Sorry, but this is a 3 day log so make yourself comfy if you wanna read through all of it…or please holler if I`m boring you all by now!
Day 6 ~ Wednesday Sept.24th
We took breakfast again at the GF Café [unhealthy option for me as usual!] after which we caught a bus over to AK.
The first port of call was to collect a fast pass for the Kilimanjaro Safari even though the regular wait time was only around 25 minutes or so.
This gave us ample time to wander through Asia to say “Hello” to my favourite animals, the Bengal Tigers. It`s a sad fact but there are more of these majestic creatures in captivity in the US than there are in the wild thanks to mankind’s actions on their natural habitat. I could have stayed there for ages watching them, especially as a few of the tigers were active rather than sleeping at the rear of their enclosure.
We arrived back at the safari ride with one minute to spare before our fast passes would allow us to enter, and the CM at the FP entrance was making sure that everyone entered at precisely the minimum time stated on their ticket! [No, I wasn`t able to pull any strings with this CM as I didn`t know her! ]
Having done a real African safari in Kenya with my DW a while back, I have to admit that Disney have done a pretty good job of recreating the effect, despite the fake baobab [sp?] tree and the “Imagineered” termite mounds! :p015: I find it very clever how they have managed to conceal the segregation between the predators and their foes to prevent mass carnage which is the norm in the wild! On this occasion, we had a very good guide who really got into the spirit of things and was cracking jokes which were not in the regular script.
Following the safari, my DW and I went through the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail seeking out the gorillas etc. etc..before walking straight into “It`s Tough to be a Bug” where we have stood in line for ages in the past to enter.
It was now approaching lunchtime so we returned to the GF where I received a call on my mobile phone from Ricky who was checking that we were still ok to meet up with him and his wife later that night. After lounging around on the beach for the rest of the afternoon, we got ready to meet Ricky and his wife who arrived at the GF shortly after the appointed time in his minivan.
His mode of transport caused quite a stir with the CM`s at the GF. It is a silver minivan which is adorned with “Flower Power” lettering and decals, and the dashboard is awash with Beatles memorabilia, certainly an eye catcher!
Hugs and kisses exchanged, Ricky took us to Pleasure Island where he had reserved a table for dinner at Raglan Road. This was the first time that my DW and I had been to this venue and we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. We were given a table very close to the stage where a 4 piece Irish band were playing and immediately behind us was a small raised platform where a female Irish dancer did a few jigs [think Lord of the Dance, but without Michael “whatshisname!”], which got the audience hooping and hollering! I had to discreetly look away on a few occasions as from where I was seated….well lets say that I had a good view of the dancer! :p015:
Ricky said that tonight was cast member night at Pleasure Island which was due to close at the end of the week and that loads of off duty CM`s including the characters would be there. He thought it would be nice to take us there on this memorable night and we very much looked forward to it.
So far my DW and I have only been to the AC at PI, never venturing into any of the dancing clubs or bars, but tonight we spent the whole time going from one place to another, having a drink and moving on when they played any music not to our collective tastes. Before long all four of us were “getting into the groove” and fortunately for me this time I was the only one of our party with a camera!
Dancing with an off duty Minnie was a real treat never to be repeated I guess, and Ricky can be a pretty cool dude too!.
An indication of how much we all enjoyed the evening is reflected in the fact that it was around 1.00am before Ricky and his wife dropped us off back at the GF, stating that we would have another “get together” after we had returned from our cruise the following week.
Day 7 ~ Thursday Sept.25th
After last nights shenanigans my DW and I both suggested that we should have a “lazy” day today, so after yet another unhealthy breakfast [for me anyhow!], we drove to DTD for a mooch around the shops and for a coffee and ice cream at Ghirardelli’s doing a spot of people watching at the same time. An indication of how quiet things were is that we managed to get a parking space at the #1 parking area where there were loads of empty spaces so I had no complaints about that.
Back at the GF we wrote a few postcards and mailed them from the GF mail box and spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach before getting ready for the short drive to WL for our ADR at AP set for 7.30 pm.
While waiting at the podium, we were behind a young couple who were newlyweds. The girl was wearing a set of Mickey ears with a white veil and her beau was sporting a baseball hat, and both of them were dressed in their park clothes. One of the CM`s asked the guy very politely if he would mind removing his hat before entering the restaurant and the guy questioned why he had to do it. When he was told that it was only polite for gentlemen to remove their hats while dining in any of the signature dining restaurants, he took exception to this and removed the cap muttering a few words under his breath. Newlyweds or not, good manners are not impossible to achieve, maybe they should have dined at Mac Donalds instead!
I noticed that when they left, he had re-donned his cap before leaving the restaurant, probably in protest! :mad:
Our server was a guy named Javier who I recognised as being a server from the GF Café from our previous visits who told us that he had moved over to AP to advance his career. Another server from the GF who`s name I forget was another familiar face that we recognised there also.
AP is the only on site restaurant where I know exactly what I am going to order before seeing the menu….buffalo steak followed by the fruit cobbler, while my DW normally opts for the planked salmon, and tonight was no exception. As is the norm the meal was excellent and after a stroll through the grounds of this fantastic resort we made our way back to the GF.
Day 8 ~ Friday Sept.26th
Sadly today was our check out day at the GF. Over breakfast we were introduced to one of the servers from Birmingham [UK] named Simon who came over and chatted with us for a while. He married an American girl a while back and is really enjoying working for Disney…this made me green with envy. [The Disney bit that is, not marrying the American girl….just in case my DW should ever read this! :shocked025:]
After breakfast we went down to Gasparilla`s to say our goodbyes to a lovely Chinese lady named Tang who has been at the GF since it opened in 1998 and she always has a huge smile on her face. A truly lovely lady.
Before leaving my DW dragged me into the clothes shop in the main building in order for me to buy her a GF track suit that she just HAD to have! [My DW is like HM the Queen when on vacation in that she never carries any of her own money with her! ]
It was then a 15 minute drive back to the villa so that we could get some laundry done and repack our cases ready for the cruise departing tomorrow, settling for a snack sandwich type lunch following a brief trip to Publix.
In the evening we headed back to the GF to have dinner at the Café thanks to the ADR secured by Louise!
From here we went upstairs to the Mitzner`s Lounge for the rendezvous arranged with Johnie and Beccaberry for 8.00pm.
We ordered a drink and sat down on a sofa aiming to save some adjacent seats for the others when they arrived. After a while a lady approached me and asked me if my name was Terry! Before my DW had chance to stick a knife in my back , the lady identified herself as Rosie from Secrets and introduced us to her DH. Panic over we all sat down and chatted for a while until our other Secrets friends arrived.
It was great to meet up with Johnie, Beccaberry, Kazzaqld and their various friends and partners and it`s true to say that a few drinks passed our lips. I recall that at the time there was an Obama/McCain debate on the tv and a group of folks sitting at the bar occasionally gave us dirty looks for having such fun and talking over the tv. Heck, if they wanted privacy and desperately wanted to watch the debate then why choose to view it in a public bar anyhow? Needless to say but it didn`t stop us from having fun.
All too soon, the evening came to a close and we all made our way back to our respective accommodations.
It truly was great meeting those folks. Some of them we had already met and it`s always good to put a face to the name of those that we hadn`t seen before.
Tomorrow the cruise begins. :smiley4: