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Old 03-20-2013, 04:07 AM   #16
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You're going on a cruise?

OMG!!! I need to pack my Dramamine for this PTR/TR.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:40 AM   #17
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Joining along too. I guess we are doing the trifecta too! WDW and DCL cruise in December and DLR in January. We've got almost two months in America.

Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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Old 03-20-2013, 09:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
But, I will save the debate on which week (not yet decided) for another post. For now, the answer to “how it came to be” is simple: It’s been TWO years – how could we not!
That's a good enough reason for me!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:06 AM   #19
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Wow - a cruise. Since I share your apprehension for cruises (for slightly different reasons) will be following along closely as the experience unfolds. The ABD will be super interesting and nice for you two to have some time away from DD and together too. Even though ours is now 21, since she loves coming on hols with us, we rarely go without her still. DH and I are looking forward to having days "just us" and selfishly doing whatever we want, when we want, at DLP in May.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
You're going on a cruise?

OMG!!! I need to pack my Dramamine for this PTR/TR.
Ha, I promise not to "rock the boat" to much. Actually, I don't think sea-sickness will be a big issue. I have only occasionally had problems with motion sickness on boats. We did take bonine on our Great Barrier Reef cruise, but the motion was ridiculous and I wasn't bothered at all.

Actually thinking back that didn't bother me much as far as being on the water, and not nearly as big a boat as this. I find generally I am good as long as I am INSIDE the boat. Any act that can result in falling off the boat (being out on a deck) causes the most problems. Therefore, I assume there will be plenty on the cruise to distract me. It just seems stupid to go on a cruise and spend your time indoors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlea98 View Post
Joining along too. I guess we are doing the trifecta too! WDW and DCL cruise in December and DLR in January. We've got almost two months in America.

Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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:Welcome: aboard as well! Sounds like you'll hit the trifecta on a single trip. Does that make it an exacta? (Gambling joke, sorry.) Seriously though, let's all keep using the term. Then we'll know it all started here!

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That's a good enough reason for me!
Hah...yeah like all us "Mousejunkies" need a reason, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Wendy View Post
Wow - a cruise. Since I share your apprehension for cruises (for slightly different reasons) will be following along closely as the experience unfolds. The ABD will be super interesting and nice for you two to have some time away from DD and together too. Even though ours is now 21, since she loves coming on hols with us, we rarely go without her still. DH and I are looking forward to having days "just us" and selfishly doing whatever we want, when we want, at DLP in May.
I grew up an only child, and vacationed with my parents through university-age. But, they usually took one vacation a year without me. While we don't intend to do it that much, there are certain trips that might just be too expensive to take DD - like this one - and I have no problem with that. I hope she still wants to go on Holiday with us at 21.

We are really, really looking forward to being at a Disney Park and just doing what WE want to do. so, while I like that we're going to be meeting new people, I also hope we get some "just the two of us" time, KWIM!

Some updates on trip #1 coming soon I hope! I will try and update the date in the title whenever I add some new posts.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:02 PM   #21
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Trip #1 – Details of arrival and Day 1 plans

A quick note before I get into the trip plans. To make this PTR more interesting, I have tried to add some pictures throughout. These are not MY pictures, but are publicly available pictures from the internet. I do not intend any copyright infringement or look to profit from their use in any way. If the site wants me to take them down, I will gladly oblige.

One of the things that keeps the ABD – BSM trip more affordable than most, besides the fact you don’t leave the country – is that it is fairly short. While it’s listed at 6 days, 5 nights, it’s really only 4 full days, with two very short days. The trip itself starts on Sunday, June 9th with a welcome dinner at the Lowe’s Hollywood hotel at Hollywood and Highland, and ends with breakfast on Friday, June 14th. But, I am very paranoid of air travel delays, and I would never risk flying out to the trip the same day as it starts. Plus, we want to take advantage of having a trip without DD.

Our original plan was to expand the trip as much as possible, fly out on Saturday and return the following Sunday. My mother-in-law, who’s retired, had agreed to watch Adriana Then I realized that Sunday was Father’s Day, so I at least wanted to be back for that.

We fly Southwest whenever we can. This is partly the price, but mostly because we use our Southwest Visa card to build points. If you calculate it out, the rebate is about 2 %, and we are usually able to drive a lot of points through it each year. We already got one free flight to Arizona in February to visit my parents, as well as one of these existing flights. Since Southwest doesn’t fly any red-eye flights, we are returning on Saturday late. The initial price $398.20 round trip for the one flight, and I was later able to get a $35 credit later, bringing the price down to $363.

