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Old 07-14-2013, 11:00 PM   #1
bellebookworm9
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The Twinsies (And Others) Reunite! A Mostly Solo May 2013 TR

Hello, DISer friends! If you don't already know me, I'm Gretchen. 22 years old, just finished the first year of my doctoral program, and a seasonal cast member at Disney.


I was just at Disney last December with my mom. I thought that would be the last time for a while. But I discovered I had a bit of extra funds and decided another trip was in order with two of my closest friends from school. We decided on a week in July. (Crazy, right? ) And in weighing the choice between going down by myself and working a shift to get my free tickets renewed, or buying them discounted tickets, working won out. Five day base tickets would have been a total of $554.02; a stay at Pop Century and a round trip flight on Southwest was a whopping $368.04. And for that price, we would get essentially seven day park hoppers.

So I booked my trip for the day after finals and soon I was on my way!
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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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Old 07-14-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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Traveling

Our story essentially starts the Sunday night before my trip, May 5th. I worked until 11pm, and then had a final the next morning at 8am. For some reason I was stressing out plus excited about the trip, which resulted in almost no sleep. I had coughed up the extra money to do Early Bird Check In, and was very pleased to see this result:


The final went well, and I went back home to try to sleep. No luck. I'd also had some allergies that were turning into a sinus thing, so that didn't help. Several of my classmates and I went out to dinner to celebrate the end of our first year, and then we watched a movie on Netflix called "The Grey". It's about a group of guys who are in a plane crash in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, and one by one get eaten by a pack of wolves. Great movie to see the night before flying.

After that was over, it was around 1am. I decided to try and get a couple hours of sleep, but my head was so stuffed up that I couldn't breathe. This resulted in a 3am trip to Walgreens for Aleve Cold & Sinus and Afrin.

My friend Kaitlyn (who will be traveling with me in July) was kind enough to drive me to the airport at 4:30am before heading home to Long Island. I went to the Southwest counter and it seemed that everyone in the darn airport was in that line and there were only like two luggage check stations open. Booooooo. But I eventually got through that line and on to security, where there was absolutely no line. Having flown 10 times in the last year and a half, I have become a pro at getting myself and my belongings organized for the security ordeal. I had to go through the X-ray scanner for the first time but it was the easiest thing ever; I don't really understand why people complain about it. I stopped at the pasty stand to get some breakfast and headed to the gate.

My flight was scheduled to depart at 6am. I was able to get a seat in the third row of the plane. Score! The first picture is of Canada, I'm pretty sure. And the second one is definitely of Buffalo.



These were taken somewhere in the vicinity of over Savannah, Georgia.



The flight was totally uneventful. However, during the landing, I was in excruciating pain. I could feel all the fluid in my sinuses moving, and at one point I could have sworn my eye was going to pop out of my head. I have never, ever been in pain like that. When we landed, my ears were so plugged I couldn't hear at all out of the right one, and just barely from the left. As I deplaned I went to call my mom, only to realize that I had left my iPhone in the seat pocket. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve it quickly and with no hassle.

Home again!


I headed to the Magical Express queue, which was totally empty, as it has been every single time I've used it.


I was the only person in the line for Pop Century and I only waited about two minutes to be put on a bus. I got a picture of the new light up logo.


Unfortunately, I was on an ugly, yellow Mears bus. There were only five people on the bus: two for AKL and three for Pop. Within half an hour of my arrival in the queue, we were pulling into Pop, which was the first stop.



(I'll be there in ten days!)





I stepped off the bus, was escorted right up the red carpet and over to the online check in desk. Much to my surprise and relief, my room was ready at 9:30am. Hallelujah! I had requested an upper floor room near transportation, and was assigned room 9415. Top floor, and a short walk across the parking lot to the buses. Love when my requests are met!












I thought the room was perfectly adequate for my stay. The lighting was a bit on the dim side and the bathroom was teeny tiny-smaller than I remember comparable bathrooms at All Star Music & Sports. However, I thought the bed was much more comfortable than the one at Wilderness Lodge five months ago, and the Wi Fi had been upgraded during that five month span, which was greatly appreciated.

After almost no sleep in three days, it was time for a nap!
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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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Old 07-15-2013, 10:31 AM   #3
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:08 PM   #4
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
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Following along.
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Joining in!!
I love new readers!
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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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Old 07-16-2013, 11:48 PM   #6
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Blisters Already?

