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Old 04-06-2014, 01:59 PM   #1
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"We're Having an Adventure!"-New March '14 TR!

Welcome to yet another trip report from yours truly, Gretchen!

I just returned from my most recent trip to the World, which took place the last week in March. The trip was mainly for the annual American Academy of Audiology conference, AudiologyNOW! However, I am not ashamed to say that I spent more time at Disney than the conference.

I stayed at All Star Movies from March 25-29 with my “twinsie”, PB.

Also on this trip were a number of my classmates: Maddie, Alexa, Vanessa, Alyssa, Katie, Kaitlyn, Shannon, and Angela. The Friday before our trip, Maddie and Alexa contacted me. Most of my classmates were staying at the Red Roof Inn next to the Convention Center but these two wanted to spend some time at Disney. I added them to my room reservation just so they could take Magical Express and head right to the parks. They had purchased specially priced convention tickets for after 2pm so I linked them up and got their FP+ arranged, which I was not able to do for myself at that point due to an Annual Pass voucher problem.

Tuesday morning my friend Matt brought me to the Buffalo airport at 6:30am. I walked up to the JetBlue counter to check my bag and found Alexa there as well. Alyssa came in right behind us. There was no line at the counter and also no line at security. Security was frankly just weird; they didn’t make us take off our shoes or jackets, take liquids or laptops out of our carry-ons, or send us through the X-ray scanner, only the metal detector. After security we ran into Katie, who was heading down to the other side of the terminal for her flight on United (I think). Alexa and I stopped at the coffee shop to get some breakfast. Then we made our way next door to Gate 7, where we found Vanessa and Maddie already waiting for us. The five of us were all on the same flight.

We spent the next hour or so eating and chatting. The four of them were towards the back of the plane, so they boarded first. This was our plane, “Out of the Blue”.

I was in row 6, on the window so I was one of the last to board. Ready to go back to Orlando!

The guy next to me wanted to make conversation. I told him that I was going to a conference and stopping at Disney on the way. He and his party were going to the Reunion Resort for golf or something. This was my view at the airport before takeoff.

I thought about renting Frozen for the trip since that was one of the offered movies but decided I didn’t need to since I’d already seen it several times. I just listened to music instead. Popcorner chips are the love of my life!

These were some clouds over South Carolina.

And descending through literally miles of clouds in Florida.

Oh Florida, how I missed you!

As soon as I got off the plane I changed into flip flops. Alyssa and Vanessa needed coffee so they stopped at the Starbucks in the terminal while Alexa went and changed into shorts. Then it was down to baggage claim. I had tagged my bag but Maddie and Alexa obviously didn’t get there tags in time. Luckily, the bags were all out by the time we got over there. I directed Alyssa and Vanessa down to Level 1 for a taxi; they were going to their hotel and then to Universal.

The other three of us made our way back up to Level 3, over to the B-side and then down to Level 1. Magical Express was right there! My MagicBand worked, thank goodness, and there was no issue adding Alexa and Maddie on to the reservation. We were directed into Line 8, and waited just a few minutes to be put on a nearly full bus.

We were soon on our way. I didn’t love the new video they play. We were too far back to get a good arch picture.

First stop was Coronado Springs, then All Star Sports and Music before finally making it to Movies.

I had to wait for PB to show up before checking in and soon he was there. After a long reunion hug, we went up to the desk (Maddie and Alexa were browsing the gift shop). Our room wasn’t ready yet but we were told that we would be in Fantasia building 5 on the second floor, which meant my room requests had been met. Since the girls’ tickets weren’t valid until 1:45, we freshened up in the restroom while PB got some lunch in the food court. I also picked up our Hoop Dee Doo tickets at Lobby Concierge and got birthday/first visit/celebration buttons for all of us. This model of the “Fantasy” was in the lobby.

Soon we were outside waiting for a bus to Epcot which pulled up almost exactly as we arrived at the stop. Our first place to go after bag check was will call. Maddie and Alexa needed to see if their tickets had been attached to their MagicBands (they were) and I had to exchange my AP voucher for the real thing. The CM was super confused by my voucher and after I gave her my license she kept asking a question and then finding the answer on the license. It was really weird, but eventually I walked away with a new Premium Annual Pass. It took all of 20 seconds to scan it into the MDE app. Then I tried to get FPs to line up with Maddie and Alexa…no luck. Said everything was standby only. It was still a little too early for the girls to get in, but they suggested I go ahead to a FP+ kiosk to figure out what was going on.

Good news, my MB worked to get into the park, so that’s the one that my AP is linked to. I headed for the kiosks by Guest Relations only to find out that the app was correct and the only FP+ available was for Captain EO. The CMs said to try back in about an hour and something might open up.
PB and I made our way back to the front of the park where the girls had just gotten in. We got some cute Photopass pictures taken. I was pleased to find out that all pictures can be linked via MagicBands, not just those who have MemoryMaker.

Maddie and Alexa had FP+ for Spaceship Earth but PB and I didn’t so we all just got in the standby line. It was about a 20 minute wait. As we got into the building, there were a bunch of people who were riding again; I guess there was a problem where the doors weren’t opening at the exit? So we had to wait for a section of cars to pass by before we could board. PB and I clearly have a promising future.

