The Spencer Family WDW Trip Report

Part 3

Day 5, June 4 - River Country, Magic Kingdom

Whenever I planned for us to stay out late, I compensated by scheduling something that didn't require us to get up early the next day. River Country's hours fit the bill for us as the park didn't open until 10 am. We woke up around 8:30 am and took our time eating breakfast. We packed our lunch in a cooler along with plenty of drinks and caught the Chip bus to River Country. Tickets were $49.40 total, which included a significant Fort Wilderness guest discount (about 17%). I won't go into a lot of details about the park. Michele Warner has written a very detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that resides on Debbie Wills' Walt Disney World Informaton Guide (WDWIG). You may go directly to Deb's page by clicking here. Since we've not been to the other water parks, I couldn't compare it to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. However, we found it to be just right for us. Katie and Brian had never been to a water park, so we thought it best to ease them into it. They both took right to the White Water Rapids tube ride, with all of us riding it several times before the lines got too long. Katie wanted to go to the kiddie area to try the slides. The height limit is 48 inches and she was small enough to not get checked. The lifeguard in this area was closely supervising to make sure that the big kids were kept out. (Katie just made the 48 inch height limit on the tube ride, so she got the best of both worlds!) Brian and I then tried the Boom Swing and Cable Ride several times. Both were O.K.

There are two water slides in the main swimming area. One begins at a lower level and the other somewhat higher. Brian was the first to try these slides and after about 6 times on the lower one he built up enough nerve to ride the taller one. He loved it! A word of caution. The exit area for the slides is 5 to 6 ft. deep and there is a fair current pushing you out and away from the ladders. Brian is a good swimmer but he still felt better if I went down the slide first and waited for him to come out behind me. After about 20 times, I decided to go find Katie because I knew she would love the slides. Sure enough, once she started she didn't want to quit! I made her wear a life vest to be safe, as she isn't as confident a swimmer as Brian. Vests are free to resort guests and can be picked up at the towel rental counter by showing your resort ID. There are plenty of lifeguards all around and they switch stations every 30 minutes to keep from getting too bored. All during the day there were various activities going on. Goofy, Chip and Dale all made appearances while we were there. In addition to the swimming hole off of Bay Lake, there is an enclosed swimming pool. At the pool there is a slide called Slippery Slide Falls. This is a short slide that is pretty similar to jumping off the high dive so imagine my surprise when Brian wanted to try it! He did it several times, each time smacking his leg or arm on entry. He finally wised up and quit. Before I leave the River Country section, I need to comment on the ice cream dots. Yummy! Katie and Brian discovered these and they kept going over there and getting free samples. I kind of felt guilty after about the 10th sample so I actually bought some. They are expensive but they are worth it! We left at about 3:30 pm thoroughly worn out, at least I was! We rode the bus back to the camper, took showers, fixed dinner in the camper and relaxed for a little while.

Rejuvinated, we packed up and caught the boat to the Magic Kingdom. We started in Tomorrowland, riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Carousel of Progress and Take Flight all with no wait of course. We were able to confirm lots of Hidden Mickeys along the way. We took the shortcut from Tomorrowland to Mickey's Toontown Fair to check out the characters in the Toontown Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, all were characters that we had already seen. Given the kids had been so brave on the River Country water slides, I was able to convince them that Splash Mountain was not nearly as scary. They agreed and off we went to Frontierland via the WDW Railroad. We had to wait about 25 minutes for Splash but it was worth it. Brian was still a bit scared of the big fall but all in all, he handled it pretty well. Katie, my little daredevil, was ready to go again. Instead, we decided to do Big Thunder at night - my favorite! After a 15 minute wait, which would have been shorter had they been loading from both sides, we were off! Brian loosened up a bit and even held his arms up on the smaller hills. We were high fiving as we left. We jogged over to the train station and were able to catch the last train back around to the Main Street Station. We were able to exit the park just ahead of the throngs parting after Spectromagic.

