DAY 9 – SUNDAY 7TH MAY 2006. We woke at 7.30 this morning – serious lie-in territory for us! Might have had something to do with the excessive carousing at Jellyrolls last night! Just for a change we go to the Boardwalk Bakery for breakfast. It’s blue and sunny again. A mother duck is herding her brood of half a dozen cute ducklings along the BW, and seems to be giving them the tour of her favourite eateries! They raise plenty of “aahs!” and smiles from visitors, but have to scatter when some cleaners (apparently deliberately) almost run them down with their golf cart! Fortunately the ducks escape being flattened, and the cleaners escape being tossed into the lake. Back to the room to freshen up and down to the valet station at 8.25. As it’s a bit later than our normal departure time, there are a few valets on duty, and they are having a right old moan about being given diet coke for their refreshment – “are they trying to say we’re fat or something?” asks one! Short, roof down, drive to Blizzard Beach. We are quite literally the first car on the lot! It’s an EMH day today, (regular hours 10 – 5) and the few, other WDW hotel guests already here have used Disney transport. We purchase entry tickets from an automated kiosk and join the other 10 people at the gate! By 9am, when they open the gates, there are probably only 40 people behind us. We stroll to Snowless Joe’s to rent a large locker ($12, with $5 back when you return the key), get changed and head off to the slides. Downhill Double Dippers first ( 1st on) and then we take the ski lift to the top intending to do Team Boat Springs, the 1st class, family raft ride. Sadly, this is now restricted to groups of 4 or more, and as there are no other guests around, we can’t ride. Poo! The other two rides in this area are the two, high body slides, Summit Plummit and Slusher Gusher. I’ve down SP before, and didn’t really enjoy it, and Amanda just doesn’t fancy the drop off (or the prospect of losing her costume on descent!) so we opt for SG instead. As with all the rides this morning, there are no wait times at all. I go first followed by my slide buddy, and we both enjoy the experience. We climb back up to Runoff Rapids and do all the combinations of the tube and mat rides until we tire of climbing back up again. One more fast descent of Downhill Double Dipper and then off to the wave pool. The first few times I came to BB, they did not provide tubes in the pool. Happily, since last year, this has changed, so we grab a couple and bob happily for half an hour or so. To alleviate potential boredom, I occasionally steer Amanda’s tube under the waterfalls. I have never heard such language from a lady! We round off by circling the Lazy Creek for 20 minutes or so before heading off to change. The park has busied up a bit now, 11am, and it seems a good time to leave. The car lot is about half full now. Back at the hotel we shower and change, and I ring Paul to check that he and Sue are still ok for tonight, yep, and we set off to Epcot (just for a change!) for lunch. We arrive just after 12.30. It’s very hot again as we wander over the bridge to France. The park is fairly quiet at present and when we notice Le Serveur Amusant setting up, we are almost his entire audience. I position myself discreetly behind Amanda and smile as she gets suckered into the show! With another hapless lady victim, she is required to sit on a chair with her foot on a rope demarking the “stage” area. This leads to a session of quite respectable body popping, but she draws the line at belly dancing and escapes! When the other lady declines to perform a handstand on a chair, Le Serveur drags another tourist, a fit looking young man, out to help him. The act climaxes with this “volunteer” doing handstands on top of a 20’ pile of rickety chairs and tables! Excellent! We continue to Morocco, 1.15pm, for lunch. The Tangerine Café provides two Lamb and Chicken platters ($30 ish), which we enjoy in the lovely courtyard. After lunch we continue our tour, passing through Japan where Miyuki is crafting more candy animals for her young audience, to the US pavilion where we catch the end of Voices of Liberty – the superbly talented singers who precede The American Adventure, a show we decide we can miss today. Onwards to Italy, where the F&GF displays are stunning. As are the views across the lake. Sergio has just started his act…..for some reason Amanda is reluctant to get too close! A crowd soon gathers, and we stop to watch this entertaining, audience – interactive show. We stroll on, admiring a F&GF water feature near the Outpost, before continuing to China where we sit in the lovely, sculpted gardens for a while. The walkways are relatively quiet this afternoon – it’s very hot again, and most of the visible guests are adults. The few children we do see are grouchy – the sensible parents have doubtless quit the parks for their hotel or villa pools. On and out of the World Showcase, to Club Cool (the refurbished and renamed Ice Station Cool – it’s a pity they lost the snow generator). I manage to persuade Amanda to try the Beverly, with predictable results! We fill up on free soda and then walk across to The Land to once more attempt to ride Soarin’. Yet again there is a 40-minute standby line and the fast pass return time would clash with our dinner reservation so we leave, 2.20pm, back into the humid soup outside. We stroll through Innoventions West – a bit boring – and then across to the East side, where