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Old 01-17-2013, 06:13 PM   #31
SoNotAPrincess
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Subbing on... anyone who quotes A Tale of Two Cities and uses the word Tomfoolery is a kindred spirit...
I'm glad you're here!

It's nice see that my lit minor is coming in handy, it's good to know I'm not the only one who talks like I stepped out of Good Will Hunting!
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:55 PM   #32
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Look at me bustin' out updates! I have some stuff coming up that may limit my Dis time...or maybe not, who knows...so I figured I may as well post 'em as I write 'em!

Day 1, Chapter 5—The Nightmare Before Christmas


“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.” (A Christmas Story)


When we were planning the trip, Earl said he thought that Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue would be a fun way to kick off the trip…perfect for a festive Christmas Eve at Disney...so I made a 6:15 p.m. ADR. It would be a first for everyone, and I was pretty jazzed about it.

I told everyone that we needed to be at the bus stop by 4:15, and with one voice they said I was crazy and there was no way it would take two hours to get to Fort Wilderness. I gave them my do-not-mess-with-the-Disney-Diva face and threatened to withhold information regarding all future ADRs. They backed right down.

It’s good to be the diva!

Brianna popped into our room, spotted my pink tree and insisted that it was grossly unfair for me to have it and not her.

Brianna: “Pink is my favorite color!”
Me: “Mine, too.”

Brianna: “I’m a kid, and Christmas is for kids!”
Me: “Nice try, sugar lump, but Christmas is for everyone.”

Gabriel: “You’re more grown up than Aunt Lauri anyway.”
Me: “Don’t help!”

Brianna: “Please, Aunt Lauri, can I have it in my room? I really love it!”
Me: “You’re lucky I’m a sucker for good manners.”

While doing a little victory boogie, she saw my sparkly silver ears and lobbied to borrow them. I had planned to wear them myself but decided that if one of us had to be a grown up, it should probably be me.





Besides, I had a back up chapeau…





Or two…



Just like a boy scout, a diva is always prepared!

My intimidation tactics worked just as I planned, and we were at the bus stop at 4:15 on the dot.

The plan was to take a bus to MK, then hop a boat to Fort Wilderness. Brianna was VERY excited to be getting on a Disney bus. We watched bus after bus after bus come and go. Seven Epcot buses, five for DHS, four for AK, three for DTD, and a few that I didn’t jot down. The crowd waiting for an MK bus was getting irritated and antsy. Brianna’s excitement was waning, and she got a little whiny.

Then a lot whiny.

People started asking bus drivers not bound for MK when one would be there. They all had the same answer, “Soon. Should be one right behind me.”

Some people left the bus stop, and some got on other buses. Some dude wearing a suit came out and lurked in the bus depot, writing mysterious top secret information on his official Disney clipboard. We asked him if he knew what was up with the lack of MK buses, and he said (and I quote)…

“Unfortunately, I’m not privy to the schedule regarding motor coach transportation to the Magic Kingdom tonight. I’m compiling data that will be used during statistical analysis of transportation engineering as we endeavor to meet our guests’ future needs.”

And then he moved down to the other depot.

Gabriel said, “Fancy talk from a bus monitor.”

I wondered why he wasn’t more concerned about the CURRENT transportation needs!

After waiting 45 minutes, my family staged a mutiny, stating that were getting on the next bus and going from there. I tried explaining that it would make the journey longer, but I was ousted from power. They just wanted to get on a bus.

Any bus.

An Epcot bus arrived next, and the good thing is that we were the only ones getting on so I didn’t feel like I was holding anyone up while Mom and I got the scooters on board.

I’m not gonna lie…I was pretty nervous about getting the scooter on and off the bus. Mom is an experienced scooter operator, but I was a true blue newbie. Gabriel and Earl were both insisting that they would NOT help me; and even though I didn’t THINK they’d desert me, what if they did?

Mean old stinky boys.

I managed to do it myself, but it wasn’t pretty.

We detoured through POFQ (no idea why) but eventually made it to Epcot, where the bus halted at the first stop. The FW bus stop is the LAST stop, making them about as far away from each other as possible. Brianna cried because she had to walk so far, so Mom let her sit on her lap, in spite of my safety concerns.

