Sept 4, 2012





A look behind the scenes


Since we had had an early night the day before, we were up at 7 and ready to tackle a park today. Since we had time to spare we decided to just drive over to Olivia’s and find out if we could have breakfast there. We were happy to see that there were only 3 other parties having breakfast and we were quickly led to a booth.

The server came by, introduced herself and gave a few recommendations to the menu. We placed our orders for coffee and tea, ordered some orange juice and then waited for our breakfast to come out. When there is something I really love at Olivia’s, it is the Strawberries and Cream. So this is what I had ordered for a starter. It soon came out and it was as wonderful as always. Fresh, ripe pieces of strawberries, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with brown sugar. We had eaten a few spoonfuls of it when the “mains” arrived. Tom had ordered the Breakfast Cuban, Scrambled Eggs, Sliced Pork Loin, Ham, Swiss, and Tomato on a Grilled Cuban Roll served with Breakfast Potatoes.

I had gone with my usual choice, the Traditional Eggs Benedict, Two Poached Eggs with Canadian Bacon on an English Muffin with Key Lime Hollandaise. Just what we needed. We had our hot dishes, then finished off the strawberries, paid our bill and off we went. One last stop at the villa to pick up our park bags and off we went.

It was a short drive to the ticket and transportation center and we were soon were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. We arrived shortly after they had officially opened their gates and when we walked under the railway station we walked right into a performance of the Main Street Trolley Show. We stopped and watched for a while, then walked up Main Street inside the shops. We really enjoyed the shops without an aweful lot of people in there and quickly made our way up to the hub. We turned to our left, took a few photos of the castle and headed over to Adventureland. We were blown away by the change in crowds, compared to the Sunday before.

They were light and it felt like the park was practically empty. We walked past the Aloha Isle and when we got close to Aladdin’s Flying Carpet, we noticed that Aladdin and Jasmine were in line with some other guests. We stopped and watched while they climbed on board with some guests and rode the carpets with them. It was fun to see all the people stopping and watching while they rode and waved at people. Once the ride was over they got off and walked right towards us and then over to the buildings to do some autographs and have some photos taken. With the crowds so light we decided to head over to Big Thunder Mountain as we had not ridden it much so far this vacation.

We picked up a Fast Pass for a little while later and then headed right over to the ride. Right when we walked up we were handed one of the red tags to find out how long the wait was and we happily took it with us. I think it didn't take us any longer than 5 minutes until we handed the tag to another cast member. They were only running one side of the ride and we asked if we could go to the back and were granted our wish with a smile. It was a fun ride and once we had gotten off and walked around we had a look at where the line started. We didn’t see anyone outside and the wait time said 5 minutes, so we got in line again.

Again, we were on the ride in about 5 minutes and so we repeated the drill 3 more time, bringing us to a total of riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 5 times within one hour. After that the line grew just a bit and we decided to go and do something else. So we strolled through the stores over to Liberty Square and since there was a relatively short line for Haunted Mansion we got in line there. This time we just stayed in the regular line and were soon in the Stretching Room. About 20 minutes later we walked over to Fantasyland, picking up another Fast Pass for Peter Pan and started to stroll through the stores around the castle. And once we were done we strolled along the construction fences over to Tomorrowland. And while we were standing in front of one of the drawings and pointing to the work you could see from there we were approached by a  cast member who was not in a uniform, but had one of those earpieces. He asked where we were from and if we knew what we were looking at and started to explain about the New Fantasyland. It was really nice to hear a lot of the details and it got us all excited. Then, he looked around a bit and lowered his voice and asked if we would be around in the early afternoon. Well, we had nothing special planned, so we told him yes, we would be. He then told us that there was “a good chance” they were letting guests in behind the fence for a dress rehearsal of “Storytime with Belle”. Now that got us real excited.

He proceeded by telling us that it was only a chance and no guarantee, but we had already set our mind on it. Well, we didn’t tell him that, but when we finally said our goodbyes all we talked about was the possibility of maybe have a peek behind the scenes. We headed over to the Peoplemover and discussed how to go about all this. Our Fast Pass for Peter Pan was about to kick in, so we headed back to that area and our hearts skipped a beat while walking past the New Fantasyland. We got in the Fast Pass line for Peter Pan and in no time were seated and flying over London. We were both thirsty, so we headed over to Columbia Harbour House for a drink and for a snack.