At around 11:30, there was a knock on the door, waking me up. It was my luggage from Magical Express, being delivered a mere two hours after checking into the resort! I decided I may as well actually get up and finally settled on going to my home away from home, Epcot.

This is the staircase just steps from my door-much faster than walking all the way down the hall to the world's slowest elevator!

And within literally 5 minutes I was on a bus to Epcot.


20 minutes later, after going through bag check and turnstiles, I was at the park.


Now, I do enjoy the Flower & Garden Festival. But I'm not really into gardening itself, so I don't participate in any of the seminars and what not. That leaves me with the topiaries. And they're great, really, but they're also the same every year, which is boring. So I didn't take a ton of pics of them this time around. However, I am very jealous of the Main Entrance cast members this year who got a fun country hoe-down BBQ sound track to listen to, as opposed to the one I was stuck with last year, the at times downright deathly sounding Fantasia.


I was very excited to hear about the new food booths as part of the F&GF. So I went straight back to World Showcase to try them, stopping at Soarin' first to get a Fastpass. (The line for Spaceship Earth was loooong, otherwise I would have jumped on that first.)

First up was the watermelon passion fruit slush from Fruits by the Glass. Yum! I am not a big drinker at all, just don't enjoy the alcohol taste, but this was delicious! And my treat to myself for finishing my first year of grad school.


I passed through Canada, England, and all the way back to The American Adventure while sipping on it. I had my list of "must tries" and then my list of "try if still hungry" and my next must try was at BBQ and Brews Smokehouse. I ordered the Pulled Pig Slider with coleslaw and the Rocky Road Mousse Brownie. Again, deliciousness all around!

I also made a friend, since I was sitting a rather large picnic table by myself. An older lady asked if she could join me, and we chatted a bit about what we enjoyed at the festival.

Now, I'd been in the park a whopping 45 minutes, and I already had blisters on my heels from my sneakers, which were only a week old. Boooo. So I strolled back up to the front of the park, stopping at "Florida Fresh" for a strawberry shortcake along the way.


Strawberry shortcake is never bad, and this was no disappointment either. I made my way back to the bus stop and was soon back at Pop for another nap!

It looks like I left the resort again around 4:45, and went back to Epcot. My Soarin' FP was in it's return window so that's where I headed. Normally I request B1 when I get up to the loading CM, but as I was waiting in line, they asked if there were any solo fliers. Me, me! The CM made a comment about such a lovely young lady being alone, but I got to skip a whole bunch of people. I'm pretty sure I was in C3, which is not the best location, but oh, well. It was still a lot of fun! (And since I had changed into flip flops, I got to ride without shoes, which always makes it better!)


When I landed, my next stop was Test Track's single rider line. It was a bit of a wait for the singles line, but not too bad. I was seated with a mom and son, who didn't realize I was in there row and didn't move over until I said something. Then she was freaking out because the car started to move before she had her son buckled. Like she was honestly trying to get them to stop the ride. A CM told her it was okay, as we were just moving up to the seat belt check. Good ride, as usual! But it's almost impossible to get a good red neck ride photo here. The mostly white blob in the back is me.


I walked next door to Mission: Space and got in line for green team. A short wait later and that was done too. I had basically accomplished all three headliners in an hour! Naturally, that meant it was time for more food. I stopped at Jardin de Fiesta in Mexico and picked up a crab tostada and conga fruit .



The drink was good, but I didn't care for the tostada, which was waaaay spicier than I was expecting.




I always stop in the glass shop in Germany, now that I'm aware it exists. And I love this castle, except it's $37.500. There's a smaller one but that is still $5500.




In Japan I tried "Frushi". I don't like actual sushi, but this was pretty good. Coconut rice, strawberries, cantaloupe, and pineapple.


I wanted something a little more solid, so I stopped in the refurbished and relocated French bakery for my standby cheese plate. They've added two more cheeses, which I didn't care for. Just give me the brie and I'm happy!

This yogurt berry mousse parfait was delicious!


I continued wandering around World Showcase.


Eventually I made my back to World Showcase Plaza, where I stopped at the Pineapple stand to get a pineapple upside down cake and a frozen desert violet lemonade.


That was at 7:30. There wasn't anything else I wanted to do, and because IllumiNations is my favorite show, I plopped down in my favorite (and THE best) viewing spot in the whole park and camped out for an hour and a half.
Clearly I was the only one crazy enough to be there that early.


At 7:45 I took this selfie.

