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Old 07-09-2014, 10:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 454

F&G First Timers & A Newbie: 10 Days of DxDP, 2 Days on the Dark Side + 3 Days in DC

Hey there! Welcome to my TR.

My husband, SIL, and myself were in WDW for 10 days from May 18th through the 28th, then we jetted up to our nation's capital until the 31st of May. We did a split stay starting with 5 nights at BWV in a pool/courtyard view studio, then 5 nights in a savannah view studio at AKV Kidani. We were on the Deluxe Dining Plan and took full advantage! There are lots of food pics to come.

First, let's meet the players!

Alexandra, my SIL, just turned 21 about a month before the trip. It was her first vacation that the she saved up for and paid for all on her own, and the first time she took a major vacation without her parents. It was also her first time to the World! Here she is with her favorite character, Belle, in topiary form.

My husband, Chris, is 31 and works as an accountant at the parent company of some of our nicest Strip hotels. This would be his third trip to WDW, but his first time at the Flower and Garden festival, his first time staying at BWV, and his first time staying at AKV-Kidani, our home resort, since we became DVC members back in 2011. His favorite character is Donald, but Gaston is a close runner-up.

And, for those of you who might be new here and don't know me, I'm Deanna. I just turned 30 (I was only 29 on this trip ), I just finished my degree (finally ), and I'll be starting my career as a high school Spanish teacher in August. The firsts that I listed for Chris also apply to me because all of our World travels have been together. This trip was special for me because we were celebrating my college graduation. My favorite character is Aurora and I got to spend to QT with her on this trip! (I'm the one on the left, haha!)

That's us, you have the trip details, next up, we start this TR!!!

Last edited by happenin2you; 07-10-2014 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:53 PM   #2
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Links to each chapter:

Sunday May 18th
Graduating, Travel Day, and Checking In
Boardwalk Studio Villa
Finally some food!

Last edited by happenin2you; 07-16-2014 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:00 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Graduating, Travel Day, and Checking in

Before we could make our way to the World, I had a little something I had to do.


On Saturday May 17th, I graduated from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in Secondary Education. Woo Hoo!!!

Spanish is a Liberal Art, in case you didn’t know.

I’m trying not to cry and take in everything at the same time. I look as if I’m looking straight into the camera, but I actually didn’t locate my family until much later in the ceremony.

Feeling super happy because my name has just been called and I’m about to shake hands with the president of the university.

Chris and I after the ceremony! I felt so accomplished here! And I was that much closer to getting to Disney!

Immediately following this, we had a party at our house. Crazy, I know… Everyone cleared out between 8 and 9 pm, we cleaned up, finished packing, and went to bed very tired, but very excited because, in the morning, we’d be on our way to our happy place!

Alex spent the night at our house so that we could just go straight to my mom’s house in the morning. She lives close to the airport, so she dropped us off and kept my car at her house during the trip.

Our nonstop flight left McCarran at 9:30am and landed at MCO about 5pm. My husband saw it fit to take a picture of me as I walked out of the ladies room as the first official picture of the trip (since we had obviously failed and took no pictures of anything prior to this!). So I made the best of it and gave him a huge smile!

Notice the UNLV Alum shirt =)

I got him back on the Faux-norail (the not-Disney monorail at the airport).

While we’re at it, I’ll take Alex by surprise.

And one of us together. Just happy to be here!

First interactions with the mouse.

When we landed at the airport, we were incredibly hungry. We decided to run over to Chick-Fil-A since we don’t have those in NV, but our dreams were squashed because when we got there it was closed. We know that they’re closed on Sundays, but I also know that airport locations don’t have to follow that rule. Apparently the one in MCO does, though. So we decided to stick it out until we got to the World. Our plan for that night was to use snack credits eating at the Flower and Garden booths and trying to see as much as possible because it was the last day of the festival. So, to the Magical Express! Alex was so excited to be there. Check out her serious interest in the ME bus.

And some brotherly love.

I was really disappointed with the ME video. I remember really enjoying the video in the past and thinking it was a perfect way to start the trip, but this time it just seemed like one too many people had filed suit with Disney for not knowing how to ride a bus. The whole video told us how to avoid hurting ourselves on the bus. Ridiculous that anyone should have to see a video to know what to do on a bus. Sorry, end rant.

