crazycatperson trip report

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crazycatperson trip report

Got back yesterday after spending November 6-12 at Disney World and Universal Studios.

Part 1...

I took the Auto Train from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL. I LOVE the Auto Train. If you live in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, or eastern Midwest and don't mind spending a little extra time (and cash) getting to Florida, DO IT.

For the trip down, hubby and I booked a roomette - a small private compartment with two seats facing each other that convert into a bed. There's also an upper bunk. Toilet/bath facilities are shared and down the hall or downstairs. Since hubby had to stay home for work, I had the roomette all to myself. While it's a little cramped for two people, it provides more than enough space for just one. I booked the 5:00 dinner service (salmon with lobster sauce, mixed veggies, rice, something chocolate and cake-like for dessert) so I could get to bed early and be well rested for my first day at Disney World.

The train arrived in Sanford around 9:00. Of course, my car was one of the last off the train - it seems that the earlier you check in, the longer you have to wait for your car. Once I had it, I headed straight for Epcot, arriving before 11:00. The guidebooks all recommend saving Spaceship Earth for later, after the lines die down, but I couldn't resist doing it first. Then I hit the Test Track single rider line and didn't have to wait very long at all to get on the ride. After that, it was time to start circling the World Showcase and visiting the Food and Wine Festival booths.

I started at the end of the bridge, headed clockwise, and tried (in order) Australian shrimp on the barbie (good), Argentinian beef empanada (good), Caribbean jerk-spiced chicken drumstick with mango salsa (very good), Scandinavian Swedish meatballs with lingonberries (good), Chinese black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles (excellent!!!), Japanese spicy tuna roll (excellent!!!), Moroccan baklava (excellent!!!), Belgian steamed mussels with roasted garlic cream (very good), Canadian chicken chipotle sausage with sweet corn polenta (BEYOND excellent!!!), and Mexican shrimp taco (good).

It's too late now to influence anyone's selections, since the F&W Fest is over, but I cannot describe how awesome the chicken chipotle sausage was. Out of the 20 or so dishes I sampled over the course of two days, it was my favorite, and so good I got it twice. And of course, most folks lined up at the booth were ordering the cheese soup and completely missing out on something amazing.

While touring the food booths, I also visited the various World Showcase attractions. On Sunday that included the Mexican and Norwegian boat tours, the American Adventure and singers, Miyuki, the French movie, and the Canadian Celtic rock band (like the Tartan Terrors, but without the beer, dancing girls, or sheep jokes). I also bought a F&W Fest cookbook and was disappointed to discover that, unlike the cookbook I bought in 2005, it does not include recipes for all the dishes available at the booths. So no making that awesome chicken chipotle sausage with sweet corn polenta at home. mad

I left Epcot early (stopping at Test Track for another ride) so I could be sure to be checked in at our timeshare resort before my sister and her family and friends flew in. Didn't need to bother; they didn't arrive till after midnight. But at least that gave me time to unpack my stuff and haul sister's groceries up from the trunk of my car.

Day 2 didn't start when the park opened, since I was exhausted from staying up late waiting for sister & crew to arrive. Still, Epcot wasn't crowded, so no problems. Started with Test Track (my favorite Epcot attraction), then visited Ellen's Energy Adventure. After that I hit a few F&W Fest booths for an early lunch. First off was Hawaiian tuna poke, which was beyond awesome. And once again, I was surrounded by people getting something else (the Kalua pork slider). I was the only person I saw getting the tuna poke, which was my second favorite dish out of everything I tried. After that I went back to the Canada booth and got the chicken chipotle sausage and the maple glazed salmon (excellent!!!) and hit the Greek booth for chicken souvlaki (good). Then back to Future World - took the Seas with Nemo tour and visited with Crush, then took the Living with the Land tour. Finished up Future World at the Imagination pavilion with Figment and Captain EO.

