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Old 01-12-2008, 09:39 PM   #211
KathyRN137
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Hedy,

Yes, after reading about it, I am definitely taking this tour if I possibly can!
Hakuna Matata about the WS pics, just post whatcha did get!!

Kathy
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:59 PM   #212
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Chapter 10: Yuletide Fantasy Tour pt. II

On the bus to MGM, Kris and Alicia discussed how the 1930’s and 1940’s were the heydays of Christmas movies. They then discussed things such as how the loss of copyright of It’s a Wonderful Life led to it becoming a tradition. We disembarked near the LMA stadium and talked about the lights. Alicia talked about how Jennings Osborne had had them at his house, and how they lights had begin to measure events in the Osborne family lights: for example, after their grandmother, Ga-ga, died, a tribute to her arrived in the lights. Alicia also noted that this year the “Breezy+her spouse” heart, as well as her spouse’s stocking, were noticeably absent. Alicia also told us about the hidden kitty, as well as numerous hidden Mickeys. She also gave us some information about the crèche, which is very pretty. . The tour was great, but this section was taking place in between the Cars meet and the Power Ranger meet-can you say loud?

As we waited backstage for the coach, I noticed that there was a great angle of the Earful tower. I took out my camera, and Alicia yelled “No!” I wasn’t thinking about it being backstage. I sheepishly boarded our bus and we were off to the GF.

We saw the gingerbread house, with its gingerbread-scented smoke. Kris had talked on the bus about how the decorations at the GF are Victorian-ivory, roses, and birdcages. These themes are repeated in the tree at the GF.

We hopped back on the bus, and were off to the piece to resistance-the backstage area where they hold the Christmas decorations. Christmas is the only holiday where the entire Resort is decorated. Let me tell you, just getting to see this area was amazing. In the 1980’s, it’s where they made the fast food they shipped out to the parks. We walked in, and, as the guy next to me said “It’s Home Depot.” Really that’s what it felt like-huge scaffolding holding boxes and boxes of decorations. Every aisle was neatly put together: resorts, parks, DTD. They were also labeled in each section: WL5, AK3. This is where they store the trees (as all of WDW’s trees have been fake since 1996). Kris pointed out balls among the boxes and boxes of ornaments. She commented on how they had a lot of those balls with the frilly stuff on them, and recounted how many times the frilly stuff breaks off. To combat this, WDW has one CM whose job it is to hot glue every frilly thing to the ball. The ornaments are held onto the trees via floral wire. There are 25 CM’s who work at the Christmas warehouse, and the largest wreath is on the Cirque tent. They also discussed how there is a holiday convention in Atlanta every year where designers get their decoration ideas. Kris also spoke to the challenges which these CM’s face: for example, this year customs would no longer allow rice straw for the shimekazari in Japan no be imported, so they had to find a suitable substitute.

We boarded the bus for our last stop-the MK. We disembarked backstage once again, and were greeted by Christmas music. Kris said they have that to get the CM’s in the Holiday mood. We entered the MK and Kris spoke about how the tree moves from up towards the castle when they tape the Christmas parade to where it generally is on Main St. USA. Apparently there’s also a decorating contest between the shop windows on either side of Main Street-this surprised me because I always thought window dressings were decreed by the Disney powers that be. We also saw the Santa hat in the hat shop’s window, which is the biggest hat on Disney property now that the Earful tower doesn’t have one amymore.
We drove back to Epcot. On the way, Alicia discussed how Princess Victoria started the trend of having Christmas be a child-friendly holiday. They also discussed the history of Coca-Cola Holiday bottles and Santa-appartently Wal-Mart was carrying ornament-shaped bottles this year (I don’t know if they were a Wal-Mart or Southern exclusive, as I didn’t see them at any grocery stores or CVS when I got home). We also discussed family holiday traditions. One person was from Iceland, where they have 13 different santas that come to your house…and if you’re bad you get a potato. We drove back to Epcot, got our pin and were off.

The tour lasted three and a half hours, and was very good. My only suggestions would be to make it longer, as well felt kind of rushed at points, but I get its only a seasonal tour. Also, I thought it was poor timing that we were looking at the lights while a Power Rangers meet and greet was going on. Also, the tour started before 9 and ended at 12:30. I had a 2 pm ADR at Planet Hollywood, but if you didn’t, your eating options were kind of limited-you’d either need to use your park pass to go into Epcot, or drive or take Disney transport somewhere else for food. Whereas if they’d let us off at the MK, you have five resorts right there people could grab food at, and drivers could take Disney transport back to the Epcot parking lot. I signed up to be e-mailed an evaluation form, but I think my Spam filter ate it.