Before I knew it, I was seeing this sign for the very first time in person!

The lobby is gorgeous!

More on that later.

There had been no line at the Magical Express and we didn’t have time to take our Magic Bands out before we boarded the bus, so while Chris was dealing with check-in, we pulled out the bands and here’s Alex showing hers off.


Now let’s just see this room! Check-in had told Chris that we should each go in to the room one at a time to make sure that all of our MBs were working. I insisted on being the first one to go in because I wanted to see what kind of view we had. Since I spend a fair amount of time here on the DIS, I knew there was a possibility of a theme park view.

What will we get?
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Our Boardwalk Villa

I don’t seem to have many Disers openly following yet, but for the Facebook crowd that has been tuning in, let’s see what kind of view we got!

My Magic Band worked to open the door and I saw this!

Yes! EPCOT and Boardwalk view room for Courtyard/ Pool View category! A nice bit of Pixie Dust and graduation gift from the mouse

I’m just excited to be here

A quick photo tour of the room:

Shower/ tub and toilet separate from sink/ closet area.

I found it funny that Pinocchio would be giving advice on how to avoid trouble.

Extra mirror and counter area that Alex claimed for morning primping.

And a hidden Mickey.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with our villa. The size was nice and the views were gorgeous! As nice as it was though, we were ready to get this party started!

By this time, we were ravenous. Where would we be finding dinner?

Last edited by happenin2you; 07-16-2014 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Finally, some food!

Let the food porn commence!

Our plan was to hit as many of the Flower and Garden Festival food booths as we could handle because this was going to be the last day. We hurried downstairs and made our way to the International Gateway of EPCOT for the very first time!

The first stop, France! I wanted a macaron and La Vie en Rose slush. I ordered and scanned my Magic Band and the not so polite French girl told me to enter my pin to use my snack credits. WHAT?!? At check in, I had specifically asked the gentleman if our dining plans and credit card were on file and all ready to use. He said yes. I don’t think it’s considered ready if I don’t have a pin set up to use. I briefly considered opening my wallet to pay for them, but quickly decided to go to the guest relations booth I saw near the IG entrance. I had spent a lot of money for that dining plan and wanted to use snack credits specifically for this day. We rarely use them on our trips and just get bottled water on the last day to take home so they don’t go to waste.

The girl at Guest Relations was very nice, set up a pin for all of us, and confirmed that my credit card was on file and ready to charge. We went back to France, placed our order again, and the snack credits worked! The credit card was apparently not there, though… I pulled the card out of my wallet and used it the old fashioned way and decided to handle the charging issue later at the hotel. We were quickly running out of time to visit all the booths. It was a little after 6pm when we first got there, and then we wasted about another 30 minutes on this fiasco, so we needed to move quickly.

I had been showing Chris the F&G menus before the trip and he already knew he wanted this:

Gnocchi Parisienne

Chris loved this! He was craving it later in the trip and bummed that he couldn’t get it. I liked it, but I prefer Italian gnocchi.

And my goodies.

I loved both of these! I don’t know how this was my third trip and only my first slush in France. I won’t make that mistake again. Macarons are definitely my favorite cookie. It is very hard to find good ones in Vegas. So far, my favorites come from a lady who makes and sells them at the Farmer’s Market, but she allows you to contact her for pick-up or delivery orders through her Facebook account. They’re heavenly. This macaron was huge and the flavors were perfect! Very delicate and rich at the same time. I was craving this the rest of the trip, but all the macarons they sell in the shops in the parks are only lemon flavored. I love lemons, but I wanted a different flavor like chocolate or caramel.

I don’t think Alex got anything here. I think we had decided to just share unless there was something specific that someone wanted, that way we’d be able to try more booths and foods before getting full. From France we decided to head towards Canada and make our way from one end of the world to the other. If we would have just grabbed a map, we would have seen that there weren’t any booths over there… More time wasted. There was a booth in the UK, but when Chris tried to order from them, they were practically out of everything because it was the last day. Oh well. We acquired a map and saw the next booth was in Morocco. Away we go! Since I didn’t take a picture of the menu here, I got the food descriptions from the DIS menus. This is the “Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad”

Even though you can’t see it super well, this was very good. The chicken was very juicy and the couscous was flavorful. Sorry some of the pics are kind of blurry. I have this really amazing, smart camera, but I haven’t spent very much time learning how to use the settings and things yet, so I mostly just shoot on Auto. For the photography buffs I may be offending right now, I’ve purchased Understanding Exposure and I’ve just barely started the first chapter. Pics from my next trip should be amazing next to these!