I love Epcot, and it was a little bit like torture to have it RIGHT THERE and not be going in. I over-zoomed and took a picture of my beloved slightly irregular geodesic sphere.



Forty minutes later a bus bound for WL and FW finally pulled up. It was 6:15 p.m., we were officially late, and my credibility as Disney navigator was gone.

Gone like the wind that swept across Georgia. Gone like the snows of yesteryear.

I asked the bus driver the best way to get to FW for HDDR, and he said to get off at WL and wait for a settlement bus to take us to FW.



Since his sign said he was going to FW, it didn’t sound right, so I asked again; and, again, he said that we needed to get off at WL and wait for a settlement bus to take us to Pioneer Hall.



I started to ask him another question, but he cut me off and said that to get HDDR, we had to catch a settlement bus at WL. I was pretty sure that settlement buses pick up at the first FW bus stop, but he was obviously done talking to me; so I gave up.



My family was looking at me like I was the Grinch, Darth Vader, and Scrooge McDuck rolled into one; and I deflated.

As directed by the bus driver, we got off at WL and then waited almost 30 minutes for a settlement bus. We were the first ones at the bus stop, but there was quite a crowd by the time the bus arrived. I knew Disney would be crazy busy because of the holidays, and I added extra time to all my Disney transport plans, but this was ridiculous. I chatted with some of the folks waiting and heard their horror stories about Disney transportation during the holidays.

Maybe it should have made me feel like we were all in it together, but all I could think was that we had ten more days of this to deal with!


Up Next: Doin’ the Doo…
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:38 PM   #33
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Oh goodness... how awful! I'm so sorry about all your transportation troubles. I truly hope you didn't have to deal with THAT the entire time!
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:56 AM   #34
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Love your TR so far, you are very entertaining.

We are going down for Thanksgiving or Christmas (haven't decided yet) and staying at POR in a RGR. I'm even more excited after looking at your pictures. My dd loves finding Hidden Mickeys - thanks for posting the ones in the room.

I'm sorry about your bus experience. I hope it got better. We had friends that went down for Christmas and had no problems with transportation.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:16 AM   #35
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Oh goodness... how awful! I'm so sorry about all your transportation troubles. I truly hope you didn't have to deal with THAT the entire time!
It was SO bad, but it got better. Thank goodness!

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Originally Posted by PrincessKyleigh View Post
Love your TR so far, you are very entertaining.

We are going down for Thanksgiving or Christmas (haven't decided yet) and staying at POR in a RGR. I'm even more excited after looking at your pictures. My dd loves finding Hidden Mickeys - thanks for posting the ones in the room.

I'm sorry about your bus experience. I hope it got better. We had friends that went down for Christmas and had no problems with transportation.
Thank you!

Holidays at Disney are extra magical...I'm sure you'll have tons of fun! I love finding hidden Mickeys, too! Since I'm pretty bad at spotting them, each one is extra special to me!

Transportation definitely improved!
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:21 AM   #36
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Hi There!!!! I'm coming along for the ride, if you don't mind. I cannot believe your ordeal with the transportation. I don't think we've ever waited that long for a bus!! You poor thing! But, I am anxious to read all about the Hoop De Doooooooo!
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:29 AM   #37
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Joining!!
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I would BLAST Christmas, Don't be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks and follow it with I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Yes Yes Yes!!! Pretty much my 3 favourite Christmas songs ever!!

ARGHHH!!! That room is AMAZING!!!! I love the amount of detail!! Oh dear, I probably would have only found about 2 of those hidden mickeys

Oh no!! Transport troubles already! I love Disney transport a LOT but sometimes I swear you need to put aside most of a day to get to your destination!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:24 AM   #38
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Hi There!!!! I'm coming along for the ride, if you don't mind. I cannot believe your ordeal with the transportation. I don't think we've ever waited that long for a bus!! You poor thing! But, I am anxious to read all about the Hoop De Doooooooo!
So glad you're here!

The bus situation that night was horrific, for sure! Revue review up next!!


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Joining!!

Yes Yes Yes!!! Pretty much my 3 favourite Christmas songs ever!!

