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Kris1971's picture
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We're Back!

Hi All. We are back from the happiest place on Earth. Waited 332 days to get there, and it was over in a flash. I will work on putting a trip report together, but here's a quick synopsis:

Firsts:
Rope Drop at MK
Ohana (I think I'm still full)
Hallowishes Fireworks Cruise
Carrot Cake Cookie
School Bread
Memory Maker
Beaches & Cream
Kids learning Irish Dancing at Raglan Road
The Pointer Sisters

Old Favorites:
Mickey Ice Cream Bars (too many to count)
Dole Whips
F&W Fest
All 4 Mountains, Soarin, Test Track, 7 Dwarfs, ToT
Grey Goose Slushies (too many to count)

F&W Favorites:
Loaded mac n' cheese with Nueske's(r) pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions (Farm Fresh)
Spicy hot dogs with kimchi slaw and korean mustard Dog (Refreshment Cool Post)
Seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce (Dominican Republic)
Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley (France)
Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream (Poland)
Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce (China)
Innis & Gunn Beer from the UK (DH's favorite)
Altenmunster Oktoberfest (Germany)

Things we missed this time:
Rockin Rollercoaster (no fast pass and a 90 minute wait)
Jedi Training Academy (closed down the day before we got there)
Seeing Mandy (we tried to connect but it just didn't work out sad - hopefully next time)

Things I still haven't checked off my list:
Dumbo
Magic Carpets
Characters in Flight (too windy the day we were there)

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Can't wait to hear about your trip

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Sounds like an amazing breakdown of some good times! Can't wait to hear about it all!!!

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Woohoo sounds excellent! Looking forward to reading your TR.

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Excited to hear about your trip. clapping

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Can't wait to hear about your trip! What did you think of Memory Maker?! We're using it for the first time this trip and would love any feedback or tips! awesome

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Remind me of what Characters in Flight is? mickey

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Helium balloon ride in Disney Springs

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Allie wrote:
Can't wait to hear about your trip! What did you think of Memory Maker?! We're using it for the first time this trip and would love any feedback or tips! awesome

So I have mixed feelings about it. We got some nice shots, but didn't use it as much as I think we needed to to make it worth the money. I felt pressured to stop whenever we saw a photo pass photographer, but the rest of my party got tired of it and our pics dropped off as the trip went on. Most of the shots we got were group shots, not enough of just the kids, or just the grandparents. Heck, DH and I didn't get one picture together. I like the shots they took. I will say some Photopass photographers are better than others and make the experience more fun.

I think its a great idea, and it helps you get some cool shots, but my family did not maximize it as much as I thought we would.

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Kris1971 wrote:
Allie wrote:
Can't wait to hear about your trip! What did you think of Memory Maker?! We're using it for the first time this trip and would love any feedback or tips! awesome

So I have mixed feelings about it. We got some nice shots, but didn't use it as much as I think we needed to to make it worth the money. I felt pressured to stop whenever we saw a photo pass photographer, but the rest of my party got tired of it and our pics dropped off as the trip went on. Most of the shots we got were group shots, not enough of just the kids, or just the grandparents. Heck, DH and I didn't get one picture together. I like the shots they took. I will say some Photopass photographers are better than others and make the experience more fun.

I think its a great idea, and it helps you get some cool shots, but my family did not maximize it as much as I thought we would.

We had Memory Maker on our last trip also. You do feel like you want to maximize using it to get your money's worth out of it, and it is nice to be able to get pictures with all of your party in them, including the person that is usually stuck on the other side of the camera. Also make sure you ask for "Magic Shots". If you don't ask, you may not get.

Allie I sent you an email that has a link to our last Memory Maker so you can see what it was like.

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Thanks, Mr Hub! awesome

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OK let's get this trip report started!

Friday 10/2 - The day before we were scheduled to drive to Lorton, VA to catch the auto train, we got a phone call at 6:00 PM telling us that due to the weather and flooding in the Carolinas our train was canceled. Well instantly I saw all of the color drain from DH's face. We take the auto train because to say DH is not a fan of flying is an understatement. At that moment we were faced with two choices, pack up the car and drive from Pennsylvania or try to get on the same Sunday flight as the rest of my family traveling with us to WDW (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister in-law, Niece and Nephew). DH said driving would be nuts because if the train can't make it through, driving would be treacherous, so for the good of the trip, he chose to fly. Luckily, I was able to get us on the same flight as my family and get this, we actually saved $900 after Amtrak refunded our trip.

