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Old 01-08-2010, 10:47 PM   #46
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Up next was a stop in Futureworld for some rides. Journey Into Imagination was first. This was one of my favorite rides as a kid and Figment was my favorite character, however I haven’t ridden this ride since then. It was closed last time we came and we just didn’t make it the trip before that, so it had been a long time. While the ride is a bit outdated I still love the Figment character and the song they play. What’s better, Tristan really loved it too!

We stopped in the Imageworks area and the kids played around for a bit. I found a frame I wanted to buy and was glad I did, as I never saw it anywhere else.

The kids found cast members to trade pins with. By now they have all decided on a theme they wanted to trade for this trip. Chase has decided on a set of Disney characters dressed as pirates. He’s got his set pretty much filled. Tristan is trying for Club Penguin characters, which are quite a bit harder to find. Carissa found one aqua 2-tone Mickey head she loves and is looking for more like that. Hopefully they’ll find more items to trade for as the trip goes on.

Next up was Living with the Land, which was a walk-on. As always, we loved it. We spent the entire ride pointing out all the cool things we saw to one another. We were sad not to see Mickey head pumpkins growing this time.

Since we were in the area we used our fastpass for Soarin’. The park was pretty busy today and the standby line was reading 70 minutes. Ouch! We walked by most of that and into the queue line closer to the attraction. I must admit that even with fastpass we waited quite a long time for this ride – maybe 25 minutes. I thought it was a little excessive for a fastpass line, but maybe I’ve just been spoiled by all the other fastpass lines that move so quickly.

They ran out of room and we had to wait for yet another flight before it was our turn. Thankfully this meant that we got to sit up front – our favorite place to sit! Chase had read that there was a Mickey head on the golf ball that’s swung at you in the ride, but it was moving too fast to really make it out. As always, Brian breathed deeply when we were flying over the orange groves. They should bottle that scent up and sell it, because Brian would certainly stock up on it. Yum!

Our next stop was Fountainview. Brian remembered that this was one place where they serve hard scooped ice cream in waffle cones so we went inside for some. The kids actually got double scoops on sugar cones, since they were allowed to do that with their snack credits. The boys ate theirs pretty well but it was entirely too much for Carissa to eat. Brian had his much-coveted Dulce de Leche in a waffle cone. I had mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone. It was very yummy and a nice chance to sit down and relax for a bit.

We found a Photopass photographer outside by the fountain, who took pictures of us with Spaceship Earth in the background. It’s so beautiful at night with the colored lights illuminating its surface. (The pic with the family is Photopass and the pic of just the ball is mine.)

We headed to Club Cool to check out the different flavors of soda there. Brian and Chase liked lemony soda, Kinley, which is from Israel. Carissa likes Kimberly “even though fizz the pokes your tongue. Tristan liked several that he tried. I tried the lemon and thought it was ok.

After quenching our thirst in Club Cool we headed to use our fastpasses for Test Track. This was another one that’s a pretty long wait despite the fastpass. We did bypass much of the stand-by line but then you have the preshow and the ride load area after the preshow is always really full. We looked for car #23, which is supposed to have a hidden Mickey on it. We saw the car but couldn’t find the hidden Mickey as it passed. Bummer. But we were surprised when we got home and saw this picture... with a hidden Mickey in it! YEAH!

The kids wanted to try Mission Space next. Motion Simulators really mess with my stomach and Brian didn’t care about it either so we let the kids go on their own. They rode green, the more “tame” version, the first time. They loved it!

They thought green was pretty tame and that they could handle orange. Since it was pretty much walk-on we decided to let them go for it. When they finally came out I could see that orange was a whole different story. They were all stark white and walking slowly. No smiles on their faces this time! Orange wasn’t good at all, they said. Way too much. As Chase says, “It feels like you’re going to throw up your insides, the skin will be ripped off your bones and you will be squished to the back of your seat like a little bug.” Needless to say they stuck with green for the remainder of the trip.