I got a Lighthouse Sandwich, hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw on toasted multigrain bread with potato chips and we got a Diet Coke to share. The sandwich was wonderful, light and just hit the spot. We sat upstairs, looking out of the window and enjoying the day. Once we were done, refreshed and cooled down we headed back out again. We strolled past the area and indeed they asked random people and took them behind the fence. And even though we walked REALLY slowly, they didn’t even look at us.

We walked down to Cosmic Rays to talk about a strategy that would help being chosen, but our attention went right over to the crowd of people at the entrance to one of the stores. There was a little boy talking to a trash can. And would you believe it, the trash can talked back. We had run into Push! The little boy kept exploring and looking and running after Push, and when he lost interest, Push seemed to develop a crush on one of the young ladies who were standing there watching. They had the funniest conversation and we all were cracking up laughing. After some time we decided to head back and try our luck again. We stayed in the area watching what was happening. Again, there were cast members approaching guests to go behind the scenes. And then we saw a family go up to the door and just talk to the cast members there and they were let in. We waited some more and there were other people just doing the same, so we took all our courage and walked up to the cast members as well. They didn’t blink, just smile and let us behind the construction fence.

It was like stepping into another world. The house of Belle’s father looked so inviting, the path was full of horseshoe prints and the cast members back there were in costume and so friendly. One came over to us and told us all about the storyline and what was going to happen. They let us know that the wait outside was about half an hour and that once we were inside the building there were several rooms to go through and we would be told about what was going on once we had made it there. We did not mind at all, we got in line, happy to be in line in the first place. It took about 25 minutes and we made it inside the building. The first room was Belle’s father’s living room.

There were lots of reminders of her childhood and it looked so much like a real living room. Next was a room with a huge mirror. It looked like a workshop and we were told the story behind it and suddenly the mirror changed into a walkway. We were then inside the castle and a talking wardrobe picked some people to participate in acting out the story of Belle and the Beast. We were then led into the library and Belle appeared and they acted out the story.

It was so such a lot of fun to watch. A photopass photographer was at hand and took a lot of photos of everyone in the show and at the end Belle was happy to take photos with people who had participated. Once the show was over we were walked outside, asked about our experience and then made our way towards the exit again. We took a few more photos and then left the area happily. It had taken us close to an hour to preview “Storytime with Belle” and now we were tired and hungry, so what we did was, we picked up a Turkey leg on the way out of the park, had it wrapped up nicely and headed out towards the exit.

And since we were in such a good mood Tom got himself a cap that had a built in fan, one we had seen earlier in the day. He wore it on the way out and when we walked along the walkway, we passed a family of three. And right when we had passed them, I heard my name, so we turned around and it turned out that family of three was on the DISboards as well and they were reading my trip report. They were Brits living in Germany and enjoying a lovely time at WDW. We talked for a very short while, took a photo and then off we all went again. Tom and I drove back to Old Key West, laid the table and had the still warm turkeyleg, together with some salads out of the fridge, some chips and salsa. It was a really lovely late lunch and we had a lot to talk about.

For dessert we shared the Carrot Cake Cupcake which was really nice and moist, with just the right amount of icing. We sat out on the balcony for a while, waiting for the laundry to be done and when it was finally done around 6am we decided to head over to Epcot to spend a little more time in a park. We parked the car, then headed into the park.

We looked at some of the shops, and then got into the  line for Mission Space. The wait was pretty short, so once we were done, we turned around and got in line again. Next stop was Mousegear. What a nice spot to chill and have a good look at the merchandise. There were a few things we wanted to have a look at, Dooneys and some jewellery, but the cast members were too engaged in their private conversations to ask if we needed something, so after some time we gave up. We then headed outside and decided to go over to Spaceship Earth. The line was non existant so we hopped on the ride and soon were going through past and future. Once we got off we headed over to the art shop and browsed for a while.

After that we walked through part of the countries, before we decided not to stay until park closing and head back to Old Key West right now. We went back to our car and in just a few minutes we were back in our villa. We could not see the fireworks from our location, but could indeed hear them when we arrived. We watched a little TV before we were sure the day had been long enough and we were going to bed.