MVMCP 2013 Magic Mirror's First Christmas in The World!

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MVMCP 2013 Magic Mirror's First Christmas in The World!

PRELUDE:

My first official day of vacation was Wednesday, Nov. 27th- the day before Thanksgiving. Old Man Winter was predicted to make an ugly appearance on Wednesday with predicted snow of 8-12 inches that day. On Tuesday, I was able to leave work a bit early and cut out at 2pm. I went straight to the neighboring town to buy pet food and other last minute items, glad to be able to cross it off my "to do" list for Wednesday. All went as planned and I looked happily out the window Tuesday night at the starting flakes of snow, looking forward to sleeping in the next morning, finishing up odds-n-ends then getting my hair cut. Amy had to work so I figured I'd have a nice dinner ready for her when she got home. I went to bed with visions of Disney in my head.

Wednesday morning I woke up around 4:30am, not feeling so great. Amy had already gotten in the shower to get ready for work. I laid there for awhile trying to talk myself out of the nausea, figuring it must have been something I ate. I blamed it on that McDonald's Big Mac I had woofed down while getting my errands done the day before. By 5:30am there was no more talking myself out of it, and I made a run for the guest bathroom. I hate being sick. I just hate it. So I stayed in there with denial for awhile, still blaming it on the "special sauce" ingredients of the Big Mac. Then there was the second run to the bathroom where I had to finally accept I had the "you're not getting anywhere out of the bathroom today" flu. I laid in misery all day, sleeping most of it away when I could, dragging myself downstairs later to let the dogs out. Amy kept wanting to come home from work but I knew she had a lot to do before we left and there wasn't anything she could do but stay clear of me anyway. Every time I could force my eyes open, snowflakes were falling out of the sky. My super awesome neighbor, knowing I was ill, saved the day and blew the foot of snow out of my driveway, while more snow kept falling. I cancelled my hair appointment and had Amy Lysol disinfect everything I had touched hoping my germs would stay away from her, all the while thanking my lucky stars I got all the shopping done the day before.

I slept in the recliner that night, my temperature was running almost 102. Sometime over night my symptoms relaxed and by Thanksgiving morning I felt human again. We stayed home, packed, rested, and prayed that Amy would stay well. Thankfully, she did. So on Friday morning, we drove 2 hours to Chicago and by 1pm we were on our way to Orlando!

DISCLAIMER:

I took a lot of photographs on the trip to bring back to share with you. Please excuse the download time when you read the report as I am sure it will take awhile to come up.

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THOUGHTS ON ALL STAR RESORTS-SPORTS:

On our previous trip, we had stayed at Port Orleans-French Quarter. We had been extremely happy with this choice so deciding to stay at All Stars-Sports this time around, based on budget restrictions, had been a hard choice. I had tried
to get Pop Century, but we had the Free Dining Plan which restricted our resort choices by the time I had gotten around
to making the decision to make reservations. Sports also was under renovation in their food court, so our food choices were limited to grab n go products which had temporarily been moved to the arcade room.

The good things about Sports:
Value-our total package with 9 days/8 nights, free quick service, 5 days of park passes (no hopper) for two of us,
plus all the bonus items (Magical Express, Free Cups, Free Disney Quest, Etc.) was $1400.00.
Mousekeeping-our room was really clean, our mousekeeper was awesome, she always came back if we were out of the
room late, she left towel animals & H2O products, she rocked it.
Room Itself-the room appeared freshly painted, bedspreads were new, extra pillows in room, bathroom very clean,
Buses-buses were shared at times with the other All Star Resorts, if they were shared they always stop at Sports first,
so getting on is no problem, and its nice to get off first at the end of the day.
Gift Shop-The gift shop was quite large, carried a nice selection of merchandise and last minute items you may
have forgotten such as medical needs, cosmetic needs, etc.

