Walt Disney World!
We arrived on Sunday, February 11th. As soon as we checked into our room we went downstairs and had breakfast with Goofy and Pluto. Then we toured Downtown Disney. That evening Clayton had a ice cream social for us in the conference halls of the resort. There were games, face painting and Mickey & Minnie came in for pictures with the kids. There was around 1,400 Clayton employees and their families on the trip.
Monday we went to Animal Kingdom. It started raining as soon as we got there. Not planning ahead, we had not carried ponchos or umbrellas, so we promptly spent $36 on Mickey Mouse ponchos! The park was nice and the few rides we went on were fun, but it was mainly a huge zoo/nature reserve. (Much better than any zoo I've ever been too.) Monday night we had a welcome reception and dinner at the conference center.
Tuesday we went to Epcot. The day started out sunny and warm, we were able to wear short sleeves and shorts. We rode all of the rides and saw all of the shows. The 3D shows in each park at Disney are exceptional. (If apple pie is in the movie, you actually smell apple pie, things like that.) And of course, it started raining again! We had to buy more ponchos!! The best ride at Epcot is Test Drive. 6 people fit in a car and you actually go through all of the testing a vehicle is put to at the manufacturer. (Maximum speed, skidding with your ABS brakes and without, rough road terrain, etc.) All of this is enclosed and near the end the vehicle has reached the maximum speed and you are heading straight for a wall. At the last minute doors open, you blast outside and it's just as if you were on the track at Talladega. It was great.
Not taking into consideration the date, we went to The Magic Kingdom on Valentine's Day. Before the park opens they have a welcome parade and everyone in the crowd threw pixie dust at 9:00 a.m. to mark the opening of the park. A couple had won a contest and were being married in front of Cinderella's Castle. We got to watch the ceremony and see Ryan Cabrerra sing "True" during it. They had the private reception afterwards and the couple got to stay in the castle that night in Cinderella's suite. The park was CROWDED!! We were in line for one ride after the wedding with Ryan Cabrerra. Josh saw him afterwards and asked to have his picture made with him, but his body guard was with him and he just ignored Josh and kept walking. (I told Josh if he stopped for everybody who knew who he was and took pictures he'd be there all day!) We watched the daily parade through the park which was nice. That evening MGM Studios closed early to the public and all the Clayton employees were bused into the park for a private dinner. The part of the park that is New York City had buffets lining the sidewalks and tables all down the streets. They had a live band and the rides were open to us. If we liked a ride we could get off and get right back on. No lines! (Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster is the BEST!! I rode it 3 times!) The Tower of Terror is a neat ride too.
Thursday we took a taxi out to a Flea Market someone had told us about, which turned out to be a mess of a day! It only took us 30 minutes to go through the whole flea market and the only thing we bought was a coffee cup! When we came out there was hardly anything around the flea market. We started walking up the street and found a public bus stop. Fortunately about 30 minutes later a bus going to The Magic Kingdom came along. (What luck, or so we thought!) It only cost $1.50 a person to ride which was way cheaper than the taxi ride! So, we boarded the bus with a bunch of undesirable looking people and about 5 miles into the ride one of the windows on the bus blew open with a bang. Everybody screamed cause we thought somebody had got shot or ran into the bus. Once we got to The Magic Kingdom, Julie had the bright idea that we should ride the Monorail to Epcot and then from there we could get on the free water taxi to our hotel. Well, the monorail ride was ok, now I can say I've rode it, but it let us off on the total opposite side of the park from where the water taxi loads. So, we had to get on a bus to The Animal Kingdom just to make a connecting bus to our hotel. At the Animal Kingdom the bus we were on unloaded on the opposite side of the terminal from where the bus to the hotel loaded...we had to walk around the whole terminal to reach our bus! Through all of this we've passed our hotel 3-4 times and Brett keeps saying, "Look, there's are hotel!" Once we made it back I took a nap! That night we went back to Downtown Disney and had dinner at The House of Blues. The ribs were great. We were seated next to 4-5 men obviously there on a business trip/meeting. They kept encouraging one of the men to do double shots and he was washing them down fast! He finally had to make a run for the bathroom and was gone about 30 minutes. Me & Josh got worried about him, but no one from his group ever went to check on him. Finally about 45 minutes later he showed back up and somehow had acquired a Pirates of the Carribean cowboy hat and sword. We took his picture, which he proudly posed for. (We even found out his name is Carlos.)
Friday we went back and spent the day at MGM and rode all of the rides. That night we had our farewell dinner and awards ceremony at The Epcot World Showcase. They had performers during dinner. Afterwards we were escorted to the front of the park for a VIP viewing of the nightly fireworks show "Illuminations of Light." They had a whole section of the park blocked off and had desserts, hot chocolate, coffee and drinks for us during the fireworks show.
Saturday we had breakfast and loaded up for the shuttle to the airport. I didn't sleep during the flight home, but it was cloudy and windy that day so the turbulance (sp?) was worse than the flight there, but I still made it through ok!
Well, guess that about sums up are trip. Now that I know there's nothing to flying I'm ready to pack up and go somewhere else!