Festive Fall Fun (Complete!)

Login to post comments
47 posts / 0 new
alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826
Festive Fall Fun (Complete!)

I expect to look back on 2016 as the biggest blur of my life. I've been rather absent from the boards until the past week or so and I've missed you all! So far this year, I've done three Disney trips totaling 18 days (two of which were working trips), spent three weeks hovering over my grandmother when she fell ill mostly unexpectedly and ultimately passed away, helped my mother-in-law plan her wedding, got a new job where I am actually the "owner" of my company, learned how to deal with having an employee, am slowly phasing out my responsibilities at two other jobs, and have been helping my parents build a house (because my dad thought he could still do it and he can't, so we get called over to help lift heavy things constantly).

Because of the new job, our extended fun fall meet-up vacation was fractured and we are now doing Fall Disney vacation in three long weekends and I have a separate trip planned to visit my cousin in Massachusetts over Columbus Day. We're mid-painting on the parents house and the official move will happen somewhere amongst the four long weekends. I feel like I've been hit by a freight train on a daily basis and every time I turn around there's another one coming around the corner. So I'm sure you'll understand why I am so looking forward to hopping a plane and escaping for a few days here and there wherever possible for the next two months. As such, all pre-trip plans and post-trip reports will be featured in this one thread. SO without further ado, here are the tentative, very abbreviated, plans for the trips:

TRIP 1: AoA for us, Pop for the in-laws

Friday - Lunch @ Tony's / FP Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, 7DMT / MNSSHP
Saturday - Lunch @ 50's Prime Time / Dinner @ Cape May / FP TSM, Star Tours / new Star Wars Fireworks
Sunday - Lunch @ Sanaa / FP Primeval Whirl, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Jungle Book
Monday - Lunch @ Garden Grill / FP Soarin', Imagination, Spaceship Earth / goals: see new DVC lounge, meet Joy & Sadness

TRIP 2: the "just us" trip @ All-Star Movies - we just decided to do this one about a week ago, so most of our favorite FP's were already gone. Also, we've already borrowed all of 2017's DVC points, so Benn gets to check out All-Star for the first time. He's never stayed at a Value and it's been four years since we stayed at a moderate! LOL! I can't wait to see what he thinks after being so spoiled.

Friday - Dinner @ Olivia's / FP FoLK, Kilimanjaro, Primeval Whirl / hopefully meet-up with Amy at least briefly
Saturday - Lunch @ Captain's Grill / FP Toy Story, Star Tours
Sunday - Dinner @ Chef Art Smith's Homecoming / FP HM, Pirate, Jungle Cruise
Monday - Lunch @ San Angel / FP Living with the Land, Spaceship Earth, Test Track
Tuesday - Lunch @ Skipper Canteen / FP HM, Under the Sea, PPF

TRIP 3: Getting last Fall's Wine & Dine "1/2 marathon" travelers together at my cousin's place at Martha's Vineyard
Goals: eat, drink, bike around the island, hit the beach, eat some more.

TRIP 4: Land portion of the big meet-up trip (so glad that we can still attend at least this part!!) @ Polynesian DVC

Friday - Dinner @ Teppan Edo / FP Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, Frozen Maelstrom / WDWFG meet-up at Jellyrolls
Saturday - Lunch @ Tiffins with friends from home / FP Dinosaur, PW, and Kilimanjaro / Big WDWFG meet-up at Top of the World
Sunday - Dinner @ Kona / FP Toy Story, Star Tours / meet up with CCP for Toy Story at HS MEMH
Monday - Dinner @ Narcoossee's / FP HM, PPF, 7DMT
Tuesday - Breakfast @ Kona / FP Living with the Land, Imagination, Frozen Maelstrom

