Friday, August 22, 2008

Winter in the World Showcase - '04 Walt Disney World Showcase

Or “Freezing my butt off" in 7 different languages.

Chapter 6

Family Council -12/13/04

The Weather channel (which Mini Maureen and I have a direct uplink to at home – we lived in “Tornado Alley” in North Central Texas for way too long… it scarred us for life) has reported that a big COLD (read ARTIC) front is on its way.

This is not the first we have heard of this. It was forecast even before we left home. I encouraged the family to pack a little of everything including clothing that could be layered. We're prepared. We decide to go to EPCOT on Tuesday. More things to do inside.

Little has been said to this point about my Robitussin addiction and with good reason. I truly was feeling better, exhausted, but better. I was getting by with a dose before bed and one with breakfast. Couple that with some (sing it with me now) RiiiiccoLAAA cough drops during the day and Dr. D was beginning to think that I really didn’t have tuberculosis.

The weather had been so nice….

All this was about to change.


We hit EPCOT right at about 9:30 am. So did the jet stream.

If you could find a sunny spot, out of the wind, facing south, with your scarf around your head, it wasn’t too bad.

Characters were out in full force at the front. Deanster goes to Pinocchio. I see Gideon. Now for those of you not well versed in your Pinocchio, Gideon is the faithful sidekick to J. Worthington Foulfellow, a.k.a. Honest John. I always empathized with poor little Pinocchio. I would’ve gone with them, too. After all didn’t Honest John say “Come with us, we’ll make you a star!”?

Deanster says Gideon is creepy looking.

Hey diddle di dee, an actor’s life for me!

We work our way pretty quickly back to the World Showcase. We did stop to check out these guys (and gal) for a bit. They are called Kristos.


I think it is so cool for EPCOT to have all the different performing artists.

We take a left at the lake and start with Mexico. It’s still not quite 11 yet so Deanster and Mini check out some shops to get out of the wind. Dr. D is in heaven, having already shed his windbreaker. He loves the weather.

I should clarify that Dr. D lived several years in Wisconsin while attending UW at Madison (or UMAD as he refers to it.) He is part penguin. Has been known to stand outside in a snowstorm and eat ice cream.

I think he’s nuts.

I walk around our house, October through March, and occasionally in the summer months when he gets ahold of the thermostat, with a blanket wrapped around me. He calls me “Dances with Flannel.” I freeze about 90% of the time. Today is no different.

Big Cal and I are admiring the flora. Such an amazing array of plants. Next time I need to send him on one of the horticultural tours. I know he’d love it.

Deanster and Mini Mo motor by and we enter the pyramid.

Dr. D twitches….

“Feliz Na-vi-dad….”

Makes me laugh out loud.

We are some of the first to ride El Rio Del Tiempo. Mini Mo thinks this is cool – loves all things Aztec, Inca, etc. Since “It’s a Small World” is closed for refurbishment, I figure this ride is a good replacement.

Decide to grab some coffee in Norway. Dr. D begins a clandestine affair with one of the blonde, blue-eyed Cast Memeber lovelies in the bakery while Deanster and I ride Maelstrom and take pictures. Norway has become his FAVORITE country!!!

Germany is lovely. Tons of poinsettias.

Mini Maureen cheating by standing on the curb!

Our stomach clocks go off right about Italy. Dr. D and I decide to have lunch at Alfredo’s. Truthfully, I’m just looking for any port in the storm. I am COLD and my ears are beginning to hurt a bit from the wind. I can tell a case of the “crankies” are not too far behind if I don’t sit some place warm for a while and have some food.

We couldn’t have picked a better place. Cozy, warm, great food and a sweet, sweet waitress named Rosa Maria. Dr. D gets the Trittico di Pasta which is their sampler of Lasagna, Fettuccine Alfredo and Gnocchi Pomodoro and I get Spaghetti al Fiocco di Pomodoro Saraceno. Soooo good and perfectly “al dente.” We have a great little place by us at home that is run by an Italian family from Brooklyn. They have taught me the correct way to eat pasta and now I can hardly stand it if it is overcooked and mushy.

