April 2013 - Our last hurrah!

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by Hannikins, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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  3. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    This will be my sixth trippie but only my second here on the DIS so bear with me :P

    Firstly I had better introduce us

    Me - Hannah (27)

    I love all things Disney related, especially old school Disney movies (they don’t make them like they used to!!). My favourite movie is The Little Mermaid, I remember going to see it at the cinema when I was very young, sitting in the upper circle and being so completely in awe of the whole thing that I didn’t want to get up in the interval to get an ice cream in case it started again and I missed something! No matter now many times I watch it I always end up in tears before the end.


    Boyfriend – Adam (31)

    Not the biggest Disney film fan on the planet, although he admits he rather likes Stitch. I think my love for the whole thing is gradually wearing off on him though I got him to sit through Monsters Inc last night, that a BIG step forward in my book. Despite this attitude he’s a big kid at heart and he loves the atmosphere and sense of fun you get in Disney parks. He’s been to Florida with his family twice when he was younger staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian on both occasions – wasted on him obviously.

    Catch up
    We've not been back to WDW since our first trip in 2009 so I thought I'd start with a little rundown of what we've been up to instead since the trippies are not here...

    NOTE: This is a bit longer than anticipated! Feel free to skip unless you want a run down of our previous trips!

    On a soggy evening back in May 2009, on the viewing deck of the California Grill after the wishes fireworks Adam proposed!!

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    Lucky girl that I am we then took a ‘taming of a brideszilla’ trip in October 2010, this time to DLP

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    Then on Saturday 11th June 2011 we got MARRIED!

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    PS: More piccies here if you're as addicted to other people's wedding photographs as I am… STILL!

    We honeymooned on the west coast, Starting in San Francisco (We LOVE SF!!)

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    Moving onto Vegas (I dislike enormously!)

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    Apart from these bits..

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    Next up was a MANDATORY visit to the mouse!

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    Which was amazing as I got to ride THIS!!

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    Eat this

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    (which I did!)

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    and see THIS!!

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    Although it was very hot and busy so Adam also saw a lot of this

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  4. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Having survived a grumpy wife at Disneyland for several days Adam was justly awarded with this

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    and we moved onto Hollywood!

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    Where we stayed in luxury which we will never again afford!

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    Adam was also able to live out his baywatch hunk dreams.... in smog ;P

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    In short, we had an amazing time, in fact so amazing we knew we'd never be content with JUST a week in the sun ever again :(

    So we started planning...

    And in May 2012 we headed off the New York & DC!!

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    We watched 'Soccer'
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    Visited the sights...

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    Saw a show

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    We also did A LOT of eating

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  5. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    The whole holiday was pretty much a stop by stop food tour of the city ;P

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    In fact we crammed ALOT in, we were exhausted, but we still had DC left to do!

    Again we saw the sights...

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    in many different ways

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    And yes, you guessed it, we ate a fair bit to ;P


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    We drank a fair bit as well, unfortunately...

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    We returned from the trip exhausted, but after having something to plan for the last few years, wedding, honeymoon etc I needed something else to occupy myself so a rough date of Florida in 2013 was set. On working on these dates a sad fact came to light, This would be the first year in a long while we WOULDN'T be visiting the mouse....

    .... So we booked a trip to DLP!!!

    I was so EXCITED!!

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    It was like going home!

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    But by the end of it I was eager to get back and continue planning for FLORIDA!

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  6. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    It’s all in the name…

    I always struggle to think up a name for my trippies. You want to give people an idea of what to expect and you want it to stand out from the crowd so people remember it’s yours. For this trip I didn’t have that problem, it was always going to be “The Last Hurrah” since that is how we’ve always referred to this trip.

    Travel back with me if you will to a warm Orlando evening in 2009, our last of our holiday in fact, and Adam and I are taking a walk down the river at Port Orleans Riverside resort…

    We discussed how fab the holiday had been, what an amazing few years we had ahead while we (I) planned our wedding and when we would possibly find the time to return. We’d been bitten by the ‘Disney Bug’ you see.

