Impetuously Impulsive or Shrewdly Spontaneous?

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Allie's picture
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Woah! Sorry about the triple post! Apparently I'm VERY excited for you!

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yippee! Keep us posted! mickey

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Cinema Too's picture
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Greetings from WDW

Sorry there we no additional posts yesterday. We had a full day and crashed when we returned last night.

ME dropped us off and we checked in. This was the only glitch of the day. I had requested our room not be on the ground floor. It was the only request I made. So when the CM announced that we were on the first floor, I asked that it be changed. This CM and I didn't communicate very well. At times it was like we weren't speaking the same language. This was probably caused by the fact that we don't speak the same language. She was difficult to understand and at times she did not understand me. But we got through it and got the room changed.

That situation was made up for by a highly efficient concierge named Sammi. I needed her to put my AAA park hoppers on to our room keys. She said that it's not an easy task, because the two computer systems don't speak the same language. I chuckled and told her how frustrating that can be. She got us taken care of and we decided to walk to our room (which was ready) even though it was a rather long distance. It gave us a chance to see OKW. And what we saw we loved. What a beautiful place. And remarkably quiet.

We got to our room, threw our carry-ons inside and headed out. We discussed taking the first bus to arrive, but since we were dining in EPCOT, we decided to head there. (good thing, because the first bus was Blizzard Beach and we were not properly attired.)

We boarded the bus and got our first surprise of the day. A surprise that would be a recurring theme for the rest of the day. The bus was completely empty.

More to follow.

Cinema Too's picture
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We boarded the bus and sat up near a very friendly and chatty driver. We picked up two additional passengers at another stop. They sat way in the back and the five of us headed for EPCOT. The driver had plenty of stories to tell. She informed us that while driving a large group of foreign travelers can be rough, bus driver hell is a load of teenage cheerleaders.. She said, hands down, they are the worst. She dropped us off, letting us know where to get a bus to return, and we headed into the park.

On the walk in, my wife stopped to make a phone call. While waiting, I realized two things. One, we were the only people on the walkway. I swear I thought I was in National Lampoon's Vacation and had travelled al this way to find Wally World EPCOT closed. The other realization came when I tried to take a picture of it. My good camera was not working!

As we approached the turnstile, I took care of my EPCOT tradition. ( you can read about it here. http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/soon-i-walk-epcot-i It was my first post on this site)

We needed to eat, so we headed to Sunshine Seasons for a couple of salads. Chicken Caesar for her, Tuna over Noodles for me. We also grabbed a fast pass for Soarin'. She needed to pick up something in the gift shop at Finding Nemo & Friends, so we headed there. The wait time was listed as 10 minutes, so we decided to do that first. We walked in and just kept walking. We walked right on the ride with out stopping. 0 wait. Before our day was over, the same 0 wait would occur at the Maelstrom in Norway and El Rio Del Tiempo in Mexico. Not waiting on rides in cool, but a little weird at the same time.

We started looking at the fish in the aquarium and spent quite a while there. It was my first time back since my youngest and I did the Scuba Tour in that tank. It brought back some great memories.

We headed back to Soarin' and we saw something that we couldn't believe. (I would have taken a picture of it, but the camera still was working)". The Soaring' standby time was 10 minutes. I thought that baby started at 60 and just went up.

After the ride, we dodged raindrops and headed to Mexico. I walked her into La Cava Del Tequila for a quick, little pick me up. She had no idea the place existed. She had a margarita and I had a flight of silver tequilas. Since liquor is my profession, I had a great conversation about Tequila with the bartender. He was a friendly, knowledgeable young man. Unfortunately, I do not remember his name. Properly fortified we continued around World Showcase.

More to follow

Allie's picture
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We had the same thing when we were there last October, 5 and 10 min waits posted but we walked right on. We never saw Soarin standby below 75 min, though! That's incredible! Sounds like a great first day despite the room and camera mishaps!

