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Old 01-25-2013, 04:52 PM   #61
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Enjoying your TR!! Count me in!!
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:19 PM   #62
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When is the marathon? We are going down (DH and I only) Oct 6-10. I figure at the 7 month window if its not available we stay at OKW (cheap points) and wait list it. Good luck! Are you looking for a studio or 1 bedroom?
The TOT race is a 10 miler and that's October 5th. The marathon's sometime in January and I think there's a half marathon in November too. I'm not crazy enough THIS year to try for a marathon.

We're looking for a studio. We've been borrowing instead of using the current use year so we need to be cheap for a few trips and get caught up.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:21 PM   #63
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Enjoying your TR!! Count me in!!
Thanks for reading!
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:57 PM   #64
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The TOT race is a 10 miler and that's October 5th. The marathon's sometime in January and I think there's a half marathon in November too. I'm not crazy enough THIS year to try for a marathon.

We're looking for a studio. We've been borrowing instead of using the current use year so we need to be cheap for a few trips and get caught up.
Nice! It sounds like fun- but also sounds like ill have a harder time getting that studio! I get confused with the running lingo I should try and figure it out better (i try to run 5 miles a day) but ehhh I get it about being cheap with points. We are going to have to borrow (I might buy some 1x use points too) for our October trip, but when we think about future vacations and what we will need it makes me debate certain luxuries (views etc) Maybe I will hit the lotto and add on!
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:49 PM   #65
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Maybe I will hit the lotto and add on!
That's my plan too!
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:52 AM   #66
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Our Final Adventures at Epcot

TUESDAY DECEMBER 11


We got to Epcot right around park opening.



As we were crossing the parking lot, I saw a monorail approaching. ARGH. We were going to get stuck in an ENORMOUS bag check line.

Then we came upon this:



There were two bag checks! There was literally not a single person waiting in line on this side of the parking lot. So after we were through, I had to run over and take a picture of the other line.



Suckers.





I took Luke to the BCC to feed him. The trees and the water looked so pretty this morning!





Brian tried to ride Test Track, but it was closed until 11. We met back up near the Imagination Pavilion to see my favorite show.



We got there just in time for the next show. I made sure to sit on the end in case Luke hated it and I had to run out. But, no worries! He danced and clapped.

We walked through Innoventions and Brian wanted to do Sum of all Thrills.



I walked around with Luke, then I got hungry so I walked around Future World until I found a pretzel. I saved half of it for Brian, because I love him. It took ALL of my willpower to not eat the second half of that pretzel. I went back to Sum of all Thrills to wait for him, but I couldn't see him in line. Luke and I made ourselves comfortable on a bench and sat for a few minutes. Then, for no real reason, I decided to stand up and look at the ride.



There was Brian, right behind me!

When Brian got finished, it was after 11 so we went back to Test Track. Now the standby line was 40 minutes and the Fast Pass/single rider line was 30 minutes. Nope, not happening.

Luke was napping, so we decided to do an Agent P Adventure.



We tried this once when it was Kim Possible, I think in Norway. Actually, Brian and Tom did it without me on our 2011 trip while I went to Welcome Home Wednesday at the Boardwalk.



Our adventure was in the UK, so we started to walk over.



The Canada storyteller was out, so we stopped and listened for a minute.



Then we got to the UK.



I can't remember any specific details, but the adventure was cute. I've actually seen Phineas and Ferb (unlike Kim Possible) so I think that helped me enjoy it more.



Walking through France, we saw Pere Noel just finishing up.



We were starving by now, so we stopped in America for lunch.



There was a cute gingerbread display inside, with Chef Duffy!







Brian got a steak, potatoes, and broccoli.



I got a black bean burger with fries.



Brian got a dessert, but I can't remember what it was.

I gave our lunch a 2 and Brian gave it a 2.5.



Luke was super cranky during lunch. He ended up getting food everywhere because he kept smacking my hand!

After lunch, we finished walking through the countries and decided to take Luke on the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico to see his old pal Donald Duck.



