crazycatperson's best trip yet - November 2014

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Day 3, Monday, November 3 - the day with complications...

Okay, so as I said, this was originally going to be another Epcot day with the WDWFG meet-up at 2:00 in the UK pavilion courtyard. Then, realizing that our Boma breakfast and Jiko dinner wouldn't leave us much chance to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival, we switched to Magic Kingdom, with me park hopping solo to Epcot for the meet-up.

Our Boma reservation was at 8:50, so we set an alarm to be sure we'd get up early, although I don't recall whether the alarm woke us up or we got up before the alarm went off. I took a shower first, and as I was drying off and hubby was getting ready to shave at the sink, he happened to look over at me and said, "Oh, no." "What?" I asked.

"You have a tick on your back."

Gross gross gross. He said it wasn't engorged yet but was embedded in my back. I looked in the mirror as best I could since it was on my back below my left shoulder blade, and there was a big old red spot surrounding this little dark thing. Gross. I gave hubby my tweezers and asked him to pull it off, but unfortunately its head stayed behind when he did. Now, you know what this means - I couldn't be walking around the rest of the week with a tick's head stuck in my back. I was going to have to go to a walk-in clinic to get the thing removed. But although our friends had a rental car, I didn't want to waste their precious WDW time driving me there, so I assumed I was looking at the cost of a taxi ride on top of whatever insurance copay the clinic would require.

I got dressed, waited while everyone finished getting ready, and we headed down to Boma. While the others checked in and waited to be seated, I visited the Jambo House concierge to ask about walk-in clinics. Well, turns out a local health care provider called Centra Care had a clinic just a little way west on 192, they would even send a van over to pick me up! Aside from tipping the driver, I wouldn't have to pay anything to get to the clinic. I headed downstairs to Boma feeling a little better about the whole process. Once I finished eating, I headed upstairs to find a quiet spot to call for the van to pick me up, and it arrived even faster than they'd said it would. So far so good.

I was the only passenger, and the driver was quite friendly. We had a nice little chat on the short drive to the clinic. We talked about Florida critters; he said that animals in Florida were smaller than up north, using the bear as an example. Northern bears, he said, had to gain enough weight to hibernate all winter, whereas Florida bears didn't have to hibernate so they didn't gain anywhere near as much weight. I mentioned that I knew the insects were bigger, and he told me all sorts of horror stories about the poisonous varmints lurking everywhere out in the countryside. Thank God we spend all our time at Disney World. By then we'd arrived at the clinic; I tipped the driver $2 because other than two ones I only had $20 bills.

Inside I went to check in. Filled out forms. Handed over ID and insurance card. And waited. At one point I realized that if I was going to tip the driver going back to WDW I would need to break a $20, but the receptionist wouldn't make change. Then I noticed a small refrigerator with drinks for sale, so I got a bottle of water and handed over one of those $20s. Problem solved. And I waited and waited some more.

While I waited I visited the restroom, but the toilet wouldn't flush. I've fixed the occasional toilet with a minor flushing issue before (it's a pretty simple do-it-yourself repair), so I looked in the tank and immediately saw what the problem was - somebody else had done a DIY hack to the flushing mechanism using a large paper clip, and it had come loose. But I didn't want to linger in the restroom in case they called my name while I was in there, so I told the receptionist the toilet wouldn't flush, assuming someone would go in and investigate the issue. But no, they just slapped up an "Out of Order" sign. Should've fixed it myself.

Meanwhile, amidst all the waiting, I got an occasional text from hubby telling me all the fun stuff they were doing over at MK. Bummer! Their (our) first FP was Splash Mountain, followed by Big Thunder Mountain for the guys and Haunted Mansion, which was supposed to be for both Sherry and me, but ended up with her going alone. They visited the Swiss Family Treehouse and got Dole Whips (the first for our friends). They passed some time on a bench somewhere, did a little shopping, took a walking tour of New Fantasyland, visited Hall of Presidents while hubby took a smoke break, and managed to see part of the afternoon parade from a bit of a distance.

