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Old 10-29-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
My2Qtz0205
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Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th anniversary Trip Report *updated 11/11:Epcot Day 2*

TR Episode 1:

Thank you for joining in on my first-ever trip report! We had a wonderful first Disney family vacation from 10/16 to 10/23. If you read my PTR (all 5 of you), welcome back! I will be a good Dis-er and update this trip report frequently so it doesnít get closed like my PTR did. If I am new to you, welcome! And let me introduce the players in this adventure:

Me: Dawn, 33 years old, loves Disney, hates flying, scrapbook fanatic. All pictures are taken with scrapbooking in mind! My last trip was for the MNSSHP with a few girlfriends while we were in Orlando attending a convention in 2007.

DH: Matt, 34 years old, feels (felt?) ďmehĒ about Disney, but wants to make me happy. Smart man!

DS: Quade, turned 7 on our trip, is growing out of Playhouse Disney, but still likes Mickey & Donald

DD: Camdyn, 3 Ĺ, loves Ariel and the rest of the Disney Princesses. She is our absolute diva!

DMom: ďNannaĒ to my kids, ďMomĒ to me. She hadnít been to Disney since I was 10.

DMil: ďGrannieĒ, Mattís mom. I donít think she had ever been to Disney. She and Mattís dad live 4 hours away from us, so are excited to spend any time with our kids. And yes, we get along.

DFil: ďGrandpaĒ, Mattís dad. Very laid back guy, but prefers to stay home.

DBil: Dan, Mattís brother. Hadnít been to Disney in 15 years, since he went with friends after high school graduation.

DSil: Deb, Danís wife. Had been to Disney a few years ago with friends. Loves the Princesses, also, and really any character for that matter.

Yup, we just missed being a Grand Gathering. We took this trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I know most people go somewhere romantic with just their spouse, but I figured our kids are the perfect ages for Disneyóold enough to remember it, but young enough to believe in the magicóand I canít get anyone to watch my kids for the weekend, much less a week, anyway! So, after some number fidgeting and convincing of DH, Disney it was!

Up next: Arrival Day (with pics)!
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322

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Old 10-29-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
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10/16 Arrival Day!

Today is our 10th wedding anniversary! Awww!

We jump out of bed at 5am, in order to leave the house by 6. We don't mope about and complain, because we're going to Disney!

Matt & I get dressed. I put on my shirt that says "My Husband Rocks", and we put on our bride & groom mouse ears.



The kids were a little less excited. After crying and moaning a bit about how they'd rather sleep than go to Disney World, they were dressed, in their mouse ears, and in the car.

We made it to the airport in record time. Matt was amazed at how easy the commute was. It's never that easy when he takes that route everyday on the way to work!

This was Camdyn's first flight. She was scared, but excited to take off. Me too! She asked me to hold her hand.



Our flight was a little bumpy due to rain on the East Coast. Our flight attendant was GREAT--very funny. In her safety spiel, she said things such as, "In case of sudden loss of cabin pressure, after you are done screaming and clawing at each other, grab the oxygen mask from the ceiling." "I'm going to dim the cabin lights now. If you are afraid of the dark or of your neighbor, you can turn on the light above you." "If this airship should become a cruise ship, you can put on the life vest under your seat." Her humor kept my mind off the images of plummeting to the ground that kept running through my mind. The kids did great on the flight. They did have some problems with their ears on the descent, but some nice fellow passengers gave them gum to help pop their ears.

After a long line for a rental car (Avis), we finally got our Dodge Nitro. If you've never seen one of those before, they call it a "medium SUV." Try to fit three adults (my mom was with us), and two children in full-sized car seats into a medium SUV. My poor mom had to sit in the middle of the two car seats, since I couldn't locate the LATCH anchors in the middle of the bench. This is the first lesson learned this trip: ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE. I told Matt we needed to rent a minivan, but he didn't want to spend the extra $150 a week. My mom said next time she'll chip in for the upgrade!