After that, I went back to the World Showcase. Saw O Canada and the new British band (very good show), caught a glimpse of Serveur Amusant (eh), saw Matsuriza, and finished up with the Chinese movie just in time to catch the acrobats. While touring I sampled the Moroccan harissa chicken roll (good), the New Zealand seared scallop (good), the Singapore shrimp cake with Singapore noodles (the shrimp cake was good, the Singapore noodles didn't taste like any Singapore noodles I've ever had), the South Korean lettuce wrap with roast pork and kimchi slaw (wished I'd gotten the bulgogi BBQ beef because it smelled better than the lettuce wrap tasted), and Mexican flan (very good).

In spite of being stuffed to the gills, I hit Test Track and Spaceship Earth again on my way out. But I was tired and skipped Illuminations a second time.

I didn't bring a camera and thus only have the photos I took with my phone. And they're mostly things hubby had never seen - food at the F&W Fest and attractions at Universal. So not much to see, although I will post a photo or three once I get them off my phone.

Oh, and I saw Marie the kitty cat twice, but didn't stop for a photo this year.

Day 3 - Universal Islands of Adventure, Day 4 - Magic Kingdom, Day 5 - Universal Studios, Day 6 - Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, Day 7 - Hollywood Studios and Epcot, and Day 8 - Downtown Disney and back to the train station will all come later.

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Forgot to mention, on Day 2 I walked through the F&W Festival Center, but none of the presentations and seminars had started yet, so it was kinda boring. I'm sure it's more interesting later in the day.

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Excellent TR so far! I love the detail about the booths! Did you try the griddled cheese at Greece? It was one of my faves - I was sooo bummed when they were out of it Friday.

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Nope, no griddled cheese. I don't like cheese. Yes, I know, that's almost foodie sacrilege, but there it is.

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Day 3 - Universal Islands of Adventure.

Sister and her crew are not early-to-rise types, so I spent a good chunk of the morning sitting around waiting for them to get ready to leave. If they had come to a Disney park with me, I would've left early and met them inside the park. We arrived at Islands of Adventure around 11:00. Niece and her boyfriend hit the Hulk roller coaster. I stood around with sister, BIL, and a friend of theirs.

I should mention that I have motion sickness problems, so something like half (or more) of the Universal attractions were no-goes for me. Disney parks are much better since there aren't more than two or three interesting attractions per park that I can't ride. (I don't count the spin & pukes because they have rides like those everywhere, so missing the ones at Disney is no more a problem than missing the ones at Hersheypark, Six Flags, King's Dominion, or Busch Gardens.)

The attractions I actually experienced at Islands of Adventure were...let's see...I walked through the Harry Potter castle but didn't ride anything in that section of the park. The walk through was interesting, though. The whole Harry Potter area is pretty cool even if you aren't a HP fan (and I'm not). I also did Poseidon's Fury (interesting), saw the Mystic Fountain (interesting interactive attraction, but not as good as Turtle Talk or the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor) and caught a glimpse of the Frog Choir (eh). The rest of my day was spent puttering around while the others rode stuff or strolling the park with them. But my main objective on my Universal days was to hang out with sis and her crew, so I didn't mind following them around.

We did have a nice lunch at the Mythos restaurant, which was voted the top theme park restaurant from, I think, 2003 to 2008. I got vegetarian pad Thai (trying to compensate for all the meat I ate at F&W Fest), and while it wasn't as good as pad Thai I've had at real Thai restaurants, it was still pretty good. And the prices seemed a little more reasonable than those at Disney park restaurants, so that was a plus.

I bought hubby a couple of gifts - some gummy candies at the Harry Potter candy shop and a minion T-shirt (from Despicable Me) while walking back to the car through Universal City Walk. And that pretty much sums up my first visit to a Universal park.

Dinner that evening was stir-fry my sister prepped in our condo.

BTW, sister and her crew love Universal so much they're talking about buying a resale timeshare unit so they can go to Universal every year. To each his/her own, I guess. I couldn't spend more than a single day in either park; they spent three full days at Islands of Adventure and wished they didn't have to leave.

Day 4 - Magic Kingdom.

I went solo again, and was walking down Main Street just a few minutes after the park opened. There wasn't much of a crowd, so touring was easy. In fact, I'd say Wednesday was my best day ever at Magic Kingdom because I wasn't slowed down by people who need lots of rest breaks or who just aren't crazy about Magic Kingdom.

