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Old 04-22-2009, 10:39 AM   #1
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
Tinkerbellarella's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: 1,298.1 mi too far from the Mouse
Posts: 3,486

Why Is That Princess In MY Castle And Where's My Dole Whip? A Trip Report (TAKE TWO)

Hey everyone! No, you don't have deja vu, it really is me, we really are back here and it really is the same Sept. trip I started reporting on way back when! (So really you kind of just got present so we could get historical. That crazy doctor's Delorian ain't got nuthin' on me!)


I'm not a quitter. I'm not. I began my TR with the honest intention to finish it. And then LIFE got in the way and I was absent from the boards for a couple of months. And in that absence one of the mods combined my PTR and my TR and moved it to the Completed Boards (as was his/her duty). I thought it would be confusing for me to be writing on the combined thread and so I PM'd the ohsowise OhMari. And well, OhMari ohsopatiently answered my questions and unfortunately the combining cannot be undone.

So, instead, I'm starting a new thread.
(And apparently channeling Dr. Seuss.)

So, below, you're going to find all of the previously written chapters for my Sept. trip. And you won't be waiting too long for a new chapter either. Over the weekend I was able to upload ALL of my pictures to Photobucket for the trip, so there's no issue there. I just need to reread some of my notes and we will be back in the saddle with a new chappie folks!

Thanks to everyone for their patience. It's appreciated.

Now let's go back. Way back. Back into time...


HI there!!!

Welcome to my trip report (TR)!

Apparently, in Georgia at least, ( JACKIE!) I have legions of fans.

And they are all waiting, with bated breath, for this TR.


I just looked up "bated" in the dictionary to double-check because I wanted to make sure my LEGIONS weren't passing out due to lack of oxygen and I'm disappointed to report I mustn't have any LEGIONS left. They're all unconscious due to holding their breath. For the past 3 days. Since I've arrived home from vacation. And done everything but start this TR. Sorry guys. Let's make a deal (NODoorNumberThree): I'll commence Trip(e) Report writing if you commence breathing.

And so it begins...

At the beginning.
With my pre-trip report (PTR). I know a good number of you will have wandered over here from there so welcome back! Or here! Or...whatever. However, if you're the pre-trip-report-readin' type and were previously unacquainted with said report, it can be found here.

Otherwise, here are the essentials before we get on to the meat* of this report:

Cast of Characters:

Me a.k.a. Tinkerbellarella a.k.a. Tink a.k.a. Nik a.k.a. TarzanKat's (TK's) long-lost-sister a.k.a. the Travel Agent of this trip:
I'll keep the summary of "who" I am short and sweet. If you want something more indepth, I refer you back to the PTR. I'm a Disney addict and have been since the ripe old age of 7. This marked my 10th trip to the World and this was a MUCH needed vacation. Work had 126% burnt me out, I was suffering from the "Fifth Year Without A Disney Trip" disease, and I'm turning 29 in 12 very short days and not happy about it (however for the duration of this trip, except when purchasing adult beverages, I was about 9 years old). One other thing that you should know since it rears it's head fairly often during the trip is that my boyfriend (BF) -who was not on this trip by choice, by the way, Mr. "I Don't Like Disney" - was moving us from our old apartment into a new (to us, considering it was built in 1868) house while I was away.

Missy a.k.a. "Jennifer" (I'll explain the Jennifer thing later in the report):
Missy and I have been bestest friends since the early years of high school. So, you know, 4-EVA (or so my Algebra notebook says). She's been to Disney a few different times, the most recent being about two years ago, though we'd never been together. She'd had a VERY rough year and was probably in need of relaxation even more than me. Which is saying something. Believe me! She's sweet and funny and sassy and was just as excited about eating on this trip as I was. Suffice it to say we would get along famously. At least at dinner.

7 day Park Hopper Passes
Free Dinning!!! (Standard not Deluxe)
MNSSHP tickets for 9/23/08

Saturday, 9/20/08 thru Friday, 9/26/08 (Disney) and Friday, 9/26/08 thru 9/28/08 (Tampa)

Walt Disney World, of course! Staying for 6 glorious nights at the Polynesian. We then stayed for another two nights with Missy's sister and family in Tampa.

It's Disney.
And if you need a better explanation than that then apparently you got lost on the Internet.
Welcome to the DISboards. We like Disney. Here's your obligatory refillable mug.

UP NEXT: Dream Squad? Pssht. The secret to the being treated like royalty for your WHOLE Disney vacation. (And it's not what you think.)

*Please note, vegetarians are still welcome.


As the Chapters pile up, you'll find individual links for each one here. See, I like you people! I like that you want to read my report! I want to make it easy for you!
Intro - well...you just read it, silly!!!
Chp. 1: No. We Don't Get To Disney In This Chapter.
Chp. 2: How to Have the Most Magical Disney Vacation Ever: Just Add Vomit
Chp. 3: Neverending Halllwayyyyyy. Ohoh-ohoh-ohoh.
Chp. 4: This is the dinner that never ends...yes it goes on and on my frieeeends...
Chp. 5: I'll Have A Grande Decaf Non-Fat Coffee Walk, with a Side of 1,300 Pictures
Chp. 6: The Key to Epcot (is the Key to the World)
A Brief Pictorial Interruption Brought To You By Today's Playoff Game: GO EAGLES!
Chp 7: No Canadian Bathrooms Were Harmed in the Making of this Chapter!
Chp. 8: Drinkin’ ‘Round the World (Showcase)
Chp 9: Breakfast, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...
Chp. 10: How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Day in Just 13 Steps, er, Stories
Chp. 11: Clean-up, Aisle 5!
Chp. 12: Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs
Chp. 13 (How Appropriate!): Epically Huge MK Day Mega Update Numero Uno
Chp. 14: Looking for Adventure in the Great Wide...Wait, Why Can't I Feel My Butt?
Nikki: BF: Izabel & Dory:

Last edited by Tinkerbellarella; 08-31-2009 at 04:01 PM. Reason: New chapter!
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Location: 1,298.1 mi too far from the Mouse
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Chp. 1: No, we don't get to Disney in this chapter.

The first two chapters don’t deal a whole lot with Disney. But they’re important. Because they set the tone, the luck and some of the themes and jokes of the week ahead. I promise, by Chapter 3, we’ll be arriving at the Poly. And, by Chapter 2, they’ll be some pictures.

I won't bore you with the details of "Disney Eve" because, frankly, nothing went down like I'd hoped. I'd wanted to spend a quiet, romantic evening with BF before being without him for 9 days. Instead it was more about being overwhelmed by the amount of work we were going to have to do in the new place.

The overwhelming amount of work we STILL need to do in the new place.
IF we stay in the new place.

So, the romantic evening was out. Thankfully, no packing needed to be done since I'd been packed for, like, 6 weeks.
Not kidding.

Instead, I woke up on "Disney Morning", after a restless night's sleep, to our alarm going off at it's normal time: 4:50 a.m. BF works on Saturdays and it was actually a good time for me to get up and get ready as well. My plan was to be out of the house by 5:30 a.m. to grab coffees and to be at my mom's for 6:00 a.m. I'd leave my car at her house for easier transport home and then we pick up Missy for 6:15 a.m. to be at the airport by 7:00 a.m. in plenty of time for our 8:25 a.m. flight.

Best laid plans and all that.

You know where this is going, right?

I showered and dressed and then cuddled on the couch with BF to watch SportsCenter for a bit.
Football season is in full swing, folks. There a REASON for me to watch SportsCenter now.
Also, it was cuddling.

So, around 5:30 a.m., I announced it was time for me to go and BF offered to carry my 42.2 lb (ahem) suitcase down to the car for me, "if I want". I'm no fool.

"Yes, please, honey." :: plink,plink :: <--- those were my eyelashes batting

I shouldered my backpack and headed down, remembering a couple of things I needed BF to take up from my trunk for the move anyway. So it was a good thing he was, in fact, coming down with me. Carrying my 7.8 lbs-less-than-50lb. suitcase behind him. I got to the car and unloaded my stuff and popped the trunk to get what he needed. I started the car to warm it up (it was a chilly mid-40's morning in the Northeast) and took my suitcase from him and popped it in the car. I walked over for a final good-bye kiss and as my lips were about to reach his...

the car shuddered and konked out.

I wish I had a picture of me, still in perfect fish-lips pucker face, turning with knitted brow to look at my car.

BF says, "Huh."

I walked back over to Baby (yes, that's her name and no, I never park Baby in a corner) and started her up again. She turned over. Grudgingly. I shrug, blaming the stupid cool autumn morning and headed back to give BF that kiss he so rightly deserveed for lugging, I mean, easily lifting, my rather heftily packed suitcase down three flights of stairs.

The car stalled out. Again.
I wish I was kidding.
I'm not.

This time she will NOT turn over. And I happened to notice that me "Feed Me Gas Or Die" light is on.

Now. In my defense, I've had Baby for 5+ years and know what her limits are in terms of her appetite. Just as we were heading home the night before, the light came on. I've driven 30 mi. (stupidly) with that light on. It was NOT 30 mi. home. I’d figured I'd get gas between getting coffees and getting to my mom's in the a.m. - no biggee.

Unless you're Baby.

The beginnings of a hissy were quickly bubbling to the surface. All of the morning's plans were unraveling quicker than the Patriots offense after Tom Brady's season-ending injury. BF could see that. And he has NO PATIENCE for hissies. At 5:45 a.m. or any other time. He stomped upstairs grumbling something about getting ready for work and that he'll be right down.

