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Old 09-28-2009, 09:31 AM   #91
tarak
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Airport fun

Well, the reveal was a bit anticlimactic. Jeckle squealed, but Heckle was stunned and immediately started to grill me on what I'd packed. Then my mom jammed a book into the side of my head and spilled a cup of coffee on my foot (wearing sandals as luck would have it). Big thumbs up for the "trim" feature on my iphone, so I could immediately delete the expletive that flew out of my mouth.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #92
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Darn! I haven't been around for a couple of days...and I think I missed your departure...

I'm not sure if that sound I heard then was the girl's excitement or your expletive...

I hope that you all have a fabulous trip full of good times and adventure... I look forward to hearing all about it...

Never kill your children...you can't take it back...and you're almost sure to regret it once you've calmed down...
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:04 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
Darn! I haven't been around for a couple of days...and I think I missed your departure...

I'm not sure if that sound I heard then was the girl's excitement or your expletive...

I hope that you all have a fabulous trip full of good times and adventure... I look forward to hearing all about it...

Never kill your children...you can't take it back...and you're almost sure to regret it once you've calmed down...
The trip had many more positives than negatives, so that's a success in my book. We had a great time - I really, really missed having our son there. I missed my husband, too, but with the heat he'd have been a grump, so it's best he stayed home. My mom said it was the best vacation she'd ever had and thanked me for bringing her along. Working on the TR now (I have the photos saved to my hard drive, but haven't had the energy to fight with photobucket yet)!
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:07 PM   #94
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Day 1

So after the somewhat rocky start, the flight to Orlando went very smoothly. I had paid the “let me sit with my own kids” fee when I first booked the plane tickets, so we sat two and two on the plane – each girl had her portable DVD player and movies to watch and each got to sit by the window, so no fighting there. If only I could say that about the rest of the trip. The flight was short and sweet and we arrived about 15 minutes early. We got to baggage claim and our bag showed up right away. We were met promptly by our Happy Limo driver and off we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge after a brief stop at the Publix to get a few bottles of wine and some cheese.

I had really high expectations for the lodge and I was desperately afraid they wouldn’t be met. Did our TA provide our room request? Would it be met, or even closely met? Would our room even be ready?

I am happy to report that I loved AKL from first sight. So did my mom. We were assigned room 2421 on the Zebra Trail. I’d requested 3rd or 4th floor of Zebra Trail, so I’d say the second floor was close enough. We got to the room, put down the luggage and looked out on the balcony to see a giraffe and some antelope. So far so good. The girls wanted to go to the pool (a demand that would be repeated throughout the trip until I wanted to scream just hearing the word pool). I insisted on unpacking everything first (even if I’m only staying one night, I hate to live out of a suitcase, so I have to unpack before doing anything else. The girls cave because they really know they won’t win that fight. Instead they decide who will sleep in the top bunk first. Jeckle wins. I have no memory of how that decision was made, but since there was no screaming or bloodshed, I didn’t worry too much.

The view from the balcony!



The pool at Jambo House is wonderful. I love the natural look to the bottom (some folks think it looks dirty – by comparison, the pool at Kidani Village is sparkling and shiny – it hurt my eyes, to be honest). The girls swam and Heckle loved the water slide (Jeckle wanted no part of it). We stayed out for at least a good hour and then headed to the Mara for dinner.

I had the African stew. It’s pretty much beef stew, except I could taste a bit of sweetness to it and it was spiced with cinnamon. It was served in a bread bowl – I could do without that part. Not because it didn’t taste good, but I’m not a huge fan of soggy bread – I ate the top sopped in the stew but otherwise didn’t eat much of it. I really enjoyed it. My mom got the veggie flatbread. It had olives and goat cheese and sundried tomatoes (I think). I had a bite and it was pretty good. The bread was nice and crisp. Heckle and Jeckle had the cheese pizza. Or rather, Heckle had her pizza and most of Jeckle’s, who just wasn’t hungry. I’m pretty sure they had the applesauce to go with. We chose the cheesecake and the zebra domes. This was my first time trying the zebra domes. They were really good – you could taste the liquor in them, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I’m assuming the alcohol is cooked out. Heckle loved them. Jeckle wouldn’t try them. I usually make them try one bite of anything and if they hate it, they never have to eat it again. I didn’t feel like fighting over dessert, so she got a pass on that one.

