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Old 11-13-2009, 12:41 PM   #121
tarak
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Day 5 - Back to Epcot

We had an ADR for Akershus at 12:20, so I thought it would be good to hit Epcot again for a few hours, have lunch and then head back to the resort for a few hours before going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party.

When we arrived, we decided to hit Soarin’ right away and there was only about a 10 minute wait in the standby line. Everyone really enjoyed it. There was a father and daughter in line ahead of us and they were just the friendliest people. So truly, for every grumpy person we encountered, we ran into a dozen who were just wonderful. I decided to get fast passes as soon as we got off – I knew that Heckle and I would want to go on it again. We stopped at the kidcot table so the girls could start their lanyards. I didn’t realize this, but apparently, the kidcot stations in Future World are now unstaffed? I guess we got them right before it ended. I always preferred the stations in Future World. This is great part because the lanyard style collection never ended up being used as a weapon at some point. I don’t know that my kids will care at all next time we head for the world – they love all the interactive things that they can do in Future World. And I admit, going to Disney and watching them color isn’t the most fascinating thing to do. Apparently the stations in the World Showcase have a sponsor, so we can continue to be assaulted by masks as we visit the pavilions.

We went on the Seas with Nemo before heading to the World Showcase. The Seas wasn’t as bad as I remembered it. For some reason the first few times, I just remember hearing “Nemo, where’s Nemo!” shouted endlessly and thought it was annoying. Maybe it’s grown on me, because I sort of enjoyed it this time. Jeckle thinks the jellyfish are scary. Then we went to Talk Turtle with Crush. Which was cute – I don’t know that it’s something the kids would want to do again and again. What they really enjoyed in this area was watching the fish and the dolphins. They got to see the manatees fed heads of lettuce. Heckle and Jeckle were both upset that one of the manatees had a pretty disfigured tail from running into a boat.

We headed to the world showcase to wander a bit and then have lunch. On the way, we stopped at the China pavilion to see the replicas of the terracotta warriors. I’d been to Epcot three times before this trip and never knew they had this display. I think in the past, I’ve tended to just look at the exteriors and outside themes of the pavilions (except for Mexico, since most of it is in inside the temple). I thought they were really cool. My mom snarked something about them having been created to feed the ego of one man. Holy cynicism, Batman!
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:43 PM   #122
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I don’t tend to pay much attention to the US pavilion. I figure I live there. I do enjoy the American Adventure, but wasn’t sure the girls would care much and I was afraid of more snark from my mom. And while I’m ordinarily a total sap, I cry watching the Lion King when Mufasa dies, and I can’t tolerate Dumbo at all (mini rant – I think Dumbo is the most depressing Disney movie ever. He’s harassed and picked on, his mom is locked up for defending him, and at the end of the movie he is exploited for his ability to fly. I find it ironic that kids love the ride so much because the movie is just horrible), I cry at the end of ET when he points to his chest and says “Ouch,” etc., I don’t get choked up at the American Adventure. When we went two years ago, my husband kept sneaking looks at me to see if I’d break down. Nope. I was even pregnant, which usually guarantees that I will cry at Pepsi commercials (and smell anything within a 12 block radius, but that’s sort of irrelevant to this discussion). I do think it’s nice. But it doesn’t move me especially.

The reason for this, I think, is that I sang “Golden Dream” in my high school choir. Having had to sing something in four part harmony while wearing a mauve floor length polyester dress with a high neckline is pretty much a guarantee that a song will never, ever move me emotionally. We did see the drum band out front and that was nice.

Did you know a baby Gamera lives in the lake? Jeckle was beside herself with joy!


We’ve had the breakfast character meal at Akershus the last two times we’ve gone to Epcot, so I decided it was time to try lunch. We checked in and it turned out our ADR was for 12:40, not 12:20. Even so, we were paged right away. So take that, Ohana!

I don’t remember what the girls ordered – I suspect it was chicken nuggets or grilled cheese. My mom and I got the meatballs. I know it’s Norway, so they weren’t Swedish meatballs. But that’s what they tasted like. They were the largest meatballs I’ve ever seen. The sauce had a bit of sweetness to it. We devoured them. I was tempted to lick the plate, I liked the sauce so much. I’d eat there again just to have the meatballs. I could easily talk DH into it, because meatballs put him in his happy place. Honestly. We were at a wedding once and he was ridiculously cranky. They had meatballs at the reception and as soon as I got him a plate, he perked right up. Meatballs and those mini hotdogs wrapped in biscuit dough.