By that point Alexa, Maddie and I were starving; we’d had very little to eat since early that morning. Alexa and I decided that Sunshine Seasons was a good choice so that’s where we headed. Maddie and Alexa bought my lunch as thanks for helping them with their day at Epcot. Maddie had the Spicy Togarashi Seared Tuna Noodle Salad, and the rest of us had the Turkey, Monterey Jack, and Chipotle Mayonnaise on Ciabatta; this sandwich seems to get a little bit bigger every time I eat it! PB had cheesecake for dessert and I had the chocolate mousse cake for the first time.

I believe it was while we were eating that two things happened: 1) I got the text that our room was ready, 5836 (one of the rooms I had basically requested) and 2) a FP+ time for Test Track had opened up for the same time that Maddie and Alexa were good to ride! We had thought about riding Soarin’ via standby because they have games in the queue to pass the time, but not even I love Soarin’ enough to wait the 90+ minutes that was posted at the time.

PB suggested we go on Journey into Imagination with Figment. I’d never ridden it before but he apparently really likes it. We had a brief wait for that, maybe 10 minutes or so.

The three of us girls really liked the hearing room: “We’re going to test your hearing with a series of tones”. Yup, that’s what we say every day, if only our tones were as fun as the ones on the ride. It was a pretty weird attraction other than that. I’ve done it once, no need to do it again.
Then it was over to Nemo, Alexa’s request. I think this ride is lame, and the Turtle Tunnel makes me dizzy.

By that point it was nearly time for our Test Track return time. We stopped in MouseGears on the way over so Alexa could buy a bracelet or something for her mom. PB didn’t ride Test Track with us but we had a blast! No good ride photo though. I sat in the front for the first time in forever and couldn’t believe how much room there was!

After Test Track I was tired and my feet were hurting. Kaitlyn, Shannon, and one of their friends were in the park as well and had apparently gotten paper FPs as “guest recovery” for some problem at Guest Relations. So Alexa and Maddie were able to ride Soarin’ after all! PB and I made our way out, stopping at Club Cool on the way. I tried the Pineapple Fanta from Greece, which was okay, didn’t care for the Melon Fresh one. Vegetebita was interesting, but PB really loves it. We had a 5-10 minute wait for the bus once we got to the All Star bus stop. Of course, Movies was the last of the All Stars, so it was a bit of a long ride. I stopped at Bell Services to pick up the bags I had left earlier and PB went to buy me a new refillable mug. Then it was off to our room.
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Old 04-06-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Following along!
For the love of Disney...
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
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"I Kept Jumping Behind the Bus..."

As I mentioned before, we were in Fantasia building 5, which is the one with the Sorcerer Mickey hat-the classic Fantasia building. We took the elevator up to the second floor-it was a very slow elevator and the doors didn't open when we reached our floor. We thought we were stuck! They did open eventually though. Our room was towards the end of the hall on the back of the "T" shape, overlooking the Love Bug section. Basically everything I had asked for, except being on the third floor (I did tell them second floor was acceptable too). My luggage had already been delivered from Magical Express.

PB immediately flopped down on a bed and started watching TV. He doesn't have a real bed in his apartment, just an air mattress that is currently deflated due to a tear, and he doesn't have cable TV either, so he was living in the lap of luxury. I, of course, immediately started taking pictures.

One of the double beds and the nightstand (PB said this was a lame towel Mickey)

The curtains (PB: "Are you really taking a picture of the curtains?!")

Cute wallpaper border:

Table and chairs, dresser/refrigerator, TV

Fantasia Art next to PB's bed

Vanity area


Super cute coat rack, wish I could buy this for my house!

I thought there was plenty of drawer space for 1-2 people. Certainly lots of closet space but I do wish they had provided more hangers. We appreciated the privacy curtain by the vanity, which allowed us changing space without being relegated to the teeny tiny bathroom. Beds were comfy; there was one extra pillow in the closet.

Picture of my Annual Pass.

I unpacked and we hung out for about an hour before heading down to the bus stop. The Magic Kingdom bus came very quickly and dropped us off pretty close to the front of the bus loop, then it was a short walk to the boat dock. Surprisingly, they had dedicated boats for Ft. Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge; normally they share. The Ft. Wilderness boat was one of those tiny open sided ones but it arrived within five minutes of us getting to the dock.
Some photos from the boat:

As we passed Discovery Island, there was a large number of birds circling. PB and I talked about the island and River Country. I told him that I'd seen pictures from someone who took a raft over to DI in the middle of the night to sneak around. His reply: That's way too much effort!

We arrived at Ft. Wilderness well in advance of our show time. First stop was the concierge desk next to Pioneer Hall. Although they'd printed our tickets at ASMo, PB gets a 50% discount at the 4:00 and 8:30pm shows that needed to be applied. The CM was able to do that very efficiently and we went into the check in line. As we were walking away PB was talking and then just had a spaz attack, spitting and coughing. Apparently a bug flew into his mouth!

They marked us as present and then we decided to skip the photo. Headed over to the porch to wait.

While we waited Mahhhk (Mark) from Bahstan (Boston) introduced himself to everyone in the surrounding area. I love guests like that, but wouldn't have complained if he'd taken the volume down just a bit!

They let us in a few minutes after 8:30. PB and I had wanted Category 1 but by the time we booked, Category 2 was all that was left. As we were escorted up to Table 26 and saw our view, well, it was good that we didn't pay the extra for the upper category.

Couldn't have been much better!

The world's most amazing corn bread and soft butter was on the table waiting for us.

As was this salad. I didn't like the dressing and only ate a small portion but PB devoured almost the whole bucket!

Old fashioned place settings.