In my head it meant he was going to bring me to my mom's (which is on his way to work...if by "on his way" you mean driving through two other towns and back), so I unloaded my stuff from the car, locked it up, and waited for him by our front walk to go to his car with him. Apparently HIS plan was that he was going to get in my car and Baby would magically start up for him. When he saw me by the walkway, I got THE LOOK.

But I wasn't going to budge on my version of THE PLAN as I was becoming painfully aware of THE TIME.

I quietly informed him of my plan, ending with, "Please, lovey?" :: plinkplinkplinkplinkplink ::

He sighed and stomped to his car. This was my cue to follow and put my bags into the backseat and not say a word until the obligatory 3.45 minutes of angry-couple-silence had passed. After which I called my mom and Missy to advise them of the burp (NOZZUB) in the plans and the current 15 minute delay we were running on. Then it was all happy convo in the car. He dropped me at my mom's, we FINALLY had that good-bye kiss and I was able to convince my dad to go and check out my car while I was on vacation. BF headed to work and me, my mom and Cody headed out to gather Missy.

Cody. Cody is my mom's black Lab. He's 3. He needs Prozac. I'm not kidding. Makes for an interesting ride. This dog needs to visit my therapist more than I need to visit my therapist.

Missy's eyes were mostly shut as she dragged her also-almost-50lb suitcase to the car. I handed her her gift bag (complete with the tank I made her, which will debut in another chapter, Vacation Mad Libs and Princess Playing Cards) and she got in the backseat with Cody. We chitted and chatted some, since it had been a couple of months since my mom had last seen Missy. We also lamented the lack of caffeine. There was no traffic on the highway and we pulled up to the Southwest section of the Passenger Drop-Off area at T.F. Green (Providence, RI) at about 7:10 a.m. Not too far off schedule. After lots of "thank you's", "I love you's" and "Have funs!" we lugged or luggage (hmph) towards the doors and to the airline desk.

UP NEXT: Vomit: The Disney Secret. And No. I'm REALLY Not Kidding
Nikki: BF: Izabel & Dory:

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Old 04-22-2009, 10:42 AM   #3
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Chp. 2: How to Have the Most Magical Disney Vacation Ever: Just Add Vomit

***WARNING: This one is a bit lengthy. ***

We pulled our collective 100-ish pounds of vacation luggage to the Southwest Airlines desks. See, yours truly didn’t check us in online. Because yours truly isn’t experienced with the whole check in online at home and still check the luggage in at the airport process. I figured you MUST be able to do that…something to do with curb-side check-in and all that…but then Missy mentioned something about how the last time she’d done that they’d lost her luggage and, well, my decision was made.

We were checking in at the desk.

Which, by the way, was decidedly different from the LAST time I’d checked in with Southwest at the desk.
Five years ago.
When you could still check in with an actual living, human being.

The whole check in on the self-help screens had me feeling decidedly OLD.
And decidedly impatient. For the 10 or so open self-help kiosks, there were only two Southwest employees behind the desk helping out with tagging luggage and directing people to open kiosks. Which resulted in a line of people about 15 deep only populating 3 of those 10 available kiosks. No one would venture over to the ones that were empty.
WAITING for the “next available guest”.

Not even yours truly. Or Missy.
We’re sheep. Baaaa.

Finally we received our boarding passes and our luggage was tagged and we brought it over to have it cleared through security. I don’t think this is standard at most airports, but at T.F. Green you have the “luxury” of bringing your own luggage over to the FAA security scanners, waiting for the 2,569 minutes it takes while it’s in the “oven” and then getting the thumbs up from the Security guy whose sole job it is to give me the thumbs up and then pull out his back putting my bag on the magic belt to the plane’s luggage hold.

We headed through security ourselves. The line was pretty much non-existent. And thankfully, I didn’t need to get the Security-pat-down-that-should-come-with-dinner-and-a-movie.

After that it was a quick jaunt over to Gate 15.

To meet up with the 40 other families with children under 5 all waiting for the same flight to Disney.

Missy and I exchanged looks and I began scanning the seats to identify which children I DIDN’T want to sit next to.

Unfortunately because we were the ONLY people that DIDN’T participate in online check-in, we were in Boarding Group C. Also known as “Boarding Group: You Get To Sit On The Flight Attendants Lap”. (a.k.a.No seat for you!) We settled into by the window to wait and began to discuss breakfast. Missy gets a little nervous the night before she flies, so she hadn’t slept much the night before so she decided to pass on the caffeine. “I don’t want to be kept awake and coffee? I don’t want to have to spend any time in that tiny little airplane bathroom.”

Remember that.

So, we decided to do muffins and juice for breakfast and we were nomming down in short order. Time passed pretty quickly.

We were excited.
Missy was tired.

I was wired on that “I’m Going to Disney!” caffeine.

But we were both excited.
The plane arrived. See! Wave at the plane!
Flight 1318:

After all of humanity and your grandma got on the plane before us, it was finally our turn to board. We headed back…back…are those seats, oh never mind, screaming-kicking-child…back...back to a row that was probably 4 or 5 up from the last on the plane. Missy settled into the window seat.

Remember that.

I settled into the aisle and confirmed with Missy that she didn’t want to be woken for beverage service and then we buckled in. I flipped through the Sky Mall magazine, looking for that combo hot dog/bun cooker (ever try to explain what that looks like to someone? Missy needed a visual) while we taxied out (early!) and were cleared for take-off.

Once at cruising altitude, Missy shoved her earbuds in and turned up her iPod, sunglasses on, eyes closed, ready for a nap. I unpacked my own iPod and dropped it on the seat next to me. I also took out my laptop and got myself a cranberry juice and spread myself out.

Remember that.

About a third of the way into the flight, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Missy sit up straight-er. I could see her eyes blink a few times behind her shades and then she pushed them up onto her head. She had a look on her face. A look I recognized but couldn’t quite place. I pulled my earbuds out as she did and said, “What’s up?”

She stared at me.

For a full ten seconds.

A LONG ten seconds.

Then, she spoke.

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

I blinked once. Twice. “Are you sure?”

Three more seconds. “Yes. I’m going to throw up.”

I bolted into action. Picture this, if you will – I gathered up my iPod, laptop, put up the tray all while balancing my cranberry juice in my right hand, determined not to spill it on the balding head in front of me (ZZUB – was that you? )

Missy quickly but calmly made it out and headed the few short rows towards the rear lav, before getting stuck behind the flight attendant with the drink tray. I watched her, feeling her agony. Finally she leaned forward and said, “Um, ma’am? I need to get to that bathroom RIGHT. NOW.” The attendant recognized “the look” and deftly stepped into a row, letting Missy pass.

While she was gone, I swapped our seats, putting Missy on the aisle in case this ultimately wasn’t the only visit. I knew Missy; she wouldn’t be using those handy-dandy seatback bags. When she returned, I didn’t have to ask if she’d been sick, her face said it all. Instead she said, “Do you know how difficult it is to throw up in four square inches of space? I need to start doing yoga.”

After Missy’s second visit to the loo to yell at the pretty metal toilet, the flight attendant stopped by with ginger ale, crackers and a Glad trashbag. I wish I was kidding about that last part. Thankfully, we never needed it. Instead, I put all of my stuff away and chatted Missy up for the rest of the flight to Orlando, providing much-needed distraction.

Our flight arrived early and we made a non-vomit pitstop in the ladies room before heading to the non-monorail monorail. Well non-vomit EXCEPT for the poor lady in the stall RIGHT NEXT TO Missy. I was beginning to wonder exactly what kind of trip this was going to be.

One trip on the non-monorail monorail later, we were gathering our luggage and I was calling Happy Limo for our ride. See, I hadn’t told Missy exactly how we were getting to the Poly. I wanted us to ride in style, so I’d secretly reserved and paid for a stretch limo. We headed to the assigned parking spot, Missy still none the wiser, and wait for our driver, Gary. The spot was used for a few other companies, so we watched some other parties head out first. Finally, as a black, stretch Lincoln Navigator pulled up I said, “Ok, so the surprise is that I booked us a limo, but unfortunately NOT one this nice.” I laughed. She laughed. Then the driver got out and said, “Miss NotSharingMyLastNameOnTheInternet? I’m Gary.”

Our mouths dropped open. (While Gary’s back was turned anyway, rolling our luggage to the trunk. Which, by the way is bigger than my bedroom.)

I couldn’t believe this. I also couldn’t decide if something had gotten screwed up – was this a free upgrade or would I log in to see my card had been charged $500 and not the $122 I’d agreed to pay?

It was like a club back there.

We had a ball, goofing on the people gawking at us on the highway.

We finally arrived at the Poly.

::cue choir of angels::

The slip I signed for Gary confirmed I had in fact been charged the right price and that the upgrade gods were smiling upon us. I headed, hopefully, towards the front desk. After getting leid, we proceeded directly over to Jim, the next available CM.