I started with Buzz Lightyear, as usual, and walked right onto the ride. Would've done Monsters Inc. next, but it wasn't open yet, so I walked over to Fantasyland. Walked right onto Winnie the Pooh, then headed to Peter Pan's Flight to get a FastPass. After that I did Snow White's Scary Adventure, Mickey's PhilharMagic, and It's a Small World before my FastPass window opened up. Enjoyed Peter Pan so much that I got another FastPass, and got a surprise FastPass for PhilharMagic as well. So what the heck, did that again as well. Plus did It's a Small World again while waiting on the second Peter Pan FastPass. (I may be a middle-aged woman, but I'm a kid when it comes to Fantasyland.)

From there I headed over to the Haunted Mansion and toured the graveyard on my first trip through - it's fun, but I didn't need to see it more than once. I don't know if this is new or if I just never saw a single rider there before, but if you're the only person in your doom buggy, the ghost who hitches a ride with you does stuff to you! My first and second times through, my ghost sat where the other rider would've been, took my head off my reflection (and when that happened, my head disappeared from above my body) and blew it up like a balloon before putting it back on my reflection! So cool! The third time through, my ghost switched heads with me, so the reflection showed my head on his body and his on mine! I loved it!

Lunch was at Columbia Harbor House - should've gotten the hummus sandwich or the salmon, but got the fried shrimp instead. silly It was quite good. Then back to Haunted Mansion for a second tour, then hit the Hall of Presidents on my way to Frontierland. I'm in the process of reading biographies of every American president, so this attraction is anything but boring to me, no matter what the Jungle Cruise operators like to say. When I see the animatronic figures, I know who they're supposed to be.

In Frontierland I picked up a Splash Mountain FastPass and rode the train around the park, then visited Pirates of the Caribbean to kill time. Got a second Splash Mountain FastPass after the first ride and killed time watching the afternoon parade. After my second trip through Splash Mountain, I headed back to Pirates of the Caribbean, then decided to put off the Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Birds, and Country Bears until my second trip and went back to Tomorrowland.

I got a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear and visited the Monsters Inc. show, the Carousel of Progress, and the people mover while waiting. Then I made another circuit of the park, stopping back at It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean before leaving at 7:00 when the Christmas party started.

When planning the trip, I made a Wednesday evening ADR for Teppan Edo, but after touring Epcot solo on Sunday and Monday, I decided I'd rather go back to the timeshare unit and hang with sister and her crew than eat dinner with a bunch of strangers. Will definitely have to try that restaurant on a future trip, though.

More soon.

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Day 5 - Universal Studios.

I liked this Universal park more than Islands of Adventure simply because there were more attractions that didn't threaten to make me queasy. We started with Shrek 4D; I sat in one of the stationary seats just in case the moving seats were a little too much for me, but I peeked around during the show and it really didn't look that bad. The movie itself is a lot of fun, even if your seat isn't moving.

In addition to waiting around while the others rode things I couldn't handle with my motion sickness problems, I did the Twister attraction, which simulates being in a tornado. It's well done; I've never been in an actual twister, so I have nothing to compare it with, but cows and stuff were flying by and the wind got quite stiff for a while. In spite of the motions sickness warning, this one wasn't even a little queasifying.

The Disaster attraction is a little like the beginning and end of the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios, but (no offense, Disney World) MUCH better. And best of all for us, the guy who was choosing "actors" to "star" in the movie we were supposedly making chose my sister, BIL, and niece. I don't think he had a clue he was choosing three family members because he didn't select them at the same time. But that was a blast for them and fun for the rest of us as well. And the earthquake in the subway bit at the end of the ride is a lot of fun.

We caught the end of the Blues Brothers show after everyone but me and BIL rode the Revenge of the Mummy indoor coaster - not bad; my sister joined the dance line and had some fun.

