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Old 02-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #211
irongirlof12
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What a fab day, such great photo opportunities and they turned out so well, I love the simba ones
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:12 PM   #212
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Great update! I love all the Christmas trees in Camp Minnie Mickey, they are all so cute!!! You really got some fabulous pictures on the safari. Sorry about the uncontrollable child, how awkward.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:44 AM   #213
jenseib
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WOW!!! Finally caught up.
You have had some busy days.
What exactly are the spell cards? Are these what you use for the Sorcerer Mickey thing or just something to collect?

So was this rat you saw... ICK....just a scavanger stealing food? I don't like the thought of that at all. Where there is one, well you know...he has an extended family somewhere.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:35 AM   #214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenseib View Post
WOW!!! Finally caught up.
You have had some busy days.
What exactly are the spell cards? Are these what you use for the Sorcerer Mickey thing or just something to collect?

So was this rat you saw... ICK....just a scavanger stealing food? I don't like the thought of that at all. Where there is one, well you know...he has an extended family somewhere.
I am the kind of person who never really stops and when I try to, I get sick. So my vacations are usually nice and busy.

The spell cards are used for The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, but they are also collectables. There are 70 different cards that each feature a different Disney character.

I really don't know what the rat was doing there, because I cannot imagine that it would have found much food where we saw it. The cast member told us that they see them quite often on the Savannah and that makes more sense as there will be plenty of food around there.

Corinna
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:42 AM   #215
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Day 18

I got up around 8:00 and headed out to the bus stop about 20 minutes later. I had to wait about 15 minutes for the bus and with the Old Key West buses being as far away from the entrance as you can get, I arrived in the park about 5 minutes after opening time. I headed straight to The Land where Soarin had a posted waiting time of 20 minutes and for once, this was pretty accurate. I got a seat in the first row so I was happy. My next stop was the temporary Character Spot. I had walked past there earlier in the trip when I was looking for a restroom and I really liked the backdrops in there. The posted waiting time was 30 minutes, but as you only line up once for three characters this was only 10 minutes per character and seemed very fair. I was slightly amused waiting in line for this. All the kids around me were very well behaved. The parents were a different story. Some of the behaviour I encountered from adults is best described as a tantrum. Pretty much exactly 30 minutes after joining the line, I got to see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto in quick succession.



















I made use of the bathroom that is right opposite the exit to the Character Spot and then I went around the corner to Club Cool to get some more Mezzo Mix and Watermelon Soda. I then made my way across towards Mission:Space. On the way, I stopped at the Pin Trading Station to get some special pins that they just had released. I missed out on the Thanksgiving pin I really wanted by waiting too long and I was not about to make the same mistake again. I got a Candlelight Processional Pin, a Holidays Round the World Pin and a pin with a Gingerbread House and Duffy. Then I carried on towards Mission:Space. The posted waiting time for the green version was 35 minutes, but as this was my last day at Epcot and I really wanted to do this ride, I had no choice. I started to doubt this assessment when I was actually in the building. The end of the line was closer to the pre-show than it had been on a number of occasions when the posted waiting time was 20 minutes. It also seemed to be moving very quickly. What made this even better was that they made an announcement that they needed single riders. I let them know that I was a single rider and was sent straight to a ready room so my total wait time was about 10 minutes. That is what I call a result. I really enjoyed the ride again. After the ride, I had a quick look on how the building work on Test Track was progressing. This still looked like a major building site and it was hard to believe that this would reopen in less than two weeks.

After a quick look in MouseGears, I crossed over to the World Showcase. I had an early lunch booked, but I still had some time to see Duffy. Also I always found it a bit strange that Disney set out to create a new character that is not linked to a film or an attraction just because they could, I have to admit that I rather like Duffy. He did have hardly a line, but it still took a while until it was my turn to see him. The reason behind this was that he spent a fair bit of time with everybody. Duffy was wearing his Santa outfit. I now have photos of him in his Halloween costume and his Santa outfit, but I have yet to catch him in his sailor suit. That is on the to do list when we are at Disneyland in May.