Disney bucket list items for the fall are:
Lots of Disney friend meet-ups
Disney with the in-laws
New restaurants - Homecoming, Narcoossee's, Kona, Tiffins, Captain's Grill, San Angel, Sanaa (for Benn)
DVC lounge in Epcot
meet Joy & Sadness
see new Star Wars Fireworks
see new AK nighttime entertainment/ very photogenic nighttime tree of life in person
meet Peter Pan
Food & Wine--try at least one new dish

My AP will expire after trip #4, so we'll be having some non-WDW adventures coming up next year. My fingers are crossed for Southern California ABD, of we'll have to see where finances stand at the end of October and decide if that can be on the table for next year. I've been dying to do it ever since I heard about it and we both want more DL time, so that would be the perfect test run, especially because it's one of the lowest cost/day of all of the trips.

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

JanJ's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/14/2013
Posts: 1606

Sounds like a fun-filled fall alicemouse!

I believe we'll still be around during your Trip #2. If it's the weekend I think it is, we have plans to be in MK that Sunday afternoon if you guys want to meet up for a "hello"!

disneydoc's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2012
Posts: 2415

I love taking those short whirlwind trips. They can be fast and furious but very renewing nonetheless! muchlove

__________________

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker DIStickers.com Ticker

JMed's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/16/2014
Posts: 3501

WOW, sounds GREAT!!!!!! My friend Kristy who you met on one of those work trips recently did the ABD California trip and LOVED it. I want to do it now too!

Can't wait to hear all about your trips! See ya real soon!

__________________

"I do not like the cone of shame."

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

Jennifer Huotari | Create Your Badge

The Huotari's Disney Adventures | Promote Your Page Too

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 19814

You are one busy lady! Thanks for taking the time to check-in as you can. Sounds like a busy, crazy, fabulous Fall! I can't wait to hear how the trips go.

__________________

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

JanJ wrote:
Sounds like a fun-filled fall alicemouse!

I believe we'll still be around during your Trip #2. If it's the weekend I think it is, we have plans to be in MK that Sunday afternoon if you guys want to meet up for a "hello"!

That sounds fantastic, Jan! We'd love to meet up with you and Ken! I had reached out to Amy first regarding Friday because originally I was flying down solo in the morning and Benn was flying down after work. I'm hoping that we can catch Mr. Hub & scrappy as I believe that they will be there the same weekend as well.

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

JanJ's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/14/2013
Posts: 1606

alicemouse wrote:
JanJ wrote:
Sounds like a fun-filled fall alicemouse!

I believe we'll still be around during your Trip #2. If it's the weekend I think it is, we have plans to be in MK that Sunday afternoon if you guys want to meet up for a "hello"!

That sounds fantastic, Jan! We'd love to meet up with you and Ken! I had reached out to Amy first regarding Friday because originally I was flying down solo in the morning and Benn was flying down after work. I'm hoping that we can catch Mr. Hub & scrappy as I believe that they will be there the same weekend as well.

That should be easy enough as we'll be with MrHub and scrappy! wink

jtownpluto's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/29/2013
Posts: 336

Sounds like the best fall ever!

Allie's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/26/2012
Posts: 5228

Sounds like you really need some time off! Can't wait to hear all about your mini trips!

amy1989's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/30/2013
Posts: 1404

Sounds like a great few trips you have there!!! just keep focusing on the plane rides to get you through the next few weeks!!!

looking forward to meeting you again!

JoAnn C's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/20/2011
Posts: 6293

sounds like a great fall. can't wait to meet you and Benn next month.

__________________

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker

DIStickers.com Ticker

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker

DIStickers.com Ticker

Mandy's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/18/2013
Posts: 2216

My friend did Adventures by Disney that included DL and Hollywood. She loved it!

