Tuesday, March 22, 1994

1994 SeaWorld (3/22/1994)

Tuesday, March 22, 1994
Our usual rambling morning. I packed our things and we threw our suitcases in the van. Said goodbye and thank you to Debbie (we said goodbye to David last night). We hit the road in the same direction as Disney World, but exited a little earlier to go to SeaWorld. Arrived about 10:00. Paid $5 to park. Took a tram from the Manny Manatee lot to the entrance. The Ws had discounted tickets from AAA, Kent and I used complimentary passes David had received from work, and we bought Brynne’s ticket at a discount using Mike’s union card! We did not rent a little dolphin stroller. This time Kathy led and we headed straight to Shamu Stadium for the 11:15 show, but it was already full. So Kent, Mike and I went to Mission Bermuda Triangle, a Disneyesque ride with a Disneyesque line. It was a simulator and had us exploring the ocean floor, then danger! I thought we were falling into the ravine, but actually we were zooming up towards the surface. Should have figured it out because jettisoned items sped downward, rather than floating down along with us. I had an empty stomach and thought I would get queasy, but it was okay. We met Kathy and the girls at Shamu’s Happy Harbor, a playground. We had lunch at Mango Joe’s Café. A long cafeteria line, but Mike and I went to get a table with a view. We got a sneak peek at the 12:15 water ski show. Had chicken sandwiches and Brynne and Leah had chicken fingers, where Brynne did not like the breading but Leah did. Kathy shared some of her strawberries and whipped cream with Brynne. The water ski show had a Gold Rush theme and seemed a bit humdrum, although we were only seeing skiers coming and going!
Water ski show
We then hurried to get seats in the splash section of Shamu Stadium. The pool had glass sides for a marvelous view of the killer whales.
Mike, Brynne, and Leah
Orcinus orca/Killer Whales
There was a pre-show show on a huge television screen. Showed trivia questions, then zoomed in live on the audience, finding a member to indicate an answer (by nodding or showing a number of fingers). Quite entertaining! Finally the main attractions, with so many trainers! A history of all the babies, with one dad and two moms? Lots of splashing. Although we did not get splashed, this time we were just as glad because those who did get splashed got totally soaked, drenched with water! A good show, although orcas are not as talented as dolphins.
Shamu backflip
Trainer surfing on Shamu
Another Shamu leap
Next we headed to the manatees, but along the way we went into the Terrors of the Deep. A marvelous clear acrylic tunnel right through the shark tank! Lots of eels! Then over to the Penguin Encounter with lots of viewing area. The exhibit buildings would get full and a line would extend outside, but our timing was such that we would walk right in. The Monster Marsh was pretty much like Roger Williams Zoo dinosaur exhibition. We were given booklets to stamp for each dinosaur we saw. Mike made sure ours were fully stamped!
Baby Stegosaurus
More alligators
Finally the manatees. They were huge, no wonder they call them sea cows! There was a call to save them from being injured by boaters.
Trichechus manatus/West Indian Manatee from above
Manatee from below
On our way out, we reached into the stingray lagoon; slimy! At the exit, the Ws could redeem their tickets for a second free day at SeaWorld. We could not with our complimentary passes, but we were headed back to Rhode Island, anyway! The Ws drove us to the airport and dropped us off. The check-in line was long à la Disney! Then off to the gate to wait for the 16:28 flight to Raleigh-Durham, on which Brynne fell asleep. While waiting in Raleigh-Durham, there were North Providence-type guys being inconsiderate, throwing around a football. Brynne wanted to try the individual TVs, so I put in a quarter. She did not like the channel choices. On our 19:10 flight to Providence, Brynne wrote us notes. Arrived on time, but had to wait for baggage. Called Thrifty and went to catch the van to get our car. Our car was warm, running, with the lights on when we got there. Saw the Cs' car there, too (they were in San Francisco!). Home by 21:30.

