Mini-TR: A Surprise Christmas Present!


Merry Christmas to Me! (A mini trip report)

After yet ANOTHER inauspicious start to a trip in which:

· DS4 got quite sick
· I spent hours on the phone with Delta trying to change our flight to Providence, RI to the next day (you’d think they WANTED me to bring a vomiting 4 year old onto the plane!)
· I had to rush to the store to put food in the house, since as we had been planning to leave, the pantry was bare

…we FINALLY made it to my brother’s house. Not long after arriving, Rob (DH) and I were informed that although it was the 22nd, we were to report to the living room to receive our Christmas present:

2 train tickets to NYC, and Broadway tickets to The Lion King!!!

I’d had an inkling that this might be in the works, since when our Christmas trip was being planned my brother suggested we might want to go to NY. I told him since we’d just had our big WDW trip that the pocketbook wasn’t going to handle it this time, although I really really wanted to see Lion King there someday.

The next thing I knew, my brother was making super-secret phone calls to my husband. Hmmmm…. :ninja:

So on Friday the 23rd, Rob and I once again abandoned our 4 year old to do something Disney-related. (And once again, since the 4 year old in question was spending time with my mom, he couldn’t get rid of us fast enough) We got to Kingston station at the impossibly early time of 6:45am.

I loved the train ride, got to mentally check “Connecticut” off my list of states I haven’t seen. I was amused by all of the shrink-wrapped boats in dry dock. There was a light cloud covering, so I wasn’t blinded by the rising sun coming up over the ocean. Perfect!

About 3 hours after we left we pulled into Penn Station. My first time in New York! It was very cold that morning, and I was very glad I’d decided to put on my long thermal underwear under my pants. :laugh:

We wandered all around, and I got misty at the “Miracle on 34th Street” display in the Macy’s windows since I love that movie so much. Macy’s main display, the one I’d seen on HGTV’s window special, didn’t do much for me, and the windows were smaller than I thought they’d be!

“Smaller than I thought it would be” was pretty much a theme for the whole day. Times Square, the tree at Rockefeller Center… apparently everything looks bigger on TV!

We had lunch at a random deli, and… well, are you familiar with New York? I’m sure a lot of you are, and this won’t surprise you. But I found it both amusing and odd that the way to this restaurant’s restroom was “turn the corner, through the door, down the stairs, follow the signs.” And then the signs led you through a basement maze. I think their restroom might have been on a different street, at the very least, but likely another city entirely.

The New Amsterdam theater is beautiful… and smaller than I thought it would be. :happy: I’ve seen the traveling show of Lion King, but we were sitting way off to the side and I felt like I missed a lot of things. Here we were right in the center of the Mezzanine (first balcony), about 11 rows back.

I was seated behind a woman with the World’s Biggest Head. I figured I was going to spend the whole performance dodging back and forth to see everything. It turned out, however, that her son was seated behind a huge-headed man, so she switched seats with the little guy, and it gave me a perfect, unimpeded view.

The beginning of this play just gives me the shivers. The animal puppets can’t be more amazing, and I can’t help but to tear up because I am so moved by it.

On a lighter note, the cheetah scratching behind its ears is just SO AWESOME.

I love watching the sets move, seeing how it is all pieced together, seeing how the stage is set up. I love seeing how the costumes all work in context; it really expands my horizons and vision, because they are nothing I would have thought to create. Singularly they can seem strange, and yet they really tell the story when they are all together.

The kid playing young Simba? Cute, but not such a great actor and merely an acceptable singer. Unfortunate. But the girl playing young Nala was really good, and that voice she has is astonishing. The adults were all fantastic (although someone from the ensemble called in sick that day. There were holes in the staging of some of the dances.)

It was a matinee, so there were a LOT of children in the audience. None of them were a problem. During intermission, though, a six-year old said to her grandmother, “Is the second half going to be as scary as the first half?” And then she paused, and then sighed in a much-put-upon voice, “And is it going to be as LOOONNNG?” I think that Grandmother probably saw herself just flushing those hundreds of dollars she’d spent on this experience!

