"Can Two Thrill Ride Junkies Love Disneyworld" - COMPLETED 4/24 Page 2

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by cstorm65, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Quick Start - Introductions

    The Coach:
    [​IMG]

    My name is Jon and I am the main planner of this trip, as I have the personality of an organizer. My wife and family would say that statement is much too generous. They would say I am an excessive planner. I more like to take the historical quote to heart that says, Failure to plan is planning to fail. I for one dont want to fail at anything in life and if I am going to do something I am going to do it well. When we decided to go to Disney World I decided we were going to get the most out of our vacation and thus the planning began. I would title myself The Coach. I have most of the traditional characteristics of a coach, but you will find that out as we go.

    I am 26 years old and am a high school science teacher. My favorite class to teach is Physics, and one of the greatest things I get to do is use theme park rides (especially) roller coasters to teach these great concepts of motion, energy, momentum, and rotation. We take a trip to a Six Flags amusement park each year to ride roller coasters and measure velocity, acceleration and those neat kinds of things. In addition to this, I also teach a course in Chemistry and a course in Environmental Science. I have also taught Honors Biology in past years. I am just a lover of all things science. I am also the Head Boys Track and Field Coach at our high school and Assistant Football Coach. I love teaching, coaching, and making a difference in young peoples lives. I also enjoy golfing, reading, and traveling with my beautiful wife.

    The Counselor:
    [​IMG]

    The other member of the trip is my wonderful wife April. April is a school teacher in her own right as well as a head girls basketball coach. This is the first year we have both been in education, thus the title of this set of posts. I would title April The Counselor. She is entering her first year as a school counselor this coming fall. She has worked on her masters degree for three years to gain a counselor job and she is extremely excited about it. As a matter of fact we are both still on school, April finishing up her masters by adding certification in school psychology, while I am working on my masters in Education Administration. April has the best spirit of any person I have ever met, and I am truly the luckiest man on the earth. Or in my Coach terms, I really out-kicked my coverage when I found April.

    April is actually the person who got me liking roller coasters, while on our honeymoon in Orlando, three years ago. Yes, this trip will kind of be like a 3rd anniversary trip for us, although not over the exact dates of our wedding. All while I was growing up I would never ride roller coasters, at least not any of the fun ones. On our honeymoon though April made me feel bad because she was going to have to ride on her own. She got me onto Dueling Dragons on our first day at Universal Islands of Adventure (by telling me there was only one loop&She lied!) and I have loved them ever since.

    About Us
    [​IMG]

    We are not necessarily Disney Addicts (at least not yet), but we are what I would call theme park junkies. Any time we take a vacation it usually centers on a theme park. Neither of us has ever stayed on site at Disney World, although we have both been three times in our lifetime. Our latest visit was together in 2008, on our honeymoon. We stayed close to Universal and did that several days, but did come and tour EPCOT one day. I absolutely loved EPCOT and its science/educational value. I am very much looking forward to this again this summer, especially going to TGM way. We arrived around 10 AM and rode some rides, but were not willing wait in line for Soarin and Test Track. This year we will ride both of those&multiple times. We love traveling, mainly because we get to spend time together. Now, we are going to take advantage of us both being public school teachers and getting a wonderful summer break to do the thing we love together, travel.

    Thanks, if you read this. I am long winded, I apologize in advance for this, but I hope you enjoy reading about our trip.


    Up Next: - "This is the longest drive of my life"[/COLOR]

    Table of Contents
    Chapter 1 (Monday) - "This is the longest drive of my life"
    Chapter 2 (Tuesday - Part A) - "The full body scanner....really"
    Chapter 2 (Tuesday - Part B) - "Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to...Caribbean Beach Resort"
    Chapter 3 (Wednesday - Part A) - "Will these little girls ever quit stepping on my feet...oh wait, it's the Dad"
    Chapter 3 (Wednesday - Part B) - "Will the food be this good all week?"
    Chapter 3 (Wednesday - Part C) - What is wrong with that monorail?"
    Chapter 4 (Thursday - Part A) - "Yes! We are the 3rd person at the turnstile.....oh crap!"
    Chapter 4 (Thursday - Part B) - "What do you mean I can't go that way?"
    Chapter 5 (Friday - Part A) - "Two parks and a mid-day break - This is going to be a long day!"
    Chapter 5 (Friday - Part B) - "You want to go where...NOW?"
    Chapter 5 (Friday - Part C) - "We better be sleeping in tomorrow!"
    Chapter 6 (Saturday) - "Does this dessert rival the Dole Whip?"
    Chapter 7 (Sunday - Part A) - "April...The bag just got really light."
    Chapter 7 (Sunday - Part B) - "Is BBQ really that good at Disney World?"
    Chapter 7 (Sunday - Part C) - "$8.50 for that? Really? It better be good!"
    Chapter 8 (Monday) - "The most anticipated ADR of the trip!"
    Chapter 9 (Tuesday - Part A) - "Finally, we get to use our ponchos."
    Chapter 9 (Tueday - Part B) - "Can you really rest on your last day?"
    Chapter 9 (Tuesday - Part C) - "April...I can't believe I kept this secret, but..."
    Chapter 10 (Wednesday) - "Oh what a sad day...heading home."
    Chapter 11 (Wrap Up and Favorites) - "Can two thrill ride junkies love Disney World - The Final Verdict"
     
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  3. SimmerBaggins

    SimmerBaggins DIS Veteran

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    Cool -- can't wait to hear which WDW ones are your favorites! Hope you got some pics...! ;)
     
  4. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Chapter 1 – Monday

    “This is the longest drive of my life!”

    Well, if you read the trip report all we had to do on this day was get ourselves to Dallas as we were flying out from DFW on Tuesday morning. Now, I can say this was one of the dumbest ideas we have ever had, but it turned out okay and it was really the best option we had with my wife having to go to her summer master’s class on Monday evening (which is one hour in the opposite direction of Dallas). We hit the road around 11:30 PM….yes, you read that correctly. It was barely Monday still when we hit the road and by the time we left the OKC metropolitan area it was Tuesday morning.