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Old 01-28-2013, 10:32 AM   #67
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Meet-and-Greets and the Merry Mixer

TUESDAY DECEMBER 11 (PART 2)


Next, we visited Duffy (in his Christmas outfit!). This was on my birthday list. I'm not sure why Luke looks so suspicious and disgusted.















We went back to Innoventions and got in line for the Visa photo op (another item on my birthday list).



You get a free photo from the meet-and-greet and we've been trying to do this ever since we got a Disney Visa card a few trips ago. The hours are something like 1:30-4:30, so by then we're usually over in World Showcase and don't feel like walking all the way back.

We waited about 10 minutes, but the two people in line in front of us had to round up literally TWELVE people when it was their turn. It was pretty outrageous.

In line we tried to guess who we would be meeting, because it's a random combination of the Fab 5 and they won't tell you who it is. It ended up being Mickey and Pluto.









Before we headed back to World Showcase, I nursed Luke and we went back to Test Track...but now it was down! Haha. Brian didn't even care all that much about riding it at this point.

We saw the end of the Three Kings story in Mexico.



Then saw some of the monkey king in China.



As we were walking through China, Brian said, "Hey, there's that drink you wanted to get the other day."

I looked, and there was a sign for the Tipsy Ducks in Love! Right there at the drink stand where I had looked for it on Sunday. I'd just fed Luke, so after some debate I decided I would get it. We mentioned to the guy that I hadn't been able to find it the other day and he said, "Yeah, it's seasonal." So apparently the season just started.



It was delicious!

We were heading to the DVC Merry Mixer now, which is the DVC holiday party. I think they have one every week of December. It's held in the World Showplace pavilion between the UK and Canada. We had to walk ALLLLLLLL the way into Canada to find the end of the line, and I was starting to think maybe we should have gotten there early. By the time we got in line, the doors had already opened and we were moving pretty quickly.



The building was huge and held a ton of people, so I'm glad we decided NOT to get there early and wait in line. There wasn't much reason to.

As we walked in, we saw Santa Goofy and Pluto meeting and greeting. They're everywhere! We ended up seeing them in all four parks.



As I was busy checking out Goofy and Pluto, Brian said to me, "You're going to be so excited. Mickey and Minnie are here...in their Christmas sweaters."

WHAT?!?

You might remember that seeing Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas garb at MVMCP was on my birthday list, but I skipped over them to see the princesses and their princes instead. If I met them here, I would have a chance to complete everything on my birthday list!

Brian knows me well. I was SO EXCITED.

We checked out some pins on display (I think they were upcoming releases? I wasn't paying much attention).



Then we got in line.



There was a professional photographer, but not PhotoPass. It was some other company. The photo on our camera turned out decent enough, so I wasn't going to pay $15 for their print.

Brian got in line to buy a pin while Luke and I watched the kids have a hula hoop contest.

Check out the DJ:



It was pretty festive. I was feeling the effects of the Tipsy Ducks, so Luke and I both found the hula hoop contest PROFOUNDLY INTERESTING. My youngest brother is actually a pretty phenomenal hula hooper, and I wished he'd been there. These kids were amazing.

After Brian got his pin, we got our holiday treats (Rice Crispy treats and sugar cookies) and drinks (apple cider, hot cocoa, and water).



They were selling those treats for $4 in the stores, and we got three of them for free. It was pretty awesome. We spent a little over an hour at the party. We also got a free ornament (it was the same design as the pin Brian bought). There was a raffle, too, but we didn't win anything. Overall I really enjoyed the party.

We were leaving the park now and Brian tried to lead the way toward Canada, but I wanted to take him to see the storyteller in Norway. We checked the showtimes and--ARGH--a show had just started. So we went over to Canada and checked out the shop. I wanted to get my Duffy a new outfit, but I hadn't seen the country-specific outfits anywhere. We asked someone...and they said they've been discontinued! Grumble grumble grumble. I saw them on sale three for $30 at the Disney Store online last summer, but I didn't buy any. Now I wish I would have. They were so adorable.