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

Trip 1 Report:

I'm going to break out experiences into categories instead of doing day-by-day because we're doing Fall in a much more relaxed way than our trips in the past. This one was with Benn's mom and our new father-in-law. (Remember the wedding that I had to catch the red eye back from California to attend in April?) Benn got them newlywed buttons and the reactions from people when we corrected their "Happy Anniversary?"s with "Nope! Just Married!"s were priceless. We stayed at Art of Animation in the Little Mermaid Rooms and "the kids", as I referred to them all week (mom is 71 and pop is 67). stayed at Pop Century in the 50's section.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

One of the things that I wanted to see with our party staying at these two sister resorts at the same time is whether or not the theming is worth the upgrade in price in the standard rooms. I'm usually not about the superficial stuff so much, but in this case, I was super glad that we paid the premium for the LM room. Between the in-room theming, particularly the shower, the Big Blue Pool's underwater music, and the emphasis on art with my absolute love of animation, this was well worth every extra penny that we paid and if I have to stay value again, I will absolutely pay the premium to stay at AoA. We didn't experience much of Pop, though we had visited the lobby and the shop on a previous trip, but I stayed at All-Star Sports earlier this year and All-Star Music about 4 years ago. The All-Stars were fine and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them, but the ways in which Disney chose to "plus" the experience at AoA were right up my alley. The only thing that was better about my in-laws' room was the view. Since both rooms faced the lake and we could actually see each other if we stood out in the walkway, we had different views and they could see both IllumiNations and Star Wars fireworks in the distance from their room, while we could hear them, but sightline on the bursts were blocked by our building.

AoA

refrigerator kidding inside fake drawer section

Breakfast at Landscape of Flavors--a tip: the kids' meal comes with a character waffle and bacon AND you can get chocolate milk and grapes for about $2 less than the adult version

Pop

Check out the wildlife at the Generation Bridge across Hourglass Lake

FOOD:

Lunch @ Tony's Town Square
I know that Tony's is widely reviled, but we continue to have consistently decent meals here. This was our third visit and the Chicken Parm was better than what I had at Via Napoli when we stopped there last year and the service was considerably better at Tony's than our very lackluster (and admittedly uncharacteristic) Via Napoli experience. I adore the ambiance of this restaurant and I'd eat at Tony's just to people watch on Main Street over lunch. It's not great Italian food by any stretch of the imagination, but the meatballs are probably my favorite ever. The only thing that I was disappointed in is that apparently the pistachio creme brulee is seasonal and it wasn't available. sad

Dinner @ Columbia Harbor House
One of my favorite counter service locations in Magic Kingdom. I had the friend shrimp platter and it's your typical freezer-to-oven fried shrimp, but for what are essentially fast food locations, I'll take it. We always try to sit upstairs to escape the hustle and bustle of an otherwise busy restaurant.

Lunch @ 50's Prime Time
This was our third and best 50's Prime Time experience. We were enjoying a 2-table service meal day, so each couple shared a sampler so we would be hungry enough for Cape May Cafe. Jonathan (pop) ordered the peanut butter & jelly milkshake. While you can't taste a lick of jelly, it is a slammin' peanut butter milkshake. Cousin Megan was our server and she was the best server we've ever had as far as playing up the part. The food was great and we had a wonderful time. The wedge salad was great--the lettuce was crisp and clean and it had just the right amount of dressing. The pot roast is probably my least favorite for the three sampler items as an entree, but it was my favorite on the plate. Benn asked me how the fried chicken compared to The Plaza at DL and I would have to say not at all. Fried chicken is typically my favorite meal on the sampler platter and it was my least favorite of the available choices. It was good, but I'd fly to California for The Plaza's fried chicken, so it's really an unfair comparison. I wish our first two experiences had been this much fun and full of this much good food! I don't know how anyone doesn't eat their vegetables. Even they were delicious.

