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Old 01-12-2014, 01:42 PM   #1
bellebookworm9
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"I'm Just Trying to Put a Booger on Her Face!" Our Jan. 2014 TR Update 2/10

Come one, come all to the tale of our most recent trip.


That's me, Gretchen, on the left and my "twinsie" PB on the right. I'm a 22 year old doctoral student in audiology, former cast member on the college program. That's where I met PB. He's 25 and currently works full time in outdoor foods at Magic Kingdom.


And that's my mom, Debbie, and my brother Ian. Mom is 56 and works in a group home. She's my frequent WDW trip companion. Ian is 19. This was his first trip and we were also celebrating his birthday, which was January 5th. Ian has autism and intellectual disability, so this trip was kind of a learning experience for us in regards to traveling with him.

We stayed at Art of Animation in a Car suite from January 6th to the 10th. PB was able to book us at 60% off, and also got us the QSDP at 50% off. We've used the DDP before, but the QS version was also something new to us. Traveling with Ian, we decided a rental car was necessary and I found a great rate through Dollar. Mom also needs a scooter due to back and foot problems so she chose a "pink princess scooter" from Walker Mobility.

In the next post, you can experience all of the night before drama!
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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 *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 *12/15-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23/2015-Coronado Springs *10/20-26, 2015-Boardwalk Villas 10/26-28, 2015-Vero Beach *10/28-11/1, 2015-Disney Cruise Line (Magic)


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Old 01-12-2014, 02:49 PM   #2
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"We're Landing! Disney World's Down There!"

On Sunday, January 5th, my mom, grandma and I went to Ian's group home for his birthday. Mom and I got him all packed for the trip, he opened his presents (including his newly repaired iPod), we had pizza and wings, and just after we sang happy birthday and cut the ice cream cake...disaster occurred.

My phone vibrated with an e-mail from JetBlue. They had canceled our flight out in the morning! It was supposed to be a direct flight from Buffalo to Orlando arriving at 10:45am. I ran to Ian's bedroom to call the number and got a recorded message which told me I could go online to change the flight. So I tried that but it was saying there were no flights at all in my upcoming flights-including our return flight. I was trying to accomplish this on my phone, checking other airlines, and just generally freaking out. Finally, the staff at the group home were nice enough to let me use the computer in the office.

Southwest had a nonstop option on the 6th but it wouldn't arrive in Orlando until 8:30pm and it was also $780 for the three of us. That left us with US Airways. We could leave Buffalo at 11:20am, have a three hour layover in Philadelphia and arrive in Orlando at 6:24pm. That option was $633, including bag fees and seat charges. Kind of between a rock and a hard place with these options but we ended up booking the US Air flights. I also changed our rental car pick up time, and somehow ended up paying $30 more for LESS time. Mom called Walker Mobility to change the dropoff time for the scooter and they said the latest they could deliver was between 8-9pm, which was actually perfect.

Once that was all sorted out, we went home to Mom's house. I got on the phone with JetBlue. After almost an hour on hold, I finally spoke to a person. However, since our flights to and from Orlando were booked as one itinerary she was having difficulty splitting them up to refund us the departing trip without also cancelling the return trip! That took almost another hour while she tried to contact a customer service person, but they were able to fix it in the end and we were refunded the money.

After that mess, it was close to midnight and definitely time for bed. In the morning, we set off for the Buffalo airport around 9am. A big storm was supposed to hit, and it did, but after we left, thank goodness! Mom parked in the economy lot, right next to one of the shuttle shelters and the shuttle pulled up before we were even fully unloaded!

Arriving at the terminal we headed to the US Air counter. The woman was a little snippy, not to us, but telling other customers not very nicely to use the self-serve kiosks to speed things along. I found it odd that we were not asked for ID, but oh well.

Then it was off to security. We were able to use the Special Needs line with Ian and had almost no wait. He rocked going through security! I told him what to do for the X-Ray scanner and he had no problems. They did need to check out his backpack. He has "sorting CDs", probably at least a hundred of them, that he will just put in and out of a bag. I guess the way they were in his backpack made a "dark spot" so they had to re-run it, but that was fine.

