"Real Estate Convention" trip - Complete

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Allie's picture
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Joined: 06/26/2012
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Ok that $10 fee being only at SOME hotels is super bizarre! So the resorts that have an added benefit of having a business center CHARGE you to have your package delivered but those without a business center for that particular purpose don't? That just makes no sense to me.

Thanks for the school bread analysis. I had been wondering if this was something I was missing but I am also not a donut fan unless it has a ton of filling so I will pass! awesome

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Great report. Love the shoes, so pretty. And you've convinced me to finally try the bubble tea!

Spook's picture
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Great report so far! We're planning on doing that tour in October. I was unaware that you could get a magic shot with Pascal!!! That has just been put on the top of my must do list awesome

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jtownpluto wrote:
Great report. Love the shoes, so pretty. And you've convinced me to finally try the bubble tea!

I was expecting them to be "pop-able" There's a Sweet Frog frozen yogurt place near us and they have these little "poppers" that come in strawberry, mango, etc. When you press them between the roof of your mouth, the explode and you get just a little bit of "juice". But the pearls were larger than poppers and they were chewy. They had a very mild flavor like you'd expect from tapioca. I can see where some people wouldn't probably enjoy it and at first taste, I had to think about it for a second. Then I took another sip and another and another and pretty soon my tea was gone and I was super 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.

alicemouse's picture
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Spook wrote:
Great report so far! We're planning on doing that tour in October. I was unaware that you could get a magic shot with Pascal!!! That has just been put on the top of my must do list awesome

I didn't know either!! We got ours in front of the Tree of Life at AK. We haven't done enough yet to know--are certain characters specific to certain locations?

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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.

alicemouse's picture
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I missed a few Day 2 photos...

Day 3 - Wednesday, March 2 (11.92 miles)

Mom's last day sad , but Benn was arriving today yay ! We had moved Benn's flight up because it turns out that his boss was out of the office today, so no sense for him to sit around all day. Mom had until 2:20 to get Magical Express and since we were staying at Boardwalk, we could play at Epcot until nearly 2:00 before we had to worry about walking back. To me, this is the biggest benefit of the Epcot area and MK area resorts--being able to use every possible minute before Tragical Express pick-up.

We had intended to take the Boardwalk Ballyhoo tour at 9:00am. I received an email with my room charges, but then I got a call from the front desk in the morning saying that my credit card hadn't gone through. Weird--it was my Disney Visa that I use for basically everything. I was actually briefly concerned because I'd had a statement roll over while we were away and I had $4000 worth of park tickets that I'd just charged to my card for a performing arts group that I was working with, so I was a little bit worried that Benn had bought something big at home without thinking and we were over the limit or something. So I went to the front desk. Turns out that my expiration date was recoded incorrectly. It was very strange because I don't think that I've re-input my information into MDE for four or five trips. I think there's a button where for each reservation I select a box to continue to use my card on file for incidental charges. I had no trouble with charging to the card on file at Beach Club or at AKL later in the week. So I'm really not sure what the deal was with that.

Anyway, it turns out that it's a good thing that I did have to stop by the desk because I thought I would get some clarification about where to meet for the Boardwalk Ballyhoo tour. The tour is no more! It's so sad, really. It turns out that the greeter was in charge of giving the tour and since the greeter was one of the positions that was eliminated at Boardwalk due to budget cuts to prop up Shanghai Disneyland, the tour has been shuttered. Of course I was disappointed not to be able to do the tour, but I'm even more disappointed for the greeters and their families. And I'm disappointed in general that the cuts resulting from Shanghai's delays are happening in our parks. Our attendance is excellent. Revenue for the U.S. parks has got to be in the best shape that it's been in years and it's so disappointing to see little treasures like this whittled away. I feel like China's fingers already have a stranglehold on our economy and now opening delays at their brand new park are choking a portion of the magic out of our parks--even though our parks are doing great. It seems incredibly unfair.

I stopped by Bell Services to check on luggage delivery--what happened if I had them transfer my bags to Beach Club. Their delivery window is between noon and 4:00. Since I was considering swimming between mom leaving at 2:20 and Benn arriving at 5:00, I decided to walk my bags over to Beach Club myself. It was still early--maybe 8:15 or so. I went back to the room and told mom to take her time, but I was going to walk the bags over to Beach Club (not a big deal wince I had gotten almost all of the water in the rolling suitcase) and check-in. I forgot about the rule that there is not a square inch of level ground anywhere on Disney property. I walked out by the Luna Park Pool (I STILL have not gotten to try that waterslide!) and over the bridge to Beach Club. Holy crap is that a long walk toting a backpack with 4 bottles of water plus other heavier-than-I-thought stuff, a purse with 3 bottles of water, and rolling a 60 lb. suitcase in the morning humidity. As a reward, my room was ready when I arrived at Beach Club! Bonus! So no need to check bags with Bell Services. I just went right on up to my room and unpacked! I was super excited to have 4 nights in the same place.

weird balcony

Check-in was perfect. I did get a little bit misplaced on my way to the room because I didn't realize that part of the directions took me back outside to get to the villas, but I figured it out pretty quickly. One of the elevators was down, but we were really impressed that the other elevator easily kept up with all of the traffic. We were in room 328, which is a handicapped accessible studio overlooking the quiet pool. The room was really nice and the bathroom was huge because of the accessibility features. The balcony was really strange though. Because of the curvature of the building, we were angled towards our neighbor's balcony and there was a "demilitarized zone" that was sectioned off in a wedge between us. Still, I preferred the weird balcony over the patio.

I met up with mom at the Boardwalk bridge and we walked to Epcot. We did Journey into Imagination. Mom agrees with me that Figment is adorable. Benn's not really a fan, so it was fun to do it with someone who appreciates it. We skipped the Nemo ride and just went to the aquarium at the Seas. Mom has a pond in the backyard and she loves watching the fish, so she really enjoyed this. Next we hit Living with the Land and I was hoping to do behind the Seeds, but it was 10:00 and the 10:30 tour was already sold out. That meant that we would have had to wait for the 11:15 tour and it would have severely shortened mom's time in the World Showcase. So we moved on and checked out the topiaries in Future World while we waited for World Showcase to open. I really liked the Cactus Road display with the Cars topiaries and of course we stopped by the Butterfly House. I ALMOST got a butterfly to sit on my finger.

Lots of orchids adde to regular displays

I can't believe how fast these little lettuces grow!

Near Ellen's Nap time Adventure

Bird houses on Cactus Road

I love the tree on Mickey's belt buckle and the wooden buttons made from slices of tree limbs.

We checked out the entrance topiaries and I introduced mom to Club Cool. To my disappointment, something was wrong with the mixture on Beverly. It was too sweet! Mom took a sip and she said, "oh that's pretty good" and I was like wait a second...what? So I tasted it and sure enough--that was definitely different stuff! I feel like I would have had a FP for Spaceship Earth, but my notes and pictures indicate otherwise. I did tell mom about how the Fountain of Nations was created and the wind meter that controls the pneumatic water cannons.

