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Old 06-17-2013, 04:57 PM   #16
wiigirl
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In for your TR!
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:21 PM   #17
dolphingirl47
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irongirlof12 View Post
Yay the new passport has a USA stamp
That had been the plan, but the reality worked out a little different.

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Old 06-19-2013, 04:25 PM   #18
Chilly
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What a long journey but doesn't sound too painful.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:28 PM   #19
dolphingirl47
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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What a long journey but doesn't sound too painful.
Welcome

Yes, it was a long day, but things actually went pretty smoothly.

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Old 06-20-2013, 03:30 PM   #20
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Day 2

Even though I had not managed to get to bed until just gone midnight I was wide awake at 4:00. I went to the bathroom and checked my emails and then went back to bed. Two hours later I was awake again. This time round I got dressed and went for a walk. I had a wander around the pool area and then went to reception. I was expecting two packages. For one I had tracking information and knew it arrived two days earlier, but it had not made its way to the hotel yet. The other one had arrived. Once I had picked up my package, I went back to bed once more and then we both woke up at 7:45. We got up and ready and reorganised our luggage.

We were ready for some breakfast. Shortly before we left for this trip, I had an email from Disney Cruise Line announcing that for our repositioning cruise, Pirate Night had been replaced by a Pixar Night. I had known for a while that this would be the case for the Alaska cruise. Although I am pretty excited about the Pixar Night, this could well mean that I wouldn't get to see Stitch as the only time he is around on every cruise is Pirate Night. I have also never seen Stitch around the parks at Disneyland. There is however one place at Disneyland where you can see him and that is the character breakfast at Paradise Pier. I knew I was pushing my luck as I had already booked a character dinner for that day, but Graham agreed. So we walked over to Paradise Pier. We were seated almost straightaway. On the way in, we had our photo taken with Mickey. I had pre-purchased Photopass + and this includes the photo package. Because I had not got my Photopass + lanyard yet, they told me that I would get my photo package when I picked up my lanyard at the park. Breakfast was lovely. I started the day with coffee and orange juice and a Mickey Waffle with maple syrup. Graham had some oatmeal with raisins to start of with. We then both had a plate of hot food. Graham had some chicken sausage and some pork sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and Chilaquiles. I had some pork sausage, breakfast potatoes and a nice big portion of Chilaquiles. Chilaquiles are a Mexican dish consisting of fried tortilla, Salsa Verde, beef and cheese. I had fallen in love with this dish in 2011, but Graham tried it for the first time round. He liked it, too.


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Once I got back from getting my hot food, Stitch was approaching. He came over to meet us and Graham tried to take a photo, but for some reason this did not work. As soon as Stitch had finished with us, all the characters and the children headed to the front to the restaurant to play a game. When Stitch returned, I attracted his attention and explained that the camera had not worked and asked him for another photo. The restaurant was still really quiet and he was happy to oblige. Once I had finished my hot food, I went to get some fruit. They had some smoothies including a melon smoothie. However, nobody could tell me if this contained banana so I passed. Graham also got some fruit and yoghurt. Shortly afterwards, Pluto came to the table for some photos. We both did one more trip to the buffet. I had some breakfast flatbread and Graham had a pastry. We still had to see Daisy and Minnie and I was just about to give up when they both came to visit in quick succession. Stitch also came for another visit.


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We headed back to the Grand Californian. Graham had offered to take care of the luggage so I went straight to the hotel's entrance to California Adventure. My next task was getting my Photopass + lanyard. For as long as I can remember, there was a Photopass kiosk opposite Soarin over California so I figured I may as well do this ride while I was in the area. The posted waiting time was 10 minutes and I was in two minds on whether to just join the standby line or going for the single rider line. I decided on the single rider line. Time-wise, it probably made no difference as I waited about 10 minutes. I did get lucky though. When I was sent to a departure gate, I was told to join row two. When we were allowed to enter, I stored my backpack and my flip-flops in the net underneath the seat and sat down. I was just about to buckle myself in when a cast member approached me and asked if I was the single rider. I confirmed that I was and he told me that he had a spare seat in row one and asked if I wanted this. I quickly grabbed my stuff and moved. This was some nice pixie dust right at the beginning of the day. I loved the ride as much as usual.