Saturday 10/3 - Repack everything for flying instead of the train, call the dog sitter and tell her we wouldn't be dropping the mutts off until later in the evening, try to keep DH's anxiety as low as possible.

Sunday 10/4 - Travel day! We had an 8:00 AM flight out of Philadelphia, so we left our house at 5:00 AM to drive to the airport. DH hadn't slept well the night before and was feeling extremely anxious. I tried to remind him that I fly all of the time for work, and I always get where I'm going and home safely. I don't think it helped. When we arrived at the airport and got through the massive security line, DH and my brother went straight to the bar. Soon it was time to board, and we were on our way. After a pretty smooth flight (just a little bumpy over the weather in SC, we were soon on our way to the Magical Express line and then to Port Orleans FQ.

I had done on line check in and called 10 days out to make sure our rooms were near each other, and while on the ME my sister in-law got a text that their room was ready. So we headed straight to their room to put our carry on bags down and then right to the food court for some lunch. Of course Mom ordered a 6 pack of the beignets straight away which we all shared.

After lunch, it was off to Animal Kingdom for our first FP of the day Dinosaur. While this trip is actually our 3rd traveling together to WDW, this is the first time that both my niece and nephew were tall enough to ride almost everything. We did Dinosaur, and then my nephew said he was ready to conquer Everest. My niece was less brave and hung out with my Mom & Dad while the rest of us headed to Asia for my nephew's first thrill ride. He loved it (except for the backwards part). After Everest we headed straight to the nearest ice cream cart to get DH his Mickey ice-cream bar (his most favorite ice cream in all of the world). Then it was off to Africa for our Safari FP. I've done the safari many times, but this time was definitely my favorite. The Giraffes were on the move and our driver had to stop the vehicle while 6 of them (including 2 babies) walked right up to our jeep getting so close we could have touched them. They hung around for a bit and then moved on. It was absolutely amazing! After the safari we watched the entertainment in the marketplace, grabbed some margaritas for the ladies and beers for the gents and took our time walking through the park.

Since we had all gotten up at 4:00 am to start our day, we were pretty beat and almost everyone wanted to head back to the hotel and spend a little time relaxing by the pool before dinner at Boatrights over at Riverside.

Dinner at Boatrights was pretty good. All of the adults decided to split appetizers and entrees. DH and I had the barbecued shrimp as an appetizer and the prime rib with horseradish mashed potatoes and asparagus and a side of mushrooms for our main course. The food was great, but the service left a little to be desired. Our server was hardly around and he forgot to bring my sister in-law an extra plate to share her entree with my brother. We ended up giving her the plate our asparagus came on. What is frustrating is that because we were a party of 8, Disney already adds an 18% gratuity to our bill, so the server doesn't need to do a good job because he knows he's already getting his tip. Frustrating.

After dinner we decided to walk off some of the colories and took the path back to FQ. It was a beautiful night and a great way to end our first day in the world!

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Day 2 - Hollywood Studios

My brother and dad got up early to do the Sunrise 9 at the Lake Buena Vista golf course. For those of you who don't know, the Sunrise 9 is a special Disney runs where you play 9 holes early and you get a breakfast sandwich and coffee before your tee time and a cold beer after your tee time for all for $35. Its a pretty good deal, plus you get the rest of the day at the parks. So while they were golfing the rest of us had a lazy morning hanging out by the pool.

DH approached the pool bar which still had its gates down to ask the bartender what time he opened. The bartender asked DH what he could get him and made up a few bloody mary's for us even though the bar didn't open for another hour. I made sure to get his name and stopped by the concierge later in the day to put in some really great comments about the service he provided (making sure not to mention he served us when the bar was closed just in case he would have gotten in trouble for it.

Around 10:45 am my dad and brother were back, and we decided to head over to Hollywood Studios. Our first FP was for Star Tours at 11:20. My parents and my niece opted not to go on it, but the rest of us did, and then it happened. My nephew, who is a huge Star Wars fan, started to get scared while we were standing in line. He was afraid of being in an enclosed space. We explained to him that the simulator was large and that there were exit doors on each side, but his eyes started to well up. I told him that after doing Everest the day before, this would be a piece of cake and he did decide he would try it, but when we got off, he was darn sure he didn't like it and would not ride it again. That unfortunately set the tone for the rest of the day. Every ride we went on, he was asking if it was enclosed, where was the exit, was it dark. I felt so bad for him. We did TSM, which we all loved and The Muppets. We stopped to watch Mulch Sweat and Shears do one of their last performances (their very last performance was later in the week which is so sad), got some pics with Mater & McQueen and Phineas & Pherb and had a late lunch at Sci Fi Diner. That was the first time any of us had eaten there. It was really cool. I was disappointed to learn that the famous picnic burger was no longer on the menu, but the fried pickles were out of this world. We all enjoyed the retro movies on the big screen, especially my parents who actually remember seeing most of them when they were kids.