I think I must've been the next person on the list when the medical staff went to lunch, because a good half hour passed when NOBODY's name was called. I was starting to think I might not make the Epcot meet-up! Finally, around 12:30 and after I'd waited over two hours, I was called. A nurse did the usual preliminary stuff - blood pressure, temperature, pulse - and then I waited for the doctor. He wasn't long. I described the situation for the third time (first the receptionist, then the nurse, and now the doctor). He took a look, had me lie down on my stomach, and shot me up with lidocaine, which he warned would sting a little - it did, but nothing you can do about that, and it sure beat getting cut without the lidocaine. After a bit of a wait, he dealt with what was left of the tick, explaining afterwards that he'd cut a small bit of my skin off to get at all of the tick's head. Once done, he said he would have to give me a prescription for antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease since I didn't know how long the tick had been there.

Once I was bandaged up and had a prescription for doxycycline and some literature on ticks and tickborne illness in my back pocket, I was ready for the van to pick me up. I got the same friendly van driver, and we chatted some more as he took me straight to Epcot for the meet-up. This time I tipped him $5 and made my way over to the World Showcase, none the worse for having had a tick and having lost only a few hours of fun time.

After the meet-up (described in an earlier post), I took the monorail over to the TTC and another to MK, where I caught up with my group outside Carousel of Progress. I was in time to make our final FastPass, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor for Sherry and me while the guys did Space Mountain. Then we left to get ready for our ADR at Jiko. Back at Kidani, I stopped at the concierge to ask if there was a local pharmacy that would deliver to the resort and if the concierge could fax my prescription over to them. There was and she would, so I reached for my back pocket and the prescription was gone! Both the prescription and all that tick info! Only the invoice was left, which I'd folded smaller than the thick wad of paper that included the prescription. Somehow, the really important info had somehow worked its way out of my pocket while I was sitting, standing, crouching, and walking all around. Well, there wasn't much the concierge could do without the prescription. Back in our rooms, I tried to call Centra Care, but got their recorded after-hours message. Tried calling the on-call night physician, but their message sounded like they just made house calls for resort guests. Figured I'd have to call Centra Care again in the morning and just not take my doxycycline that evening. About 15 minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was the on-call physician, who'd noticed I'd called but didn't leave a message. And as it turned out, he had access to Centra Care's computer system and was able to find my prescription and send it off to the pharmacy! So on we went to Jiko, and when we returned to Kidani my prescription was waiting for me at the concierge desk. And everything was once again magical (aside from the slightly sore spot on my back, but that went away after a day or two).

Next up, Animal Kingdom.

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Oh my gosh I would have freaked out if there was a tick in my back! I don't deal well with bugs. And two hours waiting at the clinic?! When you could have been at Disney?! I would have been an anxious wreck! Glad everything worked out in the end, though!

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We get a lot of ticks with the horses, mostly because of the deer that run through the field.

Touch wood I have never had one and I was told it's because they can't get easy access to the blood in my legs due to the fluid (and if I'm wearing my tights like I'm supposed to NOTHING is getting in there!) but DS has had a couple and they are nasty. We use a dab of nail varnish and they die and fall out (if small within about half an hour).

Glad you got it sorted, and only missed a couple of hours at Disney - our A&E or walk in Drs can take forever!

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Oh dear Jan! That really was very inconvenient of the tick! How very dare he?! Have you ever had to pull a tick out of one of your cats? I've had to do it before now, it's so easy to leave the head in so I hope you didn't tell Dan off too much Wink the trick is to twist as you pull. Sy's parents live out in the country so I've often pulled ticks out of their dogs and cats.

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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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What I couldn't figure is how the darned thing managed to crawl under my clothing and bite me in the middle of my back. I suppose I could've picked it up at home; we'd had some shorts and T-shirts weather a few days before we left for Florida, but you'd think one of us would've noticed it if it had been there for a week. And once we arrived in Florida, it was jacket weather until the morning I found the tick.