Day 6, June 5 - MGM Studios

Originally, I had planned to do Early Entry at the Magic Kingdom; however, our new touring strategy was working so well, I ditched that plan and kept to our new strategy. Hence, today we went to MGM Studios. We arrived at about 8:45 am and headed directly to the Great Movie Ride with Hidden Mickey (HM) list in hand. We finally got the gangster car and were able to see some really cool HMs in that room. Also, there are some great HMs in the Indiana Jones room, including Mickey and Donald in the hieroglyphics. Next up was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. We all like this show but I wish they could change the seats so it would be easier for the kids to see the stage. Invariably, Brian (I can't see) and Katie (no fair, I can't see either) end up in our laps, which was fine when they were 20 pounds lighter, but now their bony little butts cut off our circulation! I wonder if they'll let us carry in booster seats?

We zigged across the park again to Star Tours which was still a walk on even at 9:45. Again we found a number of HMs cleverly placed in the queue area. By the way, what's with Disney taking Darth Vader out of the Star Wars gift shop and replacing him with the Energizer Bunny? Please, oh please say this is only temporary! May the Force zap that stinking bunny! If I'd had a lightsaber that bunny would be toast! Muppets 3D was our next stop. This is a truly great show that we never get tired of. It was now about 11 am, 45 minutes before the first showing of the HoND stage show, so we decided to park ourselves in a shady spot with some Mickey ice cream bars. We queued up at about 11:15 at the head of the line and were let in a short while after. We used our strategy of walking around to the left side and were able to get very good seats next to the stage on the fifth row. The show was excellent as always. I don't think we'll ever grow tired of watching and listening to the wonderful cast.

We left the park on a quest for lunch and groceries. Taco Bell turned out to be our lunch destination and the Publix on 192 was our grocery stop. Prices for groceries were much more reasonable than at Goodings or at the Trading Posts in the campground. Actually, we've found that the Trading Posts have comparable prices to Goodings so there really is no savings to be had, although Goodings has a much greater variety. Publix, on the other hand, had prices comparable to what we pay at home. While we were in the area, we also drove a few miles down the road to Celebration. We didn't stop anywhere, just drove around and around. The houses were pretty nice but they didn't seem to have much of a yard, not by Alabama standards anyway. There was still a lot of construction going on too, more than I had expected. We didn't see any kids or adults around either. It was kind of like one of those B movies where aliens come in and take everyone away and leave the town intact. We'll have to go back and check it out again to see how things progress. We found out too this past week that the principal for the Celebration school is coming from right here in Huntsville.

We drove back to Fort Wilderness, put our groceries away, then took a nap. When we woke up, we mounted our bikes and rode to the petting farm and Tri-Circle D ranch. For those fans of Minnie Moo, I've got a new picture along with some trivia. Minnie Moo was born on July 21, 1986 in Edgerton Minnesota. She was given to Disney because of the unique tri-circle Mickey on her side. I don't know how long cows live but Minnie seems to be getting on up there. We had dinner ressies at Sci-Fi at MGM for 5:50 pm so we gathered our gear and headed out at about 5 pm. As we were walking near the Great Movie Ride, Brian was asked to answer some survey questions related to a new show they were planning on shooting at MGM. I can't remember the name of it, but it sounded like a kids game show. We arrived at Sci-Fi at 5:45 and were told our wait would be 5 to 10 minutes but no longer than 15. Well, we sat and we sat, all the while watching everyone in the waiting area being seated as well as dozens of other folks that walked up after us. Finally, at 6:15, our unhappy party was seated. The Sci-Fi looked pretty cool and we were soon seated in a 4 place car. Tony was our server. Brian and Katie both had the Junior Red Planet (spaghetti), Susan had the Trash burger, and I had the Mega burger. We were not impressed with the Sci-Fi. The french fries were typical crinkle cut frozen fries that had a ton of salt on them. The burgers were dry and average at best. The service was the worst I've experienced in all of my trips to WDW. To top it off, the kids meals were $7.75, a full $3 more than at most places. The justification for the higher price was the kids got a glow in the dark frisbee. Whoopee! The bill, with a small tip, was $44. We will not ever go back to Sci-Fi. We ended the night with a ride on the Great Movie Ride again looking for Hidden Mickeys that we had missed before.

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