"I choose to be Amused!"-An Epic Trip to DL with a side of Oz(3/17-4 NEW POSTS pg17)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Aussies travel a bit assuming they can afford it. If we want to go to any other country other than Australia, we have to cross a sea in any direction; either by plane or on a boat. ;)
     
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  3. michellekcm

    michellekcm Mouseketeer

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    This has been a great trip report to read - thanks so much for sharing.
     
  4. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Hey everyone, I'm back for the final round. But first, a few things to bring up.

    I've started my 2013 Pre-Trip Report. This PTR will cover our fall 2013 trip, but will also cover SOOO much more. SO, please if you enjoy reading this TR, please check it out. The link is:

    Hitting the Disney trifecta! a Nov 2013 PTR - and then some!

    Also, I thought everyone would get a kick out of this. We went away for an overnight to one of our local ski resorts, Holiday Valley. We didn't realize it, but it was Spring Mardi Gras weekend. Yes, I know Mardi Gras is long past, but this is an event designed to bring skiers out late-season, so it's always hekld in March.

    Part of the weekend festivities is a costume parade down the "Mardi Gras" trail. I didn't bring my regular camera, but I had my phone with me:

    DD waiting for the parade to start.

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    The kids in costumes
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    Why the Yeti is missing at EE - he's skiing in Western New York!
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    Flower children
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    A bunch of S'mores
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    This dragon costume was a disaster for them. They were too close together and couldn't control themselves well. They actually held up the parade.
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    Here's how to do a tethered costume. I think they should've gotten a third person in a shark costume behind them.
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    The X-men were out in full force,
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    I just missed Wolverine, but the guy had full-on claws and everything.
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    Bert, Ernie AND the Flintstones were all there:
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    Another big group of costumes:
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    A personal favorite - BAT man:
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    Probably the best, or at least most complicated costume, Chair 50!
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    We had a great little weekend to wrap up the ski year.

    Speaking of wrap-up, here's a bunch of posts to wrap-up this Trip Report!
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Today is really our LAST day of the trip. Sure, the next day we had to fly home…but hey, boring , boring, boring. So, after today, I am going to do a brief wrap-up. I will also post a link to my next Pre-Trip Report, speaking of boring, but it will also tie into my next THREE (yup, count ‘em, 3!) TRs, so if you enjoyed my writing or my photos, I promise more of the same over the next year!

    Anyways, back to THIS trip, which is now more than 6 months in the past. As previously mentioned, we knew DD would LOVE to go to Legoland, so we kind of kept the idea in the back of our minds to see if we thought we had the energy to do it. Well, on Thursday we decided, let’s do it.

    We headed out pretty early in the morning, not quite early enough to get to Legoland for opening, but pretty early, let’s call it 8 AM. The drive to Legoland from LAX is a good two hours, so we got there around 10 AM. The parking lot already had a LOT of cars in it…maybe about ½ full.

    Unfortunately, it was summer and a Friday, so I’m sure a lot of folks making a long weekend of it. It was already a pretty hot day, so we paid for the water park as well as the regular park. We had a coupon for a free child admission (that we had brought from home) and so the price wasn’t too bad, like $85 per adult. We had our first meltdown of the day entering the park. I was trying to be patient today, because DD was probably beyond worn out of all this traveling, but boy she was in a mood for being so excited about the trip.

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    We entered the park and got a map. There seemed like there was a LOT to do and see, so first we took the boat ride, which went by a bunch of famous landmarks. Such as this one…where have I seen this before?

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    Some other scenes from the boat ride.
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    Here’s a view of the area where all the Lego city’s were. We’ll get to more of this by land, but for now I wanted to point out that they are constructing the freedom tower (replacement for the WTC) in real time.
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    Though many of the Lego constructions were cool, the boat ride itself was pretty lame. Another interesting thing, a lot of the Lego structures themselves are showing severe signs of fading/mold (especially the ones in the water) and it was kind of disappointing. I suppose they can’t rebuild everything as it starts to fade, but you would think they would put up some sort of sealer to protect the bricks.

    After the boat ride, DW had offered DD to get her caricature done, they had a special 50% off before 11 AM, so we went over. Unfortunately, there were 2 kids in front of us, so it took FOREVER. (I think we stood there for about 45 minutes.) They did special ones where they put you in action (princess, Star Wars, that type of thing) but DD just wanted it plain old lego. Overall, the guy did a good job.

    So, we moved on and started walking around the park. I wasn’t sweating it, but DD basically didn’t want to ride on ANYTHING. So,we went to the center where they had all the constructions. I’ll put the descriptions after the pictures in case you want to guess:

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    Buffalo! (OK not really – it’s a bison, but since we’re from Buffalo and all…)

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    DC/ The White House. I got a kick out of the little secret service guys on the roof. There were also buttons you could push occasionally that would play music/make things move, like the presidents motorcade.