I've never been to the left side of the Buffalo terminal but we were assigned to Gate 4. We sat right next to the window. This was not our plane, but Ian asked if every single plane we pointed out was ours.


He was so incredibly patient while we waited. Mom went to get us some pastries and drinks. Ian listened to his iPod, read his magazines (he loves tabloids) and sorted his CDs. Our flight was delayed about an hour. Finally we were able to board our teeny tiny plane. It had like 13 rows, with two seats on either side of the aisle. Ian and I were on one side and Mom was on the other. He did great on the flight, and it also helped that they allowed small electronic devices to be kept on during take off and landing as long as they were in airplane mode.

The flight to Philly was not long at all. We landed in terminal F. I forgot to say that the plane was so small that we weren't able to bring our rolling carry-on to store overhead-it had to be gate checked! Mom grabbed that while Ian and I waited. Then we made our way to the shuttle that takes passengers from Terminal F to the other terminals, because of course our connecting flight was all the way at the other end of the airport, in Terminal A-West.

The bus driver was not very good. It was basically a shuttle where everyone had to stand, and he would brake very suddenly and frequently. We almost fell over a lot. Finally we made it to the A-East terminal and began the looooonnnnng walk to Gate 26, at the other end of the A terminal. Lunch time was approaching so we looked for food and eventually asked about McDonald's. It happened to be right next to our gate. Worst McDonald's ever though! Service was terrible, food took forever, they were out of sweet & sour sauce and then forgot to give us the BBQ sauce, ice cream machine was broken, etc.

By the time we finished our food, we had a short wait to board. This plane was MASSIVE. It had come from the UK so it had a first class section and two separate coach sections. The coach sections had two seats, an aisle, four seats, an aisle, and then another two seats. Ian and I were in the middle of the four seats and Mom was right in front of me. We were among the very last to board, in Zone 6. I think they assigned the zones based on when you booked your flight and since we had booked less than 24 hours before, we were last priority.

The plane had TVs in the seats but they weren't activated, I guess they only do that for international flights. Ian was very well behaved again. When he felt the plane start to descend he said, "We're landing! Disney World is down there!"

I texted PB the second the plane hit the ground (after the all clear for cell phones had been given). That was 6:57pm. He had stopped by Art of Animation that morning to get us checked in, and told me we would be in room 1816, building 1, 4th floor. I had requested top floor so that was good, but we weren't given my request for a lake view which wasn't a big deal. At 7:21 he asked me if we were at the hotel yet. At 7:24 we had just arrived at baggage claim!


B-side shuttle from the airside terminal. Mom went to go check in at Dollar while Ian and I picked up the bags. It did take a little while for us, but she said there was no line at the check in counter, and she signed up for Dollar Express so they said we really could have skipped the counter altogether!

Out in the garage, we looked for a compact car. They had several, but not really any with a decent amount of trunk space. We ended up with a silver 2012 Nissan Sentra. It had New Hampshire plates and was a little beat up but still an acceptable car, and plenty of space for the suitcases.

Then we were finally on the road! The hardest part was getting out of the airport. 528 West to I-4 West then Exit 65 towards Osceola Parkway. Just before 8:30pm, we crossed under the Arch.



At Art of Animation we parked in the check in parking and headed to the online check in desk because our MagicBands still needed to be activated. There was a short wait for a cast member. Mom asked how the MagicBands were working and the cast member gave us a spiel about how they're great, she's used them herself and had no problems, blah blah blah. But of course, there was some error with ours and she had to take them to a manager. 30 minutes later and the problem wasn't resolved, despite being continually told that "it should be just 5 more minutes". They told us we could go eat and when we were done it would be fixed. I explained that we had the dining plan and they said to just pay out of pocket and we would be reimbursed.

In the meantime, I still hadn't received a call from the scooter company. Apparently they were calling our house, so it's a good thing we called them! They dropped off the hot pink scooter immediately.

Into Landscape of Flavors we went. All I wanted was the make your own pasta and some gelato. The gelato station was closed. Mom and Ian also wanted pasta so I joined the long line. PB had met us at the resort and he chose the Pastrami Cheeseburger. He paid for himself and went to find a table. By the time I got out of the pasta line he had finished his whole meal, including dessert. I also had Mom go check on the bands again while I was waiting, still not done.

