crazycatperson's April 2014 Pop Century trip report

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Day 3, Saturday, April 5, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom - We both got up between 8:00 and 8:30, hubby a bit earlier than I did. This would be our pattern for the whole trip, both waking sometime between 8:00 and 9:00, only varying in terms of who happened to wake up first. (And no, rope drop never happened on this trip, but it's not a really high priority for us.) Since he was up first, hubby went to the food court to fetch our morning hot beverages while I got ready to start the day. At one point while I was alone in the room, I was sure I heard somebody practicing the recorder, or maybe the clarinet, somewhere not too far away and possibly in a nearby room. I know it wasn't recorded music because there were a few missed notes in the mix. Interesting.

This was planned as our one and only Animal Kingdom day, with FastPass+ reservations for Finding Nemo: The Musical, Expedition Everest (we both had them but only hubby would ride), and Kilimanjaro Safari all in the afternoon. We also had an ADR for Yak and Yeti at 1:00, which left us with a somewhat tight schedule for the afternoon: eat lunch, meander over to Nemo for FP+ access to the 3:00 show (with a smoke break for hubby along the way), then hotfoot it over to the parade route immediately after the show. And then hotfoot it over to Everest because the FP+ window opened at 3:50, just 5 minutes after the parade began. Finally, an hour to kill before our safari FP+ window opened. That middle part in particular - Nemo, parade, Everest - was going to be pretty tight.

I think we arrived sometime between 10:00 and 11:00. We both thought the weather seemed a bit less hot than it had the day before, although it was still mostly sunny. The park seemed fairly crowded to both of us - not quite as crowded as MK had been the day before, but certainly more crowded than we've grown accustomed to during our usual autumn trips.

We started out by walking back to Kilimanjaro Safari to see what the standby line looked like (long!). Meaning to walk through Pagani Forest, I took the wrong turn and we ended up at the Wildlife Express train station instead. Just as well; I'd actually never ridden it before, and hubby recommended it after his November trip. A train was just pulling out, so we waited a bit and boarded the next one. I took a couple of photos, but neither one came out very well so I won't post them here. The train itself is interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the backstage animal care areas from the train, but otherwise I don't think I missed much by skipping this in the past. Since the attractions at Rafiki's Planet Watch didn't really appeal to us, we stayed on the train and headed back to Africa. Upon our return, we took the correct path and wandered Pagani Forest, seeing several really cool animals, including some incredibly close-up gorillas and a hippo.

We checked the time (it was less than an hour till ADR time), then checked the posted wait time at It's Tough to Be a Bug - just 10 minutes. We hadn't done this attraction in years, so we quickly hopped into the standby line. Up to this point, all of the estimated standby wait times we'd encountered were longer, sometimes considerably longer, than the actual wait. Haunted Mansion would say 15 minutes, and we would walk right on. Unfortunately this was not the case with It's Tough to Be a Bug, and we anxiously and repeatedly checked the time, concerned that we would have to choose between missing our ADR and wasting the time we'd spent in line by leaving without seeing the show. We were finally seated less than half an hour before our ADR, and fortunately the show was relatively brief - and reminded us why we didn't feel the need to visit this attraction on every trip. It's cute, but not wonderful. Perhaps if we'd seen the movie before we experienced the attraction we would feel differently. (A Netflix copy is sitting on a shelf right now, so it's time to rectify that problem.)

The show ended with a little less than ten minutes to spare before our ADR, so we went straight to Asia and actually arrived a minute or two early. We didn't have to wait long to be seated at a table for two in a front section of the restaurant on the ground floor. I'll just say up front that this is our new favorite in-park table service restaurant. I don't mean in AK, I mean in ALL the parks, including Epcot. Hubby and I are both especially fond of all the different varieties of Asian cuisine, and the food here did not disappoint. We started out with the dim sum basket for two, consisting of pork pot stickers, shrimp siu mai, cha su boo, and pork siu mai with soy lime dipping sauce. Everything tasted superb, but we both especially enjoyed the cha su boo, steamed buns filled with a wonderful savory filling. I have no idea what exactly was in it, I just know it was delicious!

Our next course was the Malaysian seafood curry for hubby and the ahi tuna salad for me. We tasted each other's dishes and agreed that both were magnificent, but each of us preferred his or her own dish. My salad was HUMONGOUS, so huge I couldn't have eaten it all even if we hadn't had the dim sum basket. The tuna was perfectly seared on the outside and nearly raw on the inside, and the ginger dressing was delicious. Hubby ate most of his curry, leaving only some rice, and then worked on my salad a bit, but even with that we still left some behind. And best of all, we got a 10% discount because of our annual passes! We will definitely eat there again, especially since there are many other menu selections we'd like to try.

I'm going to stop here and post photos of our wonderful lunch, the only food photos I took on the trip. Back soon with the rest of the day's events. They are, in order, the dim sum basket, the Malaysian curry, the tuna salad, and a photo of hubby at the table wearing his Animal Kingdom giraffe Mickey ears.