It was getting late now and we knew we wanted to line up pretty early for a good spot to watch Illuminations. We were worried about getting a good spot because the park was pretty busy and there were so many people there for the Candlelight Processional. We wandered to the International Gateway and grabbed our blankets from the locker. We started walking around the world showcase looking for a place along the rail, preferable with a bench to sit on while we waited. We still had 90 minutes until Illuminations started and no one else was lining up so we pretty much had our pick of seats. We ended up finding a bench near Germany that was right along the railing. We camped out there and were happy we’d found such a great spot. It did end up being pretty ideal, as we had a great view and didn’t have to stand the entire time we waited.
We were all pretty starving about now, as we’d had lunch at 2:30 and it was now 8pm. Tristan and I left Brian and the other two at the bench and went to get food from the Liberty Inn. The server there was so helpful! She suggested I get Carissa a regular size meal, as they don’t require you to order kids meals for counter service. She also told me that you have to request the large size drink or they will give you the regular one. We took advantage of all her good advice and had a nice, big dinner for us all with extra to drink while we waited. Kudos to Chris in the American Adventure for all those great pointers and for being such a great cast member!

After dinner I hopped over to Germany to look in the shops there. When I came back the kids all took off to Germany to look for hidden Mickey’s that were in Chase’s book. They found some and didn’t find others, but it was a great way for them to pass the time while we waited for Illuminations to start.

About 9:15 it started getting pretty busy around us and we had to guard our bench pretty fiercely. But soon Illuminations started and everyone else was forgotten.


We love this show and watched it oooooohhhhhing and aaaaahhhhhing the whole time. Tristan took some video, I took some pictures and then we just sat and watched it all unfold. They had a bit of a Christmas ending, which was a nice finale to the show.

After it was over we knew we didn’t want to be in the mass of people all trying to exit the park at the same time. We sat on the bench for a little bit talking and just enjoying the time together. Then we got up and stood in a huddle and just hugged one another, so happy to have these moments together to share and remember. As always, I could be counted on to tear up in moments like these and this was no exception.

Eventually we walked hand-in-hand through the park and made our way out. We quickly got on a bus, came back to our room, showered and headed to bed. It had been a late night but such a wonderful one! I can’t wait for whatever tomorrow will bring.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:05 PM   #47
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Yay another awesome update!
I keep meaning to mention, I love your daughter's hoodie!
And the Hidden Mickey book is so addictingly fun isn't?! My dad and I loved trying to find them. He still tries to at home...? Hahah
Can't wait for the next update!
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:28 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by princess.chell View Post
Yay another awesome update!
I keep meaning to mention, I love your daughter's hoodie!
And the Hidden Mickey book is so addictingly fun isn't?! My dad and I loved trying to find them. He still tries to at home...? Hahah
Can't wait for the next update!
Oh, thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying the updates. And yes, the hoodie is adorable, isn't it? She's such a girly girl! LOL

The Hidden Mickey book was a HUGE hit this trip. I must admit that it was annoying sometimes because Chase would be walking and reading and running into things (and people!) but it was also very fun. We enjoyed it and even wrote a paper on it for one of his classes.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:33 PM   #49
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Is it really over halfway through our vacation? Already? I swear, I could stay here quite a bit longer and be perfectly happy, thank you very much. But we have just a last few precious days to go and we’re looking forward to making the most of them.

Today was our final day at Hollywood Studios. I timed things a little better this morning and we did indeed make the park before rope drop this time. Oh, and we arrived early enough to be near the front of the line when they opened the park. That made all the difference in the world!

First thing, of course, was Toy Story Mania. This has quickly turned into Carissa’s favorite attraction, even more so than Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. (Insert dramatic *gasp* of horror! LOL) We took turns playing against different people this time, yet no matter who played against whom Brian always came out on top. He has repeatedly earned over 150,000 points while I meander somewhere about 135,000 with the kids all trailing somewhere under 100,000. I know there are tips on how to earn more points in the games and now I’m disgruntled that I didn’t pay more attention to those tips when reading the disboards. Oh well, it’s still a fun ride, though I think we could all do without the extra spinning between games. Ugh!

