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Old 02-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #1
GenevieveRaqs
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Just Back: Short Trip FULL of Pixie Dust!

DH and I just returned last night from our anniversary trip to WDW, and it was totally magical!

This was a short trip--checked in to ASMu 1/31 and checked out 2/3. We did a similar trip last year but stayed off site waaaaaay too far away. This time, we absolutely loved staying on site.

The CM who checked us in tried her best to upgrade us to a king room (we didn't ask, but she offered), but unfortunately there were none available. The room was small but clean and perfect for us--we didn't plan on being in the room much. I completely forgot to request a fridge when we checked in, so we went back later to see if any were available, and the front desk waived the fee for us. Yaay!

Having the anniversary buttons was so much fun. CMs were always stopping to wish us a happy anniversary.

We didn't have tickets for that first evening since we didn't arrive until around 4:30 p.m., so we toured around the monorail resorts. Dinner was at Contempo Cafe that evening. I had the curry vegetable bake and DH had the marinated beef flatbread. Both delicious! We were on the dining plan, so we also got dessert--one raspberry truffle cupcake and one dulce de leche cupcake. They were HUGE! We cut both in half, saved half of each and shared the rest. They were definitely overpoweringly sweet but still yummy. I don't know how anyone could eat a whole one by themselves.

Then we headed over to the Poly to watch the fireworks. We sat on the beach chairs right on the water, and the view was beautiful! (We didn't think you could get a better view, but we found out later in our trip that you can...and we did! More on that later. ) We couldn't really hear the music well. You could hear some of the audio actually coming from MK, and on the crescendos we could tell they were trying to pipe it in to the resort area. But that wasn't really important to us, so we didn't mind. There were a few other people on the beach--but only very few--so it was almost like having our own private show!

Immediately afterwards, we took the resort launch back to MK. The crowds were just starting to exit, so we hopped on the monorail (got on the second one--not bad) and transferred to Epcot. We managed to time it just right to see the Illuminations barges exploding and fireworks going off as the monorail went through the park. And our bus was waiting for us when we arrived! In fact, that was our experience the whole time. We only waited for one bus, coming back from MK on the last night. Every other time, the bus was there when we needed it.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
MickeyLuvrLauren
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Sounds good so far! I'm in!
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:49 AM   #3
GenevieveRaqs
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Epcot (daytime)

We broke all the "rules" for touring the parks, and yet we had great luck and a fabulous time! Both days in the parks, we chose the "park to avoid" and we didn't follow a touring plan. Yet the longest wait we had was around 20 minutes!

On Wednesday we headed to Epcot. We arrived at 8:57 for a 9 a.m. opening, and people were already going in when we got there. We went straight for Soarin', which neither of us had ever ridden. Walked right on, and we were in the front row. It was amazing! I always wondered if it would really live up to the hype, but it totally did. Love the orange smell! We debated getting a fast pass for later, but decided we would check out Test Track first, in case we needed a FP for that one. Since we were in the area, we went ahead and rode Living with the Land, Nemo, Journey into Imagination and Captain EO. DH was especially excited about Captain EO because he always wanted to see it as a kid and never got to--there was a preview for it on his VHS copy of Muppet Christmas Carol. LOL So we lived one of his childhood dreams! I know Journey into Imagination gets a lot of hate here, and admittedly I never saw the original, but I didn't think it was that bad. Our DS3 will probably really enjoy it when we go back in the fall.

After that, it was Test Track time--another first for both of us! The stand-by line was posted at 20 minutes, but we only waited 10 or 15. Another great ride! We rode Spaceship Earth, and by then we were getting really hungry. We set off to walk to Morocco, and--more good transportation luck!--the Friendship Boat was there waiting for us. I enjoyed seeing World Showcase from a different perspective. You can really appreciate the details in a new way by seeing things from a little bit of a distance.

Lunch was at Tangerine Cafe. Soooo yummy! We love Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food anyway, and Tangerine Cafe did not disappoint! We both had the chicken and lamb platter, which was more than enough food. We split one piece of baklava and packed up the other one for later. We had a fridge FULL of leftover desserts by the end of the trip!

We spent the afternoon exploring around World Showcase. Saw the candy lady in Japan--wow, she was amazing! We spent some snack credits at Karamel Kuche: one chocolate caramel pretzel rod and one dark chocolate caramel square with sea salt. Both of these were packed up for later because we were still full from lunch! (And both were delicious. The pretzel was a great combo of sweet/salty. The caramel is SUPER rich, and we still have half of it in our fridge at home!)

