A Disney Dream Comes True! February 15-19 Cast: Me, 31, Trip #17 DH, 32 til next week, Trip #22 (well, by now he's 33 ) DS, 3 as of last Friday, Trip #6 Pre-Trip Info: DH is a pastor. About two years ago, while doing sermon research, he happened upon information about Disney Institute Training. Basically, how Disney does business. DH thought that he would be able to use Disney's business information and apply it to a church situation. But of course, all that valuable information comes at a price~a pretty steep one, at that! For a while, we had hopes that a part of our larger church (meaning, not just our congregation) would pay for DH to attend the training, but that fell through. We had put it out of our minds, mostly. And besides, we were busy planning our September and December trips. Then in early August, a church member sent DH an email saying that he wanted to pay for DH to attend the training. Not only that, but he was also going to give an additional amount of money for me and DS to go, as well! When we started checking dates, there were two that were possibilities. One was in January, I believe, at Coronado Springs. The other, in February, would be held at the Boardwalk Inn. At the same price! Well, we're no dummies! Of *course* we're going in February, to stay at the Boardwalk Inn (at no cost to us!). And guess what else would happen the very week we'd be there? DS would turn 3!! Now I've been to WDW several times, as you can see. But only twice with my parents. The first time, they were chaperoning a school trip my older family members were on, and I got to go along (I was 5). The second time, I think they felt guilty because my younger sister had never been, so they took us again (I was 14). Neither time was one of my best Disney experiences. I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to have parents who love Disney and want to take you there as much as possible...and how cool to experience Disney on your *birthday*! Our son is one lucky kid! What fun, in August, to have THREE countdowns!! Our September and December trips were great (reports posted previously), and then January and early February were very, very busy, with DH out of town several times, and all of us ill with "The Crud"... all of a sudden, our trip was *here*! So on with the show! Tuesday, February 15 We were all healthy, which was our primary concern! We even kept DS out of pre-school on Monday, because pink eye and a stomach virus were going around there, and we weren't taking any chances! So we got up, finished packing, did some house-type things, and got on the road about 10:30. Around 11:30 we got lunch at Wendy's. DS got a pretty good nap. The trip did take longer, because we have to have much more frequent bathroom breaks now that DS is potty trained. And, he's a very smart kid, so when he was tired of riding, he would tell us he had to go potty. We made reservations for tonight way back when (with a code) at All Star Movies. I think we had discussed PC, which is why I have that in my siggy, but for whatever reason, we ended up at ASMo. We generally travel after work (5 hours), so we're always checking in late. Which means, if you've ever stayed at ASMo, that you will NOT get a Toy Story room. And, let's face it, the only reason anyone stays at ASMo is because they want a Toy Story room! We arrived about 4:30, which was later than we'd hoped, but much earlier than normal. First thing that struck us was that there was a *line* to check in! (There's generally not much of a line at midnight or 1am!) We waited about 10 minutes. When we got to the desk, Marimar was helping us. She got us checked in (a Toy Story room, too!!), and then said that she saw DS would be celebrating a birthday later in the week. She asked if we could please wait for her, because she needed to go get something. So we waited a couple minutes, then another CM came and gave DS a "Happy Birthday" balloon. When Marimar returned, she had a card for DS: a picture of Woody and Buzz, signed by both of them, to "Spaceranger DS". We've been there less than 15 minutes, and already have a magical moment! She also gave DS his own room key, which thrilled him even more than the card, I think. We stopped by guest services to pick up my ticket (DH already had his, and DS was still free~one last time!). Then we went to our room (don't remember the #, but it was in the Buzz building, almost at the very end~nowhere near Andy's Room, but STILL, it was Toy Story!!), dropped off our overnight bag, and headed to AKL for our PS at Boma's. We were a little early, so we checked out some of the animals. Flamingos (DS