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pixleyyy 12-23-2009 03:23 AM

The Disney Finale: WE'RE CANCELLING CHRISTMAS! (Dec. 2-10, 2009)
Here's the index of posts I've made on the trip report, so you can easily find the newest ones.
The best laid plans...
The best laid plans ... part 2
Day 1 (Magic Kingdom)
Day 1 ... part 2
Dat 1 ... part 3
Day 2 (Animal Kingdom in the pouring rain)
Day 2 ... part 2
Day 3 (Hollywood Studios & Osborne Lights)
Day 3 ... part 2
Day 3 ... part 3
Day 4 (Epcot & Illuminations)
Day 4 ... part 2
Day 4 ... part 3
Day 5 (Hollywood Studios #2 & Downtown Disney)
Day 5 ... part 2
Day 6 (Epcot #2 & Chef Mickey's)
Day 6 ... part 2
Day 7 (Magic Kingdom #2 & Castle Lighting, Spectro and Wishes)
Day 7 ... part 2
Day 7 ... part 3
Day 7 ... a story missed
Day 7 ... part 4
Day 8 & returning home. :(
Our Favorites Lists
Final Thoughts

Welcome all to our trip report. I'm going to copy and paste some information below from my PTR to help introduce you to our cast of characters. As you'll see, things didn't go entirely as planned. Travel was a bust, the resort didn't pan out and the weather didn't cooperate. But it was still more wonderful, more magical and more festive than we could have ever dreamed of.

I have TONS of pictures to share. Between us all we had 4 digital cameras, 1 video camera and one photopass card. We ended up with 1298 photos in total. Hope you don't get tired of seeing them! LOL

Now, on with the show...

Me :wave2:- Annette, 35 and lover of all things Disney. I get in full Disney-planning-mode before vacation and it drives DH crazy! By day I teach preschool, by afternoon I am a professional scrapbooker and by evening I am a volunteer and chauffer. It's a busy life.

DH :cool2:- Brian, 35, ready to take multiple runs on RnR and ToT! He's a big bad policeman with a teddy bear living inside. He also loves riding his motorcycle.
DS :music:- Chase, 13, my fellow Disney freak. Knows as much as I do, if not more. Has already asked to plan the schedule for our next trip and will be doing that with a little guideance from me. He loves drama and is super smart. He plans to produce movies someday, much in Walt's footsteps, by opening a movie studio with his brother.
DS :mic:- Tristan, 11, loves to laugh and laugh during fun rides. I love hearing that! (He'll be leaving the horns and braids home this trip. LOL) He's a Taekwondo freak and loves to play basketball too. His lifes ambitions are to be a Dad and make movies with his brother.
DD princess:- Carissa, 8, our total princess. Loves all things girly and pink. She's her own little strong-willed person but is still sweet and loveable. She loves dance, cheerleading and is excited for her first year of basketball.

And now to the part about the finale. We're quickly realizing how fast our kids are growing. This will be our 3rd WDW trip and we've done DL with them once too. But we all really love Disney and just have never wanted to go anywhere else. Until now. We really want to take the kids to Washington DC, to see all the historical artificats, the monuments, the museums. So we've decided that has to be our next trip. And seeing how we're not made of money and live modestly on a police officer and part-time preschool teacher salary, it will take us a few years to save up the money for another trip. Our oldest is 13 now so we'll probably be able to do DC when he's about 16. I just don't know if we'll have time to sneak in another Disney trip after that and before he moves on to college. So this could very well be the grand finale of Disney for our whole family. Oh, Brian and I will still go together once the kids are gone. And if we win the lottery that will surely change (as if!). So we're treating this trip like it's the last one and planning and splurging like there's no tomorrow. Because for our family, there might not be a tomorrow in WDW. :guilty:

Anyhow, here's a few pic of us from our WDW trip in January 2008.

