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AnnieDan_Artlover
01-05-2013, 07:28 PM
Chapter 1 - Who, What, When, Where, Why

WHO
Hi, for all who havent read my previous (or ongoing) PTRs or my past TR, Im Annie-Danielle aka Dan.

Im 33, both very mature and a big kid and the most important thing to know about me, I guess, is that I suffer from a chronic illness called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which, to make it short, means bad connective tissues (ligaments, skin, that kinda thing), bad immune system and lots of problems most of the time. Thus, I cant work, not even part time and I live in an extension of my parents house.
Last time we went to the World, I was in a wheelchair& my health is much better now so it was a big excitement thinking about how it would be to WALK!
My favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: thrill ride, the crazier the better
-Disney food: Pretzel bread
-Disney movie: Fantasia
-Disney character: Can't choose... as long as it's fuzzy!
-Disney park: Epcot

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890034_zps1accb1ee.jpg

And with me is my mom aka Mama.
She is (ok, she asks that I say in her young sixties, says it shall be enough). :rotfl2:
Her favorites
-Thing to do in a theme park: people watch
-Disney food: Casey's mini corn-dogs
-Disney movie: Cinderella
-Disney character: Can't choose, but like me, prefers the fuzz balls!
-Disney park: MK

WHAT
A mother and daughter trip, just for fun, to see the new Harry Potter "park" and Christmas decorations!

WHEN
Saturday November 24th - Sunday December 16th: A 3 day drive to and back, 2 days in Universal and 15 days with the Mouse! All in all, 23 days!

WHERE
Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary!

WHY
Because we could! Seriously... There has to be perks of being too sick to work, right? I try to pretend I retired really early (still working on enjoying the good days without guilt and remembering those don't even come close to compensating the bad ones...), and Mama is half-retired and working mostly from home so she could take the time off (and deal with any emergency from there if needed). With that part-time work money and the money I put aside we could do it. That, and all the nice research and help from the DIS which saved us a ton of cash, too! :worship:

All the details will come in time (probably more than you will be able to endure!:faint:).

I'll try to update the TR regularly and keep a nice index here, and I can already assure you there will be weeks of nothing when I'm too sick, and then on good days a few updates in a row. ::yes::

Oh and before I forget, a disclaimer: Any similarities between this TR style and the Frumps' is intentional, you guys make the best ones! :wave2:

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards*****/showthread.php?p=47095536#post47095536): The first hint of how the TR title came to be...

INDEX
Chapter 0 - The PTR (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2497770)
Chapter 1 - Who, What, when, where, why (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47094664#post47094664)
Chapter 2 - Nov. 24th: Home-Harrisburg (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47095536#post47095536)
Chapter 3 - Nov. 25th: Harrisburg-Greensboro (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47101954#post47101954)
Chapter 4 - Nov. 26th: Greensboro-Jacksonville (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47102501#post47102501)
Chapter 5 - Nov. 27th part 1: Jacksonville-UNIVERSAL!!! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47163289#post47163289)
Chapter 6 - Nov. 27th part 2: Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47241771#post47241771)
Chapter 7 - Nov. 28th part 1: Early morning entry at WWoHP (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47339173#post47339173)
Chapter 8 - Nov. 28th part 2: Universal Studios afternoon (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47407753#post47407753)
Chapter 9 - Nov. 28th part 3: We arrive at DISNEY! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47408674#post47408674)
Chapter 10 - Nov 29th part 1: Getting ready (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47467115#post47467115)
Chapter 11 - Nov. 29th part 2: Epcot, finally! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47468744#post47468744)
Chapter 12 - Nov. 30th: Hollywood Studios (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47573774#post47573774)
Chapter 13 - Dec. 1st part 1: Epcot (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47575347#post47575347)
Chapter 14 - Dec. 1st part 2: Epcot AND MK wooo (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47575372&posted=1#post47575372)
Chapter 15 - Dec. 2nd part 1: A surprise! ...and Animal Kingdom (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47690159#post47690159)
Chapter 16 - Dec. 2nd part 2: Animal Kingdom and Boma (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47690212&posted=1#post47690212)
Chapter 17 - Dec. 3rd part 1: Hollywood Studios (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47928223#post47928223)
Chapter 18 - Dec. 3rd part 2: HS / Le Cellier (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47928257&posted=1#post47928257)
Chapter 19 - Dec. 4th part 1: Magic Kingdom (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47929075#post47929075)
Chapter 20 - Dec. 4th part 2: Epcot (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47941755#post47941755)
Chapter 21 - Dec. 5th part 1: Magic (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47943306#post47943306)Kingdom (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47943306#post47943306)
Chapter 22 - Dec. 5th part 2: Girls' night out! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47943314&posted=1#post47943314)
Chapter 23 - Dec. 6th : Animal Kingdom (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47996003#post47996003)

GrammyJudy
01-05-2013, 07:45 PM
WOW I've never been first on a TR before. I love a mother daughter story as my DD, who is 32, and I have had 2 of those to WDW.I am so jealous you had such a long trip.:cool1:

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-05-2013, 07:56 PM
Welcome GrammyJudy!

...and I've never had a reader so fast! :cool1:

Pressure, pressure, haha!

I'll go work on the next installment now. ;)

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-05-2013, 08:48 PM
We are leaving TODAY!!! I don't know who was most excited, me or Mama! She asked me yesterday if we could leave a day early :rotfl:

I do know dad was not very excited. Sad and boring little :offtopic: moment but needed I think. My dad is alcoholic. Yup, Mama still with him, don't ask.
Yesterday, our last day at home, he was... out drinking (he's retired). Came out too late for dinner (and too wasted), went straight to bed.

We were VERY proud of ourselves for having thought about it and asked him to help us to put the heavy stuff in the car BEFORE he left, even if it was almost 24hrs before departure time! Sure, we could've done it ourselves. But my energy is scarce and I wanted to keep it.

So, that's that.

We had put the alarm clock at 7am, and of course we were up at 6am! :hyper:
In the same way, we had planned to leave at 8am, but were out of the driveway at 7:30am!

...Mama decided to go wake dad up so he could say goodbye. I would've left him to sleep and to feel guilty waking up... He jumped out of bed saying he didn't think we were leaving so early (duh... and of course he knew), yup, it felt good to leave! ::yes::

Here's a trusty steed
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/images.jpg
Yeah, that's the nice pic from the store, but it's the same car, and it even was just as clean when we left, as we had it washed yesterday!
We LOVE this little car.

Of course, it started to snow just as we pulled out of the driveway... it had not snowed at all yet. Had to start today. Mama was worried about driving (especially coming back mid-December) because we would be on all-seasons tires instead of winter tires. I wasn't WORRIED... but knew it could be hell if nature didn't cooperate.

But the snow was very light and sparse, so the drive was easy until the USA. We crossed the border on the 401/81 in the 1000 Islands and there it took us only 10min all in all (considering it was the US thanksgiving weekend, we had been a bit worried about a longer wait!).

The drive continued to be OK, the snow on and on but still light, except one moment, about 2min in the Adirondacks where it was just a blizzard! So glad it stopped! If it had snowed like that for long, it would've been safe to drive as the snow was accumulating on the ground and it wasn't slippery, but I would've been SOOO tired! It's so dizzying and you need to much more concentration to try and figure out where you're going!

Then, just out of Syracuse, the weirdest thing happened: the biggest fine hail downpour I've ever seen! It started very suddenly, and felt as if a salt truck had been on an overpass and was dumping it's load on us! No kidding, it was my first impression! Luckily, again, it didn't last for more than 5min. (for us, anyways!)

We stopped for lunch at a Friendly's in Cortland, and it was at at least 5min from the I-81 (on 181). We stopped there because when we saw it it had been a while since we'd seen any other and we were scared we wouldn't see another for a while yet, and we had to pee and were hungry!
But there should be a rule... if you're more than 2miles from the highway, you should've have a right to advertise on those highway boards!!!

I mean, you see the thing on the side of the highway and you think it means it's close, then you take the exit, follow the sign, and it makes you turn, and turn, and you start to worry it'll take you 20min to get back on course!!!

I liked what I ate, Mama didn't... and while there the title of this TR came to life, even though we didn't know it at the time... we were talking about the trip to come and I told her how people here on the DIS had said Dumbo was not to miss, and how someone had asked if, as an adult riding alone, they would be pointed at and would look ridiculous... and the answer that person got was "Not at all, it's Disney after all... and anyways, if someone were to make fun of you, you don't know them and won't ever see them again!".
Which is very true.
Now keep that bit of information in mind, there will be a test. ;)

All in all, we stopped for one hour. And it was a good thing. Rested the body and the mind!

But we were anxious to get back on the road!

I can't say we could notice any "Thanksgiving traffic"... driving was very easy.

Then, at about 14 miles from Harrisburg, the traffic stopped... damn. We did our last miles driving between 10-30mph! There wasn't any accident, it really was just too many people. We had talked too fast!

Still, even with all that, we checked in the Harrisburg East Hampton Inn at 5:30pm!

The room was very nice, with a fridge, a microwave, a desk... We even got a water bottle and cookies, probably because it was my first time as a HHonors member!

We had dinner at the TGIFridays just 0.5 miles away. Sadly we were not very hungry (and very tired), so we only ordered the appetizer plate which we shared.
And what is this? Pretzel bread with cheddar cheese dip (with beer and bacon in it)! It tasted almost exactly like cheddar cheese soup! That was heaven on a stick!

We decided then and there to go back to have dinner there on our drive back! And hopefully we will be more hungry...

Back to the hotel we took our showers... OK, now... Why do they leave the curtain showers OUTSIDE of the bath if doing so will make a HUGE mess???
See, we don't have a bath in our house, just a big shower with a DOOR. It has been years since I went to a hotel with a bath and shower curtain and even longer since I had my own... so I didn't think about it, I left it as it was, took my shower, got out and OMG. it was a small lake in there. Thank god for too many towels!

As long as we're on the "moan about the hotel bathroom issues" topic, I do love when the bathroom lights don't trigger automatically the fan, so you can use it without the noise, or leave it on as a nightlight... but no fan AT ALL?! Really? That's just weird. And not very healthy, me thinks.

Oh yeah, one last bathroom rant: I had the stupidest idea... and tried the complimentary shampoo & conditionner (not all in one, both of them). We had both. I just figured they might be nice. They sometimes are in hotels... Well, not in Hampton Inns. Stay away from them!! I never had hair that knotted and dry in my life! I'm sure I left 1/4 of my hair on the brush trying to untangle it!

At 9:30pm, after watching 2 episodes of "Too cute" on Animal Planet and taking notes for this TR, we passed out for the night.
...Not without noticing the loudest A/C-heater unit EVER.

1 day closer to Disney!!!

Plan for the day:
Drive from 8am to 5pm (with breaks)
What actually happened:
Exactly as planned!

High of the day: Finally leaving for Disney!
Low of the day: Fine hail past Syracuse

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47101954#post47101954): will my choice of printing CAA directions instead of using the GPS or another service make us lost?

StilAPrincessAtHeart
01-06-2013, 02:46 AM
I'm totally in! I just started my Nov/Dec. TR with my mom and My DD. It was my mom's first time and she is hooked. So, I'm sure your mom/daughter TR will tug a bit at my heart strings. :)

GatorMommy2007
01-06-2013, 07:44 AM
Subbing!

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-06-2013, 10:33 AM
Welcome, welcome StilAPrincessAtHeart and GatorMommy2007!!! :wave2:

Not wanting to spoil anything, but I couldn't wait so I started my new PTR since we are GOING BACK!!!
In case no one had noticed the new ticker and PTR link in my siggie! :rotfl2:

Here's the PTR link Technically, it's not twice in the same year... - A Fall 2013 mom-daughter PTR (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47095870#post47095870)

The year is starting as rough as it ended on the health side, I haven't had a good day yet and today is big on the migraine side but I felt like writing (now that I started, right?) so we'll see how it goes with the migraine and migraine meds (you know when you took the meds but it still isn't working? So you get the double whammo of migraine + side-effects... hate that).

So pleaser forgive any weird ramblings (as if I didn't do that on a normal day :lmao:) and added typos, as I'm kind of seeing cross-eyed and through semi-closed eyelids. :rolleyes2

Shall we?

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-06-2013, 02:52 PM
Today I was way more excited than Mama, because altough we were still driving closer and closer to our goal, we were making a slight detour to visit my good friend dreamer17555!

First off, we had a really bad night's sleep. Mostly because of the hotel. Even if I would go back there and like Hampton Inns in general… I tried to sleep without earplugs and it was a bad idea. It took me a while to go to sleep and I woke up after about 1hr. Mama snores so loudly!… AND the fan on the heater/AC was incredibly loud, as I noted before… plus the walls are super thin (we could hear what people were saying walking by in the hall!). Luckily people weren't noisy… but the fan and snoring were enough.

Add to that that each time Mama or I would go to the bathroom, the light would reflect on the mirror in the "hall" in such a way it lit up the whole room! That's what woke me up in the morning…
But in the meantime… I woke up with the noise at around midnight… then had to take the earplugs when I wasn't back to sleep 30min later… I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and not having a restful sleep. The pillows were too soft (but 2 were too high, of course) and I kept trying to make myself comfortable. :crazy2:

Mama didn't sleep much better and the fan woke her up too (it kept starting). Each time I got up I woke her up… and she said she could hear me snoring lightly and having slight problem breathing a few times… I'm still congested because of my sinusitis/ broncho-pneumonia and the air was very dry in the room too.

But at last it was morning, we woke up "for good" at 6am (we had put the alarm at 7am, haha) and were out the door at 6:45, I was so proud of us!
Before we had left home we had talked about this and how we could be faster in the morning, especially Mama who can be real slow. In our 2008 trip it could take us (ahem, her) over 90min to get ready! That would NOT be tolerated this trip! :laughing:

A few tips to be fast in the morning (on the road or in Disney)?
Take showers before going to bed, prepare everything for the next morning, from clothes to bags, do not scatter and bring the minimum amount of bags necessary if you're on the road... and of course eat minimal breakfast, in room if possible, or stuff that doesn't take a long time to eat (a bagel or toasts is much faster than cereals, for ex.).

Since we were on the road, eating in the room was NOT faster though, so we took the complimentary breakfast (not very tasty, as expected), and I got nausea... happens sometimes. I had to take some Pepto-Bismol caplets, which helped, but I still carried the nausea for a few hours.
After breakfast we used the bathroom located near the checkout counter and Listerine strips (having brushed our teeth right after waking up... we usually prefer to wait after eating but that was more polite for other guests :rotfl: and, of course, faster than going back up to the room).

We filled the refillable mugs we had brought and were back on the road (and NOT worried about snow!) at 7:45! ...WAIT... it took us 1hr to have that stupid simple breakfast?! And it wasn't checkout, as it took just about 2min. We will HAVE to work on that! :sad2:

We stopped for gas before leaving Harrisburg, and on the drive to Greensboro got stuck in traffic 3 times, each because of an accident... guess that was a result of the Thanksgiving crowds...
Our lunch was at Taco Bell, which Mama enjoyed much more than she remembered, now she is almost looking forward to the next time!

Like yesterday, we stopped a few times in the morning and a few times in the afternoon for bathroom breaks and stretch. About once every 60-90min.

Then the direction mess started...
Since we had problems with our GPS on a trip to/in Atlanta in the summer of 2011, I had decided not to use it unless totally necessary... especially since the drive down to Florida is fairly easy. So I had looked a few itinerary apps (Google Maps, Mapquest, CAA, etc). I finally settled on CAA, of which we are members, and printed that.
Mama is my co-pilot and takes her role seriously, studying the day's directions in the morning, using a marker to scratch off what's done... mostly because it stresses her out...
I had understood from my comparisons that pretty much all services gave me the same itineraries.

We still brought the GPS, just in case... but it was in the glove box.

Turns out the CAA instructions were... right but not clear enough in the last stretch towards Greensboro.
For example, you get to a fork and have no idea which way to go... either because it's new or you're just supposed to guess that you should follow the logical option (i.e. the exit saying "Greensboro")... Usually, if you have no instruction, it means you need to continue and not take any exit... Which was true for one of the occasions when this happened... But at one point, we used that common sense... to eventually have to go back and actually take the exit! The right way should've been "road changes name, keep going straight" or "turn left to follow road #xx"!

Also, many, many times the direction was to take, for example, a "slight right"... while it was literally a right turn (90°).

And thanks to those unclear directions, once in Greensboro things didn't seem to make sense anymore... so we got the GPS out. Which showed us again why we hate it so much, as it made us take the wrong exit and made us go around in the city while it was "recalculating"... while we had just followed it's instructions! That damn thing is evil!

But eventually the GPS got us in the right place... and we could see that we were in the same place the CAA directions would've gotten us anyways... if we had just stuck with those and trusted that they were right, we would've been OK... but to be honest it didn't look OK at all!

We managed to get to Greensboro's Hampton Inn, Mama walked to Wendy's to get her dinner (she didn't want to join me and Becca for dinner, so she ate in the room and watched TV, which actually made her quite happy).
We had the biggest laugh when she told me where she got her dinner, because just yesterday she told me how she would never eat at Wendy's because the square patty made her nauseous just thinking about it (she's weird that way!). And there she was eating that, because it had been convenient to get that... and turns out it was the best burger she ate! She said it tasted like the ones she makes at home. :thumbsup2

I got ready during that time, and Becca came to get me at 6pm. We had agreed on 6:10, but she was early and I was happy about that since I was early in getting ready too! We were anxious to see each other again and very hungry!

I got her to little gifts I had brought her from the car: A bottle of apple cider from a apple orchard owned by a friend of mine… for her birthday which just passed, and cookies I baked for Christmas. I hope she likes them!!!

We went to Arigatos, a japanese place, for dinner, same place we went 17 months earlier and we both love! But I must say it's not ideal for conversations, and when you don't see each other often, a quieter place where you can talk would be better. Noted for next time!

As usual, we talked about her kids, our similar health issues, Disney, families, dance and a few other things… :goodvibes

Then to continue our evening we went for coffee on Tate St. where unbeknowst to us was a poetry slam happening! We got there just before it started… so instead of talking we drank our coffee while enjoying a very good slammer… but left before the contest about to happen started because we didn't want to leave in the middle of it, and did want to talk a bit… so we ended up chatting in her car in front of our hotel room!
(The Greensboro Hampton Inn is like a motel with the doors on the outside of the building… which I kinda like! So easy to unload the car!).

The evening was amazing, it's so much fun, we are so alike… and it's so sad that we live so far apart and can't spend much time together!!! :sad1:

We would've wanted to continue talking but she had to wake up very early the next morning... and I must admit I was tired from all the driving and didn't want to get up too late the next morning either, our last driving day until Florida!

Small word about the Greensboro Inn:
We love that the vanity area is separated from the rest of the bathroom, so you can get ready while someone else is in the shower, bath or whatever!
On the other side, unlike last time we were there (June 2011), there wasn't even a small fridge! And there was a small stain on my duvet cover.

The AC/Heater unit was MUCH less noisy, barely could hear it! Such a relief!
Mama was just as noisy though :lmao:
I'll try going to sleep with my earphones and my music (lullabies and stuff) instead of the earplugs, which I don't like... might soothe me and help me sleep on top of dampening the noise... It's 11:30pm, lights out!

Plans for the day:
Drive to Greensboro, dinner with Becca
What actually happened:
As planned, woohoo!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47102501#post47102501): Will we find our hotel for the night?

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-06-2013, 03:39 PM
Last (full) day of driving!
Don't get me wrong, I love driving (really!). A lot. Seeing new things (sometimes...), the feeling of being free, the music (altough it's not as loud when you're with someone, especially if that someone is Mama)... I love it! :goodvibes

...But we couldn't wait to get THERE and DO STUFF! Not just sit there and roll.

Even though I was in bed at 11:30pm, I wasn't asleep until around midnight... but even if to give me a chance to get all the rest I needed I had put my alarm at 8am... I was up at 7:15!
Still, I slept well for the first time... which made me realize how tired I was!

We finally got the routine right, breakfast included, so we were on the road at 8:30am. Being in a rush I'm sure we could be faster, eat while driving for example... but that wasn't necessary at all and not something we would've liked.

During the whole day I think we stopped a total of 3 times! We could feel the anxiousness to GET THERE. :lmao:

We stopped at a Ruby Tuesday in Walterboro, SC, for lunch. OMG that was so good! It was our biggest lunch so far, a bit too big for an afternoon of driving. We ordered coffees after that to help us stay asleep, and took a walk to the next door gas station to buy ourselves something to drink...

That's where we saw this:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/photo.jpg
Our first palm trees!!! :cool1:

Then it was, again, the complication of understanding the directions given by CAA's Triptik... First off I took the wrong lane, which lead to the wrong side of the highway, because I had the name of the road (can't remember which), and say it was "east"... well you could see the overhead sign saying the road name, and only once very close to it could you see "west" and at THAT point could you see a second sign with the "east" lane... on the complete opposite, 3 lanes further, which at rush hour like we were, was NOT a possibility to cross. Grrr, hate when roads are badly designed like this. (well, signs more than roads). Why didn't I just know and trust the printed directions? Because they didn't make sense by then.

And when, on our second pass we took the right road, it said we should meet the intersection with the hotel's street and would be "right there"... well turns out it's a very weird place and we had to almost do a 180° on that street (you know, a U-street) to find that street, in a weird industrial-looking part of town (that was the feeling we had in the dark anyways).

But, in the end, we did make it there and checked in just a bit past 6pm!

When the clerk asked if we easily found the place and we said what happened, he said it wasn't the CAA's fault and that everyone gets lost going there...

Maybe the "weird-industrial-place" feeling was wrong, but there wasn't anything there. Either we went to the neighbouring Radisson or Marriott's restaurants... we had started walking there when I realized I was way too tired for that and pleaded to Mama to just order pizza in the room. She is not a fan of eating in the room, but I must've looked really bad since she agreed.

We ordered from Pizza Hut and it arrived in 25min!

Doing that saved us a bit of time, too, since we could do a few things while waiting for the delivery, and jump into the shower right after eating, which took us much less time than eating in a restaurant, waiting for the check, etc.

Plus, the pizza was pre-cut, not too messy and delicious!

We went to bed somewhere around 9pm! Totally exchausted. I even almost forgot to take notes for this TR!

One last thing though... I decided to have my hair cut! I was toying with the idea for the last few months, almost did it a few weeks ago at my last hairdresser's appointment... but figured it was best to have it long during the trip so I could make ponytails and such in the heat, and not have to worry about style, either. I had decided to have it cut at my next appointment though.

And then I made the mistake of using that damn hotel shampoo and conditionner 2 days ago... and tonight even though I used our own my hair was still all tangled, and I broke so many hairs untangling it, my hair looks awful! I must've pulled 2 hanfulls of hair and got a headache from pulling on my scalp so much (not even kidding).
And our conditionner is good quality... how much do I need to put in now?! My hair was always bad with tangling, and the longer it got the worst it gets... now it just makes me crazy.
If I wasn't just scared of looking stupid (or lucid, one would say), I would just cut it myself right now!
I looked online and the Contemporary has a hair salon, thank goodness, and the prices are not too bad, so the first thing I'm going to do when we get to Disney is take an appointment! Just a few more days to endure...

Plan for the day:
Get to Jacksonville
What actually happened:
As planned! We are gooood. :cool2:

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47163289#post47163289): What will the crowds be like in Universal and how much will we be able to accomplish in a day shortened by some driving?

gwynne
01-06-2013, 05:35 PM
I'm in. You are writing a great trip report!

cheekypoppins
01-06-2013, 06:43 PM
GASP!!!! thousand islands is so beautiful we used to cross the border n drive through the states then re cross the border at thousand islands n drive on into quebec to go see my dad.

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-06-2013, 07:42 PM
Welcome gwynne and cheekypoppins, and thanks!

Thousand Islands IS indeed beautiful... but guess what? It's also the closest crossing point for us, for that route anyways! We ARE lucky, hehe!

nym4588
01-07-2013, 01:16 AM
Looking forward to reading! I'm taking my own mother/daughter trip next January!

swwake
01-07-2013, 01:14 PM
I'm here and reading along. I'm glad to see that it's been somewhat uneventful so far and that you got to spend good time with your friend!

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-11-2013, 09:21 PM
Welcome nym4588 and faithful swwake! :wave2: (me and swwake have known each other for over 5 years now, gee time does fly!)

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you, just a bit of stage fright before throwing myself in the "real" thick of the TR I guess. ;)

Let's go!

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-11-2013, 11:39 PM
THAT IT IS! For real! :cool1:
For Mama, the trip started in Disney, even though she was excited about WWoHP... for my part, even though I had been counting the days leading up to the departure and feeling like our vacation started as soon as we left our driveway... I felt like TODAY the fun was starting!

I am a thrill seeker, a big fan of roller-coasters and big crazy rides, and on that level, Universal has more to offer me than Disney, so even if I didn't think I'd enjoy it more than WDW, I was still very excited!

I can't remember what time the alarm clock was set at... but we woke up much earlier than that... at 5am! :hyper:

Breakfast was OK, no more, as usual... but hey, it was free, right?
Checkout happened in 1min. Not even joking!
And so we were on the road at 6:45.

We arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel at 9:30 after an easy drive and very clear directions, as expected.

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/UniversalDisney%202012/66732_10151290473703680_820674024_n.jpg

Having done my research, I knew the handicapped parking was free (compared to something like 18$ a day), I didn't know if it would be closer (which would be nice) but for once I would definitely enjoy having a handicapped parking card... I don't often need it anymore, and honestly don't use it if I don't need it... except in these cases... Maybe it makes me a bad person... or maybe it just compensates a bit for all the crap living with this illness brings... That's how I see it.

Anywho.
Right getting out of the car I thought my luck was the worst ever, as one of my ankle "cramped" and I hardly could walk. I limped to the check-in counter with Mama, taking many stops along the way.
Lucky we had taken my cane. But I did NOT want to have to use it all day, and if it had continued like that we would've had to rent a scooter.

But our luck was not bad, it was great!
Even if it was super early, our room was ready and on our trip back to the car to get the luggage, my ankle got better.

