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Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.


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  • Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

    Ok. I have posted pcitures and reports from my Disneyland trips in 1979, 1986, and 1992. Now it is time for my first WDW trip in 1999. It had been 7 years since I had set foot in a DIsney park and I was looking forward to it. My mother and I travelled to Orlando in September of 1999. It was a present for graduating from college. It was also the last time I went to a Disney park before I got online. Had I been online I am certain I would not have been as surprised by things as I was. This trip was the one that set me off on a Themepark and rollercoaster fandom that I have had ever since. I consider it to be the first trip of my Silver Age of themepark visits. Anyways Let's get to the trip report.

    My mother and I arrived in Orlando on SUnday and checked into Dixie Landings. By the time we got there it was around 5 pm, so we just looked around the resort and had dinner in the food court. I really liked the feel of Dixie Landings and seeing all the little lizards running around. It was also my first experience with real humidity. We occasionally get a muggy day here in Washington, but no where near what I experienced there.

    On MOnday we got up early to be at Animal Kingdom when they opened at 8. We were there a good half hour early and were about 5 people back in line. We spent the time chatting with a couple from Ohio and their little girl. We ran into them a couple more times on the trip, though I don't remember the specifics. Anyways, the park opened at 8 with a little ceremony with a couple floats and costumed characters. We headed for Kilamanjaro Safaris first. So here are some pictures.

    Giraffes, Ostriches, and Wildebeest's Oh my!

    A black Rhinocerous after wallowing in the mud.

    After the safari we visited the trails for Asia and Africa.


    Bengal Tiger.

    We also caught the Bird Show and rode Kali River Rapids. Having never been on a River Rapids style ride my mother and I sat next to 2 large women and of course when we went down the drop our end of the boat got soaked. Two days later our jean shorts were still wet.

    We had a rather bland lunch at Pizzafari and explored the Oasis area. For those not in the know that is the area around the base of the Tree of Life. Speaking of which...

    It is quite a work of art isn't it? And to imagine it all started as an oil rig.

    My favorite part of the Oasis is the parrots. I am a big parrot fan and seeing all the different Macaw species they have was great.

    A pair of Scarlett Macaws.

    We checked out Dinoland USA and rode Dinosaur back when it was still called Countdown to Extinction. I found it odd that the Iguadon in the ride looked so much like the one in the upcoming movie "DInosaur". Ah corporate synergy. I wasn't too impressed with CTX and am still not. Indiana Jones is so much better (though I would not ride IJA until 2003). Unfortunately the Dinosaur Bone exhibit was closed so we did not get to see that, but we did get so see them working on the T-rex fossils of Sue, which at the time was the most complete T-Rex skeleton they had found. I loved the fact that in the window sill was the mighty Dinobot Grimlock. I loved the Transformers

    ANyways, we headed over to the Camp Minnie Mickey area and saw the Dragon's cave. I was terribly disappointed that the Beastly Kingdom did not get built. I kind of figures sicne I could find no info about that section that it did not exist, but I didn't have solid proof till I got there. I hope that one day they go back to the theme of "Animals that are, Animals that were, and Animals that have never been". Little did I know what I was going to see in a few days (yes that is foreshadowing). Camp Minnie Mickey is cute and all, but at that point I could have cared less about characters. However, my mother wanted a couple shots of her with characters and Pluto had no wait so I present my Mother with Pluto.

    I should be noted that we did go out to Rafiki's Planet Watch as well. I loved the train, but was not that interested in the discovery center.

    Well we stopped by the Rainforest Cafe on the way out. We had never seen one before and thought it was neat. While we were there we discovered there was in in the SOuthcenter Mall near Seattle, WA (so within deriving distance of Bremerton). An employee there said she had opened that location. What a small world.

    Anyways it was about 3 pm at the time and we left to go to Disney MGM Studios. But more on that, the Hurricane, my favorite park on the trip and the rest coming soon. I hope you enjoy reading my report.
    Last edited by Melonballer; 08-11-2006, 04:39 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

    Thanks for sharing! The rhino is awesome!
    - Horizonsfan


    • #3
      Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

      Now for Part 2. MGM Studios.

