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Old 10-21-2009, 02:58 PM   #106
tarak
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Day 3 - Epcot

We had breakfast at the Mara - which was the same breakfast I've had at any other CS restaurant at a resort. It was fine. My mom and I got the larger breakfast platters and gave the kids our mickey waffles and bacon. One of them used a snack credit to get froot loops. Which I think are nasty. Doesn't everyone know that Apple Jacks are far superior.

Our day at Epcot was far more successful than the day at AK. In part because it was about 5 degrees cooler. Also, I parked the stroller periodically and made the girls walk so they weren’t forced to physically touch each other. Which is not to say they didn’t touch each other voluntarily but it was a definite improvement. My mom just loved it there. She especially liked touring all the different pavilions at the World Showcase. When we first got there, we went to the Land for fastpasses to Soarin’. None of us had been on it – the return time was already around 11:30 (we’d gotten there pretty close to opening), so I suspected we might not make it back there. I was really sad that Living With the Land was closed. I love this ride. Even my kids think its cool (especially the Mickey head-shaped pumpkins). So that was kind of a bummer.

We ended up going on Imagination and then wandered over to the World Showcase. Jeckle doesn’t like Imagination because of the skunk stink. She’s not a fan of attractions that spit a foul smell into the air, AKA Stitch’s Great Escape and It’s Tough to Be A Bug. Can’t say I blame her, but it’s not a ride-killer for me. On the other hand, I’ve been changing diapers off and on now for 7 years, so maybe I’m immune at this point.


The girls in Canada – I asked them to pretend they loved each other. Jeckle makes that Elmer Fudd face a good bit. I think it’s a combination of sun in her eyes, the fact that she doesn’t want her picture taken, and that she thinks it’s funny. The fact that it annoys me is just icing on the cake, I think.

I don’t know if the WS opened earlier than normal because of the Food and Wine festival or I’m just suffering from memory loss because I can’t for the life of me remember what else we did before we got there. We started in Canada and went counter clockwise from there. The girls started their kidcot masks in Canada. While I like the kidcot stations, I was happy that they weren’t obsessed with getting to each station. Our family doesn’t tend to go to many of the movies in the World Showcase. I prefer to look at the architecture and wander through the shops.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:00 PM   #107
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Day 3, part the second

I was very excited to be at the F&W fest for the first time. To be honest though, I ended up tasting much less of the food from the booths and a lot more of the wine. The first sample I tried, though, was from the booth for New Zealand, and I went with the seared scallops and the recommended wine (IIRC, it was the Sauvignon Blanc). Both were wonderful. The scallop was perfectly cooked and nice and warm. The wine, from what I can remember, was very clean. I’m not very good at describing wine flavors. I know if I like it and that’s about it.

At some point, we stumbled upon Belle and there was almost no line at all for autographs and pictures. I sort of prefer Belle in her blue dress than when she’s all dressed up in her yellow gown.



I tried the crawfish etouffee and the praline bread pudding. I lived in Baton Rouge for a year and I’m sort of a sucker for Cajun food. It was okay. The bread pudding was really, really good though. I also tried the falafel at the Moroccan booth. I love falafel and was pretty disappointed. It wasn’t very warm and the pita was falling apart completely from being so dry. There is a Lebanese place near my house that makes amazing falafel, so I really should have known better than to try it elsewhere. That sort of impacted what I was willing to try the rest of the time. I didn’t even bother with the Greek food, since my husband’s Greek relatives make the best!

I sampled the Mouse Catch as well and loved all three cheeses. But if you give me a plate of cheese and some wine, I’m usually pretty content.

We got to Norway and I was looking forward to going on the Maelstrom. Jeckle, however, was petrified at the idea and started to cry. She went on it last December and while I wouldn’t say she loved it, I had no clue it frightened her so much. So I waited with her while my mom took Heckle. Who at that point had decided that she only wanted to go on rides with me. I finally said that she could either go with my mom or not at all. Jeckle was borderline losing her mind from Heckle trying to convince her it wasn’t scary. I then took Jeckle into the shops with me and was able to get her to pose with a troll. Apparently they aren’t so scary when you’re not in a boat going backwards down a watery slope.

This is as close to the Maelstrom as Jeckle got.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:16 PM   #108
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Day 3, part the third

The two lovely ladies at the kidcot table in the Japanese pavilion were amused by Jeckle’s knowledge of kaiju, or Japanese monsters. For the record, Godzilla is not a good guy except when he is and Gamera is her favorite, although Mothra is prettier. And female. So don’t make the same mistake I did and call Mothra a “he.” You’ll get an earful. Jeckle specifically requested a birthday cake with Gamera on it. Fortunately for Jeckle, you can buy just about anything on Amazon, so her cake had Gamera battling Zedus (although they both fell face first into the icing and looked less like they were engaged in a fight to the death and more like they had passed out).

