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Old 04-05-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
elbodans
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Two Trips in Three Months?!?--A TR of Epic Proportions!

greetings!

as of tomorrow, i will have been home from my trip for exactly one month--and my next trip will be exactly one month away! so i thought i could kill the 'in between time' with a giant trip report, including dining and lodging reviews, thoughts on disney solo, and a mini PTR for my next trip at the end. you can look forward to lots of photos, including food pics from the following restaurants...

1. Rix Cafe
2. Kona Cafe
3. Artist Point
4. Les Chefs
5. Yak and Yeti
6. Pepper Market
7. Brown Derby
8. Cantina San Angel

...along with some yummy snacks!

Now for the Who, What, Where, and Why...

Who...Me!



My name is Tracy, and this was a solo trip...so the photos don't include me very often (until day four, when it seems I decided to take LOTS of myself, with my arm outstretched!)

What...my first solo trip to WDW!

Where...CSR

Why...that's a long story...and will be covered in post #2, coming some time this evening.
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Last edited by elbodans; 04-05-2011 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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The long story of the 'Why'....

A little over two years ago (I told you it was a long story!) after dealing with crippling pain for years, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. In order to fix said crippling pain and preserve my fertility (supposedly), I had the ‘three’ fibroids they thought I had removed. The three turned out to be twelve (!), and I was so happy to have them gone. My whole life was improved--no more pain! We waited another year to begin ‘trying’ for a baby--until my body healed, the birth control I had been on for fourteen years was out of my system, and we had saved up enough money for me to take some time (read--a while) off of work. Long story short--a year later, this past Thanksgiving, it was officially determined that there’s pretty darn near a 0% chance that I’ll ever get--and stay--pregnant.

So--I needed a new life plan. I thought about what I wanted to do most (fortunately I’m really good at life planning) and decided to (try to) do the thing I never thought I could do but always wanted to do--write a book. Because really, why not? I’d been saving up money to take off from work to have a baby--instead, I decided, I’d have a book.

I swear this idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds (but I fully realize how crazy it does sound!) I’ve been writing for years--I’m an obsessive blogger, I’ve started countless short stories and one memoir, have attended many writing courses and workshops and conferences, and I write local theater reviews for the local paper. But I never had ‘The Idea’--the one that I just couldn’t put away. That is, not until I went to Disney World in November.

Thus, a book idea was ‘born’--so to speak--and while I won’t get into what it is (this is getting too long already!) I’ll explain that it is a series of nonfiction books, the first one is based in Disney World, and it involves the one other thing I love aside from travel and writing--teaching. Because I’m a really big fan of doing things ‘the right way’, I started drafting a book proposal, as that’s what you have to do to sell a nonfiction book--yes, even before it is entirely written. Several days into writing this book proposal, I realized something--to write the perfect proposal for a book based on Disney World, well, I had to go back to Disney World.

And so, this trip was booked (no pun intended!) It was a huge leap of faith for me to actually invest money and time in a project like this, but at this point in my life, my new mantra is ‘why NOT?’ If one of my students came to me with a huge dream or goal similar to mine, I’d tell them to go for it. So I will ‘go for it’—and cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Besides—worst case scenario, I was going to Disney! So really, how could I lose? Plus, my husband was being more than supportive, being ok with the time I was taking, the fact that I was going without him, and the amount of money I was spending (for a trip that didn’t involve him!)—he’s truly an amazing man.

I purchased an AP as I’ll be going back in May (more on that later) and likely for several weeks this coming fall (more on THAT much, much later!), and with the associated discount, I got what I felt was a good deal on a room at CSR. All I had to do was wait for the weeks to pass—and book all of my ADRs (many of which I would end up canceling—but I’m getting ahead of myself.) Before I knew it, I was on my way!

Up next—the trip to the airport (aka—sweating bullets) and my first experience with DME!
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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I worked until 3:45 on the day of my flight out, which was at 5:45. The airport is quite close to where I live--maybe a 20 minute drive--so I wasn’t worried. My husband was driving me, and we decided to take a short cut to avoid the highway traffic during rush hour. BAD IDEA! We encountered an accident involving a school bus (no one was hurt), which caused us to become VERY delayed. We turned around in the street and cut through town, which caused a 20 minute trip to turn into an hour. My palms were literally sweating--it was very good that I wasn’t driving!

