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Old 12-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
levenhopper
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Talking We went, we saw, we conquered the lines! December, 2012 TR!

Hey all! My name is Jordan, and I just got back from my first trip to the magical place we call Walt Disney World!

If anyone is looking for the background of this trip, feel free to check out my PTR “Is it Disney Time Yet?!?” (link in the second post). If you don’t want to read that, the Readers Digest version is that my best friend Abby and I decided to treat ourselves to a 8-day, 7-night trip to WDW as an award for surviving the semester. We stayed at the Art of Animation resort (standard Little Mermaid room), with the Deluxe Dining Plan. The trip was everything I could have dreamed of, and then some.

Without further ado, here we go!

Last edited by levenhopper; 12-30-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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Pre-trip Report

Regular Photos
Character Photos
Photopass Magic Shots
Ride Photos

Friday, December 14
Saturday, December 15
Sunday, December 16

Last edited by levenhopper; 12-30-2012 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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Friday, December 14

Abby is borderline-obsessed with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, so we went to see the midnight release showing of The Hobbit. Itís a pretty long movie (2 hours, 47 minutes), so we didnít get back to my house until 3:30AMish. I still had to pack, and we had to leave my house at 6:15AM to make it to the airport for our 8:45AM flight. Thankfully, packing went without a hitch, and we were able to get two hours of sleep before waking up for the flight. Everything at the airport went smoothly, and our flight took off on time. We ended up making up time in the air, and landed 20 minutes early . We used DME, and had our bags checked all the way to the resort, so off to DME we went. We got super lucky and only waited about 15 minutes for a bus to arrive. Even better, AoA was the first resort to be dropped off!

We got to the resort 12:15PM. There was only one person ahead of us to go through the online check-in line, which didnít take long at all. Abby and I got our birthday buttons, and I also got my first-time button! We quickly went to the room to drop off our bags, and off to the Magic Kingdom we went.

We got to MK around 1:00PM, and got our PhotoPass+ pass. Between PhotoPass+ and the photos Abby and I took on our cameras, we ended up with almost 1000 pictures, including tons of ride photos and all the photos from our character meals and meets. In my mind, PhotoPass+ is totally worth it.

Abby and I were lucky enough to be part of the FastPass+ trial, so we went right to our first FP+, which was Peter Panís Flight. From there, Abby and I went next door to check out PhilharMagic. After that, we went to get some regular FPs for Buzz Lightyear, which is when we got our first bit of pixie dust! While we were getting our FPs for Buzz, the CM manning the FP distribution gave us bonus FPs for Space Mountain, good ASAP. We went to ride Space Mountain, and then went to our second FP+, preferred viewing for the parade.

After the parade, we went to ride Buzz Lightyear with the FPs we got before the parade. We then went to Space Mountain to use our third set of FP+s, but grabbed some regular FPs before boarding, which meant we could ride Space Mountain back-to-back using FPs both times. After that, we grabbed some Buzz Lightyear FPs, and went to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor while we waiting for our Buzz LIghtyear FPs. We did Monsters Inc, then Buzz, and then went to use our last set of FP+ on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (overrated, in our opinion...we have no idea how people would ride it multiple times and not get bored). We hustled over to the Haunted Mansion and rode it with a ten minute standby line, and then got to Main St. to see the castle lighting at 6:15PM. Sometime during all this, we went to grab a QS lunch at Cosmic Rayís (but Iím not sure when).