Breakfast is all you can eat. Lunch is not – you have the buffet with meats, cheeses and fruit, but the rest is ordered from the menu and you only get the one plate. Which is probably good, because I would have eaten a few more meatballs. Or more than a few more. They got their picture taken with Belle right up front. I know that Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel were making the rounds in the restaurant, but can’t remember the fifth princess if there was one.

Two tables near us were a contrast in parenting. Each table had two parents and four kids. The youngest child at each table was under a year. At one table, the child screamed and bawled through most of the meal. I know this because she was four feet away from me the entire time. At the other table, the child cried once and was carried out to the waiting area by one of the parents and they proceeded to tag team each other during the meal and only brought the baby back when she stopped crying. I think you can guess which table was more appreciated. I know that it’s Disney and kids cry. I have three. Been there, done that. But I don’t know how you enjoy your meal when your child is pitching a fit (and obviously not having the time of her life, maybe because you insisted on dressing her up like Princess Aurora complete with tulle skirt that I suspect chafed unmercifully), and everyone around you thinks you are a jerk.

As we left, Heckle asked if we could go on Spaceship Earth again. Jeckle passed out in the stroller on the way there, so my mom sat on a bench and waited for us while I went with Heckle.
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:44 PM   #123
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Mnnshp



I’ve never done Halloween at Disney. A friend of mine who has done this and the Christmas party prefers the Halloween party by far, so I got tickets as soon as I knew that our trip would coincide with MNSSHP. We got on the bus around 5-ish to head to the MK. Were it not for the disboards, I would never have known that you could get to the party prior to the 7 pm start time. We chatted with a very nice family and that made the trip sort of fly. Heckle dressed as Tinkerbell, Jeckle was wearing her Minnie Mouse costume, I was doing the ubiquitous pirate sort of thing and mom was wearing an old ren faire costume. It wasn’t nearly as hot as I thought it might be. We did get a photopass picture of everyone in costume, so I’ll try to scan that and post it later.

There were almost no lines at all. The exception was Peter Pan. And the fast pass machine were down (all of them, I think – I assume they do this at the parties). I like Peter Pan, but will not wait for 30 minutes to ride it. Heckle wanted to go on POTC and Jeckle wanted to go on IASW. Since we were already in Fantasyland, my mom took Heckle over to IASW and I headed to Adventure Land. I managed to dodge the bullet of Splash Mountain because Heckle didn’t want to get her costume wet. We passed by Captain Hook, she hid behind me because she was actually afraid he’d do something to her (being dressed as Tink and all). I said, “Why? Tinkerbell sold out Wendy to Captain Hook, didn’t she?” She would have none of it, so we waited until the coast was clear and then headed to POTC. Mom and I played phone tag for a while, but finally met back up and took the girls on Aladdin’s Magic Carpets again. Too bad, the Tiki room was closed for the night. Another bullet dodged.

The girls did some trick or treating and we watched the parade, which was really neat. In all my years of going to Disneyland, never once did I watch a parade. Everyone lining up for the parade was a signal to me that there would be no lines at the rides. And after working at Disneyland while in college, I had no desire to ever see the electric light parade again. I now have an earworm from that soundtrack just having typed the words electric, light and parade in the same sentence.

But it was neat. The headless horseman trotted past. I realize the danger of horseshoes slipping on the streets. But the headless horseman never struck me as a trotter. At least he wasn’t posting, which seems even less headless horseman-like. We were about 15 minutes into the parade when some largish gentleman proceeded to step in front of me and put his toddler on his shoulders. I said very loudly, “excuse me!” and he moved. Seriously – he was a tall guy and there was plenty of room for him to stand elsewhere and not block people. At least he moved. Most people were nice enough, but there was enough bad behavior (strollers rammed into calves, people dashing in the way at the last minute) that I’d be hard pressed to bother with a parade again. At the very least, I’d have to stake out one of the spots mentioned in the Unofficial Guide as a good place to see things.

On our way back to the castle to see the fireworks, we passed the ferry boat. They had a line down to where you would normally get on the ferry (I think – I’ve never actually been on it). In front of the ferry was a coffin and a night watchman dressed in his Haunted Mansion finest was walking back and forth onboard. It was a very nice addition to the Halloween theme. It looked like all the CMs for the Haunted Mansion were dressed and made up to look like the ghosts inside the attraction. As the Haunted Mansion was experiencing technical difficulties, they got to interact with guests a bit more than usual. We watched the fireworks in Fantasyland. At this point, the kids were so tired they just wanted to sit on a bench and watch, so we only saw them from one direction. Afterwards, on our way out of the park, we hit a few more trick or treat stations – taking one long journey through Alice and the Mad Hatter’s Treat Party. We boarded the bus and headed back to AKL and slept like rocks.