    We knew there would be a wedding and honeymoon in 2011, certainly no funds for a holidays in 2012 (hehe! how wrong we were!) so that really only left 2013 as the earliest opportunity. 2013 would mean Adam was 31, i.e. ANCIENT to my 24 year old self! With this in mind we joked that it would probably be our last chance to visit Disney before we looked to start a family. We joked about this and the idea of trying to make a little “Walt” or “Ariel” on the trip… I’ll leave it there ;P

    ANYWAY from that point on we always referred to this trip as “The Last Hurrah” As time passed we realized we are far from ready for that stage in our lives and should we be blessed one day with the possibility of a little Walt or Ariel (no, I’m not serious…. but don’t tell Adam!) then fantastic…. But not until I’ve at least been the Tokyo Disney in 2014….. and possibly the west coast again in 2015…. Yeah, as you see, not happening anytime soon ;P
     
  7. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    June 2012 - Maths was never my strong point be here’s the overview of my plan!

    We returned from New York and DC in May under a cloud of gloom, I had nothing to PLAN! This hadn’t happened in years! With this desperate need to plan I started to test the waters with Adam on the possibility of a florida trip in 2013, after all, hadn’t he PROMISED we could in 2009, men have such selective memories don’t they ;P

    We talked about what we’d like to do, and after I’d vetoed Adam attempts to include Clearwater or SOMEWHERE not in Orlando (I’d love to go but without a car… well maybe “next time” :rolleyes1 ) we ended up with the following:

    • Spending longer at Disney
    • Staying onsite at Universal

    We don’t want much then ;P

    We decided that although we’d liked May the rain had been a complete bummer so we’d try for a little earlier hoping that meant slightly less rain. After consulting plans we decided on approximately the third week in April

    And for the budget? I had to bring all accommodation, flights etc in for less than £1,500… PER PERSON!

    So I started to DIY…

    I came up with a rough plan

    • Disney 7 nights (Disney first so I wasn’t completely sad when we left!)
    • Universal 2 nights
    • I Drive 7 nights

    This came to £3560…. Well that’s close enough to £3,000 right?!?!

    Adam didn’t think so, it was back to the drawing board.

    We visited lots of travel agents next, Thomas Cook had treated us well in 2009 but not so much on this occasion. First Choice were about the same and Virgin were down right ridiculous. This was turning into a nightmare. In 2009 we had a similar plan and that cost us £1750 oh how times had changed!

    A week later, after excepting our fate and on a complete whim I visited the virgin store again and cheekily asked if they would price match my DIY holiday price (which was now slightly less!) AND price match the ticket prices I had meticulously researched. It must have been a bad week for them target wise, because THEY AGREED!! We had a plan!!

    • Virgin flights 18th April – 4th May
    • 7 nights Saratoga Springs with Free TS DDP & $300 giftcard
    • 3 nights Hard Rock Hotel (you see I’ve added another night in there ;P)
    • 6 nights Enclave Suites
    • All transfers between hotels

    Total Cost – Virgin cost £4757.28 :scared1: …

    Minus Price match discount of £859.28 ….

    Gave us a grand total of £3898 :dance3::dance3::dance3:

    Ok so this was more than the original but it did include tickets this time £688 pounds worth in fact! So the total was really £3210 so not a million miles off!
     
  8. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    August 2012  Plans change

    While browsing the forums I noticed a lot of threads revolving around a virgin sale now I know you shouldnt look at flights after youve booked them& but I did

    THEY WERE OVER £200 cheaper&. EACH :furious:

    I didnt panic, I had a plan. I would cancel the flights from my booking and rebook them myself via virgin atlantic.

    First I called the virgin store I had booked with&

    They said I could simply cancel the flights and rebook them at the new price if they had the same flights prices. She would check and call me back&

    & She called me back, yes they had the cheaper price available but if I wanted to do this I would need to cancel the whole holiday. This wasnt an option because I would loose free dining AND the $300 giftcard from the Disney promo& so not really saving anything!