And here is the room!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1521_zps8e47a2c6.jpg

It felt very deluxe... and I couldn't help but notice that the colors, lime and khaki green and rich chocolate browns, were the same as in my little studio at home! HA! I have taste my friends! :cool2:

The beds were really comfortable, it was nice to have pillows that weren't so thin you felt like sleeping with a folded sweater... The vanity area is separated from the bathroom, which we love. The mini-fridge was the old-style full of over-priced snacks type, so we didn't touch it.
One cool thing I found was the iPod-friendly alarm-clock, on which I could both play and recharge my iPhone at night! (not playing it at night, duh!)

I did notice, though, on the bad side, that there was no free internet access, not even Ethernet. And the price wasn't clearly noted anywhere. Maybe there was free WiFi in some common areas, but it wasn't advertized at all and I never encountered it.
I must say I was very disappointed that a place obviously so intent on making itself cool and techno-friendly wouldn't even be up-to-date on that... while the cheapest 75$ motel offers free WiFi!!! I mean come on, we paid over 250$ for the night!!!

We didn't lose time unpacking too much, we put sunscreen on (it was sunny, I had read many places that "This is Florida, even in the middle of winter, you wear sunscreen!"... we are white as ghosts, we were not gonna take any chances), we used the automated kiosk to take our pictures (AWFUL, as always) and print our Express cards and off to the park we were! It was 10:20.

Our first stop was guest services, to upgrade our park admission. See, when I bought ours, I bought (on 2 separate occasions), 2 days, park-to-park tickets. But now a promotion was going on for Canadian and US residents: buy that and get a 3rd day FREE!
Honestly, we didn't plan on coming back for a 3rd day...

BUT... I figured, if we really loved the parks and wanted to come back... once we used the tickets it probably would be too late to upgrade. :teacher:

So now was the time.
In line we went, and it wasn't too bad. It took us about 15min, all in all, and as I expected, they upgraded without even blinking. Just asked for proof of canadian residency.

We went to Citywalk to have lunch, went to Panda Express, and in fact were there 5min too early and had to wait for it to open! And we were not the only ones! ...In those places where people get up so early and do so much, I don't get why they only open at 11am?! People get hungry much earlier!

Anyone who knows me knows I went to China in 2010 to work with pandas, so to me trying out PANDA express was a must! Plus, it turns out the food wasn't bad! And Mama really liked it!

Then it was off to Islands of Adventure, because even if we knew tomorrow we would have early entry, Mama wanted to check our "Harry Potter land" first. Personally, I didn't care what I did first so I was totally fine with that!

Here is our first ever look at IoA
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1524_zpsc6c18a90.jpg

We went straight there, using the Seuss Landing shortcut I read about here on the DIS (take a left right after the arch at the entrance)... not because it was necessary, but for fun!

...It was empty! Well, not totally empty, but there were fare less people than I expected! Look!

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1525.jpg

The first thing we did was take our picture with the driver of the Hogwarts' Express!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1527.jpg
We were very lucky that he was there just as we entered... and that we could actually just walk up to him to take the pic! The family he was taking a picture with just happened to walk away as we walked in the WWoHP! (EMPTY I tell you!)

Empty as in... only 5min for Dragon Challenge... and it was the time it took to get from the entrance to the ride itself. There was no actual wait at all! And gosh was it scary to walk in there! You couldn't see where you put your feet! I thought I'd fall flat on my face a few times... Having to use the hands to make sure you are following the chains, making sure there is a wall on one side to check that's not the way to turn... yikes!

And it was like that on most of the attractions! Empty, long, sinuous lines that seemed to go on forever in the dark! :scared1:

I rode the blue dragon first... as blue is my favorite color... and decided I would ride the red one tomorrow. I don't know why, I was kinda slow to start and didn't feel like riding again and again and again. Of course I always feel a bit silly doing that when I'm by myself, it's much easier to get in that mood when you're in a gang or at least with someone else who likes thrill rides as much as you do! :rolleyes:

Or maybe it was just the long walk up the ride. :rotfl:

So we strolled along the shops and took in the atmosphere, and since we knew we could buy things and have them sent to the front of the park to pick up later, we looked for gifts, especially for my 2 "fake nephews" (my best-friend's 7 y.o. twin boys), who are into HP. But they are young and don't know much about the different houses... and we couldn't find anything very interesting in my price range. I did spot some plastic dragons but they didn't get me very excited... I kept them in mind, and hoped I would find better. I was told the store you exit from the Forbidden Journey held different merchandise.

We did like what we saw at Zonko's, the candy shop! But we decided we would buy those items tomorrow, have them shipped to the front of the park, pick them at the end of the day and pray they wouldn't melt from that time until we got to our room in Disney where it's cool... (or during the drive from Disney, in the southern states...)

Between 2 shops, we took a break and tried the famous butterbeer. We took 2, one frozen and one regular. Even if it was a slow day, we skipped the non-line at the kiosk outside and went inside at the Hogs head, following the tip I had read, to order it.

When the bartender offered us the souvenir mug for... can't remember but I'd say it was something like 7$ each instead of maybe 3$ without... Mama said yes, thinking it would make a nice gift for the twins!
Until we saw the mugs... It only said "Butterbeer"!!! Not Harry Potter, not WWoHP, not Hogwarts or Hogs Head, just Butterbeer. :headache:
Those kids speak a BIT of english, they saw the movies in french and of course didn't read any of the books yet, they have no idea what butterbeers are. MAYBE they remember what bièreaubeurre is, which is the french translation... but probably not even that, because it's such a small detail in the movies!
That was such a disappointment!

We didn't want to log that around all day for nothing, so we threw one in the trash (yup. Had it looked better we would've given it away... no, wait, we would've liked it and kept it! But it wasn't worth a dime). We kept the other because it means refills of any soda at both parks would only be 0.99$. That means you save 2$ each time!
...You know what? We still trashed it after a while. Mama figured the 2$ wasn't worth the trouble of carrying it. And having a mug to drink your soda isn't very practical (no lid!)... plus you need to wash it in a restroom each time to be able to carry it. Goodbye guest-trap mug!

But, ah, for the all-important question of the actual butterbeer?
We both liked it. Mama liked both while I prefered the frozen. But it's so sweet that we had trouble finishing it and didn't buy more.
We decided to sit inside the Hogs Head to drink ours... and were not told that we shouldn't, but all the tables had a little "Reserved" sign... it wasn't clear if the tables were reserved for customers who buy something, like we just did... or only those who buy food... or others. If it wasn't for those who buy food, I really wonder WHO can sit there... And considering the crowd level, I don't really get why we weren't clearly allowed to sit there, if we HAD to buy food to be able to sit at a Reserved table...
But anyways, we found a table with a space which didn't seem to be reserved and sat there and no one bothered us...

The atmosphere is really immersive and cool... for a short while.
I would NOT recommend eating there.
The noise level is crazy, and I'm not talking about the customers!

To make it "like in the movie", there is, first off, the HP movies music. Which is nice, not too loud, and usually airy. I love that score!

But then there are the effects! Chairs being scraped on the floor above you, creaking ceiling, footsteps... and loud enough to be sure to be heard even in a loud crowd in the pub, over the music... and those noises repeat every 2min or so.

I've been to Rainforest Café which is noisy, especially the animals and the thunderstorm, but they don't go continuisly!

Mama isn't super tolerant of loud noises and she wanted out almost as soon as we were seated. I am tolerant of those things, but even I wanted out pretty fast.

The moving hogs head on the wall behind the bartender was one cool thing though. (and it grunted, of course...)

After that we walked up to:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1532.jpg

And we did the Forbidden Journey!
Actually, Mama walked with me for the castle tour, and then I did the ride.

During the tour we saw:
The greenhouse
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1564.jpg

The house's points "sandglasses"
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1566.jpg

Dumbledore's office entrance
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1567.jpg

Dumbledore's office with all these talking and moving pictures, which totally amazed me and sadly this picture doesn't do justice at all
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1571.jpg

We saw Dumbledore, who talked to us
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1573.jpg

And since I forgot to leave my phone with Mama, I had the luck of taking that pic of the sorting hat too
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1574.jpg

Luckily, she was just a few feet away and I could give it to her before I got into the ride vehicule! I remembered reading swwake's TR from last year in which she lost hers in this very ride!!!

I loved the FJ! I loved how that crazy new technology mixes the old with the new, moving in all ways, dragons shooting hot fire in your face in a non-video scene and then right after you're in a quidditch scene...
But as I got out I also noticed it's the first ever ride to get me queasy!
The butterbeer I had just drank probably didn't help! But still...

When I exited and re-joined Mama, she told me she had been sourly disappointed. No matter how much I had told her that WWoHP didn't amount to much, and that there was little to do... she expected more... as for the castle visit, she expected MUCH more and disliked having to snake her way along the lines with other visitors, feeling in the way every time she would've wanted to stop and look closer (which, miss anxiety as she is, she did not, obviously).
She would've much rather have a RIDE to visit the castle, like a Pirates of the Caribbean-type ride that would've taken you along the different parts of Hogwarts...

So that's how we left WWoHP, me a bit queasy but very impressed and happy by the major ride, Mama very disappointed. I must say I was a bit underwhelmed overall by WWoHP too, but having done all the reasearch I knew what to expect so it was no surprise.

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47241771#post47241771): Will Spiderman keep me hostage?

luckylady
01-12-2013, 01:13 PM
Wow the "crowds" look so low at WWoHP. We went and it was jamed pack. Even getting the early entrence since we stayed at Portafina Day. Took two hours to get into the wand shop. Those are great pictures of inside Hogwarts.

swwake
01-14-2013, 12:35 PM
Oh what fun! We love the HRH. Incidentally, in all my travels, I have realized that the 2 and 3 star hotels often include free internet and breakfast. 4 and 5 star hotels generally charge for these (unless you are a high-level loyalty member). I am not sure why this is the case, but I have noticed it.

Don't you love FJ?! (I actually lost my phone on RRR, but it was at Universal!)

We felt about the same about butterbeer. Ok for one time, but overly sweet. I prefer Pumpkin Juice.

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-19-2013, 04:09 PM
We decided to continue on our way instead of going back where we had entered WWoHP, so we started walking through the Jurassic Park area... where I took that (bad) picture
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1533.jpg
and not much else... the rides didn't interest me, the dinosaur "dig site" or hands-on museum type-thing that's there wasn't appealing either... we looked in the shop, where I almost bought the earth magnets... but didn't... and that was it. :confused3

Then we went to the Marvel area where there were more fun things to do!
I first went on the Hulk, which I had spotted since we first approched the park! That big green roller-coaster... Yeah, that's my kinda thing! :thumbsup2
I liked it, except I bumped my ears 3 times on the harness (even though I was holding my head back and trying real hard not to let my head smash on the sides...) So... OUCH. The ears were red from the bumping.
Which is why I didn't do it again, because it had been a walk-on (especially with the Express ticket, since there was a slight wait for "the others")

OK, it's not just because of the ears that I didn't go right back on... I still didn't have my ride mojo and it felt awkward to just go right back on... I'm that weird. :rolleyes:

So I went on Spiderman, which I loved! It made me think of the Forbidden Journey ride, but tamer and with 3D glasses...
But then, as the ride came to a stop... it came to a stop!
We could see the platform, we saw people coming out of the ride, a few vehicules ahead of us... but we didn't move forward afterwards! We got stuck there.
I was riding with a man and his son of about 5y.o., and he started whining. I thought he was scared, but turns out he had to pee! (I think that scared ME more! :rotfl2:) Luckily, we were only stuck there for about 2 minutes. Phew.

After that horrible ordeal :lmao: I walked over to the Dr. Doom's Fearfall, in which the Express ticket makes you go kinda backstage and walk forever, alone, in the dark (again!)... I was totally out of breath when I got there! And it was my turn to get seated. You read it right: No. Wait.
But it's a "fall tower" like in any other park, so it wasn't any special.
On thing was fun though: Mama had stayed back almost at the other end of the street and I saw her from up there... I waved at her and she could recognize me and waved back! First time ever someone can make me from such a height! (I was on a corner, which helps). That was cool. Not the first, I know, but I thought it was cool. :goodvibes

After that very little thrill, we walked through toontown and to Universal Studios.

Even though the first ride I wanted to do was Rip Ride Rockit (otherwise known as RRR), we were starting to get tired and my feet were hurting, so I figured it would be wiser to start by the new Despicable Me Minions Mayhem 3D motion simulator. And I totally loved it! Like the movie, I loved the humor, it's well made and it's really fun!
I didn't do it again right away because, well, I wanted to ride other things and fatigue was looming.

After that, finally, was RRR!!!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1593.jpg
For my first go, I chose "Born to be wild". I figured it would be great for, well, ripping along the tracks! ;) And I chose well! It was, simply put: AH-MAZING! It's my new favorite roller-coaster!
The music is perfectly timed with the action, the ride itself is well made and fun, it's smooth (in your face, Hulk!), and it lasts for about 90 secs! That's what I'm talking about!
I'm passionate about music and a thrill seeker... put the 2 together and it's paradise!
I couldn't wait to do it again!

...But I felt bad for Mama so I wanted to do something else, something she could do too.

So to Shrek 4D we went. And our first wait of the day, about 10min... time for the previous show to end, so we could get into the pre-show. This is one thing that makes me like the motion-simulator attractions, and that type of attractions, much less. You always have to wait, and do a pre-show! Takes so much longer than just hoping into a ride!

We both liked it... but were not super impressed either.
In one part of it, you ride in a carriage and it's bumpy and it's reflected on your seats... I felt it was funny... but it lasts wayyy too long, until it's not funny anymore and just bothering. They should've went on to another effect faster, in my opinion. And that's just an example. But in the whole we did like it! I would definitely not advise to skip it!
And the fact that Mama could do it means the severely motion sick out there probably can too! (altough it depends on what makes you sick, of course)

We didn't feel like waiting about one hour in the sun to stay on our feet for the parade... so we walked out of the park... but not before I did RRR a second time! This time I tried it with "Pump it" by the Black Eyed Peas! It was great! But not as great as "Born to be Wild"!

We were out at 4:20pm and went to eat at Hard Rock Café.

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1536.jpg

Mama got a burger and I took the jumbo combo, which is all appetizers. I didn't even eat half of it, and since it was pretty spicy, Mama didn't eat more than 1-2 bites from it either.
Our server was good, but he was so chatty that he was on the verge of being annoying, coming back to talk every 2min while we were waiting for our food, instead of just letting us relax and talk, or letting me take notes for my TR!

After we finished eating we stopped by the store, where I got my usual magnet (I get a magnet from every city I visit... or try to, anyways), which accounted for my Hard Rock souvenir (I have a souvenir from every Hard Rock Café I've ever been to, from Boston to Beijing!).
I also needed to find a Tshirt or 2 because of a bra problem.

Now, that sounds weird, I know, but here it is:
Over the past few months, because of a new med I was taking, I gained a LOT of weight, pretty fast. So much so that most of my summer clothes (from just 3-4 months ago) didn't fit anymore! And that my jeans were tight. So I had to buy a few summer clothes before I left, one size bigger. And borrow one pair of Mama's jeans. But I didn't think of the bras.
During that first day in Universal, I noticed how my bra was too small, as on shaky rides, they... ahem... couldn't hold me back. Which can be embarrassing in itself and uncomfortable, mostly... but not too bad if your clothes aren't see through. I mean, I'm sure you look weird if people look THERE, but otherwise...
Except almost all my new shirts or tank tops WERE see through. They were cheap stuff (or light fabric, which I usually prefer), so if you're not all in the bra... well let's just say it's not A-OK!

So I needed 1-2 Tshirts which would not make the bra problem go away, but would give me peace of mind... Because we didn't feel like making a trip to the nearest mall for bra-shopping.

I did find a good Tshirt. A bit too big, but still cute and it would have to do! (at least I won't worry about it shrinking!).
Eventually I did find one bra in my stash that was one size bigger than the others, so I wore ONE bra the whole trip! :crazy2:

After that we walked back to the hotel.
I took a few pictures as we were leaving:
Universal Studios entrance
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1539.jpg
Universal "ball"
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1538.jpg
CityWalk from the other side of the water, on the path leading to the hotel
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1537.jpg

I took this picture of the holiday decorations in the hall of the hotel, and you can see some memorabilia on the far wall
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1545.jpg
I loved the theming, being a music buff!

As soon as we got in I took a bath... and I almost fell asleep in it. I didn't want to get up, I was so tired!
But I did, and we were asleep by 8:30pm!

My:
High of the day: Rip Ride Rockit
Low of the day: Having to go to bed so early!
Food of the day: Frozen butterbeer

Mama:
High of the day: Arriving at WWoHP
Low of the day: Leaving WWoHP underwhelmed
Food of the day: Panda Express noodles

Plan for the day:
Arrive around 10am
Check-in, leave luggage in the car
WWoHP
Islands of Adventure
Get in the room at the end of the day

What actually happened:
Arrived at 9:30am
Check-in, get in the room immediately!
WWoHP
Islands of Adventure
Part of Universal Studios!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47339173#post47339173): Do we get to do all we want in one last day at Universal?

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-19-2013, 04:13 PM
Wanted to say hi and welcome luckylady! :wave2:

luckylady
01-19-2013, 04:48 PM
Thank you. OMG I can't believe you were brave enough to ride RRR. Just looking at that coaster gave me chills. Then when you see the net under it noooooooo! Another great set of pictures. Can't wait to her about your next day.

AnnieDan_Artlover
01-28-2013, 06:52 PM
We woke up at 5am!
I had set the alarm at 6am, to make sure we would be in time for the Universal, WWoHP version of Extra Magic Hour... but clearly, going to bed so early has it's advantages and so we didn't need any alarm clock!

We took our time to pack, as we were checking out that very morning, and got ready at a relaxed pace.
We had to wait for the breakfast places to open, anyways... that's the downside to getting up so early!

We packed the car at around 7am then headed to Emack & Bolio's to have breakfast. It's a bit like a convenience store, and they have a few breakfast item. Mama took a Starbucks coffee with a bacon, egg and cheese croissant (which you reheat in a small microwave). It was just OK, she said. I took a yogurt parfait (with fresh fruit and some oat-cereals-stuff)... it was very good, but after 1/3 of it, it started to make me slightly sick so I stopped eating. I was full anyways!

We then walked leisurely to the Islands of Adventure... all by ourselves
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1549.jpg

We entered at 7:55 and had the place to ourselves!
We still took the famed shortcut even though it wasn't necessary... there was ONE other family walking in and so we could confirm it was indeed faster to take a left right after the Dr. Seuss entrance
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1552.jpg
By the way, I liked the Christmas decorations! :goodvibes

And finally, we were in the deserted land of Harry!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1560.jpg

Yesterday, Mama had said she wasn't sure she felt the need to come back, especially not GET UP EARLY and come back... but seeing this, she definitely was happy we did! (especially considering we woke up early anyways!).

It was a really special feeling, being in there practically by ourselves!

Even though it was empty, we hightailed it to Forbidden Journey so we could walk in the castle without anyone bothering us... we thought we would just walk it together in the "not riding" line, and then I would do the riding line... but probably because it was early and empty, there was just one line anyways... so when we got to the end, I rode it... and got slightly nauseous again, just like yesterday! Still loved the ride just as much! :thumbsup2
But wouldn't ride it twice in a row...

We then shopped seriously at the "castle shop"... having been told that would be the best place to find good gifts for my best friends twins... but even spending a long time perusing... it was a bust. Only some clothes were slightly interesting... nothing great for young kids, nothing great for boys (or not in my price range anyways)... and our surprise, nothing with "Harry Potter" or "Hogwarts" on it! Only "Slytherin" or "Gryffyndor"... how weird.

So we walked back to Diagon Alley (aka the main area!) and we shopped some more. I re-checked everything in all the shops... and I finally settled for chocolate wands at Zonkos and the plastic dragons at Dervish and Banges... which, as I said before, didn't get me very excited. Plus, I had to combine, which I hate doing (give one gift to both kids so they'd split it... not their favorite thing), but my budget was too tight.
While I was paying for the dragons, Mama spotted the brooms beside the cash register, and we asked how much they were. They were just 35$! I had thought they cost way more... but I couldn't afford that for each of them anyways so that was the end of that. Kids can split a bag of 4 dragons and play with those together... not so one broom...

But I knew it... I got out of there and could only think of the damn brooms. I could just imagine their excitement opening their present!
But it was too much money... except... if I bought them as both Christmas AND birthday presents... their birthdays being exactly one month after Christmas... they are not fan of that either, but it's better than splitting one gift, and better than giving a gift they wouldn't like as much...
It would still bust my budget... but not as much.

So I went back in the store and made the exchange. Lily was a gem about it, very helpful, and I made sure to notify Universal about her!

That's when we took a break and tried the pumpkin juice, sitting on a stone ledge (near the Hog's Head)... Mama didn't like it, as she isn't a fan of cinnamon... I liked it but it's not my favorite.
We kept the bottle as a souvenir.

Then we were off to Zonkos to buy said chocolate wands, and 2 chocolate frogs... one for me and one for my best friend Alex who is a big eater! I can't go wrong with chocolate, even if he's not a big HP fan!

We had all those things shipped to the front of the park, where things like chocolate are kept cool, much better than lugging it around or leave it in the car to melt!

Between stores, I wanted to ride the Dragon Challenge I had not ridden yet : the red one. But it was closed!!!
On our way out of WWoHP I checked again (maybe 20min later) and it was still closed...

We left, having done all we wanted to do, and it wasn't even 9:30 yet!
We felt much more satisfied and happy about our visit than yesterday... being more by ourselves, being able to take pictures and a few videos and truly enjoy the sights made all the difference in the world.

We walked back through Seuss Landing, since we hadn't really seen it, walking by fast both mornings...

Being from Québec, Dr. Seuss is not part of our culture. I had never even heard of him or his work until a few years ago, back when Jim Carrey's How the Grinch Stole Christmas came out... which I never watched. I've always wanted to watch A Cat in the Hat... but never got around to it. Hey... isn't it kinda funny that those 2 classics of american culture had canadian lead actors? It just hit me... :confused3

So... the result is, as cute as we find that area of the park... it doesn't pull on our heartstrings, doesn't bring on any nostalgia or anything. Unlike, say... Disney. :rotfl2:

Still, we decided to do this
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1577.jpg
And guess what? In that little train made for about 20 people, we were only 4! And all adults! The others were also a pair of mom-daughter. If we ever had any worries about looking silly, out the window they would've went! :wave2:

Reminded us of the "Do not miss Dumbo, you won't look silly, and if you do it doesn't matter, you'll never see those people again" of course... So we were very merry getting off!
We did like the ride, even though I was worried about Mama getting motion sick all the time because it was more jerky than I had foreseen! But she was OK. In fact, we were both a bit sad it was so short!

Walking to the exit, I saw the Hulk roller-coaster... and decided to ride it one last time.

Bad, bad, BAD decision.
I had a slight headache.
Remember how yesterday I bumped my ears a few times on it? Well this morning it wasn't bumping the ears, it was banging the head! I wasn't sitting in the same place in the train, more in the rear, and it was much rougher.
When I got off I wanted to die. The headache was like I had downed a big slushie in 2min!
Enough that I had to sit down for a few minutes...

But then, sitting there close to the roaring noise of the Hulk was not much help...

After that it was definitely time to exit Islands of Adventure, and I wasn't even sorry. Not just because I was mad at the Hulk for the headache (and mad at myself for not thinking about it) but because we had done what we set out to do.

But before we left we stopped at the little sandwich and pastry place in the Port of Entry (the name on the check is Croissant Moon... but it's not identified on the map) to have a very early lunch...it was about 10:30! Hey, we had a very small breakfast before, at only 7:15am!

Mama had a turkey hoagie and I had an italian melt. It was destiny : Mama's was cold and came with lettuce and tomato slice, which I don't like. I was gonna take the italian panini when the clerk suggested I take the melt, which came on a rosemary bread& which turns out made it hot instead of cold& I wanted a hot sandwich! And mine didn't come with lettuce or tomato slice! PLUS, Mama's came with a side of potato salad, which I hate, and mine came with a pasta salad with black olives which I like (not LOVE but like, I do LOVE the olives though), and Mama hates!
Mama added a bag of chips, and I added a red velvet cupcake, which I didn't finish.
Everything was very, very good!!!
I'd say : Food 5/5, Service 4/5, Atmosphere 3/5 (it's not themed, really)


I took the opportunity to take Tylenols& At first I didn't want to, thinking not riding a roller coaster for a while would do the trick, but it didn't.
Even with the Tylenols, I spent the whole day with a headache. No love for the Hulk from me!!!


In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47407753#post47407753): How many minutes of our lives will we never get back?

MelMel11
01-28-2013, 08:16 PM
Count me in!!

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-01-2013, 03:46 PM
Welcome, MelMel11! :wave2:

I apologize for not posting more often, but I just caught my 3rd respiratory infection in 4 months (broncho-pneumonia, then bronchitis, this time... not sure yet, probably bronchitis again).

Also I started a blog about my life with Ehlers-Danlos (in french, but if anyone here is bilingual, here it is : Opinions, découvertes et vivre avec le SED (http://www.opinionsdecouvertessed.wordpress.com)

All in all it doesn't seem like much, but, well... it's enough!

I'm not forgetting about you, the DIS tab is always open on my browser and whenever I can, I will post the next chapter!

It's amazing to have so many readers and I truly appreciate it!
Hope I don't bore you all to death or lose you along the way because I don't update fast enough! :rotfl2:

Have a great groundhog day!

swwake
02-02-2013, 10:37 AM
Nah, I'm still reading. I am the queen of not updating, and of abandoned trip reports!

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-04-2013, 05:39 PM
Nah, I'm still reading. I am the queen of not updating, and of abandoned trip reports!

:goodvibes

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-04-2013, 06:09 PM
First thing we did after we walked out of IoA: we walked to the car, in the HRH parking lot, because it was COLD. In the low 70°F with a thick cloud cover and slightly windy (but still humid), I was ok with my long sleeve vest and my jeans, but Mama was cold without long sleeves.
My feet were hurting a lot (even though I was wearing my brand new walking shoes!) but I still walked with Mama.

Because of the foot pain, we decided not to walk back though. We tried to take the bus, since the bus stop was right beside our car in the parking lot... but the bus that stopped after we had waited 5min was NOT going to US... the driver said the right bus should come by "any minute"... but after waiting 2min, we decided to take the water taxi instead. The wait wasn't long, and it was a fun ride.

