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Old 01-06-2011, 08:51 PM   #136
Dugette
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Wow, I got way behind. Great updates and good luck with the weight loss! Looking forward to hearing how your Year of Disney unfolds! (since ours is over )
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Nov. 7-16, 2014: Aulani ("Happy in Hawaii") TR In Progress! | Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2014: Pop Century ("I Like Warm Hugs!") TR In Progress! | June 10-13, 2014: Offsite
Dec. 7-14, 2013: Polynesian ("Bear Hugs & Piggy Kisses - Baby's First Trip") TR Complete! | Oct. 5-12, 2011: Pop Century ("Poor Unfortunate Souls: So Wet, So Full")
Dec. 10-19, 2010: Poly Club! ("How the Other Half Lives") | Nov. 10-14, 2010: Pop/BCV ("100 Eats & Drinks in 3.5 Days!")
Aug. 20-22, 2010: ASMu ("The Last-Minute Super-Bargain Bonus Trip") | June 3-7, 2010: Pop/AKL ("Star Wars Nightastically Delicious!")
Jan. 16-25, 2010: Poly/WL/POR ("The Magic and The Misery") | Sept. 9-14, 2009: Pop Century ("The Prequel") | March 10-17, 1990: Offsite ("A Disney Walk Back in Time...on Four Paws")

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Old 01-20-2011, 05:02 PM   #137
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Wow, I got way behind. Great updates and good luck with the weight loss! Looking forward to hearing how your Year of Disney unfolds! (since ours is over )
Sorry your year of Disney is over. But glad you are enjoying ours!

The weight loss is going OK. Suzy lost 2.5 lbs this week! So that was encouraging. I still have to weigh in so I'm not sure where I am. I've lost 3 lbs so far. I had a bit of a hormonal, I want to eat everything crisis today. But Suzy helped talk me down, an old friend stopped by to visit during my afternoon snack-happy time so that helped a lot. And having those Disney pictures as my goal is a good motivation. Suzy was quick to mention that in her "stay motivated" lecture. I canNOT be the chunky one. That title needs to belong to someone else.

I know I'll be sad in June when our year of Disney is over. Donald & my plan is to take the girls to California and Disneyland in 2012. And Suzy & Milo I think would like to do a cruise.

Then maybe if there is a great deal we'll head down in 2013 to see the new changes. But we'll see.

We all just watched the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and Donald decided that he, Milo, and Charming all have to do the pirates package too. So all the men, adults too, weill be pirates. But I have no interest in having a pink BBB sash on all day. So Suzy & I have to come up with something so we don't look ridiculously boring. McQueen told us we could be Moms. Because that is SOOOO different from our regular life. Girls are princesses, all the boys are pirates and Suzy and I will be disguised as Moms. Think anyone would recognize us?
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:40 PM   #138
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Back To Future

We headed into the future. We had Space FP's but started at Buzz Lightyear which was a walk on. Our plan had been to do Buzz then Laugh Floor but someone had to go potty so we ended up soaking in the a.c. of the giftshop while we waited for everyone to go.

Ariel found the souvenir she wanted but could not decide between the the Queen Amadala or the Princess Leia dress up doll set. I was kinda pushing her toward the Leia one because it had a C3PO and R2D2 which seemed more fun to me. After me confusing her she took a REALLY long time because that made sense but finally confessed that all the hairdo's in the Amadala kit were more important to her than extra characters. So the hair won. We bought it and had it shipped to the hotel. that perk of on-site lodging!

Here she is playing while I filled out paperwork:


So after our little shop fun, we headed over to Laugh. I love the walking area. I snapped a few photos but we had pretty good timing so there wasn't a lot of time to peruse.






Will Boo be scared?


While I was doing this, Donald was texting jokes. We've gotten it to a fine science and almost always can get one on the show. This year's was: "Why didn't the chicken cross the street?" Because Roz was on the other side.

And Mulan was in the show "Always wants to be the center of attention." And I had a speaking part! Buddy Boil, or whatever his name is, tried to guess my number. That was fun. I wasn't witty. I just followed the script and let the comedians be the funny ones. But what a HUGE difference from last year when I wasn't allowed to see the show because of Boo's nightmare.

After this it was time to do Space! I had already ridden with Suzy so I let Donald take the girls. Chip and Dale met them at the door and walked with them down the FP line. Then Chip helped them into their seats and Dale climbed into the seat behind them and rode the ride with them!



I had no idea this was happening because I decided that Boo and I would wait inside since it was so hot. I've never done this before, choosing to not just sit around. So I went up to the CM & he pointed me in the right direction to the baby swap waiting area. It was very cool, both literally and figuratively, and there was a green line to follow to the benches. Boo enjoyed this very much because we were the only ones there. She played with her toys in the quiet while I played on my iphone.

And then our family was off:


Had I known Dale was behind them I would have snapped a photo of him too but I had no idea he was in the next car.

Donald took Boo and the girls and I followed more green line back to the loading area so we could ride again. When we came around there was no one in line. Literally, we walked up to the area and there was no one around. They were pretty excited about the breeziness of this:




After our wonderful flight through Space we saw ourselves on t.v.


And then on our way out I saw something odd. Stitch playing video games:


I'll be honest, I didn't know there was an arcade in the Space Mt. building. I'm always in and out trying to swap babies and get the next people riding so I haven't explored. But I noticed Stitch and wanted to know what he was doing. And then I realized he was actually playing this game. He was winning too.

