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Old 09-16-2012, 05:03 PM   #1
jenjie
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Where the MAGIC is... looks like he died needing to use the bathroom- update 9/27

Welcome to my trip report! Last time we went to Disney World was 10 years ago, when my parents were kind enough to take us. My big kids were 3 and 4. We had a wonderful time. We had planned to go again when our little guy turned 5. He is now 7 so we knew we needed to make it happen soon.

Who are we?



I'm Jen. I'm the researcher. I'm the one who reads the books, trolls the websites and sniffs out the details so we can make our own magic. I'm the one who drives my family crazy with too much information. I don't like thrill rides. I appreciate WDW because there is plenty to do that doesn't involve roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls.



This is my dh. He wants our family to have a wonderful, memory-making vacation. He works hard all year and doesn't want to have to rushrushrush. Touring plan? We don't need no stinking touring plan! He loves coasters and doesn't like to spin.



Here is ds14. His only other time at WDW, he was 4 years old. He had a lot of fun riding "big kid rides" with dad, Tower of Terror being his favorite. This time he has begged off of hearing too much information about Disney before we went. At first I thought it was teenage boredom, but he told me he wants it to be a surprise when he gets there. Whew! He is DH's ride buddy. Coaster but no spins please.



DD is 12. She's like me, soaking up all the Disney details. She did a good job of not spoiling all the secrets. DD has always liked spinny rides, but not high rides. Last time we went to WDW, she had just turned 3. She celebrated her birthday at Cinderella castle and had a magical time.



Last but not least is DS7. He is excited about going to Disney except the part about meeting the characters. No characters with big fake heads. He has a strange fascination with hidden Mickeys. He still rides the kiddie rides. We need to do something about this!

A few weeks before our trip, we went to "walk the boards" at Ocean City, NJ. This involves rides at the amusement pier. I told the kids they all had to try something new in preparation for WDW. In the spirit of the occasion, I went on Double Shot with dh and ds14. It's called Double Shot. Why does it bounce you uuuuup and down so many times? And then repeat... I didn't feel very well afterward but gained some respect with ds14.

DS14 went on some spinny thing with DD and DS7 and didn't lose his lunch. DD and DS7 went on a not-a-coaster and liked it enough to try the upside down coaster. Victory! Now we can anticipate a totally different trip, because all the kids are willing to ride things they never would have otherwise. RNRC, EE, TOT... Score one for the mom!

When and where to stay? We changed our plans several times. We had actually booked a suite at AK Kidani - Savannah view, but later that day learned that our pool liner had a big rip and needed to be replaced. We switched to AoA. DS14 was happy because he wasn't thrilled with the theming at AK. DD on the other hand was devastated because she was really looking forward to watching the animals from her window. You just can't please everybody.

We had originally booked August 20-28, but when free dining came out beginning Aug 25, we couldn't resist. We flew down on August 24 and booked room only, with our package -and park tickets- beginning the next day. We had to return by August 31 because of dh's work schedule.

We booked with AAA. A friend of mine works there and she hooked us up with a few special surprises.

I'll be back later to start our trip! You can read about

~ our adventures with TSA

~ what happens when you go to a non-recommended park in the middle of the afternoon?

~ how is Disney transportation?

~ how wet can you get on KRR?

and other fun things. In the meantime, here is my completed dining report.

See ya real soon!

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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012

Last edited by jenjie; 09-27-2012 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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Yaaayyy I am joining! I can't wait to hear all about your trip. And since I am a total foodie, I will be heading to your food report as well!
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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Welcome Shaniyah! You're #1!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #4
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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Welcome Luckylady!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:51 PM   #6
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Mousekeeping aka pre-trip, FAQ, and resources

[backstory]Our original plan was to arrive on Friday, August 24. Our park package didn't begin until the next day, so we planned to visit DTD, swim in the resort pool, and such. Our plane took off at 7:00 am so we would be getting little sleep the night before. We didn't want to start off our trip visiting the park with everybody cranky from lack of sleep.

As we the time for our trip was approaching, we learned about the impending Hurricane Isaac. We fretted over the weather reports. I suggested to dh that we reconsider visiting the parks on arrival day, just in case the weather caused us to miss a day later in the week. I learned that we could pick up our package tickets early, so we decided a few hours in the park would make more sense than a lost day somewhere.[/backstory]

Before we begin, I’ll cut to the chase and share my experience on some recent concerns:

Transportation – we had absolutely no issues with the busses! Most times the bus would come within 5 minutes. Sometimes we would arrive at the bus stop as the bus was pulling in. Leaving the parks at closing was standing room only but that is to be expected.

