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Old 10-20-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
annnewjerz
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The Village People take on "The World" & a 25th Unbirthday: 10/31 - FINAL UPDATE

Hi everyone!

This is my first TR and I'm excited to get it started. If you'd like to hear the backstory of our mini-trip, you can go here. For those of you who aren't interested in reading through 13 pages of ramblings, I'll give you a brief intro.

For organizational purposes, here is a Table of Contents for my TR.

Departure to BWI
Arrival at Coronado Springs Resort
Epcot & the Only Ride of My Birthday
Dinner at Todd English's bluezoo
Breakfast at Kona
Entering MNSSHP and Dinner at The Plaza
First Rides of the Evening!
It's a Small World, after all
HalloWishes
Boo to You
Last Day - Downtown Disney and Goodbye For Now WDW

The Cast:

Pardon the quality of the pics, they were all pictures from my iPHONE that I took from my blog.

Primary Cast

Me (Ann) - The WDW fanatic of the bunch. This trip was taken partly to celebrate my birthday on October 17. I turned the big 2-5 and needed to do something to keep my mind off of officially being in my mid-20's.

This picture was taken the night of my birthday, right as we were getting ready to go to sleep.



DH (Erik) - The not-so-WDW-fanatical one of the bunch. He likes Disney, but could probably take it or leave it. Considering we have a week-long trip scheduled for December, it was a bit difficult getting him to agree to a weekend getaway in October, but it worked.

This picture is a sneak-peak into one of the highlights of our trip, MNSSHP.




Supporting, Secondary Cast

DBil (Alex) - Alex was visiting Florida for a week and agreed to meet us for MNSSHP. He was the cowboy, obviously.



DBil's BF (Joe) - Joe is Alex's boyfriend. He was the construction worker. He hates the MK because he thinks it's "for babies," and let's just say this trip didn't change his opinion. He was being a stick in the mud.




The Resort:

Our original plan this trip was to stay at POP from October 17-19, 09. Then, the fall room-only discount rates came out, so for only $120 per night, I decided that we would upgrade to Coronado Springs Resort. I had read lots of great things about the resort and since Erik didn't enjoy the value resorts in 2007 I thought it would be a nice change of pace.

(Review and thoughts on the hotel to come later)


The Plan:

October 17, 09 - Flight from Baltimore to Orlando. Head over to MK upon arrival. Dinner at Todd English's bluezoo @ 5:00 and then back to MK for Spectro and Wishes that night.

October 18, 09 - Breakfast at Kona Cafe. MNSSHP with Alex and Joe @ 4:00. Dinner @ 5:00 at The Plaza Restaurant. Meet up with fellow DISer Karyl (spinetnglr) for HalloWishes and Boo To You parade.

October 19, 09 - Downtown Disney. Lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Magical Express pick-up at 3:15.
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:17 PM   #2
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annnewjerz View Post
This trip was taken partly to celebrate my birthday on October 17. I turned the big 2-5 and needed to do something to keep my mind off of officially being in my mid-20's.
Hey, enjoy the mid-20's. Believe me, the mid 30's will sneak up on you!

Welcome home! Can't wait to read more and see some pix!
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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So without further delay, let's get started with the actual trip. I'll be incorporating some of my tweets and blog excerpts. If you see a crappy photo, you can assume it's from my iPHONE. I didn't always have my camera handy during the trip.

Here we go!!!


Day 1: October 17, 2009 (Part 1)

Too excited to sleep. Only 1 more hour til wake up time.
2:08 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

The day started with my alarm clock going off at 3:00am. It was time! It was time to go to Disney!!! I was obviously too excited to sleep, just like usual before it's time for a trip. I started getting ready, double checking our bags and taking care of the dogs. At 3:30 it was time to wake up Erik to really get the ball rolling.

The plan was to leave the house at 4:00am and be on the road by 4:15.

After stopping for gas and something for breakfast at Wawa, we were on our way.