We concentrated out efforts on the food booths and I've got to say that quality-wise, I found them to be equal to or better than Food & Wine. We tried Jamaican Beef at Isla Fresca. I forgot to take a picture apparently, but this should be on the top of your to try list. Candied Strawberries at Lotus House in China were huge and delicious. Good value, great taste. We tried the Chicken Fricassee in Germany--not bad, but I wouldn't rush back. Right after we finished our VERY disappointing chicken parmesan in Italy, mom's phone rang and it was grandma's nursing home. Of course, the call we all dread is the one where they call to tell us that grandma has passed away and we both looked at each other when we saw the caller ID--oh crap. Luckily, grandma is fine. They were just calling to tell mom that she was refusing to go to the doctor, which is pretty much the norm for her at almost 93.

I love that the festivals are miniaturized in the train layout in Germany.

We finished out our World Showcase experience with a walk-up at Spice Road Table. I had been wanting to give it a try, but then I look at the menu and opt out. Well, we finally decided to just go for it. We got the brie fondue and the chocolate pyramid. Both were excellent and I would go a little bit more adventurous next time. I walked back to Boardwalk with mom and we only waited about 10 minutes for Tragical Express. We had a great trip together! It was like our beach weekends that we used to do when I was a kid, but way better! I hope we take the opportunity to do a trip like this together again.

view from our table

Instead of swimming, I decided to spend my afternoon miniature golfing at Fantasia Gardens. Benn was due to land in an hour, but I had at least two hours to kill since he would be taking Magical Express to Beach Club. Unfortunately, my free round of miniature golf that was included with my room for the gymnastics meet had expired 6 days earlier and was no longer hanging out on my MDE account, so I'd be paying for my own mini golf. Bummer. I opted to play the Fairways first and it was actually pretty tough, so I consoled myself with a round on the Gardens course. I love this course--I got 3 holes in one. Had it not been for a few sloppy shots, I would have parred the course or better. I wasn't back at Beach Club for more than about 5 minutes when I spotted Benn walking through the lobby!

We had about an hour before dinner at Cape May Cafe, so we walked down to Guest Relations at Epcot to activate Benn's AP. We wanted to go to Star Wars fireworks at DHS if we had time after dinner and we knew we'd be close on time, so we didn't want to mess with activating Benn's pass when we got there. Since we had so much time, we opted for a quick lap around World Showcase. We got seated 10 minutes early for dinner and we were seated in one of the booth areas where the tables for 2 are adjacent to a table for 6. Well we exchanged some pleasantries with the family next to us and of course it's always natural to ask where people are from. The gentleman offered that he was from Tampa, but that he had grown up in Pennsylvania. I asked him where and he said "Hanover." I almost dropped my fork. I was like excuse me did you just say Hanover? It turns out that his mother used to run a beauty shop out of his childhood home that is 5 doors down from our house! In fact, we used to live directly across the street from her shop! Un-freaking-believable. Our meal was fantastic, so the not-so-great meal that I'd had here in November must have been a one-off. They did, however, remove the sesame seed cracker-wafer things that I liked to put my goat cheese on. I asked our server and she said that she couldn't get them anymore. BUT, I saw nearly identical sesame cracker-wafer things at Boma a few nights later. I'm suspicious.

We finished up our meal and hustled to Hollywood Studios. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare. I have to admit that I am rather enjoying the Chinese Theater as the park icon. My first impression of Symphony in the Stars was that the one from Star Wars Weekends was better. We learned when we went back later in the week that this is one where being close to the front really is worth it. The action feels very disconnected from the viewer if you're back too far. We found BB8 mouse ears, but we didn't buy them because we figured that we'd just pick them up later. Wrong! We spent the rest of the week looking for them and never did find them. We'll have to pick up a pair on the shop parks app.

Someone got their wires crossed here.

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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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REALLY glad the call your mom got from the nursing home was nothing more serious!!

Your "mom and me" adventure is making me want to go with my daughter - love "girl trips"!
The strawberries look delish!

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Great trip report. I love the care and detail that you put into your writing. I am looking forward to the next instalment mickey

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Belinda wrote:
REALLY glad the call your mom got from the nursing home was nothing more serious!!

Ditto! It's kind of a foregone conclusion that eventually we will get the most serious of all calls. Grandma will be 93 this summer and her body is simply wearing out. I just don't want it to happen while my mom is away because she'll lay a huge guilt trip on herself when there's nothing that she can do to stop the passage of time and the progress of life.

Miss Mikki wrote:
Great trip report. I love the care and detail that you put into your writing. I am looking forward to the next instalment mickey

Glad you're enjoying!! I love doing trip reports almost as much as actually traveling. writing the report and reviewing the pictures makes vacation seem like it lasts longer! mickey

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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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Day 4 - Thursday, March 3 (8.54 miles)

I forgot to mention from last night two interesting cast members that we met. The first was a gentleman at concierge who tried to make me think I was crazy and that no tour called "Wonders of Wilderness Lodge" existed. He actually asked me (in a moderately condescending manner) if I had learned about it on the internet. Well the joke was on him and I was right. I hope he felt like a jerk. The second was the DVC sales rep, Mollie, who was on duty that night in the Beach Club lobby. She was awesome. We decided to chat her up while we waited for it to be close enough to our ADR rime to check in for dinner and we had a blast with her. I wish that we could have rescued her from her station so that she could have hug out with us.

Ok now on to Day 4...

I was so very much looking forward to today and although it got off to a rocky start, it didn't disappoint. I had replaced a pair of black capris right before the trip because the snap had torn out of the fabric and left a hole. The new capris were even better than the old ones. I had intended to wear them today, but when I was putting my clothes together, I couldn't find them. The only place they could be was at Boardwalk if they weren't with me, so I called Boardwalk lost & found. My call went to voicemail, so I left a message detailing where I was staying now and how to reach me. I never received a return call. I found out the following day that mom had spotted the capris and picked them up, but an unreturned called is just one more blemish to add to Boardwalk's record.

Our next episode for the morning could have been called the "Roll-in Show Adventure" or "How to Flood your Bathroom." The lip on the floor that is supposed to keep the flood waters at bay was not placed in an appropriate location and there was simply no way to tilt the moveable shower head to keep the water inside the shower. I used all but one towel (so that Benn would have one) to dry the floor and attempt to sure up the levee. Benn tried his hand at strategic water containment and also failed when the removable shower head actually fell off of its holder without provocation and soaked both the towel fort and the rest of the bathroom. Clean up #2 = all out of anything resembling a clean towel.

