A Winter Escape to the Enchanted Forest-Jan'13 TR:**5/21 Parting Thoughts/New PTR!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by DaveinFallsChurch, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    It did leave an imprint with them as I found out later in the trip, especially for DS. I'll tell you more about that later in the TR when we went back to the pool a couple of days later. ;)

    I've been an avid DISer for our past 3 trips. I remember back in Dec 2008 when we went to Disney for the first time with DD (and DS wasn't born yet), I was so green when it came to Disney and not being aware of all it had to offer. I didn't know even know about the character meals and only found out about them as we were walking by Crystal Palace and saw Pooh and the gang through the windows!

    The one that still makes me laugh to this day is when we were at Epcot and it was nearing dinner time. I didn't know about ADRs at the time so we went through the whole trip mostly on QS. But this one evening at Epcot, DW said she wanted to try a sit down place for dinner. We just happened to be in Canada when this conversation took place. So I see this little restaurant over there that appeared to be a steakhouse and I tell DW, "How about that one?". DW walked over to the hostess to see if we could be seated and came back disappointed saying that they were completely booked. So we went elsewhere. Had no idea at the time how popular Le Cellier was and how people were making reservations 180 days in advance! :lmao:
     
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  3. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    It really isn't hard to understand why some people just "hate" Disney. If you aren't aware of these things and go once, you probably aren't going to have a very good time, and likely might not want to go back. I guess that's kind of why I don't like the 180 ADR thing and having to know which park/what restaurant I want on a given day that far in advance. :headache:
     
  4. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    And soon we will have to start thinking about which attractions to go on 60 days in advance when FP+ goes live. :headache:
     
  5. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Yeah... trying to withhold judgement until I see how they implement it, but I'm less than confident that I'll consider it to be a good thing. :rolleyes1 :headache:
     
  6. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I'm trying not to come to conclusions either. There's so much missing info right now. I'm just hoping that there will have been enough of a buffer period between the time they implement it and our trip in Jan 2014 to be able to see how it affects wait times.
     
  7. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Disney Picture #3


    This one comes from my solo night time tour of AoA on our first night at the resort which I will probably be able to post the full update tomorrow with a lot more pictures! At AoA, Sheriff is positioned at the entrance area to the Cars section or I should say Radiator Springs.

    Cars is by far DS' favorite movie. He has memorized many parts of the movie and can give you a lot of different quotes from it. Two of his favorite quotes from Sheriff are "Not in my town you don't" which is spoken in the exact scene replicated at AoA, and "Boy, You're in a heap of trouble!" I thought that this look from Sheriff pretty much captures the sentiments from those two quotes. Whenever DS would walk by Sheriff at night, he would get excited that his "lights" (what he means is siren) are on!

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  8. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Had a busy weekend and got behind, but I'm all caught up now!

    Your bathroom story had me :rotfl:. Lucky DD is still young enough to qualify for a trip to the men's room when the line at the women's is too long! At my age, I don't have that option, and trust me, after two days at the Mardi Gras parades this weekend, it would have been a big help!! :rotfl2:

    The photo of SE at night is gorgeous!!! It is not my favorite icon (the Castle is, obviously!), but lit up at night it is pretty hard to beat. So beautiful!

    The Nemo suite looks really amazing. So much space! And the themeing is spot on. Those jellyfish lamps are incredible!

    :scared: The pool! I bet it was really harrowing watching DS go deeper and deeper. And you just keep hoping that they will listen to you and turn around so you don't have to jump in with your clothes on but they just keep going, don't they? Paxton has a habit of pulling those kinds of stunts too!! Life with a toddler trying to discover their independence I guess.

    Great updates! And love that shot of the Sheriff. I'll have to show it to Paxton later when he gets home. He is crazy about Cars!
     
  9. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Welcome back from your Mardis Gras parades! Just read your update on your TR and sounds like you had a great time with your family.

    As I was passing by Spaceship Earth all lit up at night, I really wanted to do a nighttime tour of Epcot (especially WS) and Animal Kingdom! Josh from easywdw just posted a nighttime tour of AK and it looks absolutely gorgeous. I think that's what I'm going to try to do for my next solo mini-tour once the kids are tucked in!

    Yes, it was a bit scary when he continued to move towards the deep end. He did learn his lesson though as I found out a couple of days later.
     