Here's a link to that trip report, in case you're interested in reading up a little on who we are and what we like.
Jan/Feb 08 WDW Trip Report: Curiouser and Curiouser

pixleyyy 12-23-2009 03:30 AM

The best laid plans...
I planned this vacation to the hilt and today really threw a wrench in all my plans. Originally we were due to arrive in Orlando at 330pm. By my calculations we should arrive and check in to our hotel by 5pm and then be on our merry way to Downtown Disney for a meal at Wolfgang Puck Express. But, as I said, the best laid plans…

We left home at 3:15am, 15 minutes before our “scheduled” departure time. The kids were so excited! Brian sang “Hi ho, hi ho” and the kids replied “It’s off to Disneyworld we go”. Tristan kept saying, “This is great!” on the ride over. We made great time to the airport (there’s not much traffic in Portland at 4am. LOL) and got all our luggage out of the van. The kids and I took it into the terminal and Brian drove around the airport waiting for my Mom to arrive. She arrived in good time and she and Jim took off, saving us the hassle and expense of parking at the airport.

When Brian joined me it was not quite 4am and we were waiting in line at the Southwest ticket counter. We waited… and waited. Apparently they don’t open at 4am so we stood there until they finally graced us with their presence at 440am. We got the bags checked and then headed to the gate. Security, as necessary as it is, can be frustrating at times. Lines of people, even before 5am, taking off shoes and coats, scanning their carry-ons, etc. It was just a lot of hassle and a bit stressful, especially with having to worry about the kids while also taking care of ourselves. At one point all 3 kids were through inspection and I was on the other side, waiting again since I forgot to take off my watch. Thankfully they are old enough that I don’t have to worry about them, but I still don’t like them to be that far away while in a place with so many people.

We made it to the gate and bought some over-priced drinks to go with the donuts we’d brought. It wasn’t too long of a wait before our flight started boarding. We got some decent seats together, with Brian and Carissa in one seat and me and the boys in front of them. The flight was full so we knew someone was going to have to sit next to Brian. However we didn’t know we’d be lucky enough to have the one person traveling with a cat sit next to him - and a noisy cat at that. A cat that she thought would fit well right under Brian’s feet! She was a nice enough girl and I know a cat can’t be happy to travel like that, but it meowed and growled the whole way to Denver! Besides that the first leg of the flight was unremarkable.

Once most passengers disembarked in Denver we were able to move seats and get right up in the front of the plane. Those seats were great. No trays but extra leg room and easy to get in and out of, even from the window seat. This would turn out to be a lifesaver!

Pretty quickly the plane filled up yet again with all the travelers joining us from Denver. They boarded and we sat. And sat. And sat. The plane went nowhere. I knew we were already running a little late but didn’t know what was going on. From my seat I could see the Captain on the phone, talking with someone and not very happy from the look on his face. Then he’d wander away and come back to talk on the phone more, still with that unhappy look on his face. Eventually, an hour later, he came on the loudspeaker and explained the problem. There were storms in Florida that we had to be routed around. When someone put in the routing information they put down an incorrect number and our plane had inadvertently been filled with too much fuel. And we couldn’t fly with too much fuel. So now we waited for another truck to come remove the extra fuel – only to find out that this would take at least another 30 minutes, maybe closer to an hour. Oh yes, and the bathrooms on the plane won’t work while on the ground either. Fun!

The kids were trying to be patient but it was taking SO LONG. Oh yes, and we all have to go to the bathroom. And we're hungry.
(This is the first cell-phone pic that I took this trip. We took 1-2 per day and texted them to the grandparents and friends back home).
What now???

heartofdisney 12-23-2009 04:11 AM

Sorry youhad such a bad start to your trip already,but that just means you are getting all the things that go wrong out of the way before you arrive in Disney!!! I just happened to read this for the first time,so now I will go back and read your pre trip report. Keep us posted on how things are going! I love reading trip reports as they are happening! Here is some pixie dust for a very magical vacation!!! :wizard: Have lots of fun!!!!

heartofdisney 12-23-2009 05:11 AM

Okay,now that I read all of your trip report,I see that you have already come back from :lmao:trip!
Anyway,I hope you all had a wonderful time,and so far ,you have a great start to it,and I am anxious to hear how everything went.

pixleyyy 12-23-2009 02:58 PM

Glad to have you here for my trip report! Yes, we have already returned but I wrote these daily during our stay so they are written when still there and with the memories fresh in my mind. I hope you enjoy the report!

pixleyyy 12-23-2009 04:59 PM

They did eventually let us get off to use the restrooms in the airport and get food items if needed, though told us to hurry back. Why we hurried I have no idea, as we sat at the terminal a total of 2 ½ hours before finally pulling away. A quick de-icing and then we were on our way. It was a long 3 ½ hour flight with no food served. We ate some of the snacks we had brought but that doesn’t really make up for the lack of a “real” meal. But we made do. The kids were really patient but this would have been a nightmare if they were young.

