A Big Blue World at AoA with the Fab Four - Nov. 24-28, 2012 *COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by dreamseeker9, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    Hi everyone! I've been wanting to do this TR ever since we returned from WDW. I'm finally getting to it! :yay:

    The seeds of this trip were planted on New Year's Eve 2011. I was very sad after my sweet 13-year old dog died just before Christmas. I was spending NYE with 2 friends, one of which (J, you'll meet him in a moment) is a huge Disney buff, to the point that his friends & family surprised him at WDW for his 30th birthday. As we waited to ring in 2012, I told J that I hadn't been to WDW since 2000, and I really wanted to go. That's all it took, the planning started right then! We decided to go in mid-October so we could enjoy the Food & Wine Festival, and to celebrate both our birthdays, which are both around that time.

    I registered on the DISboards on January 7, 2012, and started getting serious on my planning! By January 11th, we were booked at POFQ in a Royal Room, just the 2 of us. We made a few ADRs, and we were all set... until August, when we both had work conflicts come up for mid-October! :headache: So we decided to go right after Thanksgiving, hoping for smaller crowds. POFQ didn't have any rooms, so we booked at CBR instead. Cut to September, and 2 of our friends, G and S, wanted to come with us - the more, the merrier, right? ;) With 4 adults, we decided that we'd like some more room to spread out. AoA was brand-new and looked beautiful. We lucked out and were able to get a Finding Nemo suite there - best decision we could've made, having that bedroom and 2 full baths! We tried to make new ADRs, but choices were limited with less than 60 days til our trip. The countdown was reset, and it wasn't long before it was time to go to WDW! :goodvibes

    A quick intro to our Fab Four:

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    That's me. I'm single, mid-30s, and I love all things Disney (especially the Muppets!). I'm originally from Indiana, but I've lived and worked in NYC for 10 years now. I'm a big planner, I had a massive spreadsheet for this trip! I resolved after this trip to not let another 13 years pass before I return to WDW!

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    My most excellent friend and fellow Disney buff, J (seen here at IOA at the WWOHP). He's like a brother to me, I've known him for many years. You'll see that he loves to ham it up. J grew up in Florida, so he was a WDW regular (lucky!). He's in his early 30s, married, works in NYC, and lives in NJ.

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    My wonderful friend, G - he took a liking to this Slytherin robe at WWOHP. Despite that, he has one of the kindest hearts of anyone I know. He grew up spending summers at WDW and also spent his honeymoon at WDW. He lives and works in NYC.

    And finally...
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    Meet S! He gives the best bear hugs, and he's a goof, I love him. S is single, early 30s, lives and works in NJ.

    So that's the cast of characters... and trust me, they are characters! ;) I hope you'll stick around for the updates. Enjoy!

    Trip Reports by Day (a work in progress)

    Day 1 - Saturday, November 24, 2012
    Part 1 - Magical Express, take me away to the AoA!
    Part 2 - "How have I never tasted this before?"

    Part 3 - Mountains and Mansions and Castles, oh my!

    Part 4 - "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"

    Part 5 - Almost as bad as rush hour in NYC

    Day 2 - Sunday, November 25, 2012
    Part 1 - Did everyone disapparate or what?

    Part 2 - Poolside Plunge at The Drop Off? Don't mind if I do!

    Part 3 - When we accidentally stumbled upon the Osborn Lights!

    Day 3 - Monday, November 26, 2012
    Part 1 - The Captain EO Comeback!

    Part 2 - Tequila makes you try on goofy souvenirs!

    Part 3 - A Grand Marnier Slushie makes it all better!

    Day 4 - Tuesday, November 27, 2012
    Part 1 - Animal Kingdom!

    Part 2 - Back to the Magic Kingdom, and a special dinner!

    Day 5 - Wednesday, November 28, 2012
    Our Last Day
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015 at 10:50 PM
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  3. JessicaKnits

    JessicaKnits DIS Veteran

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    Oh yay! I'm in!
     
  4. wishes0813

    wishes0813 Earning My Ears

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    I am in, will be at AoA in June of 14, so excited to hear your review!
     