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When I got to the exit and looked across the plaza, I noticed that the Photopass kiosk was gone. I went to the shop that is opposite Soarin over California to ask about this and was advised that Photopass had moved to a shop at the front of Buena Vista Street. The cast member gave me some pointers as to how to find it and I was on my way.

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Old 06-20-2013, 03:51 PM   #21
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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So I ended up getting my first glimpse of Buena Vista Street a lot earlier than I had expected. It was love at first sight. I have to admit I was more than a little suspicious when the plans for California Adventure were announced as I liked the park before and those kind of makeovers do not always turn out to be an improvement. However, Disney definitely got it right with Buena Vista Street. The whole area is so beautiful. After a quick look around, I headed to the Photopass shop to exchange my voucher for my lanyard and get my photo package from breakfast. This ended up taking longer than I had expected. I had a family in front of me who already had purchased some ride photos and now wanted to upgrade to Photopass +. This seemed to be a rather complicated process. It is also $30 more expensive to do it at the park than pre-ordering it. Eventually they were all sorted out and I handed my voucher over and this was scanned and I was handed my lanyard. I was then send over to the viewing stations so that a cast member could help me locating the photos that were taken at breakfast and add them to my Photopass+ lanyard. This was a very smooth process, but they did not have the folders for the print package. So I was asked to come back in the afternoon to get my prints. This actually worked great as I did not have to carry them around with me all day.

When I came out of the shop and walked up Buena Vista Street, I just saw Chip and Dale going in. I walked a bit further and saw Mickey in his Buena Vista Street Outfit and he did not have much of a line. So I figured that I have time to go and see him. By the time it was my turn, there was hardly anybody behind me and Mickey spend a a couple of minutes with me. I then walked towards the central hub of Buena Vista Street and spotted Goofy in the distance who was just leaving, but Pluto was around for photos so I went to see him. Again, I only had a short wait and I had a brilliant interaction with him. After I said goodbye to him, I headed over to Hollywoodland.


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Part of the deal with Photopass+ is that you get a ride photo at participating rides added to your Photopass lanyard. Those rides are Tower of Terror, California Screamin and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure and Space Mountain and Splash Mountain at Disneyland. I had every intention to get the full set. There was one little problem with this though. Space Mountain I can tolerate at Disneyland and I was definitely going to do Radiator Springs Racers. Tower of Terror and Splash Mountain freak me out and I was never brave enough to try California Screamin. Still, I had the best intentions. So my next stop was Tower of Terror to check out the waiting time. On the way, I came across a Photopass photographer who took photos against the street backdrop. So I stopped to have some photos taken. When I got to Tower of Terror, the standby time was 45 minutes, which was too much for my liking, but the Fastpass return time was only a little over an hour away. So I decided to get a Fastpass and then cut through A Bug's Land on my way to Paradise Pier.


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Old 06-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #22
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I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I quickly stopped by Duffy's photo spot and asked the Photopass photographer when Duffy would be out. She expected him out any minute. So I decided to hang around as I had never managed to catch Duffy in his sailor outfit. I have photos with him dressed up as pumpkin and as Santa, but not in his normal outfit. I noticed that Donald in his nautical outfit was in the little gazebo at the entrance to Paradise Pier. I decided that I would go and see him while I was waiting for Duffy. The problem with this was that Donald's line had a first class view of the launch area of California Screamin. Even though I had convinced myself over the previous weeks that I had done and enjoyed much more thrilling rides, I started to second-guess my decision to try this ride. Anyway, eventually it was my turn to see Donald and when I was done, Duffy had arrived and there was only one family ahead of me. I had my photo taken with him and then headed towards California Screamin.


