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Old 11-04-2013, 01:46 AM   #1
kelowatt
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Xmas before Thanksgiving? Why not! 11/16-23 TONS of Pics! AoA, MCMCP, FP+, CG & MORE!

My dad, Little Sis and I are going to Walt Disney World Nov 16-23 (well, Little Sis is leaving on the 21st). My friends are probably sick of hearing all about my trip, so I figured I would write about it here.

We are using Magic Bands, which will be interesting. I live in Boston, and my dad and sister still live in Buffalo where we grew up, so coordination has been through chat and the My Disney Experience website.



My sister and I chatted for about an hour about where we wanted to go eat before we realized we were no closer to making a decision, and were both STARVING after talking about food so much.

We knew we were going to MVMCP on Sunday night, and we had snagged a reservation for BOG that night for dinner WELL in advance.

We then booked dinner in Germany for Monday, and lunch at the Brown Derby for Tuesday. We booked our fast passes and figured we would do Magic Kingdom Sunday, Epcot Monday, Hollywood Studios Tuesday followed by Downtown Disney, and Animal Kingdom on Wednesday followed by the campfire sing along with Chip and Dale at Fort Wilderness afterwards. That's where our family used to stay, and my sister and I have fond memories.

The last decision was what to do on Saturday. Usually on our arrival we would kick around downtown Disney. That is still the plan, but I thought it might be fun to catch the fireworks over the magic kingdom. I initially tried to book a reservation someplace on the monorail system for that night, but the best I could do was Kona Café at 8:30.....

Except I kept trying every few days and managed to land a reservation for 7:30 at the California Grill. It's more fancy than I had initially planned, but we are all in for a monorail pub crawl topped off by California Grill for dinner and fireworks Saturday.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:49 AM   #2
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table of contents?

Pre-Trip

Post 1: Planning
Post 2: Fast Pass Plus
Post 3: Speaking of Postcards
Post 4: What we look like
Post 5: Preparation
Post 6: Day Dreaming about Food

Trip Report

Post 7: Day 1) The Mousening: MK and California Grill
Post 8: Day 2) Part 1: MK Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Fantasyland
Post 9: Day 2) Part 2: BoG and Mickeys Very Merry SUGAR HIGH Christmas
Post 10: Day 3) Breakfast at Kona Cafe, EPCOT and dinner at Biergarten
Post 11: Day 4) Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney
Post 12: Day 5) HS, BD lunch, Osborne Lights and "See Ya Real Soon" Little Sis
Post 12: Day 6) EPCOT, part deux including Behind the Seeds and La Hacienda
Post 13: Day 7) Return to the Magic Kingdom
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:00 AM   #3
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Fast Pass Plus

So, like I mentioned, Little Sis and I spent a couple of hours planning our trip and booking our fast passes.

I am of two minds on this:
I will say, its nice to know that I WILL be able to ride these particular rides, but then again it's November, so at least based on previous experience, its not vital to have a fast pass in order to do anything. Sure, sometimes you have to wait WAAAAY longer for something than you want, but my sister and my dad are fun to hang out with. Also, lines are where I write most of my postcards, so it's not the end of the world to have to wait in a line.

On the other hand, it is odd to have certain aspects of my trip already planned ahead. Not bad, exactly, but weird. I mean, its not like we HAD to use fastpass and its not like something terrible will happen if we don't use the ones we booked or if we changed them. I think it makes it a bit easier that we are not traveling with little kids and it's a bit easier for the three of us to go with the flow. Also, I'm the closest thing we have in my family to a type A person, and I'm more of a type B. Little Sis and dad are type C and D respectively

I am hoping that having the fastpasses already booked will help take away some of the pressure to get on the "must see" rides so I can enjoy the intangibles of a Disney vacation. These are the things I've come to appreciate as an adult. The details in the theming, the positive energy that comes from cast members and spreads to others. I've read a tip in some different places about packing glow necklaces to give out to kids at the parades to help spread some pixie dust, and I love that idea. I want to listen to the music, and watch the people, and just be in a world far removed from my day life which while very enjoyable and rewarding, is pretty much devoid of pixie dust (lots of other kinds of dust...but we will leave that for another day). And the best part is just spending time with my dad and Little Sis and having fun together.

Fast Pass Plus may not be the most spontaneous way to plan a trip, but I am seeing it as a couple of fixed points to "riff" off of, so to speak. It will be interesting to see how it pans out when the "rubber meets the wrist" so to speak.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:04 AM   #4
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speaking of postcards....

I LOOOOOVE to write postcards. Seriously. It is one of my favorite things ever. That and the People Mover. What can I say, I'm an oddball. If you want, you can drop me a line on this contraption and will send you or your kiddos a postcard from Mickey and Co.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:58 AM   #5
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You might want to know what we look like....

