Crazycatperson's winter vacation

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Alicemouse, she's from Chambersburg.

Tonight I walked down to the Wilderness Lodge beach to watch the Electric Boat parade.

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Random Donald Duck sighting.

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I love Donald's duck strutt. He is my DBFs favorite character. We have Donald vs Mickey conversations often. ( the answer of course is both!)

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Waiting out the rain this morning, but we should be on our way to MK by noon at the latest. Meanwhile, here's some photos of the Wilderness Lodge DVC building. Can't really call this a lobby since there's no guest services, but it's cozy and beautifully themed.

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Gave up waiting for the rain to stop. Left hubby behind and headed to MK. Arrived just in time for the rainy day parade.

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Crane's high at the castle today.

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We wants the redhead!

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Don't put me in the briar patch!

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crazycatperson wrote:
Dining companion at our Sanaa lunch today.

Was that Rueben or Wilbur? I used to have their names and tag numbers written down someplace.

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LOL, I don't know. There were three of them wandering about during our lunch.

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Fantastic pictures CCP - brightening up a cold and miserable morning across the pond!

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I packed last night, so this morning while hubby was packing I walked to Fort Wilderness and took the boat back. I could hear the MK welcome ceremony as I was walking, cool!

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Fort Wilderness.

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Looks like a lovely sunny day! And no going home Blues as you will be back so soon!!!!

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crazycatperson wrote:
Alicemouse, she's from Chambersburg.

Nice!

Looks like you've had a great trip. What do you think of Wilderness Lodge relative to the other resorts you've stayed at?

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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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OMG left my winter coat on the bed in our WL room! Didn't even miss it till we were on the ME. Called; they found it and will hold it till I come back in 3 weeks. Gonna be cold with just my light jeans jacket back in the cold , cruel north.

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eek 17 degrees when i left the house this morning, but it's supposed to warm up a bit over the weekend.

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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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I'm just catching up as you leave! But what a great feeling to know you'll be back in 3 weeks already! eek Loved all the pictures, especially the one with you and Mickey! awesome

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great report! Love the selfie! 3 weeks will pass quickly!

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That's going to be a chilly 3 weeks, be sure to wear lots of layers! It's nice that they are holding it for you, and super luck that you'll be back in just 3 weeks!

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Kristen K. wrote:
That's going to be a chilly 3 weeks, be sure to wear lots of layers! It's nice that they are holding it for you, and super luck that you'll be back in just 3 weeks!

I might just not leave the house. Hubby can get the groceries.

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Okay! So now that the fun is over, here comes the trip report. This report will be very photo-intensive; it's our first WDW trip since we got new smartphones late last year. I still have my camera, but the smartphone takes much, much better photos than my old stupidphone, so I have a lot more this time around.

I'll start with Wilderness Lodge in general and our DVC room in particular. I totally understand why so many people say WL is their favorite resort. It's wonderfully and beautifully themed, it's close to the Magic Kingdom and all of the monorail resorts, it's compact enough to make getting around the resort really easy, and it seems very peaceful and quiet amidst all those trees. We had the resort bus stop right out our windows, but the buses never bothered us at all. Neither did the elevators which were just across the hall from our bedroom wall!

We had a one-bedroom villa right off the main lobby area of the VWL building and just steps away from the elevators. A few photos:

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We could see the lobby ceiling outside our door. In the second photo, the balcony outside our door is at the top of the photo.

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The view from our windows. The covered walkway in the first photo leads to the main Wilderness Lodge building. The second photo is a zoom shot to show the buses outside our windows.

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And a few shots around the Lodge. The first is the lobby taken from seats outside Whispering Canyon. The second shows the work involved in changing light bulbs. The third is WL from the resort boat.

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I took the resort boat around the Contemporary/Fort Wilderness/Wilderness Lodge loop a couple of times. First time was returning from California Grill to Wilderness Lodge by way of Fort Wilderness. As the boat passed between the campground and the lodge, I noticed an odd-looking fence right off the water, but it was too dark to see well or take a photograph. So when I took the boat from the campground to WL on departure day, I got a closer look.

I believe this is a bit of the mouldering remains of River Country. Because the fence was backlit by the sun, the original is very dark. I equalized and enhanced this one to make the fence and wooden walkways more visible.

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And now on to Day 1 - Friday, January 30, on to Walt Disney World!

We got up around 9:00 am, got a few last-minute things done, loaded the car, fed the cats, and we were on our way. I'd timed our departure to avoid rush-hour around Baltimore, and we made good time with no traffic issues. The airport lines weren't long at all that afternoon, and we breezed through bag check, after which I breezed through TSA Precheck while hubby waited in the main security line. We'd stopped at McDonald's for food en route, so we headed straight for our gate ad read a bit while waiting. Our flight was completely full (they always are going to Orlando). The weather, although clear and sunny, was cold and windy, and we hit a bit of turbulence on the way up but nothing after that.

On our last trip, we encountered a very loud and unhappy lap toddler during the flight home. This time around, there was a lap baby right behind me who could've taught that toddler a thing or three about how not to act like a baby. This little guy couldn't have been 2 years old from the look of him and, since he never said a complete word, probably was a good bit younger. Of course, he screamed a little, cried a little, and kicked the back of my seat a little, but never enough to be a real bother. A couple of times he stood on his mother's lap and peeked over the seat; I said "Hi, there!" the first time and smiled and waved the second (I looked back at him since I could tell he was grabbing the top of my seat).