The fog is creepy, no?

Last edited by tarak; 11-13-2009 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:30 PM   #124
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Day 6 - relaxing at AKL

So for our last day, I have no real plans made. I had an ADR at Boma for 10 in the morning and then an ADR for Jiko that evening. I knew there would be time at the pool to make the girls happy. And I was hoping to take advantage of some other resort events. I was already sad that we would be leaving Sunday. And leaving early Sunday. Our local airport has non-stop flights to Orlando that are pretty cheap. But there is only one flight each way per day. The flight down isn’t bad – it leaves around 11:30. The flight back leaves at 8. Which means getting to the airport at 7. Which means leaving the resort around 6, and getting up around 5. The good thing is that check in for luggage at the resort opens at 5 and you have to have your bags there 3 hours before your flight leaves, so we just squeak in.

I am not a morning person. I am capable of getting up early, but really despise it. During the week, I get up early to work out before anyone else is awake. I crank up the espresso machine before heading to the basement so that when I’m done I can slug down a double shot of espresso on my way upstairs. I generally experience feelings of bitterness at the same time I taste it in my coffee because I’ve been up for an hour and a half and everyone is still sleeping. And, depending on the time of year, it is still dark outside.

The closest one in the family to being a morning person is Heckle. But the later into fall it gets, the more she’ll sleep in. I dread the day when we have to get Jeckle up early for school. As it is, she has to be dragged out of bed and, on occasion, dressed. Otherwise, the routine tends to go something like this:

7:30 a.m. Lights flicked on in the room. Jeckle told to wake up. Jeckle grimaces and burrows under the covers. Heckle has probably been dressed and ready to go for half an hour. They share a room and Heckle is not quiet. But since Jeckle can sleep through Heckle’s snoring, she is pretty much immune to most noise made by her sister.
7:35 a.m. Jeckle is told to get out of bed and get dressed. She will either stay in bed or get out of bed but slump to the floor and stare at nothing.
7:40 a.m. If it’s a good day, Jeckle is now sitting on the floor but has her pajamas off. At some point, she will take off her panties and wander around aimlessly and completely nude. I’m assuming that at some point, she will be more self conscious about this, but since she is currently only five she could care less.
7:50 a.m. Jeckle asks if she can get the Dude out of his crib. She is told she can if she gets dressed first. That usually does the trick.

So to put it bluntly, having to get up before 5 when I’m on vacation stinks. The upside is that we get home from the airport around 11 a.m. and I have time to get everything unpacked, washed and put away and still have half the day left.

My BIL and his family live in Orlando, so we usually try to get together with them for a meal when we’re at WDW. This time only he and his daughter were able to eat with us at Boma. But it was nice to see them and catch up. I think my niece grew three feet taller than she was the last time I saw her.

After breakfast, we head up to the room to change into our suits and head for the pool at Kidani. Heckle asked me if we could stay at Kidani village for our trip next year. She doesn’t call it Kidani. It’s “that place with the better slide and the cool pool and I like the hot tub too and I won that toy playing bingo (well you won the toy but I picked it out) and I think it’s really neat there so can we?” I was tempted, but since we’re a party of five we’d save more getting two regular rooms at Jambo House than booking a suite. I told her we could still visit the pool. We spend at least two hours at the pool before heading back to the resort. We still had time until dinner, so we hopped on a bus to go to Downtown Disney for a while.

I used up the snack credits buying the rice crispy treats, which would later be the source of my breakfast for a week or so. I have a serious problem with them. Maybe not enough to require an intervention. But still. I’m now contemplating whether I should stop off at the grocery on the way home to get a box of Rice Krispies. We hit the Playskool store (can’t remember the real name) and the girls were each allowed to fill a box with My Little Pony paraphernalia. I was tempted to do the same for the Dude at the Mr. Potato Head station. But I think he’d have more fun doing that himself next year. And there are only so many potato parts I want to worry about stepping on in my bare feet over the next 12 months. One section of DD has the water that sprays up from the ground. The girls got positively soaked running around with about a dozen other children. They played for a good 20 minutes. We squeezed out as much water as we could from their clothes and then got on the bus to go back to AKL.

It’s Christmas 24/7/365!
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:31 PM   #125
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Dinner at Jiko

Dinner was scheduled for 7ish at Jiko. Then we headed back to the lobby so the girls could participate in the Music of the Savanna. They each picked a type of instrument – there were three types that represented rain, plants and animals. And the CMs would have them play the instruments separately and then together to show that the music was better when played as one. Afterward, the girls got a string and beads to make a necklace. One of the beads was to represent an animal and they were to choose an animal that they would protect. Heckle chose the panda and Jeckle choose the giraffe.