In less than two weeks Little Sis, my dad and I will be in Disney World!



This is a picture of the three of us at the Division 2 Flat Track Derby playoffs in Kalamazoo, MI. Little Sis (who is in her mid 30's) plays roller derby for Queen City Roller Girls in Buffalo. I am a non skating official for Boston Derby Dames, and my dad is a "derby dad".



This is a pic from our last trip together in march of 08. Our mom died in Dec of 08. Dad and M have been to Disney since, but this will be my first time going without my mom.



While nobody who knows me in Boston believes it, I'm the quiet one compared to my sister. She is sweet and outgoing and a blast to be around. She is absolutely my all time favorite person, and as we get older we get closer and closer



Our dad is a pretty fun and laid back guy. He's a big kid at heart



I'm probably the most serious of the three of us, which is kind of funny considering my generally goofy sense of humor.



I'm 38, I live in Boston so I don't get to see them as much, and I have a job that I love but is also stressful supervising a team of mobile psychiatric crisis intervention clinicians. AND I am helping out the office by working the overnight shift until they can find someone new in that position since the last one left the company. SO, to say I am ready to be on vacation and breathe in some pixie dust is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I am pretty much posting something Disney related on facebook every day with the comment (x) days...not that I'm counting.



I am TOTALLY counting.
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kel-o-watt



1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:14 AM   #6
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Preparation

Its 11 days until our trip, and I've been spending a lot of time focusing on big and little things to get ready.

I've been thinking through what clothes I want to wear. We are going to the MVMCP and I want to wear something cute for a picture that I might or might not use for the holidays. Ideally Dad, Little Sis and will wear something that won't look hideous when the three of us stand together for a picture. I mention this because of a hilarious church directory photo where my sister is in plaid, my dad is in stripes and my mom was in polka dots and I was in a floral print.

I've also been thinking about shoes. I have a great pair of Dr Scholls slip ons that are super comfy that I am breaking in. I bought a second pair in the same size, but they're a smidge too narrow. I usually would wear flipflops, but with my plantar fasciitis, it's probably not the best idea.

I've packed my bag with some survival stuff. I have a first aid kit with Blister Block, Blister bandages, Advil, and my inhaler. I have a tiny umbrella, a fold up water bottle, reusable utensils (Ariel ones that were on sale at Target) extra camera batteries and back up batteries for my phone, and a small quick dry towel.





I've been filling out blank address labels with addresses of people I plan to send postcards to so I can just peel and stick instead of copying it down from my address book.



I've had some coconut water lattes, granola bars, and snack nuts shipped to the hotel via Amazon Prime so I don't have to spend money on coffee or snacks, and can avoid being hangry (hungry+angry)

I still need to buy some glow sticks to hand out to kids at the parades and whatnot. I'm trying to organize my family into placing an order with garden grocer so we can have yogurt and fruit in the hotel room for breakfast too. I hate spending a lot of money on breakfast, so hopefully this will work out. IF not I may just freeze some yogurt and put some bananas in a shoebox and pack them in my checked luggage.

Honestly, I am so excited and impatient to go that I'm probably going to pack my suitcase in the next few days. I'm sure my friends are sick of hearing me go on and on, but it's all I can think about right now.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:19 AM   #7
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Daydreaming about Food

One of the things I appreciate about Disney more as an adult than I ever did as a kid is the food and beverages. These are the memories of food I have at Disney as a kid:

Fried chicken in iron buckets at Hoop De Doo
Eating snails at the French restaurant at EPCOT
Eating squid (aka Calamari) at The Coral Reef
Tonga Toast at the Polynesian
Getting TONS of extra pickles at the Pecos Bill's fixins bar

As an adult pescaterian (vegetarian who eats fish) who enjoys a good cocktail, I've come to see a whole new side of food at Disney.

For starters, it's nice to know that there are veggie burgers EVERYWHERE. I mean, it's not my first choice, but knowing I won't be hurting for protein is nice. Theme parks generally aren't good when it comes to that.

Going back to the Hoop De Doo as an adult I now know why it was so popular with the adults...all you can drink sangria (weak sangria, but sangria none the less) and beer!

Drinking around the world at EPCOT is it's own adventure. We've done beer in Great Brittan and Germany, Limoncello in Italy, and finding a seat near Mexico before Illuminations so we could watch it with a margarita and chips.

The buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge is REDICUOUSLY good, and very veggie friendly.

SO, what are the food things I am looking forward to this trip?

Well, our first night we have reservations for 7:30 at the California Grill!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am about this. I love me some sushi and mid-century design. And the timing will be perfect to finish our meal and then head out to the observation deck with a cocktail to watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom!

