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Old 11-29-2009, 10:02 PM   #1
themilesfamily
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Thumbs up November 16-21, 2009 - TONS of pics of Christmas activities! - COMPLETED

QUICK GUIDE TO PHOTOS IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC (But I hope you'll read the whole report!)

Animal Kingdom Villas - Savanna room & view from room: Post #2

Dinner at Coral Reef in Epcot: Post #3

Pixie Hollow: Post #10

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party : Post #15 and #16

ICE (at the Gaylord Palms): Post #21 and #22

Downtown Disney: Post #25 and #26

Animal Kingdom Park: Post #28

Osborne Festival of Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios: Post #29


It has always been a dream of mine to take my DD, age 5, on a mother/daughter trip. I picked the week before Thanksgiving because, according to the UG, there would be low crowds -- 4's and 6's -- and we'd get to see some of the Christmas decorations.

We stayed in a studio at Animal Kingdom Villas, Savanna View for 3 nights, Standard View for 2 nights.

Here is a pic of my sweet DD. :


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Old 11-29-2009, 10:55 PM   #2
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Day 1 - Monday - Arrival & Check-in

We had beautiful flying weather and a nonstop flight. Easy peasy.

We hopped off the plane and headed down to the Magical Express counter. There was NO ONE in line. I mean NO ONE. They didn't even make us go up to the desk. They just checked our vouchers and pointed the way to our bus.

People must not travel on Mondays. Anyway, it was a good omen for things to come.

Our Magical Express coach:





We stopped at Pop Century, Coronado Springs and then Animal Kingdom Lodge. It took us about 45 minutes.

We checked in and LOVED our room. We were in a studio villa, Room 5413, right next to the Royal Kuba Suite. We were on the Zebra Trail overlooking the Arusha Savanna - GREAT animal viewing the whole time we were there. Morning, noon and night it was animals, animals, animals! LOVED it.





















The view - GREAT!:














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Old 11-29-2009, 11:40 PM   #3
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Day 1 - Epcot & dinner at Coral Reef

We went straight to the parks. I wanted to go to DHS and see Osborne Festival of Lights. DD wanted to go to Epcot -- her favorite park.

We decided whichever bus came first, that's where we'd go.

Waiting at the AKL bus stop...



And we have a winner....



Epcot was actually an excellent choice. That night there was Spectromagic and an evening EMH at MK, two showings of Fantasmic at DHS, and a morning EMH at AK. That left exactly NO ONE at Epcot. It was deader than a doornail and we loved it. Can you say 3 min. standby at Soarin'?



We rode numerous rides and decided we were famished. I made no ADR's for this trip, (very unlike me!) So we waltzed over to Coral Reef at the Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion. They said they could seat us immediately -- with no reservations. Don't try this at home folks -- this is not a typical result.

Not only were we seated immediately, but we got a two-person table right next to the aquarium!!! It was awesome.

Here's my view when I turn to the left - the interior of the restaurant:



And when I turn to the right, hello marine life:









That's a shark, a turtle and a grouper!

We ordered our meals and I had a yummy drink to start things off. I am NOT a drinker AT ALL, but thought I'd give one of their specialty drinks a try.

From the menu...

Magical Star Cocktail:
Light up your celebration with X-Fusion Organic Mango and Passion Fruit Liqueur, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, and a souvenir Multicolored Glow Cube 10.25







For some reason this is the one thing about our trip that my DD tells everyone. "My mom had a drink that changed colors, but I couldn't have a sip because it had ALCOHOL in it!"

DD got a soda with a souvenir Tinkerbell that glowed. Fun!





For dinner I had: Seared Chicken Breast - served over spaetzle finished with Applewood smoked bacon. So good!!!! DD had pizza, apple slices and carrots.

For dessert we had The Chocolate Wave! So good!!!!:



After that fabulous dinner, we took a few photos in the Seas pavilion.

DD is funny!







Here is the Epcot Christmas tree, by the way:



I don't remember where these are taken -- what has purple seats with metallic arm handles? Maybe Soarin'??