PB had sangria (six mason jars of it, in total!) and I had Sprite. Our server was Rob and he was soooo funny! One of the jokes I remember him telling us was "My name is Rob which backwards it Bor. I try not to be, I'm really just a dyslexic optimist. I used to be suicidal, but I kept jumping behind the bus, so they sent me here...you know, cause you're supposed to jump in front of the bus..." Probably not a Disney appropriate joke, but he had us in stitches.

The Pioneer Hall Players had us almost rolling on the floor too.

Both of us agreed that we haven't laughed that much in a long time. 45 minutes in, PB goes "We have to come back here in December with your mom!" Done deal! We'll book as soon as reservations are open!

Not a great picture of the pork ribs, which were excellent.

Delicious fried chicken.


Cowboy beans, which I didn't try but PB said were just okay.

A napkin waving good time!

Heavenly strawberry shortcake. Wish I could've eaten more but I was already stuffed!

And to end the night, you get to play the washboard.

Such a great time! It was around 10:30 when we left, and they provide buses by zone from the bus loop just steps away after the last show. We were in Zone 4: the three All Stars, Coronado, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Coronado was first, All Star Movies was the last of the All Stars as usual. We were just happy that they didn't go to AKL until after the All Stars! I think we made it back to the room around 11, then it was time for a shower and bed. A successful first day overall!
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:19 AM   #4
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First Day of the Conference

Wednesday morning I woke up around 9 and started getting dressed for the conference. PB watched TV while I was getting myself looking professional and then we went down to the food court. Pretty sure we both got the Mickey waffle with strawberries and bacon.

The place was hoppin' and we had trouble finding a table. Eventually we grabbed a six top and a younger couple asked if they could sit there too, on the other end. Sure, why not?

I had planned to take the bus to the Convention Center but PB said he'd drive me. Since it was still so early I told him nothing was going to be open yet! So we stopped by his apartment to grab some stuff and also went to Wawa for gas. I still arrived at the convention crazy early. This was my name badge. They had a billion of these little ribbons and I didn't realize until later that you could just keep attaching them to each other, so I had just this one stuck to it.

I picked up my "swag bag" and went outside to look through the program and enjoy the sunshine. There wasn't much going on during this first day; the exhibit hall wasn't opening until 5:30 that evening and my friends got a little lost trying to find the location (it was way down in sections D/E). Around noon I went to look at some of the research posters but not too many were actually up yet. This background was up for those who weren't lucky enough to actually take a picture with the real thing.

I went to a presentation on Audiologists as Expert Witnesses, which was pretty interesting. But that ended at 2:30 and the next thing I wanted to go to didn't start for another hour and fifteen minutes. That was a long time to sit around doing nothing. I grabbed a hot dog from a concession stand and ate outside. After a short internal debate, I decided to catch the Lynx bus back to Disney. There's a stop right outside the Convention Center not far from where I was. That bus was a couple of minutes late and somehow the bus I needed to transfer to was *early* (something that never happens with Lynx buses, in my experience). Thankfully they both stopped at Sea World and I was able to hop off the first one and run up to the second one! I was walking into the Marketplace by 3:25.

Such a nice day! I found the All Stars stop and it took about 20 minutes for a bus to show up. Then we made stops at Pleasure Island, Typhoon Lagoon, Sports and Music before getting to Movies. Whew!

When I arrived at the room, PB was...what else? Watching TV! I changed out of my professional clothes and then we headed outside. He had a friend staying at Music so he walked over to visit her and I walked around Movies, taking pictures! Starting at the Mighty Ducks:

I personally think these masks are kind of creepy.

Moving on to 101 Dalmatians.

In Fantasia, this is one of the staircases from my building.

In Cinema Hall:

One side of the Wall of Fame in the lobby.

I gotta say, the size and spacing at Pop and AoA's food courts are much better, though I found the lines at Movies to be more efficient.
Movie posters in the food court, and my two favorites were next to each other!

Last edited by bellebookworm9; 07-11-2014 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:30 AM   #5
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Why do people always feel the need to climb on things?

Check in and lobby concierge:

I stopped in the gift shop (Donald's Double Feature) and browsed. Found some cute key chains and a pack of MagicBandit's that I liked, but since I didn't have PB with me (for his 20% CM discount) or my AP (for a 10% discount) I didn't buy anything.
Bus stops:

As I was leaving the bus stop, I was walking across a little service area that said "pedestrian traffic". Somehow I ended up in a cast member only area next to an outdoor lounge area. Nobody said anything to me but I got out pretty quickly!

I liked the Toy Story area a lot.

There was an older kid, probably 12-14, climbing on those blocks-and his father was encouraging it! That has always irritated me. Kids (and adults!) would climb on the Leave a Legacy monuments at Epcot all the time and we spent a lot of time telling them not to!

I wandered into the playground area and loved this sign! What a cool thing to have at the resort.

The other Fantasia building is dedicated to Fantasia 2000.

Kiddie pools at the Fantasia pool.

These from my building (5).

And these were on the Fantasia 2000 building. No idea who thought this creepy Jack in the Box was a good icon to place at the front of the building! *shudder*

These were in between the two buildings, but I believe they're from 2000 as well.

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Old 04-12-2014, 01:06 AM   #6
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"Now people are really gonna think we're together!"

Finishing up my photo expedition in the Love Bug section.

And this was the view from our room, 5836.

My walk around the entire resort took exactly 30 minutes. It certainly is a cute resort but I prefer Art of Animation and Pop Century.

Mousekeeping had left this for my birthday.