At 8:30, the torches were lit and the preshow music began, which led to my traditional "club dancing". I talked to some surrounding families. One of them was with a former cast member who was probably around my age, and the most anal-retentive person I've ever met in my life, including me. He needed to be directly, and I mean directly, across from the American Adventure pavilion because that's apparently where the lasers come from and I kind of lost his reasoning after that.

And finally, it was time!

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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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Old 07-16-2013, 11:55 PM   #7
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At the front of the park, I met up with my twinsie, PB. We engaged in one of those ridiculous, running towards each other hugs where I hit him with such force that he has to counter act by literally pulling me off the ground. He drove me back to Pop and we hung out there for awhile, catching up on how life had been in the past five months since we'd last seen each other. Then it was time for bed, because it had been a long day, and I was still sick, mind you!
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:50 PM   #8
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Hey subbing in, it looks like your having a great time regardless of the sickness. I went during flower and garden too. I loved the rocky road mousse brownie.....there portions were huge and I left so stuffed. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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Great pictures, I will have to try the Frushi next time I am there. My favorite time to go is when the Food & Wine is going on. Love to try new kinds of food.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
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Hey subbing in, it looks like your having a great time regardless of the sickness. I went during flower and garden too. I loved the rocky road mousse brownie.....there portions were huge and I left so stuffed. Can't wait to read more.
It's actually pretty funny-I have no trouble with allergies in Florida. As soon as I got there, I felt so much better. The portions are pretty large, perfect for snacking without having a full meal at just one place.

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Great pictures, I will have to try the Frushi next time I am there. My favorite time to go is when the Food & Wine is going on. Love to try new kinds of food.
The Frushi was there for F&GF, so I don't think it will be there all year. I enjoyed Food & Wine when we went in 2011, so much yummy stuff!
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:05 AM   #11
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Wednesday morning I slept in a bit and made it down to the food court for breakfast around 10am. I enjoyed a Pop waffle, which was delicious but just not as fun as a Mickey one.


I believe PB joined me for breakfast and then we were off to Magic Kingdom, kind of.


First we stopped at Cast Connection, the stores behind MK where there is deeply discounted merchandise for cast members only. I bought a ton of stuff. New shirts and PJs, a nightshirt for Mom, some stuff for my brother, an Alice in Wonderland shirt for Kaitlyn, a 40th anniversary MK tote bag, and a Jack Skellington mouse ear hat for PB's brother. At the "broken" store, where merchandise is either slightly damaged or out of season and therefore 75% off, I bought a Christmas Marie (from the Aristocats) plushie, a Halloween witch Minnie plushie, a blue Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique tiara, a bejeweled Minnie phone case, and a couple of antenna toppers (10 cents each! I don't care if they're broken, I just want to be able to find my car!), among other things.

Then we went to Costuming so I could get my outfit for the Parade Audience Control shift later that day. When I had obtained all the proper pieces, we drove back up front and parked in Peter Pan, just after noon.


20 minutes later we had ridden the tram and the monorail, then made it through security. We made a quick bathroom stop at City Hall and then popped into the Fire Station so PB could get more Sorcerer's of MK cards with my ID. I found out he doesn't actually play, just collects the cards!








I wanted to eat at Be Our Guest, but alas, the line was massively long and we wouldn't have time before my shift. So we decided to go over to Pinocchio's instead, someplace I had worked, but never eaten at. On the way, we ran into Katie, who had worked at the Epcot parking lot for her college program while we were doing ours at the Main Entrance. She was back on a second program, this time at Mission: Space and Test Track. It was great to see a familiar face!

I wasn't super hungry, so I ordered a kid's meal. I actually think these meals come with more food than the adult versions, once you factor in all the sides.
It was just okay, nothing to write home about.


After lunch, we ducked backstage to go down into the Utilidors so I could change.

I seriously want that hat. PB showed me where to go to clock in for my shift. After some sitting around waiting for everyone to gather, I was assigned to Liberty Square. I helped put up the poles, ropes, and tape. Then it was my job to make sure everyone stayed inside the tape until parade time, and make sure nobody ran across the road in front of the floats. A lot of the characters in the parade waved at me, and I had a blast. It was a pretty easy shift, and no guests got mad at me, which is always a plus.

Afterwards, I changed and we headed back out onstage. We ended up in Frontierland, but I think Splash was down so somehow we made the decision to take the railroad instead. PB wanted to get off at Storybook Circus, and we saw that Dumbo was almost a walk on-at 4:30 in the afternoon!



I got to fly in a purple Dumbo, so I was pretty happy.





Then we headed over to Buzz Lightyear. PB has mastered the 999,999 score, but I've never managed to get anywhere close to it.


