Day 1, Wednesday October 12, 2005

This was not our typical Disney trip.  It was not planned months in advance.  Shortly after we returned from our September trip to the Pin Celebration at EPCOT we decided to treat Gary’s mother, Ruth, to the magic of a Disney vacation.  Just three weeks later we were off again!

Once again we got a great deal with Southwest for a flight out of Buffalo, NY and stayed at POP Century.  We left Buffalo at 7:30 a.m.   Tiffany Town Cars were waiting for us and we were checked in to our rooms in the 50’s complex by 11:20.  We dropped our luggage in rooms 1423 and 1424 and had a quick bite to eat at Everything POP.

We caught the bus to EPCOT where we picked up our Disney Dining cards and then hopped a monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  Gary and Ruth rode up front!

Ruth in the Monorail

The Mickey Through the Years float - my favourite!

Gary’s Mom can’t walk long distances very well, so we picked up a wheelchair in order to whisk her around the park quickly - and we started to shop our way up Main Street USA.  Our first attraction was Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Ruth had not seen anything like it before.  What a treat it was for us to see her reaction to the 3D experience!  She was beaming – and she didn’t quit beaming for six days!

We picked up a FastPass for Peter Pan and went off to wait for the 3:00 p.m. parade.  While we waited in the wheelchair viewing are in front of the Liberty Tree Tavern a couple sitting beside us suggested that we should pick up a Guest Assistance Card.  After the parade we returned to ride Peter Pan and then It’s a Small World. 

It was time for out 4:05 dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  Gary and Ruth went directly to the castle while I went to get a FastPass for Winnie the Pooh.  Our waiter, Jay, made it a delightful experience in the castle!

We stopped in Tinker bell’s shop where Ruth saw Tink fly, and then we were off to Snow White’s Adventure followed by Winnie the Pooh.  Splash Mountain was another new experience for Ruth – she loved it!

It was time to get a spot for the SpectroMagic Parade, so we headed back to Liberty Tree Tavern and the wheelchair viewing area.  Once again we were delighted to watch her reaction to the parade.  It is a real treat for a couple of jaded old Disney fans to see someone experience “the Disney Magic” for the first time.

Gary & Ruth in the back, Carol one row ahead

After SpectroMagic we moved to an area in front of Crystal Palace to watch the “Wishes” fireworks show.  Once again Ruth was overwhelmed.  “I’ve never seen anything like that – it was wonderful,” she whispered.

It had been a long day, so we headed down Main Street to the buses.  On the way we stopped at Guest Services to pick up a “Guest Assistance Card”.  Wow – what a great deal.  For the rest of our stay Gary referred to it as our “Get out of jail free card”.  All we had to do was flash it at the FastPass line and in we went!  No need for a FastPass!  On many rides we were able to board at the exit point.  We didn’t wait in any lines the rest of our stay.  If you are travelling with a senior, you simply must get one of these cards.

Back at POP Century Gary and I had a swim and then it was “lights out!”

Day 2, Thursday October 13, 2005

We were up and on the bus at 8:30 to get to the Crystal Palace for our 9:35 Character Breakfast.  We dined with Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger and Piglet!  Lots of pictures!

 Off to Adventure Land and the Jungle Cruise (corny jokes) Tiki Birds, Pirates of the Caribbean and then Country Bear Jamboree.  Hooray for the Guest Assistance Card!  We just sped through the rides.

After our huge breakfast we were still stuffed, so lunch consisted of a Strawberry Swirl while we watched the Tea Cups.  Then we were off to Mickey’s Toontown Fair.  Mickey’s House, Minnie’s House, and then we met the mouse himself.  A private audience with a movie star – Mickey Mouse!


Ruth & Pooh at Crystal Palace

Mickey & Ruth

We took a ride on the WDW Railroad around the Magic Kingdom and then walked over to Tomorrowland where we enlisted as Space Rangers and helped Buzz Lightyear fight the evil Emperor Zurg.  The Carrousel of Progress was operating so we took a trip through all those Great Big Beautiful Tomorrows.  It started to rain as we boarded the Tomorrowland Transit Authority for a short tour, but the rain ended when our ride was over and we headed to Stitch’s Great Escape – We still miss the Alien Encounter!