Jim was, no IS, THE BOMB. He pulled up our reservation and said, “So, Miss StillNotSharingMyLastName, how’s Fall River treating you?”
Me: You know Fall River? (NO one knows Fall River, MA. Fall River is my dinky hometown – I looked at his nametag and saw he was from Needham, MA) Oh! You’re from Needham!
Jim: New York originally, but my adopted family is from Mass.
Me: So, does that make you a Red Sox or a Yankees fan? (A crucial question for a fan of either team.)
Jim: Sox all the way, baby!
Missy: (sporting a Jason Varitek Sox tee and before I could get his take on the Brady/Cassell Pats situation) So, we’re Sox fans too. Does that get us any special perks?
Jim: (glancing down casually and then, in a tone as if he were merely telling me it’s hot in Florida) Well, you were upgraded to the concierge level this morning. How’s that?
My mouth dropped open.
I looked at Missy.
We high-fived.

That'll do, pig.
Er, JIM.
Sorry, end of Babe flashbacks.

Jim went through the rest of the welcome spiel, gave us our Keys to the World (KTTW) and sent us on our merry way, map in hand, to the Hawaii building. As we strolled (maybe skipped) in, the people at the concierge desks looked up at us and said, “Aloha Miss WantToStartGuessingMyLastName! Welcome to the Polynesian!”
Missy turned to me, the absolute picture of seriousness, and said,

“Nik, if all I have to do to get all this for us is throw up, I’ll do it all week long.”

Up Next: The Room! My Toes! The Four Cheese Potatoes!
Nikki: BF: Izabel & Dory:

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Old 04-22-2009, 10:43 AM   #4
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Chp. 3: Neverending Halllwayyyyyy. Ohoh-ohoh-ohoh.

After being greeted as if we were long, lost ohana by the concierge team staffing the desks in the Hawaii lobby, we headed down the hallway to our room.

And further down the hallway.

And a little bit further down the hallway.

Somewhere around the middle of the hallway I passed an excessively hairy balding guy in big boy shorts with massive guns napping in a chair in an alcove formed by the room doors.

I hushed Missy so she wouldn't wake ZZUB.

Finally, sometime around February 2009, we reached our room.

Ok, so maybe the hallway wasn't THAT long. It wasn't Princess V Boardwalk hallway long, but truthfully, our room was the second-to-last one from the end of the hallway. And right next to a different door that led out to the resort's pathways. Which we'd use whenever we were heading out anywhere except the Great Ceremonial House (GCH) because it was MUCH closer than walking that neverendingly straight, long hallway (NOTheShining) (NOREDRUM).

Missy and I actually paused and glanced at each other as I pulled out my KTTW and moved it towards the lock. We were about to enter a room we'd anticipated for months on end. A room that we'd named our "sanctuary" during the long weeks of late work hours, personal stress and packing up our houses (well, that last one was just me, but you get it). And then to have arrived and been upgraded. We were giddy. I was actually trembling a little. My "dream" stay was just a key-card slide away.

*green light*

If you're a pretty big TR reader, you've probably already read ZZUB's latest chapter(s) describing his love for his room at the Contemporary and for the resort itself. I'm a HUGE fan of his and in many ways feel my description of the room (and later the resort after many early morning pictorial tours) will fall short of his novel-esque essays on the topic. However, I shall try.

Dude. The room ROCKED.


How's that?

No really. It rocked. I'd seen just about every online pic of the Poly rooms I could get my little fingers on prior to arrival so when we walked in, it kind of felt like...well...coming home. It was everything I expected and yet better than I could've imagined, if that makes any sense.

As it would for the rest of the week, the A/C popped on as the door opened and we wheeled our collective 100-ish pounds of luggage inside. I'm not sure our vocabulary consisted of much more than:
"Oh. My. GOD."
"Thank you."
"I can't believe this."
"I'm so throwing up everytime we go somewhere."

Really I just kept repeating the first one over and over. Out loud and in my head. I hid it from Missy, but there was a point where I was a little choked up. My thoughts were moving so fast but walking into that room was so many things at once to me: excitement, relief, magic, disbelief, homecoming and a little bit of sadness. I thanked God for the blessings of the day, I told my gramma I missed her and thanked her for any strings she might've pulled with the Big Guy in my favor for this room and I thanked Disney for issuing the VISA that made it all possible.

I'm kidding about that last one.


I asked Missy to not unpack anything so I could get pictures of the room before we decimated it with our girlie things (read: SHOES and MAKE-UP). Here's the room, much like any other of the millions of pictures you've seen before, but so much more like a little slice of heaven to me:

This one came out pretty dark and a little crooked. Not sure why I didn’t think to take another:

The fold out couch, which only served as a sleeping place for everything we unloaded on it at the end of the day, so I’m not sure how it is for sleeping, but it is comfy for sitting:

I tried to figure out how I could collapse this whole unit to bring home to my dad, who would’ve been drooling over the TV:

Towel aminals!!!:

I was in love with the bathroom counter set-up, especially the lights (NOLL) and the mirror:

Missy was in love with the shower:

This is the view from our room from left, center and right and then, the patio itself and our room number:

And finally, the first and second in a series I call "An Ode to LL's Light Fixture Fetish":
Bed lights

Bottom of bathroom light fixture (doesn’t it look like he’s holding a little Lapu Lapu?!)

Once the pictures were taken, Missy called a friend of hers to gush about all of the luck that had befallen us and I may or may not have jumped on the bed.

::ahem:: YOU decide.

We checked the time real quick and decided we would be able to unpack and then run up to check out the concierge lounge before heading over to the Grand Floridian (GF) for our pedi's at the spa at 2 p.m. In terms of storage space, we had no issues. We each had three drawers in the bureau/TV stand and a full closet. I used the safe in my closet for my laptop and other valuables during the week. Worked out great. There was also plenty of room in the closets to stow the luggage. The bathroom had plenty of counter space and storage underneath as well and was very roomy.

Once we were unpacked and refreshed, we headed up to check out the concierge lounge. It's located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Hawaii building. The second floor level is where most of the seating is and is where the beverages and snacks are served. The third floor has kind of a loft seating area. The whole back wall, facing the Lagoon, is made up of windows. I spent at least some time each morning gazing out at that view. While we were up there we peeked over at the snacks, just cookies at the time, and decided to head out and maybe stop in again later on. I’ll post pics in a later update.

I wasn't sure exactly how to get to the walkway to the GF so we meandered around the resort, oohing and aahing over how lush it was and trying to catch little lizards (cut us a break, we're from New England, land of snow and ice and the football team that's currently breaking my heart). Once we found the path, it was about a 5-7 minute walk and was super-pleasant. The path winds by Luau Cove, in front of the water along the Lagoon, by the wedding pavilion and finally by the Spa.

The GF spa is a separate building from the main cluster of GF buildings that houses both the spa itself and the fitness center. We browsed around in the outrageously priced spa gift shop for a bit (want to know what an $88 fleece looks like? A WHOLE LOT like a $15 fleece from Old Navy) and then were led "in the back". It was weird. The door into the spa proper looked more like a closet door with a sign that said “No admittance without a Cast Member”. I felt like we were being led into the bowls of a government operative lab.

Instead, we were led into a very dim hallway. We were shown into the lounge area which was a little bit brighter and was full of cushy couches and chairs. We didn't explore it much, but there was also an area with a sauna and a locker room/shower/changing area. They had complimentary water and teas as well. The soothing music they were pumping in was at a volume that just begged, "Sit back, relax, let me rub your feet." We only waited a few short minutes and then were called in for our pedicures. I can't remember Missy's pedicurist's name, but I had Flor and Flor has wonderful, magic hands that soothed away the weeks worth of stress I didn't even realize I was keeping in my poor, battered tootsies. THANK YOU FLOR!

Initially I'd worried that the hour would fly by, but it truly felt like the full 60 minutes it was, and maybe even then some. The ladies kept up great conversation with us, asking us about home, telling us about themselves and the fact that at the Home Show at the Orlando Convention Center they were selling Sugar Gliders as housepets.

Random? Maybe, but we struck up quite the conversation around how one would keep a sugar glider as pets (Missy's pedicurist's friend had one) – how we might get it home, how I might convince BF we really do need it and how to keep our cats from eating it.

This is a sugar glider and I'd decided I couldn't leave Orlando without one:

Alas, I'm still sugar glider-less. (And no, that's not my hand that small fluffball of gliding cuteness is holding onto.)

Anywho, the conversation died down and for the last 10 minutes both Missy and I nodded off a bit. When we were done and our freshly painted and prettied piggies were dry, we hashed out our plans for the rest of the afternoon: we'd quickly check out the GF (and BASIN) and then take the monorail back to the Poly, followed by a nap and a shower for Missy and then getting purdied up for our dinner with the TK clan at Citricos back at the GF.

And that is precisely what we did. No diversions. No crazy stories really. We both napped until about 4:30 when we were awoken by a Mousekeeper wondering if we'd like turndown service. When we said yes, she came in and did a quick job of the beds and then did a complex dance on the telephone keypad with her fingers and advised us that we wouldn't need to request turndown service again - that it would be taken care of for the week.

Missy's shower ran...well...long as she'd fallen head over heels in love with the rain showerhead in the the bathroom. So, we were almost running to the monorail so that we wouldn't be late for our very important date. As we stepped out onto the monorail platform a monsoon commenced. The rain. Just. Came. Down. I mean it was hitting the pavement like it was being paid to do so. I gave TK a call to let her know we were on our way just as the monorail was pulling up.

Next update. Next Post.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:44 AM   #5
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Chp. 4: This is the dinner that never ends...yes it goes on and on my frieeeends...

