Catchy Title with Lots of Exclamation Points Here!!! A 14 year Trip Report

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by DemonLlama, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    Sorry, I couldn't resist. All the popular threads seem to have really cute thread titles and punctuation excitement. I can't stand the pressure!

    (This probably won't be a terribly popular thread, so there's that.)

    We were at Disney World from January 1 -7, 2014, for our seventh family trip together there across 14 years. With all those 7s, it's got to be lucky.

    Our first trip was in 2000, when Nicholas was 7 and Samantha was 5. We went the week before Christmas.We decided we would go every other year at Christmas time until the children were grown and out of the house.

    Back then, that seemed like such a long time.

    And somehow, even though the days dragged, the years flew by.

    Suddenly, it was our 2010 trip and our son was a senior and left home the following fall.

    My daughter, who proclaimed quite loudly that SHE was still in the house and NEEDED to go to Disney, talked us into another trip two years later. We felt like we couldn't quite go back at Christmas to WDW just the three of us and feel right. So we planned a trip in October to Disneyland, our first time there, as a compromise. It wasn't at all the same. And, while we still enjoyed ourselves, decided the next time, if at all possible, it would be the four of us again at Disney World.

    My husband had a conference in April of 2013 at WDW and I was able to go with him. It was my first time back since our "last" family trip in 2010 and I spent a good bit of time on my own. As much as I love the place, I realized that I love it most and best when it's the four of us. And I don't know how much longer it will be before it'll never just be the four of us again.

    So I started plotting last spring. Our next Christmas trip, if we re-instated it, would have been Dec. 2014. But my daughter graduates this May and is talking about going away to school in Oregon.

    My son is away in Texas already, but was definitely coming home for THIS Christmas (2013). Who knows about the next?

    So, at Thanksgiving, when we met at my in-laws place in northern Texas (son making the drive from Austin), we surprised them with a "Christmas" trip, of sorts, only for January 1-7, before anyone had to be back at school. It would be our way of seizing the day, still going in the right, even-numbered year, just 12 months early.

    My little project for our trip was to try and recreate photos of when the kids were younger, on various trips, in various poses. They are pretty much grown now and it'll be an empty nest here in a few months. It was great fun to remember and compare and know they'll never outgrow "our" place.

    So I thought I'd share in bits here, because I've been on the DIS since the summer before that very first trip, and because I've never tried a trip report before. Hopefully I can share some of our fun for anyone out there interested.

    :wizard:
    Post links, just because everyone's doing it! (Honestly, they're all in a row on the first three pages and I'm still compelled to do this. I need help.)

    21 Posts for Nick's 21st Birthday!

    Day 1 1/1/14 from Denver to POFQ and Raglan Road

    Day 2 1/2/14 Magic Kingdom Morning

    Day 2 Be Our Guest Lunch

    Day 2 MK at Night

    Day 3 1/3/14 MGM, er, STUDIOS morning & 50s Prime Time Cafe

    Day 3 Studios by Night & the emptiest Fantasmic Evah

    dAY 4 1/4/14 AK Afternoon

    Day 4 1/4/14 AK Evening

    Day 5 1/5/14 Epcot Morning and the WS Hat Tour Begins

    Day 5 Epcot World Showcase Hat Tour Continued

    Day 5, The Hats Never Stop! The End of Epcot

    Day 6 1/6/14 Leaving the Big Easy for the Big Kahuna, plus Studios

    Day 6 Because the 25 Photo Limit is Stupid, Studios & Sci-Fi Diner

    Day 6 Our Polynesian Theme Park View Room

    Day 6 Dinner at 'Ohana

    Day 6 Closing down the MK

    Day 6 The Empty Magic Kingdom & Kiss Goodnight

    Day 7 1/7/14 Leaving Paradise

    Day 7 So long, farewell, we love you MK

    Day 7 Still going -- we like to drag out our death scenes

    Thanks for the Memories (Comparisons galore)
     
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  3. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    Here we are in 2000, one of the few pictures of the four of us taken, still with REAL film. One of my children's earliest memories of our trips is seeing all those little film canisters lined up along the top of the television stand (when televisions weren't flat screen and needed a cabinet.)