We then took a taxi to the Contemporary for the Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise. Last year, we took a cruise with friends to see Illuminations and the girls loved it. For several months, Jeckle assumed that if we got on a boat, we were going to see fireworks. I had read reviews of this cruise and thought it would be a lot of fun. First we check in – the confusing part being that no-one working at the Contemporary had a clue where check in was. We found another family in the same predicament and sort of wandered around in a pack until we found someone who could direct us.

Once we checked in, we were given our pirate bandanas which would identify us as people allowed to board the boats. The bandanas might be large enough to fit the head of a newborn. As in one whose head is still cone-shaped from a trip through the birth canal. Anyone else is out of luck. Some people were creative and knotted the ends until they had the bandana sort of fitting over their heads. I just tied them to belt loops, hoping they wouldn’t fall off. We took a trip to the bathroom, lost a bandana but got it back because someone had picked it up and heard the “how did we already lose a bandana” commotion. We were then led into a large conference room, where we awaited the arrival of Mr. Smee and Captain Hook. In the center of the room was a table with snacks. We grab some bags of popcorn and a few granola bars. It was sort of embarrassing to see some people fall on the food like they had been cast away on a deserted island for years without the benefit of pre-packaged carbohydrates. I also grabbed some bottled water, figuring if we didn’t drink them right away, we’d take them to the parks.

Captain Hook and Mr. Smee arrived and the line for autographs started. At this point, I would like to state how thrilled I am that my kids don’t really care one way or the other about character autographs. If they happen upon someone and can get one, they’re happy. If they’re at a character meal, they want the signature. But if they see a line, they have no desire to stand for more than 5 minutes. I asked Heckle if she wanted an autograph and she said no as soon as she realized she’d have to stand up to get it. Jeckle was happily consuming her popcorn and wasn’t interested in the guests of honor. After about 20 minutes, the line was down to just one couple and Heckle said she wanted to get her bandana signed if she could. So we got in line. The couple in front of us asked if Heckle wanted to go ahead of them, which I thought was very nice - it was clear that things were winding down and it was possible they wouldn’t get pictures with Hook or Smee and they wanted her to go first. Fortunately, everyone got pictures and signatures. The room was then divided into the Captain Hook camp and the Mr. Smee camp. We had a host named Patch (I think they were both Patch), who took us outside to the dock where we boarded the boat.

Overall, the cruise was nice. Patch was very funny and made a Krull joke that cracked me up. I mean, what are the chances that you’ll hear a CM at Disney World make a joke about Krull? I’d guess they’re about the same odds that anyone reading this will even remember the movie Krull. Or that Liam Neeson was in it. Patch talked to each family and asked where they were from and asked about birthdays, anniversaries, and any other celebrations. Then we had a round of trivia with prizes for the correct answers. I had read a review of this cruise elsewhere in which the writer stated that all the kids got something. I don’t know if that was an odd occurrence or if the policy has changed. Heckle was somewhat put out that she wasn’t called on at all and she knew the answers to most of the trivia questions (topics were the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and the Pirates of the Caribbean). The seating was assigned, which was good, but the view of the fireworks was better on the left side because that side of the boat faced MK. Wishes was nice. But it wasn’t Illuminations. So if there is a cruise in our future at WDW, it will be for Illuminations and not Wishes (of course, part of that stay is at the Poly, so a cruise to see Wishes would be sort of silly). Peter Pan was waiting for us back at the dock, but neither girl had the slightest interest in getting his signature, so we left.

We elected to take the monorail to Epcot and pick up a bus back to AKL. The cab ride would have been faster, but the fare was over $20 and I was feeling cheap. Everyone was tired, so we just sort of fell into bed. The plan for the next day was to have breakfast at Boma and head to the Animal Kingdom.

Last edited by tarak; 10-16-2009 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:22 PM   #95
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I am really glad that AKL lived up to your expectations - and that there wasn't a radio shack in the lobby!!

Sounds like a wonderful start to your trip. Your kids are very wise not to be into autographs so much. There really isn't any fun in standing in line for ages!

Your mother's flatbread at Mara sounds very much like something I would like. So far I have only ever had breakfast at Mara and caesar salads. Might be worth exploring a bit more in January...
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:06 PM   #96
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Great start so far!!
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:50 PM   #97
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I think I'm going to have to try the flatbreads at Mara. They sound yummy! I agree with Flossbolna. I'm so glad there wasn't a Radio Shack in the lobby of AKL!!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:07 AM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flossbolna View Post
I am really glad that AKL lived up to your expectations - and that there wasn't a radio shack in the lobby!!

Sounds like a wonderful start to your trip. Your kids are very wise not to be into autographs so much. There really isn't any fun in standing in line for ages!

Your mother's flatbread at Mara sounds very much like something I would like. So far I have only ever had breakfast at Mara and caesar salads. Might be worth exploring a bit more in January...
Quote:
Originally Posted by disneygirlinnj View Post
Great start so far!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TxMickeyLover View Post
I think I'm going to have to try the flatbreads at Mara. They sound yummy! I agree with Flossbolna. I'm so glad there wasn't a Radio Shack in the lobby of AKL!!
The flatbread pizzas were very good, I thought – the vegetable one my mom got had a very Mediterranean flavor to it, which seemed a bit odd, since the rest of the theme was African. But it was very tasty.

I was most relieved that not one aspect of that dream came true!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:21 AM   #99
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Day 2 - the curse of Animal Kingdom

Day 2

The plan was to get up early, have breakfast at Boma and get to the Animal Kingdom when it opened. Because I knew it would close at 5, I assumed we’d spend most of the day there. We didn’t go to AK at all our last trip because our first ever trip to AK didn’t go really well. We did really enjoy the Festival of the Lion King and the safari tour (which I defiantly went on despite being 4 months pregnant - honestly, the way my husband drives on the Schuykill is a much more stressful). But otherwise, it was stinking hot, the kids were cranky and so was I. I was really hoping to have a better time this day.

Breakfast at Boma started off well. I loved the curried sausage and biscuits. The roasted tomatoes were so simple, but really, really good. The girls stuck with French toast and fruit. I also had some of the pap, which is pretty much grits. I like my grits with lots of cheese, so I was just meh about them. The coffee was okay. I’d brought my own roasted coffee and grinder and had gotten good and caffeinated before leaving the room.

We headed to the bus stop and didn’t wait long before a bus to the AK showed up. I think the ride was only about 5 minutes long. The buses pick up at Kidani Lodge first and then pick up at Jambo House. The process is reversed on the trip back, so guests going to Jambo House are dropped off last. We never had a problem getting a seat when heading to a park and the drop off at Kidani only added a few minutes to the ride home, so it didn’t bother me much. It was definitely not worth it to us to take the bus to Kidani from Jambo house - the walk is only a few minutes and if you miss the bus, the wait for another one takes more time than the walk there.

At any rate, we got to the park and headed over to the entrance – we couldn't see anything at all as far as the opening ceremonies were concerned, but I didn’t worry too much about that, since the kids didn't seem to care. I checked out the map and told my mom that I’d get fast passes for Expedition Everest first and then meet them at Dinoland. I knew that my mom and Jeckle would have no desire to go on EE. But I thought Heckle might go with me. I figured we’d either use the second set of fastpasses ourselves or gift them to someone. As we passed the Tree of Life, I noticed that there was no line at all for Its Tough to Be a Bug, so I figure we’d hit that first and then go to Dinoland.

The most successful part of the day was getting the fast passes for EE. It sort of went downhill from there. Both girls were terrified of the Bug show (Heckle more so than Jeckle, who took off the 3D glasses as soon as she realized the glasses were responsible for the objects hurtling at her face). In all honesty, I wish we’d spent more time just looking at the details of the Tree of Life and skipped the show. If we ever go back to AK, that’s what we’ll do. The tree is pretty amazing.