Our flight made very good time and arrived a good 15-20 minutes early, and it was off to the Magical Express. Wilderness Lodge was grouped with the monorail resorts, and as we approached the Magic Kingdom in the dark we could see the fireworks through the bus's windshield. What a great welcome home that was! Our bus made the resort rounds quickly, check-in was equally fast, and then we were in our fourth-floor one-bedroom DVC unit.

At this point we debated what to do next: go to Epcot for evening Extra Magic Hours? Go to Downtown Disney? Or get something to eat at the Wilderness Lodge counter-service restaurant, Roaring Forks? Hubby was very hungry and wanted to know which Epcot counter-service restaurants would be open. I couldn't answer that question since it was EEMH and some of them were undoubtedly closed. We ended up staying put and going down to Roaring Forks, where hubby got a pasta dish and I got a hamburger with cucumber salad. Since Wilderness Lodge is such a compact resort compared to the other DVC properties we've stayed at (Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Villas), we also shelled out $18 each for refillable resort mugs, and made sure we got our money's worth every single day.

On our arrival we had noticed our room safe was locked and had no key. Hubby called the front desk, but they said they couldn't send someone up unless we were in our room. After dinner, he called again, and then we waited for the manager and locksmith as well as for our checked luggage. They'd said the manager would be up right away, but it took a good bit longer than we'd anticipated. Hubby said, "Sure is taking them a long time. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation is this?" And we both laughed. The manager and locksmith were up shortly after that and got us squared away. Then hubby partook in one of his favorite DVC activities - taking a Jacuzzi bath - while I waited for our luggage, which arrived shortly after the safe lock was fixed. And my suitcase was a wreck. Hubby and I have identical large suitcases, but for who knows what reason, his still looks good while mine has been covered with stains (including one that reeked of sunscreen) since our first trip with this luggage. This time around, the fabric on the suitcase was torn and the extendable handle was stuck in the down position. And that suitcase will never be used again. mad

Anyway, I quickly unpacked and read a little, then went to bed but had trouble falling asleep mad

No photos from this day.

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One more thing about Wilderness Lodge - gotta rate it in comparison with all the other DVC resorts we've had the pleasure of staying at.

The Villas at Wilderness Lodge are right near the top of my list. I'd rank a Kidani Village savannah view villa above VWL, but any VWL room would be nicer than a Kidani villa with a standard view. Both resorts are beautifully themed, and having giraffes out your window definitely gives Kidani the edge, but without those giraffes, VWL wins. After those two, I like Saratoga Springs for the proximity to Downtown Disney. Poor Old Key West comes in dead last.

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crazycatperson wrote:
What kind of Mickey Mouse operation is this?"

laugh

I do miss the days when AirTran and SW were two separate airlines. We took a 6:30am AirTran flight with 12 people on it one time. It. Was. Awesome. I don't think we've seen an empty seat since the merger. sad

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Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome. --Randy Pausch

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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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Saturday, January 30 - Disney's Hollywood Studios. I woke up around 8:45 and hurried to get ready since our first FastPasses were in the morning. Unfortunately, I was suffering a bit of gastrointestinal distress, so I sent hubby on to make his Star Tours FP without me while I cancelled my early Frozen sing-along FP in favor of Star Tours later in the day, which I let hubby use. I was only delayed a little bit and arrived at DHS close to 11:00. Before I arrived, hubby texted me a photo of the sorcerer's hat in mid-dismantling, then when I arrived I got a few photos of my own. It's really eerie looking; I hope it's completely gone by the time I return in three weeks.

We had a little time to kill before our Toy Story Mania FPs and since neither of us had eaten, we stopped at a coffee stand near TSM and got hot beverages and donut twists, which were very yummy. Then it was time for TSM, but at 130,000, I was still a beaver, darn it!

Even though we'd just eaten donuts, hubby was ready for lunch after TSM, so we headed for ABC Commissary and their Asian salads, something light so we wouldn't spoil our appetites for California Grill later in the day. I opted to go very light and got the Asian salad with no meat; hubby selected the version with chicken. Hubby smoked after lunch (see photo), then we rode the Great Movie Ride on standby, which was not a problem since the line was very short. We got the gangster storyline with a female Muggsy, which made me happy. After that we strolled through Art of Animation without seeing the demonstrations. I "stole" a few photos of other people's character interactions and we took a quick walk through the galleries, then split up for different FastPasses. Hubby did Rock'n Roller Coaster using the single rider line and then Tower of Terror on a FastPass while I wandered around a bit and then used my FP for the Little Mermaid show. It's a cute show, but Ariel was just a bit off today; her voice didn't seem quite strong enough. I think she was just having an off day, though, because I saw the show again later in the week and I'm pretty sure the same actress nailed the part the second time I saw her.

Hubby was still at ToT when the show had finished. We met outside Star Tours, where we switched Magic Bands so he could ride on my FP. I wanted to walk through the attraction but didn't want to bother with the 25-minute standby line or waste a FP just to walk through, so I explained my motions sickness issues to the CM at the FP entrance and she said I could walk through with hubby. Great! I snapped a couple of photos along the way, then when we reached the second FP gate one of the CMs there very nearly made me go back out again! Fortunately she thought better of it, I took the chicken exit, and waited while hubby enjoyed the attraction, getting a different storyline than he'd gotten earlier. He mentioned that it would've been a completely uneventful ride, but dang it, there always seemed to be a rebel spy hiding on his ship! We laughed, thinking how surprised people would be if, just for kicks, the imagineers put together a variation with no rebel spy that just took off and landed with no thrills at all. I'd ride that one! Then it was back to Wilderness Lodge to get ready for our first ADR this trip, California Grill.

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