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Old 04-28-2012, 07:24 AM   #61
204charity
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Thanks! Our randomly selected sequences were, Darth Vader, Wookie Planet, Admiral Ackbar, and Naboo (with a very brief but still unfortunate cameo by Jar Jar).

Yes, I absolutely loved ToT. It wasn't just the ride itself. The theming and the attention to details they put into all of the little things leading up to the ride was amazing. When we're waiting to board the elevator, I looked around and the whole area was so convincing as the basement of a hotel!
We only did 1 ride sequence - I have no idea what one it was, but I was the Rebal Spy. Does that help at all? I would have loved to have seem the Ewok one, or the Wookie Planet - that certainly would have been cool. And as for your comment about Mr. Jar Jar Binks......"How Wude!!!"
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:06 PM   #62
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Enjoying the Nightlife at MK

Sunday, April 15th Part IV - Ohana and a Late Night Solo Tour of MK

(OK, now that I'm back from my conference, back to programming and need to catch-up! This one is a long one but has plenty of pics to go with them!)

We went back to our room to wash up and rest for a little bit before we headed over to the Great Ceremonial House for a 6:45 ADR at Ohana.

Took this one on our way to GCH.


Checked in right on the mark and received our leis. Between the garlands and the beautiful water fountain in the lobby that we were looking down on from the waiting room, I was really getting into the whole tropical mood.



I had read about the sometimes long wait times after checking in at Ohana, but our table was ready in less than 10 minutes and we were seated.



As soon as we ordered the drinks, the food starting coming out immediately. I guess thatís the advantage of having a set menu. The salad was good. The dumplings were great! I thought the wings were just okay. I usually prefer my wings being more spicy than sweet. The meaty portion of the meal was excellent. Well, except that I had to peel my own shrimp!! My motto is ďI donít order food that I have to work hard to get to the meat!Ē All kidding aside, the shrimp was good too. BUT, the highlight of the meal in my opinion is the bread pudding!! WOW! The atmosphere during our meal was excellent as well. The gentleman with the ukulele singing birthday songs and songs wishing happy anniversary really set the island mood although I have to admit, I barely had time to look up to watch him because I was too busy burying my face in my plate of food! He led a little parade with the kids around the restaurant with each child shaking a maraca.



Sorry about the blurry photos. I really need to buy a better camera. Point and shoot worked well enough when there was enough light, but didnít work so well in low light or when I had to zoom. We were all stuffed when we left. Poor DD fell asleep halfway through the meal. She was curled on sideways on the chair and was soundly out. We knew that the food for the adults would be not fit the tastebuds our little ones so we asked for some kid friendly food on the side. I think they brought a plate of mac and cheese for the kids. Anyway, the adults enjoyed the meal!

We took the kids back to our room and got them in bed. DW and DFIL were also very much ready to go to sleep. They were exhausted. Me? Well I had something else planned for the evening. If you hadnít read my PTR, this was the night that DW said I should do the solo late night tour of Magic Kingdom! This is something Iíve always wanted to do Ė visit Magic Kingdom at late night. Never got to try it as a child since my parents always had us back in the hotel room at night. And for the last couple of trips, our young children kept us in our rooms at night. Magic Kingdom was open until 12am and EMH until 3am. So once everyone was tucked in bed, I left the room around 9:15pm. I walked over to the TTC (felt like from Tahiti Longhouse this was closer than walking over to the GCH) and caught the MK Express monorail. I was greeted with this friendly view right after I got through the turnstiles.



Main Street was still packed. MSEP just ended and people were standing and waiting for Wishes. I made my way to Tomorrowland and got a FP for Space Mountain. I wanted to be on a ride during Wishes so I could enjoy a different view of the fireworks. I debated whether to go on Astro Orbitor but the line appeared too long that I was worried that I would still be on the lower level line when Wishes started.

In retrospect, I would have been okay. So, I ended up going on the Peoplemover ride right around 9:59pm and try to capture the views on my camera. Here's the best looking one of the crop.