This was my third tick. First dug in behind my ear when I was quite small, perhaps 6 years old, and of course it was quite traumatic and I cried and cried. Second one was just a few years ago, also behind my ear. It was mid-autumn and I hadn't been mucking around in the woods or tall grass, but I had picked up and cuddled our friends Gary and Sherry's lovely (late) boy kitty, holding him up on my shoulder right by that ear, and that night discovered the tick and made a trip to the emergency room in the wee hours since hubby couldn't get it at all. Fortunately I knew it had just bitten that evening so no doxycycline that time. Third one, well, it actually didn't bother me all that much, aside from the inconvenience and lost time in the parks. I guess it helped that I really couldn't see it.

I didn't tell hubby off at all, I know he did his best and it's incredibly easy to leave the head behind. In fact, the ER doctor who removed that second tick left the head behind and had to dig it out. No lidocaine, but surprisingly that didn't hurt as much as pulling the tick out in the first place did.

I have never had to pull a tick from one of our pets. The dogs were always treated with flea and tick prevention during varmint season, and the cats stay inside or out on our second-floor deck, so no fleas or ticks to worry about with them.

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I had one years and years ago on my head that was in deep! I still have a bump where it was blah. Then there have been a couple more from living in the country and being the wild child I was! LOL Glad it was taken care of and you could make it to the meet!!!

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Day 4, Tuesday, November 4 - Animal Kingdom, among other things.

This day was scheduled for Animal Kingdom park before we arrived in WDW, but once again plans changed. Well, for me, at least. Originally I had a morning FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safari before anyone else had any FPs; since I'm frequently the first one up I figured I could hop a bus and get over there before the others. Then we all had FPs for Finding Nemo, after which everyone but me had Expedition Everest (even Sherry!). But those plans changed when I decided to head for Magic Kingdom on my own for a little more time with the lovely Robynprincess and Simon, which I've already written about.

My morning routine now included taking doxycycline as soon as I got up and then waiting an hour before I could eat something. For the first two or three mornings, it also included hubby removing the old bandage from my back, applying antibiotic ointment to the spot where the tick parts had been removed, and covering it with a fresh bandage. And this is where I was exceedingly glad I bring a small supply of health and first aid products along each trip - I already had everything I needed to take care of the small wound on my back, no need to find a pharmacy.

So I headed out to MK as soon as I was ready; meanwhile, everyone else had breakfast and made their way over to Animal Kingdom, where they used their FastPasses and did a few other things as well (sorry, don't have my notes at hand since I'm sitting in bed with the laptop, snoring hubby, and a few of the cats). We caught up with one another at Sanaa, where we had lunch (described earlier in the trip report), headed up to the room to stash the leftovers and the extra bread we'd purchased, and then went back to the bus stop to return to Animal Kingdom park.

By the time we arrived there were only a couple of hours or so until the park closed, so not much time to wander. Our last FastPass was for Festival of the Lion King at 5:00, with a FastPass window of 4:30 to 4:50. But as we crossed the bridge into Africa we noticed a sign saying that due to the early sunset the last Kilimanjaro Safari would leave at 4:45. No way we could do both. I found a friendly FastPass person with one of the hand-held tablets and asked if she could get us a Kilimanjaro FP and move our Lion King FP back to 6:00. No, she replied, there were no more Kilimanjaro FPs available, but she could move our Lion King FPs back an hour and we could do Kilimanjaro on standby. This turned out to be an excellent suggestion because by this time in the day there was no standby line left and we walked right onto the ride. We hoped that, since dusk was approaching and the weather was mild we might see a lot of animals, but sadly most were very inactive. I did get a shot of a giraffe munching leaves and a friendly ostrich who ran alongside our truck, and of course the usual flamingos and antelope were out and about. But no lions, only one cheetah barely visible in the shadows, the rear end of an elephant, and some underwater hippos.

After the safari we stopped by one of the open-air shops in Africa and Sherry picked out elaborate animal-themed wind chimes for each of their two daughters. Then we made our way to Festival of the Lion King and were in line before the previous show was over - when a CM slipped out of the theater, we could hear the music loud and clear. The theater's soundproofing must be excellent because we didn't hear a peep aside from that. Soon the crowds exited the theater, and soon after that we were allowed in. I always like to sit in the lion section, for reasons that should be obvious (kitty!). Hubby, however, has a soft spot for giraffes and was even wearing his Halloween get-up from MNSSHP, giraffe print Mickey ears and a giraffe print T-shirt. I promised him that next time we would sit in the giraffe section, and he joked that when it came time for the performers to teach each section how to make the appropriate critter noises, he should jump out of the lion section and run over to the giraffe section bleating like a sheep. (Of course he didn't, since it would likely have gotten him tossed out of the theater.)