  5. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    The day was finally here! I was beyond excited. Since we had an early flight out of Newark, I spent the night at J's, and his DH took us to the airport. S met up with us there. G was already in Florida, visiting his parents for Thanksgiving. The plan was for G to meet us at AoA, along with J's parents, who drove up from Miami.

    Flight was on time, everything was good. Then we saw the line for the Magical Express. :scared1: It looked so long! Luckily, the buses were coming close together. We still waited for over 30 minutes and finally made it onto the 3rd bus. I just wanted to get to WDW already! I was so antsy.

    We were the first resort dropped off. :) The other 2 resorts on our ME were POP and CBR. We walked into the AoA lobby... beautiful! It was so Disney, I loved it. The animation was truly amazing.

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    The animation wall in the lobby, opposite the check-in area.

    There was free lemonade and cookies sitting out for everyone. And there sat G with J's parents - perfect!

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    Me, S and J with J's mom, with check-in behind us

    We explored a little as J checked us in, which seemed to be a very smooth process. This animation wall was very impressive...
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    And so was the AoA Christmas tree!
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    It was 1:00 PM, and our room was ready - yes! :banana: J's parents were also staying at AoA in the Cars Land section, but their room wasn't ready yet. The rest of us went to check out our Finding Nemo suite. We were in Building 5, just past The Big Blue Pool, on the 2nd floor. The hallways smelled so new and fresh, and the artwork was so colorful and beautiful.

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    We made it to our room. A Mickey towel awaited us on the bed.

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    Bedroom with a queen bed and adjoining full bathroom

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    TV and dresser in bedroom

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    The 2nd bathroom, of course wonderfully themed. A door separated the toilet and tub/shower.

    We really loved our suite. It was perfect for 4 adults who brought a lot for 5 days, and then of course we bought more! :) I slept on the sofabed one night - it was fine, as far as sofabeds go. J slept on the Murphy bed that pulled down from the table, he said it was comfortable. The bed in the bedroom was very comfortable. There was a tiny kitchenette, tucked beside the sofa, with a small fridge and microwave.

    Up next... our first park!
     
  6. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    Of course, a bus came from every other park before one came for our park of choice. When it finally came, after about a 20-minute wait, we were ready!

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    We were off to the Magic Kingdom, a natural choice for our first park. Since J's parents were only going to 1 park, they wanted to see the New Fantasyland, which was fine with us! Let the memories begin!

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    As we used our KTTW cards for the first time, something amusing and somewhat annoying happened to me that would become a gag among us - the scanner had a very difficult time reading my fingerprint! This happened several times, at both WDW and IOA. I started joking that I was really in the Witness Protection Program. :rolleyes2 But I finally made it through, and we walked under the tunnel and onto Main Street USA!

    I hadn't been to WDW at holiday time since I was probably 5 years old, so everything seemed so new to me with the holiday decorations. They were gorgeous, especially on Main Street USA!

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    As soon as we started walking down Main Street, I heard a shriek from G - one of his favorite Aristocats was nearby! G insisted on getting a photo. I had no idea he was such a big fan. The things you learn about friends on vacation! ;)

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    As we walked down Main Street, Cinderella's Castle came into better view. It took my breath away, it looked so magnificent!

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    At the hub, we took a left toward Frontierland. It was 3:00 PM, and we hadn't yet had lunch, so we went to a very crowded Pecos Bill's Cafe for some food. Even on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the line moved quickly, and the 6 of us squeezed around a 4-person table. The food was good for quick service food. I was just so happy to be there, it really didn't matter what I was eating!

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    We decided over lunch to experience the Country Bear Jamboree, our first attraction, and a favorite of mine as a child. It didn't disappoint! I took this at the part that they do allow photography, of course I always follow the rules while at WDW! ;)

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    Next up... Adventureland! You can sense the excitement building. :)

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    We checked the POTC wait, which was under 30 minutes - perfect! The line moved quickly, and we all really enjoyed it. That's one of J's absolute favorites, he was very happy!

    I don't remember who it was, but someone in our group then insisted that we had to go buy Dole Whips. I guess I'm not as big of a Disney fan as I thought, because I'd never heard of a Dole Whip. Somehow, through all my trips to WDW, I had never experienced the Enchanted Tiki Room, and I'd never had a Dole Whip! :confused: Well, we remedied that quickly, at least the Dole Whip part. We decided to save the Enchanted Tiki Room for another day since it was already past 4:00 PM, and we had an ADR at 8:00 PM.

