Friday, October 15, 2010

The One With No Pictures

by: LaLa

In our trips to Disney over the years, we’ve seen a lot of unexpected things.

We’ve seen the interior of Space Mountain with all the lights on. Which was pretty cool. We’ve seen Tigger hit on every single woman in Crystal Palace. Not cool. We’ve seen a family of Splash Mountain Fastpasses walking hand in hand down Main Street. Wicked cool. And we’ve seen the loading area of Test Track completely empty. Save for three really tired and possibly really dumb families and a couple of bored CMs who all sat glued to a blip on a Blackberry. Wondering just when in the heck they would be free to move about the cabin.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let's rewind just a bit.

On this particular date, we were in Epcot. Still. It was early evening and we’d just finished an excellent meal at Le Cellier. We were hightailing it over to Test Track, hoping to get in a quick ride before it was time to grab a spot for our family’s favorite fireworks show in all of the World…Illuminations.

Just typing that word makes me smile.

If you’ve ever read any of my previous reports, you might remember how much our family loves Illuminations. If you haven’t, I’ll sum it up by simply saying it is the milk and Pepsi to our Laverne. The Ross to our Rachel. The blanket to our Linus.

We love it and it IS Disney to us. Always has been.

So we really didn’t want to miss the show. But we also really wanted a ticket to ride. Just one ride on Test Track prior to watching Illuminations (after a great meal at Le Cellier) would make for the perfect night at Epcot.

And dadgummit, we were going to make it happen.

As we closed the distance between World Showcase and Future World, feeling the breeze steadily pick up on our way, we were pleased as punch when we arrived and found the Standby Line was fairly short.


We hopped in line and began snaking our way through the queue. Cracking jokes about the crash test dummies and the punishment being inflicted on them and their knees and telling the kids that’s what's going to happen to them at their next doctor’s visit.

I don’t know why a certain member of our family (who will not be named) still screams bloody murder when he hears the doctor open the door to the exam room. Just like he used to. All those years ago.

You’d think he’d be used to that by age 40.


The point is: we had a good time and didn’t think it took very long at all to make our way to the front of the line. Surpringly.

Before we knew it, we were high fiving each other and practically running across the back of the briefing room in order to claim our place beside the Magical Doors of Fun. The ones that would lead us to the Loading Dock of Fun. We laughed at appropriate times during the preshow as if we’d never seen it before ("Not Seven! Anything but Seven!") and then shot out of the doors like a rocket when they opened. More snaking was involved and soon it was our time to tell the attendant how many people were in our party and move toward four numbers. It was number claimin’ time again, baby! A quick glance at my watch assured me we had timed it perfectly and would be good to go for Illuminations after our ride was over.

Things couldn’t be going any smoother.


There’s always an “until” with us, isn’t there?

We were just about to load our vehicle when we noticed the cars were all wet. I thought to myself, “that’s not good”. And then we heard the announcement. The one that had become so familiar to us, even though our vacation had barely just begun.

They were closing the ride indefinitely due to inclement weather approaching.


We stood dumbfounded. And numb. Numbfounded, even.

We were standing near a CM so I asked how long they thought the ride would be closed. Of course, we were given the “we really don’t know ma'am, we just work here” answer but then it was suggested that if we stayed put until the weather blew over, we would be the first ones to board once the ride started moving.

I turned to my husband and together, we weighed our options. Option A was to stay there and possibly still catch both a ride on Test Track and Illuminations. Option B was to wander out into the driving rain. Aimlessly. Option C was to wander down to the gift shop and browse the overpriced shelves with ninety eight thousand other wet tourists covered in sticky plastic who were also seeking shelter. Option D was to can the whole shootin' match and head over to Universal instead.

As tempting as Option D was, we went with Option A and decided to stay put. For the time being.

After everyone got comfortable, we tried to make the best of a crummy situation by lightening the mood and chatting up everyone around us. We ended up meeting several families who were actually from our neck of the woods. It really is a small world after all. We were all in this together, this circle of life.