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Jessalynn27 wrote:
Love the spontaneity!! Question for you...where did you rent your DVC points from? I have gotten a few helpful hints to use David's and Eeyore gave me contact info for someone she knows, but would love to hear about yours since they got back with you so quickly! Looking forward to reading more!!

We did use David's. And we were impressed with how quickly and easily everything came together. And when we had a bit of a problem putting our ME information onto our reservation, I called them and they had it resolved in 90 minutes.

I would definitely use them again.

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Thursday continued

Actually the fortification came from the tequila and a piece of Milk Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt. We proceeded with our leisurely stroll around the Showcase. We watched the mime perform in Italy. We watched the woodcarver. We were walking by as Off Kilter was taking the stage, so we grabbed a bench and watched their show. We observed in awe as Mary Poppins stood in her long dress with her perfect makeup for over an hour and a half. It was a very hot day, but She posed for pictures and signed autographs without the smile ever leaving her face.

As the sky started to spit again, we headed towards our dinner ADR. I was surprising her with Les Chefs du France. Truthfully, I have no idea why I picked it. I wanted something different and I thought it might be nice. It turned into something special because of a great meal and a server named Elina.

For me, there comes a point in every trip, that I realize this is not going to be just a one day thing. I realize that I have several days of great times ahead. For some this happens before they reach the park, for others it happens as they enter. For me it usually comes during that first day. On this trip, it happened at dinner.

I ordered us a bottle of wine. It had been a long time since our crazy lives had allowed us to linger over a bottle. We both really started to relax. (OK, the tequila helped too). I ordered the Alsace Flatbread, which was delicious, and started our conversation with Elina. If any of you run into her, tell her that a couple from Ohio told you to tell her to let the magic happen and she should chase her dream and become a chef.

Dinner started to arrive. We had ordered the Prix Fixe menu. She started with a salad, I began with the Onion Soup. Both were really good. We chose the same entrees, a perfect piece of salmon over smashed potatoes. There was a thick rich, herb tomato sauce on the plate as well. She had the mousse and I had a berry cake/sorbet dish. The meal was sensational. So sensational, that my wife (after a hug and a few words with Elina) stopped at the open kitchen and told the chef there how much she enjoyed the meal. I've known the woman for 35 years and have never seen her do anything like that.

Illuminations had begun during our dessert. We could see it out the window. It was still going on as we exited, so we walked to the fence (the crowd was one deep in most places) and watched the last 10 minutes. It seemed much more powerful without a lot of people walking around and without all the crowd noise that you usually have.

A slow walk to our bus and we got back to OKW pretty tired from a long day. We opened the door to our room and there were our bags. ME had come through again. For those concerned about your bags not showing up if you use Magical Express, they are now 9 for 9 with us. Never a problem.

Coming up. Our Friday.
It's a battle with villains.
Here's a hint! The villains win.

Kris1971's picture
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So glad to hear you enjoyed Chef's Du France. I'll be going for the first time in December on my Christmas bucket list trip with my parents!

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Allie's picture
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Wow, sounds like a wonderful dinner! Hope you're continuing to have a magical time!

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On to Friday

First the camera. When we got back Thursday night, I took the battery out, hoping that I had forgot to charge it. (but knowing that I was sure I had). I plugged it into the charger, the light came on indicating it was charging, but went off 90 seconds later. That means it was charged, so that wasn't the problem. I put the battery back in, the camera came to life and has been working fine since. I have no clue what the problem was.

Friday was MK day, followed by our special dinner night. We started with a great breakfast at Olivia's. My wife had the Banana Nut Bread French Toast w/ Banana Rum syrup. I had the Crabcake Eggs Benidict w/ Key Lime Hollandaise. Both were delicious, and the service was excellent. Maybe it's because the places weren't as hectic as usual, but we found the servers to be much more friendly and engaging.

We got on a bus for MK and as we got off thought we had found the crowds missing from the previous day. We were wrong. Main Street was very busy, but once you got out on the spokes, it was back to very short wait times. We walked right on to Pirates. Splash had a 10 minute wait. Small World was 5. Mickey's Philharmagic was 5. Buzz was a walk-on. C of P was a walk-on. We waited until about 1:30 to enter the new Fantasyland. We did Under the Sea, which had a 20 minute wait. It is really a neat ride. Very well done.