We leave Buffalo airport at 10:45 AM. Our daughter goes to a Ukrainian school (learning the language and culture) on Saturday mornings, and I think it will still be going for the year. Since that starts at 9 AM, we may drop her off to school in the morning. Either way we will head to the airport shortly after that. We haven’t figured out if DMIL will drop us off, or if we will take our own car to the airport. Our arrival back comes in late on the 14th, so we will likely need to take a taxi home if our car isn’t at the airport, and that will cost almost as much as leaving the car here.

Our flight has one change in Phoenix, and we arrive in Los Angeles at 3:20 PM Pacific time. I’m hoping for a nap on the plane, but I may be “Too excited to sleep!”



Upon arrival we have a few options. ABD will provide transfer from the airport to the hotel only on the starting day of the adventure. That first hotel for Sunday night is the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel (The Hollywood Hotel? Wait a sec…my last trip to DHS I tried staying there. Something was wrong with the elevator!). Unfortunately, this hotel is rather cost prohibitive in my view. The lowest price I’ve seen there was about $250 a night, and current pricing for that night starts at $379, so staying there an extra night is NOT in our budget. Alternate to that was to rent a car and stay at a different hotel, coming back to the airport the next day to get the transfer shuttle to the Hollywood Hotel.

(Side note: Quite honestly I have a vacation philosophy of not spending a lot of money on hotels. We won’t stay at a Motel 6 or anything, but I try to keep hotel expenses down most places we go. My feeling is a hotel on most vacations is a shower and a place to rest your head. We don’t need high end service or expensive sheets. It is extremely rare for me to shell out more than $200 a night for a hotel, and I am typically very good at finding up a quality mid-level hotel in any city we travel to. My greatest coup was getting us an apartment back in 2002 on Nob Hill in San Francisco not 1 block from the Fairmont Hotel for $105 / night, including indoor parking. It was actually such a good deal I was nervous but the place ended up being fantastic.)



The other issue was how to get around. As I was researching rental cars, I stumbled across the fact that the Loew’s Hollywood has a Hertz rental car center right on site. This made the decision on what to do much easier. We are renting a car from Hertz and then staying at the nearby (to the airport) Hilton LAX hotel. I was able to get in for $108 a night including tax, with another $15 for parking. The rental car will only run about $50 because we only need a single day.



So, we check into the hotel. Right now we do not have any specific plans for the night. I suspect we will mostly take it easy as we know that this trip will be a non-stop thrill ride. We are not high energy people, but have decided we are going to find a way to get as much out of this trip as possible, even if it means we start drinking coffee! (Neither of us do!) But, for this one night, we only have one plan. We want to eat dinner at the Hard Rock Hollywood.





DW has been collecting Hard Rock shot glasses for longer than I’ve known her. She has about 15 so far from different Hard Rock’s around the US, Hawaii and Australia. But, somehow she has never managed to hit the LA Hard Rock. Now, I know this location is literally around the corner from the Loew’s hotel at Hollywood and Highland, but I still think that we will try for it. Alternatively, she may decide she wants to stop at both, so we could hit the Universal one on Saturday night and hit the other one on Sunday or Monday. I will leave that up to her. I let her know about the options the other night and she said "Let me think about it."





I believe we will not stay out very late, as we will be tired from the time change and ready for an early morning the next day.
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October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:24 PM   #22
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Day 2 - Sunday plans

Because this trip is themed around “Backstage Magic”, I wanted to get a little extra magic before the tour started with another backstage tour of some sort. Unfortunately, the number of studios tours running on Sunday’s is very limited, especially seeing as we only have the morning. (We have to drop off the car off by 1 PM.)

Therefore, I am choosing the Warner Brothers VIP studio tour ($49 per person) with an 8:45 AM start time.



This includes seeing the sets of TV shows like Big Bang Theory and The Mentalist. (Sets vary depending on what’s available, but weekends nothing will be in production, so there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get our choice of what to see.) They also take you through a props area where you get to see stuff from the Harry Potter movies and the Central Perk set from the TV show Friends.


The tour is about 2.5 hours long, so I was thinking for a 8:30 AM start time (seems early but I think we will likely easily be awake by 7 AM if not earlier). This will wrap us up around 11 AM and give us time to get some lunch.
The lunch location will hopefully be the LA Farmer’s Market.