After that, we hopped over to Epcot via the monorail, and went to Mission:Space. As we were walking into the standby line, a CM (looked like a manager) asked if we had ridden Test Track yet. When we said we hadnít, he gave us a set of FPs! We then went to grab dinner at a QS in the Japanese pavilion, before watching Illuminations. At first, Abby and I werenít impressed with Illuminations at all. But, the more I think about it, the more I think it was because we were exhausted and didnít have the best view of it. We had originally planned on staying late in Epcot and taking advantage of PM EMH, but we were too exhausted. We went straight to bed, and caught six-ish hours of sleep before getting up for day two!
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:56 PM   #4
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Saturday, December 15

Our morning started early, as we wanted to grab FPs for Toy Story Mania. Unfortunately, we underestimated the need to be at DHS right at park opening, didnít make it in time to get FPs. We werenít too worried, as we had FP+ for it later in the morning. Instead, we went to the other side of the park and rode Tower of Terror and Rock ĎN Coaster before our FP+ at Star Tours. Next, we went to Toy Story Mania and used our FP+ for that. After riding that, Abby said she wanted to try out for the American Idol Experience. We had some time to kill, so we went through the audition process, and she made it! Abby was scheduled to be in the 1PM show, so I had a little rearranging to do. We ended up skipping our FP+ for Tower of Terror (not a big deal since we had already rode it), and the American Idol staff said weíd be done for our lunch ADR at 50ís Prime-Time Cafe.

Abby went up against two strong competitors, but she came out victorious! But now we had the biggest conundrum of the trip: should we stay for the evening showing of American Idol, or should we go to Cirque du Soleil like we had planned for? American Idol wouldnít let us move her evening performance, and the La Nouba box office is closed on Saturdays and Sundays so we werenít able to reschedule our tickets to a different night. After much debate, we ended up keeping our La Nouba tickets, and said weíd try and get Abby to reaudition on Thursday, when we were back in DHS. We went to our 1:50PM ADR at 50ís Prime-Time Cafe (which we really enjoyed), before heading to Downtown Disney to see Cirque du Soleil. We got to DTD a little early, so we roamed some of the shops before heading to the show.

Cirque du Soleil was one of the three biggest highlights of our trip. Words simply donít do it justice. It was 90 minutes of pure bliss. Iím not going to try to describe it, because you wonít believe it until you see it.

After Cirque du Soleil, we went to dinner at T-Rex, which was one of the most entertaining meals of the trip. The food wasnít the best (but not bad by any means). There was a lot of things to capture our attention while we waited for our table, and even more things to look at inside the restaurant. The animatronics were really cool to look at, and helped to pass the time between courses. After dinner, we met up with one of Abbyís friends (and his brother) who were also in DTD. We grabbed some drinks and hung out, before splitting up around 10:30PM so Abby and I could do some shopping. We shopped like maniacs, but got to all the stores we wanted. We then headed back to the hotel, utterly exhausted and knowing the wake-up call would be coming too soon.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:56 PM   #5
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We started the day with the first of three character breakfasts we would have this trip. We bussed over to Epcot, and had breakfast with the princesses at Akershus. The meal was great, and it was a good way to get in the mood for a busy day in the park!

Our pre-trip plan was to be really busy the first couple hours, so we’d get a lot of headliner attractions in before the park got too busy. Thankfully, we had gotten to ride Test Track and Mission: Space on Friday, so we weren’t as stressed to get everything done. After breakfast, we went to Sorin’ and grabbed some FPs before getting in the standby line. After getting Sorin’ done, we had the rest of the day to move at a normal pace, which let us explore and enjoy. We looked at the aquarium, and did the Nemo show and ride. We rerode Mission: Space, and then took some time and went through all of the World Showcases. Abby and I did some more shopping, and stopped in every country to look around. We had a few drinks throughout the afternoon, but didn’t attempt to drink around the world.

One of my highlights of the World Showcase was Japan. Abby is a Japanese minor at OSU, so we took a lot of time and interacted with a lot of the CMs there. I also did pick-a-pearl, and got really lucky with both of the oysters I chose. One of them had twins, so I was able to get my sister a pair of earrings made from the twins, and got her a necklace with the pearl in the other oyster.

As the day turned into night, we headed to Le Cellier for our 7:35PM ADR. Unfortunately, we didn’t get seated until after 8PM. But I think that’s the only bad thing I can say about our meal. Everything was delicious, and we had a really enjoyable meal. Right after we ate, we quickly made it to Japan to pick up the pearls after having them set, and then hustled out of Epcot to avoid the mad rush to the busses that would happen if we waited for Illuminations to end.