We also have reservations for Be Our Guest for dinner (my cousin is a Chef there). I'm looking forward to seeing my cousin because we both work jobs where getting holidays off is impossible, so we hardly ever see each other. I'm also looking forward to the food. My roommate is intrigued by "the grey stuff". I'm hoping to see if I can get the recipe to bring home and make for my friends.

The other reservations we have are for lunch at the Brown Derby and Dinner in Germany for the show. Little Sis has never eaten at the Brown Derby, and their coconut crusted tofu is probably the single best vegetarian option at WDW. I am envisioning having one of their cocktail flights, probably the three margaritas (I am a sucker for tequila). We haven't done the show in Germany in a while, in fact, I think the last time we did it Little Sis and I weren't old enough to drink.

In addition to the reservations, there are certain food items that I am really looking forward to:
Dole Whip, of course
The apple beverage at Gaston's because I am a sucker for a souvenir mug
I really want to try School Bread and Viking coffee with Illuminations this time
Mickey Bar

and the one food thing I miss: Donald Duck orange juice. I really didn't think I liked orange juice until I had a bottle of Donald Duck OJ at Disney. Turns out, I like fresh squeezed oj. Now that they just do Minute Maid, it's not as good.

Now I'm hungry!
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kel-o-watt



1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:53 AM   #8
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Day 1: The Mousening: MK and California Grill

So, Now that my trip is over, I figured I would write about the experience some.

The night before my trip, one of the girls from the Boston Derby Dames (the roller derby league I officiate with) came over and did my nails. She is AMAZING! and they came out so good I couldn't stop looking at them



You can see more of her stuff on her tumblr Nina Nailed It

My flight from Boston to Orlando was direct on JetBlue (Hooray!) and check in went so smoothly I had time for breakfast and a preflight bloody mary at Boston Beer Works. A beverage here is one of my preflight traditions, and their Bloody Mary has a nice kick to it.



After getting off the plane in Orlando, I made a quick call to the Disney Florists to make arrangements for the "Ears to You" to be delivered to our room at Art of Animation that night for my dad's birthday (which was actually at the end of the week).



This trip we rented a car because my dad was staying for an extra week in the Daytona area. It didn't take long for us get on the road and head to Art of Animation to check in!



The lobby was clean and bright, although beware...those floors get slippery when wet as my dad proved by slip sliding in the entrance by the animator area. Check in went pretty smoothly. We had some confusion when we tried to explain to the concierge that we wanted to add two days to my ticket. He thought we were trying to transfer two days from Little Sis's ticket to mine. That's one area of improvement I would say that cast memebers in general could work on. It felt like a lot of times when we would ask a question, they would give an answer without trying to find out more about what we needed, and wound up giving us information we didn't need instead. It's understandable, because they were giving answers to us that they probably gave to people a million times a day, but it was because they didn't really "hear the question". It's a small thing, but in my line of work it was something that stood out to me.

Our rooms were super awesome. The three of us were splitting a family suite in the Nemo section. The pool was bright and beautifully themed, and when you put your head underwater, you can hear music and character sounds that they play through underwater speakers. It was pretty sweet. The room came with a fridge, microwave, and pod coffee maker (not k-cups, the other kind). Also, the Mouseka-florists had already delivered dad's surprise!








We put on our magic bands (or as I like to call them, my mouske-tracking device) and decided to hit the Magic Kingdom!







They were pretty comfy and unobtrusive. The only real issues I had were a) it was awkward to get the mickeys to touch when trying to get into the room, and b) I kept looking at it like it was going to tell me the time. "Mouse o'clock" became a running joke.

We signed up for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and then famished from our travels, we had ourselves some Pecos Bill. As the only vegetarian in the family, its pretty "meh". I mean, how excited can you get about a black bean veggie burger. Little Sis's Taco Salad looks a lot better, as does my dad's pulled pork sandwich. In retrospect I wonder how confusing it would have been for them to make me a taco salad with a veggie burger that I could then cut up? Hmmmm..... We hit up Pecos Bill's pretty much every trip, so I know what I'm in for. On the plus side it means I get to fill a paper condiment cup to overflowing with PICKLES! It's the little things sometimes. The woman keeping the area where we sat was super nice and helpful, which is one of the things I love about Disney. Cast members seem much more invested in the guest experience there than most places I've been.



Something to note about Sorcerers...I'm not a fan. Mostly because it dictates how you go through the park. It kind of feels like, if that's what you're doing...that's ALL your doing, because you want to stay on track with the story. And I really didn't get how you decided to which spell to cast. I don't think my sister did either, and she plays games like Magic, the Gathering. The effects were pretty cool, but it felt a little "fascist". I much preferred the Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom, where you had more control over where and when you did each of the activities. Maybe I'm just missing something.