I called my mom and uploaded pictures. PB came back and watched some more TV. We got ready for dinner at Narcoossee's. All dressed up!

We left around 7 and drove to the Grand Floridian. They've completely changed the parking situation there. Self parking used to be across the street and rather inconvenient. Apparently that's just cast parking now and self-parking is near the Villas and Health Club/Spa. We had to orient ourselves toward Narcoossee's.

I found out that this trip was not the place to try new shoes. I had bought cute espadrilles a few days before the trip and while they fit perfectly in the store, they were just a little too big I guess. My heels kept slipping out. I eventually gave up and walked barefoot to the restaurant. Classy, I know.

Our reservation was at 7:35 and we got to the building around 7:30. They gave us a pager and we went outside to the deck, where of course, I took some more photos.

^That also turned out to be my view from the table, except there was a window frame blocking the castle.

Just a minute or two later the pager went off. Who knew that they talk?! PB said that's what they are supposed to do but they're so often broken that they just light up and/or vibrate instead. Ours did all three!

We were seated next to the windows not far from the podium. Lori was our server and she kept us well stocked in soft drinks and water.

Free bread service with Hawaiian Sea Salted butter. This was amazing! I think we may have eaten the whole loaf, it was that good.

PB had calamari for his appetizer. He liked it a lot (I think it's gross so I didn't try it.)

I had the Plant City Strawberry Salad: Crimson Florida Strawberries, Local Citrus, House-made Ricotta Cream, Red Watercress, Frisée, Strawberry Vinaigrette, and Walnut-Oat Crumble.

It was good but I didn't like the lettuce, which was frisee and spinach leaves. PB sampled some and enjoyed it very much.

For an entree we both had the Filet Mignon and Boniato-Idaho Mashed Potatoes with Haricot Verts and Herbed Cabernet-Oxtail Reduction.

PB had his rare, mine was medium-well and they were both perfect. The mashed potatoes were even just a tad better than the ones from Hoop Dee Doo! Green beans were great too.

Even though we were pretty full, we had to get dessert and both ordered the Almond Crusted Cheesecake.

It was the best cheesecake I've had in a long time. I was stuffed when we left. We had a 40% cast member holiday coupon to use so that made the prices a little more bearable. This was the second Signature Restaurant I've visited and they've both been great! (The other was Yachtsman Steakhouse).

After dinner we wandered up to Gasparilla's so I could change into less formal clothing for Magic Kingdom. PB used to work at Gaspie's on his first college program way back in 2010 so he wanted to see if any of his former co-workers were still there.

I put on shorts and a fleece since it was getting a little cold that night. Then we headed into the lobby and took the elevator (not the cage one, unfortunately) up to the second floor. Woo hoo, the monorail was right there! I'm excited that we are going to be staying at the Grand in August, even though it's just for a night.

Soon we were at MK. We rented a locker so I could store my bag with my dress clothes in it and headed into the park. The Middle was filming while I was visiting and they were currently set up by the turnstiles. Since we were going against the swarms of people leaving after the parade, we didn't have much luck trying to see the cast. It was around 9:40 already and Wishes started at 10. I had two goals: see Wishes and Celebrate the Magic. PB wanted to ride the People Mover so that's where we went first. I love how Tomorrowland lights up at night!

From the ride, we also jammed along to the Incredibles Super Dance Party thing. Then we headed up to the Hub for Wishes, right under Tink's flight path. This is, sadly, the best picture of her I've EVER managed to get.

After the show, we moved into the center of the Hub to wait for Celebrate. We sat on one of the benches and people watched.

Some family had left a Casey's tray in the middle of the sidewalk and people kept running it over. Seriously, how hard is it to put your tray on top of a garbage can when you're done with it? Or at least throw your garbage out so people aren't getting ketchup and soda all over their shoes and strollers! People make me so mad sometimes.

That castle picture was taken at 10:14 and Celebrate wasn't until 10:35. It was getting colder by the minute and PB didn't have a jacket. I knew he wanted to ride Pirates so I said we could skip Celebrate, since I'm fairly sure it will still be there in August when I come back.

Pirates was almost a walk on. And it was warm, so that was good too. We both agreed that would be a cool ride to see behind the scenes or with the lights on. After our boat ride through the Caribbean, we were tired and decided to call it a night. Cutting through the shops on Main Street, we beat the parade by just a few minutes. The Resort monorail line was pretty huge and the express line was monstrous. We decided that even though it was cold, we'd probably have better luck with the boat. I know we still waited a bit and the line got long enough that when the (teeny tiny open sided) boat did come, they had to cut off the line. Thankfully, we made the cut.

Since I was wearing a fleece with shorts and PB was wearing jeans with a t-shirt, we huddled up for warmth. PB said "Now people are really gonna think we're together!" I forgot to mention that on our way out of Epcot the day before, we'd been stopped to take one of their surveys and the cast member said something about us being a couple. Sadly, this is not the first time that has happened. We think we might get Happy Anniversary buttons in Disneyland and milk the free stuff!

There was a guy who sat in our row with us and was talking to me. PB had me in a head lock though because of our snuggle position and so I couldn't actually look at the man. He was joking about how we parked at the Grand Floridian and if we had a nice car because they like to keep a specific type of clientele there-though he was staying at the Poly!