Dinoland reminded me of Hershey Park. At least the more annoying parts of Hershey Park. As in, I’ve already dropped a wad of cash into getting through the gates and all my kids want to do is play the carnival games that cost more money. I convinced the girls to go on the Triceratops Spin. I knew Dinosaur was out and would scare the bejezus out of them. They didn’t want to do any digging and they were both too short for the Primeval Whirl. I broke down and got them each tickets to play the “whack a mole” game. I don’t remember what they had to whack - some lizardy looking thing. Heckle beat Jeckle soundly and I had to purchase more tickets and tell Heckle to let her sister win. The CM working also helped Jeckle get ahead (she was very nice). So $10 and two cheap stuffed dinosaurs later, we left Dinoland.

It was time to put our fast passes to use, so we went to Expedition Everest and I rode it alone (Heckle asked me if it went backwards at any point and since it did, she decided she’d stay put with my mom). I don’t mind rides that spin, have loops, send me backwards, etc. Sheer drops I can live without. I enjoyed most of the ride, but the 82 foot drop about did me in. I look like I’m praying to the heavens in the photo taken on the ride (which I elected not to purchase, since it would have only been for my husband's sake and he probably would have scanned it and posted it on Facebook for all our friends to enjoy). I was very glad Heckle decided not to go, because she would have been done for the day (she was already begging us to leave and go to the pool and it wasn’t even noon). I gave the other three fast passes to another party (who were suspicious of my intentions and, I suspect, thought they were fake). We somehow managed to completely miss the Maharaja Jungle Trek. Instead we headed to the Kilimanjaro Safari for fast passes and then went through the Pangani Trail.

I really enjoyed the Pangani Forest Trail. It was relatively cool since there was shade throughout. Jeckle especially loved seeing the animals. There was a beautiful silverback gorilla who was posed perfectly for pictures. I wanted to get a shot, but a woman was monopolizing the space long enough that by the time she was finished with her photo op, he moved on. She said to her significant other “it’s like he was posing just for me.” I was seriously tempted to point out that he might have posed for others as well if she hadn’t hogged the view. But I was trying to be good and non-confrontational. I freely admit to being childishly pleased when, at the next exhibit where she was trying to photograph the waterfall, my kids ran in front of her camera and she said “well, there goes that shot.” Oops – sorry.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:24 AM   #100
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Day 2, part 2

At this point, Heckle’s badgering me about the pool was working my nerves. To put it bluntly, Heckle was a pain in the rump. She wasn’t interested in any rides – all she wanted to do was shop. She was slightly mollified by the pin trading – she was able to trade away the pins of Ursula, the Eels from the Little Mermaid that had angered her for so long. But otherwise, she was sullen and moping. All I could think was god help me when she hits puberty. On the safari tour, whenever Jeckle would get excited about seeing an animal, she would snap back with things like “who cares about that?” I told her we were going to see the Festival of the Lion King and then we could leave. I think part of the problem was that the day before, when we’d been in Pennsylvania, it had been about 70 degrees and it was a good 20+ degrees hotter. We were all hot and sweaty, but Heckle tolerated it less well than did the rest of us.

The gods smiled on us at Camp Minnie/Mickey, because just as we got to the line for FOTLK, the theatre opened and we got seated, so we didn't have long to wait for the show to start. Jeckle had to go to the bathroom and I was allowed to leave the back of the theater to take her to the restroom and come back in. The show is just wonderful. My mom really loved it and Heckle said it was better than the last time. I’m pretty sure it was the same as the last time, but I was just happy she enjoyed something from the day.

We ate somewhere at the park– but I honestly could not tell you what we ate or if it was good. Since I tend to remember bad food better than good, I’m assuming it was fine whatever it happened to be.