By the time we were done riding some of the crowds waiting for Fastpasses had died down a bit, though not entirely. Our return time wasn’t until 11:55am so we headed towards our next ride, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster!

The line was non-existent and we were immediately herded into the preshow and then the short line to wait for a ride car. Carissa and I got to sit up front in the rollercoaster. She screamed the whole ride… and forget about putting your hands on the safety bars, she held them up in the air the whole time and loved every second of it. The boys loved it too. I think we have a bunch of rollercoaster junkies on our hands!

Next up was Tower of Terror but, given my not-so-favorable reaction to our first ride this trip, I decided to pass. Tristan did the same. Neither one of us wanted to spend the next hour feeling like we might puke at any moment. We waited in the gift shop for the others to ride. It didn’t take too long at all. They had a great time on the ride! Oh, and they found the hidden Mickey in the lights on the ride too, which they loved. Sheesh, I can’t believe Chase has us all looking for these things with him!

It was now 10am and we’d ridden all 3 of the major attractions at the park. The one other thing that both Tristan and I really wanted to do was to draw with an animator again. We headed to the Animation Courtyard and got there by 10:10am. The first drawing class didn’t start until 10:30 so we camped out on a bench and waited for it to begin. Tristan was hoping, yet again, that we’d get to draw Stitch, however we soon learned that we would once again be drawing Mickey. 2 drawings this trip and both of them are Mickey. Not that I don’t love Mickey, but I was looking forward to doing someone else. Well, the good thing was that this wasn’t Sorcerer Mickey like we had drawn before but instead was the standard face shot of Mickey. I really, really enjoyed drawing with the animator and would have loved to go back again and again. And I wasn’t the only one in our group who felt that way. But we had places to be and things to see so we moved on.

We had received a coupon yesterday at Epcot giving us a 20% discount on merchandise at the main store in each of the parks if it was used between 9am and noon. Now that it was 11 we started our way towards Mickey’s of Hollywood. We got waylaid real quick at Starring Rolls, where we picked up a cinnamon roll and chocolate croissant to share and a water to drink. The kids ate the cinnamon roll and I ate most of the croissant, sharing it with the boys at the end. We all shared the water – until one of the kids backwashed a whole bunch of pastry bits into it. EEEEEEWWWWWW!!! This reminds me why we usually get the kids their own drink. Ick!

With a little food in our bellies (at least enough to tide us over until lunch) we went shopping. We ended up just getting a few pins and Tristan’s much-coveted Vinylmation. He has been eyeing these the whole trip and finally ended up getting an Osborne Spectacle of Lights Vinylmation character. At least that way he knew what he was getting and didn’t end up with some junk character. Plus it’s a great reminder of the lights.

The kids hadn’t had a chance to go on Star Tours yet and now was just the time. The wait said 20 minutes but I think it was really a walk-on. I don’t know because Brian and I both sat out of this one since it’s a motion simulator. Instead he and I took a few minutes to peruse the Muppet and Christmas shops, buying a few little things along the way and having them shipped to our resort. My, how I love that little amenity!!! Staying onsite rocks! And now that we’ve stayed onsite I don’t know how we’ll ever visit again without it!

It was now nearly noon and we had just enough time for a showing of The American Idol Experience before lunch. I wasn’t really sure this show would be worth it but it was pretty good. The singers were all just so-so, but it was cute and fun and the stage there is amazing. They did a great job recreating the show. And if I were a singer that would be a very, very cool place to be!

Next up was lunch at Mama Melrose’s. We went there expressly for their flatbread pizza but I don’t think any one of us was impressed with it. We left lots of pizza on our plates and decided to pass on dessert too. But we did love the warm breadsticks with butter. AND our waitress suggested we add our name to the wall next to our table. We found a good spot and wrote “PIXLEY 09” on the wall, then took a few pictures.