    When I took my first taste of that Dole Whip, I couldn't believe that I had never tasted it before now! It was literally one of the best things I've ever tasted in my life. I got the pineapple-vanilla swirl. S got the pineapple float but said after tasting ours, he wished he'd gotten ours - he only got one bite of mine, the rest was for me! It was SO GOOD!!! :goodvibes

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    Next up... a Splash Mountain breakdown, our first peek at the New Fantasyland, and our first taste of LaFrou's Brew!
     
  7. oneprincessjo

    oneprincessjo Mouseketeer

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    I'm in. Loving this!!
     
  8. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    OK, so by this time it was around 4:30 PM, give or take a few. We were near Splash Mountain, and the wait wasn't bad at all, so we got in line. Just as we entered the boarding area, it broke down. :sad2: Splash Mountain is one of my all-time favorite rides, and the sad part is I had only been on it once before, when I visited WDW in 2000 with friends. We rode it at night during the parade (a great time to ride it, as it was practically empty with no line). I was in the front seat and got wet, but I loved every second of it. I had high hopes for another ride on our first day at MK this time around, but it wasn't meant to be. Moving on then, we had a lot of ground to cover and still make it to our 8:00 PM ADR!

    We walked through Liberty Square and decided to bypass HM for now, because the main priority was to show J's parents (and see for ourselves) the new Fantasyland additions. We were not disappointed! We walked by Prince Eric's castle and a very long line for Under the Sea. That wasn't going to happen today on our tight timeframe, but it was great to see it just the same, and exciting to see the construction happening for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train!

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    We walked through Belle's Village, also very busy, and stopped at Gaston's Tavern for LaFrou's brew. I liked it but didn't love it. To me, it tasted like fizzy apple juice. I doubt I'd pay for it again. The guys really liked it, though.
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    Here is the Beast's castle off in the distance, with BOG underneath it.
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    As we walked back to the older part of Fantasyland, G insisted that we all stop and see Mickey's PhilharMagic. S and I had never seen it, but everyone said how great it was. So we got in line and timed it well, we were inside in just a few minutes. I have to say, I loved it! Such a fun experience. I will definitely do that again next time I'm at MK.

    J's all-time favorite attraction is The Haunted Mansion. We still had plenty of time before our FP window for Space Mountain (G and I had gone to get the 4 of us FPs for SM when everyone else was in the long line at Aloha Isle for Dole Whips). So we walked back to Liberty Square and waited for maybe 30 minutes for HM. We went through the interactive queue, really fun!
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    It was just about dusk, so it was the perfect opportunity for some great photos of nearby BTMRR.
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    I loved the HM, especially the new special effects! It was also relaxing, as we'd been walking for some time before that.

    Next Up: Time for Tomorrowland, and MK all lit up and festive at night!
     
  9. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    A belated welcome, and thanks for reading my first TR! :)

    Welcome, wishes0813! There's more coming up about AoA, and I'll go into more detail on the food court, pool, room, transportation.

    Thank you oneprincessjo, and welcome! :goodvibes

    I'm going to update more very soon, promise! I've been working on my scrapbook for this trip as well, so that consumed most of my time this past weekend.
     
  10. deedee2177

    deedee2177 Disney Darling

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    Joining in!! We were there at the same time and we stayed at AoA as well...we were in the Little Mermaid section! We were also at MK on this day too..woohoo! Looking forward to see if anything else overlaps.
     
  11. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    Welcome, deedee2177! Maybe you'll see yourself in the background of a photo! ;) That's too funny. We did walk to the Lion King section but didn't make it to the Little Mermaid section - I wish we'd taken the time to go over there! My friend's parents stayed in the Cars section and really enjoyed the theming there. And of course I was thrilled with our Finding Nemo section! :)

    More to come soon, promise! Thanks for joining in!
     
  12. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    By now it was about 6:00 PM, not quite time for our Space Mountain FPs to be used. It was now dark, and I absolutely love the MK at night! We walked from Fantasyland toward Tomorrowland. I enjoyed seeing the castle from the back and side, different viewpoints but still so pretty.