As time marched on and several of the other holdouts moved down their list of options and headed over to Universal for a Cinnabon, we began to wonder if we’d made the right choice. A quick search of the Weather Channel via my new phone (good thing I saved it instead of the appendage) let us know that the system which was sitting on top of Lake Buena Vista at that moment in time was a monster. It was spinning idly, going nowhere soon.

And neither were we.

About an hour into the wait, and roughly around the time that I’d become so delirious that I didn’t even care that my children were sitting on Disney's germ ridden concrete, it became evident that the only Illuminations we would be viewing that night would be from the lightning strikes in and around the Orlando area. Illuminations would not be happening for us on that night, and neither would Test Track. At this point, we were just looking for the storm to let up long enough for us to span the distance between Test Track and the Yacht Club safely. If we could just score that, the night would be a success.

Funny how fast we can change our expectations.

And so it was that our family, along with two other families and two chatty CMs, hung out in a completely empty Test Track loading area for as long as we possibly could that night. Until they finally kicked us out.

Oh yes they did.

We had actually hung around, trying to wait out the weather, until it was time for Future World to close.

In exchange for our troubles, we were all given a set of Fastpasses good for the length of our stay on the way out. Which would turn out to be a good thing. If we survived the trek across the park.

A few minutes later as we stood in the crowded gift shop, watched the rain pouring outside and contemplated staying or going, we consulted the blip on the radar screen once again. The storm hadn’t moved at all and was still forecast to hang around for sometime to come. This one was the exception to the Disney thunderstorm rule. There would be no waiting it out. We didn’t relish the thought of sleeping in a Disney gift shop so we pulled out our trusty ponchos, said a prayer underneath our breath, told the kids to get ready, and evaluated the sitchashun as we cautiously opened the door.

No sooner had we stepped up than two CMs came up from behind us and in one swift motion, kicked us in the butt, then deadbolted the door behind us.

I have to admit I hated every second of that walk/run/power walk/sprint across the park. Rain I can handle, but lightning is not my thing. If I had my druthers (whatever those are), I’d prefer not to be spontaneously electrocuted without warning in front of a crowd of spectators. Mainly because I might lose control of my bodily functions, and that’s not something I want anyone, let alone fifty thousand strangers, witnessing.

The whole being lit up like a Christmas tree part would pretty much suck too.

And these were the thoughts running through my mind as we made a break for it and scrambled to safety via the International Gateway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rain storm drop that amount of water on Disney property before. We were wading in ankle deep water all the way back to the hotel room. I don’t know why we even bothered with the ponchos because even with them, we were soaked to the bone. Once we finally made it safely back to our resort, we looked as though we had just stepped out of Stormalong Bay.

Fully dressed.

Our shoes creaked when we walked and water seeped out along the sides with every step we took. Our eyes were bloodshot as a result of the wind whipped water pelting our eyes as we ran. Wet hair was matted to the sides of our faces. The useless wet ponchos clung to our bodies like a roll of Cling Wrap, holding in the heat we’d generated from the run and making us sweat even though we were already thoroughly soaked down to our undergarments. We were dripping water everywhere we turned while tiptoeing gingerly through a puddle of our own making. So as not to slip and go sprawling across the floor.

And THIS is how we entered the lobby of the Yacht Club that evening.

For the second time that day, we could hear the Pop Cent'reh bus gun it and take out a curb somewhere off in the distance.

And as we stood there, avoiding eye contact with everyone else present (how could we be the ONLY wet people in the whole dadgum joint?! Seriously...everyone else was dry as a freakin' bone!), I turned to my husband and said…

“Wonder where we can find some ice cream around here….”

He stopped dead in his tracks. Looked me up and down for a very long time. And then asked me if I’d lost my ever lovin' mind.

“No, but I could really go for some ice cream right about now,” I said matter of factly. As I’m dripping wet, shivering, and people are staring at me. The wild eyed woman covered in Mickey Mouse cling wrap.

I never got that ice cream. Sadly. Or my Illuminations. Or the ride on Test Track. Or my 'perfect night in Epcot'. Not on that night at least. But we did get warm and dry. And we did get what was probably our best night’s sleep at Disney ever. The beds at the Yacht Club are the freakin’ bomb. So dadgum comfortable!