    WARNING – Random Meaningless Information Update (A fact you might need to know someday if you are on a trivia game show) – Oklahoma City is the largest city in the United States in size. We live on the north side of the city and had to drive all the way through it to be heading south to Dallas. So it was 12:30 or so by the time we left the south edge in Norman.

    Back to the reporting…now we were very excited to be going to Disney and thus the name of this chapter “this is the longest drive of my life”. I kept telling myself we were getting closer to the hotel, but the anticipation had my brain playing tricks on me and I was wondering if we would ever make it. I have driven to the DFW area many, many times in my life, but this seemed like the longest trip of them all. We arrived at our hotel just one mile from the DFW airport at 2:30 AM, we actually made great time despite my brain tricks, but we should have as there was no one else dumb enough to be on the road at that hour. I checked in quickly for our park, stay, and fly package and filled out the paperwork so we could leave our car at the hotel for the week. The desk clerk asked me if we needed a wake-up call and I said 5:30 AM please….and then he looked at me like I had misspoke. I assured him I had stated that correctly and then he proceeded to look at me like I was an idiot. He finally understood….we were going to Disneyworld….and put our wake-up call in the computer and then wrote our names down for the 6:00 AM shuttle to the airport.

    BTW: Pictures will be along tomorrow. April wouldn’t let me take any pictures of us at 2:30 AM when we got to the hotel. Go figure!

    Up Next: “The Full Body Scanner…Really”
     
  5. SimmerBaggins

    SimmerBaggins DIS Veteran

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    YIPE!! :scared1: With only 3 hours of sleep, maybe you could have forgone the hotel and just went straight to the airport and slept in a chair? :laughing: Just kidding, but I bet you CRASHED when you got to the room.

    At least you'll have some time to sleep on the plane, right? ;) This is what I always tell myself, and never do.
     
  6. DisDreamz

    DisDreamz Mouseketeer

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    Sounds very tiring so far. We tried taking a redeye flight on our trip in 2009, so I know all about that kind of tired.:faint:

    Hope you were at least able to sleep on the plane!
     
  7. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Yes, we would definately gone straight to the airport, but we got to stay and park at the hotel for just $79. That is about $40 less than parking the car at on a lot for 9 days. So we figured we'd get 3 hours of sleep out of it! Yes, we crashed...it was 3 good hours of sleep.

    And yes, I always say we can sleep on the plane too but I never do.

    Yes, tiring, but we would get rest on the plane. April slept on the flight, but I can never seem to fall asleep on those things.
     
  8. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Chapter 2 – Tuesday

    “The Full Body Scanner…Really”

    After three hours of sleep we were up and ready to go although the 30 minutes we prepared to get from the hotel room to the lobby for the 6 AM shuttle was proving to be a little bit of a problem. Something about doing the hair and putting on make-up…obviously it wasn’t me causing the delay. We did manage to get to the lobby at 6:00 on the nose with the shuttle driver just walking into the room to make his first run of the morning. We hopped on board and were soon the only people on this shuttle to Terminal E at DFW airport. I had checked in online the day before with Frontier Airlines so all we had to do was give our checked bags to the counter…!with the DME tags attached! We were ready for our flight to Denver…what? We are headed to Florida, why would we fly west?

    WARNING – Explanation Alert! Ok, you can skip this if you only want trip report material, but I should explain. When we were planning the trip plane tickets were running in the neighborhood of $240 from DFW to Orlando. One night…”just by sheer happenstance” (Can you name the movie anyone??) I was checking flights and found tickets for $140 from DFW to Orlando on Frontier Airlines, the only drawback was you had to fly through their hub of Denver, CO. Well, we did it to save the $200 and now we have to live with it.

    Back to the report. So we are getting ready to go through airport security. I remove my wallet, spare change, cell phone, and pen and place those in my backpack to be safe going through security. Then I remove my shoes and belt until all I am wearing is a shirt and shorts. I just take everything I can off before I go through, it seems to cause less headaches later. Then we show our boarding passes and ID’s to the TSA person and we are allowed to enter. April goes to the closest line she sees and I quickly recognize it is the longest line. So, I thought I would find a line that looks to be shorter and moving more quickly, which I did. I remove my laptop and give it its own case, put my bag through, and put my shoes/belt in another case. Then I see why this line was the shortest. This line was where they were using the new full body scanners so everyone was trying to avoid it. April, still standing in line just looked at me and laughed…I glared back. I was led into the box, told to put my feet on the marks, and clasp my hands behind my head. The machine proceeded to make a noise and figuratively “undress” me before the agent said you can come out now. The next part I find weird and funny at the same time. When you step out you walk up to a rope barrier, much like you will find when a restaurant has to make a queue line to hold people in. I step up the barrier with a TSA agent right in front of me. He talks on his headset walkie talkie communication system and I guess gets the call that I am all clear. He opens the barrier and I can step through and then I see, not 3 feet away the person reading the scans. Yes, I chuckled as they were talking to each other over a walkie talkie headset from 3 feet away.

    Despite my picking the MRI/X-Ray…something like that…body scanning line I was still done before April, so I was satisfied with picking the shorter line. I truly do not mind the machines as long as they are keeping us safe. I dress again belt, shoes, replace wallet/watch/change/pen, double check to make sure the ID and boarding pass had not been dropped somewhere and we proceed to the gate. 1 hour and 30 minutes early…wow. I do try to live by Vince Lombardi time, as a coach, which says that if you aren’t 15 minutes early you are late. We sat and read and our plane finally arrived that we would be taking to Denver. The flight to Denver was about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Not too bad at all. Overall I loved Frontier Airlines from the DirectTV that you could buy for $6 to drinks to the chocolate chip cookies. We did not buy the TV on this leg of the trip (we are too cheap for that) as April was sleeping and I was…NOT SLEEPING. I usually can’t sleep on a plane. I read one of the three books I am currently reading.