    Not the best photo, but at least you can see the holiday decorations on the back of the castle.
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    We wandered around Tomorrowland, taking it all in. We debated what to ride. G and I considered riding Astro Orbiter but decided to wait. S is a smoker, so every once in awhile he would wander off - let me tell you, we now know where all the smoking places are in the MK, because we'd have to meet S there. I'm so glad I quit several years ago!

    Anyway, we decided to visit Carousel of Progress. I don't ever remember 'riding' this attraction before. I found it somewhat charming, but also so out of date now - we were mainly laughing throughout it, and of course we were singing "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow" after the first scene - that song never quite goes out of my head! :eek: ;)

    Finally, it was time to use our Space Mountain FPs. We had just a short wait in the FP line. I was nervous! Quick side story: When I was probably 6 or 7, I was riding the TTA with my parents and little brother. My dad had convinced me to ride Space Mountain with him for the first time until the TTA went through the ride - scared me to death, all in the dark with cars flying by and people screaming! Of course, our next trip, I rode it and loved it. I really enjoyed it this time as well, I just didn't remember it feeling so fast! I know part of that is because it's in the dark, but wow - it's a really great coaster! We all loved it.

    It was time to head back to Main Street and meet up with J's parents so we could make our 8:00 PM ADR at the Grand Floridian Cafe. As we walked over the bridge from Tomorrowland, a PhotoPass photographer stopped us and asked us if we wanted a photo with the castle in the background. It turned out to be one of my favorite photos from the trip!
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    The castle is just so beautiful all lit up at night, I couldn't get enough of it!
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    Main Street was just as gorgeous, all lit up, and the holiday decorations really made it special. I could've stayed there all night, taking it all in, except that I was getting hungry, and it was very crowded!

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    We were back to where we'd started earlier that day, at the front of the MK, and it was time to take the monorail to the Grand Floridian!

    Coming up... a monorail breakdown, and the beautiful Grand Floridian all decked out for the holidays!

     
  13. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    We just left the MK, the Fab Four plus J's parents. As we started up the ramp to the monorail station, we noticed a huge crowd waiting for the monorail. This was around 7:30 PM, normally plenty of time to get the monorail to the GF for an 8:00 PM ADR. We debated getting out of line to take the boat to the GF, but it also had a huge line, and one full boat was just about to leave the dock. At that point, we still thought our best bet was to wait for the monorail. :rolleyes: Now wouldn't you think that at 7:30 PM on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, monorails would be arriving every 5-10 minutes at least? We waited 20 minutes, no monorail, and keep in mind there was already a sizable crowd before we got there! We were clearly going to be late for our ADR. G's parents had gone to Sea World for the day (I know, why not WDW? I tried not to judge them too harshly. ;) ) So we were texting his parents to see if they were already at the GF and could check in for us, but they were having parking difficulties.

    Finally, a monorail came, only it was almost as bad as rush hour in New York City - people were crammed in, people behind us were pushing us, but we still didn't make it on. :sad2: The only thing that made it better than NYC was that regardless of this, we were still in WDW. :) Another one came in just a few minutes, thank goodness. Being the New Yorkers we are, the 4 of us squeezed in around some strollers and EMVs to get nice and cozy with some people, while J's parents squeezed into some seats. The crowd behind us still waiting for the monorail was daunting. Clearly, something had gone very wrong with the monorail system that night!

    I usually enjoy taking the monorail and going through the Contemporary, and I don't remember ever going to the Poly or the GF on it. But I was so worried about us missing our ADR, not to mention trying to shuffle around while people pushed past to get off the monorail and then on from the resorts, that I couldn't really enjoy the glimpses we got of the Contempory or the Poly. Finally, we made it to the GF, but then we had to find the restaurant! :rolleyes: I had never been to the GF, but J kinda knew where we were going. By this time, G's parents had parked and had checked in. Once we arrived at the Grand Floridian Cafe, it was past 8:30 PM - yes, it took us over an hour to get from the MK to the GF Cafe! Craziness.

    But now comes the good part - after a full day of traveling, then motoring through the MK, then the monorail fiasco, we finally got to let down and relax and just visit with each other - so nice! Our server at the GF was terrific. When we arrived, the place was mostly empty - she said that they'd received word to be flexible with everyone's ADRs because apparently the monorail had indeed broken down, and it was expected that everyone would be very late. Phew! The 8 of us had a really lovely dinner - I wish I'd taken photos of our meals and drinks, but they were all very good. I really liked the vibe in the GF Cafe, too - it was refined yet casual, if that makes sense.