And despite our previous (great) expectations for how that night would turn out, a dry, warm bed and a good night's sleep turned out to be all that we really needed. And exactly what we wanted.

Because the next day, we would be making up for lost time.


  1. Le Cellier, Test Track, and then Illuminations is the EPCOT trifecta! The Uncle Goofy family loves us some Illuminations. I physically can't help but scream out "WOW" at the very end each and every time. Kinda like you screaming during drops and roller-coasters. Some things are just meant to be verbalized...LOUDLY.

    Why is it that 99% of the people in a Deluxe Resort lobby will stare with a puzzled look at a family dripping wet, when it is raining cats and dogs outside!! HELLOOOO people. It's RAINING outside. It's NOT raining inside. We were outside. You were inside. Ergo, we are wet and you are not Sherlocks. Boggles the mind...and I have 4 kids, so I don't need anymore boggling.

    Thanks for another great post LaLa

    Uncle Goofy

  2. La2 wrote, "And THIS is how we entered the lobby of the Yacht Club that evening.

    For the second time that day, we could hear the Pop Cent'reh bus gun it and take out a curb somewhere off in the distance."

    DED! Funniest thing you've ever written.

    La2 also wrote, "If you’ve ever read any of my previous reports, you might remember how much our family loves Illuminations. If you haven’t, I’ll sum it up by simply saying it is the milk and Pepsi to our Laverne. The Ross to our Rachel. The blanket to our Linus."

    So what you're saying is that it's the corn ot your pooh; the vomit to your fanny pack; the kitchen fire to your cheese cake; the cart to your buggy; the zero to your Coke; the Nancy Pelosi to your Barack Obama; the overpacked to your overdue.

    And finally, La2 wrote, "I’d prefer not to be spontaneously electrocuted without warning in front of a crowd of spectators." Again. I assume you meant to say you didn't prefer for that to happen again.

    Great episode. Your pain is our gain, your misery is our laugher. Thanks.


  3. La.... girl what a dang night! The birthday night of all nights! It rained on your parade and I'm so sorry that happened.

    Funny you mention Laverne. I thought about her love for milk and Pepsi just the other day, and I threw up in my mouth a little. I just regurgitated some of my ranch dressing from dinner when I read what zzub wrote about corn and pooh.

    I guess the silver lining is that you weren't on Test Track busting out of those walls into a surprise rain storm. I think that would hurt!

  4. Nothing like a Redneck Quote Feature to make you miss the real kind. Maybe one of these days ZZUB will find the time to get on that when he's not clipping his toenails or watching State beat Florida.


    Uncle Goofy said:
    Why is it that 99% of the people in a Deluxe Resort lobby will stare with a puzzled look at a family dripping wet, when it is raining cats and dogs outside!!

    THANK YOU!!!! I knew we couldn't be the only ones who'd experienced this. It was crazy, I tell ya. Like we were living in Bizarro World. Or had just stepped onto the set of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the aliens had replaced all the wet humans with dry cyborg clones.

    Which, on second thought, I would NOT put past Disney. In an attempt to "plus" it and add to the atmosphere and all....

    ZZUB sad:
    Funniest thing you've ever written.

    I take that as an insult.

    Other things I take as an insult: you.

    And your corn to the pooh comment. The kitchen fire to the cheesecake comment, and the one about cart and the buggy. Mainly because these things do NOT display love and companionship.

    Pfff. As if.

    The cart and the buggy are in competition (with the buggy firmly whipping the cart's tail), so that makes no sense. The cheesecake feels about the kitchen fire the same way I feel about lightning, and do you really think corn likes getting stuck in a big pile of pooh all the time?



    But thanks for reading along. And bringing the funny. I appreciate it.

    Frick sad:
    Funny you mention Laverne. I thought about her love for milk and Pepsi just the other day, and I threw up in my mouth a little.

    Ain't that the truth. I know someone who eats jello and ice cream together and I have always equated that concoction with the ole Milk and Pepsi. Nasty stuff.

    What made you think of Laverne the other day? Were you browsing Claire's for some neon colored Madonna gloves or leg warmers while being transported back to 1985 in your mind?