    Here's as "us" as we get these days:

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    So, in a mixed up way, our trip report for this trip is hard to totally separate from all the other trips, at least in my memory.

    But I'll try to keep to the present without digressing too much into the past. Even so, I'll sound like my grandmother "back in the good old days..." at times, I'm afraid.

    Our first day, January 1, 2014 started in the wee hours of the morning, 4:00 to be exact, to get everyone out the door and almost an hour to the airport, what with the unknowns of how long security will take, and a 7:00 departure, we certainly didn't stay up until all hours ringing in the New Year.

    Here was my lot at the gate, hanging in:

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    We arrived at MCO at noon, grabbed a quick bite, and strapped on our magic bands which worked seamlessly at Magical Express. Remember the days when you had to work out a towncar or shuttle yourself to get to your resort? There's an added expense I don't miss.

    We checked in at 2:30 at French Quarter and the CM got my son his birthday button for the week (he turned 21 the day after we got home). She said they'd checked out 700 rooms that day! We were lucky ours was ready.

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    I'd faxed the week before asking for Building 4 if possible, since I'm a bit lame these days and was trying to save as many steps as possible between the bus stop and the room. We were granted that without a problem and loved the proximity to the food court as well as buses.

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    The grounds are beautiful and we love the theming.

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    We'd stayed here once before, in the only trip we ever drove (back when we lived in Texas) in 2006. Here's a comparison of the room then/now:

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    and of my daughter at one of the small fountain areas

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    It was quite gray and overcast that afternoon and we weren't planning on any parks until the next day.

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    But we had set up a reservation at Raglan Road through Open Table for dinner, so we took the ferry over to Downtown Disney at dusk.

    The fellow in front of us was asking about availability for a large party and was told he'd have a wait of at least an hour and a half. We were seated inside of five minutes at a table right by the stage with a great view of the Irish dancing and live band. The food was yummy, and my son was brought a bread pudding with a candle for his birthday. He was also treated to a visit from some of the lovelies who were dancing that night.

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    How far he's come since his attempt to smile with a princess at age 7!

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    We spent a bit of time in World of Disney, and taking a few comparison shots from our first visit to DD in 2002 (we never made it over in 2000, only four days total)

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    but headed home pretty early so we could make rope drop the next morning at Magic Kingdom at 7:00.

    Stay tuned!
     
  4. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    oops, bus hit a bump. Here we are getting out at the Magic Kingdom before dawn.

    For some reason, our bus from POFQ/POR was the first to arrive at the MK. The only people at the turnstiles were those of us that rode together from that crazy 6:00 a.m. bus arrival.

    After we were through bag check, I realized the entire bus was lining up on the right at the same turnstiles, so we took up position alone on the left in the heavy fog. My flash caught a lot of it hanging in the air, but you can just see the CM stealing out from our side to go find the Opening Family, which turned out to the be two little boys and their parents we'd sat with at the bus stop that morning.

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    They aren't even using ropes across the from, just one poor CM who has to wrangle everyone to wait at the train tunnel. I can't stand there and not take a picture of this sign:

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    The walk down main street was very cool in the dark fog. Check out the castle!

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    Into Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain first!

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    Of course, Sammi was a tiny thing at age 5 and wasn't tall enough to ride Space Mountain until our third trip.

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    And even in 2004, I didn't snap a picture on Space. Here's 2006 & 2014:

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    So it's still super foggy, and we're pretty groggy, so we stick around Tomorrowland and find Stitch who has no line (too many people rushing around trying to knock out headliners) so we stop to play with him. which we've managed to do since our 2004 trip

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    And then we walked on Buzz Lightyear

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    We wandered around to check on the Mine Train progress and see the new Fantasyland expansion.