Jeckle announced this past Monday that she would be turning into Mothra in eight hours. I didn’t get a call from her kindergarten teacher that she’d sprouted wings, so apparently it was a no-go. Most likely my fault, since I wouldn’t let her go to school wearing her sleeping bag “cocoon.” Sort of hard to walk with that over her head.

I very badly wanted to take this home but knew it would get destroyed and/or lost by my children.


It took some convincing, but Jeckle did agree to go on the boat ride in Mexico. She kept saying it was scary and I kept repeating that it wasn’t. I said that it had Donald Duck in it. How scary could he be? I think this ride is neat. How can you not love the dolls from It’s a Small World celebrating Dia De Los Muertos? I also love looking at the items for sale inside the temple. I was tempted by the tequila bar, but it definitely didn’t look kid-friendly and it seemed wrong somehow to leave my mom and children outside so I could sample some shots.

At some point, the girls both passed out completely. Ah, peace!

Last edited by tarak; 11-06-2009 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:23 PM   #109
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Tiki toki, tiki toki, hoy, hoy, hoy!!!

We had dinner at the Biergarten. I’d never eaten here, but I loved the idea of sitting at a table with strangers. My husband and I went to England and Scotland for our honeymoon. The first night there, we ate some of the worst food ever at what might be the cheesiest dinner theater ever. It was supposed to be a Medieval feast. But at some point, Henry VIII showed up and the cast sang songs from Camelot. It was bizarre. But we ate at a huge table with a lot of other tourists and seated across from us was a father and son from Norway. The son was practicing his English, so we had a wonderful time getting to know them. Worst beer ever. It was not only warm (which I expected), it was flat (which I didn’t). The wine was even worse. But I remember the evening fondly because of our dinner companions.

Anyway – I now love the Biergarten. The food was fairly good. I’m not even going to describe it as anything other than a big plate of meat. I think I consumed the USDA recommendation for protein and sodium intake for the whole month in that one meal. But like our honeymoon dinner, sharing the table with others was just a lot of fun and we loved the music. We were sitting with a group of three friends and a gentleman traveling alone. They were so much fun. The three younger ones had been there several times and said the Biergarten was a favorite – they really talked to our kids, which was nice, because when you’re in your 20’s and on vacation, you don’t necessarily want to eat and drink with small children. They also ordered the largest beers I have ever seen. So there might be a correlation there.

I tried the beer flight and so did my mom – there was some confusion when we ordered because we only got one – we just split the beers and each had two pours instead of four. It’s not like we were lacking in booze during our day at Epcot, but I think next time, I’ll try them all. They were really good. When the band came out, Jeckle grabbed my hand and took me out to dance. Then Heckle joined her. Every once in a while at home, I’ll randomly yell out “tiki toki, tiki toki” just to see if they yell “hoy, hoy, hoy!” They usually do. So the Biergarten is definitely on the schedule for next year.

As an aside – the gentleman traveling alone had to leave early because he had a split stay and his luggage got lost on the way from one resort to the other. So big note to self: take a cab next year going from AKL to the Poly and take the luggage along…

We finished the day by taking a trip on Spaceship Earth. Jeckle refers to this ride as "Epcot" itself. I kind of agree with her. I love it. I don't remember at all what it was like before it was refurbed. But I think I loved it then as well.

We went back to the AKL, hit the pool for a while and went to bed. Mom and I hung out on the balcony for a while first, watching the animals and drinking some wine. It was a pretty great ending to a pretty great day.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:32 PM   #110
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Took the kids to Hershey Park for the Halloween celebration. At one point, the piped in music was "Great Grinning Ghosts."
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:54 PM   #111
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Anyway – I now love the Biergarten.
Good to hear that you approved of my country's restaurant! And in case you wondered, in German it is Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi! And it doesn't mean anything!

Good to hear that your trip improved after that first day!
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:26 PM   #112
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Good to hear that you approved of my country's restaurant! And in case you wondered, in German it is Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi! And it doesn't mean anything!