While we were waiting for the show to start, there was a minor incident involving a woman and her child who didn't seem to understand what the RESERVED seating at the front of the section was for. She was sitting in the second row of the benches reserved for disabled people and their families; a CM tried to explain that she couldn't sit there, but all she did was move back to the third reserved bench. More explanation from both the CM and another spectator, and she and her child moved back yet another row onto a non-reserved bench. I suspect she didn't speak English. A little bit later and a family with a young boy who got around using a kind of walker were escorted to those seats.

And the show began; we all roared, enjoyed the singers, dancers, and acrobats, and sang along to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." I attempted to take pictures, but without using the flash most of them ended up being a blur, so the only photo I have that's half decent is of the four CMs who begin the show (and unfortunately "Good Looking" was not front and center for the photo).

The park was closed once the show ended, so we made our way back to the bus stop with no side trips to do or see anything else. Since the park closes so early, we decided to visit Downtown Disney that evening and headed back to Kidani to catch a DTD bus. After having dinner at Earl of Sandwich, we visited a few of the Marketplace shops - the world's largest Disney store, of course, where we all got separated and reseparated wandering that huge shop, but eventually all managed to find one another. Sherry was looking for T-shirts for some of her grandkids - she had a couple for two of the boys, but needed some for the other two boys. What about the 12-year-old granddaughter? I asked. Oh, she was something of a "fashionista" and probably wouldn't like anything at the Disney store. But wait! Over in the women's section (because 12-year-old granddaughter is 5'7" (or 170 cm) tall and doesn't wear kids' clothes anymore) there were some very "fashionista" T-shirts clearly aimed at the stylish middle and high school set, and Sherry had a shirt for everyone.

We also visited the big pin shop near Earl of Sandwich, where I discovered a new CAT pin! That I can't buy! It's one of the newest "hidden Mickey" pins, which haven't even been distributed to CMs very much yet. It's the nasty cat that belongs to Cinderella's stepmother, but it's a CAT and I want it for my hat. Someday I will find it to exchange for, or maybe to purchase. (I don't feel very bad, though because a couple of days later I exchanged for not one, but TWO, hard-to-find cat pins!)

Another stop was the Ghirardelli shop, where we all bought some of the "three for" large bags of chocolate - the deal being you buy three bags and get a slightly discounted price. We got dark chocolate mint (two, one for us and one for a coworker of hubby's) and milk chocolate toffee, and I cannot recall what Gary and Sherry got, but we exchange squares and sample each other's purchases outside the store.

By then it was getting late and we were all exhausted, so it was back to the bus and on to bed. Next day, back to Epcot for some serious Food and Wine Festival browsing. And if I've missed something that's in my notes for Tuesday, I'll add it tomorrow.

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Pictures from Animal Kingdom - a grazing giraffe, that friendly ostrich, and the beginning of the Lion King show.

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Day 5, Wednesday, November 5 - Back to Epcot

I haven't got this day written up yet, but I did just resize the photos that didn't involve Food and Wine (those are posted above).

We start with a photo of my "peeps" waiting at the Kidani bus stop for the next Epcot bus, then move on to some shots of World Showcase pavilions from across the lagoon The WS photos were taken near the Canada pavilion and the Ireland festival booth while everyone else was enjoying cheese-laden Irish food.

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Next up, the Voices of Liberty.

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More photos across the lagoon, this time from somewhere in the vicinity of the American Adventure or Italy.

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Finally, we meet characters!

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Thank you for sharing your pictures - you all look very happy!

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Great pictures! And great TR so far awesome I'm really enjoying reading it.