Next post: 2pm, and we're famished! Where to eat?
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322

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Old 10-29-2009, 09:41 PM   #3
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Mmm, our first taste of Disney

It was 2pm by the time we left the airport, and we were all famished. I suggested Downtown Disney.

Woohoo!


I had read good things here on the DIS about both Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck's Express. They were right beside each other, but we came to Earl of Sandwich first, so that was it! Oops, I must admit I told a tiny fib in my intro. I do not take ALL pictures with scrapbooking in mind. There are some pictures I take just for you DIS-ers.

Food porn:

My choice, Earl's Cobb Salad. I loved the chunks of chicken, cucumber, and cheese in my salad. I hate when someone gives you a bowl of lettuce and calls it a salad.


Mom's choice, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich without the gravy. Oh My Gosh. Oh so good. You must try this if you are heading to the World in the next couple of months. It had sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, sandwiched between two slices of warm, crusty bread. I am kicking myself for not getting that one.


Matt's choice, the Italian sandwich


What I chose for the kids, the pizza sandwiches. They just ate the cheese off of it.

After lunch, we walked into Once Upon a Toy.



The kids were dumbfounded, I think. Quade reacted by standing in one place and staring,



while Camdyn flitted from one corner of the princess room to the other.



They got their first souvenirs here--a light-up Mickey wand for Quade, and a Little Mermaid dress-up doll set for Camdyn. We have such bad luck with these things. This is her fifth such set. The first three (two Ariels and one Jasmine) met their demise at the mouth of our dog, and the fourth was lost. This particular one lost her head on our first night. Never again.

After our bellies had been filled and we had taken in the sights of Once Upon a Toy and World of Disney, we headed for our home sweet vacation home in Davenport. DMil and DFil were there awaiting us, as they had driven to FL and had arrived the day before.

Some of the sights as we walked into our master suite:

Aww, we get towel animals, too!

and


Niiice! Of course the kids wanted to be in it immediately, so I gave them their first "Mickey gifts"--a Mickey swim float, Ariel arm floaties and beach ball, and away they went to play with their grandparents while I unpacked.

My original plan was to hit Epcot for Illuminations, but we were pretty pooped. Flying gives me a headache, so we sat in the hot tub after the kids went to bed and toasted to 10 years of marriage with a couple of glasses of wine. Bliss.

Next chapter: Day 2, our first MK day. Kids never react like you think they will.
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322

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Old 10-30-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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Hi Dawn,

I'm joining in on your trip report! I spent your anniversary (my birthday) enjoying wishes from Main St

I'm watching out to see if were ever nearby eachother on our stays Looking forward to reading!

-Sarah
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:10 AM   #5
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Welcome, Sarah!

Happy belated birthday!

I'll work on getting more photos up on Photobucket today, between actually cleaning this house!
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My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:49 PM   #6
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Day 2, 10/17/09, First day at MK

This segment is light on words, heavy on pics! I downloaded 57 just from this day. I guess Iíll have to break it up a bit.

I just could not sleep. I got up at 6 a.m. on the dot. This is very unlike me. If Matt tries to get me up before 7 a.m. at home, he gets The Evil Eye. We had an 8:25 ADR at CRT, and I could not wait for Camdyn to meet the princesses!

Look who is waiting for us to catch up:



We all got to the Tickets & Transportation Center, and started walking towards the monorail. I remember just being sooo happy! I had been planning this trip in earnest since January, and here we all were, just as I envisioned it, about to enter The Happiest Place on Earth.









We get on the monorail, and I look around. Where is my camera?
ďMatt, did you pick up the camera bag? ď
ďNo, you didnít?Ē
Argh!! I cannot believe I forgot my camera! Luckily we are Almost a Grand Gathering, so there are four other people with cameras in our group. So, Iíll just enjoy the day without looking through a camera lens. Itís ok.

