Got up to find an email from Mark saying that his plane to Chicago from Philadelphia was going to be delayed. Wah. Made changes to our reservation for the night which worked out okay but not as well as I hoped. Went to doctor about toe, he pronounced it good and sent me on my way. I then went to the grocery store for a couple of things I hadn’t yet gotten, and wrapped up the afternoon getting a manicure in a lovely orangey color that was very summery. Somehow I managed to kill time until Mark’s plane arrived, then got to O’Hare just as he was coming out of the airport – good timing for once! We then headed off to our appointment that was very nice, then had food and headed to my house where we made certain my alarm was set and that my brother would be up at the right time, and soon collapsed into bed.
Got up early and packed the remaining items, then had my brother take us to the airport. We checked in to find that ATA doesn’t do a great job with seating. Despite the fact that we had booked tickets together, they did not seat us together, so we had to wait until theverylastminute to be reseated so we could be together. Also, our gate happened to be a temporary one with about a half-mile walk to the plane (and no, I’m NOT kidding), so I insisted they bring a wheelchair because I would never, ever make it. Finally we got on the plane and got to Orlando. The Orlando airport was much better in terms of walking and we soon made it down to baggage claim. After that we headed out into the humidity that is Orlando for our first time to wait for my friend Steph and her family to pick us up. There were hugs galore and smiles as I got to see her twin girls for the first time – they are absolutely adorable. We headed off and after a quick stop at a drugstore for a few things arrived at the Swan and Not-a-Dolphin (and yes, we DID call it that the whole time because good grief, dolphins do not have scales!!! What were they thinking?!).
We checked into our room and then (please note, Nimbus roomies group) I showed them the letter I’d faxed over about the changes to the rooms. The guy said, “Oh, we don’t have the changes on the one room” and proceeded to enter them. As you all found out later, apparently they had NONE of the changes (what happened to my fax?? We’ll never know) and he only changed the one room. So apparently we spent an extra 20-odd minutes for nothing, as you lot STILL ended up having loads of problems when you eventually checked in. In any case, I did try, and I’m sorry. I also complained in my evaluation of the hotel. I was just very annoyed that months of planning were thrown completely out the window by people there not paying any attention to my phone calls, faxes, me in PERSON… okay, yes, I should let it go. Onwards.
We went up to our room with Steph, twins and hubby and chilled for a bit, then put on our swimsuits and headed down to the Splash Grill for food before attempting to swim. I say attempting because we were told by a staff member that we couldn’t go into the pool due to lightning and the twins were most upset. Then – and this makes NO sense – when it started to rain they said we could go in, by which time we had decided to leave. Grrr. The twins were overtired so Steph and family headed for home soon after, and Mark and I spent a relaxing evening in the room, sharing some room service when we got peckish later on, and then finally slept.
We got up early and took the boat to MGM just as it was opening. I rented my electric wheelchair and off we went to Tower of Terror. We went in the back way the first time, so Mark didn’t get the whole story but enjoyed the ride just the same. Then Mark got a FastPass for the Rock n Rollercoaster (I wasn’t about to try it and then be embarrassed when I wouldn’t fit) and we had a drink while waiting for his time. Then I looked through the shops while he went on the ride. I found some really cute onesies for babies that I wanted to get for the twins but thought, “Oh, I can buy them at another park, no need to get them the first day…” Stupid me, I never found the same ones at MK or Ep. ARRGH. Anyway. When Mark got done we met up and headed for Who Wants to Be A Millionaire – Play It! The entire audience has a chance at the hotseat, with the top prize being a trip to Disney’s island, not bad. Neither of us got into the hotseat, but we were dead chuffed at the final scoreboard – Mark was in the 2nd spot and I was in 10th. Go us! We also did the backlot tour, the animation tour (one of my faves, you always get to see the new stuff they’re working on), the Great Movie Ride, MuppetVision 3D (I love Bean Bunny!!), Indiana Jones stunt show, Sounds Dangerous (which was extremely lame, the old monster sound show was much better), and then went back to Tower of Terror for the full ride. We had dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Café, which I’d never been to and was very cute. The waiters and waitresses are supposed to be members of your family (most of the women are Mom) and they tell you to behave yourself and will punish you if you don’t – I saw more than one person sent to the corner or made to hold a sugar packet against the wall with their forehead. Amusing and the food was pretty good, too. Plus we got light-up ice cubes! After that we took the boat back and after showering collapsed into bed.