Oh, one funny story about Soarin'. There was only a 3 minute wait, so I thought we'd try it out. Two problems: I am deathly afraid of heights. My DD is deathly afraid of fireworks. And I forgot there is a loud, over-the-top fireworks scene at the end of Soarin'. Ooooops.

When the ride stopped, my DD turned to me and said, "What kind of a mother are you?" We both had a big laugh and promised we wouldn't ride Soarin' again.

Well, I know where this one is taken!:



Coming next: Day 2....Magic Kingdom and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

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Old 11-30-2009, 05:17 AM   #4
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Great start!
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:47 AM   #5
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Great 1st day. looking forward to reading more!
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:14 AM   #6
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Im here, be back to catch up later. Have to go get ready for the day
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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Day 2 - Tuesday - MK

Hey everyone, thanks for joining in!

We woke up Tuesday morning to find a whole herd of zebra outside our window. There were about 5 or 6.



Today was our MK day. For breakfast we splurged on room service. DD had french toast, I had a Belgian waffle -- and we were off.

We immediately came upon the Mayor of the Magic Kingdom! I think he is so dapper. My daughter is learning about government in homeschool -- we JUST learned about what a mayor is, what a governor is, and what a president is -- so meeting the Mayor of the MK was very timely.



Here is Cinderella's castle. Notice there are NO crowds! It was a great day to be at the MK.



We went straight to Fantasyland, as we always do. First stop, Dumbo.:







Some views from the air:





We also did Snow White -- here are some pics as you head into the ride:





And Dumbo waving goodbye:



We met Peter Pan outside of Peter Pan's Flight.



And Donald Duck by the Winnie the Pooh playground:





We went on the teacups:



And then onto Toon Town for my DD's first rollercoaster ride -- Goofy's Barnstormer. Here are a few pics of what we saw in line. My DD is now a HUGE rollercoaster fan. We rode this over and over. A CM gave her a little card as a memento of her first rollercoaster ride.:





Next we went to Minnie's House -- so cute!:















Pixie Hollow pics in the next post...

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Old 11-30-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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Great pictures! What kind of camera are you using? I learned something new! I did not know MK had a Mayor! We have never seen him! Also how did you like the ICE? How did you get there? We are *thinking* about going there but being from cold Chicago not sure I want to go.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBeen2DW View Post
Great pictures! What kind of camera are you using? I learned something new! I did not know MK had a Mayor! We have never seen him! Also how did you like the ICE? How did you get there? We are *thinking* about going there but being from cold Chicago not sure I want to go.
Thanks so much! I use a Kodak EasyShare C-813. I like it because it's easy to use -- easy to transfer photos. I've always been happy with my photos.

I hope you see the Mayor on your next visit! He's very personable.

We did love ICE. And we're from a cold climate, as well. I just found it to be very unique. I've never seen anything quite like it. My DD loved the ice slide. I tried it and apparently I'm not very aerodynamic -- I put-putted down the slide. But DD just flew down like crazy. I have several pics and will post them on Day 3.

We took a cab over to the Gaylord Palms -- it was around $15 to get there and $20 to get back, (they have fancy towncars at the Gaylord Palms that cost a bit more than your average taxi.) I'm glad we went, though!
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:03 PM   #10
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Day 2 - MK - Pixie Hollow

While we were in Toontown, we decided to stop and see the fairies. This was our first visit to Pixie Hollow. We had about a 25 minute wait. A CM at the gift shop told us that waits are typically more like 45 minutes. Again, it was a very low-crowd day.

Here is the entrance to Pixie Hollow. It's around the corner and to the left.



These are pics of the queue area. They told us we would shrink to be 5" tall so we could be the same height as the fairies.









And the fairies themselves:

















The theming in Pixie Hollow is really beautiful and worth a visit.

After that we did a little shopping in the Toontown Hall of Fame gift shop. DD tried out some Mrs. Potato Head construction and then we headed back into the park.







We walked over to the Hall of Presidents where we met the Town Crier.



He was informing the "town" about the newly reopened Hall of Presidents. We went in to see the show and LOVED it. I really think this is a must-see experience at Disney.