Friendliness /helpfulness of CMs – not a bad one in the bunch we came across! Not every single one of them oozed joy and happiness but we didn’t have any problems.

Food – like anything else, it’s all subjective. We enjoyed most of the food, some was better than expected. There were a few misses but it was mostly just based on what we like to eat. My dining report

Helpful websites -

Disboards

easywdw - not only does Josh provide detailed crowd calendars and up to date in-park blog research, there is also a message board! They will help you come up with a touring plan that works for you.

Kate's Best Times Chart from easywdw. This shows which rides take priority first thing in the morning.

Robo's maps!

allears menus for choosing ADRs and changing ADRs

which reminds me, the Disboards DDP confirmed snack credit thread, which reminds us that Mickey bars and popcorn are not the only things you can use those snack credits for!

Apps –


Disney mobile magic – it kept locking up. Worse, it wanted to open every time I tried to use the phone, and then not work! I deleted the app on our second day.

Walt Disney World Wait Times - you could refresh this and see wait times for each ride at each park. This was reliable for the most part but was not perfect.

Touring Plans Lines app - I tried the free customized touring plans. I didn't feel comfortable using it because it didn't seem to make sense with the things I've learned here and from their book. The Lines wait times are very dependent on people actually entering wait times so that was limited.

Books -

Unofficial Guide

OK I think that's it for now! Up next, our early morning flight.
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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I'm leaving on a jet plane...

We had many discussions over whether to drive or fly. We even looked very briefly into the autotrain. You know how it goes… a loooong drive with 3 kids fighting in the backseat, but less expense, vs. a short but expensive flight with family members not sold on the idea of flying. We went back and forth until the gas prices began to rise. And they threatened to keep going up. Hmmmm sounds like a good time to lock in prices on a flight! Southwest Airlines here we come!

We were concerned about sitting together. Will they really make your child sit alone? DH and I determined that if anyone was foolish enough to choose to sit with ds7 alone, they were welcome to enjoy his company the entire trip. No backsies! See you in Orlando, suckers!

Don’t worry! Because we are just too kind to inflict our children on unsuspecting strangers, we made sure to pay for early bird check-in (EBCI). Southwest automatically checks you in 36 hours before the flight. It was a little nerve-wracking because you don’t actually know your seating order until the 24 hour mark. Did it work or not? Yes! We were all at the tail end of the A section.

So we had to get up at 3:30 am to get to the airport on time. The plan was to have everyone in bed by 9:00 so we could get a decent amount of sleep. I think dh and I made it to bed by 10:30. I tried getting the kids to wear then next day's clothes to bed but they weren't buying it. But I give them credit, they did a great job of getting up and getting ready so early.
BIL picked us up at 4:30 am. He works nights and took time off from work to take us. Thanks BIL! (SIL and niece took care of our dogs while we were gone, and sil gave us so many tips ) BIL dressed for the occasion - he was wearing a Goofy shirt! Our kids were pretty impressed with being out while it was still dark. Remember in the CARS movie, where they are amazed at all the repaired neon? My kids were like that.

BIL dropped us off at PHL airport at 5:00 am. They have curbside check-in. It's nice not to have to carry all of your luggage throughout the airport. We go inside and there are these snaking lines filled with people waiting to go through security. And so it begins... they had a kind of "fastpass" line for families. At least that's what I told myself. I was in a Disney state of mind. We made it through to security very quickly. SIL's first piece of advice came into play here - wear flip flops so you don't have to mess with taking shoes and socks off. Good idea. We packed sneakers in our carry-on.

Adventures with TSA - I was randomly selected. Would I need an intimate pat-down or a full-body scan? Actually they just swabbed my flip flop. OK that was uneventful.

DS14 was also selected! A TSA agent was checking his backpack. She got a little scare. As she opened the backpack, she saw a tiny hand sticking up.

Don't worry, it's just a doll! DS has this doll he got when he was a toddler. It's like a "my buddy" type of thing, but it's actually "Talking Little T". He doesn't play with it but I guess he thought he'd take it to Disney World. The TSA agent says, "Oh I see you have a comedian on your hands!" She's got him pegged after about 30 seconds. I'm sure DS was the talk of the breakroom that day.

DS has a can of Axe body spray. He loves to torture his brother so he had put masking tape on it with the words "Pepper Spray" and chased ds7 around the house, threatening to spray him. DH made him take off the tape before packing the spray. TSA will be all over you for that!