Brian then mentioned how neat it would be when our kids took their families to Disneyworld if our name were still there. Here’s hoping…

After lunch we headed for the backlot tour. *snore* The only cool things about this were seeing Walt’s plane and some of the memorabilia in the ride queue and gift shop. That’s it. Besides that it was a colossal waste of our time. Oh well, you live and you learn.


We finally made our way back towards Pixar Place to use our fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. Man, this fastpass stinks! They send you part way up the queue and then merge you with the standby line. Sheesh! But we only ended up waiting about 15 minutes in line instead of 60 or more like the standby line was estimated to be. And the winner, again, was Brian. Imagine that! But it was fun and I really think that I get better and better at it as time goes on. The kids, of course, LOVE this ride and quickly proclaim it one of their faves this trip.

By now our day was winding down at Hollywood Studios. It wasn’t even 3pm, but we had promised the kids the chance to swim and we wanted to make good on that promise. So we waved goodbye to Hollywood Studios.

Last edited by pixleyyy; 01-10-2010 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #50
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My family loves all the thrill rides at DHS. We haven't been since TSM has opened, so we can't wait to try it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:08 AM   #51
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Just catching up on your TR. Looks great so far, can't wait to hear more. Was wondering where you got the Cinderella Pearl cages? They are so adorable!
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:15 AM   #52
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Just catching up on your TR. Looks great so far, can't wait to hear more. Was wondering where you got the Cinderella Pearl cages? They are so adorable!
I got them off ebay (do a search for "carriage pearl cage"). They are really inexpensive and I've heard they tarnish easily so I coated ours in clear nail polish. I've worn mine every day since I got it and it still looks pretty decent. So just know it's not a great quality piece but it is unique and beautiful. I've received lots of compliments on it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:22 PM   #53
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Just started reading but I am really enjoying it! Judging by the ears, your middle son seems to have a sense of humour!
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:30 AM   #54
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Loving your TR so far can't wait to read more.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:38 AM   #55
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It wasn’t even 3pm, but we had promised the kids the chance to swim and we wanted to make good on that promise. So we waved goodbye to Hollywood Studios and caught a bus back to our resort. We quickly changed into our swim trunks and suits and then we walked around the lake to the pool.

From our room we can see the huge Mayan temple that is the identifying symbol of the pool. Unfortunately it’s a fairly decent walk to the pool, but I was able to grab some neat pictures of the kids

and the resort on the way. (or room was on the top floor of the building shown).

Brian, the kids and I all went on the water slide first. First and last for Brian and myself, as it’s nothing too exciting.


We hung around in the pool a bit and then I got my camera so that I could take pictures of them on the cool Mayan temple. A little more swimming then a quick soak in the hot tub and we were done. The pool was a bit of a flop for us but now we can at least say that we’ve done it.

We came back to the room to shower and change but left Brian and the boys back at the arcade using up the 30min free game play card that came with our resort package. Once they returned they quickly showered too then dressed to head out to Downtown Disney.

We arrived at Downtown Disney just after 6pm and started out in the marketplace. Our first stop was the Design-Your-Own shirt store where we made a t-shirt for Brian’s dad, whose birthday we missed while we were here. It has a picture of Grumpy on it, his favorite character. It says “I’m Grumpy” in big letter under Grumpy and then we added “but I’m still the best grandpa ever.” We’ll be taking that home to him and hoping that he likes it.

After leaving Design-A-Tee we had to stop to get a picture with the Tweedledees on the side of the 12 days of Christmas store.

Next up was the Christmas store. I have looked and looked at all the Christmas items and just couldn’t decide what to get! I knew I wanted a souvenir as a Christmas decoration but just couldn’t decide which one. Tonight I finally decided to go with one and bought it. Unfortunately, I realized when we got back to the room that the ornament had a big mark on it. Now I’ve got to figure out how to return it before we leave and get a new one in it’s place.

