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Old 10-26-2012, 02:09 PM   #1381
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The crowds! How could you deal with that stifling pressure? The horror!

Well, at least Maddie was able to have a good time. And I agree that it was different experience without Test Track being open.

Those last few pictures from the PP group are tremendous!
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:15 PM   #1382
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I hope my crowds are as crazy as that!


Beautiful shots of all the flowers and topiaries. I'm so looking forward to decor this time.


What is a princess without multiple tiaras?

My fav pic.... Maddie looking bored on the drums.

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Old 10-26-2012, 03:38 PM   #1383
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luvin the updates. The tiaras are very pretty
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:08 PM   #1384
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Hi Shannon!!!

Iím sorry that Akershus was not that great - except for the princesses, of course! The first year we went there for breakfast, those potatoes were INSANELY good - so good that I made them that year for Christmas breakfast. The next year, they were good, but nowhere near what I remembered. Iím afraid to try them again after your report!

Do you know that every Ariel we have ever met at WDW has been less-than-nice? So odd! The Ariels at DLR were incredible - so sweet and fun and remembered Willow over the course of our trip. Very different!

Love the princess gown you did! Wow!!!

How incredible that The Land was so empty!

The pic with Mulan is great. We loved our meet with her!

Man, looking at all your pics makes me want to be back in the WS so badly! It has been TOO long!

Thanks for the great updates!
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:48 PM   #1385
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Originally Posted by ronnmel View Post
OMG, I love the picture of your daughter in your avatar. She is so cute!! I have the same onesie for my daughter and she was actually wearing it today!!!

Sorry Shan for being
Thank you so much! We waited a long time for our 2nd baby (2 miscarriages) and then were thrilled in the delivery room when we found out it was a girl!


I loved the empty Epcot- I would love a time in Disney when I could just meander and not worry about missing anything!
Also loved Maddie and the drums!
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:15 PM   #1386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
The app on my phone called for high crowds at Epcot that day, so as we wandered toward Future world I prepared my group for long waits.
Good idea... and I see from looking ahead that your foresight paid off!

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
My fave shot. Just a suggestion, (I can't do it since I'm at work and photoshop is at home) but crop the dead space out from the bottom (which makes it a horizontal shot instead of a vertical) and you'd have the perfect pic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
We headed straight for Soarin and encountered a 10 minute standby line. There was no one around! We grabbed some Fast Passes (with a 9:30 return time) and hopped in line. The wait was as long as it took us to make our way through that enormous queue and be separated into our flight groups.
That's a rare thing. Nice!

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
It was the perfect time to take in Living With the Land for the very first time!
Well, you're one up on me, then. I've just never had the interest to try it.

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
We enjoyed seeing all of the fruits, vegetables, and whatnot. Maddie considered it a dark ride and was quite pleased with herself for not being scared.
I don't blame her. I find some vegetables pretty scary, myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
Maddie said that she could use a snack, so we stopped at a pretzel cart and grabbed her one along with an orange soda ('cause seriously- that's what good parents do. They give their children sugar and salt at 10 am).
Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
We took our time walking along enjoying the slow pace and taking in all of the beautiful topiaries and stopping to make a little music and rest our weary bones.

Love this pic too. It's such a great candid shot.

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
The Maddie version is tiaras.
She wears them all with such grace and poise.

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
Can you believe the crowds we had to contend with?
You must have been terribly lonely.

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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
We kept wandering in the direction of Italy. It was almost time for lunch!
And thanks for all the PP pics too!
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:42 AM   #1387
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877
By 10 am wed done all we cared to do in that pavilion, and so we found ourselves standing in front of the Land with no particular plans. Maddie was/is still too short for Mission Space, we werent really in a Spaceship Earth kind of mood, we still remembered the ugliness that happened before our last Nemo ride, and Test Track was down. We were at a loss.

Maddie said that she could use a snack, so we stopped at a pretzel cart and grabbed her one along with an orange soda (cause seriously- thats what good parents do. They give their children sugar and salt at 10 am). While she snacked, Bryan and I consulted our Times Guide and planned our afternoon Princess Attack.

On our way back to World Showcase, we popped into Mousegears (wed only been there 3 or 4 times) where we purchased a shot glass for Bryans cousin and I finally settled on a picture frame.





Back to World Showcase we went. Mulan was scheduled to be out and about at 11, so we headed straight to China. Mulans a punctual gal, and wed hugged and chatted with her and headed on our way by 11:05.