After that excitement, we made our way to the Southwest... I don't know what it's called, but where you go to wait for your flight. We grabbed some breakfast, bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel. They were very dry. DS7 wanted yogurt, he wasn't very hungry. They had little single servings of Dannon but she offered a big yogurt parfait for a dollar more. We took that. DS didn't eat much. I had the rest, and it was much better than our breakfast sandwiches. We had some Dramamine and settled in to wait for our flight to be called.
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
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October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012

Last edited by jenjie; 09-20-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:52 PM   #8
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It's a magic portal to Disney World!

As we were waiting for our flight, we looked out the windows a bit watching the planes come and go. Apparently the boys had had a conversation, because all of a sudden ds7 exclaimed, "You're right, it IS a magic portal to Disney World!" How awesome would that be!

We boarded the plane as our numbers were called. This Southwest flight crew was so awesome. Sandra was especially sweet. I need to write to Southwest. A flight attendant suggested we sit a few rows behind the wing if the kids wanted to look out the windows. She went through the plane offering to take family pictures before takeoff. Here's ours:



As the plane was taking off, they had us raise our hands and hoot and holler like we were on a ride at Disney. They really added to the excitement of heading to WDW.

Dh wasn't thrilled with the idea of flying. He spent the flight with his eyes closed listening to his ipod.

DS14 spent most of the flight looking out the window and telling us which part of the atmosphere we were in. At least he remembers what he learns at school.

DD12 was really worried about flying. She didn't care how long it would take to drive, she did NOT want to fly. She did great and overcame her fear of flying.

I didn't enjoy myself very much. DS7 spent most of the flight asking how long it was going to take, telling me how much he hated flying, how he thought he was going to be sick. I kind of almost wished somebody else had sat next to him. He finally fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up with a better attitude.

Finally we landed, right on time! I asked about wings for ds7 since it was his first flight. They were quick to hand me a set of wings with a little coloring book. They seemed to feel bad that they neglected to offer them.

Off to DME! Did I mention how nice it was not to worry about picking up our luggage? We got on the bus and watched the WDW video on the way to Art of Animation!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012

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Old 09-17-2012, 11:16 PM   #9
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:20 PM   #10
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Thanks for reading, Blessed with Triplets!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #11
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So we arrive at Art of Animation! We are actually at Disney World!

As we get off the bus, there is a CM with a table set up, offering buttons for whatever you might be celebrating. I picked up a 1st visit for ds7 and a birthday button for ds14, telling him he had to wear it all week. Because I love to torture him.

We go through the doors to the lobby. It's striking. DD took some pictures while I was checking us in.

They go from sketches





to full color renderings.




We had done online check-in so it should have been a quick in and out thing. But I had to be complicated.

First day room only
Second day MYW package begins
Picking up park tickets early

FTR this is doable but expect to wait. And it seems like it's kind of a pain for the CMs. But they do it with a smile. And you need all new tickets the next day. If you are doing DDP anyway. They will put an envelope on your door in the morning , but it's "anytime between 7 and 11 am". If you don't want to take the gamble you have to go back to the desk in the morning. Which I did, only to discover that within the 5 minutes it took to get from my room to the desk, the envelope had been placed on my door.

So we spent quite a bit of time at the desk. Frankly I spent way too much time at the desk throughout the week, but each CM was gracious and as helpful as they could be.

It's now around 10:00, and our room is ready! But while I'm at the desk, the CM tells me that the package I had ordered and shipped had arrived. She brought it out and showed it to me, and said she would have it sent to our room. Why oh why did I not just take it with me? We would see - or not see - more from this package later. BTW it was cereal and pop tarts, if you're curious.

So to get from the lobby to your room, you go through the Ink & Paint Shop, through Landscape of Flavors, and out to the walkway. Your first sight upon exiting the building is

The BIG BLUE POOL!


I'll be completely honest here. I looked up every detail, looked at all the pictures and got very excited. But it was a little too much. I think ds14 had the right idea when he said "let me be surprised." Because his reaction was and mine was more anticlimactic. "yep, it looks just like the pictures!"

So we turn left and get to the Lion King section in about two minutes.







And that's basically the theming of the Lion King section. The area is much smaller that the other three areas so I understand why but it just felt that it was lacking in comparison.


Although this is pretty cool:



This is building 10, courtyard side. If I was in one of those rooms, I'd want somebody to take a picture of me and dh K-I-S-S-I-N-G in the tree.

We were in building 6. You Walk under Simba, Timon & Pumba to the entrance of the building. There are a few subdued canvas murals on the walls. I loved the carpet! The elevators had a cool jungle print wallpaper.

We were in room 6610, we had lake view but really I'd call it Pop view.