And to show you just how slow it was this day, this crowd? That's it. There was no one else watching him and no one came behind us to watch. It was odd. I actually took a picture of the Dumbo line at 11:00 a.m. because it was a 5 min wait and was almost a walk on. We could have been in the 2nd group had we felt like riding it.

I've never been to MK on a day this slow, where the characters were bored.

But, after watching him for a little while and realizing he was REALLY good at driving cars, we headed over to play Buzz again. It's hard to not just want to keep riding things where there are no lines.

Ariel and I stopped to take a picture of the hidden Mickey she had earlier pointed out:


Oh, and the girl at the entrance of Buzz was handing out stickers of Mike Wazowski and trying to get people to see Laugh Floor because no one was in there (thus both Mulan and I being in one show.) So we kinda scored on the stickers. Boo enjoyed them later.

After this I wanted to meander down Main Street and see if the girls were interested in buying the charm bracelets. At first, for some reason, they weren't really excited. But once they really understood and started looking, they agreed it would be a great Year of Disney rememberance because they could get more charms on all three trips. So they took a really long time choosing while the other three of us enjoyed exploring the rest of the shops.

I looked at scrapbooking stuff and purchased what I had found earlier and had it, again, sent to our resort.

And then... it was time to switch parks.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:15 PM   #139
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To Epcot:

I forgot something. Before we went to the stores on Main Street we stopped and got waffle cones. This is something I hadn't seen before & I heard about it on here and wanted to do it. It's next to the Main St. Bakery and is heavenly. It smelled soooo good and we just got two to share because as previously mentioned, ice cream melts very fast in September in Florida. But we will definitely remember this little corner of heaven!

OK so getting back up to time, we had ice cream, hit the shops, and headed on out to Epcot via the monorail.

I got up to take a nice photo of my family on the monorail and a nice guy volunteered to take our whole family's picture. Yeah! Non-Photopass group shot.


We switched at TTC, took a monorail tour of Future World, and headed through bag check. As we went through the turnstyles, though, we ran into some issues as it wouldn't take the girl's tickets. What? After some general confusion Donald says, "Wait, ours are just base tickets." Duh! They hadn't been upgraded to AP's yet. Whoops.

So after holding up the line forever we hopped out of line and went to buy AP's. This took FOREVER! And it was midafternoon and HOT! The CM next to my CM had no idea what he was doing the girl requesting a pass wanted something really complicated which she knew how to do because she was a CM. So my CM was trying to do my 3 upgrades all the while helping this girl. It was utter confusion. My family just kept hopping into the air conditioned photo center and back out.

Finally, we had them. And into Epcot we went in search of AIR CONDITIONING!!! The family got dropped off at Innovations while I ran and got Soarin' FP's for later that night. But to my surprise it was just for an hour away! That's how slow it was this day.

The first thing on on my list was to see if there was a wait for the Visa free photo since we hadn't gotten photopass for this trip. There was a short line and I gave my card for them to verify I qualifyed. The kids played games but I didn't let them go far because it was a really short line and the family in front of us had no kids so I knew they wouldn't take long.

Sure enough, it was less than 10 minutes.

Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy had some quality time with the kids, but then the photopass guy said they aren't allowed to take pictures without everyone's shoes on and Boo had taken hers off. So I had to get her shoes back on her before any pictures could actually be taken.

We took a picture with all of us:


But the one I actually picked out was just of the girls:


If it isn't too crowded, this is a wonderful little moment. Just you, no one breathing down your back. And the characters take their time to enjoy your kids.

After that we played the money game. I wasn't sure if Boo would enjoy it but she just LOVED her piggy. Loved it. I enjoyed myself immensely too. I just wish I could have had my own pig and won as I'm quite competative and letting a preschooler make money decisions meant we lost.


Wish I'd been on Mulan's team!




But they had so much fun, they were all winners:


After killing just a bit more time we headed in. Boo & I rode Livin' with the Land while Donald and the big girls rode Soarin' which they hadn't done at the EMH the night before. Boo loved this ride because it has ladybugs and she is obsessed with ladybugs. I love this ride because I've done the behind the seeds tour and feel quite cocky about my hydroponics knowledge.


Boo & I then got in line to get her a snack at Sunshine Seasons. I don't remember exactly what happened here but there was a bit of chaos in the check out line with a family that didn't speak English and I ended up stealing a bottle of water that I forgot about when I was checking out with the cake and the drinks and holding onto Boo and no stroller and getting my card out and helping the family in front of me. I had to go back and explain and they ended up just giving it to me. I only mention it now because things like that bother me. Even these months later I wished I'd just paid even though they said forget it so I didn't have to think about walking out of there with something I hadn't paid for! The hazards of being a mom.

Things were running so smoothly that Boo had barely had a single bite of her snack when everyone came out. So the girls and I ran right back to ride again (we had done baby swap so both big girls could ride again) and just zipped right through the FP line. I was thrilled because normally even with a FP the Soarin' line takes a long time.

Secretly, I was chanting in my head, "Front row, front row." We had been scoring on our shows & seating this day so I just figured we might. And sure enough:


And not just any front row, the middle! Best Soarin' ride I've ever had. Amazing!

We had a bit of time to kill before dinner, I really didn't think it would go this well! So we did the Canada movie:


And we saw British Invasion:


Well, we only saw a bit of it. The yellow submarine part, which sadly, my girls don't really know that song. Obviously, I need to listen to the Beatles more often.