After lunch, we headed over to see the Indiana Jones show, where it was pretty much standing room only. Then came one of those moments you hear about but never think will happen to you. My mom has been having some serious back issues, so we had gotten her a wheel chair for the day. When Indiana Jones let out, we were in the sea of masses heading in the same direction and a man stepped in front of the wheel chair and before I could stop, I clipped his heel. We were moving very slowly so it wasn't a hard hit and there wasn't a mark on him. I immediately apologized as did my mom, (even though he clearly stepped in front of us when there was no room) and then it happened, the mans wife started kicking my mom's wheel chair and cursing at her. I nearly lost it on her, but reminded myself that some people are just jerks and that I should turn the other cheek. I mean seriously, who kicks a wheel chair? I pulled my mom off to the side while we waited for the crowds to thin out, but the whole experience had my mom so upset, she refused to use a chair the rest of the trip.

Next it was time for our ToT FP, a ride which my nephew said he had wanted to ride for months, and guess what, he backed out. It ended up being just my Dad, DH, my sister in-law and me. I will say, having the memory maker really paid off on this one. They do a great video of your party being dropped. It was absolutely hysterical to watch our faces and our reactions. It makes me laugh every time we see it.

Throughout the day, we tried to connect with Mandy, but it seems we were on opposite sides of the park all day and couldn't make it work out. So Mandy, if you are reading this, I will be back in February, and I am determined to find you to say Hi and get a picturel

After ToT, we headed back to the resort for a some more time at the pool. I had promised my family that this trip we would work in a little more down time. We got back to the hotel around 6:00 and spent a few hours hanging by the pool. My brother found the Monday night game on at the bar inside the hotel, so we did get a little football time in too. BTW, if you stay at POFQ the bar off the lobby has really good chicken wings!

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OH NO!! I am so sorry that happened to your mom. That is awful! I have noticed a lot of "nasty" at the parks the last couple of times. It's so sad. I'm glad you were big enough to take it with a grain of salt. I would have taken the chair and my mom and ran her over. OK, not really... maybe. I hope your mom was ok the rest of the trip.

Speaking of Mandy, November we will finally make it to HS, I will be on the lookout! Can't wait to hear more!

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Oh my gosh! I'm horrified to hear what happened to your mom! The nerve of some people! Disgusting! eek eek eek

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I'm very sorry to hear that you nephew didn't like Star Tours - hopefully as he gets older he'll warm up to the bigger rides Smile

And good on you for not hauling that woman off by the ear and giving her a piece of your mind. I've seen several similar situations over the years - something about strollers, wheelchairs and scooters tend to just put those that don't require them on edge for whatever reason. It would be wonderful if people had compassion for those who need the assistance, but not everyone is going to be understanding I guess Sad

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Thanks, Gang! The crazy lady kicking the chair was the only blemish on an otherwise wonderful trip! Day 3 coming soon!

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Sorry to hear about that experience with your mom sad I witnessed a terrible event back in September involving a man in a scooter. I'd like to break some of these peoples legs so they have to use a wheelchair and see how hard it is!

Great report so far though! Can't wait to hear more mickey

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Do you know if the Sunrise 9 is available all year or just certain times? My dad might be interested in that while I run Princess in February awesome

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Spook wrote:
Do you know if the Sunrise 9 is available all year or just certain times? My dad might be interested in that while I run Princess in February awesome

I believe its an all year thing. My dad and brother loved the Lake Buena Vista course which starts at Saratoga Springs, and they were able to get a cart. One of the courses, I think its Oak Trail is a walking only course. Here's the link.

http://golfwdw.com/sunrise-9/

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Kris1971 wrote:
Spook wrote:
Do you know if the Sunrise 9 is available all year or just certain times? My dad might be interested in that while I run Princess in February awesome

I believe its an all year thing. My dad and brother loved the Lake Buena Vista course which starts at Saratoga Springs, and they were able to get a cart. One of the courses, I think its Oak Trail is a walking only course. Here's the link.

http://golfwdw.com/sunrise-9/

Thank you!
My dad golfed at Lake Buena Vista last year I think. Was the cart included in the $35?