Bummer you couldn't buy the cat pin (Lucifer I think his name is). I had the same problem with the Hidden Mickey Pascal pins. Never saw a single one (other than in the case at the DTD store). A CM told me he'd only seen one. Hopefully I'll track one down next year crossfingers

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Awww lovely pics with the characters! I love the lion king show, my favourite in all of disney Laughing out loud Sy's dad got picked as the elephant helper on this last trip, only made the show even better hehehe

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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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We were happy. We were at Disney World!

Yes, Lucifer is his name. The CM who told me I couldn't just buy the pin said that as time passed it would become more available, and then eventually would be offered for sale. So someday I will get it.

Lion King is my favorite show, also. I bet it was great fun seeing Sy's dad doing the elephant!

And on to Day 5, Wednesday, November 5 - Back to Epcot

This was another day eating a light breakfast in the rooms with a wonderful view of giraffes off the balcony. After taking the bus to Epcot, our first stop was Spaceship Earth, where we had a FastPass. Once that was done, I stopped by Guest Services to cancel the Restaurant Marrakesh ADR we'd made for Friday evening and reschedule it for this evening, since at this point we'd already decided to visit Hollywood Studios Friday instead of Epcot so our friends could see the Osborne Lights. Fortunately, Marrakesh is usually quite easy to get into, at least at the times of year we travel. There was a marker board at Guest Services designating which table-service restaurants still had available ADRs, and only Marrakesh and Nine Dragons had availability for both lunch and dinner. Two or three other restaurants (forget which ones) had lunch availability only, but most said to check at the restaurant (meaning good luck getting in).

We had a FastPass for Journey into Imagination with Figment, but my travelling companions didn't want to bother with it, preferring to head over to the Food and Wine festival booths and get started grazing. (See above for photos and description.) We didn't do much of anything as we circled the World Showcase going counterclockwise until we reached the American Adventure and, feeling rather full, decided to take a rest break inside to see the show. The next show wouldn't start for a while, so we were able to find a bench inside to sit on. And then the Voices of Liberty came out and gave their usual wonderful performance.

Once we'd finished with the American pavilion, we continued on our way around World Showcase, noticing that people were already lining up to see Boys 2 Men, who weren't scheduled to take the stage for quite a while yet. We hit a few more festival booths and took inventory of what we wanted to try on our next F&W visit (which never happened). Passing by the Mexico pavilion, Sherry and I decided to take the Three Caballeros boat ride, but the guys preferred to skip it, and Gary accompanied hubby over to the nearest smoking attraction. Then it was time for our Test Track FP. Since I'd already done the ride solo, I let hubby design our car this time; he got a score of 207, the best score either of us had gotten so far. The ride itself was as good as ever, although our ride photo showed poor Sherry's hair blowing in her face so she couldn't see a thing.

We had no more FastPasses and had done most of Future World earlier in the week, so we decided to visit Club Cool and sample some more international soft drinks. But bummer, most of the fountains were out of Beverly!!! I only managed to find one fountain that still had some, so a lot of other people weren't able to trick unsuspecting companions into trying it. (But seriously, I really do like it.)

Once we'd rehydrated, we sat in the breezeway between the central plaza and The Land pavilion and just people watched for a bit. That got a bit boring, but there was nothing else we really wanted to do and our ADR was still a good couple of hours away. We decided we might as well pass the time doing silly stuff. While making our way over to Figment and Captain EO, we noticed that the wait time for the character spot was only 5 minutes. More silliness! So even though our friends really weren't interested, hubby and I dragged them inside to meet and pose with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. And we all had a good bit of fun after all, see the photos above for proof. Figment and Captain EO had equally short standby waits. After Figment, we played around a little bit in the Imagination pavilion and I showed everyone the staircase up to the abandoned attractions on the upper floor. Then nobody was particularly impressed by Captain EO, although it was a bit of nostalgia for us old farts who remember the 80s.

Next we took the boat across the lagoon to Morocco and killed even more time seeing Impressions de France (with a promise to Gary and Sherry that there would be actual seats for this show). And it STILL wasn't time for our ADR, but it was close enough that we headed over and checked in.

Illuminations was going when we left the restaurant, so we got to see a bit of the show as we walked. This was an evening EMH night, but Gary and Sherry were ready to call it a day. I'd warned them that there would be no boat to take us back to Future World after dinner, so we hiked around Future World at a slow pace and made our way back to the bus stop, which was more crowded than I'd expected considering everyone going to AKL could've stayed for EEMH.