When we finished that, we decided to get something light to eat. It was about 2:30 and our ADR was not until 8. BOG was not serving, so we went to Columbia Harbor House for our favorite tuna sandwich. Some shopping and looking at the Halloween decorations and it was time to head back to OKW to get cleaned up for our special dinner.

They call them Villians for a reason

The plan was simple. Bus to Downtown Disney. Transfer to a bus to AKL. We left the room at 6:50, hoping to get to Kidani in time to look around.

We stayed at AKL a few years back. We loved it. Our 30th Anniversary Dinner was at Jiko. It remains one of my all-time favorite dining experiences. So for this trip, we decided on Sanaa at AKL's Kidani Village. We were really looking forward to it.

The bus for AKL left at 7:24. I know that because I checked my watch to see if we would be on time. It should be no problem.

As we pulled out of the Pleasure Island stop, we hit traffic. Everyone figured it was just normal Friday night traffic. But soon we were not moving at all. We inched along. Was it construction? An accident? 8 pm came and went. 8:30. At 9:00 people started get reports on their phones of a massive traffic jam at HS. The Villian event was overloading the park. 9:15, applause breaks out as the bus finally makes it through the congested intersection. 9:30 and the little kids that had been so patient, we're getting testy. People were in need of a restroom stop. 10 pm and the bus pulls into Jambo House. 10:05 and it reaches Kidani Village. I speak to the driver. He is heading back to Downtown Disney, so we stay on board.

The ride out took 2hours and 41 minutes. The ride back took 23 minutes. We were tired and hungry. We got in line for a bus to OKW, but then decided to head into Downtown Disney for something to eat. Earl of Sandwich for me, a bag of Mickey cookies for her. Not exactly Sanaa. We got back about 11:30. Not a magical evening.

More to follow.

Mandy's picture
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I was in that traffic with you leaving the park. I'm sorry you missed your BOG reservations.

Jess's picture
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Yay Yay Yay...I love your trip reports and love the spontaniety of your trip....In regards to the low crowds...I've heard that from several people that the first few weeks in september the park is almost empty you just have to deal with the heat and the possibility of alot of rain...but I would love to get down there sometime at that time of year. And I heard the Villain thing was a disaster from alot of people...it's obvious that it is a popular thing so if Disney was smart they would do it like once a month. We are going to Chefs in November so I made a note to see if we can have Elina as our server Smile

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Allie's picture
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Oh man, so sorry to hear the Villains event ruined your dinner plans! That really sucks when you weren't even trying to get into DHS! sad

Cinema Too's picture
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I'm going to put a few photos in the report. This is a test to check the size.

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Saturday

Something weird happened Saturday morning. We slept in. Now for one of us, not saying which, that's not unusual on a day off. For the other, not saying which, (rather large arrow pointing towards me) it is highly unusual.

So we got a late start to HS. We had planned to leave early to make sure we got on Toy Story Mania. When we arrived, we needed a little nourishment. Guess the Mickey cookies didn't fill her up. So we headed to Starring Rolls for a lighter breakfast.

My nephew had called and said that he was in Orlando for work and wondered if we could get together for dinner. I got a last minute ADR for 8:30 at Raglan Road. We decided on a light breakfast, lunch on the Boardwalk and then meet up with him for dinner.

We both had coffee and a Cinnamon Roll. She added a banana, i added a strawberry parfait. Just enough to give us a boost as we headed out into the park. First stop was the Great Movie Ride. Only a 5 minute wait. Now I like GMR. Always have. But I was thinking as I was in line, that it needed some updating. Some new technology. I really felt the same way as we started on the ride. Same lame script, same corny jokes. The CM's look like the same ones from 10 years ago. But in front of me was a woman with a 1st Trip button on. She was probably in her 70's, her daughter holding her elbow to assist her. She had a visual impairment that made walking solo a little tricky. Every scene on the ride (maybe not Alien), she would point out things to her grown daughters. Several times she would comment about the scenes, reminder her family she had seen that when she was young. She let out an audible gasp in the Wizard of Oz room. I guess to someone who has been on it 20+ times, it's old and stale, but to others, it's just perfect.