calls them Funny Birds, thanks to my dad. His ~and DS'~ favorite scene from Fantasia 2000 is "What a flock of flamingos would do with a yo-yo") and some gazelles. Saw the giraffes from a distance. We were seated right about the time of our 6pm PS. We loved this restaurant. More detailed info on dining in my dining report (already posted). The prime rib and the sirloin was outstanding! After our meal we headed to Downtown Disney. Unfortunately, this was our only trip there, because we didn't have time on Saturday to stop back by. In good news, we didn't see anything that we couldn't live without, so we aren't suffering any from our lack of a second visit. We left DTD, returned to the room, gave DS a bath, and tucked in to watch Tarzan (bedtime story). We turned off the lights at 9:30, and we were all asleep soon after that! Wednesday, February 16 Mickey called about 7, as I recall. We got up, showered, got ready, repacked, and loaded the car. We headed on over to the Boardwalk to try and check in early (didn't expect to have a room ready, just wanted to be done with the check in process). As expected, they didn't have a room ready, but we were checked in. Oh~except that they forgot to give us our keys. On to Disney MGM Studios! We haven't been there in ages. To tell you the truth, if they would move RockNRoller Coaster to the MK, we'd be perfectly happy. We're not huge ToT fans, so our main reason for going there (generally) is to ride RnRC. This time we had a different motive: see Playhouse Disney Live on Stage~yes, this was for DS. Here's my biggest gripe with D/MGM: they don't list anywhere how long a particular show is, and the show times make it hard to get from one show to another without either too much or too little time to spare. When we first arrived it was just prior to opening. We couldn't see the little show they were doing, but we did get to see Minnie and Goofy after they let everyone in. We got some cute pics with DS and the two of them. Next we went to see JoJo and Goliath, because it wasn't yet time for the PHD show. I think we still had time left (either that, or we missed the first show), so we ended up seeing The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. I know that there are a lot of people who really love this, and maybe we just saw a not-so-great Ariel...but we didn't enjoy this at all! That is one of my favorite movies~but come on, I can see the movie at home! We didn't get to see the Beauty and the Beast show, I certainly hope it is better than VotLM! By the time that was over, I'm certain we had missed at least one of the PHD shows. So we went back to the hat and stood in line to see Mickey and Pluto. Then we rushed over to see The Incredibles. We just saw the movie about a month ago, and DH and I loved it. DS wasn't quite old enough to really appreciate it. I'll bet when he's 5 or so he'll like it a lot more. Still, he said he wanted to meet them. There was quite a line for them, but it was pretty cool, just the same! We saw Mr. and Mrs., and also Frozone. Dash and Violet were in school, of course, and Jack Jack was with a sitter. I got to take a picture with Elastigirl! (I think DS liked her, too!) After that we rushed over to PHD, but didn't make it in that show, either. Darn! Well, it's nearly 11, and we're all hungry, so maybe we'll go to the other side of the park and try out Pizza Planet. (On the way we got to take a picture with Sully!) Again, more details in dining report. Here, I'll just say: YUCK! Won't be doing that again! We got a souvenir cup for DS, so hopefully he won't make us go back. LOL! Then we waited to see Woody, Buzz and Jessie. That was another long line. But DS loves Toy Story, so we waited. Then we went to see the Muppet 3-D movie. I think DS liked it, but it wasn't as good as we'd remembered. By then we needed a bathroom break. We all went into the companion bathroom, and took our turns. It was getting close to 1, when we knew more characters would be out front, so that's where we headed. We had just gotten up there and spotted a couple of Army men, when DH realized he'd left the video camera in the bathroom. So... back he ran, hoping to find it. DS and I visited with an Army man, then got to see the "tourist couple". The "husband" told DS happy birthday and gave him a very gaudy Liberace style ring (which DS then wore in all of his remaining D/MGM pictures!). Thank goodness, DH was able to retrieve the camera, and got back in time to see Jasmine, Aladdin, Snow White, Belle, Mulan, Mushu and Megara. Finally, we made it into a PHD show. It was really cute~the best show we saw! DS generally only