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I had read time and time again that this ride had a single rider line, but I could not find any evidence of this. The standby time was only about 30 minutes, which was not bad, but I figured that I would chicken out if I had that long to think about this. The window for my Fastpass had not yet opened so I could not get another one. So I decided to go and do Toy Story Midway Mania and then get the Fastpass afterwards. The posted waiting time for Toy Story Midway Mania was 45 minutes and this is about the only ride that I will consider waiting that long for, but the line did not look that bad and seems to be moving steadily. In the end it was only just short of 30 minutes and I loved the ride as much as I remembered. I took a couple of photos of the exit area and then I went for a quick bathroom stop.


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By now my Fastpass window for Tower of Terror had opened. I decided to head there and ride this first to see how I was getting on and if I was OK with this, I would come back and get a Fastpass for California Screamin before heading to Cars Land. With this plan made, I cut through A Bug's Land again and headed to Tower of Terror. I was absolutely fine about this right to the moment that I sat down in my seat in the service elevator and buckled up. Then I started to wonder what on earth I was doing, but by then it was too late. The doors were closed and we were on the move. I tried Tower of Terror once before at Disney's Hollywood Studios and this totally freaked me up. Well, this was not a bundle of laughs either, but did not seem quite as intense as the one at Walt Disney World. I even came out thinking that now I have to try the one at the Walt Disney Studios in Paris, too. My knees were shaking when I walked towards the gift shop, but I was essentially OK. I made sure to memorise the number for my photo and headed to the photo pick up. I presented my Photopass+ lanyard and gave the cast member the number. He pulled it up for me so that I could check it was the right one and then added it to my Photopass+ lanyard. I had a quick look around the gift shop and was very tempted by a t shirt saying "I survived the Tower of Terror", but I resisted.


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Old 06-20-2013, 04:27 PM   #23
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I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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As I left the gift shop, I decided that I had enough thrills for the day and was going to see if I could convince somebody the next day to ride California Screamin with me. So I headed off to Cars Land. There was a Photopass photographer by the sign for Cars Land and I stopped for some photos. Then I headed straight to Radiator Springs Racers. There were no Fastpasses available and the standby line was 80 minutes, but I had heard that the single rider line was a good bet. This turned out to be correct. I waited about 20 minutes even though the single rider line was huge. I took some photos while I was in line. I was quite curious about this ride. I knew that it shares the ride technology with Test Track and I have always enjoyed this. Graham had watched a YouTube video and had decided from this that the ride is mediocre. I had also read countless reviews and some were glowing and others proclaimed the ride to be a total waste of space and talking about having to suffer through a tedious dark ride element before getting to the race. So on the whole, my expectations were pretty low. Well, I loved it. I thought the dark ride part was cute and well put together and the race was even more thrilling than Test Track as it features quite a few dips and more sharp banks than Test Track.


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As Radiator Springs Racers has a ride photo, I needed to get this added to my Photopass+ lanyard. The photo pick up there is peculiar. Pretty much straight after you come off the ride, there is a bank of screens for the photo. I memorised the number and headed down some stairs where there was another screen and a courtesy phone to order photos. I could not figure out how this would work with Photopass+. Fortunately there was a cast member in the area so I could ask. He told me that I had to go back up the stairs. I told that nobody had been there and he told me that two people would be up there. So I back-tracked and sure enough, opposite the screens there were some counters for the photo pick up. As this is behind you when you come from the ride, I had never spotted this. Anyway, I got my photo added and I was on my way.


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Old 06-20-2013, 04:43 PM   #24
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I had a walk around Cars Land next. I know that people are very enthusiastic about this, but I don't quite get it. I love the two rides there that I did, but on the whole it feels disjointed. I wonder if I had felt differently if I had seen Cars Land first, but after seeing Buena Vista Street first, it was a little disappointing. I still had a good walk around and took some photos and had some more Photopass photos taken.