As our monorail purred into the GF, I was giddy with anticipation of my first-ever DISmeet and even more to the point, that it was with my sweetest of sweet (and only) long lost sis, TarzansKat, or, as we shall call her ever onward, TK. I'd seen pics of her and her DH and her sweet little prince of a boy before leaving so I was on the lookout as we approached Citricos. I spotted her DH pushing the stroller around just outside the entrance to the restaurant and went over to introduce myself.

He didn't shake my hand.

HOW RUDE! (NOStephanieTanner)


He's actually a peach. The poor TK clan was well into the throes of a Disney cold at that point and as much as they wanted to share dinner with us, they didn't want to share their germs. So nice.

Just as I was introducing myself to her DS (who a.) was playing shy and b.) is possibly the cutest little man born to this planet), two things happened at once, TK rounded the corner, ready to tell us our table was available and BF called me. I excused myself for a second to quickly take his call and then FINALLY got to meet TK.

If you missed my PTR, all you need to know is this - TK and I share 98% of the same genes (including likes, dislikes and pirate obsessions) but none of the same parents. The number of things we have in common is scary. The number of things we don't have in common is perfect - enough alike to take over the world, enough different to not kill each other in the process. I knew this would be one of the biggest and best highlights of our trip.

We were seated at a large round table set in from the windows. Our server's name was Tiffany. She was wonderful, though had no idea what she was in for with our group! LOL She brought us water and bread to start while we looked over the menus. I think Missy was the only one who was 100% POSITIVE about what she was having for dinner. She'd known for weeks since I’d forwarded her the menu in advance. The rest of us...well...suffice it to say we were a tad indecisive. I think we made it through most of the basket of bread (which is FANTASTIC, it has tiny pieces of olive in it) before the rest of us decided what we wanted.

Six and a half weeks later, we ordered dinner.

God bless you, Tiffany, and your infinite patience.

Missy ordered the swordfish. The "I've waited six weeks for this swordfish" swordfish. The fish itself is grilled and served over papparadelle pasta al olio with crushed olives, black olive oil, and basil coulis. Missy assures me that what all that means in English is that heaven tastes like swordfish.

(Sorry, no food porn just yet. We DID remember to get the desserts, but that's it. We were MUCH better about it the rest of the week.)

The rest of us had the Filet Jardiniere: an oak-grilled filet of beef with house-cured vegetables, quattro formaggi crushed potatoes, and veal glace de viande.

I'd like to draw your attention to four words in that last sentence: quattro formaggi crushed potoatoes. Do you know what they mean? They mean "you can and will want to eat these potatoes for the rest of your life". I mean, the filet was divine (I had mine medium rare, TK and her DH had theirs medium) and the cured veggies were good - tangy and not what I expected, in a pleasant way. But the potatoes.


If these potatoes were a dessert they'd be Butter Grilled Pound Cake. (R.I.P.)
If these potatoes were a resort stay, they'd be a complimentary upgrade to the Concierge level at the Poly.
If these potatoes were a presidential candidate, well, I know they would NOT be Sarah Palin. If you asked my mom they would be eight more years of Bill Clinton.

Unfortunately, since returning home, I have yet to find a recipe for these wonderous of wondered spuds. I'm getting desperate.

So yes, the potatoes were divine, and dinner was great, but really spending time with our new friends was the best part. I discovered that not only are TK and I like two peas in a pod (snowpeas, preferably; we're classy like that), but her DH is so much like my BF that if they ever got together and started teasing us as a combined spousal unit, I think the earth's rotation would stop. Then they'd spend about 70 hours playing MarioKart on the WII followed by watching a Naruto marathon. And yes, these are men. But aren't all men boys at heart?

TK's lil' man is just. Well. He's the bees' knees. Missy and I immediately fell in love with him. He's just so sweet. I've never in my life heard a three and a half year old with a vocabulary like he has. He's equal parts shy, mischievous, brilliant and sweet. Oh. And he really likes grapes. And his cars. And C-A-N-D-Y. He and Tiffany were so sweet when they interacted. She'd talk right to him and ask him what he wanted and if he got shy, she'd talk to TK or her DH and then all of a sudden he'd come right out with what he wanted and took to shyly flirting with her. At one point towards the end of our meal, he started playing with a little girl at a table near us. The little girl called him a "pretty boy". And that he is folks. He's simply darlin'. Missy is currently drafting plans to kidnap him, never to return him.

And TK. I could say so much. But really, I don't need to. She was everything I knew her to be. But in 3-D. And sitting across the table, talking about our first day and her whole trip, I knew I'd found a lifelong friend.

At some point Tiffany brought up the subject of dessert. We were amenable. As were our pockets (WOOHOO FREE DINNING!) TK and I chose the trio of sorbets.

A rather crummy picture:

The flavors were raspberry (my favorite - so tangy and fresh), cappucino (good - strong) and almond (delightful - tasted a bit like vanilla but was also distinctly almond, nice coupled with the raspberry). The red line of “stuff” in front of the sorbet was a strawberry sauce which was so good with all three flavors.

TK's DH had the Seasonal Berry Gratin with a champagne-Grand Marnier sabayon. Wow. It looked good. The berries looked plump and sweet. TK's lil' man made his own sundae and had a grand ole' time doing it.

Missy's dessert is what happens when sin is plated. Oh. MY. She had the Warm Chocolate Banana Torte. It was. OHMIGOD. All I could have was a single bite. It was so delicious and dark chocolatey and nannery.

And the chocolate crown wasn't too bad either. It was both nomable and a cute accessory.

One would think dessert would be the end of the meal. Nay. We sat and chitted and chatted until someone looked at the time. Our ADR had been for 5:40 p.m. It was now 8:45 p.m. Three hours say you?!?!

Three FANTASTIC hours, say I.

We discussed maybe moving our par-tay to a location with more drinks or to the MK for the Spectro showing but when it came down to it, we all agreed we were beat. Missy and I had our first full park day ahead of us and TK and her clan had their departure day looming and their colds o-pressing. However, we did decide to take the monorail together - the TK clan back to the MK for the launch to WL and Missy and I to the Poly.

We first partook of a mini-photo session out on the couches near the elevators and I have to say, one of my favorite photos from the trip is from that night. I just look so darned happy. So does TK. However, because I know that TK likes her privacy, I've opted NOT to include them here. Just know that in the pics we're grinning like women on Christmas morning who just woke up to find Jack Sparrow under their tree. (We had also exchanged gift bags earlier in the evening, but I’ll include pics of those in the Souvenir chapter, which will likely take 76 days to post.) We headed out to the monorail and it seemed like only seconds later we were at the MK saying goodbye. Oh how I wished our trips had overlapped more. We bid our new friends adios and safe travels and waved as the monorail took off towards the Contemporary.

You know, people may tease me about my “Disney obsession” or for posting to these boards. I’ve just stopped listening. Posting here has brought so many new and wonderful people into my life, including the TK family. And for that I am thankful.

When we arrived back at the Poly, we made a pit stop at the Concierge lounge just to see what their nighttime offerings included. They had a fantastic drink (I believe it was orange-guava (a.k.a. Lilikoi juice) with rum) and some cookies and popcorn and such. A movie was playing on the TV and the lounge was more crowded than I’d expected it to be. We headed back down to the room and as we were undressing, IT began.

“I think they’re blowing up Disney World.”

Missy wasn’t kidding. We could hear fireworks from our room. But this wasn’t just Wishes! folks. Oh no. The American Fireworks Association (which is what we’ll pretend they’re called because I can’t think of the proper name at the moment) was putting on a display over the Lagoon. I’d heard a rumor this would be happening and we’d agreed that if we weren’t too tired we’d go check it out, since it was kind of a once in a lifetime Disney thing. The biggest fireworks display ever put on at Disney World (I think in terms of number of shells used).

I looked at Missy. She looked at me. We were both in our PJs. She yawned. I said, “I’d go out there if I still had a bra on.”

And that’s how we missed a once in a lifetime Disney thing. We listened to it though. It must’ve gone on for over 30 minutes, some of the explosions so loud the room vibrated. I imagine it was pretty fantastic. Just as it was ending, when Missy turned out the lights and I said g’night, she said,

“Disney World better still be here in the morning.”

Up Next: The Tower of Vomit and Why Toy Story Mania Should Have Those Fun Little Barf Bags. ::sigh::
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:44 AM   #6
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Chp. 5: I'll Have A Grande Decaf Non-Fat Coffee Walk, with a Side of 1,300 Pictures

And so our first full day of Disney Magic dawned.
Though not bright, not that I knew that yet.
Because when you pull those room drapes aaaallll the way shut, it's 2 a.m. 24 hours a day in there! It's a migraine sufferer's dream come true, as we would find out later in the week...or would we?

My internal alarm clock went off at 5 a.m. on the button, though I refused to get out of bed. Instead, I laid there drifting in and out of a light sleep and just being lazy until about 7 a.m. When my BF sent me a message that said, "Wake up, lazy."

There he was again, doing his little Vulcan Mind Meld thing, somehow just KNOWING I was being lazy. Jerk.

I got up and felt my way around the room for the clothes I'd left out the night before (yes, it was THAT dark) and spent a ridiculous amount of time enjoying the rain showerhead. Once I was clean and dressed, I grabbed my wristlet with camera in hand and slipped out of the room to let Missy enjoy a sleep in.

I stepped out to the warm and bright Florida sun.
It was warm. But it was not really bright and the sun was MIA.
Oh, and was it muggy.