    Still super foggy

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    So we played around Gaston's and shared a cinnamon bun before riding Ariel (walk on)

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    We wanted to be sure to get a Splash Mountain ride under our belts since it was going down for refurb in a couple of days, before we'd be back.

    By this time, Brer Rabbit has lost his ability to hop and there were quite a lot of animatronics you could spot not working or not working at full capacity.

    Still always one of our favorites, even with the usual right-before-rehab issues. Us getting thrown down into the Briar Patch across the years:

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    After getting wet, we had time to ride Pirates before we needed to be over at Be Our Guest for our FP lunchtime. We've taken this picture without fail, on every trip.

    We do miss that parrot outside!

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    All the intervening years, not quite at the same angle, but you get the idea:

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    We made our way back over to Fantasyland for our FP+ on Pan, pulled a FP for Pooh, stopped in to see Philharmagic, played around with hats back in Storybookland, rode Pooh, and still had time to stop in at Gaston's gift shop before our lunch time.

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    Next up: Be our Guest Lunch!
     
  5. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :)
     
  6. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    ooops, too many pics for the last thread.

    So just before lunch . . .

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    and THEN...

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    We arrived at 11:00 and checked in with the CMs to the left of the long line already crossing the bridge and out towards Gaston's. I'd been stalking the FP lunch link since we started planning the trip in late October. It had finally opened mid-December for our dates and I pounced on lunch our first day in the parks.

    It was awesome to just walk across the bridge, right into the castle, confirm our lunch order, and then get to explore the rooms without any wait.

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    I was sure I would choose to eat in the West Wing, but after checking it out, we opted to actually see our food while we ate. The music box room was pretty and quiet, a good spot to relax. We could wander all around the main ballroom and West Wing without being in the middle of 5 million people's pictures. Especially in the completely dark West Wing, those flashes would've gotten on my last nerve while I was trying to eat!

    They bring your table's order by magic band now, no more need for the rubber rose.

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    We all opted for different desserts and we each tried a bite of the others. All delicious.

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    Three of us opted for the braised pork while Nick went for the turkey sandwish. I have to say, that braised pork was some of the best food we ate all week. Fall apart pot roast and even the green beans (which are often undercooked for my taste) were gobbled up and the bowls licked clean.

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    We spent a little more time exploring and taking pictures (about 100 of the ceiling alone...) before heading back for a nap at POFQ for the afternoon. It was supposed to rain and we wanted to be fresh for the 1:00 a.m. closing of MK that night.

    Next up: MK by Night!
     
  7. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    We slept hard and needed it.

    We were back at the Magic Kingdom that evening around 6:00, as the last of the rain was blowing through. Our first order of business was Pecos Bill's before our Space Mtn FP+ time

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    I really liked the convenience of the self-serve kiosks back in 2010, but those have been removed and we're back to standing in double lines waiting to order. Oh well. I managed to drop the top of my burger bun onto the floor on the way to the table, so I had an open-faced cheeseburger this evening. I didn't mind -- once it's smothered in green chilis and mushrooms, it gets impossible to pick up anyway!

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    We had time after dinner to take in the Laugh Floor before Space Mtn. We noticed that "That Guy" always gets picked from the same spot in the theater, but weren't able to manuever over to those seats in time. Bob was "That Guy" the first time we ever sat for Laugh Floor, so it was a fun surprise.

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    (from 2008)

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    Then it was time to hit up Space again. I must be getting older, and they must be making the ride jerkier, or a combination of both. Each time today, I've gotten off feeling a little beat up.

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    Bob and his crazy eyes

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    Sam and her crazy eyes

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    We also rode the People Mover before heading back towards our last FP+ of the day for Big Thunder.

    We didn't get to sit and enjoy the fireworks this evening, but I told myself we had plenty of evenings to hop over. (Heh. If only.)