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While I was wandering around, I came across the Casa Della Tires. At this point I had no idea what this was all about, but a lot of people seem to be heading inside so I decided to check it out. This is actually the queuing area for Luigi's Flying Tires and the majority of the line for this ride is inside the building. This was a definite bonus as it was getting quite hot by now. I was also curious about the ride so I got in line. The theming of the line is very clever. The ride itself is outside and is classified as a bumper car ride. It has also been described as a giant air hockey table. The ride vehicles are oversized tires with a soft bottom, which seat up to three people. Air that flows underneath them lifts them a couple of inches in the air and they are controlled by leaning in the direction you want to travel in. This is a lot of fun and probably even more so if you are doing it with other people.


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I took some more photos while heading towards the exit of Cars Land. At this stage I had essentially done everything I was going to do at this stage. So I decided to have a closer look at Buena Vista Street and get my photo package before temporarily leaving the park. I thought that Buena Vista Street was beautiful in the morning, but now that I had some time to look at it a bit closer, I was absolutely blown away by this. I missed Chip and Dale again as they were just heading in, but I was happy to just walk around and absorb the atmosphere. I found the new partners statue that was commissioned for Buena Vista Street and I much prefer this to the one at Disneyland. A Photopass photographer was offering to take my photo with it and I took her up on the offer. After I had a good look around, I decided to get something to drink. I was happy that they had orange soda at the little market place. I also learned something interesting. At Disneyland the Key to The Magic card loses the ability to charge to it as soon as you check out and not at midnight of that day like at Walt Disney World. As I had yet to get any cash, I had to pay for my drink with my debit card. Fortunately they are pretty used to this in the USA.


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Old 06-20-2013, 04:47 PM   #25
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I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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There was one more thing I wanted to do. I was going for drinks at the 1901 lounge later. The 1901 lounge is an extension of Club 33 and is located in the Carthay Circle building on Buena Vista Street. It also turns out to be very hidden. I walked around the building a couple of times before finding the entrance. They seem to be very reluctant to have people in the area. As soon as I approached a cast member came over to see what I was doing there. I explained that I was meeting somebody there in a short while and was just checking out where I needed to be. This seemed to satisfy her. I took a couple of quick photos of the entrance area and the sign and then I moved on I picked up my photo package and then I headed back to the hotel.


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The reason why was heading back to the hotel was that I had arranged to meet somebody from the Animal Kingdom Lodge thread there before heading back to the park. I had mentioned this to Graham and he said that he was going to be there if he remembered. He was just planning on having a lazy day by the pool so as soon as I headed back to the hotel, I had a look around the pool area. He was nowhere to be found so I went to the lobby. I checked with the front desk if my missing package had arrived, which fortunately it had. Then I went to find a seat and found Graham in the process. He had had enough sun for one day and had made himself comfortable near the piano. I went to join him and for a while listened to the piano player. Graham mentioned that earlier on she had asked people hanging out in the lobby what their favourite Disney songs are. He was being sarcastic and told her It's A Small World and she proceeded to play this for him. I laughed so hard when he told me this. I then was mulling over what my favourite Disney song was. The first thing that came to mind was the soundtrack from Soarin, but I am not sure how this would translate into piano music. So in my mind, I settled on The Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas. Of course shortly afterwards, she started to play this. She was very good. She played mostly Disney songs, but also some other stuff including some songs from Les Miserables. I enjoyed my orange soda while I listened.