We arrived in Orlando at 6pm, a full 2 ½ hours later than anticipated. We were lucky enough to get right on a Magical Express bus which took off about 2 minutes after we boarded. The first stop on the route was at our resort, Port Orleans Riverside. Despite the hectic day I could see that things were turning up.

I checked in online so I used the express check-in line at the resort. We got the merchandise credit card that we’d ordered, room keys and directions and were quickly on our way. But what we found was not what we anticipated. We got to our building and looked on the water side of the building for our room. That’s where it should be since I paid for a waterview room. Yet it wasn’t along the front facing the lake. We kept following the building only to find the room in the deepest, darkest inner corner of the building. A quick look out of the tiny window confirmed what I knew – there was no water to be seen. There was, however, a neat towel Mickey-head on the beds. This would be the only towel creation we'd see the whole trip.
I called the front desk, who informed me that I was NOT booked for a waterview room but that if I had “proof” of it I should bring it to the front desk. So we picked up all the bags again, the ones we had been lugging around all day and were sooooo tired of carrying, and made our way back to the main building. I showed them my confirmation for a waterview room and they did some typing on the computer. They came back and said that they were out of waterview rooms and were full so couldn’t move me but that eventually I would receive a credit for the $225 cost of the waterview. I was not happy. Not happy at all. I remained calm and nicely inquired about what else could be done because I did not want to be stuck in a dark corner of the resort for 8 days. The cast member who helped me said that he really couldn’t do anything about it. I said that it really wasn’t acceptable to me and he suggested I talk to his manager.

I talked to Debbie, the manager, who listened to my story. I told her how I expressly booked a waterview room and wanted the view so the room didn’t feel so dark and small. I asked whether we might be able to change rooms, even if it were tomorrow, thinking that maybe she could fit us in a room when another guest checked out. She told me to wait a few minutes while she investigated. After a while she came back saying that she was able to get us a room at the Coronado Springs Resort with a water view. Oh, and because of our party size they would have to put us in 2 adjoining rooms. Hmmmm… 2 adjoining rooms means 2 bathrooms, 4 beds and over twice the space of our room at the Port Orleans. Absolutely! I won’t say we are thrilled at this point because it’s been a long, difficult day. We’re all tired from getting up early, hungry from lack of a real meal and frustrated because we just want to have a room already. But we hung on for a bit longer in anticipation of finally feeling like we’ve arrived at Disneyworld.

A nice man arrives and drives us by van to the Coronado Springs resort. We check in, change room keys and are given directions to our new rooms. We’re in 4461 & 4462, adjoining 2-queen rooms with a beautiful view of the water. You can also see the Tower of Terror and the tops of the Swan and Dolphin hotels. Just as we walked into our rooms we head “boom, boom, boom” and looked up to see the tops of fireworks exploding over what must be Epcot. That was the moment that I felt the magic and finally felt that we had arrived! We walked into our room and loved it from the first moment. They are slightly bigger than POR and much more plush. We’re just so lucky that Debbie thought to send us here instead of trying to re-room us later in our stay. So a huge THANKS goes to Debbie for that and to my family for being so patient through the entire ordeal.