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    The kids hadn't got to take in the new interactive queue area before, so we played a bit in there before hitting Haunted Mansion.

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    We asked to wait for the back of Big Thunder and were disappointed when we thought we were following the CM to the end when we slotted us in the center. Oh well.

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    We wandered about some more but decided instead of killing ourselves trying to close the place down, we decided to call it a night and get into bed by midnight.

    A few on-the-way-out shots

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  8. JillianLeigh

    JillianLeigh Mouseketeer

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    Following along! :wave2:

    I am loving the comparison pictures. What a great idea!! Something I'll have to remember for the future... we're taking our DS for his first WDW vacation in November. He'll be 2! I can't imagine him being 21 like your DS, but I bet you felt the same way.

    Lovely family!!:)
     
  9. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!

    Yes, the empty nest thing was something that I'd always rolled my eyes at, imagining how excited I would be to see my birds fly from home into their own lives, not sad at all. And I'm not sad, much. Just very wistful.

    They were both so little . . . just . . . yesterday.

    I do love that they are bigger kids now at WDW than they ever were when they were little. :)
     
  10. starousse

    starousse DIS Veteran

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    I'm absolutely loving your report so far, as well as all the then and now pics. We have a 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter and have gone the past two years and are going back in May. We said that we're gonna do the same thing, and try to get back every year or every other year. Looking at your pictures makes me realize how fast time flies and it gets me a little sad to know that before I know I it, my son is gonna be 21 and still riding Splash Mountain with us. Can't wait to hear more....
     
  11. jojosam

    jojosam Mouseketeer

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    I'm in love with your report already! We took our first family trip last year when the kids were 7 and 9 (I have a Samantha, too!), and I think the idea of recreating photos is great! Second trip is under our belt, and I'm hopeful for the next one in 2015! Looking forward to more!
     
  12. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    I will say this for FP+: it actually encouraged us to sleep in on this trip in a way we'd never have done before. (And might never again, thanks to tiering.)

    Since we got in on scheduling for Studios the week before they started tiering we had both Toy Story and Rock N Roller Coaster set, as well as Tower of Terror. Although I'd had grand plans to get there at rope drop to ride stand by and possibly pull old style FP (also now gone), the prospect of some extra sleep and still getting to ride everything was too enticing. We slept in (for us) and arrived at Studios on this glorious and COLD Friday morning at the unheard of hour of 9:00 AM!

    We were meeting a friend of ours, Jay, who has the envious job of overseeing quite a lot of stuff in both the MK and Studios, after his morning meeting for coffee at 9:15, so we went in and hit up the old FP machines first at Toy Story. The sweet CM there made sure to explain I was pulling FP for 9:30 AT NIGHT at that point and I smiled and said I understood. He looked relieved.

    Then we met up with Jay and had breakfast at Starring Rolls while he had us rolling at some of the crazy things guests do and the insane projects his team had to construct to keep them from doing it again. The rails at the bakery were one example. They've been replaced to baby-head proof some idiot lifting a toddler up over a 3 foot wall and getting it stuck.

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    (Sam was quite hungry...)

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    (you can just make out the rails at the back!)

    Side note: Thank you Starring Rolls for having real, actual half and half in silver pitchers for my coffee. POFQ had nothing but Coffee Mate chemical crap, and no half and half in the gift shop to even keep in the room. Barbaric. ;)

    Since we still had some time before our FP+ time at Toy Story, we roamed with Jay to check on some of his new installs, including in the Tough to be a Bug playground that we'd never ventured in before. Typically, Bob was unable to resist a giant ant.

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    The FP+ entry at Toy Story this morning was a cinch -- no lines or blue Mickey heads in front of us to slow us down.

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    ah, isn't this nice? The filters on the DIS wont show a picture because of three letters it thinks are cursing. And these are randomly assigned by picasa.

    Let's try this again:
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    My son, who picked up a Nintendo controller at the age of 2 and began beating us at everything immediately is reigning champ here. We each take turns getting soundly walloped by him .

