Okay, here we go! - WOOT! ***finally finished! Last day added 1/11***

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taratru's picture
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Okay, here we go! - WOOT! ***finally finished! Last day added 1/11***

I'm going to just do a day by day and since the kids are entertaining themselves right now, I can at least get a day done!

I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures and the quality of the pictures I did take. I hate lugging a camera and my iphone camera is only awesome in full daylight with no movement. So I'll borrow a couple from photopass and the race photos to supplement. Smile

We had such an amazing trip! The only negative is that I may have planned too much! We had very little downtime, which isn't necessarily bad, but we were tired when we got home for sure! I loved the race as well...I ran pretty well and loved running through three parks (well, 2.5 parks - Epcot was pretty slim. WHY don't they let us run around the WS?!??).

AND...I got to meet JMUDukz! We met up at MVMCP. She's adorable and so sweet. I missed Jess, though...I sent a text but didn't hear back and at the airport realized I had transposed two numbers when I put the number in my phone! So bummed. Sad

Anyhoo - here we go!

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Gets the Popcorn and gets comfy biggrin

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Okay, we are NOT off to a good start. I just saved day one and got rewarded with a screen full of programming language and it was GONE.

And uploading pics isn't super easy...gah! Anyone have tips to make that part easier?!?

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Oh my gosh! I'm not quite sure what's going on this morning, we've had a LOT of double posts and hang ups - I'm wondering if Brad is working on the back end of the site today or something is happening server wise. Give writing your post in a word processor first a try, and then cut and paste it into the form. That way if the site gets hug up you still have your work saved.

What's going on with the photos? Are they not uploading at all? I usually put mine up on flickr http://www.flickr.com/ and then cut and paste the code into the forum text box - that gives me lots of sizing options too, and permenant storage.

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Kristen K. wrote:
Oh my gosh! I'm not quite sure what's going on this morning, we've had a LOT of double posts and hang ups - I'm wondering if Brad is working on the back end of the site today or something is happening server wise. Give writing your post in a word processor first a try, and then cut and paste it into the form. That way if the site gets hug up you still have your work saved.

What's going on with the photos? Are they not uploading at all? I usually put mine up on flickr http://www.flickr.com/ and then cut and paste the code into the forum text box - that gives me lots of sizing options too, and permenant storage.

I'm writing it all in Word, so I've got it. And I thought about flickr about one minute ago! So they're uploading. it's going to take a while, though. Smile I was just uploading them as attachments and using tinypic, but I guess flickr will be easier.

So, I'll try round 2 here in a bit! laugh

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Day One - Travel and Art of Animation

We were lucky enough to travel at a normal time, so we got up at our normal time, took the kids to school and daycare and then headed to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We had an uneventful flight, which included two tasty adult beverages each, courtesy of our flight attendant who was so proud of us for taking our anniversary trip to Disney without our children. I took two books to read, neither of which was opened the entire trip. Ha! We arrived in Orlando about 20 minutes early!

We stopped at the Starbucks in Orlando airport for a drink and snack, since we had missed lunch, before heading to DME. No hitches there and we literally walked through the queue, out the door, and onto the bus. This was seriously the best trip we've ever had in terms of transportation.

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We got to AofA, and since we'd done Online check-in, it was a breeze! We didn't have to wait in any line, our time at the desk was about 3 minutes and off we went to our Little Mermaid room!
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I LOVE THIS RESORT. I know it's a value and all, but the theming here is awesome. We walked through Lion King toward our room and the detail was so impressive. I'm always amazed by the plants that Disney uses to create theme...it's just...well, amazing! We got to our room and got settled in. It was about 5:00. I had figured we would just hang out at AofA and have dinner or order a pizza. So we headed down to Landscape of Flavors to check it out. DH wasn't really feeling much, so we decided to head to a resort. I had the idea to go jump on the monorail and see what we found!

On the way over, we used the Disney Experience app to check out menus and such. I knew there was no WAY we could get into O'hana, so we started at GF. This was my first time at the resort and my jaw was on the floor. Beautiful doesn't do it justice. Neither do any of my pictures, because I only took one. Jeez.
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We headed to the GF Cafe and they said they would take walk ins starting at 8. DH didn't seem to keen on waiting (it was about 6:45), so we decided to keep walking. Took a stroll around the grounds and ended up at Narcoossee's. Did the whole "we don't have an ADR, buuuut..." and the hostess said, "we can't seat you, but there's room at the bar where you can eat." DONE.