    WARNING – Book Review – If you are looking for a great book you have to read Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand, same author as Seabiscuit. The story is unbelievable. I won’t ruin it for you, but one of the guys I coach with offered any of us to buy us the book, put a $100 bill in the back and if we didn’t like the book we could keep his $100. I would definitely have kept the book over the money as it is incredible.

    Sorry, I may not be cut out for trip reporting. I ramble too much!!! We arrived in Denver about 8:30 AM, ate breakfast at Popeye’s. Nothing better than spicy chicken for breakfast!! We then got on our 10:00 AM flight to Orlando. We did decide to pay the $6 for TV on this flight although we only splurged enough to buy it on one of the seats and we shared the headphones. We watched one of our favorite shows Criminal Minds for the entire four hour flight.

    Up Next: “ ‘Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to Bermuda…’ What village will we get at CBR?”
     
  9. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Chapter 2  Tuesday Part B

     Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take you to Bermuda& What village will we get at CBR?

    Ok, ok we are finally on the ground in Orlando and the much anticipated tram ride from the terminal to baggage claim. With our DME tags on we walk right past the baggage carousel and get in line for our Magical Express bus. We got in line at about 4:40 and were led to our bus at 4:50. The only negative was that we got one of the yellow Mears shuttles instead of a Disneys Magical Express shuttle. They all look the same inside though and all take us to the same place. At 5:00 we pulled out of the airport and Caribbean Beach Resort was the first stop at 5:30. I made a mad dash past all of the people who had bags under the bus and was the first person in the check in line. The cast member was great to work with and then as she was about to print our KTTW cards the computer system crashed. She said it had been down all morning and they just got it fixed 30 minutes before, but it actually was not fixed. We waited for about 10 minutes, re-started computers to no avail. She finally checked me in manually and went to the back room to print our KTTW cards. We had gotten a room in Aruba. Not the best location, but I would probably say 3rd best of the 6 island areas at the resort. We just had to walk across the island in the middle of the lake to get to Old Port Royale for the pool and food court. I will critique the location and other resort amenities in the conclusion of the report.

    We checked on our grocery items and the bell services cast members said they would be sent to our room between 7 and 8. We went and found our room in the Aruba section.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see we had two beds in our room. No we do not sleep in two separate beds. The check in cast member had us for two queens, while I wanted one king bed. She said to get a one king bed room we would have to go to Trinidad South, which I knew from my planning was a long ways from the food court and main pool. We decided to keep the room with two beds in order to have a better location. Sleeping on a smaller bed is not a big issue for us anyways&we like each other!

    [​IMG]

    As soon as we were there April checked the bed out and it passed her inspection.

    We then walked over to Old Port Royale for dinner at the food court. It was about a 5 minute walk from the Aruba section. We really like the food court at Caribbean Beach. It was pretty good in my opinion for quick service. We both ordered from the deli section of the food court. I had the Philly Cheesesteak, while April had the turkey BLT. They were both really good and you will find out I had the Philly a couple more times over the next 8 days. We both had the homemade Caribbean Jerk Chips as our side&and we were not prepared for the deliciousness that ensued. The homemade chips here were awesome. We found ourselves going to the food court at 9:30 at night to share a side of chips and a cup of soft serve ice cream. Back to dinner, we also got our refillable mugs at this point. This is a great deal that I would recommend to anyone. We definitely got our moneys worth out of the mugs at the resort throughout the week.

    This is where the evening took an interesting turn. I went to the concierge desk at Old Port Royale for park tickets. I had struggled with whether or not to buy tickets before we got here, but we decided we would rather get them here so we could just put them on our KTTW cards. We thought the convenience factor would make up for the $40 or so we would save. So it turned out the computer problems that were plaguing the check-in system earlier was not allowing the concierge to sell any park tickets. Now, we did not want to miss a MK rope drop the following morning because we would not be at the TTC as we were on resort buses. So we thought we would just take the first bus that showed up at CBR that night to a park, get our tickets, and come back and get to bed. It was about 7:00 when we got back to the room and our grocery items had been delivered. We quickly organized everything and at 7:30 we went to the bus stop. We waited about 5 minutes and an Epcot bus came so we got on board. We got to Epcot and not one ticket window was open. Now I know it was 7:45, but someone may still want tickets&well at least we did. We asked a cast member where we could get tickets and they said go to the TTC. Now later on I found out we should have just found guest relations at Epcot and they could have done it, but we didnt know that yet. We took a nice monorail ride to the TTC which ended up being a nice evening ride and again found no ticket windows open. That is when we finally found a cast member who knew what they were talking about and he said we would have to go to guest relations at the MK entrance. So we got another bonus monorail ride. We rode to the MK and got there about 8:15 and it took only about 3 minutes to get the tickets onto our KTTW cards at guest relations. I wish I would have known we would have had to go through all that when we left the hotel and I would have taken the camera. We went back to the bus stop and were in bed by 9:15 ready for a MK rope drop the following morning.

    Up Next: Will these little girls ever quit stepping on my feet?...Oh wait, that its the Dad
     
  10. SimmerBaggins

    SimmerBaggins DIS Veteran

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    Awesome, you finally have a picture (2)! :rotfl: Good info -- you say you don't do this well, but everyone's TR has a different flavor -- I wish I could have found airfare at that price for our next trip. My TR is definitely picture-centric, but mainly because I wait so long to do my TR that I've forgotten a lot of the details! :( Bad on me.

    I thought...although I could be wrong...that no matter where you get your park tickets, when you get to the resort, you can get them put/transferred on your KTTW cards. :confused3 You don't say you were really frustrated by going so many places, but I think I would be!
     
  11. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    We weren't really frustrated on our first day. We were just happy to be there! If something like that had happened on day 5 it would have been a different story!
     