We get a Cast Member to take a picture of us in the lobby.

No Grumpy shirt today!

She is nearly 6 ft. tall, blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. ITALY is now Dr. D’s favorite country.

(Sadly, Alfredo's is now gone from Epcot - but here is a great website about the Italian section of Epcot, including pics of the restaurant. We mourn the loss of one of our favorite places to go into a food coma!)

As we are leaving, La Befana, the good witch who brings gifts to kiddos on the eve of Epiphany is storytelling. I’ve rarely seen kids sit that still. She was wonderful. Then we duck into a shop that has a mask maker – OMYWORD! Some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. I will have one, one of these days.

We promised to meet the rest of the family in the UK at 2:30 for the “The British Invasion” concert.

We’ve dallied so long over lunch, it’s almost that time. We race through the US and France and find the parents already parked in a choice spot. Dr. D and I pull up some curb, when Deanster explodes out of a shop across the square and the hand signals start.

Camera in one hand, the other over her head making long, fluid “get your freezing butt over here now” gestures. I give Dr. D all travel paraphernalia and bolt.

I get about half way there and she mouths “MA – RY – POP – PINS!” She mouths it because there are very few people outside the shop that are aware of this news.

I hurdle a Japanese family.

I am the biggest Julie Andrews fan that ever lived.

Julie Andrews
Katharine Hepburn
Carol Burnett
Maureen O’Hara

My fantasy dinner party – girl’s night out – me and the other red heads.

I digress.

I want to be Mary Poppins. (I want to PLAY the Evil Queen, Maleficent and possibly Peter Pan, but I want to BE Mary Poppins.) Deanster knows this and lovingly has found her for me.
I’m tempted to ask her to say supercalifragilisticexpialidociuos backwards, but I don’t. (But I bet she could've.)

Pooh is also there, silly ole bear.

Notice we have our coats on inside the building

We walk outside and there is a 3 year old having a NUCLEAR melt down. Her mother is trying her best to calm her down. Deanster goes over and quietly tells the Mom that “Pooh is right inside.” The Mom looks at her and says is an incredulous voice “God must have sent you!”

Ah well, just spreading pixie dust however she can.

We listen to The Fab Four – WOW! All of us are singing along – what fun. Makes you just want to go out and get a bowl hair cut!

We all go back to France and catch "Impressions de France." Deanster tells Big Cal it’s a “200 degree airborne French travelogue set to classical music.” (She reads it out of the Passporter) I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much, but it is very compelling and beautiful – you really feel like you are flying – Big C and Mini Maureen were still seated on their ECV’s and Big C kept trying to change course by moving his handle bars. I never realized scooters could fly!

We wander around France a bit and get to meet Aurora and Belle. Aurora starts to have a very serious talk with Dr. D about the Maleficent pin on his lanyard. He hastily explains that that particular lanyard belongs to me –so I get the lecture. (Thanks!)

I’m so impressed with these actors. They are so well versed in their characters and excellent in their improv skills. They are heroes to me, doing that job everyday (or whatever their shift is) and entertaining so many people, especially children. My hat goes off to them.

As we are walking out of France, MoRockin’ is performing in Morroco (get it?) and we go listen for a while. Dr. D and Big C are particularly intrigued by the belly dancer. I just kept thinking about how cold she must be.

Get to hear a bit of Off Kilter in Canada before we do a little of the Land and Living Seas Pavilions. It’s getting close to dinner time and we’re pooped. AND the temperature is steadily dropping. We ride SpaceShip Earth as a finale and then send the parents back to the buses.

Deanster has decided to stay solo and catch Illumniations and get some good night and fireworks shots.

Dr. D and I are meeting Wonder Boy at Wolfgang Pucks.

We shop for a bit and I get my black baseball cap with “Queen” embroidered on it and start for DownTown Disney.