We settled in at the bar, met Sergio our bartender, who was HILARIOUS, and celebrated our good luck. I had a great glass of wine and DH had a Mickey Margarita (he took the limes off before I could grab a photo!) to start. Then for dinner, I had the strip and DH had the ahi tuna, and we shared a plate of their loaded mashed potatoes. OMG, those potatoes. I wanted to take a bath in them!
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We took the boat over to MK after dinner and then caught a bus back to A of A.
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We walked around the whole resort just because we needed to move after that dinner! Cars Land at A of A is so well done. Cozy Cones as pool cabanas - brilliant! We are hoping that the next family vacation we take, we can stay in one of the suites there. I think the kids would have much more fun than at Fort Wilderness.
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We headed back to the room where I had some, um, distress. yuck Let's just say I spent a lot of time in that Ariel's cavern bathroom.
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I think it was just the richness of my dinner...I never ever eat like that and rarely eat steak. I was only worried about dehydration, since I had the race the next day. So I drank as much water as I could handle and just went to bed. We didn't unpack much, since we had an early ADR at Kona and we were changing resorts the next day. Sort of a bummer on our first night, but I wasn't going to worry...we were at Disney! Smile
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Love it so far. Keep it coming!

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Oh bummer... At first I was like I never got your text... Then realized it went to the wrong person

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Great start! Can't wait to read more!

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Great start! mickey

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Day Two - New Resort and Race Day!

We were up bright and early for our ADR at Kona. I was SO excited to try Tonga Toast and also just to hang out and get some coffee, explore a new resort, and get into OKW, another new resort!

We had an easy checkout at A of A. Just used our gift cards to pay our dinner from the night before at Narcoosee's and away we went. We left our bags at bell services for transfer over to OKW. I was worried about getting everything there, but they assured me our bags would arrive by 4. So I left my running gear in my suitcase and hoped for the best!

When we got to the bus stop, the Epcot bus was pulling up, so we hopped on that one and then jumped monorail to TTC for a super easy walk to the Poly. I loved that walk, because we got to see a ton of the resort. I LOVE the grounds at the Poly. Love love love. I'd love to stay there someday, but it's probably out of the budget for a while. Smile We made our way to Kona and the 2nd floor was just packed between Kona and Ohana waiting. Crazy! Lots of energy, though, and tons and tons of runners from the 5K that morning (and some wearing gear that let me know they were running that night, too).

We were seated by 10:00. Ordered the French Press coffee for two (YUM!), Tonga Toast for me and the basic eggs, bacon, potatoes for DH. We intended to share, but once I tasted that Tonga Toast, I knew it was MINE, ALL MINE. Ha! We took our time with eating, since the cafe was clearing out and tables weren't being filled...do they close between breakfast and dinner?
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After we ate, we headed down to the beach, and sat on a swing with our feet in the sand. So so so nice. I probably could have sat there longer, but the bar wasn't open yet, and I had to get to the expo.

Since Poly was a host resort for the race, there was a bus right over to ESPN, which we boarded after about 10 minutes waiting. The expo was so easy. The outside was packed, as the kids' races were just finishing up, but the expo itself was pretty easy to get through. Picked up my shirt and number, bought a new hoodie and headed out. We had initially planned to go back to SSR and walk the path back to OKW, but we discovered that during the day, there's a guy there sometimes who doesn't let you walk. I won't share how we discovered that. Wink So we took the boat to DTD, got off and then the boat again to OKW. Sort of meandering, but we really had nothing but time.
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Finally got back to OKW and headed to check-in. There was no one there, so we didn't get the whole ipad check in, just walked up to the counter and did it! We got a room in building 52...not even close to what I requested, other than 2nd floor. Right on the street, so a view of the bus stop and the street. Sorrrrt of bummed, but I'm not one to complain. So we head out, walk to the Turtle Shack to grab a sandwich on the way and get to our room. It smells clean, we love the size, are a bit disappointed with location, but it'll be okay, right? Get a bit settled, start watching some tv and moving around the room a bit. Then I realize, "hey, why are my socks wet?" DH says, "from the balcony?" Um...no, my shoes were on when I went out there. Finally, I figure out the carpet is SOAKED. They had just shampooed it. No wonder the fan was going on high and it smelled so fresh!
So I call and they say they can bring a bunch of fans to set up while we are out of the room to dry it, or see if there's a new room. Well, we can't really go anywhere...it's 3:30 and I have to leave at 7 for my race, and I needed to eat and REST. Plus, we have nowhere to go, really. Again, I need rest. So I say, I'm sorry, but can you find another room? She says they will have someone call me back. 1.5 hours go by and nothing, so I call again, and they transfer me to housekeeping. Um...what? Why? I don't want fans, I want a new room. So *they* say they'll call me back. Finally someone does and says he has one room, but it's pretty far out. I'm like, okay, I just need a room with a dry floor.

