Summer at Saratoga Springs

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What a great trip report just got caught up on the whole report Smile ...Now im going to have to try the Wave mickey

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Do try it! I cannot overemphasize how awesome the food is.

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Day 5 - DHS, Epcot, and Akershus

Before going to bed Tuesday night, I went online to rearrange our Wednesday FastPasses at Disney's Hollywood Studios and discovered that the Frozen sing-along was now available on weekdays - it wasn't when we first made the FPs, although that may have been because the Frozen event had not been extended into September yet. So I cancelled our Muppets FP (because it's pointless this time of year) and added the sing-along instead.

Hubby was still not feeling well Wednesday morning and decided to rest and soak in the whirlpool tub while I headed out to DHS, although he assured me he'd be there soon. The buses to that park must have been running almost back-to-back; although I didn't see a DHS bus pulling out as I approached our bus stop, the bus I boarded was empty and nobody else boarded at the subsequent stop, so I basically had a bus all to myself. I arrived at the park a little before 10:00 and passed on the Olaf fans they were handing out - I don't like to carry stuff around the parks, but as hot as it was, by midday I regretted that decision. I swung passed Toy Story Mania as always, but the standby line was too long. Meanwhile hubby's Tower of Terror FastPass was ticking away, but this was probably not the day for him to experience that attraction anyway. I stopped at the Writer's Stop and got an apple Danish and a Coke for breakfast (I saw the famous carrot cake cookie but preferred something a little more breakfasty), then headed over to the Muppets show and got in with no wait at all. Definitely glad I switched that FastPass.

The Frozen sing-along was coming up soon, and I found a somewhat shady spot to wait until the FP entrance opened. I lucked into the second to last seat in my row, so if hubby had decided to come he would've been able to sit with me. I texted to ask if he would arrive in time for the show, but he said he'd changed his mind about coming at all, so a woman travelling alone ended up beside me. We had a nice chat about all things Frozen, DVC (she's a member), Saratoga Springs (she's also a fan), and our respective trip plans while waiting for the show to begin. As one of the first people in, I got what would've been an awesome seat if a tall family travelling with a disabled person hadn't occupied the reserved seating right in front of me. You'll see from the photos below; I cropped a few to eliminate the heads but couldn't do that with every photo. As for the show itself, it was lots of fun. If you haven't seen it yet, the characters involved were Anna and Elsa (of course), Kristoff, and two narrators whose names I cannot remember. Anna came out first, welcomed us, and introduced the narrators, who took over from there, summarizing the plot of the movie with stills in the background interspersed with musical numbers from the film with the little karaoke dot bouncing along the lyrics (just like on the Mitch Miller show if you're old enough to remember that - and I know most of you are not old enough). Kristoff arrived mid-show, and Elsa and Anna returned at the end for one last number featuring the whole cast. If you liked Frozen, you will enjoy this show, it's quite well done. The gal portraying Anna was especially good.

Before the show, while I was exchanging texts with hubby, he mentioned that it was too bad I hadn't taken his spare MagicBand (we each have two) because then I could have ridden Toy Story Mania twice. Yeah, that would've been nice, but nothing I could do about it now. So I headed over to TSM and got my highest score ever, 149,300 points, and wondered whether 700 more points might have made me a kitty instead of a beaver yet again. While I was on the ride my cell phone buzzed; after I got off I checked the message and discovered that hubby was coming to DHS just to bring me his spare MagicBand so I could ride again! Wasn't that sweet of him, especially since he still didn't feel very well. So back I went hoping to improve on my score, but unfortunately I did slightly less well and got yet another beaver.

After TSM we stopped for lunch at ABC Commissary and got our standard Asian salads, one with chicken and one with no meat, with the chicken shared between us. Because of our Akershus ADR later that evening, we didn't want to fill up on lunch. Then we returned to Saratoga Springs so hubby could rest and I could wash off the afternoon stickies. We headed over to Epcot a bit before 4:30 to ensure we would make our 5:30 ADR on time and arrived with a good half hour to spare, so of course we made our way to Club Cool to chug some more Beverly. A man saw us pouring the stuff and warned us not to try it, only to be surprised when we told him we actually like it. Meanwhile a CM who was tending the area looked at us as if we had to be insane. Believe me, I saw enough squinting faces and puckered mouths to know that our appreciation of Beverly is not shared by most people. After that we still had time to kill, so hubby hit the tobacco attraction while I examined some of the Food and Wine Festival booths. They don't have their signage up yet, but it's pretty obvious which countries some of them belong to, as evidenced by the kangaroos all over the one pictured below.