I wanted to do RRR again, but decided to wait, because of the headache... I figured, if it made the headache a lot worse, I should do other stuff first.

Mama had said she wanted to try the Minions ride even though she has motion sickness& I was sure she couldn't, but hey. So we did that first, and she got nauseous and only watched about 20sec of the ride. She did it all with eyes closed! But at least it's the image and not the motions that makes her sick, so she was basically OK. She says she wouldn't be any better using the benches (motion-less seats). At home or at the movies, when crazy motions like the Star Wars flying chases happen, she has to close her eyes or she gets sick. And our sofas don't move! :rotfl2:

After that we walked a bit to help her nausea wear off.

So I went to the Mummy.
I had the incredible luck of being in the front row for my first time.
It's now one of my favorite rides EVER!!!
Now, THAT is a dark roller coaster! At first I thought it was a "haunted-mansion" kinda dark ride, and almost thought Mama could've done it. I was almost disappointed, and THEN it started! Woohoo! Not having read too much about it, never having done it, being in the front& it was an amazing first time!
The only downside was it brought back the headache a notch or 2. So as much as I felt like hoping right back on, I didn't. :guilty:

Then we did Twister.
I had done my research so I was totally thrown off when I read that "stationary seating" was available. Part of me was just happy we would be able to sit. But figures, I was right, the map was wrong. We did stand up. And OMG was that lame! They had me until the cow. And wow, was that "rain" cold!
That's 15min we'll never get back. But hey, now I know...OK, I knew already, but now we know for sure, from our very own experience! :rotfl2: ...And at least it's something we did together.

Since the headache was still pretty strong (and noise in Twister didn't help), I didn't walk back to RRR as I had planned. Instead we checked the times and decided to go see the animals show& so we walked the whole way there (towards San Francisco, which I now realize is the long way round... seemed pretty equal on the map at the time).

We got there just at 1:15, for the 1:30 show... except there was no 1:30 show! I had read the wrong line/wrong dates. I really don't like how the times guide is included with the map and is the same for every day and you have to be REALLY careful when you check a show or event's time!
Today the show would be at 2:30. So I checked and the Horror make up show was at 1:45 so it was perfect. We had time to walk over there and go to the restrooms first and on the way back we saw the Men in Black and Doc from Return to the Future (no one wanted pics with them! not even me... I'm not a face character type). And then there was
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/UniversalDisney%202012/815_10151290474363680_1280964399_n.jpg
SCOOOBY! He was with... eeeeh... the guy. I said I wasn't into face characters! I almost wanted to ask him to move away so I could have just Scooby with me& but I didn't. :cool2: There was just one person doing a pic when we got there& so we had time. We snapped a picture and YAY.

Horror make-up show& it's something we both like, Mama watches show about special effects on TV (FaceOff anyone?), etc.
But altough we laughed (the guy was crazy funny), we were disappointed not to learn anything. It was nice to rest the feet though. Oh, and thanks to our Express pass, we were seated in the front row, almost dead center! We had not been waiting in that area, but the lady asked "all with Express pass" to go in that line and enter first. Cool. Otherwise the pass was not needed, as the theater wasn't even a quarter full...

Then we walked straight back to Animal Actors, we had nice enough places, about 1/3 from the bottom and 1/3 from the right, almost the end of a row, we could see well. But at that one, the Express wasn't used at all. We saw the entrance on the other side of the theater (on the far left), but the line was on the right and there were no associates on the left side and the rope was closing the entrance.

I loved the pre-show the most, with all the animals going on at once with music and there were CATS. I love almost all animals (not so much the scaly, slimy ones, sorry), I love dogs, but I have to admit felines, big and small, have a special place in my heart. So I was disappointed that cats were only in the preshow!
We liked the show, but were not jumping with excitement& it was ok. And the first bird trick is exactly the same as the one used in Disney's AK Flights of Wonder!

After the animal show we walked back from where we came from, and I stopped to do the Simpson's ride.
That was the longest wait I had all day, I think. Maybe 10min. I used the Express line but they immediately merged us with the regular line and since there weren't a lot of people it saved me like& 5 seconds. I have to say, it was like that the whole time at Universal, it was just more obvious in that attraction, I think.
I loved that ride a lot! Like Forbidden Journey, it made me slightly nauseous. Not sure I could've done it a second time right away& especially not with the headache, which was worse again.

When I say nauseous, it's very slightly, funny feeling in my tummy, a bit queasy and that's it. I could do it again, I could eat, it would just not be wise, I guess.

I decided not to do MIB, from the descriptions it seemed like Buzz, a shooter's ride, and those don't get me excited.
I was very tired, my feet were aching, and I had decided it wasn't a must do before I even got to the park. Maybe I should have done it, with the park so empty and the lines so short, and with the express pass on top of it all, what's a 10min more? but I didn't. And I don't really regret it.

We went into Disaster. Being tired and the feet aching A LOT.
We.Wanted.To.Die.
Such a long wait in that room before they started, and then the "casting", and then more standing for the preshow, and it's so COLD in there! Wow! We could barely support ourselves in there. I was leaning on the railing in front of me, Mama took the last row so she could lean on the wall. I almost decided to sit on the ground. I was this close to scout for an associate to ask to just leave&
We were so glad there were seats in that next room, for the filming. And then the final "ride". Phew. Finally it was over.
We might have enjoyed that attraction a little bit if we had not been so tired& but in that state, we just felt it was 30min we'd never get back and it was time wasted.

Walking around we saw a few of the Macy's balloons, preparing for the parade, or simply as holiday decorations, I'm not sure... but they definitely were cool, and I took a pic of this one:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/Photobucket%20Desktop%20-%20Annie-Danielles%20MacBook%20Air/IMG_1578.jpg

We then passed the Mummy, which I loved but was too tired to do again (which says a lot about the state I was in).
Finally we got to RRR which I rode one last time. No matter how tired or how bad of a headache I had, I couldn't leave without that. If we had had more time and energy, and less pain, I would've rode that one at least 5 times that day alone!
At least it's a smooth ride so I knew the headache wouldn't be as bad as in the morning with the Hulk.

I tried the bonus songs, and chose Night on bald mountain by Mussorgsky. I wasn't sure how well bonus songs went with the ride& as soon as it started I laughed with joy, because I knew it would work and would be amazing, and it was! It was the best yet! Yup, better even than Born to be wild, which had been incredible! :dance3:
The only caveat is that being timed to be perfect, it stopped before the absolute end, so the last turn aka the last 2-3 seconds of the ride are in silence. I didn't care, the rest was so absofreaking perfect!

After that, with a major headache and feet I could barely stand on (the heels were just burning so much), we exited and entered back in Islands of Adventure to go pick up our packages. It took a while, but the girl found them, they were intact& and so we walked out of there and to HRH parking lot with brooms on my shoulder.

We put that in the car, and drove to& drum roll& the Contemporary!!! :cheer2:

...So, for you folks counting... it was 45min we will never get back! ;)

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47408674#post47408674): When will we crash?

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-04-2013, 07:45 PM
We got in the car, looked at each other, and high fived : We were finally going to the WORLD! :cool1:

The drive was short (about 25min) and easy, directions were very clear.
That is, until the entrance to MK, where on one side it's for the park, on the other to the resorts (and maybe something else).

I think it's written on the asphalt "park only" on that one side& but as much as I tried to decipher what was written, I couldn't& I still had to look in front of me and drive, see? And Mama is useless for those things...
And the many, clear, obvious directions that had been there on signs previously (and in plenty of time), were nowhere to be seen then. I was in the center lane (well, kinda& center-ish, of the, I'd say, 10 lanes)& and there were those booths and I saw rates for parking, and panic was getting to me, I was like "what, wait, I'm not supposed to pay parking, where are we, what did I miss?" :scared:
So I told the lady where we were going, and she says I have to go to the right lane and "follow the green side". I was so happy it wasn't too busy, as I had to change like 5 lanes in 250 feet! Then the clear directions were back again and it was easy. Except I'm happy I knew I had to follow "Contemporary" because there was nothing for Bay Lake Tower (aka BLT).

The CM at the parking lot entrance told us where to go for BLT check-in (that wasn't very clear on the signs) and we pulled up to the curb.
I knew check-in would be swift so there was no use going to park.

We got to the check-in counter and it took less than 1 min for the guy to hand us our package. Yay for online check-in (which I had done before leaving home a few days prior)!

A bellboy was in the lobby waiting for another guest (who went to park her car).
The check-in clerk said he was sorry but the bellboy had been "reserved" and was waiting for the other guest, and he would call another& we said no problem and went to wait by the car. 10 seconds later the bellboy came to us (we saw him arguing with the check-in clerk) and he said he would help us, as the other guest wasn't coming back& while he was unloading the car I saw her come back& well I think it was her.
I'm guessing the fact that I had my cane might have influenced him...

He was super nice, gave us tips and waited for me with Mama outside while I went to park the car.
By the way, while I parked I saw another green Cube, parked just behind ours. So crazy because in 3.5 days of driving south, we didn't see ONE Cube, no matter what color! :eek:

The bell boy was kind enough to put all our bags in the hallway so I could take pictures of the clean and empty studio

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1594_zpsadd30998.jpg

He showed us where things were, placed things where we wanted& we gave him 1$/bag, even for the small ones, he really deserved his tip!

We noticed a few things we brought we didn't need, like dish soap (there was even a sponge!), dishes and utensils.

I had requested the highest floor or close to the 5th floor walkway.
We got room #7432, which doesn't mean 7th floor, but area number 7 (outside of the C-shape, facing the Contemporary), 4th floor.
Another time, I would simply ask for the highest floor available, because you get a nicer view... and unless you're EXACTLY on the walkway floor, going from the 10th or the 4th from the 5th with the elevator doesn't make a big difference.
Maybe it does when the place is filled to capacity and the sole elevator stops at every floor... but when it's low season... nope.

Our room (studio...) was very close to the walkway, the second one, in fact! So, walking from the Contemporary to the BLT, we could see in our room... meaning we had to remember to close the curtains when we changed! :rotfl2:
The nicest thing about this was, we were very close to the elevator!

Our first impression of the studio was : It's roomy, clean, modern... perfect!
The best thing about it was the kitchenette and the storage space. There were shelves in the bathroom, plus storage under the sink.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1598_zpsaee4d9d7.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1599_zpscf636be3.jpg
In the kind of hallway coming in, there is a lot of space where you could put a crib, where we put the suitcase rack, our plastic storage box under it and all our bags. It was just on the side, not in our way to go in our out, but also out of our way inside! It's also where we put the sofa cushions (since we used it as a bed). (didn't think to take a picture of that mess...)
The closet is pretty big... then in the kitchenette there is a lot of storage space on both sides AND under the sink...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1597_zpse92104d5.jpg
...and in the room there's the big desk, with drawers and shelves.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1596_zps3fe35574.jpg
We had more space than we needed. Of course we were only 2 adults in there.

On the downside was the low lighting, which is often a problem in hotels. Mama especially notices since she has problem seeing in low light situations.
Is it so hard to put a big bright ceiling light in the main room? There is only the bed lights in the main room, and another where you have the small table, nothing else. You always have the feeling it's dark. (Mama has, anyways!)

The sofa-bed wasn't too bad at all! I kinda like sleeping in that, with the sofa arms making a cocoon :cloud9: I would sleep on that again.
Here's what it looks like open :
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/32A72FD8-253A-4488-BAD0-4638053D5E32-1694-0000021D8396986F_zpsd78db0ce.jpg

As for the view... well, we had paid extra for the lake view... not willingly. We wanted to pay the less amount possible and asked for standard view, but there were none left available so we HAD to get lake view... and figured it would make it a nice perk after all... well paying for that... It felt an awful lot like a standard view... we had to go on the balcony and work an angle to view the lake.
Here's the view straight out
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/IMG_2125_zps04a5da04.jpg

At around 7pm we were so tired we almost decided to go to bed without doing anything else... but we managed to drag ourselves to Contempo Café. Mama ordered a turkey BLT and I ordered something weird for the first (but definitely not the last) time of the trip. Well... weird for me anyways. Different is probably a better term.
It was the vegeterian flatbread, with dried cranberries, humus, white beans, caramelized onions and arugula... It was DELICIOUS. So sad I could only eat half... I packed it and put it in the fridge hoping I would eat the rest... I didn't.

We had brought everything to eat in the room, feeling way too tired and out of sorts to eat amidst the screams and noise of the monorail, no matter how happy we were to finally be there...
There was a pretty long wait and quite a few people, so while I waited (sitting! My poor, aching feet!), Mama went to the convenience store (Bayview Gifts and Fashion) to buy milk.
We also added some bagels, cheese and Uncrustables to our order for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

So, Contempo Café?
Atmosphere: 2/5 Busy, loud... It's a quick service!
Service: 3/5 Nice CMs, but very slow. There was nothing "quick" about it. But it was nice for a quick service to be able to get a buzzer and go do something else or sit instead of waiting there standing on your feet.
Food: 5/5 Very, very good!
1st time? Yes.
Would recommend? Definitely!

After eating, we each took our showers, unpacked... yup, even almost sleepwalking, we finished unpacking almost everything!

At 9:30pm, as I was coming out of the shower, I could hear the music of the Electrical Water Pageant, which I had been dying to see (we had missed it in 2008)... but it wasn't to be. Mama said we couldn't see all of it from our balcony, but I was still sad I missed it by being in the shower!
We also prepared our things for tomorrow... and we eventually went to bed, where we totally crashed, at about 10pm.

My:
High of the day: Riding RRR again with Nigh on Bald Mountain
Low of the day: My poor feet... doesn't bode well :(
Food of the day: Contempo Café's veggie flatbread!

Mama's:
High of the day: Arriving at Disney
Low of the day: Twister
Food of the day: mmm, the turkey hoagie or the turkey BLT, how to choose?

Plans for the day:
Early entry to WWoHP
Finish Universal, redo RRR
Drive to Disney
Get settled in BLT

What actually happened:
Well, just that! :yay:

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47467115#post47467115): What do we do first?

nym4588
02-04-2013, 08:50 PM
Sounds like a good time so far!

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-04-2013, 09:47 PM
OK, so it was sheer luck that I noticed most of my pictures were missing... I had to go over all my links and paste the pics again (better now than after chapter 32... hope it doesn't happen again!). I hope I caught them all. Please tell me if you notice any broken link...

And as I'm pasting those broken links pics, I notice some weird thing going on... there are some & characters sprinkled everywhere in my posts! Never noticed those before, and I'm sure I would've! It looks like it replaces punctuation marks, but not always the same... and it's clearly not mistyping, as it's pretty hard to mistake hitting shift-7 (&) instead of a comma, a question mark or a dot (all instances in which it was placed).
Now it looks like I don't know how to type, but most of all, it makes it very hard to read! I tried to correct a few entries, but I'm not even sure it'll hold, as it seemed to happen all of a sudden... and my head, full of bronchitis and antibiotics, just couldn't take the corrections anymore... :faint: So I hope it's readable... as for the pics, please tell me if it gets worse!
... :badpc:

brandihead2012
02-05-2013, 02:03 PM
Subbing!!! Great start!!!!!

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-07-2013, 09:18 PM
Welcome brandihead2012! :wave2:

Hopefully another update coming soon...
still bedridden and today has been very hard. Pretty much melted in my recliner is how weak I am... :sad2:

brandihead2012
02-08-2013, 04:24 AM
Welcome brandihead2012! :wave2:

Hopefully another update coming soon...
still bedridden and today has been very hard. Pretty much melted in my recliner is how weak I am... :sad2:

Feel better!! Sending you some pixie dust and good vibes pixiedust::)

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-10-2013, 07:29 PM
Now, I need to apologize... the first few days of this Disney part of the TR won't be very detailed. I realized with horror that I didn't have notes.
Rather, I did take a few notes, at the end of the day, like each day while in Disney, religiously, in my Passporter envelopes, which are a godsend (so useful to keep the receipts, too!). And without those, I would be in a lot of trouble trying to recall what happened in those first few days right now...
Because for a time lapse of almost 3 days, I did not take a single note in my notebook (which was for the TR) or on the computer (I started that way before realizing a few notes jotted along the way was much easier than taking a whole hour at night!).

So... sorry! And yay for the Passporter enveloppes! :cool1:

We woke up at 5am, since we went to bed so early! And since we were EXCITED! :yay: Our first Disney day! We had been waiting for this for over 4 years!

We had breakfast in the room, as planned.
I was pretty excited, because I had bought some Uncrustables... and I had never had that, ever! I had never even tasted PB&J (crazy, I know). It's just not something we eat...

I loved it! :) But damn, was I happy we had bought MILK, because it's so... pasty and sticky!
Mama had her bagels with cream cheese. We made coffee and tea, with the microwave and coffee machine... it felt just like home!

Then what did we do first? We I had my haircut appointment, which I had made sure to get as soon as we checked in last night!
I was the first appointment, and I was so happy when it was done! I felt tons better!

After that we had other errands to make (and Mama made a few while I was at the salon) : I had 3 packages shipped to us at the resort... and we were very apprehensive since, in 2008, I was supposed to receive 2 and never got them... but that was at POFQ which are not known for their great customer service... So we crossed our fingers.
And whattayaknow : 2 of the packages were there indeed!!! It did take a bit of time and effort, as when Mama called they told her they didn't have anything, and then to go to the Contemporary desk... where they told her they DID have our packages... but it took about 15min to find them. As for the 3rd one, it wasn't there yet... or maybe it had already been delivered, they weren't sure. Since we knew we didn't get it... we insisted. The man at the desk took a note to check later... and by the time we went back to our room, someone was at the door to deliver it! So I called back that nice man to tell him not to worry about our package anymore!
In those packages were some Bodyglide, to help prevent chaffing and blisters (my skin being very fragile, blisters happen just looking at my feet...), a cooling bandana in case of bad heat, so it would help prevent blood pressure drop (my body doesn't like heat)... and in the last package was a kit of trading pins! It felt like Christmas sitting on the bed and unwrapping all those pins and putting a select few on my lanyard! :goodvibes

Mama had to go get a bag we had forgotten in the car, then we got park ready, making sure we had everything... we decided to go with just one shoulder bag for both of us, since we would be together all the time and we weren't bringing that much stuff... and we would simply trade the bag once in a while.

When we got back in the room, there was a mousekeeper there. We were like... what is she doing there?
If you don't know, when you stay in a DVC, you don't get mousekeeping every day, unless you ask and pay for it, that is. If you stay for more than 8 days, like us, you get a full cleaning on the 4th day, and a trash and towel service on the 8th day, and another full clearning on the 12th day, and so on and so forth. You have all you need to do the rest (extra garbage bags, a trash chute on the floor, even a hoover).
So seeing the mousekeeper on our 2nd day was not normal. And of course, whattayaknow... she took the mousekeeping thank you enveloppe we had left on the desk for 2 days later (so we wouldn't forget)!
We told her there had been a mistake and she left. Of course we didn't ask for the enveloppe back... after all, she had did the job.
I called Mousekeeping, and they asked if we were checking out that day... WHAT? I said we had just got there and were staying for 15 days... they said it was taken care of and not to worry, I wouldn't be billed for that "extra service" and they apologized.

Before we left we called my dad with Skype on the laptop; I texted him updates every day while we drove down but we hadn't called yet.
Plus, I noticed I didn't have any signal on my phone, and didn't had any since we got to Orlando! Which meant I couldn't get any phonecalls (which was good money-wise, as I didn't have a call-plan) or any texts messages...
As usual, he didn't have much to say, did sound happy to talk to us... and that was it.

We then took the monorail for the first time of our trip!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1607_zps2713215a.jpg
And we went to the TTC and then Epcot.
Which was Mama's big disappointment of the trip, I think... altough I'm sure I told her at some point, she was convinced it was a direct line to Epcot, and was a bit upset that we had to walk so much between monorails... in an incline, on top of it all! (at least she didn't have to push my wheelchair... I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have been able to...)

First thing we did at Epcot was go to Guest Services and activate our Annual Passes. And buy our Tables in Wonderland card!!!
...And the nice CM there is the one who solved my no-signal-on-the-cell problem... simply suggested I turn the phone off and back on, saying it was a problem he encountered when he used to work for a cellphone company... and it worked! I think the carrier in Orlando is different, and didn't play nice with my iPhone... I lost the signal again when we left, and I just had to do the same thing... restart and the new signal was finally picked up. :confused3

Formalities taken care of, we finally entered Epcot!

Where we took our first Photopass picture!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890004_zps6e91f05b.jpg

...and since it was noon, did the exact wrong thing, and walked straight to a restaurant.
I mean, it's nice to know what to do and what not to do... but when you haven't eaten anything for 6 hours and walked all around, you're HUNGRY!
But we were in no hurry, we knew we would be in a crowd because of that, and luckily it was low season... so it wasn't even that bad!

Our choice was Sunshine Seasons, which we had loved 4 years ago.
And we both chose asian noodles... couldn't remember exactly what though.
Food: 4/5 It really was very good!, Atmosphere: 3/5 It's really nice for a quick service. So many choices, so big and airy that you don't feel crowded even if there are a ton of people... but it's big and noisy. Yup, big is also a negative. Takes a lot of walking to get there and around, to find a table, etc.
Service: N/A.
First time? Nope!
Would I recommend it? Definitely! More than any other quick service in Epcot. There is bound to be something for everyone, and it's good quality food.

After that well... we had to go back to the hotel.
Had we known, we would've just walked to the Magic Kingdom to do those things... But we didn't know.

My feet were killing me, even though I had made sure NOT to put on those bad walking shoes and was wearing my comfy Converse shoes... and I was tired.

So, we hopped on the monorail again... and had the biggest, worst, surprise of the trip, for me anyways : it takes about 50 minutes to get from Epcot to the Contemporary!!!
And it was not crowded, it was not closing time (it's much longer then), there wasn't any break down or anything! Just the normal : wait 3-5min for the monorail at Epcot, ride it to the TTC, walk down the ramp and up the other one, wait for the Resort monorail another 2-3min and then do the whole route from Grand Floridian, Polynesian, MK and THEN arrive at the Contemporary!
We simply couldn't believe it.
How come I never came across this info in my years of Disney research?!

After that I checked... would the bus be faster? ...There isn't one.
One thing is faster, if you're up to walking : take the Express MK monorail, get down at that stop, and walk the 10min from MK to the Contemporary. It takes about 30min instead. Definitely the best choice at Epcot closing time! But the Express MK monorail has to be running...

Once at the hotel I removed the shoes and noticed the underside of my right foot was blue... and both feet were swollen (between the heel and the ball of the feet... where it's arched... and tender!).
With my weak body and crazy bad shoes I had managed to partially tear a ligament in my right foot!!! It seems crazy... but I'm not joking... with my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, it doesn't take a lot for me to tear a ligament... and there are many in the feet.
There was something wrong with those shoes, or at least, wrong for me!
It's not that I had not broken them in, I had wore them regularly for the past months... (and often felt pain... but didn't make the connection)... and it's not that I'm usually sedentary and that my feet weren't used to the walking. Puh-lease... even I, with my EDS, don't tear ligaments just from more walking then usual... I go to dance classes after months of doing nothing, I went to China in 2010 and walked a lot, every day, for about a month... I went to Atlanta and Washington DC in 2011 and walked a lot in a week there too... without ANY preparation whatsoever. I had no problem then other than the usual sore legs and feet everybody gets.
No hematomas, no huge swelling, no barely able to walk. Especially not after just 2 days!

No need to say I was very worried about the weeks to come! And I was in a lot of pain...

All that to say... we got to the room, Mama went to get me some ice and I iced my feet... Then we tried to take a short nap, but we didn't have a lot of time since we had an ADR... and I just couldn't go to sleep knowing it would be for so little time. I was so tired already, I would've went to sleep for hours... So Mama read on her bed while I rested my feet.

That's about when there was a knock on the door. Mousekeeping!
WTH!!! We told the mousekeeper that there was a mistake, that there had been someone already in the morning and that there wasn't even supposed to be! And I called Mousekeeping again.
They apologized again. This CM seemed more alert... she asked if I still want my full cleaning service in 2 days (on Saturday), or if I wanted to reschedule. After asking Mama, we decided to reschedule. So the full cleaning would now be on Monday, Dec. 3rd. ...keep that in mind.

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47468744#post47468744): Will we get a nice IllumiNation seat at Rose & Crown?

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-10-2013, 07:34 PM
Feel better!! Sending you some pixie dust and good vibes pixiedust::)

Thanks!!! It worked! :goodvibes

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-10-2013, 10:08 PM
After the "nap", we took the monorail again back to Epcot. Where we arrived at about 4pm.
Walking towards World Showcase we saw the huge tree
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1612_zpseca53f2b.jpg

First thing we did was walk close to Germany and get in line for the 5pm Candlelight Processional... Yup... with the aching feet... but I wanted to experience this, even if we are not religious one bit, but I had read so many good things about it and how magical it was!

The wait was made at the same time more interesting and annoying by a crazy young college girl who just kept talking non-stop, and the way she was talking I couldn't even tell if the young girl she was talking to was her friend, with her in line, or just some random girl she decided to chat-up to pass the time!
She was loud enough for us to hear everything, loud enough that we couldn't ignore her at all... we heard all about how she had trouble with her roommate, what happened with her boyfriend and how things were now that she was away to college... and so on and so forth. :rolleyes1
But hey, at the same time we had something to get our minds off the wait, I guess... :rolleyes:

The wait wasn't too bad over all, especially since it was a very slow day and that it was the early showing... we waited maybe 20min.

But it was a special CP: today the narrator was NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!
That was the main reason to go today! :love:

We were lucky enough that we were seated in about the middle of the theater... which is so huge we still only saw small figures and wouldn't have been able to identify NPH except for his voice...
But the worst part was we got seated right behind a tree. I mean, really? Since we were there mostly for the music I didn't make a fuss, but other people tried to change seats and they were told to go back to where they were seated.