I had my sunglasses perched on my head during the ride and I must have leaned back too far, because they fell off! I mentioned it to the CM when we got off the ride and confirmed they'd be turned in at City Hall if found that night after closing. Of course, they weren't even mine. Kaitlyn had let me borrow them, and they were $100 Michael Kors glasses! I warned her before I took them that I lost sunglasses on a regular basis but she said it was no big deal.

Heading up to Main Street, PB was pretty tired, so he took off. After a bit of browsing in the shops, I was tired too and thought I would head back to Pop for some dinner and a nap, then return for Wishes and the parade. The bus showed up pretty quickly, and I got to see the Iron Man-orail!


I arrived at Everything Pop! right around 6pm, so it was time for the CMs to do the Hustle. Super cute!


They've really changed the foodcourt menu here. I wandered around about 3 times before I decided on something that sounded even remotely appealing: honey chicken with broccoli and rice. Of course, you can't eat at Pop without getting a slice of tye-dyed cheesecake as well!



After that, I must confess, I was exhausted. No more parks that day for me. I went to bed before 8pm! Unheard of for me at Disney! But that sinus thing was really taking a toll, so I knew pushing myself wouldn't do anyone any good.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:04 AM   #12
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Love your update, don't think I would want to be working the parade, people get so mean and rude. You were lucky, no problems. Great that you can leave work and go have some fun.
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Old 07-21-2013, 11:01 PM   #13
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Love your update, don't think I would want to be working the parade, people get so mean and rude. You were lucky, no problems. Great that you can leave work and go have some fun.
I've never worked PAC before, but from what I hear, the afternoon parade is so much more calm in that respect. People tend to be crankier during Wishes and MSEP because it's late, they're tired, they can't find their families in the dark, etc. But truthfully, people are going to be cranky no matter where you work. I've been yelled at over not having park hopper tickets, Universal tickets not working at Disney, no free parking after 2pm (or whatever), and not being able to bring alcohol in or out of the park when working at Epcot. So this PAC job was cake for me!

On the college program, I lived with five other girls. One was a ticket seller at Animal Kingdom, one worked at Dinosaur, one was a slide operator at Blizzard & Typhoon, one worked at Pirates of the Caribbean, and one worked at Pinocchio Village Haus. We all have crazy stories of guests freaking out for no plausible reason, but of course *always* something a cast member had done was the cause. There were days we loved our jobs and days we hated them. And just like they tell us "One great cast member can make a guest's day so much brighter", the opposite is true as well: "One rude and angry guest can destroy a cast member's good mood and ruin their day".
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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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Old 07-22-2013, 07:40 AM   #14
Goofy442
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My DS did the CP and worked at TOT. He would say the same thing, some people would make him crazy, but you still have to smile and be polite. DS girlfriend is doing the CP now and she drives a boat. Not to much interaction with guests, get on the boat and have a seat.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:24 PM   #15
bellebookworm9
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I slept for a long time Wednesday night, and it looks like I rolled down to the food court again a little after 10am. My breakfast was pretty similar to the day before, but with french toast instead of a waffle.


After breakfast I decided to wander around the resort and take some pictures. Starting in the lobby, I took pictures of all of the display boxes. Here are some of my favorites.

This is my childhood in boxes.

















Moving outside, I got some shots of the decades on the back of the building.



Then I headed over to the 50s section to begin my tour of the resort.







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*1992-Offsite *1994-Offsite *2/15-20, 2007-All Star Music *5/17-28, 2010-Kidani Village @ AKL Dining *10/7-11, 2011-Beach Club Villas Dining *1/10-11, 2012-Old Key West *1/2012-10/2013 WDWCP/Seasonal CM at Epcot Main Entrance *2/9-12, 2012-Coronado Springs *5/10-5/11, 2012-All Star Music Four Months of Disney Dining *5/22-26,2012-All Star Sports *5/26-27, 2012-Port Orleans French Quarter *12/17-21, 2012-Wilderness Lodge *5/7-10, 2013-Pop Century *7/24-30, 2013-Art of Animation *1/6-10, 2014 -Art of Animation *3/25-29, 2014-All Star Movies *3/29-30, 2014-Boardwalk Villas *5/18-23, 2014-Paradise Pier *8/13-18, 2014-Caribbean Beach *8/18-19, 2014-Grand Floridian Trip Report & Dining *12/14-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23, 2015-Coronado Springs *10/9-13, 2015-Boardwalk Inn

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