We saw some of Joyful on the way out.



As we were walking toward the exit, I happened to glance over at the Camera Center and remembered--we needed to pick up our free photo! It didn't take too long to edit the picture and get it printed, and then we left Epcot for the last time on this trip.

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #68
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Burritos!

TUESDAY DECEMBER 11 (PART 3)


After we left Epcot, Brian wanted to go visit Old Key West to look at the pins and also see if they had a kid-sized shirt for Luke to match our OKW shirts. I wanted to check out the decorations.













I love their pin board.

Sadly, they didn't have any Luke-sized shirts. After we left, we somehow got lost on the highway and drove down 192 looking for somewhere to have dinner. We didn't see anything good, so Brian suggested we go to the Pepper Market at Coronado Springs. After he mentioned it, I remembered reading about it online, but I would never have thought to suggest it. Coronado Springs is the other resort in the "Animal Kingdom Resort Area."





We checked out the lobby and the shop, then Brian came up to me and said, "Instead of a pin board, they had a pin-ata."

I'm like, "OH MY GOD, THAT'S AWESOME!"

And Brian says, "...and his name is Burrito."

Well, I had to meet Burrito, so I went up to the cashier and asked to look at the pins. Then I asked her if I could take his picture. She said of course I could, then asked if I wanted to get Luke in the picture too.





Sure, why not. Then she offered to take a picture of all of us with Burrito, but I really didn't need to take it THAT far, so I politely declined.

We went to Pepper Market and it's a very strange setup. You wait to be seated, and you have a waitress who gets your drinks, but you get your own food and then pay for it at a register before you leave. Brian went up and got a burrito, then I went up and looked at the food. I wanted a burrito but I didn't understand the setup, so I sat back down and made Brian get it for me.



You have to get a ticket stamped when you get your food.



This picture couldn't BE more boring, but I'm telling you, THE BURRITOS WERE AMAZING. 4's all around.

When we were ready to leave, the waitress insisted on not charging us for Brian's drink, because I only ordered water and I had my refillable mug with me. I tried to tell her that it was from another resort, but she either didn't understand or didn't care, and she didn't charge us for Brian's soda. Then when we got to the register, they charged Brian for two veggie burritos even though he told them his had meat. Maybe they were trying to make up for the fact that we had to wait FOREVER to pay. It was seriously a ridiculously long wait.

It was now our last night at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I still hadn't relaxed in the hot tub, which was on my birthday list. I hadn't been too worried about it before, but now that I had met Mickey and Minnie, I NEEDED to finish everything on the list! The stupid hot tub couldn't be the ONE thing I didn't do. But when we got back to AKL, I was just so tired. we rented Brothers Grimm from Zawadi Marketplace. I fell asleep twenty minutes in. I actually completely forgot we had rented it until I read this in my trip journal!

Day 10 Summary: Another great day! I was so excited to find both the Tipsy Ducks AND Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas sweaters. Our dinner at Pepper Market was so outrageously good--definitely worth a special trip. The Visa photo op and Merry Mixer were both fun, free things I would make an effort to do again in the future. We completed 4 items on my birthday list, bringing the total up to 24/30.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:49 AM   #69
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hahahahha I LOL'd at you saving half the pretzel for your DH because you love him. In DAK, I was waiting for DH and DD to get off of Kali, DS was asleep in the stroller, so I bought a jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel. I was so sad that DH and DD walked up before I finished it because I had to share! hahaha
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:52 AM   #70
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I like your list of things you really want to do. I think I might steal that from you next trip! I have never been to a Merry Mixer or Welcome Home Wed. What are the Welcome Home Wednesdays like? I know I have said this before but Luke is so adorable! He is very photogenic. So sad this is the end of your trip- I really need to get moving and finish mine....
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:14 AM   #71
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hahahahha I LOL'd at you saving half the pretzel for your DH because you love him. In DAK, I was waiting for DH and DD to get off of Kali, DS was asleep in the stroller, so I bought a jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel. I was so sad that DH and DD walked up before I finished it because I had to share! hahaha