    We then stopped in at One Man's Dream, which we've done on every trip since it was there in 2002, both because we enjoy it and because it feels like we need to pay homage.

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    This time, though, when we went to get Sam's scream at the Tower of Terror model, it was gone! Where could they have moved it to? We looked all over and, indeed, no ToT model to be had. So we improvised.

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    So it makes absolutely no sense and is one of my favorite of all our comparison shots.

    Speaking of Sunset Blvd...

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    it was time to hit up our RnR FP+ time.

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    We asked to wait for the front car and had a fun ride pic, but I wasn't fast enough getting the camera out of the bag to snap it. Here's last trip's winner:

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    And my son, between junior high 2006 and college 2014, has learned a genuine smile is always more cool:

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    We had lunch reservations at the 50s PrimeTime, where Bob and I had eaten in April on his conference trip, but the kids had never experienced. We had time before that to hop on GMR. We, once again, asked to wait for the front. We'd had the awful luck of getting at the back of the double cars every single time and NEVER getting to see the Alien in the ceiling. In April, Bob and I asked to wait for the front and enjoyed it much more, so we wanted the kids to have that experience, too. Asking to wait here is a bit of fun, since you'll stand off to the side and watch the group leave the area before the doors open again for the next group you'll ride with.

    We loved our guide this time. He was terribly concerned that I had both a tiger on my head (remember, it was cold and we were all in our stocking caps) as well as a unicorn on my back. And Nick was completely surprised by the Alien in the ceiling. He said, "I've never seen that before!" Yep. It pays to wait for the front.

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    By that time, we were ready for lunch. Mikey, our cousin server, was awesome.

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    Bob gave him a hard time when he asked if we needed anything and Bob replied, "Yes. Can you tell me why my son ordered the Blue Plate special and it came in a pink bowl?" Mikey ran off to the kitchen, came back with a blue plate, and proceeded to scrape all of the beef stroganoff onto it without a word.

    Since Nick cleaned his plate, Mikey awarded him with the dessert menu (on viewmaster)

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    But took Sam's plate (which still had undercooked green beans left on it) and brought her back a dessert plate with the green beans topped with whipped cream.

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    Nick then proceeded to EAT the green beans. I'm not sure why, except it was a dare.

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    Mikey proceeded to bring Nick a birthday cupcake CRAMMED with 21 birthday candles.

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    Seriously, the flames were so bright, my camera didn't think it needed a flash.

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    That's better
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    He also brought a Disney Birthday card and a pen, threw it at the table beside us and ordered everyone in his section to sign. We ended up with a card full of well wishes from complete strangers who'd sung happy birthday to him.

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    (as well as PB&J shakes)


    Highly recommended!

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    On the way back to the bus for our afternoon respite, we had to get a picture to text to Jay. He's not the biggest fan of the "icon years" when all of the giant things were placed into the parks, especially that hat. "Nothing says 1930s Hollywood like a giant-*** blue hat!"

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    Up next: MGM (as I will always call it) at Night!
     
  13. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    aaaaand... we're back!

    Now I'll never be able to see this hat and not smirk again
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    First up, our evening FP+ (we changed it from earlier when we were ready to get back for naps -- easy, no problem on the app)

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    I should mention, Sam has a phobia of elevators and she usually ducks out on riding Tower of Terror, at least she did on our last couple of trips. But this time, she decided she was riding. And scream.

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    The last time I think she rode it was our trip in 2006, when we were selected to be the First Family on Tower of Terror.

    The story goes like this:

    We were at the turnstiles and through before rope drop. Nick was planning to make a run with our tickets to the RnR FP machines and meet us at ToT. (This was before the days of Toy Story Mania Mania.)

    A girl in a ToT uniform came up to Sam and I and asked, "What are you guys planning on doing first?"

    Now, the Ghostbusters quote came to mind. "Ray, when someone asks you if you are a god, you.say.YES!"