I finally arrived at the airport at around 5:00--less than an hour before take off. Fortunately it is a very small airport, and even though my bag was searched at security--because I was carrying a monopod for my camera--I made it with about 20 minutes to spare.

The flight was uneventful--and actually quite relaxing in comparison to the mad dash to the gate!

Upon arrival at MCO, I located the DME pick up area. I was extremely worried about Disney’s Magical Express. I’m not a very patient person (I had an actual breakdown outside of Gare du Nord station in Paris last summer, standing in the blocks-long taxi queue), and I imagined a horrific wait at the airport, along with multiple stops on the way to my resort--CSR. From touchdown at MCO to sitting in my room at CSR--with dinner and bottle of wine in hand--it was less than 90 minutes. This included a restroom stop, DME, check in, a stop off to pick up a sandwich and a bottle of wine, and walking to my room. There’s no way a taxi would have been any quicker (even given the fact that I didn’t need to pick up any baggage, as I don’t check anything ever)--and a taxi would have cost more than $60. The verdict? DME is both magical AND express!

As an added bonus (and part of the magic), as we drove toward the WDW archway, the Illuminations’ finale was happening, creating the absolute best welcome to Walt Disney World I could possibly imagine. I cried.

While the trip was beyond speedy, due to my late flight, it was now well past my bed time. So after 1/3 of a crummy sandwich and a glass of wine, I set my alarm for 7am and drifted off to sleep.

crummy sandwich...




...with the all-important bottle of wine in the background! Note that they even OPENED the bottle for me (this is important for later--I promise!)

The plan for Day 1--Rope drop at MK!

The concern for Day 1--CSR bus service. Would it be as bad as the bus service on our last trip? (Spoiler--no, it would not. It would be amazing, actually!)
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Last edited by elbodans; 04-05-2011 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:51 PM   #4
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Day 1 Part 1—Including a review of CSR rooms and bus service.

If you’d like proof that this wasn’t technically a ‘vacation’ (despite the obvious fun-factor), know that my alarm went off at 6:30am on Day 1. I wanted to be sure to make it to rope drop at the Magic Kingdom , and make it I did—with plenty of time to spare.

Upon exiting my room and making a right U-turn, I discovered the bus stop…



I guess clicking ‘near transportation’ as a request on online check in actually works!*

Speaking of my room, now is a great time to discuss my room at CSR, as this morning was the first time I saw it in the daylight!

Review of CSR Room and Bus Service Starts HERE…
*

For me, it was an ideal room—room 8500 in Cabana building 9B. As you can see from the photo below, it was a corner room, and on the first floor, which made it very convenient. They must have known I was coming to work, as they gave me a ‘corner office’…



I’d looked at the different areas of CSR a few months ago, and while I had no idea how anyone ever requests certain areas, I decided I’d be happiest with Cabanas, happy with Casitas, and less than thrilled with the Ranchos section. I got my first choice!

But really, the best part of the room was its proximity to the bus stop. From standing in my room to sitting at the bus stop it took less than a minute—you can’t get better than that without the bus driving directly into the room!

I mentioned in my last post that I was concerned about the bus service. As it turns out, there was no reason to be concerned. My room was located at bus stop #4, which meant that it only stopped one time—at Bus Stop 1—before it continued on directly to whichever park I was visiting. It never took more than 20 minutes to get anywhere—something I wish I could say about my stay at the Beach Club in November. As CSR doesn’t share buses with any other resort—and the bus stops are set up conveniently around a circular road, I found the bus service to be far better than I ever could have imagined.* Additionally, the longest I waited for a bus at any point was 13 minutes—in the middle of the day at DHS.

Thus ends my review of CSR Rooms and Bus Service. Coming later in the report—an overall experience review of CSR!