Birthday cake for Benn

Dinner @ Cape May Cafe
Honestly, this is my on property go-to even though I have had a lackluster meal here. It's an awesome value relative to other choices. When Fultons was still open, I think they were charging $45-55 per pound for snow crab. Cape May is all you care to enjoy for $40/person and you have access to their seafood paella, fish of the day, jumbo chilled shrimp, mussels, delicious house salads, a cheese board with my favorite wine crusted goat cheese, and a delightful selection of miniature desserts. There are more choices, I just can't recall them over the memory of endless crab legs. I don't do buffets very much anymore because i try not to eat so much in one sitting, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Cape May Cafe. We chose this location not only because we love it, but our new father-in-law is a huge seafood fan. I can pack away a lot of crab legs, but he ate me under the table. We went plate for plate and when I bowed out and switched to dessert, he grabbed another plate of crab legs and went to town!

Lunch @ Sanaa
This one started out with an interesting vibe. My ex-sister-in-law's parents (did you catch that one? She used to be married to Benn's brother. We were quite close when Benn and I first got married and I was sorry to lose her, so we do get together now and then and her parents love spending time with us.) SO anyway, they were kind enough to drive my in-laws to Mass on Sunday morning. It was important to my in-laws that they attend Mass regularly. They usually go daily, so they had actually made quite a big sacrifice to only go on Sunday. We...ummm...don't care about churching on vacation, so since my ex-sister-in-law's parents live in Leesburg, FL and were planning to join us for lunch, they picked up my in-laws and when to Mass with them while we hung out at the resort and checked out the Big Blue Pool's cool underwater music.

Anywho...lunch turned out to be fantastic! The ex's parents are from a very Italian community in New Jersey originally, so Indian-African is not a menu that they frequently encounter. We started with the bread service because why would you ever NOT do that and everyone ended up choosing either Tandoori Shrimp or Chicken except Benn, who went with the burger, and Jonathan, who tried the fish. I was holding my breath a little bit on this one because I knew that the cuisine was going to be VERY unfamiliar to most of the folks at the table, but Sanaa received ringing endorsements all around! *sigh of relief* Honestly, I thought my Tandoori Shrimp was better last November, but the desserts were tremendously better this time. In fact, every dessert we tried was amazing!

Dinner at Flame Tree BBQ
My favorite quick service at Animal Kingdom. Hands down. No contest. I could eat that 1/2 chicken meal ever single day. I know they make the same one at Catalina Eddie's (or Rosie's All-American or Fairfax Fare--I get them mixed up), but it's so much more delicious at Flame Tree. The chicken has a flavorful crispy skin, the cornbread melts in your mouth, the baked beans are just the right bbq sauce and the creamy coleslaw is the perfect garnish. Animal Kingdom is not my favorite park, but I get psyched on AK day because it's also chicken day. Benn is a fan of the ribs, but he would try other places. I just can't drag myself away from my old standby. Though we are trying Tiffin's later in October. Maybe I can stop by Flame Tree and get a chicken meal to go...

Lunch at Garden Grill
I've been a huge fan of Garden Grill in the past. I think the character interaction is great and we've always had great food there. This was our first time trying lunch and I've gotta say that I was was not impressed. The characters were still great, but they made two menu changes that have ruined the food for me. Previously, the three meat platter had a turkey, a beef, and a fish of the day. They have replaced my beloved fish with sausage. Sausage! The whole idea behind this restaurant is eating from the land, sustainable farming, yada, yada. You're supposed to do the boat ride and envision that you're eating the things that you saw on the ride. I don't recall any pigs on my boat tour. But do you know what there are a ton of on that tour? Fish! The sausage makes no sense with the story. It doesn't help that generally, I don't care for sausage. I did try a piece and it was ok, but I would have preferred the fish a thousand times over. The second menu kurfluffle was the replacement of the delicious mixed berry clobber with a berry shortbread. The presentation with the identifiable pieces of fruit was nice, but the shortbread was incredibly dry and and it lacked that warm, lingering berry deliciousness that the cobbler had. One improvement was the inclusion of the children's meal options with the adult meals, so we also had mac & cheese and sweet potato fries, but once again, that's not a meal that really sticks with our "eat whole foods" "farming is important" storyline that this restaurant is supposed to evoke. Part of the reason that I planned it for last is because it's been such a consistently good meal for us. As a last meal for the trip, it was a pretty big letdown.