Good to hear that your trip improved after that first day!
I definitely want to go back there. Pretty sure my husband will love it as well. I remember reading in a guide book, I think it was the Complete Guide to Walt Disney World, that the lederhosen worn by the male CMs aren't really worn in Germany anymore, except by the elderly. Is there any truth to that?
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:12 AM   #113
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Your day at Epcot was great! I wish I tried a lot more food at the F&W too. And totally agree with the pita in Morocco. totally fell apart.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #114
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Your day at Epcot was great! I wish I tried a lot more food at the F&W too. And totally agree with the pita in Morocco. totally fell apart.
That was definitely disappointing.

I'm totally behind on updating this. And here I'm going to backtrack just a bit. When we went to the pool at the end of Day 3, I left the girls with my mom to go upstairs and get Jeckle’s goggles from the room. I came back downstairs and my mom was panicking because she couldn’t find Jeckle. She had gone to get towels and told Jeckle to stay put at the lounge chair. She came back and Jeckle was gone. Heckle was right there and said Jeckle wasn’t in the pool. I told her to stay with my mom and said I’d go look around. I looked in the Mara first and she wasn’t there. Then I looked in the bathroom and she wasn’t there. I walked down to the table that is set up for crafts at that time of day and said to the CM “this is going to sound ridiculous, but have you seen a little girl in a bathing suit?” She said, “is it that one?” I turn around and sure enough, there is Jeckle. Holding hands with a lady who has two girls around the same age as mine and looking for a distraught family. I thanked the CM and went to collect my child. The mom told me she’d had the same thing happen with one of her kids. To be honest, I wasn’t that worried, because I knew she had to be somewhere close by. But my mom was really upset. And that put her in the mindset of not wanting to separate for anything. And if I had to walk off to get something or do something, she didn’t want to move from the spot where I left her until I got back. I think she would have stapled Jeckle to her side if she could have.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:22 PM   #115
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Day 4 – the shortest trip to the MK ever…

Thursday was early morning hours at the MK, so I figured we’d try to get there early and wander around, hit a few rides, then head over to Ohana for our 11:30 breakfast reservation. That’s right. Breakfast at 11:30. I was told that the character breakfast there is so popular that they’ve extended the time. I’d think they could just break out lunch, but maybe that would be too difficult (and maybe not sustainable for slower times of the year). So we got a light snack in the Mara before getting on the bus.

Our whole trip, we had amazing luck hitting the buses at the right time. We usually got to the stop right as one was pulling up or one showed up shortly after we got there. It was great. The ride to MK is maybe 20 minutes? I don’t remember exactly. Jeckle wanted to go on IASW. Heckle said she wanted to go on POTC. My mom didn’t really care one way or the other. We wore our mickey head tie-dyed shirts that I made the weekend before we left.

Jeckle hiding at Jambo House.



Heckle squishing Jeckle



They had the Halloween decorations up and it was really neat to see. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the Halloween decorations at a Disney park. I’ve seen Christmas, but honestly can’t remember ever seeing another holiday celebrated.







I can’t remember what ride we went on first, but there were almost no lines. We went on IASW, the Dumbo ride (well – the girls went), and Peter Pan (we got fast passes for that one – the only ride that required them because I have very little patience waiting for rides anymore). I took Heckle on the Haunted Mansion, while my mom wandered around with Jeckle, who is absolutely terrified of the HM. We took a turn on Aladdin’s magic carpets (which the girls like better than Dumbo, I think because they rock back and forth as well as up and down). My mom wasn’t thrilled with the amount of bouncing that took place when the carpet went up and down. I think it’s fun with the bouncing up and down. And the girls loved it.

We also walked through the Swiss Family Treehouse. I hadn’t done this in years. The last time was definitely at Disneyland and it was probably about 20 years ago. There really is a lot of detail there. Obviously a lot of climbing, but I think its fun. At this point, Heckle started to lobby heavily for the pool. I said we were going to have breakfast with Lilo and Stitch and then we’d see where we could go from there. So we head out and take the boat to the Polynesian.

Mom and the girls at the Treehouse!
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:24 PM   #116
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Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch!

I fell in love with AKL on this trip, but I do have a fondness for the Poly. Which is good, since we’re supposed to stay there next year after spending three days at AKL. We leave the day after Thanksgiving. My husband isn’t big on long vacations, so he’ll have the opportunity to opt out of the first part of the trip – he and the Dude can bond over leftover turkey and stuffing. And football, which I sort of despise. I follow baseball and that’s pretty much it, so sports in late fall heading to winter are not my friends. I used to follow the Orioles when I lived closer to Baltimore. Fortunately, they don’t carry the Baltimore games where I live now, so I can just read the stats in the paper and get depressed without having to actually watch them go down in flames. I also follow the Phillies since I married into a big Phillies family, so GO PHILLIES!!! And because I’m woefully late with this, the Phillies have obviously lost the World Series to the Yankees. So my investment in sports is officially gone until the spring.

