Crazycatperson's winter vacation

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More photos from DHS.

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I also got some character photos out on the sidewalks along with a photo of the Streets of America with no trace of the Osborne Lights at all. Some sort of cheerleading or dance/drill team competition was going on at WDW, and they were announcing semifinalists as I walked through the Streets of America, which is why there was a crowd mid-street.

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Finally, Star Tours.

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OOOOhh!! Baymax was still there? I heard that they'd had some troubles keeping the suit inflated. I wonder if they fixed the problem?

We hit cheerleading groups during the Pop Warner football thing near Christmas in 2013--very annoying (and I WAS a cheerleader, but I swear we were never that obnoxious in public), but I heard this morning that our own local New Oxford High School won 1st place at that competition!!

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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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alicemouse wrote:
OOOOhh!! Baymax was still there? I heard that they'd had some troubles keeping the suit inflated. I wonder if they fixed the problem?

We hit cheerleading groups during the Pop Warner football thing near Christmas in 2013--very annoying (and I WAS a cheerleader, but I swear we were never that obnoxious in public), but I heard this morning that our own local New Oxford High School won 1st place at that competition!!

First place at the competition that was going on while I was down there? Well, dang! If I'd heard their name being announced I would've stuck around and found out what was going on.

Yes, Baymax was there. No hint of any suit inflation problems during the several minutes we were there.

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Saturday, January 31 - Dinner at California Grill.

Once we'd returned to Wilderness Lodge, I walked to Roaring Forks to refill our mugs, then I took a quick shower and dressed for dinner. We just missed one of the resort boats at the boat launch, and with 20 minutes till our ADR we were a bit worried. I finally suggested that we walk to the bus stop and hope a bus came by in a timely manner, so of course just as we left the boat line here came a boat! And now we're at the end of the line and worried we won't get on at all - we were front of the line before I foolishly decided to try the buses! Fortunately we did make that boat (two of the last four people to do so), and we were only five minutes late for our ADR.

We checked in at the desk on the second floor and waited for the next Contemporary elevator to take us to the top. A boy on the elevator cleverly noted that there was no 13th floor! And we all laughed. I wonder whether some folks refuse to stay on the 14th floor, knowing it's really the 13th?

In the Contemporary entryway, we were shown the way to the rest rooms and told to wait to be called to our table. Hubby and I decided to order a drink at the bar while we waited, but we'd barely sat down before our pager buzzed and we were escorted to our table. And a great table it was - just one table removed from a window with a beautiful Magic Kingdom view.

Our waiter was Billy, as the hostess called him, or Bill, as he introduced himself. And he was amazing. He mentioned that he was a sommelier and would happily answer any questions we might have about the wine list. He also made several menu suggestions, mentioning that California Grill has some of the top sushi chefs in the country. We started by sharing the Spicy Kazan Roll, which was superb, and partaking of the bread service, also excellent, especially the lavender bread. Hubby ordered the bison entree, which came with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, while I went with the seared rare tuna on lo mein with mushrooms, broccoli, and peppers. I don't like to take flash photographs in a table-service restaurant, but even with the sun setting my new smartphone took excellent non-flash photos. Billy recommended a pinot noir to go with hubby's bison, explaning that a lean red meat like bison wouldn't hold up well to the more robust reds one would drink with beef. For my tuna he suggested a petit syrah because the spicy crust on the tuna would overwhelm a white. Both wine suggestions were excellent and perfectly complemented their respective dishes.

I was starting to get a bit full, but I knew that as amazing as everything was so far, I had to save room for dessert, so I didn't finish my lo mein. Billy brought the dessert menus and mentioned that if one of us would order the creme brulee he would show us something cool. Well, he had me at creme brulee. We both ordered some (NOT to share, hubby wasn't getting one bit of my creme brulee), and hubby also ordered a 12-year Glenfiddich. I wasn't planning on any more alcohol, but then Billy brought me a taste of something amber that smelled like brandy but tasted like nothing I'd ever had before. It was amazing! Billy told me to take a bite of creme brulee, then a sip of the drink, and THAT was beyond amazing. It was perfect. Billy said it was 10-year-old Madeira, and would I like a glass? Yes, please! I'm a liquor lightweight, though, so hubby and I shared the Madeira with our creme brulee, then he finished his whisky. This was, without a doubt, the best meal we'd had at any WDW restaurant up to this point. When the bill came, we gave Billy a $50 tip, which was better than 25 percent, but he deserved every penny of it.