Kevin from the podcast recommended it very highly, and while I am not much into shopping, his mention of “the best corned beef sandwiches anywhere” at Magee’s Kitchen in a post has convinced me to give it a try. Hopefully we won’t have an issue with getting the car to the hotel in time if we stop there for an hour or so.

Check in at the Hollywood Hotel is probably later in the day, but with luck our room will be ready when we get there.







Oh wait, wrong picture.

The ABD adventure starts this night, with a “welcome” dinner. It will be fun putting faces to the names (or screen names) that I have been meeting over the last 12 months, as well as meeting Pete and Walter and any other podcast folks that come along. I always think it must be funny for them in that in developing the DIS and the surrounding businesses they have become mini-celebrities, probably not something that was expected early on. While most of the time being able to be very anonymous, but amongst the right group of people (DISers) they are quite famous. A level of fame that I think would be much more appealing than being a Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie where you can’t go anywhere without everyone knowing who you are. But for trips like these they probably feel they have to be “on” the whole time, acting as hosts and spending time with everyone…so I’m sure that can’t be easy.

Anyways, the evening spent meeting new-old friends. I have no idea of the timing of the night, but I am not making any other plans for the evening. In fact, I have no “plans” of my own made for the next 4.5 days. This is very unusual for me, because I tend (like many here) to be a big-time planner. But, we’re paying ABD for the experience, I am going to let them make the plan.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:08 AM   #23
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I like the Farmer's Market. There is a wide diversity and choice of food there and I think you and DW will like it too.


Great plans.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:35 AM   #24
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:43 AM   #25
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ABD Monday Day 3:

While I purposefully have not looked into specifics of the trip from any previous TR, for those that havent ever paid attention to what goes into the trip, Im going to provide a description which is directly from the ABD web-site, so there are no spoilers here. This is exactly what anyone would know going into the trip.

Private Hollywood Excursion: See Hollywood aboard an open-air vehicle with an expert guide. Snap photos of world-famous iconsincluding the El Capitan Theatre, Pantages Theatre, Crossroads of the World, Sunset Strip, celebrity homes and more!





The Jim Henson Company: Not open to the public, The Jim Henson Company was built in 1917 by Charlie Chaplin. An historic icon, visit this charming studio featured prominently in the Walt Disney Pictures movie, The Muppets (2011).


Lunch at Tam O'Shanter: Eat lunch at one of Walt Disney's favorite hangouts! Rich with showbiz history, Tam O'Shanter was established in 1922 and is one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles. See the booth where Walt Disney used to sit and savor the Scottish-themed restaurant's Old World favoritesincluding their famous prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.



On Your Own in Hollywood: In the evening, you're on your own to relax or enjoy the wide variety of restaurants and activities in this vibrant area. Your Adventure Guides are available to make recommendations


My comments: The Hollywood tour is sort of interesting. Ive done one before many years ago, I expect they might take us into the El Capitan as that theatre is Disney owned. The looking at celebrity homes doesnt excite me much, so hopefully we dont waste too much time on that. The highlight of this day for me will be the Jim Henson Company. I consider Jim Henson on a level of entertainment geniuses with Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg. My age is exactly in the wheelhouse where almost everything he did, from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, even The Dark Crystal had influence on my pop culture taste. The idea of spending even 20 minutes in that studio leaves me in awe. And if I could meet a muppet! Oh man! I can probably safely say that there wont be anyone on this tour more excited for that portion than I.

Im pretty sure ABD has some options set up for the evenings entertainment, but since I dont know for sure what they are I wont talk about them here.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:46 AM   #26
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ABD Tuesday Day 4


More words from the Disney web-site.

Walt Disney Imagineering Tour See how the magic of Disney theme parks and resorts is made. Get a first-hand look at some of the creations conjured up by the architects, designers, engineers, technicians and others who make up the Disney Imagineers.

Walt Disney Studios and The Walt Disney Archives Enjoy lunch at The Walt Disney Studio commissary and then browse through an assortment of memorabilia at the Studio Store. Afterwards, you'll learn the story of The Walt Disney Studio during a privately guided visit, which includes The Walt Disney Archives.



Disneyland® Resort Head south to your next home base, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa. This Craftsman-style hotel is within walking distance of both Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park, as well as the Downtown Disney District—a promenade with shops and restaurants. After you're checked in, you'll have time on your own to relax by the pool or go shopping.



Disneyland® Resort Welcome Dinner Dine on fine family fare at Steakhouse 55 and get ready for a night in the park!