The view from our window


close up


I didn't take many pictures of the suite because I knew there were so many already out there on the internet that look so much better than mine would. Here are a few:

Living area with fold-out couch. The material on the couch is kind of weird, like a plastic-y type of upholstery. DD said the fold-out bed is comfortable. To the right of this photo is the little "kitchen" area - countertop with plenty of space overhead (we put water bottle cases up there out of the way), coffeemaker (we didn't use it), sink, small refrigerator and microwave. There was a roll of paper towels under the sink, which came in very handy until we left them on the counter and the cleaning crew took them. In between the couch and this cabinetry there is a wastebasket AND recycling.



DS is sitting in the corner chair. Notice he has his foot on the little stool. See how much room there is between the TV and the stool, and in the above picture, between the stool and the couch?

Ok this is important, under the TV on the left side of the bureau, there is a false front panel. Open it downwards and there are electrical and a/v outlets. (This is in both bureaus) I mentioned this somewhere else but I counted ELEVEN open outlets altogether throughout the suite.



This is the sink area of the bath in the main part of the suite. Notice that shelf on the bottom! Both bathrooms have a hairdryer. And a box of tissues. See the tissues? Sorry I'm in a weird mood.



There is a pocket door separating this from the rest of the suite. The doorway (regular door) to the rest of the bathroom is there on that right wall where the counter ends. In that area is the toilet and shower, so someone could be getting ready at the sink while somebody else is doing whatever they need to do in privacy.

I thought the room pictures might be more interesting with people actually in the photos. They DO sell these themed shower curtains in the shop for anyone who might be interested.



The bathroom off of the bedroom. This is all one room. Notice the nice long shelf underneath. Notice the nice flooring. Notice that my dd managed to leave her shoe in MY bathroom.




And we come to the end of my room photos with a shot of the master bath shower. And my goofy son. I tell you, nothing about this bathroom says "value resort".



Other points of interest - the chairs at the table do stack. There are two alarm clocks. There are four end tables. Each had a space in the bottom for storage. There is a note about taking towels to the pool and asking for more. There is a bin at the pool for your wet towels.

We found a home for our things and presented the kids with the first surprise from Aunt W our AAA agent.



She sent us a lanyard for each of the kids, with 6 pins on each lanyard! What a great surprise! The kids didn't really get into pin trading but they appreciated the gift.

*This is not typical of AAA, don't expect it if you book with them. This is a personal friend of mine who happened to call the Florida AAA office to ask a question for me. The guy there offered to send us a few goodies.*

ETA: I meant to say there was plenty of room in the Suite for our family of 5. Also the table bed pulls down VERY easily. DS 14 is 5'5", he said there was plenty of room. However his LITTLE brother, ds7, shared it with him. I don't know how it would be for two adults.

DD found the fold out couch bed to be comfortable. That was more of A pain to set up.

With that done, we were off to MK!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012

Last edited by jenjie; 09-20-2012 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:47 PM   #12
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Timing is everything! We waited only a few minutes at the AoA bus stop for an MK bus. This ended up being the norm rather than the exception.

This was supposed to be a bonus day so we were planning to slowly make our way down Main Street, taking in the atmosphere. But we were so hungry that the first thing on our agenda was LUNCH! We "walked with purpose" until we arrived at Cosmic Ray's. From my dining report, since it's short:

I have fond memories of Cosmic Ray’s. The reason I went in there last trip was because I saw somebody’s plate in the window. Those mashed potatoes looked good. I remember really enjoying my meal. So I was looking forward to eating there again this trip, hoping after 10 years it was as good as I remembered. The first thing on our agenda at MK was LUNCH, since we had last eaten at about 5:30 am before our flight. Cosmic Rays’ has a good variety for my family. This was OOP since our MYW package, and DDP, wouldn’t begin until the next day.

We arrived at about 12:30, and believe it or not we quickly found seats as another group was getting up. We went up for food in shifts so we could save the table. DD12 had the chicken nuggets – the adult chicken nuggets, which are very different from the kids’ nuggets, which ds7 had. Both had fries. The kids’ nuggets look very unappealing, like little dried out hockey pucks. These exact nuggets are served at several locations we ate at. The adult nuggets were very good. I am not a fan of fast food chicken anywhere but I tried these. They were good meaty pieces of boneless fried chicken. The fries were not crispy but they weren’t limp either. Everyone at my table enjoyed them.

DH and DS12 had bacon cheeseburgers with fries. They were happy with these. They liked the fixins bar, too. What did I have? So much to choose from. I went with the ½ rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. Everything was well cooked and well seasoned. I was very satisfied with my meal.

My kids really liked Cosmic Ray’s and wanted to come back. DH and I were both fine with that idea but it never ended up happening. They liked everything but Sonny Eclipse . DS 14 said he was creepy, ds7 didn’t like the "talking alligator", and dd 12 got into a debate with me about his name.
After this, it was off to do some rides!