watches Higglytown Heroes and JoJo's Circus. He likes Bear in the Big Blue House, but doesn't that come on at something like 6am? We're not up at that time of the day (or is it still night??). He does have a Bear video, and some books, so he is at least familiar with the characters. We all love Stanley, but don't get to see it as much since they moved it to 9:30. We don't watch much of Rolie Polie Olie, either. And Pooh comes on at naptime, so he rarely sees that. Of course, he knows the characters, anyway. So he knew enough about all of the shows to recognize the characters and enjoy it. There, mission accomplished. Now maybe we won't have to come back here for a while! On the way out we saw Belle again, and stopped to see Suzy and Perla. Then it was off to the Boardwalk, to check out our room! *A note on why we don't do baby swap, especially since RnRC is our favorite ride in all of WDW: DS is really, really into the rides these days. We just don't think it's fair to make him stand in a line for something he won't get to ride. So, we'll just suffer until he's old enough to ride it with us. Or until we have someone with us who can entertain him while WE ride it! We arrived at the Boardwalk about 2:40. Yes, we *know* that check in is officially 3pm. They told us that our room was not ready, and that it probably wouldn't be ready until sometime after 3, but they couldn't tell us for certain when it *would* be ready, it might be 5pm. Well, this was going to change our plans somewhat. We had planned to go to the room, regroup, DH would get ready and go to his first session, and DS and I would head to Epcot. But I didn't want to go to Epcot without knowing what room we'd be in, and have a key... We went and walked on the Boardwalk for a little while, and then walked almost all the way to Epcot. Went back in (it was now after 3), and got someone different. Yes, she said, your room is ready~#3298. One problem, we don't have keys. You don't? She finally finds them, and says that the morning person (who handled our actual check in) forgot to give us the keys and left a note to apologize to us. It all turned out fine, but we were a little surprised by the first guy's "We don't know when it will be ready, it might be after 5pm"~when check in begins at 3pm. Not sure what that was all about. By this point, DS had fallen asleep, so we went on up to the room, and just let him stay sleeping in the stroller. Our luggage was brought up right away. The room was beautiful, and we had a nice view of the courtyard from the balcony. I wish we'd had more time to spend out there. (The weather was wonderful the whole week.) Around 4, DS woke up, so we went on with our plan to go to Epcot, while DH got ready for "Disney School", as DS took to calling it. Arrived at Epcot (not a bad walk at all!), and ran into the first of several ticket issues we had during the week. My ticket wasn't accepted at Epcot! After about 5 minutes, the lady finally told me just to go on in, but that I wouldn't be able to use Fast Pass. Hmmm. Well, last time I checked I didn't need a FP for SE, Figment, or Mexico, and it isn't usually necessary for Norway, either. Since those are the only things we ride at Epcot (with DS), maybe we'll be alright! When we entered, I deliberately turned toward France, and NOT the UK. Why? Because Thomas the Train is a UK product, and they don't have him in any of the French stores. You'll understand later why this is important! Once in France, we saw Belle and Beast, with a HUGE line... so we opted to skip them, for now. Instead, we happened upon Esmerelda! DS was very excited~and she gave him a big kiss, which he was quite proud of. (DH was jealous!) Then we saw Snow White in Germany. At first DS said he didn't want to wait in line to see her, then changed his mind. After that we got in line for Norway. Funny thing~the guy in front of us had the same name as DS. We talked to him and his wife during the whole line (about 15 minutes). After Norway came Mexico~DS' favorite, I think. At least, we've ridden that one more than any other ride at Epcot! Then we went over to Figment (a close second, for rides). I hate the skunk part, but of course that's his favorite! Then we went to Spaceship Earth, and then to guest services to get him an Epcot birthday button. After that, I had to give in, and head to UK. We have Thomas the Train at stores in our hometown, and he even has a train setup with Thomas characters at our HOUSE. But no, we have to spend our time at Epcot playing with the Thomas the Train table. I managed to drag him away long enough to get him to take a picture with Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore, then it was back to the table. I must say, though, that he was much better behaved than the other children in there! Every time a child would come up, I would ask DS to share the trains, and he would give them half of the ones he was playing with. But several times, other children would come and just snatch away the train he was playing with~while their parents looked on! Unbelievable, the things parents allow their children to do. No wonder we have so many societal problems these days. (Okay, soapbox over.) I managed to drag him away finally, though he let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not happy about it. Mommy didn't care, she was hungry! So off to Morocco, to eat at Tangierine Cafe, which is one of our very favorite places to eat at WDW. I had to share my olive salad with DS, and I think he got more of it than I did. We sat outside, the temp was perfect, MoRockin' was playing...Life was good! After that, we went to ride Mexico again. Four times. Say what you want, but I actually enjoy that ride, too! He found a CM to flirt with~Hola, Senorita! Well, she *was* cute! We were headed back towards the International Gateway when DH walkie-talkied us. He was in France, headed our way. We didn't really do anything else, though, just walked back through WS, then back to Boardwalk. We stopped at the Bakery on our way in. Yum, definitely worth the money! We stopped by guest services to see what the problem was with my ticket, and they got it fixed, and put both of our tickets on our room cards. DS got a bath, we watched the Toy Story 2 bedtime story, and all were in bed by 10:30. Thursday, February 17 Mickey called early, because DH was having breakfast with someone in the class to discuss the Traditions class (she teaches it), which was not a part of his course, but he was interested in. I tried to go back to sleep, but finally gave up and got ready. We were having a problem with the bathtub draining, so I left a note for housekeeping (plus DH had already called about it, which I didn't know). Anyway, once I was ready I woke DS. He wasn't in a very good mood, for someone who was going to be spending his birthday at Disney World. Hmmm. This could be an interesting day! We got going about 8:40, and arrived at Epcot about 8:50. Fortunately, my ticket worked fine. I figured we could catch some of the characters, and I was right. We got to see Minnie and Terk. DS has never seen Tarzan (the movie)~only the bedtime story, when we're at WDW. But he loves Terk! And apparently Terk loves him, too~he always just hugs and hugs on DS. This time was no exception. DS always says, "Terk is very soft and cuddly!" After that, we headed out of Epcot and to the monorail. Arrived at TTC, wow, where did all these people come from?? Had to wait for three monorails to get to MK. Haven't done that since I was on a band trip in high school! Finally get to the MK~my ticket worked, but it wouldn't "read" my fingers. *sigh* She finally reset it for me, after checking my ID. What's the deal with the ticket problems?? MK was pretty much a nightmare. Buzz Lightyear wasn't running, and DS was not very happy about that. Decided we'd try Fantasyland. As we neared the teacups, we saw the White Rabbit. DS said he didn't want to see him. But Alice and the Mad Hatter were on the other side, and he did want to see them. The line was about 15 minutes. The handler surprised me. Someone asked how to get to Small World, and he told them it was closed. Then he started telling the people behind us how much he hated that ride, why would anyone in their right mind want to ride that, it's just an awful ride. Is that *really* how CMs should talk about rides?? Of course, I happen to be a fan of Small World, but still! We saw Alice and MH, then decided to stand in line for Pooh. It was only about 20 minutes, not too bad. Then off to Peter Pan. (DS *is* Peter Pan!) The wait was about 40 minutes for this. (I shouldn't have complained, it got lots worse!) DS said he didn't want to ride Snow White this time, it is "too scary". He goes in phases with the scary things. In December, we couldn't ride SW or HM enough. This time he wouldn't go on either of them. May be my first ever trip that we didn't ride Haunted Mansion! He wanted to see Woody, Jessie and Bullseye, so we waited a few minutes for them. Again~horrible kids in line! The handler even made one of them get out of line. Then it was off to Pirates of the Carribean. The wait wasn't too bad, maybe 10 minutes or so. After that I decided it was time for lunch. Remember where we are: Adventureland. DS wants a hotdog. We head to Casey's~line out the door. Cosmic Ray's doesn't have kids hotdogs. Columbia Harbor House doesn't have hotdogs at all. So where do we end up? Pecos Bills...we made an almost complete circle around the park before we found a hotdog for DS! (Mom was a little frazzled by that point. And the lines, lack of tables, food left off my order, didn't help! The first thing I told DH when I saw him was "I'm getting a PS for tomorrow!"