Evening at Disneyland® Park Enjoy a priority entrance into the Disneyland® Park with a special VIP experience prior to spending the evening on your own.


My Comments: This is THE day of the trip. I mean, lots of neat stuff the other three full days, but, c’mon…this is IMAGINEERING, the Studios and the Archives, as well as a stop in Mickey’s of Glendale. Disney geek nirvana! This morning alone may be worth the price of the trip.

Then we get a ride to Disneyland and check in at the Grand Californian. You know how I mentioned we rarely pay more than $200 a night for a hotel? Well, this place starts at $500. This will be the most expensive hotel we’ve ever stayed in by a long shot. I am curious to see what it’s like. I may well take a quick dip in the pool if there is time! Then to dinner AND a VIP experience in the parks – what exactly is “Priority Entrance into the…Park” mean? I’m guessing it is to see Fantasmic, but I am not sure. We didn’t get to see it on the previous trip because DD finds it scary, so we need to catch it at some point this trip.
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1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:54 PM   #27
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The highlight of this day for me will be the Jim Henson Company. I consider Jim Henson on a level of entertainment geniuses with Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg. My age is exactly in the wheelhouse where almost everything he did, from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, even The Dark Crystal had influence on my pop culture taste. The idea of spending even 20 minutes in that studio leaves me in awe. And if I could meet a muppet! Oh man! I can probably safely say that there wont be anyone on this tour more excited for that portion than I.
I think that I may give you a run for your money on this one. As evidence, I refer you to my signature. It should be a fun morning.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:06 PM   #28
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I think that I may give you a run for your money on this one. As evidence, I refer you to my signature. It should be a fun morning.
Hey Angie, and you may remember me commenting on that quote back last summer on the ABD thread! It'll be nice to have someone else to geek out over this stuff. (My DW likes the muppets a lot, but not to my level.)

I have no clue whether we get to see actual muppets there...but it SHOULD be the case, right? They wouldn't not have muppets at Jim Henson studios, right?

Don't tell me, though. No SpoilerS!
__________________

1971 - 1982 Many childhood trips May 1997 - Off-site w/ DGF (now DW) October 2000 - Off-site w/ DW - 1st AK
October 14-20,2006 - First on-site (POFQ), first w/ DD3 and DMIL. September 22-29, 2007 with freinds @ POFQ! August 23-31, 2008. Just us 3...dining for free!
December 12-20, 2009 - 40th Birthday trip! Trip Report April 20-25, 2010 - Short surprise trip for DD! Trip Report
October 15-25, 2010 @ AKL Trip Report!
November 11-20, 2011 - Free dining at CBR! PTR! and Trip Report
July/August 2012 Disneyland / Australia TripPTR "I choose to Be Amused" TR
The Disney Trifecta - a PTR for 2013. LINK Trip Reports - ABD: "A Fistful of Fastpasses" WDW: "For A Few Fastpasses More" DCL: "Once Upon a Time in the Carribean"

October 2014 Pre Trip Report- "Let us plan our Escape !" LINK
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:38 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
Hey Angie, and you may remember me commenting on that quote back last summer on the ABD thread! It'll be nice to have someone else to geek out over this stuff. (My DW likes the muppets a lot, but not to my level.)

I have no clue whether we get to see actual muppets there...but it SHOULD be the case, right? They wouldn't not have muppets at Jim Henson studios, right?

Don't tell me, though. No SpoilerS!
I do remember you making that comment; it seems like a long time ago now, doesn't it?

I'll be more than happy to "geek out" with you over anything related to Jim Henson. (If you need something to tide you over until June, do a search for videos of his memorial service; if you're at all like me, you'll spend hours watching and re-watching the performances that were given that day.) As for spoilers, I have no idea of what we will or will not see, but, whatever we come across, I'm sure it will be interesting.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:35 AM   #30
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 90,390

Wow! Great sounding tour with ABD. That's a lot of "exclusive" items on that list. I'll be looking forward to your report and pictures.
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Disneyland - Dec 1986, May 1990, Dec 1997, Aug 2003, Jun 2005, Jul 2007 TR, Nov 2008, The Mad Dash (Jan 2011, Nov 2012) Oct 14 PTR
Walt Disney World - Jun 2005, May 2010 (POR, BCV) PTR || TR, Oct 2010 (CSR) PTR || TR, Oct 2013 Anyone Game? PTR || TR in progress
Hong Kong Disneyland - Mar/Apr 2012 TR
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