This is the “Lamb brewat roll with prunes and sesame”

Chris shared this with Alex and I. I remember liking it, but I don’t remember anything specific about it.

From Morocco, we scooted over to Japan.

Chris and Alex each got a Hanami Sushi, which they enjoyed.

Chris also had a Temaki Hand Roll, which I apparently didn’t take a picture of, and the Pineapple Paradise with Yuzu slushie.

He asked me to hold his drink while he ate his sushi. I couldn’t just hold it though; I had to drink it because it was so delicious! I finally decided that I needed to lay off his drink because he wouldn’t have any left and I’d be so full of slushie drink I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else. So here we are, walking along, minding our own business, I’m just holding his drink, not drinking it, when this random wind gust comes along! It blew the little tropical umbrella right out of the drink, along with some of the drink, bashed him in the forehead, and the next thing we know, we have Typhoon Pineapple Yuzu Slush on Chris’ face!

I can see my reflection taking the picture and his drink in his sungalsses!

And this is Chris like aren't you going to help me and stop taking pictures?

Bad wife… my first instinct was to laugh at him and take pictures… Luckily, Alexandra loves her big brother and tracked down some napkins so he could wipe his face. What a nice girl! Chris got cleaned up and we were on our way.

Next stop: The American Pavillion!

Spotted this guy over in the Land of the Free.

I think we all had a hard time deciding which we liked best, the brisket or the pulled pork. Both were great.

Luckily, we got out of there and on to the next pavilion without any casualties.

We all love Italian food, but decided that those were all pretty standard items we could make ourselves, so we skipped it and said if we were still hungry in the end we’d come back and try something. Next we moved on to the Florida Fresh booth where I got the “Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, BW Farm Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction” which was silly because I hate onions and arugula. Whatever. I really enjoyed my watermelon with Feta and balsamic drizzle.

Moving forward we encountered these guys:

We didn’t find the China menu to be very exciting, so we moved on to México!

Alex and I had the “Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro” sin aguacate, por favor (no avocado sauce for me, I’m allergic). Chris had the “Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese” He loves fungus and thought it was just delicious.

No avocado sauce.

With avocado sauce.


Chris thought it was useless to not show you the inside.

I know I said that I just graduated with a degree in Spanish, so it seems obvious that I can speak the language, right? I don’t think I mentioned that Chris and Alexandra are half-Mexican. Chris speaks both English and Spanish fluently, without an accent in either language. Alexandra doesn’t speak as much Spanish as Chris and I, but she is really great at it when she’s not thinking about messing up. I encouraged her to speak Spanish in the Mexico pavilion and that they would be very polite and would love to hear her speak, but she was too shy. I was on a graduation high and did all my communicating in that pavilion in Spanish, and Chris did, too. Alex is so funny. I was standing in line for a margarita at the margarita booth and Alex noticed that the girl working there was from Veracruz, which is where their family is from. She still didn’t speak to the girl! Anyway, Chris and I chatted with her about Veracruz and Florida in Spanish while we waited. I was having a blast!

With margarita in hand, we moved on to the Urban Farm Eats booth where Chris ordered the “Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub” which I forgot to get a picture of.

Then we moved on to the Pineapple Promenade where I was very much looking forward to this:

A Dole Whip with rum! I didn’t think it was as good as it sounded. Myer’s Rum is very dark and strong and should have been blended into the Whip to taste better. Once I got it all stirred up really well, it was much better.

Those were all the food booths we were going to hit. We had skipped the ones we weren’t super interested in and were still pretty full. We used about half of our snack credits for the first 5 day leg of our trip, not nearly as many and I had thought we would use.

We still had about an hour before the park closed and a FastPass+ on Test Track. What would we do with this time?

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