Today was an E-Ride night at the Magic Kingdom, so we decided to go for it. We took the bus over and got my wheels, then headed on the “lesser” rides – Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tiki Room, Small World, Peter Pan, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, and the Carousel of Progress. We got done with that by 2 or so and headed back to the hotel, where we took showers, napped and then had dinner in the Italian restaurant at the Swan – very yum. About 9:30 we headed back to the Magic Kingdom and traded our E-Ride tickets for wristbands and headed off to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We then got to see the SpectroMagic parade as it was held back because of rain earlier in the evening. It was a fun parade and at the end, Donald signed “I Heart You” at me!! I was so thrilled, just like a little kid. I think Mark was slightly jealous and thought that I might run off with Donald, but no, a duck, even a very sweet one, has no chance when competing against Mark. We then saw the Country Bear Jamboree, at which time my electric wheels decided to die, so we had to wait for a charged one to be brought to us – only took them about 15 minutes so that wasn’t too bad really. After that we went on Splash and Big Thunder again, then headed to the Haunted Mansion, and finally to the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and ended with Space Mountain just as it turned 2 am. We got back to the hotel by about 3 and collapsed into bed.
We headed to Epcot on the boat bright and early (5 hours of sleep, maybe?) and got my wheels, then headed towards Future World and Imagination! We saw Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and then rode on Journey into Imagination with Figment. After that we played with some of the Kodak Imageworks stuff and took a t00by pic of us, then we both got a little stuffed Figment with magnets in his feet. We decided to skip the Living Seas and the Land and headed for the Wonders of Life. Mark did Body Wars while I touched things, then we both watched The Making of Me and Cranium Command. After that we went to Spaceship Earth, or the big giant golf ball (*sticks tongue out at Mark*). We skipped the Universe of Energy and went on Test Track, which was quite good. After that we headed to World Showcase and started with Mexico and the Rio de Tiempo. Next we did Norway and our last official ride, the Maelstrom. We wandered past China, Germany, Italy, the USA, Japan, Morocco, France and stopped at the UK to look in all the shops, then past Canada to do a lot of shopping before our dinner reservation at the Rose and Crown. After spending loads on money on Disney stuff for ourselves and family members, we filled out our postcards and mailed them, then headed back to the UK. We were waiting for our table when who appeared but nmalfoy and legomymalfoy! We then had to head to dinner, which was quite yummy, and we did get to watch IllumiNations with a perfect view from the patio at the Rose and Crown. After that, we headed back on the boat, showered, and collapsed once again.
We finally got to sleep in a bit, and after the hectic pace of the past few days, it was necessary! We then got our swimsuits on and waited for expetesso to arrive, after which there was much hugging and then we had lunch in the Garden Grove at the Swan. Next we headed down to the grotto pool, slathered on the sunblock and got in the water. I do love swimming… my friend Steph and her family came over as it was actually gorgeous and we could all go swimming, and I had a fun time carting one of the twins through the water. Then it was registration time so we headed in to find a HUGE line. Ack! I don’t do lines! I found a place to sit and people were kind enough to keep my place in the line. Once we got our stuff we went upstairs to change out of our suits, then came back down to have pizza and try to meet people. I was glomped by eibbil_libbie who is cute as cute can be and said hi to many others. Then, still tired, we decided to head back to our room rather than do the Mauraders panel or the concert.
I got up early so I could see the legal panel with heidi8, praetorianguard and R, which was definitely enlightening and made me wish afterwards that I’d taken notes. After that I went to the Historical Occult in the World of Harry Potter, very interesting stuff, and then the Danger of Dynamics: Transport in the Harry Potter series, which raised some good insights. I wasn’t going to the luncheon so I dragged constantine to lunch with me at the Garden Grove again, which was cool because I got to spend some time with her and it only confirmed my suspicions that she rocks muchly. After lunch I went to Don’t Tell the Grownups: Subversion in Harry Potter Text and Fandom by kitsune13, the one that RS.org decided to sponsor. Having seen it I remain convinced it was an excellent choice, and Cat is brilliant.
I had to leave early to get over to the BALLROOM where the slash panel had been moved to, due to the expected high turnout. O_O Actually I wasn’t nervous at all (I don’t have a problem with public speaking), but I was more like, woah – all these people want to hear this?! Allrighty then. I met my other panelists and was greeted by our sponsor, debellatrix, who gave us the coolest gift bags – journal, quill, ink, keychain, Hogwarts patch, and bookmark. Thank you again Vicky!!! (I hope you’re a y, I think I’ve seen that somewhere) queerasjohn was our awesome mod and he had each of us introduce ourselves, and when I mentioned I was from RS there was great and thunderous applause, which just bowled me over. I think the panel itself went very well and I was proud of all of us. Then we had the Draco panel, which was interesting. After that some people from the slash and Draco panels combined to answer questions, but people decided it was time to get up and spout their own opinions rather than ask us anything, for the most part. That was a tad annoying but oh well. One funny bit during this was Nancy answering a question and saying something along the lines of "Women and men in a het relationship are never quite equal." I happened to look at Mark as she was speaking and he was giving me a total "What the shit is this?!" look, which I found both endearing and hilarious - I had already intended to nicely rebut Nancy but that look just reiterated that Mark and I are on the same page.