Even with all these stops, we still arrived at Akershus early and had to wait a few minutes to be seated, but still made it inside before our 5:30 reservation. First we posed with Belle, who asked if we were celebrating something; when we mentioned our anniversary a couple of days earlier, she asked our secret to a long marriage, and I said, "Laugh a lot." This was our first time eating at Akershus, and we both really liked it. I confess we were there mainly for the food, not the princess encounters. We both sampled several items on the koldtbord (buffet line), and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I sampled - a cured meat something like salami, smoked salmon, cold cooked salmon, quinoa salad, chicken salad, cucumber salad, carrot salad, and something that reminded me of an apple-fennel salad I make at home. Excellent. We both ordered the kjottkake, or Norwegian meatballs, and they also were quite tasty. Meanwhile the princesses were making the rounds - Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White. Three out of four treated us no differently from the guests at any other table in spite of the lack of little princesses in our party, so I have photos of hubby posing with two of the lovely ladies, and he took one of me with my favorite, Aurora. You will guess from the one photo we don't have which princess sort of rushed through our meet-and-greet, but even she was friendly enough, and as I said, we were there for the food. But poor Cinderella! One of the original, classic, iconic Disney princesses, and now she has little girls running up to her and shouting, "Hi, Elsa!" all because she happens to be wearing a gown in a similar color. Dessert was a trio of chocolate mousse, apple cake, and rice cream, but hubby didn't have his usual appetite, so we had our server package the desserts up to take back to Saratoga Springs - and unfortunately the mousse melted all over the apple cake, which made for an interesting dessert. All in all, we very much enjoyed Akershus and would dine there again, but mainly for the food, not the princesses. If you're looking for a princess meal with good food, this would be a great place to go.

After dinner hubby didn't feel up to doing much more, so he strolled back to the smoking area while I took a turn around the World Showcase. In Germany I purchased a bag of the Werther's caramel corn that many of you have recommended. Unlike last visit, this time I found the fresh stuff instead of just the prepackaged popcorn with (gasp!) chocolate added (no, no, no, we do not ruin good caramel corn by adding chocolate). And I agree, the caramel corn is superb. While passing through the UK area I stopped in the Twinings shop on the odd chance the Christmas tea was available, but I guess it is still a little early for that. I'll have to check back again in November or just order some online. I examined all of the Food and Wine Festival booths as I circled the World Showcase and am very much looking forward to visiting them all later this fall. Once I'd returned to hubby we headed back to Club Cool for some more Beverly, then decided to skip evening extra magic hours and call it an early night so hubby could rest.

Next up: Magic Kingdom, wandering around, and The Wave

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I am so enjoying your trip report, you make me smile. I was really dubious about staying at SSR but am now a convert and would happily go back there. I like Beverly too, not sure G shares my enthusiasm though! The only thing I didn't like a out the Club Cool area was the sticky floor around the machines it was just a bit ick for me.

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I agree, the sticky floors around the fountains at Club Cool are icky. Probably due to all those people pouring their Beverly down the drain - although I can't really point fingers since I poured some of that Japanese soft drink down the drain myself.

Photos, hope these post properly, I've been trying for a while and keep getting an error message. I'm even trying from a different computer this time. It's mostly the Frozen sing-along with a night time shot of Downtown Disney from Saratoga Springs. This is pretty close to what we could see out our windows, minus the trees partially blocking the view.

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Day 6 - MK, wandering around, The Wave, and more MK

Thursday morning hubby slept in again; I headed for the bus stop a little past 7:30 for morning extra magic hours at the Magic Kingdom and unfortunately saw a bus pulling away from the stop as I approached. But I got lucky again this morning, as another MK bus arrived just a few minutes later. I thought I might have another solo bus ride, but at the last stop a large family boarded (four adult couples of varying ages and two small children), and suddenly my quiet bus became the PARTY bus! The family was in high spirits and our bus driver got into the mood as well. He played the "Disney Princess" message for the little girl in the group, then the "Happy Birthday" message for the same little girl, then the "Happy Anniversary" message for one of the couples, and then for fun played the "Watch Your Language, This Is a Family Resort" message, which I didn't know existed, followed by the "We're Sorry but the Magic Kingdom Is at Capacity and No More Guests Will Be Admitted" message, which I also did not know existed, but makes sense when you think about it. He finished up by playing the "Disney Pirate" message for the little boy. It was a blast and lots more fun than riding a boring old bus all by my lonesome.

