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January, 1998

We decided to use up some of our frequent flyer points and visit Disneyworld. January was a good time to go because of the smaller crowds, as well as being easier to book a flight via frequent flyer points. Since the cost of upgrading to Executive Class from Coach was fairly minimal, we decided on the upgrade. Neither of us had flown Executive Class before (and we may never again). When we arrived at the airport, we checked in and were ushered into the Executive Class Lounge to await our flight. I was absolutely awestruck by the lounge. To paraphrase a line from Jerry Maguire, "{First Class}... used to be a better meal. Now it's a better life." The lounge had leather armchairs, free drinks and snacks, a fireplace, even computers (woo hoo!). We had to pry ourselves from the lounge to board the plane. For the first time in our lives, we got to board a plane early, without resorting to having a baby (not that there's anything wrong with that). Aaaahhhhhhh..... nothing beats that feeling of envy from all the passengers flying Coach shuffling by your seat in First Class. Before we even sat down, the flight attendant offered us Perrier. Throughout the whole flight, we bathed in luxury (not literally, of course); dinner menus (a choice of entrees!), tablecloths, free wine, etc. Where the heck were we flying to again? Oh, yeah..... DISNEYWORLD.


Julie and a friend!

We landed in Orlando and took the Mears shuttle (chaotic!) to our hotel in Disneyworld, the All Star Sports Resort. Although the resort was the cheapest way to stay in the resort (by far), it was still pretty expensive. However, the advantages of staying at the resort include free shuttles to the parks, priority seating at restaurants, and most important of all: early entry to the parks.

Fortunately, our room was in a building across the pool from Stadium Hall, the main building where the reception desk, food court, and shuttle stops were located. Our room was small and a bit sparse, but it was clean and had a large king-size bed.


The All Star Sports Resort

The Magic Kingdom was a blast! Since we were resort guests, we got early entry (7:30 am instead of 9:00). The longest wait we had for an attraction was about 5 minutes (for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad). We essentially just walked onto every other attraction without a wait. The attractions we went on include:
As well, the nightly Spectromagic parade was a lot better than expected (I usually shun parades).


Tigger getting "friendly" with me

The next day, we went to the MGM/Disney Studios. As usual, we lined up early, and got in at 7:30 am. We saw a mad dash to the Tower of Terror and decided to participate in the dash. We ended up being the first group into the Tower of Terror. Even though this ride churned my stomach more than any other ride, it was cool!!! Three consecutive 13-story drops! After the Tower of Terror, we saw the following attractions:

After the show, we went to the Sci-Fi Diner for lunch, where we had reservations. The restaurant is like a cheesy 50's drive-in theatre. Each of the tables is really a "car" with three rows of two. For some reason, we were seated in the back seat of a car, behind a family of four (there were plenty of empty cars around...). While we ate, they showed clips of 50's monster movies (a nice touch). After lunch, we strolled around and visited the shops (the crowds started to grow at this time) until the Hercules parade started. After the parade, we went back to the hotel and rested (a common practice for us, it turned out). For supper, we went to Planet Hollywood in the Downtown Disney area.

Winnie The Pooh tried to steal our camera!

EPCOT was the next park that we visited. EPCOT is divided into two sections; Future World (scientific and technical exhibitions) and World Showcase (similar to an Expo or World's Fair). The attractions we saw at EPCOT included:


The countries we saw at the World Showcase include:
The Illuminations show was pretty good. Lasers, fireworks, and coordinated lights all contributed to the show.

One extra thing we decided on was taking a backstage tour of the Magic Kingdom called "The Keys To The Kingdom". This tour was an insightful look at the "behind the scenes" of the park. Only those over 16 were allowed, as the tour revealed a lot of "secrets" of Disneyworld. We even went into the utilidors, the underground corridors that traverse the park. This tour is highly recommended.


One of the many Disney stage shows

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