Ok so we've only been here for 1 night and we don't get towel service here at all per the schedule because our stay is too short. I called Housekeeping, explained the situation, and requested more towels. I didn't ask for anyone to clean up the bathroom or remove the old towels--just for additional towels to be dropped off. The lady on the phone actually threw attitude with me and didn't want to bring the towels because it "wasn't our day". mad mad mad mad mad I unloaded on her (really only a little bit) and told her basically, "look I don't care what day it is. The bathroom is flooded and all of the towels had been used to contain the water. Bring. More. Towels." Now if I was interested i providing exceptional service and my guest had just informed me that the bathroom had flooded, I would have probably removed the wet towels when I brought the fresh ones. Nope. Not this stand-out agent of customer service. Even though they must have smelled the faint dampness when they walked into the room to drop off the towels, they allowed those towels to stay there for 3 more days until we checked out. At the time I was having fun and not really caring all that much, but the more I think about their adherence to "policy" over guest satisfaction and service, the more irritated I become. Luckily, everything for the remainder of our Beach Club stay was tip top other than the fact that we had to add new towels to the shower levee system daily. It was just out of control. We could have asked to switch rooms, but honestly, that would have been more hassle than just dealing with the stupid shower.

Somehow, we still managed to get out the door by 8:30 so we could grab a cab to make it to The Wonders of Wilderness Lodge Tour. (You know, the one that didn't exist.) Cab fare was around $16--$16 that we could have saved had our morning gone smoothly because we could have hopped the bus to MK and boated to WL. Oh well. The tour was well worth the cab fare. With the (FREE) tour, you get a 12-page summary of most of the cool architectural features in the lodge. I just wrote an article about this tour that is currently running on the main WDWFG page. Ranger Jack was our guide and he was very knowledgeable, but he definitely wasn't the type to go off script and add-lib. Here are a few of my favorite bits from the tour:

* The fireplace in the main lobby is constructed in layers that mirror the Grand Canyon's layers.

* The floor patterns represent the Native Americans' unity with the seasons, wildlife, and the heavens.

* The structure is made out of steal beams covered completely by real log pine.

* The pathway from the Lodge to the Villas is symbolic of the Transcontinental Railroad. The right side of the lobby is dedicated to the Carolwood Pacific Railroad from Walt Disney's back yard. The train was placed into service on March 17, 1950--exactly 5 years before my dad was born.

* The original car from the Carolwood Pacific that is on display has a secret. There's a number imprinted on the side--07734. If you were standing in the car and looking down on the number, it spells out "hello".

* The fireplace mantle is crooked and uses mismatched stone. This is because lodging on the railroad route was constructed in a hurry. Many of the furnishings look like they were quickly nailed or tied together and left behind because that's what most lodges on the railroad rout looked like while the crews were working their way through. Furnishings were assembled onsite and left behind because they were too difficult to carry.

* The floor in the center of the Villas lobby is patterned after a roundabout, which is the track system used to turn trains around.

* The Territory Lounge is meant to pay homage to Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. The floor in the Territory Lounge is made from cross cut tree limb sections arranged side by side.

* The Spring in the lobby is meant to look like it flows all the way to Bay Lake, but the spring flows to the first bridge where the water is recycled back to the lobby. The pool water takes the place of the spring in the center section and the lake water is pumped up under the second bridge so it flows downstream as it returns to the lake.

After the tour, we boated to Magic Kingdom, where we went directly to Skipper Canteen to make a same-day ADR. Only there was no wait, so we just decided to sit down and check out lunch. I'm kid of confused about why we could walk right in at Skipper Canteen even though it's brand new and has way better food than Be Our Guest has at lunch, but at BOG, we would have probably waited for 30-60 minutes if they would let us wait standby at all. This was true table service, so it was a bit more costly than the other options that are available, but the food was really excellent. Our favorite was the House Made Arepas. We also tried the dumplings--I forget their name--and the Skipper's Mac & Cheese. The Mac & Cheese was great, but it does have meat in it unless you request it to be vegetarian. The dumplings were good, but not my favorite. We both liked the ones at 'Ohana much better. I would go back for the Arepas time and time again. The decor is fabulous and although the servers crack fewer back jokes than the real skippers do, the cast members that we encountered were enthusiastic and visibly proud of their new gig. Definitely go check them out even if you just ordered something to share as a family so that you can say you'd tried the new restaurant. Much to our dismay, our hopes of following up our meal with Jungle Cruise were dashed because it had unexpectedly closed for the day.

We did our regular Pirates, BTMR, HM for about a 30-minute wait each. We fast passed PPF and 7DMT, where we got the front seat. We hit our obligatory tea cup spin, Buzz, and CoP before heading over to the train station to watch FoF. I liked that vantage point a lot, but we kind of grabbed that spot on a last-minute whim, so there were people in front of us. We left right before the end of the parade to ensure our spot on the boat so that we didn't risk missing our ADR at Gardenview Tea Room. We got a boat quickly, so we were early. Oh well--time to browse the shops.

Tea was really expensive and no TiW discount. I think our bill with gratuity was $107. At home, tea for two is $55 including gratuity and tea at home also includes a soup course, where this tea did not. I don't mind paying a premium for Disney, but twice as much money for a lesser experience does hurt my feelings a little bit. It was a nice experience and I'm glad we tried it, but I don't think I'd do tea again at Grand Floridan. Depending on pricing, I might be open to trying the new one at Beach Club, but it wasnt open yet this time. We got one Cheshire Tea and one...the one right below Cheshire Tea. The food was delicious, especially the strawberry dessert and the bananas foster. The fruits and cheeses were delicious and the teas were very good.

we referred to the sugar cubes as "croutons" because, well, look at them:

After tea, we walked to the Polynesian. I really like that path, but getting to it is a little bit awkward. You either have to walk around like you're going to the DVC building or cut through the kids splash & soak area. We met a gentleman named Albert who was in line for the boat back to MK to check-in for the DVC member party!!! We hung out with Albert for about 20 minutes while we waited for the boat and rode over to MK. He was an interesting guy--huge fan just like us and he and Benn definitely hit it off. Check-in was about as easy as getting into any other hard ticket event, which is to say not easy at all. We opted to go through the regular line since we had valid park admission for the day and then pick up our wristbands and maps in Tomorrowland. I don't know how much time we actually saved, but we did get to spend our time waiting inside the park instead of just beyond the gate.