Up next: Planet Hollywood, DTD, PI, and..another tour, maybe?

Onwards and upwards
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*A vegetarian and pescetarian do Disney dining 12/07*Hedy and the Carnivores 08/08*Hedy and Lexie Rock Vegas 12/08*
'Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten



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Old 01-14-2008, 09:30 AM   #213
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The tour does sound fun - it would be great to see the storage/backstage areas.

And yes, my little Gorillapod IS blue!!
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:42 PM   #214
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Chapter 11: DTD and PI

I had toyed with the idea of taking the bus from Epcot to another resort, as I saw the Port Orleans bus driving away just as I got in line. I decided to stay, though, as I figured having both the boat and bus to DTD would balance out the potential wait. There was a couple that had taken the tour with me, and we chatted while waiting. The bus pulled up, and the couple got one (the wife was in an ECV, so it took a bit). Another woman showed up and the bus driver remarked “Thank her [in the ecv], otherwise we’d be gone.” Ever notice how DISers whine about how long tying chairs up take, and supposed ECV abuse, but never say “Dude, because there was an ECV on the bus, I made a bus?”

We got to POFQ. I had debated stopping back at my room, but when I was walking to my building (it was right next to the dock) the boat was there. We boated down to DTD. The pilot spoke about how due to the combination of the ADA and wetlife conservation, the treehouse villas are now International program housing. He said something along the lines of “Since college students aren’t disabled,” which struck me as being a pretty messed up thing to say. He also pointed out how the leaves color the water and the birds who were waiting for lunch. We arrived at the dock near Rainforest Café and disembarked. I admired the decorations (and laughed at the kids avoiding Stitch’s spit), and then walked over to Planet Hollywood. On the way, I passed the Dinosaur restaurant-I thought it was opening Summer 08, so I was kind of bummed that it said Fall 08. ; ( Then again, the fact that I’m 23 and think that it sounds like fun and says something about me. I glanced quickly in Cooke’s of Dublin and then headed onto Planet Hollywood.

Now, this may be the most controversial statement I’ve made on the Internet in some time, but I love Planet Hollywood. There-I said it. I’ve been to the ones in San Francisco (start of the obsession back in 98), Las Vegas (x3, and I’m planning to stay there when I go this year), Baltimore (just stopped in, didn’t eat, too busy), Montreal, Toronto, New York (both locations old x1, new x3), and Orlando. I even got the parents to bring me back a PH Paris shirt when they went there for their 25th anniversary. It’s the restaurant I eat at solo most frequently (both in Orlando, and at the one in NYC), and the waitperson consistently rocks at service. However, I’d heard that once you tell them you have the $15 package coupon, your service goes down. My waiter asked if I had any coupons or discounts, and I said I had the $15 coupon. I wanted to look at the menu. I knew I was ordering the Pasta Pomodoro, but it was $14.95, but as my coupon was for $15, I decided to order a drink to bump it up. I’d been able to get a booze drink with my Entertainment Book coupon in NYC in September, but as that’s technically not supposed to happen, I ordered a smoothie. I wandered the restaurant while waiting for my food. My meal was fabulous as always. I opted out of dessert, as I wanted to try Ghiradeli for dessert (however, I did then remember that I forgot to print my $1 off coupon before I left home). All in all, the food and service at Planet Hollywood was excellent, although, as I joked on the phone with Mom later, there may be a sign in all Planet Hollywoods saying “This woman will order pasta pomodoro and wander the restaurant, treat her well and she tips well.”

I walked over towards West Side. I’d been toying with the concept of going to Disney Quest, especially as word on the street is that its days are number. However, as it had occurred to me that I wasn’t using a park pass today, I decided to add no expiration, and I decided I’d rather save it for a future trip. I headed towards the Virgin Megastars, and the Candy Cauldron, when I saw a DVC kiosk.

Now, I’d been eyeing the DVC kiosks all trip. I’d been considering doing it out of sheerest curiosity, and when WDW Poly Princess reported that she got a $100 gift card for being “referred,” I figured it was worth a shot. Then YoungestBrother and DisneyMSF did the tour (after they bought at AKV) in October, and reported they had gotten Instant Fastpasses. On the way home from seeing them, Mom commented that “I don’t have time to do it, but you do, since you’ll be there for a long time.” Now, there are those of you out there who have mothers or are mothers. You know what it mean when a aren’t says that. So, I figured if the opportunity stuck, I’d do the tour. So I stopped and talked with the guy.