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Yep, the cart was included. mickey

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Day 3 - Epcot F&W Fest, Ohana & The Big Surprise

We headed down to the food court for breakfast, but I only had coffee (terrible coffee) because I was saving room for the F&W fest. We hopped a bus and were at Epcot by 9:45, just enough time to walk straight to our 10:05 Soarin FP. It was the first time my nephew was riding it. He had a lot of questions about what to expect when we went into the theater. He was still reeling about how claustrophobic he felt in Star Tours. We calmed his nerves and waited for Row 1. Have to have the top row! My entire family just loves this ride. At the end, when all of our feet were back on the ground...my nephew declared, "Again Again Again". He loved it! Of course, the 70 minute stand by time meant "no again again again", but we headed to Spaceship Earth for our next FP and then on to the Character Spot to meet up with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. We got a lot of great family shots as all three characters were having some fun!

After that, it was time to hit the F&W booths. We started in Mexico for shrimp tacos for Mom and my sister in-law. They changed the recipe from the last time we were there....no more red cabbage....pickled onions now. I wasn't crazy about it. I liked the other recipe better. I did however enjoy the shots of Patron at La Cava I got for myself, my dad and DH. The chaser they served with it was pretty darn good too. Then it was on to the China booth which I usually blow off because I can get Chinese food at home, but this time they were serving Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce. It was so good it ranks in my Top 3 for favorite things I ate at F&W. Then on to the Refreshment Post to find my Kimchi Dog. Its a full size hot dog this year, and its still as yummy as ever. From there it was on to Germany for a couple of Oktoberfest beers and then to Poland for the Kielbasa and Pierogi. YUM! Mom tried the Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil from Italy (she loved it) and my sister in-law got the Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread. She said she couldn't believe how good that chicken was and she hates mushrooms. From there we worked our way around the world, taking it all in and stopping in France for our must have on every trip....the Grey Goose Slushy!!!! DH was helping the kids with Agent P's adventure when he found his new favorite drink at Epcot - Innus & Gunn beer at the stand in the UK. Its an ale aged in a whiskey barrel. His two favorite things beer & whiskey together in one drink. He was hooked. I on the other hand did not like it at all!

We decided at that point, to work our way back to the front of the park and head to the hotel to relax a bit before dinner at Ohana. We wanted to make sure we stopped eating at the F&W Fest so that we would all be hungry for dinner. We hopped a cab from POFQ to the Poly and were there by 6:15 for our 6:30 reservation. We did have to wait a little while, but we enjoyed checking out the updates to the Poly and looking in the shops. When we were seated, we did not know what to expect. When the food started coming and kept coming, we were all laughing about how we wouldn't be able to walk after dinner. That's when I told my family about the surprise....I had booked a Hallowishes Fireworks Cruise, and we were catching a private pontoon boat outside at the marina. Everyone was so excited, especially me! I love the Hallowishes fireworks...they are my favorite Disney fireworks. Our skipper was a young woman just out of college. She was great. She took us all around the lagoon and into Bay Lake. We saw the old, long abandoned Discovery Island, and then River Country, both were kind of creepy. Then we got to see Fort Wilderness up close. Its very pretty at night. After our boat ride, it was time to head back to the front of the MK and get the most perfect spot to watch the fireworks. They piped the audio in from the park. It was so awesome! It was so worth keeping the surprise for 6 months. After we got back to the marina, we hopped a cab back to POFQ and all went to bed. It had been a long and fun day.

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What an awesome surprise! Hallowishes is my favorite, too!

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Great family picture! Not sure I would have been able to keep the cruise a secret - fantastic surprise for everyone!

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just catching up looks like a fab trip so far!! can't wait to hear more!

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Day 4 - Magic Kingdom

So after a wonderful evening of Ohana and Hallowishes, it was finally time for the Magic Kingdom. Rope Drop has been on my bucket list for years, but for one reason or another, I've actually never made it in time. This trip I was determined to cross it off the list....and.....WE MADE IT! The whole group of us managed to get there in time to see the welcome show. It was really cute, but the best part was getting into the park as soon as it opened. We were able to ride so many rides with little to no wait. We hit the big ones we did not have a FP for right away. First up Space Mountain, then the kids wanted to do the Speedway. Then we headed to Pirates (they really cleaned it up, all new costumes and everything), then to the Haunted Mansion. Sadly Peter Pan was packed almost as quick as the park opened, and we missed that one this trip. Our Fast Passes were Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and of course the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. We ate at Peco Bill's. The new menu is good but very limited in the amount of choices. I wish they could have added the Mexican and left the burgers too but sadly no. The kids weren't up for Mexican so my nephew grabbed a hot dog and my niece got chicken nuggets from the outpost. Dole Whips and Mickey ice-cream bars were the snacks of choice for the day. We did some shopping, some people watching and headed out of the park around 4:00 to go back and relax before dinner.