Thursday was supposed to be another Epcot day so we could visit the F&W Fest again, but since we'd done almost every attraction available in that park, our friends didn't feel like spending a whole day there just to eat. So as the day ended, we left the decision of where to go for the morning.

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I'm going to try to post our picture from the future (Spaceship Earth). Hubby made a grumpy face just to be funny. He also has our friends' photo and will forward it to me but hasn't yet.

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I love your shirt that says "No outfit is complete without a few cat hairs." I have 3 long haired cats. Two are Persian/Himalayan mixes and they have very long, thick fur. But they are totally worth having cat hair everywhere and on everything awesome

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Thanks, Annie. Hubby has one just like it, but his is black. Actually, we have a few matching T-shirts - the cat hair ones, Lil Bub, and Grumpy Cat. Have you posted photos of your kitties over on the pet photo thread? I forget where it is, but go check it out if you haven't. Lots of adorable pet photos.

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We got together with Gary and Sherry over Thanksgiving weekend and exchanged photographs of our trip. Here are some of theirs taken on days I've already written about. First up, some manatees at Epcot.

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Next, a photo Sherry took from the Kidani Village savanna overlook while they were waiting for me to show up for our Sanaa lunch ADR. Finally, some zebras!

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Photos from our afternoon at Animal Kingdom park, including Kilimanjaro Safari and Festival of the Lion King.

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Sorry for the delay, folks, but between holidays and an unusually hectic work schedule I just haven't had time till now.

Day 6 - Back to the Magic Kingdom

After several days of running around, we were all ready to sleep in a little Thursday morning. This was originally scheduled to be another Epcot day so we could visit the Food and Wine Festival again, but by Thursday we'd done most of the Epcot attractions and all of the headliners. If our friends had had park hoppers, we probably would've done lunch at Epcot and then hopped, but since they didn't, we decided Wednesday evening we'd go someplace else, and Thursday morning we agreed on going back to the Magic Kingdom. I quickly made last-minute FastPasses for all of us on our computer and we were off.

Our first FPs were for Pirates of the Caribbean at noon, and I was very glad I'd gotten those because for the first time in almost forever (at least for us), the line was HUGE. For some reason, although the audio portion of the Blackbeard bit at the beginning of the ride was functional, the video image was not. Wonder what was up with that? After Pirates, our next FP was for Splash Mountain, so we meandered in that direction and took in the Country Bears Jamboree to kill a little time. The Splash Mountain standby line was quite long also, so I was again quite glad we didn't have to wait in it. Splash was as fun as ever, and since it was a warm day we didn't mind getting a little wet!

After lunch at Pecos Bill's, we did the Haunted Mansion on our third FastPass and then visited Memento Mori, which was a real hoot. And we saw those photo images that change from normal to ghost; they are seriously cool in person and definitely worth the price. But we didn't get any because we all thought they were creepy.

While hubby took a smoke break, the rest of us visited a FastPass kiosk and snagged passes for Buzz Lightyear, then took in Philharmagic to kill time until the FP window opened. I got my best Buzz score ever, but hubby still kicked my butt at 240,000 to my lowly 40,000. I just can't seem to line up with the targets on this one. After Buzz we rode the Peoplemover and visited the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, where we happened upon seats right in the thick of things. People all around us were getting on screen. "That Guy" was on our right, the dancing guy was behind us, another person on screen was just across the center aisle from us, and a little girl sitting right in front of me got to talk to the monsters. Everything from my belt to my knees was visible behind her, so I tried really hard not to even twitch while she was up on the video screen. This was my third Monsters show of the week; the first and third were similar but not identical, and the one in the middle was very different, with no Sam and Ella at all.