Here's our view
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/bydefault2013-02-10at91524PM_zps26fd515f.jpg
Can't you see NPH? He's the little figure in black, in the middle... :rotfl2:

So, what's our verdict? VIew non-withstanding, it was great!
The music was wonderful, with so many singers in harmony... makes your heartstrings vibrate! Especially when it's Christmas songs that everybody knows... it's great when the crowd sings along, too!
And it was funny, once or twice, the song was sung in german, the crowd was singing the english version, and Mama and me would sing the french version!
Made you feel how much Xmas carols are universal... well of course, not 100% universal, but you guys know what I mean! ;)

As for the people worried about too much religion, like we were... I mean, lets be clear, I don't want to ruffle any feathers or be taken wrong, it's just that we are not religious, so hearing a lot about religion, whatever the religion, for one hour, would not have been any fun for us. That's just that. In fact, just too much talking about anything would not have been fun! :hourglass
But the way it is, the narrator tells the history of Jesus' birth in very short sentences, sprinkled between the songs. I'd say, a minute of speaking and 3 minutes of singing, and repeat. And when it's NPH speaking, it makes it all at least 3 times better, right? :rotfl2:

We felt it would've been that much more impressive when it's dark out, so if you feel like waiting or have a CP package, I'd suggest going to the second CP, where maybe there are not as many people, but it's dark.
It still was beautiful! My main feeling is that it's captivating... you listen to that music and you forget where you are.

After it was over, we walked slowly through World Showcase, taking the long way around towards the UK where our ADR was.

We stopped in Japan to listen to the kodo drums, then to hear the story of the japanese new year... and that's when I realized that my plan to check out each and every one of the storytellers, was flawed. For 2 reasons. a) my feet killed me and I didn't really feel like sitting on the ground with the kids (getting up is almost as difficult as standing up!). b) Mama finds it boooooring. :guilty:

So, well... we'll have seen one!
It was interesting. But I don't feel super sad that it'll be the only one, unless we happen to walk to another one as he/she starts... because I wouldn't want to see them enough to wait, and I wouldn't want to just catch the end of a presentation either.

After that we saw Mr. and Ms. Claus from a distance and checked the Christmas temporary kiosks beside the american pavilion.

And then... well we were already in the UK, so we had time to lose... we went around the shops... but there's only so much time one can spend, and a little early for our 7:20pm ADR time, we went to the desk and checked in. We were seated very quickly, and the restaurant wasn't very full. In fact, only 4 of the maybe 10 tables were filled in the area we were in (covered patio, closest to the podium). We were seated beside the patio cover... which I'm guessing means if you're there during IllumiNations, you can see it... but we were not on the water side. We probably would've seen some of it, or been able to go close enough to see... maybe they even pull back those heavy curtains (with the plastic "windows")... but stretching our dinner for over 2 hours just to see IllumiNations... it would not happen!
You see, when I made the ADR, I based the time on the usual IllumiNations time, and the planned time in the schedule... except they changed it for 9:30pm, probably because of the Candlelight Processional's 3rd showing... It's probably like this every year, but I don't know how... it didn't come up and the predicted schedule, 6 months prior, was 9pm... Proof that planning can't be perfect! :)

Since it wasn't full, it would've been peaceful, except the table JUST behind us was a group of 2-3 families, with middle-aged parents and their kids, and the parents were pretty much all drunk. The kids were not the problem, it was the parents who were so, damn, loud! :headache:
We were looking at their table and when we saw their desserts coming, we were thinking "come on, now, eat, quick!" We couldn't wait for them to leave... I mean, of course we're in Disney, we know it's going to be loud... but when you happen to be in a pretty quiet, almost empty restaurant and want to enjoy a nice meal and take your time... and then you get that noisy bunch playing a guessing game and almost screaming answers across the table to each other... If it had been kids running around or a baby crying I wouldn't have minded (well, maybe a bit, haha). But this annoyed me just as it would've anywhere.

Luckily, they did finish their desserts and did not stay for one more drink, and we had peace for the remainder of our meal. Which was AMAZING.
We ordered the cheese plate, Mama ordered a glass of wine... I don't know about the wine (I think she said it was good), the cheese plate was OK. Not fantastic, and one cheese was the blue, which we seriously dislike... so maybe that appetizer wasn't a good idea after all! :rotfl:
For entrees we both ordered the classic fish n chips, and we shared a side of cauliflower with cheese.
The cauliflower was so totally delicious! But also so incredibly hot! We almost burned ourselves on it and the middle was still burning hot when I finished it at the end of the meal! But it's definitely something to share, as it's very rich and quite big!
The fish n chips were the best either of us had ever had, and easily beats the one we had 4 years ago at the Yorkshire quickservice counter. The fries were great, the fish was crispy and melted in your mouth... not too greasy (altough looking at the paper underneath it... it's very greasy!). Amazing!

So, for Rose And Crown
Food: 5/5 Amazing quality food and taste!
Atmosphere: 4/5 Raucous family excepted, quite peaceful place, but being outside on the patio, the red heating lamps made things a bit weird. But they were definitely necessary, as it was COLD. In the low 60°Fs!
Service: 5/5 Nothing bad to say, our server was nice and service was perfect. We saw how he interacted with the noisy table and altough it was obvious they were bothering us and other tables, he was polite with them, which is a good point for him.
It was my first time to use the thank you cards I made!
First time? Yup.
Would I recommend it? Definitely! I would go back myself... or at least, I would stop at their quick service window (I'm thinking the fish n chips would be the same, right?)

I did the math on the bill, and it turns out that the Tables in Wonderland saved us over 1$ on our bill... Doesn't sound like a lot... but that's OVER the tip! What I mean is that the money saved covers the 18% gratuity, which is added automatically, so we don't even have to think about it... AND you still save a buck or 2!!!
I won't keep the suspense : all in all, over the course of the 15 days, we saved over 150$ (gratuity included)... which is an AMAZING value for a 75$ card! ...and if you think that we'll use the SAME card on the next trip this fall... it's definitely a great option!!! :cheer2:

After dinner, we went to France to get tomorrow's breakfast at the bakery. I took a chocolate croissant, Mama chose 2 regular croissants... and we couldn't resist taking 2 strawberry tarts for dessert!

With that in hand, since we were both tired and since my feet were still awfully sore, we walked back to the monorail, a bit before 9pm, and got proof the monorail is way slower near closing time. Because on top of the long ride, the monorail stops on the track "while we wait for further traffic clearance". It took a good hour to get to the resort.

Oh, wait, on our way out, we saw the tree illuminated! Beautiful:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/IMG_1620_zps8a93f466.jpg

Once we got to our room, a bit before 10pm, I soaked my feet in the bath for a while, then we both took showers, ate our pastries and went to bed at around 11pm.

My
High of the day: Candlelight processional
Low of the day: The pain in my feet and discovering the injury was worst than I thought and might make the whole trip a problem
Food of the day: Cauliflower in cheese

Mama's
High of the day: Rose and Crown
Low of the day: Discovering how long it takes to, and especially from, Epcot with the monorail
Food of the day: Fish n chips

Plan for the day:
Epcot from morning to closing time
Candlelight Processional with NPH at 5pm (arrive at 4pm for a good spot)
Rose & Crown dinner at 7:20
IllumiNations

What actually happened:
Haircut at 8:30
Errands until noon
Epcot for lunch
Short nap at the resort mid-afternoon
Epcot 4pm-9pm
CP with NPH at 5pm (arrived at 4:30... OK spot, happy to wait less)
Rose & Crown close to 7:20
...back to room before IllumiNations

Overall, we did a lot less than planned... but since the general plan for the trip is to take it easy so I can have enough energy to last the whole way... it's OK.

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47573774#post47573774): Will my feet kill my fun?

luckylady
02-11-2013, 04:25 PM
I love EPCOT at Christmas. Last time I saw Candlelight "Lt. Dan" aka Gary Seinse was reading on Christmas Eve. Magical. Smart thinking on the nap. If you had to hear the college girl talk that loud, I hope it was at least entertaining.

swwake
02-14-2013, 12:12 PM
It actually sounds like you paced yourselves just right. I think R&C is now on my wish list for dinner. We've been there for drinks, but not dinner.

Loved the CP. We had Trace Adkins and he was wonderful

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-20-2013, 08:20 PM
You are right girls, going back to the resort, even if it took us much longer than anticipated, was worth it. Without it we wouldn't have been able to finish the day. But still it didn't feel like we rested much... or accomplished much either!

Susan, R&C is definitely a must!

I feel bad that it's already been 10 days since my last update, and this time I don't even have a bronchitis as an excuse... not that health as been wonderful, but not that bad. ;)

OK, on with the show!

Oh, by the way, please excuse any mistyping... I elongated a few ligaments in my left fingers and they are taped together to try and help... which doesn't make for good typing... And I never have the courage to proof-read myself!
-------------------------------------------
Since we (I) had planned a late park arrival, we didn't set the alarm clock. We were still up at 7:25am!

Mama ate bagels with cheese bought our first night at Contempo Café while I ate the chocolate croissant from the french bakery in Epcot.
Mama took a shower while I worked on the Passporter pocket notes for this TR... and then we went to do laundry, which was really overdue... remember it was our 7th day being away from home! And being on the road we hadn't really had a chance to do any laundry before.
We had brought a foldable laundry basket, which was completely full and heavy enough we needed to both hold one side... we were quite disappointed to realize we had to go down to the first floor and cross the main lobby with our laundry to get to the laundry room... we felt a bit weird walking around with our dirty stuff for anyone to see... but then again, we said "it doesn't matter, we'll never see them again!" and started to laugh... :rotfl2:

We were lucky, there was no one in the laundry room, and all the machines were free (there were 3). So we pondered about etiquette for a while... and then figured, you guessed it "it doesn't matter, we'll never see them again!" and took them all. No, seriously, we guessed etiquette is not to remove someone else's clothes to put your own, but that it's OK to use all the machines. Maybe we were wrong. :confused3 We mostly figured someone else wouldn't have even asked themselves the question... We always end up trying to be nice and polite while it seems no one else does...

We were indeed happy we had decided to go at that time, mid-morning, when most moms are out in the park with the young kids... we figured laundry rush-hour must be early afternoon, when babies nap!

We finished the laundry, and hang dried our delicates all over the room (we have a lot, mostly things we don't want to shrink... which is almost all my clothes!) and then we finally headed to the park!

We arrived at Hollywood Studios at almost exactly noon.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/3046F27D-EFB7-40E6-868A-FFCE77ACDC2C-5785-00000828C514F4CE_zps15a6b32c.jpg

It was the PERFECT day. About 75°F and sunny!

Since we had prepaid for the Photopass CD, we had agreed we would take every opportunity, so we took another picture just as we walked in
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/EEC5C5E3-980A-416E-93CF-B6AA248449B7-5785-00000828C8C1C079_zps341dbd03.jpg

Of course, once more, it was peak lunch time and we were hungry.
Mama remembered how much she had liked Hollywood & Vine, and even if it was a TS and we had a TS ADR for that evening, she decided she'd rather we try going there then just eat fast food.
So we walked to the podium (after checking the map AND the GPS map/directions in my "Disney Experience" app on my iPhone multiple times... We always get lost and confused in this park!) and asked if there was availability... and there was!

We were seated almost immediately... and that's when I remembered it was a character meal now... With characters we don't know AT ALL. We don't have kids, we don't even have that channel.
They all came to say hi at our table : Handy Manny (I did know his name... wonder how!), Oso, June and Jake. I had to ask a CM their names... :lmao:
Oso was so funny... he came beside Mama, a bit behind her and she wasn't paying attention at all, didn't see him coming... and he scared her (intentionally!). She jumped pretty high! We had a great laugh! Oso "apologized" and it really created a nice moment!
Hollywood & Vine:
Food: 4/5 It's very good, there is a lot of variety... but it's not "to die for".
Service: 4/5 Well, it's a buffet... but the little service we needed was great. Nothing bad to say.
Atmosphere: A family might say different, but for 2 adults... 2/5 Even if Oso was so fun and all the characters real nice... we paid more for the meal because they were in the place, even though we didn't care for them... there were songs with the kids, very loud.
1st time? No. But as a character meal, yes.
Would recommend? For families with kids who know the characters, yes. I would go back myself, maybe even with the characters, but not as an ADR... like this, if I didn't feel like fast food one day. But I would probably more likely go if it wasn't a character meal.

After that we walked to Toy Story Midway Mania, as I knew FastPasses went away early... they did so indeed... as at that hour (around 1pm) they had already gone out... even on a pretty low crowd day!

A friend of ours had asked if we could gather a few autographs for her little boy (3 y.o.). We were happy to oblige. His favorites were Woody, Buzz and Mickey. So we had set out the goal to get these and mayyyybe a few others, if it happened easily.
I wanted a few pictures with characters myself, but just if I didn't have those already and if it didn't mean a long wait.

Since we were in the vicinity, we checked out the wait for Buzz & Woody, in front of Toy Story... the line didn't seem too long, so we got in (I hadn't checked my app, and we didn't see the sign which says how long the wait should be).
After 20 min my feet were SUPER killing me, Mama was exasperated, and we had still 2/3 of the way to go... so we got out.

I was in so much pain we had to get a snack so I could take pain meds right away... I took a few cheese curls with water. Salty snacks that aren't huge (like entree size) are hard to find...
And by then I had no more fun, ZERO. I didn't feel like doing anything and was about ready to get in a bus and back to the resort.

So Mama said we should walk to the front of the park and rent a scooter.
:moped:

I had dreaded that moment ever since we had started to plan.
But I was sooooo angry that it was just because of a stupid feet pain!!! For once I felt fine, I wasn't weak! But it felt like I just could NOT catch a break... It always had to be SOMETHING. :sad:

So we rented the scooter. Turns out I'm a very good driver!

And that way, we could stay in the park and enjoy. A bit, anyways... because the pain was still great.
And I learned fast that, thanks to my EDS, relieving one pain can often just create a new one... sitting on that thing for a long time gave me knee and back pain... and in case you didn't know, you command it with your thumbs on little levers (to give gas), well of course I hyperextended my thumbs doing it! I had to keep changing thumb and try to find the "good" way to push on the lever so that it wouldn't hurt too much. Seems so stupid, such a little thing... how could just pushing on that little thing create a problem?! That's my life... It's a collagen defect and you have that all over your body, and ligaments are everywhere, not just in the big joints...
And of course, directing the scooter happens with your arms, including shoulders and wrists... and I have torn ligaments in both my wrists and in my right shoulder...
All in all, the scooter was definitely a help... but it wasn't a miracle and I could see I would not be able to spend 15 days driving that thing around.

Once I had the scooter, though, and was mobile again, we went through the park and I did a few attractions...
And, sadly, I did not take notes.
I do remember riding in the Muppet 3D show, which is quirky and fun, but definitely not a must do...
Then, if I'm not mistaken, I did the new Star Tours, which is GREAT! I loved it!

After that we parked to watch the Pixar Pals Count Down to Fun parade.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/23D411B4-3357-4B76-A58D-CAE7E4702BF2-5785-00000828CB799D9A_zpsfb5a1617.jpg

That's where I noticed there is such a thing as being too close...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/ACCE3921-B5C8-48B8-8A0A-383BFF13BA35-5785-00000828CEE11D67_zpse7ed5c3a.jpg
I have no idea what was on top of that float! :rotfl:

I know he's mean, but I was pretty excited to see Lotso! He's so fluffy!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/18CA3E9C-66F0-488E-9BBD-F258A979F7A0-5785-00000828D162FCFA_zpsf58b5900.jpg

By the way, I smelled a few of the stuffed Lotsos in the shops... they DO smell like strawberries! mmmm.
A bit disgusting when you think how many noses touch every stuffed Lotso... ewwww.

By that time I had to take more pain pills, so it was another snack. Why, do you ask? Because prior (and current) meds have pretty much ruined my stomach, and now each time I take meds, even just Tylenol, I need to eat with it... but this time was worse... because the pain was so unbearable and I needed to push through so bad, that I cheated and too Advils even though that's a big no-no with the condition of my stomach... But I needed to reduce the swelling. And that was on TOP of the pain meds. So snack was definitely in order, even if I didn't feel hungry one bit.
I settled on a pretzel. I had felt like having one yesterday, but mostly, it was the only thing close by.

We then went to get a Tower of Terror FP, and back to Rock n Roller Coaster where I used the single rider line (more rides should have that option!) while the FP time arrived. I rode it twice "to pass the time" :thumbsup2

I had a pair of FP for RnR we had taken a bit earlier, before I had realized I could just take the single riders line... so I spotted a couple walking to the standby line and gave them the fastpasses. They were so surprised! They thanked me twice and I could see them turning back to look at me while walking in the FP line, as if they couldn't believe what had just happened.
Sprinkling a little pixie dust like that made my own day just a tad more magical! :goodvibes

Since it was a slow day, the ToT FP return time was less than an hour later. And of course we had taken an FP each... but Mama doesn't ride so I rode it twice!

ToT is definitely my favorite Disney ride!

Then we went in the direction of our ADR, checking a few stores on the way... and taking silly pictures
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/100CC13B-7D8C-45CC-9C25-CBBD15D3CA9F-5785-00000828D47BB51A_zpsd9f374b5.jpg
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/14F77534-C968-4D58-84AC-3A5C60AE6518-5785-00000828D72FDFB2_zps7d4d776b.jpg
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/03C0121A-B671-4100-A5A0-A4A4C5D366A5-5785-00000828D980D111_zps41d27bf9.jpg

I would never have guessed it, but these are the pictures Mama liked taking the best, and the only one of her she likes looking at... she never likes herself in pics, so I'm guessing one where she is SUPPOSED to look silly is easier on the ego... I can relate... But I've never pictured her as a silly-pics-taker kinda person! She is actually looking forward to taking more on our next trip!

Then it was finally time for our ADR at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.
We were set up in a 3 rows car, in the last row, as "hitchikers" behind a family of four.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/bydefault2013-02-10at111509PM_zps2027b60e.jpg
We were on the side (close to the entrance) and about the middle of the room, so we couldn't really see the scope of the place unless we really turned and looked. We liked the theming and the originality of pretending to be at an old-style drive-in... not so much the mini space you have in front of you as tables... having your condiments (ketchup, salt, etc) on the back seat of the people in front of you, so you almost touch them when you get some... did not fancy the lack of lighting (altough we knew it would be like that), especially with Mama having bad vision in low light! We also were disappointed to notice the same movie clips again after about 40min. I think that not ALL clips were playing again, but some... so maybe it's not a loop but random... not sure.
Sadly, it was one of the worst experiences we had. And that's for the food.
We ordered the spinach artichoke dip to start. It was just OK. For entrees, I got the chicken pasta and Mama ordered the Ruben sandwich with cucumber salad.
It took a long time for us to get our food. And when we did, Mama did not have her cucumber salad and my pasta was cold. I rarely, EXTREMELY rarely turn back food... but it was not eatable. So I asked for it to be warmed up. The waiter said they would make me another. (such waste of food!).
And he said he would bring Mama her salad.
So we waited, and waited... I eventually got my pasta... which was... kinda warm. I was HUNGRY, so I said it was fine. Mama never got her cucumber salad.
My pasta was not good. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either.
So...
Food: 2.5/5 McDonalds would've been MUCH better.
Service: 2/5 Bad. Forgetting a salad. Twice. Bringing cold food. Twice. Not making much of a fuss about it. Not being wonderful about drinks either.
Atmosphere: 4/5 May not be practical to eat there, but it is really a special experience, something you don't see anywhere else.
1st time? Yes.
Would recommend? No. Altough I know it could've been just an off night.

While we were eating, another trend started (along with the "it doesn't matter, we'll never see them again...") which almost made it to substitle satus in the TR.
My iPhone welcome screen at the time was an Instagram picture I had taken of one of our 3 cats. My favorite one (shhhh! don't tell the other 2!).
His name is Muzo. He's a bengal cat and these cats tend to be very faithful... not the usual independant cat. Which is probably why he's my fav! ::yes::
Here's the pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/AA11714B-9250-425E-93B6-566C9A2C7B1D-6675-000009414A320202_zps703ad39c.jpg
And so, each time I would open the iPhone to check something, I would see the picture. And I would cry out "Mumuuuuuu" (which is one of his numerous nicknames). It became the running gag. The first few times I cried it out because I missed the cat... and then I would repeat it each time I saw the picture just to make us laugh!
...I did miss him a lot though!:worried:

After dinner we walked (rode) into the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/CF9FED30-4931-4607-873B-AA7E2F7B3B2A-5785-00000828DC446FAF_zpsb278cb00.jpg

It was CRAZY! You could never tell it was a slow day in the park!!! It was jam packed! Which was hell in the scooter... It took forever to get through there...
But still, we loooooved it! It was magical! I always loved lights moving to music, be it in a rock show or fireworks, and I had watched similar Xmas light shows on people's houses on YouTube... (well... similar in concept anyways!), so this was right up my alley!
We both loved it.

When it was over (we didn't linger because it was so frustrating in the scooter), we went to bring the scooter back, the park was closing, and we took the bus.
On our way we took that pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/81BD3486-400A-4961-BE02-209505580F63-6675-0000093D6B875B36_zps98900ee9.jpg

We couldn't believe that it was faster than the monorail back from Epcot!

By the way, we learned that taking the bus from the Contemporary, you are the first picked up (then they go to the Polynesian)... but you're the first off! So you win both ways! The choice of seats on the way there, and the shortest time on the bus when you just want to get "home"!

We got back to the resort at around 9pm.
We decided to hop in the hot tub to relief my aching feet... we were alone in there except for a dad and his chatty little son. :rolleyes2
Afterwards we walked to the Contemporary beach so I could FINALLY watch the Electric Water Pageant. We were sitting on the beach chairs... and freezing! We were just dressed in our bathing suits with a vest or something to cover us... bare legs and flip flops... and it was about 60°F and windy! But I wanted to see it!
I felt like a little kid! I was super giddy and wanted to shout the names of the characters each time a new one lit up! It was really a magical moment. pixiedust:

Then we went back to the room, showered and got ready for bed, I finished taking my TR notes and we went to sleep at around midnight.

My:
High of the day: Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and the look on the couple's faces after I gave them the RnR FPs
Low of the day: It's a tie between the pain in my heels and having to rent the scooter
Food of the day: Nothing amazing... but the berry cobbler at H&V was nice.

Mama's:
High of the day: Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Low of the day: Dinner at Sci-Fi... or maybe seeing my disappointment and anger when we had to rent the scooter...
Food of the day: Not sure but I think the caesar salad at H&V. I know she also feels like there was nothing particularly special food-wise today.

Plan for the day:
Laundry in the morning
HS from noon to closing, including:
Pixar parade
Sci-Fi ADR
Epcot EMH

What actually happened:
All which was planned, except we did hot tub and EWP in the evening instead of Epcot EMH because of my feet. Not too bad of a trade!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47575347#post47575347): Can I walk?

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-20-2013, 11:34 PM
**There was an update on Nov. 29th part 1

Wow, 2 months in Disney! :rotfl2:
It seems it's a pattern for us... when we went in 2008, we arrived in April and left in May... we're doing it again! Maybe it makes us feel like we're staying longer? Nah, honestly, it just happens like that. Check out the PTRs to see why and how!

OK, so... the plan was to arrive in Epcot around noon, so, again, no alarm clock... guess what? We woke up, again, at around 7:30am. No use!

We ate our bagels and croissants in the room... by then the fresh bakery croissants were not as fresh, though... We'll remember that!
We ran some errands, like going to the Fantasia Market to get more milk and Diet Coke for Mama, to the food court for new breakfast items since we would be coming back too late...
And we took our sweet time. We couldn't go back to sleep, but there is a difference between taking your time and staying in, and going in the parks... it's still is more relaxing, and less taxing!

This morning, I tried my Chuck Taylors Converse shoes without any socks in them... I hate not wearing socks and I always do, but I am starting to have blisters, and my feet were swollen so I tried without following Mama's suggestion.

Still, at around 10am, we arrived at Epcot.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/7BE3FF4B-2A18-4A8E-92EE-6656FA6F55A0-6675-0000094123232B6A_zpse21d997f.jpg
First thing on my radar was to go get Soarin' FPs. It's Mama's favorite ride, one of the few she can do, the "scariest" one for her... she's on the verge of getting motion sickness on it, but not quite, so it's great! First time she did it she cried, both because it was beautiful and fun and because it was a ride she could actually do and enjoy! (and maybe a bit from relief too, hehe)

But I knew we didn't want to wait and FPs could run out quick so... we headed there ASAP.
And it's a good thing we did, too, because the return time was for around 3pm this afternoon!

As long as we were in the Land pavilion, since we needed to save our steps because of my feet (well, anyone should, really!), we did the Living with the Land ride (there was maybe a 10min wait). Mama really enjoyed the ride, as it's her favorite type, getting into a little boat or bugy and being told a story (or science facts, just as good). It was nice.

After that I needed a snack to take pain pills, so we were in the perfect spot, Sunshine Seasons! We just shared a huge M&M sugar cookie and a carton of milk. It was the perfect size.

Then we went into the Circle of life movie, which we liked. Hey, yes it's big on the moral thing, but it's a good thing in my eyes... it's important to teach people, especially kids, about keeping the planet healthy! Plus, it's Timon and Pumbaa, so how could it be a bad time!?!

Having done all we wanted, we walked back towards the World Showcase.

We then took this picture
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/491FFC77-5EA4-4EB7-9097-747F96A82B58-6675-000009412C6F54B3_zpsf04406fd.jpg
Notice any trend? It started to feel like the photographers lacked ideas of what to make us do, since we were just 2 female adults.

We noticed the gospel show was just about to start, so we sat on a bench almost in front of the stage and waited. Yup, we were lucky enough to get a bench!
And then we watched the show!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/BEB0168C-CBC3-4166-B7E9-012359CA44ED-6675-0000094129B6D1CA_zps18f0727c.jpg
Of course an obstructed view was the price to pay for staying seated... since we mostly wanted to HEAR the singers, not see them... it was just fine by us!

We took the time to walk to MouseGears to take advantage of the annual passholders deal that was going on that day : if we bought for a certain amount of merchandise (I think it was 50$), we got 2 glasses for reduced price. Since we knew we wanted to buy merchandise anyways... it was a good time to do it!
I wanted another Tshirt, since the one from Hard Rock Café was not enough on its own... and I found one, a great one! It's a used looking, old style Mickey, in green. It's soooo soft!
Only problem was, they didn't have it in my size... in any color!
So I took one size bigger, thinking I wouldn't be worried if it shrinks...

