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Old 02-07-2007, 12:54 PM   #16
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Great stuff! I love all of the pics. And I'm just amazed that you live in Alaska... how cool is that?!
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:29 PM   #17
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Day 8: January 16, Monday

MGM/Disney Studios

I was absolutely dreading today. Many years ago I went on Tower of Terror. If I’m remembering correctly, they only dropped you once. That was okay. Fast forward a few years, and I took my oldest son on it. I had heard they changed the drops, so there were more of them. What I wasn’t prepared for was the ‘double-drop.’ We dropped once, and I was expecting to go up... when we went down again. Not really a big deal, but I decided I hated that ride. So did my son. So on later trips, my middle son and older daughter wanted to try it. Fine. Go ahead. Without me. I told them, however, that I would try it again this trip. They held me to it. I wanted to do it first thing, to get it out of the way. I was SO nervous! You know…the drops really aren’t that bad. It’s the waiting that is so nerve-wracking. I am proud to say I DID IT!!! And it wasn’t all that bad. I’m not sure I’ll ever really ‘look forward’ to that ride the way I do other rides, but I guess in some ways, it is a challenge. I really was terrified…and my face proved it. I had to buy the picture because it is so funny…





Okay, with that ordeal over with, I am now free to enjoy the day. In fact, I am in such a good mood at having conquered my fear, I treat everyone to a pastry at Starring Rolls! I indulge in a chocolate croissant…a well-deserved treat!!

We rode the Great Movie Ride. My DD10 is a big musical fan, so this is one of her favorite rides. I like the addition of Pirates of the Caribbean in the movie clips. Never can get enough of Captain Jack.

Then we went on my youngest son’s favorite ride, Star Tours. When they were lining us up, the CM told us to go in Row 6. My son asked me if we could sit in the first row. I told him no, we were told to go in Row 6. The CM overheard my son and said, “Sure…you can sit in Row 1. Go ahead.” Boy…my son was thrilled! We had some Cast Member appreciation cards that we gave to CMs that went out of their way to be helpful, and my son gave him one, saying “Thanks for letting us have the first row.” The CM had never seen one before, and he was genuinely touched. He gave us 12 Star Tours cards (that he said could be used as Fastpasses…we just saved them for souvenirs and our scrapbooks). He also let my son open and close the doors, and made him Honorary Captain of our voyage. It was so neat!




We followed this by watching the Indiana Jones show. Even though it is the same every time, we still really like it. My youngest son, who is a pretty technical kid, has a computer game that shows how they made the huge ball the rolls down in the show, so he loves that part.



We headed over to the Backlot Stage Tour.



We chose the back line, because it seemed shorter. As luck would have, however, right when they got to us, they cut us off, and we had to wait for the next show. It turned out to be a good thing, though, because a Cast Member came by and asked if anyone in our party was over 16. I knew what that meant…and quickly pointed to DS17 and ‘volunteered’ him for the show! Oh…it was so much fun!!! We got to go in early and get front row spots. I got some great pictures of him, and took a movie of it on my camera. What a fun memory!!

Walking to the "set" (my son is the 2nd guy in blue...)


Introductions (my son is 1st on the left...)


He gets to be the "Commander" (on the left...)


All wet (my son is on the left...)


After that we were hungy, so we got lunch at the Flatbread Grill. It was fantastic…one of our favorite counter service lunches. Great chicken ceasar wraps.

Then it is off to another of my youngest son’s favorite things…”Lights, Motors…Action!” Okay. I don’t necessarily dislike the show, it just isn’t one of my favorites. But..my boys seem to like it, and my youngest LOVES it. So off we go.



Last time we saw it, he was really interested in the “guy who gets on fire.” He even searched the Internet for information about it. So I had to get a picture for him…



I really like the parade here. My DD10 still had her hair done from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with the tiara. It sure got her a lot of attention from the characters in the parade. Snow White pointed at her, then her tiara…



Aladdin pointed to her and winked!...



I just love the Green Army men…they are so cool!!!



The rest of the day was very relaxing. We watched the Beauty and Beast show, and my boys endured the sappy love story. My girls really loved it…





We saw the Muppet movie, and the Narnia exhibit. Fantasmic is one of my favorite shows, so I am excited to see it. We misjudged the crowds, however, even in January, and it is pretty packed by the time we get there. We sat on the far left side, although pretty close up, so they weren’t bad seats at all. I just knew it would take a L-O-N-G time to get out of there. I wanted so badly to get some cool pictures, but I don’t have a good enough camera to use for night shots. I did get one of Mickey, though, so I was happy!