And then it was time for dinner! In France! I was excited as we hadn't eaten here before and I had heard good things. But as we were walking toward the restaurant, Boo saw the pole where she and Jack-Jack had met Marie before and remembered it and went to stand next to it. I was focused on dinner and trying to rush her past but she was having none of it. "This is where Marie lives!"

And just as I'm dragging her out, guess who comes out?


Isn't that cute? I wonder what she's whispering to Mulan?




So by this time, we're 10 minutes late. We were 5 minutes early. But whatcha gonna do? Did you see the above pictures? So worth the wait. I put our name in and sat down and we waited just a few minutes. Long enough for Donald to park the stroller.

And we were seated at one of the long benches kind of in the middle of the chaos. The girls quickly got to coloring and I was just savoring the food and atmosphere, the air conditioning, the people watching.



It's loud. And chaotic. But we LOVED it. And promptly confessed it to be one of our favorite restaurants in "the world."

Mulan and Ariel both got this cheese puff as an appetizer. Mulan hated it. Ariel enjoyed it.


This was my meal. It was YUM as Boo says. Roasted potatoes are one of my favorite things (had them for dinner tonight) and to add in sweet potatoes just added to the yum factor.


Can you go wrong with vanilla ice cream and chocolate? I originally hadn't intended on eating much of this because I was full, but in the long run I did end up eating a fair bit of the ice cream. Mulan ate most of the cream puff part.


She loved this cookie on top so much.



In retrospect, it hasn't actually stayed in our top places to eat. Because the reality is your TOP places to eat are the ones you must go to again. And this is close to the top, but never quite beats out our actual favorites. But on this day, this perfect Disney day with the low crowds and AP's in our pockets, this was our favorite restaurant.

When dinner was over, so were we. It had been a long day and they had all been up late the night before AND we had an early breakfast at AK the next day. So we promised to do plenty of KimPossible missions later and we headed for the exit doors before there were any booms that might scare Boo. She fell fast asleep on Donald's lap on our way home and I was soooo happy to have him there to help me with a sleeping baby and a stroller. I can handle things on my own, but two parents are really quite convenient.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:43 PM   #140
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I know I'll be sad in June when our year of Disney is over. Donald & my plan is to take the girls to California and Disneyland in 2012. And Suzy & Milo I think would like to do a cruise.

Then maybe if there is a great deal we'll head down in 2013 to see the new changes. But we'll see.
Our future plans may be similar. We're talking about going to Disneyland maybe later this year and a cruise maybe the next year. And back to WDW in 2013 to see the new stuff!

I can't believe how low the crowds were for you that day! Soarin' FPs good in an hour?! And Disney Visa wait of less than 10 minutes?! With Mickey there too!? Way better than we ever did there!
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Nov. 7-16, 2014: Aulani ("Happy in Hawaii") TR In Progress! | Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2014: Pop Century ("I Like Warm Hugs!") TR In Progress! | June 10-13, 2014: Offsite
Dec. 7-14, 2013: Polynesian ("Bear Hugs & Piggy Kisses - Baby's First Trip") TR Complete! | Oct. 5-12, 2011: Pop Century ("Poor Unfortunate Souls: So Wet, So Full")
Dec. 10-19, 2010: Poly Club! ("How the Other Half Lives") | Nov. 10-14, 2010: Pop/BCV ("100 Eats & Drinks in 3.5 Days!")
Aug. 20-22, 2010: ASMu ("The Last-Minute Super-Bargain Bonus Trip") | June 3-7, 2010: Pop/AKL ("Star Wars Nightastically Delicious!")
Jan. 16-25, 2010: Poly/WL/POR ("The Magic and The Misery") | Sept. 9-14, 2009: Pop Century ("The Prequel") | March 10-17, 1990: Offsite ("A Disney Walk Back in Time...on Four Paws")

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:30 PM   #141
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Our future plans may be similar. We're talking about going to Disneyland maybe later this year and a cruise maybe the next year. And back to WDW in 2013 to see the new stuff!

I can't believe how low the crowds were for you that day! Soarin' FPs good in an hour?! And Disney Visa wait of less than 10 minutes?! With Mickey there too!? Way better than we ever did there!
This trip was AMAZING! With the crowds being so low and the AP's in our pocket guaranteeing us more trips in the year we were so relaxed. And you hear on here about dirty bathrooms and cranky CM's and mean, rude guests but on this trip the bathrooms sparkled, the CM's were beyond happy, and the guests were all chilled out and relaxed. The CM's actually were a little annoying because they are trained to be over the top magical but a lot of times it was just us and so it was a bit much.

One day on our way into Fantasyland there was the guy with the Mickey glove waving us in but he was just soooo happy to see us that I felt a bit stalked. It was his job to greet people and if we were the only people to be greeted, than by jove, we were going to be properly greeted. I have him on video and it is really funny.

Same way with the characters. Like Marie. We were standing there trying to talk Boo into moving and Marie just comes right up to them. No line waiting for her, no formality. Just my girls and a fluffy cat talking and hugging. Obviously, a line formed behind us, but even still it wasn't a big line or a big deal.

The weather was perfect, I wasn't sick anymore and no one else got sick. It was just amazing.

As for our plans, it does sound very similar! I hope you guys have a great time at Disneyland. Even though it poured our entire day and there was construction everywhere, we loved those two parks. It's obvious that Disney himself designed them and I'm not just a WDW fan, I'm a Walt Disney fan. So I know my kids will love it, and I just loved being that close to the man himself.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:23 PM   #142
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The mostest, perfectest, animaliest day ever!