Wanted to be on the road by 415...425 isn't too shabby. BWI here we come.
4:27 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

I had been feeling under the weather for the days leading up to the trip, so I wanted to dose myself with Vitamin C in one last ditch attempt to make myself feel better.

For breakfast, Erik and I each grabbed a Wawa orange juice. I also got a chocolate donut and Erik got an apple fritter and a Bostom cream donut. Nothing starts a vacation quite like junk food at 4 in the morning!

Wawa chocolate donuts - yummmmm. Wawa Orange juice - yuccccck. Breakfast at 430 in the car is fun.
4:40 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

The drive down to Baltimore, in theory, should have been an easy one. It's a straight shot down two highways and takes about two hours total. Unfortunately, the weather was really not cooperating. It was cold, it was raining pretty hard and it was windy with some nice strong gusts. Needless to say, it was a stressful drive.

Just entered Maryland, what crappy weather. Rainy, cold, windy. Makes me want to get to wdw that much more.
5:35 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

Almost there!!!



Somehow, we arrived in time (early actually) and got picked up by the shuttle in the Express Parking Lot at 6:58am. Security was a bit of a hassle, just because as always we chose the slow line. Luckily we had more than enough time and off we were to find our gate. This was our first time flying Southwest and their terminal at BWI is actually really nice.



For some reason I reeeeeally like their little icon. A heart with wings? Fantastic!!



After finding out gate we decided, uhhhhhh, more like Erik decided that it was time fo a pre-vacation drink. We searched around to find a bar that was open and of course there was. Erik wanted a Jack and Coke at 8:00am in the morning. I opted for my first drink in six months, a screwdriver.



Erik really enjoyed his and decided to order a second.



I, on the other hand, thought mine was waaaaaaaaaaaaay too strong. It could have been that the bartender used the cheapy vodka or the fact that I haven't had a drink in so long, but either way one drink was more than enough.

I think I might be drunk off 1/2 a screwdriver. No drinks in 6 months will do that to ya. Hanging in the airport bar before we depart.
8:13 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

After we finished up our drinks and were feeling fine and ready for a nap, we decided to go park ourselves at our gate. Erik's 4:30am breakfast didn't hold him over very long, so he decided to dig into the snacks I made for the flight. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, his favorite and my special recipe. I honestly don't toot my own horn very often, but they are DA BOMB! The best chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted, and that's saying something because chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite treat.



Soon it was time to start boarding. I was so excited to get going. We had A boarding passes, so we lined up in anticipation of getting on the plane.

About to start preboarding. Were in A24&25---better get seats together.8:55 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie

We were scheduled to depart at 9:15am and even with the weather, expected to be on time. Unfortunately we were waiting for flight attendants from another flight and this delayed us quite a bit. When all was said and done, we ended up a little over 30 minutes behind. Soon enough, we were on our way down to MCO and it was smooooth sailing from then on out.

On the plane withy snuggie and chocolate chip cookies. About 15 mins late so far---let's get this show on the road.
9:33 AM Oct 17th from Tweetie


This entry is getting to be a bit long now, so I'm going to cut it off here. Next, our arrival in Florida and will our day go according to the plans?
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkedupmomma View Post
Woo hoo..first.. I think..lol. Subbing!
Welcome!! Glad you found your way over.

Quote:
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I'm No. 2! I'm No. 2! Say, wait a minute....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd_H View Post
Hey, enjoy the mid-20's. Believe me, the mid 30's will sneak up on you!

Welcome home! Can't wait to read more and see some pix!
I know, I can't complain too much about mid-20's, I realize it could be much worse. Don't expect too much on the photos. Like I said on the Photo board, madea lot of stoooopid mistakes, but they'll be easily made up for in December (I hope).
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annnewjerz View Post
I know, I can't complain too much about mid-20's, I realize it could be much worse.
Easy now

Quote:
Originally Posted by annnewjerz View Post
Don't expect too much on the photos. Like I said on the Photo board, I learned a lot, and that knowledge will be utilized to the max in December.
Fixed.