Our next stop is one of my faves – Goofy’s Candy Company. Tristan had been drooling over this huge plastic tube that you could fill with all sorts of flavors of sour candy and he decided to spend some of his money on that. Chase did also while Carissa opted for a chocolate sucker instead. We held on to those because it was now time to head to dinner.

Dinner tonight was a Planet Hollywood. I thought I remember boats running in the waters at Downtown Disney but I couldn’t find any today so we hiked it. It’s a bit of a walk but it was nice to do. We got to Planet Hollywood early and checked in. They got us into a table within 5 minutes. If you haven’t been to the Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney, it is HUGE. It’s this huge building shaped like globe and decorated to the hilt. Inside has all sorts of movie memorabilia. My favorite piece was actually outside – the “Jenny” boat from Forest Gump. Anyways, we were ushered up to the top floor, floor 4, for dinner. Our server here was fabulous, the best one we’ve had so far. The food was very good too. Brian was in heaven with a slab of ribs while I had some steak, Chase had ½ chicken and the younger two had chicken strips. If not for the fact that the restaurant is almost oppressingly loud, this would be the perfect restaurant. Our food was delivered very, very quickly and was obviously fresh off the grill, as the French fries and mashed potatoes were so hot that you couldn’t even eat them yet! So kudos to Planet Hollywood for that.

After all that food it was a surprise that we could actually eat dessert, but we gave it a try. Dessert was brownie sundaes and shakes and they were all very good.

We still had a couple of things we wanted from Downtown Disney so we headed back to the marketplace to shop. We walked through the Lego store

and Arribas Bros, where Brian got a Disneyworld pen he’d been eyeing. We also hit the big pin store

and got the kids a couple more pins for their collections, most of them at 50% off (all 09 dated pins, including Christmas pins, were on sale - gotta love that!!!). Then it was back to the bus stop for our return trip to Coronado Springs Resort. Very quickly we were on the road and headed to our warm and comforting beds.

Tomorrow’s adventure is our final day in Epcot, where we have to find a pickle and talk to a turtle. We’ll see how that works out…
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:31 PM   #56
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Day 6

It really dawned on us today that our vacation is nearly over. We’re hitting that nostalgic point, where we really try to savor all these last magical moments with one another.

Today was our final day at Epcot and things went well. We’re slowing down quite a bit today, both to savor the moments and because we’re pretty tuckered out from all our vacationing. We did, however, get up on time and caught a quick bus to Epcot. I don’t know why, but it seems like this park is always full! Hoards and hoards of people everywhere at Epcot today, but if you know how to use Fastpass and have a plan then things can be okay. We had both and our day went pretty darned well.

Our first stop was Soarin’, where Brian grabbed a quick Fastpass. We had lots of snack credits left so decided to do breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. The younger two and I got there and ordered food, only to have Brian trying to wave us down since the stand-by for Soarin’ was only 15minutes. Oh well, we’ve already got 3 cinnamon rolls, 2 chocolate croissants and 2 orange juices to share. So we go with that and then toddle our bottoms over to Test Track.

The line isn’t that long so we jump in and wait about 10 minutes in the line. Then it’s on to the preshow and into another line where we got to wait 5 minutes more. Oh well, 15 minutes for Test Track isn’t too bad. But this just isn’t one of those have-to-do rides for us anymore. Tristan used to laugh and laugh when the car would go fast but not anymore. Now we need rollercoasters instead! LOL

The kids requested another ride on Mission: Space, only this time back on the green side. They had learned their lesson from the previous day and happily rode green without issue.

