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Old 12-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #1
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BDL's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Watertown, Massachusetts
Posts: 2,343

Fireworks, Chistmas Lights and a Sparkly Mouse Head

Hi all,

I just got back late Wednesday night (12/15) and this is the 1st chance I've had to let everyone know how the trip was. Well... The trip was AWESOME!!!! There were a couple of bumps towards the end, but they were offset by other events. So, anyways, here's my report.

Flew into MCO late Thursday night (12/9) and we (girlfriend and myself) checked into a Courtyard hotel. The amenities there were a lot better than I thought they would be for an off-site chain hotel.

Day 1)
Woke up at 8 to check out of the Courtyard and check into the Port Orleans. As I'm waiting in line to check in, I heard the horror stories of the people that were checking out about having to deal with the cheerleader competitors and their 5am rituals and how there was no peace at the resort. Looks like I definitely dodged that bullet. The day I checked in was the last day of the competition. But, the good news didn't end there. When I checked in, I was told that my room was already available and I could bring our bags up with no muss or fuss. As soon as we got to the room, we practically threw our bags inside and ran to the bus depot. Our 1st stop was Epcot. We had an 11:30 res Tutto Italia. I can not say enough nice things about this place. The food was excellent and the servers were very attentive. She had the farfalle and I had the casarecci. OH MY GOD!!! They were both so delicious. Now bear in mind, that my grilfriend had lived in Italy for a period and she raved about the food here. Especially dessert. Since I've known her, she's refused to eat tiramasu in America cuz she said that it was so good in Italy, that it ruined any other tiramasu that she found... Until now. She RAVED about it for the rest of the vacation. After walking around and taking in the countries of Epcot it was time for our dinner at Le Cellier. And for those that have said that Le Cellier has gone down hill, I have no idea what you are talking about. The food was so good I didn't want to eat it because then there would be no more food. And, as my gf put it, "The chocolate moose was almost too cute to eat." After dinner we walked around for a bit before we had to get in the dinner combo line for the Candlelight Processional. Luckily, we were in line with a very nice couple from Carolina. As for the Processional itself, if you are planning a trip for next, BOOK THE Processional/dinner combo!!! It is so beautiful and moving. We had the good fortune to have Whoopi doing ours. She was both solemn and entertaining. Once the processional was over, everyone raced to the other side of the lagoon for the VIP area for Illuminations. Once that was over, it just so happened to be EMH at Epcot. Road Mission Space with no line and did Test Track 2x in a row. Pretty eventful 1st day.

Day 2)
Woke up with muscle pain. Shoulda worked out more before I went down. No time to lick wounds. Got a 9:40 character breakfast at Tusker House. Slight detour 1st (get fast pass for Expedition Everest). The food was fairly generic Disney buffet stock. But the character interaction was great. They would take as many pictures as you wanted and not just rush off to the next table. After breakfast, we went straight to Expedition Everest. Well, straight is a relative term. I've discovered, when travelling with a 1st timer, you tend to spend more time at Photo Passes and shops, than with people who have been there before. Everest was awesome. But a word to the wise, DON'T blink at the wrong time. Cuz when that picture comes out, you will receive such grief for being a wuss, from your friends and family (1st hand knowledge). After riding Dinosaur and taking the nature walk, we headed to MGM... Sorry, Disney Hollywood. We did all the "must do's", (ToT, RR, and the movie ride), then it was time to take in the Osbourne Lights. This should be on everyone's bucket list. The lights are just so "Ooooh" and "Aaaah" inspiring. After taking in the lights and being slammed into by an unknown amount of strollers and larks (those scooter type things that are supposed to be for the elderly and handicapped yet prob 10-15% of the people there use), for about an hour, it was time to make our dinner res at Boatwrights at the POR. Very under-rated restaurant. The crawfish bites were yummy. The entrees were ample and the wait-staff attentive. As we headed out, we took a couple of minutes to listen to Yee Haw Bob. I just wish we had the time (and energy) to catch his act from begining to end.