We arrived at MK right after it opened for MEMH, so I headed straight to Fantasyland hoping to get on Peter Pan's Flight with no wait, which I did. Then I did It's a Small World, also with no wait, followed by Winnie the Pooh with a very short wait, and Under the Sea with no wait at all (and I am happy to report that Ariel in the Under the Sea room had been repaired and was working normally again). By then the park was open to non-resort guests, and I got a message from hubby saying he was on his way. I rode Haunted Mansion while I waited for him, then once we found each other we headed back to Peter Pan's Flight for our first FastPass of the day. Breakfast came next, which we got at Sleepy Hollow again - hubby had the ham and cheese omelet waffle sandwich while I got the waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, only this time I did not hold the cream. The begging ducks were all over the place, and one especially bold fellow stood on the brick wall above our table so we couldn't avoid seeing him. (See photos below.) Of course we gave him a little nibble, so he didn't budge until we'd packed up our trash and left.

Our FP for Splash Mountain wouldn't open for a while, so I went to Hall of Presidents to cool down while hubby visited the smoking attraction. He arrived at HoP just as they were about to let us in. I always enjoy this show, but now I understand why people who don't care for it visit it just to cool down and take a load off their feet - it was quite refreshing on a day when the temperatures were already scorching hot and it wasn't even close to noon yet. Splash Mountain came next, and we were pleased to get a little wet this time. Then on our way to Buzz Lightyear for our final FP, hubby suggested sharing a Dole Whip, which I will admit is not my favorite MK treat, but in the summer heat it was quite refreshing. At Buzz Lightyear I actually got a pretty good score for me; can't remember what it was but I made the third score category instead of the second, which is where I usually end up. Meanwhile hubby's score resembled mine with an extra zero at the end. I don't know why, I just stink at this particular game. I'd much rather be doing Toy Story Mania even if I never get that darn cat. (But hold the phone, maybe I will get that kitty...more on that below.)

After Buzz Lightyear we visited one of the FastPass kiosks hoping to get hubby a FP for Space Mountain later that evening, but they were only offering times through mid-afternoon. But no problem - the first window was only a few minutes away, so hubby headed for space while I took a tour on the Peoplemover. Once we were back together we returned to the FP kiosk thinking that the available windows for Peter Pan's Flight might include evening hours, and they did, so we got a FP for that attraction so we could see it after dark when our eyes were accustomed to lower light and we would be able to see more details inside the attraction.

By this point I w asmiserably hot and just wanted to get back to Saratoga Springs and get into the shower. But hubby wanted to take the resort ferry over to Wilderness Lodge to check it out since we'll be staying there this winter and we've never so much as set foot in the place before. I definitely did not want to go, but I decided to be a good sport and go along. The water breezes on the ferryboat made the trip rather more enjoyable than I expected, and then after a short but furnace-like walk to the resort we were inside. And I must say, it is indeed a lovely resort. I can understand why so many of you love to stay there, and I am very much looking forward to our stay.

While at WL we happened upon the pin kiosk. Hubby and I are not big pin traders, but we both have pins on our hats - hubby's theme is Disney resorts at which we've either stayed or eaten (and he'll expand that to include the Disney Cruise Line once we've taken our cruise), while my theme is, of course, CATS. I already had what I thought were all the available cat pins (except Tigger, and I got him later this trip), but whenever I passed a pin stand or pin trading opportunity I kept an eye out for a new kitty. This stand had no new kitties for sale, so I checked the large pin trading board, and after I'd just about given up on finding a cat, my eyes suddenly fell on...could it be? IT'S THE KITTY FROM TOY STORY MIDWAY MANIA!!!! A pin version of the kitty just above the beaver that I can never get when I play that game! I didn't even know that pin existed, but of course now it's on my hat along with all the other cats! So even if I never earn the kitty on the ride, I have him on my hat. He is MINE! I traded one of the three pins we got at Magic Kingdom Sunday. (Did I mention that? There's a pin trading game in Frontierland near the Country Bears where you give them a pin, spin a wheel containing boxes with pins inside, and you get whatever is in the box that ends up under the pointer, or you can try again but then you have to take whatever you get. On our second spin we lucked into three pins neither one of us wants, so they are now for pin trading.) I have a crappy photo of my new kitty pin, which is quite small and did not take a very good picture, but it's good enough that you can see it's really the TSM kitty.

Before leaving we found the locations of all the Wilderness Lodge restaurants (we'll visit them all during our winter stay), then headed back into the heat and waited for the Downtown Disney bus. More on this day later....

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Great TR! My husband and I both have "height issues" at WDW, but they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
I am only 5'2 so I try to find a place as close to the front as possible so I can see. My DH is over 6'5 with his shoes on and he has very broad shoulders. He is hyper aware of people not being able to see behind him or around him. He feels guilty about it when we are at WDW, even though there is nothing he can do about it.