The one thing that was nice about the kids being older is that we can allow them to venture off a bit more. Brian handed the kids his cell phone, told them to stay together and that Chase was in charge then we let them go on their merry way towards Mission: Space. It really has been great to give them a little more latitude. That’s exactly what happened here and it worked out perfectly. They stay together, watch out for each other, go on the ride and then call us to meet up. The wait wasn’t too long so they called us about 15 minutes after we separated and we had them meet us in the Mousegears store.

We bought a couple of neat little souvenirs there, including a watch and shirt for me and a hat for Carissa. The kids didn’t want to shop but wanted to head to Innoventions so we let them go on their way with the same directions and met them there after we had paid for all of our purchases at Mousegears.

Innoventions West is where the game “The Great Piggy Bank Adventure” is. This is something I found out about 2 months ago and we’ve played it online several times since then. It’s a great little game to help teach the importance of saving, spending, investing, preparing, etc. So it was nice to have them come here and be able to take part in the “real” game instead of the virtual version we do at home. They also played some video games at the little kiosks in Innoventions.

I think my kids could have stayed here for a much longer time but Brian and I aren’t so easily distracted so after a while we headed off for another adventure. On the way out we registered for a Kim Possible mission, which we would enjoy a little later on.

With Innoventions West quickly completed we headed back outside and to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The Nemo ride itself was pretty horrendous but the aquarium on the other side of the ride is pretty awesome. We looked at the manatees and found hidden Mickey’s outside their tank. Yes, Chase hauled round the Hidden Mickey book again today and regaled us with its tales of hidden Mickey’s around the world. Here’s the proof...

We also hit Turtle Talk with Crush, one of my fave shows. This doesn’t rank up there with Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo or Beauty & the Beast but is great nonetheless. Carissa was called on by Crush and she asked whether turtles were born in shells. There was also a quite funny part where Crush came out wearing a bathing suit top he had found in the ocean. He said he didn’t know what it was and some kids started yelling out “It’s a bra” and “It holds ****s.” It was hilarious! Finally Crush realized that it was for “Dudettes” and took it off. Thank goodness!

After the seas we continued on the west side of Futureworld to use our first fastpasses for Soarin’. We LOVE this ride and wish Disney would bottle up that orange grove scent and sell it. YUM! We just missed getting on the ride so we ended up in the front row of the next ride. Since we were going to ask (and wait) for a front seat anyways this worked out well for us. We love the front row because there are no dangling feet in your face. It makes all the difference in the world. Trust me!

After riding we picked up another set of fastpasses for Soarin’ in hopes that we could use them later in the day.

The last pavilion on the west side of Futureworld is the Journey Into Imagination pavilion. Much to Brian’s chagrin the kids just “had to” ride Figment again. They loved it again (all except that skunk smell…. Eeeeeewwwww!). My kids have been singing all day… “Imagination, Imagination, a dream can be a dream come true, with just that spark, from me and you.” They’d just break out spontaneously singing it when we were walking along somewhere. I must admit that I sang along.

By now we’d missed our window for our Kim Possible mission so we went back and registered for another. Carissa really wanted a chance to do at least one more mission before we left. Our return time was less than an hour away so we decided to take a break for lunch.

We stopped in Mexico for lunch at the Cantina de San Angel. Brian and the kids got a great table right along the water while Tristan and I waited in line to order. We all got nachos and ended up having churros for dessert, as they were out of the other dessert they offered. Unfortunately the nachos weren’t very good and the churros were pretty awful. One thing we’ve learned is that Disney churros are only good in California. We LOVE Disneyland churros and eat them daily when there, but the ones in Florida are horrible! Brian and I threw ours away… which means they were very, very bad. Yet another reason to go to Disneyland – some decent churros!

Anyways, by now our window had nearly opened up for a Kim Possible mission so we headed to the headquarters. The kids were assigned Norway this time and wandered around doing their thing while Brian and I took in the sun and the water. Brian snapped this photo of me as I was lounging around enjoying the beautiful weather.

On a side note, we got a text from a colleague of Brian’s today saying it was a balmy 8 degrees today in Scappoose. It was at least 80 in Florida and it felt fabulous!