Last edited by levenhopper; 12-30-2012 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:49 PM   #6
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Glad you had a better star then I did, we did just regular photopass but we are going back in 20 days and I upgraded us to PP+. Can wait to read how the rest of your trip turned out.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:34 AM   #7
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Le Cellier is on my "must do" list for our next trip! I am also jealous you got to see La Nouba. Maybe next time I'll use the babysitting service (or leave the kids at home! LOL)
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:43 AM   #8
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Joining in! I looked at your pictures first and will have to read later. It looks like you two had a wonderful time!!!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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Joining in!

My sister and I also did the midnight showing for The Hobbit, though it was after my WDW trip. I did have to get up at 6am for work the next morning though, but the movie was worth it!

I was so glad I did PP+ too, and will definitely get it again for future trips.

Your first 3 days sound like fun! I'm glad Abby did AI and I hope she got to do it again later in the trip so she could compete completely. I don't blame you for choosing La Nouba instead, as it sounds incredible. I hope to do that my next trip!
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:16 PM   #10
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I'm glad FP+ worked so well for you! And now I want to see La Nouba ... next trip I guess, though it'll be hard to decide between that and Blue Man Group!

Sounds like you guys didn't get a ton of sleep on this trip, but you got a ton done!
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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Wow you guys got a lot done!!
Day 1---awesome FP pixie dust!!
Day 2---I am soooo glad you loved La Nouba since you had to choose between it and AI.
Day 3---A Japanese minor? Wow. What is her major? Congrats on the twin pearls! That is back on the list for my next trip since we didnt get to it this time.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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LOVE all the pics!!! You look like you had so much fun!!
My favorites---you proposing to Anastasia
O-h-i-o with Aladdin and Jasmine Did they understand what you wanted? Last year James had on a Block O shirt and Aladdin asked him if he went to college there. Just a little out of character.
ToT with the missing person is my fave ride photo pose, but there are a bunch of good ones. I can never remember where the cameras are. Except Dinosaur, but that darn thing scares me every time. How nice you got your own car in Dinosaur!


Happy New Year Jordan!!!!
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:17 AM   #13
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Loved your photos and I must admit, the O-H-I-O picture with Aladdin and Jasmine was my very favorite! You got more character photos that we did (hubby was a great sport with all of them). Next trip I will have to seek out the princesses with their partners. I totally missed Rapunzel, though, and your Merida was different than mine. Enjoying your TR, and especially the pictures!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:25 PM   #14
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Loving the pictures and sent you a friend request on FB. 2hrs sleep, gotta love that Ė but the Hobbit would be worth it. PhotoPass+ is sooo worth it, wasnít it great! Just have to ask, where was the special pic taken with Abby wearing the fairy wings?

Nice score with the SM FPs! How was the preferred viewing for the parade? All of those FPs made for quite the fast-paced day! And adding EPCOT to it Ė wow. I understand your point of view on Illuminations Ė Iíve seen it twice and Iím pretty much done with it. But you should give it another chance when youíre not so tired.

On your day 2 I was having the TSM conversation on my TR as day 1 for us was DHS. If you arenít there within the first hour or so of opening those FPs have evaporated. So cool that Abby did so well at the American Idol Experience but what a fix it put you two in with the evening performance VS the loss of $$ to skip La Nouba Ė ugh! I think you made the right call in keeping the Cirque tickets. Iíve heard nothing but stellar reviews of the show

Iíve heard the same thing about T-Rex and the same thing basically holds true for Rainforest. You go there for the atmosphere and show, not the food. Another long day Ė sounds like the way we started our trip!

Day 3 sounded great with a good start with the characters, thrills in the AM, and a leisurely afternoon. We did the exact same thing on our EPCOT day (down to the breakfast at Akershus and dinner at Le Cellier) and we spent a staggering amount of time in the Japan pavilion as both of our daughters are heavily into anime/manga. Nice score with the pearls Ė Iím sure you sister was very happy about that!
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