We took our time walking along enjoying the slow pace and taking in all of the beautiful topiaries and stopping to make a little music and rest our weary bones.





Next stop was Germany where we picked up a T-shirt for Uncle Cory and paid homage to Mr. Mark and his funny hat pictures. The Maddie version is tiaras.



Can you believe the crowds we had to contend with?



We kept wandering in the direction of Italy. It was almost time for lunch!
I love the topiaries and now I am in the mood to visit during flower and garden.

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:05 PM   #1388
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The One With Via Napoli

After a quick tour of half the world weíd arrived at our lunch reservation. It hadnít been long since breakfast Ėone of the few pitfalls of the Deluxe Dining Plan- but luckily we hadnít stuffed ourselves at breakfast. Bryan in particular was really looking forward to this meal.







Our lunch reservation was at 11:30 at Via Napoli. We arrived a bit early to see the lobby swarming with people, and I got a little nervous that weíve have quite a wait. However it seemed that the crowd was mostly people hoping for walk up seating. We were called in right on time and led to our table by the friendly hostess. The lobby area features a stunning chandelier, and the vast restaurant is very open and homey.




The main feature of the restaurant itself is the set of 3 pizza ovens- Vesuvio, Stromboli, and Etna- that line the left side of the room. Iíd sort of hoped to be seated near the ovens, but we were led to a banquette in the very back of the room. Since this restaurant is set up as on large room versus a few smaller ones, we didnít feel as though we were seated at a substandard table despite the location.

Our server arrived fairly quickly and took our drink and appetizer orders. Bryan and I decided to order two that we were both interested in and split them. I chose the Arancini and Bryan picked the Salami e Provolone while Maddie again had fruit.

Arancini - fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragu $11.00

Salami e Provolone - dry cured sausage, imported provolone cheese $9.00

Our server delivered our drinks along with some bread and took our entrťe orders shortly before our appetizers arrived (I ordered pizza and she warned us that the pastas would likely make their way to the table before the pizza did. I wasnít surprised as many wood oven pizza places warn the same thing.)

The Arancini (which I refer to as simply risotto balls) were 100% as good as Iíd hoped theyíd be. They were rich, creamy, dense, covered in a great marinara, and overall outstanding. Iíd order these again in a heartbeat. Bryanís Salami & Cheese was also very, very good, but letís be honest Iíd filled up on much less authentic salami at breakfast. We both agreed that if/when we return to Via Napoli weíd probably get 2 orders of the Risotto Balls. They were that good.


Risotto Balls, and no I couldn't wait to get the picture. Some salami on the side-you can really see the fat and garlic that studded it. Delish!





Clockwise from top: Bryan. Salami. Cheese.




Maddieís plain buttered noodles (naked noodles in our house) and Bryanís baked Candele arrived shortly. I urged them to eat while the food was hot, and before long my pizza arrived too.


Candele - candle stick pasta, sausage ragu, polpettine meatballs, mozzarella, ricotta $24.00

Build Your Own
Individual $17, Large $28 (serves 2 - 3), Mezzo Metro $39 (serves 3 - 5)

Pepperoni - pepperoni, tomato, mozzarella



Candele





Bread




Noodles-the princess couldn't wait either





Individual sized pizza (with olive oil for bread dipping in the back ground) Can you believe the size of this thing?



The pizza was GREAT. I like both thin crust and pan pizzas, and this one was somewhere in the middle. The crust was thin, but not paper thin, the pepperoni was spicy and thick (much more authentic tasting that typical pepperoni on pizzas) and the sauce was fantastic too. Bryan was really happy with his pasta (I had a bite and loved it too), the texture of the pasta was great, and the meatballs were delicious. Maddieís naked noodles were, well naked noodles, but she loved them.

The single complaint I have about Via Napoli was that the portions were so large and the food so good that we simply didnít have the will power to leave ourselves room for dessert. Iíd been eyeing the Zeppoli for months, but when the time came I was stuffed. I just couldnít eat another bite.

Zeppole di Ricotta - Ricotta cheese fritters, served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce $10.00


Bryan had been planning to order the vanilla gelato (we were both curious to see if they were passing plain old vanilla ice cream off as gelato) and Maddie had been wanting the lemon sorbet, but they too were too full for dessert. Oh well, thatís what the next visit is for!

