FRI 31st DEC 1999
Wake up at 6:30. Yahoo!
This is the day that the whole trip has been based
around, the eve of a new millennium. We shower and have
breakfast in the room while Georgia discovers her gift
from the tooth fairy. Her prime objective for the day
will be to find something to spend her new found wealth
Out to the bus stop at 7:45 where there is already a
queue of about 100 people. One Epcot bus turns up quite
quickly and then nothing for the next hour. there are
dark mutterings afoot in the queue. (Can a foot mutter?)
Eventually a CM comes out to explain that the delay is
due to heavy traffic around the Epcot area and the buses
just can't get through. He also reassures us that, as we
are guests at a Disney resort, we will be guaranteed
entry into Epcot. I am reassured by this and relax and
enjoy the lovely sunny morning. We have no plans to do
anything except wander round and enjoy the atmosphere so
I am not really worried how long it takes to get in.
We eventually enter Epcot at 10:15 and head for the
lockers to try and store our clothes for later. These, of
course, are full but they point us in the direction of
Guest Relations where there is a long line of people
waiting to leave their spare baggage. It does not take
too long to reach the front and you have to give credit
to Disney for setting up a service to their guests.
We try to get a fastpass for Test Track but just as Tammy
reaches the machine it stops giving out tickets as the
allocation for the day is full. We will have to wait a
little longer for our first ride. We wander round World
Showcase and stroll into Mexico where we take a trip on
the boat ride. This must be one of the few attractions
with practically no wait today. After this Tammy starts
to get that strange look on her face that means I have
not had any food for 3 hours and I will start to get
grumpy very soon if you don't feed me. By good luck we
are in Norway so a visit to the bakery is in order. There
follows a ¾ of an hour wait for coffee and pastries.
It's funny how Tammy hates to wait in line for any ride
but would gladly hang around all day for a cake. While we
are queuing the girls have fun in the Viking ship. The
pastries are excellent as usual.
We are not really worried if we have to queue for
anything today. this is New Year's Eve, the place is
packed, the lines are long but this is just what we
expected. We don't care, nothing is going to spoil this
The next stop is to watch the American Adventure. Why is
it that I always come out of there feeling proud to be an
American? I thought that one or other of the girls might
fall asleep but they both watch enthralled.
We walk round to the Land to meet Patricia O'Brien for
her RADP meet. We cannot immediately see anyone so get in
line at one of the food outlets. Grandma spots a lady
with an RADP badge and is off to introduce herself. The
rest of us soon follow and meet Trish and her husband
Kevin. (Wonderful name, always reminds me of handsome,
intelligent men). we find a table and soon after are
joined by Tony (Panflight). We spend a very pleasant half
an hour discussing our various trials and tribulations
getting into the park today. Trish and Kevin were waiting
in the car park at 7:00 and had very little trouble while
poor Tony was kept waiting for 2 hours at the
International Gateway. They are all very nice people and
it was a shame that more people couldn't make it to the
meet as I would love to meet as many people from RADP as
possible. I know that there was another RADP meet in
Italy at 6:00 PM but we already had priority seating for
the San Angel Inn at 5:45 and so were unable to make that
one. By the way, I sample my first beer of the day here.
Be fair, it is nearly 2:30.
While we are busy chatting the girls and Grandma have
been off to the Green thumb Emporium and Georgia has
achieved her objective of spending her Disney dollars.
She has bought a bag of those little gem stones. We meet
another lovely CM here who tells Georgia that she should
be able to fit a few more into her bag and to go back and
get some more. Well, Georgia is never one to miss an
opportunity and comes back with the bag bursting at the
seams. The lady just laughs and asks Georgia her name.
when she tells her the lady says 'Oh, you must have one
of the new quarters with the state of Georgia on it' and
spends a few minutes searching around to find her one.
Just a little kindness but it is the sort of thing that
makes you feel good.