After Monsters I stopped at the nearest FastPass kiosk to see what was left and got us all on the Jungle Cruise at dusk. (If you remember my previous trip reports, you know I think Jungle Cruise is best after dark.) On our way over to Adventureland we caught the very end of the new-ish Move It Shake It street party, and I saw the new video screens on the sides of the floats showing images of people who'd taken part in the party. Seems pretty cool to me. While hubby smoked and Gary kept him company, Sherry and I climbed the Swiss Family Treehouse to kill time on those FPs. And we still had time, so we just stood around watching people interact with the Pirates and the Sorcerers game stops along the little creek near the cruise entrance. I was a little surprised to discover we had the Christmas version of the cruise - all week, day by day, more and more Christmas stuff had been appearing around the parks, and by Thursday I guess Magic Kingdom was in full holiday mode since the first MVMCP of the year was the very next day. The Christmas version of Jungle Cruise isn't that big of a deal, as others have already reported - a little decoration on the boat and holiday-themed jokes, and that's about it.

We still had a while on our 'Ohana ADR, but we were ready to call it a day at MK, so we headed for the exit, stopping in a few Main Street shops along the way. As we were about to leave one shop, I heard audio outside that I knew had to be for the castle-lighting ceremony! So we all piled into the street and watched as Queen Elsa used her magic to illuminate the castle. From that distance I couldn't see anything on the stage, but I could hear it all and of course the castle lighting was beautiful. The new Frozen effects were especially cool, and while I suppose it's more appropriate to have Cinderella's Fairy Godmother light the castle, I was glad they'd switched over to having Elsa freeze it over. I was very happy we'd lucked into seeing the show.

We took the resort boat over to the Polynesian, where we checked in early in the hopes of getting a table with a fireworks view. (Which we did, see the dinner report above.) While we waited, we visited the Poly gift shop, where I saw the Marie boa Alicemouse got a photo of during one of her recent trips. I'd said I would get one and wear it as a scarf all winter long, so when I saw it at the Poly of course I had to get it! I probably won't wear it everywhere; it is a bit silly looking, but by golly Marie is coming with me to WDW this winter because that is one place I can wear her all over without getting strange looks from everyone. I also inspected all the CM's pins but as usual couldn't find any kitty cats. But wait! One CM offered to take a look in the back, and lo and behold she came back out with not one but TWO kitty pins! One was Figaro; I already had a Figaro pin and probably wouldn't have purchased this one if I'd seen it for sale because one pin of each cat is enough for me. Still, after she'd gone to the trouble of hunting for me, of course I traded for this pin. But the other...it was Thomas O'Malley the alley cat from The Aristocats! I'd never seen a pin of him anywhere, and the CM said she'd rarely seen them also. So happy! Then, having traded both my and hubby's "trade bait" pins, I purchased a mystery pack of pins for future trading purposes. I hoped I might find Lucifer, or any other cat, in the pack, but no such luck.

Once dinner was over, we boarded a standing-room only monorail back over to MK and then an equally SRO bus back to AKL. Gary had purchased a couple of cigars at the Poly gift shop, and while the guys sat outside and puffed, Sherry and I went back inside and chatted while watching the animals.

Next up, our final full day of this trip.

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A few photos: A few of the Country Bears, the Swiss Family Treehouse kitchen, two shots of the iced-over castle, and my Marie boa. I'll have photos of my new pins in a bit; haven't taken those yet.

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I got the Marie boa too! I have the Cheshire Cat one from last year and when I saw Marie I knew I had to have her. They both are currently residing on each of my couches in my living room. I like to say that Marie is my (real) cat's girlfriend, I always find him cuddling up next to her muchlove

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Ugh I'm horrible at Buzz, too. It's much harder to aim that laser then the the ones on TSMM, in my opinion!

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Omg that scarf is awesome!! I want to see lots of pics of you wearing it over your next trip Wink

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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
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yes that scarf is pretty cool. Wearing a kitty anywhere is cool. They are a wonderful accessory. mickey

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Day 7 - Hollywood Studios for our last full day

We woke up this morning to find our Magical Express info hanging on our doorknob. Bummer! And a minor bummer - no Toy Story Mania FastPasses! We had them for the day we'd originally planned to visit DHS, but because we'd switched things around last minute (as in, two days earlier) we weren't able to grab them for Friday and weren't willing to wait in the uber-long standby line. This is my favorite WDW ride so it was hard not getting to ride it, but I'll make up for it on our next trip.