“Yeah I’d be interested.”
“If you do it, we’ll give you an instant fastpass.”
“Ok…” I hoped he’d up the ante.
“And free ice-cream if you’re good.” I gave him YoungestBrother’s name, and their guide was in. The guy who golf-carted me over there and I chatted about my t-shirt. They let me into the member area. I loved the Disney Mt. Rushmore. I received a “Heather” nametag and they let me among the free food. Tragically, I did not bring any ziplock baggies, nor did I feel comfortable taking pictures. However, I saw that in addition to coffee, water and lemonade, they had the very same red and green sprinkled sugar cookies that are served at MVMCP. A guide came for another family, and the kids were offered the option of the kids room, but elected to stay with their parents. What the chew toy is wrong with kids today? Hmm…fun vs boring timeshare presentation. I met with Humberto, who was YoungestBrother and DisneyMSF’s guide. He asked where I was interested in buying. “Boardwalk.”
“Boardwalk? You’re paying more for less years.”
“It’s where I want to stay.”
“All right, I’ll see what I have available.” We toured the rooms. I was impressed with the size of the studio, and the one/two bedroom, but gosh, the grand villa is amazing. I saw both the AKV and SSR versions. He then left me to explore the pool area (beautiful) and food court area of SSR. We met, he gave me the book, the Fastpasses, and the payment sheet (less than a car payment la la la). I got my ice cream, and headed back to DTD. If you’re considering DVC, or just curious, I highly recommend the tour.

Having had ice cream, I decided to skip Ghiradeli. I headed on into WoD. I wanted antenna toppers, a license plate frame, something for my mom’s friend’s grandbaby-to-be, and possibly a t-shirt. I had $50 in Disney Dollars as an early birthday present from MiddleBrother, DSIL, Elder and YoungerNephews. I was under strict orders from DSIL to spend it on myself…not on the boys. My response to her was vague enough. I would spend it on me, I just wouldn’t not buy the boys anything. I found the selection of antenna toppers paltry, but at least they were 30% off. I was disappointed in the license plate holder-it was plastic, and I don’t fancy its chances in the New England snow. I got the baby-to-be a plush Tigger that rattles. This was my first trip to WoD since it was redone-I liked the princess room and the pirate room. I thought the BBB looked cute-I really don’t get the people who think it’s creepy. I do, however wish I had a little girl I could take there-maybe a great-niece someday? Outside of WoD, they were making a sand picture in celebration of National Treasure II.

I then headed onto the Once Upon a Toy Store. I didn’t see anything too interesting. I liked their tree. I stopped in the 10 and under store-nothing in the 4 for $10 jumped at me, though I did explain to a lady how it worked. I got a photo album for $5.99, I was kind of bummed I didn’t see another 2 for $10 thing I liked. Oh well. I am kind of disappointed that Disney Tails appears to be disappointing, although they still have the front Display up. It was getting late, so I headed over to Earl of Sandwich. I had my Caprese with my Earl lemonade, which was very good. I headed onto Goofy’s candy kitchen, where I got a Vanilla fudge cookie dipped in milk chocolate, with Reese’s Pieces and M&M’s. Mmm. I loved it. I ate about half of it, and saved the rest.

I browsed in Arribas brothers-I was hoping for an “adult” Disney necklace, but didn’t see any. I likd the Mickey tiara, though. I stopped in Basin and didn’t see anything. After a quick call to Mom to try to finalize plans for tomorrow, I headed onto PI. The Adventuer’s Club was supposed to open at 7. I waited on the bench. 7 came. According to Pleasure Island radio, it was family night at the Adventurer’s Club and it had started. It opened around 7:15. I grabbed a Kungaloosh (which was quite good), and waited for the show to start. There was a guy who spent the entire time until the show started whining to his girlfriend about how much cooler Jekyll and Hyde in NYC is. There was a family with a baby, and a girl who looked about 13, but there were a couple of other young kids there. Then the show started, and it was hysterical. However, through out the night, the cast was saying things that made me wonder if they are on board with family night. Anyway, there was this one woman who kept on kind of “over pushing” the cast, then when Hataway Brown came out there was joking about it being his baby. Then we got the whole story-it’s loud lady’s grandkid, her 17 year old daughter’s kid (I thought she was 13, she looked it)! Dude, by the end of the night we knew her whole story. I don’t like to judge, but if an entire room of strangers knows your whole story (she’s a CM, her DD lives in a different state, she’s only 40, blah blah blah) after 1 hour, family therapy might be a better choice than Pleasure Island. However, the show was fabulous. I took the bus back to POFQ, and cleaned off the trip organizer, I mean what would be Mom’s bed.