The three of us ordered linguine alfredo. Ian wanted chicken in his and Mom and I wanted shrimp, but I guess they didn't hear me say shrimp for the third order because Mom didn't get any. I shared some of mine. The pasta was very good but we were so tired and cranky. I didn't take any pictures. PB had cheesecake bites that he said were very good, Ian had a brownie, and Mom and I got some sort of fruit pastry, which I didn't end up eating.

We checked on the MagicBands again, no dice. It was really late by this time, close to 10:30. Mom was, understandably, quite angry. We'd been up since 6:30am. They finally fixed the problem by rebooking our reservation. Total time wasted was 2.5 HOURS. That included the other 30 minutes it took to refund the dinner to the two credit cards and deduct the meal credits from our dining plan.

PB drove the scooter to our room while we went to get the car and move it closer to our building. We tried to go in an end door and it wouldn't open with the bands, we kept getting a red light so we had to go around to the front. Thankfully our room was literally next to the elevator. PB went home for the night, we unpacked, and the longest day ever was at an end. I didn't take any photos of the room, but I have some from when I toured a Cars suite in July 2012, which I will post soon.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:06 PM   #3
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Following from the January group and fb . Sorry your first day was so crappy. I am hoping we have no issues with our magic bands
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:13 PM   #4
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Hi Gretchen!

I'll join in! I am part of the January group on FB and kept up with your posts! We leave in 19 days….OMG…I just realized it's only 19 days away!

I'm looking forward to reading about your trip as I am a physical therapist who works in the school system with special needs children. We take field trips ALL the time, so I know first hand how difficult some situations can be!

Keep it coming!
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:23 PM   #5
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Hi there! I'm from the January facebook group also! Looking forward to reading about your trip! We leave in 17 days! Woo hoo!
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:40 PM   #6
bellebookworm9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobern View Post
Following from the January group and fb . Sorry your first day was so crappy. I am hoping we have no issues with our magic bands
Welcome! It certainly wasn't the first day I was hoping for, but the trip did improve from there. I still have no idea what the problem was with the bands. They said part of the problem with the rebooking was adding in the discounted dining plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nittanyliongirl02 View Post
Hi Gretchen!

I'll join in! I am part of the January group on FB and kept up with your posts! We leave in 19 days….OMG…I just realized it's only 19 days away!

I'm looking forward to reading about your trip as I am a physical therapist who works in the school system with special needs children. We take field trips ALL the time, so I know first hand how difficult some situations can be!

Keep it coming!
The 19 days will fly by! We had to take a lot of breaks and sometimes would find a "quiet" place to sit for 30 minutes so Ian could listen to his iPod and regroup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsK41 View Post
Hi there! I'm from the January facebook group also! Looking forward to reading about your trip! We leave in 17 days! Woo hoo!
You're getting closer! Hope you enjoy the report.
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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Cars Suite Photos

These photos are from the Cars suite that I toured in July 2012 with allears. Our room was actually the mirror of this one. The only difference in decor was the bed. Instead of the orange cover, it now has the white sheet cover found in most other Disney resorts with an orange "Cozy Cone Motel" runner. The blankets for the sofa bed/murphy bed are now white instead of pink.

Ian slept on the "Mater bed". He adored it.



Plenty of space in the bathroom for Ian and I.



I thought the water pressure was fine. Hated the motion sensor fan. You only had to be in the vanity area and breathe wrong for it to activate. The energy saving lights are very, very dim when initially turned on.


Cute kitchenette. The dresser and closet area in the living room are also in this "toolbox" design.


Couch-the cushions were massive and took up a lot of room when they were off the bed. I thought the mattress was not very comfortable, it felt very thin. I slept on the murphy bed in the Lion King suite last summer and thought that was much more comfortable.

Also, those cone lights were all or nothing, you couldn't light up just one at a time. They are turned on by a foot petal between the couch and end table.

Artwork above the couch.


Coffee table-very heavy as it is made of particle board.


Master bedroom. My mom thought the bed was a little too firm.





Master bathroom.