Well, now we FINALLY have a room but it’s 9pm Eastern time and we haven’t yet had a meal. So we scurry down to the restaurant area and pick one. Now, I will say that switching resorts has thrown me for a loop a bit. I haven’t looked into Coronado Springs so I didn’t know what the restaurants were like and what they had to offer. We ended up at the Pepper Grill for dinner. The boys had freshly made pizza’s, Carissa had a kids meals with a pizza slice, orange, chips and a cookie. Brian and I both had burgers and fries. While the kids food was good mine was just plain icky. Burger was bland and re-warmed (I watched him take an already cooked burger and put it on the grill for a few minutes before serving it to me). The French fries were ancient, although plentiful. Oh, and the worst part of all is that this “counter service” restaurant has waiters who bring you your drinks and require a 10% tip, which they are sure to point out is NOT included on the dining plan. Our server was just plain absent, walking right by our table, never stopping to see if we needed drink refills (which we always did and never got unless we managed to get his attention). I honestly wouldn’t have tipped this guy a thing, but felt like I had to because of how it was written on the menu. Oh, and that’s 10% of the SEVENTY SIX DOLLAR BILL. Seventy six dollars? Are you kidding me? For 2 pizzas, 2 cheeseburgers, a kids meal and 4 desserts? Thank goodness I wasn’t paying this out of my own pocket because I’d be very unhappy. But in the end we just decided to leave a tip, forget about the food, be glad we had a hot meal.

The last piece to this puzzle is the luggage, which finally arrived at 11:15pm, long after everyone else had already gone to sleep. Thank goodness this day is almost over. Tomorrow has got to be better! We’re headed to the Magic Kingdom after all…

pixleyyy 12-24-2009 02:08 AM

Day 1
Despite the comfy beds, our wake-up call from Mickey and Stitch came very early this morning. We were up at 6:15am so we could catch an early bus and make it to a.m. Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom. It was a bit of a stretch to get everybody up and running this morning. Our luggage had arrived very late last night so nothing had been sorted or put away. Clothes and shoes had to be found, as did hair clips and socks. We put on our coordinating red shirts, in anticipation of all the photos that would be taken today! The kids ate dry cereal in the room, as we forgot to get milk last night. I hurried them through that and we were finally on our way about 7:05 am.

The bus stop isn’t too far from our room so we arrived there about 7:10am and then waited.
A bus for Animal Kingdom arrived, then one for Epcot, then one for Hollywood Studios. Finally, about 7:20 a Magic Kingdom bus arrived and we quickly boarded and headed straight to the park.

Now, we’ve never stayed on-site before so I fully expected to find myself dumped at the TTC then having to board a monorail or boat over to the Magic Kingdom. Imagine my surprise and delight when they drop us off near Space Mountain, just a short jaunt from the parks entrance. YEAH! One less transportation issue to worry about today.

When we arrived we waited near the tunnels. They held the park opening ceremony, sprinkled the pixie dust and then let us all into the Magic Kingdom. We headed straight for our first stop, the newly-renovated Space Mountain! Getting there was no easy feat though, as the thundershowers projected for Florida had them scrambling to get performances completed early. So we had to contend with a stage and camera crane in front of the castle. They directed us to the left side of the hub and we had to weedle our way around so that we could wait at the rope for entrance into Tomorrowland. No sooner had we arrived then it was time for rope drop. We scurried our way to Space Mountain, grabbed some fastpasses and then followed the queue to the ride. It was pretty much a walk-on and we waited just about 2 minutes before we loaded and were on our way.

I have loved Space Mountain forever, since I was a kid in fact, but this ride made me feel sick and disorientated. It’s no secret that I suffer from motion sickness, but I’ve never had a problem with Space Mountain before. Well, that time has now ended because I felt nauseated and topsy turvy for a while afterwards. Something I learned this trip is that my stomach isn’t as iron-clad as it used to be on rides.

Our next ride was Buzz Lightyear, where we again walked on and I TOTALLY kicked butt. Beat Brian’s score for maybe the first time ever. Yeah for me!!! Of course, Brian would catch his revenge later in the trip, though I still contend that it was equipment malfunction. But I’m getting way ahead of myself…

The next attraction on our Ridemax agenda was Mickey’s Philharmagic, however on the walk over we noticed that there was no wait for the teacups, so we quickly got on. It was then that I realized that this was the last time that all 3 kids and myself would ride in the teacups together. There just isn’t room! My boys are both nearly as tall as me and our knees were banging the entire time. Poor Carissa was squished into a tiny little spot because all us “big people” took up the room. Brian found a nice place along the rail to take photos of us as we rode, as spinning just isn’t his thing. I think he might have been on the right track. I quickly realized that this might not have been the best ride to follow so soon after Space Mountain as the kids really like to spin and are way faster spinners than they used to be. Again, I felt all topsy turvy.
When we got off I knew we needed something a little more tame to help us recover from the motion issues. We headed to It’s a Small World and sat through the monotonous song and all the cute little dolls. This has long been a required ride for Carissa and at this point the boys would be THRILLED if we never rode it again. But since we’re here together we ride together.