The Terminator 2 3D show is a cut above most 3D shows because it's part live-action. They do a pretty good job of blending the live actors with the movie actors)Schwarzenegger etc.); it's pretty dark in the theater and they move around a lot, so if you don't look really close you can pretend the live actors are the same people as the ones on screen. But not being a Terminator fan, I wasn't terribly enthralled otherwise.

Men in Black Alien Attack is a blast, but the spinning motion (way more intense than on Toy Story Mania) took me to the threshold of queasiness the first time I rode. And then, like an idiot, I rode it again and that was it for my day. I had to go take a walk while the others did stuff (walking and drinking a Coke help calm the queasiness for me). By then the park was about to close (6:00 closing on weekdays last week), so aside from buying more gifts for hubby (MIB Frank the dog T-shirt, Puss in Boots stuffy, Egypatian cat god statue) we were done for the day.

Oh, and I wish I could've ridden the Simpsons Ride; I watched a video of it online and I know it would've been too much for me, but it sure looked like fun.

I had a nice day touring with sister and her crew, but this park day did nothing to change my opinion that Disney parks are WAY better.

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Forgot to mention, lunch at Universal Thursday was at Lombard's Seafood Grille, a table service restaurant. Once again, the prices were lower than at Disney table-service restaurants and the food was very good. I had an Asian chicken wrap with sweet potato fries - yummy.

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Thanks for the in-depth perspective on Universal. I haven't been inside either park in more than 10 years, so it's good to hear about them. I wish I could get a mini-pass just to do HP.

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crazycatperson - i do not get motion sickness easy. and the simpsons ride made me really sick. It was a lot of fun, but i was done for the rest of the day. If you were to choose one I would do harry potter.

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Thanks for the advice, honeymoonin. I don't get to Orlando often enough to take chances with queasiness ruining a day. So I guess watching online video is as close as I'll ever get to the Simpsons ride.

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Day 6 - Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.

I made it to the HS gates a little after 8:00 a.m. and was near the front of the turnstile line, behind a family of four. At 8:45 we were allowed inside, and people started peeling off toward their favorite attractions - parents with little kid turning left to sign up for the Jedi academy, a few folks hanging a sharp right toward Tower of Terror, and the rest of us going straight to the sorcerer's hat for Toy Story Mania. I got right up front and took a great photo of the hat with no people around - will post once I figure out how to get photos off my cell phone. At 9:00 the rope was wound up and cast members walked us all to the ride.

Since I had such a great spot at the rope, I was fourth in line at a FastPass station and didn't have to wait long to get one, with a 9:45-10:45 window (more on this later). Then I got in the standby line. Because there was nobody in the FastPass return line yet, the standby line moved pretty quickly, and I was on the ride in about half an hour. I LOVE this ride! It's my favorite in all of Disney World, so I was really happy I got there early enough to ride it twice without waiting 90 minutes or more. And that will be my strategy for future visits - get to HS before it opens, and preferably well before it opens, get a FastPass, then get in the standby line.

My FastPass window had opened by the time I got off my first ride, so after making a quick pit stop and getting a bottle of water, I was back on the ride. I improved my score the second time, although not enough to have the high score for my vehicle (did that Saturday, yea!). I couldn't remember all the secrets for racking up a high score, but managed to do all right without them.

Next stop was the Great Movie Ride, and for the first time ever I had a female gangster hijack our ride vehicle. Way cool! After that, I wanted to get an early lunch, since I got up early that morning, but Toy Story Pizza Planet wasn't open yet, so I visited the Muppets movie to kill a little time. Should've waited for the restaurant to open; by the time I was done with the Muppets, the lines at Pizza Planet were already pretty deep. Got a veggie pizza with salad, pretty good.

