MFL Members Remember Sept 11, 2001
September 11th Trip Report
Or “How a Character at Walt Disney World can communicate without speaking”
In honor and rememberance of those who passed away in the horrible tragedy last September 11th, I decided to write a trip report detailed my experiences last year at Walt Disney World.
I had a trip to Ft Lauderdale on September 7, 2001 to go to school. I would be finished with classes on Sept 9th and I decided I needed a little mini vacation afterwards. I had contacted some friends who live in Florida and asked them if they wanted to send a few days at WDW. My friend Patty, who had been there a few times before, would have to ask her husband, Randy, who had never been there.
After several weeks of talking him into it, we decided we could go for 4 days – I would meet them in Ft. Lauderdale on September 9th, we would drive to WDW and I would fly home from Orlando on the 13th.
Me, being the great planner that I am, had to get everything booked right so that Randy would have a great time, and want to go back again. Originally, I booked the Beach Club, but after Randy complained it was too much money, I switched everyone over to the All Star Sports – still on property, I was fine with that, and Randy was fine with the cost. I made a few PSs for a character breakfast, dinner at the Castle, and of course, I planned for Tuesday night at Jelly Roll’s (CM night is great there!).
Well, we arrived at WDW around 4pm on September 9th, checked into our connecting rooms at the All Stars and I immediately said “We have to get over to Epcot.” It’s the very last time that the “Tapestry of Nations” Parade will be going on. The parade was changing over to the “Tapestry of Dreams” parade. We caught the parade and hit a few attractions at Epcot, including Test Track. And then we saw Illuminations and had a great dinner at Marrakesh.
Epcot was closing, so I decided that we would have a night cap over at Jelly Rolls on the Boardwalk. We met some fun people and I, of course, had to make some balloons animals and hats for everyone.
It was late and we headed back to the All Stars. I had a PS for dinner at the Castle on Tuesday, so I decided that on Monday the 10th, we would hit MGM and then go to our PS dinner at Jiko. Early Monday, I woke Patty and Randy up and we headed over to MGM. I finally got to see the BAH even though it still wasn’t complete. We did mostly everything at MGM, it was the second week of September and all the kids were back at school. I got #1 on the fastest fingers at WWTBAM right before time was called. We hit TOT and RnR, and pretty much everything. At around 1pm, it was time for lunch, and I, of course, had to go visit Mom and the Cousin’s, so I headed over to the 50’s Prime Time Café with Patty and Randy. Of course, lunch was unbelievable again, and I had to have them make my favorite Peanut Butter and Chocolate shake – YUM!. And, once again, I made balloon animals for all the cousins and Mom – and, even though I hadn’t been there in over a year, everyone remembered me – it was so cool.
By now, Patty and Randy were tired. I had run them around pretty good. They said that they wanted to take a nap before dinner (at Jiko! – I couldn’t wait), so we headed back to the All Stars. It was now around 3pm. They napped, I wanted to explore! Having never stayed at the All Star Movies, I had to go check it out to see what all the excitement was about. It was so cool – I wanna stay there some time. After checking out the All Star Movies, I wanted to check out the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Even though we were planning to go there for dinner, I had never seen it, and I wanted to check it out in the day light, and see the animals.
I was totally overwhelmed by the resort. It is beautiful and huge and wonderful and….. I could go on forever. I definitely want to stay there sometime. I spend several hours out back watching that animals, talking with the CMs, some of who are from Africa, about the resort, and about my trip that I took years ago on a real African safari. In fact, several of the CMs there had also worked at some of the same safari camps I stayed at when I was in Zimbabwe. And of course, I had to teach the CMs how to make balloon animals too!.
It was getting late, I headed back to the All Star Sports, showered, got Patty and Randy and headed back to the AKL for dinner at Jiko. Once again, it was so amazing, one of the best dinners I have ever had! We had wine and food and food and wine and wine and food. We had the best CMs, we had a newlywed couple next to us, and we had a loud table of fun women having a ball. By the end of the evening, we three tables we great friends! And of course, I had to make balloons for everyone! Time to head over to PI for a night cap and some fun. We hit all the clubs, and of course wished everyone “Happy New Year.” And, of course, I had to show Patty and Randy how fun the Adventurer’s Club could be. And, since Patty and Randy are New Yorker’s like me, (and since Patty had a little bit too drink), they joined right in on the fun and ended up on stage doing the Monkey Dance. It was great!
We got back to the All Star Sports around 3am. The only thing planned for Tuesday was dinner at the castle so we did not really need to get up too early to get to the MK. But I did want to get my hair cut on Main Street. We went to bed…….
And I was woken up by Patty knocking on my door, telling me to turn the television on, the World Trade Center was on fire. In disbelief, we watched the second tower get hit. What is going on! What do we do. We watched, we cried, we did not know what to do. We talked about checking out and heading back to their house, we talked about staying at WDW, we did not know. Finally, we said, let’s have breakfast, calm down a little and figure out what to do. We drove over to the Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. Of course, everyone was watching on television as the first Tower collapsed. We got a table in the restaurant, but no one was hungry, just sick to our stomaches. The place was pretty empty, the characters – Mickey, Goofy came around, we took a picture, but it just wasn’t the same. We were glued to the television, it just wasn’t happening, but it was.
Then, while Patty and Randy where watching the television and I was at the table alone, Chip (of “Chip & Dale” fame) came over to the table – his “Chip” face was as happy as could be – as it should be at WDW, but then Chip signed – he pointed his two index fingers straight up in the air in front of his face, then he took his two fingers to his eyes, down his nose – my eyes watered as I realized what he was signing – the Twin Towers and then tears.