Not everyone in the world likes animals. And even fewer people like Animal Kingdom. But my family loves AK. Loves it. I love how park like it is. Ariel & Boo love all the animals.

We love the rides and the shows. We always feel relaxed and happy at AK.

But this day was even better than normal!

We left our room bright and early but for some reason it didn't feel too early because we hadn't gotten to bed early and were at Disney World. Things never seem too early when you're excited about what you are doing that day.

Plus, we got ready easily as we didn't have to eat breakfast. We were eating breakfast with Donald!

So by 8:00 am we were at the bus stop and the AK bus came right quick. We got off the bus and collected our items and headed in to the empty park. By 8:20 this was our view:



I kept being worried that we were going the wrong way because I'd never been the AK when there was no one else there and it looks much different totally empty. But, I really do know the parks inside and out and we were going the right way no prob.

I went to sign in but Donald confused me and we skipped the first person. So really, I took this picture:


And THEN went back and signed in. And then we got in line for a picture with Donald. Now as you recall, Boo was in love with Donald. So this was just a continuation of our tour of Donald's. I was so glad I had booked this, even when I wasn't sure if she would do characters or not since now she was in love with them and Donald for sure!

She snuggled right in to her best friend:


Two years earlier Mickey had scared her to death here. But this trip, she was all smiles as he gently kissed her hand:




Daisy:


Goofy:


These characters came so fast we hadn't gotten food yet! I had been concerned because having a breakfast at 8:30 I was worried there would be lines at EE and Primeval Whirl if we didn't get done & out by 10:00. But we had been seated almost instantly after our Donald picture.

Our Cm was going to give us a tour but we had already been there and our girls said "Jambo!" before he had a chance so he just seated us right quick. And the characters were a few tables away. So we put in our drink order, turned the cameras on, and were ready to go.

Donald went and got Boo some food and then I took a turn. But I'll be honest, I forgot to take a picture before I started eating!


I love trying all the cool stuff here. I make a mean breakfast at home so I know that Disney restaurants can't touch the normal stuff. I do it better. But who makes fresh croissants and roasted ham with pineapple mustard at home? Yum! And all the cool african spices in the quiches. Double yum!

I also don't make Mickey shaped waffles and chocolate croissants which is what Donald chose:


Boo LOVES breakfast. She had eggs and potatoes, bacon and chocolate milk. Happy camper!


And even though I tried to mostly be good and eat healthy foods for breakfast, I chose to have my favoritest favoritest chocolate croissant with my delish coffee as dessert. Yes, folks, at Disney World EVERY meal ends with dessert. Even breakfast:


After that we packed up & paid. I ran and got KS FP's while Donald paid and then made everyone use the potty so we'd be ready to go.

By 9:25 we were out & about, bellies full, the Fab Five properly hugged and photographed. It seems a little frantic, but it didn't feel that way. I savored my every bite and even went back for seconds of my favorites (and dessert.)

As we were walking towards EE, Flik passed us by. I wasn't expecting him to stop because normally that's not how things are done, but as you can see, there weren't a lot of people around so he just stopped right here. But Boo was a bit unsure of a giant bug wandering around hugging people so she kept her distance and I didn't force a posed pic. We said our hellos and moved on:


I know we were starting in the back of the park, but just the same it seemed VERY empty to me. Oddly empty:


I took my time, driving my family a little crazy since they wanted to RIDE, taking pictures:


Because both my girls were over 8 and Donald said he didn't want to ride on such a full tummy, we decided to do the single rider line so we didn't have to get FP's and come back. But as we went to hop in the single rider line the CM laughed at us as there really was no point. So we went through the normal line.

It was at this point I realized I had NEVER been in the normal line. I had only ever single rider or FP's this ride. So again I drove my girls a bit crazy as I kinda moseyed looking around at all the truly great theming. I mean, it's GREAT! But all they saw was empty space between them and their favorite ride and I was annoying them so I picked up the pace a bit.

We got to the front and there was no one! What???? It was 9:33 am. No line. They might have been a little excited:


They were so happy they talked their dad into doing it with them again and he, too, was thrilled with the theming of the regular line. Mulan thought it was funny she had to drag both parents through the empty lines. Why are adults soooo annoying?

After that we moseyed over to Primeval Whirl and Triceratop spin. Chester and Hester's was EMPTY! Beyond empty. In addition to normally being on "GO MODE" and Disney World because I have to beat the crowds, I also am a bit of a penny pincher. I know, I know I sound like a lot of fun.

But somehow if you take me out of my crazy get it all done mode, I evidently also lose a bit of my hold onto my money like crazy mode too. So when I saw Ariel look longingly at the face painting station I paused for a moment. I know, you're shocked. But I pondered it for just one minute. And turned to Ariel and said these shocking words:

"Would you like to get your face painted?" You should have seen her face. You could have pushed her over with a feather she was so shocked that I would say yes to such a frivilous expenditure.

But it was only $12-15 depending on which you chose and I didn't think Boo would want it nor Mulan. What's $12?

So she picked one out (yes, I let her pick whatever face she wanted! ) and the artist turned to the right page and started to paint. Donald, Mulan, and Boo had gone somewhere, maybe to the potty? and so this all took place with just Ariel and I.



Uh-oh. My photobucket account is being tricky. So I'm gonna leave you hanging right there. I'll be back once it straightens itself out.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:22 PM   #143
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Ok, continuing the super cool AK day:

So Ariel was thrilled to be getting her face painted.


