crazycatperson does the Big Meet-Up

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crazycatperson does the Big Meet-Up

Okay! Counting down the days, 11 for us till we arrive at WDW. We're spending the weekend of the 15th and 16th at WDW, heading to the port to board the Dream on the 17th, then back to WDW on the 21st for another weekend. Our basic itinerary is incredibly simple: do Food and Wine while we're on land (weekend crowds be damned) and just mostly relax on the cruise. We have no FastPasses and no ADRs aside from the group one at The Wave, and if we never see the inside of any park other than Epcot or never see the inside of any rides or attractions, it's no problem. We only have one brief shore excursion booked (glass-bottom boat in Nassau) along with brunch at Palo and maybe massages if they have a discount going on our Nassau day. If we do nothing but sit in deck chairs enjoying adult beverages on the cruise, I will be fine.

This has been the summer from hell for us, and fall has not started off any better. Last spring my father, who was 89 years old and had advancing Parkinson's, became so infirm that he required 24-hour care. In mid-June we moved him into the nursing section of a continuing care community near me, about 1-2 hours from other family in the area and from the home he shared with his second wife (Mom died years ago). Stepmother started making plans to move into the independent living section of the same community when a cottage became available mid-September. For about a month and a half I was the one who mostly visited since I was maybe 15-20 minutes' drive away. Then at the end of July Dad had a stroke and everything went all to hell. Out-of-town siblings came, Dad was in terrible shape and frightened, stepmom was freaking out, nobody knew what to do. By the end of August Dad was gone. So now, arrangements and paperwork and confusion, too much stuff to do at a time when none of us was in any shape to do it but we had to so we did. Stepmom is now moving to Wisconsin to be near her daughter. Today and Tuesday her stuff is being boxed up and loaded into a moving van and Wednesday she flies away. Friday hubby and I start driving her car and her cat (of course I volunteered to take care of the cat) to join her in Wisconsin, and then Sunday we fly back home with one of stepsister's cats that will become ours (long story, not gonna get into it now). In the middle of all this, since literally the day my dad died, I have been dealing with dental issues that required two root canals and so far a total of seven visits to various dentists with at least one more to come to get permanent crowns put in. And hubby got gout.

So when I say I actually am not looking forward to this vacation at all, perhaps you will understand. Oh, don't get me wrong, I want to go on the vacation. I just wish it were in November or December so I could have a few weeks between returning home from Wisconsin and heading to Florida to de-stress and get my equilibrium back. I mean, my nerves are shot. But it is when it is, so six days after we get home from Wisconsin we will be on a plane to Florida. And I hope that the five intervening days are enough time for me to de-stress enough to really enjoy this trip. I mean, so many of you will be there, and it's all Disney, so if anything will turn things around for me, it'll be this trip.

I'll be back in late October with the trip report, and hope it will be full of great fun and happy memories. And to those of you coming the the Meet-Up, I'll see you real soon.

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Jan, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the heartbreak you must be feeling. Here's hoping this trip puts a smile on your face!

I can't wait to meet everyone and try to relax a little ourselves. Your plan sounds perfect! See ya real soon!! muchlove

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I'm so sorry for your loss.

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I'm so sorry you've been going through hell Jan Sad I hope Disney will be enough of a distraction to ease your stress and worry xxx

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Sorry for your loss CCP. Disney should help lighten some stress.

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bighug bighug bighug bighug

Sending hugs your way. Plenty more to come at the Big Meet-up! Hugs and Disney help relieve stress!

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Jan so sorry you are going thru all of this. So sorry to hear about your dad. If you are driving near Madison WI and need anything I am here for you. muchlove

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bighug

safe travels to WI. See you soon.

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Safe travels, Jan! I know it's been a rough summer & fall, but here's hoping that a little reality break will be just what the doctor ordered.

Are we still on for our MEMH date for Toy Story? I've been searching online for Easter Eggs for the game. I tried them out this weekend. Some worked. Some were too difficult for me to unlock and take advantage of. Clearly the only solution is more practice!

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I'm sorry to hear about your rough time sad Disney will help! It has too! mickey awesome

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Truly sorry for your loss CCP. I'm sure Disney and Disney friends will help with the healing. Enjoy your trip! mickey

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My sympathy on your loss CCP. sad

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alicemouse wrote:
Are we still on for our MEMH date for Toy Story? I've been searching online for Easter Eggs for the game. I tried them out this weekend. Some worked. Some were too difficult for me to unlock and take advantage of. Clearly the only solution is more practice!

This is Sunday the 23rd, right? Yes because I need that kitty.

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The drive to Wisconsin was totally uneventful. Stepmother's cat Sweetie (yes, that's her name) behaved quite well, didn't meow all the time and actually enjoyed exploring the hotel room Friday night. The flight back Sunday with another cat also went much better than I'd feared. And now I have a new kitty!