And I'm sure you grabbed some great ones down there. I like the SW logo and the dual 5am coctail shots above, so you're off to a good start in my book.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:43 PM   #8
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Alright folks, it's part two!

Day 1: October 17, 2009 (Part 2)

During our last update, we had just boarded our flight and started sailing the smooth sunny skies---a huge departure from what we flew out of.

The flight was pretty uneventful, until Erik got sick. I don't know what happened but before I knew it I looked over and all of the color drained from his face and he said he felt funny. I asked he if needed a bag, he said no. I asked if he needed the bathroom (he was in the middle seat) and he said no. He was really starting to freak me out. Glazed over eyes, pale as pale can be. Finally, I sent him to the bathroom to splash his face and hope he felt better. He came back stating he still felt odd, but that he just needed some air on his face. About 10 minutes later, he was fine. It was really weird and really scary, I've never seen him like that and I'm sure the person next to us was a bit freaked.

So! We land at MCO about 30 minutes behind schedule, which to me is not a great way to start the trip. We didn't check any bags, so we hopped on the monorail (no pics, sorry!) and went to the first floor.

Usually, there are a few people in line and within 10-15 minutes, we are on the bus. This time, no such luck. I don't know if it was because it was Saturday or what, but it was crazy.

Magical express is effin nuts. This is going to throw off all our plans today.
12:36 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

We hopped in line to check in since we never received our paperwork. Then after what seemed forever (but was really only like 20 minutes), hopped in the line to actually get on the bus. At this point, Erik just wanted to be there already. The early wake-up, stressful drive and weird flight was getting to him.



On el autobus. SO freaking cold in here. Leopard print snuggie to the rescue!!!
1:05 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

Shortly after we arrived on the bus, we heard the best announcement of the day:

Just drove onto Disney property...CSR is the first stop!! Holllllllllla.
1:32 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

This was really nice, since we were tired and felt like the bus ride was never going to end. While we were on the bus, Erik decided to take a nap as usual and I decided to watch the video to get myself excited for the trip.

We pulled into CSR and weren't in awe of the resort or anything, since we've seen it before but were pleased with what we saw when we were walking in. I was most looking forward to the newly renovated rooms.



We used online check-in and it was alright. We requested a room in the Casitas 4 section and got it, so that was a plus. The CM at the front desk wasn't very friendly and took a long time getting our envelope, but when she came back we had a birthday and anniversary pin, so that was nice. We picked up our package (my tripod) at the business center, paid my $5 fee and we made our way over to the room.

Here are some pics from the walk over.







The walk wasn't bad at all. Well, I guess that the walk was a little bad with all of those bags, but we refused bell service so it was our problem.

We were assigmed to room 4140, which was on the ground floor and was on the end of the row next to the vending machine. The room itself was very nice. Newly redone, clean and spacious. The beds were comfy, we really loved the pocket doors that slid out for privacy to divide the sink area from the bedroom and the granite countertop and mirror was really pretty, I'd have it in my house!





As we put down our bags, got situated and took some pics of the room---I noticed something special sitting on our desk. What could it be, you ask?

A bounceback offer!!!



I'd never gotten one before, so I was very excited. Would I be able to work my powers of persuasion on Erik and make him agree to a return trip with free dining in 2010?

I guess you'll have to stay tuned to find out.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:07 PM   #9
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Well, I'm on a roll, so here is part 3. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I came home feeling like crud. Combine that with the fact that I hate processing and try to do as little as possible and I'm hoping this will stay a fast-paced TR. Get it over and done with and back to planning December's trip!!

Day 1: October 17, 2009 (Part 3)

When we left off, we had just gotten our room and were now deciding what we would do with our day. My original plan was to arrive at our resort around 1:00, but since we fell behind we got there closer to 2:00. We had three choices: A) Go to the Magic Kingdom and just sort of hang out on Main Street and then head over to the Dolphin for dinner; B) Go to Epcot and from there, walk to dinner and decide what park we'd do at night; or C) Relax at the hotel and go to dinner from there.