We also overheard some real gems from other guests, including:

Guy leaving the Norway movie: "Well, that only showed the people. I don't care about the people, I just want to know about the country."

Teen girl leaving the Norway ride, points to picture of a Norwegian woman standing on a mountain: "Ohhhh, is that Julie Andrews??"

85-year-old woman leaving Le Cellier, CMs singing O! Canada in the background: "We've gotta get out of here before they start singing again!"
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
GenevieveRaqs
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Epcot (evening)

Around 4:30 p.m., we decided to see if we could get FPs to ride Soarin' again after dinner. As we approached the machines, a lady came up and gave us her FPs but said the wait was still about 25 minutes. We went ahead and rode Living with the Land again, then used our FPs for Soarin' and only waited about 15 minutes. I didn't realize there were different versions of the film, but this time Tinkerbell (animated) flew over Disneyland at the end. Neither of us remembered that from our morning ride, so that was a surprise! There's been a lot of discussion about the state of the Soarin' film, and in the morning I did notice some black spots on the clouds in the very beginning. I didn't notice any spots or streaks when we rode again though, and, honestly, those little specs didn't affect my experience much. It was more of an, "Oh, that's what people are talking about," sort of thing.

Then it was time to check in at Akershus for our 5:30 p.m. ADR, so we were off to Norway again. DH wanted to take a silly picture with Belle, of him kissing me and Belle looking shocked. But apparently it didn't turn out well, and the photographer made us come back and take another one! We were seated at a lovely table--best seat in the house as far as I can tell--by the middle window in the "turret" where it was nice and quiet and reasonably secluded. We really enjoyed the koldtbord buffet; it was probably our favorite part of the meal. DH said the salmon was some of the best he's had, and we both loved the grilled asparagus and the cucumber salad. Our entrees were good, too. DH had the mushroom stuffed pasta, and I had the Norwegian meatballs. I asked to swap out the plain mashed potatoes for the rutabaga mashed potatoes that come with the pork tenderloin, and that was an excellent choice! In a blind taste test, I wouldn't have identified them as rutabagas. They were really good. The meatballs were also nice, although the sauce was a bit salty. Dessert was amazing! Okay, it's a toss up between the buffet and dessert as to which was our fave! Puff pastry-berry-mascarpone tart (rich and buttery with a bit of a tang from the mascarpone), rice cream (light and fluffy) and a chocolate mousse (deep, dark and delicious). We didn't even finish that, but they also brought us an anniversary cupcake with Mickey head sprinkles, gummy bears and a candle! We realized afterwards that we should have had it sent to the next table where there was a super-cute 4-year-old Snow White, but at the time we were just too overwhelmed to think of it!

After dinner, we rode Test Track again--standby was posted at 20 minutes, but we waited maybe 10. We had a fun group of guys in our car this time, so we all cut up the whole time. And the outside track is really a different experience in the dark!

By then, I realized I was probably getting blisters on the bottom of my feet. So we browsed through Mouse Gears for a while to take it easy. We've been thinking about starting a pin collection for our DS3, so we were looking through the pins when DH saw the bottle cap Explorers Club pins from Up. Being the romantic hubby he is, he bought one for each of us and we wore them for the rest of our trip.

After bandaging up my poor feet with moleskin, we slowly made our way back to World Showcase to look for a spot to watch Illuminations. We ended up sitting in the little courtyard-type area on the water between the UK and the bridge to France. We grabbed a spot sitting on one of the planters there about 45 minutes before the show, and we were definitely glad for the chance to rest our feet and just enjoy looking out over WS for a while. It turned out to be a really good spot! We had planned to pick up a cheese plate from the bakery in France to snack on while we watched the fireworks, but we were still stuffed from dinner. As much as I love Wishes, I think Illuminations is my favorite evening show at Disney.

After the show, we made our way slowly back to the gates, letting the crowds rush ahead of us and just enjoying the stroll. We got stuck at the drawbridge as they raised it to let the barges back in, and the CM there just happened to be the head of pyrotechnics! He talked to us a bit about the details of the show and what it takes to make it happen, which was really cool!

Our bus was waiting for us when we got out. It was standing room only, but the ride isn't all that long. Overall, we had a FABULOUS day, and we couldn't wait to get to Magic Kingdom the next morning.

Last edited by GenevieveRaqs; 02-04-2012 at 11:44 AM.
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