After leaving the park, we went to Disney Quest. We’ve never been there, so this was something new for us. We really enjoyed it! We did the rafting game first, then the Pirates game. We really loved Cyber Mountain (build your own roller coaster, then “ride” it in a simulator.) It was weird, though. We can do any kind of spinny, loopy ride…Mad Tea Cups, Mission: Space (Orange) etc. But after doing the Aladdin ride (where you wear the thing on your head…virtual reality???) …ALL of us felt queasy. Bad enough we wanted to leave. That was one thing we never did again. We really liked Disney Quest. We have 4 plusses left, so we plan on coming back.

We headed back to the villa, and pretty much headed to bed. It had been a long and great day!

Next day: “Man, I sure packed WRONG!”
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:27 PM   #18
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Day 9: Tuesday, January 16

A great day at the Magic Kingdom! Within minutes getting there, however, I realize that I have packed very poorly for this trip. I had read how cold January can be, so I brought all sweatshirts and even some sweaters. I'm roasting in what I am wearing, so our first order of the day is to buy me a new shirt! It ends up being a really cool shirt, though, that has an icon for each of the 4 parks, with the opening date of each one, and Mickey in the middle. I love it!

We then go check out when the Pirate Tutorial is going to be, and realize that it is in just a few minutes. We head over to where the show is, and wait for about 10 minutes. In just a little while, a pirate comes out with a rope to mark off the area, so we are able to get front and center.




Just then, out comes Captain Jack!



Ooh…he is GOOD! I’m snapping pictures just as fast as my camera will go. I tried to be selective in picking just the best shots of Captain Jack, but, oh my…they are ALL so good…!







After doing his spiel for awhile, he selects four children for pirate training. He picks my son! Yipee! My son isn’t so sure about all this, but he bravely goes forward.



Captain Jack teaches the kids how to sword fight, and then say “Look…it’s the Governor’s daughter!,” point, and run away. They are to fight the first pirate (not Captain Jack.)



The first 2 kids do a fine job, and then comes a little girl…a sweetheart of a little thing. But when it comes to her chance to sword fight…wow! This little girl has a lot of energy. She went after that pirate with a vengeance! I think he was sincerely nervous (besides, if you look at where she would be striking…due her being so little…let’s just say I think he felt somewhat…vulnerable???) At any rate, Captain Jack relieves the pirate, and says he’ll take on the next one himself. That would be my son. He was so excited!





Afterwards, Captain Jack taught them how to properly say 'arrrgh!’



…and he gave them all Certificates. That was a lot of fun!



After this, we were hot, so we all got ice cream. Yum!!! We had a great day riding pretty much whatever we wanted, without too much wait. We had lunch at the Pinocchio Haus. We like their pizza! We found a little quiet nook, too. If you go upstairs, it is very quiet, with just a few tables. There is also an outdoor deck, with only a couple of tables, and you are overlooking Fantasyland. That was way cool! We are going to remember this spot!



After lunch we split up for a little while, and sent the boys on their own. I did some shopping for my older daughter, and we got a picture with the statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse.



We also checked out the back of the Exhibition Hall…that was fun! An area we hadn’t seen before!



After meeting up with the boys, we watched the Flag Ceremony on Main Street. We thought it was very touching. First they had a band come out with Cast Members.



I don’t know who the veteran is, but he was in a wheelchair, and got out to walk with a cane for the ceremony. If you get a chance to see this, I highly recommend it.



Then we went on more rides. My youngest loves the TTA (always referred to by us as the “People Mover.”) My son, being the jokester he is, came up with a game he played faithfully every time they rode it (which ended up being lot!) The game consisted of waving to older people (i.e., Grandma and Grandpa types). If they waved back, you got 10 points. If they smiled, it is another 10 points. If they nod, it is 5 points. His highest score was 45. (Remember…this is the kid who took pictures of pilots at the airport! He has a wacky sense of humor. Gotta’ love it!)



We headed back to the villa, and back to Disney Quest. Some swimming, a little pool, ESPN for the boys and Disney Channel for the younger kids…a GREAT day!!

Next day: Exceptionally Epcot!
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:12 PM   #19
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can't wait to read more , Your kids have a very good (and brave, TOT is NOT for me) Mommy
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:56 PM   #20
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Day 10: Wednesday, January 17

Since we usually start at Epcot in Future World, we decided today to start in the World Showcase (after a quick trip on Test Track…mainly so my boys could stage our ‘photo.’) We started with the Canadian pavilion. It is so beautiful over there!



I guess because we got there right when it opened, there was NO ONE around…absolutely nobody! My DD10 wanted to get some Canadian maple fudge, but the stores weren’t even open yet.



We watched the movie, and later in the day saw “Off Kilter.” My DS17 really likes their music, so we bought another of their CD’s.