We shopped our way back down Main Street and caught a launch to the Polynesian where we once again enjoyed a unique dining experience at Ohana.  The menu has changed a bit, but it is still our favourite Disney restaurant.  Gary misses the pineapple but I think the bread pudding is a wonderful replacement.

Another ride on the monorail and we were back to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Naturally I had to pick up the MNSSHP Pins, so we split up.  Gary went to Exposition Hall for the new releases while I went to Uptown Jewellers to pick up pins from previous parties.  We watched the Halloween Parade from the wheelchair area in front of Liberty Tree Tavern and made good use of our Trick or Treat bags while we waited.  Cast Members and Characters were passing out goodies throughout the parade. 

Gary & Ruth fighting Emperor Zurg

Halloween Parade

The parade was spectacular, led by the Headless Horseman with Disney Characters in Halloween costumes and of course all the Disney Villains.  We stopped at a few Trick or Treat stations and had our photo taken as we made our way to Main Street where we staked out a spot to watch the special Halloween fireworks.  The witches and bats flying on Main Street kept us amused while we waited for the fireworks, which were once again awesome.

The rest of the night was spent trick or treating and enjoying rides.  Another trip through It’s a Small World then off to the Haunted Mansion.  Ruth and I did some shopping and people watching (some of the costumes were amazing) while Gary took two trips through Splash Mountain.  He was soaking wet but smiling when he joined us to head back to POP Century.  A few more trick or treat stops and our bags were full.  We caught the bus back to our hotel just after midnight.  It was another long but wonderful Disney day!

Day 3, Friday October 14, 2005
We had a quick breakfast at Everything POP before catching a bus to EPCOT.  Spaceship Earth was the first stop followed by a trip through Ellen’s Universe of Energy.  After a visit to Pin Central we stopped at The Land where we went Soarin’ – what an amazing experience!  Once again Ruth was overwhelmed.  We took a boat ride through Living With the Land before stopping at Sunshine Seasons for lunch.

Ruth at EPCOT

Gardens at England

We left Future World and strolled through the rose garden on our way to World Showcase.  We stopped to see the gardens at Canada and then paused for a few minutes in England to enjoy a performance by the British Invasion.

We watched some street performers climb a tower of chairs at France and then enjoyed the movie Impressions de France in the Palais du Cinema.  We walked through the shops at Morocco and then bypassed Japan in order to catch the next American Adventure show.  We arrived in time to  enjoy an a cappella performance by the Voices of Liberty before entering the theatre. 

After the show we backtracked to Japan where we enjoyed another terrific dinner at Teppanyaki.  It is a totally absorbing dining experience.  If I tried the techniques the Japanese chefs use, I would soon be short a few fingers!

After dinner we continued our journey around World Showcase.  We walked through the shops in Italy and Germany.  I cannot walk past Der Teddybar without dropping in to see the teddy bears.  We enjoyed the rides and shows at both Norway and Mexico as we finished our tour of the nations.

We settled in to watch Illuminations from the wheelchair viewing area at the crossroads between the Disney Traders stores.  This was another new experience for Ruth.  We were back to the resort by 10:00 p.m., where Gary and I enjoyed a swim before we crashed for the night!

Our chef at Teppanyaki

Day 4, Saturday October 15, 2005

On our way into Everything POP for breakfast we ran in to Peter and Donna Webb, our Pin Trading friends from Hamilton.  They had just arrived the previous night with their son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. 

 We left them and went to the bus stop, the bus, which pulled in to take us to Animal Kingdom, broke down at the bus stop.  Since we would only have one day at this park we decided not to wait for another bus, we hopped in a cab.  The park was very busy; we have never seen it so busy. 

We went directly to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Many of the animals were very close to the road and we got some terrific pictures.  Unfortunately we did not see any elephants.  We followed the safari with a walk through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and then caught the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch.

We headed back toward Harambe and stopped at Tusker House for lunch and then went to the 1:00 p.m. Flights of Wonder show.  I was selected as one of the two people invited on stage to act as a target for the owl.