After grabbing a Space FP, we watched the Monsters, Inc. show. That was so much fun! They pick people out of the audience, without their knowledge, to portray a particular character. From time to time they'll put the camera back on them and they'll need to respond quickly. You could do it over and over and get a different show just based on how the participants respond.

Then DH saw that Stitch had no line. Now I've read all the bad reviews here on the DIS but my understanding was that it was boring. I want dh to go with my picks later, and this is a bonus day after all, so why not? Why not? I'll tell you why not!

As I shared here, Ds7 was freaked out! after that he was scared to ride most things. IMHO it was just plain unenjoyable. No magic to be found there for this family.

After that traumatic experience, we went to COP. Which guess what, while everyone else took a nap, DS7 really enjoyed it. "What? I liked the story!" I couldn't remember the order of how we did things, but as ds14 says, the first three things we did were shows, not rides.

Next was the Peoplemover, aka TTA, where ds7 learned that Space Mountain is in the dark and after his traumatic experience with Stitch, he wasn't interested. So we sat that out while dh took ds14 and dd12. They loved it.

At some point we took pictures with Chip and Dale and went on Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin.






At this point we were done. Remember we had been awake since 3:30 in the morning! We felt like we had accomplished a good amount in not that much time. We did everything in Tomorrowland we had wanted to do, with the exception of the Indy Speedway, and even did something that was never in our plans - Stitch. (Boo!)

DS7 wanted to see the castle before we left. DH made a beeline for the castle and we just tried to keep up. So you know how there are some things that people want to see, and they may try trip after trip after trip, but fall short? Yes I am talking about PUSH the talking trash can! Are you kidding me? We aren't even looking for it and here it is! And there we go! Hi PUSH! Bye PUSH! Must.not.lose.dh. Of course after the fact, dh says "You should have said something!"

So in the next happening that had me considering to title this TR "It's all in the timing", we arrive in front of the castle. Ahhh the castle. Looks good. Hmmm what's this? There's people milling around. It's way past time for the 3:00 parade. I wonder what's going on. Oh the Dream Along with Mickey show is about to begin in TWO MINUTES? (4:15) DH, we're staying. This was handed to us. I know it's hot and we're tired, but we're taking advantage of this opportunity.

The whole show was great but we are partial to Peter Pan.



After this, we made our way to the front of the park and saw that our bus was coming! We did a little "run" and we arrived just as the bus was pulling up to the stop! That's what I'm talking about!

OK the rest of the evening was dinner at Landscape of Flavors at AOA and just checking out the resort. Lovely!

Here's my writeup of our dinner at LoF:

We ate dinner at AoA resort. There are some good things on the menu I’ve been wanting to try. I was a bit disappointed when dh suggested getting a few pizzas to save some money. Remember our DDP didn’t kick in until the following day. I put on a brave face but inside I was not thrilled. Pizza? Really? Well guess what? It was very good. It was hot and fresh and tasty. Did I mention HOT? I burned my lip with some stray cheese! We got two pizzas and a two-liter bottle of soda. You place your order and they give you a buzzer. It took maybe 10 minutes.

Let me add in a few items of interest. You can buy a half gallon of milk or a case of 24 12-oz bottles of Dasani water ($16) for the refrigerator in your suite. We had cereal and pop tarts shipped from amazon.com. That plus the milk is a decent breakfast. We got water bottle straps to attach to our belt loops and saved some money that way too.

If you are not on the DDP, buying a two-liter soda is a cheaper option than buying drinks separately. Once you purchase the soda, you can ask the cashier for disposable cups for your group. We bought a juice box for ds7. Well we were going to but the CM gave it to us for free. “It’s a gift.” Thank you CM!

Next up... Animal Kingdom!
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My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #13
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Loving your TR! Gets me excited for our next trip.hopefully Nov. 2013 ( if FD is offered)... we will stay at AoA...except in the Finding Nemo section I think.

I wish your pictures were bigger...so small?
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:17 AM   #14
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AofA looks like it was a great resort. I tried Stitch my last visit to MK too. It used to be one of my favorite rides when I was a teen as Alien encounter. But now it is kInd of a waste of prime real estate! Your TR looks great so far! I can't wait to see more.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:31 PM   #15
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,024

Ohhhh I don't know how to resize photos! I'm messing around in photobucket and not getting anywhere. If anybody knows, please tell me!
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~Jen
My Aug 2012 dining report!
My Aug 2012 Trip Report, still in progress
October 1996 ~ March 2003 ~ August 2012
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