After two quick days in Florida, Rachel headed home Sunday morning to return to work and motherhood, so I dropped her off at the airport before 7am and headed back towards DisneyWorld. I needed to swing by a drugstore to pick up new insoles for my shoes, so I pulled up to a CVS just outside WDW shortly after 7. There was a young woman standing outside the door, which I correctly interpreted as an ominous sign. She identified herself as an employee, but said she was waiting on the assistant manager to open the store. The reason that he was late is that the police had detained him on the way to work, according to the employee. I decided to seek out another store in the area and then headed back to Beach Club to check out.
I then drove over to Hollywood Studios and began my first truly solo day at DisneyWorld.
I had some trouble getting my ticket to work in the fastpass machine for Tower of Terror, so an employee came over to help me and gave me three fastpasses. I got in the standby line for ToT, and after a short wait, had a great ride, and headed over to Rock & Roller Coaster, where I used the main advantage of a solo park day: the singles line. It sill had a decent wait, and the couple behind me in line mentioned that they were looking forward to ToT, so I gave them my two extra FP’s right before we got on the ride. I lucked into a seat near the front, put my hands up and screamed like a little girl the whole ride. I am, of course, kidding; I was not seated near the front. I then walked back over and fastpassed another great ride on ToT.
Back to the backlot
I had not ridden the Backlot Tour in several years, so I headed to the back of DHS and got in a short line for the attraction. The beginning of the show is some special effects on a set designed to look like Pearl Harbor, and they usually have audience volunteers participating in the show, but this time there were no volunteers. They had pulled them out of the line as usual, and I could see them in their staging area, but the whole special effects part of the show was just the cast member talking. If you’d never seen it before, it might seem normal, but it was a bit odd.
The second portion of this ride is a tram ride through the working studios (well, they were working studios back when the park opened as MGM), costume design areas, and finally into Catastrophe Canyon, where the tram stops and some large-scale movie effects descend. I enjoyed the ride more than I expected, partially because I had a seat in the front row, which made for some interesting photograph opportunities.
As I made my way to lunch, I took some pictures of the park, since it was a beautiful sunny day.
Lunch: Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Solo dining is kind of an interesting experience, but MM nailed it on this day. We had tried this restaurant several times over the years, and found it kind of middling, but it was excellent. I had a table very near the open kitchen and enjoyed listening to the chef barking out orders and expediting. I ordered an appetizer of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, sweet basil leaves and balsamic vinegar, a classic Italian start. I ordered a flatbread pizza called Carne di Italia, which had tomatoes, italian sausage, and spicy tomato sauce. It had just the right amount of heat and was excellent. Full from lunch, I headed back to the car and over to Port Orleans Riverside to check into my new hotel room. My room was ready, and I relaxed for an hour before heading back out.
Another great bus experience
I decided to take the bus to MK instead of my car, so I took the short walk to the bus depot and waited only 2 or 3 minutes before the bus arrived. The bus ride to MK is usually faster than parking>walk>monorail, and it went by quickly. That luck would not continue, but more on that later.
I grabbed some food and got myself a FP for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to use later in the evening. I then visited the Hall of Presidents, which I have not done for at least ten years, and it was a pleasant surprise.
Of course, I had to get a Dole Whip, but this time I got pineapple/orange soft serve swirl instead of the typical pineapple-pineapple float. I took a spin on Jungle Cruise, which as usual, was packed with corny jokes and deadpan puns. While between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, near the tea cups, I had a nice Facetime chat with the girls back home, which entertained people walking by me as I talked to the iPhone I was holding out at arms’ length.
I watched the Main Street Electrical Parade again, and got to witness one mom putting her arm across the chest of another woman who tried to push her family in front of the first mom, who had staked her claim to a good viewing spot. I took a lot of nighttime pictures on this night, but so many that I’m going to put them in a separate post, with the parade, fireworks, and some ride pictures. I had a great ride on BTMR, then headed out, with a stop in the candy store along main street for a few more cheap calories. Well, not cheap.
Ted, rendered speechless
You know how I was like having like a mini love affair with the buses? I got my come-uppance on the way out that night. As I walk out to station 5 for POR, I’m aghast at the sea of people. No three other resorts across all 16 bus stations have as many people as there are in the POR line. In fact, stations 4 & 5 are combined for POR, so it’s already twice as long as any other resort’s line. There are so many people, however, that there is a line outside the line that stretches all the back into station 3. Oh crap.
It took 5 buses before I got on, and needless to say, that was at least 30 minutes waiting in line. And it gets worse. There were two groups of people who had waited in the line and then taken the wrong handicapped exit (both had wheelchairs in their party), getting out of line too early because they thought that’s what the bus driver told them to do. They were frustrated, so I let them back into line ahead of me (I have no idea how far ahead of me they were, this had been going on for at least a few minutes before the line moved far enough for me to get there). Nice thing to do, right?
Except this lady behind me starts making snide remarks about the “people with the wheelchairs getting special treatment” and “this is Disney, your wheelchair doesn’t grant you any privileges here.” I don’t take the bait and ignore her while I eat gummy bears. But she keeps saying things, you know that pregnant awkwardness when someone keeps saying something whacky and trying to get someone to agree with them, and no one does and nobody will, yet that person keeps trotting out the same lines looking for a taker?
Well, guess who ends up sitting next to me on the bus? I didn’t even know it was her, because I never turned around to give her the slightest bit of attention for her ridiculously selfish whining, so I didn’t know what she looked like. I took a seat all the way in the back of the bus, wedged into a corner seat since there were 1,234 people loading onto the bus behind me.
So how did I know it was her? After I hold her backpack and offer to hold her stroller next to me because she has a three year-old boy (her grandson) that she’s carrying, she turns to me and says in entitled-lady-voice, “Thanks a lot for letting those ‘wheelchair people’ (yes, she added some emphasis there) in ahead of us. Really, thanks.” I turn to her with an incredulous look on my face and mutter (too stunned to have a great smartass reply queued up) “Um, they had already gone through the line all the way.” And she says “I know. Thank you.” Again, in complete whiny selfish voice.
To which, of course, I respond with silence. I’m not very smart, but I’m wise enough to know not to engage in conversation where I might have to say something nasty to someone’s grandmother in front of their grandkids. I typically avoid that, unless the grandkids in question are my children, then all bets are off. At this point, we’ve pulled away and the bus is dark, making its way past the Contemporary, and the bus is mostly quiet.
Well, guess what? I’m somebody’s new best friend and apparently I have to hear about her five grandkids that she’s running around DisneyWorld because their mother (her daughter, referred to as “my oldest daughter, the dumb one”) is back in the hotel room throwing up all day.