So we head over to...building 22. The one building everyone on the internet seems to hate. But we had a room with a dry floor, so we went with it. We walked over, our magic bands were already set, and we went in. Same room, but ground floor. I think the 2nd floor would have had a view of the golf course, but we saw a lot of trees. No worries. I liked it. The road noise didn't bother me, and it was so so quiet down there. Also, I liked being the next to last bus stop.
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Once we were settled, I took a little nap, got up, got dressed, headed out to the race. DH thought he would just take a cab to the finish line and we'd ride back together, but he actually used my after-party bracelet and went to the Food and Wine Festival while I ran! Yay for him! On my way over to the race, I made friends with people on the bus, who told me if we took a bus back to SSR after the race, there would be a bus/van back to OKW, so that was my plan. We bused to Epcot, quickly got into the race shuttle line and were on the bus to ESPN. Easy peasy!

The race? Well, it went! I had fun. Smile Here's a race report from another one of my boards, if you'd like to read it. http://pandce.proboards.com/thread/254590/mini-race-report
After I finished, I found DH and we went back to SSR. We asked inside the check in and the lady on duty said they usually started that shuttle about 2:00 when more people came back from the party. But she took us personally in the van. So we were back in the room by 1:15 am...I drank a ton of water and tried to sleep, but I just couldn't. After a fitful 5 hours or so, we were up and off to our Anniversary Extravaganza! Smile
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Mandy's picture
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I'm sorry that they gave you a fuss about changing rooms due to the floor being wet!

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Back in your room by 1:15 eek we were still running!

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Great report Tartaru and great job! Yes Ohana's does close between meals.

Breakfast 7:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Lunch 12:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Dinner 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Stinks about your room but at least they found another. Never say never about the Poly.

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Day Three - Happy Anniversary!

We were up bright and early for our 8:12 tee time at Magnolia. I booked golfing as my gift to DH, not only for our anniversary, but also to thank him for being so supportive of my running (and my traveling for running!). I wanted to keep it a surprise, so I planned to rent clubs. I had to pack tees, balls, and our gloves in a bag in my suitcase, so I gave him that bag in the morning to let him know where we were going. He was pretty excited! Bell services picked us up way out there on Miller's Road, and we caught our pre-arranged cab to the golf course. The price of the cab is included in your greens fees, which is awesome.

We checked in at the clubhouse, got our clubs and cart (number 71! talk about luck!), and went to the driving range. Hit a bucket, then hit the links! We were paired with two guys from Rhode Island who were not only about the same talent as we are, but were just there to have fun, like we were. This made our day awesome, even though the golf was...um...not good. Ha!
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After golf, we headed back to OKW, cleaned up and changed and headed to Epcot for Food and Wine Festival. Caught a bus right away and spent a few hours there. I didn't want to eat too much, since our Intimate Dining was at 7. I didn't tell DH what we were doing, but I told him that we needed to pace ourselves. Smile We hit France, Mexico, Morocco, and a couple others. (I feel like I need a separate F&W review post. Jeez, that was fun.)
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We headed back to OKW again to get ready for dinner. I decided we'd take a cab, just so we could rest a bit. Then I got my present! It matches a ring I bought this summer. LOVE. Smile
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We also packed a backpack with comfy clothes for post-dinner, since MK was open until 2am. We needed to be at GF at 7, so we got to Hospitality House at 6:30 to catch a cab over. Well, bell services was all "oh, a cab will take awhile to get here, so we'll just drive you over!" SWEET! So, at 6:45, we headed over to GF in a van. Now, if you've driven from OKW to GF, you know that in a cab, this ride takes 10 minutes, 15 TOPS. We had just driven it that morning! But this bell guy decided to take the LONGEST way ever. Instead of heading northwest out of OKW, he headed south, down to Osceola Parkway and then caught some backroad way up to GF. It. Was. RIDICULOUS. And it took us too long...we arrived at the piano at 7:15. WTF?!?!? I was furious and nervous and freaking out. The piano player said our butler would be right back, so at least I knew they would seat us. DH checked our backpack at bell services.