I was really excited about eating here. We had saved our TS credits for it, but if I were to do the dining plan again, I’d just pay OOP. We paid extra for the wine and an appetizer that my mom and I split, so 2/3 of the meal cost wasn’t covered. Having had the dining plan the last three trips, I think I’m ready to part ways. I like the idea of having it all paid for ahead of time. But I think we’d save more if I got an AP and a TIW card. And I just don’t eat dessert that much. None of us do. But we eat it because it’s part of the plan. I don’t watch what I eat when I’m on vacation, but I also don’t need to feel like I have to eat dessert because I already paid for it.

I could already tell the Jeckle was just not in the mood. My kids tend to be pretty well behaved in restaurants. They don’t run around like crazed monkeys and they generally eat well. But once in a while they are just put out. I think Jeckle was tired because it was the end of the trip and, let’s face it, we were all tired. So I pretty much let her eat what she wanted to just so she’d be happy. Our server was very nice. He brought out an amuse bouche, which I knew Jeckle wouldn’t want. It was a curried ginger soup that was fantastic – there were a few slices of crystallized ginger in the soup which made for a nice sweet and spicy bite. Heckle tried a few bites, said she liked it but didn’t want to eat any more of it. I ate Jeckle’s, finished off Heckle’s, and ate all of mine.

My mom and I split an order of the crispy savannah rolls. They were fantastic. Not greasy at all. They were slightly sweet, if I recall, but it came from the corn and not a sweet sauce. Heckle gave them a thumbs up. Jeckle just asked for more bread.

For the entrée, I went with the barbequed short ribs. It was great, but I had a hard distinguishing how they were different from other barbeque that I’ve had. The sauce wasn’t as sweet as the ribs from the Hoop de Doo, for example. But I think I’d go for something more exotic the next time. It was a huge portion and I couldn’t finish it, which bothered me. I figure if an animal was sacrificed to become my meal, I should respect that and eat the whole thing. But I just couldn’t. My mom went with the curried shrimp, which she loved. I think next time around, I’d probably just order a few different appetizers and not get an entrée. Or maybe get something like the seared maize pudding. My mom had considered that, but our server said that he thought it was more like an appetizer sized portion.

Jeckle ordered the mac and cheese. I should have known better than to let her get it. She likes Kraft mac and cheese. She doesn’t like it fancy. She doesn’t like real cheese. She’s not even that fond of the Kraft version. But that’s what she wanted, so I let her order it. She took one bite and hated it. Our server was very, very nice and said he’d bring her something else. She got the peanut butter and jelly – ate maybe half of it. She did polish off one of the containers of peanut butter that came with the meal. Heckle ordered the grilled cheese and ate the whole thing.

Jeckle had the ice cream for dessert. Heckle ordered the fun do. I can’t remember a thing about it, except that she liked it.

My mom and I had shared a bottle of wine with dinner but were so stuffed, we just had the desserts packed up for eating later on. We got a second bottle of wine to enjoy on the balcony later on.

We walked around the gift shop for a while because my mom wanted to get the Dude a drum for his birthday. Heckle decided that she her life would end RIGHT NOW if she didn’t get a shark tooth necklace (good thing she didn’t choose the shark as her protected animal). No idea where that came from. I picked out shirts for DH, my niece and nephew and grabbed a tank top for myself. I also got the girls each a lanyard medal for their pin collections, but those will go in their Christmas stockings. I also relented on the shark tooth necklace, but made Heckle stew a bit wondering if I’d gotten it for her or would make her wait until next year.

I also used the last of our CS credits to get two pizzas to go so the girls have something to munch on in the morning. Who doesn’t like cold pizza? One day last summer, I gave Heckle cold pizza in her lunch and her day care teacher said that “wasn’t food.” Not in my book, sister.

We made sure everything was packed up in the two bags that were going to be checked in the morning and the girls hit the bed. They were out very quickly. Mom and I opened the bottle of wine, got our desserts out of the mini fridge and enjoyed our last night on the balcony. I had the pistachio crème brulee. My mom got chocolate cheesecake. The brulee was really, really good. I tend to like desserts that aren’t overly sweet and this was perfect. Nutty and creamy and not too rich or sweet. It would probably have been better at the restaurant rather than in the room later on, but it was still wonderful. Four zebra came within spitting distance of us and proceeded to have their own evening snack. We didn’t spit on them, by the way. It was a fantastic way to end the day.
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Old 12-04-2009, 04:19 PM   #126
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How sad that your trip is more or less over now, but it seems like you had a relaxing last day!