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And some photos of the animals along the Pagani Forest walking trail.

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Great TR!

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crazycatperson wrote:
It's a Sony Cyber-shot. Tiny little thing, which is exactly what I wanted. It's small enough to fit in a pocket, but has its own little carrying case that I can strap onto my belt. Because if it doesn't fit in a pocket or otherwise attach to my person, I won't carry it into the parks. I do NOT do the bag check lines.

I'm with you! I love my Cybershot. I upgraded my camera right after our December trip and I was so sure I was going to switch to Nikon or Cannon or some other brand that I can't think of at the moment since they're supposed to be the "best"ish point & shoots, but I loved the size, feature accessibility, overall look, feel & quality of my old cybershot, so I just got a new one biggrin

Love the TR so far. And grumpy cat shirt never gets old!

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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 | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Did you have to resize your pics and save them to your computer before posting?

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disneydoc wrote:
Did you have to resize your pics and save them to your computer before posting?

Yes. I tried posting one as is, but the website wouldn't let me, so I resized them in Paint and also cropped a few. I saved the resized photos under a name different from the alphanumeric identifier created by the camera (or is it the downloading software that does that?) and in a subfolder so I still have the larger originals as well as the smaller versions.

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Continuing with Day 3, Saturday, April 5, part 2 - With lunch finished, we took our time walking over to Finding Nemo: The Musical, with hubby taking the obligatory smoke break along the way while I continued to the theater and waited outside. Although the FP+ window was supposed to open at 2:30, they were already letting FP holders in at 2:25, so we walked right in and found wonderful seats in the first row of the upper section right along the walkway performers use when they run around the theater in several scenes. And with no seats directly in front of us, no tall people could sit in front of me and ruin my view (this is a big issue when you're as tall as the average 10- or 11-year-old). I'm sure you've all seen the show by now, so I won't go into detail except to note that FP+ is TOTALLY worth it for this attraction.

The show ended around 3:30, and we were out of the theater soon after. With the Everest FP+ window opening in less than 20 minutes, we wandered over to Everest and hubby took a smoke break before riding the coaster. Meanwhile, I went looking for the FP+ kiosk to see about cancelling my FP+ reservation. The CM told me that I could switch my FP to another attraction but not cancel it outright, and then suggested I let hubby ride a second time on my FP+. I wouldn't have thought that was allowed, but it came from a Disney CM, so what the heck. However, once he got off the ride, hubby said he thought the single rider line would be shorter and used it instead to ride a second time.

Now, did you notice what we missed? The parade! The parade, which started at 3:45 and we barely had time to get to after Nemo. By the time we realized we'd forgotten it, it was over. And we definitely wanted to see it since it's going to disappear sometime this summer. So we had to revise our plans for another day. Sunday was out due to afternoon FP+ resevations at Hollywood Studios, so we decided that Monday would start with MK, continue with AK, and conclude at DHS for EEMH. This meant we were going to miss the afternoon parade at MK, but since it's new we know we'll have plenty of time to see it on a future trip.

Once hubby had ridden Everest a second time, we headed over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see more animals, including some amazingly close views of two magnificent tigers. Somewhere during our trek my, ahem, gastrointestinal issues recurred. I was able to complete the trek but had to make the restroom attraction the next stop on my agenda. Hubby, meanwhile, took a more leisurely smoke break while he waited for me. Fortunately that was my only problem that day, but it made me swear off the milk we'd purchased at the Pop food court. I have mild lactose intolerance issues, usually not so bad that I can't have a bowl of cereal with milk in the morning, but once I stopped consuming that milk my problems went away. But enough of that. Our final FP+ was Kilimanjaro Safari; the animals weren't especially active but we did get to see a few, including a distant view of a cheetah and a closer view of a beautiful male lion sprawled on the rocks sunning himself. I only have a couple of photos taken from the safari vehicle, but the ones I got on the various animal walks make up for it.

Somewhere during all of this hubby decided to get a pin or two for his hat, selecting an animal print peace sign and an adorable Animal Kingdom Lodge pin. Since we were at the pin station, I decided to get a pin of Marie the kitty to go with the Hong Kong Disneyland pin (which includes Marie) that DisneyDee brought home for me from the trip she and her DW took last year to Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea. Hubby noticed that purchasingjust one more pin would get us a "hidden Mickey" pin for a discounted price, I think $2.95. So I found another cat, Figaro, and pinned them both on my hat. Now, you pin aficionados can see where this is going. By the time our trip was over, hubby had decided to get a pin for every resort we'd either stayed at or eaten at, and in addition to the animal print peace sign and AKL pin, he now has Old Key West, Saratoga Spring, and Pop Century, where we've stayed, and the Polynesian, where we've eaten. Oh, and I just realized - we've eaten at Cape May Cafe and the now-defunct Spoodles, so he needs the Beach Club and Boardwalk also! And he also has the hidden Mickey pin, a Haunted Mansion vulture with a small not-very-hidden Mickey on it. I, meanwhile, went with a cat theme (of course). So, in addition to the Hong Kong Disneyland, Marie, and Figaro pins, I also have those two Siamese cats, the Cheshire cat, and Simba (lions are cats, after all). Disney needs to make more cat characters; all that's left right now is Tigger! Also while at AK, hubby purchased a mate for the giraffe stuffed animal/pillow he bought during our October 2012 trip. He got a leopard or cheetah, we're not sure which, and since the giraffe's name is Squishy, the cat's name is Squishette. I don't have photos of the pins or stuffies yet, but I will take some and post them eventually.