Many times when we've been waiting to see a parade, Celebrate the magic or Wishes, he tells me to stay where I am and he moves the whole way to the back of the crowd. It's nice of him to do but it's not his fault he's tall and I want to be able to enjoy these experiences with him. I'm sorry for the people behind him, but if we got there first, they need to find a different spot. I would never expect people taller than me to move out of the way for me, if they were there first.

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A few photos from my MEMH rides

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Our breakfast, the especially bold begging duck, and the Toy Story Mania kitty pin!

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AnnielovesDisney wrote:
Great TR! My husband and I both have "height issues" at WDW, but they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
I am only 5'2 so I try to find a place as close to the front as possible so I can see. My DH is over 6'5 with his shoes on and he has very broad shoulders. He is hyper aware of people not being able to see behind him or around him. He feels guilty about it when we are at WDW, even though there is nothing he can do about it.

Many times when we've been waiting to see a parade, Celebrate the magic or Wishes, he tells me to stay where I am and he moves the whole way to the back of the crowd. It's nice of him to do but it's not his fault he's tall and I want to be able to enjoy these experiences with him. I'm sorry for the people behind him, but if we got there first, they need to find a different spot. I would never expect people taller than me to move out of the way for me, if they were there first.

Annie, I completely agree. If the tall people are there first, so be it, I walk on past and keep looking for a spot where I can get a decent view. But when they stand in front of me after I've staked out my spot, knowing I'm right there, I find that rather rude.

Also, I'm not complaining about those taller folks who sat in the reserved handicapped seating in front of me at the Frozen sing-along. There are only so many sections reserved for the disabled, so of course they had to take the seats that were available.

My hubby is not as tall as yours, but he's a good foot taller than I am, and when we go to see parades and fireworks he always stands behind me. He can see over my head, and he leaves a spot beside me free for someone shorter than he is.

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crazycatperson wrote:
AnnielovesDisney wrote:
Great TR! My husband and I both have "height issues" at WDW, but they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
I am only 5'2 so I try to find a place as close to the front as possible so I can see. My DH is over 6'5 with his shoes on and he has very broad shoulders. He is hyper aware of people not being able to see behind him or around him. He feels guilty about it when we are at WDW, even though there is nothing he can do about it.

Many times when we've been waiting to see a parade, Celebrate the magic or Wishes, he tells me to stay where I am and he moves the whole way to the back of the crowd. It's nice of him to do but it's not his fault he's tall and I want to be able to enjoy these experiences with him. I'm sorry for the people behind him, but if we got there first, they need to find a different spot. I would never expect people taller than me to move out of the way for me, if they were there first.

Annie, I completely agree. If the tall people are there first, so be it, I walk on past and keep looking for a spot where I can get a decent view. But when they stand in front of me after I've staked out my spot, knowing I'm right there, I find that rather rude.

Also, I'm not complaining about those taller folks who sat in the reserved handicapped seating in front of me at the Frozen sing-along. There are only so many sections reserved for the disabled, so of course they had to take the seats that were available.

My hubby is not as tall as yours, but he's a good foot taller than I am, and when we go to see parades and fireworks he always stands behind me. He can see over my head, and he leaves a spot beside me free for someone shorter than he is.

I agree with you 100%! If you are there first no one should think they have the right to stand in front of you, regardless of height. I didn't think you were complaining about the people at Frozen. Sorry if it came off that way. awesome

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I have so been enjoying your TR! mickey

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crazycatperson wrote:
Fortunately I still had a decent view of the fireworks, which I declare to be the best in all of Walt Disney World and well worth seeing. Even if you're not going to MNSSHP, if you're at WDW in September or October, stop at the Ticket and Transportation Center and watch from the boat dock, or from the ferry itself.

The party wasn't over yet, but hubby was feeling so miserable we decided to leave early. Overall, hubby and I had differing opinions of MNSSHP. He said it wasn't worth the 60-some dollars and would not do it again (although that might have been the cold talking). I disagree. So the next time we're at WDW in September or October, I will hope that some of you are there also and we can meet up for the party because it will be much more fun doing it with my fellow Disney fanatics.

I agree with you CCP - the fireworks for MNSSHP were the best I have seen at WDW as well and I would definitely pay the $60 and more to attend again next year. And that is a great idea to turn it into a WDWFG meet & greet. And your costumes are great - the extent of my costume was wearing orange and black! biggrin

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That is one sinister looking duck.

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I love your MNSSHP costumes!

I'm pretty sure that you're right about the kitty--700 more points and it would have been yours! Just think of those games as more practice for November!

I totally agree about the food at Akershus. We loved the koldtbord and we were definitely there for the food. I would go back again in a second, but I don't want to pay the princess premium on the meal since I really couldn't care less about the character portion of the meal. I remember the dessert plate being particularly fantastic, too.