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I like your list of things you really want to do. I think I might steal that from you next trip! I have never been to a Merry Mixer or Welcome Home Wed. What are the Welcome Home Wednesdays like? I know I have said this before but Luke is so adorable! He is very photogenic. So sad this is the end of your trip- I really need to get moving and finish mine....
The last time I went to WHW (2011), there was a game show format and they picked people from the audience to answer questions about Disney/DVC. The whole thing heavily promotes whatever big thing is currently new (I think it was Aulani last time). They changed the format last year and I think they do a few different games now instead of the game show. There's free lemonade and popcorn, and you get a free gift for coming (last time it was a hat, the time before that it was a pin) and then there's a drawing for door prizes. I wouldn't say it's a must do, but if you have some downtime, it's an amusing way to spend an hour.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:24 AM   #72
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12-12-12!

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12


This was originally our departure day, but we added two days off-site at the last minute. So, we were checking out of Animal Kingdom Lodge this morning, but NOT going home.

Luke woke up at 3:30 am to nurse, and then I couldn't fall back asleep so I decided to do laundry. I ended up doing laundry twice as often as I thought I would on this trip, so next time I will definitely bring more detergent (and dryer sheets!). I drank some hot cocoa in the laundry room and wrote in my trip journal. Then I went back to the room and fell asleep until 7:30.

After we got dressed, we packed everything up and started loading the car. I hate tipping people for things I can do myself, so I insisted we carry everything out instead of getting them to send someone up to help us. On my last trip down, I made a Herculean effort to get about six bags AND Luke AND his stroller down to the lobby all by myself. When we got out to the car, Brian said, "Did you get my tea?"

I said, "I THOUGHT YOU DIDN'T WANT IT." But apparently he did really want his tea, so all that effort was wasted and he had to make another trip up to the room. Because of the stress of packing and the sadness of leaving Animal Kingdom Lodge, I was like a cranky little kid this morning.

If we were going back in anyway, I wanted to fill my mug, but in the chaos of packing the car I had lost track of it. Brian ran up to the room while I waited in the lobby with Luke. I decided we needed to get some pictures in front of the tree. I'd been wanting to do this all week, but every time we passed through the lobby we were obviously on our way to do something else, and never made the time to stop.

When Brian came back, I told him I wanted his tea in the pictures but he refused.

The family pictures we took were Awkward Family Photo worthy, so I'll only post a few funny ones of Luke.





He just wouldn't stop making this face.



I don't know why. Maybe he was sad that we were leaving AKL too.

On our way to Magic Kingdom, I STILL couldn't find my mug, so I threw myself an impromptu pity party. The last time I could remember having it was when we left Coronado Springs the night before. I never found it, so I still have no idea what happened to it.

We arrived at Magic Kingdom and parked in the Heroes lot. This is the first time we were on the Heroes side of the parking lot on the whole trip! Brian said, "I wonder if all the heroes and villains match up. Like Peter Pan and Hook, Scar and Simba--"

"Zurg and Woody."

"No, not Woody. Buzz Lightyear makes more sense."

We started walking across the parking lot.

And then...



How rude. Let's try that again.



I was right! It's Woody.

But in case you were wondering, the Heroes and Villains DON'T match up. Here are the complete lists:





Oddly enough, the male characters all match up, but the females don't.

After we got inside, Brian went to the firehouse to get Sorcerer cards and I went into guest relations to check off another birthday list item: Fill out a comment card for a CM.

The CM I picked was Norma from the barbershop. It was a little awkward because I had to tell the guy what I wanted to say, and he filled the form out himself. I was still sick and I had practically lost my voice, so I sounded TERRIBLE. Later, I read a thread on disboards that suggested writing a letter AFTER your trip is the highest form of praise you can give a CM, so I'll definitely do that next time. Especially since it will be easier for me!