Want to know whatís worse than trying to take blurry pictures with a point and shoot at night? Try taking pictures at night from a moving vehicle!! I still enjoyed it but there was a lot more indoor time than I thought. When I got off the ride, the finale of Wishes was starting so I attempted this picture.



While waiting for the FP window to open at SM, I walked over to check out the night views of Dumbo.



I think Disney did an absolutely wonderful job with the new Dumbo ride. The water, the lighting is all just magical. Barnstormer didnít quite have the magical feel to it. I guess the Great Goofini knocked out all the beautiful lighting with the mayhem he created!

I went back to SM to ride using my FPs. This is when I first noticed how much more crowded MK was than what I had expected. Even with FPs, I think I was in line at least 15 minutes. When we got near the loading area, two couples approached from a side entrance. Seemed like they were coming through some sort of VIP lane, not sure. Anyway, they were clearly very well liquored up. And all four of them were wearing bead necklaces. I had to do a double take and look around me to make sure I wasnít in a line on Bourbon St rather than SM. Nope, I was still in Disney. WHEW! All I could think of was, PLEEEEEASE donít let me end up on the same train as them. And Murphyís Law said, weíll just see about that. I ended up on the back end of this joy train. I enjoyed the ride but with all of the exaggerated hollering and hooting, probably could have enjoyed it even more. All kidding aside, it was still very fun! I always loved the fact that you could never figure out where the turns are coming from or going and every twist and drop gives you a pretty darn jolt. I was happy that I got to ride SM since with the kids who werenít old enough to ride, I wasnít sure the adults would get a chance to go on this one later in the week.

After the ride, I decided to make my way over to Liberty Square cutting through the now relatively deserted hub. Caught these two gems from both sides of the moat.





I was debating whether to go on Haunted Mansion when I looked at my watch and realized that the second MSEP of the night was about to start in 10 minutes. So I planted my self at the edge of a planter. And a little while later, I was able to capture some of these images.















Peteís Dragon was my favorite! While I was watching, it dawned on me. How the heck did Peteís Dragon survive the test of time for MSEP? Do kids these age even know who Pete is?? How does Disney decide to drop Flynn in less than a year from the movieís release yet hereís Pete and his dragon puffing their way through the parade. Well, good for them!

Once the parade was over, I quickly hopped in line at HM. I loved the eerie vibe and glow the mansion was emitting this late at night. I tried to capture this wonderful view but alas my point and shoot failed again.



I really enjoyed the ride. Itís indoors but the fact that I was riding it close to midnight just added to the experience. Oh, and so did the two drunk couple from SM. YUP! Somehow, after I exited the elevator room (I donít know what itís official name is, but thatís what I call it) and filtered into the line, I started hearing a very familiar hoot and holler. The beaded drunk couple were following right behind me. I just laughed out loud. I mean it was pretty funny. What are the chances, right? I just took it as a sign that I was done with any further rides for the rest of the night. I was getting a little tired as well. So I decided to do a little more sightseeing and picture taking as I circled around to Frontierland and Adventureland before heading towards the exit. Stopped and watched mostly empty vessels at Splash Mountain make the drop. Out of 6 attempts, this pic turned out the best.



Then made it over in front of POTC and Enchanted Tiki Room.





Cut across in front of Crystal Palace and then made towards the exit.



It was about 12:10 am when I got to the resort launch. I wanted to try the boat this time. Hmmm, maybe I should have thought of bringing some extra clothing because it was a little chilly. Made it back to the room at 12:30am and went to bed hoping that this late night out wasnít going to make me crash the next day.