This is how you do the Monkey Dance

After the bird show we rushed over to Camp Minnie-Mickey to see the 2:00 p.m. performance of Festival of the Lion King.  It must have been my lucky day . . . I was picked to demonstrate the Monkey Dance!  I think I have now used up my entire 15 minutes of fame.

We took a leisurely stroll through the Safari Trails at the foot of the Tree of Life and saw many of the animals carved into the tree as well as the live animals that live along the trails.  Then we watched It’s Tough To Be a Bug.  Ruth just loves the 3D shows (so do Gary and I)

We watched the Jammin’ Jungle Parade from the wheelchair viewing area on Discovery Island, almost opposite the Beastly Bazaar store.  This is an excellent area to photograph the parade, the sight lines are great and the sun is at your back. 

Mickey in the Jammin' Jungle Parade

Zebra & Eland at Arusha Rock

We then hopped on a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge where we toured the hotel and walked out to Arusha Rock. We saw pelicans, ankole cattle, giraffe, zebras, wildebeest and elands.  We still had a few minutes before our dinner at Boma so we walked around the pool and watched animals on the savannah beside the pool.  We always enjoy dining at Boma and this was no exception, a great dinner.

We had planned to catch a bus to Downtown Disney to do some shopping, but after dinner we were all so tired that we decided to take a cab back to POP Century and enjoy an early night.  Gary and I went for a swim and I was in bed by 9:30.  That’s something I have never done at Disney before – Gary’s a night owl, he stayed up until 9:45.

Day 5, Sunday October 16, 2005

We had breakfast again at Everything POP and boarded our bus to Disney MGM Studios.  After a stop at the Pin Shop under the Sorcerer’s Hat we went on the Great Movie Ride.  We followed the Movie Ride by heading out on the Backlot Tour – I was thankful that I was not selected to get soaked in the engine room!  We walked up New York Street where they were busy setting up for the Osborne Family Lights.  Ruth laughed her way through MuppetVision 3-D and then we stopped at Backlot Express for lunch.
After lunch we watched Voyage of the Little Mermaid and then visited the Magic of Disney Animation.  Ruth found out that the Disney Character most like her is Ariel.

Belle in the Beauty and the Beast Show

Woody, Buzz & Potato Heads in Disney's Stars & Motor Cars Parade

We were able to make the 3:15 Beauty and the Beast show and then scurry over to the wheelchair viewing area beside Sounds Dangerous just in time for the Disney's Stars and Motor Cars Parade.  Once again it was a great photo spot.
Dinner at the 50's Prime Time Café was a treat, as always.  For the first time, I did not order the pot roast – I had the fried chicken instead.  It was very good, but I still prefer the pot roast.

50's Prime Time Cafe

After dinner it was time for Fantasmic.  The Guest Assistance Card (Gary’s “Get out of jail free” card) got us terrific seats in the back row of the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre.  Although Gary and I have seen the Fantasmic show at least a dozen times, it continues to amaze us.  Ruth, who was seeing it for the first time, was simply awestruck.  She could not figure out how she would explain the show to her friends.

We shopped our way out of the park and caught a bus back to POP Century by 9:00 p.m.  Gary went for a swim while I packed for our return home the next day.

Day 6, Monday October 17, 2005

We were up, checked out and had our luggage stored by 8:30.  We were being picked up at 2:15 for our 4:15 flight home, so we had a half-day to spend in one of the parks.  We left the choice of park to Ruth who decided on the Magic Kingdom.  After our last breakfast at Everything POP we boarded the Magic Kingdom bus.

The Main Street Players were dancing behind the horse drawn trolley when we entered the park, so we stopped for a few minutes to watch their show.  Then we started our marathon morning.  We managed to see the Hall of Presidents, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean and Cinderellabration before lunch at the Plaza Restaurant.  Ruth had a banana split for lunch!  It seems like an appropriate way to wind up a Disney vacation.


Do we really have to go home?

Once again, all good things must come to an end.  We were back to POP Century for our 2:15 pick up.  Our 4:15 flight left on time and was uneventful.  We were back home in Burlington by 8:30.


Now just six weeks to wait for our next Disney trip.