She looked amazing! I just kept being blown away by her beauty. So I took her over & took photo after photo and of course, texted it to my family & uploaded to Facebook.



Right about this moment the rest of the family came back and much to my surprise Boo thought it was a good idea. So then, I talked Mulan into it too. I'm so frivolous! Can you believe it?




I was quite concerned with Boo who doesn't like strangers and ended up getting the GUY artist. But she just sat there, still as could be.




And then LOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Aren't they amazing? I know this is crazy since this was a gift for them, but I loved this. It was like it was for me. They were gorgeous! I paid cash to the artists and I tipped them. I asked them if they normally got tipped and they said no but when I asked if they were allowed to be tipped they said yes so I just tipped them like a hairstylist. It seemed right to me.

Boo loved being a jaguar. She absolutely loved it!




After this we continued on to the rides. Boo & I to Triceratop Spin and the rest to Primeval Whirl. Because we had burned our first hour and a half eating and messing around there were tiny lines for these. Well, for PW. Triceratop Spin was still completely empty.





We got off just a few minutes before the big kids rode so we stood by waiting so I could get a good picture of them.


While they were riding, Boo spotted Pluto and got really excited. She said dogs like cats and she was a cat so Pluto would be really excited to meet her. So off we went to stand in line. We were third in line but before we could get up to the front, Pluto needed a break. So we waited and chatted with the people in front of us which were mostly men and their kids. The one boy was fascinated by Pluto's zipper and it got into a lively conversation with the CM and the men who were trying to get the CM to mess up in his defense of Pluto's honor.

That same nice CM took a picture of us when it was our turn but much to Boo's sadness, Goofy had come out with Pluto. And Goofy is not her favorite, because he is big and goofy.



So Pluto got a hug:


And Goofy got nothing.

After this Donald wanted coffee so he stayed back with Boo while the rest of us rode Dinosaur.





Boo entertained Donald the entire time we were riding with long winded stories of lady bugs. He video taped much of this and with her little jaguar face going on and on and on in a little 3 year old voice about bugs is just squeezably cute. When she is graduating from high school I'm gonna watch that video and CRY!

It was 11:00 am at this point and we were HOT! So we grabbed a snack and some frozen drinks and sat in the shade of the giant dino:


And then we did what is an absolute MUST do for us: Maharajah jungle trek:


But this time meeting the big cats took on all new meaning because we had big cats too!




We've done this trek many, many times and really the tigers were the point this day so we did it pretty fast. And then we were nice and sweaty so we all agreed to do Kali River Rapids. It was exciting because the height requirement was 38 inches which Boo JUST met. It had been years since Donald had ridden this and he really didn't remember it so that was fun. Essentially we had two new riders.



I handed out ponchos for the girls to hold over their faces. Mulan especially didn't want her paint to go away.



We got just the right amount of wet for a hot day. And we were headed back to our hotel anyway so no worries at all:


For the most part, their faces survived:


We exited the park slowly, looking at all the animals as we left and Boo feeding all her popcorn to the ducks.

But when we got back to POR we all opted to swim. And the slide was open. Boo was bound and determined to go down the slide so Ariel opted to let her face get ruined and slide. They did it a couple times. Mulan had a horrible time in the pool because she didn't want her face ruined. It was her choice and we have a pool at our house so swimming in September isn't that big of a deal so I didn't really care she wasn't enjoying herself. How often will her face be a rainbow compared to how often she swims?

After our swim, Boo took a little snooze with her daddy and I got us diet cokes to mix with our rum and some lunch. It was a really nice relaxing time and before we knew it, we felt ready to head back out to Epcot.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:37 PM   #144
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Epcot, epcot, how do I love thee?

Epcot is gigantic and can be very overwhelming. It is Milo's favorite park. But for the last few years it has been low on my list as it is not as friendly for the under 3 set. With so many buildings you can't take strollers into to and so many fun rides with height requirements far away from things to entertain the parent left outside it had left a bad taste in my mouth. I've felt now for several years that everyone else was having fun at Epcot while I was being tortured with hot, long walks and cranky or sleeping babies.

But this year I finally turned a corner.

Mom, Suzy, and I had been able to have a grand time with the preschoolers and then Boo had been old enough to enjoy Innovations the night before.

So it was with actual excitement I set out this night to do nothing but eat Japanese food and Kim Possible missions.

We started off with a little history of the world and a look towards our future:


And then we spent some time in the other Innovations. I had forgotten to go back to the photo center and get my Visa picture the night before so I went to do that while the big girls got in line for the Sum of All Thrills and Donald and Boo played games. Boo was actually old enough to stand on a little stool they had and play the games by herself! She had a delightful time and even though I thought we were just "killing time" while the big girls rode, in fact we were having so much fun we continued playing after they got off.

Then my memory gets a little sketchy. Donald went to grab a Kim Possible phone with Japan as the mission. And Mulan and I headed over by ourselves on the boat. I really am not sure why we split up. But I know that Donald had an encounter with the real Mulan which he loved. And my Mulan and I had an encounter with Aladdin that we loved. It seems bizarre that we weren't together. But there ya go.

Since he isn't here and I wasn't there with him, I'll just tell you what we did.

Mulan and I headed over via boat to the other side of the park on the ever relaxing & leg saving boat.