Another birthday cake!

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

FLAG RETREAT:

This is not something that we typically make a point of attending and we very rarely find ourselves on Main Street at 5:00, but this was a special occasion. We specifically made a point to attend today because our friend Ted had passed away two days before we left and even though our trip was short, we were going to miss his funeral.

Ted was a WWII veteran who was from Long Island, NY. He was taken as a POW and barely survived the war. When he returned to civilian life, he became a teacher and eventually a principal at a Long Island school, where he developed a community mentoring program for at-risk kids. He moved to Hanover, PA with his wife and daughter in 2006-2007 when I met 84-year-old Ted in his capacity as a volunteer greeter at the YMCA where I coached gymnastics. We got to talking and it turned out that he had bought the house next door to my parents! Ted knew from our conversations that I loved the Olympics and on his various mailing lists, he was subscribed to the USOC list. They would send him articles and stickers and various things, which have always saved in an envelope and would leave them in my mailbox at the Y. Like any lifelong learner, Ted also had an appreciation for the modern marvel that is Walt Disney World, but he and his wife were fond of Hawaii and they took an annual trip there when they were younger and had been well enough to travel. It wasn't long before Ted made friends at our local school district where he was able to establish his mentor program once again. He even got my dad involved in the program! About a month ago, we learned that Ted, now in his 90's, had fallen ill with pneumonia and had been admitted to York hospital where he remained until he passed away. He was a very special person and even though he only spent a decade as a member of our community, he will be sorely missed by so many people. Ted was immensely proud of having served his country and we thought it a fitting tribute to honor his memory by watching the flag retreat ceremony on our first Magic Kingdom day for this trip. The ceremony was really beautiful, I think. I can barely recall because I cried all the way through it, but I did manage to snap a picture at the start and the finish.

MNSSHP:

We love a good party (ok, not really. we're kind of boring in our non-disney life laugh ), so of course booking MNSSHP was a priority for us. We opted not to book during the meet-up due to the cost for our dates, but when we added the Labor Day weekend trip and it coincided with the first party of the season, we decided to go for it!

The procedure for getting party wristbands if you're already in the park has changed. It was the first night, so no one knew what the new procedure was. sarcastic We were told to go to City Hall. We got to the front of the line and a CM was getting ready to send us elsewhere (the train station maybe? It was very confusing) when they decided that it was fine for us to register at City Hall. Ok, whatever.

Wristband acquired, we set off to figure out the next step. We didn't have our Trick-or-Treat bags yet. The traffic pattern on Main Street is MUCH improved from the last time we did a party. All guests exiting the park were being diverted to their right as they approached Town Square. All guests entering were being diverted to THEIR right at Town Square and sent backstage behind Main Street.

The backstage area was decorated with the old Halloween character statues that used to replace the normal hub statues in the Fall and as you walked through the area, you were given a trick-or-treat bag with a starter bag of candy. MNSSHP is apparently now sponsored by Mars because the starter bag has crispy M&M's (full size), peanut butter snickers (my favorite party candy selection), dove chocolate, and a fruit & chocolate granola bar.

Once we "officially" entered the party, we doubled back down Main Street to pick up our party exclusive SMK cards and headed for the merchandise line at Big Top Souvenirs, where the party pins were being sold. The merchandise locations were available well before 7:00. The theme of the pins this year is masquerade and I love them!

Party pins are in the middle row

We reconvened with mom & pop at this point. Not being WDW veterans like ourselves, they had left their super hero t-shirts that we had all decided to wear to the party back in the room and had to return to get them. Their interests at the party revolved around rides and candy, so we didn't do any character meet & greets, which is way out of the ordinary for us. But Pirates was temporarily down earlier in the day, so we were happy that going to the party gave them a chance to ride. They were feeling a little tired because it was our arrival day and we had left Baltimore at 6:15 that morning, so they opted for the early parade so they could all it a night after fireworks.