Before the party officially started, we used our final FP for Wishes. I was really excited to try out the new reserved grassy areas and I envisioned lying leisurely on the astro turf while the surrounding peasants were crammed in like sardines. Not quite. More like the FP area leaves people crammed in like sardines with their view obstructed by lamp posts, flags, fathers with children on their shoulders, you name it. I won't waste a FP here again in the future. We also used the pre-party time from 8:30-9:30 to grab a ride on 7DMT with a snazzy little 25 minute wait. Bonus. At 9:00, we decided that it was time to commit to a character line. We met Robin Hood and Friar Tuck and Darkwing Duck. I was able to get through the Launchpad McQuack line and then join Benn in the Darkwing Duck line. Our other big priorities were the Tightrope Walker and the Cadaver Dans, so we grabbed some free chips and a free mickey bar and spent some time hanging around in Liberty Square.

crappy view for Wishes:

After that, it was time to stake out a spot for the fireworks already! We were front and center on the castle for stupendously amazing fireworks. They used new shapes and a "spinning flare/sparkler" effect on the front of the castle and the music was from oft-forgotten material. I can't believe that they choreographed this entire show for just two performances. It needs to make an appearance again because it was fantastic! After the fireworks, we still had about 40 minutes, so we beelined for Fantasyland to see what other meet & greets we could hit. We opted for princesses plus princes and of course since Benn has a crush on Rapunzel, we went to Rapunzel & Flynn and Tiana and Naveen first. Our wait was slightly longer than advertised, so we only had time to meet either Jasmine & Aladdin OR Aurora, Phillip, Cinderella, and Charming. We opted for 4 characters over 2 and it was absolutely the right decision! We were last in line and we were with the foursome for 10 minutes or more. Phillip and Charming were insulting each other (properly of course) for their dragon slaying abilities. Cinderella invited us to spend the night at the castle (not for real, unfortunately) because surely our coach had turned into a pumpkin. Phillip gave Cinderella a hard time for traveling by vehicular squash as though it was beneath him. It was so funny! On the way out, we saw the kiss goodnight and dozed off on the super long bus ride home. The only downside of staying to the end of a limited event is that there are so few people to take home from the parks that the buses are super doubled up. I can't remember now where all we went, but it seemed like we looped the perimeter of the property about a dozen times.

This party was amazing! The fact that they open MK to all of us for free was unbelievable. And then to also give free snacks and put out rare characters and do special fireworks?! Phenomenal.

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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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Day 5 - Friday, March 4 (13.6 miles)

We slept in until around 8:30 today. Like every other morning, I enjoyed my strawberry oatmeal on the balcony, but this morning, we noticed a visitor had made himself at home in the pool. We watched the duck waddle around the pool area and splash and play in the quiet pool. Our fast passes were for Hollywood Studios in the afternoon and we were mostly planning on strolling the Food & Garden Festival before our lunch at Chefs de France. We arrived at Epcot around 10:00 and headed over to see the opening of the Festival Center.

There's an exhibit at the Center that showcases the process for creating the topiary that was pretty interesting. Though admittedly I was secretly hoping that we sere celebrating the cocoa bean with the Ghirardelli drinking chocolate exhibit from Food & Wine. Apparently it is the year of the orchid and I love orchids, so I was thrilled to see that. We stopped at Journey into Imagination (Benn actually volunteered!!) and the new Pixar Shorts Festival. I expected to be underwhelmed by the Pixar Shorts just because I've seen all of them on the big screen already, BUT I finally got to see "Get a Horse" in 3D!!! I forget which move this was in front of, but we went to see it in 2D and I loved the short. I wanted to see the movie in 3D just for the short, but the timing didn't work out for our second viewing and we saw it again in 2D. I was so thrilled that this was one of the shorts that is in this attraction! The others were Luna and another one that was so lackluster in 3D I can't even remember it. It was not Lava, Paperman, or Feast. Those were the ones I was hoping for.

We still had some time to kill before lunch so we stepped into the butterfly tent for a few minutes. We still arrived early for lunch and we requested a window seat because Serveur Amusant was about to start. We didn't have a great view of the show because there was a tree in the way, but I enjoyed it just the same. Our food was delicious, but we did not order smart and we went WAY overboard on the cheese. We got a cheese tray (ok that was our fault), macaroni & cheese, french onion soup, lobster bisque, and the Croque Mos...Ham & cheese. For dessert, we had chocolate mousse, which was ok, and strawberry cake, which was great. Our server, Estelle, was fantastic. We enjoyed her so much that we took a selfie with her and stopped to talk to her manager. We took half of my macaroni and the entire cheese plate home. When we stopped back at Beach Club, I let Benn grab a quick 10 minute power nap before we headed out for Studios.

We made it just in time for our Toy Story Fast Passes. I fell short of my goal again with a 196,500!!! ONLY 3500 AWAY!! gaah Next up was Star Wars Launch Bay where Benn was like a kid in a candy store. I had worn my Star Wars shirt today because we were meeting Kylo Ren. Our interaction was actually a little bit lame. I was trying to be all tough and give him crap for hurting the guy in the movie, but his responses must be preprogramed because the things that he was saying to me were utter nonsense as responses to my statements. It was also much more rushed than our last experience. Our Chewie was much better! I told him that we knew where Kylo Ren was and that we would help him if he wanted to go take him down. He was trying to get the weapons ready so we could go take out Kylo and the handler had to slow him down. It was a kick. Then we headed over to try to catch the end of the Disney Visa meet & greet. I had heard that it was Darth Vader, but apparently they swap the characters in and out and we got Kylo Ren a second time. At first I was disappointed because we had just stood in line to meet him, but this interaction was WAY better than the first one. The picture is from Kylo #2. We also watched the film that replaced the little Magic of Animation movie with Mushu. It was a nice happy feel good piece, but nothing particularly groundbreaking. I wouldn't rush back, but I'd sit through it again. We got some Streets of America photos before they start tearing it to pieces in two weeks. Then onto Star Tours were our fast pass was useless, but MAJOR consolation prize--I WAS THE REBEL SPY!!! yay yay yay I really like the Episode 7 updates.

We trucked back to Epcot, racing the boat. I've discovered that if you leave at the same time, it's almost impossible to beat the boat from DHS to YC/BC on foot without running, but we can beat it to Epcot and Boardwalk every time. Our intent was to graze at the Festival for dinner and then go back to Studios for another look at Symphony in the Stars. We started at Cider House in the UK with Salmon tartare and corned beef. We didn't care for either. I got a back piece of smoked salmon last year on the Princess cruise. I didn't get sick or anything, but that taste really stays with you. I thought I was over it, but apparently I was not. Corner beef just isn't something that I'm really a fan of, but Benn is and he didn't care for it either. We skipped France. I felt a little bit incomplete for not trying anything here, but I'd eaten a table service meal and a counter service meal in France and I wanted to try something different. In Morocco, we had the Falafel (meh...it was ok I guess) and the chicken kabob (amazing!) Japan might have been my overall favorite booth. Benn got the frushi and I got the udon beef with noodles. WOW. Both were super delicious. I actually ordered some non-seaweed flavored sushi wraps from Amazon when we got home and tried making it myself. My first attempt was decent, but I need to swap my jasmine rice for sushi rice and get one of the bamboo mats. We also stopped in the Japanese candy store and loaded up on Hi Chew. Benn tried the brisket at the Smokehouse and it was pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of that kind of stuff, but it was pretty decent. Around that time, we looked up in the sky and noticed an odd smoke trail that we later determined to be the SpaceX launch. I had no idea that we would be able to see it from that far away. It was pretty cool! We posted a pic to Facebook and my friend Michelle, who recently moved to Florida, saw it and we arranged to try to meet up at Epcot the following day. Benn decided that he was hungry for a soft pretzel. They were sold out in America, so we walked up to Germany figuring that it was a sure thing--nope. Not a pretzel to be had in Germany. That's like Germany being out of beer!