After our late lunch we head over to Pirates, which is the traditional family first ride. We have fast passes, so we basically just walk right on. I find having to have to check in twice with the magic bands to be...odd, but its not a big deal. The mermaids were a nice addition, but I take it they've stopped doing the fog/projection effect?

From there we wandered ourselves over to New Fantasy Land to check things out and to use our second fp+ of the day, The Little Mermaid. The theming of New Fantasy Land is pretty cool. I loved the area around Rapunzel's tower, and the new Mine ride looks like it is going to be amazing. We stopped by the princess themed gift shop near Gaston's Tavern, where they had some pretty cute and clever souvenirs









The Little Mermaid Ride was really great. We never wound up doing the standby line, which I hear is quite something. The ride itself is a cute retelling of the story. The AA's are quite good, especially the facial features. And the ride through the "Under The Sea" was the highlight. They kinda skimped on the ending with Ursula, and there is nothing of my favorite part of the movie, the song Les Poisson, but you can't have everything I suppose.

We also wandered around Storybook Circus, which was a lot more coherent than Toon Town. The gift shop there is fantastic! I particularly loved the "dinglehopper" hairbrush I found.



They also have a sweet shop right at the center, which smells AMAZING! We took the train to the front of the park so we could hop the monorail to the Contemporary Resort for dinner at the California Grill!

I was super excited to land that ADR for 7:20. I figured the timing would be perfect for post dessert firework watching on the observation deck. Our server Wendi was pretty attentive and VERY enthusiastic. She gushed about something on every part of the menu, and gave very detailed descriptions. Living in Boston, I didn't have quite the same sticker shock as my dad and Little Sis did. In fact, the beer and cocktail prices were pretty much in line with a fancy hotel based bar in my neck of the woods. Little Sis and I split the tomato and mozzarella flatbread. Each slice had a slice of roasted tomato and mozzarella. The roasting brought out a nice earthy sweetness to the tomato, and the flatbread stayed just the right amount of crispy.



Then she and I each had a sushi roll, while Dad had the scallops. His scallops were HUGE, and the curry dusting was not too spicy (although I thought they could have gone a tad lighter on the seasoning). I had the dragon roll. For $24 I was pretty happy with the portion, and it was really fresh and delicious.



I had planned on getting dessert, but I was pretty well stuffed after that. Over dinner we talked about the last time we had been to dinner at the contemporary (which I had TOTALLY forgotten about until that conversation) back when it was called "Top of the World". Apparently one of the lounge singers had gotten a little "fresh" with my father and made him blush!

The dinner took long enough the fireworks were going to start before we were ready to think about dessert. Wendi did a great job getting us cocktails before we headed out to the deck to watch Wishes. I had a very nicely balanced Sidecar (my Boston friends and I are cocktail snobs, if you're ever in the area the bar Drink comes highly recommended). The view was tremendous. We went to the deck furthest from the MK as recommended by Wendi so the fireworks would be more over the castle. They had the music playing out on the deck which was a nice touch.





Now, since we are celebrating our dad's birthday, and he has the pin to show for it, Wendi brings us a complementary dessert. Fueled by the sugar, and the giddiness of being at Disney, we decide to go back to the Magic Kingdom and get a couple more rides in.

When we get there it is about time for the Electrical Light Parade to start, and we get the most amazing spots right under the train station! there is literally nobody between me and the parade!



Not to mention a clear line of site to the castle, all lit up in twinkle lights.



After the parade, we decide to hit some rides. The standby line for Space Mountain is only 10 minutes, so we decide to hit that first. And this is where we find out that it takes 10 minutes to walk from the sign with the times TO the ride. I forgot how long you have to walk before you get on! They have these games in the cue that look interesting, but we've got rockets to ride! It was a blast. Little Sis and I were screaming and laughing our heads off. I think the best part was when we both spotted the "asteroid" that is actually a photo of a chocolate chip cookie...and we both yelled "COOKIE!" at the same time. After getting off, we walked straight on to Buzz Lightyear, and then caught the PeopleMover before the park closed. Not bad for a first day.





Tomorrow's plan: Magic Kingdom, Dinner at Be Our Guest, and Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party
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kel-o-watt



1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:07 AM   #9
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Day 2, part ONE: MK

So, after a pretty decent nights sleep on the murphy bed in our Nemo Suite at AoA (mattress was firmer than I'm used to, but plenty comfy), we were off to MK. I decided against a refillable mug, as I don't like hot coffee, and we don't typically eat at the resort. I had some coconut water latte's shipped to the room via amazon, and had those with greek yogurt every morning. I had wanted to stop at a grocery to get them to save a bit more money, but we never got around to it so I got it from the "to go" cooler in the food court. I also filled up my Vapur collapsible water bottle with ice from the beverage station, and a slice of lemon for flavor. I LOOOOVE this bottle. It is flexible, and rolls up to the size of about a roll of quarters, yet when you fill it up it can hold a liter of fluid and has a built in clip so you can attach it to your bag/belt/ect. I got mine at Target.