      My mother and I were not expecting to be coming here on our first day, but we finished Animal Kingdom so early, why not? Our original plan was to come on Friday. ANyways we decided to stay on the south side of the park (Muppets, Star Tours and such) and save ToT and RNR for Friday. We rode the great movie ride and I enjopyed that. Star Tours was awesome. I loved all the set pieces there.

      Here I am in front of the AT-AT walker. Notice I am wearing a Tie-dye Boba Fett t-shirt. The AT- AT was one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars movies so this was quite the thrill. The Star Wars store at the end of the ride was great. I got a new tie-dye shirt and loved the Tatooine setting. While there we caught Muppet Vision 3-D. Penguins with cannons...classic.

      WE also rode the BAcklot tour which I was not that impressed with. I mean its like "oh wow, its the house from Golden Girls!". Yeah, dull. However, what I really enjoyed was the prop room at the end. They had a bunch of the Jack Skellington heads (unfortunately I was not that big of a fan at the time so I did not get a picture ). However I did take some neat pcitures.

      The T-800 from the Treminator. Sweet.

      I was really surprised to see this.

      A real Landstrider! At that point I had probably not thought about the Dark Crystal for at least a decade. If you look closely you can see a display with maquettes from Toy Story and a display for the Rocketeer. In retrospect I should have taken pictures of those displays.

      A close-up of the Landstrider. Is that cool or what?

      It was getting dark so we headed over to see Fantasmic. I had seen the Disneyland version in 1992, so while I did enjoy the MGM version, the DL one is inded better. We got there not long before the show started so, we had to stand in the back. While we were there it started to pour down rain. Luckily we are from Washington, so we are used to rain. However, unlike the NW rain this was warm, and since we are Washingtonians we were prepared with umbrellas. A lot of people in the standing section left so it gave us a great view. The show went on until the climatic ending (it had stopped raining after a few minutes).

      After this we went back to Dixie LAndings to get dry. We watched the news about Tropical Storm Harvey which was in the Gulf and heading our way. I was worried that it would screw up my trip. Its kind of funny that it came while I was there since when I was in DIsneyland in 1992 we had an earthquake and when I went to Disneyland in 1986 I had the chickenpox. Luckilly like those 2 earlier instances my trip was barely effected. Overnight the storm headed south and by the time we got up the next day it was all over.

      Next: EPCOT, Illuminations, year 2000, and the biggest steak I had ever eaten.


      • #4
        Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

        better late than never...thanks for sharing.


        • #5
          Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

          Originally posted by Hamlet Schmalzbach
          better late than never...thanks for sharing.
          Lol. Since I live in Washington I am unable to Contibute with pcitures from the present day. So I have been slowly going though and scanning pictures from my DIsney trips. I have 5 different Disneyland picture threads in the DIsneyland forum and now I am showing my pics from WDW. After I finish this trip I will have my 2001 WDW trip, my 2003 DL trip and my 2004 WDW trip still to show off. I try to only post more unique pictures, especially ones of things that are gone now. For example, in my DIsneyland pictures I have shots of Skull Rock, the Skyway, and the its a small world float from the MSEP.


          • #6
            Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

            How I love Melonballers old reports! I cant wait for the next segment you post.



            • #7
              Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

              So now it was Tuesday. We had got lucky and the tropical storm had gone by and the sun was out. My mother and I headed over to EPCOT to do the EPCOT deathmarch. We got there for the opening. We headed to the east side of future world to ride Universe of Energy, but were told it was closed due to breakdown. So we headed to TestTrack and waited in the standby line. I love their line with all the devices hammering on the car parts and such. I realy loved this attraction. My favorite moment was right before you bust outside you saw the car crash test into the wall, right before you turn to do your own crash test.

              Anyways, we skipped WOnders of Life and Horizons was closed. We got to ride Universe of Energy and then SPaceship EArth. Speaking of which...

              We actually took this picture midday from the Monorail station. I want to point out the crane in the picture because while we were there they were putting the 2000 sign on S:E. That Was neat to watch, especially beacuse when I returned in January 2001 they were taking the sign down. I imagine that there are not many non-locals who can say they saw the sign going up and coming down.