I headed down to the beach to get a better look at the sky and decide if this was a "Hey, it's going to be 80 today and humidity is going to be 135%" kind of day or if the sky was truly ominous. Thankfully (kind of) it was the former. I had a great picture of exactly HOW gray it was but apparently Photobucket ate it. And belched. And didn't even cover it's mouth or say "Excuse me."

Satisfied that the weather gods weren't going to completely ruin our first day, I set off to do some exploring.

I was so very impressed with the landscaping at the resort. The flowers and plants were so beautiful and most of them "felt" Polynesian.

The architecture was pretty amazing as well, even down to the structures around the pool area.

Quiet Pool

Quiet Pool Cabana

Pool Tiki

The flora was amazing but the fauna wasn't lacking either. There were lots of bunnies out and about munching on the Disney grass that looks gorgeous but is about as comfortable to walk across in bare feet as hot coals. The lizards were out and about racing back and forth across the sidewalks doing whatever it is that lizards do when they aren't standing stock still in the middle of the walkway as if to say, "You CAN'T see me but DUDE DON'T step on me".

And the birds. Oh the birds.

Z, the Poly ducks told me to tell you the WL ducks said, "What up homey? Roll Tide."

There was one duck, floating around in the stream that runs from the GCH to the Volcano Pool that had something on his mind and wanted EVERYONE to know about it. And he was spot on for the voice of Donald Duck. Now, I know how ridiculous that might sound but have you ever listened to Donald and then listened to a real duck? There's quite a range of difference there. Not this little dude. Oh no. He sounded so much like that dear, pants-less, rage blinded friend of Mickey that I actually stopped and listened to him for quite some time.

He's not in the picture, but here was where he was doing all of his enraged quacking:

As I headed closer to the GCH, Mr. Mighty Mad Water Fowl's yapping was eclipsed by all of these little dudes:

See 'em up there? I'm not sure what type of birds they are but they reminded me of the Starlings that take over my parents' lawn in the Spring. They were all the way across the top of the GCH and they had a ton to say. I was actually thankful that we weren't staying in a building closer to the GCH because I imagine you'd have been able to hear them in the room!

It was quiet inside the GCH.

I was still trying to get a handle on the settings on my camera (more on that later) and so didn't take too many pictures, though I did LOVE this guy.

And of course a gratuitous light shot for LL:

The center waterfall area:

And I decided I want these wall sculptures for our house:

Once I'd done enough wandering, I headed back to Hawaii and up to the Concierge Lounge to take some notes. The breakfast spread was great - 3 or 4 different kinds of cereals, bagels, croissants, cheese danish and a very light bread that reminded me very much of Portuguese sweetbread, which is simply NOMtastic. There were also a couple of different kinds of juices to choose from, including "Orange Guava" which, I found out later on, tastes exactly like the Lilikoi juice in Kona and O'hana. Only, it tastes better because it's free! I sat and relaxed for a bit and finally headed back to the room with a plate of breakfast goodies for Missy to choose from. It was about 9 a.m. and my inner commando was having it's first flippy fit of the day that it was 9 a.m. and we weren't yet in a park.

As I entered the room where it was perpetually 2 a.m., Missy said to me, "Good morning honey! Are we really in Disney World?!"

Up Next: You mean I need my room key to get INTO the park? Really? Hmm.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
I was all like, "Um, well...that's different
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Chp. 6: The Key to Epcot (is the Key to the World)

Chapter 6. Also known as the "Mammoth Epicot Update #1".

Once I assured Missy that not only were we still in Disney World, but that they had not, in fact, blown up Disney the night before, she conceded to get out of bed and get dressed for our first big park day.

Epicot day.

I lounged around on the bed and watched, in full, about 11 times, the new informational "7 Things" with Stacy.
Exactly WHO on Disney staff thought those pigtail braids were a good idea?
I felt an IMMEDIATE longing to hear, "It's your zip-a-dee-do-dah tip for the day!"

Stacy. Seriously honey. Speak to your stylist. STAT.

After Missy had spent enough quality time with the showerhead and was dressed and ready, we decided it would be a most excellent idea to walk to the TTC and board the Epicot monorail there, rather than wait at the GCH and do the whole switcheroo thing. Save ourselves a few minutes and all.
Now, one would think that after my extensive walk of the grounds that morning that I would know the Poly like the back of my hand.
Raise your hand if you know where this is going.
After getting turned around twice, we finally found the path to the TTC. And by this time we were definitely feeling the heat. And a bit of humidity too. We were both happy to settle into the air conditioned bliss of the Epicot monorail. We chatted each other up and I'm sure I spewed out some random Epicot facts as we approached. I got a couple of shots of "the ball". This one was my favorite.

We were delayed for a minute or two and somehow got on the topic of the Key to the World cards.
And how they made everything so convenient.
And were oh so vital.

Missy: "So, it's our room key?"
Me: "Yup."
Missy: "And we can charge to it?"
Me: "Sure can."
Missy: "And they store our meals on here?"
Me: "And our park tickets."
Missy: "Mm. And our park tickets."
Me: "Yeah."
Missy: "Well, um, we have to go back. Mine is in the room."

I won't lie. My wee little inner commando sat down and cried. But only on the inside. It was as much as my fault as it was Missy's since I hadn't ever mentioned that the card was, quite literally, the "key" to everything. So, the monorail pulled into the station and we watched everyone else get off. And then all new people get on. 'Cept for us. We joked around on the way back, pretending like we hadn't seen all this scenery before and Missy remarked on how "old" the signage at the entrance gates to Epicot looked. Funny, I don't think I ever looked at it as "old". To me it just seems, I dunno, Epicot-y.

We trekked back up the path to the Poly. One would think that after my extensive walk of the grounds that morning and the explicit instructions given to us to find the path (twice) earlier that we would've known, yours truly especially, the Poly like the back of our hands.
Raise your hand if you know where this is going.
I got us so turned around that we were about ready to just walk across that hurtful Disney grass to the room (seriously, Disney hasn't mastered the art of growing soft grass their guests can walk barefoot on!?...wait a tic, perhaps they don't want us on the grass...hmmm, mental note). I also advised Missy that despite 9 other trips to the World, perhaps I shouldn't be our Navigator.

We finally reached the Hawaii building. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon sometime in 2076.

We used the nifty little side entrance near our room and Missy ran in to get her room/credit/meal/park key.

I'd like to say that I'm happy to report we made it back to the TTC using the paths like pros.
But we didn't.
Because instead of doing more walking, we decided to hop on the monorail at the GCH and do the switcheroo thing. And save the walking for Epicot.
Not because we're lazy (much).
More because Missy also remembered she needed cash.

I really thought that we'd be royally, er, inconvenienced by the ATM fee but it was only $2. A lot? Yes. Less than I expected? Yes. See, the Bank of America ATMs in the lobby of the building I work in charge a $3 fee. I have no DISboard-fit language for that. Instead, we move on.

A monorail pulled up shortly after we stepped out onto the platform. Despite the setback, my inner commando was eerily quiet. I think it's because I was acutely aware that the sky was that perfect "Disney" blue. And it was going to be a good day. I looked at the time on my phone and was surprised to find that despite what I thought the whole excursion to and fro and to and fro had taken, from the very start to finish, it was only 35ish minutes. So either our luck was still right on or the monorails are really Delorians.

We FINALLY walked into Epicot.

Aaaaah. I still remember that moment to this day. I close my eyes and I remember stepping out from under the awning over the turnstiles into the sun. The Epicot background music stirred up such emotion in my chest. I looked around at the place I'd been to so many times before but felt like I was seeing it for the first time again. I turned to Missy and smiled and we took some pictures. It was just after 11 a.m. and the parks had been open for hours at that point and we were just getting there. But in that moment I realized that I didn't care. I didn't care if we even rode rides. I can honestly say that now. I was just so happy to be THERE. Feeling Disney. And forgetting most everything else. And there wasn't a castle in sight.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

We decided to head over to The Land to see what we could score for Soarin' FPs. It was about 11:20 a.m. The wait was about 40 minutes, which we decided didn't want to do but the FPs were only for 1:15p.m.-2:15p.m. Score! (Bodes well for things to come.) I suggested checking out the wait for Living with the Land.
Cinco minutos.
Dude. We could totally wait 5 minutes.

Missy in line for our first (non-monorail) ride.

My favorite saying from the queue:

We got the first row of the boat all to ourselves. Score! Again!
I have to say that I do miss the actual LIVE Cast Member on this ride. I get the fact that the spiel is exactly the same and that it's an easy money-saver but still. I don't know. Nostalgia, I guess.

My favorite tree:

I always worry about exactly WHY they are farming these guys. NO pocketbooks/boots!!!!

Lemonade anyone?

And what TR would be complete without the requisite "Earning My Ears" photo?

We oohed and aahed over the future of growing veggies. I wish this future would get here faster. Yet again I told myself that next time I WILL take the Behind the Seeds tour.