At this point, with our day at AK finished, hubby and I split up; he returned to Pop Century to rest while I went directly to the Magic Kingdom, which was a good bit less crowded than it had been the previous day. After taking a photo of Cinderella's castle in the light of the setting sun, I walked to Monsters Inc., which had almost no wait - in fact, the standby line was so short FP+ holders were joining the line BEHIND me. The show was essentially the same as always, with some Monsters University references added to both the video preshow and the main show. "That Guy" was a good sport at this show and seemed to enjoy himself.

My next stop was Carousel of Progress, always a favorite since I saw it (and It's a Small World) at the New York World's Fair as a child. Nostalgia, gotta love it. The Incredibles Super Dance Party had started by the time I got off Carousel, but I bypassed it for the moment and took a lap on the People Mover. This is another favorite because it's the closest I'm ever going to get to the inside of Space Mountain. Then I stopped by the dance party and took a few photos of three of my favorite Disney Pixar characters - Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and the best one of all, Frozone. After a few minutes and photos, I moved on to Tomorrowland Speedway, which I had never ridden before (it's a car ride, we have them here). I had decided that I should do it at least once just so I could say I had, and since the standby line was extremely short, I was on and riding in no time. Comparing it to the car ride I'm most familiar with, the Twin Turnpike at Hersheypark, the Tomorrowland Speedway track is much longer, but the Twin Turnpike cars seem to be easier to steer. At any rate, the car I got at Tomorrowland Speedway could hardly be steered at all, and while some cars are better than others at Twin Turnpike, none were as unsteerable as the Speedway car I drove.

While I was driving the Speedway, hubby texted to ask whether I was going to stay at MK a while longer. He'd rested and taken a nice hot bath and had found his second wind. I responded that he should come on over and asked if I should find dinner on my own or wait for him. He was hungry, so I waited. Meanwhile, I went looking for something else to do. I tried to cross the hub, but it was approaching 9:00 and the parade was due to begin. The crowds in the hub were impenetrable, so I doubled back past Cosmic Ray's and entered Fantasyland by way of the teacups. Once again, the standby line at Peter Pan's Flight was too long for me, so I rode It's a Small World again and then visited Rapunzel's bathroom. Hubby arrived then and with difficulty navigated his way through the parade crowds over to Columbia Harbor House, where I was waiting and watching the Electric Parade from a distance. Although we met at CHH, we both agreed we weren't in the mood for more seafood, so we decided to try Pecos Bill's instead, a good choice since we hadn't eaten there in years and had no idea what was on the menu. Neither of us was very hungry after our large Yak and Yeti lunch, so we decided to share the Karubi style short ribs with sweet potato fries, and hubby also got a side order of chili. Given the name Karubi, I was expecting the ribs to be seasoned with Asian flavors, but the term must refer to the way the ribs are cut because the seasoning/sauce tasted like regular barbecue to me. They were very good, but the portion was very substantial, so we were glad we'd decided to share.

While we were eating, we could hear the explosions of the fireworks but not the show audio. Since we'd already seen the show, we didn't worry about rushing out to catch it again, although I was hoping we'd have an opportunity at some point to see it from its proper perspective, either down on Main Street or from across the lagoon. (Didn't happen, but it's not as if we've never seen it before.) After dinner we decided to ride the Jungle Cruise, which we like best after dark. We got a pretty good CM on our boat; he had a few new/different jokes and even worked in a Frozen reference. That is one of the great things about the Jungle Cruise - although the main story is usually the same, each CM brings his or her own touch to the script and the jokes, so it's never the same ride twice.

We decided to check the Peter Pan's Flight standby wait again, and along the way we happened upon Celebrate the Magic at the castle and stopped to watch. It must have just started because I think we saw most of it. I especially liked the Frozen scene they've added, but it was all fun. Well, Peter Pan was once again too much of a wait for us, so we turned around and looked for a spot to watch the Electric Parade. This was the second parade, so the crowd was much smaller. I found a family sitting in the hub at the end of Main Street, in a position where the parade came directly at them. They had a child in a stroller, and I decided to stand behind it - the adults and older kids might stand up, but that stroller wasn't getting any taller. I chatted with the woman whose child was occupying the stroller; she actually offered to move the stroller out of my way, but I said no, it was fine, I had no trouble seeing over it. She wasn't exactly tall herself, so we commiserated for a moment about the 6'5" people who sometimes stand right in front of short people without seeming to notice we're there (and then hoist children on their shoulders as well).