Once we'd finished, we visited the observation deck so hubby could have a cigarette and I could check out the Magic Kingdom view - very nice. Then it was back to Wilderness Lodge, this time by way of Fort Wilderness, since our boat stopped there first. We were so full and "happy" that we took a break in our rooms, but after about an hour I was ready to go while hubby was sleeping off his alcoholic beverages (he did have a good bit more than I did, what with sharing my Madeira and finishing his own Glenfiddich).

The photos below show our dinner (but not dessert) and the view from the Cali Grill observation deck.

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Saturday, January 31 - Magic Kingdom Evening Extra Magic Hours.

While hubby was sleeping off his drinks, I got dressed in my park clothes and hopped the bus to Magic Kingdom, since the bus stop was closer to our room. Unfortunately, a MK bus was pulling out just as I approached the bus stop, so I had to wait a good 20 minutes for the next one and arrived at MK around 9:40. I immediately climbed the stairs to the train platform's observation deck and caught a glimpse of Celebrate the Magic, but not for long because the best available parade-viewing spot didn't have much of a castle view. I was there for the parade, though, so I was happy with my excellent vantage point.

Once the parade was over I decided to visit Tinker Bell and Mickey Mouse. I noticed that Mickey's line was a good ten people deep and decided to start with Tink instead since there were only a few people waiting to see her. Tink was a lot of fun, even with a solo old fart like me. We chatted and crowed and had a good old time. Then I got in Mickey's line and immediately regretted visiting Tinker Bell first, since Mickey's line had quadrupled while I was visiting Tink! Oh, well. I still waited and yay, got to meet talking Mickey! Now, it seemed pretty obvious to me that Talking Mickey is programmed. The CM inside the suit (meaning, the tiny young woman inside the suit; I'm always surprised to realize Mickey and Donald are really petite girls) wasn't able to comment on my Mickey Mouse T-shirt and immediately started a conversation about pirates. Did I mind? Heck, no! It was Talking Mickey! So we talked about pirates and went "Arrrrrrr" and had a good old time. Hubby would've felt silly doing it, so I'm really glad I had the chance to meet Tink and Mickey alone.

After finishing with the characters, I walked through the castle and checked the standby line for Rapunzel and Cinderella, but it was too long to bother with. Instead I rode Under the Sea (and really glad I did because it was closed later in the week) and then decided, what the heck, why not meet Ariel while I'm back here. Ariel was asking everyone about their human legs (since she hadn't had hers very long and was worried they might fall off) and asking people what color fin they would like if she could talk her dad into turning them into merpeople. So when it was my turn, I asked for teal, like her fin color only a little more blue, I said. That interested her; she said no one had ever asked for a teal fin before.

I then walked through old Fantasyland hoping the standby line for Peter Pan's Flight was short, but no luck there, so I rode It's a Small World hubby free and enjoyed it immensely. After a quick stop at Rapunzel's bathroom I headed for Haunted Mansion. EEMH had just started, so the CMs were checking everyone's Magic Bands, but after that the line was fairly short. For the first time I saw the HM doom buggies stop while I was in line to board - and it happened twice. There were no further stops once I'd boarded, and since it was nighttime I could see all the ride details much more clearly than during the day.

Next stop was Sleepy Hollow, but just for a bottle of water - I hadn't drunk anything since my Madeira and I was parched. I was also very tired, so I crapped out on the rest of EEMH and returned to the Wilderness Lodge bus stop. The wait wasn't long and the ride went quickly, and I found hubby exactly where I'd left him.

Our new smartphones measure the distance we walk each day - this day I walked a total of 6 1/2 miles. That doesn't include the walking I did after midnight, which counted for Sunday's total.

Lots of photos coming!

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More parade photos.

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Still more parade photos.

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And more.

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Tink!

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Mickey!

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Ariel!

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Great pics, looks like you were having tons of fun!

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Tons of fun, JMed!

And now back to the trip report...

Sunday, February 1 - Magic Kingdom.