We really liked our room. Plenty of space for everyone. We plugged the scooter into an outlet near the kitchenette and still had lots of room to move around. There were also many outlets throughout the suite, which is kind of a rarity in Disney hotels. Despite being next to the elevator-the couch was literally right up against the shaft-it was very quiet, hardly ever heard any noise. Our only real complaint was the WiFi. I couldn't connect to anything at all even when I had a five bar signal. The blow dryer in the master bedroom was broken but when we called the next morning they came within an hour to replace it. For more photos of the Cars section and around AoA in general, check out my report from this past July.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:15 PM   #8
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"How Do You Collapse the Basket?"

Before I delve in further, our original plan was this:
Arrival Day-Epcot (Evening EMH) w/ dinner at Beaches & Cream
Day 2- Animal Kingdom/Downtown Disney
Day 3-Hollywood Studios with dinner at Hollywood & Vine
Day 4-Magic Kingdom (Morning EMH)
Day 5-Breakfast at Ohana, then whatever we wanted, possibly Typhoon Lagoon

Well, obviously the flight cancellation messed with those plans, so we rearranged a bit.

Day 2 was now Hollywood Studios with a very early dinner at H&V and a late dinner at B&C, Day 3 was Epcot, the rest would be the same. We never made it to Animal Kingdom, which isn't a big loss for us.

So on Tuesday morning we slept until about 9. Here is the view from our room.


We made it down to breakfast just before 10am. I knew I had to start the day off with some character waffles! Mom had the same thing, and Ian had a yogurt parfait. We sat in the back corner of the Nemo section.

Parfait-vanilla yogurt, strawberries, and granola





And as it turns out, the waffles are double sided. I know Dory/Nemo, Flounder/Ariel, and Lightning/Mater are paired, but I can't remember who is with Simba! Ian scarfed down his yogurt. The waffles were good but a little on the cold side.

After breakfast we stopped back at the room to gather our things for the day. We had called maintenance/housekeeping before breakfast to request a sharps container (Mom is diabetic) and to tell them about the broken blow dryer. They were already there to replace it!

This is the artwork by the elevator on the 1st and 4th floors.



We knew it was going to be a cold day so we grabbed sweaters and coats. Not hats and gloves, unfortunately. Then it was down to the parking lot. The scooter came with handy disassembly instructions. The seat went into the backseat of the car, the batteries unhooked and went in the trunk, and the rest of it folded down...except for the basket. We couldn't figure out how to collapse it and there was no way the scooter was fitting in the trunk with the basket still up! So we called the company and I felt like an idiot when all we had to do was pull the bottom of the basket up and it would all flatten out.

With that taken care of, it was just a short drive around the corner to DHS. Ian has a handicapped tag so we were able to park in the medical lot, which at the studios is right in the middle of the bus loop.

The scooter was unloaded and we started to walk toward the entrance, but Ian was cold, so he and I turned around to go get his jacket. Then he broke the zipper right off somehow-thankfully, it still had velcro.

The Christmas decorations were still up so we stopped to get a picture of/with the tree.



But Ian was being a grumpy stinker. Mom went through bag check while Ian and I headed to Guest Relations outside the touchstiles to get him a Disability Assistance card. While we were there, PB joined us.

With the card safely in hand, we proceeded into the park, and Ian had no problems with the finger scan. He was still being a grump, so I told Mom to take him by the Great Movie ride. PB and I would go to Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to get FPs and a return time on the DAS, respectively.

The DAS is quite simple. You just go up to the cast member at the stand by line and ask for a return time. They write the current time, the current wait time, subtract 10 minutes from the wait, and that's when you can come back. I think our return time was around 12:30. Touring Plans said that we should be able to get a FP return time of 1-something for Tower but that was way off-the FPs were for 3:20! We decided to deal with that later and headed back to Hollywood Boulevard to meet up with Mom and Ian again.

They were right near the pin trading store in the Hat, and Ian was happily listening to his iPod, while Mom was talking to one of the Disney research people. We convinced Ian to go on GMR, and the line was fairly short.

Replica of Scarlet O'Hara's dress in the queue.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an incredibly bizarre movie. I saw it for the first time last summer with my friend, so I took this photo for him.


Pretty soon we were on our tram through the tour of the movies. I think they squished our party of four in with two other people.