the Jammitors are setting up. They have acquired a lot of new “instruments” since last year and the show is much improved as a result. Amanda is suffering from a bit of a headache, so we get coffees from a stall and sit in the shade for a rest, near to the Universe of Energy. This is currently closed for rehab, and instead of simply roping the entrance off and perhaps posting a notice, management have instead deployed a hapless CM (presumably on punishment duty of some kind!) to deter visitors! Is it just us, or does anybody else think these dinosaurs are misbehaving in some way? Innovations East next. Took a picture of the new baby Hummer H3… … before visiting the House of the Future. CM Amanda (!) guided us through. We want the lot, including the Jacuzzi with plasma TV! We cross the plaza to HISTA at 3.45pm for the 4pm performance. The “new” pre show is way too long for me, and I miss “True Colours” but the main show is fun as always. Amanda is somewhat annoyed that I did not warn her about the snake though! It’s 4.30pm as we leave and the weather has become even stickier. We walk through the F&GF HQ area where we see a mixture of sculptures and paintings, all appropriately themed, some great, and some naff. I mean, a 6’ black and white photograph for $15,000?! Brief return to Club Cool for more freebies, …then back around the World Showcase, …clockwise via Mexico & Norway. Tried on a hat or two at the Outpost, as you do! The walkways are still pretty quiet here compared to Future World. Amanda is still suffering a little so we rest a while in the Japan pavilion. When we continue towards the exit we notice a fair number of overdressed guests, presumably heading towards dining venues or shows. There’s a boat in dock as we leave, so we take this to give Amanda’s head some relief from the heat. It’s 5.40pm as we arrive back at the room. Paul has left a message that they are meeting Bob & Dawn at the Rose and Crown at 6pm but obviously this is too late for us. We freshen up and are back out by 6.20pm. Amanda’s head is a lot better now so we walk back to Epcot rather than taking the boat. We check out the Rose & Crown and Off Kilter in case the others are still in the area, but there is no sign of them and we continue to Japan. Matsuriza are just finishing a set which we watch before climbing up the steps to the restaurant. Sue, Paul, Bob & Dawn are already here, and have checked in at the reception. We chat happily until 7.15 when Dawn’s pager goes off. We are shown to one of the busy dining rooms, with several ‘hot’ tables, each with its own chef and seating 8, and are joined by another couple. (He turns out to be a Disney Cast Member.) Our server is Taeko (lady!) and she takes our drinks orders before handing our hot towels. Amanda and I share a bottle of Pinot Grigio ($30) – I fail to note exactly what drinks the others have, although I think Sue & Paul ordered a bottle of Chardonnay and I know Bob was on soft drinks still, poor lad! I’m pretty sure Dawn’s cocktail was alcoholic though! The drinks are accompanied by seaweed appetiser. Amanda and I had a sushi sampler each for starters, ($7.95 ea.) followed by ‘selo’, a shrimp and cold water scallop affair ($25 ea.) to be cooked on the table. Many photographs were taken by all (see Bob & Dawn’s trippie for more), including a few we press-ganged the spare couple into taking of us all! Our chef, Naka, (male!) appears and starts his show. It’s pretty entertaining, with steam and heat rising from the centre of the table, although compared to some previous experiences by Bob & Dawn, I don’t think he’s the most charismatic chef we could have landed! The food is pretty good, although he overcooked the seafood somewhat for our taste. We all decline dessert (Sue and Paul admitted to having had a major feed already today, with a big lunch at Alfredo’s!) - although I think Dawn would have tucked some away, given half a chance, and we finish with green tea all round. A decent enough meal in excellent company, and I don’t think we ruined it too much for the American couple lucky enough to join us! The check is $270 + tip for our 6, which we divvy up reasonably fairly, given Paul’s cheapie, veggie options and Bob and Dawn not drinking wine. Leaving the restaurant at 8.40, into a warm and pleasant dusk, we head south, stopping at the coffee kiosk near the US pavilion, and then on to Italy where Sue and Amanda have a glass of wine. We take up station in front of the pavilion, drinking and chatting, until Illuminations starts at 9pm – the last one of our trip, sadly. It’s a wonderful performance – the viewpoint here is much closer to the fire barges, water features and Globe than our previous posts at France and Morocco. Sigh… We stroll towards the International Gateway exit, via a restroom break at Morocco, and then out, onto the Boardwalk and back to the BW Inn. Earlier in the week we had a pleasant evening at the first floor Belle Vue room here, with Sue, Paul, John and Jules. Once again, we take a table on the terrace outside and order drinks all round (well, 3 rounds actually!) We spend a relaxing hour or so, putting the world to rights, before taking our leave at 11.30 and strolling the few yards back up to our room. It’s off to Universal tomorrow, early, and we pack most of our gear before having a last WDW balcony beer and to bed at 12.30. A good last day. Mike & Amanda Tomorrow: Royal Pacific Resort, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Tchoup Chop.