  10. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Friday, January 25th - 9:00pm

    So at this point in the story, I should tell you what had been going on with DW and her flight during the latter part of the day. She and I had been trading texts and periodically calling each other to get flight updates. The winter “storm” didn’t amount to much accumulation but it was enough to grind things to a halt at Reagan National. Her flight kept getting pushed back and back as the day progressed. She had tried getting on an earlier flight before the peak of the snowfall but that flight was already over booked. Her original flight was supposed to have landed in MCO at 9:50pm. By the time all was said and done, her flight took off with a 2 hour delay and was scheduled to arrive in Orlando around 11:40pm. I was just happy that her flight wasn’t canceled at all. Reminded her to try to take a nap but I know she won't be able to since she's very light sleeper. I was also glad that the kids and I made the trip the day before. Making a midnight arrival with the kids would have been very difficult and the kids would have been off to a bad start the next morning due to the lack of sleep.

    I had about two hours to spare after the kids went to bed and before I had to drive out to the airport to pick up DW. DFIL was ready to turn in for the night as well so I told him that I would walk around the resort and then head straight to the airport when it was time. The kids jumped into the "Table Bed" as they called it and was excited to be sleeping underneath Marlin and Nemo. ;) I grabbed my camera and started touring the rest of the resort.

    It was a very pleasant and relaxing experience as I strolled around AoA by myself. First I went over to the Cars Suites section. There was Sheriff at the entrance to Radiator Springs and manning a speedtrap!

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    Doc Hudson was hanging out across the pathway from Sheriff.

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    The Cozy Cone Motel (which is their swimming pool).
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    Sarge and Fillmore were located on the other side of the pool.

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    And of course, Lightning himself with Sally at the Wheel Well which is fascade of the Cars building furthest in.

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    I totally forgot to see Mater! I remember seeing him from far away but completely blanked on taking a closer look. How could I!

    Luigi and "Peeeetstop" Guido!

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    And Flo!

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    I remember Josh from EasyWDW describing this area as a cheaper version of Cars Land over at Disneyland Resort in California. To some extent, I agreed with him. Having been in Cars Land back in October with all its neon glory, this version felt slightly tame. But I still enjoyed seeing all of the characters some of which are missing over at Cars Land. The Cozy Cone Motel themed pool also looked very inviting.

    As I walked back out of the Cars section, I saw a CM along the pathway sweeping. Mind you that this is about 10pm. The walking path made of asphalt/concrete is lined on both sides with gravel. This particular CM was sweeping the gravel and pebbles off the walking path and onto the sides! Part of me thought “Wow, Disney really goes to extreme in trying to make every area presentable”. The other part of me said “Wow, that has to be an endless task”.

    I then walked over to the other side Animation Hall. First I walked through the Lion King section which was guarded by Rafiki himself at the entrance of the walking path.

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    And behind him was Simba. A full moon was out and I just happened to look up from right below Pride Rock and saw Simba almost glowing in the moonlight. It was pretty neat!

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    Part of the Hakuna Matata scene!
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    So in the world of lions, is the length of your nails a good measure of your evilness?
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    At the Elephant Graveyard - Please don't eat me.
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    What was conspicuously missing in this section was a pool. There was a playground area themed around the elephant graveyard from the movie with a complete set of hyenas. But that was about it. I think as far as theming goes, this was the least imaginative of the four sections at AoA. It may also have been because the whole section was not as well lit as the other parts so everything gave out a dark vibe which worked well for the elephant graveyard playground!

    Continued on Next Post
     
  11. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Continued from Previous Post

    Finally, I reached the Little Mermaid section which was a welcomed and bright relief. I was a little thrown off by the scale of things. When Finding Nemo suites were first opened, I remember reading and hearing Disney making a point about how everything was scaled as if the guests were the size of Nemo. I guess the same could be said for the Lion King and Cars from what I saw. But in the Little Mermaid section, there was a pipe that was as big as the statue of Prince Eric. It did look good though and the theming and the colors were great. Overall, much more cheerful than the Lion King area!

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    I have to say though, the distance between LM and Animation Hall was the longest of all the sections. It does come with its own pool. I headed back towards our Finding Nemo section.

    After touring the entire resort, I came to the conclusion that we had chosen well with Finding Nemo and that it was my favorite section. That’s not taking away from any of the other sections. The whole place was very well done. I went back to the Finding Nemo section to take a few more pictures.