After lunch I park-hopped for more time at the Magic Kingdom. It was Veterans Day and the park was much more crowded than it was when I was there Wednesday. I started with Buzz Lightyear again and had to get a FastPass to avoid a long wait in the standby line. Rode the people mover and visited Stitch's Great Escape to kill the time. Once I finished in Tomorrowland, I headed over to Peter Pan's Flight and discovered that the FastPasses were gone for the day - bummer. And the standby wait was horrendous, so I skipped that ride altogether. Instead, I got a Winnie the Pooh FastPass, with another surprise FastPass for PhilharMagic, and did that along with It's a Small World. Took another tour of the Haunted Mansion (didn't get a ghost who played with my reflection this time, bummer) and waited in the Splash Mountain standby line because I was still waiting on the Winnie the Pooh FastPass. I should mention that Friday was chilly by Florida standards - high in the mid-60s instead of pushing 80 like the rest of the week - and of course, after riding Splash Mountain without getting wet twice on a warm day, I got splashed on the cool day! Fortunately, I was wearing jeans and a denim jacket, so it didn't feel too bad.

By then my FastPass window had opened, so I went back to Fantasyland for Winnie the Pooh, then headed to Adventureland. I'm not a big Jungle Cruise fan during the day, but after dark it becomes a creepy dark ride and I love it, so I usually wait till after sunset to ride. The standby line was too long for my tastes, so I got a FastPass and rode Pirates of the Caribbean again. After that, I visited the Enchanted Tiki Room under old management. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I prefer the new management version. The old version is kinda dull. Then I tried a pineapple Dole Whip for the first time - it was pretty good, but I think next time I'll get a pineapple/vanilla swirl, or get the pineapple float.

When I finished my Dole Whip it was time for the Jungle Cruise. Our tour guide engaged in the usual puns and lame jokes, with a few LOL moments thrown in, like when he said he didn't know where the tunnel through the Cambodian temple would take us, but it would probably end at a gift shop.

This was a MVMCP night, and by this time it was about a quarter to seven, so my last attraction was the Country Bears. This is an attraction I'll skip if time is tight, but I enjoyed seeing it again since I'd already done everything I really wanted to do at Magic Kingdom. And after a last lingering look at Cinderella's Castle decorated for Christmas, my time at the Magic Kingdom was done for this trip.

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Day 7 - my final park day:

Sister and her crew left for the airport in the wee, wee hours of the morning, so my last day I was flying completely solo. I started the day back at Hollywood Studios simply because I love Toy Story Mania so much. HS had a morning extra magic hour, and since I was not staying on property I had the fun of watching other people walk into the park while I waited in line to get in. Happily, the EMH did not affect my Toy Story Mania experience negatively. In fact, it was better - there was no long line for FastPasses by the time I got back there, and my FastPass window didn't open up until 3:35, so I got to spread out my rides. After getting the FastPass, I got in the standby line, and once again it moved quickly since there was nobody in the FastPass line yet. Got off and decided to do it again! But by then people WERE lining up with FastPasses, so I got to experience one of those 90-minute waits. Still, I thought it was worth the wait. I LOVE that ride!

It was around 11:30 by the time I got off Toy Story Mania; had a 2:00 ADR at the Biergarten at Epcot, but I was hungry, so I wandered around HS looking for a popcorn or pretzel cart. Found glazed nuts down in the Streets of America section instead, very good. I wandered all over HS with my glazed peanuts, making it from the Streets of America to the Tower of Terror. (I won't chance ToT due to my motion sickness issues, although I have done the walk-through and then taken the chicken exit.) I still had plenty of time till my ADR, but since the parks were pretty crowded due to the Veterans Day holiday weekend, I decided to head over to Epcot in case there was a long line for the boat. There wasn't, and I made it there with almost an hour to spare.

I killed a little time walking around the World Showcase, and I have NEVER seen a crowd at a Disney park as large as the crowd at Epcot Saturday, November 12. The lines for F&W Fest food booths easily had a few dozen people in them, and working my way through the crowd was a real chore. I was really glad I'd done F&W at the beginning of the week.

I made it around World Showcase to the Biergarten long before my reservation, so I found a seat (lucky me!) in the shade and texted back and forth with hubby at home to kill time. A few minutes before 2:00 I got in line and was seated fairly quickly. I usually eat a low-fat, heart-healthy diet, so splurging at the Biergarten was a real treat - sausages! Meatballs! Schnitzel! Strudel! I was in German food heaven. And the band played, and everyone at my table clinked glasses, and I had a nice conversation with some of the people at my table. Well worth the trip over to Epcot even with the crowds.