We also really enjoyed the “World Showcase Players” in England. We hadn’t seen them before. The people they chose from the audience were so funny! I’m s-o-o- glad they didn’t pick me…I would have been too embarrassed! I did get asked to ‘scream in terror’ though.



We went to the American Adventure, and we also saw the Drum and Fife corps. My youngest son got to participate in a kids’ march, and he got a souvenir copy of the Declaration of Independence.



We watched the "Voices of Liberty." Superb!!!

Coming out of the show, we ran into a lot of characters.









A really neat experience was watching Miyuki, the Japanese candy maker. Wow! Amazing. She made a cat for my daughter, and an elephant for my son. She was fantastic.





After slowly touring the World Showcase, we had lunch at Mexico. Good food there, as always.

We spent the rest of the evening in Futureworld.

Then we headed back to the villa for swimming and relaxing. Another great day.

Next day: “Everest…YES, Nemo…NO”
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:57 PM   #21
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OMG! That's one of the funniest photos I've ever seen on here!
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:16 PM   #22
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Day 11: Thursday, January 18

Our last day at Animal Kingdom. We are a bit sad, as this has turned out to be one of our favorite parks now. It is a beautiful day…not too hot or too cool. We head over first to Everest, and ride twice. We make go ahead and buy a ride photo....



...and play around in the gift shop...



Then we went to see the new Nemo musical. I’m excited to see this, as I’ve heard great things about it. Wait…what’s that? A sign? It says, “No showing of the Nemo Musical today.” Oh what a bummer! We won’t be able to see it this trip. And what really gets me is we could have seen it the other day, but thought we would catch it our second day. Oh well…I guess that gives us something new to look forward to on our next trip.

We ride Primeval Whirl a number of times. The kids like that ride. We also go to the “Flights of Wonder” bird show. We think it is very good.



We also really take our time walking through the other animal trails we missed last time. Lots of birds to see…







We go on the Safari again, but since I didn’t get the last seat in the vehicle, I didn’t get any good pictures. I’m glad I got some last time!

We had lunch at the Tusker House. It is very good, as usual!

We also saw “Festival of the Lion King.”





The kids like the Tumble Monkeys the best.



Since we saw the parade the first day, we decide to skip it and ride Everest as many times in a row as we can before the park closes. We rode it 10 times that day, 6 in a row. The castmembers were laughing at us as we kept coming back. It was practically a walk-on at that point. We would literally “run” off the ride and around to the front to get on again. Finally, we saw they closed the doors, and that was the end of our day. Man, we LOVE Expedition Everest!



We bought ANOTHER ride photo!...



We went to DisneyQuest for awhile, then back to the villa for the usual dinner, t.v., swimming and pool.

Next Day: “Time to Split”
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:27 AM   #23
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I'm just starting page 2, but I'm hooked. Loving it!
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I invite you to read my Trip Report for October 2005 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1140916
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:15 PM   #24
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This report is great... and your pics are so interesting! Thanks so much!
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:34 PM   #25
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Day 12: Friday, January 19

Are we tired of Disney yet? NO WAY! Are we tired of the Magic Kingdom? NO WAY! Are we tired of each other yet? NO…well, maybe just a bit. Okay, not really “tired” of each other, but we are realizing that we all want to do different things. The older two boys want to ride rides. That’s pretty much it. The older girl wants to shop. Mostly for clothes. The younger girl wants to meet princesses. And the younger guy is pretty much up for anything (except the princess part.) So we decide to spend the morning together, but split up in the afternoon.

We start the day in a great way by catching the Main Street Singers. My youngest daughter loves this, as she loves musicals. One of her all-time favorites is “Meet Me In St. Louis.” The singers start singing the “Trolley Song” from that movie, and my daughter sings along. One of the singers notices her, and smiles and sings with her. It was so cute!



We ride all of our favorite rides again…Space Mountain, Pirates, Big Thunder (Splash Mountain is down for refurbishment). We go get some special souvenirs (a dog food bowl for my daughter’s dog, and a dog collar for my son’s dog. This will match the Mickey Head ID tag we got on our last trip. She is a spoiled dog.)

Much to my boys’ dismay, the castle show is starting right when we walk by.



My younger daughter loved it, because it is full of princesses (including her favorite…Sleeping Beauty!) It is really cool, because Mickey and Minnie, etc. can move their mouths, and open and shut their eyes!



Aw…is there anything as sweet as Mickey and Minnie???



At the end of the show, I got one of my most favorite castle shots I’ve ever taken…



After some more favorite rides, we eat lunch at Pecos Bill. We find some seating in the back where no one else was sitting. Ah…it was so relaxing!



