FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18th So we near the end of our trip, only 2 days left in the parks! Todays plan was originally visit Animal Kingdom for the second time, then dinner at Le Cellier and Epcot in the evening. However, after waking up, we decided to hit the MK since it was looking pretty dreary and rainy out. We werent sure what to expect though since this was the weekend before Christmas week, so I feared the crowds would start getting heavy. But boy was I wrong! We got to MK early as always- we usually would miss rope drop, but would arrive right at opening or 10 minutes after. This day, we headed first again for a second ride on Dumbo for the trip. As we were waiting in line, it started pouring! And I mean pouring! We were under the covered area, thankfully, but our stroller was not so lucky! Good thing I had extra ponchos, which served to cover the wet stroller later for Pooh to sit in. Then we headed for a quick breakfast on Main Street with Dumbo out of the way! We enjoyed our first time in the bakery this trip and sat down to a yummy cinnamon roll with juice! Everything looked and smelled so good in there. Ill definitely be stopping in there more from now on. Just enjoying our breakfast at a table at the end of main street (near the ice cream shop) was one of those special moments I really remember and cherish- nearing the end of our trip and just taking time to relax, sit down and take it all in. But that didnt last long so off to the carousel and Pooh rides, then we let Pooh play a bit at the Pooh playground. Too many Poohs? I thought so. Fantasyland was EMPTY. I was shocked. It stayed that way all morning. I guess the rain really drives folks away. It wasnt really raining much, if at all anymore by this point, but still cloudy and dreary. Pooh really enjoyed the playground and did not want to leave. Next we headed over to Adventureland for another visit to Pirates. Afterwards, we just had good timing and caught one of the Pirate fights outside with Captain Jack Sparrow. It was so much fun to watch! So glad we got to see it. When Pooh is older, I am sure he would love to participate. The Captain looked pretty good too! J We did a bit more exploring and caught Lilo and Stitch on our way out in adventureland. The line was pretty short, so we stopped for a pic. We didnt stop for many character pics this trip, since we had so many character meals (Crystal Palace, Chef Mickeys, 1900 Park Fare and Norway). But next time, I do plan to stop more often for them, as Pooh gets older, I think he will recognize them more. He wasnt afraid or anything, he just didnt really know who most of them were, except Mickey and Pooh. The kid wont sit still long enough to watch a movie, so all he knows is short clips of watching Pooh and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But I did enjoy seeing Lilo and Stitch. So then we explored a little of Main Street and headed for the exit. We had 7:30pm reservations for Le Cellier that evening, so we wanted to get back and rested up. PLUS, we had a change in plans the kids loved the babysitting service so much earlier in the trip, that we decided to use them again this evening. The first time we used them was for our dinner at Shulas and drink around the world. Well given Le Cellier is a little more high end, and I didnt want to deal with a toddler that doesnt sit well at meals we just decided it best to use Kids Nite Out again! We actually called them that morning and were able to get a sitter for that night. Talk about convenient! Mom offered to pay so we could have a nice night out again, adults only. By now, on our 8th full day, the kids could use a break and werent hurting for park time anyhow. We arranged to have the sitters there at like 5 I believe. So we had another little break and then off we went to Epcot. We set the kids up with room service pizza again and they were fine. We enjoyed a little time at Epcot first, but I forget what we did. We did check out the UK and its shops a bit. I know we headed back to Le Cellier by 7, to see if we could get in earlier. NO luck, so we waited it out. Finally we were called and seated at a long table near the back. There were 10 of us. Most of us had eaten here before. Our server, cant remember his name- was fantastic! In fact, we made a point to ask for the manager when we left to let her know how fabulous he was! Hopefully he got a little guest fanatic card or something out of it. Anyhow- again, fabulous service, so we all started with some beverages, I was getting really sick by this point. You might remember that I mentioned Nancy was really sick. She had been staying in the room the last few days and only coming out on occasion, like tonight. I had such awful sinus pressure and pain. I couldnt taste or smell much either, so I was disappointed that I wouldnt be able to taste that well for this great meal. Bummer! But a good reason to go back (and we are planning to on this Dec 2010 trip!). Anyhow- I think I passed on the booze, since I wasnt feeling hot to begin with. Other partook in a beer or other beverage. Some ordered salads and most of us had the famous cheddar cheese soup (which I now have the recipe for!). Yum, from what I could taste anyway! Most of us had a steak for dinner. I had the famous filet I think. Everything was really good as usual and my entire family loved their meals. The server made special accommodations too for some of us that wanted a different side with our steak than what was on the menu etc. Everything was perfect .again, from what I could taste! Lol I ordered the smores for dessert, which were good, but I think next time Ill stick with the chocolate mousse! Our meal was very good and near the end, right before dessert, we hear Illuminations going off. Oh crap!!! We totally forgot and missed it. Bummer again. Unbelievable that in a full 9 day trip, we never caught it. We caught a little of it on our drink around epcot night, but not all of it. So we were pretty disappointed in that. We headed towards the front and stopped to ask for the manager where we gave a glowing report of our server. She wasnt surprised and said he gets compliments all the time. Its nice to experience that level of famous guest service at Disney. I know folks complain many cast members are mean, rude or down. But this one was great. We did explore the area a bit, but didnt completely do the world showcase, we were saving it for tomorrow. So by the time we finished, it was after 9:30pm. But good news- it was EMH night until 12:30am! Not that any of us planned to stay that late. I know a lot of us split up to hit rides. I think we headed to do mission space (no spin)- although I would have done the spin version, but line was longer. We also checked out test track, we waited in line for a bit- probably 20-30 minutes. We had also gotten fast passes earlier. But I didnt want to keep waiting, so I went to shop while Alan rode 2-3 more times! I went in Mousegears and shopped to my hearts content, which was nice. We ended the night late, but not super late, I think we were back by 11:30 or so. We relieved the sitter again and were off to bed, with dreams of a great meal in our heads! SANTAS NICE LIST Yummy main street bakery and quality down time eating Fabulous meal at Le Cellier Awesome service at Le Cellier Low crowds at MK that morning Babysitter!!! SANTAS NAUGHTY LIST Rainy day Wet stroller! Missing Illuminations Being sick!