I took Luke to the BCC to feed him, then we walked over to Sunshine Tree Terrace to meet Brian. On the way there, we saw this grandmother yelling at her grandson to come use the bathroom. He was like, "I don't have to go." And she's like, "YOU'RE GOING TO USE THE BATHROOM." She yanked his arm, he fell over, and while trying to yank him back up she tripped over him and fell down! So there they are, in the most magical place on Earth, lying on the ground screaming...in their matching Perry the Platypus shirts. It was so sad.

Brian had gotten a citrus swirl for himself...and a soda for me in a new mug.



He is just so sweet.

When we were separated, Brian came across these guys:



So adorable. I would have definitely stopped if I'd seen then.

We walked around for a bit then went to Tortuga Tavern for lunch, which was probably a mistake after the GREAT burritos we had the night before, but we wanted to try it and this was the first time we had actually seen it open.



We both got burritos--basically the same thing we'd had for dinner the night before.



Brian gave his meal a 2, and I gave mine...a zero. It was so gross, I couldn't eat it. When we go to Qdoba or Chipotle, I have to unwrap my food and pick the cilantro out. But the cilantro rice at Tortuga Tavern didn't have pieces of cilantro...the rice was ONE with the cilantro. I thought if I covered it with enough cheese and sour cream I would be able to choke it down, but the cheese and sour cream were low quality fixin' bar crap, so that just made it worse. I gave up and fed some of it to Luke, because he doesn't have such a discriminating palate.

Brian finished his food first because I was having so many issues with mine, and he decided to walk back to the firehouse to get his portal changed because whatever portal he was supposed to use wasn't working.

While Luke and I waited for him to get back, a CM came over and asked how everything was. I don't know why, but I was actually honest with him and told him that my husband liked his food but I hate cilantro so I couldn't eat mine. He insisted on bringing me something else. I felt bad because I KNEW there was cilantro in the rice and I ordered it anyway, but he insisted. So I asked for a kids quesadilla because I knew it was cheap! And then he's like, "Okay, and that comes with two sides." So I got a free quesadilla AND two sides. I can't even imagine something like that happening anywhere else.

The quesadilla was the strangest thing I've ever seen. It wasn't flat...there was a huge ball of cheese in the center. I had to flatten it out before I ate it. But, it wasn't terrible and it kept me from dying of hunger. Thank you, kind Tortuga Tavern CM!

Brian came back for us after changing his portal to Fantasyland, so we headed there next. We got a Fast Pass for the Little Mermaid ride and then rode Peter Pan.



We had a 20-25 minute wait, but it wasn't too bad. I was a little afraid of Luke falling out of this one, but he was okay.

We did Winnie the Pooh next.





Luke wasn't big enough to appreciate the full experience, but it was certainly more entertaining than waiting in a normal line.





Brian played the Sorcerer game while Luke and I lurked.



I saw this shirt inside the store and it made me laugh:



Apparently if you wear it while you're playing the game, it gives you some kind of "Power Boost." Clever, Disney. Very clever.

After Brian triumphed over evil, we went over to New Fantasyland and rode the Little Mermaid ride.



Little Mermaid was one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a little girl, so I think this ride is a lot of fun.

We decided to leave Magic Kingdom for the day and go check into the Wyndham.

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Old 02-01-2013, 11:35 AM   #73
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Rainy Day at DHS

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12 (PART 2)


After staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, anything was going to look like a dive. I tried so hard to not be judgmental about every little thing and just enjoy two extra days at Disney....but LOOK AT THIS SIGN.



Oh my God. It's just so boring.

The layout of the hotel was kind of weird, but some employees gave us directions to the front desk and we checked in.



The CMs had pin lanyards for trading.



And there was a Christmas tree.



But here's the laundry room. I love Mickey's shrug. He's like..."So what?"



And here is the view of our room. Yawn.



We could see the pool from our room and it looked like the hot tub was blocked off. I told Brian I NEEDED to get in that hot tub for the sake of my birthday list, and if it was closed then he was going to drive me back to Animal Kingdom Lodge that night.



