Timing Troubles in MGM (And Precision Timing for a Disaster)
|We have arrived!|
We slept a little late Thursday morning to recover from the previous night. (I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Mom for being our alarm clock, as the one in the room was broken, and she got up really early every day anyway.)
We spent the day in MGM (Yes, I know the name changed to Disney Studios years before this trip, and I don’t care.) Even with low crowds, there are timing problems at MGM because a large percentage of the shows/attractions are scheduled, instead of running continuously. Also, an equally large number of the attractions, including the continuous ones, are around a half-hour in length. When you are trying to make sure your five-year-old sees certain specific things, it can lead to many cross park sprints.
Since we had been building up to sitting in the Muppet Theater from our last Disney trip, the only place we could start was Muppet Vision 3D. Anabelle loved it as much as you’d expect from any Muppet maniac. I had recently learned that the large cargo ropes containing multicolored squares up in the rafters are, in fact, “A Net Fulla Jell-O”. I love Muppet humor.
When we came out of the Muppets, it was into a new character area. Beside Chip and Dale (everywhere, awesome) were Mater and “Leper Speed” (as Anabelle called Lightning McQueen, for reasons only she knew). I’d have to dub these guys “inanimatronics”. They talked once in a while, and some bits moved, but overall the experience was more like sitting on the Star Wars speeder bike that a regular character interaction.
We walked over to Star Tours in time for Jedi Training, but Anabelle wanted no part of being in (or even seeing) the show. Therefore, we never got to see the part at the end where Darths Vader and Maul come out. Based on her reactions to other villains and male characters in general, this was probably for the best, as we would have lost a lot of time getting her down from the top of the AT-AT.
Grandma managed to talk Anabelle into walking into the Star Tours attraction just to see the cool displays, telling her she didn’t have to ride it. On the line, I gave her my stellar impression of the ride, consisting of moving her shoulders back and forth while saying,
“Then you see a comet, and the robot goes WHOOOOAAAH!!!”
(Holy Tequila! I can’t believe I never noticed before this visit that robot was Pee Wee Herman.)
She tentatively decided to give the ride itself a try. After spending the whole ride yelling, “Yahoo!” the little thrill seeker decided we needed to go again.
The next show we couldn’t miss was Beauty and the Beast on stage, which, of course was on the opposite end of the park. We passed several entertaining groups of green army men, both on the way, and later on. The show is still the same as the other times we saw it, and still wonderful, and weep inducing.
|Nothing to see here.|
Then our quest began to get to the new Toy Story Mania, or as Anabelle called it, “Uncle Jesse’s Ride”. We entered the animation section, and learned something. We had avoided booking character meals in MGM, because we figured the oversized children with mutant giant heads (the Little Einstein characters) would scare Anabelle as much as many of the other characters she was afraid of. Turns out we were wrong (again) as she squealed with delight and excitement when we passed the Playhouse Disney character area. We waited on line to see two of the Einstein group, and Jojo and Goliath, who all played with Anabelle’s giant pen.
We then started toward Toy Story Mania again (Take 2) but passed the entrance to the Little Mermaid show two minutes before start time…and in we went. Reducing the animated classic to a seventeen-minute puppet show omits a lot, but it was Ariel, so Anabelle loved it. The theater let us out back in the Playhouse Disney character area again, where there had been a shift change. Before we could head over to the ride (Take 3) we had to go see the other half of the Einsteins and Handy Manny for more hugs and pen games. After seeing all these male characters, we figured we’d have no more problems with Anabelle’s irrational fear generator.
We finally did make it over to Toy Story Mania, but the new ride had a wait that would have made us miss our lunch reservation (Take 4). The FASTPASS tickets we got were for near the end of the day, causing us to plan a later return.
On the way to our Sci Fi Dine in Theater lunch reservation, we got misdirected on the New York Street near the Singing in the Rain lamppost. For some reason, this happened almost every time we passed this section of the park. I’m sure this is my fault as the only male in the group.
Lunch was a fun combination of good food and bad movies. Even Anabelle ate. (There must have been pizza.) I think Disney had slowed down its table service restaurants, maybe as an effort in crowd control. We ended up coming out just in time to catch the Block Party Bash “parade” staring Toy Story, Bugs Life and Monster’s Inc. characters (with the Incredibles “popping up” at the end).
This was a new concept for a parade. The new concept was that it mostly doesn’t move, making it more of a mobile show. The disadvantage of this is you end up seeing one part of it for a long time, and the rest whips by before or after the performance. The benefits are, I guess, more audience interaction. At least it would be if Anabelle didn’t get the gene from both Rosa and I that makes her instantly recoil in fear from any offer of audience participation. Overall, however, it was a fun show, we were all clapping and cheering on the sidelines, and Anabelle was dancing. And even though she was hiding in the back, and thinks she remained unseen, we saw Grandma’s hips start to go when “Shout” came on.