After all this deviation from our Ridemax plan we decided it was time to get back on track, so we headed where we should have been all along, PhilHarMagic. As we were walking in the cast member warned us that the show would be starting in about 30 seconds. We put the hustle on and made it into the theater in plenty of time. We sat down to relax for a minute and then it began. I wish I could have taken pictures in this attraction, because Carissa was just priceless. She kept smiling at the screen and holding her hands below her chin, like she was so excited and just couldn’t keep it in! We all jumped at the water and enjoyed the sights and smells of this awesome show. It’s still one of our absolute faves in all of WDW.

Well, we were still a little behind our Ridemax plan so again hustled our way to the next stop, Haunted Mansion. We were supposed to be here at 9:01am but arrived about 9:10am. When we arrived we were notified that the ride had not yet been opened and was having some minor technical difficulties that should be remedied in a few moments. We waited with the group of people in line.
Would it ever open? Or would we spend the entire day off schedule?

reyasmommy 12-24-2009 03:43 PM

Enjoying your trip report and pictures thus far. Looks like you had a fabulous time and I'm looking forward to reading more.

kaguilbeau 12-24-2009 04:04 PM

I must say your pictures look amazing. What kind of camera did you use?

We just returned ourselves and have about 250 pictures taken with a cellphone! Not very good quality at all! I'm now vowing to get myself a new camera!!

pixleyyy 12-24-2009 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by kaguilbeau (Post 34753263)
I must say your pictures look amazing. What kind of camera did you use?

We just returned ourselves and have about 250 pictures taken with a cellphone! Not very good quality at all! I'm now vowing to get myself a new camera!!

I use a Nikon d60, which is fabulous! It was bigger than I am used to and I still don't know how to use it off of auto, but I liked it. I used a Sony DSC-H5 our last trip, which has a fabulous 12x zoom, and the pictures were good but not as great as some of the shots I got this trip. The one advantage of the Sony is it's size as compared to the d60. But I wouldn't trade my d60 for anything!

pixleyyy 12-24-2009 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by reyasmommy (Post 34753103)
Enjoying your trip report and pictures thus far. Looks like you had a fabulous time and I'm looking forward to reading more.

We did have a fabulous time! Thanks for joining in on the trip report. More to come very soon...

pixleyyy 12-26-2009 12:08 PM

We waited with the group of people in line for about 5 minutes and then the ride opened. We made it into the first group in the stretching room and used the Ridemax tip so we knew where to stand to be among the first out of the room. We were on the 5th or 6th doombuggy to take off. Yahoo!

The next step in our Ridemax plan was to send a runner to get Jungle Cruise fastpasses. Well, we just didn’t really want to do that so skipped it altogether today. Instead we headed for one of our fave rides, and one that we missed last trip because it was shut down – Splash Mountain! We first grabbed some fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then headed into Splash Mountain. We walked right on the ride! And it was just our family in our boat. The kids sat up front. Brian and I sat behind taking photos and shooting video. The ride itself isn’t that exciting, until you get to the fabulous drop! The highlight of the 3 Magic Kingdom mountains, for me, is that one single drop on Splash! LOVE IT!

By now we’ve deviated enough from our Ridemax plans and just really don’t like walking here, there and everywhere when we’re bypassing rides with no lines in them! So we decide to go our own ways for a while and see how that works for us. Big Thunder Mountain is showing a 15 minute wait so we head into that line. It was one of the longest lines we stood in today and 15 minutes is nothing to complain about!
After riding our fastpass window had opened up again, so we got a fastpass to come back later for Splash. We’re now holding 5 fastpasses for each of the major attractions in the Magic Kindgom.

It’s now 10:30 and we’ve made some pretty good progress today. We’ve ridden all 3 mountains, gone on Buzz, teacups, small world, PhilHarMagic and Haunted Mansion. Not too bad for 2 ½ hours!

At this point one of the kids asks when we can ride Pirates. Well, there’s no time like the present.