We took the bus over to MK, and then took the train over to Frontierland.



We had a FP+ for Thunder Mountain, but when we got off the train and walked past the cue for Splash Mountain, it said 5 minutes. Who's gonna turn down a 5 minute wait time?





Here's a tip. If you want to get REALLY wet? Have the two largest people in the log sit in the front. My dad and I wound up in the front seat, and I have NEVER gotten so wet on that ride! I love that attraction! It really holds up over time (the movie? not so much).

Then off to use our FP+ for Thunder Mountain. One of the things about doing the FP lines, is that you don't get to play with the new interactive queues. Although, walking straight onto a ride is more fun than pushing buttons (my younger sister might disagree). We got to sit in the back of the train, which is my favorite part. When you're in the front, you really don't accelerate until the back part of the train is over the hills, where the back part is full acceleration. It's a fun little coaster! (although, when did they take out the boulders that are supposed to move like they're about to fall on you? I clearly remember there being a couple of boulders that moved down towards the train tracks when I was younger, but they're not there anymore)



From Thunder Mountain, it was off to the JINGLE CRUISE!



I was really excited to see what they did with their first holiday overlay in Orlando. The jokes were cute and corny, and our skipper had a deadpan delivery that I enjoyed. I kinda wished they had decorated the ride more, but it was a nice changeup. Also, I LOOOVE the poster (more on that later).

We made a trip over to Aloha Isle for the obligatory Dole Whip (or in my case Dole Float...need to hydrate!) and finished them off while in line for the Enchanted Tiki Room. I was not a big fan of the "Under New Management" show, so it was nice to see the classic. Heck, let me bring my Dole Float in and spike it with a nip of Malibu and it's pretty much retro heaven!

From there it was time to move on to Liberty Square for the Haunted Mansion. 10 minute standby line gave us a little time to play with some of the interactive pieces in the queue. This is my sister playing the piano (notice the look of concentration as indicated by her tongue sticking out of her mouth :P )

(aren't I a loving big sister?

There were two really cute little boys in front of us that were getting more and more nervous as the preshow went on. Since we were standing behind them in line for the doombuggies, I offered mom a couple of glow bracelets, which seemed to help ease their fears. I know I went through a period where I found it too scary to go on (it was interesting, because I had been on it and been fine before, and I KNEW I had been on it and been fine before, but one year I WOULD NOT GO ON, and nobody could convince me otherwise). I noticed that they had changed the storyline in the attic from the last one I remember, and told the story of the bride in a clearer narrative. As what seems like the norm, there was a period on the ride where we were "stuck" and had to wait. I don't mind so much because I remember when my mom was alive but not as mobile, WE were often the reason for these delays. It was a little uncomfortable because those doombuggies aren't exactly sized for three adults, one with a pooh sized back-end (me), and one with a "derby-butt" (sister). Interestingly, the Haunted Mansion is the only ride I've ever had to walk off due to the ride malfunctioning. It was with my sister on a band field trip, and we were almost late catching our bus to the hotel because of it!

All that mock-terror (and walking) got us hungry. We made the rookie mistake of having lunch at lunchtime, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. We went to Columbia Harbor House. I grabbed the table upstairs while dad and sis got the food. Probably the best counter service lunch I had all week (followed closely by Tangerine Café at EPCOT). Grilled salmon that was moist and flaky, VERY tasty couscous, and steamed broccoli!



The family next to us had a rougher time of it. We were sitting next to a family of five. The dad was downstairs grabbing food, while mom had the three kids. The middle child was having none of it, and pitched the mother of all tantrums, flailing and stripping down to her panties screaming "I WANT MY GOOFY!". The poor woman was mortified. My dad talked to the mom and made "it happens to the best of us" noises while I chatted with the older brother and gave him some Mickey stickers from my bag. "I WANT MY GOOFY" became a rallying cry for the rest of the trip.

After lunch shenanigans, it was time for FantasyLand! Our next FP+ was for Peter Pan. I figured we should have a fast pass for this ride because it ALWAYS HAS A SUPER LONG LINE! And it is probably one of my favorite rides besides the PeopleMover. We had some time before the FastPass was good, so we went on it's a small world, which had a 5 minute wait. I can never go on that ride without thinking of the Simpsons episode where they go to Itchy and Scratchy land and they ride the water ride with Aunt Selma who says in frustration "Bart, Shut UP! Lisa, drink the water!", and Lisa gets high off the water and winds up in the middle of a fountain exclaiming "I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN!" (but I digress).