Gelato e Sorbetto - vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, lemon sorbet $7.00


Would we dine at Via Napoli again? In a heartbeat! Even though we eat Italian food quite often, the meal really stood out. It was among our favorites of the trip. Iím not sure if itíll be an Ďevery tripí place, but thatís only because there are so many World Showcase restaurants that Iíd like to try. If youíre on the fence about Via Napolióbook that ADR. Itís GOOOOD.

Once weíd stuffed ourselves silly, Maddie and I left Bryan to settle up the bill while we made a beeline for the first stop on our Epcot Princess World Tour.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:40 PM   #1389
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The One With All The Halloweens

I wanted to do a Halloween update too since all of Maddie's costumes were Disney themed. I did say outfits. Since her main costume was white and her pre-Halloween engagements were outdoors, she opted to wear alternate costumes to avoid getting the real one filthy (her words). In many of the photos you'll notice a little 'color' on Maddie's right eye. She was the victim of some horseplay and tomfoolery on the way out of school on day. Took quite a header off the sidewalk, but ultimately was left with little more than a black eye for her troubles (thank goodness!)

First up was Boo! At the Zoo! I don't have many photos of this to share since my niece and nephew are in most of the photos and I don't have their parents' permission to share pics.

For the zoo event, she chose to wear last year's Belle costume





Princess wave from the carousel




Next up was pumpkin carving at home. She carved a basic jack-o-lantern -her first time carving like a big girl! Daddy carved Tinkerbelle for her, and I stuck with my standard Cubs pumpkin. This year we only carved the 3, I love doing it and we usually carve at least 6 as a family, but we simply ran out of time.

















Bryan's Pumpkin




My Pumpkin. Someday I'd like to do a different Cubs design




Maddie's Pumpkin



The next event on Maddie's busy social calendar was a Pumpkin Carving Party with my family. Again, I don't have many photos without other people's kids in them. Maddie chose to rock her new Merida dress for this engagement. Her dress looked awesome, but she wasn't the only Merida there since my family has lots of red heads.



Hard at work on an Arial pumpkin that never got finished



Participating in the costume parade with the more authentic Merida behind her



And then, finally, was the big day. Haloween started with a party and parade at school







After school she finally got to load up with the accessories that I wouldn't let her take to school, and then the most important accessory of all arrived. I know that I shared with you all that Maddie had chosen to dress up as Cinderella on her wedding day, but I didn't tell you that she'd convinced her dad to be her Prince Charming. Luckily he was able to find some red pants at Target, and had the yellowish shirt hanging in his closet, so all I needed to complete the outfit was some gold trim and a little creativity. The shoulder pieces are made out of fabric covered cardboard. This outfit on a man who refused to EVER dress up for Halloween while we were dating. He'll do anything for his little girl.


Without further ado, I bring you Cinderella and Prince Charming.





I think I'll frame this one







Pretty close huh?










Time to go!




Thanks for letting me share! I look forward to hearing about and seeing all of your little princes and princesses Halloweens too!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:55 PM   #1390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylyons View Post
I'm all for telling it how it is. Glad you'll be back for the Princesses!!!


What a fun next update!! Wonder where the crowds really were?
Thanks! I think we found the crowds eventually..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringbean&Wingnut View Post
If only all high-crowd days were like that one!!! That's great for you guys!
We got so lucky! I couldn't believe how empty it was!

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Originally Posted by TinksThree View Post
I simply do not understand how you handled those crowds!

I love it when the parks are like that!! Especially when you are thinking it is going to be crazy! I love Epcot but seriously think if it weren't for World Showcase we would be done with this park in 2-3 hours! With World Showcase (for us) this is a 2-3 day park-not full days but try to hot it often. I think Future World needs some additions desperately!!

I love Maddie's dress!! So precious!!
I agree! World Showcase is about all we do there. Aside from Soarin, Test Track, and Nemo/Turtle Talk Future World just doesn't hold Maddie's (or our) interest! Thanks so much!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleontheWater View Post
I love WS when it first opens, its so nice to have that side of the park to yourself. So glad Maddie was able to get her princess on again. It had been what two hours (!!) since she had last hung out with royalty!

The pictures of her twirling through an empty Epcot are priceless, she just looks so cute!
Quote:
Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
That was really a pretty good morning for what is supposed to be a crowded day at EPCOT! It really does change the way you'd tour that park with Test Track being closed. I hope it doesn't get pushed back any farther and is opened when we're there.

