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Old 11-10-2013, 05:50 PM   #16
dreamseeker9
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Day 2, Part 1 - Did everyone disapparate or what?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012 - AKA Harry Potter day to me! I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, and I was probably just as excited about this day as I was about being back at WDW.

But first... breakfast at AoA's food court! J and I were the first ones up and ready before G and S were barely conscious, so we went ahead to the food court and told them to meet us there. This became the typical morning for us - in fact, G and S started calling J "Dad" and me "Mom" because sometimes J and I would even go get coffee for everyone and bring it back to the room. Stinkers.

I've read mixed reviews about AoA's food court, but I had no big issues with it. Some things were definitely better than others, granted, but I did like the wide variety of selections for breakfast, especially since I have a gluten intolerance. This first morning, J and I both got in the make your own omelet line, which moved fairly quickly... until I asked if they had gluten-free toast. They toasted some for me, but for some reason it took over 5 minutes, so by then my omelet had started to get cold. Still, I appreciated that I could get GF toast there. The coffee was just okay, not great. The food court is rather busy, but I'm also used to dodging people left and right in Lower Manhattan whenever I make my way to a deli for my lunch break from work, so it didn't really bother me. We were always able to find a place to sit, and of course we were able to charge everything to the room. That was an interesting bill to figure out at the end of the trip, lemme tell ya!

J's parents met us in the food court, they'd already checked out and were heading back to Miami. It worked out great for us 4, because they drove us right up to the main entrance to Universal! The parks had opened at 9:00 AM, and we pulled up just a little after 9:00 AM. We really didn't know what to expect as far as crowds since it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but I was thinking as we walked through the Port of Entry that all the people who were first into the park must be to WWOHP by now. But it didn't matter, because we had arrived, and we would soon be in Hogsmeade!

We made our way through Seuss Landing and The Lost Continent, and then I saw this.


We had arrived at the WWOHP! As we passed under the arch, it kept getting better and better. The details were absolutely amazing!


I was dying to look around, but we knew that we had to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. As we reached the other end of Hogsmeade, what should appear but this:


HOGWARTS! I was so excited! We entered the castle, which is also the queue for the Forbidden Journey. I tried to absorb all the details as we walked through the castle, and walked, and walked... what was going on? Where were all the people? Granted, the crowds had seemed light when we first entered the park, and also light when we entered Hogsmeade, but we just thought everyone was in line for the Forbidden Journey. Did they all disapparate (disappear for you non-HP fans)? We actually had to step aside and let people pass us so we could experience an important part in the queue that helps set up the ride (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't been yet). G hadn't been to the WWOHP yet, but J and S had. S couldn't believe it, he said he came right after WWOHP opened, and he waited 4 HOURS to ride Forbidden Journey! Not us, it was a 10-minute wait at most, and most of that was just walking through the queue! It was awesome.

So what did I think of the Forbidden Journey? I LOVED IT! Seriously, what a ride! I absolutely loved every second of it. Again, I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I'll just say that it took all my favorite elements from the movies and in such a brilliant way. Since there was hardly any wait, we decided to try single rider, which was only a 5-minute wait. So we rode Forbidden Journey twice in less than 30 minutes! Incredible.

I have to say, though, that twice in 30 minutes was maybe too close together for all of us. J especially was feeling particularly queasy after that 2nd time. So we decided to go for an easy ride - Flight of the Hippogriff! We walked on, there was no line. It was crazy but so awesome! The ride itself was so short, I really wished it were longer, and that I'd paid more attention when it went by Hagrid's hut.

We went back into Hogsmeade and did some shopping. I loved the shops (big surprise). I had a lot of fun picking out some stocking stuffers in Honeydukes- chocolate covered frogs, yum!


We decided not to do Ollivander's, because there was a line for that, so we just went into the store and looked around. I bought a few postcards and had them stamped (for free!) at the Owl Post - so cool!


Some more fun details:


Sirius Black!




Mandrakes! Cover your ears!

