Sunday September 17, 2000
As hard as I tried, I could not drag myself out of bed until 8am. Unfortunately, this did not allow enough time to do the four-park day. Instead we spent the morning packing and grabbing breakfast at the Dixie Landings food court. We then headed off to the Magic Kingdom. Hurricane Gordon was paying Florida a visit by now. WDW only managed a glancing blow, but it was enough to make it very wet. It turned out to be a positive thing since the weekend crowds stayed away. When we entered the MK, we noticed how empty the streets appeared to be in comparison to last night’s crowds trying to leave after the parade. We spent most of the time looking in the shops, but did manage to get onto Space Mountain with no wait (just the usual 20 minute walk through the queue line). We also caught Alien Encounter. This is such a worthy successor to Mission to Mars. As I mentioned before, I really wish that they had this ride here at Disneyland instead of a Pizza Place. It was then time to do some last minute shopping. There were several shirts I was thinking about getting, but decided I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase for them. I did pick up a Mushu plush since they are no longer available at Disneyland.
By the time we reached the castle, the rain began to come down sideways. The wind had picked up, and it actually began to feel like a Tropical Storm. We decided to head over to Disney/MGM to get one last ride on Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster. I knew that Test Track would be closed due to the rain, so we bypassed EPCOT and took the bus from the Transportation/Ticket Center directly to the Studios.
After quick rides on both attractions (and even getting a photo from the Tower of Terror) it was time to head back to the hotel to catch the shuttle. We made it back to the hotel with oodles of time to spare, so we browsed the gift shop and Roger played some video games. I wanted to get some Dixie Landings merchandise since the name is going away soon, but I decided my all-you-can-drink mug from the food court would suffice.
I managed to get some more shots of the hotel, and then it was finally time to say goodbye to Walt Disney World as our Mears shuttle was here. It was a mixed feeling. I was sad to be leaving and ending a great trip, but on the other hand, I don’t think my aching feet could take any more. The ride to the airport was very reflective and I came up with some things that will always make the trip special (in no particular order):
Keys to the Kingdom Tour with Jill
Hidden Treasures of the World Showcase with Myrna
The first tube ride with Roger at Blizzard Beach
The first time I heard the music to Tapestry of Nations
The finale of Illuminations 2000 and the music from it that is played at the entrance to EPCOT along with ‘Tomorrow’s Child”
That first drop on Tower of Terror
Hitting 65 around the front of the Test Track building
The loop on Rockin’ Rollercoaster
Chocolate/Vanilla Swirl Cones
Getting soaked and loving it on the Kali River Rapids
The narration of the TTA/PeopleMover (“Now Approaching Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center”)
At the Orlando Airport, we were again greeted by the wonderful American Airlines customer service. This time it was in the form of the gate agent who was downright rude to people. Granted most of the people in the terminal were crowding the gate like they were getting on a Southwest flight, but she just was not a happy camper. Surprisingly, the stewardesses were not their usual grumpy selves. I think they are just unhappy to be working long haul on a 737.
We made it back to the Le Meridien without too much hassle. We didn’t even have to wait long for the right cab company to show up so we could use some vouchers to pay for the trip. We finally made it back to the house safe and sound. I drifted off to sleep humming Reflections of the Earth and Tapestry of Nations and thinking of the next time I visit Walt Disney World.