We decided we'd stick with the original plan and go to the Magic Kingdom. At the very least, I could get my free birthday admission, take some photos on Main Street and then take a cab to the Dolphin.

Waiting for the bus at CSR. Very nice hotel...remind me of being in Mexico.
2:51 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

We got out to the bus stop and waited....



One bus for DHS, AK, two for Epcot and one for DTD. Still no bus to the MK. Going to Epcot instead.
3:01 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie



In 10 minutes, we saw a bus to every park, except the Magic Kingdom. I definitely don't think 10 minutes is an extraordinary wait or anything, but considering the other parks seemed to have such frequent busses, we decided that if another Epcot bus came before the Magic Kingdom bus, we'd go there instead. After all, F&W Fest was going on and there are some rides I like in Epcot. I wasn't going to complain about going anywhere in Disney for my birthday.

What do you know? The third Epcot bus in 15 minutes came, so our decision was made. The bus ride to Epcot was nice....nice and empty.



We got to Epcot quickly and if the amount of people entering the parks was any indication of the crowds, we were in for a treat. I got in line for my free birthday admission and after about a 10 minute wait in the wrong line, we finally got things sorted and were on our way.

Yayyyyyyy, it's my birthday!!



We walked cautiously entered the parks, keeping our fingers crossed for low crowds even though it was mid-afternoon on a Saturday. Unfortunately, the finger crossing didn't work and it was pretty packed. The fast passes for Soarin' were gone, so we headed over to the board to check out wait times.

Mission Space had a posted standby wait time of 20 minutes. Not bad, not bad at all. Mission Space is tied as Erik's favorite ride with Splash Mountain, so we headed over.





Of course, we did orange, or "more intense." If you're going on this ride, you might as well go big or go home! We walked in and literally right through the queue, not waiting in line at all. No wait at all, sweet! We took our spots in line. Erik was the Commander and I was the Engineer.

Ready for take-off!!



The ride was fun, as usual. Love the fact that my cheeks go back to my ears and even though I know pressing the buttons for your individual job assignment doesn't technically do anything, I like doing it.



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Old 10-20-2009, 07:32 PM   #10
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Great report! I am staying CSR for the first time next week, the new rooms look very nice. MS is one of my favorites as well, nothing like pulling a few G's for awhile!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:53 PM   #11
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Okay----on to part 4! This will probably be the last part of Day 1 because we had a much earlier than expected night.

Day 1: October 17, 2009 (Part 4)

After riding Mission Space, it was nearing 4:00pm and we had a 5:00pm reservation at Todd English's bluezoo in the Dolphin, so we decided to skip more rides for now in lieu of taking a nice walk through the World Showcase, out of the International Gateway and over to dinner.

Some of the decorations for Food & Wine Festival were really cool. I couldn't get really any photos that I would have liked, however, because as soon as we neared the World Showcase it was apparent we'd be dealing with wall to wall crowds.



After our trip in 2007 (Erik's first trip to WDW), it became a tradition to get pictures of Erik wearing various hats. Basically, for no reason other than entertaining me.



I'm not exaggerating when I say the World Showcase was unlike anything I've ever seen in Disney. There were so many people, it was shoulder to shoulder. Not only did we not sample anything at the booths, we could barely see any of the booths because of the line-ups. I did, however, have the opportunity to see people eating and drinking off of the trash cans we passed on our way to the IG. So gross. I know that Disney keeps things clean, but those are trash cans. I don't care how clean they're kept, things like snotty tissues, dirty diapers and half-eaten food goes in there. I would rather stand with my plate or take turns eating than eat off of a non-talking version of PUSH.

Eventually we made our way through Canada and the United Kingdom, along the waterway and over the bridge towards the Dolphin and saw the most glorious sight of the day---the hotel we'd be eating at.



I really thought that finding bluezoo would take a bit of effort. I've never been in the Swolphin before and didn't know what to expect. Luckily, as soon as we entered the doors into the hotel we were delighted to see bluezoo to our immediate right.