We are able to do pretty much whatever we want, as there are no lines for most rides.



After lunch, we split up for a bit. The older three go on rides together, while I take the younger two to meet some characters. We also catch the “One Man’s Dream” parade. I thought it was very good. I like the addition of “Walt”…



…and “classic Mickey”…



I have never seen the Sorcerer’s Apprentice brooms before in a parade!...



The “Mary Poppins” float was neat!



On the way back to the parking lot my son had me take a picture of the “Vikings tram.” Being a big Minnesota Vikings fan, he loved that all the trams were Purple and Gold!!!



We went back to the villa, had dinner, and swam. The boys played basketball. We went to DisneyQuest for a bit. Another ‘fantastic’ day!

Next day: In a Pickle
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:42 PM   #26
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Day 13: Saturday, January 20

We sleep in a bit, and head over to the Epcot. After a couple of rides in Futureworld (Soarin, and Test Track…mostly so we can get our staged picture), we head over to World Showcase. We catch the Chinese Acrobats. They are very good. We had a great spot to watch, but it was right by the speaker. Man…that music was LOUD!





World Showcase was pretty empty…



It was a gorgeous day again. I really like this time of year weather-wise.

My older son was thrilled to find a “pickle tree” in one of the shops. He loves pickles!



The kids enjoyed spending time just goofing around in some of the stores....



...and at the African Outpost.



After spending time in the World Showcase, my daughter really wanted to take the boat back Futureworld. While riding it, we got to see the skywriter.



We spent the rest of the afternoon doing things on that side. We spent a lot of time in Innoventions. My oldest son and I got a chance to ride the Segways there. That was fun!



Another great day…another fun day with my kids.

**My DS17 really wants me to add a bit about "Pooh's Bottom." While walking out of Spaceship Earth, right when you exit the building, on the pavement, there is yellow paint in a design that my son insists looks just like Pooh's bottom, sticking out of the honey tree. If you are taking a trip to Epcot in the near future, have a look...and see if you don't also see Pooh's Bottom!



So much fun…we don’t want it to end! We are not ready yet for bed, so we head to Downtown Disney to catch a movie. We saw “A Night at the Museum.” We really enjoyed it, and laughed a lot!

This has been a super vacation!

Next day: My very favorite place in the whole world…

Last edited by blestmom; 02-21-2007 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:48 PM   #27
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Day 14: Sunday, January 21

I am really looking forward to today. Today is the day that I get to go to my most favorite place in the whole world…Fort Wilderness. We have stayed in the cabins twice, and I love them. If money were no object, I would stay there every time. At least I can go spend some time there this evening.

We start out the day leisurely eating brunch at the villa, and swimming in the pool.



Then we head over to DisneyQuest one last time. Since my youngest son is very much into designing roller coasters at home, I let him design a wild one on Cyber Mountain, and purchase the souvenir DVD. It has turned out to be a great souvenir!

Oops…I had promised my daughter 2 years ago that when she turned 10, she could go on a horseback ride with me at Fort Wilderness. I had forgotten all about it (“Bad Mom”) Since we were going to the campground, my daughter asked me what time our trail ride was. Oh dear. I called them, and there were no times left that day, but…they did have an opening the next day…our last day. Yipee!

We went back to the villa for dinner, then headed over to Fort Wilderness. I just love it over there. It is so rustic, peaceful and beautiful. It really is my favorite place.

We walked around for a bit, then headed over to the Meadows Trading Post. My kids have asked me if I could work anywhere in Disneyworld, where would it be. I always answer the Meadows Trading Post! We purchase supplies to make ‘smores and head over to the campfire and movie.

My kids go back and forth between the sing-along and campfire, making me roasted marshmallows and ‘smores. Ah…this is the good life!







We watch “The Fox and the Hound.” I forgot what a cute movie that is.

We had back to the villa and right to bed, because tomorrow is a BIG day!

Next day: Best laid plans go awry…
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Old 02-17-2007, 07:30 PM   #28
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Blestmom: Some of your pics are great. Especially the castle photos. What brand of camera do you own?

Can't wait for the last day.....
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Old 02-17-2007, 08:18 PM   #29
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I am loving your report! Your kids are great and seem like they all get along so well! Sounds like you had a wonderful time and the pictures of the no crowds are great! I would love to go sometime when it is that empty!

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Old 02-17-2007, 08:30 PM   #30
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Blestmom: Some of your pics are great. Especially the castle photos. What brand of camera do you own?
It is just a cheap little digital...an HP Photosmart R707. I don't even think they make them anymore! I've got my eye on some nice cameras to replace this one someday. I'm drooling over some of the photos I see on the DIS photography board! But in the meantime...this works!
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