Since it’s not too far away we walk that way, stopping at Pecos Bills for some free ice waters. Then it’s off to Pirates.
Chase, who has pretty much memorized every Disney book he has (and he has plenty of them!) gave us the whole spiel about how we should use the left-hand line because most people are right-handed and therefore chose the right line when given a choice. Unfortunately, by now we have already committed to the right line and we decide to just go with. Good thing we did, as we just about walked right on the ride and watched while there was a line of people on the left-hand line. Score.

After riding we spent some time looking around the giftshop, where Brian broke down and bought the first souvenir of the trip – a skullcap with skulls on it for use when riding his motorcycle.

I had neglected to eat breakfast this morning so was feeling a little munchy. The kids wanted to go on the Swiss Family treehouse, which we always let them do together and without us. They set off to do that and I set off to FINALLY try one of those Dole Whips that everyone on the Disboards raves about. While I was ordering Brian saw they had an orange and vanilla swirl variety so he ordered that. He said his was ok, but shared most of it with the kids. Mine was just iffy, not really my thing. I ate about 1/5th of it and then passed it on to Chase when he came out of the treehouse.

Now I’m still hungry and we’re near our first ADR restaurant, The Plaza. We decide to meander over that way and see if we can get an earlier seating. No problem. They give us a pager which vibrates within 2 minutes. We’re quickly seated, our order is taken and we sit and chat while enjoying the chance to be off our feet for a while. Chase, Brian and myself order the chicken sandwich that Brian loved so much last trip. Tristan and Carissa order cheese sandwiches. The food takes a little while and we’re all so hungry, but we sing 2 rounds of Happy Birthday to guests in the restaurant while we wait. Our food finally comes and it’s okay. Nothing spectacular and I only eat half. Brian, on the other hand, LOVES that chicken sandwich and takes advantage of my leftovers.

We’re given desserts on the dining plan and all order goodies to end our meal. The boys share a brownie sundae (it’s pretty big!), I order one for myself and to share with others at the table. It was SO GOOD!
I think I'm going to dream about these brownie sundaes for a while. YUM!!!

Brian orders a chocolate shake (which is extra chocolatey - a little too chocolatey for him)
and Carissa orders mini chocolate chip cookies and milk. Hers comes with the tiniest glass of milk I have ever seen! It was adorable but nowhere near enough to go with her cookies.
She drank it down in one gulp and then didn't eat all the cookies because she had no milk for them. But we did wrap them up and take them with us, since they were so tiny, and the kids shared them when they got hungry later in the day.

The entire meal at the Plaza took us about an hour and we ended up singing a total of 4 rounds of Happy Birthday! We also got to see the coronation of the junior mayor, a little girl at the table next to ours.

The kids have been looking forward to the make-your-own Mickey ears since I told them about it a few months ago. Now was the perfect time to go make them! We headed to the Chapeau on Main Street and quickly found the right place. The kids dug through all the bases, tried on different ears and picked out patches before taking them to the desk to be assembled. Names were added and patches were heat-set. The kids set off with their new sets of ears.
As a side note, Chase’s hat is super cute but the heat set patch was off before the days end, lost somewhere along the line. Bummer!

And Carissa's ears are actually glow-in-the-dark. When we went on TTA and Space later we could see her glowing Mickey ears ahead of us. :)

We continued our way down Main Street, perusing the shops and stopping to see the Mickey’s “A Christmas Carol” displays in the Emporium windows. We didn’t buy anything, although the kids were all itching to spend some money. We tried to get them to wait for a little while, since it is only our first day.

After we got bored of shopping we headed to Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
We really love this show and were thrilled when Tristan’s face popped up on the screen.

What would the monsters have to say about him? Find out in the next post...

KatMark 12-26-2009 09:19 PM

I found your report from the link in your post in the CSR thread and am joining in for the fun.

pixleyyy 12-26-2009 11:16 PM


Originally Posted by KatMark (Post 34765348)
I found your report from the link in your post in the CSR thread and am joining in for the fun.