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Old 02-15-2013, 10:58 AM   #216
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When I had said goodbye to Duffy, I headed straight over to Canada where I had a reservation at Le Cellier. I had tried to get a normal lunch reservation there, but there was none available for my entire time at Walt Disney World. I then saw a link for the Candlelight Processional packages and decided to check it out. I was planning to see the Candlelight Processional anyway. Sure enough, there was availability for a Candlelight Processional Lunch Package atLe Cellier. I jumped on this. This included a three course meal, a non-alcoholic drink and a ticket for the Candlelight Processional. I was not too confident if I could eat all three courses, but I figured I could always pass on dessert. I had the Cheddar Cheese Soup for my starter. I had this a number of times before both at the restaurant and at the Food and Wine Festival and have always loved it. This was the main reason why I wanted a reservation at Le Cellier. This time round it was not the stuff of my dreams. It was way too salty and had very little taste apart from salt. I don't know if they meddled with the recipe or if the chef had a bad day, but this left me disappointed. The rest of the food was utterly delicious though. I had been considering the Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon, but I was pretty sure I would end up with steak for dinner so I went with the Grilled Pork Chop with Baked Cheddar Cheese Pasta, Tomato Chutney and Bourbon-Chipotle Glaze. The Pork was melt in the mouth and the mixture of flavours was amazing. After this I had essentially enough, but I could not resist the Chocolate Moose, which was very cute and absolutely gorgeous. When I finished my lunch and paid, I got my sticker for the first showing of the Candlelight Processional that day.











After this big lunch, I had to walk it off. I had a closer look around the Canadian pavilion to start of with. For some reason I always thought that the pavilion just consisted of the area where Le Cellier, Kidcot and Oh Canada are plus the various carts on the promenade. I never realised that there was more to it. I had a wonder around and enjoyed looking at all the different buildings and browsed at the shop before moving on to the United Kingdom. As I went past, I also heard Off Kilter for the first time. I stopped for a few minutes and listened. It was impressive, but not really my thing.





























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Old 02-15-2013, 10:59 AM   #217
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I wandered around the UK pavilion for a bit and took some photos. I know many people think this is the least impressive of the World Showcase pavilions, but I have always liked this. I love all the clever detail. What was a real shame though is that the area where the holiday storyteller for the UK could be found was very much hidden. I had not spotted this on my earlier visit on my trip. In most of the other World Showcase pavilions, the storyteller locations were very prominent. I am sure that a lot of people will have missed this.































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Old 02-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #218
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On my way to France, I stopped at the Agent P World Showcase Adventure recruitment station to see if they needed any help in France. This was the only mission that I had missed the previous time. I was in luck and soon I was on my way again with my F.O.N.E. A lot of the tasks used the same locations than the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, but there were some new ones as well. One of them was a little unfortunate as this was behind the outdoor seating for the bakery. I hope that this has now changed as the bakery has moved, but it was somewhat strange weaving around people sitting down to have their lunch. When had I finished my mission, I walked around and took some photos. I also spotted a Photopass photographer by the fountain and made good use of this.

















Next up was Morocco. This is another pavilion I have always neglected a bit. I can't really understand this as I love the Arabic architecture and culture. I have had a wander around the shops and had a meal at the Restaurant Marrakesh many years ago and that is about the grand total of my exposure to this particular pavilion. This time I had a good walk around and appreciated all the beautiful architecture and intricate mosaics. This is another seriously underrated pavilion.





















There was one tradition that I had to take care of and this was picking a pearl in Japan. They have changed the set up a bit and this is now much user friendly. You used to have to go to another till to pay for your oyster, got a ticket and then you waited your turn. I could never understand this as they always had a till for selling settings. Now you pay there and are given your number. The person before me got a beautiful light blue pearl. I was so jealous. If I had got this pearl, I most certainly would have had it set. In the end I just got a plain white one and just took it away in a little bag. I walked around Japan for a bit longer and took some photos. By then I was quite thirsty and decided that a Melon Kaki Gori would deal with this quite nicely.









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Old 02-15-2013, 11:17 AM   #219
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With my snack in hand, I slowly walked over to The American Adventure. I found myself a seat and while I was enjoying my Kaki Gori and managed to listen to at least one storyteller. The American Adventure has two storytellers, one for Hanukkah and one for Kwanzaa. I managed to catch the one for Kwanzaa. I have to say I had never heard about Kwanzaa before this trip. It is a harvest festival that is celebrated for 7 days starting on the 26th December by African-Americans and people of African ancestry around the world. It was fascinating to learn about this.