When we'd first gotten on the ride, we'd remarked that we could probably wait a bit to eat. I think we were both just hoping to get more done before taking a time out to eat. Our bellies, however, betrayed us. I had been curious about the new Sunshine Seasons since I'd read about all the changes. We decided that we'd make our inaugural food purchase there. We both decided to eat from the rotisserie place, though agreed the Asian noodle spot also looked good. I got the pork, mashed potatoes and carrots. I think the girl felt bad that they were low on mashed because she gave me enough carrots to last three weeks. Missy got the pork with rice and carrots. For dessert I got the Butterfinger Brownie and Missy got the creme brulee. Normally I wouldn't comment on what we got to drink unless it was something not of the norm, since it was usually water or soda, but I have to say that I got lemonade. And this was the ONLY time on the trip I would do that.
I think it was just the fountain machine itself because my lemonade was slightly carbonated and just, HO-RIB-BLE, but I was turned off by the thought of it the rest of the trip.

My meal:


I was a little nervous about using the Dining Plan since I'd never before had it.
Easy. As. Pie. And the girl we had at the checkout counter was a peach too. She explained it to us in terms of using it for counter service and wished us a magical day, turning us out to find a table among the noon masses.
Of which there were none. At noon. At HIGH NOON in the Sunshine Seasons at Epicot. We had many choices of tables.
Score! Again!!
We settled in and I have to say we were both very happy with this meal. The pork was tender and so moist! The potatoes were nummy (but NO Citricos potatoes) and the carrots were firm. And I'm really picky with cooked carrots but these were good. The brownie was a bit much and I only ate a few bites. I also tried Missy's creme brulee, as I've never had it before. Num-MY! I was now really excited to try the maple creme brulee at our Le Cellier ADR later in the week.

Lunch was lovely though this was where we first really observed something that we'd see all week. RUDE children and oblivious parents. And I'm not talking about the "I'm going to ignore what my child's doing so as not to condone it with my attention" routine. I'm talking about the "Wait, I have children?" routine. That and just blatantly disrespectful children. Kids hitting their siblings. Kids hitting their parents. Kids stepping on other people, almost causing them to drop their trays of food. Children cussing like truck drivers. I was actually pretty appalled. After that, we were kind of anxious to move on.

We still had time before our Soarin' FPs so we decided to head over to The Living Seas. I can't tell you how long we stood outside watching the seagulls, but it was a while. I LOVE the seagulls. LOVE THEM. And if you haven't ever noticed, they actually have a varying "routine" in terms of screaming, "MINE!" and interacting with each other. I believe Missy took video, but unfortunately I don't have that.

As much as I love the Nemo theming, as it's one of my favorite Disney movies, as we made our way through the winding (and empty...and FREEZING) queue, I was mourning the loss of the original. Again. Perhaps this should be chalked up to nostalgia too, and maybe I was the only one, but I didn't mind waiting in the round room, watching the countdown come and go with the "wash" of a wave. There was something about the music they played in there. BF and I go to a movie theatre where, for a while, the music they played sound just like that. No joke, I'd close my eyes and for 10 seconds or so be transported to that attraction. And I ALWAYS went to see the movie ("BWOOM! The deluge." - That's for you, V!). And the hydrolators. Even at 12, when I knew we weren't going up or down because I'd see that same piece of gum stuck to the "coral" over and over again. Didn't matter. I still loved it.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the Nemo ride. Because I really did. It's certainly no super-headliner attraction but I thought it was well-done. I loved the jellies and the end where the incorporate the live tank with the effects. Actually, as we went by a big sea turtle was gracing us with his/her presence and it looked fantastic. I give the new ride a thumbs up.

The first thing we did was head over to the shark area. I thought it fitting to take a picture with Bruce since that's BF's name. Unfortunately we weren't able to do that because of the aforementioned rude children and oblivious parents. Missy and I just stood and watched, disbelieving. There were kids actually squishing smaller children (that they weren't related to) to get to the front of the mouth where there parents would pretend it was nothing out of the ordinary that their child just stepped on a preschooler and snap about 647 pictures. Most of the parents with little ones just gave up. We did too and got these pics instead.

I was trying to give him a kiss because he looks so bashful!

Oh and just so you know, I found Nemo:

And my Dory at home has fur and whiskers. Somehow I think she'd find this Dory to be her favorite snack, er, friend!

We visited the manatees next. I don't like the new splash guard below the railing. It makes getting a good picture nearly impossible since the manatees tend to surface most often at that side of the tank. I love these big sea cows, though I'm always saddened to learn why they're there. Today's big guys were hurt by a propellor and orphaned, respectively. After watching their peacefulness for a bit, we headed to the main tank where the rude children ran rampant. It was starting to ruin my day a bit. I got pushed out of the way, twice and a little boy pushed between me and the glass where I was crouched trying to get a picture of the turtles so that all I ended up with was a picture of the back of his head.

Now I'm going to stop here for a minute and say something so y'all don't think I'm the Wicked Witch of the Northeast. I might not have any kids, but I love them. ADORE them. Usually even the misbehaved ones (probably because I'm not a parent). But this was borderline ridiculous. I have never before been shoved by a child at a Disney attraction. Or anywhere else for that matter. And unfortunately, this was a persistent theme throughout the week. Though, to be fair, the week had its shining stars to, like TKs son and the brother and sister we sat next to for the Boo to You parade.

K. Back to the fishes.

A rare sight for me there were FOUR! dolphins out and about and playing like nobody's business. They were zooming all over the tank in pairs and had quite the crowd around them. Including a boy and a girl who were in their early teens. I was standing pretty close to them and heard him say, "We should find Mom and Dad." She said, "Yeah, Mom is probably looking for us." Then I happened to turned my had and saw that he was holding her in anything but something I would call a sibling-type way. And he kissed her. And I saw them call the same person "mom". Just....seemed....off.


We'd just missed a showing of Turtle Talk with Crush as we headed away from the main tank and we were nearing our FP time, so we decided to head out. But not without playing in the gift shop for a bit.

"I think we need a bigger boat."

"Look, I'm all the way in Florida and I'm kissing Bruce!" Awwwww.

On our way back to The Land we were ::ahem:: somehow detoured into Club Cool.
And Missy ::ahem:: somehow found herself faced by her smiling friend holding out a little dixie cup of a certain soda saying, "Here, try THIS one."
And then SOMEONE WE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW RUINED IT!!!! Some random "helpful" person said to Missy, "Don't do it! That's the Beverly! It's AWFUL."
Thanks dude.
Missy looked at me and my dejected face. I really had wanted a "Beverly" picture for this TR. And she took the cup from me and said to Mr. Helpful Complete Stranger, "That's ok. My friend planned this entire trip around making sure we're spoiled the whole time. I didn't have to lift a finger. The least I can do is try this soda if she wants me to."

That's what friends are for. (NODionneWarwick)

And really, is there any other kind of picture than a genuine "Beverly face"?

Oh, and I'm not a complete jerk. I tried it myself. Though, conveniently, there is no picture.
Sweet Jesus. That stuff is just. I don't even know.
I think we agreed that the VegitaBeta was our favorite, though.
I also considered buying one of those big Coke bottle banks for home (BF and I collect our change - for what, we haven't figured out) until I realized and I wouldn't know how to pack it and get it home.

Even though it was time for our FPs, we decided to stop into the Imagination pavilion and Journey Into Some Imagineer's Warped Sense of "Fun", for which there was no wait (big surprise).
Now I KNOW this isn't nostalgia. What the Imagineers need to do is just bring back the very first incarnation of this ride. And leave it that way. Because it was the only one that didn't suck as hard as a Hoover. We also attempted to play with the photo-morphers in the Image Lab but out of 3 we tried, 2 were broken. And when we found one that worked, two older ladies stood behind us the whole time "helping" us. They were practically IN our picture. Rather irritating. They were actually just trying to hurry us through so they could have the machine. We weren't having any of it. We actually ended up taking a really cute picture. And I e-mailed it to both of us.

I got the e-mail about 2 weeks after we returned home. And it wasn't our picture. It was someone else's. I deleted it before I could think of saving it and posting it here to see if someone reading this would say, "HEY! That's US!"

After we both decided we could live without seeing Honey I Shrunk the Audience, we headed directly back to The Land to use our Soarin's FPs. I'd ridden the ride in California Adventure, but not yet in FL. We only waited about 10 minutes in line; the standby line was still at 40 minutes. Though it was long as we were next to a party of people who came from the "Land Without Deodorant" and then were directed to Row A1.
This meant nothing to me, at the time, though those of you who herald Soarin' as your favorite ride know exactly what this meant.
Score! Again!!!
Front and center baby! And we hadn't even asked for it! It was INCREDIBLE! With bare (and non-smelly) feet! The effects are so amazing. The only thing I wish is that they would pump in more smells - the ocean maybe, the smell of fresh grass. All in all an outstanding ride.

One question: am I the only person in the world (and the World) who doesn't know who Puddy is? Because that's what everyone murmured when the preshow started and I was just kind of like, "who?"

After that we decided it was high time to head over to the other side of Future World, by way of a stop in Mousegears to try on ridiculous hats.

(Actually, that one might have been in the Imagination pavilion, but it fits better here.)

This is also where I'd been directed to find the Mouse Ear tea ball for steeping loose tea. I did find it but decided to hold off while we headed to Test Track and such. There were also some great piratey/Capt. Jack shirts that I regret not getting.

When we arrived at Test Track, the stand-by wait was 80 minutes and single rider line at 40 minutes but none of the lines were outside of the building. I wondered if maybe they were wrong but we decided not to risk it and got FPs for 4:05p.m.-5:05p.m. instead. I was particularly hopeful for a short wait at Mission:Space either, but we were surprised to find a 15min. wait posted for the Green Side (a.k.a. the "I'd like NOT to revisit my lunch" side). It WASN'T 15 minutes. It was a walk-on. We walked right through the queue and into line to watch Sinise-vision.