In the second half, the effect of the water hole drying up is just genius. So simple, and so well done.

Is it any secret that I am just in awe of this show?

Well, let me digress. Did you watch the late, lamented “Sports Night”? Genius television show, especially in its first season, that never really found an audience. Well, there is one episode where the main character, Dana, goes to see the Lion King, and her only previous experience with musical theater is of the variety where there is “always a hoedown”. She comes back from Lion King in awe.

Now, as Sports Night was an ABC show, this could have been seen as just free advertising, or just an inside nod to Robert Guillaume (a co-star on Sports Night as well as movie voice of Rafiki). Only it isn’t, because what Dana has to say is so true, and it completely sums up the way I feel about The Lion King:

[I]Dana: It was really quite something. The music began and I just started to cry. I don’t know where it came from. It was like… church. I didn’t know we could do that. Did you know we could do that?

Casey: (with a gentle smile) Well, when I forget, something usually reminds me.

Dana: (as he walks away) I didn’t know we could do that.[/I]

Yeah. The fact that people can put that together, just that we can “do that”… I, too, am in awe and it really moves me.

Side screed: The problem with theater and the arts in general? That too many people who put on a play, or throw some paint on a canvas, think they deserve the same respect as those who put together something like The Lion King.

Also, can you imagine the first meeting with the backers? As Rob put it, “Yeah, it’s going to be great! There’s this guy… and he’s got a wooden lion head bobbing in the air over his own head! Really! It’ll be great!” This certainly took some vision.

So… after the show we walk up to Rockefeller Center to view the tree… like I said, that’s it? Somehow I was expecting more impressive…

Can we make it up to 55th and 5th, and then back to Penn Station so as not to miss our train? Of course we can! Despite the crowds that don’t let us walk as quickly as I’d like, we hoof it up to World of Disney.

And once again… smaller than I expected! :laugh: They did NOT have the timer I was looking for. Ah, well. Didn’t buy anything, since it has only been a month since WDW and all of the merchandise looked extremely familiar! Also… two days before Christmas? You can imagine the lines!

Still, it’s just warm and cozy to be surrounded by Disney merchandise, isn’t it? The next best thing to being there!

We walked back, got a slice of white pizza at Penn Station, and made it on our train in time. I slept most of the way back to Kingston, lightly dreaming of swaying grass, rising mountains, and stampeding wildebeest.


What a great present~ Thanks for sharing the experience with us. :heart:


Another top-notch TR from Andrea! I love it. Ah the route between RI and NYC, I know it all too well.

It sounds like Lion King was a magical experience for you. It really is amazing how when Disney gets their hands on something they can turn something pretty good into something magical.

As for the restrooms at your random deli…I’m not sure you realize how lucky you are that you found a deli that even HAS public restrooms :laugh:

Will there be another installment on this TR? One that covers the RI leg of your trip to the northeast?


Great report Andrea! I am glad you had such a good time! :mickey:


How cool! That was a great present! That will always be something to remember. Did you take any pictures? Would love to see them if you did!


No, that’s it for the TR, you just get the Disney-related portion! (And I’m glad I got lucky with the deli restaurant! I’d wondered about that! :laugh:)

As for pictures… nope. All of my November WDW trip pictures are STILL stuck on the memory sticks that I can’t access, so I didn’t bother bringing the camera at all this trip. (As for the Christmas at home stuff, my mother takes enough pictures for 10 people.)

For my memories, I just saved the playbill and the tickets, and I’ll frame them up and add them to my Disney kitchen. :mickey:


Very cool, Andrea!!! Thank you! You’re TRs are so much fun to read!


How cool is that? I cannot wait to see The Lion King (it’s coming to Philly next year)!! I have heard nothing but good reviews! I am so glad you had a great time!


Andrea, what fun! We still hope to see the show some day, glad you got to see it in NYC!