Howard arrived and took us up in the elevator to the 3rd floor. Out we went to the balcony and it was awesome. Rose petals on the floor, our table all set, wine ready to pour, personalized menus...just lovely. DH was happy. He knew we were going to dinner, obviously, but he never guessed this. I am so glad we decided to do the dinner instead of just dessert, because everything was SO delicious. We ate every single thing, but we couldn't finish our desserts. That is probably the first time that's ever happened to us! But I knew I would be sick if I ate any more so we stopped.
Pros of this experience: food, time with DH, fireworks (you can see almost the whole thing), electric water pageant (yes, you can see it!), our butler Howard (loved him...so funny), GF (this is my favorite resort, for sure), cost (really for the experience, it's a deal)
Cons: that balcony isn't closed - they need a sign or something - some lady came out to smoke on the other side?!? I was about to get up and kick her out, when she left. Also, the resort noise is there...movie on the beach, the pool, etc. It didn't bother us, but it isn't super quiet up there. I didn't want to be inside though (which is the other option - 5th floor nook inside).
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Afterwards, we headed to MK and got there just at the Electric parade was starting! We changed at Town Hall, watched the parade and hit the park. NO lines anywhere. Did Splash, Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion, and Space. Really, we were just after moving around after all that food! So we stayed until about 11:30 and headed home, exhausted, but so so happy! Best anniversary ever, for sure!!!
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I'm glad you guys had a great anniversary! I'm glad he loved the golf and dinner!

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I so love a happy ending..... stars

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Oh my gosh, Tara! That sounds so absolutely perfect!! Congratulations & Happy Anniversary!!

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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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sounds like a fantastic way to celebrate your anniversary

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Wow! Awesome dinner!

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Happy Anniversary! Disneyworld AND a "little blue box" from Tiffany's?!!?! yay yeah yay stars yeah stars yay

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Every girls love the littel blue box.. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!
I never knew about balcony dinners at GF. Who do you book that thru??

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Aw what a great anniversary! I enjoyed reading your run report, too, though I couldn't see the pics because the site said I didn't have a compatible browser. Darn!

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Day Four - Park Time and MVMCP

Man! We'd already had a hell of a vacation already, but there was more! We had FP+ for DHS at Tower of Terror, Toy Story and Rock'n Roller Coaster, so we were in DHS about 10. We were so happily exhausted at this point! We grabbed a quick breakfast of coffee and pastries at Starring Rolls and hit up our rides. In between, we caught Beauty and the Beast, which we'd never seen before and enjoyed very much! We also had another twist cone.
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Time out: twist cones are our "thing." When we go on our student trips with another person from our school, I swear we eat at least 5 a day. Okay, time in.

Then we hit the backlot where I tried (fruitlessly) to describe to DH the Osborne Lights from the night of the race. I knew we'd have to come back, because they are just so amazing. Oh, and I beat DH at Toy Story for the first time ever.
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We walked around a bit more and decided to get back to Epcot for the last day of Food and Wine Festival. Oh...that was awesome. We must have hit 15 booths this afternoon and loved it all! I knew we were heading to MVMCP that night, so we could eat ourselves silly with no big dinner plans.
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After Epcot, we headed back to OKW for a quick change and grabbing of jackets before catching the bus to MK. I remember really debating spending that extra $ for MVMCP and let me tell you...I am SO GLAD we did!!!! It was awesome. We rode all the rides, we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate, watched the parade (and when Cinderella comes down, being drawn by REAL PONIES, grown women may just squeal like little girls...just sayin. They might.), played IN THE SNOW. I loved it all. And the fireworks?!?! AMAZINNNNNNNNNNNNG. You MUST do this. MUST.
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and...pretty much the best picture of us ever taken at Disney...I might just have to buy it Smile
Untitled
We ate at Casey's Corner...the only true junk food of the trip - I had a chili dog and nachos and they were so damn good. And this was when I got to meet JMUDukz!!! Oh, she's about the cutest thing EVER. I'm so glad we got to meet up. She has the picture on her phone, so, yes, it really happened.
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We stayed until they nearly had to kick us out. Loved every minute.

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yay awesome! And yes! Buy the picture!

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Day Five - Parks time!

We were finally ready to rest a bit and we slept in today. Ahhhh....sleep. The plan for today was to hit up Animal Kingdom and DHS before heading over to California Grill for our final dinner. OMG, do we have to go home tomorrow?!?