What is it called when people wear regular clothes that replicate the costumes of Disney characters? I can't recall, but at the bus stop we saw a group of young adults (college age or early 20s, I think) who did it right. One girl wore a white dress with a red sash that I think was supposed to represent Minnie Mouse even though it wasn't polka dotted, the guy had on a Buzz Lightyear jacket, and the other girl knocked it out of the park with an outfit that totally nailed Snow White. Sorry, no photos; wish I'd thought to ask for one since I'm sure they would've been flattered.

At DHS we split up. The men went off to ride Tower of Terror and Rock'n Roller Coaster while we women visited the Great Movie Ride and Muppets 3-D. Unfortunately for the guys, RnR Coaster was out of service; they rejoined us before our Muppets FP window opened, got in via the standby line while we used the FP entrance, and actually got inside faster than we did. FastPasses are totally worthless for this attraction except possibly during peak seasons.

After lunch at ABC Commissary we couldn't figure out what to do next. Rock'n Roller Coaster was still down, our next FPs weren't until early evening, the TSM standby line was huge, and our friends weren't particularly interested in the few attractions that had short standby lines. We poked around a few shops and then rode the boat to Epcot and back without getting off (no park hoppers for Gary and Sherry so no Epcot for us). Back at DHS we checked attraction availability; RnR Coaster was still down, but the Lights Motors Action show was 20 minutes away, so we headed over there.

I'll take a moment away from the report to mention that with so many attractions closed at DHS, if it weren't for TSM I would probably skip this park until the new additions are finished. I hope whatever they do to this park is awesome and involves more than thrill rides.

Okay, so after LMA we checked TSM yet again, but the standby line was still horrendous. We left our friends on a bench nearby and went to check RnR Coaster availability; it was STILL down. The guys could use their RnR FPs to ride any other ride in the park, so I went to ask if they could use them at TSM, but it turned out they could use those FPs at any ride BUT TSM. Big bummer because hubby was going to let ME use his FP on TSM! We decided we wanted a snack and visited the Writer's Stop, but had to dodge Mulch Sweat and Shears as they made their way onto the Streets of America for their next show. Because of that we got separated, but met up at WS. It's been so long I can't even remember what we got, but we sat on the low wall outside WS to eat and could hear and partially see the MSS show nearby. Around this time it was starting to get dark and CMs put up barricades to direct foot traffic prior to the first Osborne Lights show of the holiday season. Fortunately, we were on the correct side of the barricades and were able to get right down there before the lights came on. I'm sure many of you have seen the Osborne Lights, so you know how crowded the Streets of America can be during the show. But on the very first night? It was a madhouse! The crowd was literally elbow to elbow all the way up and down the street. We started out at the top of the hill and then very slowly squeezed our way through the thick mass of people to the other end of the street. All the way I was keeping an eye out for the black cat, of course, but couldn't find him anywhere.

By now it was about time for our next FPs, the Frozen Sing-Along for me and Sherry and Star Tours for the guys. Because of the traffic patterns put in place for the Osborne Lights, hubby and Gary had to take the seriously long way around to get to their ride, but Sherry and I were allowed through to reach the Frozen FP line. The show was lots of fun, although Sherry didn't know the music well enough to sing along much. Meanwhile my phone was buzzing; once the show was over we discovered that the guys had tried to get into RnR Coaster, which was finally up and running, but of course EVERYONE who had a FP all day long had the same idea, so they used their RnR FP to ride Star Tours again and fortunately got a different story second time around.

On our way over to Star Tours, Sherry and I wandered through the Osborne Lights again, and yay, I found the black cat in an alley off the side street! Sherry noted that it was not a particularly festive kitty cat. Once we'd found the guys, we headed for the exit and did a little shopping along the way. We ended up getting separated and met up at the AKL bus stop. We split up for dinner; hubby and I wanted to finish some of our table-service leftovers back in our rooms, but Gary and Sherry preferred to go out for sandwiches. And then came the chore of packing up to leave.

Next up, a few hours at AK for hubby and me and then the trip home.

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Photos! Munchkins, a shot of the Streets of America before the lights came on, and then some shots of the Osborne lights.

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