We got the gangster scene yet again. I've never seen the Western scene.









Ian had a great time telling me all the movies and actors he recognized in the montage at the end. He said he liked the ride. Then it was time to head back to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster for our DAS return time.

We had a short wait to get into the "recording studio", where PB took great pleasure in pre-empting everything Aerosmith said. Can you tell we've ridden these rides a lot? There was almost no wait to board the limo. PB was in the row ahead of us, in a separate car. Ian LOVED the coaster. He laughed through the whole thing.

I'm so pale that my face isn't even distinguishable in redneck ride photos!

While we were riding, Mom had gotten a snack of kettle corn and soda. She happened to be waiting right by the entrance to the Beauty and the Beast show, so that's where we went next, since a show was starting in just a few minutes.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:58 AM   #9
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Followed you here from the Food pics thread, really enjoying your TR so far
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:08 AM   #10
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Followed you here from the Food pics thread, really enjoying your TR so far
Hello, fellow WNYer! Glad you're enjoying it!
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:19 AM   #11
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"Can You Make That Noise Again?"

I should mention that before we met up with Mom, the three of us stopped by Tower of Terror to get a return time, rather than waiting to use the Fastpasses. I thought they were much too close to our dinner reservation at 3:40 and didn't want to chance it. The return time with the DAS was 1:25pm. Much better!

Heading into Beauty and the Beast, the first cast member we encountered asked if Mom could transfer. Yes, she can, so we didn't have to sit all the way in the waaaaay back of the theater. Instead, we went to our right and down a long, windy maze of a ramp to the bottom of the ampitheater. We parked the scooter and got seats in the second row!

It's been well over a year, closer to two, since I've seen this show and I've never been that close to the stage so that was a great experience. Now I'll subject you all to the million pictures I took.









No one spits like Gaston!




Belle wants more than this provincial life.


Then through "a series of mysterious circumstances" she winds up at the castle.








Love this costume!


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Old 01-16-2014, 12:33 AM   #12
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"Can You Make That Noise Again?" Part 2

Then the fun is over and the Beast is angry.



The rose:


Fighting ensues, followed by singing and falling in love.



Which Gaston is not happy about. Kill the Beast!




But the Beast doesn't like when his castle is invaded...



And he's down...until Belle says those three magic words.





Happiness and dancing.



But nobody's in appropriate happy ending clothing, so that must be fixed!



AAAAHHHHH THE DRESS! I WANT IT!






A little girl right behind us was chosen to meet Belle and Beast. She was given a plush rose and a card signed by them that said "Thank you for being our guest!" It was really sweet.



Ian loved the show! He said his favorite part was the Beast. After we had reclaimed the scooter, we made our way back up the maze. At some point on the way up, a couple came out from somewhere else in the maze and Mom almost ran me over because I had to stop so suddenly. I made some sort of a squeal/squeak/ooof noise, which had us both cracking up and she asked if I could make that noise again. I don't think so!

It was right inside our window to return to Tower so we all headed up there. Mom doesn't ride this either, so she continued to the exit courtyard to wait. We walked right into the TV room and were the last people admitted, so our wait was quite short. I put Ian in the wall seat and we were assigned to the back row. I was nervous about how Ian would do, since on the plane the day before it had dropped a little but, so it evoked the same feeling in your stomach and he didn't like that.

I shouldn't have been worried though, because he laughed through all the drops! Again, he said he liked it. I tried to take a redneck ride photo, but the screens there are too high up and angled, so you can't tell individual people. Oh well. Mom was right outside as promised. Ian was hungry so we decided to go find somewhere to get a snack-he specifically wanted cookies!
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:05 PM   #13
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"How Do You Get Out of There?"

After we had ridden Tower, Ian was hungry. This was just around 2pm and we had dinner reservations at 3:40pm so we didn't want to fill him up! Heading back down Sunset Boulevard I spotted the Beverly Sunset Sweet Shop, so in we went. Ian got this cute Mickey cookie and PB had a blue raspberry slushie, or "diabetes in a cup" as he calls it.


Ian's favorite Disney movie is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was obsessed with it when we were little, so I had to take a picture of him with the Evil Queen.