    The quick glances I had of the resort as we'd made our way from the monorail to the GF Cafe were gorgeous. After a great dinner, we explored the GF. I was in awe of the main Christmas tree - I mean, COME ON! It was beyond beautiful! I had to sit next to it.

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    The life-size gingerbread house was very impressive - I think I could live in it. :)

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    I took several more photos, but everyone was very tired after a very long day, so we decided it was time to say goodbye to G's parents, who were driving back to their home in Sarasota, and head back to AoA. But how would we get there?

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    We weren't ready to trust the monorail again, so we decided to take the boat back to the MK, and then catch a bus to the AoA from there. We waited maybe 10 minutes for the boat, not bad except that it was windy and cold. I was OK in my hooded sweatshirt, but J's parents from Miami were cold. :) We were able to see the very end of the Water Pageant, which was very cool - I'd never seen that before. And as the boat neared the MK, we saw Wishes starting! We were so tired, though, and we wanted to beat the crowds, so we headed to the AoA bus line. The line itself was already very long, but buses were coming fast - we only waited 20 minutes, I was sure it would be longer.

    We said goodnight to J's parents, who were staying in a Cars suite, and headed to our new home, our Finding Nemo suite. We were all beat and certainly didn't do much but get ready for bed. We had to be up at a decent time the next morning because J's parents were going to drop us off at Universal Orlando on their way back to Miami. I was so excited to check out for the first time the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

    Coming up... Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, butterbeer, Jurassic Park, Ripsaw Falls, and more at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure! Plus a food court review of breakfast at AoA.
     
  14. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :goodvibes
     
  15. StaciMc

    StaciMc Earning My Ears

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    Hi & thanks for writing this! Loving it so far & can't wait to hear about WWOHP! I'll be going there for the first time in Feb, 2014. :banana:
     
  16. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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    Welcome, wiigirl! :goodvibes Thanks for following!


    Hi, StaciMC - you're very welcome, it's a lot of fun to write it! I'm going to write about WWOHP today. I absolutely loved it! Will the new section be open by next February? I'm excited for that as well! No matter what, you'll have a wonderful time - it was really phenomenal!
     
  17. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

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

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

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

    J's parents met us in the food court, they'd already checked out and were heading back to Miami. It worked out great for us 4, because they drove us right up to the main entrance to Universal! The parks had opened at 9:00 AM, and we pulled up just a little after 9:00 AM. We really didn't know what to expect as far as crowds since it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but I was thinking as we walked through the Port of Entry that all the people who were first into the park must be to WWOHP by now. :sad2: But it didn't matter, because we had arrived, and we would soon be in Hogsmeade!

    We made our way through Seuss Landing and The Lost Continent, and then I saw this.
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    We had arrived at the WWOHP! :wizard: As we passed under the arch, it kept getting better and better. The details were absolutely amazing!
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    I was dying to look around, but we knew that we had to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. As we reached the other end of Hogsmeade, what should appear but this:
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    HOGWARTS! I was so excited! We entered the castle, which is also the queue for the Forbidden Journey. I tried to absorb all the details as we walked through the castle, and walked, and walked... what was going on? Where were all the people? Granted, the crowds had seemed light when we first entered the park, and also light when we entered Hogsmeade, but we just thought everyone was in line for the Forbidden Journey. Did they all disapparate (disappear for you non-HP fans)? We actually had to step aside and let people pass us so we could experience an important part in the queue that helps set up the ride (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't been yet). G hadn't been to the WWOHP yet, but J and S had. S couldn't believe it, he said he came right after WWOHP opened, and he waited 4 HOURS to ride Forbidden Journey! :crowded: Not us, it was a 10-minute wait at most, and most of that was just walking through the queue! It was awesome.

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

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

    We went back into Hogsmeade and did some shopping. I loved the shops (big surprise). I had a lot of fun picking out some stocking stuffers in Honeydukes- chocolate covered frogs, yum!
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    We decided not to do Ollivander's, because there was a line for that, so we just went into the store and looked around. I bought a few postcards and had them stamped (for free!) at the Owl Post - so cool!
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    Some more fun details:

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    Sirius Black!