Monday, March 21, 1994

1994 Walt Disney World EPCOT (3/21/1994)

Monday, March 21, 1994
Up relatively early and left by 8:00 to give us time in rush hour traffic to get to Breakfast with Minnie by 9:30. The days start out foggy or overcast, but get sunny and up to 80 degrees. The only traffic jam was in Winter Park due to a fender-bender. Once past it we made good time to Disney World. There we made the mistake of going to the Magic Kingdom parking lot instead of to the Magic Kingdom Resorts. Left to turn around and came through the parking gate again, showing our $5 receipt. This time we correctly found the Polynesian Resort and parked near the main entrance and walked into the tropics! Went upstairs in the lobby to the Papeete Bay Verandah for the Minnie Menehune Breakfast. Despite reservations and being 15-20 minutes early, we had to wait with many others in a large waiting area. Brynne and Leah were all dressed up for the occasion.
Brynne and Leah waiting
for Breakfast with Minnie
It was past 9:30 when we were taken to a wonderful corner table with windows on two sides. A typical buffet breakfast. Brynne just wanted bacon. Our first eating splurge of the trip. One by one, several characters stopped by to visit at the table. Of course, Minnie came, but also Goofy in a tropical shirt, and Chip and Dale. Leah studiously ate instead of making any eye contact. Brynne posed and accepted kisses on the top of her head.
Dale and Brynne
Leah, Goofy, and Brynne
Kathy, Leah, Brynne, and Chip
Brynne and Minnie
The breakfast was winding down when we left at 10:30. Traded in the parking ticket for $5 in cash. We left our car here for the day, wore our buttons proclaiming we had breakfast with Minnie, and went to catch the monorail (ride #25) to the Transportation Center. Transferred to another monorail (#26) to take us to EPCOT. We had decided to see a few things here, although we knew it would not be for Brynne and Leah’s taste. The monorail made a big loop through EPCOT before stopping at the station. Brynne and Leah pointed out the “big ball.” As we looped back, Leah said, “Look! Another ball!” not realizing it was the same one.
Disney World Monorail
We entered the park and went straight to the big ball for the ride (#27) in Spaceship Earth. As we spiraled up we learned about communication through history. We turned around and spiraled back down a steep descent, tilted back practically lying on our backs. The ride stopped for a while in the dark with loudspeakers blaring.
Kent, Brynne, Leah, Mike, and
Kathy at Spaceship Earth
Next we circled around to the right to the Journey into Imagination for the 3-D Captain EO show (#16) starring Michael Jackson. Not as good as the Muppet show, but a classic that will soon be replaced. Outside we watched the fountains that looked like jumping streams of water. Brynne tried to get wet.
Brynne under a leaping stream of water
After a restroom stop we heard booming music, and saw the water ballet at the CommuniCore Fountain, with the water spraying in patterns in time with the music. We looked for Disney characters and the Barbie show (not on today). Next, to Mexico for ride #28 on the Rio del Tiempo, pointing out Mexican sights, including a room of It’s a Small World dolls, illustrating fiestas. Then to Norway. But its ride had an hour and a half wait. When we arrived at Italy, we saw there was to be a Barbie autograph event (show #17?). We queued up early and had snacks. After a half hour, Barbie arrived in a pink stretch limo! She was accompanied by Skipper.