The Main Street Electric Parade is my all-time favorite WDW parade, so I was thrilled to have such a great viewing spot, and I'm sure I smiled all through it. Hubby complained that the music was annoying, but I love it - it's so happy, it's one of my favorite parts of the parade. I took photographs of pretty much every float and most of them came out well, so there will be quite a few photos following this post!

We made our way to the exit after the parade had passed by our spot and arrived at the Pop Century bus stop just as a bus arrived and were back at Pop by midnight.

Coming up on Day 4 - our first visit this trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios, a meet-up with alicemouse and her family, and dinner at 'Ohana.

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Here's a photo of the ride photo monitor showing hubby on Expedition Everest. (if there are copyright issues that prohibit my posting this photo, will a moderator please remove this particular post? Thanks.)

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Animal photos from the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Seriously cool bats and even cooler tigers!

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A rhinocerous and zebra from Kilimanjaro Safari and a shot of Expedition Everest that I took on the way out of the park.

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On to the Magic Kingdom! Cinderella's Castle, the Incredibles Super Dance Party, and Tomorrowland Speedway.

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And now the Main Street Electric Parade!

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crazycatperson wrote:
Animal photos from the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Seriously cool bats and even cooler tigers!

Big kitties! mickey

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More Electric Parade.

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Loving your trip report, but as an animation guru I thought I would suggest some other cats and feline friends you could include in your pin hunting cause we all love pins right?

Lucifer -Cinderella
madam mim ad a tiger - The Sword in the stone
Shere Khan and Bagheera - The Jungle Book
All the Aristocats - the Aristocats
Prince John- Robin Hood
rajah- Aladdin
Sabor- Tarzan
mittens- bolt

so loads of cats to explore

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Jan I am so loving your report! I totally get the annual pass feeling, it's liberating almost a relief not to have to rush to get everything done and 'get your days ticket worth'. Our holidays have changed so much since we added the annual passes and DVC.

That salad is possibly the largest I have ever seen anywhere at yak and yeti! OMG!

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I so agree about Yak & Yeti! It is hands down our favorite restaurant we've tried at any of the WDW parks/resorts thus far and is the only one we will be repeating on our upcoming trip. That salad looks AMAZING! I love ahi tuna so I may have to try the salad this trip and settle for just a couple bites of DH's kobe burger.

On second thought, I don't know if I'd be able to handle just a couple of bites....

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Philhowelldesign wrote:
Loving your trip report, but as an animation guru I thought I would suggest some other cats and feline friends you could include in your pin hunting cause we all love pins right?

Lucifer -Cinderella
madam mim ad a tiger - The Sword in the stone
Shere Khan and Bagheera - The Jungle Book
All the Aristocats - the Aristocats
Prince John- Robin Hood
rajah- Aladdin
Sabor- Tarzan
mittens- bolt

so loads of cats to explore

Yes...but none of them are pins! At least, not at the moment. Hubby was good enough to ask a CM at a pin station, and what I have is pretty much what's available now, aside from Tigger. I would especially love to have Mittens, but all I could find was Bolt.

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I'm too busy with "real" work today to work on the trip report (but this is good, so we can pay for future WDW trips, right?). But I did take the time to photograph our pins and hubby's pillow animals. My pins are temporarily pinned to a T-shirt because, sadly, my wonderful hat took a beating in the rain Monday. If I can't get it back into proper shape I may have to replace it. Hubby's hat was much sturdier and came through the wet weather intact, so his pins are still on the hat. Then you'll see the new Squishette both as a pillow and as a stuffed animal, followed by old Squishy as a pillow and showing the 1 1/2 years worth of wear.

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Great report! I can see your adventures clearly and that makes me smile!! mickey

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I still haven't gotten around to writing up my summary of Sunday, April 6, but if you've read alicemouse's report on that day, you already know she and her family met up with hubby and me. We caught up with them as they finished lunch at ABC Commissary, then we rejoined them at the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. So, here are two photos of alicemouse in the show!!! And one of her family, from left, alicemouse, mama mouse, papa mouse, and mr. mouse. And finally, a quick shot of Chip and Dale meeting random strangers.

Edited to add: alicemouse is in the reddish robe, she's the one waving in the first photo.

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I've seen a rajah..... I know in my heart those pins are out there......... I can feel it

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Crazycatperson, tell mr. CCP that I love plushies too. Do you ever catch him cuddling them, or is that not cool? mickey

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GReat report!!! Love the pics and the food descriptions!!!

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Phil, thank you, I will be on the lookout for other kitties. Might have to purchase some pins I don't really want so I can trade for the cats, I guess.

disneydoc, he does not actually cuddle with his stuffies, but he does get very up close and personal with Squishy when he sleeps on the sofa in front of the TV, which is why Squishy is so...squished. Squishette should have it a little bit better; she is stationed at the foot of the sofa. As for cuddling, I have caught him on occasional hugging a (non-stuffed animal) pillow while he sleeps.