    Yall, my daughter has been invited to two "Back to the 80s" parties in two weeks and I think it's crazy that all of that stuff is back in now. Who would've thought? By the way, her new favorite song is "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics. She made me play it in the car about twenty times on the ride home and remarked, "They had some good music when you were little, Mom."

    Dang skippy, baby!

  5. Pictures? Who needs pictures when you have descriptive writing - LaLa style? I couldn't picture it more perfectly if you had video of the whole dang evening and I had just watched it all on YouTube. GFAMT.

    Well, that pretty much sucked as an evening at Epcot, didn't it?

    For the entire ten days we were in the World, I'll bet it got scary dark and stormy looking every single day at some point. But only twice were we actually in the rain. And of both of those nights, it was very light and didn't change our plans. Thinking about hoofing it over to YC in the pouring rain - from Test Track, no doubt - does not sound like a good time.

    Unless it makes up the very funny installment of a Trip Report that you're reading in the comfort of your own home, sitting in your favorite club chair in the sunroom, looking out at beautiful blue fall skies.

    Then it's a really good time.

    Keep bringing it, La. You have a gift for the written word.

    Or typed word.


    You're good, is what I'm sayin'...


  6. Y'know, La, we walked through the Yacht Club lobby on this past Friday night and I giggled thinking of the wet LaLa's traipsing through with their noodles. Little did I know that y'all poured yourselves through a SECOND time in dripping wet ponchos! DED!!! That is a very pretty, serene lobby, and I can just imagine the ruckus you puddle-making hillbillies caused!

    I am so sorry, though, that your first Epicot night got rained out like that. I have been in a few of those OMGhowcanthereBEthismuchwaterinthesky?! moments at the World. Once while waiting for then riding over on the boat from MK to WL (everyone was singing the Gilligan's Island theme), and once while waiting in line for Z's favorite, the Finding Nemo show in AK. I was almost knee deep in water and yes, ponchos were totally useless. Good times.

    Score on the fastpasses, though! I bet they came in handy. Wish I'd had a few for the food & wine booths this weekend.....

  7. He stopped dead in his tracks. Looked me up and down for a very long time. And then asked me if I’d lost my ever lovin' mind.

    I doubt seriously if he asked the question. Some questions just answer themeselves.

    Too bad about your rain-drenched slog through Epcot -- having been in that position before, I feel your pain. At least you didn't drown.

  8. I am ded Chappie. Dedder than ded. I AM DEDD squared.
    Cubed even!!!
    One question: where's the flippin funnel cake!?!? I am confuzzled.

  9. Hey Lala! Another fantastic installment. I was cracking up picturing you sloshing your way around the lagoon. Your word play is just a hoot to read. I am loving the whole country come to town story line. I can't wait to see what happens next. Is it clotheslines on the balcony? Hauling a pickle barrel to your room? Square dancing at the bus stop?

    Looking forward to more!


    Oh and Buggy!

  10. It's so nice to know we aren't the only spectacle in town :) We are such a spectacle with our whole gaggle of kids. Nice to know we are in such good company :)

    We had the skies open up on us last year at MK, the ponchos were useless as we waded down the flooded streets. We huddled in Pecos Bill's for over an hour trying to wait it out. Man does that restaurant go back forever, so many rooms I didn't even know about! But my 5 year old finally looked at me all soaking wet and asked to was hard to give up the rest of the night but we had to give in. The monsoon never subsided that night so it was the right choice.

    I don't get Illuminations. I love Fantasmic. I'm pretty sure that makes me uncultured, maybe even unintelligent.

    Love to read your TR, thanks so much for writing it!

  11. Motherofboys - You don't get Illuminations? Blasphemy!!!!!

    I understand, though. On that trip my little family took with my inlaws, I distinctly remember my MIL planning the perfect Epcot evening for us. We had dinner somewhere (can you believe I have no idea where?) and then we watched Tapestry of Nations and lingered around World Showcase until Illuminations. I remember being totally UNIMPRESSED and wondering why she had hyped up the show so much. (I know, I can't believe it either!) It just didn't do it for me.

    But gradually, I started loving it. Especially the music.