After my super quick trip to MK, I have a good half hour wait before rope drop—this is to be the theme of my stay here, with the notable exception of my morning at AK (but more on why that was later!). I managed to cry less this time, and when they finally let us in the park, I resisted the urge to run down Main Street . Instead, I strolled—which was almost necessary, as the park was significantly more crowded than when we’d been there in November even though it was reported to be a very low crowd day. Mind you—the crowds were not bad, just not mind-blowingly low like they were on my first visit.

I decided to begin my day in Fantasyland with a ride I’d not checked out on my first trip—The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, complete with new queue area...



EDIT--Upon posting this, I discovered a '*' at every single sentence and line break. I deleted all of them, but won't know if it worked for sure until I hit 'save'. I'm copy/pasting it from Pages--any idea why this would be?

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Old 04-06-2011, 12:29 PM   #5
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When I asked a coworker friend what his favorite ride was in the Magic Kingdom, Pooh was at the top of his list. When I told him I didn’t ride it on our last visit, he replied ‘oh--you missed out’. I didn’t take his word for it, though. In fact, the only reason I chose Pooh as my first ride of the day was because I figured I ‘needed’ to ride it for my research (I was right--and it was full of great ideas!) and I knew it would develop a long line before the end of the day. Well, guess what? The coworker was right. What a delightful ride! As soon as I exited I picked up a fastpass for a second ride later in the day.

I then hit another ride that was sure to develop a long line--It’s A Small World. I really love this ride, though I did feel kind of like a jerk sitting there taking notes. I also snapped several photos--with the flash on my phone turned off, of course. If anyone is wondering ‘is Small World awkward all by yourself?’--the answer is no, no it is not. I had the entire row to myself, and it was lovely.

At this point I decided I should hit some of my favorite rides before the park became crowded, so I headed on over to the Haunted Mansion, followed by BTMRR. Clearly the park wasn’t full by this point--check out the ‘line’ for BTMRR...




Mind you, the park opened at 9am and this was before 10:00. You know those books and websites that tell you to arrive early to beat the crowds? Yeah--you totally should. It’s awesome.

Love this ride...



I then wandered over to Adventureland



in search of breakfast, but Tortuga Tavern was not opened, which made me a little sad because I’d read something on a blog somewhere about breakfast burritos. Fortunately I was able to cheer myself up by riding PoC, which also had zero line.


Yet again, I had an entire row to myself, providing excellent views (have I mentioned how much Disney solo rocks?) The one down side to my PoC experience was becoming ‘stuck’ for a good ten minutes, within view of the exit but unable to reach it. You know that last little scene with Jack Sparrow holding the gold cup in the treasure room? Yeah--I can now recite every single line he says. But I’d rather not.

It was now around 10:30, and the three bites of day-old sandwich I’d had before leaving the room were no longer holding me over. Fortunately, I managed to locate ‘The Stand’--you know, the one that sells that thing that everyone talks about? The thing that was to become my breakfast, thus helping me fulfill my resolution to ‘eat more sugar’ on this trip? My breakfast...



The verdict? Please do not throw virtual rotten tomatoes at me but...I didn’t really like it. I’m so sorry. I can see how it would appeal to some, but I really don’t like fruity things that are also creamy. I thought perhaps because it is non-dairy I would feel differently...but I didn’t. Don’t worry--no Dole Whip was harmed or wasted in the making of this trip report. I ate all of it. I just didn’t feel the need to ever have another one again.

Which, I guess, is a good thing, as I CAN’T have another one again, at least for another month!

During this whole time, I’d been taking notes on my phone, and posting blogs with my phone, and taking photos with my phone...and my phone was starting to die. After realizing this--and the fact that it was only 11am--I started to sort of lay off on the blog posting and the note taking, and whipped out my regular camera and note pad for my next mission--The Swiss Family Treehouse.



I took lots of great notes here--man, I feel like a nerd every time I write that!--and then made my way over to Tomorrowland. I promptly became stuck on the People Mover (which functioned more as a ‘people sitter’ at that point!) but used the time to relax and rest my legs, which were already quite tired by this point.

Also by this point, the park had become quite crowded. In my notebook, I made the note ‘leave all parks by noon at the latest’--which is exactly what I did, as I had a 1:15 lunch reservation at Kona Cafe. After all, a woman cannot live on Dole Whip alone.