We say our farewells and wander off to get changed for
the evening. The ladies do like to dress up and look
their best for the big event. Back at Guest Relations we
recover our things and after a quick wash and brush up we
are raring to go. One thing that is unusual about today
is that we have seen quite a few people who have decided
to make an effort for the evening, some going so far as
wearing tuxedos, OK, they have shorts on as well but the
thought is there. All around the lagoon we have seen
people that have laid down blankets and staked out there
place for the fireworks right from park opening. As we
have been walking around we have also seen people lying
out on any grassy surface available, just relaxing,
sunbathing and enjoying a drink. It is a really laid back
atmosphere, almost similar to a big rock festival.
It is nearly time for our meal in Mexico but we are
hoping to catch a few minutes of Tapestry of Nations
first. It is 5:30 PM and this is going to be the only
showing today. Unfortunately we are right at the end of
the parade route and so it has not even reached us when
it is time for us to go to eat. While we have been
waiting Georgia asks Tammy 'Mummy, are we going to watch
the race?' Tam can't think what she means for a while and
then twigs it. Georgia has seen all the people in
wheelchairs lined up across the path at the end of the
parade route with a rope across them and she is ready for
the great wheelchair dash!
The food in Mexico gets a mixed reception. Grandma finds
her shrimp dish to be too hot whereas I quite like my
beef dish. The girls really push back the culinary
borders and order chicken fingers. This is the second
time we have eaten here and I think that the attraction
is definitely the setting rather than the food. Still, we
all enjoy the Sol and we get given silly plastic top hats
which we not only wear all night but somehow manage to
get home in the suitcase as well.
Our aim is to be in front of the Rose and Crown for 7:00
PM which is midnight back in the UK. The crowds are now
quite heavy around World Showcase but we just take our
time and go with the flow. We arrive in plenty of time
and the purchase of a mini yard of ale for me makes me
feel much better. There are so many silly plastic hats
around that it looks like some sort of mad milliners
I will try to explain the scene. It is absolutely packed
with people, they are climbing up on the cross and all
over anything to get a vantage point. The atmosphere is
absolutely electric and there is much singing of
patriotic football songs. It is all wonderfully good
humoured and the countdown is greeted by enormous cheers
and a very rowdy version of Auld Lang Syne. I like this,
I like it a lot, two New Year's for the price of one.
Off to catch the end of the British Invasion and the
first attempt by the Stringer family to dance this
evening. Not a pretty sight. Well, I'm pretty good, it's
the rest of them you understand. Georgia is now getting
tired but, ever resourceful, we have planned for this
possibility and the stroller is brought into play. At 6
years old she is really too old for this but we brought
it all the way from England just for this night as we
know there is no way she will last without it. Sometimes
even I am amazed at my forward planning.
Our plan is to see Off Kilter next but it is so thronged
with people as we approach Canada that we can't get
through. Never mind, we just turn around and walk towards
France instead. Forward planning and flexibility, what a
Around we go as far as Japan where a huge disco is in
full swing. They play 'Tubthumping' and everyone starts
to jump. Rolling back the years to show that there's life
in the old dog yet, I grab India and we push our way
through to the dance floor and start leaping. As we look
around there is Grandma, elbowing a few youngsters out of
the way and doing a pretty fair Tigger impression
On to Italy were another disco is in full swing with
lights and lasers going like crazy. Another dance or two,
this time with Tam. I think there is some obscure law in
Florida that states that you must dance with your wife on
New Year's Eve. Damn, and just as I was getting on so
well with those two good looking girls. I assume the
gestures they were making sticking their fingers in their
throats and holding their stomachs is something American
girls do to show that they are impressed?
We then wander off to the dancing fountain where another
big stage is set up with some obscure boy band are going
at full bore(dom). When we pass later on our way out the
lighting rig has been lowered. I hope they were
underneath it at the time.
Onward back round to Canada to catch the end of Off
Kilter where Georgia wakes up for a dance with her
embarrassing parents. The worst thing so far has been the
queues for the drinks (mmm...... beer) and the loos. The
ladies have to stand in line for ages as usual.