We had the girls in the double stroller and were going with the flow of traffic (which was pretty fast). One woman kept jumping in front of me and slowing down for the rest of her party. After the third time, I muttered something to my mom about how I should just run into her. Okay – so maybe I didn’t mutter it, because she heard me and started shrieking that I shouldn’t be going so fast. I told her it wasn’t easy to stop 100+ pounds of stroller and kids on a dime and maybe she shouldn’t run in front of others and then stop. She just went nuts and told me that her husband was about 300 pounds and I better be careful. At that point, I ignored her and put on the jets to get away from her and prayed she wasn’t going back to the AKL (she wasn’t). I was pretty much fried at that point and didn’t want to deal with her and knew if I said something it would be nasty and not something I’d be proud of saying in front of my kids. Jeckle didn’t notice a thing but Heckle was freaked out. I kept telling her that the woman couldn’t do a thing to us, she wasn’t getting on our bus and the chance of us ever seeing her again was pretty much non-existant.

We got back to the lodge, changed into our suits and hit the pool for an hour or so. We went upstairs, showered and changed for our dinner at Sanaa. At this point, the girls discovered that Mickey had come to our room and left some things for them. I had arranged for Mickey’s Grand Welcome and the girls were just over the moon. We came into the room to find Mickey footprints on the floor leading to the beds where there was a huge box and two 22” stuffed Minnie Mouses. On the table by the balcony, there was an aluminum popcorn bucket with rice crispie treats spelling the word “welcome.” Inside that tub, were four smaller tubs. We had a picture of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy signed by everyone and welcoming us to WDW, and a photo album that we can use for our pictures when I get them printed (which will hopefully be before we return next year). Each girl had an autograph book with a personalized message from Mickey and we had two blankets that were personalized – one for our family and one for my mom. We also had the shadow of Tinkerbell hanging on the mirror – she had a light that glowed different colors. The total price was just over $400 (I had added one blanket and one autograph book). The kids went nuts and couldn’t believe that Mickey had come to their room - they kept saying “Mickey is awesome!” and told everyone they saw that Mickey had stopped by.

The loot!

Last edited by tarak; 10-16-2009 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:29 AM   #101
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Dinner at Sanaa

Dinner at Sanaa

We got there really early but checked in and wandered around the lobby a bit, looked in the gift shop and went out to the public viewing area for a while. Heckle’s mood was much improved at this point and so was mine. We were seated for dinner at the same time as our ADR. We had a table right next to the window and saw a zebra lounging just outside. I let the girls get lemonade with the light up tinkerbells and ordered some cocktail for myself – it was pretty much fruit punch with a bit of alcohol in it and an ice cube that flashed different colors. The one thing I have issues with is the weakness of drinks at WDW relative to the price. I’m not expecting the best margarita in the world. But if it’s $10, it should taste stronger than the juice they serve at breakfast.

This guy was hanging out while we ate dinner!



I ordered the sustainable fish with the scallops and shrimp and a spicy broth. The girls each ordered grilled chicken. Jeckle ate most of her rice and a bit of the chicken. Heckle ate her chicken after I spritzed some lemon on it - it was a tad dry for her tastes (and I agree - I dipped a few bites into the broth in my bowl and it was wonderful that way) She also got my shrimp. My mom ordered the vegetarian sampler with the paneer cheese and spinach and the spicy cauliflower. She enjoyed hers – I didn’t try hers because while I love Indian food, we have some very good local restaurants that serve those dishes. Also, cauliflower is vile, no matter how good the sauce is that covers it.

I had the chai cream for dessert and a double espresso. The espresso was pretty good (it tasted more like an Americano, though) and the chai cream was excellent. It was essentially a chai flavored custard, but I loved it. My mom had the chocolate cake, which she liked. I’m not a huge chocolate eater so I wasn’t interested in trying it. The girls had ice cream with sprinkles. At this point, Jeckle had both glowing Tinkerbells and they were waging a pretty serious battle over her napkin. She wasn’t loud enough to disturb others and was having a great time, so I let her enjoy herself. We walked back to Jambo house rather than wait for the bus and pretty much fell into bed.

Next up – Epcot and Food and Wine.