  12. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Chapter 3  Wednesday Part A

    Will these little girls ever quit stepping on my feet?...Oh wait, its the Dad

    We were up and ready to go by 7:30 on our first park day. We ate breakfast in our room thanks to garden grocer (which we loved). We were at the bus stop, ready to go to Magic Kingdom by 7:50 and a bus showed up about two minutes later. 20 minutes later the bus pulled up and we were finally going to get to enter a park and see if this touring stuff really works. At 8:10 they already had the turnstiles open, but I think they had just opened them up as we went straight through and got a spot about three feet behind the rope. Now, this is about 8:15. So we were faced with standing for about 45 minutes before the park opened and I can say it was one of the only times I was miserable throughout our trip. Although the heat during the day wasnt all that bad for April and I it is always much, much worse when you are standing as opposed to moving around.

    June Weather Update  I think early June this year was a bit mild for Orlando as compared to normal, but we had great weather throughout our trip. The heat was not ever a big factor for us, although we were not out in it during the afternoon very often. We are definitely not turned off to going to Florida in June by this trip. Just thought Id throw this in for anyone who might consider a June trip in the future.

    Ok, on with the explanation for the title of this chapter. As we were standing and waiting there was a family walked up behind us and the girls were already fighting this morning. I felt so bad for these parents as a melt-down might be getting ready to occur and it was only 8:30 in the morning. Now the two young girls that were in this family were obviously excited about going to the Magic Kingdom and were a little rowdy. This caused them to repeatedly keep stepping on the back side of my feet. Now, this was not a problem for me. I understand these girls are excited, but after 10&12&14 times it got kind of old. Then I noticed that the girls were not even there anymore, it was the Dad. Now again, I was not mad at these people, but the crowd gets a little overwhelming at RD. I have a little bit of the attitude that everyone is going to get into the park, do you really have to stand on my heels? I didnt say anything or really even let my attitude get bad, but just had the thought. Finally, the show began, but we werent in a great spot to see it because we were so close to the rope.

    Pictures Coming  Pictures are coming later in this day; we were in full touring force and would stop to take pictures at a later time in this day.

    Once the rope dropped I was off. April was going to meet me in front of the Tomorrowland Speedway after I got Space FPs. This is where I took on my FP Superhero Spirit. I became obsessed with the RD dash to get FPs during out week and this was my first experience. Despite a couple of mis-steps I still managed to be the first person at a FP machine and got a return time of 9:45. I met April and we walked on Pooh and then rode Peter with about a 10 minute wait. Both good experiences, we enjoyed the rides, but would have enjoyed them more if we had kids with us.

    We then headed to Frontierland and rode Splash with a 5 minute wait at 9:35. As soon as we got off, at 9:50, we got a BTMRR FP with a return time of 10:30. We then rode Big Thunder with about a 10 minute wait. We loved both of these rides. April loved BTMRR, while I was a little partial to Splash. The thematic elements on Splash are incredible, but you all know that! We were a little ahead of schedule and headed on down to Adventureland and rode Pirates with no wait at about 10:10. As soon as we got off, at 10:30, I ran back over to Splash to get a FP with a RT of 11:15. We then headed back around the lake and rode the Haunted Mansion with about a 10 minute wait. Although not very scary, this is a really cool ride, especially the cool ending!! (I think this ending is new, but hadnt ridden it since I was about 14 years old.)

    By this time it was around 10:50 and we rode small world with a 10 minute wait. This wasnt really on the schedule here, but we were way ahead of schedule so we threw this one in here. One of our least favorite rides, just really boring. I dont even think I would like it if I was a little girl, but I know it is a Disney classic ride so we paid our respects. We then stopped for a few pictures from behind the castle.

    [​IMG]

    I thought we took more pictures at this time, but cant seem to find them right now. If we ever go again we have said we must go with people. We dont have many pictures of us together. We have ordered some of our PhotoPass pictures, but it would have been nice to get more pics together and neither of us are really the type of people that will ask others to stop what they are doing and take our picture. Maybe we should be!!

    At about 11:25 I grabbed us another set of Space FPs with a return time of 1:50 and we walked out of the park on our way to our lunch ADR.

    Jon-The FP Superhero Update  We left the park at 11:30 AM with the following FPs
    Space
    BTMRR
    Splash
    Space

    *Pretty good for only 2 ½ hours in the park, but I love MK for the FP collecting opportunities.

    [​IMG]

    I think we snapped this on the way out.

    Up Next: Will the food be this good all week?
     
  13. tinytreasures

    tinytreasures DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to read more. I can't believe all the rides you hit so far. :thumbsup2
     
  14. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    Chapter 3  Wednesday Part B

    Will the food be this good all week?

    Well with 4 FPs in hand we headed out of the Magic Kingdom for our lunch ADR. We rode the monorail around to the Polynesian Resort for lunch at

    [​IMG]

    Now, as we were checking in the lady running the front counter found us in the computer and gave the pager. Now it was 12:00 and our reservation was 12:30 so we were really early so I expected a short wait. We walked to the gift shop and to take these pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We sat in a chair outside the restaurant at about 12:15 and I was quite surprised our buzzer hadnt gone off yet as there were probably only 3 or 4 tables in the entire restaurant that had people sitting down. Finally, about 12:20 a different lady from the restaurant walked over to where we were sitting and asked us if we were a party of two. As it turned out the lady who I had checked in with initially was new to the position and she did not check us in correctly. They had no idea what number buzzer we had taken. But all was good again and we were taken to our table.

    Now, April ordered the Pan-fried Chicken with Coconut and Mango Sauces and thought it was really good. She especially enjoyed the sticky rice.

    [​IMG]

    I went with my gut instinct. One of my favorite things in the whole world is fish tacos. If it is on the menu at a restaurant we go to I just have to order it. I guess because I love Mexican Food and I love Seafood. It is two of my favorite things all in one&.well&.taco! Now I will just say this was the best entrée I ate all week. The hand-made tortillas were unbelievable, the fish and mango mayo was great, and the macaroni salad was very good as well.

    [​IMG]

    So, that was a very good meal. April enjoyed hers and mine was awesome. I made the statement to April that we should have made more than one reservation here while we were at WDW.

    Now, DO NOT get addicted to my food pictures. I did not do very well for the remainder of the trip. I thought I could, but I rarely remembered to take a picture of our food. Actually, it may only happen once or twice more the entire eight days.