    I wasnt giving up. They advised I rang the call centre as they had slightly more sway&

    I did and this time I would be able to cancel the flights and just pay the £35 per person amendment fee, still saving me a few bob! Although when I looked at the new price it was higher than expected. I had thought the refund would have been the flight price I had got them to price match but as the price match discount is attached to the whole holiday not individual parts of it they can practically decide how much is would be. Cant really complain though, it was my fault I wanted the change everything and it would still save me money, I was just grateful they would even let me do it in the first place!

    They tried to talk me out of it obviously pointing out that I would loose my transfers and the opportunity to use the v room but still all that wasnt worth the £227.87 (after cancellation fee) I was now saving.

    I cancelled, paid the £70 cancellation fee and booked the flights direct with Virgin Altantic.

    Worth the effort? YES! my final price was now £3670.13

    Without tickets that's £2978.13

    I'D DONE IT!! flights and hotel for less than £1500 each :banana::banana:
     
  9. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    September 2012 - a sneaky addition

    When I had cancelled the flights I had been told that it was no longer a 'package' and so therefore I would be unable to use the vroom, however my booking number hadn't changed. I tried it. It didn't work. But the error suggested it was because it was too far in advance, not because it was invalid, so instead I emailed the v room booking address with my details and booking ref and low and hold we were in! That's an additional £40 added to the pot!
     
  10. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    So we will be staying at three hotel during our trip, here’s a run down

    Disney – Saratoga Springs
    We had originally planned and priced up to stay at port orleans riverside again but on realizing that our favourite manors were now ‘themed’ we were a little put off. Realising that to go with POR and upgrade to DDP was more expensive than staying at a deluxe villa resort and getting it for free that sealed the deal for us.

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    We then only had to choose between OKW and SSR. We plumped for SSR in the end due for three reasons

    • Close to Downtown Disney
    • Balconies on with studios
    • Bed and Sofa instead of two beds

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    I’m still undecided about where to stay area wise. I think I may plump for Congress park if I get the option. I like the idea of the views and the convenience of walking to Downtown Disney to get a bus to other hotels, useful for some of our likely ADR’s

    Hard Rock Hotel

    We couldn’t decide between Portofino and HRH as for our dates they were coming out at a very similar price. We’d visited Portofino on our last trip and thought it very beautiful.

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    However in the end we decided it was probably a little too quiet for us and instead plumped for HRH

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    Besides I liked the idea of a few margs by the pool at night, more on that later.

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    Enclave Suites

    Pretty rash decision this one. We looked at homewood suites and rosen inn but the price for the enclave was just to darn good and we find it's location handy.

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    We stayed here last time after Adam remembered it being good when he went as a child. Well I got to see exactly what he did because nothing had changed since he was a child! Our room looked like this, but very tired

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    This might have been the worst hotel room we’d had back then, but more worryingly is that since then we’ve been spoiled somewhat so I’m hoping it’s no worse than I remember!

    Who knows, maybe we’ll strike lucky and get a refurbed room. It must help when virgin have their desk in the hotel as well… wishful thinking maybe.

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  11. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Freebies!!

    One day while browsing the forum (notice how often my updates start with that!) I found a very interesting thread regarding free parking via monarch. After a quick read I got the gist of it and started looking. I found something fairly quickly which seemed to good to be true. Anyway I submitted the claim and a few days later BOOM I had £93 back and my free parking with Meteor Meet and Greet!

    I still followed the thread with interest and soon the discussion turned to hotels. Well it's worth a look I thought! From reading the updates it seemed the hotel one was a little more tricky and was via essential travel. However I like a challenge and after a good hour searching I was confident I'd found what we were looking for. One night at bewleys £3 cheaper than on essential travel, everything seemed to match in the T&C's so I went for it. Again they replied quickly and refunded my £3. They then said for me to get in touch with the 3rd party for the rest of the money. Now I thought this meant on my return, but no. After a quick email a cheque for the remaining £63 arrived.

    So that's a night's stay plus meet and greet car parking for.... NOTHING!!

