11th Annual Spring Training Trek 2007

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Monday, March 19 2007

Good morning and welcome to Day 3 of the 11th Annual Spring Training Trek 2007!

We head straight out to the ballpark at Disney's Wide World of Sports for a 1pm game against the Indians.  Both the Indians and the Dodgers are leaving their long time Florida homes (the Indians in Winterhaven, the Dodgers in Vero Beach), and I have to say that visiting Dodgertown was always one of my highlights back when I traveled to away games.  In any case, let's get to the game.

Chuck James started for the Bravos and struggled a bit in the first inning, loading the bases on a hit and a pair of walks.  However, he was bailed out by a terrific catch from Willie Harris, playing for Andruw Jones (soar shoulder) in Center Field.  My seats were in the upper level just to the left of Home Plate, a terrific view.  For lunch I decided to go basic with a hot dog and diet coke, $6.75.  What a deal.

The deal on the field was that neither team scored through the first four and a half innings.  In the bottom of the 5th, the Braves loaded the bases with only one out, but James struck out and Kelly Johnson grounded out.  In the sixth inning, Bob Wickman came on in relief, mowing down the Indians 1-2-3. 

Brian McCann tripled off the Center Field wall, scoring Tony Pena who had previously singled, butting the Braves on the board first.  Doug Clark doubled to Right, scoring McCann's pinch runner.  Scott Thorman then doubled in Clark and the Braves were up 3-0.

Rafael Soriano pitched the 7th inning with a couple of strikeouts.  After a chorus of Take Me Out To The Ballgame, Harris led off the bottom of the inning with a blooper double that dropped in between three fielders.  Bryan Pena singled in Harris, but Matt Diaz hit into a double play leaving the bases empty with 2 outs.  Tony Pena struck out and the Braves could only add one more to the lead.

In the top of the 8th, Mike Gonzales faced 3 batters and had no problems sending them back to the dugout.  In the bottom of the inning, Doug Clark singled and Scott Thorman homered to extend the Braves lead. Chad Paronto came in to shut out the Indians

After the game, which lasted just 2 and a half hours, I returned to Disney-MGM Studios and then decided the only way to ensure the rain did not come was to run back to the Port Orleans Riverside resort and get my jacket and umbrella.  I was barely able to get back to Disney-MGM Studios in time for my 6pm seating at Hollywood and Vine, an all-you-can-eat buffet.  I had left my tripod in a locker (this time I knew which one would work), and retrieved it on my way back into the theme park.  Dinner consisted of a variety of meats, veggies, and yes, deserts all for $29.87 which of course I put on my dining plan. 

It was Extra Magic Hour night at Disney-MGM Studios, with the gates not closing until 1am.  Dinner was part of a Fantasmic! Dining Experience, so at 7:30pm I made my way to Oscar's gas station for a walk back stage to an exclusive seating area for the 8:30pm showing of Fantasmic!  For the uninitiated, Fantasmic! is a  wonderfully creative and sentimental production combining pyrotechnics, live action and aquatechnics into a traditional Disney-style story.  First are introduced to Mickey Mouse and his imagination releases all sorts of classical Disney characters from Fantasia up to Beauty & The Beast. 

But then Maleficent appears, dead set on taking control of Mickey's imagination and releasing all the villains from movies past.  But as the Magic Mirror warned, Good always triumphs over evil and Mickey is able to draw the sword from the stone and smite down his tormenters.  The feel-good climaxes with all the characters appearing on a replica steamboat with Mickey dressed as Willie.  This is followed by Mickey standing atop the mountain and directing the fireworks in a scene reminiscent of The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Unfortunately, drizzle and wind detracted from this performance, forcing the production to skip a scene where Maleficent grows four stories tall and causing the water screens to blur at the edges and spray mist on the audience.  However,  the weather soon improved, so I returned at 10:30pm for a second showing which was much better.

Then the whirlwind Extra Magic Hours adventure began.  The line for Rockin' Roller Coaster never let up, so I went on the Tower of Terror and then back to Mickey Avenue for the Magic of Disney Animation which featured a trailer for the upcoming Meet The Hendersons.  From there I went on The Great Movie Ride and then shuffled over to Star Tours.  At 12:30am, with the line at Rockin' Roller Coaster still over an hour, I decided to call it quits and head home.  Monday had come to an end, but Tuesday would soon bring a new first or the Spring Training Trek.  Don't miss it!

Who is segueing to tomorrow...

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Revised: 03/22/07.