While those two snacked, Mom was watching one of the Streetmosphere/Citizens of Hollywood skits. PB thinks they're annoying, but Mom and I like them. This one was Paige Turner, director Vladmir Pooey (I think) and a camera man/sound effects guy. It was pretty entertaining and we watched for a bit while Ian sat on a bench and listened to his iPod.


It was so incredibly cold that day. That's Mom with her red earmuffs on! Ian, who is hardly ever cold, was bundled up in a jacket, a sweatshirt, and another shirt. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and fleece sweatshirt. PB had on a hat and gloves with a wool jacket.

After the skit had finished we headed for the Animation Area. We wanted to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Disney Junior-Live on Stage (Ian likes Disney Junior).


That was 2:30ish, and they were saying the standby line for Little Mermaid would be for 3:30. No way were we waiting an hour for a 17 minute mish-mash of a show. And I don't think there was a Disney Junior show soon, or we had just missed one. Mom and Ian were cold and cranky. As we were deciding where to go and what to do, this Asian woman appeared out of nowhere next to me with an English map and some guide in Asian characters-no idea what language they were in. She started to ask me a question but Ian was already mad and said, "What's your problem lady?!" She stormed off and said, "Never mind". Mom yelled after her that she was sorry and that Ian has a disability. After she was gone, PB and Mom told me that the woman had kind of weirdly scooted through the crowd behind me and went straight for me. I told them that I seriously just attract people who don't know what they're doing. Whenever I'm at the parks, it always happens.

Anyway, we decided to take a break in the Animation building. Ian got excited when he saw the Incredibles but the line was kind of long. We looked for a bench, but they were all taken, as I'm sure a lot of people were inside looking to get warm just like us. We ended up down on the lower level, and just sat on the floor right next to where these two have their meet & greet.


It was very cool to watch them and we were right next to the door where they come in and out for breaks. Ian had a nice iPod break and while the building wasn't exactly quiet, it was just what he needed to regroup, and what we all needed to warm up. When all was said and done, I think we stayed there for almost 45 minutes just talking and people watching.

After a bathroom stop, we walked back up to Hollywood & Vine since it was a few minutes before our reservation. There was quite a line to check in! The woman ahead of me had the extinct yellow Dooney & Bourke Sketch bag, like my extinct purple one. I took some pictures of the buildings around the restaurant while we waited in line (and there's also PB, all bundled up).


$5/week? Sign us up!


Eventually we made it to the podium and then joined the scores of other people waiting on the porch. We were called within 10 minutes and had plates by 3:55pm.

I think our server was Teri. Our table was close to the right side of the buffet and the restaurant wasn't too busy yet despite the long line. PB got a plate and Mom got some food for Ian, then she and I went up. Here's a sampling of what we ate.

This is PB's plate. Starting at the top there were rolls and butter, Orange Citrus BBQ Chicken, meatballs, and I think some kind of braised pork with veggies?


My plate had fruit salad, Caesar salad, Potato salad, a piece of ciabatta bread, a dinner roll, and butter.


Ian's plate, starting from the top: Mashed potatoes, creamed corn spoon bread, I think that's a meatball, penne pasta with meat sauce and mozzarella, and a mixed greens salad with croutons, cheese and ranch. He had several helpings of that pasta.


My other plate: mashed potatoes, carved strip loin, what I thought was green beans but was really asparagus, and the creamed corn spoon bread.


We all had plenty to eat. The spoon bread and mashed potatoes were delicious. I think I ate everything except the surprise asparagus. In addition to the carved strip loin, there was also carved turkey. On our side of the buffet was a make your own pasta station; Mom was told both sides were the same so she missed the carved meats.

Ian read his magazines and listened to his iPod when he was done eating. Then it was time for dessert!

Sadly, all those yummy looking cakes are fake. PB asked that guy how he got out of that little area, and it turned out one of the carts moved, but he was truly stuck back there for hours.

I tried the soft serve ice cream, and it did not disappoint but I was hoping for a toppings area, not just chocolate or caramel sauce. This was my little plate of desserts.