I have to agree with the decision to get a pretzel and orange soda at 10 am. That's what vacation is all about.
I'm glad that we aren't the only ones who struggle to find things to do with TT being refurbed. I hope that it's open for you too! I can't wait to hear what they've done.

I appreciate the back up. Again-I knew I could count on you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy's Wife View Post
Don't you just love when there are no crowds around? Love that one picture that looked like EPCOT was empty.
It was great! At some points that morning we felt like the only ones in Epcot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by katylady View Post
Empty Epcot looks wonderful! I really liked the pics of Maddie dancing toward future world. Ahhh, to be 5....
Thank you! I really love the joy an innocence of that photo too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaw View Post
I love the pictures of Maddie dancing towards Future World! She has such a great spirit!

That's awesome that the crowds weren't there after all! Y'all were off to a great start with the rides!

Love the pictures of Maddie with Mulan. And her tiara pictures!
Thanks Amanda! Those are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

I have no idea where the crowds were that morning!

Those tiara pictures were a hoot to take!


Quote:
Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
I seriously would have needed a nap after about 30 minutes of those crowds.

Love the pictures of Maddie dancing, with Mulan and her "resting" on the drums.

And tell Miss Maddie that Mr. Mark said she did very good with her hat demonstration and that she is MUCH prettier than Mr. Mark.
I loved the drum picture too

Oh Mr. Mark is too sweet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tralin View Post
Hi Shannon, I'm back and finally caught up. Very weird now to be commenting with experience behind me instead of asking advice. We did the Akershus Dinner and had a fantastic dinner, I am part Norweigian though so maybe I am just used to the food slightly better. Even DH quite enjoyed it though. As of September 20, the princess were, Cinderella, Snow White, Areil and Aurora (With Bell at the entrance). So Cindy was still there. It was a little disappointing as this was literally the 3rd time we saw her in 4 days. With 11 princesses now in the line up, you would think they could replace her somewhere. Love Mad's dresses. Can't wait to see the Halloween pix. Can't wait to show you the pic of Kailtin in her Snow White Dress with Snow White at Akershus. Definately the best Snow White out there. She was awesome! I'll save the rest for my TR.
Welcome back! I can't wait for the TR!!! You MUST tell me as soon as you start! I can't wait to hear about the trip!

I wonder where AllEars is getting their info? Seems like no one else has experienced the change in princesses. I completely agree-there are sooo many princesses, you'd think that they'd offer some variety.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronnmel View Post
I'm looking forward to reading your comments on my latest updates.

You're welcome. I enjoyed reading everything and keeping a Words page opened to jot down my comments.

I'd love to watch Little Einsteins, but I have no idea when it plays. That's why we watch the clubhouse the most, it just fits well in our schedule, she winds down in her swing watching it before her first morning nap.

I'd like some variety in the princesses and other character meals as well, but it's true that since we go more often then most people, we notice those things. For them, the "major" ones are available and that's what counts.

That is so awesome that the crowds did not materialize that morning!

I never thought of Living with the Land as a dark ride, but I guess the first part is quite dark. My mind just always "skips" over that part when I recall the ride.

In Disney cupcakes are a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and so is salt and sugar before 10am.

Well of course Maddie would try on different tiaras. I wouldn't expect anything less from her.

It's already time for lunch? I feel like you just finished breakfast!
I still have to get caught up Mel, I'm so sorry!

LwtL is kinda dark at the beginning and end, so that's what she was referring to. She liked it though!

I saw LE and BE videos at Target today-on sale for $3 a piece! Do you have a Target near you?

Thanks for the back up. That was definitely vacation food.

Thanks Mel, I loved the tiara fashion show.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:07 AM   #1391
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
The crowds! How could you deal with that stifling pressure? The horror!

Well, at least Maddie was able to have a good time. And I agree that it was different experience without Test Track being open.

Those last few pictures from the PP group are tremendous!
We struggled with those crowds for sure

I can't wait for TT to reopen. I like the family friendly thrill rides.

Aren't they stunning? I was so glad that they included those on the CD. F&G is something to see.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caretames1 View Post
I hope my crowds are as crazy as that!


Beautiful shots of all the flowers and topiaries. I'm so looking forward to decor this time.


What is a princess without multiple tiaras?

My fav pic.... Maddie looking bored on the drums.

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Carey I hope that you're dealing with simillar crowds right now!

Thanks-I loved the F&G fest, can't wait to see your Halloween/Christmas pics

A girl needs tiaras, that's for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by petals View Post
luvin the updates. The tiaras are very pretty
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGirl View Post
Hi Shannon!!!