We saw some particularly aggressive beggars (including a crazy squirrel that jumped into a stroller--thankfully no baby inside) at Sleepy Hollow in August, so they must be pretty successful at conning guests into sharing their waffles.

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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 6, continued...

I should mention that hubby was feeling much better Thursday - after all, he was the one who wanted to prowl all over while I just wanted to get back to our resort and out of the heat. So, we took the Downtown Disney bus at Wilderness Lodge, since our building at Saratoga Springs is just about as close to the DTD bus stop as it is to the nearest SSR bus stop. We hadn't eaten anything since our waffle breakfast, but with our Wave ADR coming up in just a few hours we didn't want to eat much, so we walked to Earl of Sandwich and shared the Hawaiian BBQ sandwich, which is now officially my favorite EOS sandwich. (But only without cheese - does this one come with cheese? I don't remember, but if it does, we got ours without it.) After our lunch/snack, we visited the big pin shop at DTD, where hubby looked for more resort pins and I looked for more kitties, buying that Tigger pin I mentioned earlier. Then we visited the design-your-own-T-shirt shop down at this end of Downtown Disney. I had an idea for a T-shirt to wear when I meet new WDWFG friends at the parks and wanted to see what I could do about it at this shop. I got to choose from numerous Disney graphics and add my own wording, so I checked out the cats and decided on Marie the kitten (the only other cat being the Cheshire cat, and I wanted something more like a real cat). Then I added my text, with the word "CRAZY" above Marie and "CATPERSON" underneath. And this is when I got to tangle with the Disney grammar and branding police. "I don't think they'll let you write "CATPERSON" as one word," the clerk announced. "They'll want you to put a space in." I explained that it was a screen name and actually the whole thing should be written without spaces, so she went back to get a woman I assume was a manager to approve the design. Well, not only did she not like "CATPERSON," she also didn't want me to put "CRAZY" above Marie lest people think it refers to Marie herself. By golly, the folks at Disney are seriously picky about how their characters are depicted. At this point hubby said, "There's always the option of not buying the shirt!" The manager eventually suggested putting "CRAZY CAT PERSON" all in one line above Marie so it would be obvious the "CRAZY" part refers to me, not sweet little Marie. Done! And 45 minutes later I had my shirt (see below). So the next time I meet any of you for the first time, you will know exactly who I am.

After a little R&R back in our rooms (not much, with all that running around) and of course my usual afternoon shower, we returned to the Downtown Disney bus stop to catch a bus to the Contemporary for our ADR at the Wave. This was our first time setting foot inside that resort after riding through it on the monorail numerous times. As always, we left extra time for transportation and arrived half an hour early, so we explored the resort first, wandering all over the fourth floor, which is visible from the monorail. Back down at The Wave, which is on the ground floor, we were seated immediately and realized we really didn't need an ADR at this restaurant, at least not in September. I'd read the glowing reviews of The Wave, but the "wave" theme that runs throughout the dining room is even more interesting in person. And the food! And the service! I can't say enough good things about this restaurant. Our amazing waiter, Ali, took our order and asked about wine; we weren't sure, so he asked enough questions to get a feel for what we like and returned with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon that he said would pair well with both my swordfish and hubby's vegetarian curry. He poured each of us a sip, and we agreed it was amazing, but only ordered two glasses instead of the whole bottle because we wanted to be awake after dinner for an evening at the Magic Kingdom. I've already described our food in an earlier post, but it won't hurt to repeat that this was the best meal we had all week, and if you have the chance to dine at The Wave, do it!

We walked to the Magic Kingdom after dinner and headed straight to Peter Pan's Flight for the extra FastPass we'd made earlier in the day. The park seemed a good bit more crowded than I expected based on the crowd estimates. The attraction lines weren't bad, for the most part, but the crowds lining the parade route were thicker than those we'd experienced during the Halloween party, and also significantly larger than those we'd encountered for the evening parade last April, when the crowd estimates were much, much higher. After Peter Pan's Flight hubby decided to get in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train standby line, which had a posted wait time of 50 minutes, and I took advantage of the opportunity to ride It's a Small World again, since hubby can't handle that ride more than once per trip. After Small World I was lucky to find an empty spot along the parade rout in the same place between Liberty Square and Frontierland where we'd stood to watch the Boo to You parade Tuesday evening, and I waited there for the Main Street Electric Parade, which was scheduled to begin in just 15 minutes but took closer to half an hour to make it that far back into the park. As I said, the parade crowds were quite thick and many other people came wandering by looking for a decent spot to view the parade. A family came by a little too late to find a good spot, and I overheard the father complaining about all the adults lining the parade route, as if we didn't have the same right to see the parade as the children did. Obviously one of those people who think the only reason to go to WDW is for your kids. However, I did sidle over a little so his daughter could stand beside me and get a better view of the parade. Not her fault her dad has a stick up his butt. Hubby texted that he was off 7DMT just as the parade made it to where I was, and he found a spot well behind the parade viewers and waited till the parade had passed to join me.