~Yes, I am officially a Disney Food Snob! Then we headed back to Buzz Lightyear. The wait was about 60 minutes. You have got to be kidding me! Forget it! And the fastpass time was for after we'd already be gone. DS continued to be unhappy. Went to ToonTown, the Barnstormer only had about a 20 minute wait. Did that, and DS was somewhat mollified~until he realized we weren't going to ride it again. He decided he wanted to see the princesses, and we actually stood in line 45 minutes for that~I believe that was the longest line I agreed to stand in the entire trip! We saw Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. It was getting close to time for us to get back to Epcot, but we tried Buzz Lightyear once more. This time it was closed again. DS came very close to having a tantrum~which he doesn't do! Fortunately, he fell asleep on the monorail. We arrived at Epcot, and thankfully it was much less crowded than MK. The character bus was out, so I decided to add to our "Picture of Character(s) with the Sleeping DS" collection. Chip and Dale were very cute with him, pretending to wake him up, etc. They had just better be glad they *didn't* wake him up, or it wouldn't have been nearly so cute!! I decided since he was asleep, it would be safe to go to UK (no Thomas this visit!!). Mary Poppins was there, and she was our favorite one, the one we saw there in September~she is actually British! Got a picture of her with him while he was asleep, and I told her we'd be back when he woke up. She asked his name, and how old he was turning, and promised to remember him. (She did!) We got to see Belle while he was asleep, too. We have about 8 pictures of him (asleep) with Belle, from previous trips. Then it was about time for us to meet DH. We had gone to Morocco to find Jasmine and Aladdin, but they weren't out at the time. DH walkie-talkied us...he was at Epcot (the gate), but couldn't get in due to problems with *his* ticket! Geez! Are we ticket-impaired this trip?? We walked back to France and stood watching him, and finally, after about 15 minutes, he was able to get in. Something about his ticket had been voided. ??? DS woke up just before DH got to come in. We headed back to UK to see Mary Poppins, and she did remember him, called him by name, and wished him a happy 3rd birthday. We waited to see Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore, also. And of course DS played with Thomas again. We finally enticed him away by promising to go ride Figment. But on the way (we went the "long" way around WS), we stopped in USA because Epcot Vybe would soon be out. (What happened to "American Vybe"?) We haven't seen them in ages. A very helpful CM (Pat) told us where they'd be, so we sat down to wait for them. (DS wasn't thrilled about this delay in plans.) They came out, and were great, as always... and they had noticed his birthday button. *Magical moment coming up! And wouldn't you know, we didn't have the video camera with us on this day!* They asked him to come stand in front of them so they could sing Happy Birthday to him. He didn't want to go, so I went up with him, and they sang. A very nice lady standing behind us took pictures with our camera. DS was very embarrassed, but they were so sweet about it, and it was really, really neat! DH wanted to wait to hear Voices of Liberty, too. They're great, also! And at the end, they, too, sang to DS. Just hate that we didn't get that on tape! Finally DS could escape, and go ride Figment. We rode once, then it was time to show at Le Cellier for our PS. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner (details in dining report). After dinner, we headed towards Spaceship Earth. Then we grabbed our wristbands for EMH. DS wanted to ride Mexico. We rode 5 times, having lots of fun with the two CMs~Dante and Adriana. They were so sweet to DS, talking and waving to him, we had a boat to ourselves several times. We would have been willing to get off and walk around (because there were a few people waiting), but they would just smile and wave us on. It was awesome! DS would stay on this ride indefinitely, I do believe! On our last ride, we finally told DS we needed to get off, and go ride Norway, but we'd come back before we left for the night. So during the last ride, we were teaching him to say Adios, Amigos...but he wouldn't do it when we got to them. They had filled out a Magical Moment Certificate for him. We went and rode Norway, then came back to Mexico. (Tried to get him to say Hola, when we came back, but he wouldn't do that, either!) We rode twice more, and when we finally said we had to go, I think the CMs were as disappointed as DS! We took a picture of him with the two of them. They were so very sweet!! By then it was getting pretty late, so we reluctantly headed back to the Boardwalk. It was about 11:30 when we all got into bed. Friday, February 18th: Happy Birthday, DS!! DH was up and out early again, so...I was, too! I made a PS for Tony's before we left the room! A CM knocked on the door and delivered balloons and a signed picture from Mickey and Minnie. I finally got DS moving. We took our time this morning, though. Didn't get to Epcot until after 9. Walked through WS and rode Figment once. DS asked for a Figment "in a stinky skunk outfit", and since it was his birthday, I obliged! From there, we ran to the front to catch the character bus. Right on time! We hopped in the line for Mickey. An Asian woman was in line right in front of us with her daughter. CMs were trying to get folks to get in line, and this crowd of about 20 people all got in line right in front of this Asian lady. She was very angry (understandably!), telling them they needed to go to the back of the line. Only one of them did, though. She started talking to me, and she was very nice. She offered to take a pic of DS and me with Mickey. They had their turn, then it was our turn. I gave her our camera, and she started clicking away. *Another magical moment!* DS was wearing his Mickey baseball cap (with Mickey ears). Mickey "asked" his handler for a Sharpie pen, whipped DS' hat off his head, and signed his hat. DS was in awe!! That was probably our best ever Mickey experience! Our nice friend got it all on film (well, digitally speaking) for us! Thanks again to you, whoever you were!! We also stood in line to see Minnie. Then we departed Epcot (for the last time) and headed to MK again. The lines for the monorail were even worse today, so we jumped aboard the ferry instead. Great decision! We were one of the last ones on the ferry, and soon departed, so we were at MK much sooner than if we'd waited for a monorail. Again, we started with Buzz Lightyear. The wait at that point was about 60 minutes. I convinced DS that it would be much better if we got a FastPass. By this time it was close to 11am. We walked through FantasyLand...lines were 60-90 minutes. PoC~40 minutes. Good grief! DS was close to tears. We've been there almost an hour and have ridden NOTHING! We had time to see Chip and Dale in Adventureland before we checked in at Tony's. Things got a little better there... DS was very excited that Tinker Bell had "left pixie dust" for him on our table. We went back to PoC after lunch, but the line was still outrageous. Hook and Smee were out, though, so we got to see them. And then Wendy came out, so we got in line for her. (She looked very familiar; and it finally dawned on me that she looked remarkably like our favorite "Alice" that we saw in September at Park Fare.) It was finally time for our Buzz FP, so off we go. DS was so happy to finally get to ride something! When we disembarked from Buzz, we found Chip dressed in some sort of space get-up...another picture. Then we saw Stitch and Buzz, and got another FP for the Buzz ride. We were cutting through to Liberty Square to watch the parade, and ran into Pocahontas and Meeko. Unfortunately, Pocahontas had to leave before it was our turn (took the family in front of us as her last picture), but he did get a pic with Meeko. We found in September that right in front of LTT was a good place to watch the parade. There were quite a few people there already, but we found a spot. Until some other people came and got in front of us and then eventually completely squeezed us out. Grrr! When they finally roped off the walkway, I pushed DS right to the front and sat down, right in front of the people who'd pushed us out of our spot! Hmpphh!! (I was not feeling my most magical at that moment!) Mission accomplished: DS could see! Turned out to be great, too~an "animator" gave him a picture, and both Cinderella and Prince Charming AND Ariel and Prince Eric mouthed "Happy Birthday" to him from the parade. (I cried!) We wandered back around to PoC, and Wendy was out again. She waved to DS