I think Jiko has indeed some rather conventional dishes. My favourite is the maize crusted halibut (actually the only entree I have ever eaten there...), but it is not overly exotic either.

Have you thought about renting DVC points for next years stay? I think you might be able to get a villa for the same price as two AKL rooms that way. But perhaps not having the kitchen is part of the appeal of not getting a villa, too.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:18 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flossbolna View Post
How sad that your trip is more or less over now, but it seems like you had a relaxing last day!

I think Jiko has indeed some rather conventional dishes. My favourite is the maize crusted halibut (actually the only entree I have ever eaten there...), but it is not overly exotic either.

Have you thought about renting DVC points for next years stay? I think you might be able to get a villa for the same price as two AKL rooms that way. But perhaps not having the kitchen is part of the appeal of not getting a villa, too.
I've definitely thought about the DVC points. I was thinking the sunrise safari might be fun, and my SIL and her two kids will be with us for our AKL stay and she said they were interested as well. I suspect my husband and Jeckle and the Dude will be staying in the room while we go. They're not overly interested in getting up that early in the morning.

I'm also wondering about whether we should switch our dates from the week after Thanksgiving to the week of. A friend of mine just returned and said it was a lot more crowded than it's been the last several years when she's gone at that time. The schools around here are closed the whole week of Thanksgiving, so that would be easier in terms of taking time off, but the parks would probably be even more crowded. The most crowded I've ever seen a theme park was Disneyland the day after Thanksgiving. And of course, the prices will be horrific, I'm sure.

Ah, well, the beauty of planning things so far in advance!
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:31 PM   #128
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We leave. Sniff.

So I’m up at 5 so I can dash down with our bags. Some of the clothes weren’t totally dry from the last pool trip and it didn’t occur to me until just now as I'm typing this that I could have used the laundry facilities to dry them. So one of the bags was 6 pounds over the 50 pound limit. EEK! That problem was quickly solved, though. I got boarding passes for everyone but my mom. Apparently, having an apostrophe in your name and typing it into the computer for checking in your bags has the same effect as flinging holy water on a vampire. Okay, maybe not that dramatic. But I wouldn’t have thought an apostrophe would have such an effect. Apparently the No Irish Need Apply policy is alive and well in the computers at AKL.

Not much else happened. We got the kids dressed, ate cold pizza and hot coffee and loaded everyone up to go to the airport. My mom got her boarding pass with no problem. The Airtran flight is a nice short one, only about 2 hours, and my husband was waiting for us when we got there. My inlaws were watching the Dude, so we called to let them know we were on our way home. When he saw me, he yelled “mama!” and ran right to me, which was awesome. The last time I went on vacation without him and just the girls, he ignored me for two months. I really, really missed him. I don’t know that I can go on vacation that long again without him. Of course, he is not a moody teenager yet, so that opinion might change in about 10 years.

So that’s pretty much the conclusion of our little trip. I have to get back to my PTR for next year at some point. Hope everyone enjoyed it and thanks for reading!
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:33 PM   #129
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I've definitely thought about the DVC points. I was thinking the sunrise safari might be fun, and my SIL and her two kids will be with us for our AKL stay and she said they were interested as well. I suspect my husband and Jeckle and the Dude will be staying in the room while we go. They're not overly interested in getting up that early in the morning.

I'm also wondering about whether we should switch our dates from the week after Thanksgiving to the week of. A friend of mine just returned and said it was a lot more crowded than it's been the last several years when she's gone at that time. The schools around here are closed the whole week of Thanksgiving, so that would be easier in terms of taking time off, but the parks would probably be even more crowded. The most crowded I've ever seen a theme park was Disneyland the day after Thanksgiving. And of course, the prices will be horrific, I'm sure.

Ah, well, the beauty of planning things so far in advance!
Isn't the sunrise safari the one where you need to stay at CL? So I guess if you think about DVC CL you need to book exactly 11 months out, especially over Thanksgiving! I know what you mean about planning. I am starting to feel so nervous because we don't have much left over which need to plan for January!!
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Old 12-19-2009, 09:46 AM   #130
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Isn't the sunrise safari the one where you need to stay at CL? So I guess if you think about DVC CL you need to book exactly 11 months out, especially over Thanksgiving! I know what you mean about planning. I am starting to feel so nervous because we don't have much left over which need to plan for January!!
Your trip is coming up so soon - you must be so excited!

You do need to stay CL for the sunrise safari. I suppose there is always the possibility of a great pin that will come my way - you never know! My friend just got one for 40% the exact dates we are going - so I can always hope!
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