Once we were back together, I asked about 7DMT and he confirmed my suspicions that the ride is probably a little to motion-intensive for me to handle. Bummer. I'll have to find a YouTube video somewhere and get a look at it that way. We then headed over to Pirates of the Caribbean for one last ride this trip and finished up the evening by watching Wishes again, this time seeing the show from the beginning, but not from the best vantage point due to the crowds. Fortunately that show is worth seeing from any angle.

There was a nice long line for the Saratoga Springs bus. We found two empty seats in the back, but they weren't together, so I took one at the very back of the bus and hubby stood nearby. Good thing he did; just seconds later a middle-aged man climbed up into the back section while assisting what looked like a very small old man wearing a brightly colored kids' T-shirt and classic Mickey Mouse ears, and he took the last empty seat. It took me a few seconds to realize that this little person was one of those children with that disease that makes them age prematurely. The boy was probably no more than 10 or 12 years old but looked to be in his 80s. And I will never again complain about getting old. I may have plenty of "laugh lines" and creaky joints, but I came by them honestly over six decades of life, and odds are fair I've got another couple of decades in me and maybe more. And I hope that boy and his dad had the best damned Walt Disney World vacation any father and son could possibly have.

Next up: Epcot, Coral Reef, and time to pack for the trip home.

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Photos: Downtown Disney during the afternoon, hubby's new Sven stuffed animal, my new "CRAZY CAT PERSON" T-shirt, and a Cheshire Cat MagicBand slider that hubby got as a surprise for me (that's him modeling it while I took the photo).

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Oops! I missed a bunch of photos that I took Wednesday evening at Epcot and Akershus because they were taken using my cell phone and thus were in a different folder on my computer. Here we go...starting with what is obviously the Food and Wine Festival's Australia booth and continuing to the Akershus princesses.

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And the Akershus koldtbord! The first photo shows several of the salads and other vegetables along with an assortment of cheeses. The second shows more of the salads and some meats. The third includes the smoked salmon on the lower left and the cooked salmon on the right along with other fish and garnishes. There was also a green salad with dressing as well as steamed shrimp and a few other seafood dishes.

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Great trip report so far! Did you find that Akershus had enough "basic" foods to please a picky palate? I want to add that meal in for our trip next year for my daughter, but my in-laws are not exactly adventurous eaters and I want to make sure they'll be able to find something to eat.

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Allie wrote:
Great trip report so far! Did you find that Akershus had enough "basic" foods to please a picky palate? I want to add that meal in for our trip next year for my daughter, but my in-laws are not exactly adventurous eaters and I want to make sure they'll be able to find something to eat.

There's a basic tossed salad with assorted dressings, and some of the other salads seem pretty basic - the cucumber salad, for example, and the one with apple in it. Also the chicken salad, the steamed shrimp, the cheeses and cold cuts, and the cooked salmon (also the smoked salmon if they're game for that). And then on the main menu, the "kjottkake" are just meatballs with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, a vegetable, and lingonberries (a bit like cranberry sauce). I don't recall what else was on the menu, but I think the in-laws could find food to suit their tastes. They seemed to stick with Scandinavian foods that will please North American palates.

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omg that duck at Sleepy Hollow! So funny. Great TR.. just getting me more and more excited for my trip

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muchlove SVEN! muchlove

Love your Marie t-shirt - it turned out purrrrfect cool

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Where did you find your Sven? I've looked for him every weekend we've gone to WDW for months and they never have him.

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Sven was at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post at Disney's Hollywood Studios. That is the ONLY place we saw him, or most of the other Frozen merchandise, for that matter.

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Sven is at our local Disney store, so maybe check online?

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crazycatperson wrote:
Sven was at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post at Disney's Hollywood Studios. That is the ONLY place we saw him, or most of the other Frozen merchandise, for that matter.

Thanks! We check Wandering Oaken's every time we go to HS and they are always out of Sven. Several of the CM's there have said that he rarely comes in the shipment and when he does he's sold out immediately. Maybe I'll get lucky and find him there this weekend.

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AnnielovesDisney wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
Sven was at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post at Disney's Hollywood Studios. That is the ONLY place we saw him, or most of the other Frozen merchandise, for that matter.