I really enjoyed the late night tour. Didnít get as much rides in as I thought I would. But, I enjoyed the night time scenery of it all and got some nice pics in the process. Hope you enjoyed them as well!
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:39 PM   #63
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That was neat Dave. I definitely have to try to catch Wishes from a ride I am looking forward to being able to utilize the PM EMH this trip. Loved those pics of the castle and "moat". Those are going in my screensaver slideshow
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:10 PM   #64
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That was neat Dave. I definitely have to try to catch Wishes from a ride I am looking forward to being able to utilize the PM EMH this trip. Loved those pics of the castle and "moat". Those are going in my screensaver slideshow
Thanks! Let me know if you have any trouble downloading those images and I would be happy to pm them to you.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:20 PM   #65
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Very cool perspective! Thanks for the peek of EMH at night! Great job!
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:08 AM   #66
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Very cool perspective! Thanks for the peek of EMH at night! Great job!
Thank you! My only regret afterwards was not going on the PoTC as it turned out, I didn't get another chance at going on it for the rest of the week. But it was a lot of fun!
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:38 PM   #67
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A Morning Filled with Princesses, the Fab Five, and Puddy

Monday, April 16th Part I - Epcot

6:15 am came by soon enough. We had an 8:10am ADR at Akershus so we had to get up early. This day was Epcot Day with an Illuminations Cruise finale. The cruise was kept as a secret and no one else in my traveling clan knew about it. It was going to be a birthday party for DW whose birthday was actually a week later. We all got in the minivan, and arrived at Epcot parking lot only 8 minutes later. Boy, that was a lot closer than expected.

These great looking topiaries greeted us as soon as we entered through the turnstiles and headed towards Norway.







We had such a great experience last year at Akershus especially with the princess interaction, that we had to try it again. The food was decent. The interactions were not as interesting this time around but I don’t think DD minded one little bit. Every time a princess came by she would look at them in quiet awe. She didn’t say much to them but she clearly enjoyed their attention. She wanted to wear her Rapunzel princess dress again this year. It’s a good thing we bought it last year one size big because now it fits her perfectly! Of course we had to remind her that we would change her into more comfortable shirt and shorts once the meal was over. DS was still being shy. He wanted his autograph book signed but didn’t want to closely interact with the princesses. Ariel try to make the situation more humorous by calling him Pascal.





With still two princesses to visit our table and the time being 8:40am, I had to leave a little early to go grab FPs for Soarin. By the time I left Akershus and headed towards Future World, I fully expected to see some people trickling in through the International Gateway. But I didn’t see any other visitors in the Park yet. So, I decided to take a slight detour to head over to Test Track since this day was suppose to be the first day of closure. For those of you who were following the issue, Disney didn’t officially announce the closure date until just a couple of days before. When I got there, I took these pics.





Yup, closed! I saw a couple of CMs stationed in the entry pathway to TT and it was apparent that their job was to explain to guests why the ride was closed. As I left the area, I felt a little bad for those two CMs. Without a doubt, they had the most difficult job of all the CMs in Epcot that day. It didn’t affect us too much as we really hadn’t planned on riding this one. DD did not have a good time last year although I’m pretty sure if she had tried, she would have enjoyed it this time around. Oh well.

I headed over to The Land Pavilion. It was about 8:50am. Still, not a soul around. Just a few CMs who all greeted with me a smile and a hello. I was so alone in the Park it was very eerie. I would have expected at least a couple of other visitors who were at Akershus to be doing what I’m doing but nada. The two CMs in front of the Land Pavilion also greeted me with a big hello and didn’t stop me from going in. I had the whole Pavilion to myself! I marched over to Soarin and got my FPs. As I walked out and headed towards the center hub of Future World is when I finally saw a stream of visitors approaching. I would 80% of them made turns toward The Land. Unfortunately, about 20% of them turned towards TT. And once again I felt very bad for those two CMs. They were going to be clearly outnumbered.

I waited for the rest of my family to catch up. They had just left Akershus around 9am and were headed towards me. I took that 10 minutes to post those TT pics I took on DIS TT thread. When everyone caught up with me, we headed to the Character Spot. And with just about 5 minutes of waiting, we were meeting Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Pluto.