    I bought the Illuminations CD and started listening to it on my iPod while I ran, and at that point, I fell in love. I swear the part around minutes 8 and 9 makes me run fast! The music makes the show.

    You may never love it and obviously, that's cool. But if you warm yourself up to the music, I'll bet the whole show will grow on ya!

    Or maybe it won't and you'll hate it even worse and think I'm a complete loon.

    And you might just be right.

  12. I'm ashamed to admit that I've only seen it once...I don't think we had a great view either. I've only been to Epcot once, my family just never has the desire to go there. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be kicked out of Zzubworld now.

    We are going next year to Epcot and to watch Illuminations. I will start listening to the music now and then maybe I will get it :)

  13. We didn't much care for Illuminations when we first saw it either. It seemed like a lot of new agey worship the earth crap. I wandered if we'd stumbled into an east coast Burning Man.

    But as NM says, the music grows on you and it sure as heck grew on us. Now we love Illuminations.

    I'll say this for Epcot, it takes time. We used to think it was a crappy park. But that's partly b/c I kept comparing it to what it was when I went there a a youngun with my dad. It was also b/c we hadn't alloted enough time to enjoy it. Epcot is big and expansive and it takes time to savor and enjoy. If you race through Innoventions, you'll hate it. IF you take the time to stop and play, you'll love it and wonder why you never did it before. Ditto: the Seas and ditto: World Showcase.


  14. Well, OBVIOUSLY.....yall are all wiggity-wiggity wacked.

    Illuminations is AMAZING from the very first pyrotechnic blast over the lagoon. And that was approximately when I was hooked. The music didn't have to grow on me for me to like it, although it certainly did. It's even more fun now that I know every note and amuse others (but mostly myself) by pretending to queue the beats with overly dramatic hand gestures.

    Nice ones.

    I think the draw for Illuminations (at least for me) is having the fireworks and music timed to go off so perfectly together. I have a HUGE appreciation for that, and it's probably one of the reasons I love the fireworks show at the Pirate and Princess party so much. I'd never seen a fireworks show that combined the pyrotechnics and music so well before. Aside from Illuminations.

    And the cheesecake incident. But that's neither here nor there.

    Another thing to add: I think where you view Illuminations from has a lot to do with your impression of it. IMO, it looks very different if you're watching it from somewhere around the twin gift shops (facing the American pavilion) vs. somewhere around Germany, for instance. With a few tree branches and Brazilian tour groups in your way.


    Do we still say that or is that wiggity wiggity wacked too?

    My point in all of that though, is this: that's just me and Diff'rent Strokes for Diff'rent Folks is NOT just a TV show. So Motherofboys, just because you fail to recognize the ridiculous awesomeness of Illuminations, we still have mad (e)...Hi Sher!... love for you and you will never suffer any consequences. Although we could kick ZZUB out on a technicality. I'm sure we could think of something.

    Ash! I am SO STINKIN' jealous that you were in the YC lobby last Friday night! Oh, how I wish you could've smuggled me in by way of your suitcase. Or a NM sized bag. I fear it may be a long time before we're back at the YC and the thought makes me sad. I hope you had a great time, girl! October is the best time to go, IMO. The weather simply can't be beat and who doesn't love the Food and Wine Festival? I need some details on your trip because I need to live vicariously through you.

    Chappie: Your mom goes to college.

    Mariette: Say what?

  15. The key to Illuminations, IMHO, is to at least see it for yourself once. Forget what the naysayers are tellin’ ya. Just blop your hinny down somewhere between Germany and Japan, grab a Funnel Cake at American Adventure and watch for yourself. If you don't fall in love with it, I'm not going to say something is wrong with you. Wouldn't be prudent. BUT, something would be wrong with you.

    It really is the most awesomest (yes that is a word...I just confirmed it with son #1) thing this side of Boiled Peanuts and Cheerwine.


  16. I will admit to preferring Wishes. But I like Illuminations more each time I see it. We did try a different vantage point this year, and I liked seeing things from another angle. And yes, the music is great. But for me, nothing beats standing on Main Street USA watching the castle get showered with color and light. Fantasmic? Eh. I have seen it enough. Now I only go if my son insists on it. Which hasn't happened in a couple of years.