I also chose a sleeping gown, with Eeyore. It's sooo funny, it has a scratch and sniff chocolate cup... it did indeed smell something, something sweet... of course it was gone after the first wash... but what was funny is, once I tried it on, the sticker saying "scratch n sniff" was just in the WRONG spot! You get the image... :wave2:
Someone did not think in the marketing department!

With just those 2 items I got over 50$, so I could get the glasses... and I look at the check and either I got screwed or I totally misunderstood, because spending 50$, I got the incredible luck, as an annual passholder, to pay almost 15$ for 2 glasses. I mean... maybe they are worth 30$ and it was an incredible deal... but I had been under the impression I was getting ONE glass free if I bought for 50$. Now, the glasses look great, and since it's written "Annual passholder exclusive" on it, I can be sure not everyone has the same... and I'm glad I have two.
But I would rather have had the same as everyone else, and just one, and free.
I really will check the info better next time...

We then headed to France, because we wanted to have lunch at the bakery, because the items we had seen there when we ordered our croissants made our tummies rumble!

On the way though, we stopped because we saw this :
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/61890537-4F6B-4600-B146-A50DA26FA500-6675-000009412F7E6F3E_zpsef20a95c.jpg

She is one of my all-times favorite, I was so happy!
We were not so happy that there was no Photopass photograph around, though. Mama had to snap that picture and knowing how much I love Marie, she was stressed out about messing it up!

Before we headed to lunch we snapped that pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/7BE3FF4B-2A18-4A8E-92EE-6656FA6F55A0-6675-0000094123232B6A_zpse21d997f.jpg

And then, finally, we ate!
The wait was short, and we could order. I chose the ham tartine and Mama another turkey sandwich. Once more we noticed how we just confuse the french CMs by talking to them in french! They speak to us in english, then realize what they are doing, switch to french, back to english, fumble in both languages, can't remember the french words, because they are so used to just working in english... and they feel bad for not being able to serve us in our own language, while we feel bad for confusing them.

Thing is, living in Québec we are used to switching from french to english and back all the time. I often chat, for example, with friends of both languages at once, and have to do the switch back and forth regularly.
We watch TV, listen to music, read in both languages. This is the case for most people living here... most french-born anyways.
Both me and Mama are perfectly bilingual.

But most French, even if they are also perfectly bilingual, don't live on the fence of both languages that way, they don't need to.
I have one friend living in Paris, and we met while in China, surrounded by people from all countries, and we were all speaking english... he hated when I spoke french to him, because he had to put his brain in "french" mode again, and then back to "english" mode. He wasn't used to having to do that switch, or not fast. He was watching US tv shows, listening to english music, etc. But in his everyday life, it was all french all the time.
Not so for us...

So... I remembered that when I saw those poor French CMs, which I was plucking out of their english mode and back in french mode, unprepared. Still, it was nice!

But the best part was the food :goodvibes
We were lucky to find a table just outside Impressions de France, and it was nice to be able to sit and enjoy the food. Mama had regrets about not taking the tartine (which is a pizza, basically, without tomato sauce).

To cap it off, we went to the crêpe kiosk and I ordered a chocolate crêpe. Yum!
It would've tasted better if it hadn't been so windy... I couldn't enjoy the moment, having a very gusty wind rush over my face and being worried my food would fly away any minute. We were sitting between the 2 France kiosks beside the water... it was deserted. No wonder... it had been sunny and warm until noon, but now it was cloudy and pretty cold, especially with that wind! If it wasn't that I needed to sit down to eat that crêpe, I wouldn't have sat there either.

Mama would've wanted to order some champagne, but she was scared it would make her too prone to motion sickness in Soarin', where we were going next...

On the way we stopped at Club Cool, where I drank a few cups of the mexican soda (the one with apples!) and bought a pink Minnie case for my iPhone, to protect it better, and to hide the chip it got when Mama dropped it when we were in Universal a few days back. She had been keeping it in the front pocket of the messenger bag, along with some kleenex... and with both in it, the pocket flap did not close completely (it's only velcro)... and when she pulled the bag over her head to remove it, turning the pocket upside down, the heavier iPhone dropped to the ground... from about 6 feet high... Lucky those are very sturdy! She felt very bad, I was angry, but what could we do?
I only had skin protection on the front and back, now I was adding a plastic back and side cover...
We would sadly soon discover that having such a thing on it made it hard for my flimsy fingers to push on the buttons, and less than 3 months later I have given the case to my dad (yes, the pink Minnie case!).

I also bought hair clips with Minnie ears attached to them at the kiosk just outside Innoventions. I had seen ONE little girl in pigtails with those and they seemed ideal. I had thought they were elastics, but I realized then they were just slipped in the ponytails... I felt it would be the right thing for me... I didn't want a hat that would ruin my bangs or make me too hot (since my body doesn't react well to heat, and since you lose body heat through your head mostly, it's better for me not to wear a hat when it's hot!)...
But I wasn't able to make them stay on properly... I had to wait to be at the resort and make half-ponytails so I could stick them in.
It did look a bit weird, since the ears are sized for kids... I have to admit they looked more like bear ears on my head, than big mouse ears... but it still was fun! And for just 7$, a great deal, too!

We hit Soarin' at about 3:30pm, and it was just as great as we remembered!
From there we walked over to Imagination with Figment, which I had really liked 4 years ago, kitsch as it is ::yes::
I love the song!
Mama isn't the biggest fan, but at least it's her kind of ride, so she doesn't hate it either. She agrees, very much, that it's kitsch. :rotfl:

I then had to stop for a snack to take, you guessed it, pain meds (get used to that, there's a lot more coming!). Once more, I took a pretzel... that was the only food available in that area... lucky I don't hate it.

And finally it was time for Captain EO! I'm a big MJ fan, and I had seen the video on YouTube a few years ago, and I remember being sorry, in 2008, that EO wasn't in Epcot anymore... MJ and dancing, it must've been so fun!
So I was extatic when I learned they were bringing it back!

The whole time we were waiting, altough I just wanted to sit down (against the rules...) or just die because my feet hurt so much, I was getting super excited, because they are showing that making of video... and there is sooo much dancing! We couldn't wait for the movie to start!

And then the pre-show video ends (one of the longest I've ever seen...), we get in... snap that pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/C30A91E6-7444-4E0B-9D25-7B7F49E75D82-6675-0000094135C4061D_zps35634596.jpg
See how happy and excited we look?

OMG, such disappointment!
The whole thing is just silly, MJ, as much as I respect him, just looks like the bad actor he was (maybe worse...), the effects are few and un-impressive... and the dancing? Where is all that dancing??? In the pre-show you feel like it's going to be a 30min movie of just dancing... but you barely have 5 minutes...
Mama felt it was 20min of her life she'll never get back... or close to that. One thing was for sure... watching the pre-show video, we thought we'd be back at least 2 more times before the trip was over... after the movie ended, I knew I'd have trouble convincing Mama to go again on another TRIP!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47575372&posted=1#post47575372): Can I walk... for 15 hours straight???

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-20-2013, 11:38 PM
Then we walked over to The Seas pavilion. Where we saw my friends! I love those...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/32E05807-2BA1-40F1-A4EB-AB1F893CD8DB-6675-00000941362B5DC3_zpsfe88777e.jpg
"Mine, mine, mine"... it's so funny how, like Mama said, everyone looks completely retarted in that area, as we all can't help but blurt that out when we see those seagulls! :lmao:

We had plenty of time before our Coral Reef ADR, so we did it all! We had never been to The Seas!
Starting with taking a picture
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/44508041-0124-45EE-952A-D6CA9D809458-6675-0000094138918DF5_zps1002e28c.jpg
It's not the best... but Mama had trouble hitting the button delicately with the iPhone's new case (I did mention I had to get rid of it eventually because it made it too hard to push those).
You can see my new ears!

We started by riding a clamobile in Nemo and Friends... It was cute, but way too short! Barely seated in that uncomfortable thing and you already have to squirm out!
I found the bit going sideways along the turtles in the tube a bit dizzying. I was scared Mama would get motion sickness with that, but she didn't. Yay!

Then I insisted we try Turtle talk with Crush. It's a kids thing, but I had heard how cool it was to see it in action, and we had time to spare so... in the end, Mama didn't feel it was lost time, but she wasn't as excited as I was.

I must say, this trip, compared to last, my mood was great. I was ready to be a kid at heart, I was ready to laugh and be excited, to find joy in the small things and get wide-eyed as if I was 5 again! Mama... not so much. Not that she would spoil it or anything... she just stayed more of an adult... so when she saw Turtle talk with Crush, she said "yeah, it's well done, it was nice". She laughed at a few jokes. She was willing to shout with everyone and play along... but she didn't ENJOY it, didn't completely let go. I think, for the most part, I was able to.
But you can't force it. I have no idea why it happened this time and not the last. Maybe simply because I was physically better.

After the turtle stuff we visited the aquarium. We like that and so it was not just to spare time. Problem was, especially on the second level, it was very warm and humid... I couldn't enjoy it and we had to leave in a hurry because I was starting to feel weak.

I must say though, as much as I trust Disney and as much as I love looking at fishies in an aquarium... I don't like the idea of those fish and other marine life stuck in those boxes. It's a big dilemma for me.

And so, it was about time to go have dinner!
We headed to Coral Reef, and when we got inside I was very surprised at how beautiful everything was! walking up to the restaurant... wow.

And we were seated... not a great table. Maybe we should've asked for a table "with a view" and waited for it... maybe it would'nt have helped, I don't know. But we were seated on the second tier, in the middle. So we were not close to the aquarium, AND there was another table in our line of sight... so when we tried to look at the aquarium, it felt (and looked) like we were spying on the table next to us! We were happy when they left!

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/3BD1A20C-E0AF-4920-BEBC-79701C892117-6675-000009413B55892D_zpsfd3a41c6.jpg

It's lucky we don't like fish and that I'm allergic (slightly) to seafood, because I would find it VERY weird to eat the nice fish I'm looking at!!!

We ordered a caesar salad to share as an appetizer (OK... why is it that you english people insist on using our french word "entrée" for the main course, when in french, it means appetizer?! We get confused all the time!!! Anywho...), and it was very good! Maybe not the BEST we ever had, but very, very good!
Then we both ordered the chicken with spaetzle. We did not know what it was... but the chicken was the only thing on the menu we felt like eating.
Turns out spaetzle is a bit like gnocchi... but small like orzo... dense potato pasta. DELICIOUS! And the chicken was one of the best chickens I've ever eaten! We wanted to lick our plates...
We finished with a shared crème brûlée and Mama took a Spanish coffee.
That was also very good!

When we looked at the menu and saw very little that inspired us, we never would've thought we'd enjoy our meal so much!

I hadn't read great reviews about this place (not necessarily bad, just not great) so I didn't expect great things... we just wanted to see the atmosphere. Well, this was a great surprise!

Food: 5/5 One of the best of the whole trip!
Service: 4/5 Nothing bad to say, but she didn't do anything special, she doesn't stick out in my mind...
Atmosphere: 5/5 Even with a bad table, it was very nice. Having something to look at is fun, there are nice boxes so it makes for intimacy, instead of feeling all piled up... it wasn't a very loud restaurant, the way it's arranged, and with the lighting and everything, it's relaxing so kids don't run around or scream a lot... and at about the middle of our dinner, there was a scuba-diving group in the tank, which made for even more entertainment! And they went around for a long while. We would stop seeing them, and then one would come back... They would wave, it was fun!

It was one of those times when we felt we might get judged for being cheap, because we split our appetizer and our dessert. Would the CM think we were cheap? Would she be frustrated since it would mean a smaller tip?
I almost felt like explaining that it was mostly because we simply wouldn't eat more food even if we ordered more... and then we realized the CM probably didn't care, probably saw every kind of people, including very, truly cheap ones...
And it was one more occasion to say "It doesn't matter, we'll never see her again!" :thumbsup2

Two very full ladies walked out of there and snapped this pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/AC335331-E71A-4625-BA20-7AA556952C6C-6675-000009413DE7DFDB_zpsc5265ff7.jpg

As we walked out I noticed I was missing one pin I had traded earlier in the afternoon... and since the same thing had happened just yesterday, I stopped at the camera center to buy some regular black pin backs!

We then took the express monorail to the Magic Kingdom. But not as a shortcut to our resort... we were going to the park! YAY! MK! Finally!

Tonight it was closing late to make up for the filming of the ABC Xmas parade in the morning, and we wanted to take advantage of it!

Here is a pic of our first view of the illuminated, Xmas lighted, castle, and Main St.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/F9C31FFE-2A34-430E-A76B-BC747FECD819-6675-0000094140CB06E7_zpsdde59c87.jpg

We arrived just in time to get a spot on the path between Main St and Tomorrowland, near the castle, for the new castle light show "Celebrate the magic".
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A0218C0F-B72C-4B8D-86D4-8B0BE772E13A-6675-00000941458ACCDD_zpscb5bf3bc.jpg

We then scooted over in front of the castle to wait for Wishes.
It was a big adventure getting there, as it's pitch dark, already not easy for me to navigate... but Mama, with her eyes problems, doesn't see a thing, and is a bit scared of moving around in that darkness!
So she hung onto my hoodie and I used the LED flashlight of the iPhone, and thanks to that I didn't trip and neither did she, and we got to a good spot, almost dead center in front of the castle and closer than where the path ends...
While we were waiting there was a commotion, just about where we had come, near the path to Tomorrowland... a woman had tripped over the sidewalk and fell on her back (people had scooted over to let her fall instead of catching her, of course)... And not only was it so dark that she could fall, but it was so dark that people could hardly find CMs to call for help!

Of course, it's still Disney, CMs eventually appeared, not too late, and the lady seemed OK, altough shocked and bruised.

I know it has been that way "forever", but I'm really surprised there is no more lighting in such a crowded place, especially with so many kids, elderly and handicapped present!
I understand they can't use big lights that would ruin the mood or the look... but would it be so crazy to add luminescent paint to highlight the sidewalk and tramway rails? To add a BIT more light, especially in more "dangerous" areas, like where paths cross?

We noticed the same lack of light in all the parks... I see well enough in the dark, and I didn't feel safe. I'm not talking about dangerous people lurking to attack me, I'm talking going the wrong way or spraining an ankle on something I didn't see...

Anyways...

After that little incident, we watched Wishes, and it was just as magic as ever!

When it was over we walked to the special parade viewing spot I had learned about online... should I give it to you? ...mmmm... oh, alright!
Go to Frontierland, especially in front of the Frontier Trading Post. There are even boxes there where you can sit to wait, and there shouldn't be so much people (if you go at the second one on a night where there are 2 parades) that you can't stay seated until the parade is almost there. Maybe even stay seated to watch it, if you don't feel you need to be up close!

The parade starts in Main St. at the entrance of the park, and makes its way towards Frontierland, which takes about 20min.

While we waited I went to get us a DoleWhip float, on a whim. I had just went to the bathroom, between Frontierland and Adventureland, and I figured where I was, and remembered where Aloha Isle was (I was soooo proud of myself for that!). So I did a quick stop there and surprised Mama with that late night snack. We hardly finished it between the 2 of us... but it was good. Tasted much better than last time we had one... must have to do with the fact I was just back from almost fainting from a BP drop that time and that we went to get one so the trip wouldn't end with a visit to the first aid station...

Lucky I remembered to buy us a bottle of water with that though, otherwise we would've suffered! :rotfl2:

And finally, we watched the Main Street Electrical Parade!!!
Mama had watched it about 35 years ago... I had always wanted to see it, knew the song by heart!!! It was everything we wanted it to be!
We liked it much more than Spectromagic... which we had loved!!!
I can't wait to see it again!!!

Sorry I don't have any pictures, I only carried my iPhone and even if it's amazing as a point-and-shoot, like MOST point-and-shoot cameras, it's totally crappy in low-lighting.

After the parade we walked out of the park and back to our resort
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/F6AE93B0-AE24-41F0-A247-4372125FC3E9-6675-0000094148004F10_zps79878077.jpg
(I realize I took all the pics of the Contemporary, and none of our actual resort, BLT... probably because of the mickey head!)

The walk took us 10 minutes. We couldn't believe it! It was magic!

And once we got in our studio, we had a surprise waiting: Mousekeeping had come, AGAIN! Mama had been sure the rescheduling thing wouldn't have worked... and she had been right!
But this time there had been no enveloppe laying around, so that poor mousekeeper came in and did a full cleaning and got nothing. Well, I know it's technically a non-tipping job... but we tipped the others... even if it wasn't willingly!
I'm getting frustrated with this!
How hard can it be to keep up with this? Don't they have a computer?

My feet were killing me and I had something like 6 blisters... One on the side of each of my big toes, some on the back of the heels and a bunch on the ball of my right foot, under the big toe... probably from walking all weird because of the injury.
Clearly, not wearing socks had been a bad idea...

We were in bed at about 1am. And we had done ALL WE WANTED.


My:
High of the day: Seing Marie, MSEP & being able to do all we wanted!
Low of the day: recurring theme : aching feet.
Food of the day: Spaetzle

Mama's:
High of the day: Soarin'
Low of the day: Changing viewing spots in the dark
Food of the day: Spaetzle

Plan for the day
Epcot from noon to around 9pm
Must do's include Soarin', Captain EO, Imagination with Figment, Mission Space
Lunch at Boulangerie pâtisserie
Coral Reef dinner ADR
MK for late evening, to see Wishes and 2nd MSEP

What actually happened
We arrived at Epcot a bit earlier, and we did everything we wanted but Mission Space!!!
A most satisfying day!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47690159#post47690159): What surprise could be in store for us?

AnnieDan_Artlover
02-28-2013, 02:48 PM
Hi guys!

This is a totally :offtopic: post, a short one, but dear to my heart.

Today is the International Rare Disease Day.
The disease I suffer from, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobile type, affects only about 1/5,000 people, maybe as few as 1/20,000.
It may sound a lot, but just start counting, or compare it to other diseases, and it's really not a lot.

It's not enough for doctors to really know anything about it but the name, most other health specialist even never heard about it (nurses, pharmacists, etc).

It's not enough for big drug companies to want to do research about treatments, because it's not financially interesting. In the US, and in some countries, the governments have to force them with laws... sadly not yet in Canada... and it'll never be a big enough budget to really help all the 7,000 different rare diseases sufferers all around the globe, but it's a start!

You can get more info here : http://www.rarediseases.org/

Living with a chronic illness is never easy, but living with one that you feel alone in the world living with, one that few people know about and that even your doctor can't help you understand is even worst.

Thanks for taking a moment to care! :goodvibes

I'll be back soon with a real update, promise! :thumbsup2

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-03-2013, 09:06 PM
We woke up at 8:15am, took our showers (we had been WAY too pooped yesterday evening, WAIT... THIS MORNING! to take them!) and got ready and ate toasts for breakfast...

At 9:30 we started our "errands":
One of us went to pick up what we had bought and shipped to the resort's shop. We always take advantage of that option!

Then I had to call Mousekeeping, AGAIN, because of the snafu from yesterday, with them coming to do our full service as originally scheduled, even though we had changed it so they wouldn't come until Monday!
The CM I got on the phone was not very apologetic, didn't seem to care much, even when I said I was sorry that the poor mousekeeper had no tip because we had not known she would come... I asked that the supposedly re-scheduled mousekeeping for Monday be cancelled... turns out it wasn't in the computer (argh), and said I was getting tired of them showing up when they were not supposed to, and I certainly would make sure I wouldn't be charged for any of the "extra" cleanings! The CM assured me I wouldn't. :rolleyes:

And then... drum roll...
We booked our next trip!!!
I had done some research before we left, while I had all my documents and more time, so I already knew the good dates for weather vs. price vs. crowds vs. events (we wanted to go back for Halloween and Food & Wine Festival).
The only offer in the DVC studio was for free dining, but booking full price and not for the dates we wanted, so it wasn't at all good for us.
But I knew the extension to call for a bounceback offer, if I could get one... so I dialed #8844 on our studio phone... and it worked!
But it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I would simply get a machine telling me if there was a bounceback offer for us or not, and what it was, and the PIN code to use...

Instead I got a booking agent asking what she could do for me. :scared1:
I almost was at a loss for words! So I said I was wondering if there was a bounceback offer we could take advantage of when we were planning on coming back... she asked for our information (name, reservation number), made sure we were still checked-in... and told me there was indeed and offer!!!
But it didn't exactly fit my dates... so I went ahead with the closest match, and instead of telling me, for example "I can offer you 35% off a Deluxe, or 20% off a Value" etc, instead also of telling me prices... she asked where we wanted to stay...
Well, that pretty much depended on the offer!
But we went ahead asking a quote for our wish, the Contemporary... I had to basically decide everything and only then did I get the price with the discount.
Turns out it was indeed about 35% off! We could get the cheapest rooms (the only ones we can afford, even with the discount), the Garden Wing, standard view. But we couldn't care less! Well... Mama cared a little... she's worried it will be a longer walk... but it's not like we have a great choice. The other availability was club level! Heck no. It's like 3 times the price...
So we went ahead and booked it!
:woohoo:
We are COMING BACK!!!!!!
Dates will be Sept. 25th to Oct. 4th, 2013. Yeah!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/CRMap_zpsd8349094.jpg
Right now we are staying at Bay Lake Tower, which is the round-ish thing on the left of the main building. Next fall we will be staying in that H-shape thing on the right. We'll hope that we'll be lucky and get a room in the building closest to the main one, so that the walk to the bus, monorail and MK is shorter!

After that was settled, we went to take the bus, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. It took over 30 minutes for the bus to arrive! And we got it, and it was freezing. The A/C was full on, but even if it was pretty hot outside, people inside were not wearing much and so after 5min everyone was shivering... that felt like the longest drive ever! We got to Animal Kingdom at about 12:30pm.

And of course we were hungry!

We took the time for this nice pic:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/B8277532-445F-4F4B-B889-624316EEAB90-6675-00000954C52F7547_zps6003f2d8.jpg

We then walked straight to Yak & Yeti's quick service counter, as we had loved to eat at the full service restaurant 4 years ago!
But we did not eat there.
We asked a CM if we could take the trays further away, and he said we could take them anywhere we wanted in the park as long as we brought them back... and then he laughed and said we didn't even have to bring them back!

We witnessed people eating in the most uncomfortable positions, sitting on the curb, on top of garbage cans... and we took our trays and walked less than 90 seconds to the HUGE sitting area near Flame Tree BBQ, where we had the most peaceful meal of the whole trip, I think.
Alone, close to the water, so nice...

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/186BE4B8-9C19-4FAE-801F-CF4DB60FF755-6675-00000954C925A91A_zps8472c19f.jpg

This is a nice little "secret" you should all note somewhere!

As for the food, I took the honey chicken and Mama ordered the mandarin salad. We loved the little boxes it came in! It was still plenty hot by the time we settled in (in fact, was still hot when we finished eating). Well mine... Mama's salad was cold, duh.
We both loved our food! Perfect. We'll eat there again for sure.

Then to digest a little, we walked the Discovery Island Trails. And I couldn't help but be amazed that I was walking it instead of being rolled on it with difficulty. It was so much better than last time! :worship:

And finally it was time for Expedition Everest!
Thank god for the single rider line! :cool1:
I rode it twice in a row.
The second time, I got seated with 2 young teenagers, and it was so funny. The boy sitting with me asked if it was my first time, if I would scream... he said he would... I told him as long as he didn't throw up on me he could do as he pleased. :rotfl2:
And then he started to tell something about a girl to his friend... but then stopped and said "I'll tell you later" and I couldn't help but add "Yeah, cuz I'm here, ya know..." :lmao:
I love messing around with teens heads! They see me like this dinosaur, while I oh so remember the feeling.

Anywho... I loved EE just as much as I remembered, maybe even more now that I could just walk to the single-riders line and hop on, and do it again, without Mama having to push me around.
And even if she had to wait for me, it was much more fun for her to just sit on a little stone wall further and people watch!

But I felt twice in a row was enough and I wanted to do something else.

At 3:15 pm I had to take some pills, of course, so we took some ice cream at the Anandapur bus. I tried an orange soda float (with vanilla ice cream), it was great! Mama took a simple vanilla ice cream cone. And thank god we remembered to take a water bottle with that! :)

With that in hand we moved on to scout a parade spot. Mama had studied the parade route, and felt the area between Africa and Asia would be a good spot, so we walked there. It was already not a busy day, but there was a whole section that was EMPTY! I soon found out why though... the sun was setting, and you had it straight in your eyes from that side of the road. And there was no roped-area on the other side. It was also making it very hot, and of course there was no shade. But I decided I could handle it if I could sit on the ground. Except Mama does NOT sit on the ground. So she took a walk, went to stand a bit further away in the shade, moved a bit... I was VERY happy to be sitting anyways, my feet, as usual, were killing me.
Ligaments don't repair themselves fully even with rest and care... they definitely don't when you continue using them! As for the heat, let's just say I was VERY happy we had thought to buy this cooling scarf! (and to bring it that day!).

Then finally the parade started, Mama joined me and I got up... and we realized we had the PERFECT spot!
Not only did we have plenty of space (even though, of course, by then others had joined us), but we were on the edge, so we were the first the characters saw after a turn, and since there was only one side rope-off, they had all their attention only on us!
I never had so much character interaction!

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/CA432B8D-EE53-4CDB-8532-DF770597758A-6675-00000954CC5C2521_zps31ae7eaa.jpg
This guy took my hands and started to dance with me! :laughing:

Then Chip and Dale came buy
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/9AC9DFBA-C953-49F3-B885-E3F3780B28E1-4288-0000045C9D84C8AE_zps9b42898d.jpg
And one of the handlers pointed out to them that I had the same exact scarf! So they came to "chat" with me for a bit (so sad that Mama doesn't carry her own camera, she could've captured those moments... happened to fast for me to give her mine, I barely had time to lower it!)

Pluto also came by
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/8086B6EA-8AE2-4FDB-9E6A-B688F246F2FC-6675-00000954D661C18F_zps39465a01.jpg

It was like that pretty much all the way!

Except towards the end... a family came and stood on the side of the rope-off area... on the "security corridor" or "free pathway" if you might call it... They were told repeatedly by CMs to NOT stay there and move... and of course they didn't listen.
There was a young girl of maybe 9 y.o. with that family and she stood next to me, and of course the characters would interact with her then and not with me.