We checked in and because it was about 4:45 at this point and dinner doesn't begin until 5:00, we had a seat at the bar. Erik decided to have a beer and I had a diet Coke. It felt so nice to sit down and know we'd be relaxing for the next hour or two.

At about 5:00 exactly, we were told we could be seated whenever we were ready and were escorted from the lounge to the restaurant. I've got to say that it was a really pretty restaurant. Very cool looking, very empty and even though it was fancy it wasn't overly stuffy. Erik was wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt and I was wearing a dress with sandals.



At dinner at bluezoo. Restaurant is very nice, server is great. Ordered a million apps.
5:23 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

Once we were seated, our server came over. I wish I could remember his name, he was great. He went over everything on the menu, made recommendations and gave us probably far too much time to sit and ponder what we wanted to order.

At this point, everything on the menu looked amazing. We hadn't eaten anything but a donut and some chocolate chip cookies all day and probably would have eaten just about anything at this point.

We ended up ordering a bunch of appetizers rather than an entree each just to get a sample of everything we could.

First, out came the bread. There were three different types---one was parmesan and crunchy, one was ciabatta bread and one was this soft buttery bread that was sooooo good.



Next came the appetizers. We went with the following:

bluezoo's New England Style Clam Chowder - light and brothy with salt cured bacon, house-made oyster crackers: Erik wanted to try this, I'm not a fan of clam chowder. It definitely matched the description and even came with little mini-clams in the shell inside the soup. Unfortunately, Erik didn't read the description. He likes thick, chunky soup and this was more brothy and light. He said it tasted good, but in terms of texture he wasn't a huge fan.


"Olive's" Classico Flatbread - roasted tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, torn basil: I decided to order this after seeing (I believe) MickeyNicki's dining report. It was really good. The crust was light and crisp, the tomato sauce wasn't like a pizza sauce at all and all of the ingredients tasted nice and fresh. It doesn't look like it, but it was actually a really good size, 8 pieces total.


Yellowfin Tuna Tartare - from the "Olive's" table, twisted cucumber salad, crispy rock shrimp, orange glaze, scallion cream: This is something that we didn't originally intend to order, but after hearing the description and that the tuna came out cold sushi style, I thought it sounded really nice and refreshing. I really liked it a lot and, in fact, ate probably the whole thing. Erik wasn't a fan of the cucumber and the orange glaze, so he took two forkfuls and left the rest for me.


Teppan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops - braised beef short rib, silky cauliflower puree: THIS was the most anticipated dish of the whole trip, after reading the description and hearing Carrie (Lurkyloo) rave about it, my mouth was watering. This dish definitely lived up to all expectations and, in fact, exceeded it. I thought for sure that once Erik saw it had cauliflower he would refuse to eat it, but he ended up LOVING it. We actually ordered a second serving because Erik couldn't get enough. The scallops were cooked perfectly, the short rib could be pulled apart with the lightest touch of the fork and the cauliflower puree/sauce situation was awesome. Every bite was like a little slice of heaven and I'm completely in love with it. I'm seriously considering making another reservation for our trip in December.


Scallops are amazing. Just put on an order for more. Mmmmmmmmmm. Screw dessert.
5:50 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

That plan didn't work. We ordered dessert AND the scallops. This is vacation, after all, right?

Warm Chocolate Cake - with liquid ganache center, maracaibo chocolate cream pudding, peanut ice cream: This was another Carrie recommendation. I love chocolate and I love peanut (butter) so I figured it would be a great dessert. It came out and was mighty tasty. The chocolate pudding was good, the icecream was only slightly peanutty and the center of the cake was nice and gooey. It gets a definite thumbs up, but definitely not one of my top 5 desserts or anything, just good. Luckily, our server was great and since I noted it was our "anniversary celebration" on our reservation, when the check came we weren't charged for the cake.


Our dinner totaled $90 with tip, which was not bad considering we got 5 apps and a dessert, as well as two sodas.