Unfortunately, our parade vantage point was terrible because we waited way too long before finding a spot. However, mom's reaction to the Happy Hallowishes fireworks will definitely rank well up the list in our most magical Disney moments. Benns mom is all about bling, bubbles, pixie dust, dressing up as the Easter bunny, going nuts on holidays...Fireworks, parades, and spectacles in general are her wheelhouse. When those fireworks started, her face lit up in the most genuine display of awe I think I've ever seen. And watching her sing along with Let It Go and do all of the hand gestures in time to the sing was absolutely priceless. I can't describe how happy it makes me that she got to experience this thing that she enjoyed so much and that Benn got to have that moment with his mom.

After the kids retired to their room for the evening, we hit a few more candy stops and briefly waited inline for Aladdin & Genie before coming to the realization that getting a photo with them might compromise our ability to better spot for the second parade. I'm so glad we skipped out on the meet & greet because it was too wet for the Headless Horseman to ride for the first parade, but he did ride for the second parade and we had a perfect spot in Frontierland! It made Benn's night! A lot of folks were talking about Vanellope replacing Goofy on the gum ball float. Personally, I'm kind of a fan of the change. From our last MNSSHP, I thought that the villains' presence was better.

We were exhausted, so we split after the parade and since our spot in Frontierland allowed us to cut through Adventureland and beat the end of the parade to Main Street, we were able to stop to see the photo pass photographer and still make it to the front of the bus line. It was a very successful party. The only thing I wish is that with the constant price increases that they would add two hours to the end of the holiday parties so there would be time to experience all of things that make the parties special.

As for the things that have changed since our last party, the traffic pattern is better. I liked the subtle parade changes. I'm not a Hocus Pocus fan *ducks*, so not a big deal for me as far as the stage show, but I'd rather have the villains dance parties back. Candy was WAY better than last time and this time the rain happened before the party and we got to enjoy a leisurely exit.

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

danijrod's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/23/2014
Posts: 414

Awesome trip report clapping I must admit reading through your dining experiences was making my stomach growl!

I love how in-depth you have gone with MNSSHP I'm more excited than ever now to go Smile

Overall sounds like a really good trip Smile

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 19814

Aww... I loved reading about your friend that passed, what a lovely way to honor him. I also loved reading about the reaction from Ben's Mom. The pictures from Garden Grill made me so hungry! It sounds like this was a really lovely trip.

__________________

Allie's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/26/2012
Posts: 5228

It's almost lunch time so those dining pictures and descriptions were torture!

Loved seeing all the AoA pictures! We've never stayed there but did take a bus there once when we were staying at Pop because the line was shorter and we loved walking through the resort.

I'm so bummed to hear about your Garden Grill experience! We haven't made it there yet but everyone normally raves about it so I'm sad to hear I may never get to try it in all it's former glory! Hopefully they'll get some feedback that causes them to change it back.

Loved hearing about your flag retreat story. What a sweet way to honor your friend.

I teared up hearing about Benn's mom at the party. What a great memory for you guys. And I had to LOL because I have an almost identical Ed picture from the parade! laugh

Great report so far!

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

Thanks, all!

ONE MAN'S DREAM

I haven't expressed in awhile how completely frustrated I've been with One Man's Dream as of late. I'm quite upset about the Walt's Office exhibit being covered up with a map of Disneyland and the rotating upcoming film previews in place of that beautiful short film about Walt's life that is so eloquently narrated by Julie Andrews has sent me spiraling into many an indignant rant. Benn just rolls his eyes now every time I mention it, but I've taken these and other signs of deterioration of the depth of the exhibit as evidence that this attraction is closing altogether, never to be reopened again. Of course the rumor mill has had it on the chopping block for some time. I felt so strongly about it that I boycotted Zootopia because they replaced my film with a Zootopia preview during our March visit. I STILL haven't seen it. Me, animation freak. I have resisted the temptation of that adorable fox and bunny rabbit.