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Day 4, Sunday, April 6, Disney's Hollywood Studios and 'Ohana - I was up around 8:45 after our long Saturday; this time I was up before hubby and fetched the hot drinks from the food court. I'd been noticing the ebb and flow of arrivals and departures and the crowd levels around the resort. Thursday, our arrival day, seemed fairly quiet; Friday saw an influx of what I assumed were weekend travellers along with increased crowds at the food court; Saturday and Sunday saw even more resort guests arrive while others reluctantly dragged their luggage toward the Magical Express airline check-in counter or to their cars. People were always arriving or leaving, with the weekend seeing the largest crowds followed by Friday and Monday.

I got a text from alicemouse while we were eating our breakfast (I'd switched to Bel Vita breakfast bars to avoid that milk). She and her family had just arrived at DHS; I told her we were still at Pop and I'd text her once we arrived at DHS. There was a good-sized crowd at the DHS bus stop that morning, and a long line of traffic held up at the stoplight to make the left turn into the DHS parking lot. I think it took at least three or four light cycles before our bus finally made the turn. And no wonder - we were using the entrance with only two incoming lanes for guests' cars. I suppose it's the most direct route into DHS, but I do wonder why they don't try to route more traffic into the other, larger entrance.

Once in, I texted alicemouse to let her know we'd arrived, then we went to check the standby line at the Great Movie Ride. It was too long IMO, but we had a FastPass+ for it the next day, so I wasn't worried about getting on it Sunday. Instead, we made our way over to Fairfax Fare to get a couple of drinks - light lemonade for hubby, and a free cup of water for me. A word of advice - always purchase a bottle of water from this location because the tap water tastes a little funny. Not make you sick funny, but not something I'd care to taste again. We found a shady table in the seating area and sipped our drinks while figuring out what to do next. Hubby considered getting some of the wonderful ice cream at the stand next to Fairfax Fare (is it Hollywood Scoops?), but was it too early? The line was almost nonexistent, but when I reminded him that we were saving our appetites for 'Ohana that evening, he decided to put off the ice cream till later. (Not much later, as it turned out.)

I checked the Beauty and the Beast showtimes and discovered we were only about 10 minutes away from the next show, so we headed in and found decent seats on the right side of the theater. While we were there, I heard from alicemouse; her first text said they were at ABC Commissary for lunch, the next said they were going to Indiana Jones. Now, I misunderstood, thinking they'd walked into ABC but decided to put off lunch till later and head directly to Indy. Another couple of texts cleared things up - they actually were eating at that very moment and would head for Indy when they'd finished. So hubby and I ducked out of Beauty and the Beast moments before the show started and met up with alicemouse, mama mouse, papa mouse, and mr. mouse right as they were finishing up their lunch.

We sat for a while chatting, mostly alicemouse and me, apologies in retrospect for not paying a little more attention to the rest of the family. Mama and papa mouse are around the same age I am (a wee bit younger, actually), so I'm sure we would've had lots to chat about. The whole mouse family seemed very nice, and I hope we have an opportunity to meet up with them again, either at WDW or locally, since we're practically neighbors up here in (thankfully no longer cold and snowy) Pennsylvania. Anyway, I revealed that I now have an annual pass and mentioned that we'd already booked our next trip; she discussed the advantages of having an AP and talked about their future trips. Golly, it is GOOD knowing you've already got your next trip planned and booked!

When the mouse family had finished eating, they went directly to the Indy FastPass+ queue while hubby and I meandered a bit, assuming we couldn't get into the show via the standby line just yet. I'd heard good things about the Backlot Express counter service restaurant but had never eaten there before (honestly, had never even noticed it before; I'd previously thought Backlot Express was the place across from, you know, the Backlot Tour, which would've made a lot more sense). So we headed over to check the menu, and were pleased with what we saw. I've eaten at Studios Catering Co. (the restaurant that actually is across from the Backlot Tour) and was never particularly impressed, but the real Backlot Express's menu seemed much better. However, we had 'Ohana that evening and decided that for this day at least, the Asian salad over at ABC Commissary would be a better lunch choice.

We then made our way over to Indy and discovered that we could have walked right in with alicemouse and family, no problem at all. I texted that we'd arrived, she responded with their location; I waved, she waved, it was all good. We chatted a bit more, and then the CMs came out to solicit volunteers. Up went alicemouse's hand. The CM's eyes were scanning the crowd...and I knew it was almost alicemouse's birthday and she reallyreallyreally wanted to do this...so I also raised my hand, but used it to point emphatically at alicemouse's head. And yay, she got picked! What fun!

After she left to join the show, the CMs asked all of us to slide toward the center to make room for more people. We weren't sure whether alicemouse would rejoin us before the show was over, so we slid to fill her seat. Mistake. She did indeed rejoin us during the middle of the show. Fortunately, some people immediately to the right of her parents left during the middle of the show, so when alicemouse returned she had somewhere to sit. But heads up, folks; if someone in your touring group is selected as an extra, save that person's seat!