Last edited by tarak; 10-16-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:30 AM   #102
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I'm glad you were happy at the AKL-I think it is really well done resort...I like the pool too...and I think that the restaurants there are really a cut above...we ate at all three...and really enjoyed Sanaa also...

This me me laugh-we had the same pre cruise expererience...

In the center of the room was a table with snacks. We grab some bags of popcorn and a few granola bars. It was sort of embarrassing to see some people fall on the food like they had been cast away on a deserted island for years without the benefit of pre-packaged carbohydrates.


Actually I think you have to see it to believe it...I thought the coffee/tea setup was thoughtful touch but wow...I pulled David pack from the center...worrying he might get bumped around in the rush for the snacks...

Glad you had fun...and looks like you have another trip in the works...so at the end of the day...you must have had a good time...


Mickey's Grand Welcome looks like it was awesome...what kid wouldn't love that?...
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Old 10-18-2009, 12:35 PM   #103
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Just realized that I missed a bunch of updates!

Adjusting to the heat is always difficult. I am sorry that a put a damper on your day!

I am always amazed how little people consider others around them - like going through an exit door and then stopping immediately in front of the door, blocking it... But then threatening you with her husband, how strange!!

At least you had a good meal in the evening!
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:19 PM   #104
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Quote:
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I'm glad you were happy at the AKL-I think it is really well done resort...I like the pool too...and I think that the restaurants there are really a cut above...we ate at all three...and really enjoyed Sanaa also...

This me me laugh-we had the same pre cruise expererience...

In the center of the room was a table with snacks. We grab some bags of popcorn and a few granola bars. It was sort of embarrassing to see some people fall on the food like they had been cast away on a deserted island for years without the benefit of pre-packaged carbohydrates.


Actually I think you have to see it to believe it...I thought the coffee/tea setup was thoughtful touch but wow...I pulled David pack from the center...worrying he might get bumped around in the rush for the snacks...

Glad you had fun...and looks like you have another trip in the works...so at the end of the day...you must have had a good time...


Mickey's Grand Welcome looks like it was awesome...what kid wouldn't love that?...
Isn't that rush for the food crazy?

We definitely had a good time. And the girls loved the Grand Welcome. I don’t think I’d do it again, but it was nice to do once. Towards the end of the week, Heckle asked me if Mickey really sent everything, because she was suspicious. I said that it really came from Mickey, but that I had asked him to drop off a few things for them. That seemed to satisfy her. If I do anything at all for our next trip, it will be much smaller – maybe the cocoa and book set they have for Christmas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flossbolna View Post
Just realized that I missed a bunch of updates!

Adjusting to the heat is always difficult. I am sorry that a put a damper on your day!

I am always amazed how little people consider others around them - like going through an exit door and then stopping immediately in front of the door, blocking it... But then threatening you with her husband, how strange!!

At least you had a good meal in the evening!
It was definitely weird. Before I started frequenting these boards, I had no idea that EVCs didn’t have brakes. But I still knew better than to run in front of one and stop dead in my tracks. The first time we came to WDW with our kids, as we were returning to the resort via the monorail, a couple at the entrance had parked their stroller, opened a jar of baby food and started feeding the baby. I was amazed that anyone would think that was a good idea.

I think what made the day so painful was that it was our first full day and I just had to pray that it would improve from there. Because otherwise, it was going to be a really long week. I thought Sanaa was wonderful. I’m debating whether I want to try to eat there again next trip – the kids could not have cared less, but if I tell them they get to swim at the Kidani pool in exchange, they might go for it.
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:24 PM   #105
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I thought I’d post a few more photos from AK – these were all taken on the Pangani Forest trail. I have more, but little patience with photobucket and it’s glacial pace.


The backside of a gorilla! I think they are beautiful. But cannot imagine wanting to run into one in the wild. Dian Fossey, I am not.


They especially loved the meerkats. Although at one point, Jeckle yelled that one was dead. I said it was just sleeping. Luckily, it raised its little head to prove me right.


I really want to go back to this park when it’s not sweltering hot. With luck, the third time will be the charm!
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