Anywho, I checked us in with a few minutes to spare and was told it would be around 45 minutes. Well, I figured we were already there and I knew we weren’t likely to get a TS at MK without an ADR. And I’m all about eating breakfast at any time. So I figured we’d wander around the GCH, maybe get some coffee, look in the gift shop. The coffee was wretched. I admit, I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I roast my own and when I travel, I bring my own with me as well as a grinder. But if I need caffeine, I can make do. Even with Nescafe. This was just plain old coffee and it was burned. Like Starbucks level of burned. We looked at some of the holiday pins, but the girls weren’t that interested in getting anything. It was crazy busy around Ohana. That whole area was just a cacophony of sound. I honestly don’t remember it being like that when we were there in 2007 – but that was when the dining plan was still young and we didn’t eat at any of the TS restaurants at the Poly. I did take a few pictures while we were there. I didn’t take as many pictures while on this vacation. And I don’t think there is one picture of me, except the few that I had taken by a photopass CM.

The koi pond.


The 45 minutes passed pretty quickly. At that point, the waiting area was almost deserted, so I’m guessing that 12:15 was the last seating. Which makes sense, considering it was still breakfast. But, hey, it’s 9:00 am somewhere, right?

The food was the same breakfast you get at most TS meals – whether it’s a buffet or family style. Actually, I think it’s the same thing they serve for CS breakfasts. Although the Mickey waffles were fresh. So it was fine. It was filling. Pluto came by first. I’ve never really cared one way or another for Pluto. But of the four characters, he was my absolute favorite. He definitely played the part and even managed to make my mom smile. Mickey and Lilo were fine. Stitch was a crank. I couldn’t tell if he was in character or just irritated with us. Maybe he thought 12:15 was too late for breakfast, too. We got pictures and autographs, but there wasn’t much interaction. The girls didn’t really care or notice. I think they are sort of over the idea of the character meal. They like to go, but I don’t think they’d miss them if we didn’t go at all next year.

I love Pluto!








After we ate, we took the monorail back to the MK and then took the bus back to AKL. I figured if the pool made them happy, fine. We’d just go to the pool. We decided to hoof it over to Kidani and try out the pool there.

Last edited by tarak; 11-06-2009 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:27 PM   #117
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The Kidani Pool

Any guest staying at AKL, whether as a DVC member or just a regular old guest, can use the pool at Jambo House or the pool at Kidani. I thought the girls would love the water play area at Kidani. Here are some photos I took of the area.

You can sort of see the main pool in the background.








Strangely, the girls loved the pool, but didn’t want to set foot in the water play area. I was totally baffled at the time. In retrospect, I think it’s maybe too similar to a water park area at Hershey Park, which is 20 minutes away from our house and which they went to almost every weekend this summer. The water slide at Kidani is a lot of fun. It twists and turns a lot. The directions state to lie on your back when you go down. And let me tell you, you fly down that slide if you do that. I got a glass of wine for my mom and some adult beverage for myself. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was – as with the other mixed drinks I had, I was disappointed in the taste – it was pretty much punch. Which is fine, if I’m not paying $8 for it.

They had lots of activities scheduled, including a pool party and bingo. Jeckle made friends with everyone. Heckle just wanted to practice swimming so she’d get better at it. But she wanted me to play bingo. So I bought a few cards and split them with my mom. Turns out my mom hates bingo. Who hates bingo? Apathy towards bingo I can understand. But hatred? Apparently, there were some pretty hard core bingo players in the depressing mining town in which she grew up and it left a lifelong disgust of all things bingo. Ironically, the only card that won was one of my mom’s. Heckle was thrilled and got to pick out a playdough set to take home (I’d already told her she wasn’t going to open up cans of playdough in the resort room). I think we spent a good two hours at the pool and then headed back to the resort for dinner at the Mara.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:28 PM   #118
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Another day's end...

My mom decided to try the stew and she liked it, but was sort of overwhelmed at the amount of meat in it. Not sure why this was an issue – my mom isn’t a vegetarian and she does not play one on TV. There was a brief time when she didn’t want to eat beef because she volunteered at a horse rescue that had also rescued a baby steer. But she seems to have gotten over that. At least she does when we have her over for meatloaf at our house. I was unfortunately distracted by having smashed the screen on my iPhone when walking back to the table, so I wasn’t able to dredge up a lot of emotion over her not wanting to finish the stew. The girls were getting stir crazy and wanted to do something. I asked them to just let me sit for a few minutes and digest the fact that I’d wrecked my phone (which I’d had for about a month). "Girls, mommy feels nauseous right now. Go look for hidden Mickeys for a few minutes."