and called him by name while we were still in line. We started towards the castle again, when Daddy walkie-talkied us to let us know he was at MK. We met up with him, then got to see Daisy and Donald. We also got to see Pocahontas and Meeko again. We were second in line (waiting for them to arrive) and started talking to the family in front of us. They remembered seeing me and DS earlier, when Pocahontas had to leave (they were a few people behind us in line). They very generously offered to let us go ahead of them this time. There was no reason for them to do that, and we were glad to wait, but it was very sweet! Thanks!! Well, we've now been at MK for over 5 hours, and have ridden one ride. So we decided to try PoC, even though there was still a 30 minute wait posted. After that, I gave DH our FPs for Buzz, and he and DS went to capture Zurg. I wandered in a couple of stores. Then we hurried to CP for our PS. Had to wait about 30 minutes, but we expected that. Friday night dinner at WDW is just like Friday night dinner anywhere else: wait, wait, wait. DS got to watch some of Cinderella's Surprise Celebration while we waited. Dinner was okay, although not as great as our September experience. I think it's all due to the volume of people there this trip! After CP, we wanted to get DS on the Carousel. Can you believe it, in all our trips, he's never ridden the carousel! We rode it twice (he loved it), then did PhilHarmagic. Grabbed a FP for Pooh, bought a cookbook for some friends, and headed to ToonTown. These friends have never been to WDW, and we wanted to get them a special souvenir. Off to the Judges' Tent! Wow, there was NO line to see Mickey! We were the only ones there! Mickey signed our book, and we were on our way. DS was dying to ride BarnStormer again. So we did: 7 times! That was a lot of fun!! (We're so glad he likes roller coasters!) Then we waited to see Minnie and Donald (wanted Minnie to sign the cookbook, too), and then for the princesses. Prince Charming was there with Cinderella! Snow White was the other princess we saw. She gave DS a big kiss. He loves collecting those kisses! We then used our FP to ride Pooh, and caught the very end of Wishes. We planned to ride the train (he's never done that, either!) to Main Street, and then leave. But there was a fire in the woods (due to the fireworks), so the train couldn't go anywhere. We ended up wandering all the way back around through Frontierland and Adventureland, and rode PoC again. By then, it was nearing SpectroMagic time, so we decided to stay and watch it-yet another thing we'd never done. *Another magical moment coming up!* We ended up right in front of the "green wall" in front of the castle. A CM was there, and we asked her where a good place would be to view the parade. She pointed right where we were and said, That's a great place! Her name was Jan, and she began talking to us. She asked DS if he had been kissed by Snow White, because, she said, she "recognized the red lipstick". Then she noticed his birthday button, and began making a big fuss over him. Then she asked if he would like to turn the lights off on Main Street as the parade began. He was a little shy ~ as he always is when more than Mommy or Daddy are looking at him ~ but finally consented to stand in the street with her, while she showed him what he'd need to do to "turn off the lights". Another CM came over and gave him his red-traffic-directing-stick (don't know what it's called!) and asked him to direct traffic for a little while. Before too long, it was time for him to help Jan turn off the lights. He did an admirable job, considering his shyness! Thanks, Jan! When the parade was over, it was time to go. And for the first time in over a year, we knew there was no trip "in the works". It was a sad moment! We still had a character breakfast to go, but no more park time. Those of you who know we've been 5 times in a year probably don't feel too sorry for us... but we were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves! We had to take the bus back to the Boardwalk, and we were the last stop. DS was long gone! Back to the room to pack up. Didn't get into bed until almost 1am. Saturday, February 19 DH was gone early again. I decided I might as well get up and get ready and finish the packing. Got DS up and dressed. Called for bell services. Didn't take them long~maybe 10 minutes. Then we headed to the bus stop for our trip to Park Fare. A bus was there as we arrived at the bus stop, but he had already closed his doors, and shook his head when I asked if we could get on. So we had a 25 minute wait before