I woke up late, after hubby, and asked the time. He said it was 12:30 and I freaked out! We had no FastPasses till afternoon, but if it was really 12:30 I was going to have to bump at least one of them back. But he laughed - it was really only 9:45. We took our time getting ready and lucked out with the boat this time - we reached the dock as the MK boat was loading and were the last two people to board before they declared the boat full. We reached MK after 11:00 and headed straight for Sleepy Hollow since neither one of us had eaten anything yet. But horrors - they were out of chicken! Oh, no! The CM assured me it was only temporary and advised us to return in 15 to 20 minutes. We wandered a bit and visited Memento Mori, finding some really awesome Halloween decorations, but they were a bit too pricey for my tastes. Then it was back for our chicken waffle sandwiches. As we waited in the line (which had grown a bit since our last visit), I saw a CM pulling chicken out of the fryer, so we knew we'd get our sandwiches this time. However, this batch was much spicier than the last couple of times I had a chicken waffle sandwich - so spicy I couldn't finish mine (hubby is immune to extreme spice and finished mine for me).

After visiting Rapunzel's bathrooms to wash off the stickiness, hubby went off in search of a smoking area and ended up clear on the far side of Tomorrowland when he discovered the side of the castle he'd smoked at in the past was closed off due to that crane looming behind the castle. (He found out later there was another one on the opposite side of the castle.) He texted me and told me where he was, and I told him to wait and I'd find him. As I was putting my phone in my pocket, I accidentally dialed my sister and fumbled with the phone long enough that she knew I'd called and called me back. I explained, we chatted briefly, and I was off again. By the time I made my way through Storybook Circus (there's no direct route to this smoking area since it's behind the Tomorrowland Speedway), hubby had given up waiting and was walking toward Tomorrowland. "Behind you," I texted, but he didn't notice. I caught up with him by Space Mountain and we made our way to Buzz Lightyear, where we both had FPs. We passed Stitch doing meet-and-greets along the way and then observed that the Peoplemover line was unusually long.

The Buzz Lightyear line was also unusually long - even the FastPass line was pretty lengthy. I got my usual crappy score (around 30,000) while hubby got his usual pretty respectable one (around 150,000). We visited Monstropolis next and laughed a lot, then I stopped for a bathroom break while hubby used the MDE app to find the nearest smoking area (he loved this feature, saved him a lot of steps). Then we met up again in front of Casey's and made our way to the parade FP area in the town square.

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On to the Festival of Fantasy parade! We arrived at the FastPass area at 2:35, ten minutes before it was supposed to open, only to discover quite a few people already inside, so we hustled over to the entrance and found ourselves a pretty good spot looking down Main Street toward the castle - would've been perfect if we'd been 5 or 10 feet to our right, but still not bad at all. I stood by the rope (wanted to keep my good place to take pictures) while hubby sat on the pavement behind me. In circumstances like this one, he is always more comfortable sitting on the ground where I'm always more comfortable standing. Don't know why that is. Anyway, this is when I turned around to face him and talk to him and he started giggling and texted me that my zipper was open! Oh, fun! I laughed and quickly zipped up, wondering how many people might have noticed along the way. And we waited...and waited...and waited. Two high school bands came down the parade route; the first was from Pennsylvania, albeit from Erie, which is about as far away as you can get from us and still be in Pennsylvania. Don't remember where the second was from, but there was a good gap between them - guess they space them out to keep us from getting too bored. Then a Disney band came by. Then the Grand Marshals of the day. And finally, off in the distance, I could see the first parade float! Yay! IMO the Festival of Fantasy parade lives up to the hype - it was both beautiful and entertaining - but the Electrical Parade is still my favorite WDW parade. Hubby's is still the Jammin' Jungle parade from Animal Kingdom even though it's now defunct.

Photos of the parade as well as the pre-parade entertainment.

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And now the parade!

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More parade...

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And more...

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And the last of the parade. The Maleficent dragon was so dark, I had to equalize the photo to make the details more noticeable.

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I love the Peter Pan float! Its so cool the way Hook is dangling down on an anchor!

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This is an awesome TR! Thank you for sharing. muchlove

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Great pictures! Really enjoying your report!

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Thanks, folks!

A quick aside, then back to February 1. The weather! I know winter can occasionally be quite chilly in Orlando, but we lucked into the best weather I've ever experienced at WDW. It rained twice, once a quick downpour, the other time prolonged rain mostly overnight but that extended into the early afternoon. High temperatures ranged from the mid 60s to mid 70s F (or 18 to 24 C, if I did my calculations right). To me, this is perfect weather. I wore shorts once, jeans and a short-sleeved T-shirt most of the time, and on a couple of days a lightweight denim jacket. I would absolutely go back in the winter again. (Oh, wait...I am going back, in just 18 days!)