HI Roni!

Iím sorry that Akershus was not that great - except for the princesses, of course! The first year we went there for breakfast, those potatoes were INSANELY good - so good that I made them that year for Christmas breakfast. The next year, they were good, but nowhere near what I remembered. Iím afraid to try them again after your report!

I so wish that they'd been better! I'm sure that it was just an off day, most people seem to have really liked them.

Do you know that every Ariel we have ever met at WDW has been less-than-nice? So odd! The Ariels at DLR were incredible - so sweet and fun and remembered Willow over the course of our trip. Very different!

I'm so glad that it's not just me! We've had great luck at M&Gs, but at meals, not so much.

Love the princess gown you did! Wow!!!

Thank you

How incredible that The Land was so empty!

It was shockingly empty!

The pic with Mulan is great. We loved our meet with her!

We love meeting Mulan, she's always great.

Man, looking at all your pics makes me want to be back in the WS so badly! It has been TOO long!

Thanks for the great updates!
Me too! You'll be there before you know it though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkondz View Post
Good idea... and I see from looking ahead that your foresight paid off!

Thank heavens I warned them!

My fave shot. Just a suggestion, (I can't do it since I'm at work and photoshop is at home) but crop the dead space out from the bottom (which makes it a horizontal shot instead of a vertical) and you'd have the perfect pic.

Thanks Ponzerino! I'll definitely try that!


Well, you're one up on me, then. I've just never had the interest to try it.

It was honestly a time-filler. I liked seeing all the veggies and such, but not enough to do it every time.

I don't blame her. I find some vegetables pretty scary, myself.

NO!!! Not Broccoli!!!!


Love this pic too. It's such a great candid shot.

Thanks Ponz

She wears them all with such grace and poise.

She's well practiced.

You must have been terribly lonely.



And thanks for all the PP pics too!
You're welcome! I was so glad that they were included!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDolacki2003 View Post
I love the topiaries and now I am in the mood to visit during flower and garden.

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Thanks! It was a great time of year to visit IMO. I'm so glad that we had the chance to go then.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #1392
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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
We arrived a bit early to see the lobby swarming with people, and I got a little nervous that weíve have quite a wait. However it seemed that the crowd was mostly people hoping for walk up seating.
We experienced the exact same thing there last year. We had an 11:30 ADR and when we arrived, they were packed in like sardines around the hostess stand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
The single complaint I have about Via Napoli was that the portions were so large and the food so good that we simply didnít have the will power to leave ourselves room for dessert.
And if that's the only complaint you have, I'd say expectations were met.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
Would we dine at Via Napoli again? In a heartbeat! Even though we eat Italian food quite often, the meal really stood out. It was among our favorites of the trip. Iím not sure if itíll be an Ďevery tripí place, but thatís only because there are so many World Showcase restaurants that Iíd like to try. If youíre on the fence about Via Napolióbook that ADR. Itís GOOOOD.
I'm glad to see you enjoyed the meal. DW and I are the same way... both of us love Italian food and eat it frequently, and there's a little restaurant here that serves that authentic Italian type of pizza, and we just loved Via Napoli. I actually think the portions are one of the great things about the food there. You can easily feed 3 people with one pizza and nobody will leave feeling hungry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
I stuck with my standard Cubs pumpkin
Maybe you should carve a billy goat next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
My Pumpkin. Someday I'd like to do a different Cubs design



Quote:
Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
This outfit on a man who refused to EVER dress up for Halloween while we were dating. He'll do anything for his little girl.
That's really cool! You're a good dad, Bryan. I'm sure that really meant the world to her.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:23 AM   #1393
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Via Napoli is one of our new favorites too! It sounds like, even though you weren't seated near the pizza ovens, your location didn't take away from your dining experience.

Now, on to the good stuff. Not that Disney and food isn't "good stuff". You simply HAVE to frame the picture of Bryan kissing Maddie's hand. It's A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! Isn't it funny how those big manly men can turn into mush when their daughters bat their long lashes at them.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:50 AM   #1394
Bethislucy
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That is awesome that Bryan did that. My dad will do a lot for me but I don't know if he would have ever dressed up like a prince.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:18 PM   #1395
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Via Napoli is awesome! Glad you guys enjoyed it so much. I'd definitely go back.

The Cubs pumpkin was hilarious!

And nice job dressing up, Bryan. Everyone looked great.
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