Salmon Tartare

Corned Beef

Chicken Kabob

Falafel

Udon Beef with Noodles

Frushi

I hadn't noticed at Food & Wine that the smoker is in the shape of a train. I assume they use the same one.

Brisket

SpaceX

There was a friendship boat leaving Epcot when we walked back to BC to drop off our candy. I took note of the colors because I wanted to see if we had the to stop at our room and still make that boat when it docked at BC--sure enough! I know I'm a total dork, but I love strategizing Disney transportation and it's much easier with the boats than with the buses because you can see more of their route. We made it to DHS was a little more time to spare tonight, so we worked our way forward. I wish we had gone just a little bit farther up the street because there was a palm tree partially obstructing our view, but these fireworks are so much better up close! I was a little bit disappointed in them on Wednesday night, but on Friday night, they were great!

We decided that we wanted to check out Disney Springs instead of hanging around for Magic Hours--especially since all that's left for us at this park right now are Star Tours and Toy Story and Toy Story now closes at 7:00 because of the fireworks. We took the bus to SSR and then boated to Disney Springs. We got off the bus at the Grandstands. This resort still confuses me. The signage is basically non-existent and at night, if you don't know where you're going, you're outta luck. We own here, have stayed here three times, and I still routinely get lost trying to navigate from point A to point B. The boat now goes to the new Landing dock (formerly Pleasure Island) instead of to the West Side. So when we got off the boat, we turned right and walked to the end of West Side while trying not to look at anything so we could make one loop and then walk to the only bus stop at Marketplace.

This end of Disney Springs will not be a regular night life location for me--at least not on the weekend. I don't care for the vibe. It was loud, crowded, and I think about every 5th person we saw was walking and smoking, so apparently there are no designated areas. If I want to explore this area, henceforth it will be an afternoon destination for me. I like the wide variety of browsing experiences on West Side. These are not the types of places where I am inclined to buy anything. It's mostly stuff that I just don't care about, but I enjoying browsing and I'm glad it's there for others. We did enjoy the new Star Wars and Marvel stores. Today was the start of a search for the BB8 mouse ears that Benn had decided that he wanted. DHS had proven to be devoid of BB8 ears and so too was the Star Wars store. Apologies--most of my pictures at Disney Springs must have been blurry or something because I don't have very many.

We did find one new addition that we are super huge fans of--there's a new gelato shop near the Boathouse. It tried one that was rice flavored and it was delicious! I will choose that flavor from now on. I really liked Benn's pistachio and my banana was good, but after the rice, it was a little bit dull. We looked for a red Mickey tie for Benn in all of the appropriate places, but that doesn't seem to be a popular item at the moment. Of course we stopped at the pin store. I was actually really disappointed in the pins this time. There's been a swing toward more square styles (I assume that they are cheaper to produce), but I like a more unique shape for my pins. We hopped on the bus to come home and it seemed to take forever. Traffic has definitely not seen an improvement yet--especially on a Friday night. I finished my mac & cheese for lunch and we crashed for the night.

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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.

Allie's picture
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Thanks for all the Flower & Garden festival food tips! I've made notes on my chart for the end of April wink And that chocolate pyramid at Spice Road looks fantastic!

LOVE the character greets from the DVC party! The Tightrope Walker from HM?! No way! And you definitely made the right choice with the princes. You can see Aladdin anytime in Morocco or Adventureland, but how often can you see Philip? And my daughter would die if she knew you met Flynn. Beyond jealous right now.

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Allie wrote:
Thanks for all the Flower & Garden festival food tips! I've made notes on my chart for the end of April wink And that chocolate pyramid at Spice Road looks fantastic!

Right!?! I can't wait to try Spice Road in May! And- Frushi, I have wanted to try the Frushi since the first year they had it.

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Allie wrote:
Thanks for all the Flower & Garden festival food tips! I've made notes on my chart for the end of April

Festival favorites for me where the Jamaican Beef from Isla de Fresca and the Udon beef with noodles for sure. If you're skipping booths, skip UK and Italy. I have a few more food items coming up and hopefully I have pictures. I was a little bit lazy about food booth pictures.

__________________

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 | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Day 6 - Saturday, March 5 (8.7 miles)

We woke up to the duck splashing about in the pool again. I was really starting to enjoy that little guy. Today was our last full day at Beach Club and we had not yet made time for Stormalong Bay, which was half the reason we wanted to stay at BC in the first place! We had hoped to go in the morning walk through Epcot for lunch where we were supposed to meet up with our friends Michelle and Casey who had moved to Florida mid-2015, and then monorail to MK. Unfortunately, it was about 50 degrees when we woke up in the morning and it wasn't supposed to hit 70 until around 1:00, so we had to flip our schedule and go to Epcot first thing in the morning and then come back and swim after lunch, which meant that we missed Michelle and Casey. sad Fortunately our FP selections were for MK in the evening.

SO priority one for today was meeting Baymax...with Benn...while wearing my Baymax shirt! It was great! Baymax loved the shirt of course and I think the pictures are better this time than they were in February. I'll admit that I was slightly bummed that the Joy & Sadness meet & greet still isn't open. I think it's been delayed until April now, so I'll be counting on you, April people! From what I've heard, you're actually going to get to meet them inside of "Headquarters"! While in Future World, we also did Living with the Land (I was amazed at the visible growth in the Hidden Mickey lettuce in just a few days) and Test Track before lapping the World Showcase looking for tasty treats--or in my case, revisiting them.

We started toward Mexico and worked clockwise today. So I got a second round of Jamaican Beef at La Isla Fresca and candied strawberries at China. I also made the sacrifice of getting a second Bubble Tea so that Benn could try some. I think we also tried the shrimp tacos in Mexico and I think that I got the Jerk-Spice Grouper at La Isla Fresca, too, but I don't have pictures of either, so I can't be sure. I do know that the tacos were good because Mom and I had definitely tried them earlier and I don't really remember the Grouper if we had it, so it might not have been super fabulous. Benn also ordered the beef bun from China and declared it his favorite of the festival. This year's sand sculpture is The Jungle Book and it's between African Outpost and Germany.

We tried the ravioli dish and the dessert in Italy. Seriously unless you're drinking, just skip this booth altogether. The dessert was decent, but both main dishes were on par with microwaved Stouffer's vegetable lasagna. I stopped in France for an Ice Cream Crepe while Benn continued around to get some pineapple soft serve.

After lunch, we swung by the room to get ready to see what the fuss was about this pool. Yes, it is as good as advertised. I wasn't really feeling the slide, but I loved flopping down in the inner tube and floating around the lazy river area. The sand on the bottom of the pool is awesome! I still can't rationalize how it stays down there and doesn't just get everywhere, but there is a good, thick layer on the bottom and it feels awesome to run your toes through the sand and still be able to exit the pool without all of the sand sticking to you. I don't know what physical property allows it to happen, but I love it.