We made it back to the car and were soon on our way back to Movies-benefit of having a car is not stopping at the two other resorts! Then it was time for some more TV and bed; I think this was the night we saw some show about "America's Worst Tattoos" and probably a bit of Modern Family. PB had to work in the morning and I had another conference day planned. I set my alarm for 8:30am and off to Dreamland I went...
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Change of Plans

Thursday was Day 2 of the conference, where I was going to be learning about Medicare, new hearing aids, audiology credentials, middle ear implants, and hearing loss in children with Down Syndrome. It was going to be a busy day!

As I said, I set my alarm for 8:30. PB left crazy early, like at 6am, to go to work. And then I was woken up at 9am by a child running down the hall and yelling in Spanish. Frantically looking at my alarm, I found that I had not been paying attention and set the Tuesday/Wednesday alarm...except this was Thursday! Well, that threw my whole schedule off. Instead of going to the conference, I took the day to do what I wanted. At that moment, what I wanted was to go back to sleep for a bit, so I did.

I got up a little after 10 and headed down to get some breakfast. The chocolate chip pancakes with bacon looked good, so I ordered those and took them back to the room.

They were almost sickly sweet and I couldn't finish them.
I was still pretty tired so I fell back asleep. The late nights were taking a bit of a toll, I guess. When I did finally get up for the day, it was around 1pm. The newest and final Kingdom Keepers book had been released the day before, so off to Downtown Disney I went to get my copy.

1:28pm, the only person in line for the bus!

It showed up relatively quickly, but it took about half an hour to get to the Marketplace.

Pretty flowers near the Christmas store:

In Once Upon a Toy, I found the KK book pretty quickly and also bought a CD for my brother. Loved this Game of Life spinner on the ceiling!

Then it was over to World of Disney. My mom bought a pair of earrings back in 2010 at Animal Kingdom. I can't remember if they got lost or broken, but for like two years now I've been looking for them almost everywhere to buy another pair. No luck, but I did get a Mickey/hearts keychain for myself and a "Best Mom" one for Mom.

General DTD pictures.

I still can't stomach the thought of Earl of Sandwich, so I went to Wolfgang Puck Express for lunch. (Last year we had 8 DDP credits to use so we went to Earl's. Too many of those sandwiches over a span of time will turn you off of them!) At WPE, I chose the BBQ Chicken Salad, as I wanted something light. Inside was pretty packed so I went and sat on the patio to read my new book. When my salad came, it was delicious!

Unfortunately, the service was not so great. My server came over to introduce herself and then didn't come back until my salad was delivered. I was never offered a drink refill, she never came back to ask how the meal was, and it took quite a while to flag her down so I could get my frozen yogurt! Then she disappeared again for almost 10 minutes. It was 40 minutes from the time I got my salad to the time the fro-yo was delivered.

As I was finishing up, PB texted to ask how the conference was going. I told him I wasn't there, and he said he'd come get me from DTD but I had to go to Cirque du Soleil. Yee gads, what a mess Downtown Disney is right now! Walls and construction everywhere. When I finally found my way out, I still beat him by a few minutes.

DisneyQuest looks so boring now that it's just this one solid blue color.

PB arrived and we went back to the hotel to hang out for a bit before venturing out to the Studios.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:55 PM   #8
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The Night of Free Stuff

When I left off, we were hanging out in the room. Eventually I started to get antsy-I really hate just sitting in my hotel at Disney! PB didn't want to drive so we took the bus to Hollywood Studios and I don't think the wait was long at all.

I don't know what it was about this night but I just wanted to eat EVERYTHING. Our first stop was Anaheim Produce. I asked for a Mickey pretzel with cheese sauce and a Sprite. The CMs wished me a happy birthday and when I looked at the receipt, saw that my pretzel had been free! PB ordered the same thing and while we sat on a wall and ate, we were horrified by the crazy amount of sodium currently being consumed.

My FP+ options were all set for the night, but I wanted to see what we could get PB set up with. Unfortunately, the choices were slim to none. Mine were for RnRC, Tower, and the Little Mermaid show-I didn't plan to use that one. Well, RnRC and Tower were both stand by only, so he ended up getting one for Star Tours...when I tried to switch my Mermaid one to that, I couldn't. It was kind of a mess, though I did help a nice couple behind us pick their choices. They had CM guest passes and weren't sure how to use them. I was just shocked that their CM let them hang on to the passes; PB guards his like a hawk and will take them back as soon as you're in the park because they're expensive to replace if they should get lost.

Anyway, moving on, I wanted to do the Animation Academy. Back in 2012, I discovered this gem and drew a passable Chip the chipmunk and a pretty good Grumpy. But when I brought my mom in February 2012, both of our Buzz Lightyear's turned out terribly and I haven't been back. PB had never done it, so back to Animation Courtyard we went, only to discover the class had a HUGE line. Not happening.

Hmmmmm....what to do? I suggested the American Idol Experience, which neither of us had ever watched. PB was hesitant but I convinced him. A friend of his was working the entrance so he stopped to talk to her for a few minutes. My thought was since it was the finale show, how bad could the singers be? In fact, his friend told us that the night before, the finale had filled up and they were turning people away. That didn't happen to us though.

We were pretty far back. The chairs were super small. You better be lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends or else be real comfortable getting in a stranger's personal space. I didn't think the show was bad. There was a 17 year old girl who sang "Part of Your World", a twenty something guy who sang "Stand by Me", a Southern woman who encouraged us all to paint with all the "Colors of the Wind", and finally a 14 year old boy who enlightened us about "The Circle of Life". I remember two of the judge's comments very clearly. The "Stand By Me" guy had a rough time with some of the notes and was told "I enjoyed every note...that you were able to sing!" And the teenage boy got this gem "I only wish Mickey himself was here to see that performance, it was so cheesy!"