The blueberry cheesecake was probably the best item there. The next thing was a key lime tart and it was just okay. That yellow topping was kind of odd. On the top was a red velvet square, which was good but a little dry. Next, with the spoon sticking out of it, was strawberry shortcake. This was disgustingly dry and tasted like cardboard. Last was the cream puff, and it's hard to go wrong with those.

Ian was also given a cupcake for his birthday, which he could have cared less about.

It sat in our fridge until Friday, at which point I ate it for breakfast. It was very good, moist and sweet.

Before we left, I took a picture of this wall. That's the Carthay Circle Theater, where Snow White premiered. There's a replica in DHS that contains a store, and one at California Adventure that is a restaurant!


The meal was solid. I was skeptical about eating there because it has mediocre reviews and it's hard to find recent reviews or photos. But it was the cheapest option for the Fantasmic option, I thought everyone could find something they would like, and it was a buffet which meant we could go at a pace that Ian would be fine with, rather than potentially slow service. I think the total cost for the four of us, including tax and gratuity, was about $180.

After dinner, Mom wanted to do some shopping. I wanted to go to the car to get my jacket, and PB thought he had some blankets in his car that we could use during Fantasmic. PB asked if he could take the scooter to his car or else I was going to have to roll him out there. After I got my coat, I took another picture of the tree.


And myself all bundled up.


Eventually PB came back with two blankets and we found Mom and Ian. She let PB ride the scooter for a bit longer and he said he felt like a bull in a china shop riding it through the stores! We were looking for a hat and gloves for Ian but didn't find anything. However, he did find a wedding princess Ariel doll that he wanted, so we bought that for him with PB's 40% discount.

In between stores, we took some pictures.

Ian still not wanting to cooperate with the photographers.

But he really liked this car!



This was from the Villains in Vogue store.


And back in the Beverly Sunset Sweet store.


One of the CMs there gave Ian a pre-wrapped marshmallow for his birthday, which he also never ate. I tried to take a picture of Ian with the Old Hag, but the glare was kind of a problem.


Our passes for Fantasmic said to come to the theater between 6:15-6:30 but it was still a little early so we tried to figure out what to do. Tower of Terror was posting a 50 minute wait, but several of the wait time apps we checked said it was really only 20 minutes so we headed back in line...and either they were stacking or the line really was 50 minutes. No way that was happening. So we went back to Mom and just decided to head into Fantasmic a few minutes early, which turned out not to be a problem. One last shot of Sunset Boulevard with the decorations before the show.

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:50 PM   #14
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"Where's the float?"

We headed up the ramp to the ampitheater. After talking to some CMs, Mom parked her scooter and we sat in the Mickey section, maybe 1/3 of the way from the water. There were some people on the end of the bench but a big space in the middle so we squeezed past them. Normally I sit up front, but it was waaaaay too cold to get splashed. We wrapped up in our blankets for the preshow, where the hosts mainly joked about how cold it was. I know it's the slow season and it was a very cold night, but this was the only Fantasmic show that night and the theater wasn't full!

The show started at 7. Ian was pretty entranced through the whole thing. They've updated the lights on the Princess floats from Christmas lights to sharp, crisp LEDs. But the Beauty and the Beast float was missing!

You can't tell how nice these new lights are from my pictures, but trust me, they're awesome.



Now, I never ever stay until the end of this show. I always start leaving when the boat of characters comes out and watch the end from the top of the theater. I told Mom and PB of this plan, because no way were we getting stuck in the crowd with Ian and a scooter. So we had to squeeze back past the people on the end of the bench...who were videotaping. Mom scolded me for being rude and I did feel bad, but at the same time, I feel that if you don't want people climbing over you, maybe you should move to the middle? Plus a cast member at the top of the steps was like, "You can't leave yet, it's not over!" Um, we can leave when we want and I've seen this show upwards of 10 times.

Mom was flying down that ramp to the exit. We could barely keep up with her without running! Poor Ian just wasn't doing that. She said she wanted to beat the crowds. We were way ahead of them anyway.

We said good bye to PB for a few minutes and agreed to meet at the Beach Club. Mom and I quickly disassembled the scooter and we made the short drive over to BC. On the way out of the medical lot, there aren't a lot of clear signs and I ended up in that bus area where the off site buses pick up. Don't think I was supposed to be there, but no harm, no foul.