While I was taking a picture of the room number, Brian got all testy with me and told me to hurry up because there was a maid waiting to get by. That irritated me too. At AKL, THE MAID WOULD HAVE HAD ROOM TO GET BY.



As boring as the exterior was, the room was actually clean and nice. We got settled in, then got back in the car and headed over to Hollywood Studios.



It was raining pretty hard now.



We went in the back entrance again, so I never got to see the big Hollywood Studios sign on this trip!





This guy is sweeping up the rain. Oh, Disney.

We headed to Tower of Terror and I rode it for the last time on this trip. It was on my birthday list as "Ride TOT as many times as possible," and that ended up only being twice.

When it was Brian's turn, I hung out in the gift shop but I would have rather been standing in the rain!



EVERYONE exiting the ride felt the need to ring these bells. It was seriously maddening.

After Brian came back, I was a little hungry so we got pretzels and frozen lemonade.



Next, Brian rode Star Tours. I didn't want to do it alone because Darth Vader scares me.

Now that we knew Luke was interested in stuff, we decided to do something solely for him, which meant we were experiencing an attraction we've NEVER done before.



I've never watched any of these shows on television. Since Luke's aunt and uncle are 5 and 4, so I'm sure he's watched at least some of them at his grandmother's house.



The gist of the show is that Mickey's planning a surprise birthday party for Minnie, and everyone volunteers to do something. Daisy's going to hang a sign, Goofy's going to bake a cake, and Donald's going to compose a song. Mickey is going to...wait for it...get everyone to yell surprise. On this trip, I'd started to realize that Mickey is a totally crappy boyfriend. When we met him on Luke's birthday, one of the CMs asked him when he and Minnie were going to get married, and he hid behind a curtain. Then when we met Duffy at Epcot, I started thinking about how Mickey went on a cruise around the world and left Minnie at home. Now he's throwing a birthday party for her and making his friends do all the work. What a dope.

I knew that Handy Manny and Baby Einsteins and Jake and the Never Land Pirates were going to come into play, so I thought I knew what was going to happen. Handy Manny would teach Daisy how to use a hammer so she could hang the sign, and maybe one of the musically-inclined Little Einsteins would help Donald compose a song...

But no. The actual show was LUDICROUS. Daisy watched a skit from Jake and the Never Land Pirates and realized she too "has friends in high places" and uses some kind of crane to hang the sign. Then Goofy learns that if his friends simply cheer him on, he'll be able to bake a cake. WHAT? I can't remember what happened with Donald, but the whole thing was insane.



But yeah, Luke enjoyed it. I felt kind of bad because the family sitting in front of us had HEADPHONES to put on their youngest son to protect his ears. I'd taken Luke to see Captain EO without any fancy headphones. I'm probably a terrible mom.

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Old 02-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #74
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Osborne Family Lights

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12 (PART 3)


After the Disney Junior show, we went over to the Streets of America to see the Osborne Lights. It was already dark so we had missed them coming on for the first time, but we wandered around and watched them dance for three different songs.



































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Old 02-01-2013, 12:17 PM   #75
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A Visit to the Boardwalk

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12 (PART 4)


We left DHS for the last time and headed over to the Boardwalk to check out the Christmas decorations at the Boardwalk Resort, Beach Club, and Yacht Club.

We parked at the Boardwalk and obviously started there.



















We were hungry so we put our name down at Big River Grille.



There was a DVC room model right there, so we went in to check it out. The buzzer went off while we were looking, so we had to leave in a hurry.



I had a big salad. There wasn't much more on the menu for me, but that was okay. The salad was just a salad, but I felt bad giving it a low score so I gave it a 2.5 (as if these ratings have a bearing on anything).



It looks like Brian had a bacon cheeseburger. He gave it a 3.

When I went to the bathroom, I overheard some drunk older ladies in there talking. The first one said, "I'm going to call Bob and tell him I'm drunk. He'll be so happy. Wait. AM I drunk?"

Her friend said, "Yes."

After dinner, we stopped in the Boardwalk Bakery to get some dessert for later.



I got a cheesecake brownie and Brian got a fruit tart.


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