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    What happens in Lego Vegas stays in Lego Vegas?

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    At first I thought this was a hooker, but then realized it was just a lady being pulled over by a policeman. Still there were tons of neat little details like this.

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    Back in NYC – Central Park

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    Apparently Central Park has a Ren Faire

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    Central Park Zoo

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    Rockefeller Square

    Continued in next post...
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    At that point we headed for DD favorite area – the Star Wars Mini-lands. They had a bunch of Lego sculptures of the various characters, but DD only wanted her picture with one.

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    We’ll start the story with our hero’s wanting to leave Tatooine:

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    If only they could find a ship! Maybe in the cantina?

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    Time to get off planet!

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    Skip ahead one movie, Luke’s been captured by the Wampa, can he reach his lightsabre? Use the force, Luke!

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    Phew, saved just in time, Luke goes into the Bacta tank.

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    But now the empire is invading Hoth!

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    Luke takes out the AT-AT. But is it too late?

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    We’ll never know, because now we have to skip ahead to the forest moon of Endor!

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    Gotta get to that shield generator.

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    But, what about the prequels you ask? (Or maybe you don’t.)

    OK – Gunguns versus Droid Army – Episode 1!

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    Episode 2 – Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan in the arena

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    Clones vs. Droids (again – boy those droids are useless)

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    Yoda to the rescue!

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    Episode 3: Wookies vs Droids (again – boy those droids take a beating!)

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    Finally – this is apparently from the Clone Wars cartoons – my Star Wars knowledge stops before that.

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    The funny thing is, she was WAY more interested in these brick statues than in most of the rides, shows, and attractions. We moved on and after playing in a playground, we FINALLY got her to ride the “Lost Kingdom Adventure”, kind of an Indiana Jones theme except like the Buzz Lightyear ride, only 1/10th as much fun. Actually, overall I have to say, Legoland in general was very nice, but far and away no Disneyland. Legoland was clearly aimed much younger than Disneyland. There were a few thrill rides out there for the older kids, which we of course didn’t get to ride, but for the most part this place was squarely aimed at the 5-10 year old crowd, with not a lot besides the actual lego sculptures to entertain us. It didn’t help that it was pretty hot in the sun. I don’t think it was more than the mid-eighties really, but after 3 weeks of winter, it felt very warm to be back in the sun again.

    The next land was a medieval land called “Castle Hill”. This area had a few rides. DD wanted to go on the Royal Joust, which was like an old-timey car ride, except with Lego horses:

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    The line was like 20 minutes long, so I asked if I could go ride “The Dragon”, which appeared to be a kiddie coaster, but at least it MOVED. After I rode it, it turned out it was more than that. The ride was first a dark ride, telling a story, and then turned into an outside roller coaster, similar to Barnstormer. Well, I thought DD would love this ride. We stopped to get some lunch at this point even though I think it was now around 2 PM. (I note today thinking back it was not so hot out that we didn’t want to eat outside in the shade, so I think it was just hot in the sun.) The food was passable theme park food. Not bad, not great. I wanted her to ride the Dragon, and she flat out refused in every way, throwing another temper tantrum. I really thought she would like it, so I spent the whole lunch cajoling her. Finally I told her I would buy her a lego kit if she rode it. (This was a trick really – I was going to buy her a Lego kit no matter what.) First she wanted to ride the stupid horses again. Then we got her on the Dragon, which had a really short wait. DW liked it a lot, DD pouted the whole time, but I think liked it a bit. (They wouldn’t allow pictures on this ride, so that’s why they’re aren’t any.)

    Continued in Next Post...
     
  7. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    After that, we decided it was time to head over to the water park before it got too late. There were a couple of Pirate themed water rides that got you wet, but couldn’t get DD on those either. As we headed for the water park, we saw the entrance to the “Adventurer’s Club”. Well, with a hearty “Kungaloosh!” we convinced DD to try this. It was really just a walkthrough attraction where you had to find 7 “bricks” hidden in various rooms, but for whatever reason DD really loved it. You didn’t even win the “Balderdash Cup” at the end. So disappointing!

    Just next door there was a “factory tour” where they (sort of) showed you how to make Legos, and then there was an area to actually build some stuff.

    While it was nice and cool in here, and pretty interesting, we didn’t stay too long, as time was winding down. I seem to remember the water park was only open until like 6 PM or something, and it was around 4 PM now.

    As we were walking into the water park, a family coming out handed us their locker wristband (an RFID chip that opened a locker) so we didn’t have to rent one ourselves. Good Karma for all those FPs I’ve given out over the years! We changed and entered the water park.

