by Brittany DiCologero
If you haven’t read part 1 of this trip report, you can catch up here.
April 1, 2016
Friday was our first full day with Natalie, and we were off to the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning. About an hour or so after we had arrived in the park, Aly was able to meet us! So the four of us went off to enjoy the park together…
The first order of business was actually to stop at the Emporium and get the ears that Natalie and I are wearing above. They’re the 60th Anniversary ears from Disneyland, and we both knew that if we didn’t get them during this trip we probably wouldn’t have another chance to, so of course that was our priority first thing in the morning. These have easily become my favorite ears, so you’ll probably also see me wearing them in future trip reports too!
Once we had our sparkly new ears, we made our way over to Liberty Square with Fastpasses ready to go for the Haunted Mansion.
We went into the Haunted Mansion gift shop, Memento Mori, after we got off the ride, which is a dangerous idea because we were well aware that we would want to buy everything in that store. Surprisingly we used some self control and left only with a hat (that you’ll see in later pictures). The hat we got, (which glows in the dark!) is child-sized, so it only fits me, not Chaz. Apparently I have a small head? Or he has a large head? Who knows…
The first part of our day consisted of following the order of our Fastpasses, which then brought us to the other side of the park to Tomorrowland. Next up, we had Fastpasses for Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Per usual, Chaz was the winner out of the four of us with Buzz, although he did not become a Galactic Hero during this trip.
We also made sure to visit the Carousel of Progress and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor while we were in Tomorrowland, but we made sure to skip Stitch’s Great Mistake of course. After a spin on the Peoplemover, we got some drinks and sat down at a table by the speedway to figure out our plan for the rest of the day. (Chaz had taken over my ears by this point so that I could wear my new hat!)
We decided that we’d leave the park for a little while to go see the Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian. Natalie had also worked at the Grand Floridian during our college program so she was eager to go back and visit some of her former coworkers. Before leaving the park however, we made sure to see Dream Along With Mickey, the show that took place on the castle stage. Dream Along’s last performance would also be the next day, April 2, and we knew we would not be able to see it then as we would be at Lights, Motors, Action!’s last show.
After our last castle party *crying* we got on the monorail and made a quick stop at the Polynesian for drinks at the Tambu Lounge. This wasn’t part of the original plan, but I would never turn down a Lapu Lapu so off to the Polynesian we went! Next up was the Grand Floridian to see the Easter eggs in the lobby, which you can see in our photo post about them here.
Once we saw all of the eggs, and Natalie spent some time with her coworkers, we decided to stay at the Grand Floridian and get lunch as Gasparilla’s Grill. We think Gasparilla’s is one of the best resort quick service restaurants in Walt Disney World, so getting lunch here is always a good idea.
For the rest of the night, Chaz, Natalie, and I decided to go back to the Magic Kingdom to stay for Wishes. We backtracked through most of Fantasyland, which we had missed earlier in the day, and saw the Country Bear Jamboree and rode Splash Mountain. We also spent some time stopping for Photopass pictures, which I do so much more now that the photos are all included in the cost of my pass.
We got our spot for the fireworks on Main Street, and grabbed some drinks from Starbucks of course. Chaz even got magical moment-ed a larger drink for his birthday!
Before the fireworks started, Sara found us on Main Street and we were finally able to meet in person! Our schedules didn’t really work out for the rest of the trip, but it was cool that we finally got to actually meet each other. We’re basically the representation for History nerds within the program, and we run the Disney College Program Facebook groups together too.
April 2, 2016
April 2– the last day for Lights, Motors, Action! Natalie, Chaz, and I were up early to go right over to Hollywood Studios. The weather didn’t look like it was going to cooperate with the last shows of the day, so we wanted to make sure we were at the first show at 11:00 just in case.
I was so happy we went to the first show, because it was raining really hard and the weather seemed like it was going to be unpredictable for the rest of the day. In some ways the first show of the day actually felt like it would be the last show, and I assume this is because it was for many of the cast and crew. For anyone would would not be in the last two shows of the day, this would have been their last show.
Despite the rain, the show was awesome and the crowd was out in full force showing their support for the final day of Lights, Motors, Action! After this show, Nora and Aly had arrived in the park, and Chaz and Natalie split up from me to go and meet them and do some of the Star Wars attractions at the Launch Bay. I stuck around Lights, Motors, Action! to spend time with some of my former coworkers instead though, since I figured I most likely would never be in the stadium again.
I also spent some time goofing off with my former coworkers. Although the first show was emotional in that some of the cast were basically saying their good-byes it just didn’t feel over yet. So we had some lighthearted fun and took some silly photos between shows:
I missed the second show of the day, because as much as I would have loved to spend the whole day over the there I did need to eat. So I took the time of the second show to grab lunch with Natalie, Chaz, Nora, and Aly at the ABC Commissary. If you’ve eaten at the Commissary you’re probably aware of how totally average the food is, so there’s no need to go into detail there. After lunch, everyone else walked around other parts of the park while I went right back to Lights, Motors, Action! I had never experienced the last day of an attraction before, so I wanted to make sure I was there early enough in case the line ended up being crazy.
Everyone else met back up with me right before the line of the show opened, and for the first time since before I worked at Lights, Motors, Action! I was actually waiting in the corral to see the show with the rest of the guests. While in line, we met a bunch of other guests who had some kind of emotional connection to the show, so it was really cool to see how many fans there were out there who made a point to come to the park for its last show.
All of the current and former operations cast members who were attending the show as guests got seats together right in the front of the stadium so we could be close to all of the action.
The entire last show was filled with speeches from the cast members and so much enthusiasm from the audience. It was clear from those moments that the show really did have tons of adoring fans, and people who loved going to the park just to see Lights, Motors, Action! It was a different kind of emotions I was experiencing as Lights, Motors, Action! really was my “home” during my college program. Although Dinoland was also my “home,” I just never got the same connection to it that I did with Lights, Motors, Action! And so seeing it for the last time was a bittersweet experience.
For more photos from the last Lights, Motors, Action! show, see our photo post here.
At the end of the last show, the drivers got together and jumped into the canal at the front of the set, a tradition they had for when any of them left the show.
Guests were also able to walk around on the stage after the final show, which was obviously a nice memory for me, but I’m sure it was also a really cool experience for all of the show’s fans who had never set foot on the stage before.
As guests continued to stick around the stadium, it got to a point where guests actually needed to start asking guests to leave. It was probably for the best though, as we had an after party to get to for all of the operations cast members. While Chaz and I went to the after party, everyone else stayed in the park for the rest of the night.
The after party was a great way for all of the current and former cast to get together and celebrate our time working at one of the coolest shows at Disney. The party was held at Hurricane Bar and Grill, which was strangely enough next to Vista Way although I never went there during my college program. We even had a signature drink there called the LMA Blue, that I assume was basically a Blue Hawaii. The after party was really fun, and it was a nice opportunity to get together with other LMA cast members, but we were getting pretty tired so we headed out early with our friend Anthony to relax at the hotel for a little while.