We all wanted butterbeers, but since it was only 10:00 AM and not crowded at all, we decided to check out the rest of IOA and then come back later to WWOHP. J was very excited for our next destination, can you guess where we were heading?



Yes, that's J's dinosaur impression - I forget which one. Velociraptor maybe?



Notice that J is doing another dinosaur impression. I love that guy.

We headed over to the Jurassic Park River Adventure after storing our belongings and purchases in a nearby locker. So fun, and we did get wet, especially me and G in the front! Luckily, it was a warm, sunny day, so we weren't cold afterwards.

Since we were already wet, we decided that we might as well get even more wet! We headed over to Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls. S didn't love the idea of getting wet, so he sat that one out and took a smoke break. J, G and I walked on (yep, still no lines!). It had been awhile since I'd been on a true log ride, and this did not disappoint! It was a lot of fun, and we got SOAKED. I mean completely drenched. We attempted to find some sun to dry us off afterwards, but we finally gave in and paid for one of those stand-up dryers.



Next, we went to Spiderman - only a 10-minute wait! Great ride, we really enjoyed it. We then grabbed some lunch at the Captain America diner - it was ok, fast food basically. Then it was time for the Hulk coaster - it broke down while we were in line (yeah, we had to wait an entire 15 minutes for this one, crowds were picking up, ha ha). A fun ride!

There wasn't much else we were dying to do, and it was only about 1:00 PM, so we went back to Hogsmeade and headed into the Three Broomsticks.


It was Butterbeer time, and oh my, was it ever delicious! I got the frozen Butterbeer, which S said was better than his non-frozen one. I was so happy, enjoying my Butterbeer on the back patio at the Three Broomsticks with my friends, with Hogwarts in the background, on a sunny uncrowded Sunday. It just doesn't get much better than that!


G and I decided that we needed one more ride on the Forbidden Journey. After that Butterbeer, I first found the bathrooms next to the Hog's Head.


We walked onto the ride in the single rider line - this 3rd time, I just relaxed and took it all in, smiling the entire ride. And then it was time to leave IOA and head back to WDW, so we grabbed a cab (very easy, there were a bunch waiting outside the main entrance). We arrived back at AoA, and it was only about 3:00 PM! So you know what that means... POOL TIME!

Coming Up: The Fab Four do the Big Blue Pool and make friends with the bartender at the pool bar! Then dinner at Downtown Disney, followed by a fun night at DHS!
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A Big Blue World at AOA with the Fab Four - Nov. 2012 - AOA Finding Nemo suite
3 Weeks to plan a solo trip! - Nov. 2014 PTR

Last edited by dreamseeker9; 11-11-2013 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Corrected the date!
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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Day 2, Part 2 - Poolside Plunge at The Drop Off? Don't mind if I do!

We arrived back at AoA and were ready for some fun in the sun, so we changed into our suits and headed to the Big Blue Pool. Being that it was November 25th, it wasn't extremely warm at 4:00 PM, maybe 70, but we didn't really care. We were warm enough out of the pool, but then we got in the pool - brrr, that water was cold! Still, we managed to stay in for awhile. I absolutely loved this pool - it was quite large, and there is a zero entry point. The theming is outstanding, with the jellyfish fountains at one end, and you can also really see the theming in the Finding Nemo section surrounding the pool. Underwater, we heard music and voices of characters from Finding Nemo - so fun.

Sunset at the Big Blue Pool


While we were in and out of the pool, we decided to get some adult beverages at the poolside bar, The Drop Off. There we met our friendly bartender, Dustin, who hooked us up with some great drinks! The Poolside Plunge was delicious. We took turns going back to the room to shower and get ready for our night out. Two hours later, we were all ready but didn't want to leave The Drop Off! So we had 1 more drink, why not? We were on vacation! Finally, we decided that we should probably eat. We took the bus to Downtown Disney and ate dinner (and had another drink) at Wolfgang Puck's - it was fine, not amazing, but better than fast food for sure. We then went shopping... always interesting to shop with a buzz! We shopped at Days of Christmas and World of Disney. I bought a Kermit plush toy (I love me some Kermit) and a WDW retro tee with Mickey's face. The boys also bought a few things. G found a plush toy of his favorite Aristocat and was so happy.