I don't think we went anywhere near Madison, but I confess I pretty much know where Milwaukee and Green Bay are along with the tiny little upstate backwoods towns I visited on this and a previous trip, but nothing else.

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I'm so sorry for your loss and and everything that's followed. I hope you have a lovely time on your upcoming trip and I hope it does you the world of good. bighug

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i'm sorry for your loss and am looking forward to seeing you, Dan and everyone else. I think this is going to be a much needed retreat for everyone.

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Wow wow wow. I am so sorry for the rough times you've had this year. I'm loving your vacation plan though and it sounds like you are really in need (and are much deserving) of a relaxing trip. Have a great time meeting up with everyone! I wish I could be there!

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crazycatperson wrote:
alicemouse wrote:
Are we still on for our MEMH date for Toy Story? I've been searching online for Easter Eggs for the game. I tried them out this weekend. Some worked. Some were too difficult for me to unlock and take advantage of. Clearly the only solution is more practice!

This is Sunday the 23rd, right? Yes because I need that kitty.

YES!!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco

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Jan - sorry to hear you have been through such a difficult time. I hope Disney brings you some relaxing and magical times muchlove

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So sorry for your loss Jan. It's never easy to lose a parent. Enjoy your time at Disney and send my good wishes to all who will be meeting on this trip. I hope I can one day be able to meet up with you all.

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We're home. All in all, it was a great trip in spite of huge crowds at Food and Wine and and a few bumps in the road here and there. Even with the crowds, Food and Wine was still fun. The cruise was spectacular. And best of all, the company we kept all week long. We will do this again, right, folks? And if you didn't make it for this one, definitely plan on the next one.

I did not take any notes during the trip, so the trip report will be a little sketchy. But so many other people will be writing about the same stuff I will, everything will be mentioned somewhere, I think.

Saturday, October 15 - hubby and I caught an early (for us) flight out of Baltimore, 1:35 pm. Because this involved a 2-hour drive to the airport (slightly more time than needed to account for traffic issues) and the usual 2-hour wait at the airport, this meant getting up around 7:00 am to get last-minute stuff done. But we made it just fine. The flight was totally uneventful, the Magical Express was magical, and the Boardwalk Villas were lovely - our first time staying at our home resort and we had absolutely no regrets that we bought there. For this first weekend we had a garden/pool view and saw the main pool outside our window, creepy clown staring right at us, along with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the background. (Photos to follow.) Our room was an accessible room with the roll-in shower, but I think I actually preferred that layout to the regular room we had the following weekend. It was a fair bit roomier for sure.

We made it to the room sometime after 5:00 pm and after sitting a bit walked over to Epcot for Food and Wine. This involved buying new annual passes, which proved slightly complicated because we had never received the new DVC membership cards. Hubby had to log into DVC on his phone and capture a screen shot of our membership there before the CM at the ticket window would give us the DVC discount. She also suggested that we head over to the DVC lounge in the Imagination pavilion to arrange to receive the new cards, which we did later in the trip.

Once in the gate we decided to go clockwise around the World Showcase simply because the best stuff was that way - Ireland's fisherman's stew for hubby, Scotland's potato pancake with smoked salmon for me, and Hawai'i's tuna poke for both of us. Hubby also got the lamb stew from Scotland and I got the citrus thistle drink there; we both got the filet from Canada; he got the lamb meatball and I got the mussels from New Zealand; and we both got the shrimp taco from Mexico. I have photos of a few items, but it was dark and lighting not great for a lot of the items. After hitting up Mexico we went back the way we came. I got another citrus thistle because that drink is GOOD, then we both finished the night with the chocolate pudding from Ireland. I am not the biggest dessert fan, but dang, that pudding was delicious.

And then it was back to the Boardwalk and to bed. Our checked luggage had been delivered by then so I got to sleep with my own pillow (I almost always bring my own because most pillows are too fat and fluffy for me), but the bed was horrid. Too soft and cushy. I like a firm bed. I mean, rock hard. So when we went to bed Sunday night I pulled down the kiddie bed from the table and slept much better there. Again, photos will follow. Gotta download them from my phone yet.

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Photos of our studio room at the Boardwalk. It was an accessible room, although we don't need one - I guess they have more accessible rooms than are usually necessary so they can be sure they can accommodate people who need them.

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The clown in the pool is a little creepy. Just a little. I don't have a clown phobia but still. If you look carefully you'll notice the Tower of Terror is visible in the background.

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Epcot's World Showcase at twilight.

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From the Food and Wine Festival. For these photos it was either still twilight or I found a table under a light. It was too dark for the rest. So, Scottish potato pancake with smoked salmon; citrus thistle (grapefruit and gin and I don't know what else, but it was delicious); New Zealand lamb meatball; and New Zealand mussels. Everything was superb. We love Food and Wine.