[b] Up next….Mom arrives Passporter saves the day, and….a meeting with the Dream Team, perhaps?[b]
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:47 PM   #215
Hedy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abbybeth View Post
The tour does sound fun - it would be great to see the storage/backstage areas.

And yes, my little Gorillapod IS blue!!
I;m jealous-I bought mine (and my SIL's) before they were available in color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyRN137 View Post
Yes, after reading about it, I am definitely taking this tour if I possibly can!
Hakuna Matata about the WS pics, just post whatcha did get!!

Kathy
Done!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Disney Fan View Post
Really?! I had no idea. That's a great bit of trivia. Thanks.



More good info. This Kris is invited to join the Man-Clan whenever she wants to. Does she drink to much whiskey? If so, I'm already in love!
She was a really cool tour guide-she's ex-Navy, so she told some anecdotes about when she lived in Japan.
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*A vegetarian and pescetarian do Disney dining 12/07*Hedy and the Carnivores 08/08*Hedy and Lexie Rock Vegas 12/08*
'Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten


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Old 01-14-2008, 08:47 PM   #216
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Thanks for the Tour tips. My sister and I talked about going on this when we there in December but time was too short.

I love Planet Hollywood also!!

I'm not ashamed!!

Earl of Sandwich gets my nod as best sandwhich in WDW.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:45 PM   #217
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Can't wait to hear your report on Tusker House to see if it meshed with ours!
I always like to check to see if we are either super positive or negative compared to others. You know , to keep our opinions in check!
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:05 PM   #218
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Okay, still catching up.......
Yes we agree about Tusker House, good but too expensive for lunch.


Now a question..
Your picture of the Contemporary reminded me to ask. What is being built beside the Contemporary? I have asked a couple of people and they had not a clue. How can something be being built at DW and noone know what it is?

Off to read more....
Lynn
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:22 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by OhioTony View Post
Okay, still catching up.......
Yes we agree about Tusker House, good but too expensive for lunch.


Now a question..
Your picture of the Contemporary reminded me to ask. What is being built beside the Contemporary? I have asked a couple of people and they had not a clue. How can something be being built at DW and noone know what it is?

Off to read more....
Lynn
I'm glad you asked, Lynn. I asked my DVC guide that on my tour, He told me...it is going to be a Super-Walmart. You heard it here first.




Word on the DIS is that it's either DVC or family suites.
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*A vegetarian and pescetarian do Disney dining 12/07*Hedy and the Carnivores 08/08*Hedy and Lexie Rock Vegas 12/08*
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #220
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Attention those of you who listed to the DIS unplugged:
An e-mail from me will be read on next week's e-mail show.

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*A vegetarian and pescetarian do Disney dining 12/07*Hedy and the Carnivores 08/08*Hedy and Lexie Rock Vegas 12/08*
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:10 PM   #221
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Quote:
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Attention those of you who listed to the DIS unplugged:
An e-mail from me will be read on next week's e-mail show.

Very Cool!
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:29 PM   #222
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Nice update....I bet people are waiting for the Contemporary DVC's sales to start. Those will be gone fast.

I, too, am bummed that the Disney Tail's selection has greatly decreased. I just don't think they gave it enough time to develop a name for itself.

Mmm...caprese anything.... salad, sandwich..whatever...I'm game.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:42 PM   #223
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Nice update....I bet people are waiting for the Contemporary DVC's sales to start. Those will be gone fast.

I, too, am bummed that the Disney Tail's selection has greatly decreased. I just don't think they gave it enough time to develop a name for itself.

Mmm...caprese anything.... salad, sandwich..whatever...I'm game.

J, LtP and I are looking at Grand California DVC when we're down there. We'll probably buy in. DVC is a great value for our style of vacations.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:23 PM   #224
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Great updates! The Christmas tour sounds awesome -- even the DVC tour sounds like fun. Thanks for investing the time and reporting back!
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