I checked my emails and noticed a message from the person I was due to meet saying that she was running slightly behind. This gave me time for a bathroom break and to get some cash from the cash machine at the hotel. When I first sat down with Graham, one of the DVC staff that are based in the hotel came to speak to us. We chatted for a while. A little while later, we saw his partner in crime and he looked familiar. He spotted us and came over. He was one of the DVC staff on the Hawaii cruise last year. We talked for a while and shared memories. It was nice to see him again. Shortly afterwards, the person I had been waiting for arrived. We all chatted for about 10 minutes and then we left Graham to his own devices and headed over to California Adventure.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:01 PM   #26
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I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I was so excited that I could have burst. First of all it is always great to meet somebody that you have met online in person, but I was in for a real treat. I had read countless articles about the 1901 lounge, looked at hundreds of photos and seen it feature in a few trip reports. I still could not believe that I would actually get to see it for myself. However, this was precisely where we were headed. The park suddenly felt very crowded, but this was partly because Minnie Fly Girls Charter Airline was in full swing opposite Soarin over California, which had pulled quite a crowd. When we reached Buena Vista Street, the crowds were a lot lighter. We had arranged to meet a friend of the person I was meeting who was the one who made it possible that we could meet at the 1901 lounge. He prefers to remain anonymous and I fully respect this. I was asked if I wanted to take a photo of the sign, but I had already taken care of this. So we walked through those magical doors and checked in with reception. There are two seating areas and we made ourselves comfortable in the family room area which is the opposite end from where the bar is. There is a shelf in this area that is said to contain something representing every land at the Disneyland park. I have read since that the model plane on the shelf used to be on Walt Disney's desk. There is also an amazing stained glass lamp in this area that kept drawing my eye and an interactive picture frame that shows Snow White being drawn and every now and again, Snow White pops out of the page.


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It was a little while until somebody came to check if we wanted to get something to drink. The reason for that seemed to be that one of the guests was feeling unwell and needed medical attention so all of the staff's attention was taken up by this. I was quite happy just to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and to chat. The hustle and bustle of Disneyland and California Adventure seems a million miles away. 1901 Lounge is very serene and peaceful. Eventually a bar tender came to check what we wanted. I had read about their Martini with a special ice sphere so I decided to go with this. I also got some water. The had my Martini the traditional way with gin, but they also had the option for a vodka Martini. The bartender came with a cart and made the Martini right there at the table. They have some device that is made from some type of aluminium alloy that makes the ice spheres. They get cylinders of ice made from purified water and this is entered into a metal tube. A few seconds later, this has been turned into a perfect sphere that looks like a crystal ball. This melts very slowly, which means that the drink does not get watered down. Unfortunately all the photos have ended up being blurred. The Martini was amazing, it was so smooth that it could have made you weep. It also came with two Blue Cheese stuffed olives that were very nice. We enjoyed our drinks and carried on chatting.


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A little while later, I decided to have a walk around to check out all the neat things at 1901. There was a mix of photos, drawings and memos. There is another interactive picture frame where Mickey was supposed to do something, but I did not see this. There was also another amazing stained glass lamp. In front of the bar, there are two pairs of chairs with names on them. One pair has the names Roy and Edna on them and the other pair Walt and Lillian. We ended up sitting in the Walt and Lillian chairs for a while and talked to the bartender. We all like wine so we talked for a while about different wines and also what kind of training bartenders at Disneyland have. This is actually very impressive. Unfortunately all to soon the time came to say goodbye. I had to head back to the hotel to meet Graham and head over to the Disneyland Hotel for our reservation at Goofy's Kitchen. On the way, I had a quick peek in one of the shops.


