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Old 11-27-2012, 08:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sweettears View Post
Just curious. You said you are leading a band group but sounds like you are touring by yourself? Pretty cool gig.
Once we are in the parks, unless they are performing, the kids tour on their own. They would not have nearly as much fun if we made them all do the same thing! (Which is why I do not understand the Brazilian tour group model, but that is fodder for another thread!)

It is definitely a cool gig - we handle all the logistics (tickets, activities, meals, lodging, transportation, etc.), but we have some free time to explore on our own, when the group is doing the same. I do spend some time each day calling ahead to confirm activities, researching options, solving any problems that arise, etc., so it's not always easy! My first priority is to ensure that my group is having a great time, and I take a lot of pride in what I do. I'm a very detail-oriented person, so it is natural for me to try to anticipate any contingencies and have answers to any questions my clients may have. I am also always available via cell phone. I do not enter any attractions that would compromise my availability to drop what I am doing to handle any situation.

More pics from the park:











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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:17 PM   #17
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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:18 PM   #18
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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:24 PM   #19
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The castle lighting ceremony is SO cute!





I found a spot for MSEP and Wishes about an hour early, in front of the ice cream parlor. There was a woman there in an ECV with a sleepy grandchild on her lap, holding spots for the remainder of her family, so she and I chatted and helped each other save space. I really enjoy meeting other guests in the park; it makes the time waiting go faster, and we can always find something we have in common!

A few pics from the parade and fireworks:











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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:26 PM   #20
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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #21
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The kids had a great day in the MK, and so did the adults in the group, including me. My Thanksgiving dinner was a lobster roll from CHH, one of my favorites. Non-traditional, but special to me!

Since the park was open until midnight, the crowd leaving after Wishes (10:00) was large but not completely overwhelming. So it really did not take too long for the group to work their way to the TTC for the bus ride back to the hotel. Day two down, all kids accounted for...success!
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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:35 PM   #22
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Just wanted to say that your pictures are BREATHTAKING and you definitely have a talent with photography.

Thanks so much for sharing them and for your adorable commentary! Glad you had a wonderful time.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meliss8599 View Post
Just wanted to say that your pictures are BREATHTAKING and you definitely have a talent with photography.

Thanks so much for sharing them and for your adorable commentary! Glad you had a wonderful time.
I agree! I am in the market for a new camera. Would you mind sharing what camera you are using for these pictures? The castle ones are amazing
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #24
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I agree! You have great pictures from your trip! Trip report or not, I'm enjoying re-living your trip with you.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #25
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On Friday, the color guard members of the band had a dance workshop backstage at Epcot. For those who are not aware, the Disney Performing Arts department is quite extensive, and they do a terrific job with workshops, clinics, and performance opportunities for students, well beyond just parades in the Magic Kingdom.

It was another beautiful day. When we arrived in the park about 9:20 or so, I went straight to Soarin' for a FP, which was for 2:15. As I mentioned earlier, my family has always saved FPs throughout the day, but I don't have any problem with WDW enforcing the policy of returning within the window.

On this trip, I never had a problem being in the area I needed to be to use a FP at the right time. The only time I saw anything out of the ordinary was at Ariel in the MK, when I noticed that the group of about 4 or 5 people in front of me were allowed into the FP line about 5 minutes before the time on their FPs. I'm confident that was not a policy, just a single instance of a CM choosing not to argue! I didn't think the lines were any shorter (or longer) than previous visits.

So what did I do in Epcot? Innoventions, Living with the Land, wishing Test Track was open, and of course a bit of photography.











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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meliss8599 View Post
Just wanted to say that your pictures are BREATHTAKING and you definitely have a talent with photography.

Thanks so much for sharing them and for your adorable commentary! Glad you had a wonderful time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedby3 View Post
I agree! I am in the market for a new camera. Would you mind sharing what camera you are using for these pictures? The castle ones are amazing
Quote:
Originally Posted by butiflfeet View Post
I agree! You have great pictures from your trip! Trip report or not, I'm enjoying re-living your trip with you.
Thanks for your kind comments! I enjoy photography as a hobby, and WDW is my favorite "subject"! I have a Nikon D5000, and my latest purchase for it was a 35mm prime lens, which is what I used for the castle shots.

More Epcot pics:









Love the Voices of Liberty!



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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report

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Old 11-27-2012, 09:20 PM   #27
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The timing worked out well to catch my very favorite Epcot performers, Off Kilter, before my Soarin' FP time:





We left Epcot at 4 to head back to the hotel to give the kids a chance to freshen up and change before going to Universal for dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, some time to explore CityWalk, and a Blue Man Group show. Even though I am a huge Disney fangirl, I also enjoy my forays up I-4. Hopefully I won't offend with a couple pics from the evening:





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Old 11-27-2012, 09:45 PM   #28
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Saturday, last day in the parks, and time for DHS. I have to admit, DHS is my least favorite park. I like several attractions there, but it always seems SO crowded - so many dead ends!

But it was yet another beautiful day, and of course I still enjoyed my time there! I started with a FP for TSM. At 9:40, the return time was already 4:50, and all FPs were gone well before 11. Boy, does DHS need some more family-friendly attractions!

I ended up riding Star Tours several times, watching the BatB show, riding ToT and RnRC with FPs, and enjoying a nice salad lunch at Backlot Express. I also drew Buzz at the Animation Academy (I won't quit my day job), and paid my usual pilgrimage to One Man's Dream.







I decided to grab another salad and head into Fantasmic! a little after 5 for the 6:30 show, planning to do some research on my phone while I waited. I ended up in the first group into the amphitheater, right in the middle. I chatted with a lovely couple from Seattle and two families from North Carolina and New York. I was also happy to see that during the last half hour of waiting, some DJ types provided humorous entertainment for the crowd. I remember the very first time we saw the show, in 1997, the bellhops entertained us - our kids still remember it!

A couple pics from F!:





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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:56 PM   #29
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Wow! Clearly you also have a backup career as a photographer. Beautiful pics.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:04 PM   #30
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Last stop before boarding the buses to head back to Cleveland was the Osborne Lights. So beautiful!













A couple of closing observations to end this I-can't-help-myself-from-writing-a-trip-report:

- Thanksgiving crowds were heavy, but IMHO not nearly so heavy as Christmas crowds

- FP time enforcement is really not that big a deal. If you don't think you can make the return time, don't get the FP. BTW, I didn't end up using my TSM FP, I gave it to one of the kids in my group who had never ridden before. I'll be back!

- WiFi in the parks - I logged on using my iPhone when it was available. It was helpful at times, especially because my phone cycled through no signal, Edge, 3G, 4G, and LTE signals, depending on where I was. The WiFi was not consistently available at any park, but there were spots in each park where the signal was strong.

- If you can handle getting a little chilly when you are out of the water, this is a great time of year to visit a water park.

- Almost every CM we encountered was friendly and helpful. The only negative experience was a parking lot attendant at DHS, who had some nasty words for our bus driver when he was just trying to follow the signs.

- We also did not encounter any memorably rude guests. In fact, the opportunities I had to chat with people, they were invariably friendly and unselfish.

- We used group meal coupons in most parks, which allow for a combo meal (or entree and side dish), plus a dessert and drink. I have a few favorite CS in each park, so I enjoy finding time to relax and enjoy a meal. I ate at Flame Tree BBQ in the AK; BOG and CHH in the MK; Cantina (as much for the view as the food!) in Epcot; and Backlot Express in DHS.

Let me know if anyone has any questions for me!
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My June '06 trip report December 09 Beach Club trip report
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