another MK bus ever arrived. We were kept entertained, however, by a family next to us: a mother and 4 boys, looking to range in ages from about 12 to around 6. The oldest boy was ignoring everyone and watching previous video footage on their camcorder. The middle two were fighting. The youngest seemed to be staying out of it until he somehow got drawn into the fray with the other two. The mother was initially ignoring all of them. That's about the time that DS said, "Those boys aren't being very nice, are they??" Yikes. The mother then issued some threats about sending them back to the room with their father, going home early, etc. Then she told them that if she heard another word from any of them, they would all go back to the room. And then, If any of you start fighting while we're there, we're coming straight back to the room. The bus finally arrived, and after 3,296 other stops, we finally got to the MK. I must say, I'm *glad* we weren't headed there today! What an unbelievable number of people! We hopped on the resort monorail and made our way to the Grand Floridian. If anyone has a better idea on how to get from the BWI to GF, please let me know. Not that it matters at this point~doubt if we will be back at the BWI for a long, long time, if ever. Not because we don't want to, but because the Value Resorts are more suitable to our bank account, if not to our style. We arrived at PF and checked in. We were a few minutes late~I thought I was allowing plenty of time, but it was a reminder of why I don't like to depend on bus transportation. Mary Poppins and Bert were in the lobby. They were, without a doubt, the least "in character" Mary and Bert we've ever seen. Neither of them even *looked* the part! DS wasn't too interested in them, and they are usually two of his favorite characters. We were seated pretty soon. The only "roaming" characters were Alice, Pooh and Eeyore. Guess what! It was "our" Alice, from September~and I'm pretty sure "our" Wendy, from yesterday at MK. We really like her. She is one of the most "in character" characters we've ever seen, so I guess it all evens out! After stuffing ourselves (after all, I had to eat DH's share, too), and getting a goodbye kiss from Alice, we went to buy souvenirs for DS' girlfriends. Yes, plural. He has 3. And they are all older than he is. And, they are all very, very cute!! Three Minnie Mouse tumblers, and we were on our way. Back to the MK via monorail, back to BWI via bus. When we arrived at BWI, guess who we saw? The same mother and 4 boys. Guess one of them must have said "a word" or they had a big fight at the MK. They sure weren't there long! About that time we ran into DH, who was getting the car, and waiting on me to show up with our voucher to get our luggage. Then it was Goodbye WDW, we sure *hope* we'll get to come back soon! Afterthoughts: Another great trip. DS is a true Disney fan. We look forward to many, many more trips with him. And even without him, eventually! It was very nice to stay at BWI~but I gotta say, even though the atmosphere is fabulous, our trips are just as wonderful (well, mostly!) when we stay at a Value resort. Maybe the *resort* experience isn't as great, but we are almost never in our room! We still want to try a moderate, but a trip is really what you make it. Didn't seem to me that the family we saw was having much fun, and they were staying at BWI~and yet some of our best trips ever have been while we were staying at a value. Low Points: The crowds, the crowds, the crowds. Folks, I think "slow times" are over!! All the ticket problems we had...what a pain! The trouble checking in at BWI at 2:40pm. MGM, in general...just not our favorite park! A lot of rude people, and even some almost rude CMs. High Points: (These always far outweigh the bad!!) Woody/Buzz picture at ASMo. Thanks, Marimar! Vybe and Voices of Liberty singing Happy Birthday to DS. Magical Moment Certificate from our "Mexican Friends"~thanks, Dante and Adriana! Mickey/Minnie picture and balloons at BWI. Mickey signing DS' hat at Epcot, on his birthday. Cindy/PC and Ariel/Eric telling DS Happy Birthday during the parade. Wendy remembering him the second time we saw her. Jan asking DS to turn out the lights before SpectroMagic. Seeing "our" Alice (and Wendy!!) on Saturday. DH fulfilling his dream of attending "Disney School". Fabulous meals at Boma's and LeCellier. Cheese blintzes at Park Fare! And a lot of really nice people, who will go out of their way to help you~both guests and CMs. Never fear...we haven't set a date yet, but we are trying desperately to fit another trip in before the year is out!!