ARGHHH!!! That room is AMAZING!!!! I love the amount of detail!! Oh dear, I probably would have only found about 2 of those hidden mickeys

Oh no!! Transport troubles already! I love Disney transport a LOT but sometimes I swear you need to put aside most of a day to get to your destination!
You're a girl after my own heart! I love silly songs...especially silly Christmas songs!

The royal guest rooms are PERFECT! I love looking for hidden mickeys, but I'm very bad at finding them. Looking for them by myself, I'd have been lost for sure!!

I know! I sing the praises of Disney transportation, so to have such a FAILTACULAR the first night was so bad! Thankfully, it got better!!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:30 AM   #39
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Day 1, Chapter 6—Doin’ the Doo


“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”
(Elf)


We finally arrived at Fort Wilderness two hours and forty minutes after we started out from POR. The spot where the line for HDDR should have been was deserted, and the doors were shut and secured against intruders.

Hungry, unhappy, impatient intruders like us.

Gabriel spotted the Will Call window and went to inquire as to what we should do. As I was turning around to follow him, I saw Frontier Donald, and all other thoughts went, WHOOSH, right out of my mind. He was just waddling around by himself, waiting to be noticed. Hoping he would cheer Brianna up, I called out to him. He turned towards me about the same time that Bee noticed him; and she hurried to my side. He put his arm around me; and when I told him he was my favorite duck, he gave me a loud kiss on the cheek, which made her giggle. I loved it, too…who knew a cranky duck could be so sweet?

She lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree…



Brianna’s first character meet!

Gabriel called me over to the window, and I provided our ADR number and explained why we were late, reiterating what he had already told them about the hellacious journey over. The CM was a bit harried…not rude exactly but not friendly or particularly helpful either.

After admonishing us for being so very late (Hello…are you even listening? How much earlier than TWO HOURS should we have left?), he made a call; and an HDDR CM came out to take us inside. She was friendly but obviously didn’t know exactly what she was supposed to do. I wanted to leave my scooter outside (there were others parked in a corded area), but she insisted that I had to drive it in.

Okey dokey artichokey.

She tried to take us through a door that wouldn’t open; so we backtracked and followed her into Trails End where, going against the crowd, we squeezed through the throng, past the ice machine and kitchen, and into HDDR through an exit. This was particularly awkward for the scooters…Mom and I definitely didn’t make any friends.

HDDR was packed. And loud. The show was going full force, and the food had already been served. We were handed off to another CM, and he led us to the steps. I quickly explained that the ADR was for main floor seating to accommodate Mom because she can’t do stairs. Since we had special instructions on several of our ADRs, I printed them; and I pulled the confirmation out to show him. He was exceptionally friendly and accommodating…just exactly what you’d expect from a Disney CM…didn’t even look at the paper and assured us he’d get us set up in no time.

Unfortunately, there were no vacant tables in the dining room proper, so they set one up for us in the back, by the door, in the dark.

It was a tall table with barstool-type chairs; and once Earl gave Mom a little boost up, she was fine. Brianna thought it was cool, and it was OK for everyone else.

Except me.

My left knee doesn’t bend properly, so I couldn’t hook my heel on the chair rung, leaving my leg sort of dangling at an odd, uncomfortable angle with no support. All things considered, I decided to keep that little piece of 4-1-1 to myself.

Our server took our drink orders but didn’t mention that sangria, beer, and wine were included in the price. Luckily, I already knew and ordered sangria. Prompting everyone else (except Mom and Brianna) to request the same.

Gabriel said, “Keep ‘em coming”

Yeah, what he said!

I watched a couple of servers bring our food down the stairs (no doubt from the table intended for us) and wondered how long it had been sitting out. Based on the temperature, I’d say quite a while. The ribs, fried chicken, corn, baked beans, and mashed potatoes were cold. The limp salad was room temperature, and the dressing was warm. The cornbread was the best thing on the table.

For this we’re giving up two TS credits each?!!?

Gabriel and I wanted to send everything back and have fresh, hot food brought out; but everyone else insisted that it was OK. I assured them that it wouldn’t be a problem and that Disney is known for customer service and making things right; but Mom, Lenny, and Earl all insisted that we just let it go.

Sigh.

Alrighty then.

I was worried y’all. If the food was this unimpressive, was the show going to be a bomb, too?