Thanks! We check Wandering Oaken's every time we go to HS and they are always out of Sven. Several of the CM's there have said that he rarely comes in the shipment and when he does he's sold out immediately. Maybe I'll get lucky and find him there this weekend.

Then I guess we were darned lucky to grab him when we did. I'm pretty sure we found him Monday evening, if that helps narrow down a time frame when he might be available.

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Day 7 - Epcot and Coral Reef

And it's Friday - how did the week pass by so quickly? Once again we skipped setting an alarm; I woke up around 8:45 while hubby slept in. I made it to Epcot around an hour later and rode Spaceship Earth on standby. Our FP window for that attraction opened at 10:00, just a few minutes later, but I decided to hold onto that in case hubby arrived early enough to ride with me - not that it was a problem riding standby, since the line was nonexistent and I pretty much walked right on. Next I wandered through Innoventions West just to kill a little time, then hit Club Cool right when it opened at 10:30. Hubby texted that he was on his way around 10:40, but there was no way he was going to arrive in time for our Spaceship Earth FP, so I rode again and was glad I'd saved the FP because the standby line had grown a bit (although it was still not all that long). This time, when I did the "design your own future" thing at the end of the ride, I chose the opposite of what I would really prefer for every question just to see what it would come up with. (Yeah, I live to work. Right.)

Hubby and I met right outside of Spaceship Earth and headed back to Club Cool again - dang, we love that place. Then it was time for our Imagination with Figment FP, which we absolutely did not need because the standby wait amounted to the time it took to walk from the entrance doors to the loading platform. Still, it's a fun ride, although I wish I could see the original Imagination attraction. After riding we strolled through the Imagination pavilion, and I found the roped-off spiral staircase that leads to the abandoned attractions on the upper level. I could even see the skylight roof through gaps in the ceiling over the staircase. Oh, how I would love to sneak over the rope and go exploring up there! But I don't want to get banned from Disney World for life, so it ain't gonna happen.

We had time to kill before our final FP, Test Track, so we visited the Land pavilion. The wait for the Circle of Life film was 15 minutes, so we headed down to Living with the Land instead, a favorite attraction of hubby's - he likes gardening. Then we headed back to Circle of Life and, of course, had just missed the previous showing, so had to wait 13 minutes for the next one. By the time we exited the theater, we had 45 minutes to ride Test Track and then run to Coral Reef for our lunchtime ADR - but surprise, a strong thunderstorm had swept in and it was pouring rain, so we waited inside for the storm to pass. Time kept ticking away, and pretty soon there was no way we could make it to Test Track and still get to our ADR in time. Once the rain slowed down to just a sprinkle, we dashed over to the Innoventions tunnel and changed our Test Track FastPass so we could ride after lunch. But it wasn't quite time for our ADR yet, so we quick rode The Seas with Nemo just to pass the time. Boy, the air conditioning that would've felt wonderful if we'd been walking in from the heat got us half frozen when we walked in damp from the rain. And then we discovered that the Coral Reef entrance is not inside the main part of the building, you have to go in a side entrance! Fortunately the rain had all but stopped by the time we went back outside.

Coral Reef is a lovely restaurant, with a beautiful view of one of the large fish tanks all along one wall of the restaurant. I only have one photo from Friday, and it's a shot of the view of the fish tank from our table. Even though our table was at the back of the restaurant, we had a fabulous view, perhaps even better than the tables next to the tank since we could see all the fishies in the whole tank. Hubby and I disagreed on appetizers, so what the heck, we got both. Hubby got the charbroiled octopus and I got the sriracha shrimp. We each sampled the other's selection, of course, and while we thought both dishes were tasty, we'd each chosen the right dish for our particular tastes. (I even went out and bought sriracha sauce at home so I can try to duplicate the dish.) I should also mention that the bread at this restaurant is delicious and was served wonderfully warm and crispy. For our main dishes hubby ordered the grilled mahi mahi with jasmine rice while I got the grilled salmon with quinoa. Again, each of us preferred his or her own dish, although I thought hubby's jasmine rice was a bit better than the quinoa. All in all, we had yet another excellent meal and would highly recommend the restaurant to anyone, especially folks who love seafood as much as we do. At Epcot we almost always dine in the World Showcase, but perhaps we need to reconsider this habit, especially since the Garden Grill also gets rave reviews. And again, our server was superb, very attentive and helpful. I forget his name, but I do recall that his name tag said he was from Turkey (which got hubby and I discussing how Istanbul would be a really cool place to visit).