Glad to have you here! We truly enjoyed CSR and our entire trip. Plenty more to come...

pixleyyy 12-27-2009 12:43 AM

Let's see, where did I leave off? Oh yes, the Monsters had spotted us at Monsters, Inc. and had flashed Tristan's face on their screen.
Marty, Mike Wazowski’s adorable little orange nephew started questioning Tristan about his unusual attire.
Marty: What's on your head?
Tristan: Ears
Marty: But you have 4 of them. How long have you had them?
Tristan: About an hour.
Marty: Eeeeewwwwww... you wear other humans ears on your head? Gross!
Tristan: It's a hat!
Marty, still disgusted: And look, they all have the same fashion sense!

At this point the camera zooms out and shows all 3 kids in their matching shirts and with their newly purchased ears on their heads.

I love this show and now I loved it even more! It was just so neat to see the kids on the screen and for Tristan to have the chance to shine.

Next was “Stitch’s Great Escape”, which neither Chase nor myself wanted to see. And really, we needed a chance to come down a bit from the high of being part of the show at Monsters, Inc. So Brian took the other two to the show while Chase and I looked in a few stores and then sat down on a bench outside The Lunching Pad to relax and chat for a while.

After Stitch we decided to try out Tomorrowland Transit Authority. I don’t recall ever riding this with Brian and the kids so this was the first in a while. It was a nice, relaxing time
with great views
and the breeze felt wonderful in the warm weather. At one point you go inside Space Mountain and this is where we first noticed that the ears Carissa picked glow very brightly in the dark!

We finally had a chance to use the Fastpasses we’d picked up this morning for Space Mountain. We rode the left side this time, which Brian said felt faster and more of a wild ride. All I know is that it made me feel a little ill again. What's up with the motion sickness this trip? Is "old age" catching up to me? LOL

After Space we took the back pathway to Toontown. As always, it was deserted until we reached Toontown. We went on a mission to find the frozen lemonade stand there. We picked up 2 frozen lemonades which we shared and enjoyed. We walked into Mickey's Town Fair store where I took a big whiff of the cotton candy smell they pipe in. YUM! After perusing the store we hopped on a train to Main Street on the way to see the big guy.

We stopped at Main Street because we wanted to see Santa, who was visiting Candy Cane Lane. We got there just before the time I thought he was supposed to arrive. Unfortunately, I was wrong and we had to wait for about 20 minutes for Santa to arrive. This became the longest wait of the day for us.

When Santa finally arrived the kids waited patiently for their turn. We were the 4th family in line and it took an additional 10 minutes before it was our turn. Santa’s a good talker and took his time with each family. Carissa didn’t have anything to tell Santa so she said she didn’t know what she wanted for Christmas. But she was thrilled just to sit on his lap and talk to him.
Tristan asked for a dragon statue.
Chase didn't want to sit on Santa's lap but Santa coerced him into talking and he asked Santa for books, which impressed Santa to no end.

They posed for some pictures, chatted a bit with the big guy and then made room for the next family.
As soon as we walked away we rushed to hop on the train waiting at the Main Street station, making it just in time!

We got off in Frontierland station and went to use our fastpasses for both Splash and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We got fairly wet on Splash Mountain this time because there were more people (and thus more weight) on the boat.
But we all commented about how fabulous the drop on that ride is. It makes putting up with the song that then gets stuck in your head. LOL

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was great again and it was nice to just mosey past all those people without fastpasses.

Once we’d used our passes we considered getting in line for the 5:00 Parade of Dreams, but they’d changed the time due to parade taping and now all the MVMCP people were lining up to watch this parade too. It was packed in Frontierland and we just didn't want to fight the crowds. In retrospect I wish we did, as we didn't have a chance to catch the parade the other full day we spent in the Magic Kingdom

We moved on and walked towards Pirates. I stopped in a little Kodak shanty on the way and found a Mickey camera strap for my Nikon that I just had to have. It became my first souvenir of the trip and I love it still!

We headed towards Main Street and shopped a bit, ending up in the shop next to Tony’s restaurant. We’d gone there expressly to find snow globes, which a castmember mentioned might be found there. No such luck. Carissa only collects musical snow globes and the ones they had were either too expensive (like $100) or non-musical. The only one under $50 and musical is the same one she got last trip.

We left the park without a snow globe but happy to be on our way. We even stopped on the way out to take some photos in front of the train station.
This one was taken by a nice stranger. I love the friendly people at Disneyworld!