So I was THRILLED, I mean overjoyed, to walk into my attraction on Saturday morning and find that not only have a few new details been added to the historical exhibits, but a new model is in place AND, most importantly of all, the attraction-appropriate film is running again. The map is still covering the office exhibit, but now the argument could be made that the space is just being refurbished as the remainder of the attraction is finally getting some love.

Honestly, I believe that this attraction belongs at Epcot or even at Magic Kingdom, so I have no problem with the attraction closing and moving elsewhere or being developed into something that more closely mirrors a miniature version of the Walt Disney Family Museum, but I think that having an educational attraction about the man whose vision set the whole darn thing in motion is critical to forging a deeper connection with guests. Okie dokie I'll hop off my soapbox so we can go do something fun...

STAR WARS LAUNCH BAY AND FIREWORKS

Pop went back to have a nap so he could work up an appetite for crab legs while we took mom to Star Wars Launch Bay so she could propose to Chewbacca. Good thing pop left...that would have been awkward! laugh We also did the Disney Visa meet & greet hoping for Darth Vader, but we got Kylo Ren again. Which is cool because the Kylo Ren meet & greet is way more intimidating than the Darth Vader meet & greet, but mom would have preferred to see Darth Vader.

The new Star Wars fireworks show photographs terribly, but it's awesome in person! It's like Celebrate the Magic and Wishes combined with the projections and storyline and split second timing. I still rank Celebrate the Magic as my favorite nighttime show and to be honest, I still like the old Star Wars Weekends fireworks better than this new show (but only because that soundtrack was the sort of soundtrack that you can feel pulsing through your veins), but the new show is definitely technically superior. So the new show is definitely a win and Benn and I will have to trade off whose favorite fireworks we see on which night from now on. We used to be unanimous on Wishes.

Toy Story 3rd track

We got to check out the new queue area and track. The long hallway kind of kills the theme that the toy room sets up, but my favorite feature of the new room is the GIANT door! Game function is the same and I didn't score any higher on the new track than I usually do. wink After the game, we got pics with Woody and Buzz and saw the army men playing games with other guests

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

LouisianaMike's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/22/2014
Posts: 460

Simply awesome trip report... Makes me want to leave now for Disney.. Only 40 something days to go, though.. awesome Thanks again...

LouisianaMike

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

Hurricane, Schmurricane

We only spent a few hours at Animal Kingdom after a late lunch at Sanaa and we were looking forward to checking out the nighttime experiences--Sunset safari, Jungle Book show, and pretty nighttime Tree of Life. We started off ok and got in a Primeval Whirl ride and a walk through Maharajah Jungle Trek, but we squandered some of our dry hours watching Festival of the Lion King. While we were grabbing some dinner at Flame Tree BBQ (mmmmmm...so tasty), the deluge began. I'm all about just winging it in the rain, but mom has some pretty substantial lung issues and the rain was still pounding after nearly an hour, so Benn braved the droplets and bought everyone a round of ponchos. We did learn that Kilimanjaro Safaris is a rain or shine attraction. I think it would have been really cool to do in the rain OR at night, but it being both dark and damp, most of the animals seems to say "forget this" and we really couldn't see much. The savannah sunset was pretty cool.

DVC Member Lounge

One of our must-do's for this trip was checking out the new DVC Lounge that opened right after we got home form our spring trip. Sadly, no snacks, but there is a freestyle coke machine. It sure beats Club Cool. (Sorry, CCP, there's no Beverly up there!) There are charging stations, iPads, and some innovative furniture. I'd say it's great for about a 10-20 minute break. For a free perk, I'm going to give it an 8. Not nearly as cool as free Magic Kingdom party or Top of the World, but free flavored coke that actually states good is a pretty nice perk. The entrance is in the Journey into Imagination gift shop.