After that it was Quidditch time and Mark was playing. Overall I thought Quidditch was done brilliantly and jiggery_pokery is to be commended for how well he translated it. Of course it wasn’t perfect, Chris, but everyone both playing and watching seemed to love it and really enjoyed themselves, so damn it, take some credit for yourself, would you? After Mark’s team lost their game, we headed up to our room so he could shower before dinner and the FA bash. We headed over to the Not-a-Dolphin to get some food, which turned out to be a mistake. The Fountain Grill was the absolute worst service I have ever had at any Disney-related restaurant and some of the worst anywhere, ever. First, we had to ask if we were supposed to seat ourselves. We then had to find a clean table. Next, Mark went and found menus for us. About 15 minutes later, our waitress came to take our order. It took another 15 minutes to get our drinks. It was a good 20 minutes after that before we got our food. At some point the floor opened up and water began spraying the restaurant patrons on the opposite side from where we were sitting, causing people to scream and flee the scene. It of course took another 15 minutes to get the check. We were quite disgusted and left a very small tip, which is against my nature but I was really displeased.
We then headed up to the Copa Banana, where we were immediately attacked by John with glitter – at least he gave us the choice of where the glitter would go, so I had him glitter my cleavage. We immediately got Mischief Makers and were happy with the cool FA cups. I immediately determined that we needed to collect all the house colors. We found a table and then held down the fort for the evening. Mark danced t00bily to a number of songs, but I didn’t see him most of the time because there was a large post blocking my view. Chances are this is a good thing. nmalfoy had told me she would play a slow song for us to dance to, but what she didn’t tell me was that she intended to dedicate it to us! I was a tad embarrassed but also thought it was incredibly sweet – thank you, Nancy. Somehow Mark and I managed to dance and not fall over and John threw glitter on us as we danced. Ahh, romance. A bit before 1 we decided we were tired and we also had collected all the colors of the cups, so we headed back to the Swan and collapsed after attempting to deglitter ourselves.
We slept in a bit and then headed down. I went to Keeping It in the Family: The Weasleys, the Malfoys and Canon and Its Dis(mal)contents, once again by the lovely kitsune13. I must admit to have gotten a bit of a crush on Cat – she’s brilliant, gorgeous and sexy - can you blame me?? Once again she did a great job, and I did an inner SQUEE when she mentioned Altricial and Aspen as the lead Ron/Ginny people in the fandom. :D Next we both went to Celluloid Polyjuice, which was interesting. We both headed to the luncheon next, and I have to say that Ari Rapkin from Industrial Light and Magic was one of the highlights for me. She was a great speaker and she did a great job of explaining some of the little details that go into moviemaking that the lay person never thinks about. I have a greater appreciation for Dobby now. After the luncheon we went shopping in Kumplusive Alley and we both bought wands. I got Hermione’s (OF COURSE) and Mark got Voldemort’s. Then we both went to The Wizarding World: Past, Present and Future, which was very impressive. Hearing Steve talk about how he built the timelines in the Lexicon was fascinating, and Ebony’s paper on generations was also intriguing. I finished up by seeing It’s Not Easy Being Hermione: Harry Potter and the Paradox of Girl Power, which was good. Then it was time for Fandom Squares. There seem to have been mixed feelings on Fandom Squares, but I enjoyed it. Sure it was rough in spots, but this was hardly a professional show, and I think we all did great for what it was. After that, Mark and I had the dinner buffet at Gulliver’s, which was yum, and then opted out of the movies. We headed up to our room and relaxed for a few hours before a bunch of t00bs stopped in to play Trivial Pursuit with us, which was lots of fun – thanks again to all of you (even andrewb, who made off with my red FA cup so now I only have 3 of the 4 colors. But I have forgiven you, silly boo). We eventually kicked people out and collapsed.
Wah, it is almost over! We went to breakfast and watched the auction. I only tried for the teddy bear but was happy to see it go to Libbie. Watching other people go crazy bidding was a bit nerve-racking at times. Then I wandered around begging people to take pics with me, some of which you can see in a seperate entry (if anyone wants their pic taken down, please tell me). After saying our final goodbyes, we headed to Downtown Disney and DisneyQuest. We spent 5 or so hours doing things like a virtual raft trip and trying to get gold out of some particular Pirates. We then headed back to the hotel and packing. One very sweet moment happened as we were packing – we realized we could see the fireworks of IllumiNations from our window. Mark climbed into the window seat to watch and was looking so very Harry (1st movie, Harry’s 1st night at Hogwarts) that I had to take his pic. Eventually there was sleep.
We got up, finished packing, and headed downstairs. Steph was already waiting for us but I had to make a final run in the shop for Disney stuff. That accomplished, we had a nice Mexican lunch and took pics, then she dropped us off at the airport. The flight itself was fine, but for some reason they couldn’t get the gate and plane to mesh and we had to sit there for a good 25 minutes. My brother picked us up and we decided we had the strength to go and see Pirates of the Caribbean. And as I’ve already mentioned this day in an earlier post, I will end here.