    We hopped back on the monorail and headed back to the Magic Kingdom to get a bus to the resort.

    [​IMG]

    We waited about 5 minutes and got on the bus at about 1:15 and walked into our room for our afternoon break at about 1:45.

    Up Next: What is wrong with that monorail?
     
  15. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

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    This has to be the longest anyone on the Dis has ever gone between updates. Being a football coach things get very busy at the end of July and stay that way until you are out of the playoffs. Well, needless to say we made a run deep into the playoffs this year and I am only now recovering from the busy nature of football season. Well here it goes. I think this is where I left off from our June trip....yes, I said June!

    Chapter 3 Wednesday Part C

    What is wrong with that monorail?

    Well we headed back to Caribbean Beach Resort and rested. We took a nap and filled up our refillable mugs. On a side note the refillable mugs were definitely worth the money for us. We drank Coke Zero to our hearts content in those mugs and I know that saved us some money.

    At about 4:00 we were trying to decide what to do and April said one thing she would like to do was to ride the Monorail from Epcot to MK since she had never done that. We somehow decided we would actually go into Epcot for a few minutes since we were there and since it was a good time of day to ride Spaceship Earth. We were at the bus stop by 4:10 and a bus came at 4:20 and we were walking into Epcot by 4:35. We wanted to be back to the MK at about 6:30 so we had a little time to kill. We left way to early, but we were bored.

    We rode Spaceship Earth walk on. I really enjoy this ride as a science teacher and looking at how things have improved over the years. We then went and rode Nemo walk on. After that we went into The Land and rode Living with the Land walk on. Again, the science teacher in me loves this ride, although it is a little long. I wish they could just speed the water up a little. And this ride has the dreaded Boat Jam at the end of the ride. More on that later. Finally, we went over to the Imagination Pavilion and rode Journey to Imagination with Figment. We have never done this ride and it was actually a pretty good ride I thought.

    We made our way out, slowly, stopping in Mouse Gear and onto the monorail. Again, sorry we didnt take any pictures in Epcot. We got better at picture taking by the end of the trip, but we need to improve overall.

    Ok now to the title of this chapter, What is wrong with that monorail. We walked up the longest ramp in history to the Epcot monorail platform and saw this:

    [​IMG]

    This is when April brought out the line What is wrong with that monorail as if it had some type of disease that was affecting its skin color. I proceeded to explain to her about the movie TRON and how Disney themed this monorail after the movie, but she had not heard of the movie and her attention had moved onto something else at this point. I was excited about getting to ride this different monorail though.

    We headed back into Magic Kingdom and I snapped this shot of main street and the castle:

    [​IMG]

    It was actually a great day for touring the MK. It wasnt all that crowded compared to other days for us. We walked to Tomorrowland at 6:35 and got a FP for Buzz with a return time of 7:15. Again, I love the FP collecting game. At this point we headed around through Fantasyland for dinner at Columbia Harbour House.

    The Little Mermaid is Aprils favorite princess and favorite Disney movie and she was really excited when she heard they were putting a new Little Mermaid ride in during the Fantasyland expansion.

    [​IMG]

    We made our way around and had dinner at CHH. It was good, but I am a big time fish lover and this way just ok for me. Now I also made a major blunder during this dinner. If we entered a restaurant and it was fairly crowded I would usually see what April wanted and send her to get a table, as Im sure some of you all do. We did this here as well. Now April likes to order kids meals, dont call us bad people since she is not a kid, but she just likes to eat that amount of food. She told me she wanted a kids meal chicken strips, I think, but I got the grilled chicken salad on the kids meal. Now, it was probably my fault. I had probably lapsed into one of my man moments and was in my own world, but I felt really bad.

    After eating we headed around the pond and rode BTMRR with one of our FPs from the morning: Awesome Ride, especially at night! We then went into Adventureland to get a Jungle Cruise FP, it was 7:30 and our return time was 8:10. We then had our first meeting of the trip with the&&&&&&&&.Dole Whip! Wow is all I can say at this point. I think I ate it in 7.2 seconds&the entire thing. Here is April with her first Dole Whip, yes we walked to Tomorrowland while eating them.

    [​IMG]

    My dole whip was gone before we ever reached the hub. April, obviously, eats a lot slower than me!

    After this we use our Space FP and it was awesome. I have ridden it before, but do not remember it being that good of a ride. We used our Buzz FP and that is a good ride, but I think it could use a little upgrade.

    We made our way around to Fantasyland and took some pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We then rode Philharmagic, waiting about 10 minutes for the next show to start. This is a really cool show. April and I loved the look at all of our favorite Disney movies from when we were younger. We rode Snow white, which like Buzz, needs a little upgrade, but I think they are removing it with the expansion. We then just made our way around and used our Splash FPs, BTMRR FP, and JC FP before we headed out before wishes. We left out at about 9:30. We went through Adventureland. This was not very smart trying to get through the hub and down the path in front of the Crystal Palace, but we eventually made it to the shops on the side of main street and then we were home free. The bus picked us up in about 5 minutes and we were in bed by 10:45 or 11:00.

    Up Next: Yes, we are the 3rd person at the turnstile.....oh crap!
     
  16. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    425
    Chapter 4  Thursday Part A

    Yes! We are the 3rd person at the turnstile&&..oh crap!

    We woke up in plenty of time this morning and were headed off to Hollywood Studios and the Toy Story Dash. Now I felt good about our touring the day before at Magic Kingdom, but rope drop at Hollywood Studios is a whole different animal. We were at the bus stop by 7:30 for a 9:00 AM park opening and this may be the longest we waited for a bus all week. It came at about 7:45 and we hopped on. We were walking up to the turnstiles at 8:00 after making the rounds within CBR. Now, here is where the title for this section comes about. I got a great spot, just three back from the front of the line at a turnstile. I was feeling good about Hollywood Studios so far. The turnstiles proceeded to open at about 8:35 and that is when I had the Oh Crap moment. I guess this particular worker did not make sure the turnstile was actually working correctly and the first persons pass did not work. She tried some other peoples passes to no avail. I was having a panic attack at this point as people were just streaming in at this point and getting all of the good spots down by the rope. Finally, after calling another cast member over the turnstile began working. We got in, I grabbed Aprils pass, and made a dash down to the rope. I was not right on the rope, but was just one row of people back. The next 25 minutes I was able to recover my attitude and get ready for the most strategic mission of my life&.the Toy Story Dash. I went over with April that she was to meet me at the entrance to the ride and we would ride it standby after getting the FPs.