    La, I would like to say that I actually spent some TIME in the Yacht Club, but we really just passed on through. The Boardwalk bus out of the MK was taking too long, so we grabbed a seat (well, I grabbed a seat. The hubby stood) on the BC/YC bus and cut through YC for the walk around to Bdwk, via Jellyrolls ; ) We also hit up Beaches & Cream for an evening snack the following night, as well as sitting on the beach and watching a bit of Beauty & The Beast. It's been years......

    What else do you want to know LaLa? We got a walk up at Le Cell on Thursday night shortly after arrival, so we skipped Yachtmen Steakhouse in favor of some cheese soup and mushroom filet (to DIE for!!), then hit the MK and Ohana banana bread pudding for my birthday on Friday (I WISH I was only 40....), and did a horrifyingly piggish run on the food & wine booths on Saturday, followed by dinner at Il Mulino (which I didn't eat, due to the overindulgence of said F&W grazing). We were on a plane by noon on Sunday. A true whirlwind, but fun just the same. And yes, the weather was PERFECT!

    I don't understand Chappie's mom going to college. And I agree with your "Say What?" to Mariette. I think she's delirious....

  17. Thanks for the mini tour of Epicot La!

    Great read as always.

    We YAK's LOVE Epicot right from the Soarin' Death March in the AM, through to the last "boom" of Illuninations. It's the one and only Disney park we arrive at the stiles at 8:30am and don't leave until 10pm - no afternoon breaks from Epcot for the YAK's. Like Zzub said - just too much to see and do.

    And sloshing in the rain is part of the fun. Sort of. Our rain drenched Epcot day involved purchasing MORE poncho's, new flipflops and a locker rental under the ball. Good times!

    And that isn't just a TV show either.

    Interesting on the Illuminations viewing spot - I've seen it 12teen times between GB (NOGB) and France. Once between the shops. I think I'll have to try a new spot next time.

    Did you get to stroll through memory lane and visit Captain EO? I hope so.

    Why is Chappie's mom going to college?

    Boiled peanuts and Cheerwine? UG!

  18. Oh now I remember my very first Epcot fireworks show when I was a young chick. We (mom, dad, two brothers and one girlfriend) went not too long after it opened. One day at MK, one day at Epcot. We had dinner in Italy and my brother's g'friend got a black olive stuck on her braces and she looked like a hillbilly (NoLala) and we laughed til we cried & she had NO idea why we were laughing. Dinner in Italy was a grand experience back then. Anyhow, we went out to see the 'fireworks and water show'. Was it called Illuminations way back when? It seems like I remember the globe, but I was 11 or something so the details are foggy. We all loved it though. So, whenever I see Illuminations, I'm 11 again, laughing at the olive on the tooth incident and enjoying the show surrounded by my sweet family, nestled in between my mom and dad. good times.

  19. "I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rain storm drop that amount of water on Disney property before."

    I have, lol! Luckily for us, not this summer's trip, but others before it. Like, oh... during Tropical Storm Fay. You nailed it Lala - brought me right back to that dripping-wet place with your words. Which is really the only way I *want* to experience that particular memory again. ;)

    As for Illuminations... sorry, but I'm not a fan, either. But, in my defense, I blame the change in score; I could've watched the old "Rhapsody in Blue" version 23 times a night. They lost me when it went bye-bye. :(

  20. All caught up! I'd forgotten how much I miss your writing! I snort laughed a few times, was amazed at Mr. La's fastpass maneuvering skillz, gave you a mental-five on the big surprise, almost wet my pants at DS japslapping the old guys with the noodles, and a big "awww" at the kiss/dip at the elevator. We ARE our parents! Creepy.

    Add to your top 40 list: Eating cotton candy on Main St, the wind in your face on Soarin, and my favorite words "I hope you enjoy our story tonight. Reflections.....of Earth" and the candle being blown out. Gives me goosebumps every time!

    I'm staying at my dad's house this week as he is recovering from bypass surgery. I've been cleaning his bathroom for the last three days (don't ask) and now I'm ready to read so get to writtin, woman! :-)