    It will mean parking the car overnight at bewley's which will cost £7... but I think we'll manage :rolleyes1
     
  12. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    What to wear?
    ARGH! I wish these sales emails would stop! I've not saved anything for the holiday this month as they keep email me with more money off! Still at least I'm bagging some holiday bargains!

    Some recent purchases...

    Dress for our 'fancy' meal at Victoria and Albert's, it's backless which they might be funny about so I'll need to find a wrap!

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    In fact I might end up taking this one as a back up just in case!

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    A nice skirt for nicer park evenings

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    Some day dresses..

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    Bikinis, because this year I WILL be wearing one!

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    And finally, something I'm secretly dreading... SHORTS.

    I don't do shorts, well at least not ones to far above the knee anyway :/ So this year will be a true test for me because I have SHORT SHORTS!!! I won't lie I'm slightly panicked about it, but everyone else always seems so cool in them while I'm suffering and sweaty in mine :/

    So I have bought a few pairs...

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    now with constant dieting and regular gym sessions between now and April I'm aiming the outcome to be somewhere between this:

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    and this

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    If I'm honest, somewhere nearer the first example would be marvellous ;P
     
  13. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Must Do's

    I'm going to start this list and add to it over time. None are food related, that's a WHOLE other post as usual ;P

    Visit Art of Animation

    So this is sort of about the food, but it's also very much about getting my photo taken with HIM

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    "He's very handsome, isn't he" - Ariel

    YES. HE. IS

    In fact in trying to find this photo I realised I'm not the only fan out there, he has he own fanart following! who knew!

    This was the most, interesting...

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    Although I think the artist may have been more of a Flynn fan at heart...

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    I know. There's some scary things on the internet...
     
  14. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Must Do's

    ok a few more must do's to add today!

    Meet the princesses I haven't seen yet

    I always miss snow white. In epcot she was just leaving as I joined the queue and in DLP I missed her by inches. She pranced past me, I considered a leap and tackle but thought Disney might frown on that as a meet and greet tactic, even in DLP!

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    I've also never met Tiana, Rapunzel or Merida. Mainly because the films weren't out yet on my visit! yes, it was soooo long ago, Disney has THREE new princesses since our last trip! :omg:

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    I haven't worked out exactly how I'm going to achieve this Must Do, I'm just hoping they all still have dedicated meet and greet locations when we get there! Snow White should be the easy one if she's covering dinner at CRT
     
  15. MrsTigger

    MrsTigger <font color=green>DLRP board....guaranteed to make

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  16. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Must Eats  Disney Snacks

    Ever since planning for our New York trip Ive become ever so slightly obsessed with food. So it will come as no surprise that after booking our trip with free dining I started looking at the options. I soon found the disney food blog and the dining reports both on Disboards and on the dibb. After wasting several weekends reading though every piece of Disney food porn I could get my hands on I started to compile a list. And here it is!

    Nutella and Fruit Waffle @ Sleepy Hollow, Magic Kingdom
    Ill be honest, I seriously doubt there will ever be a point in the holiday where Im hungry enough to order on of these but Id still love on just to LOOK at!

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    Strawberry Shortcake @ Sunshine Seasons, Epcot
    We may eat here using a QS but with all the yummy options in world showcase its doubtful. If not Id love one of these as a snack

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    Carrot Cake Cookie @ The Writers Stop, HS
    These things look HUGE, may be one to share!

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    Cinnamon Roll @ Gastons Tavern, Magic Kingdom
    With the Main Street Bakery closed Ill be off to Gastons Tavern to try their version I think

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    Tonga Toast @ Captain Cooks, Polynesian Resort
    As we dont do table service breakfasts I was resigned to not trying the famous Tonga Toast. However I soon learned I could get it from the polys quick service place so it was back on the list!

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    Grey Goose Slushie @ The France Pavilion, Epcot
    Ok so not technically a snack not its on the list anyway!

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    And while on the subject of non snacks I will also be indulging in one of these!

    Tequila Flight @ La Cava del Tequila, Mexico Pavilion, Epcot

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    Napoleon @ Les Halles boulangerie, France Pavilion, Epcot

    I used to have one of these from a local bakery every Saturday after my swimming lesson as a child and over the years Ive tried to relive the small creamy flaky goodness, but nothing has got it quite right& I have high hopes for this one!