When the show was over, I snapped a quick photo of the whole mouse family (see above) and we parted company; hubby and I were now ready for lunch and headed back to ABC Commissary. Mama mouse had said there was a lot of chicken on her Asian salad, and since I knew we'd be overdosing on meat at 'Ohana, I suggested getting one salad with chicken, one without, and sharing the chicken. Well. While there is more than enough chicken for one person, it was a bit skimpy for two. So I took a couple of chicken slices and let hubby have the rest. It was still good, although I was a little peeved that my salad had inexplicably arrived without any chow mein noodles. If you've never had the Asian salad, it's mostly a normal salad, but with edamame and noodles (or at least there should be noodles) and a very nice Asian-flavored salad dressing. And chicken, if you order it that way. Of course it wasn't nearly as good as the wonderful ahi tuna salad I had at Yak and Yeti the previous day, but on the bright side, it was the RIGHT SIZE instead of being large enough to feed a small family.

After lunch it was almost time for our first FastPass+, Voyage of the Little Mermaid. This is not a "must do" attraction for either of us, and in fact we probably hadn't seen the show since, oh, 2007. Maybe 2005. To kill time before the FP+ window opened, hubby decided to forget 'Ohana and get ice cream anyway, selecting a Mickey ice cream bar from a nearby cart. This was our very first Mickey bar ever. Hubby loved it; I had a bite or two and thought it was pretty good for an ice cream bar, but I'd rather have popcorn as a snack. While we were working on the Mickey bar, a CM wandered over and asked us to take one of those surveys they use to figure out how far people travel to get to WDW, how often, where they stay, etc. We described the increasing frequency with which we've travelled to WDW since our first trip in 2005, leading up to annual passes and multiple trips per year. She was wonderful, said she understood, she loved the place and after a stint in the college program decided to stay on and live the dream every day. Dang, if I could handle the summer heat down there, I would do that, too! (Well, not the college part, that ship sailed a long, long time ago.)

So, the survey done and the ice cream consumed, we headed into Voyage of the Little Mermaid. You've all seen it, right? Cute show, interesting combination of live action and animation, still not something we need to experience every single visit, although I was impressed by the seamless way they change real live Ariel with a tail into Ariel with legs. I'll have to watch that bit a little more closely next time.

And now, the headline attraction of all headline attractions (for me, anyway) - TOY STORY MANIA!!! We waited across the way for just a few minutes, then approached the FP+ entrance a couple of minutes before our window opened. That, apparently, was not a problem, but the folks in front of us arrived over 10 minutes before their window opened and were told they had to wait. So they tried to wait RIGHT THERE and had to be told to step aside. (Hubby and I speculated that they'll let you in if you're less than 5 minutes before your FP+ window, but not more than that.) As I've said many, many times, this is my favorite attraction of all, at any WDW park, at any park anywhere. So you would think that by now I could rack up enough points to be a kitty, right? I really wanna be a kitty. But no, my 122,000 points were only good enough for a beaver. Grrrr. At least I wasn't a rabbit like hubby.

At this point in the day, hubby and I split up, and to keep this post from becoming a short Russian novel, I will divide Part One from Part Two here. The rest of Day 4 will appear soon.

RobynPrincess's picture
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Ahhh I'm only ever a beaver too Wink love the pic of Alice in the show! Can't wait to read more xxxxx

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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Day 4, Sunday, April 6, part 2 - As I said, at this point hubby and I split up. He was sure he'd brought two packs of cigarettes on the trip, but was unable to find pack number two. He looked everywhere (or thought he did), and was starting to think Mousekeeping had taken it, which I was fairly sure was not the case (he did find them hidden in his suitcase while packing to go home). Sunday morning, he finished the first pack and thought he'd try to see how long he could go without his nicotine fix. By mid-afternoon, he was ready to visit the Hess attraction to obtain another pack. Thinking the best way was to go to the Boardwalk and walk to Hess from there, he left the park and went looking for the Boardwalk bus. Um...there are no Boardwalk buses. Instead of taking the boat, he walked and discovered the Hess station was along the walkway to the Boardwalk. He purchased his fix, continued on to the Boardwalk, and this time took the boat back to DHS, arriving just in time for our Lights Motors Action FP+ window.

Meanwhile, I checked out the Great Movie Ride standby line - at 35 minutes it was shorter than it had been when we arrived but was still longer than I cared to wait. I decided to get a box of popcorn, since I must have at least one each trip. I went to the popcorn stand near where they post wait times for DHS attractions. In front of me was a family - mom, dad, two or three small children, stroller, the usual - and they had a handful of refillable resort mugs that they handed to the CM behind the counter. No, he explained, we don't fill those here, just at your resort. The family were not native speakers of English (I think their accents sounded French, but I can't be sure), so apparently they didn't understand exactly what they were getting when they got those refillable mugs (I sure hope they were on the dining plan and didn't actually pay out of pocket for them thinking they'd have free drinks everywhere). One of the parents asked where was the nearest resort? Still they didn't understand. The CM asked, where are you staying? The Polynesian, they replied. Then that is where you can refill your mugs, the CM explained. They left disappointed. I hope they found a CM who speaks their language who could explain the concept of refillable resort mugs to them.