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Sunday, October 16.

Our morning at the Boardwalk was completely uneventful - at any rate, I don't recall anything out of the ordinary. We entered Epcot via the World Showcase entrance a bit before 11. Today's plan was to walk counterclockwise, opposite of yesterday, so we had to wait in France for the far end of World Showcase to open. We bypassed the France F&W booth because none of the savories appealed to us and I wasn't quite ready for alcohol or dessert. First stop was Brazil, where we both got the delicious pork belly with black beans. Two years ago hubby got it, I had a taste, and wished I'd gotten my own, a mistake I did not repeat this year. In Belgium I got the berry waffle for "breakfast;" not sure what hubby got. Along the way we found Remy perched near the roof of one of the booths, I think Belgium but cannot be sure. In Morocco I got the kefta pocket and hubby the baklava; we shared and both were excellent. Our final food stop at this end of World Showcase was Japan; edamame for hubby and sushi for me (I don't get the appeal of edamame all by itself instead of as an ingredient in something).

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A couple of F&W items I missed from Saturday evening. Hubby got the lamb stew from Scotland. On our way back to the World Showcase entrance we got dessert in Ireland, the chocolate pudding. I am not a huge dessert or chocolate fan, but this was delicious. Also on Saturday evening we had tuna poke from Hawai'i and shrimp tacos from Mexico, but no photos.

Edited to add: OMG I am going to have to use the Big Meet-Up Facebook group to remember what we did each day. This is what I posted about Saturday's food: "Other things we ate, but no photos due to low light: Fisherman's stew from Ireland (just hubby), the beef with mushrooms from Canada (long line but worth it), verlasso salmon (me) and beef empanada (hubby) from Patagonia, spicy tuna poke from Hawai'i, and taco de camaron (Mexico)." And it was ALL good.

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We encountered some very long F&W lines on the other side of World Showcase this Sunday and all over later in the day - the pitfall of having to do F&W on the weekend. But starting at the far side of World Showcase right at 11 made for some very short waits. Here's the Japan booth, probably around noon.

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The Disney Foodies group had a meet-up this Sunday at the Future World entrance to World Showcase, so after Japan we walked back to the Morocco boat dock and boated across the lagoon. While hubby hunted down a smoking area I made my way to the meet-up spot and after a couple of minutes looking for some of "our" people found a small group of strangers who turned out to be the Foodies. The group grew quickly. We got to meet the head foodies in charge, Marranda and Randy, along with several other folks, including our own DisneyDee, JoAnn C, and I think luvalldisney. (Not 100 percent sure she was there; she was around all through our Disney week but I cannot recall for sure whether she was at Epcot this afternoon with us. There was too much meeting and greeting for me to keep up with everything.) A group photo was taken, and good luck finding it now on the Disney Foodies Facebook page, I couldn't. Then most of the foodies headed over to Craft Beers, but we weren't really interested, so the five of us along with a couple of foodies who ended up splitting off with us headed clockwise around World Showcase hitting festival booths here and there. And I have no photos so am not sure what we ate. I know we stopped at China and whatever I ate was tasty.

Down between Germany and Italy we found some empty benches and had a little rest. Robynprincess and Prince Simon were looking for us at this point, but we got a little mixed up; they assumed we were with the main group of foodies, saw that they were in Mexico and looked for us there. By this point, hubby and I wanted to shower and change for the monorail crawl and dinner at the Wave, so Dee, Jo Ann, and Abby went to Mexico while we headed back to the Boardwalk.

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Hubby and I bussed to Magic Kingdom and then monorailed over to the Polynesian, where the monorail crawl was scheduled to begin. We shared our bus with a couple heading to MK for the Halloween party dressed as Joy and Bing Bong from Inside Out. I loved their costumes, especially the way they worked the woman's wheelchair up to be Bing Bong's magic rocket, complete with brooms and rainbows.

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We arrived at Trader Sam's and found Dee had already put her name in with a "group of 8," not knowing how many of us would make it. We didn't have to wait long to get in, and we ended up a group of 5 - Dee, me, hubby, and JMed and Mr. Med.

Trader Sam's is a real hoot. Wish it were bigger. Although we got in, there was no seating that would accommodate a group of 5, just an occasional seat or two here and there, so we ended up standing. This did not stop us from enjoying tropical libations. I have a photo of the drinks hubby and I got, but do not recall what mine was called. I just know it had the Brazilian alcohol capirinha (or however that's spelled), which I had been wanting to try since I heard about it during the Rio Olympics. Mine is on the right in the photo. Hubby got a Dark and Stormy, the unofficial official drink of Bermuda, which we first tried on our Bermuda cruise last spring. Both were excellent, and a good time was had by all (would've been fun even without those libations).

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