Then of course we had to hit up Ghirardelli! YUM. I forgot how great those sundaes are! We each got a sundae to go.

I don't quite recall what led us to this next decision, but we saw the boats leaving for Port Orleans and decided that would be way more fun than taking a bus to our next park! So we hopped on a boat to POFQ, eating our ice cream sundaes on the boat - it was delightful! I had stayed at POFQ back in 2000, and J had stayed there for his birthday a few years ago, so we really enjoyed being there again and walking through the grounds to the buses. In fact, I just might have to stay there or at POR when I go back to WDW next year for my birthday!

At this point, we were impatient and ready to get to a park! No buses, no buses, no buses... finally, we gave in and grabbed a taxi. In reality, we had only waited for 15 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I'm sure the fact that we were on a sugar high from the sundaes and still feeling those drinks made us a tad more impatient than usual.

So we piled into the taxi, and we were off to DHS to take advantage of evening EMH!

Coming Up: A night of firsts - My first time on Toy Story Midway Mania and Star Tours, and my first time seeing the Osborn Lights! Plus my favorite ride - the Tower of Terror!

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:46 PM   #18
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Your trip report is really making me excited for my upcoming trip in January!!! And a little sad that I'm not going the week after Thanksgiving this year, we usually go the week after Thanksgiving as an early Christmas gift for me and my husband. I absolutely LOVE the Christmas decorations and MVMCP. We have 2015 earmarked for another Christmas trip. We go once per year, but our 2014 trip is January which means it will almost 2 years before we go on our Christmas trip in 2015... Totally worth it though!!!
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:40 PM   #19
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I loved the HP update!! I'm a huge HP fan myself. I still haven't made it over there just because my DH is not a huge fan. So, I made him a deal...we could go to Star Wars Weekend next year if we schedule a trip over to Universal..that way both of our obsessions get fed.

Still think it's funny we were there at the same time at the same resort...checking the background of your photos to see if I did some accidental photo-bombing!
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:33 PM   #20
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Great Updates! :)

Loving every minute of your report! Especially excited about IOA now that I hear how great it was! I'm a big HP fan as is my niece, who is going with me in February. I don't expect the addition to be open by then, but that just means we'll need to schedule another trip to see it next year, right? ;-)


Thanks again for sharing!!
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:26 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by oneprincessjo View Post
Your trip report is really making me excited for my upcoming trip in January!!! And a little sad that I'm not going the week after Thanksgiving this year, we usually go the week after Thanksgiving as an early Christmas gift for me and my husband. I absolutely LOVE the Christmas decorations and MVMCP. We have 2015 earmarked for another Christmas trip. We go once per year, but our 2014 trip is January which means it will almost 2 years before we go on our Christmas trip in 2015... Totally worth it though!!!
When are you going in January? I think they keep some decorations up until mid-January, but I'm not sure. The week after Thanksgiving was amazing for light crowds at both WDW and IOA. The longest we waited for any ride was 45 minutes standby for TSMM at DHS during the evening EMHs. Next to that, we waited maybe 25 minutes for IASW- everything else had such short lines, it was amazing.

We didn't go to the MVMCP. Next year, I'll be there for MNSSHP, so I may give that a try.

Awesome that you have the 2015 trip already on the horizon!
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by deedee2177 View Post
I loved the HP update!! I'm a huge HP fan myself. I still haven't made it over there just because my DH is not a huge fan. So, I made him a deal...we could go to Star Wars Weekend next year if we schedule a trip over to Universal..that way both of our obsessions get fed.

Still think it's funny we were there at the same time at the same resort...checking the background of your photos to see if I did some accidental photo-bombing!
I think that's an excellent and very fair deal! I bet your DH will enjoy WWOHP, even if he's not a huge fan. The Forbidden Journey is an incredible ride. We didn't ride the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, but I heard it's also very good. And next year, they're opening the Hogwarts Express to connect to Diagon Alley in the other Universal park - of course, if you want to visit both, you'll have to pay for a ticket for both parks - way to make more money, Universal! But I bet it's going to be just as incredible as WWOHP at IOA.