So after mourning my loss, I looked up the activities for the evening and thought it would be fun to listen to the folk tales around the fire and then maybe hit the parade that goes through the lobby of Jambo House. We got seats at the fire pit and waited. And waited. As it turned out, we were looking at the schedule for September and, as it was now October 1, we had been waiting in vain. The girls did manage to get instruments for the parade and had a great time. The parade ended, as things usually do in Disney, at the gift shop. Each of the girls got a card with her name on it, although there was some drama about Jeckle’s name being misspelled. I felt so bad – the gentleman who was signing her card tried to spell it correctly and I kept saying it was fine but Jeckle was just distraught. He filled out a second card for her and all was well (although I was a bit embarrassed – I know in part she was tired and I’m sure they’re used to cranky kids, but still…) We went outside to look at some of the animals through the night vision goggles and then headed up for bed.

Again, another successful day. Well, except for the phone. My husband said I just shouldn’t own an expensive phone. He’s had the same Nokia phone for years and it’s good enough for him. Of course, if I had his phone, I wouldn’t be able to research the latest video card as we’re driving to Best Buy. Or ponder the reviews of washers and dryers as we peruse the appliances at Sears. I just sort of rolled the cost into the price of the whole trip, and at the end of the day, it’s a drop in the Disney bucket. I mean, I had considered getting the hopper pass option. And since I didn’t, it’s sort of a wash, right?
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Old 11-06-2009, 04:10 PM   #119
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What a day! Sorry about your phone, that's really annoying.

I love the way you talk about your family's adventure, very dry humour! Breakfast at 12:15 sounds strange, but when we stayed at the Poly in January 2009 we noticed the millions of people waiting for Ohana in the mornings and evenings. This place is just too popular! We never felt like having a drink at the bar as it seemed to be in a crazy zone until we made it there one evening at 9:30 when the last people for Ohana were getting seated (families with extremely tired children... ). And that wasn't even during free dining.

In a certain way I think there are two main categories of WDW resorts: the exotic ones and the luxuirous ones. People see to tend to go either for one style or the other. I would classify AKL, Poly, WL, CSR, CBR, FW and the Tree Houses as "exotic" and GF, BC, YC, BW, SSR, POR as "luxurious". OKW, POFQ and CR seem not really to fit into the categories that well. CR is just a category in its own and OKW and POFQ seem to have split personalities: The rooms are more in the luxurous camps, but the outside of the hotel is more exotic... What I meant to say was: It makes sense that you love AKL and the Poly!
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:53 PM   #120
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What a day! Sorry about your phone, that's really annoying.

I love the way you talk about your family's adventure, very dry humour! Breakfast at 12:15 sounds strange, but when we stayed at the Poly in January 2009 we noticed the millions of people waiting for Ohana in the mornings and evenings. This place is just too popular! We never felt like having a drink at the bar as it seemed to be in a crazy zone until we made it there one evening at 9:30 when the last people for Ohana were getting seated (families with extremely tired children... ). And that wasn't even during free dining.

In a certain way I think there are two main categories of WDW resorts: the exotic ones and the luxuirous ones. People see to tend to go either for one style or the other. I would classify AKL, Poly, WL, CSR, CBR, FW and the Tree Houses as "exotic" and GF, BC, YC, BW, SSR, POR as "luxurious". OKW, POFQ and CR seem not really to fit into the categories that well. CR is just a category in its own and OKW and POFQ seem to have split personalities: The rooms are more in the luxurous camps, but the outside of the hotel is more exotic... What I meant to say was: It makes sense that you love AKL and the Poly!
Aw, thanks. I worry when I start to ramble. I do that at work, too, and people start to get that glazed look in their eyes. At least I can't tell on the internet (and everyone can just stop reading).

I was sort of stunned at how busy Ohana's was. I had thought about trying to get a dinner reservation for next year, but my sister is a vegetarian, so sticks of meat don't really appeal to her. And if it's crazy busy, my husband will hate it.

I think you are totally right about the resorts. I think Stormalong Bay looks amazing and I'd love to have the easy access to Epcot. But as beautiful as the YC and the BC look, I have no interest in staying there other than for the pool. I think my husband will like AKL as much as we did. We have friends who go every summer and their favorite resort by far is AKL. I'm sort of hoping to take a summer trip at the same time as they do one of these years, because our kids all have fun playing together and they are of the same mind that half the fun of the trip is spent at the resort!
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