Day Three Part 1, Monday, July 14: Disney/MGM Studios
After our usual morning routine, we headed for the YC boat dock to catch a boat to Studios. When we got there and saw the long line of people waiting to catch the same boat, we wondered what was going on. Why were so many people going to the Studios? We thought this was a slow day for that park. The Epcot boat arrived with only 2 people in line for that boat. We wondered if we should change our plans and do the same. But, no, we were primed for the Studios and decided to proceed with our plans. When we arrived at Studios, there was another large crowd heading for the entrance gates. We were really starting to wonder why the parks seemed so crowded on a Monday. Or had we just been spoiled by the low March attendance?
Soon after we entered the park, we ducked into a nice air-conditioned gift shop as we let the masses thunder by. We noticed that ToT and RR were siphoning off the crowds. That was good news for us since we had decided against ToT for this trip. We stopped in at Starring Rolls Bakery for our usual coffee and something sweet. There was only one guy in line ahead of us but we waited forever to place our order of just 2 coffees and 2 cheese Danish. Apparently, the guy had ordered some kind of iced coffee drink and the machine wasn’t up and running yet. The CM didn’t want to ring up his order in case the drink wouldn’t be available. So, she made us, and the people filing in behind us, wait in line for what seemed like forever. We couldn’t believe it. Surely, a more experienced CM would have found a solution: ring up other people or at least give him the drink later or free or something. Maybe the guest should have ordered something else (he was ordering for a family of about 6-4 adults and 2 kids) instead of holding people up.
Eventually, we got our breakfast and sat down outside under a table with an umbrella and enjoyed a quiet breakfast in very nostalgic atmosphere. We both love Studios. On our March trip we played Millionaire for the first time and were hooked. I especially love Studios because it reminds me of my childhood growing up in Southern California. Ever since we moved to Ohio last summer, I have missed California terribly. I didn’t miss it when we were in Oregon but now it’s become painful–being away from all that’s familiar. No insult intended for Ohioans–it’s just not home to me. We’re trying to find a way to move to Florida (gee, what a unique idea) since it feels so much more like home to me and is a lot closer than going all the way back West. Besides, I’ve become accustomed to humidity and afternoon rainstorms and actually enjoy them.
We were too excited to sit and sip our coffee for long, though, so we sipped on it as we headed for the Great Movie Ride via the Mickey Sorcerer Hat.
The Great Movie Ride was still closed when we were here in March and the last time we had ridden it (for the first time) was in ’99. We couldn’t wait to ride it. We ended up dumping our coffee, again, and got in the fast-moving line. This ride is especially nostalgic for me. I remember as a kid going into LA and walking in the footprints of Mann’s Chinese Theater (Grauman’s in my childhood). The CM costumes also reminded me of stories my mother told me when she was an LA movie usher in one of the big, ornate movie theaters in her day and wore a similar costume.
We enjoyed the GMR and headed for Millionaire. A CM was handing out fast passes so we grabbed one and headed for the ABC Commissary to get a coke. This made 2 mornings in a row that we didn’t get to finish our morning coffee and we needed more caffeine. But why do they have to blast ABC promotions so loudly in the ABC Commissary? Good grief! We left as quickly as we could and headed back to Millionaire.
We played Millionaire for the first time in March but, after 2 games, didn’t make the top 10. Our goal this trip was to make the top 10. We were soon seated. I was seat #61 and Rich was seat #60 and our fingers were primed. We had read Dave’s tips and Rich must have been paying better attention than I was. I kept thinking I was hitting the button but it wasn’t registering. Rich has since given me first-hand instruction. But that’s only half the battle–you also have to know the answers to all the questions.
At the start of the game, they did a fastest finger to pick the first contestant. Mike, from Texas, was the fastest finger winner and was in the Hot Seat. At the 32,000 point question, they flashed the top 10, and seat #60, Rich, was #8. Hooray! That was definitely something to celebrate later. When Mike lost at the 64,000 point question, they flashed #2 through #10. The guy next to Rich in seat #59 was now #8 and Rich had fallen off, or so he thought. Then they finally flashed the #1 seat, the next person who would be in the hot seat and it was … seat #60. Rich was in the hot seat!!! We couldn’t believe it. We were both a nervous wreck. I knew he was brilliant but we were always joking that we knew we wouldn’t even know our names if we were ever in the hot seat.
Rich: It was a quite a shock when my seat number appeared at the top of the list. My first thought was, oh no, I’m going to make a complete fool of myself; I’ll probably miss the 100 point question. But I managed to make it down into the hot seat. My goal was to make it to 32,000 points; I wasn’t going to worry about trying for 1 million this time. I even told the host this. I was going to use my lifelines as soon as I thought I needed them and not save them for higher point questions.
I sailed through the first few questions, getting especially loud cheers from a group of kids in a section off to my right. Around the 4000 point question, I got a question about where does KFC keep its secret recipe. The answers confused me a bit, so before time ran out, I used the 50/50 and picked the right answer. Later, I got a Greek mythology question. Not one of my areas of expertise. So, I polled the audience, used their answer, and got it right.
The 32,000 point question was: In what country was Charlie Chaplain born? I knew I could figure this out if I had enough time to think, but my 45 seconds was running out. So I chose to phone a complete stranger. The stranger from Tennessee chose France as the answer, but I knew that wasn’t right. With the extra time, I had time to think and chose England, which was correct, giving me 32,000 points.
I got the 64,000 point question right. Then came the 125,000 question: Which car company introduced the first combination gas/electric car? The choices were: Toyota, GM, Volkswagen, Chrysler. I ruled out Volkswagen and Chrysler, but couldn’t choose between Toyota and GM. With all my lifelines gone, I had to guess. I figured that maybe GM had gotten some US government assistance to develop a car, so I chose GM. I was wrong. The answer was Toyota. The horn sounded, and it was the end of this show.