We continued on and I checked my phone for the wait time on TSM. We've never been on it. And with a 60 minute wait and Fastpasses late in the afternoon, I told my wife it would have to wait for next time. As we passed by, she made a decision that we should go in. I protested, reminding her of the hour wait. She reminded me that we had not spent any time in lines so far and it was something we both wanted to do. We went in and the wait was about 30 minutes. Great ride.

We did a few more things, when she said she wanted to go again. What? "Toy Story, I want to go again!" So we got in line (down to 50 minutes). After about 20, A CM stopped and asked if there were just the 2 of us. When we said yes, he said follow me and walked down the Fastpass line. We were on in less than 25. Magic.

When we exited, we noticed the heat. Everyday was near 90 degrees, but this was the only day it got to us. We decided to walk to the Boardwalk for lunch and some liquid refreshments.

Big River Grille was nearly empty as we entered. It may have been that the early games were ending and the later had yet to start because the place was filling up as we left. Good food, good brew. Relaxing place.

We left and walked over to Epcot..

More to follow.

Allie's picture
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Loved the perspective on GMR. It's easy to take some of the older rides for granted in how magical they can really be, especially for someone who's never been. muchlove

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Glad you are are enjoying your trip, but also sorry you missed your special dinner at AK. Love TSM - we went on it twice on our recent trip.

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Allie wrote:
Loved the perspective on GMR. It's easy to take some of the older rides for granted in how magical they can really be, especially for someone who's never been. muchlove

I agree completely. On Soarin' we sat next to a young foreign couple who were riding it for the first time. They spoke no English. (The CM kept trying to tell them to tug on their lapbelts. Finally had to do it himself because they didn't understand).

But the ooohs and aaahs, the giggles, the smiles that came from them during and after the ride was pure magic.

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Saturday Continued

After soaking up some of the cool air and cold beer at Big River, we made our way across the bridge to EPCOT. Approaching the International Gateway and we found the entrance empty, except for two CM's. I always love entering thru the Gateway, because it has that secret, members-only feel to it, and being the only ones there only enhanced that feel.

We took a lap around World Showcase, doing some shopping, watching the acrobats, one more piece of Sea Salt Caramel and walking through Japan. I got her to try Beverly (she was not impressed), and then we headed to MouseGears.

A couple of last minute rides and it as time to head back to the resort to get ready for dinner.

We decided to take the boat from OKW to Downtown Disney. The place was already very crowded at 7:30 pm. We walked around for a half-hour and then headed for Raglan Road to meet my nephew. We had a great time catching up on things, enjoying a couple of beverages. The food at Raglan was just so-so. I always expect more out of this place than I get. Most WDW restaurants have a 'must-have' item or a 'go-to" item on their menu, for me, Raglan does not. The place is attractive, the music enjoyable and the dance fun to watch, but I always leave a bit unsatisfied. It just always comes up short of it's potential.

We said goodbye to my nephew and made our way to the Marketplace. It was very busy by now. Picked up a couple of ornaments at the Christmas and made our way back to the resort.

We fell asleep thinking about tomorrow's breakfast at Kona.

More to follow.

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Sunday

We were up and moving early, ready for our day at AK. We also had two ADR's that we were excited about.

We ran through our 'leave the room' checklist. (Camera, phones, wallets, ponchos, etc.) We rushed to the door, ready for a great breakfast, ready for a great day and there it was. We both saw it at the same time. We reacted simultaneously. Her with an audible sigh, me with a a shoulder-drooping head shake.

The dreaded Magical Express door tag. The first indication that our visit was almost over. The Happiest Place on Earth was telling us to pack up and be gone by tomorrow. I threw it in the room without opening it. She grabbed my hand and said "C'mon, I'll buy you breakfast! That'll cheer you up."