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    We went over to the splash pool area with the slides, and DD immediately ran off to one of the slides without telling us. I tracked her down and scolded her, and she threw a total hissy-fit at which point she wouldn’t even go on any of the slides. She basically went in the water to pout on her own.

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    I ended up going on the family raft ride myself. Again, not a water park up to Disney standards, but a decent little one. I wouldn’t want to pay a whole bunch just for this, though!

    The best part of the park was without a doubt the lazy river. Not the river itself, but more specifically the RAFTS. They each had a spot where you could use as a base for the tower of a lego brick stack, and the river had foam lego bricks floating in it, so you could gather the bricks as you floated and build a tower, which would eventually fall over on to you. (For anyone that has stayed at Pop Century, they have a bunch of bunch of these type bricks at the entrance for kids to play with.)

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    There was this one other family in the lazy river, and the dad appeared a bit off his rocker. He started trying to steal our bricks as we floated by, trying to be funny but it came off as odd. We decided to go with it, and we had this sort of brick war in the lazy river. This was far and away the most fun I’ve ever had in a lazy river, and would probably put it as the highlight (along with the dragon coaster ride) of the day.

    We basically stayed in there until they closed it. When we got out, DD found a group of kids on land using the bricks to build a fort, and so she joined in for a while.

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    After we changed our clothes, we started making our way out of the park. I don’t remember exactly where we stopped, but we did stop a few times to look in the lands we hadn’t made it to. We then stopped in the big Lego store by the entrance. We picked up a few Lego sets for DD, and I picked up an Star Wars Admiral “IT’S A TRAP!” Akbar mini-figure key chain. (My one souvenir from the trip besides the pictures and a hat.) By the time we were out of the park, it was getting dark, and we didn’t get back to the hotel until close to 10 PM. We had had a late lunch and no dinner, so we decided to scout out an “In N Out” burger. I had heard stories of the place, and found the burgers to be quite good, but the fries I thought were terrible. Not very impressed, I would rate 5 guys or Red Robin, or even Fuddrucker’s higher, but it did beat McDonalds and was pretty cheap, so I can see it as a late night haunt.

    Overall, Legoland was pretty impressive. I would recommend it for those with kids under 10 or so, and it definitely could fill a full day or two. However, it is no Disneyland.

    Day 29:

    There’s nothing much to say about our last day. The airport was mega-crowded with a line of literally 100s of people waiting to curb check their bags. Luckily, our usual strategy paid off of dropping DW at the terminal before returning the car. This way, she waited in line with the checked bags while DD and I took the car back. It took us a good 30-40 minutes to return the car, and DW was still waiting when we got there. (The inside line wasn’t any shorter.) There were people that were having trouble making their flight because of the line, but we had come early enough that it wasn’t an issue. The flight itself was no problem at all. DMIL came to the airport in our mini-van to pick us up, and we had a pizza (OMG – American Pizza! YUM!) to cap off our trip.

    Overall, it was a super trip, we had great hospitality from both new and old friends in Australia. We would love to go back again someday, but honestly we have about half a dozen international destinations that we would like to see first, so I would be surprised if we do it again for a long time. But, no regrets as it was a trip that we will remember forever.

    Thanks to everyone that stuck through with reading this Trip Report for the seven months it took to write it. I hope you have enjoyed it, and appreciate your readership. Seeing the post count approach 30,000 has kept me typing! I hope many of you will follow along to my Pre-Trip Report, which will cover THREE separate Disney Trips – “The Disney Trifecta” as I am calling it. That will have links to future trip reports.

    Until next time, thanks again!
     
  8. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    Enjoyed reading about the whole trip and will follow along on the Trifecta! Seems a bit greedy somehow-3 trips!! (Just jealous-lol). On Legoland-I know its billed for littlies but honestly, I would love to visit just to look at all the models and story-sets etc and the lazy river with its floating blocks sounded fun.

    Our upcoming trip takes in DLP for the first time as well as venturing into Scotland and Spain so more new experiences we are looking forward to. My (now adult) DD gave me a great gift on the weekend-she has seen how stressed and tired I have been the past few months with a particular work project which concluded today -and bought me a moleskin journal for the trip. It has Mickey embossed on the cover-comes with a pull-out guide to drawing Mickey-will keep me occupied in those long airport waits. So thoughtful of her-look what you have to look forward to (gotta get through those teen years first....)!:upsidedow
     
  9. disneykiwi

    disneykiwi Mouseketeer

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    hey Pete

    have really enjoyed reading along. Will now go and join up the new report.

    Not long now till our June adventure. :cool1:

    Thanks
     
  10. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for finishing - loved sharing your trip!!
     