Barbie's limo
Barbie, Brynne, and Skipper
 We were in front in the limited access area, and got our autographs and photos. We then waited for transportation, and the first vehicle to come along was a double-deck bus (#29). We rode that all the way around the World Showcase Lagoon with a cocky driver. We made a beeline back to the monorail station. There were lots of cold drinking fountains, and we refilled our bottle. Ride #30 to the Transportation Center, then #31 on a monorail to the Magic Kingdom. There we took a boat (#32) to Discovery Island (show #18?), where our tickets were carefully checked.
Boat to Discovery Island
Not exactly a zoo like we thought, but a tropical world. We did not see any animals roaming free, but lots of birds. Several cages of large birds and small animals. We pretty thoroughly toured the island, seeing some ugly hatchlings at the hospital, a white peacock, a bald eagle, and what looked like eggs on netting draped high in the air. We later discovered the “eggs” were probably fruit off a tree!
Leah and Brynne on Discovery Island
White Peacock
Guttera pucherani/Crested Guineafowl
Phoenicopterus chilensis/Chilean Flamingos
Brynne at the flamingos
Eudocimus ruber/Scarlet Ibis
Crinum asiaticum/Giant Spider Lily
Haliaeetus leucocephalus/Bald Eagle
Coragyps atratus/Black Vultures and
Alligator mississippiensis/American Alligators
We hurried to catch the next boat (#33) off the island back to the Magic Kingdom. We had had our hands stamped, and could re-enter after being scanned by the ultraviolet light. The man was nice enough to show Brynne how her wrist lit up under the black light. We decided to again not get a stroller, but perhaps we should have. Kathy was starving, so we got her something to eat, plus cookies and milk for Brynne and Leah. We sent Kent and Mike to Space Mountain, while we watched some of the show on the Castle Forecourt that we had seen the first evening. After Kathy ate, we headed to Mickey Starland to get character autographs, which Brynne really wanted! But she did not want Captain Hook’s! She was disappointed that Dopey did not show. We did get another Cinderella mouse!
Leah and Brynne at the Mickey Starland playground
Walt Disney World Railroad
The Skyway was not in operation today, so we walked to meet the dads at the Dumbo ride. Kathy and I took the girls on the ride (#34), and Leah fell asleep waiting in line. Kent had picked up Brynne’s chosen souvenir, a Minnie Mouse hat with a Minnie face in relief in plastic (and one for Leah, too). We also rode Mr Toad’s Adventure (#35) where a family with a handicap cut in between us and the Ws! The dads took them on the Grand Prix Raceway (#36).
Brynne and Kent at the Grand Prix Raceway
One last walk down Main Street, and we took a monorail (#37) back to the Polynesian Resort to get the car. We took I-4 towards Winter Springs, but got off at International Drive to find a place for dinner. Both Brynne and Leah fell asleep in the car. We stopped at a buffet place, where Mike ordered the buffet. I had a salad, and Brynne woke up to eat something. On the way home I had us stop at a WalMart to buy film, at nearly closing time at 21:30. At Dave and Debbie’s we put the girls to bed (Leah in her clothes as she was still fast asleep). A Disney World grand total of 18 shows and 37 rides?!
Brynne and Leah with their Minnie Mouse hats
It's Minnie!
Next: SeaWorld.