Apart from the two storytellers, The American Adventure also had a little Christmas Market. The highlight for me there was the Precious Moments Disney dolls. I so wanted to take one home. They really looked precious. After I had a good look around the Christmas Market, I got in line for a photo with Mr and Mrs Claus. That is something else that I learned that day. I never knew that Santa was married. Once I had finished with them, I had some photos taken in front of the beautiful Christmas tree and had a quick look at the gift shop before moving on to Italy.













Italy is another pavilion that I normally tend to bypass. So I decided to have a bit of a look around and take some photos. This is also a very pretty pavilion and I can't really understand why I never really had a look before. By then I could see long lines forming on the standby side for the Candlelight Processional. So even though it was still nearly an hour until the first showing was due to start, I figured that maybe I better think about checking out where I needed to be. I went to the wine shop in Italy and got a glass of Roasa Regale to sweeten up the waiting time a little and then I headed back towards the America Gardens Theater.













There were some cast members near the entrance to the America Gardens Theater and I checked with them where I needed to be. They checked that I had a dinner package ticket and asked me to put this on. The ticket was actually a sticker and apart from a guaranteed seat for the Candlelight Processional, it also provided access to a special viewing area for Illuminations. I had other plans for this evening, but this is a nice little extra. I was then directed towards the correct line. When I got to the end of the line, I was nearly in Morocco. I had my doubts that everybody in this line would get in nevermind anybody from the standby line, but I got talking with a cast member who was doing crowd control and he was optimistic. He told me that the dinner package line the previous day had gone all the way past France and they still managed to get most people in the standby line in. I enjoyed my Rosa Regale and them took a few more photos across the lagoon.

















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Old 02-15-2013, 11:30 AM   #220
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Once they started to let people in, the line moved very quickly. Even so I was so far back, I got a perfect seat. I ended up in the second row behind the VIP seating and pretty much right in the middle of row. I had a fantastic view. Our narrator that day was Geena Davis. Originally it was supposed to be Isabella Rossellini, but this was changed a couple of months before Geena Davis was amazing. I had heard a lot of hype about this before I went, but this always makes me a little suspicious. Almost without exception if there has been a lot of hype about something Disney-related, this has left me hugely disappointed. So I went to this with an open mind. Well, within seconds I was absolutely bowled over. From the choirs filing in with (electric) candles to the music and the scripture readings, everything was truly moving. I just about held it together until the sang the first verse of Silent Night in German and then I was done for. This was so beautiful. It was only a wile afterwards that it sunk in that was really amazing was not the performance, but that thousands of people take time out of their vacation to essentially attend a Carol Service. The video was recorded the previous day, but this was exactly how it was for us, too.

http://youtu.be/8LjKHVtBkL0











































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Old 02-15-2013, 11:43 AM   #222
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I was a little worried after the experience at Fantasmic how long it would take for the theater to empty out, but this went very quickly. I headed over to the German pavilion to have another look at the Christmas shop and took a few photos of their Christmas trees. One thing had intrigued me on my previous visit this trip and this was the pickle ornament. Supposedly it is a German tradition to hide a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. Well, I grew up in Germany and I had never seen a pickle ornament before this day nor do I know anybody of German origin who has. I was curious though and asked one of the German cast members whereabouts in Germany this tradition comes from. There was a good possibility that this is something regional and this is why I had never heard of it. She got very defensive and could not give me an answer beyond saying that they are made in Germany. I left with the distinct feeling that this is another thing that Germany produces exclusively for the export market. I have since done a bit of research and this appears to be correct. Apparently in 1890s, Woolworth started to import glass Christmas ornaments from Germany and the pickle ornament was a marketing stunt for that. Shame on Disney to try to pass this off as a German tradition in an area of the parks that is meant to be all about celebrating the culture of the host nations of the pavilions.











As I walked on to head towards the exit, I did notice that a little Christmas market had sprung up in Germany, too. They were selling predominantly the same things as the Christmas shop, but there was also a stall selling Gluehwein and some seating. I just had a quick look, but did not really stop. On my way past Mexico, I noticed that Donald was out in this Mexican outfit and had no line. So I stopped to have my photo taken with him.









I then crossed over back into future world and had some more photos taken with the Christmas tree and the topiaries. Epcot after dark really looks stunning, especially during the holiday season. I finally saw the "Pixie Dust" on the pavement that I had heard so much about and this is really magical. I also noticed near the exit that they had projected Happy Holidays on the monorail beam.



