While at dinner, I realized something horrible. I left my quick release plate for my tripod in my camera bag in the hotel room. I was disappointed, I was hoping to get some nice fireworks shots whether we stayed in Epcot or went to the Magic Kingdom and I really didn't feel like mounting the camera right to the ballhead.

As we were leaving dinner, we still hadn't decided what the game plan would be for the rest of our night. We stood in the lobby area to decide and I saw a light fixture that I really liked. It reminded me of jellyfish or mushrooms.



We walked out of the Dolphin intending to go back to Epcot for some more rides and maybe to watch (not photograph) Illuminations. Upon exiting the hotel, it had to be about 60 degrees. Uh, isn't this October in Florida?

After walking about halfway down the walk towards the bridge, we turned around. It was tooooooo cold to do anything. We were full, we were cold and we were tired so in a completely unexpected turn of events, we went back to the hotel for an early night. We figured, after being up since 3:00am, a good night of sleep would leave us rested for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party the next night.

In the room already. Too cold and too tired to go play more. Tomorrow is breakfast at Kona and MNSSHP.
7:31 PM Oct 17th from Tweetie

That about wraps up day 1. We returned to Coronado Springs, bought a refillable mug, got showers and went to sleep. By 10:00 we were snoozing so we would be refreshed for breakfast at Kona and meeting up with Alex, Joe and Karyl for MNSSHP at 4:00.

Stick around, more to come!
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:28 PM   #12
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Wow you sure posted a lot! Much quicker than my TR's glacial pace. I spent a ton of time on processing though.

Mission Space is definitely on my photography list for next time. I've seen so many cool shots from that pavilion.

I have a friend who not only looks at the various strange and funny hats, but actually purchases them too! He has a clam hat (wide open with eyes in the middle), a giraffe hat and many others.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by scoot241 View Post
Wow you sure posted a lot! Much quicker than my TR's glacial pace. I spent a ton of time on processing though.

Mission Space is definitely on my photography list for next time. I've seen so many cool shots from that pavilion.

I have a friend who not only looks at the various strange and funny hats, but actually purchases them too! He has a clam hat (wide open with eyes in the middle), a giraffe hat and many others.
Hey Scott, welcome!!

I'm definitely trying to power through the first day because A) I didn't take many pictures and B) I'm sick---so if I have to sit on my couch, I might as well do something.

Do you spend much time on processing because you like it, need it or what? I hate doing it, so I try to get them as acceptable as possible when I shoot them. Then, I maybe add a vignette, adjust the WB and that's about the extent of it.

Once I get to fireworks and parades from MNSSHP though, there is going to be a lot more processing necessary, unfortunately.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:43 PM   #14
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Hey Scott, welcome!!

I'm definitely trying to power through the first day because A) I didn't take many pictures and B) I'm sick---so if I have to sit on my couch, I might as well do something.

Do you spend much time on processing because you like it, need it or what? I hate doing it, so I try to get them as acceptable as possible when I shoot them. Then, I maybe add a vignette, adjust the WB and that's about the extent of it.

Once I get to fireworks and parades from MNSSHP though, there is going to be a lot more processing necessary, unfortunately.
I wouldn't say that I need it. I do a lot of tweaking and go back and forth on a lot of things on whether I like it or not; white balance, contrast (I like a lot of contrast for the most part), various saturations. Doing all these pictures really increased my processing experience too, so it got quicker as I went along. Also, a couple of shots I had to turn into HDRs because of the overcast sky or other reasons. Also played with a couple of plugin trials; one I'll probably buy (Topaz Adjust) and one I definitely won't (can't remember the name; did some nice things but it was $300 for the full version!!).
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:40 PM   #15
boBQuincy
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Happy 25! I can't even *remember* 25!

So far it sounds like a good WDW trip, full of surprises and changing plans.
Don't worry about the rookie photo mistakes, after *many* years of photography I still make some (like forgetting to disable the 10 second delay after I am done with it). Besides, you have December !
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