Mom was miserably cold. Like really angry at everything because she was so cold. I did feel her hands and she was freezing like a popsicle. At the Beach Club, we valet parked (free with the handicapped tag!) and hustled inside to the warmth. To get to Beaches & Cream, you have to go outside. I told her and Ian to wait inside by Ariel's (a private event restaurant) and the Martha's Vineyard lounge while I went to get us checked in. B&C takes reservations now so I'd made one for 8pm. They gave me a pager and said it'd be about 10 minutes so I went back inside with Mom and Ian. PB had stopped in at the Beach Club Marketplace (where he used to work) to talk to some friends but he met up with us soon, and the pager went off shortly after.

We were seated at the booth closest to the door but since they only open it when people come in or go out, it stayed pretty warm. Herlina was our waitress; I remembered her from a prior visit. Mom wasn't very hungry and Ian only wanted a salad. PB and I each got the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque. Ian chose the side salad. He asked for Honey Mustard dressing and Herlina didn't even know what that was. Apparently it's a Northern thing? So he chose ranch instead.

My soup and sandwich, which were deliciously warm and creamy on that chilly night. The sandwich has a six cheese blend. PB and I each shared a bit with Mom and Ian.


And Ian's salad. There were onions too, but he ate them before I could get the picture!


For dessert, we all shared the No Way Jose. Herlina brought over smaller dishes for us to split it.

It was delicious, as it was the last time we ordered it. Seemed to be too much hot fudge and not enough peanut butter sauce, but we still finished almost all of it.

PB pulled out his CM ID for a discount and I told him it wasn't valid there. Herlina told him the same thing and he kind of put up an argument, saying he'd gotten it there before. I said maybe it's cause he worked there? But he said no, it was before he worked there. It wasn't a big deal but I never have understood why CMs don't get a discount there!

PB was also able to catch up with one of his old managers who was working at B&C that night. I think she manages that restaurant, the Marketplace, and Hurrican Hanna's? She told us she's just about to transfer to Magic Kingdom at Casey's and Tomorrowland Terrace.

Our meal was relatively inexpensive, about $45 including tip, I think-our credit for the check in inconvenience covered it. We charged it to the room and as we were wrapping up, realized none of us had cash to tip the valet! I never carry cash and I'm so used to charging things to the room that I told Mom she could leave her wallet in the safe.

Heading back through the lobby, Mom and Ian waited inside while I went to give the valet desk the slip. When they brought the car around, I apologized for not having cash because I truly felt bad. The kid was about my age though and so nice about it.

Walking out of Beaches and Cream we also saw (and heard) the last few bits of IllumiNations. As we were waiting for the car, I heard the final crackle and said, "It's 9:13". Sure enough, it was. You can tell time by that show. When I lived in Orlando two summers ago, my house was seven miles away from the center of Epcot and I could still tell time by that crackle!

Art of Animation is just a short drive from the Beach Club and Hollywood Studios, maybe five minutes, so soon we were back at the room. Ian wanted a picture with the Ariel doll we had purchased for him earlier.

Getting her out of the box was quite a struggle though. She was twist tied to the cardboard under and through her dress and around her legs. And there were rubber bands everywhere. I left the ones on around her shows to keep those from falling off and I left one band around her hair to keep it from getting totally knotted.

He was really pleased with the doll. It's staying at my mom's house for now-if he were to take it back to the group home we'd all get a lecture about "age and gender appropriateness". Oh, bite me.

Anyway, that was 9:45pm, so definitely time for showers and bed. I'm pretty sure we watched some Disney Channel because that's Ian's nightly ritual no matter where he is.

We hadn't accomplished much that day: just Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, the Great Movie Ride, Beauty and Beast, and Fantasmic. That's okay though because Ian said he liked everything that we did do.

The next day we would be going to my home, Epcot!
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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 *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 *12/15-19, 2014-Port Orleans French Quarter-The Never Ending PTR! *3/17-23/2015-Coronado Springs *10/20-26, 2015-Boardwalk Villas 10/26-28, 2015-Vero Beach *10/28-11/1, 2015-Disney Cruise Line (Magic)

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:53 PM   #15
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Following along!
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