We played some of the Sorcerer cards, and then went on Peter Pan. There is something about flying over those scenes that is just magical to me.

Then to Mickey's Philharmagic, which reminds me again why Donald was my favorite character as a kid. After that we decided to try some of LeFeu's Brew. WOW! It is sweet, and it is TASTY! And who could pass up those souvenir mugs!



It was around 3pm, and we had tickets for MVMCP, so we decided to go back to the hotel and take a nap so we could be fresh and ready to go. We had 7pm reservations for BoG (our cousin is an exec chef at Disney, so he was able to fit us in), so we figured we would rest, and head back, do a couple of things before dinner then hit the party!
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

Last edited by kelowatt; 12-09-2013 at 05:03 AM. Reason: added picture
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:07 PM   #10
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I think I have just read the coolest thing ever.
Roller derby girls.

Plus, it is nice to read adult trip reports. I do not see many. Your touring sounds a lot like mine.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:37 PM   #11
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Great pics!
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiigirl View Post
Great pics!
Thanks!
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMari View Post
I think I have just read the coolest thing ever.
Roller derby girls.

Plus, it is nice to read adult trip reports. I do not see many. Your touring sounds a lot like mine.
Thanks! My sister has been doing derby for a while, this is my first season. It's a lot of fun. There are leagues all over the world now. It's a lot of fun even just to go and watch.

It's funny to me how my appreciation for Disney has changed as an adult. Talking to my friends at work, some of them didn't get why we would go without little kids. Of course, one of my friends at work went two weeks before me on her on for Food and Wine, so it's a mixed bag
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:53 PM   #14
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Day 2 part 2: BoG and Mickeys Very Merry SUGAR HIGH Christmas

So, after a nice little nap at AoA, we were back to MK for dinner at BoG courtesy of our cousin Chappy, and the Christmas party. This was our first ever party, so we weren't really sure what to expect besides what we had read here and other places.

We were a bit early for our dinner reservation, so we tried out the Barnstormer. It went pretty quicky, but not bad for a kiddy coaster.

Dinner at BoG was wonderful for several reasons. First of all, we got to see Dave (aka Chappy!) He and I both work jobs where it is difficult to get holidays off, so we very rarely see one another besides weddings and funerals. Second, the restaurant is BEAUTIFUL! We were seated in the main ballroom which is gorgeous (and the faces of the imagineers painted on the ceiling as the faces of the cherubs was a nice touch). Our host who sat us was in training, and was SUPER into the whole thing. Our waitress was a good waitress, but was a little less into the whole THEME of the place (which was fine). The windows snowing were beautiful, and were apparently because Beauty fell in love with the Beast during winter, so it is always winter there. The ballroom was a bit noisy, but really that was my only complaint.



My dad and I split the trio of salads for an appetizer (my favorite was the one with the shallots in it) and my sister had the potato leek soup, which was fantastic! My dad and I had the seafood filled puff pastry, which we both enjoyed immensely, and my sister had the steak and fries. I can vouch that the fries were good, and she enjoyed the stake which was medium and was too big for her to finish. For beverages my dad and I each had a beer (I don't remember what he had, but I had a Chimay Red, which is one of my favorites), and my sister had a non-alcoholic beverage in the flashing princess *pimp cup*. When we couldn't turn it off, our server brought us a brand new one and made sure it worked. My dad the Birthday boy had some grey stuff (it's a whipped cookies and creme panna cotta, and is delicious as advertised) and my sister and I split an eggnog cupcake that was a holiday party special.









We sat and talked with our cousin for a while, who told us that each table has a computer in it, and that he has a screen in the kitchen where he can watch people move through the restaurant via Magic Bands. We also joked about what piece of kitchen equipment he was before he was turned back into a person when Beauty and the Beast fell in love (he said stove, I said iPad). We checked out the other dining spaces including the west wing:






and what I am calling the music box room:



Every so often the Beast would walk through, and he would meet with guests in the den, or something. It was a great experience (and the beer selection was NICE), but it was off for the PAR-TAY!



We decided to head towards the hub for the light show and fireworks. The castle projection show was pretty cool (I hadn't seen any version of it before)





and they even had a Wreck It Ralph section (which is my Brother In Law's favorite movie, and is pretty under-represented)



They also did the song from Frozen, which they were pushing pretty hard (It's a great song, and I can't wait to see the movie)

We also got a couple of pictures taken by the photopass people and saw the holiday Wishes fireworks, which were great, especially when they were surrounding us 360 style (although I'm not big on fireworks in general, too boomy).