As soon as we entered Main Street, I headed right for Town Hall for our buttons. Matt was a bit miffed, as he was ready to head to the castle. Hello, Iím the planner, I know what Iím doing! I very quickly got 2 Happy Anniversary buttons, 1 First Visit button, and 1 Happy Birthday button, and we were on our way to get our pictures in front of the castle.













I met my first PhotoPass photog, got our pic, and headed up to the castle for our ADR. Somewhere in the checking-in chaos, I lost my PhotoPass card! We only had our castle shot on there so far, so it was not a major cause of panic. After a short wait, we were escorted in, and stood in line to meet Cinderella.



At this point, Camdyn has a melt-down. She does not want to meet Cinderella. What? Seriously? In fact, she makes such a fuss that Matt has to take her to the back of the room and sit on a bench in the corner. Quade and I move on anyway, and get our picture taken with our first princess of the day.





As we arrived in the castle, we were told that we would be broken up into two tables right beside each other. That wasnít my ideal situation, but I guess it was to be expected. Our server was very funny and nice. He gave us three options for breakfast: a garden omelet, strawberry yogurt with caramelized fruit, or stuffed French toast. Matt chose option #2, and everyone else chose option #3. I didnít take pics, but the food was sooooo good! I would do this breakfast again in a heartbeat! We also had two fruit bowls to share, and our choices of juices, milk, and coffee.

Soon after the waiter took our orders, the characters started making their rounds. Snow White was first. Here is where we got an inkling of how this breakfast was going to go for Camdyn:




and there she goes, under the table, for the rest of the meal

Quade enjoyed it, though.






still there




I really loved Belle. She made a great effort to try to make Camdyn comfortable with her.

As I said, the food was GREAT, so I didnít feel like we wasted our money on this meal, even though my Princess did not enjoy it as I thought she would.



Continued in next post.
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:51 PM   #7
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Day 2 cont.

After our royal feast we headed to FantasyLand for Dumbo. The line probably had about a 10 minute wait. It wasnít too bad. I rode with Quade, while Matt rode with Camdyn, and Mom and Deb rode together.





After Dumbo we headed to Arielís Grotto. The wait was about 10 minutes at 9:40, so they must be opening her grotto before 10 a.m. I was still hopeful that Camdyn would recover from her princess anxiety, since Ariel is her very favorite princess! She is practically obsessed with anything Ariel. The kids played around the fountains while we waited.






plotting our strategy

Notice weíre all still wearing coats. When I heard about the record highs in Florida the week before we arrived, I prayed and prayed for a cold front, as I do not do well in heat. God answered, and he answered big! The high that day was in the mid-to-upper 70ís. It was absolutely beautiful by noon.

We finally make our way up to Ariel, and little Miss Camdyn tries to scale down my back. I was talking to Ariel, and trying to convince her that this little girl LOVES her, but I donít know if she believed me, since Camdyn eventually made a break for it and sat by the PhotoPass photographer.









After thoroughly traumatizing my daughter for the day, we headed out of Arielís to ride some rides: Winnie the Pooh, then fastpassed Peter Pan, then this little boat ride:



Next was Philharmagic. I worried a little bit about this one, as Camdyn does not care for 3-D movies. I held her in my lap and covered her ears with my hands, and took off her 3-D glasses. She hid her face for the first couple of minutes, until she heard songs from her beloved Disney movies. All-in-all, not so bad. The grandparents loved it.

Matt wanted to ride Haunted Mansion, so he, Quade, Dan and Deb took off for that while Camdyn, Nanna, me, & Grannie rode Cinderellaís Golden Carousel. I pointed out Cinderellaís horse to her, but she decided on an Indian horse instead. Whatever. As long as she was happy (and she was).