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    Mandrakes! Cover your ears! ;)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    There wasn't much else we were dying to do, and it was only about 1:00 PM, so we went back to Hogsmeade and headed into the Three Broomsticks.
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    It was Butterbeer time, and oh my, was it ever delicious! I got the frozen Butterbeer, which S said was better than his non-frozen one. I was so happy, enjoying my Butterbeer on the back patio at the Three Broomsticks with my friends, with Hogwarts in the background, on a sunny uncrowded Sunday. It just doesn't get much better than that!
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    G and I decided that we needed one more ride on the Forbidden Journey. After that Butterbeer, I first found the bathrooms next to the Hog's Head.
    [​IMG]

    We walked onto the ride in the single rider line - this 3rd time, I just relaxed and took it all in, smiling the entire ride. And then it was time to leave IOA and head back to WDW, so we grabbed a cab (very easy, there were a bunch waiting outside the main entrance). We arrived back at AoA, and it was only about 3:00 PM! So you know what that means... POOL TIME! :cool1:

    Coming Up: The Fab Four do the Big Blue Pool and make friends with the bartender at the pool bar! Then dinner at Downtown Disney, followed by a fun night at DHS!
     
  18. dreamseeker9

    dreamseeker9 Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    484
    We arrived back at AoA and were ready for some fun in the sun, so we changed into our suits and headed to the Big Blue Pool. Being that it was November 25th, it wasn't extremely warm at 4:00 PM, maybe 70, but we didn't really care. We were warm enough out of the pool, but then we got in the pool - brrr, that water was cold! Still, we managed to stay in for awhile. I absolutely loved this pool - it was quite large, and there is a zero entry point. The theming is outstanding, with the jellyfish fountains at one end, and you can also really see the theming in the Finding Nemo section surrounding the pool. Underwater, we heard music and voices of characters from Finding Nemo - so fun.

    Sunset at the Big Blue Pool
    [​IMG]

    While we were in and out of the pool, we decided to get some adult beverages at the poolside bar, The Drop Off. There we met our friendly bartender, Dustin, who hooked us up with some great drinks! The Poolside Plunge was delicious. We took turns going back to the room to shower and get ready for our night out. Two hours later, we were all ready but didn't want to leave The Drop Off! So we had 1 more drink, why not? We were on vacation! :cool1: Finally, we decided that we should probably eat. :upsidedow We took the bus to Downtown Disney and ate dinner (and had another drink) at Wolfgang Puck's - it was fine, not amazing, but better than fast food for sure. We then went shopping... always interesting to shop with a buzz! We shopped at Days of Christmas and World of Disney. I bought a Kermit plush toy (I love me some Kermit) and a WDW retro tee with Mickey's face. The boys also bought a few things. G found a plush toy of his favorite Aristocat and was so happy. :)

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

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

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

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

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

     
  19. oneprincessjo

    oneprincessjo Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    412
    Your trip report is really making me excited for my upcoming trip in January!!! And a little sad that I'm not going the week after Thanksgiving this year, we usually go the week after Thanksgiving as an early Christmas gift for me and my husband. I absolutely LOVE the Christmas decorations and MVMCP. We have 2015 earmarked for another Christmas trip. We go once per year, but our 2014 trip is January which means it will almost 2 years before we go on our Christmas trip in 2015... Totally worth it though!!!
     
  20. deedee2177

    deedee2177 Disney Darling

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    392
    I loved the HP update!! I'm a huge HP fan myself. I still haven't made it over there just because my DH is not a huge fan. So, I made him a deal...we could go to Star Wars Weekend next year if we schedule a trip over to Universal..that way both of our obsessions get fed. :)

    Still think it's funny we were there at the same time at the same resort...checking the background of your photos to see if I did some accidental photo-bombing! :)
     
  21. StaciMc

    StaciMc Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    71
    Loving every minute of your report! :) Especially excited about IOA now that I hear how great it was! I'm a big HP fan as is my niece, who is going with me in February. I don't expect the addition to be open by then, but that just means we'll need to schedule another trip to see it next year, right? ;-)


    Thanks again for sharing!!
     

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