After lunch it was time for our reschedule Test Track FastPass. Since we only had the one last ride on this trip, hubby and I designed our car together, and it did very well, coming in first among the demo cars people in our ride vehicle designed and earning more points than either of the cars we'd designed individually earlier in the week. By now it was well into the afternoon, when I am usually wilting from the heat and humidity, but thanks to that thunderstorm it was actually fairly pleasant outside. So instead of heading back to Saratoga Springs, we decided to hit Ellen's Energy Adventure. We arrived just before they closed the doors for that time slot, which meant we didn't have to wait through the whole pre-ride video. This is not a "must do" attraction for either of us, yet it seems we hit it on every trip, perhaps because it's a great place to rest for a while without just sitting on a bench somewhere. In the time it took us to do that ride, the heat crept back up again, so when we exited I was close to ready to call it an afternoon. Our next destination was Club Cool, then we visited a pin stand to try to find more resort pins for hubby and maybe more kitties for me. We hadn't been able to find a Contemporary pin, not even at the Contemporary, but lo and behold, we snagged the very last one available at this stand. I also discovered there was a cat pin included in a box of mystery pins, but I wasn't willing to buy several pins trying to find the cat, so I guess I'll have to look for that one on a pin trading board somewhere. At this point, hubby and I split up; he headed back to the World Showcase entrance either to find a Boardwalk pin at the World Showcase pin stand (which is where he found one) or to walk to the Boardwalk and look for one there. Meanwhile, I headed back to Saratoga Springs for my afternoon shower. We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening packing everything but whatever we would need Saturday morning.

Our original plans for the evening entailed going back to Epcot, but since we'd stayed later in the afternoon than expected, we didn't finish packing until nearly 8:00 and decided to skip Epcot and head over to Downtown Disney instead. (Which means we missed our last chance to ride Maelstrom, oh, well.) We weren't terribly hungry after our large meal at Coral Reef but needed to eat something. First we checked the menu at Wolfgang Puck Express, but nothing there appealed to us at that moment, so we headed to Earl of Sandwich yet again, this time sharing the holiday turkey sandwich. Hubby thought it was all right but not something he would ever order for himself, but it's definitely made my short list of favorite sandwiches.

Downtown Disney was very crowded, no big surprise on a Friday evening, I suppose. As we strolled from the Marketplace toward the West Side we passed Raglan Road again and stopped to ask when dinner service ended and drinks, pub grub, and music began - they said 11:00, and it was only 9:30, so we kept on strolling and enjoying the atmosphere. When we reached the AMC Theater, we decided to see what was showing and discovered that they still had Guardians of the Galaxy in 3D - our local theater has only had 2D for two or three weeks now - and hubby suggested seeing it one more time in 3D. I didn't want to stay up until the wee hours the night before we had to check out, but I agreed to see the movie providing we skipped Raglan Road. Hubby said that was fine, so we got tickets for the 10:00 show and killed a little time strolling down to La Nouba and back (well, I strolled; hubby visited the tobacco attraction). We returned to the theater with ten minutes to go before the movie began, but of course that really meant ten minutes before we got to watch 15 or 20 minutes' worth of movie trailers. Meanwhile, I was having problems with what looked to be big, plush, comfortable seats but were actually little torture chambers for short people. The seat length (from edge of seat to seat back) was too deep for me, so I either had to sit cross-legged (not as easy at my age as it was 30 years ago) or sit half-reclined. My feet wouldn't reach the floor no matter how I sat. And the curvature of the seat back, which no doubt provides wonderful neck support for average folks, meant that my head was tilted forward at a rather uncomfortable angle. I eventually ended up propping my feet against the seat in front of me (thankfully unoccupied), which pushed me back into the seat so I could sit up straight and improve the angle of my head. So if you're short, you have been warned. Hey, at least the movie was good.

Of course, when we passed Raglan Road after the movie hubby wanted to go in and get "just one beer," which turned into a whiskey flight and one beer and probably would've been more if I hadn't told him I was leaving after he finished the beer. This time he tried the Jameson's whiskey flight; I sipped a bit of the best, and we both agreed the Bushmill's he'd ordered on arrival night was better (and BTW it is Bushmill's, not Bushkill's, which is what I wrote after our previous visit to Raglan Road). He followed that with another Innis & Gunn beer. Meanwhile, I was planning on popping an Ambien before bed due to insomnia issues, so I had to settle for ginger ale that evening (although I did enjoy that one little sip of Jameson's). We left around 1:00 and, surprise, the path through Downtown Disney was blocked. I was tired and really didn't want to walk, so we went to the nearest boat dock hoping to catch the water taxi to the Marketplace dock, but we couldn't see so much as a ripple of motion on the water. So once again we took the path along the parking lot to the Downtown Disney bus stop and then take the pedestrian bridge over to Saratoga Springs.

Next up, our last visit to Downtown Disney and heading for home.

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The view of the fish tank from our table at Coral Reef.

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