Had she been in her right place, had her mom asked if she could stand in front of me and went to stay behind herself, I would not have minded at all. It's normal that kids get the attention! As much fun as it was to play with the characters, let the kid have fun while she's a kid!
...But the way her parents are raising her made me angry, showing her that bullying is the good way to get noticed and have fun is not the right way... so that, I minded. :mad:

The interaction was good even with those guys
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/EBAF2733-29AC-4621-8979-3C022360AB72-6675-00000954D2E904EC_zpsdd685ba1.jpg

Poor guys, working so hard to move those floats while it was so hot out...
And then the funniest moment happened : one of them announced that snow was gonna fall (behind the Donald float). To which Mama replied (loudly enough that he'd hear) "Sure, that's why you're sweating so much!" :rotfl:
I couldn't believe she had blurted that out!!! It's so NOT her style!!!
:eek:
Everyone had a good laugh, the sweaty guy included! :rotfl2:
And it was another one of those "It doesn't matter, we'll never see them again" moments...

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47690212&posted=1#post47690212): Does Mama find something she likes at Boma?

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-03-2013, 09:11 PM
After the parade, we did the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
After which we took this pic:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/940FEEC5-E8F4-46EF-8673-7DEBE4741BB7-6675-00000954D919DB18_zps48c006e4.jpg

And we were on our way to see Nemo- the Musical. We had seen it in 2008, but we felt like sitting down and enjoying a cute little show :goodvibes
Once again, it was fun to be free of the wheelchair, as we had better seats!
I still have "Keep on swimming" stuck in my mind months later... big earworm, I'm warning you! :rolleyes1

I couldn't resist Primeval Whirl, altough I was worried I would be sitting with others like last time... In 2008 they maybe it was busy, or I got an incompetent CM, because I got seated with a dad and his son... but as you may or may not know, PW is a VERY jerky ride, and the seats are made for 4 kids, or 2 adults... and there is no real separation of the 2 seats, it's just a bump. So you very well might end up bumping the person besides you.
It won't be fun even if it's your kid, as you might fear you'll hurt him by crushing too hard on him, but when it's a STRANGER's kid! :scared1:
Let's just say I had no fun at all and just spent the ride holding on as hard as I could and trying to counteract the pushes and pulls so I wouldn't crash on that kid... :sad2:

Luckily, that did NOT happen this time.
There was no FP or single-rider line, but the wait was a big 5 minutes... so I went in... and while I waited I could see the CM asking if there were single riders, and how many would be riding, and I could see he never put more than 2 adults together, never put strangers with others either. Phew!
I rode ALONE. And it was much more fun!!!
I still tried not to slide, as getting bumped around too much I can get hurt bad (no joke), but I really could enjoy the ride.

Wow, that is NOT a kiddy ride! It's really one of the roughest ones, when you stop to think about it! It goes down fast, turns you around in many ways, jerks roughly... spins a lot... the only thing it doesn't do is HUGE drops and loops. I'm not saying it's too much for me. But I'm saying it's much more thrills then you'd expect looking at it... it's built the right way to get you the "weeee" feelings without using lots of space... and so if you have scaredy-cat people in your party, motion-sickness prone people who think they'll be fine because it looks like a thing for kids... just don't let them ride this!
On the other hand, if you have thrill seekers who think they'll be bored and don't want to try it... push them to, because they'll have more fun than they think! :goodvibes

In front of Primeval Whirl we saw Christmas Pluto and Goofy taking pics, so we got in line. It looked worse than it was, with the line doing a snake... it barely took us 15 minutes to get there.
We got out the autograph book we had gotten for our friend's little boy, and asked if we could get pictures of the characters while they were signing (without us in it) so we could show "the little kid back home" they really did sign it!
As you can see, they were happy to oblige, doing a big deal about it (even though it seemed it was a weird request, from the way the handler and Photopass photograph looked at us)
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/175C33F5-B586-40AC-9A40-4FAB8D1EF86A-6675-00000954DC326C4F_zps14f0ffe1.jpg

And then it was time for OUR picture
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/1140458A-3515-4202-ABAC-27FEDE3EB53C-6675-00000954DEE12B8E_zps4599cf92.jpg

I finished the park day with a ride in Dinosaur... I can't remember if I rode it straight on or if I had taken a FP earlier... sorry!

On our way out of AK we took that pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/C3E94089-71CA-4DC8-B779-8A0466438328-6675-00000954E1A86CD2_zps49273edb.jpg

We took the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the driver was kind enough to make sure we got off at the right stop after I asked him a question about Boma... I had not done all my homework, not realizing there was more than one AKL stop!

Once there, I realized the bad side of having a dinner ressie was we wouldn't be able to see what the resort looked like, just the inside...
But already, the inside was awesome!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/D8E42E8D-2593-4173-850A-B08FD7E16A98-6675-00000954E9EB551B_zps18b9cd1a.jpg

Since we had a bit of time to spare, we waited for a Photopass photograph to finish setting up and we took this pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/3AA867FD-5A04-4518-B54E-F5747AADE3E0-6675-00000954E457DC25_zpsae9ee714.jpg
:rotfl2:
He asked us to look surprised...
After that Mama practiced a "surprised" look for days!!!

(don't tell her I put this pic here, she'll kill me! :scared1:)

And finally we got into Boma.
We were shown to our table... quite a bit far from the buffet... we almost got lost, haha!
Mama had been worried she wouldn't like anything. Because she can be a tad difficult and she's not fond of new tastes... but she was willing to try, and was OK with eating just salad and bread for one meal if it came to that.

Wow, was it NOT the case!
This is the only time I thought of taking a food picture in the meal, and almost in the whole trip, too
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A25CFC81-7783-415B-97B6-6466F5B69A92-6675-00000954E769CE95_zps9f3da056.jpg

I ate about 3 plates like that, plus 2 bowls of curries cauliflower soup (the one without coconut!) AND a dessert plate! And Mama ate just as much!
We didn't necessarily eat the same things, for example she didn't even got to taste the hummus, because she ate more salad and other things, but she was just as happy as I was!
It was de-li-ci-ous!!!
I ate more than I usually eat in one DAY, and I still was sorry I couldn't eat more!

I have since found the recipe for that soup, and made some (check my next trip PTR for that recipe) and I've managed to make it almost as good... yum!

I must say though, it's true that the Zebra domes are overrated. Not liking alcohol, I did not like them at all. Mama liked them, but didn't rave about them.
I much prefered the bread pudding, dessert-wise!
....Getting hungryyy...

So, Boma:
Food 5/5 Some of the best food we ate on the trip. We should be going back!
Service 4/5 It's a buffet, for starters... Our plates were not cleared each and every time we left the table, and as you can see in this picture, our drinks were not always full. But since it's a buffet, I never expect a lot... and it's not like we had to wait forever to get our drinks or the bill at the end, and the CM was very nice and friendly, talking to us about the weather in Canada and so on.
Atmosphere 3/5 It's noisy, especially when you have that short african percussion performance, you have to navigate between tables to get to the buffet (unlike H&V or other places in Disney which I remember from 4 years ago, where it's clear wide paths), and it's not clear which food is where, even though the CM explained it to us when we got there. Some food are there twice (if I remember right?) but not all, so many people end up just going all along the line when it's not needed, feeling angry that you "cut them" when you are just wanting some couscous or soup... It could be better organized.
But the look and feel are nice!
1st time? Yes.
Would recommend? Definitely! And would go back!

At about 9:30pm we took the bus for MK... it was there when we got out of AKL, so we ran to it... well Mama walked as fast as she could and half-ran with her full belly from Boma and her tired legs... how could I run in my own situation, full as well, just as tired, with my bad heel and so on? I DID NOT WANT TO WAIT ANOTHER HOUR THERE!!! I think they call that despair energy. We do in french anyways.

When I got there, the driver said "Are you trying to make your mom lose weight by having her run like that?" :eek:
I could NOT believe he was saying something so disrespectful!!!
I should've taken his name and report him... but I was so much in shock and so tired I didn't even think about it at the time.

From MK we walked to the BLT while the magic was all around us: Wishes in MK, IllumiNations in Epcot and the Electric Water Pageant on the lake were all going on at once! :goodvibes

Once we got "home" we ran some errands in the Contemporary: bought tomorrow's breakfast at the market and Contempo Café.
That's when I took that pic of the gingerbread creation
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/7F3C8350-7FA7-4749-A75D-A9057164A21C-6675-00000954ED14B361_zps3443e0ea.jpg

Doesn't it look nice?
Sadly, it doesn't taste as nice.
We bought a shingle, and first off, I was put off to notice there is CHOCOLATE under it. Chocolate and gingerbread don't mix, in my book.
Plus, it was a bit dry. My own gingerbread is at least 3 times better!!!

And on that note, we went to bed at around 11pm.

My:
High of the day: The character interaction in the parade... tied with booking for next fall!
Low of the day: The long wait for the AK bus and then being so damn cold!
Food of the day: Curried cauliflower soup at Boma!

Mama's:
High of the day: Booking for next fall AT THE CONTEMPORARY
Low of the day: Long wait for the bus
Food of the day: Curried cauliflower soup (what can I say, it was good!)

Plan for the day:
AK from mid-morning to park closing at 7pm
Expedition Everest
Dinosaur
Jammin' Jingle Jungle Parade
Dinner at Boma at 7:40pm
See Wishes from the Top of the World Lounge (at least try to see if we could get admitted as non-DVC guests renting points...) and/or EWP on the lake.

What actually happened:
Arrived at AK after noon
Did all the attractions planned and the parade too
Dinner at Boma, we were early, as usual: 7:20pm
We were too late for either EWP or Wishes.
Overall a great day!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47928223#post47928223): Mama gets the TR bug!

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-27-2013, 02:47 PM
Wow, almost one month without writing... I've let you guys down... :guilty:
I'm sorry and I'll try to make it up to you... and not do that again!
----------------

We woke up around 8am, had breakfast in the room, as usual... and we took it at a slow pace. Taking the bus for HS a little past 10am.

We arrived around 11am.
We hadn't even walked in the park, just off the bus, and since my feet hurt a lot and my feet were swollen, Mama suggested I remove my socks, which we put in our bag.

As usual, getting in the park we got a Photopass pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890074_zps6b05a708.jpg

And thank god for the time post on that pic, because having almost taken no notes that day... without those and the receipts, that TR post would be bad! :lmao:

We were already hungry and I of course had to take pain pills, so having heard of that almost hidden gem of the Writers Stop café, we went to find that... what a disappointment... because it was only sweets... and nowhere to sit, really!
We were not in a mood to eat cookies or cupcakes... but we were there, hungry, and I couldn't walk anymore... so we settled for that.
I must say, though... OMG! I took a peanut butter cookie (and WHAT a cookie! I think it was 6" in diameter!) with half a pint of milk... it was heavenly! Mama took a muffin (HUGE of course) with a diet coke (yuk... those DON'T go together! someone needs to tell her that :teacher:)... It was good and did the job.
We ate sitting on a bench close by, with a mom breastfeeding on the bench beside us... it was peaceful :)

After that we decided to do the Great Movie Ride, which turned out to be less than great. We remembered it to be "so-so"... but having now done all the parks, and 4 years later, not being "park naive", it just felt very outdated... and much in that ride lies on the shoulders of the CMs and their acting skills... and our "guide" was the worst EVER. You know the part where one uses a gun, in the ambush? That was simply pitiful. Like, high school amateur bad. No... high school BAD acting amateur bad. Because many high school who love theater would've been much better!
The Wizard of Oz scene was beautiful as always, though.
I kept thinking "people need to do very hard auditions to work in those types of jobs... how could that girl get the part???".

We then went to Toy Story Midway Mania, to get fast passes. I was lucky, at 12:20pm we could grab our 2 FPs... for a return time of 6:30-7:30pm that evening! A little later and I wouldn't have gotten any!

We checked the line for Woody and Buzz... and it still was way too long for us, especially with my feet.

So we sat down for a bit... and it turns out we sat down in the line to see Minnie! She had either went for a short break or was scheduled to be there in a few minutes, and it was the spot to wait... and we ended up being 3rd in line totally by chance! We wouldn't have waited in line for Minnie, as I already had her autograph and pics with her in different costumes already... but hey, we could wait sitting and were already there! :thumbsup2
Plus, when we saw her arrive and it was a new outfit... yay!

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890082_zps02fe211b.jpg

Then, Mama hoping to help with my aching feet, thought that maybe if I could wear different shoes, I would feel better, we started looking for some, especially Crocs. We remembered buying some Disney Crocs in 2008, and they were everywhere then... But we checked a few stores and could not find a single pair, except very little, for kids.
So we stopped for a breather, near Hollywood and Vine... and we stopped a cleaning CM to ask her if she had any idea where we could find adult Crocs shoes. That lady went above and beyond. She told us to wait there and left her job to go ask someone else and she came back to give us the info.
I can't remember her name now, but rest assured we noted it and made sure to send an email to HR to say how great she had been. And we made sure she knew how much that extra service had meant to us!

Sadly, the info she gave us was that only 2 shops in HS still carried Crocs shoes... and when we went there, it turned out even though they were the right brand, they were not the comfortable, ugly things, but flip-flop type sandals, which would've been no good for me. :guilty:

It was then that I had to stop for a bit before I had a blood pressure drop because of the heat.
I had NOT brought my little cooling scarf today, because we had checked with AccuWeather and they had said it would be pretty cool today! Well, turns out ACCUWeather is not ACCUrate at all. It was HOT. Too hot for me. I started feeling dizzy. So I sat down while Mama went to find me some Powerade, which I drank slowly... after which I felt better... and we filled our water bottle and poured the Gatorade powder we always carried with us in it, and I continued to drink that along with lots of water.

When I felt better we walked to Rockn Roller Coaster and I rode it twice in 20 minutes using the single rider line, at 1:25 and 1:45.

It's at that moment that Mama caught the TR bug! :cheer2:

She asked me for my TR notebook and said she might as well take notes while I ride, instead of me rushing to write things in between things, or forgetting... or going to bed later, etc. She said she had plenty of time when I did attractions she couldn't do. As much as she likes to people watch, it gave her something to do.

From that moment on, each time I went to do a ride she doesn't do... she would get the notebook out and write down all we did since the last entry! And in a much nicer way than I did, with more details, most of the time, too! :thumbsup2

As became my routine, right after RnR we went to Tower of Terror, which we had taken FPs for just before RnR. I rode twice, at 2:10 and 2:20pm. Yup, it was THAT busy. :goodvibes

After all that shaking around, at about 3pm, I was definitely hungry. Mama had been hungry for ages, she always is (her words!)... so we went to ABC Comissary, where we had noticed an interesting menu walking by a bit earlier... Mama ordered a cheese angus burger with fries while I ordered the quinoa chicken salad. It was delicious!!! And way too big. We could've easily shared either of our choices... but neither of us felt like eating the other's choice. :confused3
ABC Comissary:
Food: 4/5 Very, very good, especially for a fast food! But only 4 out of 5 because the choice is limited.
Atmosphere: 4/5. Not that bad, really! TVs everywhere, but not too loud, lots of seating and very airy. Is that a word? Not cramped, lots of space. And cool.
Service: 5/5 Fast as a fast food place should be. Nothing special to note.
It was a nice place to relax and regroup. We didn't feel we had to rush out of there or didn't want to hurry to leave, on the contrary. We even saw someone sleeping in there! :p
1st time? Yes
Would I recommend? Yes. We'll go back.

With full bellies, we went for the Backlot Tour. More to pass the time then because we really felt like it, honestly. But also because we knew Mike and Sully from Monsters inc. were taking pics at the exit. We could've just walked in the exit... but we had all the time in the world, so why not to the attraction?
It was non-eventful... I seem to remember more action in the canyon at the end from our 2008 visit... did they change it?

When the ride ended, I left Mama and made a dash for the characters, so I would be among the first in line. My reasoning was : there is a LOT of people in each ride vehicle, and so each time it unloads, when the bunch of riders exiting arrive at the character location, the line forms... if you take your time exiting and walking around the exhibit, when you get there you're at the end of said line, and wait the longest... if you know what you're doing and head straight there... you'll be first in line, behind those poor people last in line from the previous batch. :teacher:
But Mama being unable to walk fast (more from an inability to rush than because of any health issue), and since she didn't care for those characters, I rushed alone... and indeed didn't have to wait long.
Mama caught up with me quickly enough and waited close by while I took those:

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890091_zpsb01759a9.jpg
Don't you love how small and thin that big furry Sulley makes you look? I do! ::yes::

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890093_zpscdaa0756.jpg

Mike being a plastic ball makes things a bit awkward, I must say! I wasn't sure if he (erm... she, I'm sure) was trying to give me a high five or shake my hand (those arms are not articulated)... I didn't want to be mean and ignore "him"... but I only cared about Sulley... sorry! :rotfl:

Walking out we took that Photopass pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890098_zps64629d7f.jpg

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47928257&posted=1#post47928257): Is Le Cellier really overrated?

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-27-2013, 02:50 PM
Then it was time again, at 5:45pm, for pain meds... and time to lose time.
So we decided for the nachos at the Stunt show cart close by... but we sat down in front of Studio Catering Co.
Wow... those nachos were NASTY! I've never tasted fake orange cheese so salty... I ate a bit because I had to... but it wasn't easy! That was 4$ in the trash. But snack choices are limited. Either you eat a pretzel or chips or you go for sweets like cookies and muffins... or you go for meal items like hotdogs... It was a problem often, but HS was the worst park snack-wise.
Many carts had only 1-2 items to offer, you often had to walk far to get to any food item, way too far to get something different... since it was off-season, lots were closed... and variety park-wide is limited.

We just sat there for what seemed forever, waiting for my TSMM FP window... I got there a few minutes early nonetheless... asked if I could go in... they checked the time on my FP... and said I could go since it was a slow day and only like 3min early... but that technically... I shouldn't.

While going through the queue and waiting a little bit, I took pics because I felt bad that Mama couldn't see it. One of the most beautiful queues I've seen! Real nice for kids too! Only problem is, many parents slow everything down wanting to take pictures all the time!!!
My suggestion? Next time, make it more fun and games, and less picture ops!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/DB2CA149-E70A-480E-AE09-341B7508C3F6-7056-000007E9361976A0_zps03f03452.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A721814E-6DE1-4141-B804-64B7FEC3067F-7056-000007E93918D4BC_zpsdf7148f4.jpg

Then I rode... and got a ridiculously low score:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/717B60F5-F61D-4F4F-A4C7-A20789FED47A-7056-000007E93B71F0A7_zpsdb09243e.jpg

But I was not surprised... I had a bit of trouble using my shooter... In fact, I kind of couldn't wait for the ride to be over... My arm was aching so much!
For those who never did that attraction, it's a bit like Buzz Lightyear in MK. It's a shooting game. It's not called Midway Mania for nothing. The ride transports you from shooting arcade to shooting arcade. Arm pain aside, I wasn't that thrilled... I kinda like shooting games, still remember Duck Hunting in the first Nintendo!... But... well, I expected more than just a shooting game! More than just being moved from one more-or-less stationary game section to the next.
It still was pretty fun.

Except the shooting mechanism is a pulling string. So you aim while moving with one hand, and you pull on a string to shoot.
With my torn ligaments in my wrist and shoulder, lets say that pulling on that string repetitively and fast as I could for a straight... mmm, 5min?
Well I got out and my arm hurt. Not like "take a pain med" hurt. But enough that I really didn't feel like riding again.
Of course single-riders are not common, especially for that kind of rides... so I was left with that second FP. I kept it as a souvenir...

Then it was time to head to Epcot for our dinner at Le Cellier!
We had decided to take the boat. We had toyed with the idea to walk over there... but with my feet, it was out of the question.

We had given ourselves plenty of time in case we had to wait long for the boat, I knew it took a while for the boat to do the circuit between the parks, as it stopped at the Boardwalk resorts along the way... But we didn't have to wait long, and since there were not a lot of people, the whole thing took only about 30min, I'd say.

We got into Epcot through the International Gateway, of course... so already in the World Showcase... and thus... arrived at Le Cellier too early, once again.
We took a chance and went to ask if we could be seated already... but were told no, and to come back to check-in at our reservation time.

So we took our the iPhone with the Hidden Mickeys apps we had bought the previous day, and went back in front of the Canada pavilion trying to find a few... and pass the time.
Sadly, as pretty much everywhere in Disney at night, it was poorly lit and very dark... so we couldn't see anything.
We went inside the shop... just in time to hear a few boisterous teens talk loudly about what they thought was Canada... so we went back out before I exploded and gave them a lesson about Québec.

Finally 8:15pm came around and we went in Le Cellier!
We were seated in the back, in a corner and we loved it! It felt very intimate.
We had decided not to try to speak french to our CM, honestly, a bit afraid to get bad service if they found out we were french or if they felt we were trying to make a point about it (yup, it's sometimes... often... that bad).
We got a nice girl from Ontario, I think... and altough we didn't speak french... when I ordered the filet mignon I said it properly... in french... and she just gushed about how nice it was to FINALLY have someone say it right and how she longed for people being able to speak like back home. I guess even in Ontario they can say it like us.

We both knew what we would order from before we left home... and had been salivating since then... and been worried it wouldn't be as good... I read so many reviews, and heard the DIS podcast crew... saying how Le Cellier is overrated!
We both got the filet mignon, Mama with the potato pavé and myself with the mushroom risotto... And of course a cheddar-cheese soup to start!
The cheddar-cheese soup was heavenly, altough quite salty... and the pretzel bread was just as good! I wished I had a bigger appetite to eat more!
And then the filets mignons came, I took my first bite... and I hit my fist on the table saying "omg omg omg" and wanted to scream it was so good! Mama let me taste a bite (just one!) of her potato pavé, and I was almost sorry I had not chose that as my side... it was delicious! I asked for the recipe... never got it, by the way... sadly.
But my mushroom risotto was to die for!
Le Cellier:
Food: 6/5 Nope, that's not a mistake. Our most expensive meal of the whole trip at 110$ for 2, even with TiW 20$ off and no alcohol drinks... but no regrets, the best meal I ever had, or very close to it!!! We didn't want our food to end!
Atmosphere: 4/5 Nothing that special, but pretty quiet and our little nook was perfect.
Service: 4/5 Lost a star because I never got the recipe I asked for... but the CM was very nice, we had all we asked for, she did go look for the recipe (it seems they have some "on hand", ready to give out... the most popular I'd guess... but for the others you have to ask, give your email and they ask the chef and then send them out... or not...).
1st time? Yes!
Would we recommend? Totally... if you have the money or are on the DDP! If we weren't going back during F&W we would go back.

Bellies VERY full, we took the express monorail back to MK (first time we tried that option) and walked back to our resort. Turns out THAT is the way to go! Much faster and relaxing!
Of course you have to walk that 10min... which, with my aching feet, wasn't easy. Those last steps, with the resort in view, were HARD. I wanted to scream with each step, and had to coax my body to go on... literally push myself on... but had we took the longer route, we would've had to wait so much longer...

Once we got to the studio and I removed the shoes... I could see one more reason to hurt... I had a total of FOUR new blisters!!! The side of both big toes and the underside of the ball of the foot... I had 2 huge blisters on that left one.
I should've known... that's why I NEVER wear shoes barefoot. With my EDS, my skin is very soft and fragile, and gets irritated very, VERY easily... Just the seam of a sock rubbing on my small toe for an hour can cause a blister... now walking in shoes in the heat all day without anything to cushion the rubbing of the shoe against the skin... that's the result.

I soaked my feet again, iced them again... and screamed in pain again (not because of the soaking or the ice...). Just removing the weight of the feet and finally stopping kinda made it worst for a while... and after cleaning the blisters nicely (they had not popped though), I put special Dr. Scholl blister bandages on each of them. Boy was I glad to have packed those!!!

We went to bed at about 11:30pm.

My:
High of the day: Sitting for a short break and finding ourselves 3rd in line for Minnie! Talk about pixie dust!
Low of the day: The feet... again. And getting dizzy from the heat.
Food of the day: Filet mignon with mushroom risotto at Le Cellier. Could you bring a mop to wipe my drool off the floor please?

Mama's:
High of the day: Boat ride betwen HS and Epcot
Low of the day: Not-so-Great movie ride, especially that awful gangster-CM
Food of the day: Potato pavé

Plan for the day:
Hollywood Studios all day
Ride Toy Story Midway Mania
Dinner at Le Cellier at 8:15pm
A very small plan! :)

What actually happened:
All of the above, and a bit more! That's the kind of days I like!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47929075#post47929075): Stranded with the pirates!

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-27-2013, 04:15 PM
My plan said "Morning extra-magic hours". I had double-checked it at the beginning of November, when they released the updated December park hours. It was gonna be our first morning EMH!
To be sure, I double-checked before going to bed... Using the 2 different Disney iPhone apps I had. Both now said there wasn't going to be any EMH.

We were disappointed... altough not sad about sleeping a bit later!

We still woke up early, at about 6:45am.

We ate yet another in-room breakfast, uncrustables for me, toasts for Mama.
I decided to try wearing Mama's Crocs shoes this morning, hoping it would help the pain... not having the feet closed-in tight and all...

We figured we'd be there at rope-drop, just not an EMH one!

So we left to walk to MK at 8:40.
And when I got there, I realized I didn't quite know where to stand, where to wait... I was surprised that it wasn't more obvious... were we supposed to go through the turnstiles? Where was the little show going to be? I thought it would be outside the gates, but people were going in, and I couldn't see a crowd anywhere...

So we asked a CM... who told us the park had been open since 8am!!!
I told the CM I had checked and it said both apps said there weren't going to be any EMH! The CM said indeed there were not supposed to be any... but there had been enough people at the gates at 8am that they decided to open early.

Between me and you, I think that was BS. I think there wouldn't be enough CMs arrived at their posts at 8am if the park had really been scheduled to open at 9am! I think there were people there at 8am because that had been the plan (EMH) and the apps had messed up.
I was MAD.
Ok, not super extra mad. I was there for long enough, that didn't make me miss a ton of attractions, it wasn't my only chance to see stuff, etc. But I did miss the rope-drop. And I was mad because I did my homework and double-checked... and that's what made me miss it! Had I not done that, we would've been there in time!

So... we walked in.