So I got a box of popcorn and a bottle of water and found a shady spot where I could put the bottle down and enjoy my popcorn. And it was as good as it always is. After my snack, I checked the Great Movie Ride again, and the wait had increased to 40 minutes. Instead I hiked to the Muppets 3D show, which had almost no wait at all. I was one of the first people into the preshow area, which was great because it enabled me to move all the way to the end of my row and get out ahead of most everyone else once the show was over. The preshow has a couple of new elements involving Constantine from Maaahhh-pets Most Wanted, which was fun, but the actual show is the same as always, a cute show with (usually) a reliably short standby line. Cute enough that I've never missed it on any trip; I do love those Muppets, although the 3D gags are getting old, especially now that almost every big animated or action movie comes out in much better 3D.

Hubby texted that he'd arrived as I was leaving the Muppets show, and we met just outside the Lights Motors Action FP+ entrance. If you don't mind arriving early, this is a show that doesn't really require FP+. Standby people were walking in along with us and merging into the same line we were in. Of course, FP+ might be more beneficial in the summer or at other times with larger crowds. The show itself seemed to be unchanged since the last time we saw it, or at the most there were only very minor changes. It's fun, though, so we usually include it in our itinerary.

Once the show was over, hubby decided he needed a snack before our 8:30 ADR at 'Ohana, and he bought a corn dog from a stand right outside the LMA entrance. I had a bite, and it was okay, but not nearly as good as those Casey's corn dog nuggets we'd had Thursday evening. We found a seat over at Studios Catering, which was closed for the day, and then decided that since we were right across the way we'd do the Backlot Tour. This attraction seems to be getting pretty tired, so I hope all those vague rumors about putting something cool in there eventually come to pass. (Star Wars Land, oh boy, I would be all over that. I saw the original movie 12 times over the summer of 1977. Why, yes, I am a geek, why do you ask?)

After the Backlot Tour we thought we would split up again; hubby would do Rock'n Roller Coaster in the single rider line and I would do the Great Movie Ride if the wait wasn't too long or find something else if it was. We passed by Toy Story Mania and OMG the standby line was down to 40 minutes! I won't wait that long for the Great Movie Ride or even Peter Pan's Flight, but TSM? Absolutely! And since it was only 6:25 we still had plenty of time to do TSM and still reach the Poly in time for our 8:30 ADR at 'Ohana. So we spent the next 40 minutes being a couple of Andy's toys - the standby wait estimate was spot on. My score was slightly lower this time, at 115,000, but hubby's improved (don't recall by how much) and he became a beaver like me this time around. We were out by 7:20 and headed straight for the exit to make sure we made it to the Poly with time to spare.

We arrived around 8:00 and checked in early (you never know; last April when we travelled with my sister and her family we were seated a good 45 minutes ahead of our ADR). We were not so lucky this time. While waiting to be seated, we visited the gift shop, where I purchased my Siamese cat pin and hubby got his Poly pin. He also visited the smoking attraction while I waited with the pager near the entrance to the restaurant. And around 8:30 our pager lit up and we were shown to our table. We were right by the window facing MK and would've had an awesome view of the fireworks, but they weren't until 10:00 so we missed them this time.

The food was as delicious as always (sorry, no photos, the light was rather dim and I didn't want to startle neighboring diners with the flash). The welcome bread is so good we finished the whole loaf even though we knew there was lots more food to come. The salad, a pretty nondescript leafy salad with an awesome Polynesian-style dressing, was easily large enough to satisfy four people. I only ate a small portion, but hubby finished the whole thing because he loves the dressing so much. Next came the appetizers, glazed chicken wings (yum) and pork pot stickers (even yummier). Hubby and I have lucked out where chicken wings are concerned; he prefers the part they call the "drummette" whereas I prefer the middle section. Our appetizer plate happened to have only one drummette and three of the middle sections, so hubby had to settle for one of those, but I don't think he minded. I was glad they only brought us four pot stickers and four wings; I surely would've eaten more if we'd had them and I really wanted to save room for the skewered meat, noodles, and veggies.

The first two skewers that came by were the chicken and the pork. Hubby had a piece or two of each, but I passed on both; the steak and shrimp are my favorites. I've had the pork and thought it was just okay, and I usually pass on the skewered chicken in favor of those yummy wings. I settled down to eating the noodles and veggies, and eventually the steak and shrimp made their way to our table. I know the steak can be inconsistent - sometimes overdone and rubbery, other times perfect - and we lucked into a good skewer. I prefer my beef extremely rare, and the steak wasn't, but it was nice and pinkish red in the center so IMO still very good. And delicious! The steak is made with a very simple marinade made with (checking the recipe I found online) oil, garlic, and pepper, but it's so good I ate some of it without the accompanying peanut sauce (one of two sauces, the other being sweet and sour; both are very tasty). The shrimp skewer arrived shortly therafter, and I had my shrimp with the sweet and sour sauce. After a second helping of steak, we were quite full but ready to sample at least a little of the dessert, banana bread pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream. We managed to finish the ice cream but not the bread pudding.