What is up with his hair?
Missy and I were directed to our spots and discovered we were to be the only ones in our spaceship to Mars. We discussed that perhaps I shouldn't be the Navigator since I got us so lost that morning, so instead I believe I was to be the Pilot and the Commander. Just before the doors opened to board, from around the bend of the hall, we heard an adult say, in a very small voice, "Woohoo!"

Only, typed it should be, Woohoo!.

Missy called a Woohoo! back but we got no answer. This would become a joke the rest of the trip. Whenever something awesome happened, one or both of us would give a rather anticlimactic Woohoo!.

After safely blasting off from the planet, hyper-sleeping and crash-landing on Mars, we were dumped into, appropriately, the dump shot.
Where Missy took this picture of me and sent it to just about everyone we know. I'm posting it on here specifically so that at least one person will ruin their monitor with a fine spray of the beverage of their choice.

It's blurry, but you get the gist. You can all thank Missy.

We also bought our first souvenirs. I have a Stitch Yoda who now sits on my desk. Missy bought a Goofy Darth Vadar for her friend. I don't have a picture of my Stitch but I will for my "Souvenir" chapter.

We still had plenty of time before our Test Track FPs, so we wandered into the pre-show for Universe of Energy after I walked by and mourned the now completely dufunct Wonders of Life pavilion. Buzzy, Cranium Command, I mourn thee. Body Wars, I can't say that either me or my digestive tract miss you.

As is always the case, I enjoyed (and mouthed word-for-word) the preshow. I love me some Ellen. We then took and almost 40 minute nap with the exception of the dinosaur part where I actually noticed a TON of speakers not very well hidden that I'd never seen before AND had to coment for the umpteenth time that the Audioanimatronic Ellen couldn't look LESS like her real-life counterpart. I don't get it. They can get a spot-on Jack Sparrow but they can't take five minutes and make Ellen look less like she has typhoid? I also noticed that some of the patterns on the dinos looked like they're tattoos and not like their just skin patterns. I don't know, as much as Universe of Energy reminds me of old trips to the World with my grandparents, I think I'm willing to admit that this one is in desperate need of some TLC. The four boys that we shared our (FRONT) row with who slept for the entire ride would agree, I think.

Once we were finally released from the deathgrip of UoE, it was time for our FPs for Test Track. The wait was about 10 minutes and, as always, the ride was a blast. Am I the only one that wants the last part to last, oh, I dunno, about 30 minutes longer? We car-gazed on our way out, but not for too long. We wanted to get a trip on the newly revamped Spaceship Earth in before we had to head over to Mexico for our ADRs. I made a quick pit stop in Mousegears to get my ear-bedecked tea ball (pic in the souvie chapter) and then we headed to the ball.

No wait for SE. Score! Again!!!! or is it !!!!! at this point. I'm not sure. We chose our language and smiled for our pictures and then settled back for the ride. Now it's my turn to weigh in on the Cronkite v. Irons v. Dench debate. Love the Dame but I miss Irons. The End. What I didn't miss was the chariot dude that used to appear over and over and over in the Roman scene before the burning of Rome. And the smoke smell. Which has never smelled much like true smoke to me.
And I would just like all you nonbelievers to know ONE thing that has been cited as a blatant discrepancy in the revamp.
I TOTALLY wear my GoGo boots, miniskirt and yellow tights to work every day. The firm's Senior Partners do too. Well, the female ones anyway.
Missy and I were completely hysterical when it came time for the new ending. My favorites were seeing us in the Jetsons-ish car and in our scuba suits with bubble heads (we obviously chose the water-related ending). It was so funny, in fact, I was almost able to completely ignore the fact that if the screens weren't interactive that I'd have been bored out of my skull on the return to Earth. Almost.
C'mon, guys, you couldn't pull at least ONE more idea out of your hats for the end of the ride? Whatsa matter? The lemon leotards completely wiped your idea-banks dry?

We didn't do too much exploring in the post-show area but I have to say that I'm much happier with it than with what was there before (i.e. nothing) and even before that. I always kind of felt like I got out of the ride and then walked into a cave. And then when I left the post-show like I was coming into (a very bright) world for the first time (NOFlashbacktoBirth).

At this point it was time to head towards the World Showcase for our dinner ADR at San Angel Inn in Mexico. I was pleased with the way the day had panned out thus far. If it's any testament to the crowd level, we sat exactly where we wanted to with just about no wait on every ride. We'd essentially seen, in a leisurely manner, including a non-rushed lunch, everything we'd wanted to see in Future World in about 5 hours. And now we were headed over to what we hoped would be a fantabulous dinner followed by some drinkin' 'round the World (Showcase).

Up Next: Dinner at San Angel Inn. Would Montezuma get his revenge?

P.S. Just an FYI that there will likely be additional pictorial updates from the first two days before I post the next part of this chappie as I'm now 100% certain not all of my pics made it onto Photobucket.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:46 AM   #8
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A Brief Pictorial Interruption Brought To You By Today's Playoff Game: GO EAGLES!

So, the next chapter is just about done, but before I post it, I wanted to share with you some pictures that I'd wanted to post from my morning walk on Day 2 and earlier in the day in Epicot.


This is how foggy it was when I stepped out for my morning walk. But don't let the gray fool you. Hu.Mid.

These dudes weren't phased.

Moisture forming on the camera lens.

One of my favorite pics from that morning's walk.

Home Sweet Home.

Won't you be my neighbor?

The Living Seas.

These eels were freaky, breathing in time and acting like they were 3 heads on one body.

We didn't realize this was a fish until it moved and we both yelped and pointed. Then we giggled and clapped. Nope. Doesn't take much.

Ooooooh. Poison-y.

Journey Into Some Wacked-Out, Un-Fun Imagineer's Imagination.

Down is up.

Look! It's TK's favoritest soda ever!

Just a heads up. Missy's bringin' sexy back. But she forgot her receipt.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:47 AM   #9
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Chp 7: No Canadian Bathrooms Were Harmed in the Making of this Chapter!

After smelling the burning of Rome, watching the Sistine Chapel being painted and cat calling the chickypoo in the yellow leggings and miniskirt, we departed Spaceship Earth and headed out into the World. Showcase, that is.

It was a pretty hot day and as we walked down that main sidewalk, with the defunct Odyssey on our left (I ate there on my first trip!), kids were screaming and running around in the fountain play area on our right. It looked SO inviting. I lamented being 20 years too old to join in the fun.

We reached the Lagoon.

And turned left.

The hardly elusive "Nacho Birds". If you've ever ordered ANYTHING from the Cantina and sat at their tables, you know what I mean.

We were a bit early for dinner but it didn't matter. The longer we were on the trip, the longer we realized some of the time inbetween "doing stuff" was really fun. Funner. The funnest.

Missy's got a thing for Mayans.

And frogs.

I simply love these little wooden creatures. Just about everyone I talk to tells me how overpriced they are here and how I could buy them for so much less IN Mexico, but really, I'll be in Disney again before I'm in Mexico. And I just want one. Particularly this one:

And I like the jaguar as well:

Someday. ::sigh::

Please. No stories about all of the people who tried these hats on before us. At this point I've 100% convinced myself that not only did they all wash their hair but that they then sanitized the insides of the hats with Purell.

And yes, I agree, Missy took the better picture.

We wandered around the marketplace and contemplated buying some pretty silver jewelry. I glanced at the time, we were still too early to check in for our ADR at the San Angel Inn. So, we did the inevitable when standing in a replica of a nighttime Mexican marketplace.

We rode the Gran Fiesta Tour.
a.k.a. El Rio de Tiempo
a.k.a. El Rio de Sucko

I prefer the second one, myself. Much like the PeopleMover.

Anywho. If you've ridden the previous incarnation and have since ridden the, er, improved version, you know that...well, not much changed. In my opinon, the Three Caballeros haven't really added any...thing to the ride. And regardless of my undying love for a certain foul-tempered duck, nothing much there either. Truthfully, I think I would've rather have ridden the original. Much like Journey Into Your Imagination. That's just my two cents, which is worth exactly as much as you paid for it.

At that point we went to check in for our ADR. We were about 15 minutes early and they let us know at the podium that they were pretty much running on time and weren't seating early and gave us a pager.

Has anyone else noticed how the pagers look like tasers? I'm just sayin'.

I was the most nervous about this ADR after reading a fair share of poor reviews of this place. But it was a Must Do thing from my ultimate 'Must Be Done' Disney list that was done. Did.

It was here, while we were waiting, that we noticed another thing for the first time that would be a continued theme while in Epicot. At least 10 different parties approached the podium without an ADR. They were all promptly turned away. The CMs politely informed them that they were booked up for lunch and dinner for the entire week and that they could try Morocco, which was the only restaurant in Epicot that still had availability.

Finally our taser buzzed and we were brought in. We were led to the back left corner of the restaurant. We were one table in from the water. The volcano was smoking, people were enjoying the best part of their Gran Fiesta Tour (the beginning), and the atmosphere was just perfect. I'd expected that the restaurant would be noisy, but it actually wasn't overwhelming. Right next to us was a bussing station, which while I thought might be distracting, ended up serving us well. Never an empty soda cup. Also near another table of two girls from Massachusetts with whom we struck up conversation.