We grabbed a bus for MK (The transportation from OKW was great our entire visit). Jumped off and headed up to the Monorail for a quick ride to the Poly. We got checked in at Kona and started to walk around the beautiful lobby, but our pager went off almost immediately. We were seated and quickly greeted by yet another wonderful server. Jes.

She brought us coffee and we set about ordering. I was torn between my favorite, the Samoan, and trying Tonga Toast. After checking on us a couple of times and understanding that I couldn't make up my mind, Jes returned with a coin. "How about flipping to decide?" As the coin was in the air, I decided on Tonga Toast. (Although I did ask her if anyone had ever ordered a Samoan for dessert.)

Breakfast at Kona is our new tradition. The resort is lovely, the room comfortable and the service is excellent. And the food is great too.

So I had the Tonga Toast and my wife had the Big Kahuna. Lots of sharing. We talked to Jes for a couple of minutes, then headed out for the ride to AK.

The crowds were a bit heavier, but still below what we are used to. We lingered in the Oasis, to let the commandos run by us. It's so peaceful there. My wife got talking to a CM about birds (she is a bird nut) and before we knew it we had spent a half hour there.

We left the Oasis and headed to Kilimanjaro Safaris, when she noticed that the Flights of Wonder show was starting in 15 minutes. (Bird Nut).So we headed off for her 'can't miss' visit. That's when we ran into D'Vine. Always a fascinating performance and watching the reactions generated is one of my favorite people-watching spots in all of the parks. It never ceases to amaze me, how many people walk right by, heads down, clueless to what is happening. Slow down people! You're missing some great stuff.

After Flights of Wonder, we headed to the Safari. Wait time was listed as 15 minutes. We waited about 6. We had a knowledgeable young lady drive and saw more animals than we ever have. From there we started out on the Pangani trail. We walked the whole trail with a long stay in the bird area (Bird Nut). From there we started towards the other side of the park. It started raining, but rather than donning our ponchos, we ducked into a nearby attraction, Flights of Wonder. We watched the show again from the back this time. Different emcee, same Guano Joe. (Bird Nut).

Since we weren't eating until much later we decided on a frozen treat to hold us over. We noticed a sign for the Maharajah Jungle Trek. We've been to AK dozens of times,and didn't realize this was there. She read the sign. "Bats, Dragons, Tigers and BIRDS" Needless to say we had to visit. It was very cool and very empty. We toured the whole place, spending quite a lot of time in the bird area.

As we got near Expedition Everest, I noticed I had missed a call from our youngest. The wife checked her phone and he had tried her too. She got a bit of a panicked look. The boys never call when we are away. I tried to calm her by saying that his college baseball team was playing an exhibition game today and he was scheduled to be the starting pitcher, so he was probably calling to give us an update.

I was wrong.

More to follow.

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We visit the Kona Cafe for breakfast every trip - love it there. Haven't tried the tonga toast yet, maybe next trip. Hope all was ok with your son.

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Oh that breakfast sounds amazing! We're going to Kona for lunch in a few weeks, and I am psyched!

That is quite a cliffhanger! Hope everything is okay!

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We tried to reach him for an hour. Finally getting a hold of him (He had been trying to sleep),
he had suffered an ankle injury during the game. He was helped off the field and sat on the bench for awhile, before heading for home (It was his left foot so he could drive). He said that it was badly swollen, very painful and turning colors. My wife called the couple across the street to look at him. They are both military trained medical professionals. They advised that he get it x-rayed.

So as his brother headed him off to the hospital, we headed off to our anxiously awaited ADR at Yak & Yeti. Since our only meal there was at the bar, we were really looking forward to seeing the place. We were seated quickly and greeted by yet another friendly server, Eileen. Maybe it was the smaller crowds, or maybe we got lucky, but the service this trip was really first rate.

She took our drink order and while she was gone, my son called to say that they had arrived at the hospital. The ankle was now deep purple. I talked with him for a few minutes to get him prepped for what the hospital visit would be like.