Soarin'

I heard a LOT of criticism about new Soarin' being too CGI and not being as good as the old version. While I miss the orange grove and pine tree scents tremendously, I think I actually like it better! The transitions are much more interesting and I think they make the ride ever so slightly more thrilling. Plus, there was crappy CGI in the old film, too--I mean come on, did anyone REALLY believe that our fellow hang glider was real? Or that Michael Eisner can actually hit a golf ball that accurately? So I'm giving it 2 thumbs up. Also, the third theater is helping a ton with the wait times. At 9:30, the posted wait was still only 10 minutes. And the intro video is still hosted by Patrick Warburton. Oh! The queue now has trivia instead of that silly game that barely worked. I was hoping for a more comprehensive queue overhaul because the queue at DCA is so much more welcoming, but at least it's an improvement.

That's all for Fall Fun Festivities Trip #1!

Trip #2 kicks off in 9 days! We'll be meeting up with Amy1989, KenJ, JanJ, MrHub, & scrappy! We've also switched from All-Star Movies to Port Orleans French Quarter and added Marceline to Magic Kingdom since I went without Benn the first time and Haunted Mansion is basically his favorite ride. We swapped our Captain's Grill lunch for Whispering Canyon do to time concerns from adding the tour. Also, we're planning to meet Joy & Sadness and I'm probably more excited about that than any little kid walking into Epcot! So I'll be back with more adventures in about 2 weeks!

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

Belinda's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/09/2012
Posts: 771

Love reading about your adventures! Thanks for the Disney "fix" this morning! mickey

__________________

** BeLiNdA **

Spook's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/27/2012
Posts: 2645

Great report! Can't wait for the next one mickey

As for Garden Grill, we don't eat fish/seafood so I'm super happy they no longer serve it! But I did really love that cobbler sad

__________________

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker Free Disney Tickers

jtownpluto's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/29/2013
Posts: 336

Thanks for the fun report. Love the Mary Poppins picture.

Allie's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/26/2012
Posts: 5228

Yay! Come back with lots of French Quarter pictures and tips please! We'll be staying there for our first time in February!

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

Allie wrote:
Yay! Come back with lots of French Quarter pictures and tips please! We'll be staying there for our first time in February!

The pics will be in real time on my Facebook business page if you follow me there Smile

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 19814

Whoo hoo! You're rockin' and rollin'. I love your Chewbacca meet and greet pictures. We did Kylo Ren and just found it to be awkward and disappointing. Now I'm wishing we had stopped to see Chewy to get some actual Character interaction.

__________________

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

Kristen K. wrote:
Whoo hoo! You're rockin' and rollin'. I love your Chewbacca meet and greet pictures. We did Kylo Ren and just found it to be awkward and disappointing. Now I'm wishing we had stopped to see Chewy to get some actual Character interaction.

We had a really good Kylo Ren in February who was very physically menacing and since then, they've been a little bit lackluster. Obviously they have the technology to make Mickey interact with appropriate words and phrases, but it sounds like Kylo Ren is pre-programed.

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

And on that note, we're back from trip #2 and then some. I have Disney pics and stories from last weekend and then I'll share just a few notes and pics of my weekend visiting my cousin in Martha's Vineyard. Most of those pictures are of various lobsters (i.e. "Sea bugs" as my best friend calls them). Before I can get into the trip report, I have to find a new free online photo storage service. I've filled up two free photo bucket accounts already and I love you guys, but I'm totally not paying to store my pics online just for trip reports! laugh

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

danijrod's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/23/2014
Posts: 414

It was the first time I saw one man's dream and I literally filled up when I was watching it I love it!

Just caught up on your trip report Smile can't wait for part 2! clapping

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

danijrod wrote:
It was the first time I saw one man's dream and I literally filled up when I was watching it I love it!

Isn't it magical? I love Julie Andrews. I cry every time I see this film.

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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

alicemouse's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/22/2013
Posts: 2826

__________________

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

Find me on Facebook

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