As we were getting off the boat Jasmine and Aladdin were out and there was just a very small line so we got in it and were quickly to them. Aladdin could not figure out what was wrong with Mulan's face and asked her if a rainbow attacked her. When she said she had been at Animal Kingdom and that's when it happened Jasmine tried to clarify but Aladdin was horrified that such things would happen to you in other parts of the world.

You can see by his expression here that Aladdin enjoyed being a prince WAY too much.


Mulan, of course, loved him.

We then met up to do Kim Possible. I'm not sure what happened here but for a bit of time I was just with Ariel and Mulan and not with Donald and Boo. I'm sure it must have involved a bathroom and Donald getting either coffee or alcohol as generally those are the only two reasons he would volunteer to miss out on Kim Possible. But without Boo and her stroller, we moved very quickly.

The Japan KP mission was so fun, I'm planning on doing it again once we've done all of them. It was really fun.



And this was funny because this little robot comes out in the store and talks to you. The store was crowded and no one but us could figure out how to get this robot to pop up for them. We left a whole store of people wander around this display looking for secret hidden buttons and cameras to make the robot come up again. Perhaps this was my cruel sense of humor, but it amused me.



We really didn't have a lot of time so we hurried through this mission which added to the fun. We were on a TIMED mission. So soon, it was time to put our name in and climb the many stairs, but we actually went up an elevator as they parked Boo's stroller up at the top.

At first, I was not impressed because I like open spaces and this is small rooms off a hallway. But then I settled in and enjoyed it because it makes it so much quieter than the huge majority of WDW restaurants.

OK, gotta go. More later tonight. I promise!
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:06 PM   #145
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Japanese Steakhouse

So, we were seated in a wonderful little room with two stations & at our station was us & one other small family. First came the server with warm towels and took our drink order. The other family got alcohol but we didn't.

Donald and Boo set up their toys and began a big play session:


It seemed like we waited a fair piece before our chef came out. The server was constantly coming out and doing little things so it wasn't that we weren't being taken care of, it was just time consuming. And then the chef took awhile to set up. It was all interesting. It was only my third time at a Japanese steakhouse and they have all been their own show for sure.

But then we got going.


The little dishes of sauce next to each of us were the first thing he gave us. He described one as hot, but it wasn't too bad. And described one as Chinese ranch dressing but it defininatly not ranch dressing. It was really yummy.


Here you see it closer as well as the noodles and veggies. They were really wonderful and I had to seriously control myself to not eat them because I wanted to wait for the main course.


This was the tallest onion volcano I've ever seen. He was very talented at onion volcanos:


Donald & I picked out noodles for Boo because the onions & zucchini was "Yuck." Sigh.


I think it was "Yum!"


Ariel had a divine time. She and this little girl talked and talked and talked. It was certainly the best time she'd had all day as they instantly hit it off. The family seemed very nice but the parents were way too far away for us to have any interaction with them.


Our chef was talented & very good but the other chef at the other station was over top funny. I've been told at another Japense steakhouse that they tone it down if you have kids under 5 in the group and I can only assume that is what happened here. Boo does scare easily and he was conscious of her. I think if he had a different group, he would have been really cool but he kept it in check and was still good, but the best time ever.

We didn't stay for Illuminations. We just didn't want Boo to be scared as the following night was Wishes and she HATES big booms and I didn't want her in a panic before we even got to our climactic Cali Grill Wishes dinner. So we rode the boat back and headed back to our hotel right after dinner. Goodbye Epcot! You have been amazing! See you again in March!!!

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Old 02-03-2011, 08:21 PM   #146
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The final day:

To say we were relaxed our final day is an understatement. We were relaxed and happy!

We got up & chilled and ate breakfast at the resort fairly leisurely. Last year Mulan was quite sad that there wasn't enough bacon to go around so this year rather than have to get back into line to buy more bacon I bought some OOP right to begin with. But guess what? We all hated it. Did Disney chance their bacon this year? I've heard some bacon hating chatter on the restaurant boards on here but I don't normally listen to them all as I find my personal food opinions are quite different than theirs.

So all the bacon was left. I think, honestly, I didn't eat much. Perhaps, even, just a Kashi bar I had packed. By the end of WDW trip I'm always fairly sick of eating.



I know I keep talking about how quiet it was this. But I don't think any of you are really listening to me. Are you listening? Well, if you aren't listening watch this, I took this picture at 9:18 a.m.


Do you see that TSM FP line a short 18 minutes after it the park opened? With a return time of 10:50 a.m.? Do you see that? I'm telling you, it was quiet!

So, we entered DHS, Boo, Mulan, and I headed over to get FP's while Ariel and Donald did ToT.

On our way back through the center Piglet came up and said "Hey" in his own way.



Awwwwww....


After saying hey to everybody in the center court we all headed to the coaster and the big girls and I headed into the crazy highway system. This ride always makes me smile. Do you think there will come a time when I'm too old to smile on coasters?




The guy sitting with me was a bit nervous. He was riding for the first time but he had a great time when all was said and done.




We then did one of our favorite things ever, Art class! One was opening up the moment we walked up. Score! Last year I tried to have Boo sit with me to save a seat for real artists. But the class wasn't full and she's big enough to qualify as a real artist now. She LOVED this.


We learned Ray which was way harder than the normal ones. We've done Pooh, which was hard, and Mickey which was easy and Stitch which was easy. And some others. But Ray was HARD.





On our way out I gave mean old Lotso a big hug. The line for this is cool.


Because we'd been here already with Boo I didn't have to do all the little kid things. And something I haven't done in YEARS is Indiana Jones. So I insisted that we do it. My big girls didn't even really remember it. We did the 11:30 show.