On to Magic Kingdom for fast passes and dinner! We went straight to 7DMT. This is currently my favorite ride at MK, so I'm always thrilled to be holding this FP. We decided that we needed a snack and we had been wanting to try the Cheeseburger spring rolls, so we headed for Adventureland. Oh my gosh they are so delicious! We were kind of regretting splitting an order, but Benn had still not gotten his pretzel and he was determined to get one today, so we refrained from ordering a second pair. We hit Jungle Cruise on a FP, where we were treated to the musings of Skipper Samantha, who broke a 3-skipper losing streak for me. Finally a skipper who clearly loved her job, had excellent delivery, and didn't try to chew on the microphone while spieling. We were going to hop on Pirates quick, but according to the CM at the entrance, they hadn't been able to open yet for the day. It was around 4:30 by this point! eek

On our way to get Benn a pretzel, we happened upon a pop-up character dance party led by Horace Horsecollar!! The country bears were there, too. It was awesome! Our Mickey Pretzel was pretty good, but the delicious-looking processed cheese flavored dip was really salty. I was hoping for more of a nacho cheese, but it wasn't quite the same.

We joined the Haunted Mansion line and I was excited to tell Benn all of the great things that I had learned on the Marceline to MK tour. The posted wait time was 30 minutes, but we waited more like 45 and and the stretching room/queue situation was awful. They were only filling the stretching rooms halfway, so that was good, but the queue after the stretching room was PACKED! They really needed to just skip one entire stretching room sequence because between technical issues and loading/offloading mobility impaired riders, the queue just kept getting fuller and fuller as the ride stopped and restarted again about every 45 seconds while we waited. It stopped three more times while we were on the ride. I've never seen Haunted Mansion running this poorly or be this poorly managed. By the time we visited Momento Mori and rounded the end of the line to head for our final FP at BTMR, the posted wait time was an hour and the line stretched nearly to the Liberty Square Riverboat.

After BTMR, we took the train around to Main Street so we could stroll up the street with all of the lights on. I love spending time on Main Street. The rides are great, but the ambiance of Main Street is definitely among my favorite things about MK. I love the hustle and bustle of the morning race for the hot, new attraction while all of the retail CM's line the street to wave. I love the vehicles, the citizens of Main Street, the and the live performers (especially the Dapper Dans) in the afternoons. At night, I love the lights, the shows & parades, and the snacks. It's such a fun place to hang out. I think I could literally spend an entire day just walking around on Main Street and people watching. I'll have to try it sometime. We walked up to the carrousel, which I love for its history and uniqueness. It's not just any old carrousel slapped up behind the castle. It's over 100 years old and is one of very few remaining carrousels built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. We had lots of extra time to appreciate the Carrousel tonight because it broke down right after we got in line. I was trying really hard to figure out which horse belonged to Cinderella--especially when we ended up at the front of the line after it started running again, but I think I picked the wrong one. I was looking for the gold bow at the base of the tail and the closest I could find was a gold ribbon behind the saddle. Afterwards I looked it up online and I think that the ribbon is supposed to be lower on the horse's tail. You'd think that I would have looked it up while we were waiting, but unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to do that.

We were close to ADR time, but when we arrived at the check-in podium, we were advised to wait 10-15 minutes, so we wandered down to Big Top Souvenirs to see if we could find the BB8 mouse ears. No dice, but we found a really cute Yoda Stitch and an "Up" pin with 3D bead balloons. We reported back to the podium and we were seated within about 5 minutes. Oh something new that I think has happened in the past month or so--there are not more restaurant pagers. They now take your cell phone number and page you when your table is ready.

We had been somewhat underwhelmed by BoG lunch, but we really wanted to try it for dinner to make sure that we hadn't levied judgment unjustly. WOW. Dinner was so much better than lunch! Just having all of the guests stay seated with only the wait staff hustling around improved the atmosphere tremendously! Benn had a steak and I had the shrimp and scallops. It wasn't a lot of food, but it was really good! The Beast walked through the dining room twice during our meal and we got to have a photo with him afterward. Robert was our server for the evening and I would highly recommend him. He was knowledgeable, personable, and just had an aura of Disney Magic about him.

I had been hoping to go to Jellyrolls in the evening since we'd had so much fun there in the fall, but the day before Benn's throat had been a little bit scratchy and now he definitely had a bit of a cold, so we scrapped that idea, which left us debating whether our timeline allowed for Top of the World of not with an 8pm dinner reservation. But then we looked at the app and Wishes was listed for 7pm, so we figured that we would watch it from behind the castle right before dinner. Not much point in going to Top of the World if there were no fireworks since we weren't trying to stay out late drinking so Benn could get sufficient rest and wasn't cranky for the rest of the trip. Later we found out that Wishes was actually at 10:00 like it was supposed to be but Be Our Guest was running behind and there was no way that we would comfortably make it in time for TotW. So our plan upon entering the park was that we would have a leisurely dinner and watch Wishes, but as we finished dinner, we realized that while we wanted dessert, we had no interest in the BoG cupcake selection. We'd tried them previously at lunch and we were not fans of the options that we had. We had both decided on ice cream. And not just any ice cream. We wanted to go to Beaches and Cream! We looked up their hours and considered when dinner would finish and how long it would take us to get back and we calculated that if we made it out of the park before Wishes was over that we would probably make it home in time. As is turned out, we got to go out the behind Main Street exit, which I had never seen before in person and the bus pulled up within minutes of our arrival at the bus stop. We made it with about 30 minutes to spare and had plenty of time to enjoy our Milky Way sundae. The first pick is a "Mickey Pants" sundae dish converted into a crayon holder that would fulfill and obsessive compulsive's dream! laugh Our server Matt was a lot of fun.

__________________

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.

amy1989's picture
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just been catching up on your report LOVE it! keep it coming!

your review of the plaza has made me add another sneaky ADR there for our trip in April that cheesesteak sandwich looks absolutely delicious!

your pictures of symphony in the stars looks amazing we are planning on going twice in April seen as the show will be changed by September I'm planning on sneaking in on our arrival day but will be probably stand near the exit will i still have a good view? and where would you recommend for an awesome view for when we are in the park proper? want to make sure i get that atmosphere!

loved your M&G with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren I'm hoping to meet them too!!!

oh my word you F&G food pictures had me drooling!!!! most of the things on your good list are things i want to try so super happy about that!

looking forward to more TR love reading along!

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amy1989 wrote:
just been catching up on your report LOVE it! keep it coming!

your review of the plaza has made me add another sneaky ADR there for our trip in April that cheesesteak sandwich looks absolutely delicious!

your pictures of symphony in the stars looks amazing we are planning on going twice in April seen as the show will be changed by September I'm planning on sneaking in on our arrival day but will be probably stand near the exit will i still have a good view? and where would you recommend for an awesome view for when we are in the park proper? want to make sure i get that atmosphere!

loved your M&G with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren I'm hoping to meet them too!!!

oh my word you F&G food pictures had me drooling!!!! most of the things on your good list are things i want to try so super happy about that!

looking forward to more TR love reading along!