I was whisked backstage and given my pins and my 32,000 point shirt. I was told that the 1,000 point hat and the lanyard were on backorder and that they would mail them to me later. I have not received them yet.
I had a great time in the hot seat, although it was nerve-racking. I know now that it is easier playing in my La-Z-Boy. Next time I get in the hot seat, I’ll go for the million.
Kathy: Before the Millionaire game, we had talked about skipping our PS at Sci-Fi Dine-In and heading back to the YC for lunch at Beaches & Cream and a swim at Stormalong Bay. But now we were really jazzed and too pumped up to leave. We wanted to do more in the park – especially when people came up to Rich, recognizing him and congratulating him on doing so well. So, to kill time before our PS we went to One Man’s Dream. We had toured this on our March trip but hadn’t seen the movie. This time we headed straight for Walt’s movie. That was cool. Afterwards, we wandered around the park, darting into gift shops, Rich received congratulations and then headed for the Sci-Fi Dine-In. We love this place. We ate there for the first time on our ’99 trip. We were seated quickly in the back row of a 3-row car. The couple in front of us recognized Rich from Millionaire. We each had cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry shake for me and a vanilla shake for Rich.
It was pretty hot out. Every morning on our trip was quite warm and the afternoons brought the thunderstorms-lasting throughout the evening most nights. We had anticipated afternoon t-storms, but we were not prepared for evening rain.
We were ready to head for Stormalong Bay before the rain started. Ooops! We had dawdled too long in the park and didn’t make it-once again. But we had so much fun, high on the Millionaire success. Rich will be counting the days until he can go back and try to get into the hot seat again. Family members are already volunteering to pay the taxes should he win the cruise.
Day Three Part 2, Monday, July 14: Soggy Night at Epcot and MK
We had a PS at one of our favorite restaurants at Epcot-Alfredos, at 8 pm. Actually, all the restaurants we’ve eaten in at Epcot are our favorites. When we requested all of our PS times on the phone before the trip, the CM said, “you sure are making a lot of PS at Epcot.
The afternoon rain had not let up. In spite of the rain, we headed over to Epcot to at least catch the American Adventure. We had missed that on our March trip and were anxious to experience it again. We got there at 7 pm and the last show of the night was at 7:30. After waiting around for about 20 minutes, we finally realized that if we stayed for the show, we would miss our PS. We talked it over and decided that we’d rather see the show and just grab a snack somewhere in Epcot later on.
We really enjoyed the American Adventure. It’s an awesome show. We both love American history and thinking about how so much of the early history took place East of the Mississippi, I was starting to see Ohio in a different light.
After the show, we were hungry so we headed over to one of our favorite places to get a quick meal-Lotus Blossom Café in China. We ordered a Twice Cooked Beef Rice Bowl and an Orange Chicken Rice Bowl and shared them. I had a diet coke and Rich had a coke. One of the strange things for me is when I’m staring at a Chinese menu to see what I want to order and the server interprets it that I’m not familiar with Chinese food and starts showing me pictures of the entrees. After living in the SF Bay Area for 22 years, we were really spoiled with a wide variety of Asian food and the general understanding that we were all familiar with it. When we first moved to Portland, I was asking what was in a particular dish and they said, “that’s Chinese food.” Duh. Just another adjustment when you start moving around from state to state.
After finishing our tasty meal, we decided we would make a mad dash in the rain to the monorail and head to the MK via the TTC. The MK was open until 11 pm tonight and we just had to give it a go, even with the rain. We had never seen this MK at night and nights at Disneyland are some of our favorite memories. We just knew that if we experienced this MK at night, that our fondness for it would grow even more.
As we arrived on Main Street, SpectroMagic was just starting. We made our way down Main Street, walking through the Emporium in our attempt to get less wet (we definitely were not dry at this point). We peeked at the parade from time to time. Unfortunately or fortunately, we seemed to be following the parade. It was difficult finding our way in the dark, rainy night with the lights dimmed with only the parade as our guide-especially with people lined up to watch it. We tried not to trip over people. It was also a challenge navigating under these circumstances but we did okay. That’s when we realized we’re definitely getting the hang of this park. That was a good feeling. I was so used to knowing Disneyland like the back of my hand that it was unsettling to not know my way around here. But now, we’re feeling almost like experts.
We made our way to the Haunted Mansion but stumbled into the exit instead of the entrance. A CM redirected us the long way around. The HM on a dark and stormy night was even more fun. We felt like we were on an adventure. We really like touring at night. It’s not hot and we feel like kindred souls with the other guests who are adventuring also. We then rode Pirates, took another look in the gift shop and headed for the restrooms. When we came out, I realized that we were missing the fireworks. Oh no! I had wanted to see Tinker Bell here. I’ve only seen her at Disneyland. Oh well, maybe another time. We headed for Splash Mountain next. We figured we were already wet, so what’s a little more water. We were having a blast. We jumped on the train at the Frontierland station and got off at Main Street. We were winding down and wanted to get back to the YC.
At the YC bus stop, there was quite a crowd ahead of us already waiting. It seemed like we waited forever for the next bus. Unfortunately, we had to stand on the long ride back to the YC. This was when we were wishing we were staying at a monorail resort. It was still raining out and while standing, it felt like the bus was going to tip over. It was probably my imagination but I was not comfortable with the whole experience. When we got back to our room at the YC, we grabbed 2 beers out of the mini bar and relaxed a bit before going to bed, recalling our action-packed day of Rich getting in the hot seat and going to 3 parks. Tomorrow, we decided, we would take it easy and relax a little more.