Coming up: Part 2 of our first day. The first of my money-saving plans goes down the tubes.
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:58 PM   #8
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Ok, hiding under the table...that is hilarious.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:26 PM   #9
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After we used our Fast Passes for Peter Pan, we were ready for some lunch. My plan was to pack in sandwiches so we could save money by not buying lunch at the park. I ran out of time getting myself & the kids ready that morning, so I assumed Matt had made the sandwiches. Nope. He packed water and some snacks, but no lunch. Okay, no biggie. I heard Columbia Harbour House was good, so letís try that. Matt got the clam chowder, I got the tuna salad, and the kids got Mac Ďn Cheese. It was crowded and loud downstairs, so we headed upstairs and practically had a room to ourselves!

Our next stop was Adventureland and Frontierland. We grabbed Fast Passes for Jungle Cruise, then split off. Camdyn and Nanna got in lines for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, while Matt, Quade, Dan, Deb, and I checked out the wait time for BTMRR: 60 minutes!! Oy! Since we already had valid fastpasses, we decided to get in the stand-by line. Iím sure the wait wonít be that long. About 20 minutes into our wait, we bailed. We had been moving pretty steadily until the CM stopped the stand-by line to let FP people go. 2nd lesson learned: If You Donít Have a Fastpass, Donít Bother.

It was too cold for Splash Mountain, so we decided to meet back up with the rest of our crew, and explore Tom Sawyer Island.



After that we used our fastpasses for Jungle Cruise. It was very cute. We love corny jokes in our family.



At this point we decided to take a break. We went to the train station in Frontierland so we could get off at the front gates. We had our double stroller with us, so we decided to take the handicapped ramp up to the top. A CM saw us and told us to wait at the bottom of the ramp until all of the passengers got off the train that had just come in the station. We waited about ten minutes while this happened. Finally we were escorted to the train. There was a man in a wheelchair in front of us. The CM led him to a wheelchair-accessible gate, while telling us to go ahead through the turnstiles. With our jumbo double stroller (a Graco DuoGlider, if youíre curious). Sure. We had to pull everything out of the bottom, then lift the daggone thing over the turnstiles. Lesson learned #3: Unless you have a very compact stroller, just hike it to the front of the park. It would have saved us a lot of aggravation.

Back at the house, the kids played in the pool (heated for free), the adults decompressed, and we ate our leftovers from Earl of Sandwich for dinner. Our plan was to get back to the park around 7 to watch Spectromagic and Wishes. We ran a little behind, and arrived on Main Street at 7:55. I had wanted to make it to Frontierland to see the parade, but there was no way we were going to make it through this crowd, so we just found an open spot around the flagpole and enjoyed.





























After the parade, we made our way to the Tomorrowland bridge to watch Wishes.





We situated ourselves right under Tinkerbellís wire, so she flew right over our heads! Unfortunately, no pics, because I wasnít expecting that until the end of the fireworks, and Matt didnít have the camera ready. Our fireworks view was partially blocked by a tree, but I loved the theming of Wishes. I see why so many people get emotional during them.

The kids were very close to melting down, so instead of walking around for a while while the crowds dispersed, we got right in there with them. What a madhouse. We decided to walk through the Emporium for a while, but we could barely maneuver the stroller. By the time we got to the entrance, Quade was sleeping. We decided to skip the tram lines and hike the two blocks to the car, and I guess the cool rushing wind on her face knocked Camdyn out as well.



It was a great first day, and I couldnít wait for the next day!


Coming Up: Day 3, DHS. Thereís not much to do there for young kids, so a half day should be plenty, right?
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:11 PM   #10
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Hi! Just wanted to let you know I'm following along!

Denise
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07/87 DLR***05/98 All-Star Music***01/04 Polynesian/4-night Wonder***02/05 7-night Magic Eastern***
09/07 Beach Club***10/08 7-night Magic Special Western (double-dipping at Castaway Cay!!!)
***12/09 Pop Century***08/13 7 night Fantasy Western

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Old 10-31-2009, 01:27 PM   #11
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Thank you, Denise. I hope to have the next installment up soon!
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My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:57 PM   #12
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Day 3, part 1: DHS

My intention today was to make it to DHS for Rope Drop. I think we missed it by five or ten minutes. Still not bad, considering we were wrangling seven adults and two children. By the way, the high temperature this day was 63 degrees! It was OMG cold that morning.