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Another amazing trip! Loving the pictures. awesome

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Now, back to Sunday, February 1. After the parade it was time for our third FastPasses, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for hubby and meeting the Frozen girls for me. I met Elsa first, and we mostly talked about the weather; I asked how she liked Florida, and she replied that she was fine as long as she stayed indoors. (Like Elsa, I would much rather have cool weather than Florida's usual heat.) Then on to Anna and more weather talk; she likes summer. CMs helpfully took photos with my camera while we chatted. Later, Hubby said I should've asked Elsa to come to Pennsylvania and turn off winter. Didn't think of that!

After chatting up the queen and princess, I hurried to the nearest FastPass kiosk to see if I could snag another one. Lucky us, I got Peter Pan's Flight at 4:40, giving us plenty of time to ride and get back to Wilderness Lodge for our Whispering Canyon dinner. To kill time before Pan, we swung by Winnie the Pooh; the standby wait was 25 minutes, which meant we'd be done in time for Peter Pan. So we got in line and watched the kiddies work off energy in the interactive queue. Soon enough we were boarding the ride; I love Winnie the Pooh but can't ever bear to use a FastPass for it since there are so many other attractions with much longer waits. So, the ride proceeded as usual until we were in the rain room, when it suddenly stopped. We got the usual message about staying seated because the ride would resume shortly. We waited, another message, we waited more, and another message - but this time they turned off the music. So we're sitting in our honeypot watching Tigger and Piglet try to escape the rain while Pooh's butt squirmed in front of us. No music. Just suddenly creepy animatronics moving back and forth, back and forth.... We were reminded to stay seated several more times. Finally, a CM approached from the ride exit and said he'd be back shortly and please stay seated. (At some point during all of this, the animatronics were also turned off.) Then a second CM came by with the same message. Eventually the two CMs returned from behind us with a stepstool and a line of park guests in tow. When they got to our honeypot, they handed out paper FPs good for any of the "classic" attractions, which included Peter Pan's Flight, yay! (We used that one later in the week.) We climbed out of our honeypot and joined the line of park guests as the CMs evacuated the remaining honeypots ahead of us. Since we were so close to the ride exit, we were out quickly after that. People were still lined up to get on the ride, so I assume the problem was a minor technical problem and nothing that posed any safety issues (unlike the Haunted Mansion evacuation Magic Mirror reported on).

Our Peter Pan FP window had opened by the time we got out of Winnie the Pooh, so we made our way over and found another unusually long FP queue. Strange. As we rode, we speculated on how difficult it must be to evacuate PPF and were glad it didn't happen while we were there. Then it was time to head out of the park. The Wilderness Lodge boat was arriving just as we reached the boat dock, perfect timing.

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Wow evacuations seem to be on the rise lately. Do we think it's coincidental or related to maintenance or the age of some rides? Kind of curious.

When you go at the end of the month, please do bring Elsa home. My cold weather tolerance is wearing thin! laugh

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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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Back at Wilderness Lodge, we took a short break before heading down for our dinner ADR at Whispering Canyon. We arrived a few minutes early and battled our way through a madhouse crowd to check in. We were told they were running behind and didn't even had any pagers available, so would we please wait nearby? Hubby went back to the lobby to sit down while I waited, and waited, and waited. I saw several people bring pagers back, and saw the CM hand one to someone else who was waiting for a pager, but she seemed to have forgotten little old me. But the crowd was so huge and she was so busy I couldn't sneak in to ask for one for several minutes. Eventually I got our pager and joined hubby, who was sitting in a grouping of those huge and highly uncomfortable chairs right beside the Whispering Canyon entrance. (These chairs were NOT designed for short people.) And we waited, and waited, and waited some more. My opinion of Whispering Canyon was none too good by the time that pager finally went off.

Fortunately, it was all uphill from there. We were seated in a small room just off the main dining room, and a lovely table for two right beside the fireplace! Couldn't have asked for a better spot. We turned our coaster up to the "don't bother us" side at hubby's request, although at that point I really just wanted to eat, also. Still, we had an excellent view of the several ketchup parades that rushed past us all through dinner, got to watch the pony rides, and even got to sing "Happy Birthday" to 5-year-old Jared at the next table. Our server, Suzanne, joined us quickly, took excellent care of us, and was very friendly. Hubby and I agreed on ordering the skillet, and our salad and cornbread arrived shortly thereafter. The cornbread was a little sweet for my taste (I prefer unsweetened cornbread), but still good, and the salad and its dressing were both excellent. Then came the skillet, which included medium rare beef slices, roasted chicken, pulled pork, barbecued ribs, smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, and baked beans. Hubby and I both agreed that the pulled pork was the best thing on the plate; his second favorite was the smoked sausage (which I didn't try) while mine was the roasted chicken. The ribs were good enough, but I make better ribs at home. Same goes for the beef and all the sides. I'm really glad we visited Whispering Canyon and tried the skillet, but there was nothing on that plate I couldn't have made at home. If we ever do return to Whispering Canyon, we'll order individual entrees off the menu. We finished every bite of that humongous amount of food, but were full almost to bursting - there was easily enough food to make two full meals for both of us, and perhaps even more. I had no interest in dessert at that point, but hubby ordered a caramel milkshake to go, only to discover when the bill came that he was paying the "all you can drink" price for just the one carryout cup! Oh, well, he DID like it.