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Old 06-20-2013, 05:10 PM   #27
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Graham had moved to another area of the lobby. I took a few photos of the lobby while Graham was getting changed for dinner and once he was back, we headed over the Disneyland Hotel. When we got to Goofy's Kitchen, it seemed very busy, but we did not have to wait long until we were checked in and then we were sent straight to have our photo taken with Goofy. We were then asked to sit down until somebody would come for us when the table was ready. Again, we did not have to wait very long. While we were waiting for our server to take the drinks order, Dale came by to say "hi" and Graham took a photo of us. I went to the buffet to get some salad and Pluto came to visit shortly after I came back. I then went for some hot food. I had some vegetable pot stickers, some Mexican beef stir fry with rice, some pasta and carved pork and strip loin. Graham did have have pretty much the same, but also had some fish. I had eyed the kids table with goodies like Macaroni Cheese Pizza, meatballs and popcorn shrimp, but I was too full. Graham had some kind of fruit cobbler for dessert. I had a look at the dessert buffet, but there was nothing there that really grabbed me so I had a slice of Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza for my dessert, which was very tasty. During the course of the meal, Aladdin and Minnie also came to visit. Jasmine and Chip were also around, but never made it to our table. I was not too bothered about Chip as I knew I would see plenty of him around the ship, but I would have liked a photo with Jasmine as I have never met her before.


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One of the good things about Goofy's Kitchen is that you pay when you are checking in and this includes an automatic tip. So unless you had any alcoholic drinks, there is nothing to pay at the end of the meal. We had to wait for our photo package to be brought to us. This is a neat book with some recipes and the photo with Chef Goofy. Once we had this, we slowly walked back to the Grand Californian Hotel. There was some live entertainment going on at Downtown Disney and this was pulling some crowds. I quickly popped into D Street as I wanted to see if they still did the 9 inch Create Your Own Vinylmation, but I was out of luck.


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We headed back to the hotel and retrieved you luggage from Bell Services. They took our luggage to the area where Shuttles pick up from for us and there was also a handy bench. It was still a bit too early for our shuttle, but it was a beautiful evening and therefore no hardship to sit outside. The shuttle arrived right on time and soon we were on our way to Seal Beach. Our friends were only due to return from a conference on the East Coast that evening. I had regular updates on their progress and they had landed in Los Angeles while we were still at dinner. The house was dark when we arrived, but we figured they would not be far behind. When I got off the shuttle, I must have taken a wrong step as I ended up on the floor. I had all of our cameras and I was a bit worried about them as I hit the floor hard, but fortunately they were packed well and did not come to any harm. I ended up with a few bruises, but was otherwise OK, too. Our friends were already at home after all and came out to welcome us. It was great to see them again.

We spent some time sitting in the kitchen catching up. Graham was introduced to some new beers and I just had a coke. I gave them the presents that I had brought. After a couple of ours we were all ready for our beds. We would have a very busy day of us the next day. When it was bedtime, we had a huge surprise. Last year the room we were sleeping in had a double bed, which was very comfortable. This year this had been replaced by a huge bed. This was supposed to be a king sized bed, but was much bigger. Graham and I were joking that we would need to pack a picnic to get from one side of the bed to the other. We got ready for bed and fell asleep as soon as we were laying down.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:00 PM   #28
tiggrbaby
We must work harder to stay under the radar for this oneWe always bring our own inflatable noodle
 
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Your face is just a picture of joy with the characters!
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:45 PM   #29
Pinkocto
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Wow, what an update!

You got in quite a few rides. Loving your pictures, can't wait to finally see DL in September.

Glad you tried ToT, that's one of my favorites.

Your meet with Alison looks amazing! All that memorabilia would put me in sensory overload.

What a great start to the trip
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First Trip - YC '89, CSR '98, Pop '07, Music '08, AKL CL 1/11, SSR 12/11, 5N Dream Cruise & AKV 3/12, AKV CL 9/12 , OKW 12/12, 4N Wonder Cruise 1/13, 7N Fantasy Cruise & AKV CL 3/13, AKV 6/13, DL 9/13, VGF 12/13, OKW/AKV 1/14, 5N Wonder Cruise/VBR 3/14, Western Fantasy/BCV 5/14, AKV/BCV 10/14, AKV CL 12/14
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:57 AM   #30
Chilly
I was having a bit of a blonde moment
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Love your face on TOT. Well done for braving it. I was too chicken at first but now I love it.
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