The entertainment portion of the evening commenced near the end of our meal. A Hawaiian singer sang a bit, engaged the children in a race involving sweeping coconuts around the dining room (fun, but we were glad we weren't seated near the walkway), and then summoned everyone celebrating a birthday up to receive a lei and be serenaded. 'Ohana ain't cheap and it certainly isn't haute cuisine, but the food is good and plentiful and we always have a nice time there.

Hubby returned to the smoking area after dinner while I stayed behind to settle the bill. Have I mentioned how much I love Magic Bands? It sure does make paying for pretty much anything around WDW incredibly easy, as long as you don't mind not knowing how huge a credit card charge you're racking up along the way. Even at table service restaurants it's simple; they bring a portable band reader right to your table and take care of everything quickly. Very nice.

We had planned on attending MK's EEMH that evening, but we were both so stuffed we decided to pass and just head back to Pop Century for the rest of the evening. I intended to wait at the monorail station for hubby, but when I walked onto the monorail deck a train was waiting and the CMs very helpfully held the gate open for me, so I got on, figuring hubby could catch up with me at the Pop bus stop at MK. While on the monorail, a couple commented on the T-shirt I was wearing that day - it bears a slogan that reads, "No outfit is complete without a few cat hairs." We chatted about cats between the Poly and MK; they have three Siamese that they obtained from a Siamese rescue in Virginia. They happened to live in New England at the time they got those cats, which were transported from Virginia to them by way of what they call the "Meezer Express" (Meezer being an affectionate nickname for Siamese cats). A convoy of volunteers all over the country transport the cats one hour of the journey, until they finally arrive near their destination and their new family picks them up for the last leg of the trip. They also mentioned the "Geezer Express," which transports older cats.

Hubby and I were also texting back and forth establishing our respective whereabouts. He was on the train right behind mine, so I just waited at the MK monorail station for him to arrive. I confess that when I arrived at MK I was tempted to go in in spite of being full almost to the point of discomfort, but I resisted the temptation and we were quickly on our way back to Pop Century. The firework show was going while we walked to the bus stop, and we even got to see a little bit of it while we waited for our bus.

Back at Pop, we grabbed our refillable mugs, got some more hot tea, and I purchased my Cheshire Cat pin. My hat was filling up quickly.

At this point in the trip I was keeping an eye on the weather. It had been lovely, if a little hotter than I like, so far during our stay, but rain was approaching. I knew it would rain Tuesday but hoped it would hold off for our last full day, Monday, April 7, the day of three parks - MK, AK, and DHS for EEMH.

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crazycatperson wrote:
mama mouse, papa mouse, and mr. mouse

Love this!! I'm going to refer to my family with these nicknames from now on!! laugh

crazycatperson wrote:
so I also raised my hand, but used it to point emphatically at alicemouse's head. And yay, she got picked! What fun!

It was really cool!! Thanks for your help!! yay

crazycatperson wrote:
And now, the headline attraction of all headline attractions (for me, anyway) - TOY STORY MANIA!!! As I've said many, many times, this is my favorite attraction of all, at any WDW park, at any park anywhere. So you would think that by now I could rack up enough points to be a kitty, right? I really wanna be a kitty. But no, my 122,000 points were only good enough for a beaver. Grrrr. At least I wasn't a rabbit like hubby.

A tip for your November trip: aim at the targets low on the screen. They have some of the highest point values and are easier to hit than the high point values that are located higher on the screen. After I read that tip, I can win the kitty almost every time now.

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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 | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

crazycatperson's picture
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alicemouse wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
mama mouse, papa mouse, and mr. mouse

Love this!! I'm going to refer to my family with these nicknames from now on!! laugh

Yes! And do it a lot, like kids saying "DUDE!" after doing Turtle Talk with Crush. (Just don't tell them where I live.)

alicemouse wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
And now, the headline attraction of all headline attractions (for me, anyway) - TOY STORY MANIA!!! As I've said many, many times, this is my favorite attraction of all, at any WDW park, at any park anywhere. So you would think that by now I could rack up enough points to be a kitty, right? I really wanna be a kitty. But no, my 122,000 points were only good enough for a beaver. Grrrr. At least I wasn't a rabbit like hubby.

A tip for your November trip: aim at the targets low on the screen. They have some of the highest point values and are easier to hit than the high point values that are located higher on the screen. After I read that tip, I can win the kitty almost every time now.

Thanks very much, I will have to try this next trip, 'cause I REALLY WANNA BE A KITTY!