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Old 02-15-2013, 11:44 AM   #223
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I left the park and went up to the monorail. I did not have to wait for very long before the monorail came. When I got to the Transportation and Ticket Centre, I encountered a problem. The express monorail to the Magic Kingdom was down and they were directing everybody to the ferry boat. I was not too bothered about this. There seem to be a lot of people waiting, but when the ferry boat arrived shortly afterwards, everybody got on. I went upstairs and found myself a spot near the front where I had a fantastic view of the monorail resorts and the castle. This looked truly magical all lit up.





















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Old 02-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #224
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When I got to the Magic Kingdom, I quickly went inside to pick up my spell cards and then I headed over to the resort monorail to go to the Contemporary Resort. With hindsight, I should just have walked. I assumed that as they were not allowing people heading for the Magic Kingdom to get on the resort monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Centre, they would apply the same rules at the Magic Kingdom for people wanting to get to the Transportation and Ticket Centre. This was not the case. Rather than directing people towards the ferry, they directed everybody towards the resort monorail. I saw 5 monorails come and leave until I finally got on one. I started to get worried that I would be late for my dinner reservation at The Wave. I did make it in time even though I somehow managed to get lost in the Contemporary Resort. Graham arrived around the same time as I did so all was well.

We had dinner at The Wave before and I liked the food, but the experience was somewhat spoiled as there was a screaming toddler at the next table. So I figured it was time for a do over. As there was also a nice perk for DVC members at the time that allowed any DVC member staying anywhere on property to visit the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower, this seemed perfect. I had a Coke and Graham had a glass of White Zinfandel. Graham chose Oven-roasted Chicken with Blueberry Bread Pudding and Locally Sourced Seasonal Vegetables. He said his food was just ordinary. I really enjoyed mine. I had Locally-sourced Thompson Farms Pork Tenderloin in an Apple-brine on Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Polenta and Vegetables of the Moment. This was absolutely delicious. The service however was atrocious. We seemed to be waiting forever until our server took our drinks order. Then it took a while for the drinks to arrive. Rather than taking our order for food at the same time, she told us she would be back and that took forever. I started to get antsy as I really wanted to see Wishes from the Top of the World Lounge and that was creeping ever closer. I checked with Graham and he did not really want a dessert. I had been looking forward to the Fall Ice Cream Trio, which consisted of Pumpkin pie with Maple Glazed Pecans, Double Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel Swirl, but when it came down to it, the fireworks won. We asked to pay and this actually happened quite quickly.

We walked across to Bay Lake Tower. They had some rather lovely Christmas decorations, but I figured I could come back for them the next day. We checked in at the new check in desk for Bay Lake Tower and then were escorted to the lift that goes to the Top of the World Lounge. Because of the new perk and the fact that we were relatively late, I expected that it would be packed and I was a little worried that we would not get a decent view. Well, there was hardly anybody up there. I took a view photos of the castle and Space Mountain while we were waiting for Wishes to start. Wishes was amazing again and I took loads of photos. I was so glad that I had this opportunity.











































Once Wishes was finished, we went back downstairs and walked over to the Magic Kingdom to get a bus back to Old Key West. This time we had a bit of a wait for the bus, but that actually turned out a blessing in disguise as while we were waiting, we saw the Electrical Water Pageant go by. When we got back to our room, we got ready for bed. It had been a long day.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:42 PM   #225
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I agree about the cheese soup, or should I say salt soup. it was not great at all. no flavor other than salt. I love salt and it was too much for even me. Actually our whole meal was like that.

I can't believe you didn't know Santa was married!
I know you didn't grow up in the US at all, but didn't you guys have tv Christmas specials? Like the year without a Santa Claus, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, or Rudolph? Santa always has a wife in all the shows. And then the whole Santa Claus 2 movie is about Santa picking a wife. I am just shocked you didn't know.

I have heard the same about the pickle as well. My dis friend Karin is from Austria and she says that is not true at all. I have since heard others tell me that as well. I was telling MIL about it one day a few months ago and she got defensive with me as she had a "German" Aunt who always had a pickle. Now she wasn't from Germany, but she supposedly held all the traditions, but my guess is she fell for something commercialized as real.
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