I returned to the the table and saw that the wife had changed our order to 22oz. beers. (I love that woman). Eileen asked how the patient was doing, so my wife had filled her in about why I ran from the table.

We started with pan-seared pot stickers that were sensational. She ordered the Kobe Beef Burger, while I did the Malaysian Seafood Curry. We closed the meal sharing the Fried Wontons. Everything was very good. With the Sanaa debacle behind us, this became our featured meal of the trip and we were not disappointed. We watched out the window as AK wound down for the day and when it started to pour, I ordered another round of 22's. The park closed at 6:00 and we finished at 6:35. Walking from the back to the front of the park, we were often the only people around. The place was weirdly empty. No one but an occasional CM. (The idea hit me that closing down one of the parks, seeing all that is involved, would make an interesting 'behind the scenes tour').

We got the last bus out of the place and headed back for our last night at OKW.

After picking up some packages that we had delivered to the resort, we walked back to our room. As we sat and decided what to do with our last night, we got a call.

No breaks
No ligament damage
Badly sprained

Aircast and crutches and drugs. Oh, boy!

We decided to walk around the resort. A slow, stroll to soak in the feel of the place.

We thought about heading to a park or jumping on the boat to Downtown Disney, but instead we stopped at The Gurgling Suitcase for a beverage (They don't serve 22's) and then went and sat by the pool and chatted.

It had turned into a Key West kind of night. Warm, but not too warm, with an enjoyable breeze. We went back to the room, sat on the patio and relaxed.

More to follow

Allie's picture
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Glad to hear your son is ok! I'd be a mess if I heard our daughter was injured while we were away! Also glad to hear you enjoyed Yak and Yeti...it's our absolute favorite!

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Great report Cinema, glad your son got away with just a sprain.

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glad your son is ok

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Cinema your trip report is great. I am so glad that your son just sprained his ankle. Hope is starts to feel better soon.

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So glad to hear that the ankle won't leave lasting damage!

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Departure Day

We were up early and packed quickly. Ok, I didn't pack. I threw stuff in my bag. As badly as TSA had rifled through my bag on the flight down, I saw no sense in packing carefully.

We figured to get wherever we were going by 10. That would give us over 3 hours before we had to head back for our assigned ME time. We grabbed coffee and a Danish at Good's Food to Go. We grabbed a table by the water and started talking about the trip. It had been a wonderful relaxing 5 days. Several times during the stay, she leaned over and whispered, "I needed this, Thank You". She wasn't the only that needed a getaway.

She loved us going away on our own, but wants the 4 of us to try to get down as a family, hopefully next year. Some of our best family times and conversations as they were growing up, happened at these parks. We need to do it again.

As we finished coffee, undecided which park to visit, we decided to walk to the bus area and get on the first bus that showed up. To get there, we walked by the dock for the boat to Downtown Disney. The smiling captain greeted us and asked if we were her 1st passengers of the day. We looked at each other and decided to go. What a delightful ride that is.

We arrived a few minutes before most of the places open (10:30) and there were very few people there. (A great contrast to the other night, when there were so many people it was hard to navigate). We did a slow walk from La Nouba to the end of the the Marketplace. Popping in here and there, it was all quite relaxing.

My phone went off. A text from Southwest announcing a schedule change on our connecting flight. Our layover had grown from an hour to 3 hours. 5 minutes later I got another text from Southwest with another schedule change. Back to our original departure time. I decided that I better call Southwest. While I maneuvered through the many options of Southwest's phone system, my wife continued shopping.

At about noon, she stopped and said that we had a choice. Eat at the airport or eat here. She was standing outside Wolfgang Puck's Express when she said it, so we decided to try it. It was excellent. She had the turkey sandwich and carmelized onions and cheddar, while I had the fennel sausage pizza. An enjoyable, surprise meal.

We walked back to the other end of DD to catch the boat back to OKW. Another lovely ride and then the sad wait for our bus to the airport. Our ME trip, check-in, and our flights home were uneventful.

More to follow