We were a bit hungry and it was really hot. So I got them all settled and then told them I'd grab food. But I wasn't really sure you were allowed to have food in here nor what food was near. So I got a funnel cake and waffle cone and rushed back in. I felt like sneaking but it's hard to sneak in a funnel cake. Turns out everyone in the theater had food. The family right next to us had packed their lunch and was eating a delectable selection of yummy food they had brought. So we fit right in:


Boo, as you remember, HATES big booms and scary music which this has a ton of. So I was hoping the funnel cake would distract her. It did fairly well but she was still pretty scared. Her least favorite part:


After this we did the Muppets. We seriously needed the air conditioning so it wasn't even a question.


K, family game of tetris is starting so I have to go and school my kids. I'll be back in just a moment. I leave you pondering 80's hair and if it will ever come back...
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #147
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Question

Quote:
So the plan was to see Block Party Bash. I'd researched a spot to stand where the Toy Story Characters would be right in front of you dancing. But as we exited TSM a wall of humid heat hit us. And we found ourselves heading for the exit and not our special spot.
First I just want to tell you that I am loving this TR. I've picked up quite a few tips already, found myself drooling over the food, and the kids are adorable! I will be traveling with my 3-yr old daughter soon, and your TR is giving me a realistic idea of what we can accomplish in the parks with her in a day (so thanks!).

Now for my question - can you share your secret researched spot to see the characters dancing up close?
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:57 PM   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merbobear View Post
First I just want to tell you that I am loving this TR. I've picked up quite a few tips already, found myself drooling over the food, and the kids are adorable! I will be traveling with my 3-yr old daughter soon, and your TR is giving me a realistic idea of what we can accomplish in the parks with her in a day (so thanks!).

Now for my question - can you share your secret researched spot to see the characters dancing up close?
Thanks! I'm about to wrap this trip up and start posting my pre-trip stuff for our trip in mid-March. Sooooo exciting!

I'm sorry about the secret spot, but it was for the Block Party Bash and now it's new parade. Block Party Bash would stop & set up and dance in one spot so if you got stuck in a spot where the characters were ones your kids didn't care about it was lame. The new parade is a Pixar only parade and it doesn't stop and is a little short, so I've heard. We haven't seen it yet. So I can't any secrets.

When are you going?
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:54 PM   #149
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And now, a true confession. There is a sign on this that CLEARLY states not to do this and take this picture. But I did it anyway. I'm sorry. I just really wanted it. But don't do it. There's a sign. I did the exact same thing at the Disneyland hotel, if you remember. So evidently I don't listen to signs very well. I'm mostly sorry. And think you should all obey. But I love this picture. So only mostly sorry.



It was then time to ride the Mania. It was a 50 minute wait so we were really happy to have FP's.



Last year Boo didn't ride in her own spot and it was really annoying as she wanted to play and all of us are competitive and hate sacrificing to let her play. So this year she got her own. She did terrible but we all enjoyed ourselves.





It was then time to eat. I really like the ABC commisary. I know that DHS gets a bad rap when it comes to food and I will admit we are not fans of the Primetime Cafe nor the Sci-Fi (tho I want to try that one again.) But I like all three of the main CS places. The one next to Jedi Academy has a veggie sandwich that's delish. Pizza Planet is typical Disney CS pizza but a cool environment and mickey head rice krispie treats. And the ABC Commentary is quiet & cool & I don't mind just basic food. I like french fries.



Our intention was to do the rest of DHS but Mulan REALLY wanted to go back to our hotel because she hadn't thoroughly enjoyed the pool because of her makeup. And all the other times we swam were late at night. So we headed back and they all went swimming.

I took the opportunity to do all our laundry. I like to do laundry on vacation. I know others disagree but if I bring it home it takes a whole day is just part of my normal drudgery. But if I do it at WDW I'm in a bathing suit, put it all in at the same time, and lay by the pool. So the family went to the main pool. I went to the laundry & got everything started.

Here is what you need to bring for seemless WDW laundry: Purex 3 in 1 sheets in a ziploc baggie, 2 mesh laundry bags (from Dollar Tree), and a mini-m&m container full of quarters. $2.00 per load for each machine. It normally costs me $12.00 (3 loads, washer & dryer.)

So I dragged my laundry bags, threw it all in. I used the laundry closest to our room which was next to a quiet pool. But I went ahead and walked the back way to the main pool to be with my family.

Here's our building:


I got lost. It should have been a short & easy walk. But it was a long and easy walk. Because I got lost.





When I went to fold & pick the laundry up the final trip, Boo was done swimming so she came with me.



This is the bridge we took to Old Man River. The main way was past the big water wheel. This was the second bridge deeper into the resort:


And this is the other direction back to the water wheel main bridge. This is the view from the main walkway but close to our building:


Once the laundry was done and we were all changed and ready to go, we headed back into the main building to grab a taxi. We had a late ADR for the Cali Grill. I had made this particular ADR before we even knew if we were going to WDW because it's hard to get. But Donald and I had done it for our anniversary and LOVED it and wanted the girls to experience the fancy, yummy steaks and fireworks from the Contemporary.

We took the taxi because it just feels fancy to take a taxi to dinner and it doesn't cost that much. Well under $20.00

Here's Boatrights in the POR main building as we walked by:



So, Boo and I went into the main area as I needed to get our boarding passes for our airplane ride the next day and settle up with POR.