After the show we found ourselves near Star Tours, so Anabelle and I (in matching Darth Vader shirts) rode again. Heading up New York Street once more, we took the Back Lot tour. Anabelle spent most of this trip writing in her journal, but enjoyed the destruction of Catastrophe Canyon. As the trip ended, we could see the Power Rangers greeting people. Both Pink and Yellow were there, so Anabelle was very excited. The ride let us off in the AFI Villain exhibit. It would have been perfect to get a picture with the Vader suit, but by this point, Anabelle was no longer “taking direction” well. Even though she would still happily pose on her own, she started to refuse any pose suggestions from PhotoPass people or us. Considering the hundreds of pictures she posed for during the week, we’re probably lucky she didn’t start throwing rocks at the camera.
The Rangers were gone by the time we got out, and their next appearance was in a half-hour. We were wandering the New York street yet again trying to figure out what we could do, and then get back in time. After a couple of failed ideas, we settled on the Muppet Theater again.
What would normally be good fortune was actually bad this time. We got in at the very start of the pre show. Of course, once we got out, we were late for the Power Rangers. I tossed Anabelle over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and took off up the New York street (yeah, again). We did get there in time to get her to both the Pink and Yellow rangers, who she called Kimberly and Trini, probably much to their confusion. (She didn’t watch the show, she only knew them from some very old Happy Meal toys I had.)
When she finished we realized it was almost time for the final Indiana Jones show of the day. We set off running (you guessed it) down New York Street. Going the wrong way wasn’t totally my fault this time, as we all got turned around when Anabelle stopped for another Singing in the Rain pose.
We did make it to see Indy just as the show started. Anabelle pretty much drew in her journal and ignored the whole thing, until there were a bunch of Nazis and the plane on stage (that’s my girl). Then she realized all the explosions and fire were cool. It was also the first time in nearly two decades of trying that I’ve managed to get good pictures of the show. Yay, everyone!
We finally, (Take 5) made it to Toy Story Mania, after going the wrong way down…
When we got on I reminded her it was the ride Uncle Jesse did. Since we had made so many failed attempts to get here before, Anabelle asked, “How many of these rides did he make?” Anabelle’s review, “That was AWESOME!” Nice job Uncle Jesse.
Even though she saw him up close in the parade, and he was right next to the previously hugged Buzz Lightyear, Anabelle wanted no part of a visit with Woody.
Why? I don’t know. He’s on third, and I don’t care.
We left the park, and took a bus to the Contemporary to have a late dinner (the only time available) at Chef Mickey’s.
|It looks so peaceful.|
While we stood on the insanely long check in line, my Mom and I were explaining to Rosa how, when we stayed there long ago, this was just another restaurant in the Contemporary. No long term reservations, no beepers for check in. We’d come down from the room and say, “Wanna eat here?” and that was it. Times definitely changed.
Anabelle was in her Iridessa dress again, with her hair hanging down.
This will be important later.
Donald, Mickey and Minnie came by pretty quickly to a happy reception with Anabelle. She ran out to meet each one as she was sitting on the inside of the table so she was safe from Goofy.
This will also be important later.
Pluto was almost there, but he went on break, or there was a celebration right before he got to us. (I forget which, they both happened multiple times. Even though we saw everyone else thrice each, he never made it. Anabelle’s response, “He had to pee again?!”) The waiter first brought us someone else’s drink order, and then our incorrect drink order. He was very confused.
Yup, this will be important later, too.
With a space in the characters, we hit the buffet…repeatedly. Man, was it good.
When the celebration started that brought Anabelle her birthday cupcake, an astounding series of events happened that required split second timing, and almost led to utter disaster.
1) Minnie walked by doing the celebration napkin-waving dance.
2) The waiter delivered Anabelle's birthday cupcake.
3) Anabelle ran out to dance with Minnie.
4) The waiter lit the candle.
5) Goofy walked by just as Anabelle reached the edge of the table.
6) Anabelle ran back to her seat in panic ducking under the waiter.
7) The ends of her hair hit the candle, and blazed up.
8) I yelled, "She's on fire" and hit part of it from behind, pushing her to Rosa.
9) Rosa put it out with her hand, and grabbed her into a hug to make sure it was smothered.
The waiter had no idea what happened, at first. It definitely wasn’t his fault, but he got so flustered he ended up telling us some convoluted story about Guy Fawkes Day at private school. The tale interspersed him trying to remember who Guy Fawkes was and the fact that they burned hair from the school barbershop in the bonfire with an effigy. Since he wasn’t British, I have no idea where the story came from, and was just hoping he’d finish so we could get coffee for Grandma and the bill. There was a good spot to all this though. When Goofy passed by, Anabelle came and stood next to me to be in a picture with him. She even gave him a high five afterwards and also as we were leaving. Pluto, of course, had to pee again, so we never saw him. For those of you playing the home game, this is the same place where Anabelle grabbed a lit candle on her second birthday. Chef Mickey’s was officially removed from our birthday hit list.
We were too late for the Water Pageant, but did get to see the Halloween fireworks from the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge. The Halloween theme was really everywhere. Besides the paper cups and napkins, there was a washcloth folded into a bat hanging over our mirror in the room. They also rolled a towel up to hold toothbrushes and put glow in the dark cat face stickers on it…