Before leaving for the Polynesian, I wandered around the Walt statue at the base of the castle and took some photos...



...and tried to take some of myself in front of the castle...



(I ended up with a photo like this in front of every 'main focal point' in all of the parks aside from AK, as i was with a friend in AK...but more on that later!)

I’ve seen photos like the dumbo/castle pic above, but I didn’t realize that the statues were so small in ‘real life’--it’s all about perspective and camera angle.

I then made my way to the monorail. This was to be my first time riding the monorail, and I was surprised by how long it took. We stopped several times--once for quite a while in the Contemporary.



It took over 20 minutes to get from the Magic Kingdom to the Poly, which was shocking--I thought the point of staying at a monorail resort was convenience. It took less time to get from my room to the gates via bus.

Fortunately I left with plenty of time before my lunch reservation, which gave me plenty of time to wander around the resort. After a call from work intruded upon my experience (and gave me a minor panic attack), I strolled outside to check out the grounds...



I’d love to stay here some day--it was so peaceful, I could imagine hanging out at the resort all day and not going to a park at all.

My lunch reservation was for 1:15, and I found it odd that even though the restaurant was 90% empty, they made me wait a good five minutes before they seated me. They also seated me way back in the corner of the restaurant--which bothered me not at all. This was possibly the most private meal of the trip. Here’s my seat...



While I knew I shouldn’t get an appetizer and an entree, I just couldn’t help myself. I ordered the Coconut Curry Shrimp soup, and this particular dish (the first ‘real’ food of my trip) wins the award for best presentation...



...which was nice, as it was my first sit-down meal experience for this trip. I felt so badly ruining the sour cream Mickey! I thought this was a cute touch. The soup itself was quite good--thicker than I’d imagined it, with a very noticeable curry flavor. It wasn’t an Indian or Thai style curry either--it was straight up curry powder. Anyone who is a fan of any kind of curry typically has a preference, and to be honest the curry powder flavor is my least favorite--but this soup was still quite good. The sweetness of the coconut went rather well with the curry, powder though it may have been.

For my main course I had the Pulled Pork Tacos, which aren’t really tacos at all as they are served on a very flat bread instead of taco shells. This bread was extremely good (kind of like a chalupa, actually) and the pork was tasty as well. The ‘slaw’ that was served on the side--cabbage and carrot and raw onion--went right onto the tacos. It was quite good.



Oddly, my favorite aspect of this meal was the pasta salad. As an self-titled food snob, it almost hurts to admit this--but it really was very good. There was something about the pasta itself--the texture, maybe--that made this pasta salad special. I’m usually not one for side dishes (or pasta salad in general) but I found myself unable to stop eating it.

I have to say that Disney is a great place to dine solo. While I eat alone in nice restaurants all the time--and so I'm quite used to it--there was something extra nice about being alone in WDW. Perhaps it was the nice waiters, or the fact that practically anyone walking by is smiling, or the fact that Kona Cafe is open to the lobby--I'm not sure. But meal number one was a success!

While I did do a separate post for my DDP vs OOP cost comparison, this meal (which included a glass of Beaujolais) was $34.80, including the tip. The wine was $9 of that, so really the meal was $25.80. But I felt I deserved that glass of wine. After all, I accomplished so much in one morning!

Up next...back to MK until close...or not.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:18 PM   #6
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I'm really enjoying your TR so far. I love travelling to WDW alone even though once I get there I am usually surrounded by friends the whole time.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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I'm in!

Nice start to your TR. You have a great writing voice. I haven't had a dole whip yet and its kinda interesting to here one person isn't a fan. I'm definitely interested in hearing about all your ADRs. Out of all of them, I've only been to Yak and Yeti. It wasn't my favorite but I had some fantastic meals and that was just good for me, but my mom said it was her favorite (I'm a teen by the way). And I love the reasoning you had behind this trip, it is so great when people such concrete decisions like this to use their life to help in making a great keepsake as a book.