    This is when my excellent athletic ability and agility (SARCASM ALERT!) took over and I was able to be the 2nd person to one of the FP machines. We got a return time of 9:40 AM. Excellent. At this point we rode Toy Story Midway Mania and loved it. It was not either one of our favorite rides of the week, and not worth a 60 minute wait, but it is a great ride. We waited about 20 minutes to ride it standby and this was the longest we waited for any ride all seven days in the theme parks. After riding TSMM we made our way down to Rock n Roller Coaster and got a FP. The plan was to ride RnR at this point, but the excessive crowds already had the wait time at over 50 minutes. Disneys plan to only show Fantasmic! on three to four nights a week early this summer made Hollywood Studios crazy with crowds on these days. We grabbed the FP with a return time of 11:30 and moved on.

    We went and rode the Great Movie Ride at this point walk on. I really enjoyed this ride. I know some people think its time is over, but we both thought it was pretty cool. We then went over and took some pictures.

    [​IMG]

    We then spent some time in the One Mans Dream area and watched the video. This is a nice break and it is also just a good experience that we enjoyed seeing how things came together for Walt Disney.

    At about 11:15 we headed over and rode the new Star Tours stand by with a wait time of around 10 minutes. I am a big fan of the Star Wars movies and was really looking forward to this ride and it did not disappoint. I thought it was really well done and a great experience. We would ride it quite a bit more this week. I also enjoy how you get a different ride every time, but then again most of you on here are award of that. When we got off we grabbed our final FP of the morning for Star Tours and headed out of the park for a break. We were leaving early for our break so that we could get back for our early ADR as part of the Fantasmic! dining package. We took this picture on the way out.

    By the way, we were leaving with the following FPs left for the evening at Hollywood Studios:
    Toy Story
    Rock n Roller Coaster
    Star Tours

    Up Next: What do you mean I cant go that way?
     
  17. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Chapter 4  Thursday Part B

    What do you mean I cant go that way?

    We got back to CBR at about 12:00 and got off at the Old Port Royale stop and grabbed some lunch in the food court. I think we had the exact same meals as we had on Tuesday evening. Me having the Philly Cheesesteak and April having the Turkey BLT. We also loved the Caribbean Jerk homemade chips&again. We headed back to our room at 12:20 for a few hours of rest and downtime.

    At 3:15 we arrived at the bus stop to head back to Hollywood Studios and were walking in the gate by 3:30. With the good bus karma we are still about one hour from checking in for our ADR at Hollywood and Vine. So we go grab another FP for Star Tours, as if we need another one, but we do and it has a return time of 6:00. We then take in the Muppets 3D show prior to checking in for dinner.

    Sorry, we took no pictures at Hollywood and Vine. It was a good dinner and we both enjoyed it. I had read some poor reviews, but neither April nor I are very picky eaters. It was worth it for the reserved Fantasmic! seats, which we found out later that we would need.

    At 5:20 we headed over to the Studio Backlot Tour and both really enjoyed this experience. I have taken the backlot tour at Universal Studios Hollywood and it was not at that level, but this was a good experience nonetheless. Here are the pictures we took:

    After the Backlot Tour we used one of our Star Tours FPs and walked onto the ride. Excellent ride again! We then went over and took in the American Idol Experience final show of the day. This is not something I would do every trip, but it was a neat experience. Next time DW says she is going to try out. I think she would do quite well!

    After this show we thought we would head over and use our Toy Story FP before heading to Fantasmic! The ride was great again and then we headed over to the special entrance for those of us with reserved seating tickets. We arrived at 8:15 for a 9:00 showing and probably 70% of the reserved seating area was already filled. In addition to this the entire theatre was filled and there was still 45 minutes until the show.

    Weather Report: I think we really lucked out with the weather which never really bothered us and never got about 93 or so for the week. Now we are a little used to the heat and humidity being from Oklahoma, but we did get lucky. I can honestly say though that waiting for Fantasmic! was the hottest I was all week long. It seemed like there was not a breath of air in that amphitheatre and I was about to die. I made it though!

    Here is a picture of the crowd at about 8:30. Sorry it is not a very good picture because of the blurry spot, but it is the only one we took.

    The show was excellent and we both loved it. For us it was definitely worth it to get the dining package as it is a show we loved and will want to do again.

    Now, after the show instead of going out the main entrance we decided to go back out the way we had come in from the reserved seat entrance. Once we got back to around Beauty and the Beast the gate was open that we had come in before the show. We were going to go back out and around to Rock n Roller Coaster to use our FP from the morning. Well as I approached the gate a cast member came running from the side of some building saying I cant go through there. What do you mean I cant go through there, I am going to RnR and the park doesnt close for another half hour. Well she wasnt going to let us through so we had to keep walking around to the very front of the park and then fight the crowds back up the main street area. We finally made it back up to RnR at about 9:35 and used our FP. We both loved this as we both really enjoy thrill rides. We got out of here around 9:50 and had to get to Star Tours before 10:00 to use our last FP. We made it, used our FP to bypass a 20 minute stand by line and were at the bus stop by 10:15. We were back in the room by 11:00 or so after a long day.

    Up Next: Two parks and a mid-day break  This is going to be a long day!
     
  18. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    425
    Chapter 5  Friday Part A

    Two parks and a mid-day break  This is going to be a long day!


    We were heading a back to MK for our second RD there of our trip thus far. The plan for this day was to head to MK until around lunch or so and then head back to the resort for a rest before finishing the evening at MK as it will be open until 2:00 am. This is something we could never do with kids so we figured we better get it out of our systems.