    This is at the splash and play area right next to the pool.
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    The pool was very quiet at this point with just 3-4 people in it. The water play area located on the back side of the pool area was turned off and deserted. There was also a pool side bar called “The Drop Off” which was still serving drinks to a handful of guests sitting at the bar. If I didn't have to drive to the airport, I would have loved to have sat down there and enjoyed a quiet drink!

    I went back into Animation Hall and looked around the lobby area.

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    As I was taking this last picture, a very friendly guest walked up to me and told me about one particular drawing on the other side of this decoration that John Lasseter had signed with Mcqueen in it. She was so excited to tell me - clearly a Disney fan and probably a fellow DIS member. Her friend was laughing at her jubilance. I said as she was leaving that I completely shared her sentiments but I don't think she got to hear me.

    I was getting thirsty with all of the walking and it was about 11pm. The food court, Landscape of Flavors, was still open so I walked in to grab a bottle of Coke Zero. If you haven’t noticed yet, by the way, I’m seriously addicted to Zero and 11pm is not late enough to stay away from it! I sat in the lobby area watching the colors of the front desk and the various drawings on the wall before it was time to drive out to the airport for the second time that evening. I parked myself at the cell phone lot at the airport, and when DW texted me I drove up to the curbside and picked her up. I'm telling you, I know this airport inside and out now! I was so happy and relieved to see DW standing at the curbside. What an ordeal for her - she spent about 6.5 hours at Reagan National before she boarded her plane. We got back to our room around 12:50pm and went straight to bed. The kids didn’t even stir when we walked in. They were completely out.

    Next Up: Morning in Animal Kingdom!
     
  12. emilyindisney

    emilyindisney DIS Veteran

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    Love the pictures from the Cars section! I was sad we never made it back at night because I heard everything looked cool when it was lit up.

    I agree about the LM section. I loved it, but I could see how it was sort of pushy campy. For the most part everything was huge and way over 'immersively sized', especially compared to the other sections.
     
  13. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Loved your nighttime tour of AoA! I see what you are saying about the LM section. From the pics I have seen from a bunch of TR's, that area is more reminiscent of the All Star resorts and Pop with the gigantic icons. I am now even more excited to check it all out in person. :goodvibes

    Wow, your poor DW! I'm glad she finally made it to WDW, but what an ordeal to go through in getting there. I bet she was never so relieved to see a bed as she was that night.
     
  14. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    ::yes::

    ::yes::::yes:: :faint:

    I'm glad you had a chance to have a quiet walk around the resort taking some pictures. I just can't get enough of the AoA resort. They did a great job with it.

    It's also good that your DW was able to get in without too much of a delay. That much time sitting in an airport is never fun, but much better to have a few hours of delay than to have to re-book to the next day or something. :thumbsup2
     
  15. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I think the Cars section benefited the most from the nighttime lighting.

    "Pushy campy" I like how you put that! Oh and I didn't have a good picture of it, but the gigantic Ursula was a little hard to look at :lmao: I did love how the interior of the rooms looked from your TR. :thumbsup2

    She was very happy to make it to bed. And surprisingly, she was up and ready to go very early the next morning! Perhaps I am succeeding converting her to a Disneyphile like me!
     
  16. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I think she spent most of the time at the airport with her e-book. She seemed to be in good spirits whenever I checked in on her over the phone. As beautiful Reagan National Airport is in the main terminal, when you actually get to the gate area it gets really cramped with very few restaurant options. If I'm traveling by myself I usually park myself in front of the Five Guys Burger. :goodvibes
     
  17. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Yeah, I've flown out of there a couple of times over the past year. I had a flight delayed a couple of hours there also and spent an afternoon with a few other guys sitting in some bar there close to our gate. Even that was way crowded. I felt like our table was practically out in the terminal walkway. :crowded:
     
  18. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Yup, that sounds about right for DCA. It would be nice if they renovated their gate areas but it's such a relatively small airport that even closing one concourse would be shutting down a chunk of their capacity I'm guessing. You do get absolutely gorgeous views though on take offs and landings of the DC landmarks if you're sitting on the correct side of the plane!
     
  19. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    I've already started putting together a day-to-day itinerary for our next Disney trip which is 11 months and 2 weeks away. DW thinks I'm nuts. She may have a point since we have an overseas trip in June that I should be planning first. :lmao:
     
  20. DaveinFallsChurch

    DaveinFallsChurch DIS Veteran

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    Disney Picture #4

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  21. luckylady

    luckylady DIS Veteran

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    You do like to tease don't you? Glad your DW made in in. Late but safe.
     

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