The bad things about Sports:
Buses-buses were shared at times, no rhyme or reason as to when they were or weren't, it felt like it took twice as long
as other resorts for our buses to show up. As with all value resorts, waiting areas for the buses are not covered.
Walls-the walls are thin. I could hear the neighbors toilets flush, showers run, and muffled voices. Every night between 1am-4am I would hear a golf cart flying down the sidewalks outside the door (security? maintenance?).
Appliances-No refrigerator I assume they are still working on it from the electrical problems they had, no coffee pot. It was something we did not need this time, so I did not ask to see if either were available, but felt I should list it for those
who may be going soon and looking to have those appliances in their room.
Covered Areas-Us Michiganders do not do well in Florida heat, everything was in the sun, there were no covered areas
to enjoy the outside except perhaps if you count a few seats at the pool bar.

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Our room felt quite large for the 2 of us. We had booked a standard room. It felt comparable to the size
of our room previously at the French Quarters.

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We were in the rear of the basketball section, which was past the pool, a short walk but nothing
too bad.

This was our view from the resort room:

It was lushly landscaped around the room:

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We did not use the pool, but it looked very nice, and there was usually a handful of kids in it, most of
the time they had 3 lifeguards or more there too.

The grounds were very clean, every morning there were cast members power washing the walkways. We
never saw trash or gum anywhere, it was impeccable as far as cleanliness.

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We checked in with a very short wait in the pre-check in online section. We had our Magic Bands activated
and were given our KTTWC as back up, just in case something failed on the Magic Bands. The first night
was a night we had added to our vacation. So we had to check in Friday and Saturday morning we had to
come back, do a full check out, and a full check in again. Part of this was due to the free dining promotion
which did not start till Saturday. Our first check in on Friday went smoothly. By 4:30pm we had stopped
at our room, freshened up and grabbed a bus to Downtown Disney.

VelcroPooh

Awww....sorry to hear you were sick but glad you got better and that Amy didn't get it!

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I love spending our first night just unwinding in Downtown Disney.
The Christmas music was jamming in Marketplace and there were
pretty Christmas displays everywhere.

We were starving so first stop was Wolfgang Puck Express in Marketplace.
We shared the pizza and the creme brulee....both of which were excellent!
The pizza was fresh & hot, just the right amount of garlic..and the creme
brulee was nicely burned on top with that sweet sugar crunch and a rich
vanilla custard below.

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It had dropped and gotten cooler in the evening. The only night during our stay where a light jacket
would have been comfortable. We didn't have any downtown with us, so we stayed warm by
staying in the shops wink There were so many cute Christmas items out, I wanted to buy it all!~

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We looked around till about 9:30pm when we decided to call it good and head back to the
resort. There was a large line for the bus to All Stars and we waited almost 45 minutes
for a bus. Other resort buses were coming and going and coming back before ours showed
up for the first time. We were crammed on the bus like sardines, but we were able to at
least get on and not have to wait for a second bus. We got back to the resort where Tinkerbell
had dropped our luggage. After unpacking we hit the bed. The next day, Saturday, was
Animal Kingdom. But first, I would have to check out, check back in again- and thus begins
our five days of hell with the Magic Bands/KTTWC's.

For now, I will leave you with a picture of the Christmas Tree in the lobby of Sports.

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I love the names of those wines.

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I hope you were able to get past the band issues

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Yeah for Christmas at Disney!! LOVE your pics, they are so sharp!!

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Nice pictures and report. That pizza looks pretty good. Is that the Margherita?

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Awesome TR and pictures so far! Can't wait for more! You've inspired me to add Wolfgang Puck Express to my must do list now, that food looks incredible for a counter service restaurant!

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The Colonel wrote:
Nice pictures and report. That pizza looks pretty good. Is that the Margherita?

Yes...it was! That is Amy's favorite flavor of pizza so she has tried many brands....she has deemed this the
best yet..so it must be good!

I am out of town for training....trip report on hold till Friday waiting

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Saturday morning I was down in the check in/check out line by 7am, leaving Amy
to get ready in the room. They checked us completely out of the Friday night
add-on. That all went smooth. Then they checked us back in for the 8 days following.

An hour later the CM thought she had it all working. However, it took forever for the
Magic Band to show "green" in their computer and a couple times when she went
back to double check it - it wasn't green anymore so we had to start over.
Finally, it seemed to be all good and she printed out KTTKC.