DD and I talk a lot about the different U.S. Presidents in homeschool. It was INCREDIBLE for her to see each president in "real life." To see them nod when their name was called and to hear them speak. She was really wowed by this.

The lady introducing the show reminded DD of Betsy Ross, so we had to get a photo with her, as well.



That was it for the rides that day. We headed back to the hotel to purchase our Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets for that evening. There was still availability.

I have to mention one other thing. There are cartoons that run on Disney resort televison called "Disney Sing Along Songs." They are classic Disney cartoons and snippets of Disney movies. My DD adores these and was very disappointed to find they weren't running in the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms. (They only run in some resorts -- not all.) But they were running them on the TV in the lobby. So, while I purchased MVMCP tickets, she watched cartoons.







If anyone else's kids love these, they sell the VHS videos on Amazon. The clips on the Disney resort tv's are from "Disney Sing Along Songs: Heigh Ho" and "Disney Sing Along Songs: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah." We got both for DD for Christmas and she is going to be thrilled! They have others in the series, in DVD format, but these first two installments are the ones they'll recognize from the Disney resorts.

Coming next...MVMCP!

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Old 11-30-2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Yay, a momther/daughter trip. I am planning on taking one with my DD next spring. Looks like you guys are having lots of fun!
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Yay, a momther/daughter trip. I am planning on taking one with my DD next spring. Looks like you guys are having lots of fun!
Good for you! They're young for such a short time. And the wonderful memories of a Disney trip last forever.

DD and I had SO much fun. Can't wait to share more...
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:44 PM   #13
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Great pics

I enjoyed looking at your pics! It looks like you and DD had a wonderful time!
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I enjoyed looking at your pics! It looks like you and DD had a wonderful time!
Thank you! We packed A LOT into 6 days/5 nights. Whew, I was beat. But we had the best time.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:47 PM   #15
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Day 2 - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

We got back to the Magic Kingdom in time to get our MVMCP bracelets and get a seat for the Castle lighting ceremony. (The castle lighting was at 6:30 p.m.) We sat about 10 rows back from the stage. The one good thing about being in front of the castle is you can see the stage show and the Fairy Godmother perfectly. But, I have to say, it is VERY LOUD. The speakers were right in front of us.

When we did the Castle lighting later in the week, we chose to sit over by the Sleepy Hollow refreshment stand, (in Liberty Square.) It was a beautiful view and not so ear-piercingly loud.

My camera batteries died just as they were lighting the castle -- go figure! -- but here are some pics of the stage show and some iced-castle views from a following night.

Before the icing:



The stage show: Cinderella and Prince Charming come out on stage to join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald. The Fairy Godmother appears in the castle under the clock.



And the castle is lit!:



On to the Christmas party!

Main Street was decorated -- and snowing:









We began our evening by riding several rides in Fantasyland. We then rode Goofy's Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad over and over until I practically cried out for chiropractic intervention.

We took a break for hot cocoa and cookies at Columbia Harbor House. (They offered hot cocoa and cookies at numerous locations throughout the park.) Then we stopped back at Toontown, during the fireworks, to meet the Princesses and their Princes. This is a good time to go -- no lines because everyone is watching the fireworks!

Just a note that part of the MVMCP fireworks show, including the finale, is shot off from behind the Toontown Hall of Fame Tent. It's loud, but not too bad when you're in the tent. It sounds like someone is dropping large rocks on the roof.

Notice the Christmas holly in the princesses' hair.:





At that point, we headed back to Main Street to get a spot for the second parade. (They do two identical parades at each party.) We sat at the very end of the parade route -- at the circle, right in front of the main entrance. (The parade comes down Main Street and around the circle to the left.) It was a great view!

I had never seen a Disney parade before. I thought I wasn't a parade-person. Well, not only am I a parade person. I'm a parade person who yells, "Oh my gosh, here comes (insert character name here)!!!!" every time a float comes down the street. About 5 minutes into the parade I realized I was making a fool of myself and stopped yelling.

Pics, pics and more pics:





























More in the next post...

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