  11. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Love the costumes!! They're great!
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Great to see you back on the boards and finishing off this TR. Legoland is very fun at the age of about 7. We had a blast with DS when he was that age. At the age of 9, he was getting out of the prime zone for Legoland and it wasn't nearly as fun.

    Nice that you got safely home and had MiL pick you up.

    Glad you enjoyed the trip and I'm sorry that it will be a long time before you head this way. Maybe we can meet up again in one of those other international destinations.....:thumbsup2
     
  13. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Thanks so much. Yes - I do almost feel guilty devoting 3 trips to Disney-related stuff in such a short time, but we will unfortunately have a bit of a break after that. IF we do the cruise in Feb 2014 that will be the only Disney-related trip that year, so it might be another 18 months or longer (GASP!) before we hand Disney more money after that.

    But you made ME jealous. DLP - lucky you. And more of Europe too. That's the thing, we want to go to several places in Europe. And while it's not nearly the distance for us, it's probably more expensive because the US dollar is so down.

    Thank you! So very looking forward to meeting you! Less than 12 weeks now!

    Thank you for following along! I wrote in another thread that part of what keeps me updating, even if I can only do it every few weeks, is knowing that people are actually reading what I write.

    I know, I think I'm most sad of the idea of not going back for a long time in not getting to see my new friends again, including you and your family. I hope somewhere along the way we can meet up. If you get anywhere within a few hours of us up here (even NYC) we'll try and get together. I haven't been posting much on your "blog" but I HAVE been reading along.
     
  14. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    Okay first off as a New Orleans native, I find it absolutely hysterical that something Mardi gras related is happening in the SNOW!!! Lol but it does look like fun.

    The cityscapes at Legoland look really cool and interesting but the attractions don't sound all that great, so I don't know the we will be making a side trip there anytime soon. I was just reading on another TR from a family that visited the LL in Orlando and described it about the way you did. Too bad DD wasn't being cooperative either, I'm sure it would have been a much more fun experience if she had.

    Really really enjoyed this TR! Sounds like a really amazing once in a lifetime trip. Since I may never get to visit Australia it was fun to experience it through your pictures and descriptions.

    Off to the new PTR, you know I wouldn't miss it!
     
  15. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Yeah, they also had a parade in town but we skipped out on that. I don't imagine it compared much to New Orleans. During the day, they had built a huge snow fort by one of the lodges and had a DJ booth on top of it, with a beer tent and about 1,000 people hanging out most of the afternoon. I find that a little scary because drinking and skiing are a terrible mix. It should always be skiing - THEN drinking!

    Ski areas tend to have some pretty hard partying people around. Often skiers tend towards the young wild types, either that or families with children. A lot of times there isn't much in a ski resort to do at night but go out and drink, so those singles go out and get pretty rowdy. It actually made for some great night skiing though - I went out on my own on Saturday night and had the mountain to myself. (Yes the slopes are lit with floodlights.)
     
  16. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Aww....thanks Pete. Its been one of the Dis 2D-in-a-box friendships that has converted over to 3D, hasn't it? I certainly hope our families can meet up again someday. If not in NY state, then maybe Paris. We'll always have Paris.....:lmao:
     
  17. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Here's lookin' at you, kid. :smokin:
     
  18. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I know you're all done with this TR, but I'm going to read it! We do have Australia on the horizon, but we really need to do research. I can't think of better research than reading a TR!

    That will help me to know what to search on and look for in our trip!
     
  19. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    HEY thanks for reading along. I know you already have one really good friend over there, and she is certainly good for advice (she gave us lots as well) but if you want an American perspective, feel free to ask!

    (And make sure to ask PIO where to go to eat, because our view was the food was not good. Other than Pancakes on the Rocks in Sydney.)
     
  20. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    We visited New Zealand in 1999. It was the strangest food trip we ever had. Nothing tasted like it should have, or at least we thought it should.

    The only thing that we found that met our expectation was Fish and Chips and Rack of Lamb. Our one McDonald's experience was a complete disaster, and two of my attempts at cooking "at home" were just "off". We purchased Rib Eye steaks at a grocery store that appeared to be of wonderful quality, but the flavor was just not right. The other was making Meatballs and Mushroom sauce, basically ground beef with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup and Milk over rice. Again the meat tasted "funny".

    I'm sure I will ask questions, but maybe closer once we actually get the trip planned. It's a big country and we need to have a good plan before we decide to go there. Also flights will be a slight problem. We either need to lose a lot of weight or plan to spend a lot of money for business class. We can only travel on points one way and now that US Airways and American have merged who knows what is in store.

    At least I can read your report and get some ideas. Hopefully PIO will go on some more domestic trips and I can glean some info from those! :thumbsup2
     
  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    It works in reverse as well. Food does sometimes taste funny to us when we visit America. :rotfl2:
     

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