    So I said, "Well, Tower of Terror, of course!"

    We had to wave down Nick and Bob, who were further near the rope back to us. They looked a little confused as we got them to follow. But she took us through the back way (how you come out of Fantasmic near the front) and briefly backstage and had us on the Tower alone, before it was open. By the time we'd ridden and gotten off, people were just showing up at the end of Sunset Blvd and Nick was still able to grab FPs at RnR probably exactly when he would have anyway.

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    As Sam said, channeling Indiana Jones, of all the rides in all the parks . . . Elevators. Why did it have to be an elevator?

    So, anyway, back to 2014...

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    Don't ask.

    We headed over to see a bit of the Osbourne Lights

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    before using those FPs I pulled 12 hours earlier for another ride on Toy Story.

    Interestingly, it was at night whenever we would encounter slow entry through the FP lines, as if everyone had the same strategy and had planned their FPs for the evening park. But... there's a limited number for each hour, right? How can it be that the nighttime clogged up when we never had that happen during the day? Maybe everyone approaches their exhaustion point and you get more confused/in-error guests? Dunno.

    But here was the FP line to get into TSM stretching out the building, down the Pixar Place street, and around the corner near the bathrooms and the Pirates exhibit:

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    It took us about 15 minutes in the line to get up to the Mickey Head scanners. In that time, I managed to pull my phone out of my pocket with my gloved hands and drop it. It shattered into a million shards over the screen. Brilliant. I was not a happy camper.

    But by the time we were at the ride (25 minutes all told of a wait) I'd come around. Between knowing it was insured and realizing it wasn't my CAMERA, I got over it. If it had been my camera? well, better not to even go there.

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    Since it was now closing in on 10:00 (park close and last/third Fantasmic show) we hightailed it over there, expecting standing room only since it was so close to start.

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    But, no. It was the third show of the night on an evening with temps around 40° and apparently most folks who aren't from Colorado find it less than appealing to sit on metal benches near water in that weather. We sat in the Mickey section, with very few people around us. The only other section that had anyone in it was a few in the Scar area. It was surreal to see a mostly empty stadium for Fantasmic.

    This is a must-see for us every time. We won't miss it. As Nick said, this show = the Disney trip.

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    Only half the lagoon lit on fire for the show, though. Cutbacks? ;)

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    Some imagination, huh?
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    the "crowd" leaving (I couldn't get over it, so I had to take a picture.)

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    We got back to the room around 11:30 and hit the sack with the express intention of sleeping until we woke up. We had Animal Kingdom FP+ set up for the late afternoon and wanted to have a mid-trip long sleep/kick-back morning. Boy did we. None of us even roused until after 10:00!

    Sadly, there was a reason for that for the old folks. Both Bob and I woke up feeling awful, both of us with scratchy throats and congestion coming on. Drat.

    Up next: Animal Kingdom afternoon with sick people
     
  14. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

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    We were waiting for the bus to the AK 8 years ago, too!

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    Of all the hats above, Sammi's Mike Wysowski hat is the only one we bought. Sam spotted people wearing them in the parks the previous two days and had spent a good part of our night at MGM checking in every shop to find one. At the last place in the Studios a CM checked and told her it appeared there were only some in stock at AK. Sure enough, she was able to snap one up shortly after we arrived.

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    since we just got here in time for lunch, our first stop was Flame Tree

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    And this was the only place we actually stopped by for characters!

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    So, after the show, we had just a bit of time to get over to Safari and the crowds were out in force!
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    We were also feeling worse and worse as the afternoon wore on, so by the time we were on the safari, I wasn't too keen on taking a ton of pictures.

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    But we still had FP+ for Everest later on, so we tried to tough it out. The big plan, before the cold struck us, was to spend the whole evening until close at 8:00 and then hop to MK for Wishes. However, we discovered after the safari (5:00) that pretty much ALL the walking trails (Pagani and the Tiger trail) closed down. And I was feeling awful.