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    Caramel Pecan Cluster @ Karamell-Küche, German Pavilion, Epcot
    This combines three of my favourite things so its bound to be good!

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    Cream Cheese Pretzel @ Snack Cart, Somewhere in Disney
    Probably in AK since theres nothing much else there I want to try in the snack department.

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    Build your own treat @ Goofys Candy Co, Downtown Disney
    Looks like these stopped being a snack credit for a while but now they are back on!

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    I fancy a rice crispie treat smothered in something!

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    Funnel Cake @ Somewhere in Disney
    No idea where from yet but they seem to be available all over!

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    Think Ill be sticking with the plain rather than the one served with a slab of ice cream though!

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    Ice Cream Cookie Sundae @ Storybook Treats, Magic Kingdom
    Looks yummy and only one snack credit!

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    Ham and cheese Croissant @ Les Halles boulangerie, France Pavilion, Epcot
    Looks like a good use of a breakfast snack credit and I LOVE cheese Croissants!

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    Butterfinger Cupcake @ Starring Rolls, HS
    You could probably write a whole book about cupcakes at Disneyland. The Disney Food Blog even has a whole tour just for eating them! But Im not a huge cupcake fan so Im only including one :

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    Kaki Gori @ Japan Pavilion, Epcot
    With so few cold treats in this list I thought it worth including one! These looked the most interesting ;P

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    And Ive been saving the BEST until last! The ONE THING, I am really looking forward to trying?

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    PLASTIC CHEESE!!!!!

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    ok so those that have been doing the maths will have worked out thats 17 snacks to fit into 7 nights at Disney! So ,a lot, :/ However do not fear, Im under no illusions that I will get them all done& however I do like a challenge!

    Now you all know how insane I am when it comes to food I feel Im safe to start collating my ADR and Quick Service lists!
     
  17. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    ok so the list of snacks outside of disney is thankfully much shorter, only two things in fact!

    Butterbeer @ Islands of Adventure
    Not to fussed about the special mug but I think we may get a frozen one to share!

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    Kings Donut @ Emack and Bolio’s, Hard Rock Hotel
    I think it should keep us going for a few breakfasts!

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  18. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Teeny update while I'm working on the next big post (which is food related, OBVIOUSLY!)

    I found these in debenhams today. They are for drawing on your nails, the colours are perfect for some mickey inspired holiday nails! I'm going to start practising soon!

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  19. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    ooo and one more thing. My snack plan has already fallen short!

    The new france pavilion bakery opened this month and....

    THEY HAVE CHANGED THE NAPOLEON!!

    it's now the same as the ones found everywhere else in WDW so that will be removed in due course! very disappointing
     
  20. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    Still bemoaning the loss of several snack locations on our trip I was keen to hear news of the food kiosks for the flower and garden festival....

    Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, fresh Zellwood Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro
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    hmmm not a seafood fan so... no

    Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries
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    doesn't look all that appetising to me :/

    Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes are paired with house-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and fresh Basil
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    not sure...

    Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions
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    interesting...

    Pulled Pig Slider with Cole Slaw
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    getting warmer...

    Sweet Frushi made with Fresh Fruits and Coconut Rice
    Hot Sun Tomato Wine, Watermelon Passion Fruit Cocktail, Orange Blossom Pilsner, and Blueberry Blue wine

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    warmer still...

    Dole Whip with Spiced Rum
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    :worship:

    BOOM! now ya talking!

    now that's a worthy replacement for the napoleon on my snack must do list I'm sure you'll agree ;P
     
  21. Hannikins

    Hannikins Mouseketeer

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    ooo and guess what! I bought more shoes! you can never have enough ;P

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    I already have a pair of cream 'normal' toms but I thought these would look smarter with a dress or shorts in the evenings.

    I'm also on the hunt for some wedges for the evenings and I'm lusting over these from ugg

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    still far too expensive though :(
     

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