I had handy dandy index cards I had been referring to for our tour plans. They worked great at MK! Today, however, I could not find them! I felt so lost and disorganized. I had researched the times of all of the shows and put that info on my index cards, but fat lot of good it did me now.

I knew the general consensus was to ride Toy Story Mania first, then fastpass it. We found our way to Pixar Place, to the long fastpass line, only to be told by a CM that TSM was down, and the fastpasses now available were for 1:30 or later. We only intended to do a half day at DHS, since we didnít really think there was much there our kids could do. So, we decided that TSM would have to wait for another trip. We donít know what weíre missing.

We passed this on our way to Pixar Place,



and I knew Camdyn would love it. She was a little nervous about it, because she thought it was 3-D, but she did great. We all enjoyed it, though it was a bit like the movie was on extreme fast forward. I guess that's what happens when you try to summarize a movie in a seventeen minute show.

This was right across the street,



so we decided to let the kids see that with their grandparents, while Dan, Deb, Matt, and I checked out the wait time for Rock Ďn Roller Coaster. It was a 60 minute wait, so we decided to fastpass it. At this point I was lost. We wandered to Indiana Jones. No show yet. We walked to American Idol. No show yet. We went into a couple of shops while we waited for Playhouse Disney to let out. We had no idea how long that show was! I took these pics as we walked around:




These guys gave me kisses and the greatest hugs!




After Playhouse Disney finally let out, Mom told me how upset Quade was that he didnít meet the height requirement for RnRC. To cheer him up, Matt, Dan, Deb, and Grandpa took him on Star Tours while the girls went shopping. I wanted to see if we could get in to Beauty and the Beast, but when I finally found a show times guide, I knew we wouldnít make it in time. We went into the Villains shop, and I got a long-sleeved t-shirt and some M&Ms for the kids at Goofyís.

From there we walked back into Pixar Place to look around and wait for the call that the rest of the crew was done. I saw this guy standing around,



and a meet and greet for Woody and Buzz. I didn't want to wait in long lines for characters, and Quade wasnít with me anyway, so we skipped it. On our way past that, Deb called to say that they were done and that Jedi Knight Training was just about to start. We got there too late, so Quade didnít get picked, but he did get to build his own lightsaber.





It was time to use our RnRC fastpasses, so we walked the family to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. We saw this on the way:



RnRC was totally awesome! I am so glad we didnít wait an hour for it, though! We bought the ride photo because Debís face is priceless!



We met the family at The Magic of Disney Animation. We walked through the auditorium and met Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone.





I really wanted to go to the Animation Academy, but once again we had bad timing.

Next time we come we will most definitely spend an entire day at DHS. We want to ride TSM, ride RnRC again (maybe with both of our kids next time!), see the Indiana Jones show, take part in the Animation Academy, and I want to walk through One Manís Dream. There is just so much we didnít do. I took these pics on the way out, though:


Matt posing with Walt Disney's Oscars


This painting brought tears to my eyes, especially since we were going to MNSSHP that night!



At right about 1:30 we headed for the exit, stopping along the way to get the kids Mickey bars. This made for great PhotoPass pictures.







We headed back to the house for a break, and to get ready for MNSSHP!

Next chapter: MNSSHP. Would the kids make it? Would we make it? Will people even see our costumes under our coats?!
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My December 2012 Trip Report via my Scrapbook: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post49171745
My Almost a Grand Gathering, 10th Anniversary Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post34138322
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:38 AM   #13
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10/18 Continued: MNSSHP!