Sunday, March 20, 1994

1994 Airboat Ride and Kennedy Space Center (3/20/1994)

Sunday, March 20, 1994
David's and Debbie's house
David was off work for the weekend (yesterday he did yard work), but Debbie had to work. Another leisurely start to the day, and we left about 10:00 with David as our guide. He directed us out Rte-50 towards the East Coast, then down Rte-520. After crossing a bridge over the St Johns River, we stopped at the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp that also offered airboat rides. Kent paid the $60+ for all of us and was given a number. We were told we would have to wait 45 minutes. Since it was 11:30, we decided to get lunch, hamburgers and chili. The wait was actually a bit longer. There were lots of foreign tourists, British and Swiss among them. We watched other groups go out on the noisy airboats, flat-bottomed boats with a gigantic fan attached to the back! They travel easily over marsh grasses and even up on land. Brynne and Leah fed potato chips to ducks and gulls.
Brynne and Leah
Returning airboat
Eventually it was our turn, and we got the big airboat to ourselves. Could have fit 10 people, but took us seven. Off we roared, with the wind in our faces no matter which direction we went! Headed through marsh grasses and water lilies. We slowed down to look for alligators. We were where the St John River widens into a shallow lake. We did see several alligators, up to five-footers.
The boats are not supposed to get too close to them. Spent quite a while wandering around searching for alligators, seeing easily a dozen pairs of eyes and nostrils just above the surface of the water. The airboat then zoomed back to the dock.
Traveling through marsh grasses
David, Mike, Leah, Brynne, Kent, and airboat captain
Back in the car we re-traced our way back to Rte-50, then continued east. Drove through the town of Christmas! Flat countryside with some birds, and cows in wet areas shared by airboats. A few orange groves with oranges on the trees. Arrived at a causeway and drove through Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge towards the Kennedy Space Center. We first turned into a commercial enterprise with a large model of the Space Shuttle. Then continued to Spaceport USA, where we split up to go at our own pace. Leah was with us much of the time. Museum, art gallery, and photo opportunities with a spaceman, while wearing a spacesuit, and on a moon buggy.
Kent and Brynne on a moon buggy
Brynne "wearing" a spacesuit
Saw a moon rock and space memorabilia. Skipped the IMAX movie and technical movies. We started through the Satellites and You exhibit, but had to leave through an emergency exit to take Leah to the bathroom. Outside there was a rocket garden, with missile-type hardware. Model of a space station. Saw the space shuttle mock-up that was being built.
Space shuttle mock-up
Went to the Astronauts Memorial, which is a space mirror. It is constantly aimed at the sun.
Astronauts Memorial
Down below in a shallow pool were a couple alligators along with turtle and fish; an up-close zoo-like view that Brynne and Leah did not mind. We had them try Space Dots, the freeze-dried ice cream that comes as tiny balls. A little gummy, but tasted real.
Leah and Brynne eat Space Dots
We also did not do the bus tour out to the launch pad. The Stumpes and Leah were done, and went to sit and wait. The Ws did everything they could before the place closed down! Or at least everything they could that was free! We left about 18:00 and arrived in Winter Springs at 19:00. We went to pick up Debbie from work, where she had had some crisis. We took Dave and Debbie to Bennigan’s to treat them for allowing us to stay at their place. We had a large table in the corner for eight of us. I had a large salad. Brynne was picky eating tonight. Back to Dave and Debbie’s to visit, and to bed at a decent hour.
Next: Walt Disney World EPCOT.