I voted for the woman who sang "Colors of the Wind" but it was the 17 year old girl who won in the end. As we were exiting, PB said "That's 40 minutes of my life I'll never get back". Clearly this isn't a show for everybody. The exit deposits you in the Hall of Fame, and PB has a great love for Bea Arthur. He keeps telling me he wishes he could be Dorothy, but he knows he's actually just a Blanche.

Nearby there's a little stand that sells soft serve ice cream and I had a craving so that's where we headed. I ordered and was told that it was on Mickey because it was my birthday. More magic! PB was jealous that I was getting free stuff so we headed up to Guest Relations to grab him a new button, since he kept forgetting to put his on. I also asked him to buy those MagicBandit's for me as there's a stand right next to GR.

All bedazzled!

I am sad to report that first one of the purple ear stones fell out, and then the whole purple one just disappeared. The pink and crystal ones are still on there though.

Once PB was appropriately decorated with his new button, we made our way to Sunset Boulevard and Rock n Roller Coaster, specifically the singles line. We walked almost right into the "studio" and in fact stole the CM's interjection about "how about some backstage passes". We've maybe ridden this a time or two...

There was a group of teenagers in line behind us who said something about how they heard the wait could still be upwards of 30 minutes in the singles line. I pointed out that was still significantly shorter than the 90 minute stand by that was currently occurring. I also told them that sometimes I've ended up in the same car, even sitting next to, the person I was in the singles line with. PB got called up to row 2, but the girl who was grouping was atrociously awful. I think she pulled 8 singles to fill up the last few rows of the current car because she wasn't pulling actual groups fast enough. The girl I ended up sitting with was like, "Oh, you were so close to sitting with your friend!" Not a big deal, we've ridden together plenty of times and even more by ourselves.

After that I was ready for Tower, PB was not. I checked my FP+ time and found that I had about 3 minutes left before it would expire so I hustled up to the return line...and was the only person in the FP+ line at all! So I was the first one into the library, scampered over to the door and squeezed through it as soon as it opened, and once in the boiler room, got to skip a bunch of people because they needed a single rider.

When I came out, PB was shocked that it was so fast but I told him luck was on my side that night! By that point we wanted some real food so we walked across the street to Fairfax Faire. I really wanted to try the Kid's Power Pack lunch, so I did! It came in this cute little box with pictures of baby characters riding the rides-you better believed I saved that box!

And here's everything that was included: apple slices, goldfish crackers, strawberry yogurt, an apple cinnamon & oatmeal sandwich bar, baby carrots and little bottle of water.

I ate every last bite! Plus I was thinking that the carrots would be great with some ranch dressing so I checked the condiments bar for fun, but to my surprise they had little containers of ranch!
Here's a close up of the sandwich bar, which was a little too dry and chewy for my liking.

And PB got the "gourmet" macaroni and cheese with truffle oil hotdog, also topped with bacon.

Doesn't seem appetizing to me, but he liked it, though there was an admittance that it was a little different.

I think we finished eating a little after 9:30 and there was a second Fantasmic showing at 10 so that was our destination. PB was dragging by that point and I told him I wouldn't be offended in the slightest if he went back to the hotel but he said he would stay because he doesn't get to see me that often.

They kept us in the holding area at the top of the ampitheater for a bit and then we were released, picking the Scar section...it was close enough to the Mickey section for me! Would you believe I was still hungry? Now I wanted some glazed pecans, which are surprisingly hard to find. The Fantasmic theater is one of only a handful of places that sell them; the glazed almonds are much more plentiful for whatever reason. PB also requested two cups of ice water so I stopped at the main concession stand for that, only to find out that they only have ice, no tap water. So I brought him two cups of ice, which he was completely satisfied with. Very soon, like within 5 minutes of me returning to my seat, it was time for the show!
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:09 AM   #9
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"I swear I'm not a cranky old lady..."

I didn't take many pictures until the princess floats came along. The new lights had been operating when I saw the show in January but for some reason, the Beauty and the Beast float had been absent that time. I was glad to see it back tonight!
Still can't get great shots of these floats but you get the idea.

You go, Brave Little Tailor Mickey!

And here comes the boat! This is probably the first time in two years I've stayed in my seat for the end because I normally try to beat the crowds. Tonight the theater was barely half full so I got some decent photos!

We made our way out of the theater and were back down near the Main Entrance of the park within 15 minutes at most. PB stopped in the restroom while I took a couple of pictures.

Then it was out to the bus stop. Thankfully, All Star Movies had its own bus...which of course pulled away seconds before we got to the stop. We were just too tired to run and try to catch it. That meant we were first in line for the next one though! A school group with no apparent chaperones piled into the queue behind us. I stretched myself across the opening of the chain, prepared to fight them off if they tried to trample me to get on the bus. A bus pulled up with five minutes; PB and I sat right behind the driver in the super awkward seat that just faces the wall with barely any leg room. The kids on the bus were SOOOOO LOUD. I looked at PB and was like, "I swear I'm not a cranky old lady but these kids make me feel like one". I know that I did not act like that when my music department visited in high school!

Pretty soon we were back at the hotel. This was definitely the night we watched a documentary about "The Girl with Half a Face". Poor thing had a condition called neurofibromatosis, which I learned about in a roundabout way from a seminar at the conference the next day! Basically, tumors build up on the nerve fibers and it's usually only on one side, so she had a huge tumor on the right side of her face. It was really sad to see how mean kids can be.