Got that pic on the way
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890105_zps7d2518cc.jpg
I like this one. It was the first time a photopass photograph suggested this, and I liked that it was different. :goodvibes

Mama decided the first thing she wanted to do (as it really was our first time riding anything in MK, incredible as it seems!) was Pirates of the Caribbean.
We headed there... and realized we were lucky after all, as Adventureland wasn't open yet! We had our small rope-drop!

And headed straight for PoC.

On the way, we passed the Aladdin's carpet camels... who spit on us... but from a weird angle, so we didn't think about it at all, flipped around and saw a CM washing the ground with a bucket of water or something... so we looked at him with accusing eyes and were like "hey! Why are you splashing us in the back?!"... without a word he pointed to the camels... We almost fell down laughing!!! :rotfl2:

We got to PoC, for which we were maybe 5th party in line...
Except when we arrived the CM told us we couldn't board! There was a "technical difficulty" and the attraction should be back "incessantly"... it wasn't the last time we would hear that!!! But we didn't know that yet...

We were very close to the front of the line... so it wasn't an easy thing to turn around and exit... plus, we weren't in any hurry... and Mama REALLY wanted to ride this one... so we waited. For a while, nothing happened... then finally a first boat went through, empty... then it stopped again... then another boat... each time people were hopeful... eventually the CM said if the next boat went through without any problem we could board... we all clapped (the people behind us who couldn't hear him or see anything must've wondered what was happening!). And finally, we could get on! It was 9:20! We had waited 20 minutes for that technical difficulty to be resoved!

An unforeseen consequence to that was that all the seats were soaked from going around the circuit empty without any human bodies to absorb the numerous squirts... We were all wet!
We had fun, but Mama said it wasn't as fun as in her memory... even though we did ride it in 2008.

I then, at 9:45, went to ride Splash Mountain... Did I say I was wet before?
See, I was a single rider, so they put me where there was space... I was waiting in line, and the CM tells me where to go... and I realize I'm going to be FIRST. I tell her I'd rather not be first and get all wet. People around me laughed and she said "nah, you don't get that wet... everyone gets a little wet pretty much equally the same in every seat" and she almost pushed me. She did NOT want me to slow things down.
I did NOT like the laughing and it all reminded me a bit too much of the bullying I suffered from when I was a kid and teenager... of course it wasn't that... but it reminded me of the feeling. So I didn't argue and got in.
And I KNEW she had lied and that I would get very wet.
See, I was not scared of that ride. You've been reading me. You know I like thrills.
But I HATE being wet. The whole ride, I was just waiting anxiously for the next splash. COLD splash.
It wasn't a super hot day. And it was still pretty early. Had it been 100°F outside I probably would've gladly hopped on and hope to get as wet as possible! But I think it was about 85°F.
Anyways... I wish I had thought I would do that ride and get this soaked, because I might have brought, and worn, a poncho... then again maybe not. For fear of looking the wuss. ;)
I got splashed a lot along the ride... but of course the final drop was the worst, as expected.

Aside from waiting for the next splash (and not with excitement) all along the ride, I liked the theming and the music. Never watched the movie, but I love the characters and most of all the songs, which I've known for years, having "best of Disney" CDs.

But I did not feel like riding this again, and don't think I will unless it's REALLY hot outside, just because of all that splashing. Did I say I hate it? :rotfl:

I got out of there and we walked to where Woody was giving autographs. The wait was maybe 15 minutes, not too bad for such a popular character!
We took out our Autograph book for our friend's kid and once again asked for a pic of him signing... The Photopass CM didn't quite understand the "without me in the picture", as you can see
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890106_zps478d551d.jpg

But no matter. Once I got home I cropped myself out of there and sent the pic, along with the others, to our friend. :thumbsup2

This was one Mama agreed to take with me. I tried to make it different by having both of us imitate Woody's pose... but as you can see we failed miserably.
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890108_zps9e539de6.jpg
When Mama saw the pic she said "I was SURE my feet was so much higher!" :rotfl2:

As for me, I hated how WET I look. :crazy2:

Right after that, at 10:20am, I finally got to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! It was the day of unfinished business, because in 2008, that and Splash Mountain had been the 2 attractions I was going to do when I almost fainted and had to be taken to the first aid center... and then leave, the only ones in MK I wanted to do and didn't.

Well... I was disappointed.
It's almost a kiddie coaster!!! I thought it was more thrill-oriented than that... No thrills there. Not for me anyways. It's... nice enough, I guess. Fun if you're going as a family, with your kids, I can see that.
But I really didn't see the point of riding it a second time, not right away, not another day that trip. I will ride it again, once, next trip. That's it.

During the ride I did notice there was something in the pouch of my seat (where you can put your loose items)... so when the ride ended I quickly grabbed what was in it... wow it was a lot! A few sunglasses, a few tech things (a cell and/or iPod Touch I think)... and a plush toy. Poor kid who'll be crying for that!
I stepped of the cart and gave that to the CM standing there. I hope the family who forgot that stash was able to find it all back.

Then we were hungry! Once more, before restaurants opened to serve lunch food. I mean... are we so different than anyone else? How come it always opens at 11am? Kids wake up super early, the park opens at 8am or 9am at the latest, so people have been up and had breakfast often before that... they'll be hungry before 11am!

We figured we would eat at Casey's. Mama still remembered the corndog nuggets fondly, and so did I... and we were aiming for that!
The upside to not being opened yet was there were still tables left. So we sat at one and kept it!
Since I'm better at figuring out where things are, what I want and that stuff, and since I felt good enough, Mama stayed at the table while I went inside to order.
I arrived just as the CMs were doing they're opening routine... which I had not known about.
If you're there at opening time, send someone, a child if possible, at around 10:55 and they'll be in for a cute rendition of "Take me out to the ball game" and get a free pack of Cracker Jacks!
I was just too late, I saw the end of the song, and was just a row too far to get a free pack (they don't give them just to kids. To everyone in the front row)
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/0464F97C-280E-46A2-B2E8-60B7AA728000-7056-000007F8E0E941F2_zps8beceef8.jpg

I still was happy to catch that bit of magic :) It felt more important than getting a free pack of candy. :goodvibes

Since I was one of the first to enter the restaurant, and went to one of the furthest cashiers on the right, I was first in line. But if you go there remember cashiers usually serve 2 lines each! Still, this helped getting our food pretty fast. When I got out the tables were all full, and the restaurant was getting swarmed!

I decided to order myself a chili hot dog with fries and order us both a bucket of corndog nuggets. Of course, that was too much! But not by much...
I didn't remember those corndog nuggets to taste so sweet... And it was my first chili dog, which is why I ordered one... and something else (the corndog nuggets) in case I didn't like it. But I DID like it! Except it really is a mess to eat! Phew! And it was huge!

After lunch we decided to head out and go back to the resort. This pretty much had been the plan anyways... but my feet were killing me even worse in the Crocs. At first it had been better, as we thought... but I soon realized that without proper support, I was walking all funny. The torn ligament in my right foot made me walk on the heel and the outside of my right foot, and it was made worst in those shoes... And I was starting to hurt a lot in my knee and back... and the feet pain was coming back anyways!

To show you the crowd levels, at about noon I turned back and took that pic of the people coming in Main Street
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/29CD2237-6DEF-4FA5-8EBC-E011B5CEE2F0-7056-000007F8DD7B21C3_zps2ff527c3.jpg
It's not empty... but it's a peak hour... and you can see it's far from being packed! Look at the empty sidewalk!

On our way out we stopped at the character greets FP machines beside the Chapeau shop, and we saw the FP return time was pretty close for Mickey, so we took one each. And we got bonus Dumbo FPs! But since Dumbo was at the other end of the park and for a bit later, and since we didn't want to go back there or wait, we gave them to what looked like a mother-daughter entering the park... they didn't seem that thrilled, maybe they didn't understand what it was. A couple before them had refused the FPs, even making us feel like we were trying to sell them something! :confused3

We got in the Chapeau and I bought a Minnie fur hat which came with a scarf with the Minnie white gloves attached... you'll see a pic later. :)
I had seen one or two people with that in the parks, and felt it would be awesome for me at home, since I'm always freezing!

We browsed through the Emporium, but bought nothing...
Same thing at the Confectionnary, where I only snapped that yummy pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/C146C6B2-AE1D-4544-956A-B08E094605A9-7056-000007F8DAEE14CD_zpsed7ba664.jpg

At 12:15pm we went to see the Mouse himself and snapped that one
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890123_zps592804f9.jpg
I find it funny that the decoration on the curtain behind him makes it look like antlers! :rotfl:

We left at 12:30.

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47941755#post47941755): How will we like moroccan food?

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-28-2013, 07:56 PM
We got to the room 10 minutes later (ah, the joys of staying at BLT!).
My feet, knees and back were hurting a lot, so I wanted to float... but with the blister the spa wasn't a good option, so we opted for the pool. It wasn't SUPER hot outside, but plenty enough... especially with the water being heated.

It wasn't crowded at all, and we both loved the zero-entry! Only small complaint would be that it's where all the kids were having activities... but since there weren't that many, it wasn't a problem... we just noticed it might be less attractive with more kids around... and we definitely didn't feel like staying in that side of the pool.
I did like having good music there! But with the activities the music was often stopped for announcements... still, made it more fun than just silence (I'm one of those! :banana:)... and floating in water was heavenly. I just spent the whole time (maybe 30 minutes) my head resting on the cement border and floating... (I didn't want to float entirely and end up bumping in strangers :laughing:)

After the floating, we showered and then tried to sleep... and we were tired enough that we did manage to sleep a bit! Just enough to feel totally screwed up afterward, which is why we hate to nap... we just felt like cancelling our ADRs and going back to bed, nauseous and all... But we knew if we did that we would be messed up even more, waking up late at night and hungry, and our whole sleep cycle wrecked for the next day. So we pushed through it and got ready, and out the door to the monorail.

We started to feel better when we got to Epcot.
We stopped at a photopass opportunity, as we had promised ourselves to maximize the expense... but already we were tired of taking the same pic over and over... with just the 2 of us and photopass photographers not helping us much, rarely directing us to do anything different... there was only so much different poses... it was either Mama on my right or on my left, sunglasses on or off, arms here or there, and a change of background!
So we decided to try this
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890129_zps8ab9db83.jpg
The photographer was NOT impressed. I would've thought she'd find it funny... but even when we explained the why... we barely got a smile. :confused3
Us, on the other hand, found it hilarious
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890131_zpsac2a14e6.jpg
And that's one of my favorite picture of the trip! :goodvibes
Those are what Photopass pics should look like!

On the way to our ADR at Marrakesh, we spotted DUFFY! Our favorite type of character : fluffy and cuddly and cute :)
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890135_zpsa5861ae1.jpg

We had plenty of time before dinner, so we went and did Maelstrom, which mama remembered as being fun. And it was!
We sat through the movie... Mama kinda likes those, as long as we're sitting... but we wish they were updated though. It's so obvious it's dating back to the 80s or early 90s at best!
We looked at the shop, not really looking to buy anything, just to pass the time... and they were having people try a norwegian perfume... turns out it smells just like mine! I wish I had it with me to compare! (I rarely travel with my perfume... I don't need it and it's just a disaster waiting to happen!)... anyone in the area should go to a store, grab a sample or test paper of Calvin Klein's Truth, and then go to Epcot's Norway pavillion and check their perfume. ;)

We then went in the China pavillion, and I absolutely wanted to check out the Reflection of China movie... in 2008 when we saw it, there was no way I would've even dreamed I would actually be in that country 2 years later... Now that I've been there, I wanted to see the movie again and compare with my memories! ...and of course, show Mama and point to each and every thing I saw and excitedly say "I was there!" "I saw that!" ::yes::

Mama did NOT like Reflections of China. She had forgotten how it's a 360° theater with NO SEAT. She leaned back against a railing and waited for it to end... often watching the floor or closing her eyes... I must say I wish there were seats too. And having to turn around is just cumbersome, not fun. We were almost alone in there, but I'm guessing if it's pretty full you just miss a lot and feel cramped instead of feeling immersed...

I could NOT believe they didn't have one image of pandas in that whole movie!! That was a big disappointment... But seeing again the image of the Great Wall and other monuments I visited, like being there again... I wished those moments lasted longer...

After the movie we went to the store... and I felt right back to Chengdu, even more than watching the movie
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/E9530B38-5062-40BB-875E-3A86E778FFA3-7056-000007F8D049BD34_zps31a0163a.jpg
Pandas! Pandas everywhere! In Chengdu, China, which is dubbed "home of the panda", panda items are sold everywhere, and everything is panda! So it was a blast from the past :goodvibes

Sadly, what I was looking for wasn't there. I was hoping to find some Coca-Cola beverage only sold in China, that you can sometimes find in chinese stores... aloe juice. I would've also liked some special chinese candies I liked back then... But there were just the classic stuff.
I did decide to buy a lucky cat. ...but I couldn't find the right one!
I wanted a real lucky cat, which hopefully would be lucky for my health... maybe more, but at least that! I sorely need that! ...I don't believe in this much... but hey, it couldn't hurt, right?
Well, I asked the CM, and she pointed me one... it was ugly as hell! And the box did not say what the CM said... so I decided to go with the cute lucky cat that the CM said wasn't really a lucky cat.
So far, I had no luck in my health at all, so I'm guessing she was right :rotfl2:
I should ask one of my chinese friends about it... :idea:

After that we checked out the stores in Germany and Italy... nothing exciting (not to us anyways).

Then we made our way around the Morocco shops, in which I bought a little pack of sandalwood incense cones, my favorite and not always easy to find! It was very reasonably priced... I should've bought more! :teacher:

It was only 7:35, almost half an hour early for our 8pm ADR at Marrakesh, but we were hungry and tired and aching, so we asked if they could accomodate us, and they could! Well, in truth, they told us they could give us a buzzer and we could wait... and we might have to wait until our scheduled ADR time... but we barely waited 5 minutes. :)

I know I like morrocan food, at least some of it, but Mama was slightly worried, especially since it wasn't a buffet... but she was willing to try. Saying at worst she'd eat a snack somewhere else afterwards!
She ordered a cold mint tea, and we chose an appetizer combo for two, so we could try a few different foods. It included beef brewat rolls, chicken bastilla and jasmina salad. We ended up liking most of it, especially the beef brewat rolls!
But Mama did not like the cold mint tea... I did though! I couldn't stop taking sips of it! It tasted just like Spearmint gum! ::yes::

We both ordered chicken kebabs as our entrees, and we really liked it as well!

While we ate the belly dancer and one musician got ready and gave us a short show... Mama was happy it was short, as she doesn't like those things. I don't mean "belly dancing", I mean entertaining while she's eating. Altough she's not a fan of middle-eastern music. I like it though. The entertainment while I eat (as long as it's not too loud, or I get sensory overload) AND the middle-eastern music.
I snapped this bad pic of it
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/1566B41F-7BEF-4CA1-AA9B-A98F6EE7CCD1-8368-0000090D5DC2D3CF_zpsfa693038.jpg

As we were finishing our kebabs, our server came with a hot mint tea for Mama, saying she noticed how she did not like her cold mint tea, and that this was on the house, and she was hoping she liked the hot one better!
pixiedust: Talk about a great CM!
That one definitely deserved her thank-you card!
Sadly, Mama didn't like the hot one any better... but I liked it just as much! I finished it... And asked the CM if they were selling it in the pavillion store, and if it would taste the same or if I would have to add fresh mint leaves like they had, or put twice the tea bags or whatever... she said it should taste the same with just one tea bag as suggested...

Guess where we went next? Straight to the Moroccan store where I bought one pack of oh-so-not Moroccan Twinnings Green Mint Tea... I waited to be back home to try it... but I can vouch for it : it tastes almost exactly the same, just as great! It was perfect with bronchitis, and I can't wait to drink it cold next summer!
...I might even go make myself a pitcher now, even if it's not even warm out!

To finish the evening on a high note, we stopped at Karamell kuche in Germany... There was a marvelous CM who was cutting the caramel apples in the number of portions we wanted with a special slicer... oh the joy! So often we had not taken those things because they were too big, too impractical... It was what we needed to be convinced! Bravo Disney for that sparkle of genius! So we got one caramel apple, a pecan caramel cluster and a small dark chocolate with salt and (of course) caramel. It was heavenly... but so expensive!!!

As we left I took this (very bad) pic of the lit tree and Spaceship Earth "together"
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/2303F034-B26A-4EBD-9DEB-94DC61120843-7056-000007F8CE109FB6_zps54fde1a3.jpg

We brought all that with us to the resort, where we ate our snacks before going to bed at about 11pm.

My:
High of the day: Discovering the mint ice tea!
Low of the day: Getting the first row in Splash Mountain and getting soaking wet
Food of the day: Is mint tea a food?

Mama's:
High of the day: Finally riding PotC in MK!
Low of the day: 20min wait for PotC
Food of the day: Pecan caramel cluster

Plan for the day:
MK rope drop
Pirates of the Caribbean
It's a Small World
Haunted Mansion
Splash Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Casey's Corner corndog nuggets
Marrakesh dinner
Epcot World Showcase exploration

What actually happened:
Adventureland "rope-drop"
Pirates of the Caribbean... with "technical difficulties" delay
Splash Mountain... with soakage...
BTMRR
Casey's corndogs
Pool!
Nap!
Epcot World Showcase exploration
Marrakesh dinner

I wanted to add this... in the morning before we got to Adventureland we passed this funny scene...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/45941747-3346-4114-883B-3CDE5E3C17B6-8368-0000090F9F5E4E54_zpscd36f242.jpg
That handler was TRYING to bring Peter Pan to his break after an autograph and pics session... and that guy was fully in character, totally oblivious, stopping every 2 steps along the way, chatting with the kids, talking one by the hand to skip and hop... you can very plainly see how the CM is discouraged! I thought it must be a nightmare for her... but just the same, it must mean so many magic moments for all those kids along "Peter"'s way! :love:

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47943306#post47943306): What's wrong NOW?

gwynne
03-28-2013, 09:24 PM
I am enjoying reading about your Disney adventures. You two look so sweet in your photo with Duffy. Looking forward to the next chapter. :)

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-28-2013, 10:45 PM
Today is the half-trip mark! Of the whole thing, and pretty much of Disney too!

We woke up at 6:30 am and got ready FAST. For once!
We left for the Magic Kingdom at 7:15, because we had a very early ADR at Crystal Palace, the whole point being having the park to ourselves!

We had never done this before and wanted to experience it at least once!

As we left the Contemporary grounds I took this pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/47A92DF0-8CDB-4232-BD95-89CB9C672D09-8368-00000911654FF8AB_zps11be47cf.jpg

We got in the park at 7:30, and went straight to take pics of the almost empty park.
We took this pic of me under the huge tree in the Main Street hub
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/C2DA0B72-6F59-430E-B194-7E40C2F4B7D7-8368-00000911677D634B_zpsa90ad878.jpg
A pic of the whole tree, without me under it (or anyone else!)
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/F1B7ABA6-2F1B-4347-B8B3-D1CE80C20B73-8368-0000091170E361AA_zpse6f083e9.jpg

And this is how "busy" the Main Street hub was:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/F70D0DBC-93B6-4B4A-A1A4-89C2A9ECA9A7-8368-000009116B03FAF5_zps374f1a0c.jpg
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/1ECF13CC-7FE5-44DF-8BA1-0F72886C8501-8368-000009116DC1EA59_zps7b3756b0.jpg

Walking down Main Street
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/4090020E-0022-4C24-AEBE-F05C4E330703-8368-00000911793591DD_zps9a61b64e.jpg

Then turning back and looking towards the entrance...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/1F86AFE4-44FB-49AD-91B0-E6FC4FB818D2-8368-0000091173F4EE1E_zpsce92a27e.jpg

The usually so busy Casey's Corner
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/3AE1A14B-8F11-4DF2-BF50-D0F40B2DEC96-8368-000009117B656E66_zpse7b756be.jpg


...Turning back looking towards the entrance, only 5 minutes later...http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/2D4FDC9D-89D6-4AEC-9570-2FD5AE7C11AC-8368-000009117E5D0FA0_zpscc59b911.jpg
Already much more people! The importance of getting there as early as they'll let you in!

Now, the CM at the turnstiles will ask if you have a breakfast reservation, and they won't let you go further than where you have to go... but even just that walk down Main Street is plenty worth it! ::yes::

We had that pic taken on Main Street
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890145_zps73b655fc.jpg

And then we would've had that amazing, alone-on-front-of-the-castle-once-in-a-lifetime-amazing-pic... if it hadn't been that they were shooting something in front of it that morning... so our pic was not so perfect because of those booms in it...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890146_zps9ea645ca.jpg
Still nice, we're still alone... but, well... there is this huge metal thing in the way. :rotfl2:

Then I took that great pic of our breakfast destination, Crystal Palace:
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/62FE3485-360E-4C3B-BC9C-53D59A2B0ED7-8368-0000091189144A70_zpsd8cabb84.jpg

...where we headed, for our ADR at 8:20... for which we were pretty early. After all, we got to the park very early to get the empty feeling... but there wasn't anything we could do and everywhere the CMs were directing us to the restaurant, not wanting any lingering... and I think they were even more strict because of the video shoot in front of the castle!

No matter, we got to Crystal Palace, took a seat, ready to wait a bit. We still checked-in, got our buzzers...
And then we noticed people accumulating... and soon enough, a CM informed everybody that there was a technical difficulty and the restaurant would be opening late, and they were apologizing for the inconvenience.

Mama and I looked at each other and we just couldn't believe it... Seriously? Our second early morning at MK in a row, our second technical difficulty and delay? What were the odds?! :confused3
We didn't mind and were not stressed about it.

And turns out Disney handled things beautifully. Not 5 minutes later, CMs were making rounds with platters of danish and chocolate croissants, and soon a big coffee machine and cups were out on a table! But we didn't want to eat too much! ;)
Not long after the manager went to see everyone to apologize personally too.

Finally, about 30 minutes late, the restaurant opened, and families started getting in... We were seated at 8:45, so 25 minutes late... of course we had waited almost 45 minutes total, but that's because we were early! We had worried the wait would be much worse! It probably was, as the day went by...

One sad side-effect of the technical difficulty was there was no puffed french toast! I had been waiting to eat there to try them!
When the manager made her rounds to apologize AGAIN and I told her I was disappointed about that (not to complain, just as something to chat about), she noted that some were coming out to the buffet then... but we were finishing our meal and I was totally PUFFED myself! :lmao: I had eaten so much I was just about to explode... so sadly it will have to wait.

I was impressed at how they handled everything.
But I must say... I was kind of hoping to get a bonus fastpass or some kind of perk to compensate, as they sometimes give... Still, I can't say I was frustrated or anything. Very happy about how it happened.

We didn't take pics or autographs with any of the characters. I already had all their autographs, our friend's kid doesn't know these characters... and we didn't feel like fussing for the pics. We really would've wanted a photopass photograph in there!

As soon as we finished our meal and had paid... we had to go back to the resort.
I had tried the Croc shoes again, and I really couldn't handle them. I was starting to get tendinitis on my shins from walking so weird.

I decided to try my walking shoes once more, as I the blisters I got from wearing my Converse shoes without socks were so fresh... I was quite mad at myself from not bringing my other pair of Converse shoes...

I had brought my hiking boots... but they're real heavy, not made for walking on streets... and each time I tried to wear them my swollen feet would be too tight in them. And it looked awful with shorts! I think I worn them twice in the whole trip... They're usually super comfy, but the damage was done.

So... bad walking shoes it was, and back to MK.

The whole thing took us almost one hour, and we were back in the park at about 10:40am.

We stopped at the Chapeau, Mama wanting to find something for herself... but she doesn't have a nice hat head (so she says... but I have to agree), plus, she's quite difficult. She looked at a few, tried on some... and didn't find anything she liked.

Then I looked at the Disney App and saw that Buzz was out! So that's where we headed! He was the most important one on the autograph list for our friend's kid!
Plus, we never had a pic with him!

On the way, we tried to stop to watch the 11am Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it! parade... but it was way too hot outside... I almost fainted and we had to leave and find a bench in the shade in a hurry. :sick:
It made me sad and a tad frustrated, as usual when my health messes with my plans...

We found Buzz and added the pic missing to our collection
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/42643890153_zps9f4eaf9e.jpg

Then, to help me recover from waiting in line for Buzz in the heat... and because we like it... we did the People Mover!
But Mama did NOT like the part in the dark (in Space Mountain) where we go backwards... well SHE was going backwards!... with her motion sickness, it made her queasy.

After that we went to something Mama had been waiting for : The New Fantasyland!!!
And she was disappointed. She had expected more, bigger, etc. As usual, I had tried to explain to her, but it didn't really made it's way into her... fantasy, hehe.

I snapped those, but of course it has changed since then I'm sure!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/22D6E9E3-FE4B-4B85-B23E-BA55F87D922B-8368-00000912CEA17616_zps80ed63bd.jpg
Construction on the future dwarves mining train...
And
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/C4E7B913-B19E-49CB-9F17-67F8271B5A19-8368-00000912D0F7B175_zps78e44374.jpg
Under the sea's entrance with the new castle in the distance.

We quickly checked out the new Storybook Circus area, without going too close to the water play area... not wanting to get squirted!

And we did Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid!
Even though it was brand new, there was only a 5 minutes wait. Almost not long enough, because the queue is nicely themed, with interactive games, and we didn't have time to check them out!

Guess what? There was a technical difficulty!!! We got stopped for maybe 30 seconds in the middle of the ride... which was great, because we got to hear the whole song! :goodvibes

But by that time I was wondering if that should instead be my TR title... "sorry for the technical difficulty" :confused:

OK, but I'm almost forgetting the most important part: I. LOVED. IT.!!!!!
I couldn't stop smiling. The biggest smile, from ear to ear. I couldn't stop SINGING. It's so beautiful, and all the best songs of one of the best scored animated Disney movies... and everyone all around you just as happy and sing-y. :cloud9:

My new favorite MK ride!

Then it was off to It's a Small World, which might be corny, but I'M corny... and I love that song! There was absolutely no wait for that one.
I didn't remember how we didn't love the boats though. Wow, how can there be so little space for your legs?! As much as I love everything in that ride, we both couldn't wait for it to end just so we could get off and stretch! One of the most uncomfortable rides... Mama declared if I wanted to ride it again in the trip, I would have to ride it alone.