Saturday, March 19, 1994

1994 Walt Disney World MGM/Disney Studios (3/19/1994)

Saturday, March 19, 1994
It was decided to have a big breakfast, so we left a little later this morning. Arrived at MGM/Disney Studios closer to 11:00. It did not seem at all crowded. Parking lot tram was ride #14. We received a map and schedule, and decided not to rent a stroller. Headed down Hollywood Boulevard with lots of shops, and the Grumman Theater as the centerpiece. Walked past the green dinosaur ice cream shop in the middle of a pond, and heard rumblings from the Indiana Jones building.
Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction
We joined the line for the Monster Sound Show (#6), which was not supposed to be scary, but had a haunted house theme. There was a short film with Chevy Chase and Martin Short, seen as original. Then volunteers were cued to provide sound effects, and the movie was shown again with the added effects. Funny, and the audience’s “look out!” changed the ending! Outside the exit were Sound Works creating your own effects. Brynne loved it when Kent dubbed the voice of Roger Rabbit, and it was played back! We went in search of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground, and ended up in the New York City set.
New York City set
You could see it was just painted boards, but it was very realistic looking. We wanted rope-side seats for the Aladdin’s Royal Caravan parade at 13:00, so we staked them out. We brought water, juice, and snacks. Pretty soon, along came show #7, not a tremendously long parade, but wonderful! Aladdin and Jasmine, the Genie and Jafar. Everyone was there!
Leah, Tamiko, and Brynne wait for the parade
Here comes the Genie!
Wait! It's the Genie again!
Marketplace from the Aladdin movie
Aladdin and Jasmine, on Abu as an elephant
Jafar has clean-up duty at the end of the parade
Next for show #8 was Jim Henson’s Muppet Vision 4-D. We were given 3-D glasses, and the theater provided more effects for a delightful movie. Beauty and the Beast was next on our list, but was not starting yet. We did find the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set (ride #15) to climb giant Cheerios, slide out of a film canister, get wet from a hose leak, and hear bees buzzing overhead. Brynne and Leah spent most of their time getting wet.
Brynne on film canister slide
Brynne and Leah on a giant Cheerio
Trick fountains
Kent and Kathy went to stand in the Beauty and the Beast line, while the rest of us watched (show #9) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flip around.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
For Beauty and the Beast (#10), we sat in the first row behind the seats for the handicapped. There were some Hispanics drinking beer and posing in front of the stage during the musical show. Brynne and Leah loved the familiar characters and songs, and they were right there in front of them!
Beauty and the Beast: Mrs Potts, Lumiere, and Cogsworth
The Beast and Beauty
Belle and the Beast as a human
We returned back down the New York City street to join the line for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (#11). We finally reached the grotto-like theater and were misted during the multi-media show with video, slides, puppets and a real person mermaid, lasers, etc. Quite a show. Back out in the light, we boarded the Backstage Studio Tour (ride #16) right away. We were taken through costuming, past movie and TV set houses (just façades), props, and vehicles of all sorts.
Pacific Electric Railway car
Past the Earffel Tower, a water tower with giant Mickey ears. Then into catastrophe canyon, a movie set in action. A tanker truck gets caught on fire, and a flash flood gets us wet.
Catastrophe Canyon fire
Catastrophe Canyon flood!
Mixed reviews from the girls. They wanted to get wet, but this was too scary! We disembarked at a sort of museum of props, costumes for the Nightmare Before Christmas, which was not familiar to us. We found the Backlot Express for a lunch of fruit and chicken sandwiches. I ended up taking Brynne then Leah for a BM run. Mike and Kent went off to do Star Tours and Indiana Jones, and Kathy and I took the girls to the Great Movie Ride (#17).
From the Indiana Jones show
Replica of Grauman's Chinese Theater
We had to circle around a presentation about Hulk Hogan who is making a movie with Disney. We were taken through movie sets with Audio-animatronics of the likes of John Wayne, Mary Poppins, and Clint Eastwood. We were in the middle of a gunfight when our driver disappeared and a gunman took over. We had to hide the girls from the Alien. The gunman was overcome with greed for a jewel on a tomb and our driver came back. A montage of film, and the ride was over. Brynne and Leah were wary of rides now, because there was always a scary part!
We went to the Magic of Disney Animation (#12) showing a film with Walter Cronkite explaining the process, and Robin Williams was the tourist as the example. We went through a studio where there was a guy with a rat on his shoulder. Mostly pretty entertaining, but the girls loved the last part, a montage of Disney animated movies. A fitting end for the day at MGM.
As we waited for the dads, I went to change the reservations for breakfast for Minnie to Monday. We left as the park closed at 19:00. The tram to the car was ride #18. We drove to the Magic Kingdom parking lot, where our parking receipt for MGM got us in for free. The tram to the Transportation Center (#19) and the monorail (#20) brought us into the Magic Kingdom. We had time before the parade, so took the train (#21) to Frontierland where we would watch it. We did the Pirates of the Caribbean (#22) and the Tropical Serenade with the Enchanted Tiki Birds (#13), before getting rope-side seats for the Spectromagic Parade (#14).
Spectromagic Parade Dragonfly
Spectromagic Parade Peacock
It was indeed magic, with each character and float covered with hundreds of colorful mini-lights. Quite spectacular! After the parade we watched the fireworks show (#15). Off in the distance you could see Tinkerbell’s flight downward from a high castle window. The fireworks were actually off to the left from our view on a bridge of Frontierland. We then took a ferry (#23) to the Transportation Center. From the ferry we glimpsed the Electrical Water Parade, with floats on barges in the water. Took the tram (#24) to the car and were “home” by midnight.
Next: Airboat Ride and Kennedy Space Center.