I hope you have a great time in your upcoming trip!
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mla1977 View Post
I'm really enjoying your TR so far. I love travelling to WDW alone even though once I get there I am usually surrounded by friends the whole time.
thanks! i was VERY nervous going alone, but in the future i will not be--i loved it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlutosRHM55 View Post
I'm in!

Nice start to your TR. You have a great writing voice. I haven't had a dole whip yet and its kinda interesting to here one person isn't a fan. I'm definitely interested in hearing about all your ADRs. Out of all of them, I've only been to Yak and Yeti. It wasn't my favorite but I had some fantastic meals and that was just good for me, but my mom said it was her favorite (I'm a teen by the way). And I love the reasoning you had behind this trip, it is so great when people such concrete decisions like this to use their life to help in making a great keepsake as a book.

I hope you have a great time in your upcoming trip!
thanks! i'm willing to give the dole whip another try--i'm going to get a float next time. i think the juice may make all the difference!

i didn't super love Yak and Yeti, but it was pretty darn good! i'll be posting my artist point review next. thanks for reading!
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:03 PM   #9
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After lunch, I took a quick monorail ride back to the Magic Kingdom. Here I discovered the benefit of the monorail--in less than five minutes, I was walking through the gate!

During lunch, I made a list of things I still needed/wanted to do, and they included:

Mickey’s Philharmagic
Tom Sawyer Island
Hall of Presidents

I started with Philharmagic, which I’d not seen previously. I realize it is very little kid-ish, but I LOVED it. Possibly more than my previous favorite 3D show, Tough to Be a Bug. The only word I can think of to describe it is ‘delightful’. It was also surprisingly good for my research.

I then checked out the Hall of Presidents. Now, it is true that this seems like the perfect attraction for my research, but it wasn’t. It went past educational straight into boring. I really liked the movie section, but the presidential roll call at the end almost did me in. Sorry. There are just many better uses for animitronic (spelling?) presidents than that. I did love the Washington-Obama conversation, however.

I then decided to use my previously gathered fastpass for Pooh and ride it once again, just because. Man I love that ride! I took notes this time through, and let me tell you--taking notes whilst bouncing with Tigger is quite challenging! My notes are very...wobbly.

I then checked out Tom Sawyer Island, and found this very relaxing spot to write for a while...



If you are looking for somewhere to relax in MK, this is the spot. Sure, you have to cross a rather difficult, bouncy bridge to get here, but it is totally worth it to have some peace and quiet in the middle of a busy theme park.

It was in this place that I decided there was no way I was going to make it to park closing. I had 8:15 dinner reservation at Artist Point, and it was a little after 4:00 at this point. I was already beat. I managed to use my iPhone to change my reservations to 6:20, a much more reasonable time in my opinion.

Having decided my time at MK was almost over, I thought I’d ride my personal favorite ride yet again--BTMRR. As I exited the ride, the sun was beginning to set...



I’ll admit to giving up my research for a while here and taking some time browsing the shops on my way back down Main Street. I didn’t buy anything, though--mainly because I couldn’t find the shirt I was looking for (I wanted one of those classic Mickey ringer t-shirts). I then found my way to the boat launch for Wilderness Lodge.

It is important to note that at this time, the sun is setting...and I’m wearing a sun dress. I was getting COLD! My original plan was to take the boat to WL, have dinner, and then take the boat back to MK to catch the bus. After waiting for the boat for at least a half hour (during which time I chatted with two extremely delightful local women having a girl’s day out) and enduring the freezing cold ride to WL, I decided to try to get a cab back.



Because I waited for the boat for so long, I was actually quite late for my dinner reservation--I arrived around 6:40 and stopped for a minute or two to enjoy the beauty of the resort.




Regardless, I was seated at Artist Point promptly, and ordered a drink. This was drink number one...



It was called Raspberry Rapids, and was basically like a Pina Colada with a hint of raspberry. In retrospect, it really wasn’t the drink I was looking for--more like dessert than a beverage. So I ordered a glass of chardonnay, which the waiter was very helpful in selecting for me (I told him I wanted ‘something very dry’, and he brought me a British Columbia Chardonnay that was quite good--if expensive!)