Up next: The Verdict (continued in next post)
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:02 AM   #40
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---Continued from Previous Post---


Day 1, Chapter 7—Doin’ the Doo (continued)


“I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite.” (Elf)


DISNEY DIDN’T FAIL ME!!

HDDR lives up to the hype…it is FANTABULOUS! How can I have not seen it at least a hundred times?????

Even though we missed the beginning, I was captivated, charmed, and completely sucked into this goofy old west vaudeville show. HDDR is the longest running stage show in the WORLD (not WDW, Earth!) for a reason!

If you like corny jokes and rollicking humor paired with classic songs like The Ballad of Davy Crockett and My Darling Clementine, get thee hence to HDDR! The show is exquisitely punny (and who doesn’t love an awesome pun?), and the performers were on par with FotLK (completely different vibe, of course, but equally talented). If you knew how much I adore FotLK, you’d realize what a ginormous compliment that is!!

Even the disappointing food didn’t stop us from hoopin’ and hollerin’, waving our napkins, and singing along at the top of our lungs. It’s too bad we were so far removed from the action…I would have dearly loved having Gabriel called out by the performers…but we had a fine ol’ time anyway.





I loved Claire de Lune’s (purple dress) oft-repeated high-pitched giggle and Dolly Drew (red skirt) doing the Hokey Pokey. But the best was every single second that Two Bits Slocum was on stage. I don’t know who the CM with the rubber face and perfect comedic timing is, but whatever they’re paying him is not enough! After the nightmare of getting there, comic relief was just what we needed.



Quite simply, HDDR is beyond the beyond...genius taken to the Disney level!

Sadly, we were too far back to get pictures of the show (all the photos above are from uncredited photographers). So I took a picture of my hey-this-is-great-even-though-the-food-is-cold brother. I love him so much…even if he is Mom’s favorite! (You can see how far we were from the other tables and the stage.)



And one of Mom, who is even more easygoing than he is!



Dessert is strawberry shortcake, and it got rave reviews…even from Gabriel who is my own personal food snob. There’s even a production number to introduce it!



Near the end of the show, I got up to stretch my knee a bit. Gabriel knew I was feeling rough, so he followed me and let me lean against him while he rubbed my shoulders. I don’t know how a shoulder rub could make my knee feel better, but it did. While we were away from the table, Brianna acquired a musical washboard and was ready to march around the dining room with the other kids.



It was fun watching her get her Hoop-Dee-Groove on!

So, how would I rate HDDR?

First, don’t go at all if you’re only in it for the food. This isn’t Cali Grill or Flying Fish. Even served fresh and hot, it’s just basic mass-produced grub...nothing extraordinary.

Now, about the service we received…I don’t like that our food had obviously been sitting on another table for a while. But we didn’t send it back, so that part’s on us. We certainly should have had the table we requested…and needed…so the disappointing seating location and inability to see the show is on them. Our server was attentive with drink refills.

The real reason to go, of course, is the show…truly, y’all, the mind boggles! We all loved it unreservedly and can’t wait to see it again. If you love zany, madcap, wacky entertainment, HDDR is for you. Become one with your inner goofball; and you’ll have the rip-roarin’, foot-stompin’ time of your life!

I understand why HDDR has so many repeat customers…I can’t wait to be one of them!


Up next: Back on Track!
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:44 PM   #41
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Wow....with all you went through to get there and then to be seated in the dark, in the back, with cold food? I think I would have broken out in hysterics!! That is soooooooooo un-Disney like! I'm glad you enjoyed the show and you are a better person than me as I would have been upset for the rest of the evening. Wow....it's all I can say.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #42
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Wow....with all you went through to get there and then to be seated in the dark, in the back, with cold food? I think I would have broken out in hysterics!! That is soooooooooo un-Disney like! I'm glad you enjoyed the show and you are a better person than me as I would have been upset for the rest of the evening. Wow....it's all I can say.
Believe me, I was thisclose to going medieval on someone or busting out crying. I was SO emotional about the whole thing. But my mom and brother were adamant about "not making a scene" and I gave in to them in an effort to try to salvage the evening. At that point, I decided to just be in the moment, and the show really is awesome.