Amy, I would definitely work my way towards the front of the park for Symphony in the Stars. We felt like there was a significant difference in the experience between mid-street and near the entrance. I would try to go just in front of the palm trees to be able to get the panoramic effect without obstructions. When I heard about Launch Bay, I was kind of meh, but if the interactions and theming in this slap together placeholder are a preview of what's to come in Star Wars Land, I think there will be a lot of Star Wars converts when it finally opens.

__________________

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 | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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

alicemouse wrote:
amy1989 wrote:
just been catching up on your report LOVE it! keep it coming!

your review of the plaza has made me add another sneaky ADR there for our trip in April that cheesesteak sandwich looks absolutely delicious!

your pictures of symphony in the stars looks amazing we are planning on going twice in April seen as the show will be changed by September I'm planning on sneaking in on our arrival day but will be probably stand near the exit will i still have a good view? and where would you recommend for an awesome view for when we are in the park proper? want to make sure i get that atmosphere!

loved your M&G with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren I'm hoping to meet them too!!!

oh my word you F&G food pictures had me drooling!!!! most of the things on your good list are things i want to try so super happy about that!

looking forward to more TR love reading along!

Amy, I would definitely work my way towards the front of the park for Symphony in the Stars. We felt like there was a significant difference in the experience between mid-street and near the entrance. I would try to go just in front of the palm trees to be able to get the panoramic effect without obstructions. When I heard about Launch Bay, I was kind of meh, but if the interactions and theming in this slap together placeholder are a preview of what's to come in Star Wars Land, I think there will be a lot of Star Wars converts when it finally opens.

Thanks Holly! I'm going to get as close as I can! I also think I am one of these Star Wars Converts I only watched them for the first time last year because I thought it was time and now I'm hooked! I cannot wait for the expansion! thanks for the tips!

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Day 7 - Sunday, March 6 (10.66 miles)

Last full day sad , but with Benn being even more congested this morning and me waking up with a scratchy throat that was decidedly heading toward full blown cold, we were actually ok the impending trip home. But first, a resort change and two more beautiful park days! I should mention that the weather was absolutely perfect this week. In fact, this was BY FAR the best weather that we have ever enjoyed in Florida.

Our plan from the previous evening had been to jet over to MEMH at DHS this morning to hop on TSM quick before packing up for our move to AKL. Since Benn woke up feeling poorly, he was more in the mood for a slow, luxurious wake-up than jockeying for position at the gate an joining the TSM morning stampede. I, on the other hand, had a mission to accomplish! I beat feet for Hollywood Studios and despite the fact that I was feeling a little bit sluggish this morning, myself, I did make it with about 10 minutes to spare. I did make a critical misstep. The boat was at the BC dock when I left the lobby and even though I was hustling, even jogging at some points, the boat beat me to DHS by 1 minute. I could have beaten that boat if I had gone over the bridge and through Boardwalk to get to the walking path. Fortunately, I had grabbed my phone and water bottle and headed out the door this morning, so no bag check!! yay These guys weren't feeling excited about being up early in the morning:

Holy AM crowd, Batman! For all of the low crowd days that we had enjoyed so far, this one made up for it in spades! Still I made it to TSM with only a 25-minute wait. Final score: 205,300!!!! stars banana yeah And for my efforts? STILL a kitty! *sigh* What really dumps a big pile of salt in the wound is that if I had played my normal game on the last game, I think I would have hit 250K, but I'd pulled off my best first 4 rounds ever (by A LOT) and I got sloppy at the end. There's always next time, right? I really wanted to get back in line, but it was 8:30 already and the wait was now 60+ minute. We had to be out of the room by 11 and I still needed to pack up, so I dragged myself away.

After we got packed up, we decided that it was a great day for an Easter egg hunt, so we picked up one of the little sticker kits. I'd never bought one before because $6 seemed like a lot for a little map with some stickers, but it was really fun! I remembered seeing the Easter Eggs at DL last year and they were so obviously placed it was silly. We weren't even looking or trying to do the egg hunt and we found a bunch of them. I hadn't randomly noticed ANY eggs at Epcot and I'd spent parts of 5 days in this park already. Some of them were really tough! At the end (or if you gave up, in the middle), you could return your map to the Port of Entry and collect your prize--a plastic Easter Egg themed for a character. I chose the Cheshire Cat. The egg is plastic, but it's substantial. and it has a zigzag pattern instead of the straight line around the center that the cheap plastic Easter eggs have.

Our FastPasses were in Epcot this morning, so we did Test Track and I think we just skipped whatever the other two were. I wanted to check out Urban Farm Eats. I have no recollection what this is, but it was delicious and it came with naan bread. The scrims around the temple in China were gone this morning and it looks shinier than I remember. We got a chance Mulan sighting.

Mid-Egg Hunt, Benn wanted to stop for lunch at Via Napoli. Ok sure. Why not? We waited and waited and waited...40 minutes! We finally asked what was going on when a party of two with whom we had been chatting was called after less than 10 minutes and they were walk-ups as well. Turns out that they had somehow shuffled our slip to the bottom of the pile. We were finally seated and we decided to try an entree. We went for the Chicken Parmesan in hopes that it would redeem the dish after the awful Food & Garden version. No such luck. The chicken still tasted like frozen breaded patty. The sauce was better at least. Fortunately, we decide to try dessert because we couldn't leave feeling sad about our meal and that was at least an improvement.

On our way out of Epcot, we caught Servuer Amusing (I can't get enough of these guys) and happened upon an Alice Meet & Greet that was just about to start, so we hopped in the very short line. We told Alice not just about our cat called Alice, but about her new pet called Dinah. So of course we had a very nice conversation with her. We finally made it a point to stop at the Disney Card Member meet & greet in Future World. If you've got one of these cards, I highly recommend it. There was no line at all and apparently the characters change throughout the day, so you can come back again and again! There was also a free print for Annual Passholders that was being given away in a room off the back hallway of the building that houses Club Cool, Starbucks, and Character Spot. The March print is Donald Duck. April and May will be Mickey and...Goofy? Maybe? Just before we hit the park entrance, we were invited to do a dining survey, so we gladly obliged because of our "off" Via Napoli experience.

We bused over to Animal Kingdom Lodge, where we had resigned ourselves to staying in for the night so that we could sufficiently explore the amenities. I'd made a mistake in the morning when we dropped our bags at Bell Services. I thought that we were staying at Kidani. Nope turns out we were at Jambo House. I got the room ready text ahead of time, so we could have proceeded directly to our room, but when I saw the text, I realized that my mistake necessitated a quick stop at Bell Services. Well of course we got the whole thing sorted out quickly and we were on our way to our room!

When they call these hallways "trails", they're not kidding! We didn't do very much walking around parks today. Our mileage count came from walking to the room and back! WOW. I have no idea which savannah we were looking at, but we had a nice spot--it seems that the DVC rooms are on the 5th floor? It was afternoon when we arrived, so we didn't see a ton of activity at first, but as sunset approached, we got some prime giraffe viewing time.