    We stopped in for the first time to see Flights of Wonder, which was really fun.

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    And then grabbed some chamomile tea to try and recover. Meanwhile, Nick tried to cheer me up by looking like the statue. The details of the statue didn't come out, so he just looks like a goober.

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    FINALLY, it was time:

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    Aaaand, there was a wait to get through the FP line

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  15. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,784
    But it was worth it!

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    compared to our first trip past Disco Yeti 8 years before:

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    So after Everest, we called it a night and I didn't have the juice to try for Wishes. I just wanted to go back to the room and collapse.

    Tomorrow: We load up on cold meds and get our Epcot on!
     
  16. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,784
    So after a good sleep with good cold meds, and more daytime cold meds that morning, we were feeling a lot better and ready to face the parks again.

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    Since our main focus was World Showcase and meeting some friends of ours for the day, we weren't in any rush and got to Epcot around 9:15. The lines through bag check were enormous and we realized there were some really large Brazilian tour groups who'd just arrived as well, with their guides all sporting those flags to follow. We must've had a very different touring plan though, because we never caught sight of them after that.

    One of the irritations of Epcot FP+ planning is that we really didn't need more than the single FP for Soarin' and yet the system required us to use up two others. That just seems like a waste of limited resources to me.

    So we hit up Soarin around 9:45 and, as always, asked if we could wait for the top row (without feet dangling).

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    They obliged us, but that meant hanging back for the next group. When the CM realized she was going to have a single empty seat, she asked Sammi if she wouldn't mind riding twice. This is her "Mom, must you take a picture of EVERYTHING?!" face. (She knows the answer.)

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    Meanwhile...

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    Once we were off the ride, we heard from our friends that they'd arrived and, did we want to meet them at Test Track?

    Now, I wasn't too put out by the tiering at Epcot because Test Track just wasn't something we missed. We'd been on it in 2004 & 2006, but had skipped it in 2008 and 2010 because we just weren't that interested.

    But sure, let's meet there. I knew it had been rehabbed and surely the line wasn't THAT long an hour after park opening, right? Isn't this the start of the "slow week" anyway?

    Uh, not so much.

    The standby time showed 50 minutes and we all hopped in, because we were happy to have some time to chat and catch up anyway.

    Then? The ride broke down.

    People were walking past us back out the exit left and right after not moving for half an hour.

    But still, we were together, indoors, and enjoying the visit, so we stuck it out. I've never in my life waited for a ride more than 45 minutes, so this was a big deal. By the time we rode and got off it had taken an hour and a half. New record!

    Right about the time the breakdown announcement came on overhead:

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    We entertained ourselves.

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    I did remind the kids of a comparison picture we'd taken at Test Track, but the refurb took it out. They still played along, though;

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    And the new interactive stuff is pretty cool. Sam designed her car as Eco friendly as possible.

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    Nick, on the other hand, went for style and speed.

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    And check out their scores!

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    Oh, and where, exactly, is the camera for the ride photo now? We all posed for it through the "wall" area and didn't see a flash. I remember looking at Bob puzzled and apparently THAT's when the camera snapped. It did make for a hilarious result. Our guys in the back played along longer and got a little closer to the plan.

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    Sam, thanks to the hour and half wait, was really focused on finding a bathroom, so we left the boys to play around. I didn't get the whole story until I saw John's pictures later.

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    By the time we met back up, World Showcase was well open and we were off on our tour. Bob's conference trip in April coincided with his birthday and John and John were two of the friends who'd accompanied us on our last adventure around the World called HDDAWBBT. You can read about it here, if you're interested.

    Since we had the kids this time, the focus wasn't entirely on adult beverages in each country, but rather desserts and hat pictures and pennies. I was on a quest to collect the Mickey-wearing-the-country's-hat ones in each spot.

    Speaking of hats, we did remember to stop in the middle area and grab a few comparisons here.