During dinner, my husband texted me that he was out for dinner with my parents at a private club to which they belong--the kind of private club with fake paneling on the walls and 75-cent beers. I texted him back ‘sorry, I’m having dinner somewhere much more expensive’. His reply? ‘Get the filet. You deserve it.’

Best. Husband. Ever.

So I ordered whatever I wanted, but ordered poorly. I chose the salmon, not thinking the way I typically do when out for dinner. I usually try to order things I don’t or can’t make at home (thus, I should have had the venison). I make salmon all the time, and this salmon dish, while quite good, wasn’t very different from meals I have at home weekly. Again, not a bad meal, just a poor choice.




I would definitely go back to Artist Point, however. It reminded me a lot of the Yachtsman in atmosphere, and we loved it there. It was probably the most quiet meal of my entire trip. It was also the most expensive. Because the sugary drink was $10 and the glass of Chardonnay was $12, the total bill with tip came to...brace yourself...$73.04. It was very good that I had my husband’s blessing for that meal! However, as it was so pricey, I vowed to try to avoid similar meals for the duration of the trip (and was mostly successful!)

Did I mind eating there solo? Not at all. They seated me kind of off to the side, with a view of the entire dining room. I’d suggest it to other solo travelers in a heartbeat.

After dinner I checked out the lobby for a while,



and then ventured out to the valet area where I hoped I’d be able to get a cab. I asked the attendant if it was possible to call a cab for me, and I swear to god the man whistled and cab appeared out of nowhere. It was like Harry Potter level magic--the Hogworts Taxi or something. The cab took 10 minutes, and dropped me off right at my building. Best $20 I’ve ever spent (it was actually only $13, but I let him keep the change from a 20--I have taxi tipping issues, I know.)

I had big plans for my evening, mainly involving organizing and typing up my research, and maybe even starting this trip report. Alas, it was not to be. I remained awake long enough to wash my face, and was snoring.

Honestly, despite all I accomplished, I did regret not getting more done. So--what do you think? Was it a productive day?

Next Post--Day 2: Epcot, Open to Close!
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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Oh that monorail... I don't think it benefits anyone LOL just kidding I had some pretty funny experiences with that thing. I think the best way to use it is from the Monorail resorts to MK since they are all close to MK not Epcot. Only the TTA is close to that.

I noticed you hadn't been on Mickey's PhilharMagic before and my jaw almost dropped but then I saw you did. I love that 3D show. I still like It's Tough to Be A Bug better, but I think its good once in awhile not be suffocated by smoke and wind machines, thank you very much. Haha I still have yet to go on Hall of Presidents and based of you, doesn't look too great, but I enjoy basically every ride in Disney, but maybe it will be one of the very few ones I don't like. I'll just have to wait a year I also need to take a repeat trip to Tom Sawyer island. I never spent much time in there.

Your ADRs... they are making me so hungry. You picked like some really nice ones. I should definitely check them out the next time I go. Artist's Point looks like nice place for me and that salmon looks good though I get that at home too but I had so many seafood dishes when I was last in Disney and they never failed me, they were awesome and one was salmon. I highly recommend if you are looking for an awesome salmon, go to Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge: Kidani Village.

This travelling solo sounds very intriguing. When I'm older (I'm a freshman in High School), I should definitely do that since I could go at my own pace Can't wait for the next update!
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:19 PM   #11
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Great trip report so far Can't wait for the next update.
I so want to do a solo trip!
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #12
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Great TR so far.. Count me in!
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlutosRHM55 View Post
Oh that monorail... I don't think it benefits anyone LOL just kidding I had some pretty funny experiences with that thing. I think the best way to use it is from the Monorail resorts to MK since they are all close to MK not Epcot. Only the TTA is close to that.

I noticed you hadn't been on Mickey's PhilharMagic before and my jaw almost dropped but then I saw you did. I love that 3D show. I still like It's Tough to Be A Bug better, but I think its good once in awhile not be suffocated by smoke and wind machines, thank you very much. Haha I still have yet to go on Hall of Presidents and based of you, doesn't look too great, but I enjoy basically every ride in Disney, but maybe it will be one of the very few ones I don't like. I'll just have to wait a year I also need to take a repeat trip to Tom Sawyer island. I never spent much time in there.