Dinner was at Raglan Road in Disney Springs (the name officially changed while we were there). We got there in time for our 7:00 PM reservation and by 7:40 we still hadn't been seated. I politely asked the manager how much longer because the kids were getting very hungry, and he apologized profusely and said a few more minutes. When he came to seat us, he asked if there were any food allergies in our group. There are not. He then proceeded to send over a round of appetizers to our table free of charge so we had something to munch on while waiting for our food. That was extremely nice of him and much appreciated by all. The place was packed. Service was slow, but the food was delicious. My brother declared the lamb some of the best he's ever had. I had the fish and chips. They were very good, but I still think my favorite fish and chips are from Yorkshire over in Epcot. The kids got pulled up on stage to learn the Irish jig. They had a blast. We were hoping to do Characters in Flight after dinner, but the winds had grounded the balloon. We were bummed, but safety first! We walked around Disney Springs and hit a few stores then it was time to go back to bed. We were exhausted from getting up early to hit Rope Drop.

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I'm glad to hear they made sure you were taken care of at Raglan Road! That's one of our favorite spots. Good drinks, good food and good people Smile

We're gunna try and make rope drop this Thursday. Fingers crossed everyone gets out of bed at a reasonable time!

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So glad you made it to rope drop! I have never made it in time! Loving your report!

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I have yet to check MK rope drop off my list! Glad to hear the manager at RR took care of you guys! I'll wait a little longer for free apps Wink

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Day 5 - The last full day in WDW

Thursday was our last full day, and we decided to spend it at the F&W Festival at Epcot. We arrived a little later around 11:00 or so and headed for Nemo and then stopped by to see Figment. Then we walked our way over to the World Showcase and out the back entrance to go to Beaches & Cream for the very first time. It was scrumptious. We decided to share the No Way Jose and Milky Way Sundaes, and they did not disappoint. The No Way Jose did get the most votes as the best sundae. While we were there, a family of 3 did order the Kitchen Sink. Wow is that think huge! We didn't stick around long enough to see if they managed to finish it.

After our ice-cream break, we headed back into Epcot to hit some of the food booths we hadn't tried on Day 3. Since we came in the back entrance, of course we had to stop for another Grey Goose Slushy before our tour around the world. The kids signed up for Agent P's adventure again and this time we started in the UK. DH got his Innus & Gunn beer again and we took our time walking through the countries and checking out the booths. Favorites from this day included the Le Cellier" wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce from Canada, the Pescado con coco: Seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce from the Dominican Republic (my overall favorite) and the Loaded mac n' cheese with Nueske's(r) pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions from Florida Farm Fresh (a very close second for me - it was out of this world). We also tried the Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley (which was good but a little too heavy on the garlic for me), the Chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce from Greece (good but not excellent), the Kalua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole(r) Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise (always a crowd pleaser), and the Lobster and seafood fisherman's pie (which truthfully did not impress me this time). My sister in-law and I also had the Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs from New Zealand (they were good but there weren't enough of them). My brother liked the Beef empanada from Patagonia, but I didn't get a chance to try it. Given my sister in-law is Scottish, we had to stop by the Scotland booth. I had the Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon (kind of bland) and they split the Haggis with neeps and tatties: Traditional Haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes and said it was pretty good. I'll take their word for it, I don't eat Haggis.

Somewhere in there among all of the food, we did manage to use our FP for Test Track. It was the first time for both of the kids, and they loved it. DH and I still prefer the old version better, but since the kids had no idea about the old version, we didn't spoil it for them. We ended up spending just about all day at Epcot. I think we left somewhere around 8:00 PM. We would have liked to stay longer, but we had to get packed up and ready for the Tragical Express to take us to the airport in the AM.

The trip flew by so quickly, but that's what happened when you are having too much fun. My niece starting to tear up at breakfast the following morning. She said she was sad to leave and was worried about when she might get back to WDW next. I explained to her that what she was feeling was the Post Disney Blues and that those of us who have Disney in our hearts always feel that way when the trip comes to an end. I think I have a new Disney addict in the family.

Well thanks for letting me tell you all about our trip. I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, but if I think of them, I'll definitely update the report. I'm looking forward to reading all about your upcoming trips and living vicariously through you for the next 4 months until I get back to the World for the Princess 5K!

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