I don't think I have any more photos from AOA, but that would be so funny if you were in the background of one! We probably rode a bus together at some point!
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:31 PM   #23
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Loving every minute of your report! Especially excited about IOA now that I hear how great it was! I'm a big HP fan as is my niece, who is going with me in February. I don't expect the addition to be open by then, but that just means we'll need to schedule another trip to see it next year, right? ;-)
I think you're right about the addition not being open by then, but yeah, another excuse to return! I'm sure you will love the WWOHP. Have a wonderful time!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:28 PM   #24
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Day 2, Part 3 - When we accidentally stumbled upon the Osborn Lights!

Our taxi dropped us off at DHS, and we were once again all pumped up and ready to ride!



I love the parks at night. Actually, I've never been to the AK after dark, it always closes too early when I've been there for it to be dark yet... plus I've never stayed there for an entire day. But I think my favorite park at night is DHS, it just comes more alive on the streets with all those neon lights. Granted, there are some parts of DHS that are quite dark at night, as we were soon to find out, but the boulevards are very bright.

The guys were on a mission to experience TSMM, so we got in line. Only a 35-minute wait, the longest of our entire trip, but still not bad considering it was 9:00 PM and evening EMHs. I really enjoyed the queue, fun seeing all those old games from my childhood. As for the attraction itself... meh. Yes, I know everyone is crazy for it. I enjoyed it, but I'm honestly in no hurry to ride it again. It just seemed like a lot of work to me! The guys all loved it, and G won out of the 4 of us.

Next up was Star Tours. I wasn't really excited to ride this, I'm not a big Star Wars fan. But then as we were walking from TSMM to Star Tours, a glorious thing happened - we walked into the middle of the Osborn Festival of Lights! I had been hoping to see the lights, but I was following the guys around to their rides first. Once we walked into the main area, all 4 of us were in awe and just stood for awhile, taking it all in.









We timed it perfectly - just as we turned onto the main street, the lights started dancing to "I'm Getting Nothin' for Christmas". I even took some video. It was almost sensory overload but still so cool! My only wish is that we'd heard a different song - I had looked before the trip at some songs they play, and I was hoping for Barbra Streisand's "Jingle Bells", but hey - ya can't have it all.

We made our way to Star Tours, maybe a 15-minute wait. Again, I was underwhelmed - it just seemed like a motion simulator to me, I really didn't love it. Then we were trying to make our way around Echo Lake, and boy was it dark in some places! Very strange.

But then it was finally time for my FAVORITE RIDE - the Tower of Terror! I love this attraction so much. I have fond memories of my first time riding it - my parents and I were at WDW with my brother's high school choir in March 1997. My brother wanted to be with his friends, which was understandable, so it was mainly me touring the parks with my parents. I was 21 at the time, my first time to WDW as an adult, but as everyone knows you're still a kid at heart whenever you're at WDW. My mom, bless her heart, isn't much of a rider, and she certainly cowered when she saw the Hollywood Tower of Terror and heard those people screaming! My dad and I, on the other hand, couldn't wait! It was a rainy day, so we had on our Mickey ponchos, along with about 90% of everyone else in the park.



We got in line and were happy to make it into the Hollywood Hotel and out of the rain. The details were incredible! Then the pre-show started - I didn't know this before the attraction, but my dad grew up watching The Twilight Zone. He ate it up like no other! He was loving it before we even boarded the service elevator. I wasn't sure of what was to come, but I was fully enjoying his excitement, and I was ready for the drops. But as everyone who's ridden TOT knows, there's more to it than the drops. As we got into the elevator and the next part started, my dad was in heaven, he was so happy! His little boy was definitely coming out! It was a joy to be next to him for that attraction, and of course to grab his arm when the drops did start! We rode it twice, we loved it so much. I rode it again with friends in 2000, and of course I had to ride it once again now, it had been 12 years - unacceptable!