Here is Boo:



She loved the old cartoons. So she was more than happy to sit here and watch the cartoons. But my issues got complicated as the airline had lost my reservation and it ended up taking FOREVER. I kept walking over & checking on her & it pretty empty so I could see her. But at one point I actually had to talk on the phone with the airline and I wasn't paying attention. When I got done I look over and she's GONE!

I have a very loud voice (when needed) so I start yelling her name. And she was literally no where. I start running through the main area and a few guests can tell I was panicked and pointed me in the right direction of where the sobbing three year old had headed. I chase down the hallway and there she is, just SOBBING. It was quite traumatizing for her. I was a little scared, but not too scared as I knew it couldn't have been that long. But I felt terrible for her.

Not sure how she missed me as I hadn't moved and she had to have walked right by me. But we were reunited. I went back to the counter, holding her this time, and they had all our passes figured out and printed. Poor little tyke.

So I texted Donald & went out front to the taxi caller area and before we knew it, we were on our way to the Cali Grill.

Here's our view:


We were one table away from the window so we could clearly see the castle. On the other side of us was the open kitchen. Boo had fallen in love with an open kitchen at Kouzzina and she enjoyed it here too.

Here's the castle over Ariel's head:


Our waiter last time was great, but this time was super great! He was from Ohio just like us and the conversation flowed easily and he had lots to say about OSU and OU and all other topics of interest to natives. He was attentive but not overly.

We ordered steak, Donald and I sharing like we had last time. I also got a flatbread. And the girls got steaks. Even though this takes 2 credits and we didn't have all those we just shared, ordered appetizers, and alcohol. We spent $100.00 over all but were stuffed and REALLY happy.

Nighttime view:


Right before dessert, we went to the balcony to find a fireworks viewing spot.





Hearts:




And then it was time for dessert. Last time Donald and I had shared this too and I had DEFINITELY not gotten my fair share. Sharing with him is tricky because usually it's fine but if something is exceptionally good, then he will eat it all and not care one bit about me. When I complain he says, "You should have fought for it." So this time I just avoided it as I knew he loved this and I would get any.



I almost licked my plate. Yum!

After our meal, we walked to the POR bus stop at MK, about a 5 minute walk from the Cali Grill. I was nervous about standing in line forever with the Wishes crowd and it certainly was crowded, but it wasn't a long wait. Plus, I enjoyed my conversation with the lady in front of me.

We got on the second bus and I got a seat. And then we were "home" for the last time.

And the next morning we had a non-eventful ME ride and I took the saddest picture ever:


Well, OK. Not really. Because we have AP's and are going RIGHT BACK!!!!

Stay tuned for closing up this trip and beginning the true discussions of the next one.....

And thanks for reading!
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:44 PM   #150
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A conclusion and a new beginning:

OK. Here's the conclusion and the beginning. I can say it in one line. We love Disney World. Boom. That's the short version.

Here's the long version:

Prior to this trip we had decided to not do Disney World for a while but to do beach, mountain, and cultural vacations. We had even booked a beach house, as I believe I mentioned at the beginning of this (so very long ago.) But when that fell through, in the sadness of that not happening, our love for Disney was obvious as it was the only place that would bring back our happiness.

We formed our Annual Pass plans but even as I was purchasing Boo's & mine, I was unsure and nauseous. It was soooo much money! What if it was wrong? What if Boo just wasn't a Disney person? What if this trip is miserable and I've spent all this money on a trip that's not for us.

And then, we had them. And my nerves switched to what if I lose them? And then we had all five.

But now that the newness has worn off and those five precious pieces of paper are still in existence in their safe little place, and Boo and Mulan had such a great time on this trip, I am happy and content in our decision.

The AP's are long since paid off and our upcoming trip is almost paid off. And that is a nice feeling.

And Boo is RIDICULOUSLY into Disney World. I have to listen to the Imagination song over & over on my phone as she insists. And she loves everything Disney. More than the other girls combined. It was the right call.

As for this September trip, it was perfect. Doing the preschool stuff first and not being stuck doing preschool stuff while everyone else is doing other fun stuff made it much better for me. And even my mom, who struggles with a totally manmade space, since she is such a natural, garden person, is a convert.

The crowds were so low it was crazy. Our food was great. The character interaction was great. And I loved POR.

The negatives: I wasn't happy with my stroller/bag situation. Things need to change on that front. It was a little warmer than I like. Boo is still terrified of loud booms and this makes for some tense moments.

That's pretty much it. 1,000's of positive and 2.5 negatives (the heat was ok, just not preferable.)

And switching: We are one month away from our next trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

And we are working out details. Well, in all honesty, I haven't been working too much on it as I've been remodelling my living room in my free time and there has been a lot of illness this winter, and I've been working a lot.

But yesterday I bought the final things for my living room and am only about one day away from it being done AND all the projects I've been working on at work are coming together. I'm hoping to wrap them up here in the next two- three weeks and then take a pause, catch up, and start new projects when I come home from vacation.

So yesterday after our home shopping trip the five of us went out to dinner and laid out our priorities for Disney World and fought and battled over our final dinner arrangements.

Well, we fought but one night we have two dinner reservations at the same time, one for Les Chefs and one for Teppan Edo, because we just cannot agree. Our current plan is that we're going to decide that morning what we want to do that night and we may even end up splitting up and going to two different places, half with Donald and half with me.

But more on that later. I'm going to tell you all our plans, once Suzy & I have them all laid out.
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