              Anyways, we made our first trip out to World Showcase. My mother wanted to show me all these parrots they had by the Mexico Pavillion, but htey weren't there anymore. Anyone know where they went? I assume they went to AK. I really liked the interior of the Mexico Pavillion, very atmospheric. We skipped the boat ride and headed to Norway. It was probably around 11 am and we had not eaten yet. I was a pickier eater back then than I am now so nothing sounded all that great to me. However, we checked out Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Norway and I got a Cinammon Roll and my mother got a piece of chocolate cake. My mother loved her cake and I thought my cinnamon roll was ok ( I can make much better). ANyways after food we rode the MAelstrom. I loved the Norse Mythology in the attraction, as well as the moment when you are going backwards. The ending was weak though, but overall I liked it. What I did not like was waiting to exit the attraction. I'm sorry, but they need to have an exit here beside through the theater. While we were waiting some people made a break for it though the cast member door. It was funny watching them get all pushed back in. NO escape!

              After escaping the Fjords of Norway we explored the shops of Norway and China. Then we came across Germany. This is probably my favorite country. I loved the nutcracker/christmas shop (My mother and I collect nutcrackers). The Hummel shop was cool too. My mother bought her mother a Hummel that was painted by the artisan in the store, who also signed it. After we left Germany we discovered the model train set. Now I have always been a big train fan so I must have spent 15 minutes checking this display out. I got a kick out of the little lizards that were running around. It was like 'Attack of the Giant Lizards".

              Last time I saw this set-up was in 10/04 and it was really beat up. Hopefully it will be fixed up.

              At some point we headed towards the front of the park to go back to the hotel for a break and to change our clothes. We were going to have a nice dinner at Le Cellier that night and wanted to change to nicer attire. We decided to catch the MOnorail to the MAgic Kingdom and then get our bus from there. When we got to the Transit Center we discovered that we had to catch the ferry across to get to the buses for the hotel. I'm not sure why we did not just take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, maybe we wanted to ride the ferry. I got this great picture of the Grand Floridian while "at sea".

              Well we caught our bus and got changed back at Dixie Landings, then headed back to Epcot.


              • #8
                Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

                When we got back to Epcot we had some time so we checked out the rest of Future World. I loved The Living Seas. We skipped the land and JOurney into Imagination was closed for refurb (this was the dreaded refurb that changed the attraction so much). When we got to Canada they were not quite ready for us yet, so we checked out the waterfall.

                When we finally got into the restuarant we were famished. Remember that we had only had some sweets earlier in the day. Well after perusing the menu I did the only thing I could, I had the 22oz Porterhouse steak, with Garlic mashed potatoes, breadsticks, and a side order of mushrooms.
                I believe my mother had the Filet Mignon. Anyways, the meal was delicious and yes, I did eat every bite. My personal record for steak was 22oz until Nov 2003 when i ate a whole 24oz slab of Prime Rib (but that is another story). My mother had had a couple glasses of wine with dinner and was very cheerful at this point. We started exploring Great Britain and the other countries we had missed earlier in the day while waiting for Illuminations. My mother got another glass of wine while we were in the France Pavillion and was talking up a storm with any of the foreign CMs that she could. When we visited the Morocco Pavillion my mother had a conversation with one of the CMs from there. She had been there a year before on a cruise. I got bored while waiting, but I did keep reasonably busy checking out the pavillion. We finished the other countries and watched Illuminations. This was the old Illuminations show, not the current one. I don't remember it that much.

                It took awhile to leave, like it always does, but we got back to the hotel to rest before getting up early the next day to travel to Islands of Adventure. I am going to post that portion of my trip next in the non-disney park section of Micechat, so watch for it there.

                COming next: IOA, My mother's and my first coaster experience.


                • #9
                  Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

                  Hello again. Ok I decided to post the rest of my DIsney experience first. Many of the pcitures of IOA that I had scanned had poor resolution, so I need to rescan them. However, I have all my WDW pictures ready so lets finish this trip report.

                  On Wednesday night after we got back from IOA we went to Downtown DIsney and looked around. I have to admit that I do not remember much of this. I started feeling ill so after a quick look around we headed back to our room.