Earlier that night I had pushed back our breakfast reservation for the next morning from 8:30 to 10:30 so we could sleep in, and canceled my reservation at Tusker House breakfast on Saturday morning. The Weather app was predicting storms and my plans on Saturday were completely weather dependent so I didn't want to be tied down. After a good night's sleep it was time for one last day at the conference, meeting up with an old friend and eating breakfast at the Yacht Club!
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:52 PM   #10
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Your trip report is great!
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wiscbugs View Post
Your trip report is great!
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:16 PM   #12
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"I found the man of my dreams!"

Friday morning rolled around and PB and I made our way to the Yacht Club for breakfast. We were meeting one of our former CP co-workers, Karen, who came down for a spur of the moment weekend trip. Our breakfast reservation was for 10:35am, and I figured breakfast would take about an hour and I could still make it to the convention center by 12pm for my first session: "Effective Planning for Your Student Loans". Also on the schedule for the day was "What Kind of Audiologist Do I Want to Be?", and "Pediatric Balance Assessment from A-Z".

So we checked in at the Captain's Grille podium and it was just a few minutes before we were seated. All three of us decided to get the buffet. I'll say it was a bit of a weird buffet; they had bagel fixin's with no bagels, and ice cream sundae toppings that I guess were for the waffles. My first plate consisted of a mini Mickey Waffle, a piece of french toast, potato casserole with Parmesan, and a croissant.

I also got some fresh fruit.

The potato casserole was disappointing. My original thought was "cheese and potatoes, what could go wrong?" Well, a lot, as it turns out. Parmesan cheese does not go well with potatoes. Everything else was fine. I made a second trip up to the buffet but forgot to take a picture. I know I had bacon, which was delicious and perfectly crispy. Also sampled the oatmeal, which I topped with raisins and brown sugar, that was good. I believe I had a blueberry muffin and/or danish, which were fine.

Our waitress brought me a birthday cupcake and balloon. PB had once again forgotten his button but when he mentioned it, she brought him one too.

I'm sad to say that the cupcake wasn't very good and the balloon had a hole in it and quickly deflated on the way to the car. The breakfast was okay but I don't know if I'd make a special trip back.

Also, the waitress disappeared right when we were ready for the check, so I did not make it in time for my 12pm session. Karen was going to Epcot to drink around the "World" at Epcot, and PB was going to work in the afternoon/evening.

I decided to skip the 1:30pm session as well and met up with Katie and Alexa in the exhibit hall. They got pictures taken for LinkedIn, grabbed boxed lunches from one of the hearing aid manufacturers and we went to sit outside and eat. After lunch we went back into the expo hall so they could get info about the ReSound party that night, which was being held at House of Blues. We also stopped to listen to Phonak's spiel, which was pretty cool. They had a mannequin named "Kevin" who was decked out in a Mickey shirt and Mouse Ears, and he was how we listened to the hearing aids. Alexa was in love with this mannequin and declared him the man of her dreams. We also took a photo with "Leo the Lion", who is the mascot of Phonak's pediatric line.

We also stopped by a booth to try out the Sound Bite, which is a hearing aid that is worn on the teeth. It was really cool! They had the receiver hooked up to an iPod, and you could only hear the music when the piece was on your teeth!

It was quickly approaching 3pm and time for our last sessions. Katie was going to see one of our professors speak about tinnitus research in animals (the professor is also her supervisor on her research project) and Alexa was going to see one of our clinical supervisors talk about a relaxation in controlling tinnitus-a study that many of us were a part of. I was planning to go see Dr. Gans, who runs the American Institute of Balance, talk about pediatric balance assessment-everything I want to do in a one hour session. But I was still very tired and decided I'd rather go back to the hotel instead. I'm glad this conference was only $40 because I clearly didn't get much out of it. Oh well, there's always next year in San Antonio, where there's not really any local attractions to distract me.

I headed down to the bus stop, where a Lynx bus was just pulling up. It didn't stop though and I thought it was the wrong bus anyway; turns out I still could have taken it. I believe it was around this point that Karen texted me to say "I successfully drank around the world...and then I successfully threw up on a friendship boat". So she was going back to All Star Movies to relax.

Anyway, on with the Lynx bus. The bus I wanted was 20 minutes late, so I missed my transfer to the next bus. When I finally made it to Sea World, the transfer bus I needed was also 20 minutes late. So that was a good hour of waiting already. The ride to Downtown Disney once I finally made it on to the bus took very little time. But then I had to wait for almost half an hour at DTD for an All Star bus. "We're All In This Together" from High School Musical was playing and one of the women at the stop was like, "Yeah, we're all in this together waiting for this bus to show up!"

We stopped at PI but thankfully NOT TL. So all told, 2.5 hours to get back to my room from the time I left the convention center. That's the Lynx system I know and despise. Back at the room I took a nap for awhile. When I woke up it was time to head over to Epcot for some eating around the World and Extra Magic Hours!

The bus came within about 10 minutes. I headed back to World Showcase and the Pineapple Promenade booth. There were two items I wanted to get here: the new Sweet Potato Cinnamon Waffle with Pineapple Dolewhip and one of my favorites from last year, the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade.

Both were outstanding! On to Buttercup Cottage, where I went a little out of my comfort zone and tried the Potato and Cheese Biscuit with Salmon Tartar.

I'd never had salmon before, and I while I liked the taste I hated the texture. The biscuit itself was delicious! This is also when I found out that the booths don't stay open for EMH so I was on a speed eating mission.