Your ADRs... they are making me so hungry. You picked like some really nice ones. I should definitely check them out the next time I go. Artist's Point looks like nice place for me and that salmon looks good though I get that at home too but I had so many seafood dishes when I was last in Disney and they never failed me, they were awesome and one was salmon. I highly recommend if you are looking for an awesome salmon, go to Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge: Kidani Village.

This travelling solo sounds very intriguing. When I'm older (I'm a freshman in High School), I should definitely do that since I could go at my own pace Can't wait for the next update!
yeah--i couldn't believe i missed philharmagic on my first trip. it was great. i think i actually liked it better than 'bug'--and i REALLY like 'bug'!

i'll be visiting saana at AKL on my next trip...which is in less than a month! super excited!

solo trips are great--i'm impressed that someone so young would consider it. it took me until i was 25 to eat at a restaurant alone! good for you!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dort View Post
Great trip report so far Can't wait for the next update.
I so want to do a solo trip!
sorry it's been so long between updates--i'm about to post one now. this week was crazy busy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelMel11 View Post
Great TR so far.. Count me in!
thanks!!!
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:33 PM   #14
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The plan for day two was Epcot, park open to park close--and I’ll kill the suspense right now by proudly admitting that I made it--12 hours in Epcot! I think I could spend 12 days there, to be honest. It’s really my favorite park.

My transportation luck continued, as the second I placed by rear on the bench at the bus stop, an Epcot bus arrived--an EMPTY Epcot bus! Even after stopping at El Centro I was the only person on the bus, so the ride to Epcot was just for me!



I had to wonder--where WAS everyone? Wasn't it the second day of the flower and garden festival? Shouldn't the bus to Epcot be packed? I guess not!

The trip to Epcot took maybe six minutes; I arrived as the sun rose behind the golf ball...



Because Epcot is my favorite park, this is also my favorite photo op--I have photos of Spaceship Earth from almost every angle! I was fifth or sixth in line at the turnstiles, and met a very nice man also traveling alone, as well as the grandparent portion of a family traveling together. Once again I realize that even when you are traveling ‘alone’ in Disney, you’re never truly alone.

I was given some encouragement by the man I met to ride Everest the next day when at AK. I chickened out on my last trip, but this guy was so very enthusiastic about it, I assured him I’d be riding. He also gave me some pointers on how to get to Soarin first thing.

Silly me, I thought I needed DIRECTIONS to Soarin. Um...no. I just needed to follow EVERYONE ELSE IN THE PARK. I’ve never experienced anything like this--and it was a low crowd day! It was like a parade all the way to Soarin from the turnstiles, but when we finally stopped our early morning jog (could they put that ride any more out of the way???!!!???) this is where I was...



I had the first ride of the day!

I was seated in the front row--which is really the bottom row--in the middle of the right ‘unit’. There were feet above me, but I didn’t feel like that ruined my experience in any way. I did get a bit dizzy--and closed my eyes for a second during the opening cloud flying part--but I knew that would happen. For whatever reason, I’m perfectly fine with actual rides that go fast, but anything similar to an IMAX movie makes me dizzy. Go figure.

Of course I really enjoyed the ride--it is impossible to avoid smiling whilst on Soarin. However, I wasn’t as ‘swept away’ as I thought I would be. I think it was the transitions that bothered me--I wasn’t prepared for that, so I was a bit shocked. However, the smell of the orange groves was amazing! I now know why people get all misty eyed when talking about it!

Of course, as soon as I exited I grabbed a fastpass--it was 9:20 at this time, and my fastpass ‘matured’ at 10:45. Due to the fact that I knew it would be a long day, I decided to minimize walking as much as possible, which meant doing attractions based on location. Thus, I boarded Living with the Land, which I was quite excited about having seen lots of photos on here of ‘the giant lemon’--I needed to see it for myself. I was a bit more intrigued by the hanging pumpkins...



I can not wait to bring my mother here in May--she’s going to LOVE Living with the Land.