Kids and Grandpa had a blast meeting the Fab Five. This is about the time when DS finally started warming up against the idea of character meet and greets. He was becoming more and more excited as we made our way through the 5 characters. And the last two characters, Goofy and Pluto were his favorite. I loved how the Character Spot was set up. You only had to get in line once and then it was a conveyor belt of characters! When we came out, the waittime was being updated as 30 minutes. Thanks Josh from EasyWDW! Without his tips, I would have never thought about visiting this spot first thing at rope drop.

Our FP window was about to open up at 9:40am so we headed to the Land Pavilion. On our way, I got distracted by Mickey Hands being sold at one of the souvenir stands so I had to get them. Grandpa also had to get a set. Then we got in line for Soarin, got a Rider Swap Pass for DS, and Grandpa took DS on the “boat ride” while DW, DD, and myself went on Soarin. This is once again the first for all of us. When the preshow safetly video came on and I saw that Puddy from Seinfeld was our captain, I jokingly thought “Uh Oh”. We all loved the ride. I was getting goosebumps during it. We were in the bottom row but I was so mesmerized by the experience, never really noticed those legs and feet dangling down in front of me until the ride was over. DD was squealing afterwards how much she enjoyed it. So, DD, Grandpa, and myself got to go on it again with the Rider Swap while DW took DS on the boat ride again. DS loved any rides involving a boat during this trip, so he enjoyed it – not sure if I would have been able to tolerate a Greenhouse ride two times in a row.

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Old 05-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #68
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Great updates Dave! After seeing your pics, I certainly wished we had a closer perspective for the Electric Parade, especially since DD didn't see Cinderella once the whole time we were there!

Yet ANOTHER reason to go back, right?

Lovin' the first part of your Epcot day as well. We never did the Fab 5 Character Spot in Epcot either, but we certainly felt like we met alot of characters throughout the week none-the-less.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:26 PM   #69
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Great updates Dave! After seeing your pics, I certainly wished we had a closer perspective for the Electric Parade, especially since DD didn't see Cinderella once the whole time we were there!

Yet ANOTHER reason to go back, right?

Lovin' the first part of your Epcot day as well. We never did the Fab 5 Character Spot in Epcot either, but we certainly felt like we met alot of characters throughout the week none-the-less.
Thanks Charity! There's always a reason to go back to Disney!

Going to the Character Spot was never in my original touring plan, but I ended up improvising because the line was so short and we had to fill the time until Soarin's FP window opened up. It just ended up working out great and I think set us in the right Disney mood for the rest of the day.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:36 PM   #70
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We too have never used Character Spot but it looks like a good place to see all sorts at once! Our DD's loved Akershus too, love the look on all their faces when the next princess would come out of the door. Great job....more please!
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:38 PM   #71
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We too have never used Character Spot but it looks like a good place to see all sorts at once! Our DD's loved Akershus too, love the look on all their faces when the next princess would come out of the door. Great job....more please!
If you do decide to try the Character Spot, I definitely recommend lining up for it right when the park opens. The line built up quickly after we got in line.

I got more Epcot stories and pictures on the way so stay tuned!
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:11 AM   #72
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We only did 1 ride sequence - I have no idea what one it was, but I was the Rebal Spy. Does that help at all? I would have loved to have seem the Ewok one, or the Wookie Planet - that certainly would have been cool. And as for your comment about Mr. Jar Jar Binks......"How Wude!!!"
I think that's awesome that you got picked as the Rebel Spy!
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:31 AM   #73
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Hey Dave. Just back from our own trip so I see I've got lots to get caught up on with your trip report! I'm going to follow your example and attempt a trip report of my own.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:30 AM   #74
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Joining in ! Now I just have to get caught up.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #75
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sounds like a fun day so far!! We did the character spot this time as well (our first time). We went right before Illuminations ~ it was also a great time to go ~ waited about 5 minutes. We weren't planning on going, either. The plan was to get to the monorail and skip Illuminations to avoid the crowd, but when we was how short the line was to meet the Fab 5 we decided to go ahead and see them!
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