After some quick family photos back at the house,





we got to the party around 6pm. They had closed the monorail to arriving guests, and were herding us all onto the boat.



We went through the turnstiles and got our wristbands,





and then headed straight for BTMRR, since we didnít get to ride it the previous day. This time there was only a 20 minute wait.

After our runaway train adventure, we decided to grab dinner at Pecos Billís. I had no idea what a good decision what this would turn out to be (but not because of the food). The food was just ok. The self-ordering kiosk did not give us the option to order drinks for the adults, so we cancelled our order a couple of times trying to figure it out, then just gave up and got drinks from a cart outside. I donít remember what Matt and the kids got, but I got a taco salad. I donít eat beef, so I dumped that out and just filled my taco shell with toppings from the topping bar.

By the time all nine of us got done eating, it was 7pm, and the Boo to You Parade was to start at 7:30. There were already people sitting on the wall at Pecos Billís, staking out their spot, so we hung around behind them so we could stand on the wall and see the parade. It was a great spot. The Headless Horseman rode right by us, but my camera was not fast enough to capture him. The parade was so much fun, and Matt really loved the music. So much so, that he bought the CD from the Emporium before we left.












This wench sauntered right up to my husband and winked at him!









After the parade, the grandparents decided to go back to the house to relax, so the rest of us headed over to the dance party at Arielís Grotto. We passed lots of long candy lines on the way, but since we could Trick-or-Treat at home, I decided we would skip that. The dance party probably had about 30 people there when we arrived, but there was still plenty of room to move. Camdyn was nervous at first, with her character anxiety, but once she saw that we were pretty much just dancing around the characters, she allowed us to hold her.







Daisy and Donald were our hosts for this party. Quade had a blast! That boy loves to dance. So do Dan & Deb. We stayed there for quite a bit. We danced to a few hip hop tunes, then the DJ taught us the Monster Mash, and we did the YMCA.

We eventually tore ourselves away from the dance party, and headed over to Toontown Fair. The wait time for Goofyís Barnstormer was five minutes, so we took Camdyn on that. It was her first rollercoaster, and she was so excited to be tall enough for it! She was excited/nervous, but she loved it. She did great. It was at this point, though, that I realized my eye felt strangeókind of like pressure was building behind it, and it felt really dry. I wear contacts, but I didnít pack anything in my park bag to take care of them, so I figured I would just tough it out until we got home.

The waits through Mickeyís and Minnieís houses were pretty long, so we decided to head back to the Tomorrowland bridge for HalloWishes. The soundtrack was not as well broadcast as the Wishes soundtrack, so we couldnít get the full effect.





The crowds were not nearly as bad as the previous night, so we leisurely made our way towards the castle, got some PhotoPass pics,





then wandered through the Emporium again.

On our way out of the gates, the same sweet CM that put wristbands on my children was handing out candy. We could only find one of treat bags, since we just threw them under the stroller, so she gave us double candy. By the way, it was about 53 degrees at this point, so she handed us all chocolate!
The kids were much more energized this night when we left the park than our previous night, so they enjoyed dancing around the projected Mickey heads on the sidewalk.







This was such a fun night. Matt, in particular, really enjoyed himself. We played the Boo to You soundtrack from the trunk of our car at Trunk-or-Treat last night, actually.

By the time we left, my eye was really killing me. All I could think about was getting home to take care of it. The next day I had planned for us to do Epcotís World Showcase, so we could sleep in and arrive at the parks at 11. What is wrong with my eye?! Would we make it to WS as planned?

Next chapter: A day for the adults! Epcotís Food & Wine Festival, and a quick search for Urgent Care centers.
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:38 PM   #14
mla1977
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Hi! I'm enjoying your TR so far and look forward to reading more. I hope that your DD eventually warms up to the characters (even if it means another trip before it happens).
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:59 PM   #15
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Sounds like you had a great time at the party! Hope your eye is OK; don't keep us waiting too long!

Denise
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