On the Fleur de Lys, where I opted for the Orange Macaroon.

Totally not what I was expecting. It was cold, first of all. There was also a gel in the bottom cookie. It was tasty but weird.

Next stop was the Hanami booth in Japan where I wanted to try the Pinepple Paradise with Yuzu Slushie, which was alcoholic.

Yum yum! Sweet but not overwhelmingly so, and just a hint of alcohol.

Last stop of the night was the Smokehouse in USA. I got another one of my favorites from last year, the Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw.

Keep in mind I ate all of that in like half an hour! The Italy booth was closed by the time I got there, so I finished my walk around the lake while dancing to IllumiNations.

Right after the fireworks I booked it over to Test Track. The singles line was open, so I picked a car to test and was on the ride in about five minutes!

Probably the best redneck ride pic I've gotten here; at least you can see my face and I'm not just a white blob!
Then I dashed over to Soarin', where I believe the wait was about 20 minutes. Yay for EMH! I did choose to wait a little longer so I could ride in B1. I took my flip flops off and was ready to relax on my favorite ride...until the row of teenage girls next to me ruined it by SCREAMING through the whole thing.

Outside I took pictures of the Imagination pavilion then made my way out of the park.

Decided to get a little artsy with this one.

Good night Epcot! I decided I'd be back the next day to finish eating at the booths and then go to MK for Festival of Fantasy before heading home. I'd wanted to go to Typhoon Lagoon but the weather was up in the air so I decided it could wait until the next trip.

The bus was waiting at the stop and went directly back to Movies. Hallelujah! I packed up most of my stuff, took a shower, and headed to bed. I was just drifting off when PB got back so we both just went to sleep for the night.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:54 PM   #13
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A Day of Surprises

PB woke up at some ridiculously early hour to go to work on Saturday. He woke me up to say goodbye and I basically rolled over without opening my eyes, gave him a hug, said "See you in two months at Disneyland", and went back to sleep. I think I woke up for real around 9am.

My original plan for my last day had been breakfast at 8:10am at Tusker House, with an hour or so at AK. Then bop on over to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours, before going to MK to catch Festival of Fantasy. Well, my plans changed so drastically that only FoF was still on the slate.

After I got dressed and finished up my packing, I made two stops. First one was at Bell Services, where I dropped off my carry on, then to Resort Airline Check In. There was a big extended family in front of me and the CM told me that single travelers are the best because they're easy to check in. I had stupidly left my ME info in the carry on bag that I had just dropped off but they were able to look me up with little hassle.

Then it was on to breakfast in the food court, where I had a plain Mickey waffle with bacon. Last stop of the morning was the restrooms at the pool. I figured I might come back to the resort and swim before I had to get on the bus, so I left my swimsuit, towel, and some other things in one of the $1 lockers.

Out front at the bus stops, the line for Epcot wasn't bad but people said they had been waiting a while. There was a father and grandfather in front of me, and the dad's phone rang. They sent grandpa back to the room to get a camera and of course, as soon as he got out of line, a bus pulled up! I had already been waiting for about 20 minutes by that point. I found out that it was the man's wife who called; they were at Epcot in line to meet Anna and Elsa and had been for two hours when Mom's camera lens broke! Oh no! I really hope everything worked out for them.

But back to the buses, that first Epcot bus came...and then two more right on top of it. Isn't that how it always goes? I think I got on the second one, which was empty, but all three of them must have stopped at Movies first (shocking!) because we doubled back to Music and Sports to pick up their overflow.

I apparently got to Epcot around 11:15 and started taking pictures.

These were all in the front entrance area.

In Innoventions Plaza:

The walkway between Test Track and MouseGears:

It was a pretty cute little area with some activities for kids. There was also the "Garden Retreat" for tired adults to sit for a minute.

^Looked much cooler in person.

On the walkway between Future World and World Showcase:

In World Showcase Plaza:

I started off clockwise around the lagoon that day, so the first booth I came upon was "Urban Farm Eats". I ordered the Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man's Kick It Up Rub, not realizing that ghost pepper is the hottest pepper!

It was good but definitely super spicy! I think I ate every last bite!

Next door in Mexico was Jardin de Fiestas, and the thing I sampled there was Tacos al pastor - Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro.

This was messy and difficult to eat. I couldn't really cut it, but I couldn't fold it up either. Good, but kind of a hassle.

Moving on to China, I stopped at Lotus House to try some Popping Bubble Tea. This was a huge cup!

I had been taking all my pics with my camera, so I sat down on a bench to sip the tea (which it turns out I don't like) and check my phone. That's when I saw the dreaded texts: Your flight time has changed, new estimated departure time is 10:55pm.

Urgh, my flight was supposed to take off at 9:30pm. Kaitlyn had texted me the exact same thing because we were on the same flight. First thing I did was call Magical Express to see if this would give me a later pick up time. It did not, because "your flight may go back to its original departure at any time". In all the times I've flown and been delayed, that's never happened. I called my mom to update her and let Matt know what was going on so he'd know when to pick us up. Then I texted PB to tell him what was going on and to ask for a ride to the airport, pretty please, so that I wouldn't have to sit there forever. He readily agreed, we decided we'd meet up for dinner back at the hotel, and then I continued onto Africa Outpost.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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florida every year since '92.

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Old 04-22-2014, 09:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by hockeygirl14 View Post
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Welcome, fellow CP alum! I did the spring program in 2012.
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