While we didn't get our pictures taken with any of the characters, we did take pictures of them...





and my sister decided to get her moneys worth in free hot cocoa. Which I'm pretty sure they laced with crack, because she went from being full and kind of tired to SUPER wired and hilarious! We had ourselves some ice cream in a Minnie Mug at Sleepy Hollow



and my sister ran into Woody's Holiday Hoedown so she could see the inside of the Diamond Horseshoe (I'd been there once during a "Behind the Magic" thing I did as a teen) and wound up dancing with Woody



That's her in the red and white sox and brown t-shirt.

We watched the parade in Frontierland just in front of the Trading Post. It was cute, and we had a great view. My sister was particularly excited about seeing the marching tin soldiers (we were both marching band geeks in high school) and I might still have the bruises to show how excited she was. She tends to punch me in the shoulder when she is excited, and after four cups of hot cocoa she was pretty excitable. I liked that they had some of the less known characters in the parade, like Clarabell and Horace.













We basically followed the end of the parade out of frontierland into Fantasyland where we took advantage of the short wait times to go on Winnie The Pooh (the interactive line looked really cool, and I loved the "honey" screens). From there we headed to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain again, TWICE (my sister told the ride operator at the end that it was our dad's birthday and she gave us a re-ride). The ride photo of my sister was so funny I wound up buying it! We also did one of the VERY last rides of the People Mover of the evening.



Oh, and I had to buy myself some emergency souvenir flip-flops, as my souvenir blisters on my heels had gotten to the point I really couldn't NOT limp (my comfy converse sneakers let me down). Once all the rides were shut down, we moseyed back to Main Street, just in time to see the last of the snow, and get our picture taken by one more PhotoPass person. I think we finally left the park at 1am, and were back to the hotel by around 2.

The Christmas party was a lot of fun. In retrospect, it would make a better day of arrival activity so we didn't burn a park ticket too. The hot cocoa was good, the snickerdoodles were ok, but my roommate makes homemade caramel filled ones with browned butter, so anything else is going to be a let down. We were absolutely fascinated with the woman who was drawing characters on the street with water. How do you learn to do that? Who came up with that as a thing? Inquiring minds want to know!

Fortunately, we had a late breakfast at the Polynesian scheduled for the next day, so we could sleep in. It was quite a day, and we were averaging about 10 miles a day in walking.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

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Old 12-07-2013, 01:58 PM   #15
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Day 3: Kona Cafe breakfast and EPCOT including dinner at Biergarten

So one of the things I remembered from trips as a kid that I wanted to re-experience as an adult was Tonga Toast, so we made plans to hit Kona Cafe for breakfast. Dad got Tonga Toast, and Little Sis and I split Tonga Toast and an order of Pineapple Macadamia Pancakes and we got a french press of Kona Coffee to split.

Lemmie tell ya something...that was one carbtastic breakfast!



I asked to sub the bacon for eggs since I don't eat meat. Little Sis felt that the bacon portion was too small. "They're teasing you with bacon, just a little bit" as she put it.



The Tonga Toast was HUGE, and delicious...but the pancakes were even better! The Pineapple Macadamia topping on the pancakes was fantastic. And the coffee....mmmmm.

After filling up on tasty tasty carbs, we were off to EPCOT!

The monorail ride to EPCOT is my favorite way to get there. I love the preview you get of the park before you get off and go through the gate.



Our first fastpass was for Mission Space, perhaps not the best idea after such a big breakfast. Especially since we are an Orange or nothing kind of family. While I still miss Horizons (and the smell of orange groves) it is still a really impressive ride. (Also, does anyone go through that ride without SOMEONE making a Lieutenant Dan joke?)


some post-ride ear shopping

After Mission Space, we did the standby line for Test Track (Tron edition). I like the speedy ride just fine, but the old "World of Motion" was one I enjoyed back in the day. I do like the preshow where you get to customize your own car. We wound up making what I dubbed the "Monster Prius"



The post show games were also pretty cool.

And we were just in time to see...THE JAMMITORS! They are a super-fun percussion group that play on garbage cans. It is a family favorite (especially for dad).

From there we went on to the Universe of Energy, aka Ellen's Universe of Naps. Man, they need to do more with that ride!

From there we headed over for lunch at Sunshine Seasons. I had some super tasty VEGAN mongolian "beef". So so good!



It makes me SO happy when there are interesting veggie options at Disney.

And then Soarin, which is fantastic, but could stand for an upgrade in image technology. The prints in the projectors are starting to show their age.