After lunch, I headed back to Hollywood Studios to finish my day. My Toy Story Mania FastPass window had opened up by the time I got there, and I got my fifth and final ride of the trip on that attraction. Then I took the backlot tour and visited One Man's Dream. By then it was dark, so I visited the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and easily killed a half an hour watching the lights and listening to the music.

While at HS, I bought some more gifts for hubby - a Winnie the Pooh stuffy and a necktie with what I'll call hidden Mickeys all over it. If you don't look closely, you'll think it's just a circle pattern on the tie, but it's really Mickey. He wore it to work this week, and nobody noticed the Mickeys.

I finished the day at Fantasmic, which is my favorite show in all of Disney World. And thus ended my seven days of park visits.

But wait, there's a little more. I checked out of my timeshare condo around 9:00 and spent the morning at Downtown Disney before heading to the train station for the trip home. I had hoped to visit Disney Quest, but unfortunately the indoor amusement park didn't open until 11:30, and I wasn't wasting a minor park admission to spend just an hour or so there. Instead, I walked the length of Downtown Disney, looking at the art festival booths as they opened up for the day and visiting several shops along the way. I ordered a PhotoPass photo of myself at Guest Services to give to hubby and bought some Ghirardelli chocolate, then tried to get lunch at Earl of Sandwich. But the line snaked past the counter three times and almost went out one of the doors to the rear of the seating area, and I decided that NO sandwich was good enough to wait that long. Instead, I got grilled chicken at Pollo Campero and only had to wait a few minutes. And THAT was the end of my week at Disney World.

Hubby and I booked our trip months ago, and we got a really good price on the full bedroom on the Auto Train - enough seating for four people plus a private bathroom - and I had that whole space to myself for the trip home. It was really too much space for just one person, but I wasn't complaining, especially about the private bathroom in the middle of the night. Dinner was at 5:00 again, and this time I had the beef tournedos with baked potato, mixed veggies, and cheesecake for dessert.

Back in Lorton the next morning, my car was practically the last one off the train - seriously, the waiting room was all but empty by the time they called my number. And then it was up the highway and back home again.

I wanna go back. NOW!

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Very nice trip report. My husband and I only went to Magic Kingdom and Epcot in September, so I have yet to do HS and AK.

The idea of taking the Jungle Cruise at night was a good one and I'll keep that in mind. I never did ride Buzz Lightyear when I was at Mk and, of course, didn't even get to HS for Toy Story. Those two are the interactive ones, I've discovered. What are some of the secrets for those two rides?

The Haunted Mansion is my very favorite of all. In one of our 3 rides, my husband's head was switched with the ghosts...really fun! So they also blew your head up like a balloon???

Thanks for the run-down of the Food and Wine Festival...I would have loved to be there, so it was a lot of fun reading this. When we were there between Sept. 10-14, all the tents were set up, but they weren't ready to operate yet.

I'm glad you had a great solo vacation!

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Great trip report.

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Reflections wrote:
Very nice trip report. My husband and I only went to Magic Kingdom and Epcot in September, so I have yet to do HS and AK.

The idea of taking the Jungle Cruise at night was a good one and I'll keep that in mind. I never did ride Buzz Lightyear when I was at Mk and, of course, didn't even get to HS for Toy Story. Those two are the interactive ones, I've discovered. What are some of the secrets for those two rides?

The Haunted Mansion is my very favorite of all. In one of our 3 rides, my husband's head was switched with the ghosts...really fun! So they also blew your head up like a balloon???

Thanks for the run-down of the Food and Wine Festival...I would have loved to be there, so it was a lot of fun reading this. When we were there between Sept. 10-14, all the tents were set up, but they weren't ready to operate yet.

I'm glad you had a great solo vacation!

I have no hints for getting a high score on Buzz Lightyear. I always stink at that one. But on Toy Story Mania, after two or three rides, I knew where the high point value targets were and just kept pummelling them. Not always easy since many of them are moving targets, but once you know where they're moving it's doable.