                  On Thursday I was better (not 100%, but better) and we headed over to the Magic Kingdom. Now I had not been to Disneyland in 7 years, so I was really looking forward to this. We had reservations that evening for Alfredo's in EPCOT so we did have a deadline, but we made the most of it. Since it was Spetember the crowds were light. First some castle pics.

                  Love those gardens.

                  Anyhow I guess we started in Tomorrowland. Buzz Lightyear had just opened so we took a couple spins on that I got 999,999 points (or whatever the max is on this version) . MY mother and I thought it was great fun, but it did take her until the second ride to figure out to "shoot the Z's" (SHe tells everyone this as soon as she hears they are going to DIsneyworld).

                  Good ole Buzz

                  Anyways we rode SPace Mountain for the first time while we were there, visited the Timekeeper, and ENcountered the Alien. I thought ALien ENcounter was a very interesting attraction due to its simplicity, but it wasn't something I rteally needed to experience twice. Mom and I also squished into the Astro ORbiter which I had never done at DIsneyland before. I liked it.

                  We headed into Fantasyland and Mickey's Fair and rode the BArnstormer and its a small world. I missed the bavarian town appearance of DIsneyland. The Whole medieval fair theme is kind of dull.

                  After that we headed to Froniterland and Liberty Square. We rode Big Thunder Mountain for the first time and I experienced the Haunted MAnsion all the way through without being scared. I really got a kick out of figuring out the magic of the Mansion. Splash Mountain was closed for refurb so we headed into Adventureland. I loved getting to ride POTC, but it is definitely not as good as the DL version. We took a spin on the Jungle Cruise which is interesting because of the portion that takes place inside of the temple. HEre's a couple pics.

                  Look out Juan! ) I got a whole new perspective on this ride after the Kilamanjaro Safari ride at AK. Could you imagine this ride with real animals? I love the safari ride, but I like Jungle Cruise the way it is.

                  We also caught the TIki Room: Under New Management. Now I am a huge Tiki Room fan, its one of my favorite attractions. SO it may surprise you, but I liked this version. I prefer the original, don't me wrong, but thsi was a nice change. As long as they leave the original alone, having a unique show in WDW is ok by me. Probably the best part is the preshow.

                  I know at some point we rode the railroad and had lunch. As the day wore on I was starting to feel run down so we went back to DIxie Landings to rest before going to dinner in EPCOT.

                  After a little rest we headed back to EPCOT for dinner. We decided to catch the boat for a ride around the Lagoon. On board we found out something interesting from the captain. That night they were going to have a test run of the new Illuminations: Reflection of Earth. Well we were not going to miss that. SO we had a very nice dinner in Alfredo's and rode Test Track again. Actually I rode the single rider line while my Mom shopped at MOuseworks. Boy did single rider save me some time.

                  That night we saw one of the, if not the first showings of I:ROE We were standing between Canada and Future World and were a couple rows back. What a terrific show. To this day that show has a lot of meaning for me and it is usually one of the last things I see before I have to go back home from WDW. After the show ended we had to wait a bit for a bus back to the hotel, but we made it.


                  • #10
                    Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

                    Ok last part, It'll be quick. We went to MGM again for the last day, we had from opening to around 4 pm before we had to go to catch our shuttle to the airport.

                    We started at TOT and RNRC adn had a blast, lines were short so we took several rides. We rerode Star Tours and had lunch at the Sci-FI diner. I love that place. WE got the cookie monster for desert. After lunch I went on the animation tour while my mom looked around. We saw Mickey in the courtyard.

                    The Super Soap weekends were starting as we left and My mother saw Susan Lucci in the PArade. My mother used to watch the soap so she thought that was pretty cool.

                    On the aniamtion tour I was especially impressed with the cels and production art from Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, and Sleeping Beauty. I finally found a holy grail in the animation shop at the end. It was an actual production cel from Gargoyles. There was only the 1 adn it was the only 1 I saw the entire trip. If I had had the money for it, I would have got it.

                    Anyways we caught the Great Movie ride one last time and headed home.

                    The END.


                    • #11
                      Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

                      Hippos making out in the pool. Now that's a GREAT trip report!! Thanks for sharing.


                      • #12
                        Re: Pictures from Melonballer's 1st WDW visit, 1999.

                        Here's a pic I forgot. I scanned my admission media.


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