Mostly about the kids at the table behind them who kept slamming the backs of their chairs into the back of one of the girls' chairs. It was a table of about 37 and all the parents were clueless. Matter of fact, when they finally got up to leave, one of the fathers had his rear end practically in the girl's face as he moved to leave the table.

Our server brought us water and nachos with salsa while we perused the menus.
Mexican hidden Mickey?

We'd thought about starting our Drinkin' 'Round the World (Showcase) here in Mejico with a couple of Margaritas. But we passed. The Margaritas are made with Sauza tequila, which Missy doesn't like and honestly, the last time I drank tequila I got up close and personal with some cold bathroom tile.

On to the entrees.

I was looking for the one thing on the menu I'd seen prior to the trip that I knew I wanted. I believe it was called the Plato Mexicano. It was your typical Mexican fare - an enchilado, burrito, etc.

And it wasn't there.
I was kind of at a loss.
Which ultimately served me well, as I chose a different dish, we both did, in fact, which was probably one of the best of the whole trip.

Filete Motuleno - Grilled beef tenderloin with beans, Oaxaco melted cheese, Ranchero sauce, Pablano peppers, and fried plaintain.

I had been worried about the peppers, but figured I could pick them off.
I had been worried about the fried plaintain, it's a uber-mushy consistency thing.

An anticipatory bite.


This dish was A-MAZING. The filet was so very good. I could practically cut it with the fork. The cut of meat was actually better than what I'd had at Citricos the night before. The melted cheese on top was mild and just enough. The sauce was spicy but not overpowering. And the plaintains were fried just right -still firm.

Missy enjoyed as well, and, with the exception of the peppers, I practically licked my plate clean. And Missy's. But we're professionals. We left room for dessert.

Missy got the flan (sorry for the blur).

I had Heaven on a Plate.
a.k.a. Can I have more of this?
a.k.a. Capirotada de Chocolate Blanco (white chocolate golden raisin bread pudding served with Mexican milk caramel).

At the risk of repeating myself,


I didn't want this dessert to end. While I usually find bread pudding to be a little to mushy for my tastes, it was just moist enough and firm and delicioso.

Our meal ended far too soon (thankfully without destroying any Canadian bathrooms, coughcough) and we headed out into the early evening to drink our way from Norway to Canada.

(This picture is dedicated to Z. O Canada. You will never be the same.)

Up Next: Drinkin' 'Round the World (Showcase)!
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:48 AM   #10
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Chp. 8: Drinkin’ ‘Round the World (Showcase)

With our bellies filled with nomtacular food, we were ready to conquer the World (not the world) and all its libations. The plan had been to start in Mexico with margaritas, but as I had previously mentioned, Missy isn’t fond of Sauza tequila and I, well, any kind of tequila could have possibly caused issues of Number Three proportions. Instead we were content to keep moving to the left (NOBeyonce).

Though we were sure that Norway had some fantastic alcohol to go along with its impressive architecture and craftsmanship:

we were instead irreversibly drawn to the Number One, Most Incredible, MUST RIDE ATTRACTION IN DISNEY WORLD:

And it’s a Fastpass.
I KNOW! It’s incredible!

Despite the fact that we were certain that all of the Fastpasses would’ve been distributed for the day, given the ride’s obvious popularity and fan-following, we were still able to get on in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. And were even directed to Row Number:

We were left heady and tipsy by the ride through Norway’s rather disjointed history. Though sorely tempted to stop and watch the movie, unfortunately it was standing room only.


Since we didn’t sample any of Norway’s beverages, we decided that we should at least try on one of Norway’s more refined and famous careers.
Vikings (NOMinnesota) we be.

And no, I can’t believe that we weren’t drunk either.

At this point having had enough fun thoroughly making fools of ourselves to the delight of other Epicot visitors, we decided to head on, to:


Where we realized there was really nothing we wanted to imbibe there either. But we WERE able to stumble across our very first Photopass photographer (who reminded me a week after returning home how ickysweatygrossunpretty (yes, it’s a word, not my fault you can’t find it in the dictionary) I was that rather humid evening).

And we were happy and wanted so very much to commemorate our trip together with the very first picture we would BOTH appear in, in China. Which is Where the Magic Lives. Tinkerbell even says so.

And might I remind you that we had not yet consumed anything alcoholic, so we were, in fact, standing up straight, and if the palace in the background is leaning, perhaps YOU should lay off the after dinner glass of red.

Well, that or the Photopass photographer had had a couple of margaritas on his way to his post in China.

We wandered about a bit, through the shop and then decided to continue on to Germany to finally attempt to even up the Epicot Alcohol Offering score, which was currently Us: 0 Epicot: 3.

Only, it wasn’t quite evened up since I’m simply not a beer drinker. Missy, however, enjoyed a Beck’s for the both of us.

Us: 0.5
Epicot: 3.5

I DID however purchase myself a bag of Haribo Alphabet gummies. Because Haribo is the ONLY gummy. It is THE gummy. The SUPERIOR gummy. So, take that, Epicot.

From Germany, we headed over to Italy. Mmmm. Italy.

Did you know that one of the first things you encounter as the German landscape slowly morphs into the gardens outside Doge’s Palace is a kiosk? It sells drinks. Adult drinks. And maybe other stuff, but we aren’t sure, to this day.

Missy eyed her beer and then eyed the kiosk drink menu.

(I’d already decided what I was having.)

Now, Missy and I have done our fair share of drinking in our short, ahem, legal, lifetime, but I’m always amazed to see Missy chug down a half cup of beer.

We were ready.

Missy ordered the Italian Margarita: traditional margarita mix, Limoncello and grappa.

While it did sound tasty, the grappa scared me a little. I knew how potent it could be. I opted for the safe and rather delicious Peach Bellini: champagne and peach puree.

Both were absolutely wonderful. And I had a sip of Missy’s margarita and it is now on my ‘Must Do’ list for my next trip to the World. Folks, the Italian Margarita is NOTHING to be afraid of. Think Lemonade. With a kick.

With drinks in hand, we slowly strolled through America.
Home of fried chicken and apple pie.
General Motors and Spongebob Squarepants.
Britney Spears.

We kept on walking. I mean we LIVE there for Pete’s sake. (Who’s Pete? By the by.) Besides, I had no idea when the next showing of the American Adventure was or when and if the Voices of Liberty would be performing next.

Japan. Ah, Japan. My all-time favorite pavilion in the World.

I wasn’t sure that I was up for some sake, so while Missy perused the sake and wine selection in Mitsukoshi, I perused, well, everything else. Mitsukoshi is a little piece of shopping heaven for me. Knowing that we would be back again, I didn’t buy anything. Eventually I wandered back to Missy, who’d just put down the tiniest cup and was holding out to me what looked like a rather large Italian olive. It was not (wrong country), it was a plum, which had been marinating for some time in some Japanese plum wine.

Whhooooooey! That little sucker was potent. And nommy.

We headed out of Japan, purses intact, and wandered past Morocco. The drinks were catching up with us and despite having wanted to try a Tangerine Daiquiri there, knew that we were planning on toasting each other at least once more in France. Mental note to return to Morocco for further exploration later in the week.

We wandered with rather slow purpose to the wine/champagne kiosk in France. Here we met a couple of pleasant French boys with rather French accents. Missy asked them over and again to say her name, to say their own names, to say whatever phrase first came to their minds, all in French. We finally ordered, before the small line behind us formed a mob and passed out pitchforks and torches. We both picked out champagnes and moved away towards the bridge to the UK to toast each other, where we found our second Photopass photographer.

In a word, the evening had been, perfect.

Looking at the time, we realized that Illuminations was fast-approaching. We weren’t obsessed with finding the perfect spot, just with finding a spot where we could mostly see it. We ended up somewhere in the UK, close to the railing by the lagoon, and had a decent view. We finished our drinks during the performance and I did my best to keep from tearing up as we turned and headed towards the front of the park to the tune of ‘Promise’.

Tears. Every. Time.
Is it just me?

We both needed to use a Tinkletorium at that point and while I wasn’t brave enough to venture into Canada, SORRY the OUTPOST area , we didn’t think we could make it back to the room. We stopped near The Odyssey instead and then headed along that walkway to the front of the park. I pointed out the lighted sidewalk to Missy and got a spectacular picture of SE on my phone as we reached the Leave A Legacy graveyard and the end of our night.

Once at the top of the monorail platform, and having completed our cardio for the day by making it up that darn ramp, we thought about asking to ride at the front, but there was a family already waiting. Mental note, try again during the week. We were satisfied, then, to simply have seats, and headed back to the resort and the room without event. We turned in for the evening and as I drifted off, I smiled at the day at DHS we had ahead of us.

Toy Story Mania!

Ok, maybe I didn't know yet about that last part...

UP NEXT: Thirteen Stories, Toy Story Mania and a Barf Bag, Oh My!
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:50 AM   #11
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I am here and looking forward to the next update.

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Old 04-22-2009, 01:26 PM   #12
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Love this -- you're a great writer! I'm in!
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #13
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tinkerbellarella View Post
Now let's go back. Way back. Back into time...
Ha! This just made me think of normal Lindsey Lohan in The Parent Trap. Not quite as good for me as the Haley Mills version, but still one of those movies I have to watch when I catch it flipping through the stations.

Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:30 PM   #15
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Cant' wait for more updates!

Note: No trees were killed in the posting of this reply, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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