When the KTTKC printed, it didn't show that we were approved for room credit charging privilege's.
The CM said not to worry, it showed we were approved and if we had any problems
we could should just tell the cashier we were approved and it would go thru.

The red light went off in my head and I thought, I should just have her re-print the
cards, I have a bad feeling about this...but...I had the Magic Bands, so I wouldn't
even need the KTTKC.

I went back to the room, used the Magic Band to let myself in, all was good.
We packed up and headed to Animal Kingdom.

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Welcome to Animal Kingdom!

I had chosen Animal Kingdom to be our first park for two reasons. They were scheduled to stay open till 8pm.
We like the slow pace of walking the trails and taking it easy.

We had fast passes for later in the day so we spent the morning just walking the trails which
we missed last time because of time restraints.

The park was not that busy and we enjoyed having the space to move around at our own speed.

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We were able to catch the Flamingo's being fed.
I have never heard Flamingo's talk so much.
The ducks heard the commotion and swam up to try
to steal some food, but the Flamingo's were pretty quick
in catching their breakfast.

Here is the you tube video:

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We had moved on and walked around the tree of life area, enjoying the sunshine
and the warm weather when we stopped to admire some very beautiful birds.

I was standing there while Amy was snapping photo's and I had just turned my head
when I saw a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye.

I was apparently still in cop mode, because my heart fell because my first thought
was somehow a child had gotten loose up in the greens and ran by.
It was so fast and such a blur, and I yelled out to Amy.
She had been focusing on other scenes and had not seen whatever it was
that had went thru the closed off field in front of us.

I stood there scanning the horizons. No panicked cries of parents.
No screaming of children. It was silent. I glanced quickly at the signs in front
of us which states the information on the animals in the pen.
Please, don't let there be any crocs or lions in this enclosure.
All I was seeing was birds on the signs.

Still nothing. I was just beginning to think I had imagined
the whole thing when I looked away and THERE!
IT STREAKED at LIGHTNING SPEED by me again~!!!!!

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And was it a child who had ran off and carelessly ventured into
a venomous pit of raging African animals?

NO>.

No...it was not.
It was in fact, a creature which seems to belong in this
habitat.

it was :

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Yes, we had quite a chuckle when I realized it was a kangaroo.
In my defense, if you have never seen a kangaroo in a hurry,
they move really, really, F A S T !

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We spent a few minutes enjoying this pair of birds clean each other and prune.
There was no one else around in this part, we had the view to ourselves.

Then we moved on to enjoy some decorations and some shopping.

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By now it was time for more sugar cool

So we stopped off to split an iced mocha coffee and eat a couple pasty's. This was our third choice.
Our first two choices were gone....it was very good, but the coffee was too weak for me. It was
the last coffee I would get unless it was Starbucks. We were now on the free dining plan-
so snack credits here we come!

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Even though we had fastpasses for later in the day, the Kilimanjaro Safari's was a 5
minute wait. Basically, we walked on after a brief wait for a couple vehicles ahead of us
to fill. Our driver did VERY briefly stop the vehicle a few times for some really good
close animal shots. They normally do not do this, but I think she probably did just
because it was not that busy and buses were spacing out a bit more.

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rolling

The kangeroo story is too funny

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Nice report Magic. Those Macaw's tried to leave with me and scrappy one day. The trainers had to come get them from us.

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Great pictures! Love the one of the giraffe. Now, I can't wait to go back. awesome

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continuing on the safari:

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we moved on to the bird aviary, they were really active and we got
quite a few close up pictures because they never really sat too far from us,
but this one was perhaps the most comical, getting in and out of its upside down nest:

I think she liked me, she flew right over my shoulder and dropped a feather on me (much
better than what she could have dropped on me!)

I put it on a piece of wood to photograph it -

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We went thru the fish area ,

and then the gorilla's. The mother gorilla who is feeding her baby has a lot of patience~
The baby is almost three years old and mother hasn't been letting her feed as often.
This is the first time in several weeks they have seen the youngster feed.

I thought this was a neat invention-they had a spicket on the rear of a rock which had
fresh water running from it. I couldn't tell what he was doing until I zoomed in
with the camera...his own water fountain!