The kids were taking a long time for their mission so Brian and I walked to China to look around. The kids met us there after a bit, having finished their mission and, once again, saved the world. We turned in our Kimmunicator and gave up on missions for this trip, much to Carissa’s dismay. She was very fond of those missions.

We took the kids to look around China next. We stopped for the pictures in front of the beautiful theater there. They took a nice one then decided to ham it up for the picture. LOL

We found so many fabulous dragons in the Chinese pavilion that would have made a great addition to Tristan’s collection so he met us over there to look, but in the end decided to check out Italy before purchasing as he really wanted an ocarina? I guess it’s an instrument he’s played in music class at school and that it says “Made in Italy” on it so he’s hoping to find one in the Italian pavilion.

We hadn’t had much chance to look in the different lands so we made our way around the World Showcase. We stopped in Germany, where the holiday storyteller was telling the tale of the nutcracker. The kids sat down with the crowd and we caught just a bit of her presentation. We were just in time to see a giant nutcracker arrive!

That was the end of her story for now, so we headed to the Christmas shop to finally get a pickle ornament.

We had talked about the pickle ornament tradition a bit and wanted to start the tradition in our own home. I purchased the ornament and had it sent back to our resort. The cast member in the Christmas store said she would add a copy of the pickle tradition story to our bag so I was disappointed when I picked it up the next day and found no story inside.

We decided to do the tradition our own way and celebrated with it the first time this Christmas. The kids left the pickle on the plate with Santa’s cookies and the reindeers’ carrots. When Santa arrived he delivered the gifts and took an extra moment to hide the pickle on the tree. On Christmas morning, after opening their stockings and exploring their Santa gifts, the kids started hunting for the pickle. It’s pretty hard to find a green pickle ornament on a green tree and Santa hid it very well, but eventually Tristan found it and was rewarded with the right to open the first gift on Christmas morning. It was just a fun little addition to our Christmas.

OK, on with our day. We did more shopping in the World Showcase, stopping by a photopass photographer along the way (who actually took a picture I like!).

We finally made our way to Italy, where we weren’t able to find the coveted ocarina. And as a sidenote, we never did make it back to China and Tristan never did get a new dragon for his collection. Bummer. But we were able to get a picture in front of this fountain.

We have a picture here from each of our trips - 2001, 2008 and 2009 - and one day I want to get them all together and frame them for our walls. It was pretty hot and no one was around, so we didn't get a picture with all 5 of us with the fountain, which I would have really liked. Oh well, at least we have the kids there.
While walking the world showcase I kept telling myself that I was finally going to get one of the scrumptious smelling crepes in the booth at the France pavilion, however I wasn’t really hungry at that point. We ended up grabbing a boat and taking it across the lake and back to Futureworld.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:43 PM   #57
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We had our fastpasses for Soarin’ to use and we took the time to do that now. Again, the wait was quite long despite our fastpass. Nothing like the 70 minutes on the sign, but long nonetheless. And like the last ride, they couldn’t fit us all in the next run so we ended up being in the front row again. And again, this ride was fabulous. One of the best rides for anyone to experience at Disneyworld is Soarin’. It was awesome!

Next up was the chance to use some more snack credits on those yummy waffle ice cream cones. We sat outside, enjoyed our ice cream and sipped some water.

The day was moving on and we knew we had other things we wanted to do today so we made our way to Innoventions East in search of “The Sum of All Thrills”. I had heard about this on the disboards and the kids were all looking forward to it. We almost didn’t do it because the line looked long but the cast member at the entrance said it would only be about 10 minute. He was right, it was. And it was such a worthwhile wait!

First off we were ushered into a preshow that told us how it would work and how this ride is to encourage kids to enjoy math and science. Then they let the kids loose on designing their own ride. Carissa was too short so she couldn’t do inversions, but the boys were plenty tall enough. They made a track together while Carissa made one for herself. I was going to ride with her but she decided she wanted to do it on her own. It was probably a good thing, as it’s a motion simulator and that could spell trouble for my tummy.