Day 3)
Sunday, was our leisurely pace day. We did have to wake up early though. We had a 7:40 res at the Kona Cafe. Tonga Toast RULES!!!!! Take something as simple as french toast, make it better by adding sugar and cinnamon and then make it EVEN better by stuffing it with banana. YUM! After breakfast, we took the monorail route to take in all of the monorail resorts and how they decked their halls (or lobbies, as it were). By far, the most breath taking was the Grand Floridian. It's amazing tree and the life sized gingerbread house were incredible. We walked around the lobby and took pics from all different angles and there was even a photo pass person to take our pic in front of the gingerbread house. Our last stop was the Contemporary. It was nice. There was a gingerbread tree. But modest compared to the Floridian. Once we finished our tour, we hopped the mono to Epcot to take a bus back to the POR. We decided to take a nice nap. There was heavy rain in the forecast and we had the MVMCP scheduled that night. We woke upearly in the afternoon to make our 2:35 res at Crystal Palace and Pooh & friends character meal. The food was ok, but once again the character interaction stole the show. By the time we finished our meal, it was time to get our bracelets so that we could enjoy the party non-stop. When we got our bracelets, we still had 90 min until the castle lighting. So we headed for TomorrowLand. We got a fast pass for Space Mountain and went to Stitch's Escape. It was funny, but the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better. Afterwards, we saw that Buzz Lightyear had no line, so we tried our luck. I killed her in points. After BL, we went to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. It was HILARIOUS!!! Picture Turtle Talk with Crush except with stand up comics calling the shots. And the audience participation was incredible. I was put up on the big display and prompted to dance. Me, a 6' 310 lbs guy from Boston, shaking my money maker for the crowd. From here on out, whenever someone who was at the show saw me, they'd yell out "HEY! Dancing guy!" From there, we headed for SM. It was pretty cool. 1 thing I've noticed about SM, it never seems as fast as the last time that you were on it. But it was still fun. By the time we got out of SM, we headed to see the castle lighting. While everyone was distracted with the last parade of the afternoon, we found a prime location right in front of the castle's stage. The show was fairly mundane, but watching the actual lighting of the castle is breath taking. I don't think anyone blinked for a good 5 minutes. After the show, you would be asked to show your MVMCP bracelet every time you crossed from 1 "Land" to another. From here on out, we walked on to every ride. Haunted Mansion, Thunder Mountain, Pirates, Hall of Pres. Especially while the 1st parade was going on. The free hot chocolate and cookies were delicious and more important, free. Especially this night. The temperatures dropped to 30* and 30mph winds. We went on 1/2 the rides that I had mentioned, then went to Main Street to watch Holiday Wishes. After that, we took in the 2nd 1/2 of the rides. After we were done with the rides, we watched the parade just outside of HofP. It was a very entertaining parade. Lots of dancers and even a few characters that I hadn't seen in decades. It was a great night and I recommend that if you go next year, take in the MVMCP if for no other reason than the short lines. I do have 1 confession to make though. While taking pictures with characters, I mistook Big Al from the Country Bear Jamboree for Brer Bear. Sorry Al.

Day 4)
Still cold. But we had a res at Akershus before Epcot even opened. It was the princess breakfast. We don't have any kids yet, but we still had fun. But I could see that those that came with children had almost as much fun as their children did. During breakfast, I made 2 great discoveries. 1, I love cheesy potatoes. 2, I still hate cold fish. But the buffet and family style service of Scandanavian goodies was yummy. Once we finished breakfast, we made a b-line for Soarin to get our fast passes. Even this early, it was a 2hr FP. In the mean time, we took Ellen's Energy ride and have our pictures taken with all of the characters. Then it was time for Soarin. I have never been on it, and I loved every second of it. After this, it was time to wait in the longest line of the day. The line for Karamelle Kuche. Just walking in the sweet shop, I felt I got 6 cavities. If you can put caramel or chocolate on it, they have it. All in all, we walked out with choc/car pretzel rods, choc/car covered brownie, choc/car covered strawberry, choc/car cupcake and a caramel apple oatmeal cookie. They were all incredible. After a few more countries and a poor photo pass guy that a sea gull pooped on, it was time to head back to the POR for some lounge time and livations. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... For those that have never been to the lounge at POR, it is a very comfy setting and they know how to make ther drinks.

Day 5)
Frome here on out, all our meals are quick serve except for a very forgetable meal at Mama Melrose. The only thing to remember about that meal was that it was there, that the waiter told us that we had used all our full serve meals, even though we had 2 remaining. BUT... with the Disney servers being down for mainteneance this day, there was no way to recoup them. It is a long dragged out story that still has no resolution. But this was our go around and buy the gifts that we needed to. We started off at Downtown Disney. I gotta tell you. It rips the heart out of my chest seeing what they did to my once beloved Pleasure Island. But we finish up there and head to Animal Kingdom to get a shirt that we both liked. From there, we went to Disney Hollywood, to make our Mama Melrose res and to see if we missed anything. From there we went back to Epcot to look for a very specific shirt for her dad. Then back to the resort.

Last day)
We decided to spend it at the Magic Kingdom. We 1st take the train ride all around the park. Then when we get back to Main Street, we go in and out of the shops to see if we missed anything. From there we head to Fantasy Land to take in the staples such as Snow White, Tea Cups and, of course, Small World. We finish up at the Jungle Cruise (always a pleaser). We had to leave cuz we had to catch our plane back to Boston. But something happened on the way out of the park that my girlfriend is no longer my girlfriend. She is now my fiance'. I proposed to her, right in front of the castle while the photo pass guy was shooting away. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the sparkly mouse-head ring that I had bought the night before and dropped to 1 knee. To the couple that was waiting in line for the photo pass guy while I did this, I am sorry that that I sorta took your turn. But it was a "now or never" moment.

So... as you can see, it was a fun and eventful vacation.

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!
Home for Christmas. POR December 10-17th PTR

Last edited by BDL; 07-19-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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