We wanted to eat at the new Be Our Guest restaurant for lunch. We knew it was a counter service for lunch, so no ADR needed... The restaurant opened and started accepting ADRs after our 180-days window, so it had been too late for us... I had checked, thinking we could switch something... but there was nothing open of course. I had learned that even if you went for lunch you could get to see all the decorations and the menu was still nice, so it was fine by us!
Sadly, being "New Fantasyland" official opening week, the restaurant was closed until Dec. 7th! Damn.

We checked Gaston's tavern, but the very limited menu didn't inspire Mama. Using the iPhone app we went through the limited choices of MK, and settled on Peco's Bill even though it was on the opposite side of the park... After all, we had planned to leave afterwards, and Adventureland isn't too far from the exit...

We got there shortly before 1:30pm, and the place was full. Still, it's a great place to eat, because it's HUGE! As full as it looked, I still managed to find us a table, and I could see more open tables around.
Since I wasn't feeling top-shape, Mama went to order for both of us. Turns out it wasn't the best idea, since she had trouble finding her way back, and then I had to go to the counter to choose my taco salad dressing from the self-serve bar (you can add sour cream, tomatoes, cheese, etc)... Mama had chosen a cheeseburger with fries for herself.
And then she had forgotten the napkins and I had to go back once more! :rolleyes1

We took our time to eat and then left MK and walked back to the resort.

Once again we went to the pool and took a shower before taking a short nap.
And when I woke up I felt even worse than the day before!

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47943314&posted=1#post47943314) : A girls' night out!

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-28-2013, 10:47 PM
I got ready for my girls night out with my Orlando friend whom I hadn't seen for about a year!
And Mama got ready for a relaxing night, doing laundry and watching TV.
I think she was even happier than I was!

I took the bus going to Downtown Disney. See, my friend is from Orlando but I didn't want to ask her to come pick me up, and I had driven enough already and didn't feel at ease driving around Disney... so I felt like relaxing and letting the bus do the job! So we had picked DTD as our meeting place.

The bus took maybe 20 minutes to arrive... and a long time to get Downtown! All in all, it took me one hour to get there!

But I had plenty of time and was in no hurry.
It didn't help my post-nap drowsiness though...

I got there at 7pm, with an hour to spare... but didn't want to do much shopping, because I knew I would be back with Mama just for that later in the week... still, I did a little shopping for myself... I stopped at Little MissMatched, where I bought socks and THOSE
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/P_BO120003-033_500_10_zps3f409a77.jpg
(they're AMAZING! I still love them and wore them every day all winter).

Then I went in search of the Rapunzel braid... see, my goddaughter is very much into princesses, and Rapunzel is her favorite. And for the past 2 days, in MK, we had been seeing little girls with a great looking Rapunzel braid! It was like a braided crown, which continued in a long braid to the floor... or almost. It really looked nice, and it was something easy to play with for kids... so I thought it would be a great gift for her... but we couldn't find it anywhere in MK! We looked around, we asked... no one had it. I was told to look in DTD, at the World of Disney, the biggest Disney store...

So I went there. ...and they didn't have it. They had A Rapunzel braid... but not the same type at all. It was a wig. Not half as nice looking or as easy to put on. They sent me to Once Upon a Toy Store... which didn't have it either, of course. (I found out since that it's on the Disney online store... which I had checked back then, but hadn't seen the item, go figure?!)

While I was in World of Disney I decided to get her a coloring book in which I will put the princesses autographs later in the trip...
And I bought myself a replacement for my glowing Tinkerbell, which wasn't glowing anymore... The battery price was the same as the new Tink, so...

A bit before 8pm I got to the Rainforst Café and sat on the sidewalk in front of it to wait for my friend Ashley. I had made ADRs for us the night before.
But she wasn't showing up... so I walked up to the podium and asked what their policy was for being late with an ADR... the answer was to check me in and telling me my friend would probably arrive before they called my name anyways, as they were running a bit late.

Going back outside after that didn't seem the right thing to do (they had showed me to the bar as the place to wait), and I was super hungry... so I went to the bar and ordered a frozen raspberry lemonade... and soon realized I wouldn't hear at all if they called my name! All I could hear was the ambient noise, the chatter of the people around me, and some buzzing when they would call someone's name.
This made me anxious. I found it frustrating and stupid. I was there to have fun, not to get worried!
I also was getting worried about not knowing how things were supposed to work... no one explained a single thing, like if visitors were there all the time... isn't this a tourists place?
I had to ask where to wait, you have to guess that if you order something at the bar you'll have to pay for it there (which takes FOREVER)
I felt stressed out, didn't know if I could bring my drink with me if I got up, wanted to go check my text messages outside, as they didn't seem to work inside... stupid little things, but I really didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel I belonged. Was not made to feel welcome.
Sometimes, telling you too much how things work can make you feel patronized, like you're being treated as a kid... but the opposite isn't much better... leaving guests without a clue isn't much better.

I eventually got up and left my drink there, hoping for the best, to go see the guy at the podium to ask if he had called me and say we couldn't hear a thing back at the bar... he brought up the volume... or so he said... but I didn't hear much better. So after long minutes of efforts, I finally caught the barmaid's attention and after more long minutes of her taking her sweet time, I was able to pay my half-consumed drink and went back near the podium to stop worrying about not hearing my name being called... and hopefully catch Ash when she arrived!

She texted me about that time that she had lost herself, was sorry, and was now, she hoped, on the right way and should be there shortly.

About that time, my name was called and I was seated. My server was very nice about the fact I was seated even though my party wasn't full, which seems isn't the norm... but they accomodated me since they weren't too busy (many empty tables)... The manager even came to chat with me, asking if I knew when my friend would arrive, sympahtizing with me... I was wondering what all the fuss was about. What if I had just wanted to eat alone? It's not like I had asked for 2 tables, to seat 12 people, and only 4 showed up and I was asking to hold the second table, while people were stuck waiting at the door... I was at a table for 4 (could've been a table to 2), and was alone. If they had asked me to, I would've ordered immediately... but would they really have refused someone to join me? Sure, it would've meant the table would be taken longer... but I could've been a slow eater just by myself... and they would just make more money... So I really didn't get it.

Anyways, they made a fuss, but not in a bad way. It felt more like they didn't want me to get bored! When Ash texted me she was still a while away and was stuck between Disney buses and not 100% sure where she was, I decided to order an appetizer, thinking if she showed up we could share it... and if not I would've been sorry to wait!

She eventually arrived at 9pm, an hour late. I was almost finished with my appetizer (spinach and artichoke dip... just ok).
She apologized profusely, angry at Google Maps which had sent her the wrong way, more than once... angry that she was THAT late, even if she had given herself plenty of time and left early!

I wasn't angry at all, I felt sorry for her, stressing out in her car and struggling to find the way, driving all that time!
The important part was we were finally seeing each other again and we would have a nice time!
Had she ditched me last minute, I would've been mad, but that was no reason to be.

We ordered (she had trouble finding a truly vegan option... I ordered the Planet Earth pasta... which was good, but not marvelous).
We caught up and had a great time, even though Rainforest Café isn't the best place to talk, with all the noise. Still, between the thunderstorms, it wasn't too bad!
Ash liked the place, it was her first time, and since we met while working with pandas, we found it fitting, with the animal setting.

I ordered the Volcano dessert, but since she cut processed sugar from her diet, she didn't want to eat it, and I was totally full... so I had it boxed up. She insisted on paying for my appetizer since she was so late... we argued for a while but I let her. I learned that those things... you need to accept sometimes. And I'm so broke, haha!

We then went in the store, where she wanted to buy a few panda items she had heard about... We both worked with pandas, but she did more than I did, and she is a true panda fan, much more than I am... she collects panda stuff...
When we got to the cashier, she told him we were pambassadors and had worked with the pandas in China... and the guy was like "yeah right, uh uh", not believing us, not really caring (since he didn't think it was real)... And Ash was all "what? You don't believe me? That's where we met! Show him Dan!" And I got my iPhone out and quickly went to the pic of me holding a baby panda...
And the guy, stupidly, asks "is that a real panda?". Duh... why would we take pics in blue paper surgeon outfits with a plush toy? Because it made us look good? No, not really...
We had a good laugh!

Ash suggested we do something else, as we had just spent over an hour together, but I had been up since 6:30 in the morning, the nap didn't really count... I was pooped. We hoped we would have a chance to see each other again and spend more time together before the trip was over... but it didn't happen.
5 years younger than me, she decided to play big sister and to walk me to the bus and see me off to make sure I was OK.
But that was real nice of her.

I got back to the studio at about 11pm.
Mama told me she went to the Contempo Café at around 9pm, after doing the laundry, and she had ordered, once more, a Turkey BLT with chips.

My:
High of the day: Under the Sea and seeing Ash
Low of the day: Being weak due to the weather and losing time in the park because we had to go back to the resort to change my shoes
Food of the day: Taco salad

Mama's:
High of the day: Watching TV in bed!
Low of the day: New Fantasyland not being what she thought it would be
Food of the day: Turkey BLT and chips

Plan for the day:
Early arrival at MK, before opening
Empty MK pics
8:20 ADR at Crystal Palace
Visit New Fantasyland
*Plan at the beginning of the trip was to go see the cheerleading and dance competition at Wide World of Sports... but we had to fit my dinner with Ashley somewhere, so the plan changed to -->
Meet Ashley for 8pm dinner ADR at Rainforest Café (while Mama does laundry and eats in room... or whatever she likes)

What actually happened:
Early arrival at MK, before opening
Empty MK pics... including one with rigging in front of the castle...
8:45 breakfast at CP
Trip back at the resort to change shoes
Visit New Fantasyland
Pool
Nap
Shopping at DTD / Laundry
Dinner with Ashley at 9pm / Dinner in room for Mama

In the next chapter (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=47996003#post47996003): Is an uneventful day a good or a bad thing?

AnnieDan_Artlover
03-28-2013, 10:49 PM
I am enjoying reading about your Disney adventures. You two look so sweet in your photo with Duffy. Looking forward to the next chapter. :)
Thanks!!! Glad to know I haven't lost all of my readers :rotfl2:

wiigirl
03-29-2013, 09:05 AM
Loving you TR! :)

AnnieDan_Artlover
04-03-2013, 11:21 AM
Loving you TR! :)

THANKS!!!! :goodvibes

And welcome aboard! :wave2: (I didn't welcome you already, did I? My memory is so bad...!) :scared:

AnnieDan_Artlover
04-03-2013, 01:17 PM
We woke up at 8:30am, ate our now-starting-to-get-boring in-room breakfast. I had my uncrunstables and Mama had toasts, AGAIN. We did add fruits that we had gotten at the Contempo Café the night before.

We both checked our emails (Mama works from home part-time, so even though the people she's working for knew she was away, they could contact her and it was due time she checked!... but there was nothing. They let her relax!). We checked our accounts and called my dad.

We then took the bus to Animal Kingdom... which is the longest ride (apart from DTD).
We got there at noon... seems to be our habit!

And took that pic
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/589A6369-4726-42CA-8F85-F33BF6BFBF38-3106-000002CBEAC3B7E7_zps3fab3e6b.jpg

And we redid the "surprised" pic...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/CD0599A5-8A55-4280-9091-9ACDDE4E838E-3106-000002CBEDF77FD1_zps0df3fb9c.jpg
with a much better result

That big tree is really impressive and original...
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/71CF4EF4-BD30-489A-9EEF-76D9E9EB03D4-3106-000002CBF36ADFD7_zps2a1415ef.jpg

First thing we did was stop at the Garden Gate cart, because Mama wanted a hat and a bag.
She had bought a messager bag which was super cute... but it's just one big pouch. I had told her I didn't think it would be practical, having to feel around the bottom every time you wanted something, but she didn't listen to me, saying she wouldn't have any problem with that and that I was exaggerating.
But of course, the first day we had wanted to use it, back at Universal, she realized we had lots of small items that needed to be at least put in something to regroup them, because it was crazy otherwise. So she asked if she could take my pencil case (of course I agreed, I used the bag too) and we put all the content of the pencil case in a Ziploc (if it hadn't been for me, we wouldn't have had those either...), and some other items in Ziplocs too.

Still, she became frustrated having to remember what was in the pencil case, what was in Ziploc bags... and things still ended up hard to find.
And putting papers in there meant they were crumpled.

I had brought my trusted Baggalini messenger bag, with LOTS of pockets, perfect for travelling, which we had used last trip, which I have used in ALL my trips since 2008, including a one-month long trip to China. This bag has only 2 caveats: it's a bit heavy even empty (so many zippers...) and it can only be worn one way.
Still, it's my favorite.
But Mama hates it. She didn't like it in 2008. Still, she tried it again... and still hated it.
So she wanted to find a new one.

And at that first stop in AK, she found what she wanted!
She found a cute visor hat that didn't make her look too weird (NOT a hat head, I told you!) and a messenger bag. The kind of messenger bag even I would use back home, one like which I had been looking for, in fact!
Khaki material, with a snap flap...

Not a lot of pockets still... but 2 small ones in the front and a small zipped one inside.
So we still needed the pencil case... but we could remove some stuff from it and make it easier to find stuff in it... and in the bag. And things would be less crumpled.

She liked the bag a lot, and it looked nice. It was comfortable to carry, altough not as much as her original messenger bag, which had a very large strap.

At 12:40pm we were hungry (duh) and went to Pizzafari, which we hadn't tried yet... and we felt like eating PIZZA!

On our way we took this next pic, where you can admire Mama's new hat!
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A0F5D4AE-35F0-42A5-AC3B-D7C058FDDA77-3106-000002CBF0ABD7B4_zpsa344a32e.jpg

I remembered reading the portions at Pizzafari were big enough to share, and we always have too much, so we only ordered one pepperoni pizza and caesar salad combo... and indeed it was enough.
Mama probably could've eaten it all by herself... or more than half... she has a much bigger appetite than I have... but she did have enough.
It was good!
We would eat there again.
But I honestly don't remember anything else about this place!

At 1pm we went to get the UP! characters' autographs.
I was very happy to see this guy
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/E11AFB71-9857-4524-83C9-12052AF54BF6-3106-000002CBF6BFC518_zpsf43a3073.jpg

Not so excited to see the boy. Another one I almost felt like ignoring and/or asking to leave for the pic!
But I was nice and we took it all together
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/E21204B8-A8A1-4104-9141-F0E6C18A03A4-3106-000002CBF905FEA7_zps3ee645e6.jpg

On our way to the Festival of the Lion King theater, I snapped a few nice pics
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/8D1CEAF1-88EB-4544-9F75-A9D333B551AB-3106-000002CBFC0B00E8_zps0201b295.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/0C77ACB5-0B63-4DFC-AC72-DF99E522FDAD-3106-000002CBFEACF831_zps9bf244e5.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/D7B662FE-E4DF-4179-8657-200B454B8EA5-3106-000002CC010E4EEC_zps3882c600.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/AAE11C1F-F470-48E9-92B5-5C9B1D4DF5AA-3106-000002CC044470CB_zpsc44b5d44.jpg

We got there and didn't have to wait, we walked right in for the 1:30pm show and were seated in the back of the Elephant section (very last row, on the side, which suited us. It's not like there's a bad seat in the house, and that way no kid would kick us, and I could rest my back on the wall)

I didn't want to watch the show through my lense, so I didn't take a lot of pics, but I did make a few. Especially to show my dad, because at the time we did not know if he would come with us next fall. We spent so much time wondering if he'd like this and that, and a lot of what we did I know I was doing wondering how it would be next fall doing it with Dad if he came with us... at times I was hoping he would, overcome with emotion at the prospect... at times I was hoping he wouldn't, thinking of how much he could ruin this for us...

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/314B4C6D-D33D-463A-86C4-497CC8A8F710-3106-000002CC080A4569_zps7aa86e87.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/BC3F31E2-F1BA-4212-84A1-91CADA4783EE-3106-000002CC09115724_zps3c34f38f.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/119A83B1-ABE1-448B-B323-4483FCE0AC0D-3106-000002CC0BB1A23E_zpsb5efc35b.jpg
Those monkeys acrobatics is my favorite part of the show!

When we got out of the show, we stopped by the bathroom close by... and when we got out of there, I couldn't believe the amount of people in suit and ties! People who clearly were not regular tourists and didn't "belong" there! CMs were with them, and they were there in groups, being shown around... women in high heels, men in nice polished shoes... I was weeping inside for their poor feet... and they must've been so HOT, because the weather was perfect... to be in summer garb! Not full-sleeves, 3 pieces-suits garb!

I felt I was totally disturbing them, walking between the groups and taking my pics... but hey... I wanted my pics!
There were a lot of nice specially decorated trees in that area!

Lilo & Stitch's
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A81F5103-9180-4375-BEB0-B4789DEDAE52-3106-000002CC0D65CF22_zps33c53953.jpg
(you can see an "official" group behind!)

Minnie's
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/018D1A52-13B7-46E3-BDC9-99B91FF3AE6A-3106-000002CC1047CE1D_zps1c3c571c.jpg

Goofy's
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/167369E7-78F2-4BAD-A1F3-E0E7BE2F2DDD-3106-000002CC13B86CD8_zpsf0b9fd5d.jpg

Nemo's
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/4AD5D264-BC3A-42F0-8488-68FCFF62A2B7-3106-000002CC17160C6B_zps50578169.jpg

And then, of course, I was due for pain meds... so at 2:10pm we stopped at Chip n Dale's Cookie Cabin, just out of the Festival of the Lion King. There are a few tables there, and I ate strawberry shortcake while Mama took a Coke float. Oh my... that shortcake was HUGE! And it was delicious! And I ate it all!

And wouldn't you know... our brand new messenger bag broke! One of the pocket snaps stayed on the pocket (in other words, it ripped off the flap!). Not impressed. :sad2:

Then it was off to It's tough to be a bug. Mama wasn't that excited to do it again... But it was a hit!
In 2008 we didn't fully experience it, because I was in the wheelchair, and Mama got to sit on a normal bench beside me... This time, we got special seats, like normal people! Meaning, with effects!
And I know, for myself, I'm in a better mood... more in a kid-place. So more easily surprised, laughing more easily, etc.
So we laughed a LOT!
I wouldn't say it's the best attraction of the park, but we enjoyed it!

My advice would be, for anyone in a wheelchair... if you can leave it outside with the strollers and walk in... do it.
Or at least ask to be seated in a normal chair like everyone else.
I really don't know why I didn't do that, as I could transfer back in 2008... maybe it was easier and faster not to... but I would strongly suggest not staying in your wheelchair or scooter, as you miss half the fun!

After that we went to Dino-Land, where at 3:15 I did Primeval Whirl (just as much of a blast as last time!), then walked to Dinosaur at 3:50, for which I had gotten a FP earlier.
As I walked in, a teen cheerleader bumped into me... it had been full of cheerleaders in the parks since we got there because it's the annual Pop Warner competition... so we would cross groups of dozens of giggling teens or pre-teens all dressed together accompanied with a few moms and/or coaches...
They usually didn't bother us.
But that girl bumped into me, cut in front of me... and since I'm polite, and pretty zen, I stepped aside to let the 3-4 friends running after her to catch up with her...
But then about 20 more turned the corner, and they wouldn't let me get in!
One of them told me "sorry, there are a lot more of us coming!"... and the way she said it wasn't a real apology... it was more like she expected me to keep letting them all go TOGETHER in front of me!
I replied that I could SEE that... not in the nicest way... and went in, bumping a few of them in the process (bumping... as they would simply not be respectful and either move out of the way for others, or basically check where they were and if others were in the way).

Frankly, they had not bothered us much, but having seen most of them acting that way for almost a week, not respecting others and expecting everyone and everything handed to them... I went from zen and peaceful to super angry in a split second!
While waiting in the room for our turn in the pre-show and then in the pre-show room, these girls were so impolite and disrespectful, pushing and shoving strangers, opening closed doors (yup, a few of them actually left the preshow area and went directly ahead), etc. I would've slapped a few! :rolleyes1
I couldn't believe those coaches or moms or whomever were accompanying them were not saying anything...
It seems they teach a lot in cheerleading, but they forget to teach them respect.

Out of Dinosaur, I went in the store with Mama and we exchanged the messenger bag. Hoping it would last, this time.
It was a pain to transfer everything in it, right there on the counter with people waiting...

Finally, we trekked to Expedition Everest which I wanted to ride again. By then it was 4:35pm.

When I was out of there, it was time, altough a bit early, for our 5:45 Yak & Yeti ADR.
AK was closing at 6pm today...
We were there around 5:15, but they let us in.
And it was a good thing they let us in early, because very soon, they let us know they were closing.
We were not the only ones in the restaurant... altough there were not many of us. I'd say, when we finished our meal, maybe there were 3 families left.

We ordered egg rolls to share as our appetizers, and they were good. Not the best ever eated, but good. Mama took vegetables lo mein as her entree, while I went for a different choice as usual : Crispy Mahi Mahi.
We both loved it. And as a dessert, which we did NOT want to miss, we took the fried won tons with pineapple. It was delicious!
But we had such a funny moment when Mama told me she thought the won tons were not fully cooked "the middle is mushy"... It's cream cheese!!! :rotfl2:

As we were eating and time passed, CMs went all around us to clean tables and the floor, put chairs on tables, etc. First off, moving the chairs around to clean the floor is not only a bit rude, making you feel rushed to leave... but in that restaurant the chairs are made of wood... and so is the floor... so it was VERY noisy. But putting chairs on the tables! I mean, seriously?

At first I thought maybe they do this each time customers leave a table... but they did it all around us and it didn't stop. They were clearly closing shop.
I can't believe they do this while there are still customers in, eating!

Of course every restaurant will do some cleaning all day-long... but not so much as that.

Still, as much as they seem to want us to leave, the service wasn't crazy fast. Not saying we waited overly long... but we did wait a bit. We arrived there before our ADR time of 5:45, and we only got our receipt at 6:40! And it's not before we took our sweet time eating... because it was so annoying we felt rushed and ate pretty fast... and we already are fast eaters!

When we did get the check, Mama gave the TiW along the room card, as usual... and the CM came back to tell us we had reached our limit.
That very morning, Mama had said she should go to the lobby to pay our account so that wouldn't happen, as she felt with all our meals and purchases, the 1500$ limit might be near.
(When you stay on property and use room-charge for everything, you have a set limit of how much you may spend before going to the front desk and actually charging it to your credit card, setting the account back to zero... If you stay in a value, that limit is 500$, in a moderate resort, it's 1000$ and in a deluxe or DVC, it's 1500$).
Since we ONLY and exclusively use our room-charge when in Disney, to make things easier... the limit gets met fast.
And Mama was right... we were close, and she should've went that day.
But she didn't.
And of course we never bring credit cards or more than 20$ cash with us to the parks...

So the Yak & Yeti manager had to call the Contemporary BLT's front desk, they had to talk to Mama who had to authorize the charge to be put to her credit card... it all took over 20 min. First with our server just leaving us sitting at our table with no further detail of what was going on... then getting up to go to the front desk to ask, eventually talking to the manager... waiting some more...

And all the while, Mama was worried there wouldn't be any buses left when we got out of there and we would be stranded in AK or something like that.
I knew that wouldn't happen, plus, we had cellphones and could always call a taxi... but she was on the verge of panic.

Eventually it was all sorted out... and there were still a few families in the restaurant, and another walked out at about the same time we did.

She HATED walking out in the dark, empty park.
Which ruined MY pleasure, because I LOVED it!
She actually didn't feel safe! I mean, really? I'm not naive enough to say nothing bad can ever happen in Disney just because it's Disney, but I'm one able to walk alone at night in a big city, so clearly walking alone in a dark amusement park doesn't scare me. Mama... not so much.

This is what AK looks like when it's closed (or almost)
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/A11F56E9-5133-4533-AB19-CE4D5C392BF8-3106-000002CC1A709422_zps90964a2b.jpg

http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/1250338C-920E-4867-943F-39192C05BF73-3106-000002CC22532819_zps3acacb14.jpg

Sorry it's a tad blurry... low-light is never great with iPhone cameras... (not even with my good one).

I had to convince Mama she had time to go to the bathroom and we wouldn't be locked in it...


We walked out of the gates... saw this
http://i222.photobucket.com/albums/dd208/AnnieDan_artlover/Disney%20Universal%202012/D174D716-8189-47F5-8475-D0592906B9E9-3106-000002CC1EACE77A_zpsbaa054f3.jpg
(so much better NOT blurry...)

And there was a bus waiting.
With a CM dispatching us.

He was asking which resort you stayed at, and putting you in different "lines" accordingly... Lines is an exaggeration, as there were only 3 families there, us included.

That CM told us to get on the bus. The driver asked us where we were going, and when we did told us he wasn't going there... but the CM was right on our heels to tell him he WAS, change of plans...

I can't remember what other resorts he was going to... but I know we got lucky because we were dropped off first!

So, for anyone curious, that's how they roll! After hours, they combine routes according to the demand.

We got to the room a bit before 8pm.
We relaxed, rested... called my grandma... and my best friend finally joined me on FaceTime, after trying for a few days (not always being on WiFi is why it took so long!)... to announce me he was gonna be a father for the second time! :cheer2:

We went to bed at 10:30pm.

My:
High of the day: It's tough to be a bug
Low of the day: Those cheerleaders in Dinosaur
Food of the day: Strawberry shortcake

Mama's:
High of the day: Festival of the Lion King
Low of the day: Being shoved out of Yak & Yeti
Food of the day: Coke floater

Plan for the day:
Relax and heal my feet
Get at AK early
Meet characters
Primeval Whirl
Expedition Everest
Dinosaur
Kilimanjaro Safari
Tree of Life (get close and take pics)
Festival of the Lion King

What actually happened:
All of the above, except Kilimanjaro Safari and arriving at AK at noon instead of early... which was plenty enough!
So, to answer the question... an uneventful day was PERFECT. :goodvibes

momabbate
04-08-2013, 10:17 AM
Love reading mother daughter trips. I have only done one but my daughter is already hinting at another one.:goodvibes I can only go every three years or so right now.
Can't wait to hear more. Your time at Universal has giving me some ideas for my next trip, if only I can get my hubby to agree. it is still a year away so I have some time. Will just have to make numbers look right to get my way. :rolleyes1