Once I get the photos off my phone I'll post a few. Got some pretty good shots of F&W Fest food. Makes me want to go back next fall.

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Great trip report....Loved hearing it from your prespective...and you rode so many rides....So jealous...with little ones it's not an easy thing to do....The thing at the haunted mansion with the ghosts is a newer thing...I'm assuming they added it when they added the new interactive queue...it wasn't like that last year when we went but when we were just there last week it did it to us to

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I thought the Haunted Mansion hitchhiking ghosts must've been updated, since I'd never seen anything like that before, and I've ridden Haunted Mansion quite a few times. But I'd also never ridden alone, so I wasn't 100% sure.

Getting to ride so much was the upside of going alone. When I travel with hubby and our friends, even though we're all adults, we don't ride as much because they tend to mosey through the parks and take frequent rest breaks, and I was walking pretty fast and not resting much. Plus there was no waiting around while the others rode stuff my ticklish stomach can't handle.

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Great TR! I'm so glad - well, you know what I mean - that someone else saw those CRAZY crowds! I mean, insane! I have never seen crowds like that. Really, that's tough. I find it very stressful...I guess because I'm never in "mosey" mode. I'm always on a mission Smile

Thanks for the detail about the train, too. I really, really want to do this.

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I love the Auto Train, but it isn't for everyone. Last year we went to Disney World with friends; the men flew and we women took the train. Hubby doesn't care for the train but will ride it for my sake; the other guy wouldn't even attempt it. But the other gal and I loved it. I guess to enjoy it, the train ride itself has to be something you'll enjoy because you will spend a LOT of time in transit. Amtrak recommends that you arrive at the train station at least two hours before departure and preferably more, and that's a good idea because latecomers might get stuck dining at 9:00 p.m. Also, you need to allot extra time in case traffic slows you down because if you haven't checked in by 3:00 p.m. they won't let you on the train! They need to close boarding so they can reposition the car carriers behind the passenger cars. So adding in waiting time and travel time, you will easily spend 20 hours or more either in a station or on the train. And that's not counting drive time to get to and from the stations.

But if you like trains, you'll have a blast! And you'll have your own car and as much luggage as you can fit in your trunk without having to deal with checking baggage at the airport.

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I'm still hoping that my husband will be able to come along. I actually have a ticket for him because I thought he was going to be able to come. He has a new consulting job and if he comes, it will be a bit of extra work before and after the vacation for him.

At least I know that, if he can't make it, I can still have fun if I take the right attitude about it. I'm glad you posted this solo trip report! Thanks...it was a fun read!

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I didn't cancel hubby's train ticket for a while, not till I absolutely had to. I kept hoping something would happen to let him come after all.

But even if your hubby can't make it (and I hope he can), you'll be fine, aside from missing him every now and then. There's so much to do at Disney World, it's probably the best place to go if you have to vacation alone.

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Resurrecting this ancient trip report because I finally got the photos off my cell phone.

Great shot of the DHS hat just before rope drop.

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Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure

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The coolest carousel in the world, at Universal Islands of Adventure

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The Men in Black ride at Universal Studios.

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Food and Wine Festival food! In order, they are Australian Shrimp on the Barbie (ate a shrimp before I thought to take the photo), Caribbean Jerk-spiced Chicken with Mango Chutney, Chinese Black Pepper Shrimp (ate half of it before I took the photo), Hawaiian tuna poke, and from Canada both the Chipotle Chicken Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and the Maple-glazed Salmon with barley. I liked the tuna poke, the chipotle chicken sausage, and the black pepper shrimp best. I tried more than this, but couldn't take photos after dark, and left out stuff that wasn't awesome.

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I'm looking forward to the Osbourne Lights.
This will be our first time staying for Xmas
Dee

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This is all such perfect timing. We will be going in October, so will get to experience the Food and Wine festival for the first time. I will be on the lookout for some of these treats - without your review, I probably would not have considered them. Especially the chipotle chicken sausage - I don't normally like sausages much, but these sound wonderful.

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I love some of the pictures you took!

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I love that hat. I have a great shot of it as my computer wallpaper. mickey

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