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    Although you are dependent on them not moving the kiosks and having the same hats for sale, which wasn't usually the case.

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    And now? To Mexico!

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    Mickey in a Sombrero!

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    (This is the only penny press picture we took because, really, they all look the same.) I did managed to get every one except Italy.

    I'd done some penny press collecting in our earliest trips and then dropped it around 2004. When I unearthed my pressed penny book and saw a page of empty slots, I decided it was time to fill it up. I'd looked online and figured out which ones I would like and printed a list so as we were in the parks, we could find the shops without too much trouble. I also pulled out the old M&M mini tubes trick to keep the pennies and quarters easy to grab and had gone through all the pennies in the house to find pre-1983 ones to shine up in Coca-cola beforehand. Did I mention I'm a bit of a planner?

    Ok, on with the show.

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    We were bummed they'd done away with the really giant sombreros they'd had on our previous visits.

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    They did, however, have some slightly smaller ones.

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    And Norway

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    angles are everything.

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    We also shared a Viking Hat Mousse, but our picture didn't turn out. John's, however, did :)

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    Sam was bummed that they didn't have the Anna dress in her size.

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  17. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,784
    China

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    African Outpost

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    a bit better selection this time around than before (2006)

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    Germany

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    In Italy we stopped in to the wine bar for a sit and a sweet.

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    'Merica

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    Japan was a bit of a challenge on hats, but we made do

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    Nick said, "You know, I realize now why you never took me through this pavilion when I was little. I'd have never left!"

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    Good luck for the birthday boy

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    Plus, at days away from 21, he's also getting to taste Saki

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    And Sammi loved the art exhibit. She's planning on attending art school.

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    Drummers!

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    So we ate up a lot of time in Japan before moving on to Morocco, where Nick had schwarma from the Tangerine Cafe.

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    And they had the fezzes back in stock! (The only fez to be found in April was stapled to a camel statue.)

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    We did some shopping here, too, with Sammi picking up some incense and I a bracelet. No genies, though.

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    In France, the street performers were winding down...er, up?

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    Grey Goose Slush!

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    And hats

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    And desserts!

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  18. JillianLeigh

    JillianLeigh Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    Messages:
    181
    Love how much fun you guys have with your pictures!! You all seem like a goofy bunch that know how to have a good time!!:goofy:
     
  19. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,784
    We were also disappointed again in the UK, where there is a dearth of hats to be had. What happened to the awesome bobby hats?

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    And, finally, as dark was approaching, Canada

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    Whew. We were pooped.

    But the guys talked us in a ride on Journey Into Your Imagination, which, when you're totally exhausted, actually makes a bit more sense.

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    And then there was Spaceship Earth, as a walk-on, and I couldn't say no.

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    But after that? Wasn't sure we were going to make it back to the bus.

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    (Spoiler alert: we did.)
     
  20. DemonLlama

    DemonLlama DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2000
    Messages:
    3,784
    ty!

    :rotfl:goofy does not being to describe it ;)

    DH is a costumer who makes quite a few ComicCons throughout the year. He's never grown up and had taught our kids well how to avoid that particular trap.
     
  21. hucifer

    hucifer <font color=blue>The tag that was here was staler

    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    Messages:
    3,441
    Your title cracked me up, that's what brought me here.

    I am loving your report! First of all, you have a GORGEOUS family. Every one of you are handsome. And I'm not just sucking up.

    Second, those nametags of yours are priceless. Did you know that they no longer sell them? If you walk around alone, people will think you're a CM. Trust me on this.

    Third, I LOVE the comparison before/after pictures. They are so much fun to see how things change...and don't change.

    Fourth, I have always liked your user name. While there are 28,000 variations of Tinkerbelle names here, I don't see too many references to the Emperor's New Groove. It's brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT!

    Oh! And fifth...your family looks like a blast to hang with. I love all the facial expressions and gestures!

    Looking forward to your next installment. :hyper:
     

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