    We were at the bus stop by 7:00, waited about 10 minutes and were at the turnstiles by 7:30 for an 8:00 am opening. This was not an EMH, just an early opening. We picked up a Space Mtn. FP at 8:05 with a RT of 8:40. We then rode space standby with no wait. Excellent ride! I loved all of the special effects. It is amazing how the sounds and lights happen right when your coaster car is approaching certain parts of the ride. Only at Disney!!

    By this time it was 8:25 or so and we wanted to waste about 15 minutes so we could get another Space Mtn. FP before heading to the other side of the park. My FP collecting has become a game and I wanted to see how many I could get before we left for our afternoon break. We rode Buzz twice in the meantime with no wait and then picked up another Space FP at 8:40 with a RT of 9:35. We then headed to the other side of the park and rode Splash Mtn. walk on at 8:50. This ride is just a great experience. It has a thrill, it has the Disney touch, it has water, it has everything that is takes to make a great ride. Unfortunately April doesnt love it quite as much as me, but only because she doesnt like getting wet. Here are some pics we took around this time.

    The crowd around Splash and BTMRR. Not sure when in the day this was though.

    [​IMG]

    April&..pondering something?

    [​IMG]

    By this time is was about 9:10 and we rode BTMRR walk on. Another great; classic ride. This is one of the few rides I have a memory of from when we came in my childhood. We then went and did some shopping outside of POTC&.and tried on some hats.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] *

    At 9:35 I ran back and grabbed a Splash Mtn. FP with a RT time of 10:15. I love collecting FPs!! We then rode POTC walk on. This is another ride that we enjoy, mainly because we love the movies. We then rode the Jungle Cruise at 9:55 walk on. At 10:15 I ran back and collected a BTMRR FP with a RT of 10:55. *

    We knew we wanted to have lunch at Cosmic Rays on this day so we headed back that way, but stopped at Haunted Mansion on the way. Not much scary about this ride, but it is still really fun. The detail and animatronics are great. *

    Cosmic Rays was just ok. We didnt like it as well as Pecos Bills. I had the Bacon Cheesburger, which was just ok. April had a kids meal Turkey sandwich which was just ok as well. I grabbed one more Space Mtn. FP on the way out of the park so we were leaving with 5 sets of FPs.
    Space x 3
    BTMRR
    Splash Mtn. *

    That was a good morning of FP collecting!

    Up Next: You want to go where?&.now?
     
  19. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    425
    Chapter 5 – Friday Part B

    “You want to go where?...NOW?”

    Where I left off we had five FP’s in hand for MK rides and it was about 11:00 AM. This was aided by MK moving the opening time to 8:00 for this day. We were ready for our break, but were making a pit stop at…

    Yes, that’s right. We were stopping at Animal Kingdom. Why you say? And that happened to be the same question April asked me. Well, we were getting out of MK about 1½ hours before when I thought we would and I had a science teacher urge to feed. I had wanted to take in the Rafiki’s Planet Watch area at AK, but just was not going to find time on our full AK day so we decided to head their now.

    We hopped on the monorail at 11:10 and were getting on a bus to AK at the TTC by 11:30. Our plan was simple. Take the train to Rafiki’s, explore that area, possibly take in the Pangani Trail to see the Gorillas and then head to our break. Well, as we were heading to the train I spotted Kilimanjaro Safaris with a 45 minute stand by wait, but a FP return time of 1:05, which was about 1 hour and 10 minutes later. Well I knew Rafiki’s and the trail would take us that long so we grabbed a FP, what the heck, a bonus ride on the Safari would be nice.

    We took the train the Rafiki’s, which is just odd with the whole riding sideways thing. I didn’t like it. We then got off and made our way up the trails to the main building because it was far to hot to hang around outside. The building was very neat, educational, and as a science guy I enjoyed it. I don’t know that it has much to give to the regular guest though. I enjoyed looking around, but can see how a lot of people skip this area.

    We went back and toured the Pangani Trail and took some pictures. I think all of these are on the trail, but some could be mixed in hear that were taken at other spots.

    Then we went and used our Safari FP. Our driver was just ok this time. I will elaborate when it comes to our full AK day on Sunday!

    The last picture there is my absolute favorite animal, an Okapi. Just think it is really cool looking for some reason. It is part giraffe (the head), part horse (the body), and part zebra (the legs).

    Well, that was it for our 2 hour detour to Animal Kingdom. We got on a bus for Caribbean Beach at 1:40 and were resting in the room by about 2:25 or so. We hit the pool, had a snack in the food court of a mini pizza that was really good and of course some more Caribbean Jerk chips.

    Up Next: “We better be sleeping in tomorrow!”
     
  20. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
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    425
    Chapter 5 – Friday Part C

    “We better be sleeping in tomorrow!”

    We spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool and relaxing in the room. I think I may have even taken a nap although I am not much of a nap person. I knew we would need it since the plan called for us staying late at Magic Kingdom, which was open until 2:00 am tonight.

    At about 7:45 we got on a bus back to the Magic Kingdom. We did not spend much time taking pictures tonight, so I apologize in advance about the lack of pictures in the post. Other than the Wishes pictures later we didn’t take many tonight.

    If you can’t remember here are the FP’s we were holding at the time from the morning:
    Space x 3
    BTMRR
    Splash Mtn.

    As if we needed more we got a Splash FP at 8:10 with a RT of 9:30 pm. At 8:15 we rode BTMRR with our FP from the morning and then Splash with our FP from the morning. At 8:40 we headed over and rode Space with a FP. I love Space Mountain! Then at 9:10 we did the Carousel of Progress. A neat attraction when you think of its history, but not overly exciting by any means.

    At 9:30 we made our biggest mistake of the trip: Stitches Great Escape. I don’t want to influence others to not ride this, but in our opinion it was by far the worst ride at Disney World. I don’t know what they were thinking on this one???