It was Super Bowl Sunday. If we'd made it into Whispering Canyon on time and hadn't walked out so full, we might have returned to Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. But since we were seated a good half hour late and could barely move after consuming all that food, we headed back to our rooms, where I watched the second half of the game while hubby soaked in the jacuzzi again (he's not a football fan). I didn't much care who won the game, and was heartily glad I'd missed the whole halftime show. Once it was over, I got to bed earlier than usual in the hopes we'd get an earlier start Monday morning.

Hubby had already started filling his plate when I thought to take a photo of our dinner. I think I'd already finished a piece of corn, also.

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alicemouse wrote:
Wow evacuations seem to be on the rise lately. Do we think it's coincidental or related to maintenance or the age of some rides? Kind of curious.

When you go at the end of the month, please do bring Elsa home. My cold weather tolerance is wearing thin! laugh

This was my first ever evacuation from a Disney ride in nine total trips that included park visits. And to have it happen within days of Magic Mirror's being evacuated from HM, it does seem to be happening more often.

I'll speak to Elsa and see what I can do.

crazycatperson's picture
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Joined: 09/19/2011
Posts: 3709

Monday, February 2 - Epcot.

So much for getting up early - I awoke around 9:30 while hubby was out taking a morning tobacco break. Unlike Sunday, we had morning FastPasses this day so needed to get out and about fast. Fortunately, the morning routine went quickly, the park buses cooperated, and we arrived at Epcot in time for our Spaceship Earth FastPass. Unfortunately, Spaceship Earth wasn't open - but that was okay since it meant we could return and use our FPs any time that day or use them on any of several other attractions.

We browsed through several different shops around Future World looking for cases for our new smartphones - we'd noticed the cases for sale at Club Cool on our last visit and both wanted to get one. While we each saw one or two that appealed to us, we decided to wait and check a few other shops before making a final decision. And since Club Cool was one of the places we looked for phone cases, of course we partook of the international soft drinks there. Beverly first, of course! I had two cups of my favorite and then moved on to pineapple and melon, rounding out my top three.

Our lunchtime ADR at Via Napoli was still a ways off, so we took a leisurely stroll around the World Showcase going clockwise. We looked for Donald Duck on Mexico's Gran Fiesta Tour and checked out the menu at La Hacienda de San Angel, where we had a dinner ADR the next day. We walked through China's shops, where I noticed new Chinese zodiac T-shirts. My year of the horse T-shirt has survived since 2007 since I only wear it at WDW, but hubby's year of the rabbit is long gone. I asked if he'd like one in the new style, but he said no - he's more into polo shirts and khakis. Farther into the shop we found numerous sets of chopsticks and thought it would be cool to buy some that would last. We looked at several wooden sets that came with cases or little carrying bags (so you can take your own chopsticks out to eat!), but in the end we settled on a set of five pairs of aluminum chopsticks, which we thought would last longer. Next trip I'll look for some of those little carrying bags so we can bring our own to our favorite Asian restaurants.

Hubby decided to stop for a cup of tea at China's Joy of Tea stand, and I got one also. We drooled over the yummy snacks available at that stand but didn't partake so we'd have an appetite for Via Napoli. We found a table over by the Africa Outpost and sipped our tea while enjoying the view of the World Showcase. Then I realized those dark gray clouds across the lagoon weren't just clouds - it was a downpour headed our way! We grabbed our tea and speedwalked over to Italy, but too late - the heavens opened while we were passing by Germany! We dashed for the nearest overhang outside the shop in Italy and tried to wring ourselves out while wondering how we were going to make it all the way back to Via Napoli.

Photos below: the clouds over China, the storm clouds looming across the lagoon, and the downpour from our sheltered spot in the Italy pavilion.

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