We decide we’d like to see what the Saratoga Springs Resort looks like, so we hop a bus going there. We figure there should be a bus from there to DownTown Disney pretty quickly because it’s located so near by.

Boy, was I wrong. We sat in front of that Resort for 35 minutes in the freezing cold (temperature is now in the upper 30’s with winds of 15 – 20 mph) watching bus after bus go by. Well, at least Dr. D and I were out of the wind (mostly) and got to cuddle.

We finally get to Wolfgang Puck’s. I can’t begin to tell you how miserable I was (Dr. D was just mildly uncomfortable in his windbreaker.) We meet the guys, get seated and my tuberculosis reappears.

I impolitely drink everyone’s water at the table.

There was much laughter and great food. It is so nice to get to spend uninterrupted time with friends. Especially those you don’t get to see often.

"Uh-huh, I'm all choked up"

After we say our goodbyes, Dr. D and I start back towards the buses in a zigzag pattern. This isn’t difficult in that there is basically no one outside to get in our way. We run from one store front to another, warming up enough to brave the bitter cold for the next few feet. I’m trying to gauge just how long I’ll be able to wait outside for a bus before I come down with pneumonia. I figure about…mmmm…three minutes. And then I see it.

A yellow taxi.

Remember, we quite frequently vacation in Manhattan and I’m well versed in hand signals. There is however, only one cab.

Please, please God. Let us get that cab.

(You know I’m gonna run, don’t you….)

…Dr. D closes the door behind him and says “Coronado Springs, please.”

At this point I didn’t care where we went or how long it took us to get there. Just as long as the heater was working, I was doing just fine.

I tipped the cabbie $10 after Dr. D paid him. It was all I had. Good thing I didn’t have a $100. I just might have given it to him.

We stop at the gift shop and purchase Dr. D an honest-to-God coat to replace his windbreaker for the next day. It cost us $65 (which at Disney is a STEAL), but is a great quilted varsity jacket style. Even Doc thinks it has gotten chilly and is a good idea. I say another prayer of thanks that our room isn’t to far from the main building. I don’t become too much of a popsicle on the way there. Dr D. gets me settled, checked for frostbite and dosed with Robitussin. He then goes back to the Pepper Market for a Mug ‘o Coffee. Says he wants to break in his new coat. (I told you he was nuts!)

When he returns, he tells me of his encounter with the grounds crew.

Somewhere I saw that during the holidays Disney sets out over 40,000 poinsettias. I wouldn’t doubt it. They were all over our resort and the parks. And of course there are all the beautiful tropical plants and topiaries.

I had checked the weather channel when we got in and the temp was 34 degrees, with wind at 20 mph. (I don’t think we’re in Florida anymore, Toto.)

He said there was a mad dash happening outside to remove or cover all tender vegetation. Golf Carts whizzing by in all different directions. I’m sure that was happening all over Disney property.

We do a quick phone check to make sure Deanster hadn’t frozen to death. She was back safe and sound. I put head to pillow and slept the sleep of the drugged.


Chapter 7 - MGM and the day of the “ugly pictures.”


Alyssa said...

I love that Dr. D is part penguin! Kevin IS a polar bear... so they can go live together at the North Pole and we'll invent heat bubbles.. and join them. Now... who do I know that can invent things?? hmmm.. this might take a while. :)

LOVE YOU!! and I am loving this series!

Pat said...

Hi Mel

I never knew it could get so cold in Florida! Brrr! Were the lines still long?

The two times we visited Disney wa sin August and we broiled and got drenched in late afternoon thrunderstorms...and got squeezed by milliions who were on all the

Mel said...

Lyss - I am becoming more cold tolerant - wait 'til you get middle aged! :) But there are still times that I need that heat bubble - LOL

Pat - I can't imagine going in the summer. Yes the crowds were very low. We love going this time of year and have been every year since this. Between lower crowds and the Christmas decor, it is WONDERFUL.