Anyways, the kids chose their ride pieces on the screens, used rulers and dials to adjust the height and speed of the track and then checked to make sure it would work correctly.


Pretty soon they were done and on their way to the simulators. These simulators were on huge arms, allowing them to turn quickly, invert and go as high as about 25 feet. Wow!

It was pretty neat to watch them enjoy their own ride designs and they all really, really enjoyed it. I wish we had stopped by earlier in the trip so they could have multiple turns doing this, but the line had gotten longer and we were ready to say goodbye to Epcot.

One last stop on the way out, to get our photo taken with Spaceship Earth in the background.

We had a dinner ADR at Chef Mickey’s so we jumped on a monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center. There we changed to the resort monorail. We had extra time so we made a stop at the Grand Floridian resort. We had come here for a photo session last trip and really love the resort. I don’t anticipate that we’ll ever be able to afford to stay there, but it’s gorgeous and worthwhile to visit. We did stop to have the Photopass photographers take a photo of us in front of the huge Christmas tree, but I really wasn’t impressed with the photos. The tree was gorgeous and I would have like to see more in the photo. Yes, I'm picky.

I must admit that the main reason for the visit to the Grand Floridian was so that we could see the lifesize gingerbread house in the lobby. It was huge! It was so beautiful and well-done, with hidden Mickey’s and candy canes and flowers. Just gorgeous. If we liked gingerbread, we could have purchased a shingle, which they actually sell out of this house all Christmas season. It was pretty neat.



We jumped into the line for the monorail, which was pretty long at this point because everyone was heading the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party at the Magic Kingdom. We did eventually get a monorail and rode it past the Magic Kingdom, enjoying the festively dressed cast members and extra decorations they had added for the party. The next stop after the Magic Kingdom was ours – the Contemporary Resort.

We made our way inside and had a quick bathroom run before checking in for Chef Mickey’s.

They got us seated fairly quickly and we all hit the buffet like a ravenous pack of wolves. They had cheese pizza, noodles and chicken nuggets for the kids. Brian, Chase and I had turkey, ham and some yummy mashed potatoes. It felt like we hadn’t eaten much “real” food lately so it was a great chance to fill ourselves up. We did a fair job of eating our fill and enjoyed the visits from the characters along the way.



After the characters had all visited we hit my favorite part of the meal – dessert!

The dessert bar was beautiful. I truly enjoyed the Mickey head oreos (that’s chocolate mousse on the oreo and milk chocolate ears…. YUM!). The kids all made ice cream sundaes with all the toppings they could want – M&M’s, Oreos, Reese’s Pieces, sprinkles and a variety of sauces. In the end, we all left very, very full but pretty pleased with our meal.

We shopped a bit at the stores at the Contemporary, not buying anything then jumped on the Monorail again to head back to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Here’s where I realized that they don’t have busses to the resorts from the Ticket and Transportation Center. So we headed back up to the monorail and had to wait a while for a ride to the Magic Kingdom. Lesson learned. Oh well.

We were able to catch a bus to our resort from the Magic Kingdom and made our way back to our home away from home. We were all full and tired so headed to bed, all eager to finally return to the Magic Kingdom!
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:37 PM   #58
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So cool. Isn't it amazing how much we learn from reading these boards. I didn't know there was a design your own t-shirt kiosk. How long did it take to design and to receive it?
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:53 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serrotak View Post
So cool. Isn't it amazing how much we learn from reading these boards. I didn't know there was a design your own t-shirt kiosk. How long did it take to design and to receive it?
It would have taken an hour or two to get the shirt but we just filled out the form and had them send it to our resort when they were finished. I LOVE resort delivery!
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #60
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I don't know if I want to post any more updates... because eventually it will come to an end and I'll have to admit that the vacation is really and truly over.
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