Dinner tonight was at Boma. While I was eating my first plate, I was really pleased with everything, but I was so full after the second plate that I probably won't be able to go back for awhile now. I think in the future, I'll probably opt for Sanaa now that I know what a lot of different things taste like. The reason that I'd wanted to eat here, aside from the ability to try more items, was the carrot ginger soup that we had sampled during the culinary tour. I'm not sure if it was because I had a cold or if a different chef made it this time, but once I had a whole bowl available, I really didn't care for it all that much. It was a little bit overbearing. We tried the zebra domes again. I'm still underwhelmed. They're ok and I'd eat them if they were available, but I wouldn't rush over to AKL just for those.

After dinner, we walked around the pool area. We didn't feel much like swimming with not feeling 100% well and having gained about 15 lbs. during dinner, but the pool certainly looks nice. I understand that the one at Kidani is even better, but we didn't get a chance to see that one. Our end game in walking the pool area was to find the night viewing area. Those night vision goggles are pretty neat. I don't know if I need to do the exclusive tour to play with them more, but it was definitely a cool thing to see.

We turned in early tonight so that we could spend some time enjoying our balcony and get adequate rest for our last day. Originally it was going to be an AK day, but Benn was really sad that our plans didn't include MK for our last day, so we made a last minute change.

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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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Day 8 - Monday, March 7 (8.17 miles)

Time to go home Sad( , but with a Tragical Express pick-up time of 5:50pm, plenty of time for fun first! I was awful about taking pictures today apparently. I always get a little sad on the last day...

We were up at 7:00 to enjoy a little bit more time on our balcony. Sadly we only saw birds this morning, but we still had fun watching them over our oatmeal. We were a tiny bit sluggish this morning with both of us feeling a little congested and just generally slow, but we got our act together and got our AK FP's switched to the afternoon so that we could spend some time at Magic Kingdom in the morning.

We finally got out the door and arrived at MK around 9:30. It was PACKED! I guess Spring Break was officially in full swing and the low crowds that we had been enjoying all week were no more. We passed up a 5-minute wait for Pirates because BTMR was only supposedly 10 minutes. Well, BTMR was actually 30 minutes and by the time we got back to Pirates, it was 20 minutes. It would be one thing if this was our first trip, but I know better...

We really wanted some more Cheeseburger egg rolls, but even though we hung around until a little after 11, thinking that maybe they were a "lunchtime" thing, but they never made an appearance. Maybe that's why I've missed them in the past. We opted for Columbia Harbor House instead. I had the shrimp and Benn had the chicken nuggets. It was so nice to sit upstairs with a view of Fantasyland from a cozy little nook. For dessert, we went for ice cream from...Storybook Treats, I think. We tried to join the line to meet the Mad Hatter, but sadly, it was closed. We took one last stab at finding the BB8 mouse ears--we had seriously looked in more than a dozen stores. I was so mad at myself for not buying a pair immediately when I saw them.

We spent the rest of our MK time hanging out on Main Street. We caught the Dapper Dans and the Trolley Show and watched Jason at Crystal Arts make a dolphin. (Did I already post this pic? I might have put it on the wrong day.)

We hopped to AK for what was hands down the best time that Benn and I have ever had together at this park. We finally hit a nice cool (by Florida standards) day that wasn't super crowded (apparently everyone was at Magic Kingdom). We started off with a great Tree of Life photo op right in front of the temporary replacement show for Flights of Wonder. Then we moved on the meet & greet with Dug & Russell. Benn yelled "squirrel!" at Dug and I got Russell to start of for Fenton's to get ice cream. I've always meant to stop for this meet & greet and have never taken the time. I'm so glad that we finally did.

Our Safari was pretty good. I saw the African Painted Dogs for the first time. We also got our best cheetah photo op ever (though it's still pretty bad) and we saw a lioness standing on the rock, but it was an awkward angle and I was too slow with the camera. The giraffes were back today and I got some good elephant shots.

We split a combo at Flame Tree BBQ. I own't say that I was exceptionally angry, but I love the food there and I couldn't resist knowing that crappy airport dinner was in our future. We could see the seating area for Rivers of Light from the pavilion that we chose for our seating. We finished up in Dinoland where we rode Primeval Whirl, which was a wasted FP because it was walk-on. We probably would have been better off to switch our FP's to MK for the morning and just wait in line for the Safari, but c'est la vie. Our last Disney activity for the trip was to play a couple of rounds at Chester & Hester's. I used to be very much opposed to playing extra for games at a theme park, but I've really started to enjoy this little diversion. Benn won a blue dinosaur playing whack-a-dino and I won a bear playing basketball.

We had decided to end at AK just because if we had a bus issue returning to the resort, we were at least geographically close to where we need to be. Well, we arrived at the bus stop to find a VERY long return line for AKL. Fortunately, a bus arrived within a few minutes and a second bus about 5 minutes later and we were off! I'm glad we didn't err on the side of being extra cautious with time. I'd have been super bummed to spend our last hour waiting/bussing back.

We stopped off at the Mara for one last ice cream (the bear tried to eat my Mickey bar!) and spent some time watching the animal at the observation deck, where we talked to one of the guides on exchange from Botswana who had recently arrived in the U.S. He was very excited to see snow! Poor guy. He won't see much of that in Florida!

Our DME (DTE?) ride was uneventful and since we had done resort luggage check-in, we were able to go straight to security. The line was ridiculous as always, but we did have enough time to have a snack. I don't remember where I decided to eat or what I ordered, but I do remember that it was disappointing. I wish there was an On the Border in the Southwest terminal. The flight was FULL and since we were on Southwest in the C boarding group, we got split up and were left with middle seats. at least were were on adjacent rows. Benn sat with friendly people. My people looked like they would gouge out your eyes if you spoke to them. It was a rough trip. I was too warm and I was uncomfortable and stuffy and wedged in a center seat...cue panic attack. Fabulous. Luckily, the wind was in our favor and the flight was smooth and short.

So that's the end of my little report. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Next up, Disneyland!

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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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Loved your trip report awesome

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Great report! You packed a lot in!!!

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Loved your trip report! So excited for my first flower and garden and you really helped me decide on what foods to try.

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Great report - thanks for bringing us along!

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Thanks everyone muchlove

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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.

amy1989's picture
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late to the party but great report!!! loved reading it and cant wait for the next one! yay

alicemouse's picture
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Thanks, Amy! It won't be a long wait~only 5 days until Disneyland!! It's short and work-related and I'm traveling by myself, but I'm still pretty darn excited!

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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

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 | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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alicemouse wrote:
Thanks, Amy! It won't be a long wait~only 5 days until Disneyland!! It's short and work-related and I'm traveling by myself, but I'm still pretty darn excited!

I wish my workplace did Disney inspired trips!!!!! anytime at Disney is better than no time at Disney! have an AWESOME time and come tell us all about it!