Since we’d gotten out earlier than expected we decided to hit Downtown Disney this evening. There are no buses from the parks to Downtown Disney so I knew we’d have to go to a resort and transfer there. We hopped a monorail to the Contemporary and then wandered around until we found their bus stop. We were getting tired and it didn’t help that it took forever before a bus to Downtown Disney came around. Just as we were considering leaving, one did. In hindsight I guess we should have taken the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center, as there are probably buses from there to Downtown Disney and probably come at a more frequent pace. Oh well, you live and you learn, right? (Note: there are not buses to DTD from the Ticket and Transportation Center. We learned this another day…)

We arrived at Downtown Disney and were all pretty famished so we headed straight for Wolfgang Puck Express. Brian, Tristan and Carissa each ordered pepperoni pizzas while Chase and I ordered chicken strips (his with fries, mine with garlic mashed potatoes). We all ordered brownies as our dessert and brought them back to the resort to munch on later. The food at Wolfgang Puck Express was pretty darned good, probably the best counter service our entire trip. The adult pizzas were a decent size and fairly tasty. The chicken Chase and I got was really good too. I especially liked it with the mashed potatoes. It finally felt like I was having a “real meal” and it was pretty good. This was probably the best counterservice meal of our entire trip. I wish we had time to eat there another time during out stay, but the transportation to and from Downtown Disney made that a little more difficult to do.

Now that our bellies were full and we had woken up a bit we went shopping. I checked out the Disney kitchen store and then the Disney’s “under $10” store before relenting and letting the kids make their way to Goofy’s Candy Company.

The kids love this place! Who doesn’t love a good candy store? But what makes it more fun is the make-your-own candy. The only candy item allowed on the dining plan is the marshmallows, so that’s what the kids each made. They filled out their forms
then watched while their candies were made.
Chase had dark chocolate covered in sprinkles and then drizzled with milk chocolate.
Tristan had dark chocolate covered in Butterfinger pieces then drizzled in milk chocolate.
Carissa had milk chocolate covered in mini M&M’s and drizzled in milk chocolate. Hers ended up as this humongous treat, as the marshmallows were falling off the straw and the cast member just shoved handfuls of mini M&M's into the chocolate to help push the marshmallows back on. But it was very tasty that way. Ask me how I know... Carissa likes to share! YUM!!!
Once the candies were ready we headed outside for a place to sit down and eat. Chase barely made it out of the door before he took a huge bite of his! “I just couldn’t wait, it looked too good!” he said. Who can blame him?

While the kids munched their sweets I jumped over to the Disney “memories” store which has frames and scrapbook goodies and such. I didn’t find much so came back to Brian and the kids. When the kids were done eating they wanted to go to the Disney Sports store with Brian to look for something for Grandpa’s birthday. We were thinking that a Disney jersey or something similar might make a great gift for him. Brian, Chase and Carissa went to the sports store while Tristan and I went to Disney’s “12 Days of Christmas” shop. I know I want a Christmas souvenir from WDW but I just don’t know exactly what. There are so many beautiful things to choose from and I just couldn’t do it! We’ll be back in DTD later in the week so I’ll decide then what to get.

Brian and the kids didn’t have any more luck at the sports store, coming out empty-handed. Most things are t-shirts and not jerseys or the like, which are Grandpa’s faves.

Our last stop tonight was the huge “World of Disney” store. The kids loved the spitting Stitch on top and we were all in awe at the huge size and scope of the store. We shopped there for quite a while. I knew when one of the kids said “I don’t want to spend our time in Disneyworld shopping” that they’d had their fill for the day. It only took a few more minutes before Brian had decided on a new jacket and Carissa had found a fabulous new snow globe. We paid and went on our merry way, dragging all the way to the bus stop. Our bus took off shortly after we arrived and we efficiently made our way back to the Coronado Springs, then up to our rooms where we drank some water and sent the kids to bed. Brian and I milled around for a bit, prepared for tomorrow, went to the gift shop for some milk for breakfast and then headed to bed ourselves.

Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom and it looks like rain is on the horizon. It’s only forecasting ½ an inch. That’s not very much, right?!?

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