We got to Olivia's for breakfast at about 10:30. Our server was so sweet. She noticed our Anniversary pins and brought us mimosas, yay!
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This was the only time we got anything for our buttons/occasions. As a side note, I was sort of disappointed with that. I specifically noted our anniversary on every single ADR *and* on our online check in info and nothing. I know I shouldn't expect it, but why do they even ask? (more on that soon at the Cali Grill)

After breakfast, we headed over to AK. We had FP+ for Dinosaur, Everest and Safari. We headed to Dinosaur first, which was awesome as always. We just wandered around the park toward Everest and noticed it was verrrry quiet. Oh, because Everest was not working!!! WHAT?!?? Patience was the order of the day, so we headed over to Safari. Hopped right on and weren't expecting much since it was middle of the day. But we saw a TON. I love the Safari. Here's a few faves of the day. Smile
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We stopped at the Dawa Bar for a little refreshment
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and then headed to the little cart on the path between Africa and Asia and grabbed hummus & veggies and falafel for lunch. SO YUM. Then it was off to Everest. YETI!!!! We rode with our fastpasses and then twice more in the single rider line. We might love this ride. Smile

Time out: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE DID BETWEEN AK AND DHS. My pictures go from Safari to Osborne Lights. *sigh* I waited too long for my trip report.

Time in!

I'd been trying to tell DH about Osborne Lights since DHS two days ago and finally I could just show him! I didn't know it would be so packed! I loved it. The music, the lights, the people...it's amazing. I took a video and showed it to my mother-in-law to sort of give her the idea of "hey...we should go during this time"...she loved it, too, so hopefully!
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After a couple of hours at DHS, we headed over to the Contemporary. We grabbed a bus and got there with time to spare for our 9:05 reservation. We checked in and rode up the elevator feeling...um... a bit underdressed. Oops. I didn't realize it was fancy pants time. When we got upstairs, I told the girl we were celebrating our anniversary this trip and said, "So stamp the ticket!" (with the little red Anniversary stamp), but she didn't. Um...okay? It's on the ADR *and* I just told you? Jeez.

We headed to the bar for a drink and then outside as the fireworks were just starting. Of COURSE our buzzer went off, so we went in, got our table and then headed back out. It was cool seeing the fireworks from up there, but I wish they would dim the lights on the terrace, not just in the restaurant. Also, people were pretty obnoxiously loud.
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Oh! And there was a wedding reception in one of the back rooms. They came out during the fireworks and got pictures. Pretty sweet!

Anyway, our dinner was amazing. The food was delicious. I had the sweet potato gnocchi and DH had the scallops. For apps, we had a flatbread and the ravioli. We were sitting right next to the kitchen, so we got the watch the executive chef put the final touches on all the dishes, which was so cool! We were also right next to the dessert station, so we knew what we wanted before we even got to it!
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Our server was great...of course I can't remember his name, but he was from New Jersey and was so funny! I do love Disney service once I get into a restaurant...I don't know that I've ever had a server be anything but top notch. The check-in people? yeah, hit or miss for me.

We enjoyed our dinner until 11, when the restaurant was closed. Oops! Our plan had been to go over to MK and catch the bus back to OKW so we didn't have to get a cab, but MK closed at 10 that night and I know the buses only go for an hour or so after closing. We booked it over to the bus station and hopped in line. Heaven bless the transportation guy, who came and said, "I've got a bus for you...which station at OKW are you?" We told him Miller's Road, he said, "my driver will take you right there." YES!!! So we had a bus all to ourselves and it went straight to our stop. Hooray!

We got back to our room and packed. Saaaaad! Hit the hay, as we had an 8:05 ADR at Crystal Palace the next morning...last day coming up!

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I'm glad you got mimosas for breakfast! Sad that no one else offered anything for your anniversary.

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Spook wrote:
Back in your room by 1:15 eek we were still running!

OMG!! I had the same thought!!!!

Okay Taratru, I'm just now catching up. Love your TR, I cannot believe the wet carpet thing. Um, who shampoos a carpet when people are checking in??

Also, you failed to mention what you got for dessert at California Grill... Smile Just sayin'

Love your race report!! And you are right, those fake Florida hills SUCK!!

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taratru's picture
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JMUDukz wrote:
Spook wrote:
Back in your room by 1:15 eek we were still running!

OMG!! I had the same thought!!!!

Okay Taratru, I'm just now catching up. Love your TR, I cannot believe the wet carpet thing. Um, who shampoos a carpet when people are checking in??

Also, you failed to mention what you got for dessert at California Grill... Smile Just sayin'

Love your race report!! And you are right, those fake Florida hills SUCK!!

You're so right!!! I had the seasonal apple plate thingy...creme brulee, hot apple cider, apple cupcake and apple tart. It was YUM. DH had some kind of chocolate thing. I made the case for the sundae sampler, but he won out. Smile

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Maybe I'm just slow, but what is the anniversary stamp thing? I've never heard of this.... confused