I started to feel badly about spending so much time indoors, so I headed outside for a bit, and made my way towards the seas...but not before pausing to take a few more photos of my favorite landmark...





I rode Nemo again, even though I didn’t love it the first time; as I came out I found Turtle Talk--which we missed on our first trip--and checked that out as well. Very cute! Crush actually picked on one of the moms in the audience, and it was amusing for the kids and the adults.

After Turtle Talk I contemplated roaming about the Seas to take notes, but I decided I’d ‘come back later’--yeah, much later. Like in May. It was around this time that I realized how many days of research I can do at Epcot, so most of that is going to have to wait for the Grand Research Trip in the fall (but more on that MUCH, much later--I have to get through this trip report first, and then the PTR for our May trip, and THEN I can discuss that--whew!)

As it wasn’t time for my Soarin fastpass quite yet, I decided to kill some time yet stay in the area by checking out Journey through Imagination. It was...different. I'll take my mom on in May, but only if there's no line. It was...less than awesome. I think that whole side of the park needs to be bulldozed--between Journey and Captain EO...Disney can do better.

It was approaching 10:45 at this point, so I headed back to Soarin...but not to ride. I returned to get a second fastpass so that when my friend arrived, she could ride, too. This is probably where I should tell you about my friend...

I have a friend, let’s call her Steph (because that’s her name!) Steph and I went to high school together--we actually used to be next door neighbors. She lives in the Tampa area, less than two hours from Disney, and she has a ten year old son. And she’d NEVER been to Disney before! Imagine! She drove out to visit me when I was there for the convention in November, but it was very late at night and all we did was have dinner (at Flying Fish Cafe). This time she was actually going to do two parks, meeting me at Epcot around 3pm, staying at CSR with me overnight, and then accompanying me to Animal Kingdom the next morning.

Ok--now that you know all about my friend, you’ll understand why I wanted to get a fastpass for her. So I did. More on how that turned out later!

It was finally time to cross the park. I walked through both wings of Innoventions, where I decided I’d also need days and days to take notes (and I contemplated The Sum of All Thrills, but declined), and found myself right here...



...and so I thought ‘why not?’ And entered the theater. I came in late for the intro video, and was quickly ushered into the seating area. Little did I know that this would be the ONLY quick thing about this ‘ride’!

I really liked Ellen’s Energy Adventure--truth be told, the dinosaur part is more like what I was hoping DINOSAUR would be like (I rode Dinosaur in November and was TERRIFIED! ) However, the worst part has to be exiting the theater. I’ve never been so blinded in all my life!

Skipping right over Mission Space (I’m still afraid--remember how I said I have an aversion to simulator rides?) I made my way to Test Track. My husband and I didn’t even consider this last time, as it does make a very scary, very fast sound. But the single rider line read only a 20 minute wait, so I thought--what the heck?



The sign lied. There was not a 20 minute wait. There was not a 2 minute wait. I walked directly onto the ride. Thus my love for single rider lines was born!

Up next--my Test Track experience, lunch at Les Chefs, tasting Beverly, and the arrival of my Florida friend!
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:26 PM   #15
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First, I must say, WOW! You really do like Epcot! It was my second favorite on my first trip and third on my last though I still love a lot of the rides. I really need to try to dedicate a whole day to World Showcase since I'm always stuck in Future World. I'm not shocked about you not liking the Imagination Pavilion. They need to bring back the original Journey Into Imagination (a billion times better than this one and longer), old ImageWorks and then Honey I Shrunk The Audience (which if you liked Bugs, this one is that to an extreme and was removed to put in Captain EO). Sorry had to rant about the old Imagination pavillion. Moving on...

I think you're the first person I heard who hasn't really liked Soarin' that much. I wasn't a huge fan since I've done the whole IMAX and OmniTheater thing a billion times but the second time was much more exhilirating. Its one of my new favorites. Living With The Land was definitely a nice little obscue attraction and people don't understand the beauty of that ride, so glad to hear it mentioned here. I still need to try Universe of Energy definitely great to hear some reviews about it, most don't talk about it. Its overlooked a lot. I can't wait to hear about your Test Track experience.

Awesome TR, so far!
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