. But people from all over the parks head to its several shows through the evening, and so our buses and shuttles end up being delayed by people who have no earthly idea where they are heading. Many of them don't even seem to be aware that Fort Wilderness exists, so every time the bus pulls up at a regular stop, they get confused and have to ask the drive if this is the place to get off. Over and over and over again. On the boat back, we are standing next to two girls -- one white, one Asian -- with British accents, who keep wondering if the "Hewwp-Dee-Dew" is going to be worth the trip, but then go on about wanting to stay at the campground, and wondering where the hell the Hoop-De-Doo is. It doesn't help anyone on the boat that the Aussie boat pilot keeps referring to it as the "Hoop-De-Hoop" instead.

Once we get off the boat, we head to the Trading Post to grab some milk, eggs and various snacks for the next couple of days. While I ice my ankle and dive into the second half of ZPZ, the girls go swimming, jumping out of the pool to switch laundry from the washers to the dryers before lounging about in the sun. They return a couple of hours later, and we all get ready for dinner that night at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe in Downtown Disney. I am a little reluctant at first, as we are seated next to a couple of families with screaming little brats, but I decide to make the best of it. Our waitress/waitperson Jessica is very personable, even after I pepper her with numerous silly little puns and jokes to try and lighten my mood.

While ordering my meal of pumpkin ravioli with chicken and an order of Asian vegetable spring rolls as an appetizer for the group, the passel of screaming kids makes way almost at once for an amazing fireworks show outside our window looking into the waters adjacent to Downtown Disney. Apparently, it is not a normal show, as almost no one expected this to happen, except the staff of the surrounding businesses. Jessica tells us that it is in honor of the Pleasure Island section of the district being closed down. People run in and out of the emergency exit to catch the show even closer and louder, and then run back in to their tables. Kids run around like nuts, but following the display, most of the brattier kids are whisked out of the place, and we are able to enjoy our ultimately very satisfying meals in peace. While we finish eating, and long after, Jessica chats us up, and once she finds out we are from Anaheim, she tells us of her plan to first move to Atlanta and then out to L.A. to pursue her acting dream, wanting to at least try it before finally settling down for the obligatory "kids and family" bit. Jen gives her tips on housing and auditioning, and we talk to her for a long time after meal. Of course, she does have a job to do, so once she is called away, we decide to call it a night and head home.

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