It was a short walk to the non-existent line for Living With The Land (did I once stand in line for 40 minutes for this?) I actually really like this ride because it feels more connected to Walt's vision of EPCOT than most of the others. It has a purpose outside of the attractions, and that purpose is SCIENCE!

From The Land, we headed off to The Seas (now with more Nemo). I remember when you took the "hydrolators" to Seabase Alpha, which frankly, was kinda lame. I think the Nemo theming is kinda cute, if a little less sciency (and I miss the diver coming down the tube on regular intervals). Turtle Talk with Crush was fun, mostly because he picked three kids in a row who's favorite food was broccoli.

We went from there to Spaceship Earth (I miss Walter Cronkite) and then Journey into Imagination (I REALLY miss Dreamfinder)! We also took in Captain EO, which I remember being TERRIFYING as a kid. It was a cute flashback to the past, and I totally forgot it was directed by Francis Ford Coppola! Also, this is the line with the infamous "Do you suck the head?" convo (My dad has a knack for being approached by strangers, and he just starts chatting. Apparently when I was a teen and we were waiting in the handicapped line for Captain EO, he was talking with another dad about crawfish when their teenaged son, who was about my age at the time came up to me and asked me "Do you suck the head?" To say I was a bit taken aback by this was an understatement. Apparently it has something to do with crawfish eating techniques. And the best part? That was only my SECOND weirdest conversation with a stranger at Disney...but that's a story for another time)

The day is going by pretty quickly, and we haven't even hit World Showcase yet! We start off in Mexico (which is our usual pattern) and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour, which I always enjoy, because I like Donald!



but what I like maybe more than Donald, is tequilla. We head over to La Cava del Taquila, and have some fantastic margaritas! I have the pineapple one, which is very tasty (although not as good as the cucumber one I have later in the week). Dad has a traditional one, which is mighty tasty, and they make my sister some sort of fruit juice beverage. My dad has an annual pass, and usually hits up the bar outside for his Margaritas. He said that while these were a bit more expensive, they were DEFINATELY worth the price differential.



After a little browsing, we head over to Norway, to ride Malestrom! Out of curiosity, has ANYONE ever stayed for the movie at the end? We wander through the stores



(nice photobomb, Little Sis)

and scoot past China on our way to Germany for dinner at the Biergarten!



We are seated with an adorable family with three boys who positively talk our ears off. Fortunately all three of us like chatting with kids, so it went well. I was glad they had a flight of beer, so I didn't have to choose (I liked the dark one best, but this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I <3 malty beers). They also had a pretty decent selection of food for a non-meat eater (I do like me some spaetzel) We thoroughly overstuffed ourselves. For a buffet, the food seemed pretty fresh, and was refreshed pretty often. I had the fish which was tasty and moist (buffet fish tends to get too dry). Make sure to walk all the way down, as you might miss something. They also had fresh carved meat, and schnitzel, and a lot of other really tasty things. The entertainment was pretty enjoyable too. I feel like this place gets looked over when thinking of places to dine in EPCOT. It's not the most exotic or fancy, but it certainly was enjoyable.



From there we continued to wander around the World Showcase. We skipped by the American Experience (it's long, and I like the Hall of Presidents better) and browsed the Japanese pavilion, where three kids were doing Pick a Pearl (I remember doing that my first time to EPCOT)



The castmember doing the Pick a Pearl was really into it, and taught the kids how to count to three in Japanese while she opened the pearls.

We kept walking, passed right by France and wandered around the UK. Little Sis was looking for a pint glass from the Rose and Crown as a gift for her hubby back home. Apparently there was a story about the last time they went and wanted to get a pint at the pub, but got waylaid. They didn't have pint glasses like she hoped, but she wound up getting him a t-shirt (not the one pictured)



We parked ourselves outside of the Canada pavilion and watched Illuminations. I fogot how good this show was! I still remember the afternoon show they did with kites and speedboats back in the day. Of course, I also remember that you could catch double decker busses around the World Showcase. I might not be young

At the hotel we decide to try out the pool. It was not the warmest water I've ever swam in, but it wasn't the coldest either. It was cool to hear the music played under the water, but it was a short dip. We were exhausted and had early fastpasses for the Safari in the morning.
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1976: Fort Wilderness, 1980: Fort Wilderness, 1983: Fort Wilderness, 1986: Polynesian, 1988: Caribbean Beach, 1990: Off property for Magic Music Days, 1991: Disneyland off property for Magic Music Days, 1993: off property for Magic Music Days, 1999: All Star Music, 2005: All Star Sports, 2008: Pop Century, 2013: Art of Animation, Nemo

Trip Report:
Christmas before Thanksgiving...why not? AoA, MVMCP, BoG, FP+ and MORE! (in progress)

2013 Trip Report

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