It did not disappoint! Even though the drop sequence isn't as suspenseful, it's still a winner to me. And riding it at nighttime makes it even better, IMO.

J doesn't love TOT because the drops make him queasy, but he was a good sport and still went on it with us. He really enjoys the RnRC, so that was next. The wait again wasn't bad at all, only about 15 minutes. It's a very fun ride, and it was a great way to end the day. It was about 10:45 PM when we finished, and we debated riding again, but it had been a very full day, so we headed out.



We were quite fortunate to only have a 5-minute wait for the bus to AoA. I think we all collapsed soon after getting back to our suite!

Coming Up... Captain EO and my first time riding Soarin' - yes, the Fab Four are heading to EPCOT!

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Old 11-12-2013, 08:16 AM   #25
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Another great update!! I didn't get to do ToT or RnRC my last trip because w had the kids...but my DH got to do it. We did go on both in Feb '11 during our Disneymoon, and we both had a blast!

I'm so thrilled that during our upcoming trip in April we will have my Mom, MIL and my sister to help watch the kids so my DH and I will be able to go on some rides together. I'm not sure if I will do ToT again because it scares me to death...I'm not a small girl and I just worry about that seat belt breaking...LOL!!!

Enjoying following along with your report. Makes me wish I had followed through and done one for our November trip. I struggle to remember all the details from the trip now, so I'm determined to do a better job keeping notes for my upcoming trip.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:36 AM   #26
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Another great update!! I didn't get to do ToT or RnRC my last trip because w had the kids...but my DH got to do it. We did go on both in Feb '11 during our Disneymoon, and we both had a blast!

I'm so thrilled that during our upcoming trip in April we will have my Mom, MIL and my sister to help watch the kids so my DH and I will be able to go on some rides together. I'm not sure if I will do ToT again because it scares me to death...I'm not a small girl and I just worry about that seat belt breaking...LOL!!!

Enjoying following along with your report. Makes me wish I had followed through and done one for our November trip. I struggle to remember all the details from the trip now, so I'm determined to do a better job keeping notes for my upcoming trip.
Thanks, deedee! I'm not small, either, and I didn't have any problem last November on TOT - I say go for it! Take advantage of having family there to watch the kids, definitely!

I am finding that I wished I'd taken better notes as well, there are some things I just don't remember - like who rode with me on TSMM or what we had to eat and drink at the GF Cafe. I'll definitely do a better job when I go to DLR (3 weeks from today! ), and next year when I return to WDW. I enjoy writing, and these TRs are fun to do!
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:51 PM   #27
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Well I will definitely be following along with your other TRs!
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:17 PM   #28
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Well I will definitely be following along with your other TRs!
Thanks, deedee!

I'll have to check out your PTR as well!
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:26 PM   #29
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When are you going in January? I think they keep some decorations up until mid-January, but I'm not sure. The week after Thanksgiving was amazing for light crowds at both WDW and IOA. The longest we waited for any ride was 45 minutes standby for TSMM at DHS during the evening EMHs. Next to that, we waited maybe 25 minutes for IASW- everything else had such short lines, it was amazing. We didn't go to the MVMCP. Next year, I'll be there for MNSSHP, so I may give that a try. Awesome that you have the 2015 trip already on the horizon!
We don't arrive until January 23rd so I am sure the decorations will be long gone by then... But I know my last Christmas trip wasn't my LAST Christmas trip. I will be back for many more!!! LOL. I really want to try MNSSHP one year, I have never been before, but every time we are settled we end up going back for Christmas instead. I will need to do a two weeker one year in the distant future so I can be there during the switch over and experience both in one trip
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November 28th - December 3rd 2010: Wilderness Lodge
February 26th - March 1st 2012: Bay Lake Tower
November 24th 2012: Old Key West
November 25th - 29th 2012: Bay Lake Tower
January 23rd 2014: Beach Club Villas
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:03 PM   #30
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I will need to do a two weeker one year in the distant future so I can be there during the switch over and experience both in one trip
That is an AMAZING idea! I'll have to put that on my wish list!
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