Have no fear, the Hoop Dee Doo saga isn't over...I'm just telling things in the order they happened. Stay tuned for the resolution!
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:52 AM   #43
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AHHH DONALD!

Excuse me.

Wow, that's such a shame about all that happened. I really wish yall would have sent back the food anyway! I'm so glad the show was enjoyable either way though. I really want to go someday, and I thank you for (unintentionally) teaching me that I should go after a day spent at MK!
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:41 PM   #44
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AHHH DONALD!

Excuse me.

Wow, that's such a shame about all that happened. I really wish yall would have sent back the food anyway! I'm so glad the show was enjoyable either way though. I really want to go someday, and I thank you for (unintentionally) teaching me that I should go after a day spent at MK!



Donald is one adorable duck!

Yeah, it was like a comedy of errors...only no one was laughing. There's a bit more to the story, so stay tuned for that! You should definitely do the Doo! Going directly from MK is a GENIUS idea!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:00 PM   #45
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Day 1, Chapter 8—Back on Track


“It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” (Scrooged)


We had to wait a bit for the crowd to thin out so we could get to the scooters, but soon enough we were outside in the crisp, chilly, oh-so-Christmasy air.

There were a lot of kids running around, CMs blowing bubbles, and a hula hoop contest in full twirl. Bee jumped right into the middle of things and had a fine time. Unfortunately, I was hurting and didn’t take pictures. Sadness. FW was really pretty, all lit up for the holidays! I found some photos on Flickr, taken by the exceptionally talented figmentfan84. Here are just a couple to give you an idea of what it was like.





There were plenty of buses waiting, and we boarded one bound for POR with no waiting…dillydallying so Brianna could play worked in our favor! She wasn’t happy to be leaving but cheered up when the bus driver offered her a lavender princess balloon that had been abandoned. I felt bad for the little girl who was probably crying because it was gone…and for whoever had paid $12 for the thing!

We made it back to POR with no transportation problems, and I hoped this was a good omen the rest of the trip…Christmas is the time for miracles, right? In spite of the Transportation Tragedy of 2012 and the pain in my knee, I was feeling blessed and happy. After all, it was a beautiful Christmas Eve night at Disney, I was surrounded by most of my favorite people, and I was going to be sleeping in a royal guest room while fireworks exploded over my bed. We rolled/strolled by the river, our voices filling the quiet night; and I had a moment of perfect contentment, reminding me that things don’t have to be perfect to be perfect, you know?



I love this fountain…unfortunately, the pictures don’t do it justice!

Hmm…maybe super saturated from a different perspective…



Brianna agreed to one (and only one) photo with her helium-filled treasure…



…and then passed it off to her dad to hold…



…because a great dad will smile while he holds your pretty princess balloon and wears a silly Christmas hat!

Have I mentioned that I love my brother?



So pretty…tell me again why I can’t live here all the time?

Gabriel and I left the others and went back to our room where my knight in shining armor made me an ice pack. In short order I was feeling much better.

Since neither of us had eaten much at HDDR, we were both famished, and the three broken Bugles left from the drive over were NOT enough. Gabriel went on a food court run and returned with a veritable plethora of gastronomy…a pasta dish for me, burger and fries for him and carrot cake, cheesecake, and an apple pastry thing to share.

Here’s the thing…I don’t do cooked fruit. At all. Ever. That means no fruit pies, strudels, turnovers, crisps, or cobblers of any kind.

Embrace the weirdness!

We ate dessert first because we’re cool like that. I had the carrot cake (because vegetable desserts are perfectly OK), and he had the icky cooked fruit. We shared the cheesecake. All of them were yummy…Gabriel is still talking about that apple thingy. The pasta and burger were very good…and big, too. The burger had bacon, barbecue sauce, and deep fried onion rings on it, and it smelled divine. My pasta was packed with shrimp, and the Alfredo sauce was perfect. POR has the best food court of all the Disney resorts I’ve stayed at!

Gabriel found it odd that there wasn’t a microwave in the room (he noticed because we had leftovers that went into the fridge with no way to heat them up), so I told him if it’s that important to him, we can always stay at GF or one of the DVC resorts. Bay Lake Tower, here I come!

I wish!


Up next: A Fine Romance
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