A return to the UK sees us up front with the British
Invasion again with much singing along to 'Hey Jude'. For
the rest of the week Georgia is singing 'Hey Jule'.
It is now 11:15 and we decide to find a place to watch
the fireworks. We move on to Japan and find an area that
is not too crowded, passing the blanket people on the
way. Much as I admire their resolve there has been too
many wonderful things to see and do today to spend it
camped out on the pavement.
Celebration drinks are required for midnight but, as time
is running out, the only thing we can get is champagne,
sake and plum wine. The sake is horrible but the plum
wine is nice.
Reflections of Earth begins. I did not realise that the
globe moves across the lagoon to its position in the
centre. We cannot see too much of the water level effects
but the music is fantastic and we will see it later in
the trip without the crowds. Poor Georgia has had enough
and is crying that she wants to go home. Tammy sticks
Georgia's head under her fleece and we carry on watching.
Horrible parents aren't we?
As Reflections of Earth finishes a huge fireworks display
begins in the sky above Japan. It is truly beautiful and
as it fades away I think 'That's it, they can't top
that'. Oh no? The countdown to midnight begins and the
globe has the numbers spinning on it as we approach zero.
Everyone goes wild and the skies around the top of World
Showcase erupt in a huge wall of fireworks. I do not
remember too many colours, mostly gold, silver and white.
At one point the whole sky seems ablaze with fire for as
far as I can see, I just stand there with this stupid
grin plastered across my face watching this amazing
event. As India points out, it is like daylight, there is
so much light being shed. When I do manage to look around
there are fireworks shooting from the barges in the
lagoon as well! All too soon it is over and, as Tammy
says, 'I want to see it all again please'.
Gradually we calm down and New Year hugs and kisses are
exchanged. We walk on past the American pavilion and a
swing band are in full ...... er, .. swing. People are up
on the stage dancing so we clamber up and let rip again.
After a while we decide on a quick snack and a return to
the bus stop as it is now 1:45 AM. We planned not to
leave straight after midnight as the bus queues would be
awful. Burger and hotdogs in America are the order of the
day. (night?) We are all amazed by the gingerbread house.
Tammy would like to live here but she would eventually
end up with no roof ...... or doors ....... or windows.
Another slow walk to the bus stop sees us line up with
the rest of mankind on this planet at 2:15. Our plan to
miss the crowds has not been entirely successful. The
buses roll in and out with great regularity but the sheer
volume of people means we do not get on the bus until
3:15 AM. Still, a one hour wait with that many people
around would not be too bad if it were not for the fact
that we are all very tired.
We eventually clamber on to the bus and come to the low
point of the day. We are all standing and not one person
offers any of us a seat. What kind of ignorant, stupid,
self centred people allow an adult carrying a sleeping 6
year old, a lady of 74 and a clearly exhausted 9 year old
to stand in a moving bus?
Tammy and I exchange rather loud comments about ignorant
people and how good manners are a thing of the past but
no one seems inclined to move. The only way I can remain
upright is to wedge myself across the gangway between the
seats. I am sure that the person in the seat closest to
me must have caught Georgia's food around the head a
couple of times. GOOD!
I don't mean to be rude but had this been a bus in
Britain you would have had people (both men and women)
falling over themselves to offer a seat to a child or
elderly person. Men even get up to let women sit down for
I apologise profusely to my wonderful American friends
for these remarks but I'm afraid that it is the truth.
Maybe we just had a bus full of selfish tired people.
OK, enough moaning, we reach the All Star Movies and
clamber into bed at 4:00 AM. Not even the ending could
spoil an incredible, wonderful day. I can honestly say
that I will never forget where I was when the new
Millennium began. Oh yes, and one other thing. In all the
hours we were in the park, which was full to capacity
with happy, drinking adults, we did not see one incident
of violence or even rudeness. Now THAT is something that
would be very unlikely had this event taken place in the
UK. Good and bad in all societies I suppose.
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