    At 10:00 we found a table and settled in to watch Wishes from behind the Castle by Dumbo. Not the greatest view, but we didn’t have to wait at all, save a seat, or fight the crowds. Here are some pictures from where we were.

    After Wishes was over we rode Snow White as we knew it would probably be closed before we came back again. A neat little classic ride. We then made our way over to Frontier Land and watched the Country Bear Jamboree. This was one of my only memories of coming to Magic Kingdom as a child. It is funny how we remember only certain things from our childhood, but this theatre and the entire show was exactly like it was in my memory. I could remember almost nothing else from Magic Kingdom, but I remembered the Country Bear Jamboree.

    We then used a Splash FP that we got earlier and took a few pictures in Frontierland. The first one is a far off shot of the castle.

    It was 11:50 and we headed over and watched the Hall of Presidents show in Liberty Square. This was actually one of my biggest surprises at Disney World. I loved this and found it extremely moving. More so our founding fathers than our current leaders, but it was really cool nonetheless. I would highly recommend this attraction.

    At 12:20 we made our way down and had a “midnight snack”. What is the best midnight snack at Disney World???

    DOLE WHIP!

    It was awesome as usual. At 12:35 we headed over and used another Space FP. This is the hardest ride to take a bag on because of the small leg area. Almost every other ride is easy with a bag, this one is a bit difficult though. We went over the Buzz at 1:00 and I enjoyed another victory. I love these type of rides, but April is so competitive I can’t hardly get her to go on them because she doesn’t want to lose. I always say let’s just play this round for fun, but she is too competitive for that as well. At 1:10 we headed over and used our final Space FP. I just couldn’t let those go. Awesome ride again. Then we headed for the exit. There was almost no one left this night in Magic Kingdom. We had opened the park at 8:00 AM, but left at about 1:40 before the 2:00 AM closing. The secret this day was our 6 hour break at the resort in the middle of the day. That break works wonders, but all of you know that!!

    We were at the bus stop by 1:45 and back at CBR by around 2:05 or so. A long but good day. April made the statement at some point that “we better be sleeping in tomorrow” and we were!

    Up Next: “Does this dessert rival the Dole Whip?”
     
  21. cstorm65

    cstorm65 DDC #699

    Joined:
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    425
    Chapter 6  Saturday

    Does this dessert rival the Dole Whip?

    Saturday was our sleep in day and it was much needed after the long day on Friday. Now, I will have to apologize again because I guess we figured since this was our sleep in day we didnt need to take many pictures. I only have three total pictures from this whole day. So, I will try to move quickly so we can get to Sunday were I have a ton of pictures.

    We just spent the morning at the resort and swam some at the pool at around 11. For lunch I had the vegetable soup in the food court and it was very good. April, wasnt all that hungry so she just had some of the cereal we got from Garden Grocer in the room.

    At 1:20 we boarded a bus to Epcot to spend a nice relaxing afternoon and evening there. What we didnt expect was to get a FP for Soarin when we arrived. I checked the times board and couldnt believe it when one was available. It was for 6:15 PM, but we wouldnt be back that way for some time so that was no problem. We had an Epcot RD later in the week, but this would be a nice bonus Soarin ride! Then at 2:05 we rode Test Track in the single rider line with only a 5 minute wait.

    Then we went here&

    [​IMG]
    &to the Mexico Pavilion to look around. And to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour walk on. It is another nice little ride, but nothing special.

    Boat Ride Vent: Please allow me to vent about Disney boat rides at this point. I grew to hate on this ride, Splash Mountain, and Living with the Land the fact that the boats pile up at the end of the ride faster than they can get them unloaded. We were about 6 boats back on this ride when we stopped on the one in front of us because the loading dock was backed up. I wish there was a way they could fix this in the future. Sorry, just need to get that out.

    At 2:35 we rode Maelstrom in Norway. I think about a 10 minute wait although I dont remember because I forgot to record the time. We also had a Raspberry Crème Puff at the Kringla Bakeri. It was very good!

    We then headed up to the American Adventure because we wanted to see Voices of Liberty prior to the American Adventure show. They were awesome. I could listen to them for quite a while longer than their short show lasted. The American Adventure Attraction was good also, although I think I enjoyed the Hall of Presidents more. We then took the boat back to Showcase Plaza because we had to get to our dinner reservation in Mexico at&

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had made this ADR at San Angel Inn because I knew it would get us out of the afternoon heat for a little while. The reviews for the food were not great though, but we were looking forward to it anyway. I had the Carne Asada Steak and April had the Beef Tacos Appetizer. The food was pretty good, although in Oklahoma we eat Mexican food a lot. Mexican food restaurants in Oklahoma give complimentary chips, salsa, queso, and tortillas. Most tourist destinations dont do that so we generally do not love Mexican food in other destinations. But this was a nice romantic atmosphere and was in an air conditioned building in the summer in Florida.

    After our ADR we took the boat back up to the other end of the World Showcase and visited the Impressions de France film. It was very good and had excellent footage. Our real reason to come to France though was to visit the Pastry shop and it did not disappoint. We split a giant chocolate chip cookie which was very good and we also split a Napoleon, which is not my other favorite dessert at Disney World. I will not say it is better than a Dole Whip, but it certainly gives it a run for its money. We loved it and would have gotten another but the line was getting longer as dinner time was ending.

    We took the boat back to Future World and rode Test Track again in the single rider line with a 5 minute wait. Then at 7:30 we used our Soarin FP and loved the ride. It is an incredible experience, especially with the smells. At 8:30 we got a spot for IllumiNations. We got a spot right on the fence between Canada and the UK pavilions. I also got some fish and chips from the UK quick service place. We hadnt gorged ourselves at dinner and this was something very good that we snacked on as we waiting for IllumiNations.

    The show was awesome. We both loved IllumiNations, especially the soundtrack that went with it. It was a great all around show that we will definitely not skip in the future. We arrived at the bus stop after the show at 9:45 and it took about 10 minutes to catch a bus. We were in bed by 10:45 and ready for our RD at Animal Kingdom in the morning.

    Up Next: April&The bag just got really light.
     

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